Category Archives: NCAAFB


Notre Dame at Oklahoma – Preview

Good day!

I haven’t blogged in awhile either on sports or on working out.  I’ve been nursing a bad heel for about 5 weeks new.  Plantar Faciitis is not a fun thing when you are trying to maintain a cardio regimen.  But I digress.

When last I wrote something here, it was right after OU dropped their first game of the season at home to Kansas State.  Since then the Sooners have been on a tear winning three games in a row averaging 52 points per games and giving up 16 points per game.  The Red River Shootout (that’s right – it’s still the “Shootout” for those PC thinkers out there that stomp about and insist that a shootout has negative connotations to it).  To them, I say this, “DEAL WITH IT!”  But I digress.  

On second thought, to call this year’s game in Dallas a “Shootout” might be inappropriate, but not for the reasons mentioned above.  Normally when one thinks of the word “shootout” it would indicate there was a flurry of shooting from both sides of the battle/skirmish.  In this one . . .not so much.  It was more like the result of a firing squad the way Oklahoma absolutely dismantled the Longhorns.  The previous week, Texas had lost a close game to West Virginia in Austin in a game that was more reminiscent of a shootout than the match-up in Dallas.  The horns lost 48-45 to a Mountaineer team that, as it turns out, has developed an OLE’ defense giving up just under 40 points per game (118th in the country on that stat).  Man, I’m digressing a lot this morning.  Rolling into Dallas, it looked for all the world like it would be more of the same, but the Oklahoma defense stymied the horn’s offense all day long with their only offensive points coming late in the 4th quarter when the game was already out of hand.  A side note here:  If you’re team in winning 36-2 early in the 3rd quarter and your quarterback throws a pick 6 from his own 20 and you start yelling the the TV in anger . . .you might be a Sooner fan. The final score in Dallas was 63-21 in yet another rout by Bob Stoops over Mack Brown.  There are rumblings in Austin that it might be time to show Mack the door, but that will have to wait at least until the end of the season.  The other two games featured Oklahoma getting their first win in Lubbock since 2003 win a 41-20 win over the Red Raiders (which was actually played the week before Texas) and a butt whuppin’ in Norman over Kansas 52-7 who looks even worse this year than last. 

SO! – Oklahoma has bounced back and been rolling since the KSU loss.  

Let’s look at Notre Dame.

The Irish are undefeated right now.  7-0 – their best start since 2002 when they started 8-0 before dropping a game at home to Boston College.  That team has no relationship to the current edition of the Irish.  This year Notre Dame features a very strong defense; 2nd in scoring giving up only 9.4 points per game which is pretty impressive.  They have a very big, very physical front seven on defense led by linebacker Manti Te’o.  His instincts on defense are amazing.  He always seems to be where the ball is and is a play-maker and leader on the team.  

The offense for Notre Dame also has a strong presence up front with the offensive line that has a lot of experience and a solid running game (38th in the country).  The offense this weekend will be led by a talented redshirt freshman quarterback Everett Golson who has a lot of mobility and can make plays out of the pocket.

There are those who will tell you that this game is obviously “advantage Irish” because of the stingy defense that has only given up 17 points once this year while OU has given up more than that three times including a loss at home to a run-heavy Kansas State that looks similar to the Irish offense.  Let’s look at that a bit more closely though, shall we?

Oklahoma has faced 3 top 10 scoring offenses this season, Kansas State, Texas Tech and Texas.  The best offense Notre Dame has faced is Purdue who is ranked 50th in scoring.  There are those who will say that the three top high scoring teams OU faced are a product of crappy defense in the Big XII and the low scoring teams the Irish have faced are a product of the amazing defense in the Big Ten.  There are those who will say the Big Ten opponents Notre Dame has faced don’t have a lot of balance and limited weapons on offense.  In fact, the most balanced offense the Irish have faced this season, Purdue, passes the ball roughly 55% of the time on offense, but even so, their running game has been abysmal averaging only 3 yards per carry.  The Boilermakers took Notre Dame down to the wire and the Irish came away with a win on a 27 yard field goal with 7 seconds left in the game.  So if you can bring some balance to the table, you can give the Irish trouble.  (side note here:  Purdue is 71st in giving up points this year at 27.7 points per game and  they held the Irish to 20 in that one)

Oklahoma’s offense will be, by far, the best offense the Irish have faced this season ranked 22nd in passing, 34th in rushing and 5th in scoring.  The big question for the Irish defense:  How economically can you stop the rushing game of Oklahoma.  If you can do it with just the front 4 or maybe 5, you can drop 6 or 7 into coverage and make it a long day for Landry Jones and company.  If they have to use 7 up front to stop the OU rushing attack, Jones will pick apart the young cornerbacks as there are just too many weapons in OU’s passing game.  Trey Millard, OU’s fullback, will likely have a huge role in this game, even if it’s just as a decoy to get Manti Te’o out of the middle to open up things there.  If Te’o doesn’t pay Millard any mind, the Sooners will exploit that all night long and the Irish will go home very sad.

For OU, this will be the best defense they’ve faced, though not “by far.”  Kansas State’s defense is ranked 14th and while they beat OU, it was due in large part to two of the three turnovers in that game being unforced errors on the Sooners part that the Wildcats were able to exploit.

The experts on ESPN and elsewhere keep talking about how OU’s offense matches up against Notre Dame’s defense, but what seems to be ignored here is the Sooner defense.  Have the Sooners had three games where they gave up more points than the Irish have in any game all season?  Yes.  But can we break that down a bit?  

Kansas State game (24 total points against OU) – the Wildcats had a defensive score on a forced fumble inside the Oklahoma 5 so that’s not on the Sooner defense – Defensive points given up in that game: 17

Texas Tech game (20 total points against OU) – It was 41-13 late in the game and all 2nd and 3rd stringers in for OU against Tech’s starters who got a touchdown with 56 seconds left in the game to lessen the sting of the blowout at home – Defensive points given up by starters:  13

Texas (21 total points against OU) – The horns got 2 points early when they ran back a botch extra point try after the Sooners first score.  Their next trip to the endzone was the pick 6 early in the 3rd quarter when OU was winning 36-2.  They score two touchdowns late in the game (at the 4:43 mark on a long bomb pass and the last play of the game) similar to Texas Tech, against 2nd and 3rd string defenders when the game was even worse than the Tech blowout – Defensive points given up by starters:  0

Suddenly – OU’s defensive points per game given up (when it matters) drops from 15.3 per game down to 9.5 right in line with the Irish and this done against offenses that run much more wide open than do the Irish opponents up to this point.

The Irish offense is strong in the running game, but inconsistent at best in the passing game.  Golson will need to use his legs a lot to buy time and will need to be more accurate than the 58% completion rate he has had so far this season.  Look for Mike Stoops to stack the box and dare the Irish to pass.  This is possibly the best defense the Irish will face this season since USC now looks more vulnerable than they did at the beginning of the year.

If it all comes down to defense stopping the opponent’s offense, it’s advantage Oklahoma.  I think for Notre Dame to win this game, they will need at least one defensive scoring play.  They Irish will need to use their run game to eat clock and shorten the game.  If they can’t stop the passing game of OU, it will be a long night for them.

My Officially-Unofficial Prediction:  

Oklahoma 31 – Notre Dame 24

 

 

Kansas State at Oklahoma – 9/22/2012

I’m watching this one right now and it’s in the 4th quarter with the Wildcats leading the Sooners 17-13.  Regardless of the outcome, the Sooners don’t look great on offense.  They keep shooting themselves in the foot.  Three turnovers have lead to all 17 points for K-State.  Landry Jones was stripped in the first half inside the 5 and the ball was recovered in the end zone for a TD.  Then Blake Bell on a 2nd and goal from the 1, tried to run before he received the shotgun snap and fumbled away a scoring opportunity.  Then, in the second half, leading 13-10, Landry Jones tried to force a pass when pressure was on him and it was intercepted leading to Wildcat QB, Collin Klein scoring a touchdown.  

Even as I type this, John Hubert just ran in another one from 9 yards out to extend the lead to 24-13 with 7:27 left.  Landry’s performance tonight can best described as a bit on the manic side.  Some drives, he looks like the all-world, first round draft pick everyone wants him to be.  At some very inopportune moments, he looks like an inept practice squad QB facing off against the ’00 Ravens defense.  

A bright spot for the Sooners tonight has been true freshman, wide-receiver, Sterling Shepard.  With 4:09 left in the game, he has 7 catches for 108 yards and a touchdown that he just got to bring the score to 24-19.  They went for 2 and the pass was knocked down at the line.  So if they do manage to get the ball back, they will need a touchdown instead of just a field goal.  There will be no overtime in this game.

OU had an opportunity to get a 3 and out, but on 3rd and 11, Tom Wort proved that he still can’t cover a receiver worth a crap.  They got the first down and were able to bleed more time off the clock.  It’s now 3rd and 3 with 1:59 left.  Both teams are out of timeouts.   Klein gets the first down on the keeper and they will now be able to run out the clock without taking anything but a knee.  There will be no dramatic ending in this one.  

Kansas State pulls off the upset in Norman, defeating Oklahoma 24-19.  And Oklahoma’s lack of experience on offense was quite apparent tonight.  They will have some things to work on this week in practice as they get ready for a trip to Lubbock to try and avenge their last loss at home against Texas Tech from last season.  Lubbock is not an easy place for OU to win and it doesn’t look  like they are going to be able to just walk in and take the place with the way they look right now.  The Wildcats will have the week off and take on the hapless Kansas Jayhawks on October 6th.

If there is one thing that I do like about the outcome of this game, OU won’t have to worry about going to the national championship and getting trounced by someone like Alabama, LSU or Oregon.  So there is that . . .I guess . . .

Friday Night Football – NCAA Baylor at UL-Monroe

Just watching a bit of the Baylor at UL-Monroe game. Yes – the same UL-Monroe that beat Arkansas two weeks ago and took Auburn to overtime last week. Lookout Bears – they are a tough little team.

Early on here and Baylor didn’t do much with their first possession and Monroe is moving the ball well initially – now inside the Bears 40.

Two interceptions and one touchdown so far in the first quarter and the WarHawks lead in this one 7-0.  Baylor actually had a good drive going with the up-tempo offense, but a UL-Monroe defensive lineman got in on the Baylor QB, Florence, and tipped a pass causing a wounded-duck, floater to get intercepted at the 5 yard line killing the drive.  While the Bears were moving, it’s quite obvious here early they aren’t nearly the team they were last year with RGIII and Kendall Wright.  As for the defene . . .well . . .different year, same Bears.  They aren’t very good on that side of the ball.  It’s going to be a long year for Baylor in conference play.  Even as I’m typing this, the WarHawks are marching right down the field AAAAND they score on a 9 yard run up the middle and the PAT coming up will make it 14-0. .  .but hold on – the previous play is under review.

Looks like his knee may have been down with the ball at about the 1 foot line.

After review – the ruling the field stands!!  UL-Monroe beating the Baylor Bears 14-0 late in the first quarter.

Baylor starting to move the ball again and the quarter ends.  The Bears will need to get it together on this drive and answer with a score of their own, preferably a touchdown, or this one could get out of hand.

And Baylor does indeed answer with a 43 yard touchdown pass down the middle to cap a 7 play, 75 yard drive that took 2:11.  And the Bears are back in it, but still down 14-7 with 14:22 left in the second quarter.

Well the response from Monroe didn’t take long as they went 75 yards on 5 plays with a 48 yard touchdown run by Monterrell Washington puts the WarHawks up by a score of 21-7 with 12:00 minutes left in the half.  Um . . .excuse me? . . .Baylor Bears???  If you’re down by fourteen points, you can’t spend the rest of the game trading TD’s like this.  (Apologies for the Dan Fouts style of analysis here)

The WarHawk defense is giving the Baylor receivers a lot of cushion . . .almost too much respect.  You can’t let them have a 15 yard completion on every other play while trying to prevent a big TD pass.

This drive for Baylor (now at the Monroe 10) has featured more running. Florence is starting to run the spread option and is keeping it more.  It’s showing dividends in the form of yards gained.

On a 4th and goal from inside the 1 yard line – Baylor decides to go for it as they can’t afford to not keep pace with the way their defense is playing.  Glasco Martin punches it in on a hand off up the middle.  With the PAT, they get back within 1 score 21-14 – 7:51 left in the half.

With 5:32 left in the half and Monroe moving the ball, Baylor got what they needed – a turnover.  On a first down at their own 45 – Edwards was cutting through the middle on a delayed hand off when the ball came out and Baylor comes up with it, recovered by Sam Hall.

Apparently on the first play from scrimmage Baylor scored a touchdown to tie the game at 21-21 with 5:25 left.  It was a 47 yard pass to Williams.  We didn’t get to see it live because they were late coming back from commercial.  

Monroe is moving the ball again.  Using the passing game and a mismatch on the outside between their big wide-receiver and Baylor’s short cornerback (Goodson).  

On 4th and 7 from the Baylor 21 – UL-Monroe calls timeout with 2:01 left in the half and contemplating whether or not they should go for it.  They don’t seem to have much confidence in their kicking game, so it’s a real possibility here.

So they do decide to go for it and Kolton Browning is sacked back at the 32 where Baylor takes over with a chance to take their first lead of the night if they can put together a quick drive before the half ends. (1:55 – 2nd)

 On 4th and 1 at the 27 with 15 seconds left, Baylor went for it and got the first down on the QB keeper.  Then the threw a pass play that was complete for a gain of 8.  Baylor uses their final timeout with 2 seconds left and Crowley hits the 34 yard field goal to close the half and give the Bears the lead 24-21.

I’m going to call it for the night here.  I will follow up in the morning on the results (I’m recording it) – so there will be a full account of the game.  I was up too late with last nights Giants/Panthers game on NFL Network and I’m beat.  

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Saturday morning – I’m watching the second half here early on my DVR.  UL-Monroe will have the ball to start off the second half.  For the record, I will blog this as I watch the recording.  I haven’t seen a box score or any highlights since I went to bed, so I don’t know who won.

The WarHawks start off the second half with a very quick 5 play, 75 yard drive finished off with a 58 yard touchdown run by Jyruss Edwards and he made the defensive backs for Baylor look like they were linebackers once he got into the secondary.  He can fly.  28-24 Warhawks (13:10 – 3rd)

Baylor’s drive stalls at the 42 when Florence is stopped short of the yard to gain on a keeper.  They punted and Monroe will start with the ball at the 20 after the touchback.

The commentator just said the attendance for this game is 31,175 for this home opener at Louisiana-Monroe which is a record for Malone Stadium.  Good for them.  

The WarHawks come up short on their drive after 3 plays and punt for the first time in this game.  Baylor takes over at their own 32.

Well that didn’t take long.  The Bears put up a 4 play, 68 yard drive with a 46 yard touchdown pass to Tevin Reese who was wide open.  The safety that was matched up on Reese got burned big time on that one.  Reese made a fake inside on the route, the safety bit and Reese turned on the burners to get open deep.  Baylor now leads 31-28 (8:13 – 3rd)

The WarHawks start their next drive with the ball at the 25.  Jyruss Edwards got a little banged up on a 3rd at short when he fought to get a first down at the 35 – which succeeded.  Kolton Browning on 3rd a long throws an interception to Baylor’s Dixon who returns it just inside the 30 where the Bears will take over.  It was a poor pass after a bad snap leading to Browning second interception of the season.

Baylor driving inside the 20 and a drive is kept alive by an offsides penalty by the Warhawks on 3rd and 7 from the 16.  (5 of those in this game on Monroe).  On 3rd and 2 and the Baylor run is stopped just short of the marker.  They go for it on 4th down – and punch it through for just enough to get the first down and goal at the 9.  One of the offensive linemen for Baylor tried to pull Salubi along when he was stopped initially at the line on first and goal.  And Monroe gets their 6th penalty of the game . . .all offsides . . .do you think there might be something that NEEDS to be said on the sideline?

There’s a highlight during an injury timeout here showing Georgetown getting a last second field goal for the 21-20 win over Princeton in the Hoya’s first appearance on national television (ESPN-U)

On 3rd and goal from the 3 – the pass into the endzone was incomplete (a chop block penalty was declined) and Baylor settles for a field goal to extend their lead to 34-28 (1:48 – 3rd)

UL-Monroe start with the ball at the 25 (touchback) after the field goal.  They need to answer here as Baylor has gained the momentum here, even if just a little with that last score.  

The Warhawks have moved a bit here and will still have the ball to start the 4th quarter with the score still 34-28 in favor of Baylor (End 3rd Quarter).

The initial play of the 4th quarter was a pass complete at the 49 for a first down for Monroe.  On 3rd and 9 from the 50, Browning was pressured, he scrambled to his right, keeping his head up and looking downfield, he completes a long pass for the first down at the 19 after a gain of 31.  On 3rd and 5 from the 14, Browning scrambling again, gets off a shovel pass  for a first down at the 3 yard line.  It was nearly a touchdown with the receiver fumbling the ball into the endzone and a WarHawk falling on it.  The next play happened before a review could be called.  It was all moot anyway as on 3rd and goal from the 1, Kolton Browning keeps the ball up the middle for the score to retake the lead 35-34 (10:54 – 4th)

On the ensuing kickoff, Baylor returns it to the 27 where they will try to answer the last score.  The Monroe defense is trying to get the crowd into it, but with only 31,150 fans in an open stadium, it’s tough to get that deafening noise you get in one of the big stadiums.  Baylor gets to mid-field here and the drive is stalling a bit.  Incomplete pass on first down followed by a false start penalty.  On 2nd and 15, they get 11 bringing up a 3rd and 4 at the Monroe 41 where Williams makes a catch and is able to fight for a first down about a half yard beyond the marker for a first down.  Two plays later, a pass complete and Sampson gets a first down to the 20.  (7:46 – 4th)  (side note:  I hate the new “lose your helmet and sit out a play” rule)  One 1st and Goal from the 9, Florence ran the option to the left and when it looked like he might be hemmed in, he makes a late pitch to Norwood who scampers in for a touchdown.  Baylor goes for 2 trying to get to a 7 point lead, but the try fails.  Florence was stripped and linebacker scooped it and was running it back, but was caught from behind near mid-field.  Baylor leads again 40-35 (7:10 – 4th)

Monroe actually returns a kickoff instead of taking a knee in the endzone and start this drive at the 25 . . .so no difference.  On 2nd and 11 from the 24 after a false start penalty, Browing moves out of the pocket and finds Harper for a 41 yard completion to the Baylor 35.  It was all for naught as the next play was a fumble on a missed exchange between Browning and Edwards.  Baylor takes over at the 38.  (5:29 – 4th – 40-35 Baylor leads)

Baylor comes up short on 3rd down by inches at the 47 and Baylor takes a timeout to think about whether to go for this one or not.  When we come back from commercial, they are reviewing the play to check the spot from the last play (Baylor challenged the call on the field).  After review the ruling on the field stands and Baylor is charged for a timeout and they are out of challenges.  They decide to go for it on 4th and inches.  None of the previous mattered anyway as they punch it through with the fullback for a first down at the 49.  (3:55 – 4th)  Baylor is just trying to chew up the clock at this point so Monroe doesn’t have time to answer.  Martin gets a big run on 2nd down to the 23 and puts the Bears in field goal range.  (2:36 – 4th).  On 2nd and 9 from the 22, Florence throws deep over the middle where Terrence Williams makes a diving catch in the endzone for a touchdown to extend the lead to 47-35 with 2:25 left in the game.  That is the play the ices the game for the Bears.  It looks like they will escape with the win over this feisty WarHawk team.  

Monroe starts with the ball at the at their own 10 after a holding call on the kickoff return.  They will need some crazy fast scoring to have a chance here.  First play is a 21 yard completion for a first down.  Browning then runs for another first down with 1:58 left at the 41.  May catches a pass on the next pass for a gain of 3 and stays inbounds, clock rolling.  May catches another pass beyond the marker by about 4 yards, but then circles back short of the first down by a yard where he is promptly tackled.  TIMEOUT WarHawks (1:28-4th).  3rd and 1 at the 50 after the timeout – completed pass for a first down at the Bears 41.  Browning runs for a first down sliding down at the 28.  Browning throws a short pass incomplete to avoid a sack – 53 seconds left.  It’s full on desperation time now.  Browning runs on 2nd down and comes up about 3 yards short of the line to gain.  Pass complete for a first down at the 15 – out of bounds and the clock stops at 27 seconds.  Browning throws the ball away on 1st down – clock at 21 seconds.  It’s pretty much over at this point.  Pass incomplete in the endzone on 2nd and 10 – 13 seconds left.  On 3rd and 10, Leonard catches a pass at the 8 and fights his way into the endzone for a touchdown with 6 seconds left.  Bears still lead 47-42 with an onside kick coming!

Baylor catches the onside kick with no trouble at all and this one ends with them holding on for the win 47-42.  The Louisiana-Monroe WarHawks gave it all they had, but came up a bit short.  As I said earlier, I think Baylor is in for a long conference season in the Big XII with this defense.  They look like they might be worse on that side than last year.  Monroe, on the other hand, could be looking at a good season for them and hopefully getting their first bowl bid at the end of the year.  

 

Saturday Football Previews – Week 3

My take on some of the interesting matchups for the weekend along with my pick for each game.

Alabama at Arkansas +20 – When I first sat down to write out these picks, this was going to be my upset special with Arkansas playing at home and having something to prove after dropping an overtime loss to Louisiana-Monroe last week, but now the reports are coming out that the Hawgs quarterback, Tyler Wilson, will likely not play in today’s matchup.  That all but makes this game academic.  Without Wilson in there, this offense won’t be able to generate much offense.  The Tide, as they say, rolls in this one beating the 20 point spread.

Texas at Ole Miss +10 – Texas heads to Oxford for their first road game of the years and they will be facing the first semblance of worth opponent.  Ole Miss starts the season at 2-0 for the first time since 2009 and only the second time since 2002.  The Rebels are looking to make a statement in this one with an upset win.  Unfortunately for them, they are facing Texas, who looks to be much better than they have been over the last couple of seasons, due in large part to their defense.  No upset here, Horns win and beat the 10 point spread.

Notre Dame +6 at Michigan State – This is the 70th meeting between the Irish and the Spartans.  Notre Dame leads the series 41-27-1, but the last 10 meetings are split 5-5.  The Irish come in with a run heave offense, though they have more yards passing.  The Spartans, after leaning heavily on Le’Veon Bell and running game in week 1 against Boise State, opened up the passing game last weekend against Central Michigan.  But don’t put an incredible amount of stock in that.  It’s CENTRAL Michigan, not Michigan.  Look for them to rely more on Bell again this weekend.    Sparty wins outright at home for the upset.

USC at Stanford +9 – Stanford has won the last three meetings between these teams so being a road game for the Trojans might present some problems.  Unfortunately for the Cardinal, Jim Harbaugh and Andrew Luck are gone and Matt Barkley is still around.  To have a chance in this one, Stanford will have to use their running game and the short passing game with their tight ends to have sustained drives that eat up a lot of clock and keep Barkley and the USC offense off the field.  I don’t think they will be able to do that in this match-up.  Trojans win this one easily by 14+

Arizona State +6.5 at Missouri – This is the Sun Devils’ reciprocal visit from the match-up last season in Tempe where ASU won 37-30.  Missouri’s defense looked solid last week against Georgia, but they will be tested this weekend against an offense that is averaging just over 500 yards and 54 points in their first two games.   I don’t see Tiger QB, James Franklin, keeping pace in this one to pull off the win much less beating the spread.  Take the Sun Devils and the points.  

Florida +3 at Tennessee – The Volunteers are at home and favored by 3 over the Gators, due largely to Florida’s struggles in both of their wins this season against Bowling Green and Texas A&M and the Volunteers apparent discovery of a high-flying offense that has passed for an average of 353 yards in their first two games, but keep in mind, one of those games was against Georgia State and the other against NC State who isn’t exactly an elite team in college football these days.  The Gators get everything in gear this week and win outright.

BYU at Utah +4 – The Utes come into this one after losing to Utah State last weekend for the first time in 15 years in an overtime barn burner on the road.  This week, they return home to face the BYU Cougars whose offense is rolling so far this season.  Utah quarterback, Jordan Wynn was injured in the first half last weekend against the Aggies.  This was his fourth shoulder injury since 2010 and he’s decided to hang it up for good.  While the Utes have some promising backup talent in Jon Hays and Travis Wilson, this is too big an obstacle for them this early in the season.  Cougars win this one going away by 10.

 

 

College Football Notes – Saturday – 9/8/2012

Just some updates as some games have completed and the second wave are in progress. 

Tragedy in Tulsa – First off – During their game with Tulsa earlier today Tulane safety Devon Walker collided with a teammate and broke his neck.  The story on ESPN.com notes that he was revived on the field and a tracheotomy was performed.  Walker is currently in the emergency and trauma center and Saint Francis Hospital in Tulsa.  It’s always unfortunate when something like this happens and our thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family.

PSU comes up short again – Sophomore kicker, Sam Fickens, from Penn State missed 4 field goals today including a 42 yarder that was a potential game winner as time expired leaving the Nittany Lions with their second loss of the season, this time to the Virginia Cavaliers.  This is going to be a very long and painful season for Penn State.

South Carolina Cruises – Despite the absence of quarterback Connor Shaw, who was out with a shoulder injury suffered last week in the opener against Vanderbilt, the Gamecocks cruised to a 48-10 win over East Carolina.  Backup QB, Dylan Thompson passed for 330 yards and 3 TD’s with 21 completions on 37 attempts.  If you are asking yourself, “Does this mean they have a quarterback controversy?” Don’t.  They were playing East Carolina – not Georgia or Florida.

Buckeyes Pull Away late – Ohio State had another slow start leading the Central Florida Knights by only 7 at the half (17-10), but they came out in the second half and scored two more touchdowns which was more than they needed as UCF could only respond with one of their own.  tOSU wins 31-16, but it looks like any serious thoughts of going undefeated and winning the AP title are nearly squashed with this one.

Warhawks Stun the Hawgs – Louisiana-Monroe went into Little Rock to take on the Arkansas Razorbacks and it’s more than possible that they were not taken seriously by the home team. at the 9:42 mark of the 3rd quarter, it  didn’t look like the Hawgs had much to worry about when Brandon Allen completed a 13 yard touchdown pass to Mekale McKay to up their lead to 28-7 on the Warhawks.  LA-Monroe QB, Kolton Browning then lead his team to a comeback and completed a 23 yard touchdown pass to Brent Leonard with under a minute left in the game to force overtime with the game tied at 28.  Arky settled for a field goal at the beginning of the first overtime and 4 plays later on a 4th and 1 from the 16 yard line, Browning scrambled out of the pocket to his right looking for an open receiver and instead found enough open ground to scamper into the endzone for the touchdown and the biggest upset of the season so far.  Warhawks win 34-31.

Noles Win Big in Only 3 quarters – After two rain delays, officials called the game with 8:59 left in the 3rd quarter.  The game was academic at that point anyway with Florida State leading 55-0 on 413 yards of total offense.  Savannah State was only able to muster 29 yards of total offense.  The Tigers never crossed their own 39 yard line on offense.

You can follow my updates on the weekly picks for games of interest by clicking HERE.

Saturday Football Previews – Week 2!

Updated: PICKS RESULTS:  3 – 4 (9:00 AM Eastern – 09/09/2012) – Not a great week for picks for me.  USC was the only incorrect pick that I would have had correct without the spread.  We’ll see how I do next week.

USC vs. Syracuse (from Met Life Stadium) – This isn’t really what I would call a “marquee” game, but it’s from Met Life Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ.  Cuse scored 41 points last weekend in their 1 point barn-burner loss to Northwestern, but let’s face it, Northwestern isn’t even close to being on the same level as the Trojans.  USC is currently favored by 26 points in this one, I don’t know how close the Orange will keep it, but it won’t be this close.  Give up the points and take USC. Got this one wrong.  Syracuse put up a tough fight early and after an hour and ten minute rain delay, they came back and continued to fight.  In the end USC was just too much for them as Matt Barkley passed for 6 touchdowns, but only 186 yards.  The bread and butter today was the running game as USC racked up 258 yards on the ground including 107 yards rushing from Penn State transfer Silas Redd.  The Trojans showed a vulnerability on defense against the pass as Ryan Nassib went 30/46 for 327 yards, 2 TD’s and 2 INT’s.  I got the winner right, but missed due to the spread – TROJANS WIN – 42-29

Washington vs. LSU – Steve Sarkisian has the turn around process going well in Seattle, but he’s not quite there yet.  They won’t be able to stand up to this power rushing game of the Tigers and scoring will be tough as well.  However – with LSU being favored by 23 1/2, I’d be tempted to take the Huskies and the points . . .tempted . . .but I won’t do it!  Take LSU.  CORRECT – Got this one.  As I expected, Washington was pretty plowed under in this one.  The recovered an LSU fumble on the opening kickoff at the Tigers’ 20 yard line and had to settle for a field goal.  That would be the lone bright spot for Husky fans for the remainder of the day as LSU rushed for 242 yards and Washington just couldn’t slow them down.  Tigers win 41-3

Georgia vs. Missouri – The Dawgs will be Mizzou’s first conference opponent as a member of the SEC and the Tigers are 2 1/2 point underdogs for this one.  Lots of intrigue in this one.  Georgia struggled early with Buffalo last week after opening it up for the win while Missouri rolled over SE Louisiana 62-10.  This is almost a coin flip, but I’d go with Missouri just because it’s a home game.  So take the points and the Tigers.  INCORRECT! – This one had the makings of an all out defensive brawl from the outset.  It was a 3-3 tie late into the second quarter when the teams traded touchdowns right before the half (UGA missed an extra point) and Mizzou went into the locker room with a 10-9 lead.  The Tigers seemed to be in control of this one when they came out on their initial drive of the 3rd quarter when James Franklin hooked up with L’Damian Washington for a 69 yard touchdown pass.  Georgia answered with a 12 play, 75 yard drive capped by a Tavarres King touchdown reception from the 7 yard line and they tied it up with a 2 point conversion.  Missouri answered with a field goal to take the lead and the Dawgs then took the reigns of the game and dominated their new SEC brothers by reeling off 24 unanswered points for the win 41-20.  The Tigers turning the ball over deep in their own territory was their undoing.  Georgia linebacker, Jarvis Jones, became James Franklin’s nightmare – intercepting him once and sacking him to force a fumble on their next possession.  

Florida vs. Texas A&M – The Aggies make their SEC and 2012 season debut hosting the Florida Gators.  Texas A&M had their first game delayed due to Hurricane Isaac last week so there isn’t a lot to judge for them with new head coach, Kevin Sumlin.  A&M is favored by 1 point, mostly due to the Gators having trouble last week with Bowling Green in the Swamp.  I think some of that was being unsure as to who there starting quarterback was and some of it was looking past the Falcons to the Aggies.  Neither of those issues will be in place this week as Jeff Driskel has been named the starter and they now have the Aggies in their face instead of a week out.  Gators get on track and win this one.  Give the point and leave A&M on the table.  Early on it looked like I completely missed this one.  A&M dominated the first half by just “out-physicalling” the Gators, but then I remembered, these are the Aggies and they did the same this in this one that they did last year against Oklahoma State and Arkansas in successive weeks – they blew a double digit lead and went home with the “L” – Gators win 20-17.  

Nebraska vs. UCLA – Nebraska is only a 5 point favorite rolling into this one, due in large part to UCLA’s big win last week  . . . .. over Rice.  The Bruins seem to have found a decent quarterback in Brett Hundley who passed for 200+ yards and 2 TD’s last week against the Owls along with 68 rushing yards (including a 72 yard TD run).  The good news for UCLA, is they have a solid runningback to help balance their offense in the form of Johnathan Franklin who put up 214 yards and 3 TD’s last week.  The bad news is, they are facing the Black Shirts of Nebraska’s defense this week and are going to have trouble moving the ball on the ground.  Take Nebraska, give the points and get a pick ’ems win here. INCORRECT – I was waaaaay wrong on this one.  Bo Pelini should really consider re-naming their defense to the “kinda gray shirts,” as defense looked optional for them last night.  The final score was 36-30 in favor of UCLA whose offense ran over the Cornhusker defense for 653 yards on the day (344 rushing).  It looks very much like the USC monopoly on football in the city of Los Angeles could be coming to an end and Jim Mora seems to righted the ship.  

Oklahoma State vs. Arizona – The Pokes put up 84 on lowly Savannah State last week – an FCS team that has only won 4 games in the last three seasons.  Arizona pulled out an overtime win at home last week over Toledo 24-17.  The Rockets were able to force overtime on a balanced attack (197 yards passing, 161 yards rushing – 47 attempts on each).  This doesn’t bode well for the Cats this week.  Oklahoma State is a much better team offensively and defensively and Zona, based on last week’s performance, has trouble finishing drives.  (624 total yards against Toledo and only 24 points).  Oklahoma State has been very good at getting turnovers and Zona gave up 3 last week.  Take the Pokes and give the 10 points.  INCORRECT – The Pokes actually outgained Arizona by over 100 yards.  The four turnovers (3 INT’s by freshman QB, Wes Lunt and a fumble by junior runningback, Joseph Randle) were the big difference in this game.  Zona rolls – 59-38 and it looks as though the Pokes are back to the pre-Weeden form.

Miami (FL) vs. Kansas State – The Wildcats are favored by 7 at home for this one and the Canes are fired up about their big game from Duke Johnson last week (7 rushes for 135 yards).  I think they Canes are going to discover that Kansas State is a bit tougher than Boston College.  Take the Cats, give the points.  Nailed this one – Wildcats win in a snoozer 52-13.  Canes are held to 262  yards total offense and Duke Johnson only got 19 yards rushing on 6 carries while Collin Klein only need 9 completions on 11 attempts to get 210 yards passing and a touchdown for Kansas State.  

I’ve only taken one underdog this week (against the spread) . . .hmmm . . .well, we’ll see how it turns out.

Utah vs. Utah State – 09/07/2012

UPDATE: 11:53 PM Eastern

4th and goal from the 18 – BALL GAME ON THE LINE – Hays throws into the endzone . . .INCOMPLETE!!!  AGGIES WIN!!!  AGGIES WIN!!!  UTAH STATE BEAT UTAH FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 15 YEARS!!!  CONGRATULATIONS TO THE AGGIES FOR A BIG UPSET!!!!!  

UTAH STATE WINS 27-20 – OVERTIME

AverageJoeSports.com Player of the Game:  Chuckie Keeton – Utah State – 22/32 for 216 yards and 2 TD’s passing and 17 rushes for 77 yards.

Next week Utah will be at home against their rival, the BYU Cougars and the Aggies will head to Madison to take on the Wisconsin Badgers.

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UPDATE: 11:48 PM Eastern

Utah needs the TD to tie.  White takes it up the middle for 4 on 1st down from the 25.  On 2nd down, Hays under center, hands off to Anderson on the end around to the left down to the 6 yard line for a first and goal.  1st and goal – Hays pass is batted down and almost intercepted by the d-lineman who batted it.  2nd and goal from the 6 – Wilson in at QB – keeps it on the option – no gain.  Two chances to tie this game – 3rd and goal and Hays is back in. They are at the right hash-mark – pass to a wide open Jake Murphy – BUT a flag is down . . .pass interference on the OFFENSE!!!  (terrible call – looking at the replay)  3rd and goal at the 21 – pass complete at the 18 and receiver is dropped immediately.  4th and goal from the 18 – TIMEOUT UTAH STATE.  

UTAH STATE LEADS 27-20 – Top of 1st OVERTIME

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UPDATE: 11:41 PM Eastern

Williams gains 2 on 1st and 10 from the 25 to start the overtime.  Still trying to make the option work.  Keeton tries to pass on 2nd down, has to scramble around a lot and throws incomplete over the middle.  3rd and a long 8 and Keeton drops back to pass, finds all kinds of room to the left and runs down to the 1 yard line – 1st and goal.  Williams is stopped short on 1st and goal with the run up the middle – (being reviewed to see if he broke the plane – can’t see the ball for a definitive call one way or the other – play stands).  2nd and goal from the half yard line – Williams around the right end – TOUCHDOWN AGGIES!!!! PAT by Thompson is good.  

UTAH STATE LEADS 27-20 – Top of 1st OVERTIME

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UPDATE: 11:37 PM Eastern

This is the first overtime meeting between these two teams.  The Utah State Aggies go on offense first.

TIED AT 20-20 – 1st OVERTIME

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UPDATE: 11:34 PM Eastern

Only 1 timeout left and 81 yards again – Hays scrambles on 1st down to the left for 3 yards and out of bounds.  0:42 left.  2nd and 7 and Hays goes deep to Scott for a completion at the USU 48 0:33 left.  Hays back and throws in incomplete when the pressure comes hard.  0:23 left.  2nd and 10 from the Aggie 48 – Defense has an illegal substitution penalty so it’s 2nd and 5 from the Aggie 43 – Hays throws down the left side – incomplete  0:18 left.  3rd and 5 from the 43 – Hays completes a pass for 4 yards – short of the first down at the Aggie 39.  0:11 left – Utah burns their final timeout.  Hays under center hands off up the middle to White for the first down to the 35.  Spiked on 1st down with 0:02 left.   A 52 yard field goal attempt – Just before the snap – UTAH STATE CALLS TIMEOUT AND THE KICK WAS MISSED!!!  Hope that doesn’t come back to haunt them.  Take 2 on the kick and . . .IT’S NO GOOD – OVERTIME COMING UP!!!

TIED AT 20-20 – END OF REGULATION

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UPDATE: 11:26 PM Eastern

Utah State returns the kick off to the 16 yard line to start their drive.  On first down, Keeton in the shotgun hands off over the right side out to the 24 for a gain of 8.  Same play on 2nd down goes for 5 and first down to the 29.  A new set of downs, the clock rolling and Keeton alone in the backfield scrambles to his left for 3 yards, but it comes back for a chop block on the Aggies for a half the distance penalty.  1st and 25 from the 14.  Keeton completes to Bartlett for 9 yards to the 23 followed by a false start – so a 2nd and 20 – Keeton keeps on a draw not picking up much bringing up 3rd and 16.  The Utes call timeout to save some clock.  Keeton tries to run right, gains 3 and the Utes burn their second timeout.  The punt on 4th down take an Aggie roll to the Utah 19.

TIED AT 20-20 – 0:48 IN THE 4TH QUARTER

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UPDATE: 11:19 PM Eastern

Hays completes a pass to Mattews on the right for 9 yards on first down.  White bounces through the line on 2nd and 1 for a first down at the 45.  Wilson comes back in at QB and keeps on an option to the right and gains about a yard.  Spread wide, short pass to White over the middle who runs to the Aggie 39 where he’s taken down by a horse-collar tackle which is called tacking on an additional 15 yards to the Utah State 24.  Hays then completes a 24 yard touchdown to Kenneth Scott.  .

TIED AT 20-20 – 3:19 IN THE 4TH QUARTER

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UPDATE: 11:14 PM Eastern

Keeton  hands to Williams on first down for no gain.  The Aggies are trying to eat some clock on this drive.  Second down, spread wide open, Keeton completes a pass for about 9 yards to the left bringing up a 3rd and 1.  The hand off on 3rd and 1 to Williams was met in the backfield for a loss of 2.  Aggies punt and the Utes take over at their own 33.

UTAH STATE LEADS 20-13 – 5:19 IN THE 4TH QUARTER

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UPDATE: 11:11 PM Eastern

A Touchback on the kickoff and the Utes start at the 25 yard line.  The first play is a toss right to White ho gains 5 to the 30 yard line.  Trips left on second down didn’t fool anyone as the handoff to White only gains about a yard and half.  On 3rd and 3, they run an option to the left that is shut down for a 1 yard loss.  Utah State takes over after the punt at the 20 yard line.

UTAH STATE LEADS 20-13 – 7:12 IN THE 4TH QUARTER

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UPDATE: 11:07 PM Eastern

The Aggies start off the drive with a slant pass to the right for a gain 23 of  to the Utah 43.  Williams runs for a big gain down the left side to the 10 yard line – a gain of 33.  During the play, Utah D-lineman, Joel Krueger was called for a personal foul (a punch) and ejected from the game.  This tack on a half the distance penalty to the 4.  Keeton rolls to his left and tosses a short pass complete for a touchdown Kellen Bartlett

UTAH STATE LEADS 20-13 – 9:10 IN THE 4TH QUARTER

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UPDATE: 11:01 PM Eastern

Hays still at quarterback and the pass on first down intended for Anderson is incomplete as he steps out of bounds.  The pass on second down was nearly intercepted forcing a 3rd and 10.  Hays drops back to his right, throws to the left, but it’s slightly underthrown and almost intercepted again.  The punt is a good one, back to the 10 of Utah State, where Cameron Webb returns it to the 34 for the Aggies..

TIED AT 13-13 – 9:54 IN THE 4TH QUARTER

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UPDATE: 10:56 PM Eastern

Utah State only has one first down in this half, but Williams starts off this drive with a good run off the right tackle  for yards followed by the same play for 5 more yards and a first down on the next play.  On first and 10 from the 43, Keeton throws the ball at the feet of the wide open tight end 7 yards downfield.  He’s not much good in the pocket, he needs to move out of the pocket.  On 2nd and 10, they try to run a bubble screen to the left, but it’s dropped forcing 3rd and 10 from the 43.  Keeton drops back, throws to the right side and the receiver is sandwiched between two defenders as the ball arrives forcing a 4th down and a punt.  Fair catch and the Utes will start at their own 27.

 TIED AT 13-13 – 10:26 IN THE 4TH QUARTER

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UPDATE: 10:51 PM Eastern

The Utes start with the ball at their own 5.  A holding call on first down was declined so White’s 2 yard run on first down stands.  Hays dropped back to pass, but almost immediately took off running to the left and dove out of bounds right at the marker for the first down at the 16.  And end around to the left didn’t fool anyone and they lost 2 yards back to the 14.  The offensive line is blocking much better now than in the first half, but it doesn’t help with Hays overthrows the receiver on 2nd and 12.  On 3rd down, Terrance Alston breaks up a short pass to the right to force 4th down and a punt.  Webb catches the ball at the Utah State 32, but is on his knee so no return.

TIED AT 13-13 – 11:29 IN THE 4TH QUARTER

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UPDATE: 10:44 PM Eastern

The first play was a long incomplete pass for Keeton and the Aggies, but he took a huge hit after releasing the ball.  Second down was a run to the right that was strung out and force out of bounds for no gain.  Keeton ran a quarterback draw on 3rd down and only got 6 yards forcing another punt.  Utah’s Geoff Norwood caught the ball at the 5 without without calling a fair catch and was immediately taken down.

TIED AT 13-13 – 13:37 IN THE 4TH QUARTER

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UPDATE: 10:40 PM Eastern

The fourth quarter starts off with Utah having a 3rd and 20 at their own 15 and the pass was incomplete forcing a punt.  The Aggies call the fair catch at their own 37.

TIED AT 13-13 – 14:45 IN THE 4TH QUARTER

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UPDATE: 10:37 PM Eastern

Utah tried to throw deep on the first play, but was overthrown by a lot by the backup, Johnathan Hayes.  The Aggies are called for a spot foul pass interference on 2nd down giving the Utes a first down at the 25.  The next play was a great strike over the middle to the tight-end, but it was negated by a tripping call on running back when he whiffed on a blitz pick up.  Utes backed up to the 12.  Utah has trouble making up the yardage on the first two downs and is called for a false start on 3rd and 15 making it 3rd and 20.  And here is where the quarter ends.

TIED AT 13-13 – END OF 3RD QUARTER

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UPDATE: 10:30 PM Eastern

Utah State gets a good kick off return out to the 35 where they start their drive.  Keeton keeps on the quarterback draw, but the good run is negated by a holding penalty.  With a 1st and 20, it tends to throw off an option attack and this one was no exception.  Aggies can only muster 16 yards in three plays and have to punt it away on 4th and 4 for a touchback.  The Utes will take over at the 20.  

TIED AT 13-13 – 2:23 IN THE 3RD QUARTER

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UPDATE: 10:26 PM Eastern

The Utes take over at the Aggie 44 yard line.  Utah seems to have settled down on offense and defense has stepped up here in the second half getting two turnovers on two possessions by the Aggies.  The Utes still don’t have much of a running game going (30 yards rushing), but the passing game was working until an overthrow on 3rd and 8 at the 23.  Peterson hits the 40 yard field goal to tie the game.  

TIED AT 13-13 – 4:22 IN THE 3RD QUARTER

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UPDATE: 10:20 PM Eastern

Utah State back for a pass on their second play from scrimmage, fumble on a blind side hit on the QB as he was about to pass.  Utes take over at the 44!! (Ruling confirmed on replay)

AGGIES LEAD  13-10 – 7:05 IN THE 3RD QUARTER

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UPDATE: 10:18 PM Eastern

The Utes go 3 and out and have to punt.  The Aggies take over at their own 38

AGGIES LEAD  13-10 – 7:45 IN THE 3RD QUARTER

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UPDATE: 10:11 PM Eastern

Utah State turned it over on their first drive of the second half the the Utes made the most of it – 53 yards on 4 plays capped by  28 yard touchdown play from Travis Wilson to Kenneth Scott.

Ensuing drive from the Aggies stalls and they have to punt.  Utes take over their own 14.

AGGIES LEAD  13-10 – 9:15 IN THE 3RD QUARTER

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I’m watching the Utah at Utah State game this evening and I’m stunned.  With 1:17 left in the first half, the Utes are down to the Aggies 14-0 and they only have 49 total yards of offense.  They just look flat out there.  Wynn is unsure in the pocket and when he’s not being immediately plowed under, he’s holding the ball too long and not being decisive.  

I was thinking, going into this season, that Utah was a dark horse to win the PAC 10 South . . .a very dark horse with as good as USC seems to be yet again, but still.  Right now, they are looking like they’ll be lucky to finish .500 in conference play.  

Now Wynn has gone out with an injury after being knocked down just as he released an incomplete screen pass leaving the QB duty to Jon Hays.  The backup has quickly marched them down inside the Aggie 25 with a couple of good passes. A great scramble on 2nd and 1 by Hays was brought back on a holding call.  After a quick completion to pick up the penalty yardage plus about 5 more yards, the Utes take their second timeout with 0:09 left at the 28.  Hays scrambles again running out of bounds and set up a 42 yard field goal to get Utah on the board as the half ended.  I can’t say how much the Utes needed that little bit of momentum just to break the ice on scoring.  

Utah State leads 13-3 – Halftime

Football Notes for Saturday – 9/1/2012

     Ohio State is running an up tempo offense and though they started slow, their depth was the difference with Miami (OH) unable to stand up to them after the first quarter. 

     Bowling Green is giving Florida fits.  Late in the third and it’s only a 3 point game (17-14 Gators).  The falcons aren’t all that fast in comparison to the gators, but they seem to be just as physical.

     Penn State’s first season opener without Joe Paterno in a couple of generations didn’t go well.  Ohio came back from a 14-3 half-time deficit to outscore the Nittany Lions 21-0 in the second half and take home the season opener 24-14.  So we immediately see the effect of losing players to transfer after the NCAA sanctions.  If this is what happens against a MAC team, what’s it going to look like when they start their Big Ten schedule?

     Northwestern at Syracuse was the most fun game to watch in the early shift of games.  Midway through the 3rd quarter, it looked as though the Wildcats were going to destroy the Orange when they took a 35-13 lead on a 1 yard TD run by Kain Colter.  Then Cuse reeled off 28 points taking the lead 41-35 with 2:40 remaining in the game.  It looked as though they’d take home the “W,” but Northwestern went on a 10 play, 75 yard drive that took 1:56 and scored on a 9 yard TD pass with 0:44 left.  Cuse couldn’t answer and the Wildcats win the opener in the dome 42-41.  This game had 933 yards of offense – 596 of that from Syracuse.  Even with the win for Northwestern, don’t look for them to be able to pull out a lot of wins if they give up that kind of yardage against their conference schedule.

     West Virginia and Georgia had no problems with their opponents (Marshall and Buffalo respectively).  The Mountaineers put up 69 points picking up where they left off in the Orange Bowl – though it is worth reminding everyone, this was Marshall, not a BCS team.  Georgia was a bit slow starting with only a 24-16 half-time lead, but they opened it up in the second half and won 45-23.

     Miami and Boston College were duking it early with the Canes leading 21-20 at the half, but they’ve outscored the Eagles in the second half 20-3 and currently lead 41-23 with just under 10 minutes left.

     Up in Madison, Wisconsin is trying to hold on late here, leading Northern Iowa 26-21 with just under 4 minutes left there.  As I type this, N. Iowa just turned the ball over on downs.  Wisconsin gets the first down on a run and with 2:40 left, it looks like the Badgers will go ahead and win this one.

     The uber-hyped matchup in the Cowboy Classic in Arlington, Texas between Michigan and Alabama didn’t even come close to living up to expectations.  The Wolverines were overmatched in every phase of the game.  The Crimson Tide managed to put up 232 yards rushing on Michigan’s inept defense.  It could be a long season for the Big Blue if they don’t address those issues before Big Ten play begins.  Bama, on the other hand, doesn’t look like they are going to miss the leading runningback from last season, Trent Richardson.  Freshman T.J. Yeldon stepped in and gained 111 yards on 10 carries.  The Tide looks to be the team to beat in the SEC yet again.  Alabama wins 41-14.

     Florida’s defense looked good late against Bowling Green, but early on they were having some trouble stopping the downhill running game of the Falcons.  The gators are still having some trouble finding offensive rhythm and will need to find their starting QB soon or slow production on offense could land them in some pre-New Year’s Day bowl.  Florida pulls away lae 24-14.

     Clemson and Auburn played a tough game in the Atlanta Dome.  Taj Boyd looks slimmer and faster than last season, but he will need to avoid taking too many hits on running plays like he did last night or Clemson will be looking for a new QB sooner rather than later.  In a very closely contested game, Clemson managed to take the lead with 9:17 left in the 4th quarter and hold on for the win 26-19.

 

Notre Dame and Navy in Ireland

UPDATE: 12:20 Eastern – 0:39 left in the game – The Irish have absolutely shut down the Navy running game.  It’s 49-10.  They did, however, show a weakness.  When it became clear that the running game wasn’t going to work, Navy put together a 3 play 75 yard drive that resulted in a Touchdown pass of 25 yards from Trey Miller to Shawn Lynch.  If Navy can do this, a team that does not routinely throw the ball, what’s going to happen down the line when they face teams with more than one or two weapons in the aerial attack?  Teams like Stanford, BYU, Oklahoma and USC are likely to assault that pass defense.

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UPDATE:  10:05 AM Eastern – 11:09 left in the 2nd quarter and it’s already getting a bit ugly.  The Irish have a 20-0 lead, Navy can’t get anything going offensively and the Midshipmen just fumbled a hand-off exchange giving the ball back at their own 32.

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     Watching the first game of the day from Dublin, Ireland with a 9 AM kickoff (2PM in Ireland). Notre Dame’s helmet are really shiny today – having a very metallic finish instead of the matte gold finish they normally have. Navy is list as the home team here, but it’s really the most “neutral” site you could get for a game.
     Notre Dame has scored first with a touchdown run of 11 yards by Theo Riddick.
     Navy was trying to answer and had a decent drive going, but it stalled and the Midshipmen went for it on 4th down and were stopped.

A New Heisman Hopeful?

     The big matchup last night featured Boise State and Michigan State from East Lansing.  Both teams were breaking in new quarterbacks and the star of the game was Spartan runningback Le’Veon Bell.  On Michigan State’s third offensive play from scrimmage, Bell plowed up the middle and hurdled a defensive back ending up with a 23 yard gain.  They scored 9 plays later on a 1 yard plunge by Bell.  If you were told that Boise only had 37 yards rushing and were out-gained by Michigan State 461 total yards to 206, you might think it was a blowout.  You would be wrong.  The Spartans had 10 penalties for 90 yards and 4 turnovers including an interception for a touchdown that was the only time Boise crossed the goal line all night.  The boys in green played sloppy football with a lot of mental mistakes that kept the Broncos in it and managed to pull out the win late.  The Spartan’s new quarterback, Andrew Maxwell, went 22 of 38 passing for 248 yards, but also had 3 interceptions.  Granted, two of them were on tipped passes, but he had a tendency to panic when Boise brought pressure and wasn’t the most consistent.  For Boise, Joe Southwick was 15 of 31 for 169 yards with an interception.  His greatest liability was the utter lack of a running game against the front four in green.  The lack of balance was a killer for their offense.  The Bronco offense got inside the MSU 10 yard line 3 times, but were unable to punch it into the endzone settling for field goals twice and Southwick forcing a pass that was intercepted on another occasion.  The assessment of the two quarterbacks in this game?  They are young and will get better with time.

     The beast of this game though was Le’Veon Bell.  He finished with 210 yards rushing, 55 yards receiving and 2 touchdowns and has immediately set off Heisman watch alerts across the country.

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