College Football Wrap Up
It was another great weekend of college football. Clemson and Auburn did not disappoint. It came down to the final plays with Arkansas and Georgia. Michigan State faked a field goal to beat the Irish. Michigan survived a scare with UMASS. Virginia Tech exploded late to knock off East Carolina and grab its first victory of the 2010 season.
AROUND THE SEC
Week 3: 6-2
Overall SEC record: 12-4
Auburn comes from behind to edge out Clemson. This was an exciting game. It was fast and hard hitting. Clemson came out of the gates running and completely overmatched Auburn in the first half. Clemson took a 17-3 lead into the half, but it was that field goal that gave Auburn a little momentum heading into the locker rooms. It gave them confidence. It would lead to 21 more unanswered points in the 3rd quarter.They came out firing on all cylinders in the second half and quickly erased their deficit. You knew Auburn would come back. It was inevitable. Clemson just could not sustain that level of play for four quarters. They weren’t good enough to do that. Auburn was able to establish a running game in the 2nd half and that was one of the reasons they were able to come back. Cam Newton didn’t look very good throwing the ball for the second week in a row. He’s lethal with his legs, but he doesn’t make the greatest decisions when he throws the ball and he still has not proven he can make throws down field. Auburn had 9 penalties, including four penalties against the offensive line and one personal foul. You can’t make mental mistakes like that and keep winning. Auburn is currently 85th in the nation in penalty yardage (20 for 185 yards)Auburn has a lot to work on, but this was a good win.
Next Week: vs. South Carolina
Alabama pounds Duke on the road. This game was never close. Alabama had the game out of reach by the 4 minute mark in the 1st quarter. The Tide took a 45-13 lead into the half and finished with a 62-13 win while racking up 626 yards of offense. Mark Ingram made his 2010 debut on a 48-yard run to open the game on offense. He finished with 151 yards on 9 carries.
Next Week: @Arkansas
Arkansas survives comeback by Georgia. Arkansas got their first conference win of the year with a 31-24 win over Georgia. It was their first win against Georgia in 17 years. It was also the first time Georgia has lost the first two SEC games of the season under Mark Richt. Richt really needs to right the ship in Georgia quickly. Arkansas gave up a 24-10 lead only to take it back in dramatic fashion with a 40-yard touchdown pass from Mallett to Greg Childs. Georgia’s defense continues to get destroyed. I remember when Georgia had stingy defenses. Those days are long gone. I’m not sure what has happened here, but a change of scenery may be just the thing that needs to happen. Arkansas’ offense put up big numbers, but this is not a quality defense. Arkansas didn’t run the ball very well for the second week in a row. The Razorbacks are inconsistent and they make a lot of mental errors (8.33 penalties per game, 85th in the nation). That’s going to hurt them soon.
Next Week: Arkansas vs. Alabama, Georgia @ Miss. State
LSU sets school record for field goals in a game in win over Mississippi State. LSU’s kicker set a school record with five field goals while outscoring the bulldogs 15-7 en route to their 29-7 win Saturday night. This marked the 11th straight time LSU has beat MSU at home. It was not a pretty game. Neither team cracked 300 yards of total offense and Jordan Jefferson failed to throw for 100 yards for the second week in a row. Mississippi State’s offense has not been able to move the ball consistently against SEC competition. It was actually a close game after MSU scored in the 3rd quarter to make it 12-7, but the Bulldogs would not get any closer. LSU would pull away with two touchdowns late in the 3rd quarter. You got the feeling that MSU was never really going to threaten LSU even when the score was 12-7. LSU’s defense continues its solid play. They intercepted five passes and two of those interceptions were from standout cornerback, Patrick Peterson. The turnovers led to 16 of LSU’s 29 points in the game. The offense has been painfully inconsistent. They just don’t have any kind of identity on that side of the ball.
Next Week: West Virginia @ LSU, Georgia @ Miss. State
Florida scored 17 points in the 3rd quarter on their way to a victory over Tennessee. The Gators struggled in the 1st half once again in what continues to be a trend for this team. Florida still hasn’t scored in the 1st quarter this year. Tennessee kept the game close at half time for the second week in a row only to let it slip away in the 2nd half. The Vols just don’t have the depth. They are getting pounded in the 2nd half against good teams. Tennessee did trim the lead to seven early in the 4th quarter, but the Gators responded with a 9 play, 60 yard scoring drive that took up 5:09 off the clock and sealed the deal for the Vols. Gators QB John Brantley struggled in the passing game and fumbles continue to kill them. Urban Meyer is now 5-0 against Tennessee. I wasn’t surprised by the outcome here. I expected Florida to win, but not blow out the Vols.
Next Week: Kentucky @ Florida, UAB @ Tennessee
South Carolina got the job done against Furman. The Gamecocks didn’t blow Furman away, but they won the game. Freshman running back Marcus Lattimore had a nice game. He rushed for 97 yards on 19 carries. It’s possible that the Gamecocks spent a little extra time preparing for Auburn. That’s just my guess. Stephen Garcia still managed to throw two interceptions in this game and I still feel like he is a sore thumb for this offense.
Next Week: S. Carolina @ Auburn
Kentucky blows Akron out 47-10. The Wildcats got out to a bit of a slow start, but pulled away in the second quarter and never looked back. Kentucky’s offense cranked out 544 yards of offense (254 passing, 290 rushing) and average 7.6 yards per carry on the ground. Senior running back Derrick Locke led the Wildcats in rushing with 17 carries for 166 yards. Randall Cobb was fairly quiet with 5 catches for 43 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Mike Hartline had a solid game in the air completing 72% of his passes for 250 yards. Kentucky is ranked 13th nationally in total offense. The Wildcats improved to 3-0 for the second consecutive season.
Next Week: @ Florida
Vanderbilt knocks off Ole Miss on the road. This was the most surprising game of the week in the SEC for me. I didn’t expect Vandy to beat Ole Miss. Perhaps, I gave the Rebels too much credit. The honeymoon with Houston Nutt (and Masoli) is over. Masoli threw two interceptions and 0 TDs in the air, but he did wreak havoc on the ground. Ole Miss continued its lackluster performance in the second half of games. They have scored 13 points in the second half this season (6 quarters) and 61 points in the first half. The game against Vanderbilt marked the first time Ole Miss trailed at half time this season. The Rebels have outscored opponents 62-27 in the first half and have been outscored in the second half of games, 34-13. It’s really alarming that a team is so poorly conditioned and you have to wonder just how bad they would be without Masoli at quarterback. It was a nice win for Vandy, though. Robbie Caldwell earned his first win as the Commodores head coach. Sophomore running back, Warren Norman, had 15 carries for 111 yards and a touchdown. His touchdown came on an 80-yard run in the 3rd quarter. Ole Miss is now 0-2 at home and they are going to struggle to make a bowl game.
Next Week: Fresno St. @ Ole Miss, Vanderbilt – BYE
SEC Players of the WEEK
Offense – Ryan Mallett (ARK) 21-33, 380 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT
Defense – Josh Bynes (AUB) 11 tackles (2 for loss), 1 pass deflection
Special Teams – Josh Jasper (LSU) 5 FGs in LSU’s 29-7 win over MSU
Offensive Lineman – Wesley Johnson (VAN)
Defensive Lineman – Drake Nevis (LSU), This is the 2nd week in a row Nevis has been defensive lineman of the week
Freshman – Jelani Jenkins (FLA)
A few more things…
I got a little upset happy with some out of conference games last week. Washington was manhandled by Nebraska and Jake Locker was very underwhelming. Nebraska’s freshman QB, Taylor Martinez, outperformed Locker by a mile. I think that will finally take Locker’s name out of the Heisman discussion. I really expected this to be closer. Nebraska took care of business and I think this is the best team in the Big 12.
Texas knocked off Texas Tech 24-14, but the game wasn’t put away by the Longhorns until late. The Longhorns offense just looks weak. They don’t have a big playmaker nor do they have much of an identity on offense. I think the wrist injury to Taylor Potts really affected Texas Tech’s momentum and their chance to win the game. The Red Raiders experimented with freshman QB Sheffield, but it was clear Potts was better even if he was injured. Despite controlling the ball for 37 minutes, the Longhorns only managed 320 yards offense. They were abysmal on the ground. They insist on trying to be a “smashmouth” team, yet they can’t even break 100 yards rushing. They ran for 93 yards on 43 carries. They are forcing the run. It’s not working. Do something else.
Texas is going to be in deep water soon if they don’t turn things around. I can’t see them beating Oklahoma or Nebraska on the road. Texas gets UCLA this week before facing Oklahoma and Nebraska. They do get a bye week before Nebraska, but I’m not sure that will help.
Wisconsin did win, but not by two touchdowns. Wisconsin blocked an extra point on a late 4th quarter touchdown by ASU and that was the deciding factor.
Iowa fell to Arizona on the road, 34-27. I felt like the second half of this game was more indicative of how the game should have played out (Iowa outscored Arizona 20-7), but that’s why it’s a four quarter game.
Notre Dame and Michigan State was a tough game to pick. It was a toss up game that was decided in overtime. The Spartans shocked the Irish with a fake field goal on 4th down in overtime. The field goal attempt was for the tie, but the Spartans had other plans. The play was called “Little Giants”. It was probably the best moment from Saturday’s action. Unfortunately, the celebration didn’t last long for Michigan State. Head coach, Mark Dantonio suffered a minor heart attack a few hours after the game.
Please feel free to leave any comments below. You can follow me on Twitter @JoeSportswriter.