In a word, wow is all I can say about this past weekend of college football. One of the best slates of finishes we’ve seen in awhile. Mississippi State and Auburn played one of the wackiest games you will see with a stop at the goal line finish. Notre Dame had every opportunity to put away Denard Robinson and Michigan at the Big House and couldn’t do it. South Carolina scored in some of the most unconventional ways to defeat Georgia as the seat continues to warm under Mark Richt and Tyler Bray of the Tennessee Vols showed why many think he is the best sophomore QB in the game with his performance against Cincinnati.
Just a great weekend to be a college football fan as it seemed every marquee game had a great finish. The teams that are at the top will face even tougher opposition this week so the games should only get better. One thing I noticed the most this weekend was the lack of defense on most teams. QBs were chucking the ball all over the place in many games and the defenses were defenseless in defending them.
Now its time to breakdown the weekends top games:
Michigan 35 Notre Dame 31 – Now if your going to have your first night game at the big house, this is the way you want it to go down. Denard Robinson led Michigan to a scintillating comeback that saw him throw 2 touchdowns and an on his final three drives. He capped the game with a 16-yard strike to Ray Roundtree with 2 seconds left to lift the Wolverines to victory. Notre Dame was actually the team out the gates that looked as if it would run all over the Wolverines, as their first two drives led to touchdowns. QB Tommy Rees was sharp most of the game as he threw for 315 yards going 27-39 and 3 TD passes in the process. But Rees also had two costly interceptions and the Fighting Irish couldn’t stop the Michigan offense at all in the second half. Rees threw a 29-yard pass to Theo Riddick with 30 seconds left as Notre Dame looked to seal their first victory of the year, only to have Robinson connect with Jeremy Gallon on a wide open pass that got the Wolverines in field goal range. Instead of going for the FG that would have tied the game, Robinson took a shot at the end zone and found Roundtree for the game winner. This is the first time Michigan has beaten the Irish three times in a row since 1908. The teams rolled up the offense as they combined for 965 yards of total yards. Robinson completed only 11 passes good for 338 yards or over 30 yards a completion if you want to look at it that way. The Big House lived up to its billing in its first primetime game.
Auburn 41 Mississippi State 34 – So much for Auburn being overrated huh? The Tigers found a way to pull out a SEC slugfest as they outlasted the Bulldogs at Jordan-Hare stadium. This was another down to the wire game that saw its share of offense. Auburn jumped all over the Miss. State with a pair of quick TDs in the first from Michael Dyer on a burst of 35-yards and an interception return to take the quick 14-0 lead. The Bulldogs would come storming back and tie the game as LaDarius Perkins had a 40-yard burst of his own for a score and Chris Reif vindicated himself from his earlier Int as he found Brandon Heaven for 15-yard Td pass. It really got crazy in the 2nd quarter as the two teams traded touchdowns back and forth and ended the half with Auburn up 31-24. Vick Ballard and Chris Reif begin to pound the Tigers defense in the 2nd half as Ballard finished with 106 yards on 21 rushes. Reif was basically on the same pace as he finished with 106 yards on 27 carries. Not to be outdone, Tigers running back Michael Dyer finished with 150 yards but it was the last play of the game that saw the Auburn defense stop Reif on the hard yard line to seal the game. “We didn’t come up with the big inch,” he said. “I should have made the play.” One of the best finishes in a game you will see this year.
South Carolina 45 Georgia 42 – Another high scoring affair in the SEC that quite frankly we’re not use to seeing in the ultra physical and defensive conference. The Gamecocks got two unusual touchdowns from defensive end Melvin Ingram. The burly 276 pounder rumbled 68 yards for a touchdown on a fake punt and also recovered a fumble and took it to the house for the short score. Those two scores proved to be the difference as Georgia falls to 0-2 this season. Marcus Lattimore continued his dark horse Heisman campaign as he rushed for 175 tough yards on 27 yards. Even top freshman Jadeveon Clowney got in on the act as he burst through the line unblocked and slung Georgia QB Andy Murray to the ground causing him to fumble. That led to one of Ingram’s touchdowns as he batted it toward the end zone and took it in for a TD. Georgia did look impressive on offense as Andy Murray threw form 248 yards and four scores and running back Isaiah Crowell racked up 118 yards but it wasn’t enough to overcome its 3 turnovers. The Gamecocks take the early lead in the SEC East race.
Other notable games and players:
Tyler Bray of Tennessee: Bray just performed surgery on the Cincinnati Bearcats defense going 34-41 for 405 yards and 4 TD passes. He along with receivers Justin Hunter (10 catches 156 yards 1 TD) and Da’rick Rogers (10 catches and 100 yards 2 TDs) are beginning to form a devastating passing attack for the Vols. Bray can make all the throws and Hunter and Rogers are big physical receivers who can make all the catches. It will be fun to see how these sophomores develop as they could form the best passing trio in UT’s storied history. They will have there stiffest test yet when they face Florida this weekend. Game on.
Alabama’s defense: These guys have the resemblance of a NFL caliber defense. On a weekend of wild offensive outbursts, the Tide flexed their muscle and absolutely pounded Penn. State into submission defensively. Bama just comes at you in waves as they are deep and talented. If you watched most of the games on Saturday, there was a noticeable lack of defense in most games. You won’t have to worry about that when you watch the Tide play as they have standouts Dre Kiltpatrick, Mark Barron and Dont’a Hightower just to name a few. Alabama is allowing 1.8 yards per run and 2.8 yards per pass. Their offense seems to rely on Trent Richardson too much as A.J. McCarron continues to learn but as long as that defense shows up they will win a lot of games.
Mark Richt coaching future: The Bulldogs have to go a 7 or 8 game winning streak including a win over Florida to possibly save the longest tenured coach in the SEC job at this point. Georgia did look much improved against South Carolina but they still had far too mistakes. Richt tried to get his team’s attention this year by scheduling maybe the hardest first two games of the year for any team as they faced #4 Boise State and then #11 South Carolina, but his plan may have backfired as the young Bulldogs seem to need more seasoning before they can start to do some damage. Hopefully Richt’s job status won’t be a distraction going forward for Georgia but it more than likely will.
Texas Longhorn QBs Case McCoy and David Ash: Garrett Gilbert has been giving every opportunity to show his talents in Austin and he finally got the leash against BYU after throwing a pair of interceptions. Enter in Case McCoy and David Ash and the two went a combined 9-11 for 92 yards and two touchdowns. Gilbert short lived days of starting Texas QB may be over with his latest poor performance.
And that does it for the Sportaholic College Football Finale. Make sure to check back this week as chronicle the top games for the upcoming week including Oklahoma vs. Florida State and Tennessee vs. Florida.