Monday, September 19, 2011
Sportaholic College Football Weekend Finale
ESPN billed this weekend of games in college football as “Road Test Weekend” and the guys up there in Bristol hit it right on the head with that moniker. The top three out of four teams in the nation (Oklahoma, LSU, and Boise State) took a stiff road test and passed with flying colors. LSU with its vaunted defense held Mississippi State in check. Oklahoma weathered the storm and a more mature Seminole defense to pull out their victory and Boise trounced Toledo, who a lot of people thought were pretty good because of their play against Ohio State. That was until everyone saw the Buckeyes get demolished by Miami, who held them to almost no passing yards. Auburn finally ran out of comebacks as Clemson’s dynamic duo of Tajh Boyd and Sammuy Watkins got the best of the Tigers. Tennessee wasn’t quite ready for the big stage of the swamp and lost star receiver Justin Hunter in the process, which stinks for everyone in college football to lose one of the great receivers of the nation. Conference play begins soon and teams will look to be at their best as that part of the schedule starts.
# 1 Oklahoma 23 # 5 Florida State 13 – What a difference a year makes. This was a totally different game from last year’s massacre in Norman. The young Seminoles came to play ball but still came up short against the nation’s best team. Landry Jones didn’t put up his usual big numbers, finishing with just 199 yards 18/27 passing and had more Ints (2) then TDs (1) but it was enough for the victory. It wasn’t the most spectacular performance of offense for either side as the Sooners stifled FSU all game as Seminole QB BJ Manuel couldn’t get anything going against the relentless pressure from Oklahoma. Manuel tried his best as he scrambled for a few big gainers, but he was eventually hurt after taking a big shot from stud Sooners LB Travis Lewis. FSU freshman QB Cody Trickett came in relief and performed nicely under the pressure as he hooked up with Rashard Greene for a 56-yard TD pass but the 13-13 score would be as close as the Seminoles got as the Sooners pulled away in the late 4th. Jones hit an open Kenny Stills for a 37-yard TD and Oklahoma got a FG for even more insurance with 2:00 minutes left to play. Oklahoma proved that they are number 1 as Florida State should be proud with the performance they put on. Florida State will be around the top for awhile as they are young and will only get better.
#16 Florida 33 Tennessee 23 – Chirs Rainey put on a show against the out-manned Vols as he ran for over 100 yards and also had over 100 yards receiving as well as the Gators downed the Vols for the seventh straight time in the swamp. Rainey and other Florida speedster Jeff Demps ran circles around the UT defense but this one seemed to be over before it started as Vols star receiver Justin Hunter went down with a tore ACL on his very first catch of the game. As it turns out, that will be his last catch of this year and it took all the air out of the UT offense from that point. Tyler Bray was still slinging the ball and had a decent game going 26/48 for 288 yards and 3 TDs. Bray also had 2 interceptions and none worse than an ill-advised throw to begin the second half as the Vols were still in the game at 16-7. The UT defense held serve and only gave up a FG but on the next UT possession the Vols went three and out and Chris Rainey blocked Tennessee’s punt. This guy was everywhere and his speed gave UT problems all day. The play that broke the Vols back was the 80-yard reception that saw Rainey burst through the UT secondary off a screen past and once he got in the open field, no one was going to catch the 4.2 forty runner. UT had no way to match the speed of Florida and will continue to lose games against the Gators until they can. Another problem was the snaps form Center James Stone, who is a natural lefty but chose to switch this summer to his right hand for a more natural exchange. The Vols will get better as the season goes on but this one will stew in the minds for the next 364 days.
Miami 24 #17 Ohio State 6 – Talk about a pathetic offensive display, The Ohio State University has played a lot of football but may have never put as worse of passing numbers as they did this past weekend. Their two QBs combined to go 4/18 for 35 yards. It was just as awful a passing attack as I have ever seen. The “Canes on the other hand got a big game from Lamar Miller (184 yards 26 carries) as he repeatedly gashed and dashed the Buckeyes defense. Fresh off his suspension, Jacory Harris was decent as he went 15/23 for 123 yards with 2 TDs and of course his customary 2 interceptions. The Hurricanes also welcomed back LB Sean Spence who had a big game along with WR Travis Benjamin. The “Canes were just too tough for a lackluster Ohio State team that seems to be missing the key play makers that have made so fun to watch over the last few years. The Ineligible bowl rendered both team without some of their best players but you could tell it was Ohio State that missed theirs the most. They would probably take Terrelle Pryor back if that’s all they can do on offense.
Other Notable games and players:
Clemson: I got a chance to see the electric Tajh Boyd of Clemson for the first time this weekend and at first glance I wasn’t really impressed. Auburn stormed out to a 21-3 lead and it looked as if they would just overwhelm the Tigers. But in the words of Lee Corso, “Not so fast my friend” as Clemson stormed back thanks to the uber-athletic Boyd and the speedy WR Sammy Watkins. He made plays with his feet and arm to help Clemson ended Auburn’s 17-game win streak. Boyd and the Tigers showed a lot of resolve in that one and the most fired up guy in the stadium had to be Clemson coach Dabo Swiney. Look up his post game interview if you don’t believe me.
Marcus Lattimore continues his Heisman campaign: This is a man playing football for the South Carolina Gameocks. He absolutely shredded the defensive line of Navy (I know its just Navy but you still have to give it to him.) The super soph ran for 246 yards on 37 carries as he just bulldozed his way over the midshipman defenders. He is just a load to bring down and when you have the threat of Alshon Jeffrey on the other side it makes him even more dangerous. As long as the Gamecocks continue to win, then the better the chances Lattimore has to take the Heisman. Its funny to think that Steve Spurrier is running the ball 37 times. Boy has time changed.
Vanderbilt 3-0 – Its hard to fathom that Vandy is off to a 3-0 start for many reasons. Head Coach James Franklin was brought to tears at his post game press conference as he described what he called as a team that has bought in to his high energy approach. The Commodores just obliterated the Ole Miss Rebels 30-7 and gave the “Dores their first 3-0 record since WWII. Vandy has used a number of offensive gadget plays and they seem to be working as their offense outgained Ole Miss 387-234 in total offense. I don’t like to see a grown man cry but I understand Franklin getting a little emotional after his team’s great effort. It was their largest margin of defeat over a SEC opponent since 1971 against Mississippi State.
Boston College: There a few teams that you just don’t lose to in college football. Duke has to be near the top of the list and the Golden Eagles were handed a dose of humility in their lost this weekend to the Blue Devils. The loss of the Blue Devils sent the Golden Eagles to 0-3 and their streak of 12 consecutive bowl appearances appear to be in jeopardy.