Daily Blog • September 6, 2010

Monday's Forecasts



Landover, MD. This Virginia Tech's 2nd game at this stadium and the 1st was a 24-13 loss to #1 USC. This is a national title elimination game and Boise St fields a team that can knock off any foe in a one game showdown (beat Oklahoma and TCU in Fiesta Bowls) and they have a bye next week. Boise is the most experienced team in the country as they have 20 returning starters. VT has a super backfield with QB Taylor and RB's Williams and Evans. They do only have 4 starters back on defense but DC Bud Foster always fields a solid group. VT will clearly have the crowd edge and this one is on a green grass field not Boise's preferred blue home surface. A Boise win here could have them playing in the BCS National Title Game at the end of the year and they have my #2 rated Special Teams which counters an edge Virginia Tech usually has. I do think VT will be more balanced and QB Taylor will make a key play late to give the Hokies a close win.




This game will be played in Baltimore and surprisingly these schools that are just 30 miles apart have met only once since 1965. Maryland has the large edge of having the entire month of August to prep for the Navy option and I rate their defense at #59 while Navy’s is just #84. Navy does have 12 returning starters including QB Dobbs but Maryland has a huge edge on special teams (#14-73). While they were just 2-10 a year ago, I project this year’s Maryland team to be back in a bowl as they start the season off with an upset.



Kent St only led 17-10 late 2nd quarter when they got a 3rd & 10, 49 yd TD pass with 1:13 left in the half then got a 92 yd KR TD to open the 3Q. Kent St held Murray St to -65 yds rushing (school record) in their 41-10 win.

SE Louisiana had a 17-15 FD edge vs Tulane and a 266-252 yd edge. They did have a 1st & gl at the 1 at the end of an 83 yd/12pl drive early 3Q but fmbl’d into the end zone for a touch back. Later they fmbl’d on their own 7 setting up a 2pl drive for a Tulane TD. They trailed 27-21 with 9:21 left and would punt on their next 2 possessions and their final drive got them to the Tulane 45 where they ran out of time.

There were a couple of key plays in the Nevada/E Washington game which was fairly close with UN only having a 553-432 yd edge. Leading 21-10, Nevada had the ball 3rd & 3 and got a 48 yd TD pass with just :17 left in the half to lead by 18. E Washington pulled within 35-24 in the 4Q and had the ball at the UN33 when they fmbl’d. Nevada got a TD 3 plays later to extend the lead and then after converting on 4th & 13 with a 33 yd pass, added another TD with 3:38 left in their 25 pt win.

In the 1H of the UAB/FAU game, UAB had an 11-6 FD edge but only a 226-185 yd edge. The first 5 poss of the game were punts then UAB QB Isabelle got a 50 yd TD run. FAU got a 77 yd TD pass to pull within 14-12 with 3:24 left 1H but UAB drove for TD’s on their next 2 poss to lead 28-12 early 3Q. UAB was seemingly in control when they were int’d and returned 38 yds for a TD. A key play happened with 4:11 left when on FAU’s 56 yd punt, a holding call on UAB pinned them at the 1. UAB’s punt only got out to the 38 and FAU RB Morris got a TD run on the next play. UAB still had an easy shot at winning and in fact, on 3rd & gl from the 9, took a knee in the center of the field but Zahn’s 28 yd chipshot FG was blk’d on the final play and FAU claimed the upset.

Hawaii did have a 308-296 yd edge vs USC at the half but the Trojans led by double digits most of the game. Backup QB Mustain came in with USC up 42-23 early 4Q. UH gained 147 yds on their final 2 drives in the 49-36 loss. USC did not have contact during their practices in the month of August as they are low on scholarships and that may have had something to do with UH’s 588-524 yd edge for the game.

I have been saying all along that South Carolina has their best team yet under Steve Spurrier and they sure looked like it in the opener vs Southern Miss. The Eagles did have 404 yds offense but 174 of those yds came in the final 11:19 after they trailed 41-6. SC showed a balanced attack with 224 yds rushing and 225 yds passing.

Pittsburgh, with a young QB and O-line, had just 60 yds in the 2Q & 3Q and Utah had a commanding 405-266 yd edge on the day. Utah appeared to lead comfortably 24-13 but Pitt rallied back for a 24-24 tie on a FG with :00 left. Utah got an int in OT and kicked the game winning FG for the 3 pt win.

Iowa QB Ricky Stanzi was injured in the 2Q but returned. Iowa scored TD’s on their first 2 poss and blocked a punt for a TD for a 21-0 lead but only won 37-7 and ended the game with a 10 yd run to the E Illinois 6.

Robert Bolden was the first true frosh QB to start a season opener in Joe Paterno’s 45 years. Youngstown St actually led 7-3 early after a 3rd & 10 short screen pass went 80 yds for a TD but PSU led 44-7 before YSU went 80/15pl for a garbage TD with :40 left.

While Samford had 300 yds vs Florida St, they did get 57 of it in the last 2:23 of the 1H resulting in a 41 yd FG then took over trailing 59-6 with 6:36 left and went 79/16pl getting SOD on the 1 with :04 left.

Joshua Nesbitt had a pair of TD runs for Georgia Tech and both came on 4th down. The first came on their first series when on 4th & 3 he got a 35 yd TD run, the 2nd came in the 3Q on 4th & 3 with a 14 yd TD run. GT led 34-10 when they added a 10 yd TD run with 4:50 left for the 41-10 final vs S Carolina St.

Illinois had a 196-137 yd edge at the half vs Missouri and led 13-3 but would have just 85 yds and 4 FD’s in the 2H. Missouri took the lead for good with 13:26 left. Illinois was SOD on 4th & 10 from their own 21 with 2:08 left and Missouri added a 34 yd FG with :27 left.

Michigan St/W Michigan were tied 7-7 in the 2Q. There were 2 key plays, the first when WM QB Carder was calling an audible. The Center snapped it off his knee, MSU rec’d at the 31 and 4pl later had a TD. MSU was then pinned back on their own 2 and got a 75 yd run by Bell which set up a TD for a 21-7 lead. In the 4Q, MSU got a 33 yd FG with 7:30 left to go up by 24. WM had a 2nd & 1 at the 7 yd line but on 4th & 1 fired incomplete with 4:10 left. On their final drive they took over with 2:37 left but brought in a backup QB and with no sense of urgency, were stopped on 4th & 9 with :20 left.

Kentucky did have a 271-103 yd edge at the half and led 23-6 in the 3Q. Louisville trimmed it to 23-16 with 3:16 left but kicked off deep and UK got 3 FD’s and ran out the clock and finished with 230 yds rushing and 236 passing.

The pressure was on Michigan to open strong and Denard Robinson accounted for 383 yds incl a school QB rushing record 197 yds. It was a football attendance record crowd of 113,090 in the newly expanded Michigan Stadium. UM jumped out to a 21-0 lead. Conn converted on 4th & 2 for a TD with :17 left in the half.

Oregon tied an Autzen Stadium record for points with 72. They set a team record with 720 yards. The Ducks also had a commanding 35-8 FD edge. New Mexico had just 8 FD and 107 yds as there was nothing fluky about the 72-0 shutout.

While Georgia beat Louisiana 55-7 they did have only 377 yds offense. Their D allowed just 5 FD’s.

Air Force only led Northwestern St 24-21 but scored TD’s on their first six 2H poss to blow it open.

Alabama was without Heisman winner Mark Ingram and their top defensive player Marcell Dareus but it hardly mattered vs San Jose St. The Tide scored TD’s on four of their first 5 drives, fumbling into the end zone for a touch back on the other. QB McElroy came out with the score 21-3 and Trent Richardson had just 10 carries with Eddie Lacy leading the Tide in rushing with 111. AJ McCarron hit 9-14-116 in their 48-3 romp.

UC Davis did sit RB Joe Trombetta who led the team in rushing and was the #2 rec LY. Cal completely dominated the game. UCD had a FD on their first play of the game and a FD on the last play but had just 2 FD’s in between as Cal rolled to a 35-0 halftime lead with a 332-31 yd edge and finished with 26-4 FD and 517-81 yd edges in their 52-3 romp.

W Carolina drove 87/10pl for a TD to open and forced NC State into a 3 & out but they fumbled the punt and NCSt scored on the remaining 5 possesions of the 1H to lead 31-7 and did not punt again until 1:55 was left in their 48-7 win. NCSt finished with 25-9 FD and 480-189 yd edges.

A look at the box score shows North Texas with a dominating win as they held the ball for 41:52 and had a 25-15 FD edge vs Clemson. Unfortunately for NT they lost by 25. CU did have a 60 yd TD run by Ellington and a 70 yd TD pass to Clear which kept the yds close in the game and provided the TD’s. NT was int’d at the CU6 and int’d in the end zone for a touch back and settled for a 25 yd FG. They ended the game with the ball at the CU29.

The Oklahoma Sooners did not look like a national title contender in the opener. They did jump out to a 21-0 lead and it could have been 28-0 late 2Q as they had a TD pass called back for illegal formation and then had an int at the 24 on the next play. Utah St's QB Borel’s ability to convert on 3rd & long was the key and he threw for 340 yds. Utah St scored 10 pts in final 3:33 of the 1H to pull within 21-10. Their TD with 2:31 left in the 3Q put them within 1 score. OU was int’d at the Utah St 9 and ended at the Utah St 6 taking a knee.

UT Martin’s D played decent in the 1H vs Tennessee but came up with a 23-3 FD deficit and Tenn had a 537-142 yd edge. The Vols led 13-0 after 1Q but UT actually punted on 3 straight poss before driving for a late TD in the 1H to lead 20-0 with a 225-51 yd edge. Tenn would score TD’s on their first 3 poss of the 2H and added a 54 yd IR TD. They got their first shutout since 2003 and it held up when UTM missed a 43 yd FG with 9:16 left. Tenn finished the game at the UTM12.

Nebraska’s D was dominant in the 1H as they rolled to a 21-0 lead as WKU only crossed midfield once and that was due to an Nebraska penalty. Taylor Martinez became the first frosh QB to start an opener for NU ever and guided TD drives on his first 2 series. Cody Green guided TD drives on his first 2 series as well. NU was in control 35-3 but WKU at the end of a 46 yd run, fmbl’d into the end zone for a touchback late 3Q. Leading 42-10 WKU only got off a 4 yd punt and NU drove 13/2pl to lead 49-10 with 6:56 left. NU finished the game at the WKU9 on the final play.

Memphis crossed midfield 4x in the 1H but missed 2 FG’s and had a holding call wipe out a 1st & 10 at the 15. Miss St was in complete control leading 49-0 when Memphis took over with 5:13 left and drove 68yd/8pl getting a 3rd & 8, 27 yd TD pass with 1:39 left to avoid the shutout. While Relf started and did well, backup QB Russell was the star hitting 13-16-256 yds and his 4 TD’s tied a school record.

An amazing stat is that Notre Dame coaches making their debut are now 26-3. ND led 20-3 and was about to make it 27-3 when WR Floyd fumbled at the 2 and it was ret’d to the 6. That changed the momentum and Purdue would get 9 pts on a safety & TD to pull within 8 but the Irish got a 37 yd FG with 4:30 left and ended the game at the PU30 yd line.

Virginia did lead Richmond just 14-13 and leading 21-13 Richmond was SOD on 4th & 1 at the UVA45. RU was also int at the UVA2 with 9:18 left and a 65 yd IR led to a UVA 43 yd TD drive to ice it 34-13.


Boston College got the great return of LB Mark Herzlich to the lineup vs Weber St. BC’s first play of the season was a false start followed by an int which set up a Weber St FG. BC dominated the rest of the half leading 31-10. They led 38-13 when they were int’d in the end zone and Weber St recovered a fumble with :56 left and drove 36 yds for a garbage TD with :19 left.

UCF dominated S Dakota St with a 27-13 FD edge and had 231 yds rushing and 241 passing while SDS had just 220 yds incl 58 on a final garbage drive when they took over with 3:50 left. UCF punted once all game in their dominating 38-7 win.


Showing how scores can be misleading, you may have heard that John Brantley had the Florida Gators up 21-3 over Miami, Oh. In reality, UF had a grand total of 17 yards TOTAL OFFENSE with 6:33 left in the 3Q. They were outgained 102-13 at the half but were up 21-6. Their final TD came when Brantley on 4th & 21, flung a ball in the air that bounced off a UF player and Rainey grabbed it for a 25 yd TD with 1:21 left. It was the most unimpressive 34 pts scored and UF and MU each actually had just 212 yds offense despite UF’s 22 pt win.

UCLA was missing 3 OL for the game vs Kansas St and QB Prince missed a good portion of practice time during the week and he hit 9-26-120. UCLA got an 11 yd drive for a TD after a fmbl and led 10-7 at the half. The game was 17-16 after a UCLA 42 yd FG with 6:28 left. KSt drove 80/8pl for a TD with 2:03 left to go up 24-16. UCLA went 64/2pl for a TD but missed the 2pt conv, 24-22. The onside kick was rec by KS and then on 3rd & 1 Thomas not only got the FD but raced 37 yds for a TD with :58 left.


Middle Tenn was without QB Dasher (susp) while Minn’s starting D lineup had 11 new starters as Theret was susp’d and the other S Royston (leg) DNP. In the 1Q they had just 33 yds but backup QB Kilgore came to life in the 2Q when MT had 174 yds offense and it was tied at 14 at half with MT having a 207-198 yd edge. Minny kept it on the ground most of the game as RB Bennett had 187 yds rushing. They did have a 12 play drive end in a punt but then pinned at their 1, went 97yd/13pl settling for a 19 yd FG with 14:11 left. They went 77yd/15pl and got a TD with 3:09 left then MT fmbl’d the ensuing KO and Minny ran out the clock.


Terrelle Pryor is one of the preseason favorites to win the Heisman and opened up in fine fashion. He hit 17-25 for 247 yds. Marshall fumbled the opening KO and OSU went 22 yds for a TD and dominated much like the final of 45-7 indicates. In fact, Marshall's only score came on a blocked FG which they returned 61 yds for a TD. OSU had a 529-199 yd edge and Pryor’s last play came with 12:20 left 4Q.

Arizona dominated Toledo on Friday night. They had a 518-183 yd edge and QB Nick Foles perhaps entered the Heisman race by hitting 32-37 passes for 360 yds in an impressive debut performance.

Arkansas handled Tenn Tech and QB Ryan Mallet hit 21-24 passes for 301 yds and one of his incompletions was a TD pass that was dropped.


Central Michigan beat Hampton 33-0 but their first 16 pts came on 14 yds of offense as Hampton had a snap go over the Punter's head for a safety then after an 81 yd return of the free kick, got a 2 yd TD drive. Then after a fumbled kick off, drove 12 yds for a TD to lead 16-0. Hampton also had a -4 yd punt which set up a 40 yd TD drive and was int’d at the CM17 in the 1H but CM did miss a pair of short FG’s late and finished with a commanding 26-11 FD and 427-129 yd edges.

Buffalo recorded its first shutout win since 2001 and had a 423-207 yd edge. They only led 10-0 late 2Q when they recovered a fumble with 3:34 left and got a 38 yd TD pass on the next play. They added a 46 yd drive for a TD with :40 left to lead 24-0 at the half. Rhode Island missed a 29 yd FG in the 3Q.

Idaho got their first shutout since 1997 and QB Enderle threw for 311 yds playing just in to the 3Q. IU only led 17-0 at the half and they recovered an onside kick to open the 2H and rolled to the 45-0 win with their final TD coming with 1:26 left.

It appeared Rutgers only led Norfolk St 3-0 at the half. A 3rd & 16, 29 yd pass to the 3 was ruled with incomplete with no time left. :01 was put back on the clock and RU was able to get a 20 yd FG to lead 6-0 but still left the field to boo’s. A blocked punt for a TD opened up a 21-0 lead mid-3Q and the Knights added 10 pts in the 4Q in their 31-0 shutout win.

Miami, Fl got their first shutout win since 2006, the year before Randy Shannon was on board. UM dominated with a 35-0 halftime lead and Jacory Harris played only the 1H. Fla A&M did have a 50 yd FG bounce off the upright on their 2nd drive which would have averted the shutout.

West Virginia got their first home shutout since 1997. They had an 11-2 FD edge in the 1H but did fumble in the end zone for a touchback and only led 10-0. It was 17-0 and Coastal Carolina missed 47 and 42 yd FG’s in the 3Q before WV went 75/9pl and 63/5pl for TD’s to put it away and won 31-0.