Daily Blog • September 14, 2010

News and Notes

Arizona’s defense struggled during August and the offense was clearly ahead of it. They had just 4 returning starters so it was a major question mark heading into the season. In the first game vs Toledo, the Rockets’ only score came on a safety so they had zero offensive points. The Citadel had just 10 FD’s but did manage a 39 yd FG with 6:55 left in the 3Q, the first offensive score on Arizona all year and they would later add a 23 yd FG with 9:08 left. Arizona dominated the game with a 52-6 win and finished with a 489-171 yd edge.

Northern Arizona made a game of it with Arizona St despite the fact they were outgained 450-238. ASU jumped out to a 14-3 lead but after a 34 yd IR to the 10 NA got a TD just before the half and only trailed 17-10. ASU extended it to 27-13 but NA drove 80/6pl for a 35 yd TD pass with :21 left in the 3Q to pull within 27-20. ASU went 80/8pl, 25/3pl (after 49 yd PR) for TD’s and then blocked a punt with 3:25 left and took over at the NA26. After 1 FD they ended the game at the NA10.

Last year all of the teams that were coming off a short week struggled with the exception of 1. That was Cincinnati which was playing a IAA team. Maryland was playing a IAA team and perhaps that helped them recover from upsetting Navy on Monday then playing again on Saturday. Maryland flat out dominated holding Morgan St to 10 yards offense in the 1H. They scored 2 TD’s and a FG on their first 3 poss, got a 14 yd IR TD and another int set up backup QB O’Brien who came in with 9:36 left 2Q. He threw TD passes of 27, 24 and 22 yds in the 2Q and it was 45-0 at the half. Morgan St’s only scoring drive was kept alive by a 3&9 roughing the QB penalty on an interception. On 3&10 they were sacked for a 3 yd loss and a face mask moved it ahead and they were able to get a 39 yard FG with 4:39 left. Maryland got TD’s with 9:48 and 5:13 left to extend the margin to 62-3, their biggest margin of victory since 2003.

Missouri’s domination of McNeese St was complete as QB Gabbert hit his first 15 passes before his first incompletion in the 2Q. Frosh Henry Jose had TD’s on 3 of his first 4 carries including a 62 yarder at the start of the 2Q which made it 21-0. It was 33-0 at the half with a 303-82 yd edge and extended to 50-0 after 3Q’s. McNeese brought in backup QB Stroud who led them 65/8pl for a TD with 11:27 left to break the shutout.

Last week Mississippi had a 21-point lead over Jacksonville St but let up in the 2H and ended up losing so you would not have thought they would have let up vs Tulane. Once again Ole Miss jumped out to a 24-3 halftime lead and appeared on their way to a rout but amazingly in the 2H Tulane opened with a 22/9pl, 84/12pl drives. The first ended in fumble and the 2nd in a TD. They then went 48/5pl and got a 38 yd FG to pull within 24-13. Mississippi got a 29 yd FG with 8:00 left and with :56 left Tulane had a 4th & 21 on their own 20 and was sk’d and fumbled. Mississippi fell on it at the 10 and took a knee 2x.

While Ryan Mallett threw for 400 yards vs ULM, Arkansas appeared anything but an offensive juggernaut. They fumbled at the ULM42 and then drove 74/7pl for a TD. They were SOD at the ULM43, punted from their own 41 and punted from the ULM40 and then were int’d at the ULM32 in the 1H. Somehow they had a 217-58 yard edge but only led 7-0. Arkansas took its 2nd 3Q poss 33/7pl for a TD (after 13 yd PR) and 2 poss later went 40/10pl for a 46 yd FG, 17-0 with 12:53 left. Each team went on a TD drive, 24-7 (5:12). Arkansas finally got a 35 yd TD pass with 3:23 left for some breathing room, 31-7. They did have a 26-10 FD and 499-188 yard edges.

Last year teams playing on a short week all struggled in the 2nd week of the season. Virginia Tech was coming off of a disappointing Monday Night loss to Boise and playing on a very short week vs a IAA foe, James Madison. James Madison does come from the powerful Colonial Div. Remember, my SEC Regional Magazine has 175 pages on FCS football including a complete full page on each team! VT did not show lingering side effects as they took their opening drive 94/17pl for a TD then went 44/5pl but fumbled at the JM35 then went 55/10pl settling for a 30 yd FG. They led 10-0 and JM had just 1 FD to VT’s 12. The game turned on a 3&17 screen pass to Sullivan which he took 77 yards for a TD. VT went 36 yards for a 41 yd FG with :12 left in the half but only led 13-7 despite a 200-105 yard edge and 15-1 FD edge. VT opened the 3Q with a 49/7pl drive for a 28 yd FG, 16-7. JM went 66/15pl for a TD then after an int, went 62/8pl. On 4th & 3 they went for it and got a 12 yd TD run by QB Dudzik to lead 21-16. VT on 4&2 was SOD at the JM17 with 9:41 left and then fmbl’d at the JM19 on 2&1 with 5:21 left. JM got 2 FD and while they punted on 4&15, VT roughed the P and JM ran out the clock.

Andre Ware over the summer called for Wyoming to upset Texas and Mack Brown was very mindful of that. After handing off most of the opener, Gilbert hit 22-35 passing for 222 yards for the Longhorns. UT had 29-13 FD and 389-257 yard edges. WY was playing just 6 days after the death of frosh LB Ruben Narcisse who was killed in a car accident. UT’s first 5 drives resulted in 2 FG’s and 3 punts and WY actually led 7-6. Trailing 27-7 Wyoming faked a 35 yd FG and were SOD at the Texas 20, were SOD at the UT15 on the next drive and were SOD at the UT36 with 5:09 left. UT got a 64/10pl drive for a TD with :54 left for some breathing room in a game closer than the 34-7 score.

Montana St led almost the entire game vs Washington St. WSU had 2 turnovers and Montana St drove 9 and 48 yards for 31 and 33 yard FG’s to lead 6-0. WSU went on a 95/7pl drive keyed by a 70 yd Montgomery run and on 4th & 1 Montgomery’s 3 yd TD run made it 7-6. MSt went 80/7pl for a TD to lead 13-7 and missed a 52 yd FG with :25 left in the half. It seemed like MSt was on their way to the win. They got a 45 yd TD pass with 7:53 left in the 3Q and WSU fumbled the KO setting up a MSt 29 yd FG and it was 22-7. MSt was driving again when they were int’d at the WSU46 with 2:29 left in the 3Q. WSU got a TD on the first play of the 4Q. MSt got to the WSU33 but was SOD and the Cougars got a 19 yard TD pass with 5:06 left but missed the 2 pt conversion. MSt 2 plays later was int’d and ret’d to the 2 and WSU settled for an 18 yard FG but took the lead, 23-22 with 2:13 left. MSt was int’d at the WSU22 with :51 left.

For the 2nd straight week North Texas outgained its opponent but lost. This time they had a 420-351 yard edge. In fact at the half, NT had a 9-3 FD edge but trailed 23-21. NT led most of the 2H but Rice took the lead with 6:22 left on a TD, 32-31. NT punted with 4:56 left and their last drive ended at the Rice 47. The game might have signaled a change at QB for Rice. Taylor McHargue started again and did hit a 51 yard TD pass on his first play but then guided the team to just 1 FD on 5 poss. Nick Fanuzzi came in and hit passes of 22, 27 and 31 yards in the final 3:18 of the 1H and QB’d the entire 2H.

Ball St was outFD’d by Liberty 23-19 and outgained by their IAA foe 395-338 but a couple of key 3rd down conversions by Liberty and a couple of blown opportunities hurt Ball St. On Liberty’s first drive they converted on 3&10 then on 3&8 got a 21-yard TD pass. Ball St, trailing 14-3 was stopped on 4&2 at the Liberty 19. On 3&11 Liberty got a 65 yd TD pass in the 3Q to take the lead, 21-17. Ball St blew 2 opportunities. They had a 1st & gl at the 5 and settled for a 22 yd FG then had a 1st & gl at the 2 and settled for a 21 yd FG and only led 23-21. Liberty got a TD with 4:55 left to take the lead and BS got to the Liberty26 but were SOD.

Sometimes you can see things coming. Minnesota always struggles with the Dakota schools. In 2006 they played North Dakota St and were generally outplayed the entire game but somehow escaped with a close win. The next year NDSt beat them outright in the Metrodome. Last year UM barely got past South Dakota St 16-13. This year SD QB Dante Warren hit 21-30-352 yards and also rushed for 81. SD led the majority of the game and got some key plays in long yardage situations. Leading 7-3 they had a 3&gl from the 14 yd line and got a TD pass. With 1:51 left in the half they faced a 3rd & 13 and got a 26-yard TD pass. Leading 34-31 they went for it on 4th & 1 and Warren got a 36 yd TD run for a 41-31 lead. Minny, after scoring a TD with 3:31 left opted to kick off deep and SD got 1 FD and took a knee.

Syracuse played well vs Washington jumping out to a 10-0 lead after 2 series. UW went on 11 and 13pl drives for FG’s and trailed 10-6 when SU fumbled the KO at their own 22 and UW got a TD with 4:09 left in the half to lead 13-10. At half UW only had a 168-152 yard edge. A couple of big plays broke it open in the 2H. On the first play of the 3Q Locker hit Kearse with a short pass that he took 57 yards for a TD. Two poss later Locker hit Kearse with a 28 yard TD pass and then leading 27-13 Polk got a 52 yd TD run with 10:04 left to ice it. UW recovered an onside kick and got a 44/2pl drive for a TD with 6:33 left to win by 21.

USC was outFD’d by UVA 23-18 and outgained 333-327. Their offense struggled most of the game but they did get 2 TD’s in the last 3:43 of the 1H to lead 14-7 at the half. UVA did get 78 yards and 4 FD’s after taking over with 2:35 left in the game going 78/13pl. The drive included 4&3 and 4&13 conversions and they got a 3 yd TD pass with :04 left.

Middle Tennessee was actually down to their 3rd string QB as Dasher was still suspended and starting QB Kilgore was out. MT jumped out to a 35-10 lead but Austin Peay got an int with :19 left in the half and went 50/3pl for a TD to make it 35-17. AP settled for a 20 yard FG and drove for a TD to open the 3Q and only trailed 35-27 with 6:55 left. After AP got a 65 yd FR TD for a TD with 2:51 left in the 3Q, they only trailed 42-33. MT got some breathing room with a 33/2pl drive for a TD with 12:08 left and then took over with 9:23 left and drove 96/11pl getting a TD with 5:52 left to close the scoring. MT did have 654 yards offense with 353 rushing and 301 passing while AP only had 348 total yards.

While Stanford did indeed roll UCLA 35-0 it was a little bit closer than the final would indicate. SU scored a TD and a FG on 2 of their first 3 poss to lead 10-0. UCLA fumbled which set up a SU FG, 13-0. UCLA was driving but was int at the SU2 with 6:49 left at the half and it was 13-0. UCLA opened the 3Q with a 57/13pl drive but missed a 49 yd FG. SU went 68/18pl and got a 4th & gl TD run then on the next play got a 21 yd FR TD to extend it to 28-0. UCLA went for it on 4th & 2 at midfield and were SOD and SU tacked on a TD with 8:48 left. UCLA got to the SU27 with 5:05 left but was int’d. Stanford won in the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1996.

Northern Illinois did have a 23-14 FD edge and 511-338 yd edge vs North Dakota. They fumbled into the EZ for a TB with 8:30 left in the 2Q. Leading 16-3 they missed a 41 yard FG then on their next drive, had a 1st & gl at the 2 but fumbled. North Dakota went 72/12pl for a TD with 3:31 left to pull within 6 and got the ball back with 1:33 left. They got 3 FD’s but the final 2pl ended in 15 and 8 yd sks and NI held on.

Southern Miss was more impressive than the final score vs Prairie View A&M. They blocked a punt to start but settled for a FG. SM then went 70/6p, 54/5p, 47/7pl for TD’s on the next 3 poss. After their first punt, they were int’d at the PV11 then drove 53/7pl for a TD. SM led 31-0 at the half and had a 299-49 yd edge and brought in backup QB Young on the 2nd series of the 3Q. In the 2H SM also fumbled at the PV21 and went on a 14 play drive but settled for a 25 yd FG.

I go through the play by play of every college game each Sunday and Monday and put the interesting notes here in News and Notes. One players performance stood out to me and it was Joe Lefeged of Rutgers. FIU had a 15-8 FD edge and 371-172 yard edge but somehow lost 19-14 at home. The reason was Lefeged. In the 1Q with 6:14 left he forced a fumble at the RU39. Two poss later he forced a fumble at the RU40. RU at this point had not even had a FD for the game. On the next poss, Lefeged got an int at the RU39 and returned it 29 yards to the 32 setting up a TD. On the next poss Lefeged blocked a punt which set up a 42 yard FG, 13-7. RU fumbled on their first 2 poss of the 3Q. FIU went 27/3pl for a TD and led 14-13. FIU had a FD at the RU28 but 4 penalties forced a 4th & 46 and they punted. Lefeged blocked another punt with 13:18 left which set up a 24/1pl TD run by Sanu. Rutgers longest scoring drive of the game was 32 yards but thanks to Joe Lefeged they got the win.

A look at a boxscore shows that New Mexico was very competitive vs Texas Tech as TT only had a 24-23 FD edge and 462-433 yd edge. The game was not that competitive. Thanks to a pair of blocked punts, TT got a 55 yard TD pass then blocked a punt and drove 3 yards for a TD, 14-0. NM did got on an 8pl drive for a 28 yd FG but TT got a 93 yard KR setting up a 7 yd TD drive, 21-3. TT blew 2 long scoring drives. They went 64/13pl and had a 1st & gl at the 1 but fmbl’d. They then went 68/11pl and settled for a 22 yd FG, 24-3. They led 31-10 when NM fmbl’d the ball near midfield but NM’s Hernandez picked it up and raced 45 yds for an offensive TD, 31-17 at the half. TT blocked a punt and drove 1 yard for a TD to open the 3Q. NM got to the TT 12 but was int at the 3 and TT went 62/9pl for a TD then after an int, 13 yards for a TD, 52-17. TT ended the game at the NM17 yard line.

Two big plays had Nicholls St tied at 14 with W Michigan with 4:42 left in the half. The first came when they went for it on 4th & 1 on their own 48 and Turner broke through the line and raced 52 yard for a TD. WM was int’d and ret’d 16 yards to their 4 which was the 2nd big play and that set up an NSt TD. It was 14-14. WM scored TD’s on their last drive of the 1H and their first 4 drives of the 2H to go through an explosive 49-14 lead with 8:56 left.

Turnovers were the key in the NC State game vs UCF. UCF had 5 TO’s and NCSt 0. That was part of the reason UCF had a 308-239 yd edge but lost. There also may be a changing of the QB’s at UCF. In the 1H Rob Calabrese fired an int and NCSt went 42/8pl for a TD. After a muffed punt, NCSt drove 20/3pl for a TD to lead 21-0 with 3:26 left in the half. UCF did get a 93 yd KR TD and missed a 46 yard FG, 21-7. In the 2H Calabrese was int’d with 7:29 left 3Q and then int and ret’d 43 yard for a TD and NCSt led 28-7 with 5:22 left in the 3Q. Backup QB Jeff Godfrey hit 7-10-107 yards and rushed for 53. He guided a 55/12pl drive for a TD with 14:19 left and after a punt they drove 75/8pl for a TD with 4:29 left. NCSt punted 14 yards with 2:47 left to its own 49. UCF converted on 4th & 1 for a FD to the 38 but on 2nd & 3 from the 31 got a 20 yd pass to McDuffie but he fumbled at the end at the NCSt 11 and they escaped by taking a knee.

Utah St did lead Idaho St 38-3 in the 4Q. ISU went 66/12pl but was int’d in the EZ for a TB but USU was int’d with 5:41 left and ISU went 28/7pl with a 4&gl, 5 yd TD pass. USU fumbled with 1:50 left and ISU added another TD with 1:30 left on the 33-yard drive. USU finished with a 27-14 FD edge and 538-285 yd edge.

WKU got a 73/7pl drive and took a 7-0 lead vs Kentucky but the Wildcats scored 5 TD’s to lead 35-7 and WKU had just 7 remaining yards the entire 1H. After WKU got a 95 yard KR TD with 1:15 left, UK drove 58/6pl getting a 4 yd TD pass to lead 42-14 at the half with a 267-80 yd edge. It was 49-28 when UK went 53/4pl for a TD with 6:26 left then after rec a fumble went 18/4pl for another TD with 4:44 left.