Tag:Quick Hits
Posted on: October 29, 2011 3:57 pm
Edited on: October 29, 2011 4:45 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Nebraska 24, Michigan State 3

Posted by Adam Jacobi

NEBRASKA WON. The Nebraska defense was stout in victory on Saturday, holding No. 11 Michigan State to just 187 yards and 12 first downs in an easy 24-3 victory at Memorial Stadium. Kirk Cousins was especially ineffective for MSU, going 11/27 for 86 yards and one interception. Meanwhile, Rex Burkhead was an absolute monster for the Huskers, with 35 carries for 130 yards and two scores, and a 27-yard touchdown reception on top of it.

WHY NEBRASKA WON: It would be wrong to take anything away from Nebraska's effort on Saturday, which was both exemplary and the best of the Huskers' season. Having said that, there was only one team that came ready to play in this game. Nebraska routinely converted 3rd and long on what was supposed to be the best defense in the Big Ten, and the toll of those physical drives on the MSU defense became readily evident down the stretch.

WHEN NEBRASKA WON: The game was still well within reach for MSU with the game at 17-3 midway through the third quarter. Rex Burkhead had just left the field with an injury and Nebraska faced a 3rd and 11 near midfield. Unfortunately, Taylor Martinez found Kenny Bell for a 20-yard first down, Burkhead came back in the game on the next snap, and Martinez found Burkhead out of the backfield for an easy 27-yard touchdown on the next play. That pushed the score to 24-3, where it would remain for the rest of the game, and MSU never threatened to score after that.

WHAT NEBRASKA WON: Nebraska's not only tied for the division lead now, it's got a tiebreaker lead on the Spartans. Road games at Michigan and PSU also loom for the Huskers, but still: this was a huge win. The Husker defense, which had long been a weak spot of this season's team (even before Jared Crick was lost for the year), was dominant against the Spartan offense. For once, Nebraska looked like it belonged in the Top 15, and it's got its biggest win of the season to show for it.

WHAT MICHIGAN STATE LOST: Gone for Michigan State is its perfect conference record, which is the biggie here; the Spartans are now in a four-team tie with one loss in the Legends Division (pending Iowa's game at Minnesota). But this is the second time that Michigan State has been utterly stifled on offense this season, which is shocking given the amount of talent at every portion of the MSU offense. The Spartans are still in decent shape in the division race, but their offensive production on road games has been disturbingly absent. That can't continue. 

THAT WAS CRAZY: Kirk Cousins threw an interception. Just one. It should have been more, but on 3rd and goal near the end of the first half, an errant Cousins throw found its way into the waiting arms of Nebraska DB Daimion Stafford, who was off to the races for what was about to be a 95-yard pick-six. Unfortunately, Stafford was so eager to take the interception to the house that he never secured possession, and he dropped the ball to the field for a harmless incompletion. MSU took the field goal instead to make the score 10-3. So yes, a 24-3 loss is bad enough, but this could have easily been a 31-0 win for Nebraska.

Posted on: October 23, 2011 1:45 am
Edited on: October 23, 2011 1:46 am
 

QUICK HITS: Texas Tech 41 Oklahoma 38

Posted by Tom Fornelli

TEXAS TECH WON. Yes, you read that right. Oklahoma's 39-game winning streak at home came to an end on Saturday night, as did Oklahoma's hopes of winning a national title this season. Texas Tech had a 31-7 lead early in the third quarter and then held on as tight as it could over the final 28 minutes to pull off the upset. Texas Tech picked up 553 yards of total offense on the night, and it needed just about every one of them. Seth Doege threw for 425 yards and 4 touchdowns on the night, with Alex Torres catching 4 passes for 94 yards and 3 touchdowns. Landry Jones threw for 405 yards and 5 touchdowns in the losing effort.

WHY TEXAS TECH WON. Texas Tech dominated the first 32 minutes of this game, but if it weren't for Oklahoma's red zone woes and a missed field goal late, this game could have had a different outcome. Still, Texas Tech's offense did just enough to get the Raiders a huge win, even if the Oklahoma defense finally slowed it down in the second half, the deficit just proved to be too much to overcome.

WHEN TEXAS TECH WON. After Michael Hunnicutt missed a 28-yard field goal in the final minutes that would have cut Texas Tech's lead to 41-34, Oklahoma got the ball back and Landry Jones found James Hanna for a touchdown to cut the lead to 41-38 with 70 seconds to go. Oklahoma's onside kick was then recovered by Texas Tech, and the game was finally over with that missed field goal looming incredibly large.

WHAT TEXAS TECH WON. Quite possibly the biggest game in school history save for that victory over Texas back in 2008, and definitely the program's biggest win under Tommy Tuberville. To come into Norman and end Oklahoma's 39-game winning streak at home and crush the Sooners chances of being national champions? That's huge. It had to feel even better with the Red Raiders coming off of two straight losses against ranked teams by a combined 10 points. Tech may be 5-2 on the season, but it's been a pretty impressive 5-2.

WHAT OKLAHOMA LOST. Just about everything. It's national title hopes, the home winning streak, they're all gone. The silver lining is that Oklahoma still has a chance to win the Big 12 and go to a BCS bowl this January, but let's be real, the main goal in Norman this season was a national championship. Now the Sooners are on to Plan B.

THAT WAS CRAZY. We haven't had one in a while, but much like so many games in September, this one was delayed about two hours thanks to some bad weather in the area. Which worked out well for college football fans across the country because it allowed them a chance to watch one of the most entertaining games of the day.
Posted on: October 23, 2011 12:38 am
 

QUICK HITS: Stanford 65, Washington 21

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

STANFORD WON: So much for the Cardinal getting their first test of the year. Andrew Luck barely had to break a sweat (16-of-22, 169 yards, 2 touchdowns) as the Cardinal rampaged to 247 first-half rushing yards, a 38-14 halftime lead, and their 10th straight win by 25 points or better--the first such streak in Division I college football since 1936. Cardinal tailbacks Stepfan Taylor and Tyler Gaffney combined for 245 yards on just 19 carries, averaging an eye-popping timeouts 12.9 yards an attempt, and leading the Cardinal to a school-record 446 rushing yards. 

WHY STANFORD WON: We mentioned the 247 first-half rushing yards and bulldozer job from Taylor and Gaffney, right? It's hard to lose with production in the ground game like that, and essentially impossible when that production is backed up by a passing game managed by Luck. If the Cardinal offensive line -- spearheaded by one surefire All-American in guard David DeCastro and potentially another in tackle Jonathan Martin -- isn't already considered one of the best if not the best in the nation, running for 446 yards against a top-25 defense that was averaging less than 100 yards allowed per-game should change that in a frightful hurry.

But that shouldn't totally obscure the effort made by the Stanford defense. Chris Polk broke loose for a pair of long first-half Huskie touchdowns, the latter a 61-yard burst that cut an early Stanford lead to 17-14. But the Huskies wouldn't score again until early in the fourth quarter (by which point the score was 48-14, and during which span the Cardinal D had outscored the Huskies 7-0), the Cardinal would finish the night up 3-0 in turnover margin, and after collecting more than 100 yards in the first two quarters Polk would finish with just 144. 

WHEN STANFORD WON: Speaking of "outscoring the Huskies 7-0," Huskies were already in a 31-14 hole when they drove to the Stanford 38 and faced 2nd-and-1. Polk was stuffed for a loss of 3, setting up 3rd-and-4 ... on which Keith Price's pass was intercepted by Michael Thomas and housed. The Huskies went into halftime down 38-14, and were never, ever, ever going to mount that kind of comeback.

WHAT STANFORD WON: With Wisconsin going down in East Lansing and Oklahoma in legitimate trouble against Texas Tech as we type this, the Cardinal look more the part of a national title contender than ever before ... and a 44-point bludgeoning of a one-loss, top-25 team is a big, big part of that.

WHAT WASHINGTON LOST: Any real hope of winning the inaugural Pac-12 North, since the odds of the Cardinal dropping two league games while the Huskies run the table seems slim indeed.

Posted on: October 23, 2011 12:29 am
 

QUICK HITS: Michigan State 37, Wisconsin 31



Posted by Adam Jacobi

MICHIGAN STATE WON. In perhaps the wildest finish of the college football season, Kirk Cousins found Keith Nichol on a deflected, 44-yard Hail Mary pass at the goal line on the final play of the game, and No. 16 Michigan State beat No. 6 Wisconsin, 37-31. The win knocks Wisconsin from the ranks of the unbeaten, and almost certainly out of the national championship discussion for the rest of the season.

WHY MICHIGAN STATE WON: In a game with such a razor-thin edge of success and failure, any number of factors can be the "why" here -- the punt and field goal that MSU blocked, the Russell Wilson safety, everything else -- but this game was still likely to go into overtime if Wisconsin hadn't gotten greedy. At the beginning of the final drive, Michigan State faced a 2nd and 21 after Kirk Cousins fumbled during a sack. Wisconsin called a time out both after that fumble and on the next snap, which would have been nice strategy except MSU converted for a first down. With the extra time on the clock, Michigan State was able to drive down the fied and into position for that last-second miracle.

WHEN MICHIGAN STATE WON: When replay officials saw Keith Nichol twist and break the plane of the goal line. Nichol's catch was originally ruled down at 1-yard line, where he made the catch and where he was eventually tackled. Replay showed the ball momentarily but definitively crossing the plane, and that was that. The catch came with no time on the clock, so with the ruling, MSU got the win.

WHAT MICHIGAN STATE WON: Michigan State had a brutal three-game stretch to start the Big Ten season: at Ohio State, vs. Michigan, and vs. Wisconsin. Sparty just went 3-0. So it's MSU, not Wisconsin, who's the most likely division winner in the entire Big Ten. And what once looked like a disappointing season in the waiting after Notre Dame embarrassed MSU is now potentially special.

WHAT WISCONSIN LOST: Gone is the undefeated season, the Russell Wilson Heisman campaign, and the title talk. Wisconsin's now "just" 6-1, and while the Badgers are probably going to take the Leaders Division title, it's now Penn State who's alone atop the Leaders standings. So that Wisconsin-PSU game that finishes the regular season is likely to be a de facto division title game.

THAT WAS CRAZY: What's crazy is that there are some folks who question whether the Nichol touchdown was "indisputable" enough to be overturned. It's okay to have a high standard of the word "indisputable." It's not okay to hide behind that word and refuse to overturn a bad call. You want indisputable evidence? Here it is, via the handiwork of @andyglockner. That's a touchdown. Period.

Posted on: October 22, 2011 10:53 pm
Edited on: October 22, 2011 11:50 pm
 

QUICK HITS: USC 31, Notre Dame 17

Posted by Bryan Fischer

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Notre Dame's first home night game since 1990 was supposed to be all about the Irish. New gold helmets, multiple five-star recruits on the sideline, even talk coming into the game about winning out and going to a BCS game.

USCheard all of the talk about the game and shrugged it off. Rivalry game? It was just another game to them. They were disrespected - first time in school history they were 5-1 and unranked in the polls on top of being a nine-point underdog - and were taking a business trip to the Midwest.

Behind a surprising rushing attack and the reliable duo of Matt Barkley and Robert Woods, the Trojans pulled off the upset 31-17 and stunned a capacity crowd of 80,795 at Notre Dame Stadium.

The Irish offense struggled most of the night. Despite allowing Tommy Rees to pick up a few big games on checkdowns and some open receivers in the middle of the field, the Trojans much-maligned secondary held Michael Floyd to just four catches and 28 yards. Outside of George Atkinson III's kickoff return for a touchdown right late in the second quarter, the offense was limited to just 10 points and well under 100 yards rushing.

USC had won eight in a row in the series before dropping (literally) one in the Coliseum last year. After establishing the tone early with their longest scoring drive of the season on USC's opening drive, oft-criticized Lane Kiffin picked up his first signature victory as head coach of the Trojans. Both Kiffin and athletic director Pat Haden, a former analyst for Notre Dame broadcasts, have discussed how wins and losses against the Irish are different from others the school might have.

Coming in the talk was all about the blue and gold. Coming out, thanks to Barkley, Woods and Kiffin, it was all about the cardinal and gold.

Posted on: October 22, 2011 7:19 pm
Edited on: October 22, 2011 7:20 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Texas A&M 33 Iowa State 17

Posted by Tom Fornelli

TEXAS A&M WON. This week's performance from the Aggies wasn't nearly as impressive as the one we saw against Baylor last week, but I'm sure Mike Sherman's team will be happy to head home with a win. Texas A&M got off to a slow start in this game, trailing Iowa State 7-3 after the first quarter but the Aggies righted the ship in the second quarter to take a lead it never gave back. Ryan Tannehill didn't have a great game, completing only 23 of his 42 passes for 249 yards and 2 touchdowns, but his running backs more than picked up the slack. Cyrus Gray rushed for 139 yards but was outdone by his backfield partner Christine Michael, who finished with 142 yards and a touchdown.

WHY TEXAS A&M WON. The Iowa State offense just couldn't get anything going on Saturday. Starting quarterback Steele Jantz got the hook after Iowa State's first two possessions after failing to complete a pass to anybody on his team, and redshirt freshman Jared Barnett took his place. Barnett had some positive results on his first drive, as Iowa State marched downfield for a touchdown, but after that life got a lot tougher for the Cyclones offense. Barnett finished the day 16/36 for 180 yards.

WHEN TEXAS A&M WON. While Iowa State hung around and kept things close in the fourth quarter, you never really got the sense that the Cyclones would be able to complete the comeback following a touchdown run from Christine Michael that made the score 30-7 in the third quarter.

WHAT TEXAS A&M WON. By picking up this win on the road Texas A&M improved to 3-1 in the Big 12 which keeps the Aggies hopes of winning the Big 12 alive at the moment. Sure, they'll need to win out and have to hope Oklahoma State trips up twice, but stranger things have happened in the world of college football.

WHAT IOWA STATE LOST. Aside from the fact that Paul Rhoads may not know who his quarterback is going to be next week against Texas Tech, his team's chance of getting back to a bowl game this season may have died on Saturday afternoon. The Cyclones are 0-4 in the Big 12 now and need three more wins this year to go bowling. At the moment the only game on Iowa State's remaining schedule in which you could consider the Cyclones a favorite is in two weeks against Kansas.

THAT WAS CRAZY. Paul Rhoads: Angry Dancing Machine.

Posted on: October 22, 2011 7:17 pm
Edited on: October 22, 2011 7:19 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Miami 24, No. 22 Georgia Tech 7

Posted by Chip Patterson

MIAMI WON. The Hurricanes continued to improve while Georgia Tech continued their recent slide as Miami dominated for four quarters in the 24-7 win over the Yellow Jackets. After being held to 29 yards rushing against North Carolina, running back Lamar Miller got back on track with 131 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries to lead Miami. Georgia Tech quarterback Tevin Washington threw an interception on his first pass attempt, and never got anything going through the air completing just 6 of 12 passes for 63 yards.

HOW MIAMI WON: The gritty victory was thanks to a hard rushing attack and swarming Hurricanes defense. The defensive line stuffed the dive while the linebackers flew to the edge to seal off the pitch. It was textbook option defense all day from Al Golden's squad, and the head coach couldn't have been happier with the way they answered the challenge Georgia Tech presents. The Yellow Jackets came into Coral Gables averaging 347.9 yards per game on the ground, and Miami held them to just 124 team rushing yards.

WHEN MIAMI WON: Georgia Tech ate up most of the second quarter clock with a pounding touchdown drive that ate up more than nine minutes of game clock. The score cut Miami's lead to 14-7 and took the crowd (albeit the sparsely attended Sun Life Stadium crowd) out of the game. But after Georgia Tech needed all that time to get down the field and score with 1:02 remaining before halftime, a Travis Benjamin return, Tommy Streeter catch, and Lamar Miller run is all Miami needed to get the final say before the break. The touchdown drive only took 37 seconds, and put Miami ahead 21-7 heading into halftime. It was a huge psychological boost for Miami, who was more physical that Georgia Tech in every aspect of the game throughout the second half.

WHAT MIAMI WON: A huge confidence boost. Their roster is no longer shortened due to suspensions, and the defense played arguably their best game of the season on Saturday. Al Golden has wanted his defense to swarm and to play physical. There is a certain toughness the team displayed against Georgia Tech, and that is the toughness Golden wants to be this team's identity. All four conference games left on Miami's schedule are winnable, with a road trip to Tallahassee being the toughest challenge. The Hurricanes need more than two good wins to show they've turned a corner under their first year coach, but this was a great sign of things to come for the program.

WHAT GEORGIA TECH LOST: The Yellow Jackets are sliding, and it is happening and the worst time. After lighting up stat sheets and scoreboards for the first six games and climbing their way into national prominence, Georgia Tech is looking at the possibility of losing four straight. Next Saturday might be the biggest game of the season for the Yellow Jackets, with undefeated Clemson visiting Atlanta for a primetime showdown. After that Paul Johnson's squad will get a much-needed off week before hosting Virginia Tech on a Thursday night. The way Miami's defense systematically shut down Georgia Tech's option attack should serve as a blueprint for the rest of the Yellow Jackets' opponents. With the caliber of those next two challenges, they need to figure out a way to win that battle in the trenches and get back on track.

THAT WAS CRAZY: Georgia Tech not only entered the game with the nation's 2nd-best rushing attack, but they also are among the nation's leaders in big plays. Earlier in the season, Georgia Tech led the nation in plays of 30+, 40+, 50+, and 60+ yards. However, on Saturday Miami played disciplined on defense and refused to allow the big play. Those big plays on the perimeter can really kickstart Georgia Tech's offense, but against the Hurricanes they did not have a run of longer than 11 yards.

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Posted on: October 22, 2011 7:12 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Nebraska 41, Minnesota 14

Posted by Adam Jacobi

NEBRASKA WON. Nebraska had little difficulty in dispatching Minnesota on Saturday, coasting to a 41-14 victory that really wasn't as close as the score indicated. Nebraska took a 34-0 lead into halftime, and the Husker defense held the Gophers to 11 first downs on the day -- including just four in the first half.

WHY NEBRASKA WON: Minnesota is very, very bad at football.

WHEN NEBRASKA WON: Nebraska was already up 10-0 when WR Kenny Bell ran a reverse on the first play of a drive and took it 82 yards to the house. 17-0, one minute into the 2nd quarter, and the final gun may as well have sounded then.

WHAT NEBRASKA WON: All Nebraska needed was an easy victory here to keep its starters as healthy as possible, and to empty the bench by the fourth quarter and get some experience. That's indeed what happened, and now Nebraska has another win on the season as it moves through the Big Ten schedule.

WHAT MINNESOTA LOST: With this loss, Minnesota tumbles to 1-6 (0-3) on the season, and it's getting to the point where it looks like the Gophers and their fans just want the season to be over. When Nebraska fills the seats at TCF Bank Stadium better than the home Gophers do, you can actually see how much emotional investment is left in this season.  

THAT WAS CRAZY: With the score 17-0, Duane Bennett returned Nebraska's kickoff, and he had just crossed the 20-yard line in stride when he was upended and taken down at the 25-yard line. The tackler led with his shoulder, pushed through Bennett's lower half to complete the play, and was also a fellow Gopher. Watch, cringe, and fully understand Minnesota football.

 
 
 
 
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