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Tag:Quick Hits
Posted on: October 22, 2011 7:00 pm
 

QUICK HITS: No. 1 LSU 45, Auburn 10

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

LSU WON: What suspensions? The nation's No. 1 team shrugged off the absences of Tyrann Mathieu and Spencer Ware as easily as they did their bevy of preseason distractions and suspended players, crushing Auburn under an avalanche of sacks, turnovers, and big offensive plays to the tune of Auburn's heaviest defeat of the season. While the LSU defense racked up six sacks of first-time quarterback starter Clint Moseley and held the visiting Tigers to just 249 total yards, Bayou Bengal QBs Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson combined to go 16-of-23 for 9.5 yards an attempt, 3 touchdowns, and no interceptions.  

WHY LSU WON: When the game finishes 45-10, there's a lot of reasons the winning team won. But more than any other, LSU continue to thrive on the merciless efficiency of its offense when presented with scoring opportunities. 

The Auburn defense wasn't completely overwhelmed in the first half, responding to an LSU touchdown drive by forcing punts on the Tigers' next three possessions. But LSU's last two drives both crossed midfield ... and both ended in 40-plus-yard touchdown tosses to Rueben Randle. For the game, LSU scored touchdowns the first five times the offense crossed midfield, not failing to capitalize on such a possession with less than six points until Drew Alleman kicked a 36-yard field goal with 13:56 to play. 

LSU's all-out dominance in the realm of field position -- thanks to their turnover margin and outstanding special teams -- would make them good all by itself. Combine that field position with a ferocious defense and an offense that simply refuses to settle for field goals once they're in scoring position (the Bayou Bengals have now gotten points out of 37 of 38 red zone possessions), and you get a great team.

WHEN LSU WON: The visiting Tigers had been able to hang around throughout the first half and looked like they'd be able to hang around a bit longer when LSU faced a 3rd-and-7 on Auburn's 46 with under a minute to play. But then Lee found Randle over-the-top with his best pass of the day, and LSU took a 21-3 lead into halftime. The way John Chavis's defense was playing, that kind of lead was never going to be anything less than 100-percent safe. 

WHAT LSU WON: The right to travel to Tuscaloosa in two weeks undefeated and ranked No. 1 in the country. Do they need anything else?

WHAT AUBURN LOST: Not many people were expecting an Auburn victory in Baton Rouge Saturday, not with LSU's top-to-bottom talent and Moseley making his starting debut. But with the Tigers having lost to Arkansas and LSU by combined 59 points, it's never been more obvious how wide the distance is between the SEC's top three teams and Gene Chizik's squad.

Posted on: October 22, 2011 6:34 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Virginia Tech 30, Boston College 14

Posted by Chip Patterson

VIRGINIA TECH WON. The Hokies trailed 7-6 after a painfully slow first half that featured 10 combined punts and no offensive consistency on either side. But early in the third quarter David Wilson kickstarted Virginia Tech and the Hokies pulled away late to a 30-14 victory in front of their Homecoming crowd in Blacksburg. Wilson entered the game as the nations fifth-leading rusher (129.00 yards per game) and 100+ second half yards helped him continue that pace with 134 yards on the day

HOW VIRGINIA TECH WON: Wilson and quarterback Logan Thomas were able to open things up offensively with the read and option attack. Thomas began making great reads on the Boston College defenders, and a pitch to David Wilson on an option play led to a 42-yard touchdown to get things going for the Hokies. As Boston College tried to answer for the ground game, Thomas got comfortable in the pocket and improved his accuracy throwing the ball as the game progressed. Boston College found a way to answer, finally pulling off their first 10+ play scoring drive in the middle of the fourth quarter to cut Virginia Tech's lead to 13. But between Wilson's 100-yard second half and a fourth quarter Boston College fumble, there was just too much Hokies in the second half.

WHEN VIRGINIA TECH WON: After David Wilson scored Virginia Tech's first touchdown on that 42 yard run, Boston College had arguably one of their best drives of the game. Running back Andre Williams, plagued by a bad ankle for much of the season, had a couple nice runs and the Eagles made it into Virginia Tech territory. Quarterback Chase Rettig dropped back to pass from the 22 yard line, and his attempt into the red zone was picked off by Tariq Edwards at the 11. Logan Thomas got it going through the air on the next drive, scoring another touchdown to extend the Hokies' lead for good..

WHAT VIRGINIA TECH WON: The Hokies showed significant improvement once conference play began. Outside of the Miami game, their defense has been solid most of the season despite suffering numerous injuries to key players. But it has only been in recent weeks the Hokies' offense has been able to force the issue against their opponents. The first half was a red flag for Virginia Tech fans, with the stagnant offense looking very similar to the unit that struggled to score against ECU, but the second half eased those concerns as the effective ground game helped set up Thomas with open targets downfield.

WHAT BOSTON COLLEGE LOST: A great opportunity to steal a much-needed win on the road. The Eagles have not won a conference game yet, and if their first came in Blacksburg it would be a fine memory in a season many Boston College fans would like to forget.

THAT WAS CRAZY: Of all the things that have gone wrong for Boston College, Luke Kuechly continues to amaze with his ability to make plays on the ball. The All-American linebacker continued his now-standard-issue production, with an unofficial count of 19 tackles in the loss. Kuechly entered the game as the nation's leading tackler, and likely will hold that position after his performance.



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Posted on: October 22, 2011 4:33 pm
Edited on: October 22, 2011 6:16 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Purdue 21, Illinois 14

Posted by Adam Jacobi

PURDUE WON. A late rally by No. 23 Illinois wasn't enough to erase a 21-0 deficit, and Purdue came up with a 21-14 upset victory. Caleb TerBush was efficient in victory, completing 16 of 25 passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns -- his best passing performance against an FBS opponent so far this season.

WHY PURDUE WON: Although it wouldn't be fair to take anything away from the Purdue defense, the truth is that Illinois blew this game. The offense was mostly flat for three quarters, Ron Zook punted from midfield or Purdue territory three times, backup QB Reilly O'Toole threw an interception deep in Purdue territory, and Illinois blew a scoring opportunity at the end of the half by throwing a lateral and struggling for yardage as the clock ran down to one second left, then spiking the ball after the clock hit 0:00 on the next snap. That's plain poor game management, and it's enough to lose a game. 

WHEN PURDUE WON: After Nathan Scheelhaase took a QB keeper in from two yards out, Illinois needed a great onside kick to keep its hopes alive. Kicker Derek Dimke's effort was fine; the ball took a high bounce and got 10 yards on the correct angle. It's just that nobody for Illinois thought to look for the ball. Justin Siller corraled the kick with nobody near him and could have taken off with it, but he was content to hit the ground and preserve possession. With only one timeout left, Illinois couldn't get the ball back from Purdue, and that was that.

WHAT PURDUE WON: This was a huge win for a Purdue team that finds itself on the edge of bowl contention this year. With the victory, Purdue finds itself at 4-3 with five games left -- four of which come against teams that were 2010 bowl teams (and are likely 2011 bowl teams). Moreover, the win over a Top 25 team is going to be huge for program morale at a time when the Boilermakers could use it the most.

WHAT ILLINOIS LOST: Not only are Illinois' hopes at a division championship basically out the window, but so is the team's spot in the Top 25 -- and so is its confidence. Whatever mojo Scheelhaase had at the beginning of the year is basically gone; even though he led the team to two late touchdown drives, those drives took up so much time that Illinois just didn't have enough time to have a chance to complete the comeback.

THAT WAS CRAZY: Everything about Illinois' offensive performance was crazy -- and not the good, fun kind. It takes an unusual coach to be at 6-2 in the Big Ten and still on the hot seat, but it appears Ron Zook might be on the verge of accepting that challenge.

Posted on: October 22, 2011 4:24 pm
 

QUICK HITS: No. 10 Arkansas 29, Ole Miss 24

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

ARKANSAS WON: For a half, it looked like Houston Nutt had his magic upset mojo working and working hard, with the Rebels dominating the line-of-scrimmage on both sides of the ball, Randall Mackey looking sharp (that's him scoring a first-half touchdown at right), and Ole Miss eventually going up 17-0 halfway through the second quarter. But from that point on it was -- almost literally -- all Razorbacks, with Tyler Wilson warming up after a scattershot first half and Dennis Johnson finding plenty of room for his biggest game of the year on the ground. Result: 29 straight Arkansas points just enough cushion to hold off the Rebels' late rally..

WHY ARKANSAS WON: Because the Rebels didn't run out of gas in the physical sense ... but they did in terms of their game-planning and innovation. Nutt's team burst out of the gate with plays designed to include any number of play-making weapons -- freshman receiver Nickolas Brassell foremost among them -- and sly misdirection that gave Mackey several easy throws. The junior former JUCO transfer responded by starting 8-of-9 and throwing the best pass of his career -- a beautiful lofted 31-yard throw to Donte Moncrief -- that gave the Rebels a 10-0 lead.

But as soon as Bobby Petrino got his team into halftime still in the game (thanks to a Johnson 53-yard touchdown run on 3rd-and-14, a major turning point), adjusted to shorten Wilson's frequent (and frequently unsuccessful) downfield throws, got Johnson going, and never looked back. Nutt and his staff deserve plaudits for their early-game approach, but once the game turned, they had no answers--as seen most clearly on a second down on their own 1-yard line, late in the third quarter, already down 24-17. With Mackey having already looked deep on first down and failed, the Rebels tried a simple sweep to the right for Jeff Scott, and the Hogs snowed it under for an easy safety. By the time Nutt and his staff reclaimed their offensive spark, it was too late.

WHEN ARKANSAS WON: The game looked well over at the 8:30 mark of the fourth quarter, with Arkansas taking over at their own 42, up 29-17, with all the game's momentum. But the Rebels forced a three-and-out, drove 80 yards for a touchdown on their ensuing possession, and then recovered an onsides kick to start at their own 43 with 1:23 in which to score the game-winning touchdown. But Mackey was sacked on first down, and threw an interception on second to end the game.

WHAT ARKANSAS WON: Not a lot of kind words from Petrino and their coaches after that start. But Johnson looked like he's ready to give the Hogs a legitimate ground game for the first time all season, and we doubt anyone in Fayetteville's going to turn down a W after staring at a 17-point hole on the road. (And that said comeback came against Houston Nutt? Well, then, all the better.)

WHAT OLE MISS LOST: the Rebels' 10th straight SEC game, a school record. It would be encouraging to stay as competitive as Ole Miss did against a top-10 team after the blowouts they've already endured this season ... except that that 17-point lead represented the kind of golden opportunity Nutt simply can't afford to blow if he's going to coach next season. His job remains on a knife edge.

Posted on: October 22, 2011 3:50 pm
Edited on: October 22, 2011 3:51 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Oklahoma State 45 Missouri 24

Posted by Tom Fornelli

OKLAHOMA STATE WON. Yet another Big 12 unbeaten remained that way on Saturday, as Oklahoma State went on the road against Missouri and emerged with a 21-point victory. Oklahoma State used the same formula it had been all season, combining a very powerful offense with a defense that has a knack for takeaways. Brandon Weeden finished the day with 338 yards passing and 3 touchdowns, but he was not alone, as Joseph Randle paced the Oklahoma State rushing attack with 138 yards rushing and 4 total touchdowns on the day. The Cowboys offense finished with 533 yards of total offense on the day.

WHY OKLAHOMA STATE WON. The key factor in this game was turnovers. The Oklahoma State defense came into this contest leading the Big 12 conference with 20 takeaways on the season and it picked up 4 more thanks to Missouri quarterback James Franklin on Saturday. Three of the turnovers came at key points in the game as well and helped kill any momentum the Tigers had been building as they tried to get back into the game.

WHEN OKLAHOMA STATE WON. The back-breaking turnover came late in the third quarter. Missouri corner E.J. Gaines had intercepted a Brandon Weeden pass in the end zone and returned it to midfield to keep Missouri alive while trailing 31-17. A few plays later Missouri was inside the Cowboys' 10-yard line when James Franklin fumbled while faking a hand off to Henry Josey. Oklahoma State jumped on the ball and a few plays later Joseph Randle broke loose for a 59-yard touchdown run that sucked the life out of Faurot Field.

WHAT OKLAHOMA STATE WON. The computers used in the BCS rankings have been big fans of Oklahoma State all season, and I don't think that will change much following this win. The Cowboys may see a slight bump in their BCS ranking this week, but most importantly, they're still undefeated and control their own championship destiny for the rest of the season.

WHAT MISSOURI LOST. There's not much room for comfort left for the Tigers if they want to go bowling this year. Mizzou is 3-4 following this loss which means that it'll have to go 3-2 in its final 5 games to reach 6 wins. With road games against Texas A&M and Baylor, along with a date against Texas and a tough Texas Tech team still on the schedule, those three wins aren't going to come easily.
Posted on: October 22, 2011 3:40 pm
Edited on: October 22, 2011 4:10 pm
 

QUICK HITS: No. 7 Clemson 59, North Carolina 38

Posted by Chip Patterson

CLEMSON WON. North Carolina kept things close in the first half, but six Tar Heel turnovers and a 35-point third quarter turned this conference matchup ugly fast as the Tigers poured on the offense in a 59-38 victory. Tajh Boyd kept the fireworks going until the starters took a seat, completing 27 passes for 367 yards and five touchdowns, a rushing touchdown, and no interceptions.

HOW CLEMSON WON: While standout freshman Sammy Watkins has been stealing headlines this season, Saturday was truly a team effort from Clemson's offense. Fourteen different skill position players got touches on Saturday, but few had the impact of DeAndre "Nuke" Hopkins. Hopkins led the Tigers with nine receptions for a career-high 157 yards and a touchdown. He was one of five Clemson receivers to see the end zone in the blowout victory.

WHEN CLEMSON WON: After halftime, the Tigers made adjustments that paid off on the field in the third quarter. It only took the Tigers just over two minutes of game time to go 66 yards in five plays for the first of five touchdowns in the third quarter. Even when North Carolina kick returner T.J. Thorp took ran back a kickoff for a touchdown to cut Clemson's lead to 14, the Tigers answered with a Sammy Watkins 42 yard touchdown on the very next drive.

WHAT CLEMSON WON: More confidence in their ability to outscore the opponent. Tight end Dwayne Allen reportedly marched up and down the sideline at Maryland declaring they would score however many times they needed, and it looks as though they'll be able to do that on most of their remaining schedule. Only Georgia Tech's ability to keep the ball out of the Tigers' hands presents a real threat when looking at the rest of Clemson's conference schedule.

WHAT NORTH CAROLINA LOST: A lot of confidence in their offense. As explosive as Clemson offense was, North Carolina did a lot to keep themselves from winning on Saturday. The Tar Heels offense converted on only two of 12 third downs, going through almost three entire quarters without converting any. There were also six turnovers and nine penalties to add to the list of frustrations for interim head coach Everett Withers.

THAT WAS CRAZY: Clemson's high scoring effort was boosted by not one, but TWO touchdowns from redshirt senior defensive lineman Kourtnei Brown. The first pick six helped Clemson gain some momentum after being tied at 10 earlier in the second quarter, but the fumble recovery touchdown was adding insult to a 3+ touchdown lead. Making Brown's day even more impressive was tipping the pass that became Renner's third interception of the day.



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Posted on: October 22, 2011 3:35 pm
Edited on: October 22, 2011 3:36 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Kansas State 59 Kansas 14

Posted by Tom Fornelli

KANSAS STATE WON. The surprise team of the Big 12, if not the entire country, improved to 7-0 on the season with a relatively easy victory over its in-state rival Kansas. Things seemed close for the first 30 minutes of this contest, but the Wildcats would blow the doors off this one early in the third quarter. Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein did most of the damage for Bill Snyder's team, throwing for 195 yards and rushing for another 92. He also had 5 total touchdowns on the day, 4 of which came on the ground. 

WHY KANSAS STATE WON. Kansas State is a better team than Kansas, first and foremost, but facing the Kansas defense didn't hurt matters either. The Jayhawks have now played seven games this season, and the least amount of points scored against it in any contest was 24 by McNeese State.

WHEN KANSAS STATE WON. Late in the second quarter Kansas put together a nice drive to cut the deficit to 28-14 with only 14 seconds left on the clock. After kicking off a blown coverage led to a 48-yard pass by Klein to Tyler Lockett that set up a field goal as the half expired. Lockett then began the third quarter with 97-yard touchdown return. Kansas then fumbled inside its own 10-yard line following that kick return and Kansas State scored again two plays later. What was a 28-14 game became 45-14 in the blink of an eye.

WHAT KANSAS STATE WON. Another victory may put the Wildcats in the top 10 of the BCS standings this week, but that will depend on what happens with the teams currently ranked above them. What's more important to Kansas State at this point is that it's still undefeated and that it put a big time hurting on its rival for the second year in a row.

WHAT KANSAS LOST. I'm not saying I'd agree with it if it were to happen, but this game could wind up costing Turner Gill his job soon enough. Nobody was expecting Gill to turn Kansas into a powerhouse, but nobody expected the Jayhawks to be this bad, either. Making matters worse, in his two games against rival Kansas State, Gill's team has now been outscored 118-28.

THAT WAS CRAZY. That crazy scoring run I described from Kansas State earlier in the post? Well, halftime took place between the scores, but as far as game time is concerned, it took Kansas State only 1 minute and 21 seconds to put 17 points on the board.
Posted on: October 21, 2011 11:32 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Syracuse 49, No. 11 West Virginia 23

Posted by Chip Patterson

SYRACUSE WON. With an aggressive pass rush and methodical ball control, Syracuse bullied No. 11 West Virginia for four quarters on the way to a 49-23 victory at home on Friday night. Quarterback Ryan Nassib led a efficient, mistake-free Orange offense to 441 total yards of offense one of the Big East's best defensive units. The Orange also won the time of possession, finishing with 35:26 compared to West Virginia's 23:04. Mountaineers' head coach Dana Holgorsen is used to his team starting slow, and not owning the clock; but in most of the cases before Friday it resulted in victories.

HOW SYRACUSE WON: By keeping West Virginia's offense off the field, the Mountaineers were never able to develop a rhythm of establish any kind of continuity. The Orange converted on 12 of 16 third downs, and put up 11+ plays on three different touchdown drives. Inside runs, play action roll outs, and lots of tight end completions kept the Orange chipping away each drive. It wore down West Virginia's defense and combined with Syracuse's pass rush led to the victory for Doug Marrone's squad.

WHEN SYRACUSE WON: On the final play of the third quarter, Geno Smith dropped back and was picked off by Philip Thomas for his second interception of the game. The play came just after Ryan Nassib had completed his third touchdown pass to a wide open tight end (four touchdowns were accounted for by tight ends) to make it 35-16. All of the momentum was swinging Syracuse's way, and the Mountaineers needed a spark to get back into the game. Instead Smith's second interception set the Carrier Dome into a frenzy at the break, and Syracuse ran with the momentum to a victory.

WHAT SYRACUSE WON: A signature win for the Doug Marrone era. Last season's bowl appearance was a huge success for the former Orange offensive lineman, but much was credited to the play of the seniors. In what was considered to be a rebuilding year, Syracuse has jumped out a 5-2 start with a win over arguably the league's most talented team. There were 45,000+ in the Carrier Dome to witness the victory, one of the largest crowds since Marrone took over as head coach.

WHAT WEST VIRGINIA LOST: Their frontrunner status in the Big East, and likely 10+ spots in the polls. In the round-robin conference format with no title game, the only way for West Virginia to control their BCS destiny was to finish undefeated in Big East play. Two games in, that position of power has already been stripped. Only Cincinnati sits undefeated in the Big East standings, and after watching the Mountaineers and Rutgers on Friday night, the Bearcats better be ready to bring their best on Saturday.

THAT WAS CRAZY: As pointed out below, West Virginia has been a slow starting team all season. At the end of the first quarter, there was this observation. But unlike most of the previous games on the schedule, the Mountaineers were not able to climb back from this deficit. In fact, they let it get out of hand rather quickly.



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