Tag:Quick Hits
Posted on: October 1, 2011 11:45 pm
Edited on: October 1, 2011 11:45 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Notre Dame 38 Purdue 3

Posted by Tom Fornelli

NOTRE DAME WON. Notre Dame finally looked like the team it was hoping to be this year, and all it took was a date against Purdue to do so. This game was never really in doubt as the Irish scored a touchdown within the first 30 seconds of the opening kickoff, and finished the night with 549 yards of total offense. The majority of that damage came on the ground, as well, with Cierre Wood rushing for 192 yards and a touchdown while Jonas Gray rushed for 93 yards and a score of his own. Tommy Rees threw for 3 touchdowns and Michael Floyd returned to form with 12 receptions for 137 yards.

HOW NOTRE DAME WON. To put it simply, Notre Dame just has a lot more talent on its roster than Purdue does, and unlike the first four games of the Irish season, the Domers didn't hurt themselves with turnovers. That's right, for the first time this season, Notre Dame played a full 60 minutes without turning the ball over. And it was also the best that the Irish have looked all season. Coincidence? I don't think so.

WHEN NOTRE DAME WON. This one was over early. Purdue quarterback Caleb TerBush's first pass of the evening was picked off after he tried to force a bad throw into coverage, and two plays later Tommy Rees was connecting with Michael Floyd on a 35-yard touchdown. It was only 24 seconds into the game, but after those first three plays, you already had the feeling that Notre Dame wasn't going to have a lot of trouble on Saturday night.

WHAT NOTRE DAME WON. It's always nice for Notre Dame to beat an in-state rival, but really this is a game that the Irish should have won. Of course, considering the trouble that the Irish had in their first four games, coming out and dominating a team that it should dominate is a good sign. Outside of games with USC and Stanford, Notre Dame is through the toughest part of its schedule this year, and a 9-win campaign isn't completely out of the question.

WHAT PURDUE LOST. Purdue fans seemed to take exception to Brian Kelly's comments that this game was Purdue's "Super Bowl" earlier in the week, and I hope those Purdue fans were right, because if this was Purdue's Super Bowl, then there's a lot to worry about in West Lafayette this season. Purdue is now 2-2 on the year, and looking at the rest of its schedule and the way this team has played, it's hard to see the Boilermakers getting much more than 4 wins this season.

THAT WAS CRAZY. I repeat, Notre Dame played a full game without turning the ball over.
Posted on: October 1, 2011 11:39 pm
Edited on: October 2, 2011 12:04 am
 

QUICK HITS: No. 3 Alabama 38, No. 12 Florida 10

Posted by Jerry Hinnen



ALABAMA WON: John Brantley's untimely injury might have made the final score more lopsided, but we don't think we're on much of a limb when we say it wouldn't have changed the final outcome, not with the Tide continuing to hit on just as many cylinders -- go ahead and call it "all of them" -- as they did in routing Arkansas the week before. Bruising ground game? Check, with Trent Richardson rolling to 181 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns. Stifling defense? Check, with the Gators gaining all of 162 yards and scoring all of 3 points in the 59:41 following their 65-yard touchdown on the game's first play from scrimmage. Big-play opportunism? Check, as Courtney Upshaw's 45-yard pick-six two minutes into second quarter ended the Gators' early momentum for good.

Check, check, check, checkmate.

WHY ALABAMA WON: Here's a statistic that illustrates the Tide's physical dominance over a team that itself had gotten off to a mighty physical start: Florida has outrushed its first four opponents by an average of 259 to 56, then was outrushed itself 226 to 15 by the Tide. Until an opponent finds some way of standing up to the Tide on both lines of scrimmage, three-touchdown victories are going to continue to be the norm.

But even so, an opponent like Florida might have at least been able to stay competitive if AJ McCarron had continued living up to his preseason (and early-season) reputation for the occasional wayward pass or poor decision. Sorry, Gators: McCarron only threw for 5.6 yards an attempt, but he continued to make nothing but safe, effective throws and the Tide finished the game without a turnover.

WHEN ALABAMA WON: The Tide likely already had all the points and all the lead they would need once they went up 24-10 in the second quarter. But Brantley's injury -- on yet another huge play by Upshaw -- made that all but official. At that point the only questions were how many yards Richardson could rack up and how many touchdowns the Tide would win by.

WHAT ALABAMA WON: Surely, a few more first-place votes. But unless Tyler Bray plays the game of his life in a few weeks, the Tide have also now cleared the only serious hurdle between themselves and rolling undefeated into the Game of the Year against LSU in November.

WHAT FLORIDA LOST: In the record books and SEC standings, not all that much, really; South Carolina's loss means they could maintain the favorite's role in the SEC East, and this was never the sort of team that could really dream about running the table to a crystal football. 

But if Brantley is out for any extended period of time, that is as major a loss as they come. Jeff Driskel is a fine, fine prospect, but he's shown little to date that indicates he's ready to navigate the final three-quarters of an SEC schedule. As iffy as Carolina and Georgia have looked, if the Gators are forced to make do without their starting quarterback, the East door will be wide, wide open.

Posted on: October 1, 2011 11:10 pm
Edited on: October 1, 2011 11:10 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Texas 37 Iowa State 14

Posted by Tom Fornelli

TEXAS WON. The Longhorns are slowly starting to resemble the Longhorns of old these last few weeks. Texas had a rather easy time with a quality opponent on the road for the second game in a row, this time handing Iowa State its first loss of the season. The Texas offense wasn't fantastic, as it totalled only 400 yards of offense on the night, and went 4-of-14 on third downs, but it protected the ball and took advantage of opportunities it was given. On the other side of the ball, Texas forced three early turnovers to help put Iowa State in a deep hole early, and stymied the Cyclones offense for most of the night.

HOW TEXAS WON. With early help from Iowa State. The Cyclones turned the ball over three times in the first quarter which helped the Longhorns jump out to a 13-0 lead in the first fifteen minutes. The Longhorns would take a 34-0 lead into the locker room at halftime after the Iowa State offense failed to get anything going in the second quarter.

WHEN TEXAS WON. While the Longhorns had to be disappointed that they were only up 13-0 after forcing three turnovers in the first quarter, when David Ash hit Mike Davis for a 48-yard touchdown to put Texas up 20-0 early in the second quarter, Iowa State was on life support. Josh Turner then pulled the plug on the Cyclones when he scooped up a blocked punt and took it 34 yards to the house to make it 27-0 six minutes later.

WHAT TEXAS WON. Texas is getting its confidence back. It had to feel nice to get a bit of revenge against Iowa State after the Cyclones beat the Longhorns in Austin last season. More importantly for Texas, although the team is not fully back to the form we've grown accustomed to seeing over the last decade, this is a team that looks like it's starting to believe in itself again. Ever since Garrett Gilbert was replaced with Ash and Case McCoy, the team has looked a lot smoother, and with a game against Oklahoma looming on the schedule next Saturday, that confidence couldn't have come at a better time.

WHAT IOWA STATE LOST. Iowa State had to be feeling pretty good about itself after picking up wins over Iowa and UConn in its last two games, but it got a bit of a wake up call on Saturday night. This is a team that is improving under Paul Rhoads, but it also showed us on Saturday that it's a team that's not exactly ready to compete for a Big 12 title yet. Of course, that doesn't mean that the Cyclones can't make some noise in the Big 12 this year, and a bowl berth is still in play as long as the Cyclones can shake this loss off.
Posted on: October 1, 2011 10:34 pm
Edited on: October 1, 2011 10:35 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Oklahoma 62 Ball State 6

Posted by Tom Fornelli

OKLAHOMA WON. And boy did it. This was exactly the kind of game you'd expect out of a national title contender against a MAC school. The Sooners racked up 655 yards of total offense in this game, even though it removed most of its starters in the fourth quarter. Landry Jones had a Heisman-padding performance, throwing for 425 yards, 5 touchdowns and an interception. Dominique Whaley also rushed for 109 yards and 2 touchdowns while Jaz Reynolds caught 5 passes for 141 yards with a score and Ryan Broyles caught 4 passes for 109 yards and 2 touchdowns.

On defense, safety Tony Jefferson went about earning himself the Big 12 Defensive Player Of the Week Award by picking off 3 Keith Wenning passes. Oklahoma's defense forced 4 turnovers overall, and held Ball State to only 214 yards of offense.

HOW OKLAHOMA WON. By completely overwhelming Ball State on both sides of the ball. Oklahoma has a pretty big game against Texas next week, and they made this game look like a scrimmage in preparation for it.

WHEN OKLAHOMA WON. Ball State hung around with Oklahoma for the first 17 minutes, trailing only 10-6 early in the second quarter, but once Dominique Whaley scored a 25-yard touchdown to make it 17-6, this one was over.

WHAT OKLAHOMA WON. A game on the schedule and nothing more. It wasn't a conference game, and drilling a MAC school isn't going to do much to impress voters and help the Sooners overtake LSU in the AP poll.

WHAT BALL STATE LOST. I don't think it would be fair to say that Ball State lost anything in this game. It was a huge underdog coming into Norman, and no one was expecting all that much. Sure, losing this badly hurts any player's pride, but Ball State is still undefeated in the MAC and has wins over Indiana, Buffalo and Army that it can be proud of. The Cardinals will be fine and could still make some noise in the MAC this year.
Posted on: October 1, 2011 9:29 pm
Edited on: October 1, 2011 11:41 pm
 

QUICK HITS: No. 13 Clemson 23, No. 11 VT 3



Posted by Chip Patterson

CLEMSON WON. The Tigers have stepped up to every challenge this season, and for the first time in school history have defeated three straight ranked opponents. The 23-3 victory over Virginia Tech came thanks to a dominating defensive performance and enough just enough big plays from Tajh Boyd and Chad Morris' offense. While freshman standout Sammy Watkins was mostly held in check by Virginia Tech's secondary, tight end Dwayne Allen was once again a reliable target - hauling in four catches for 75 yards and a touchdown to lead the Tigers.

HOW CLEMSON WON: As great as Clemson's offense has been in the last two weeks, the victory over Virginia Tech was in large part thanks to the defense. The Hokies were held to just 258 total yards of offense, and held touchdown-less for the first time since 2006. The Tigers pressured quarterback Logan Thomas relentlessly, forcing him out of the pocket and sacking him on four occasions. Andre Branch, in particular, was a monster in the second half preventing the Hokies from getting back into the game.

WHEN CLEMSON WON: Virginia Tech's first drive of the second half stalled at the Clemson 45 yard line. When punter Scott Demler tried to pin the Tigers deep in their own territory, he ended up with an embarrassing 11 yard punt that was downed at the 34. The next three plays ended Virginia Tech's evening. Tajh Boyd 27 yard pass to Brown, Ellington seven yard run, Boyd to tight end Dwayne Allen for a 32-yard touchdown. With the Hokies' offensive struggles, there was little hope for a two touchdown comeback in the second half.

WHAT CLEMSON FORCE WON: Validation. Before the season this set of games (Auburn, Florida State, Virginia Tech) was supposed to give us an idea of how good Clemson was going to be this season. Perhaps they would win two, and hopefully stay competitive in all three. The Tigers have proved any and all doubters wrong (for the time being) by knocking off

WHAT VIRGINIA TECH LOST: Respect. The defending ACC champions kicked off their season with a cushy non-conference schedule that posed little threat to their status. But the Hokies were exposed on Saturday night, particularly on the offensive end. Combined with Georgia Tech's fast start, Virginia Tech's performance might have removed them from consideration as Coastal Division favorites.

THAT WAS CRAZY: Virginia Tech's inability to find the end zone against the Tigers was rare. In fact, the last time the Hokies did not score a touchdown at home was against Cincinnati in 1995. Another crazy fact? Clemson becomes the first ACC team in league history to beat three straight ranked teams. Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech have done it, but neither were members at the time.

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Posted on: October 1, 2011 8:11 pm
Edited on: October 1, 2011 8:23 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Auburn 16, No. 10 South Carolina 13

Posted by Jerry Hinnen



AUBURN WON: Under Gene Chizik, Auburn has repeatedly found ways to win when they don't play well, fall behind, or look overmatched. Under Steve Spurrier -- and, to be fair, nearly every South Carolina coach before him -- the Gamecocks have repeatedly put themselves in position to make national noise only to fall victim to the upset they should have been able to see coming. So it played out again today in Columbia, as a touchdown pass from Barrett Trotter to tight end Phillip Lutzenkirchen with 1:38 remaining gave Auburn the win despite a terrible day from Trotter (12-of-23, 4.9 yards per-attempt, 2 INTs) and a bevy of missed Auburn opportunities in Gamecock territory. Michael Dyer outshone Marcus Lattimore, outrushing the erstwhile Heisman candidate 141 to 66--albeit with the help of a Lattimore-esque 41 carries.

WHY AUBURN WON: Because as terrible as Trotter was, Garcia was arguably even worse. The senior completed just 9 of his 22 passes for all of 160 yards, with one touchdown and two typically ugly interceptions. Remove a second-quarter 50-yard scoring bomb to an otherwise-quiet Alshon Jeffery and Garcia averaged all of 5.2 yards per-attempt against what few will debate is one of the SEC's most flammable secondaries. 

With Garcia struggling, Auburn was allowed to tee off on Lattimore, holding the All-American to a pedestrian 3.9 yards per-carry on just 17 attempts. As for that latter number, Carolina fans will no doubt wonder why Lattimore wasn't fed the ball more often, particularly with the Gamecocks facing 1st-and-10 on their own 30 in the fourth quarter, up 13-9. Spurrier called for passes on both first and second down, with the result an incompletion and a sack. Carolina would have the field flipped on them following Auburn's next punt, starting at their own 12, and the Tigers would go on to start their ensuing possession on their own 43. Result: the game-winning touchdown drive.

To be fair to Auburn, though, they've made a habit of corralling Lattimore even when Garcia is playing well. (And to be fair to Spurrier, a first down handoff to Lattimore on that possession that began at the 12 lost two yards.) After three career games against the Tigers, Lattimore still has only 183 combined rushing yards--no doubt the biggest reason Auburn has gone 3-0 in those meetings.

WHEN AUBURN WON: Not until the Gamecocks' final desperation drive ended with Bruce Ellington being tackled in-bounds at the Auburn 30 and time expiring. But should it have? The gain was good enough for a first down and Ellington appeared to be tackled with 2 seconds left on the clock. But with the whistle blowing late, the officials elected not to put any time back on the clock for a last-gasp try. Gamecock fans will no doubt howl, though running the field goal unit on for a successful 47-yard try with no timeouts -- as would have happened if the play had been whistled correctly -- would have been quite the accomplishment.

WHAT AUBURN WON: Somehow, some way, Auburn's 11th straight game decided by a single possession. At 4-1 and 2-0 in the SEC, the Tigers have all but wrapped up a bowl berth -- not a given when the season began -- and could even crack the polls next week. The 13 points for Carolina is also a vindication for embattled defensive coordinator Ted Roof, whose unit had come under serious fire after their lackluster start to the season.

WHAT SOUTH CAROLINA LOST: With the Gamecocks' upcoming schedule (at Tennessee, at Arkansas, vs. Florida), any realistic hopes of wedging their way into the national title picture is almost certainly gone. Losing to a double-digit underdog at home won't do anything for their SEC East hopes, either; even after the win in Georgia, their margin-for-error in the divisional race is now eliminated. Oh, and Spurrier can only hold off the quarterback controversy for so long with Garcia playing like this. We think that's it.

THAT WAS CRAZY: No play more epitomized the often Keystone Cop-style display from both teams than the hideous interception thrown by Trotter into double coverage to Gamecock corner C.C. Whitlock (just three plays after Garcia's own wounded duck pick) ... only for Whitlock to get the ball stripped by Lutzenkirchen during the return, handing it right back to the Tigers. The drive would end, naturally, in a horrible lofted pass by Trotter to the back of Carolina's end zone, which was picked off by ... C.C. Whitlock.


Posted on: October 1, 2011 7:25 pm
Edited on: October 1, 2011 7:26 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Kansas State 36 Baylor 35

Posted by Tom Fornelli

KANSAS STATE WON. I don't think many people were giving Kansas State that much of a chance against Baylor this weekend, even after the Wildcats picked up a win on the road against Miami last weekend, but you have to believe that Kansas State may have converted some doubters on Saturday afternoon. It wasn't always pretty, and Kansas State wasted a few opportunities, but by the time the final second ticked off the clock the Wildcats had earned a 36-35 win over a ranked Baylor team to improve to 4-0 on the season.

HOW KANSAS STATE WON. It kept Robert Griffin in check, and that might not make sense if you look at Griffin's final stat line. He finished the game with 343 yards passing and 5 touchdowns, but there were also plenty of drives where Griffin and the Bears couldn't do anything. Kansas State's defense also forced 3 Baylor turnovers on the afternoon, including the first interception that Griffin through all season. That interception by Arthur Brown came with under 5 minutes to go in the game and gave Kansas State the ball inside the Baylor 20-yard line. Kansas State only got a field goal out of it -- the 3 turnovers the Wildcats forced only led to 6 points -- but that field goal was good enough to give Kansas State a 36-35 lead.

WHEN KANSAS STATE WON. It wasn't until a pass by Griffin on 4th and 2 was broken up at the line of scrimmage in the final minute that this one was iced. Kansas State's defense gave up yards and points on Saturday, but it really came through when the team needed it to the most in the fourth quarter.

WHAT KANSAS STATE WON. Kansas State earned a bit of respect after beating Miami last week, and was on the periphery of the polls this week. You have to think that beating a Baylor team that was ranked 15th in the AP poll will be enough to get Kansas State into the Top 25 on Sunday. More important than the rankings, however, is the fact that Kansas State is off to a 4-0 start and a 1-0 start in the Big 12. Bill Snyder has the Manhattan Magic going again.

WHAT BAYLOR LOST. This game could prove to be quite costly for the Bears. Sure, it's only one conference game, but odds are a loss against Kansas State was more than Baylor could afford if it had any shot of winning the Big 12 this season. This loss could also put a dent in Robert Griffin's Heisman campaign, because even though he had a great day overall, it was still his interception at the end of the game that led to the Kansas State victory.

THAT WAS CRAZY. Generally there's a lot of crazy in any game involving Baylor, but what stood out to me the play call on 4th and 2 in the final minutes. A tunnel screen on 4th and 2, Art Briles? Really? When you have Robert Griffin you don't even want to call a play that would allow him a chance to run for the first down? That makes no sense to me.
Posted on: October 1, 2011 6:55 pm
Edited on: October 1, 2011 10:20 pm
 

QUICK HITS: No. 21 Georgia Tech 45, NC State 35

Posted by Chip Patterson

GEORGIA TECH WON. In an odd game with both teams scoring in bunches, the Yellow Jackets jumped out to big leads twice to hold off N.C. State for a 45-35 win in Raleigh.  Orwin Smith led the way offensively with 73 yards and three touchdowns, while the defense forced a crucial Mike Glennon interception in the fourth quarter.  With the backups on the field, this game kept going until the final whistle thanks to a late scoring drive led by Wolfpack freshman quarterback Tyler Brosius.  

HOW GEORGIA TECH WON: High scores have not been uncommon for the Yellow Jackets this season, but it was scoring in bunches that helped them to victory on Saturday.  A 21-point burst to start the game and another one to start the fourth quarter gave Georgia Tech enough breathing room to keep a relentless Wolfpack team at bay.  The outcome was up in the air on several occasions, but the deficit they created was too much for N.C. State to make up.

WHEN GEORGIA TECH WON: The Yellow Jackets opened up the fourth quarter by polishing off an extensive scoring drive to pull ahead 28-14.  On the ensuing Wolfpack drive, Mike Glennon was picked off by Isaiah Johnson - who returned the inteception for a touchdown.  The combination of the gritty scoring drive and pick-six back-to-back put the game away for Georgia Tech.

WHAT GEORGIA TECH WON: The respect of the ACC.  With Miami continuing to struggle with consistency, it looks like the 2-0 Yellow Jackets might be frontrunners in the ACC Coastal Division.  The road test against the Wolfpack put Paul Johnson's squad at risk of an upset, and they answered with game-changing turnovers and deflating scoring plays.  The only negative from Saturday's test might be the health of linebacker Jeremiah Attaouchu, who left the game with a right leg injury.  

WHAT N.C. STATE LOST: The Wolfpack fans suffered the worst kind of loss on Saturday.  After charging back from an early 21-0 deficit, N.C. State looked very much in the game into the fourth quarter.  However, after Mike Glennon's pick six and Roddy Jones' 38-yard touchdown reception the fans in Carter-Finley started heading for the exits.  But the fans don't play the games, and the team has a lot of good they can take away from this game.  The long drives and hard running from James Washington should be signs of good thigns to come from a Glennon-led offense, and a thin defense stepped up after giving up the three fast scores.

THAT WAS CRAZY: N.C. State's extended injury report had many believing the Wolfpack had little chance of victory against the high-powered Yellow Jackets.  Ball control with the rushing game and the defense were two areas of concern heading into the contest.  For three quarters, those two facets of N.C. State's play were what was keeping the game close.  The thin defense found ways to slow down Geogia Tech, including a goal line stand on 4th and 1 and holding the Yellow Jackets to their second-lowest rushing total on the season.  

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