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Tag:Quick Hits
Posted on: September 17, 2011 9:25 pm
Edited on: September 18, 2011 1:32 am
 

QUICK HITS: No. 10 South Carolina 24, Navy 21

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

SOUTH CAROLINA WON: It wasn't the Gamecocks' infamous 1984 upset loss to the Midshipmen, one that denied Carolina the No. 1 ranking and an Orange Bowl berth. But it wasn't a lot better, as Carolina gave up 274 yards on the ground to the Navy triple-option and trailed 21-17 early in the fourth quarter before getting two late stops for the win. Marcus Lattimore was a one-man wrecking crew, running for a career-high 246 yards and three touchdowns on 37 brutal carries.

WHY SOUTH CAROLINA WON: Just one reason, in the end, and we'll give you a hint: it rhymes with "Blarcus Blattiblore."

Sure, the Gamecocks got an efficient-enough performance from Stephen Garcia (18-of-25, 204 yards), minus one wretched second-half red zone interception; sure, they committed just that one turnover and won the time-of-possession battle against a team that thrives on burning clock; sure, new placekicker Jay Wooten further cemented a hot start with a key 48-yarder. But given all the success the Midshipmen enjoyed in the option and the palpable sense of pressure in Williams-Brice Stadium once the visitors took their late four-point lead, it's safe to say the Gamecocks simply don't win this game without the nation's best running back (yeah, we said it) seizing the game by the throat and refusing to let it go.

Carolina's game-winning touchdown drive spanned 15 plays; Lattimore touched the ball on 11 of those. He is, as the kids say, the man.

WHEN SOUTH CAROLINA WON: Though Navy was never likely to drive from their own 6 into field goal range after taking over with just 5:36 to play, no one in Columbia breathed easy until quarterback Kriss Proctor's 4th-and-7 pass was picked off by Antonio Allen with under 2 minutes to play. Proctor had already bailed the Mids out once on the possession with a 4th-and-15 conversion, but Jadeveon Clowney wreaking havoc in the backfield meant a second miracle was out of reach.

WHAT SOUTH CAROLINA WON: Won? Well, they're 3-0, and they "won" the right to not have a matched set of upsets at the hands of Navy shoved in their face for forever. But Steve Spurrier can't be happy after such a narrow escape at home--particularly after he admitted his team was "outplayed" a week ago at Georgia.

WHAT NAVY LOST: A chance at a potential season-making upset and arguably the biggest win of Ken Niumatalolo's career. But there's no doubt the Midshipmen gained a ton of respect, both in Columbia and across the SEC, for having pushed a top-10 team to its limit.



Posted on: September 17, 2011 8:01 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Nebraska 51, Washington 38

Posted by Adam Jacobi

NEBRASKA WON: The 11th ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers turned on the jets on offense early and often against Washington, and the end result was a 51-38 victory in front of its home crowd. QB Taylor Martinez hooked up with Kenny Bell on a 50-yard completion (seen at right) on the game's first play from scrimmage, then found Tyler Legate on the next play for a 3-yard touchdown, 34 seconds into the game.

WHY NEBRASKA WON: Washington partisans would loudly proclaim "BECAUSE OF THE REFEREES" to answer that question, and they might have a point (more on this later). The truth is, though, Nebraska won because it was able to grind out over 300 yards on the ground in 55 carries, gaining positive yardage on 52 of those 55 attempts and keeping the sticks moving at ease.

WHEN NEBRASKA WON: It looked like the game was safely in hand when Nebraska opened up the fourth quarter scoring with a 6-yard score by Aaron Green, but it wasn't until a Washington onside kick attempt failed and Nebraska responded with a five-run, 57-yard touchdown drive to make it 51-31 that the game was safely in hand for the Cornhuskers. 

WHAT NEBRASKA WON: For Cornhusker fans, this script of struggling with an opponent for most of the first half -- if not longer -- must be getting tiresome, and this is the third straight week where the Huskers have not lived up to their lofty ranking. Still, wins are wins, and wins over teams with the cachet of Washington and Fresno State are likely more helpful for the Huskers' development through the season than if they'd just taken a stroll through Cupcake Alley for all three games thus far (next week's opponent is, um, Wyoming, but that game's at least on the road).

WHAT WASHINGTON LOST: Washington fans will rue the litany of penalties that plagued its special teams efforts, and that inarguably altered the course of today's game. All in all, Washington was called for three kick catch interference penalties -- two on punts -- and Nebraska took advantage of short fields on the three resultant possessions for a total of 17 points. In fact, Washington could have led at the half, as the Huskies punted late in the first half, then recovered the loose ball when the punt glanced off the returner's leg. Improbably, the referees called a phantom interference on the play, and Nebraska used the rest of the half to put together a drive for a field goal. The Huskers would not relinquish the lead.

THAT WAS CRAZY: Not all of Washington's special teams woes came via the penalty. After Rex Burkhead scored on a one-yard dive early in the third quarter, Washington KR Bishop Sankey muffed the return on what should have been a simple touchback, and Sankey and fellow returner Kevin Smith bungled the recovery until Nebraska came up with the ball at the 1. Next snap: Rex Burkhead, one-yard dive, touchdown -- his second in nine seconds. 
Posted on: September 17, 2011 7:38 pm
 

QUICK HITS: No. 13 Virginia Tech 26, Ark. St. 7

Posted by Chip Patterson

VIRGINIA TECH WON. Virginia Tech jumped out to a 23-7 halftime lead, and kept the visiting Arkansas State Red Wolves at bay until the final buzzer sounded on the 26-7 victory. Cornerback Jayron Hosley picked off Ryan Aplin twice, and the Hokies defense held the Red Wolves to 63 rushing yards on the afternoon.

HOW VIRGNIA TECH WON: The Red Wolves came out firing, connecting on a deep pass and scoring on their first possession. After that score, Virginia Tech's defense did not allow much of anything from Hugh Freeze's team. Hosley's two interceptions compliment a seven tackle afternoon to lead that talented defensive unit. On the offensive side Danny Coale pulled in a career-high seven catches for 128 yards and a touchdown. But after halftime the Hokies offense staggered, and was only able put a single field goal on the scoreboard.

WHEN VIRGINIA TECH WON: Trailing 7-0 in the first quarter, Logan Thomas failed to convert on a 4th and Goal to tie the game. The defense took matters into their own hands, scoring the first points for the Hokies on a Ryan Aplin sack for a safety. Thomas took the cue from the defense, and connected with D.J. Coles on a 49 yard touchdown the next drive. After the Hokies took the lead they never looked back.

WHAT VIRGINIA TECH WON: Logan Thomas got another game under his belt. The sophomore starter has not been particularly impressive three games into the season, but you can see him improving. There were some ill-advised passes on Saturday (two of which were picked off), but there were also some great reads and well-placed balls. Every game is more experience for Thomas, and getting a win along the way always helps the confidence.

WHAT ARKANSAS STATE LOST:Not a ton. Arkansas State started 10 of their 12 drives inside their own 30 yard line, and both of their most impressive offensive drives ended in Hosley interceptions. Defensively they were able to keep David Wilson from breaking the big play, and they frustrated Logan Thomas enough to force some mistakes. Not a terrible outing for Hugh Freeze and the Red Wolves.

THAT WAS CRAZY: After the first half had interceptions, long touchdowns, and even a safety; the second half was pretty uneventful. One field goal in the third quarter and a lot of punting. The Hokies have shown they can make it very difficult for a team to move the ball, but they seem to be struggling to with that themselves as well..

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Posted on: September 17, 2011 7:21 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Notre Dame 31 Michigan State 13

Posted by Tom Fornelli

NOTRE DAME WON. It took three games, but Notre Dame finally put together a complete performance and didn't shoot itself in the foot repeatedly. Though it should be pointed out that Notre Dame still managed to turn the ball over three times in victory, but they weren't the crippling turnovers that we've grown accustomed to seeing from the Irish. Also, the Notre Dame defense did a fantastic job of shutting down a Michigan State offense that looked very strong in its first two games.

WHY NOTRE DAME WON. Defense. Defense, and then a little more defense. Michigan State came into South Bend averaging 36 points and 415 yards per game. Notre Dame held the Spartan attack to 358 yards, and more importantly, only 13 points. What was truly impressive, however, was that Notre Dame held the Spartans to 29 yards rushing on 23 attempts. The Spartans came into the game averaging 173.5 yards per game on the ground.

WHEN NOTRE DAME WON. For a few moments in the fourth quarter it looked like the dark clouds were beginning to hover over Notre Dame Stadium one more time. With a 28-13 lead and less than 5 minutes to go, the Irish forced the Spartans to punt on a 4th and 17. That's when sure-handed punt returner John Goodman muffed the punt and Michigan State recovered inside the Notre Dame 20. However, instead of disaster for the Irish, it was disaster for the Spartans a few plays later when Kirk Cousins was picked off by Robert Blanton at the goal line. Blanton's 82-yard return set up the final Notre Dame field goal of the day, and put an end to any possible collapse.

WHAT NOTRE DAME WON. It got the monkey of the first two weeks of its back. Now instead of focusing on everything that went wrong for the next seven days, the Irish can finally focus on what went right as they prepare to head east to Pittsburgh to take on the Panthers next week.

WHAT MICHIGAN STATE LOST. A bit of respect. Not that losing to Notre Dame on the road is anything to be ashamed of, but while Michigan State looked very impressive in its first two games, it did so against FAU and Youngstown State. In the Spartans first true test of the season the team did not fare all that well, and frankly, looked overmatched on both the offensive and defensive line at times. A likely win against Central Michigan won't do much to correct the team's perception next week and Michigan State will have to wait until its Big Ten opener against Ohio State to impress pollsters again.
Posted on: September 17, 2011 6:58 pm
Edited on: September 17, 2011 6:59 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Texas 49 UCLA 20

Posted by Tom Fornelli

TEXAS WON. The Longhorns got some revenge on the Bruins following last season's 34-12 loss in Austin, as the first game of the post-Garrett Gilbert Era went extremely well for Mack Brown and company. Thanks to the Texas offense limiting turnovers -- 1 of Texas' two fumbles came on a kick return -- and efficient performances from both Case McCoy and David Ash, along with another strong game from the Longhorns defense, Bevo and company never had to break much of a sweat.

WHY TEXAS WON. As I alluded to above, while the Texas offense didn't exactly blow the petals off the Rose Bowl, it was efficient and didn't make a lot of mistakes. It also took advantage of 4turnovers from the UCLA offense while using a nice balance of the running and passing attack. In fact, thanks largely to Fozzy Whittaker and Malcolm Brown, the Longhorns rushed for 287 yards. Keep getting performances like that out of the ground game, and it won't matter much who's playing quarterback.

WHEN TEXAS WON. The Longhorns jumped out to a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter which settled this one rather early, but things weren't really complete until the third quarter. That was when Fozzy Whittaker broke free for a 36-yard touchdown run to extend Texas' lead to 42-20 after UCLA had cut it to a two-possession game.

WHAT TEXAS WON. Confidence on offense. I don't want to kick Garrett Gilbert while he's down, but the simple fact of the matter is that the Texas offense has just looked a lot better since he was replaced by the combination of McCoy and Ash against BYU last week. It's not perfect by any means, and McCoy and Ash are bound to make mistakes at some point, but both are just doing a better job of executing Bryan Harsin's game plan right now. Most importantly, they aren't turning the ball over, and with Texas' defense, that goes a long way.

WHAT UCLA LOST. A chance for a big win against a strong program, and quite possibly a chance at a bowl game this season. UCLA begins Pac-12 play next week, and with road games against Stanford, Arizona, Utah and USC on the slate this year, the Bruins may find it pretty hard to pick up 5 more wins with their schedule. And if they don't, that won't bode well for Rick Neuheisel's shot of returning next season.
Posted on: September 17, 2011 6:42 pm
Edited on: September 17, 2011 6:48 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Wisconsin 49, Northern Illinois 7

Posted by Adam Jacobi

WISCONSIN WON. Russell Wilson ripped the Northern Illinois defense for 347 yards and three touchdowns on 23-32 passing, and Wisconsin rushed for 274 more yards in its 49-7 demolition of the Huskies on Saturday.

WHY WISCONSIN WON: Northern Illinois was simply no match for the physical Wisconsin offensive front, and the Huskies' attack on offense never really got into gear. It looked like just another MACrifice, really. Montee Ball got most of the carries (18 for 91 yards and 2 TDs) for Wisconsin's backfield today, but James White was a beast during his snaps (8 carries, 91 yards, 1 TD). No issues for Wisconsin here.

WHEN WISCONSIN WON: This game wasn't a foregone conclusion from the start, and NIU had played the game to a 7-7 tie late in the first quarter. But Wisconsin scored on a three-play, 51-yard drive to answer NIU's score, and then the Badgers engineered an easy 10-play, 97-yard drive on its next possession to remove all doubt about how this game would end.

WHAT WISCONSIN WON: For Wisconsin, this game was a de facto road test, as the Badgers met NIU at Chicago's Soldier Field with a decidedly mixed crowd on hand. The Badgers passed the test with flying colors, and Russell Wilson's ascension to the top of the Big Ten's hierarchy of quarterbacks continues unabated.

WHAT NORTHERN ILLINOIS LOST: For Northern Illinois, there's not a lot to feel bad about with this loss. Yes, it wasn't nearly as close as the 18-point line would have indicated, but NIU wasn't going to have a chance if Wisconsin was on its game, and there's no doubt the Badgers were rolling today. If nothing else, the NIU coaching staff can find the plays that worked, note that they came against the best team Northern Illinois is going to face all year, and build off that.

THAT WAS CRAZY: After NIU's first quarter score to tie the game at 7-7, the Huskies tried a surprise onside kick that caught Wisconsin slightly off-guard. Two Huskies appeared to get their hands on the ball after the kick, but the ball came loose and eventually Wisconsin recovered. That short field led to the aforementioned 51-yard drive and the pounding was on.

As a strategy, it's not entirely insane -- NIU head coach Dave Doeren had to figure that the difference between Wisconsin getting the ball at midfield and at its own 20 or 30 was small enough that shooting for an extra possession on the onside kick was worth it -- but if that's his thinking, he needed to employ the strategy more than once instead of giving up on it as a failed ploy. Of course, NIU only had one more opportunity to try it, thanks to the Wisconsin defense, but that was just a harmless kickoff to open the second half (one that led to, what else, a Wisconsin touchdown drive).

Posted on: September 17, 2011 3:49 pm
Edited on: September 17, 2011 3:54 pm
 

QUICK HITS: No. 18 West Virginia 37, Maryland 31

Posted by Chip Patterson

WEST VIRGINIA WON. West Virginia withstood a second half push from the Terps to hold on and escape College Park with a six point win. Geno Smith set a school record for completions (36) and racked up 388 yards passing, with three different receivers topping the 100 yard mark.

HOW WEST VIRGINIA WON: Despite the gaudy offensive statistics, the credit for the victory goes to defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel and the Mountaineers defense. After O'Brien carved up the Miami defense in the Terps' opener, West Virginia held Maryland's offense in check by swarming to the ball on short passes and holding on third down.

WHEN WEST VIRGINIA WON: With the ball around midfield and just under two minutes remaining, O'Brien had a pass picked off at the 13 yard line - his third interception of the game. He had completed five of six passes on the drive, but it was the second incompletion that sealed the Terps' fate.

WHAT WEST VIRGINIA WON: Maryland's second half comeback tested the Mountaineers, who now will prepare for a visit from No. 3 LSU. West Virginia defeated Marshall and Norfolk State by a combined 64 points, and it was a good experience for Smith to lead those fourth quarter drives with some extra pressure. Things will be much more difficult in the fourth quarter with that deep and relentless LSU defensive line on the other side of the ball.

WHAT MARYLAND LOST:A chance to build on their opening win momentum. Even with a week off, the college football world was still talking about Maryland and their uniforms heading into Week 3. If the purpose of the uniform combinations is to generate some attention, they have been doing their job. But the threads will not keep audiences tuned in alone, and the Terps could've used another impressive victory at home to change the story from aesthetics to athletics.

THAT WAS CRAZY: After struggling mightily in the ground game for two weeks, West Virginia was able to get 107 combined rushing yards from Andrew Buie, Vernard Roberts, and Shawne Alston. The game was Alston's first after suffering a neck injury this spring. He rushed for 248 yards in six games of action in 2010.

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Posted on: September 15, 2011 11:27 pm
Edited on: September 18, 2011 1:22 am
 

QUICK HITS: No. 3 LSU 19, No. 25 Miss. St. 6

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

LSU WON: The Tigers took their first drive 77 yards over 16 plays for a 3-0 lead, and though the homestanding Bulldogs tied the game twice, the ultimate outcome never seemed in doubt. Behind a steady, punishing ground game (148 yards) and a surprisingly efficient performance from Jarrett Lee (21-of-27, 213 yards), the Tiger offense eventually wore down the State defense and put the game out of reach with Lee's 19-yard touchdown pass to Rueben Randle with 11:56 left. The terror-inducing LSU defense, meanwhile, held the Bulldogs to 21 total yards in the second half and recorded an incredible 14 tackles-for-loss. 

WHY LSU WON: Obviously, it's tough to lose a football game when you only allow six points. The lion's share of the credit goes to John Chavis's defense and in particular the outrageous Tiger secondary, which held the Bulldogs to a miserable 5.6 yards per-attempt, saw Morris Claiborne come up with a highlight-reel interception, and forced multiple coverage sacks as Chris Relf dropped back and found no one to throw to.

But Lee deserves a round of applause as well. While the ground game (and tailback Spencer Ware in particular) slowly piled up the yards, the senior quarterback started out an impressive 10-of-11 and kept the Tiger offense balanced with a series of precision, chain-moving throws. Aside from one late ill-advised interception, Lee put together the kind of controlled, efficient performance that further cements the Tigers as legitimate national title contenders. If LSU vs. Alabama is a "mirror matchup" of ruthless defenses and powerful rushing attacks decided by which team has the better quarterback, the evidence of tonight's outing tilts it in favor of the Tigers.

WHEN LSU WON: The touchdown pass to Randle made it all but official, but the game turned on three State possessions in the third quarter--drives starting at the State 40, midfield, and the State 44, respectively. A touchdown on any of the three would have given the Bulldogs the lead, but instead the drives covered zero, 25, and 7 yards and generated just three points. The Randle TD followed immediately, and State was done.

WHAT LSU WON: The argument against LSU's national title bona fides (aside from the one that notes the Bayou Bengals have to go to Tuscaloosa later this season) has been that there was a loss waiting somewhere in the three-out-of-first-four stretch that included Oregon, Mississippi State and West Virginia. Now two of those three are behind Les Miles's team, and Chavis and his secondary will have an extra two days to prepare for Dana Holgorsen's aerial assault.

WHAT MISSISSIPPI STATE LOST: Between Thursday night's loss and last week's defeat in Auburn, it's official: State is once again out of the SEC West running and will be, at best, just another "dangerous" team hanging around the bottom half of the divisional standings. There's worse things to be (that's what they were in 2010, too, and they finished the year with a Gator Bowl championship), but this was supposed to be the season Dan Mullen turned the Bulldogs into something else. Not yet, as it turns out.



 
 
 
 
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