Posted on: October 16, 2011 2:00 am
Edited on: October 16, 2011 5:01 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
A handy recap of who really won and who really lost that you won't find in the box score.
WINNER: Sammy Watkins
Best freshman in the game? Best freshman in the game.
With 345 all-purpose yards, Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins broke C.J. Spiller's single game school record. Spiller re-wrote most of the offensive record book for the Tigers, and seven games into his collegiate career Watkins is already making a dent. The special teams play may become a non-factor as teams learn to kick away (as they did with Spiller), but there is just not an answer for a player of Watkins' caliber and potential at this point in the ACC. The freshman's combination of physical attributes and understanding of the game have been well documented, mostly by his coaches. Swinney started singing his praises days after his arrival on campus in the offseason, and never has his ability come in handy more than in leading the Tigers' greatest comeback in program history. Clemson still has plenty of challenges left between now and their ultimate goal of an ACC title, but I struggled to find a newcomer that has made a more significant impact on his team than Watkins.
LOSER: Clemson's not-so-kind reputation
Until proven otherwise, the Tigers' comeback has silenced Clemson's "watch them pull a Clemson" critics. The Tigers have started plenty of seasons with a talented roster that wows fans and experts alike, only to fall to an opponent they should defeat. Saturday night in College Park was the perfect opportunity to "pull a Clemson." But thanks to outstanding play of Boyd, Ellington, Watkins, and enough plays by the Brandon Thompson and the defense; they pulled a 2011 Clemson. The 2011 Clemson is an act that is not so dissimilar from a 2010 Auburn. They just find a way to win. Expecting a similar result to the Tigers' national title run is outrageous. But expecting a comparable finish (ACC title and BCS bowl win) might not be so crazy at this point.
WINNER: Jacory Harris
The oft-criticized Harris has been silencing the nay-sayers with his most recent performances against two talented defenses. Ever since halftime of Miami's loss to Virginia Tech, Harris has been sharp and on point with his delivery. Against North Carolina on Saturday, Harris got off to a fast start thanks to big plays from Allen Hurns and Tommy Streeter. The senior signal-caller torched North Carolina's secondary for 233 yards in the first half, a new career high. But even with an impressive production, the most important improvement has been his lack of turnovers. Harris' most frequently detrimental fault has been his tendency to misread a route and toss the ball to the opposing defense.
But since getting picked off in Miami's 28-24 loss to Kansas State, Harris has been perfect in the interceptions column. Miami could not afford to fall to 0-3 in the conference, and the Hurricanes got the fast start they needed to ensure it didn't happen in Chapel Hill. The win was a huge step forward for first-year head coach Al Golden, and another building block in Jacory Harris' final season with The U.
LOSER: Maryland's confidence
Quarterback controversies, suspensions for team rules, reports of locker room unrest - it's all been present in Maryland's roller coaster start to the Randy Edsall era. As the Terrapins pushed Clemson to the brink and had Byrd Stadium rocking like it was Labor Day all over again, it seemed like all of the issues were evaporating. A win over No. 8 Clemson could have been the jolt of positivity this team in transition has needed, but instead they suffered a deflating loss. Blowing an 18-point lead is no moral victory, and now the onus will be on Edsall to spin this into the best possible learning experience for Maryland. Sitting at 2-4 with plenty of ACC play left, the Terps are now in jeopardy of missing the postseason. Such a finish would not send great vibes through a program looking to rebrand around their new coach.
WINNER: The Mike London Movement
Throughout the offseason, there was a definitive buzz around second-year coach Mike London at Virginia. The former Richmond head man took the job as one of the touted young coaches in the game, but London's fast impact on the recruiting trail raised eyebrows across the nation. After a slow start, the happy feelings of hope around Virginia football seemed to have turned from a bubble to a fizz until the Cavaliers' upset win over No. 12 Georgia Tech on Saturday.
The Cavaliers got it done by winning the battle in the trenches, physically dominating the Yellow Jackets on the offensive and defensive line. That physical attitude is embodied in London's steadfast attitude towards his football team, and it showed on the big stage against the undefeated Yellow Jackets. With an off-week to prepare, the Cavaliers entered the game with an unwavering confidence defensively and held Georgia Tech to a season-low for rushing yards and total yards of offense. As the fans rushed the field, London celebrated the big win with his players. This might not be THE year for Virginia, but Cavs fans have to feel like they have found THE coach moving forward.
The Blue Devils walked into a losing situation facing Florida State after three straight losses. After losing three straight games over a four week span, the talented Seminoles roster was angry and looking for redemption. EJ Manuel got his first start since the Oklahoma game, and got to work early with three 50+ yard passes in the first quarter. The junior quarterback finished with 239 yards and two touchdowns on the day, sharing the spotlight with freshman running back Devonta Freeman. The lack of a consistent rushing attack has been the most common criticism of Florida State this season, and Freeman's 109 yard outing led the way for an impressive 242 team rushing yards. Duke never really had a chance against this angry Florida State team.
WINNER: Logan Thomas' maturation
The only for Thomas to follow his 23 for 25 outing against Miami with a game-winning touchdown was to repeat the routine again in a crucial road game against a surging Wake Forest team. Thomas was not as accurate statistically, but he was just as effective in providing the big plays needed for the Hokies to bounce back from an early 14-0 deficit. Star receiver Jarett Boykin was the target of choice for the big redshirt sophomore, snagging in seven catches for 149 yards and a touchdown. In addition to his 280 yards and two touchdowns through the air, Thomas once again was a threat on the ground and punched in two goal line scores.
Thomas' maturation as a passer and rushing threat has forced defenses to focus less on running back David Wilson. Focusing less on Wilson is a bad thing, as he demonstrated on Saturday with a 136 yard outing against the Demon Deacons. After another slow start and early season loss, Virginia Tech is hitting their rhythm at the right time. If things continue to progress in Blacksburg, a rematch against the Tigers in Charlotte could be in the cards for Virginia Tech.
LOSER: Bryn Renner
After starting as one of the ACC's most efficient passers, Renner seems to have regressed since starting conference play. There were only eight incompletions on the stat sheet, but the sophomore looked uncomfortable under center against Miami on Saturday. He was uncharacteristically off-target on a few routine throws, and seemed unhappy with his pass protection throughout the entire game. The numbers may look sharp from Saturday's game, but many of the completions were screen passes and check downs to star running back Gio Bernard. Renner knew he was going to face an uphill battle against Miami's defense, now he needs to help his team bounce back on the road against an undefeated Clemson team.
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Tags: ACC, Al Golden, Allen Hurns, Andre Ellington, Brandon Thompson, Bryn Renner, C.J. Brown, C.J. Spiller, Chad Morris, Chip Patterson, Clemson, Dabo Swinney, Danny O'Brien, David Wilson, Devonta Freeman, Duke, EJ Manuel, Everett Withers, Frank Beamer, Gio Bernard, Jacory Harris, Jarrett Boykin, Jim Grobe, Josh Harris, Logan Thomas, Maryland, Miami, Mike London, North Carolina, Randy Edsall, Sammy Watkins, Tajh Boyd, Tommy Streeter, Virginia, Wake Forest, Winners and Losers, Winners and Losers Week 7
Posted on: September 17, 2011 10:32 pm
Edited on: September 17, 2011 10:39 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Heading into the IneligiBowl, Miami had already scored a big victory over Ohio State: they had more ineligible players back for the game than the Buckeyes did.
It finished as much more than a moral victory, however; it turned into a real one for the 'Canes Saturday night. despite a lackluster second half from both teams that caused Sun Life Stadium to look and sound like a Marlins game.
Ohio State's offense never could get going, racking up less than 200 yards of total offense. Miami didn't generate a ton of pressure on defense, but it was enough to keep the Buckeyes uncomfortable in the pocket all night long. Receivers failed to get open against the Hurricanes secondary and Joe Bauserman ended up completing as many passes to his teammates as Jacory Harris did. The Buckeyes also had more pass attempts (15) than passing yards (13) until the very end of the final quarter.
Speaking of Harris, he was sharp early but shaky late before turning into a glorified handoff machine. The Hurricanes first two drives were impressive, with Harris hooking up with wide receiver Allen Hurns twice to take a 14-0 lead the team never relinquished.
The game itself was really a tale of two running backs. Miami's Lamar Miller showed great burst, hitting the hole hard before taking off on several long runs throughout the night. Before the season, UM coaches talked very highly of the talented redshirt sophomore and it's easy to see why after Saturday night's game. He rushed for 116 yards in the first quarter and managed keep his average over seven yards a carry for the night.
His counterpart in scarlet and gray, Jordan Hall, was the Ohio State offense. He broke off several nice runs during the Buckeyes' second scoring drive and had a nice punt return to start the third quarter where he almost broke it to the house. He was limited after the return following a minor injury on the play and whatever hope OSU had of winning the game walked to the sidelines with him.
Given the offseason both teams faced, the game in the warm Miami night was pretty reflective. It was ugly and nothing to be proud of, with a second half that some would like to forget. For the Hurricane faithful though, it was something they needed - a win no matter what. It was also Al Golden's first win as head coach and while there's plenty of things to go back and work on, he'll no doubt be happy to be talking about winning instead of what ineligible player will be suiting up.
Posted on: August 30, 2011 7:17 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Simultaneous to the NCAA ruling on the eight Miami players now suspended for the Hurricanes' Monday opener against Maryland, the program also released its first depth chart of the 2011 season. With the suspended players absent from the depth chart, here's a rundown of who will be starting for the 'Canes against the Terps:
Stephen Morris, quarterback. With Jacory Harris unavailable, the 6'2" sophomore unsurprisingly gets the nod over Spencer Whipple. Morris appeared in six games a year ago and started four, with the typical ups-and-downs of freshman quarterbacks; he led the Hurricanes to victories over Maryland and Georgia Tech late in the year but only completed 54 percent of his passes and tossed more interceptions (nine) than touchdown passes (seven).
Allen Hurns, wide receiver. A true sophomore, Hurns saw action in nine games in 2010 -- mostly on special teams -- before suffering an injury. He did not record a reception. But he'll get the start against the Terps anyway after the suspensions of Aldarius Johnson and Travis Benjamin.
Darius Smith, defensive tackle. Potential All-American Marcus Forston is out, so in steps the 6'2", 360-pound JUC transfer tackle from Lackawanna (Pa.) College. (No doubt he'll be a favorite of fans of The Office.) Smith was originally recruited to Temple by head coach Al Golden before failing to qualify academically.
Andrew Smith, defensive end. Smith started seven games as a sophomore but came off the bench as a junior. With both Olivier Vernon and Adewale Ojomo suspended, though, Smith is set to get the call against Maryland. Even as a substitute, Smith tied for fourth on the team with three sacks in 2010.
James Gaines, linebacker. All-ACC 'backer Sean Spence is among those sitting the single game against Maryland, so sophomore Gaines, a native of Canisuius, N.Y., will get the call. Gaines appeared in six games as a true freshman and made one assisted tackle.
Michael Williams, cornerback. The suspended Ray Ray Armstrong was a safety, but Jojo Nicolas's move back to that position to fill that hole opened one up for Williams, a senior who sat out last seaso nafter transferring from Wake Forest. Williams started four games for the Demon Deacons in 2009.
Miami has not named a starter at tight end, the position of the suspended Dyron Dye.
Tags: ACC, ACC, Adewale Ojomo, Al Golden, Aldarius Johnson, Allen Hurns, Andrew Smith, Darius Smith, Dyron Dye, Jacory Harris, James Gaines, Jojo Nicolas, Marcus Forston, Maryland, Miami, Miami NCAA investigation, Miami suspensions, Michael Williams, NCAA, Olivier Vernon, Ray Ray Armstrong, Sean Spence, Spencer Whipple, Stephen Morris, Temple, Travis Benjamin, Wake Froest