Tag:Quick Hits
Posted on: September 11, 2011 12:13 am
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QUICK HITS: Michigan 35, Notre Dame 31

Posted by Adam Jacobi

MICHIGAN WON. The Michigan Wolverines won a thriller in Ann Arbor Saturday night, coming back from a 24-7 deficit in the fourth quarter to upend the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 35-31 in what will be one of the wildest finishes of the year. Denard Robinson was his usual do-everything self, throwing for 338 yards and four touchdowns, and rushing for 108 yards and another score. The two teams scored three touchdowns in the final 1:12 of the game, with Michigan's winning score coming with just 0:02 left on the clock.

HOW MICHIGAN WON: Two words: Denard Robinson. Robinson threw for three of his four touchdowns in the fourth quarter alone (and rushed in a one-yard fumble recovery for the fourth), and he accounted for 237 of Michigan's 240 yards in that final quarter of play. He made throws that required his receivers to make the more athletic adjustment to the ball, and the Wolverines responded admirably; Roy Roundtree, Junior Hemingway, and Jeremy Gallon in particular made play after play on deep passes in the second half, even in heavy coverage.

WHEN MICHIGAN WON: Notre Dame led for the vast majority of the game, and even Michigan's first lead of the game only lasted for 42 seconds. But Denard Robinson led Michigan straight down the field in three plays and found Roy Roundtree on a jump ball in the end zone with two seconds left, giving Michigan its final margin of victory.

WHAT MICHIGAN WON: This victory was inestimably important for Brady Hoke and his charges, as they put together a rally that will be remembered for decades and beyond by Michigan faithful. That it came against rivals Notre Dame and under the lights adds an extra layer of mythic glory to it all. The Michigan offense looked dead to rights in the first three quarters. Now future opponents know the deluge can happen at any moment, even in the new-look Al Borges offense.

WHAT NOTRE DAME LOST: Notre Dame should believe that it had no business losing that game, because it didn't. QB Tommy Rees shredded Michigan all night long, with the Irish racking up over 500 yards from scrimmage (315 passing, 198 rushing tonight) for the second straight game and registering 28 first downs to Michigan's 16. Unfortunately, Notre Dame also turned the ball over five times for the second straight week, with two turnovers coming inside Michigan's 5-yard line and another coming inside the Michigan 30. That's a lot of points coming off the board, and in a four-point loss, those mistakes are fatal. Notre Dame has a lot going for it, especially on offense, but the turnovers cannot continue.

That monumental bad fortune, however, might have an insidious cause: the logos on Notre Dame's helmets were three-leaf clovers, and not four-leaf clovers. What ever happened to the "luck of the Irish"?

THAT WAS CRAZY: The entire fourth quarter. All of it. Everything. College football is the greatest sport in America and this game is why. 

Posted on: September 10, 2011 9:37 pm
Edited on: September 10, 2011 9:47 pm
 

QUICK HITS: No. 5 Florida State 62, CSU 10

Posted by Chip Patterson

FLORIDA STATE WON. The Seminoles did not get caught looking ahead to their Sept. 17 date with Oklahoma, and took care of business in a 62-10 route of Charleston Southern. EJ Manuel led the way for the Florida State offensively, completing 24 of 35 passes for 329 yards, four touchdowns, with an interception.

WHY FLORIDA STATE WON: The Seminoles defense smothered Charleston Southern, holding the Buccaneers to only 84 yards of total offense. Florida State had a mismatch at basically every position and did not allow anything for the whole first half. With Charleston Southern's defense getting no rest, it was just a matter of letting Manuel pick apart the coverage with FSU's stable of talented receivers.

WHEN FLORIDA STATE WON: When they showed up to the stadium. Florida State's third play from scrimmage was a 45 yard touchdown pass from Manuel to junior wide receiver Rodney Smith. The following possessions for the rest of the quarter went Charleston Southern 3 and out, Florida State touchdown, Charleston Southern 3 and out, Florida State field goal, Charleston 3 and out. At the end of the first quarter it was 17-0 Florida State, and there was no doubt the game was done.

WHAT FLORIDA STATE WON: As opposed to a week off (like Oklahoma has), the Seminoles got a competitive scrimmage against an unfamiliar opponent. The Seminoles' coaching staff has an even better idea of what to focus on heading into the primetime showdown with the top-ranked Sooners.

WHAT CHARLESTON SOUTHERN LOST: Not a ton, really. I don't think the Buccaneers expected much out of this trip other than a great challenge and the possibility of scoring an upset. Outside of the embarrassment and frustration, it'll be back to the regular schedule for Charleston Southern on Monday.

THAT WAS CRAZY. Charleston Southern didn't get a first down until the third quarter. The Buccaneers were even spotted five yards on one of Florida State's 13 penalties to achieve that monumental task on the opening drive of the second half. Florida State still has a lot of things to work out this week before the Sooners get into town, but the defense has been taking care of business.
Posted on: September 10, 2011 8:49 pm
Edited on: September 10, 2011 9:11 pm
 

QUICK HITS: No. 12 South Carolina 45, Georgia 42

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

SOUTH CAROLINA WON: In another good old-fashioned SEC shootout (that's how it goes in this conference these days), the Gamecocks escaped Athens with a 45-42 victory, defeating Georgia in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2000-2001. Marcus Lattimore only enhanced his reputation as the league's preeminent Bulldog-slayer with 160 yards on just 26 carries, a 6.2 per-carry average. But the story was the opportunistic Gamecock defense and special teams, which scored three touchdowns directly -- two of them by defensive end/tackle Melvin Ingram, who rumbled 68 yards for a score on a fake punt and later recovered a fumble for a score -- and set up a fourth with a 57-yard Stephon Gilmore fumble return to the Georgia 5.

WHY SOUTH CAROLINA WON: Because they made the plays that mattered. As with many of Georgia's losses a year ago, the Bulldogs were good enough from a statistical standpoint to win the game: they held Stephen Garcia to just 141 yards passing and picked him off twice; they outgained Carolina overall 435 yards to 389; they averaged a healthy 6.5 yards per-play and revived their moribund running game behind Isaiah Crowell's hard-charging 116 yards.

But in the end, none of that was enough to offset the Dawgs' three killer turnovers, which Carolina turned into a touchdown on all three opportunities. As sharp as Aaron Murray was overall, hitting 19-of-29 for 248 yards and four touchdowns, his two mistakes were backbreakers: first a pick-six thrown to Antonio Allen immediately following the momentum-changing fumble return to put the Bulldogs down eight entering the fourth, and then the all-but-game-ending fumble that Ingram returned to put Carolina up 10 with just 3:12 left. 

Yes, as he was in 2010, Lattimore was the best player on the field; by the fourth quarter, he was powering over, past, and through Bulldog defenders much as he did in Columbia last year. But without the fake punt, the fumble returns, and Allen's interception, the Bulldogs likely would have found a way to outshine him anyway.

WHEN SOUTH CAROLINA WON: How good was Ingram? Not only did he score on the momentum-turning fake punt (smoothly eluding a tackle attempt by UGA punt returner Branden Smith in the process), not only did he score the Gamecocks' final touchdown (after Jadeveon Clowney had forced the Murray fumble), but he also skied to recover the Bulldogs' well-executed last-gasp onside kick with 2:15 remaining. With Georgia only down three and having carved up the Gamecock secondary for much of the second half, Ingram's effort was critical ... and arguably sealed team MVP honors for the day.

WHAT SOUTH CAROLINA WON: With Florida coming to Columbia later this season, the right to be called the clearcut SEC East favorites. Moreover, the win was another sign that the up-and-down malaise that affected the early years of Steve Spurrier's tenure are well and truly gone. The old Gamecocks would have found a way to wilt on the road in the face of a quality opponent playing quality football; the new ones have the big guns in Lattimore, Ingram, Clowney, and Alshon Jeffery to weather the storm and make enough plays to ride out the storm.

WHAT GEORGIA LOST: Give Mark Richt this: his team played far, far better than they did a week ago, and they could have very easily won the game. But there have been many Bulldog football games over the past three years where Georgia could have won, where they played well but not well enough to win. With the Bulldogs now staring down a de facto two-game hole in the SEC East race and sitting at 0-2 overall, Richt has no doubt now lost every last shred of "margin for error" or "benefit of the doubt" his tenure possessed. He must win the overwhelming majority of his remaining games -- surely, nothing less than nine of them -- or he will be fired.

Posted on: September 10, 2011 7:33 pm
Edited on: September 11, 2011 4:33 am
 

QUICK HITS: Alabama 27, Penn State 11



Posted by Adam Jacobi

ALABAMA WON. The third-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide cruised to victory in Happy Valley on Saturday, besting Penn State 27-11. Trent Richardson ran for 111 yards and two scores against a tough PSU defense, and Eddie Lacy chipped in 11 carries for 85 yards for the Tide. Alabama held Penn State to just 251 yards on the day.

WHY ALABAMA WON: Alabama had a vaunted defense, and it showed up to play in this game, but it's also clear that Penn State's quarterback situation is just about a disaster. Rob Bolden was just 11-29 for 144 yards and one bad interception, but his performance was downright virtuoso compared to Matt McGloin, who went 1-10 for 0 yards. That is not a typo. McGloin's quarterback rating for the game was 10.0, which is just about as bad as it gets. Credit for that goes to Alabama's defense, to be sure, but both PSU quarterbacks were missing throws badly over the course of the game.

WHEN ALABAMA WON: The Alabama defense was so stifling that pretty much any lead would be safe, but when Richardson ran 13 yards to pay dirt with 6:14 left, making the score 27-3 and pushing the big back over 100 yards, PSU fans were free to head to the exits.

WHAT ALABAMA WON: Penn State's offense may have been an exercise in ineptitude, but its defense is legit, and Beaver Stadium is still one of the most intimidating home fields in all of college football. So coming into Happy Valley and leaving with a 24-point win is a tremendous accomplishment for Alabama, and the Tide now has a feather in its cap as it continues to prepare for the SEC and a potential championship run.

WHAT PENN STATE LOST: If Penn State had any confidence in its quarterback situation, it's gone now, as neither QB looks capable of beating a legitimate Big Ten defense -- or even being an effective "game manager," as the term goes. McGloin won't go 1-10 every week, of course, and there'll be better days against worse defenses, but Penn State's prospects for conference play look much bleaker than they did before this game.

THAT WAS CRAZY: With Penn State leading 3-0 late in the first quarter, Alabama needed a kickstart to its offense and found itself facing 4th and 1 at its 40. Nick Saban called a fake punt rush by Brad Smelley. Smelley took contact at the line of scrimmage after what Saban would later say was a blown block, and barely, barely got the ball across the first down line. Alabama would later score a touchdown on the drive, and the Tide never looked back.

Posted on: September 10, 2011 7:18 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Oregon 69 Nevada 20

Posted by Tom Fornelli

OREGON WON. It appears that if you don't have more than a month or an offseason to prepare for the Oregon attack on offense then you don't have much of a chance to stop it. Oregon returned home after having its wings clipped by LSU last week and took out all its frustration on Nevada. And I mean all of it's frustration. The Ducks were up 34-0 in the blink of an eye, and Darron Thomas threw 5 touchdowns in the first half. The Oregon offense would finish with 603 yards, and Thomas would finish the game with 6 touchdowns and 295 yards. This is also where I point out that Thomas only completed 13 passes and 6 of them were for scores

WHY OREGON WON. Too much speed and too much talent for Nevada to contend with. Darron Thomas wasn't the only Duck to finish with a ridiculous statline, as De'Anthony Thomas -- he of the fumble-itis last week -- finished the game with 204 all-purpose yards and 2 touchdowns. LaMichael James pitched in another 181 all-purpose yards and 3 touchdowns of his own. In fact, all three of them may have just scored again even though the game is over.

WHEN OREGON WON. When Colin Kaepernick graduated last season and went on to the NFL. Make no mistake about it, this is not the same Nevada team that beat Boise State last season, as a lot of the team's best players from that team were not on the field today. Though, to be honest, I'm not sure how much of an impact they'd have had in this game if they were.

WHAT OREGON WON. The Ducks got their groove back. The team had lost its last two games dating back to January's title game against Auburn, and the offense did not look incredibly strong in either game. Well, after Saturday's win the Ducks are flying high once again and ready to hang 60 on their next opponent.

WHAT NEVADA LOST. I'm not sure what you'd call it, but I'm pretty sure there isn't a member of this Nevada squad that will ever be able to take a peaceful stroll through a park with ducks swimming on a pond again.

THAT WAS CRAZY. Nothing too insane took place in this one, though being able to remember what it looks like when the Oregon offense is at 100% is enough to make you not believe what you're seeing. 
Posted on: September 10, 2011 7:12 pm
Edited on: September 10, 2011 7:17 pm
 

QUICK HITS: No. 11 Virginia Tech 17, ECU 10

Posted by Chip Patterson

VIRGINIA TECH WON. Head coach Frank Beamer picked up his 200th victory as the Hokies' head coach as Virginia Tech held off a tough East Carolina team in Greenville, scoring the only fourth quarter touchdown and winning 17-10.

WHY VIRGINIA TECH WON: The Hokies overcame 12 penalties and a pair of turnovers with a punishing ground game and stout defense. David Wilson ran for 138 yards, quarterback Logan Thomas added 66, and Josh Oglesby did the finishing with 43 yards and two touchdowns. The Hokies passing game struggled, with Thomas completing less than half of his attempts for less yards (91) than they picked up with the 12 penalties (92).

WHEN VIRGINIA TECH WON: With both offenses sputtering for the entire third quarter, the Hokies pieced together their best drive of the game to open up the final period of play. Thomas, Wilson, and Oglesby ran the ball on 11 of the 13 plays that chewed up 89 yards and nearly seven minutes of game clock. The drive was pounding and methodical, and the Pirates were noticeably fatigued by the time Oglesby punched in the winning score.

WHAT VIRGINIA TECH WON: Beamer admitted after the game that his team was unprepared for the Pirates. Some coaches try and "learn from losses," but any coach would prefer to learn from a bad win. There are ways the Hokies can improve on the offensive line and in the passing game, and now they have 60 minutes of tape to identify the specific weaknesses and try to get them fixed.

WHAT EAST CAROLINA LOST The Pirates scratched and clawed for every advantage all afternoon. They will have a week off before starting the conference schedule against UAB on Sept. 24. Ruffin McNeill's team has played two ranked teams (South Carolina and Virginia Tech) close, and if they can use these games as building blocks they should have a shot at winning the conference.

THAT WAS CRAZY. With 2:10 remaining, ECU quarterback Dominique Davis hit Michael Bowman on a 10 yard out route near the sideline. Hokies CB Kyle Fuller made an aggressive play on the ball and missed. Bowman bobbled the pass near the sideline as he tried to turn upfield, dropping it for an incomplete pass. Because of Fuller's play, if Bowman holds on to the ball he has nothing but green down the sideline and a shot to tie the game at 17. The Pirates didn't exactly make the most of their next two attempts either, but in a game that was played so close it will be hard to look back at that near catch and run
Posted on: September 10, 2011 6:51 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Stanford 44 Duke 14

Posted by Tom Fornelli 

STANFORD WON. Andrew Luck and company didn't get off to the fastest start in Durham on Saturday afternoon, but by the time the second half rolled around the Cardinal finally began living up to their top-10 billing. Luck finished the day with 290 yards passing and had 4 touchdowns to go with an interception. Chris Owusu was his favorite target, finishing with 7 receptions for 106 yards and a score as the Stanford offense scored touchdowns on five straight possessions ranging from the second to the fourth quarter.

WHY STANFORD WON. While both these teams would be able to compete in a classroom against one another, the fact of the matter is that on the football field Stanford just has a lot more talent than Duke. Plus, because of that edge in talent, Duke was forced to take a lot of chances early in the game, and while some of them worked out for the Blue Devils, the ones that didn't really hurt.

WHEN STANFORD WON. Duke made life pretty interesting when Lee Butler picked off a deflected pass from Luck and took it 76 yards to the house to cut Stanford's lead to 10-7. Making things a bit crazier, following that score, Duke ran an onside kick which it recovered. Unfortunately for Duke, it wasn't able to capitalize on that momentum and before you knew it Luck was hitting Chris Owusu for a score to extend Stanford's lead back to ten at halftime. Then when Luck connected on a 60-yard touchdown to Coby Fleener just over halfway through the third to make it 24-7, this one was done.

WHAT STANFORD WON. A road game against a BCS opponent that I suppose looks good on a resume, but when that team is Duke I'm not sure it actually means much.

WHAT DUKE LOST. A game it was supposed to, but if you want to dig deeper than that, you can say the team also lost faith in its kicker Will Snyderwine. Snyderwine, who was an ALL-ACC selection in the preseason, missed a game-winning attempt against Richmond last week, and then missed two field goal chances in the first quarter. Obviously, those 6 points wouldn't have meant much in the grand scheme of things, but at the time Duke could have had a 13-10 lead and this game may have gone a completely different direction.

THAT WAS CRAZY. The one moment in this game that caused me to release a guttural "OOOOOH" took place in the fourth quarter. That was when, en route to a 40-yard pickup, Stanford fullback Geoff Meinken literally de-cleated a Duke linebacker with a stiff arm. It was glorious, and though I know the name of the Duke linebacker who was emasculated on television, I'll try to help him retain some of his dignity by not naming him here. 
Posted on: September 10, 2011 4:48 pm
Edited on: September 10, 2011 5:16 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Auburn 41, No. 16 Mississippi St. 34

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

AUBURN WON: The rumors of the Tigers' death have, as it turns out, been greatly exaggerated. After going down 21-14 on an ugly Barrett Trotter interception State's Johnthan Banks gratefully returned for a touchdown, Gus Malzahn's offense ripped off 27 of the game's next 33 points.to open up a 41-27 fourth-quarter lead. But State showed some Auburn-like resilience of their own, scoring one touchdown and driving down to the Auburn 1-yard line with 20 seconds to play. Vick Ballard was stuffed on first down and with no timeouts, Chris Relf was then upended by little-used sophomore safety Ryan Smith inside the 1. Time ran out, and Auburn moved to an incredible 10-0 in their last 10 one-possession games. 

WHY AUBURN WON: Because even without Cam Newton and four three-year starters, Malzahn still knows how to put together a run game. With a week to lick their wounds from their Utah State struggles and shake up their offensive line (senior A.J. Greene was returned to the starting lineup), the Tigers rededicated themselves and tore through the Bulldogs' veteran defensive front for 235 rushing yards on just 36 carries--a team average of 6.5 yards per-carry. Sophomore star Michael Dyer picked up 150 of those on 8.3 yards an attempt, including a pivotal 52-yard dash that took the Tigers out of the shadow of their own goalposts late in the third quarter and set up his team's final score.

Thanks to the running game, Auburn was able to open up just enough space for the Tiger passing game (though he threw for just 146 yards, Trotter also threw two long touchdown strikes) and leave State with just too little time to accomplish what would have been a stirring comeback. 

Some measure of credit may also be due the Auburn defense, which despite another brutal day in the box score -- 531 total yards given up, 333 of them on the ground, 97 plays faced as State converted 11-of-20 third downs -- rose up and got the two goal-line stops they had to have to keep their nation-best 17-game winning streak intact.

WHAT AUBURN WON: A return to the AP poll, no doubt, and a week after looking like the sort of team that might struggle to make the postseason, a simple "2" in the win column is not close to being something to sneeze at. But the Tigers also served notice that despite the vast personnel losses, the Week 1 embarrassment, and a defense that bends so badly it seems as if it must have already broken long ago, their remarkable knack for making just enough plays to earn victory is every bit as intact as it was in 2010.

Auburn won't win the SEC West this season (not without some rapid, substantial defensive improvement), but with Malzahn's offense still capable of putting up a 40-spot on any given weekend, the Tigers are still plenty dangerous enough to have a large say in who does.

WHAT MISSISSIPPI STATE LOST: This was supposed to be the season the Bulldogs were something more than just "scary" or a "sleeper"; this was supposed to be State's chance to surge past the likes of the green, inexperienced Tigers to cement themselves a legitimate player in the West, their opportunity to surprise one of the consensus top three teams and maybe start to sniff Atlanta. But with the Bulldogs now stuck again behind Auburn in the current West pecking orderthose dreams are going to have to be put off at least until they pull one of those LSU-Alabama-Arkansas-type upsets.

More practically speaking, the Bulldogs also saw starting tackle James Carmon go down with a knee injury and stretchered off. With LSU coming to town this Thursday, there won't be much time for him to get better.


 
 
 
 
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