Tag:Quick Hits
Posted on: September 3, 2011 10:21 pm
 

QUICK HITS: No. 22 Florida 41, FAU 3

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

FLORIDA WON: Nevermind the 8-5 disappointment, the coaching transition, the questions surrounding John Brantley: Florida against a bottom-rung Sun Belt team is still a total mismatch. The Gators scored 24 points over their first four possessions in Will Muschamp's debut, already feeling confident enough at that point to pull Brantley and give true freshman backup Jeff Driskel a series. Brantley finished 22-of-31 for 236 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions.

WHY FLORIDA WON: Playing an FAU team that went 2-10 last year and lost its quarterback has a lot to do with it. But the Gators nonetheless went a long way towards dispelling the doubts that a Charlie Weis offense combined with a green offensive line and backs recruited for the Urban Meyer spread wouldn't be able to find a running game. Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey combined for 110 first-half yards on the ground on just 14 carries, with three long touchdowns (one a screen reception by Rainey) to boot. For the game, the Gators ran for 197 yards on a healthy 6 yards a pop.

Maybe it's not the offense Demps and Rainey were recruited for, but as long as the line can give them a crease -- and for a week, at least, they did -- they remain as explosive a running back tandem as there is in the SEC, and maybe the country. If Brantley can continue keeping defenses honest (and there will be defenses far, far more difficult to keep honest than the Owls'), the Florida running game could return to something approximating its 2007-2009 heyday.

And oh, the Gator defense--always expected to be the team's strength--performed to expectations, completely stuffing the Owl running game (30 yards on 30 attempts) and holding FAU to 137 yards overall.

WHEN FLORIDA WON: Like so many first-week paycheck games, any honest competitive drama was sucked out of the contest early. But after a second-quarter FAU field goal, we'll say an Owl comeback remained within the furthest realms of mathematical possibility until Rainey returned a blocked punt for a touchdown -- his third, via three different methods -- with 10 minutes left in the third quarter. At 31-3, things were well and truly over.

WHAT FLORIDA WON: A big boost of confidence for an offense that must have needed it after their various 2010 disasters (not to mention a spring game described by nearly all as just this side of unwatchable) and confirmation the hyped defensive line will be a load for future opponents to handle, even without Shariff Floyd. With another likely tune-up against UAB on deck, the Gator machine could find itself positively well-oiled by the time Tennessee visit Sept. 17.

Posted on: September 3, 2011 7:14 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Nebraska 40, Chattanooga 7

Posted by Adam Jacobi

NEBRASKA WON. That's quite the start for Nebraska. The No. 11 Cornhuskers dispatched Chattanooga by a score of 40-7 on Saturday. The man of the match was undoubtedly Taylor Martinez, who racked up 135 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries. Martinez also threw for 116 yards on 11-22 passing -- rather pedestrian numbers, especially considering the competition -- but his throws were generally accurate, even if some of the reads weren't ideal.

WHY NEBRASKA WON: Nebraska is a borderline Top 10 FBS team and a darkhorse national championship contender; Chattanooga's barely in the Top 25 of FCS. This was a mismatch from the start, and even a slew of Husker fumbles wouldn't be enough to keep this game even remotely close. 

WHEN NEBRASKA WON: This game was never really in doubt, but it was still just 13-0 Cornhuskers late in the second half with Nebraska facing a 4th and 2 on the Chattanooga 46. Nebraska elected to go for it. Before the snap, Taylor Martinez obviously saw something he liked, and he called an audible before running an easy option around the left corner for the score. Martinez's escort down the corner was his pitch man, also unaccounted for. 20-0, ballgame. 

WHAT NEBRASKA WON: Nebraska's off on the right foot for its inaugural Big Ten season, to be sure, but it would have been nice to see Brion Carnes (1-1, 19 yards) get more than a half-quarter of garbage time in at quarterback for the Huskers. Taylor Martinez may not suffer the same complications this year that plagued him down the stretch in 2010, but given his role in Nebraska's offense it's definitely a possibility, so it would behoove Bo Pelini to have as much experience as possible waiting behind Martinez in case bad luck strikes in a key game. 

WHAT CHATTANOOGA LOST: Other than a game, not too much. The Mocs stayed healthy, and although there was some chippiness near halftime, they generally kept their composure and sportsmanship intact throughout the course of the game. This was a paycheck game, pure and simple, and there probably won't be much time spent on game film for 'Nooga before it moves on to its home opener against Jacksonville State next week.

THAT WAS CRAZY: Nebraska's Jared Crick got the ball into teammate Cameron Meredith's hands twice. Crick is a defensive tackle. Meredith is a defensive end. On one play in the third quarter, Crick deflected a screen pass high into the air, and Meredith came down with the interception at the Moccasin 3-yard line. Rex Burkhead would score on the next play. Later, in the first play of the fourth quarter, Crick blocked a Nick Pollard field goal attempt so easily that the ball hit somewhere around his armpit. The ball bounced away, right into the hands of Meredith, who returned it 13 yards (though a penalty nullified Meredith's return).
Posted on: September 3, 2011 6:44 pm
Edited on: September 3, 2011 6:47 pm
 

QUICK HITS: No. 6 FSU 34, ULM 0

Posted by Chip Patterson

FLORIDA STATE WON. Seminoles' fans have had their eyes set on Oklahoma's visit to Tallahassee on Sept. 17, but the team has some business before that - starting with ULM. Taking care of business is what FSU did, shutting out Louisiana-Monroe 34-0. Quarterback EJ Manuel played well in his first opening day start, completing 22-of-34 passes for 254 and a pair of touchdowns. The junior threw to 10 different receivers, with Rodney Smith leading the group in catches (6) and yards (79).

WHY FLORIDA STATE WON: The Seminoles defense suffocated ULM all afternoon. They only allowed 191 yards of total offense and held the Warhawks to 5-for-15 on third down conversions. The Florida State rushing game was steady, but not overly impressive. Manuel put together two impressive drives in the second half, but both fell short and ended in Dustin Hopkins field goals.

WHEN FLORIDA STATE WON: In the second quarter, Florida State pulled off a 17 play, eight minute drive that ended in a field goal to take a 10-0 lead. Greg Reid ran a punt back to set up the offense in the ULM red zone, but Manuel threw an interception on the first snap of the drive. Noticeably dejected with the offense's inability to capitalize, Manuel looked shaky for a moment. After a Lamarcus Joyner answered with an interception of his own, Manuel stepped up on the next drive and delivered a beautiful 50-yard touchdown pass while getting hit in the pocket. Helped the junior starter get his rhythm back and extended the Seminoles' halftime lead to 17.

WHAT FLORIDA STATE WON: While media and fans can continue to salivate at the thought of Florida State and Oklahoma throwing down in Doak Campbell Stadium, the team still needs to take advantage of these first games against ULM and Charleston Southern. Take advantage of a new opponent to learn more about yourself, and try to improve upon your weaknesses in practice. The coaching staff won 60 minutes of tape to break down for next week.

WHAT LOUISIANA-MONROE LOST: The lack of offensive production should not be a huge concern for ULM. They were going up against a fantastic defense and had terrible field position throughout the game. Keeping the game close for the first 1.5 quarters is a credit to the defense, and the fact that none of the halfbacks ran wild. Overall probably a good experience for a team looking to make strides in the Sun Belt Conference.

THAT WAS CRAZY: After Florida State built a 27-0 lead, EJ Manuel took a seat and backup Clint Trickett entered the game. The freshman Tallahassee native is the son of offensive line coach Rick Trickett, and connected with Rashad Green for a touchdown on his first collegiate snap. Pretty cool moment for the father and son on the sideline.
Posted on: September 3, 2011 4:11 pm
Edited on: September 3, 2011 4:30 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Virginia Tech 66, Appalachian St. 13

Posted by Chip Patterson

VIRGINIA TECH WON. The Hokies fell victim to FCS James Madison in Blacksburg last season, and certainly were not going to let history repeat itself on Saturday with Appalachian State in town. Virginia Tech took only 47 seconds to force a turnover and get running back David Wilson into the end zone for the first touchdown of the game. That would be the theme of the day as the Hokies rolled to a 66-13 victory. Wilson made his first game as a starter count, picking up 162 yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries.

WHY VIRGINIA TECH WON: Big plays and winning the turnover battle. The Hokies forced a fumble and three interceptions while not turning the ball over once. Cornerback Jayron Hosley was stellar in the return game, picking up 97 yards on punt returns and setting up the Virginia Tech offense with great field position.

WHEN VIRGINIA TECH WON: This game felt like it was going to be over in the first quarter. ASU's first four offensive possessions went like this: fumble, three and out, three and out, three and out. Virginia Tech wasn't doing a ton offensively early in the game, but the field position battle and big plays put this out of reach early for the Mountaineers.

WHAT VRGINIA TECH WON: Confidence. Even though it was Appalachian State, the Hokies needed a big win to ease the doubts surrounding the 2011 season. Wilson proved he can be an every down back, Josh Oglesby looked solid in the reserve role, and a handful of receivers contributed to the passing game. Defensively they forced turnovers and put pressure on the quarterback. The only question mark still lies at the quarterback position. Logan Thomas did a good job managing the offense, but was still a little out of sync with his receivers.

WHAT APPALACHIAN STATE LOST: You schedule games like this knowing there's a possibility of getting blown out. You could argue it is a little embarrassing for a program that recently started discussing the possibilities of a jump to FBS, but other than that no harm here for ASU.

THAT WAS CRAZY: Just the before the game, CBSSports.com's Sean Bielawski reported that Frank Beamer has signed a contract extension that carries through the end of the 2016 season. This is Beamer's 25th season with the Hokies, and his 241 career wins is second among active coaches behind Joe Paterno.
Posted on: September 3, 2011 4:06 pm
Edited on: September 3, 2011 4:07 pm
 

QUICK HITS: No. 2 Alabama 48, Kent St. 7

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

ALABAMA WON: The nation's No. 2 team had as little trouble with MAC visitor Kent State as expected, scoring touchdowns on their first two possessions and cruising to a 48-7 victory. The vaunted Tide defense held the Golden Flashes without a first down for the game's first 23 minutes and to just 89 yards overall.

WHY ALABAMA WON: Many, many reasons. But one was the play of redshirt sophomore quarterback AJ McCarron, who despite still not having been named the official starter took the Tide's first snap and played the first three series, the second ending with a perfectly-placed 24-yard touchdown pass to Marquis Maze.

McCarron finished a respectable 15-of-24 for 232 yards and a touchdowns, though his 2 interceptions won't sit well with Nick Saban. Even given Kent's relative strength on the defensive line, the Tide running game wasn't quite as powerful as expected -- Trent Richardson's potential Heisman campaign began with three touchdowns but just 65 yards -- but if McCarron can improve on today's performance by just a few degrees, Alabama's aerial attack should be able to maintain the team's offensive balance all the same.

As for McCarron co-starter Phillip Sims, the redshirt freshman looked physically capable but simply not comfortable enough in the pocket for a national title contender. He finished 7-of-14 for just 45 yards with 2 interceptions--one a starkly poor decision that set Kent up at the 3-yard line for their only score of the game. Knowing Saban's aversion to turnovers, McCarron is now the heavy favorite to get the full-time starting nod.

WHEN ALABAMA WON: The moment the game was scheduled, frankly. But Richardson's 9-yard touchdown run to close out the first quarter with a 21-0 Alabama lead -- at which point the Tide had outgained the Flashes 157 to -3 -- made it more-or-less official.

WHAT ALABAMA WON: Given the overwhelming final margin of victory and level of defensive dominance, potentially a few more No. 1 votes in the polls if Oklahoma struggles with Tulsa later Saturday. But Saban will no doubt say the bigger positives are getting a clear leader in the quarterbacking derby, breaking in what few new starters the Tide needed to break in in a nearly pressure-less situation, and polishing up the team's handful of blemishes before the season starts in earnest at Penn State next week.

WHAT KENT STATE LOST: Maybe a little bit of confidence in their offensive execution; 89 total yards is 89 total yards. But given the opponent -- and that their Roosevelt Nix-led defensive line stood up as well as it did -- we think the boost to the Flashes' checking account and the experience of playing in front of 100,000-plus will make today a net positive for the program.

Posted on: September 3, 2011 3:54 pm
Edited on: September 3, 2011 4:13 pm
 

QUICK HITS: No. 23 Auburn 42, Utah State 38

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

AUBURN WON: Auburn escaped the season's first out-and-out shocker by the narrowest margin possible, scoring 14 points in the final 3:38 to stun the impressive Aggies. A Robert Turbin touchdown to put USU up 38-28 appeared to have clinched the upset, but a Barrett Trotter touchdown pass, a recovered onsides kick and Michael Dyer touchdown with 30 seconds remaining saved the Tigers from their first loss to a non-BCS school since 1991.

WHY AUBURN WON: Because as been the Tigers' hallmark under Gene Chizik, they refused to fold even in the face of what appeared to be an insurmountable deficit. In his first start as Auburn quarterback, Trotter (who finished an impressive 17-of-23 for 261 yards, three scores, and no interceptions) responded to Turbin's apparent game-ender by taking the Tigers 65 yards in just six plays--and more importantly, just 91 seconds. Cody Parkey's perfectly-executed onsides kick gave the ball right back to Auburn, and an Aggie defense that had stuffed the Tiger running game all afternoon appeared to wilt.

Auburn got the victory despite being mercilessly shoved around by the Aggies on both lines-of-scrimmage. Behind poised true freshman Chuckie Keeton and running backs Kerwynn Williams and Turbin -- who combined for 172 rushing yards -- the Aggies pounded out touchdown drives of 16, 15, 14, and 14 plays while holding Auburn to just 2.6 yards per-carry on their 30 attempts. Thanks to the Aggies' bevy of third- and fourth-and-shorts, they posted a 13-of-20 mark on third- and fourth-down conversions and ran a staggering 84 plays to Auburn's 54. Their lead was entirely earned.

But as they did throughout their run to the 2011 BCS title, the Tigers showed just enough focus and resolve -- especially at the quarterback position -- to pull their singed rear ends out of the fire.

WHEN AUBURN WON: 
In game this insane, not until Michael Smith was tackled at midfield to run out the clock on USU's desperation drive. But Parkey's onsides kick -- plucked out of the air by leading receiver Emory Blake -- proved to be the turning  point. The Tigers didn't face so much as a third-down conversion on their game-winning touchdown drive.

WHAT  AUBURN WON: 
The right to not be mentioned alongside college football's other historically-stunning opening-week upsets, and a "1" in the win column. But other than that, not much else; the young Tigers have major issues along both lines and in a pass defense that under Ted Roof has never seemed sure of itself against controlled short-passing attacks like USU's. There's not much time to repair, them, either, with Mississippi State waiting next week.

WHAT UTAH STATE LOST: A golden opportunity for the defining win of head coach Gary Andersen's three-year tenure. Last year the Aggies offered a serious challenge to Oklahoma but fell short and then sleepwalked through a 2-6 WAC season; Andersen will have to make sure his team doesn't let Auburn beat his team twice, so to speak.

Posted on: September 3, 2011 3:48 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Ohio State 42, Akron 0

Posted by Adam Jacobi

OHIO STATE WON. 18th-ranked Ohio State throttled hapless Akron, 42-0, in both teams' season opener. Fans at "The 'Shoe" were treated to 517 total yards of offense by the Buckeyes, including a four-touchdown effort from senior quarterback Joe Bauserman. Akron, meanwhile, managed only five first downs on the entire game; OSU racked up 27.

WHEN OHIO STATE WON: As soon as the national anthem finished. Ohio State is just vastly more talented than Akron from players 1-85, even with the myriad suspensions, and this game proved the impossibility of Akron pulling an upset.

WHY OHIO STATE WON: The real story for Ohio State is the solid play of Joe Bauserman, who led the team for all but one series until the game was out of hand at 28-0 midway through the third quarter. Bauserman's final stats were gaudy: 12-16, 163 yards, 3 TDs, no INTs, plus six rushes for 32 yards and another score. Yes, it's Akron we're talking about here, and yes, Braxton Miller was effective after coming in for good (8-12, 130, 1 TD), but Bauserman looked like Ohio State's best option at this point in the season. Expect him to continue starting for at least another few weeks, barring injury.

WHAT OHIO STATE WON: The Buckeyes didn't look like they'd lost a step from Jim Tressel's regime, which is welcome news for anybody with lingering reservations about newcomer head coach Luke Fickell. That all stands to reason, as Fickell basically inherited Tressel's coaching staff and all the institutional knowledge therein, but still: head coaching changes matter, and it wasn't necessarily a given that OSU would roll so easily. Between Bauserman looking like a winner and Fickell looking like a major league head coach, it's fair to say that reports of Ohio State's demise were greatly exaggerated.

WHAT AKRON LOST: Akron doesn't have a whole lot going for it, so a 42-0 loss to a powerhouse like Ohio State isn't going to have much of an effect on the rest of the season. Back in 2007, the Zips gave an eventual 11-win OSU team fits in an ugly 20-2 Buckeye win, and then Akron went on to go just 4-8, so again: just one game here. 

THAT WAS CRAZY: Joe Bauserman brings a lot to the table, but few would argue that one of his greatest strengths is pure athleticism -- especially with speedsters like Braxton Miller and Kenny Guiton also in OSU's QB corps. Yet there was Bauserman on a busted play, tucking the ball and running through the Akron defense for a 15-yard score in the second quarter. Bauserman didn't have to dive into the end zone, but he did it anyway, and it was delightfully graceless.

Posted on: September 3, 2011 3:36 pm
Edited on: September 3, 2011 3:37 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Missouri 17 Miami (OH) 6

Posted by Tom Fornelli

MISSOURI WON. It wasn't pretty, and it was a lot closer than most Missouri fans were expecting, but the Tigers got off to a 1-0 start thanks to a 17-6 win over Miami (OH) on Saturday morning in Columbia. All eyes were on quarterback James Franklin as he made his first start, and it was an uneven performance to say the least, as Miller finished the game with 129 yards passing, 1 touchdown and an interception. He also picked up 72 yards and a score with his legs.

WHY MISSOURI WON. Missouri's offense did what it could to keep the Redhawks in the game, but the defense made sure to keep the Redhawks off the board. It wasn't a dominant performance by the Missouri defense, but we were reminded why this team only gave up 15 points a game last season. Yes, Miami had some nice drives, but when the Mizzou defense needed a stop, it made one. In fact, Miami's only points came after a Franklin interception gave the Redhawks the ball at the Missouri 14.

WHEN MISSOURI WON. When James Franklin hit Marcus Lucas for a 10-yard touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter to give Missouri a 17-6 lead, it was over. There was just no reason to believe that the Redhawks could manage 11 points in one guarter when it barely managed to get 6 through the first three.

WHAT MISSOURI WON. A game that it should have. I'm not sure how confident Missouri can be in its passing offense going into next week's game against Arizona State on the road. Franklin may have completed 65% of his passes but the overwhelming majority of his 17 completions came on screens and short passes. Any attempt more than 7 yards looked incredibly shaky and the Tigers will face a better defense next week.

WHY MIAMI (OH) LOST. The Redhawks shot themselves in the foot a few times too many. A nice drive early in the game resulted in a missed field goal, and then the team's best drive of the game ended when Zac Dysert was picked off by E.J. Gaines at the goal line. While the defense can be happy with its performance, a team like Miami just can't afford to leave that many points on the board against an opponent like Missouri.

WHAT MIAMI (OH) LOST. Not much, honestly. The Redhawks weren't expected to win this game anyway, and they might have gained some respect keeping it as close as they did.
 
 
 
 
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