Tag:Quick Hits
Posted on: November 12, 2011 11:36 pm
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QUICK HITS: No. 4 Alabama 24, Mississippi St. 7

Posted by Jerry Hinnen



ALABAMA WON: It was in many ways the Tide's unprettiest win of the year, one marked by much of the same questionable quarterbacking, kicking woes, and missed opportunities that plagued them against LSU. But when you have the Trent Richardson-Eddie Lacy tag team at running back and a defense that holds your opponent to just 131 total yards, it takes a lot more unpretty than that to drop one against Mississippi State. Richardson and Lacy combined for 223 rushing yards and three touchdowns.

WHY ALABAMA WON: As good as Richardson and Lacy were, this win wasn't much about the Tide offense; by going an even-quieter-than-the-numbers-sugge
st 14-of-24 for 163 yards, no touchdowns, and one interception, AJ McCarron reduced the Tide offense to one dimension for much of the night. (One very, very good dimension, but still.) Two more missed field goals (one a makeable 31-yarder that Jeremy Shelley usually converts without much drama) put an even bigger onus on the Tide defense to come up big.

Which they did, of course. The numbers tell most of the tale -- those 131 total yards for the Bulldogs, the 12 rushing yards given up on 29 carries, the 4 yards allowed per Mississippi State passing attempt -- but they don't quite explain how well the Tide stiffened the few times the offense put them in a bad position ... for instance, when McCarron's inexplicable second-quarter interception set MSU up at the Tide 4. First down: blanketed receiver, incomplete. Second: Vick Ballard rush, loss of 3. Third: under-pressure incompletion. And then, just to make the Tide defense feel really good about itself, the missed chip shot field goal on fourth. Spread that kind of domination out over four quarters, and it seems somewhat strange State even got on the board.

WHEN ALABAMA WON: The Tide took over on their own 27 up 17-7 in the fourth quarter with 6:26 remaining, and we suppose weirder things have happened than teams -- even great teams like Alabama -- losing in that situation. Nothing weirder has ever happened, though, than a hypothetical State win once the Tide plowed downfield for an 11-play, 73-yard touchdown drive -- every inch of it coming on the ground via Richardson and Lacy -- that took up all but the final 78 seconds.

WHAT ALABAMA WON: Nothing where the SEC West is concerned, but thanks to Oregon (and TCU, to a lesser extent), the Tide finished the day in better shape for a second shot at LSU than ever. Ugly win in Starkville or not, they'll take it.

WHAT MISSISSIPPI STATE LOST: a shot at bowl eligibility, technically speaking, and we're not sure the Bulldogs are going to get it at Arkansas next week, either. But with Ole Miss coming in two weeks and apparently having given up on the season for good, a competitive loss to a potential national champion isn't the worst thing in the world.

Posted on: November 12, 2011 10:39 pm
 

QUICK HITS: No. 1 LSU 42, Western Kentucky 9

Posted by Jerry Hinnen



LSU WON: 
We wouldn't say there were any "anxious moments" for the Bayou Bengals -- Western Kentucky's offense was always a little too nonthreatening to think they might actually pull off the Upset of the Century -- but we also doubt many Tiger fans were thrilled at being up just 14-7 at halftime or needing a goalline stand to keep the score 21-7 in the third quarter. Still, thanks to a pair of quick Alfred Blue (pictured above) touchdowns either side of the third quarter break, LSU was able to cruise through the final period. Jordan Jefferson got the start, played the entire first three quarters, and finished 8-of-15 for 168 yards (an impressive 11.2 per-attempt average)with one sterling 59-yard strike to Rueben Randle.

WHY LSU WON: Because they're LSU, and they were playing Western Kentucky. But the Tigers were able to make the game's ending as non-stressful as expected thanks to a dominating second-half defensive effort. Through the first 30 minutes, the Hilltoppers put together four clock-churning drives and ate up nearly 19 minutes of first-half possession. Even if only one of them ended in points, they succeeded in keeping LSU off the field and themselves in the game. 

Second half? Not so much. WKU's first five third- and fourth-quarter drives went like this: six plays, punt; five plays, turnover on downs (see below); three plays, interception; four plays, punt; three plays, punt. Not one took more than 3:16. And not surprisingly, with far more opportunities to do damage than they had in the first half, Blue and the LSU offense did a lot more damage.

WHEN LSU WON: It probably wouldn't have mattered if, down two touchdowns midway through the third quarter, the Hilltoppers had punched in after a long kickoff return helped earn them a second-and-goal at the 2. The Tigers would have pulled away eventually; one of these teams is No. 1 in the country for a reason and the other is, putting it politely, not. But things would have been far more interesting down the stretch if fullback Kadeem Jones hadn't been stuffed on second down, a third-down play-action pass hadn't just missed, and Jones wasn't stuffed again on fourth. Jefferson handed WKU a safety when he was falgged for grounding on the ensuing possession, but it hardly mattered--if you're going to pull off the Upset of the Century, you can't not score on three tries from inside the 2.

WHAT LSU WON: A few grumbles from the locals who would have liked to have seen the 'Toppers put away more quickly, but otherwise, another week spent at the top of the college football world.

WHAT WESTERN KENTUCKY LOST: Lost? WKU hung in there against the No. 1 team in the nation for a good 35, 40 minutes of gametime. Add that experience to the fat check they'll pick up for playing tonight, and they've won more than they've lost tonight.

Posted on: November 12, 2011 9:51 pm
 

QUICK HITS: No. 8 Arkansas 49, Tennessee 7

Posted by Jerry Hinnen



ARKANSAS WON: 
Another week, another comfortable home win for what's still the SEC's clearcut third-best team ... particularly in Fayetteville. Tyler Wilson hit 16-of-26 for 224 yards and 3 touchdowns, Dennis Johnson ran for 8.8 yards a carry and two long TDsand Joe Adams chipped in a punt return for touchdown that ranks among the plays of the year. The sputtering Tennessee offense continued to do its sputtering thing, totaling 377 yards but translating them into just 7 points thanks to shoddy execution in Razorback territory.

WHY ARKANSAS WON: Tennessee knew the Hogs would throw the ball around and score points, so they really couldn't afford to do things like cap a 14-play second-quarter with a goalline interception (hi, Justin Worley!) or let Adams break free for a special teams score or turn the ball over on downs twice across the Razorback 30. But what they really, really couldn't afford to do was let the Hogs go wild on the ground. Which Arkansas did: 236 rushing yards, three touchdowns, and a ridiculous 8.7 yards per-carry average as a team as the Razorback line simply overwhelmed the injury-ridden, inexperienced Tennessee front seven.

Combine that sort of success on the ground with a passing game headed up by the likes of Wilson and called by Bobby Petrino, and 49 points is right about what you'd expect.

WHEN ARKANSAS WON: The Vols were probably already no-hopers down 28-7 in the third quarter, but when they failed to convert a 4th-and-1 on their own 40, that was pretty much the final nail in the coffin. When Wilson hit Adams for a 40-yard touchdown on the very next play, that was the coffin getting strafed by a staple gun, just for kicks.

WHAT ARKANSAS WON: Lots of late time for their backups, and one fewer hurdle cleared between themselves and a season-ending showdown with LSU.

WHAT TENNESSEE LOST: Their very last shred of margin-for-error if they want to make a bowl game. At 4-6 overall (and 0-6 in the SEC), the Vols must sweep Vanderbilt and Kentucky to return to the postseason.

Posted on: November 12, 2011 9:40 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Michigan 31, Illinois 14

Posted by Adam Jacobi

MICHIGAN WON: The rematch of last year's incredible 67-65 slugfest failed to deliver this year, as No. 24 Michigan coasted to a 31-14 victory over listless Illinois. Denard Robinson was hampered by a bruised wrist, so Fitzgerald Toussaint was a workhorse in response; Toussaint tallied 192 yards on 27 carries for the day.

WHY MICHIGAN WON: The Wolverines held A.J. Jenkins to eight catches for 103 yards and no touchdowns. Now, to the average observer, a defense does not "hold" a single receiver to those types of numbers and call it a success, but also consider that Jenkins was thrown to 20 times by Nathan Scheelhaase. So, on throws to arguably the best WR in the Big Ten, Scheelhaase's passing numbers were 8-20 for 103 yards and no scores. That's a major victory for the Michigan secondary. 

WHEN MICHIGAN WON: When Jason Ford scored on a two-yard rush to bring Illinois within 24-14. The problem wasn't Illinois putting points on the board, of course, it's how long it took; the Illini drive took 6:46 off the clock, and when there's under 10 minutes on the clock when the drive starts, that's a recipe for an insufficient comeback.

WHAT MICHIGAN WON: Michigan's division title hopes are, barring Michigan State losses to both Indiana and Northwestern, over. So that's a bummer for the weekend even with this victory. But Devin Gardner at least got a great deal of snaps in relief of Robinson, and while he's clearly no Denard, he was at least serviceable. That kind of experience should be valuable down the road.

WHAT ILLINOIS LOST: Whatever mojo Illinois had at the beginning of the year is all gone. This doesn't even look like the same group of players that was out there taking the fight to Arizona State back in September. It's safe to say that even despite starting the year 6-0, Ron Zook's seat is on fire. How much more embarrassment can the Illinois program take?

THAT WAS CRAZY: Go ahead, try to wrap your mind around a Junior Hemingway catch going for -71 yards and a touchdown. Just sit and think about how that could happen. You'll be contemplating alternate universes, time warps, and reversed global polarity within one minute flat. It's really quite a thing to imagine.
Posted on: November 12, 2011 8:07 pm
Edited on: November 12, 2011 8:08 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Kansas State 53 Texas A&M 50 4OT

Posted by Tom Fornelli

KANSAS STATE WON. The Wildcats came back from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter to force overtime and then eventually knocked off the Aggies in the fourth overtime session. It was an incredibly entertaining game, though the final offensive numbers don't really reflect the amount of points scored in this contest. In fact, Kansas State only had 411 yards of total offense, and Collin Klein played a role in 384 of them thanks to his arm and legs, and he also accounted for 6 of Kansas State's 7 touchdowns. That seventh score? Yeah, Klein fumbled at the goal line and it was recovered by Tramaine Thompson.

WHY KANSAS STATE WON. It never stopped playing. Not that Texas A&M ever quit in this game, but the Aggies jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the second quarter but it didn't deter Kansas State as the Wildcats battled back to tie things going into halftime. Then the Aggies took a 31-21 lead with 6:38 left in the game and battled back from that deficit to force overtime.

WHEN KANSAS STATE WON. When Collin Klein was pushing his way through the defensive line for his fifth rushing touchdown of the day in the fourth overtime. Kansas State's defense forced Texas A&M to kick a field goal on their previous drive.

WHAT KANSAS STATE WON. Kansas State isn't going to win the Big 12, but with this win it did a lot of work to ensure that it could end up playing in the Cotton Bowl this January. By beating Texas A&M and with Texas losing earlier to Missouri, that means third place is Kansas State's, and if both Oklahoma schools wind up in BCS games, then the Wildcats should be heading to JerryWorld.

WHAT TEXAS A&M LOST. The Aggies will not look back upon their final season in the Big 12 and smile. A season that has been filled with disappointment merely added another one to the list on Saturday evening. With the loss Texas A&M is now 5-5 on the season and 3-4 in the Big 12. Not exactly what Mike Sherman and The 12th Man were hoping for when this season began.

THAT WAS CRAZY. We all know that Collin Klein is a running quarterback and that Ryan Tannehill is more of a thrower that can run when it's called for. Well, if you thought Collin Klein would outperform Tannehill passing in this game, you're lying. Klein did, though, passing for 281 yards while Tannehill threw for only 210.
Posted on: November 12, 2011 7:28 pm
Edited on: November 12, 2011 8:27 pm
 

QUICK HITS: TCU 36, No. 5 Boise State 35

Posted by Chip Patterson

TCU WON. The Horned Frogs walked into Boise unintimidated, and walked out in the driver's seat to another Mountain West Conference title after converting a two-point attempt to knock off the undefeated Broncos 36-35 on the Smurf Turf.

HOW TCU WON: Sophomore quarterback Casey Pachall took advantage of Boise State's secondary to deliver big play after big play for the Horned Frogs, always having an answer to Kellen Moore's well orchestrated drives. Pachall finished the afternoon completing 24 of 37 passes for 473 yards and five touchdowns, but none were as important as the rollout pass to Josh Boyce on the two-point conversion with 1:05 remaining. TCU head coach Gary Patterson told his offensive staff to have the 2-point try play called in advance, after Boise State backup running back Drew Wright turned the ball over with 2:26 remaining in regulation. Shaky field goal kicking would not cost TCU this opportunity to steal a signature win on Boise's home field.

WHEN TCU WON: Shaky field goal kicking did cost Boise the victory, and shattered their BCS title dreams. Dan Goodale's kick from 37 yards out was pushed wide right, and for the second year in a row Boise State's BCS campaign is halted over a last-minute missed field goal.

WHAT TCU WON: A signature win for a young team with a bright future. With the move to the Big 12 on the horizon, Casey Pachall and the rest of this youthful team made a statement to their future league partners with the upset of Boise State. Pachall will be a force to be reckoned with in the Big 12, and this win will help the Horned Frogs as they continue to improve over the final weeks of the season. TCU has gotten much better since conference play began, and now controls their own destiny for another Mountain West Conference title.

WHAT BOISE STATE LOST: After 65 consecutive regular season home wins, the Broncos' first loss will be memorable for all the wrong reasons. The season has been a record-setting one for Kellen Moore, who recently became college football's winningest quarterback. But Moore's goal of competing for a national championship will fall short with the Broncos' loss.

THAT WAS CRAZY: Boise State can't seem to shake kicking issues. While double-digit leads have kept them safe from crunch time kicks, Saturday's miss by Goodale was eerily similar to the loss against Nevada last season. TCU, with kicking issues of their own, emerged victorious for the decision NOT to kick.



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Posted on: November 12, 2011 6:55 pm
 

QUICK HITS: No. 14 Georgia 45, No. 24 Auburn 7

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

GEORGIA WON: 
The Bulldogs are one should-be gimme vs. Kentucky from going to Atlanta--and they took Saturday's step towards that SEC East title in some style, running their Auburn rivals clean out of Sanford Stadium with a 28-0 first-half burst. Aaron Murray looked every bit the league's preseason first-team quarterback, totaling more first-half touchdowns (four) than incompletions (three) and finishing 14-of-18 for 224 yards and no interceptions. The Bulldog defense continued to cement themselves as one of the nation's best, holding Auburn to 89 first-half yards and turning the Tigers over three times for the game.

WHY GEORGIA WON: When you're talking about a 38-point victory, there's a lot of things to point to. But there's this, more than anything: against competent quarterbacking, Auburn's secondary simply hasn't been up to the task in 2011. Tajh Boyd? 386 yards, 4 scores, 0 INTs. Tyler Wilson? 262, 2, 0. The Jarrett Lee/ Jordan Jefferson tag team? 219, 3, 0. When not going up against Stephen Garcia at his lowest point or Florida's freshman backups, the Tiger defensive backs may as well have been had "TORCH US" signs pinned to their backs.

Murray looked like he might not quite rise to that "competent" level in an erratic performance against the Gators two weeks ago, but he was razor-sharp from the gun against Auburn--and duly shredded the Tiger defensive backs, with corner T'Sharvan Bell (among others) burned again and again by Murray's accurate back-shoulder throws. For all the things done well by the Dawg defense, running game and special teams (whose sore-spot kick return coverage totally shut down the Tiger return game), as soon as Murray showed his brief midseason slump was behind him, the Tigers were done. Until Gene Chizik and Ted Roof can solve their woes in stopping the pass, the Tiger defense -- as it has been since Chizik's hire -- will remain an up-and-down, roller coaster proposition at best.

WHEN GEORGIA WON: Auburn was already in a deep hole midway through the second quarter, down 21-7 and facing a 3rd-and-7 on their own 17. Clint Moseley's gift of a pick-six to Bacarri Rambo, however, made it the kind of hole that the Tigers wouldn't be able to climb out of if they had all week.

WHAT GEORGIA WON: the right to play Kentucky next Saturday with the SEC East on the line. But you know what? Given that Kentucky lost by 30 points to Vanderbilt, let's go ahead and call a spade a spade: the Bulldogs won the division today. They're going to go to Atlanta.

WHAT AUBURN LOST: any sense of defensive improvement over the course of the season for one thing. Likewise, any illusion that the Tigers belonged in the top third of the SEC this season. To lose to teams like Arkansas, LSU and Georgia, all on the road, is one thing--and given how incredibly young the Tigers remain, probably forgivable. But for Auburn to not even be able to stay competitive shows how far Chizik's team will have to go between 2011 and 2012 to return to the conference's elite.

Posted on: November 12, 2011 5:35 pm
Edited on: November 12, 2011 6:18 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Michigan State 37, Iowa 21

Posted by Adam Jacobi

MICHIGAN STATE WON. 13th-ranked Michigan State won at Iowa for the first time in over 20 years, weathering a second-half rally to close out a 37-21 victory. Kirk Cousins was stellar in the victory, throwing for 260 yards and three touchdowns to zero interceptions.

WHY MICHIGAN STATE WON: There were two basic factors that MSU took care of and Iowa didn't: line play and turnovers. The Spartans had struggled all year to establish a ground game, but Le'Veon Bell gashed Iowa for 112 yards and a score as the Spartans rushed for 155 yards altogether. Meanwhile, Iowa committed three turnovers to none for MSU; the Spartans turned the first two into first-half touchdowns, while the last was important in its own right (more on that in a bit). All in all, Michigan State played like a division champion, and it's en route to fulfilling that destiny in just two weeks.

WHEN MICHIGAN STATE WON: When Iowa TE Zach Derby fumbled inside the 10-yard line, Iowa's third turnover of the game. Derby had just converted a 3rd and 5 on the play and Iowa was close to scoring and had a chance to make it a one-possession ballgame, but there would be no chance for victory after that last turnover.

WHAT MICHIGAN STATE WON: The Spartans took care of their biggest hurdle to a division title this week, as only games against Indiana and Northwestern remain. Northwestern is feisty in November, so it's not time for Spartan fans to start buying hotel rooms in Indianapolis just yet... but it is probably time to start figuring out a budget for that trip.

WHAT IOWA LOST: The notion of Iowa as a Legends Division contender is now, mercifully, over; the Hawkeyes had been in control of their own destiny with the MSU and Nebraska games yet to play, but any team that loses to Minnesota and Iowa State in the same season probably isn't a worthy contender for a conference championship. So that's done. More than that, with the fourth loss on the books, Iowa probably lost a shot at most of the big-name bowls; don't cry, Hawkeye fans, but this might be a Pizza Pizza Bowl kind of season.

THAT WAS CRAZY: One of the worst-kept secrets in the Big Ten is the disdain Kirk Ferentz and Mark Dantonio have for each other, despite basically being the same exact person. Ferentz calling a reverse pass with a 30-point lead last year has something to do with that. So with a routine field goal cued up and Michigan State leading 31-7 in the third quarter, Dantonio tried to exact revenge, and called a fake field goal of his own. It worked, but MSU would still only get three points out of the drive, and the insult seemed to wake up the Hawkeyes. Iowa responded with two quick touchdowns and a drive into Spartan territory immediately afterwards, and even though Iowa's rally fell short, it was still a reminder that midway through the third quarter is just a little bit early to start calling the proverbial "middle-finger" plays.
 
 
 
 
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