Sunday, September 30, 2007

CFI: THIS DATE IN HISTORY


Sept, 30, 1972: Army celebrates “Earl Blaik Day” in honor of the tri-founder of the NFF & College Hall of Fame and Hall of Fame member with a 21-21 tie of heavily-favored Washington State. “We need to chase Washington State to the Pacific Northwest,” Blaik tells the Michie Stadium crowd in a halftime address. He almost gets his wish as Black Knights’ halfback Jimmy Hill scores twice, rushes 23 times for 88 yards, and leads a near-comeback before the game ends in a deadlock.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

CFI PREVIEW: SEC



BY NEIL BISMAN
SEC INSIDER


This week serves as something of the calm before the storm, as next week there are quite a few marquee match-ups on the conference slate. Until then, enjoy the appetizers…

LSU at Tulane: If you have never heard of Matt Forte before, don’t feel bad because you are not alone. The Tulane running back ran for five touchdowns and 303 yards on 40 carries in the Green Wave’s victory over Southeastern Louisiana and was named this week’s Walter Camp Offensive Player of the Week for the entire nation. Is this a sign of things to come for the Slidell, Louisiana product? Forte averaged an impressive 5.3 yards per carry last year before going down with a left knee injury. This game won’t be close so the only thing to keep an eye out for is how Forte does in a true test, such as going against the LSU defense.
Prediction: LSU 59 – Tulane 14

Mississippi State at South Carolina: This is your textbook “trap game.” South Carolina is coming off of a loss to LSU and has their sights set on their big match up with Kentucky next week. Throw into the mix the loss of star linebacker Jasper Brinkley and the benching of Blake Mitchell in favor of freshman Chris Smelley and this game is suddenly not the walk in the part that it should have been for the Gamecocks. With starting quarterback Michael Henig out due to a broken hand, Sylvester Croom has called out Mississippi State quarterbacks Josh Riddell and Wesley Carroll, tailback Anthony Dixon, free safety Derek Pegues and offensive lineman J.D. Hamilton as players who need to step up if the Bulldogs have any chance at pulling off the upset. Expect a close one down in Columbia, South Carolina with the Gamecocks barely coming out on top.
Prediction: South Carolina 24 – Mississippi State 20

Ole Miss at Georgia: Coming off of their dramatic overtime victory of Alabama, Georgia should come into this one flying high. On the other hand, Mississippi is coming off of a tough loss to Florida, although the word around the locker room is that the players took their near miss as a positive as opposed to a negative. No word on how the Rebels will feel after this week’s loss.
Prediction: Georgia 34 – Ole Miss 13

Florida Atlantic at Kentucky:
Florida Atlantic may come into this one with a 3-1 record but they haven’t exactly beaten teams anywhere near the caliber of Kentucky. In their only tough game of the season, they got blown out by Oklahoma State. The Oklahoma State loss should come as no surprise though, because they are coached “BY A MAN!” Let the Andre’ Woodson for Heisman push continue…
Prediction: Kentucky 49 – Florida Atlantic 10

Alabama at Florida State: This one is not exactly a true home game for the Seminoles as it is taking place down Interstate 10 in Jacksonville, Florida. It should be extremely interesting to see how Alabama rebounds from their crushing loss a week ago. Florida State has a lot hanging over their head as well with an impeding academic scandal that hit the school this past week. On the field though, Alabama is just flat out better than a Florida State team that, surprise, is still struggling to find itself on offense. Saban Nation can breathe easy, or breathe again for that matter.
Prediction: Alabama 27 – Florida State 17

North Texas at Arkansas: The one positive that Arkansas has going for it this week is that they shouldn’t blow another 4th quarter lead. If they do, Houston Nutt might want to start looking at the classifieds.
Prediction: Arkansas 49 – North Texas 3

Eastern Michigan at Vanderbilt: Once upon a time, Vanderbilt was Eastern Michigan. The overmatched team, going into the lion’s den and just hope that the defeat was quick and painless. The Commodores should have a good time in their new role as a heavy favorite.
Prediction: Vanderbilt 38 – Eastern Michigan 13

Auburn at Florida:
Auburn sure has managed to take a lot of the excitement out of this game with their lackluster play this season. Florida comes in looking to avenge their only loss from a season ago and has the added incentive of coming off of a close one with Ole Miss a week ago. Don’t let Brandon Cox’s improved performance last week against New Mexico State fool you, he is still extremely mistake prone and heading into arguably the toughest place to play in the nation; which spells bad news for the Tigers.
Prediction: Florida 42 – Auburn 24

CFI: THIS DATE IN HISTORY


Sept, 29, 1894: Yale opens a record-setting 16-0 season (no scheduling limitations in those pre-NCAA-1906 days) by topping Trinity (Conn.) 42-0. The Bulldogs outscore their opponents by an average of 31-1 in going undefeated.

Friday, September 28, 2007

CFI PREVIEW: CONFERENCE USA


BY NEIL BISMAN
C-USA INSIDER


With the exception of idle Marshall and Rice, every team will have at least one conference game under their belt after this weekend. And with all due respect to the Thundering Herd and Owls, it’s not as though we need to wait for the two winless squads to start the party. Without further ado, here is your Conference USA Weekend Preview…

LSU at Tulane: If you have never heard of Matt Forte before, don’t feel bad because you are not alone. The Tulane running back ran for five touchdowns and 303 yards on 40 carries in the Green Wave’s victory over Southeastern Louisiana and was named this week’s Walter Camp Offensive Player of the Week for the entire nation. Is this a sign of things to come for the Slidell, Louisiana product? Forte averaged an impressive 5.3 yards per carry last year before going down with a left knee injury. This game won’t be close so the only thing to keep an eye out for is how Forte does in a true test, such as going against the LSU defense.
Prediction: LSU 59 – Tulane 14

UTEP at Southern Methodist: It may have been against Texas Southern, but the UTEP offense did show signs of life last week in their 52-12 rout over the Tigers. Southern Methodist put up just seven points a week ago in their loss to TCU but they too showed signs of life on offense. SMU was a dreadful 0-for-3 on fourth down inside the TCU 25 and are going to have to start converting those types of opportunities if they want to make any noise in conference play. In a game like this – where both offenses are question marks, its usually safest to side with the home squad but UTEP has a little bit more talent so now may be a good time to buck that trend.
Prediction: UTEP 24 – SMU 20

Louisiana-Lafayette at UCF: Louisiana-Lafayette has had an extremely tough time stopping the opposition from scoring this season, allowing powers such as Ohio, McNeese State and Troy to put up 31, 38, and 48 points, respectively. In other words, it’s a pretty safe assumption that UCF running back Kevin Smith is going to have a field day.
Prediction: UCF 49 – Louisiana-Lafayette 10

UAB at Tulsa: Plain and simple, Tulsa was just outclassed in their blowout loss to Oklahoma a week ago. The Golden Hurricane offense has yet to find a replacement for running back Courtney Tennial and until they do, the offense will have a giant hole in it. Running backs Tarrion Adams and Jamad Williams get another chance to claim the job all to themselves against a UAB team that appears to be getting better and better with each passing week. Tulsa has way too much talent though for the Blazers to pick up their first conference win of the season on Saturday.
Prediction: Tulsa 37 – UAB 17

East Carolina at Houston: Without question the best game of the week, East Carolina travels to Houston in what could be a possible Conference USA Championship Game preview. Both teams do have their hurdles in the way to make it a reality but it is certainly possible. East Carolina’s brutal stretch of games continues and while they may be just as good as Houston, the losses are going to catch up to them mentally eventually. The Cougars have looked impressive since their season-opening loss to Oregon but that was a game in which they did not have star running back Anthony Aldridge. Expect Aldridge to have a big day and propel Houston to their third straight victory while East Carolina wonders if they will ever see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Prediction: Houston 31 – East Carolina 20

MOUNTAINEERS ALL BUSINESS HEADING TO SOUTH FLORIDA


BY PAUL ASPAN
CFI INSIDER


Later tonight, The University of South Florida’s Campus will be alive in a way it has never been before. The mere ten-year-old football program is on the verge of hosting the biggest game in school history. Green and gold clad fans will begin to fill a sold out Raymond James Stadium beyond its 65,000 person capacity as they entertain thoughts of an upset for their 18th-ranked Bulls over the No. 5 team in the country, West Virginia. It will be pandemonium to say the least.

The Mountaineers look to come in and spoil the raucous Tampa environment the same way USF did when it went to Morgantown last November 25th. West Virginia found itself on the short end of 24-19 Bulls’ win – an end to any BCS Bowl hopes for the Mountaineers, and an announcement to the college football world that South Florida had arrived for good.

Almost a year later, the Mountaineers (4-0) are once again in the top ten, and the Bulls (3-0) have shown that they belong in the top 25. Friday night’s nationally televised matchup will open the Big East portion of the schedule for both teams. It will also be the first real test for a West Virginia team with National Title aspirations.

Coach Rich Rodriguez and his team won’t use a certain R – word when they talk about this week’s game, but it’s clear that last year’s loss is fresh in their mind.

“They obviously remember what happened last year, and they say revenge doesn’t play a factor, but there is definitely some extra motivation to go down there and take one from them in their home stadium,” says Sam Lordi, who covers the Mountaineers for WDTV, the CBS affiliate in Bridgeport, WV.

“They’re also excited because it’s their first Big East game of the season and since the summer they’ve said their biggest goal is to regain the Big East title.”

The key for the Bulls in last year’s win was that they completely shut down West Virginia’s dynamic duo of quarterback Pat White and running back Steve Slaton. The two combined for only 60 yards rushing and White turned the ball over three times.

This year’s match-up will again hinge on West Virginia’s explosive run offense (357/ypg) against South Florida’s stingy run defense (79/ypg). However, based on the Mountaineers’ dominant performance against ECU a week ago, stopping Slaton and White might not be enough.

“Twelve different players got involved offensively last week between passing, rushing and receiving”, says Lordi. “The fact that they have more threats offensively and they’re spreading the ball out like that should help Slaton because it doesn’t look like they’ll just be running the offense around White and him.”

“Last week they faced an Eastern Carolina team that had held them under 200 yards in two consecutive meetings and they rushed for almost 400 yards on them.”

The Mountaineer defense will face a test of its own against South Florida quarterback Matt Grothe. The sophomore signal caller threw for 279 yards against West Virginia last year, and he hasn’t thrown an interception since that game. If the game does turn into a shootout, Grothe’s arm will be the Bulls best chance to stay in it as the Mountaineers give up 186/ypg in the air.

However, if West Virginia strikes quickly and takes the crowd out of the game, their Green and Gold day will be pretty gray for the South Florida faithful.

THE ND PREVIEW...IT'S PU...AS IN PURDUE


BY SHANNON O'KEEFE
NOTRE DAME INSIDER


College football fans – and those of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in particular – are a peculiar lot, believing as much in magic as in talent. There are no mid-season trades here, and stocking the bench can take years. What you having coming into the season is all you’ve got -- so it better be enough. You can redshirt, you can transfer, you can recruit, but it won’t have any implications until the following year, and maybe not for years to come. So you have to believe that each year’s team is full of new possibilities, that the starter who went in the first round of the draft was fully replaceable. That your team can win every game, even when statistics tell you otherwise.

As the Irish prepare to take on the Purdue Boilermakers this Saturday, a feeling that has not been felt by Irish faithful in recent memory is sweeping Notre Dame Nation and infesting the hearts of Irish fans everywhere: not magic, so much as resignation. Charlie Weis can take the kids back to training camp. He can make subtle adjustments that lead to subtle improvements and essentially make the next few games more watchable.

But when did college football fans – especially die-hard Notre Dame fans – ever go into game day thinking the next few hours might be watchable, tolerable, not as bad as that opening game, or the one after that, or the one after that?! At least Coach Weis believes the Irish players think otherwise, though he’s not saying anything about his own beliefs.

"I think they believe they can win the game. I don't know if anyone else believes that, but I think the players believe they can win the game. And if the players don't believe they can win the game, you have no chance." BCS bids out the window, sure. But winning the next four games out the window too? Well that’s something else altogether, yet Irish fans seem to be there, watching with one eye closed, waiting it out, waiting until 2009 in many cases.

What the one open eye will see this week is another loss, and likely another rout. Purdue’s offense is ranked eighth nationally, so they’re more than capable of running the board. Boilermaker quarterback Curtis Painter has thrown for 16 touchdowns with only one interception. Three of those touchdowns arrived care of receiver Dorien Bryant, who has caught 32 passes for 368 yards. The entire Irish team has collected half as many yards and should find containing Purdue’s pass-oriented offense to be a challenge. Look for strong efforts by Maurice Crum, and continued heroics from the young Darrin Walls. Purdue’s defensive efforts to date have them hovering around the 60th team nationally, which just might give Jimmy Clausen and his offense a few precious seconds to shoot back. Look for more pitches to tight end John Carlson, who should begin to lead his young teammates on offense; more (positive!) yardage on the back of James Aldridge; and two more offensive touchdowns, which will double, yes double, the tally to date.

O'Brien Quarterback Award Marquee Match-up for Week Five


FORT WORTH, Texas (September 24, 2007) - The 2007 Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award® (The O'Brien) Marquee Match-up for week 5 features two high-powered offensive units. Fan voting on The O'Brien's Web site, www.DaveyOBrien.com, is a new component to the award's voting procedures for 2007. This week's Marquee Match-up will undoubtedly grab the attention of fan voters from the West coast.

Marquee Match-up - California at Oregon (All games listed in CST)

Saturday, Sept. 29 at 2:30 p.m. on ABC


Nate Longshore leads his California Golden Bears into the Duck Pond of Oregon to square off with a potent offensive attack led by Dennis Dixon, to decide which Pac-10 power is the best of the undefeated teams. Both O'Brien aspirants are looking to make a splash in the O'Brien Fan Vote. Longshore, 13th in O'Brien voting, has completed more than 63% of his passes in leading Cal to a 4-0 start to the season. Dixon, 9th in Fan Voting, has been the focus of Oregon's offense, throwing for 11 touchdowns and rushing for more than 290 yards this season.
Fans looking for one more reason to make this Marquee Match-up special should get their Duck Calls and Bear Traps ready and start voting; this West coast battle could decide the fate of more than these teams - it could determine the next O'Brien winner.

Head-to-Head O'Brien Match-ups

These O'Brien Watch List contenders will face off in our highlighted quarterback battles of the week.

· Haugabook, Omar (Troy) at Lancaster, Kinsmon (UL - Monroe); Sept. 29 at 6 p.m. (not televised)

Fans are able to vote for the starting quarterback from any of the 119 Division I-A football programs, leaving room for the possibility of a quarterback who is not on the Watch List to win the award. Fans can vote once daily on The O'Brien's Web site in hopes of moving their pick to the final round.

The top three quarterbacks who garner the most votes will be added to The O'Brien semifinalist list, and the Fan Vote will count as 5% in determining the finalists and winner. The 2007 O'Brien winner will be announced on The Home Depot College Football Awards Show on ESPN Dec. 6.

CFI: THIS DATE IN HISTORY


Sept. 28, 1995: Rhode Island tight end Brian Foster sets a national record (all divisions) for receiving yards in a game by a TE with 327 as the Rams defeat Brown in the 70th annual Rhode Island Governor’s Cup Game. The receiving yardage still is tops for NCAA FCS individuals for a single contest.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

STOCK RISING


BY RICK SERRITELLA
NFL DRAFT BIBLE


Despite Louisville’s early season struggles, wide receiver Harry Douglas has been a staple of consistency. Douglas has gained 100 yards and scored at least one touchdown in every game this season. Through the first four games he has collected 679 receiving yards and five touchdowns.

Having been a manufacturer of producing pro caliber linebackers, J Leman looks to be the next in line to hail from the University of Illinois. Standing in at 6’2, 240-pounds, Leman has the size and lateral speed to be an impact player at the next level. He can also lay the lumber and punishes those who dare to come across the middle.

Boston College cornerback DeJuan Tribble has proved to be a defensive playmaker through the first quarter of the season. The defensive team leader has made a ton of plays and gets his hands on a lot of balls, whether it be via interception or pass deflections. Tribble looks to be headed towards solidifying first-round status.

One player flying under the radar is South Florida cornerback Mike Jenkins. Helping South Carolina get off to a 3-0 start, Jenkins helped set up an upset victory over Auburn with a late-game interception a couple of weeks ago. His speed is comparable to any top corner in the ’07 draft and you can be sure that scout’s eyes will be on Jenkins as the Bulls host West Virginia this upcoming week.

Lost amidst the shocking upset over Louisville is the gutsy performance by Syracuse wide out Taj Smith. The speedster from Newark, New Jersey had 4 catches- two of which went for touchdowns and 173 receiving yards. Hailing from a gang-infested community, the senior could have a turn of good fortune, as a few more performances like that and he will definitely be on the NFL Draft radar come April.

STOCK FALLING


BY RICK SERRITELLA
NFL DRAFT BIBLE


Unimpressive in losses to Appalachian State and Oregon, Michigan quarterback Chad Henne missed his second consecutive game due to a knee sprain. Completing just 51% of his passes this season, Henne has shown the tendency to overthrow his receivers. If he doesn’t return to action soon, he could risk falling out of the first round.

While he may have out-dueled New Mexico State quarterback Chase Holbrook this past week, Auburn quarterback Brandon Cox looked awful in back-to-back home losses to South Florida and Mississippi State and was even benched during the first quarter against the Bulldogs. With three of the next four games against Florida, Arkansas and LSU- in addition to late season matchups verses Georgia and Alabama, Cox has time to recuperate his draft status.

After storming out of the gates to start the season, Georgia Tech running back Tashard Choice seems to have hit a speed bump. During his first two games in wins over Notre Dame and Samford, Choice accounted for 296 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns. In consecutive losses to Boston College and Virginia, he has totaled just 50 rushing yards and zero scores.

North Carolina State defensive tackle DeMario Pressley has top-flight talent, but he has struggled to stay on the playing field. Last season he missed action with a broken wrist. During spring practice he suffered a broken toe. He began the ’07 season nursing a strained elbow- before sustaining his latest blow; arthroscopic knee surgery. He is expected to return to action in two weeks (October 6th) at Florida State.

STARS OF TOMORROW


BY RICK SERRITELLA
NFL DRAFT BIBLE


His numbers haven’t been pretty, but true freshman quarterback Ryan Mallet deserves credit for showing tremendous poise and leading Michigan to back-to-back victories over Notre Dame and Penn State. While it has been Notre Dame freshman quarterback Jimmy Claussen garnering all the attention, Mallet has been the one translating the hype into success.

There may not be a better backfield tandem in the nation than Darren McFadden and Felix Jones of Arkansas but the duo of James Davis and C.J. Spiller certainly give them a run for their money. Dubbed “Thunder & Lightning”, Davis provides the between-the-tackles yardage, while Spiller has the potential to take it the distance at any moment. On Saturday, they combined for 368 total yards, as the upstart Tigers improved to 4-0.

If you haven’t heard about Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich, you will soon. Standing in at 6’4 and 238-pounds, the sophomore has the size, acceleration and instincts to become an impact player on the defensive side of the ball. A punishing hitter, Herzlich has followed up his impressive freshman campaign with an outstanding start to the 2007 season.

THUNDER & LIGHTNING ATOP THE ACC




BY ARTHUR DiCESARE
ACC INSIDER


The Clemson Tigers at 4-0 and #13 are finally proving they belong after several years with high expectations and no results. Tommy Bowden has always had top-notch talent at Clemson since he arrived in the winter of 1999, is now seeing a team that can not only win the ACC Atlantic but can also make it to their first BCS bowl under his reign. It also helps Bowden’s at the time UN-ranked Tigers beat his father’s number 19th ranked Seminoles in the first game of the season, vaulting Clemson into the polls.

The two key components to the Tigers success this year has been the play of their two-headed backfield consisting of junior James Davis AKA Thunder and sophomore C.J. Spiller AKA Lightning. The two backs have combined for almost 700 yards rushing and 200 yards receiving while scoring eight touchdowns in four games. Spiller who is a native of Lake Butler, Florida almost transferred to the National Champion Gators after his freshman season, when the tailback was the ACC Newcomer of the Year. But it was Davis who was a big influence in calling Spiller during the off-season and talking to him and letting him know how special they could be together…knowing it would benefit the both of them.

Good thing. With Davis and Spiller in Clemson’s backfield, Bowden has the best one-two punch in the country. Davis is more of a north south runner who carries the ball in between the tackles and gets the hard fought yards. But don’t sleep on Davis, he has the ability to take the ball to the house anywhere on the field.

Spiller on the other hand is a very versatile back who is better suited in space as opposed to in between the tackles. He has raw sprinter-type speed with great quickness and a bevy of moves. He doesn’t get the same amount of carries as Davis does but when he does tends to use off tackle runs and sweeps. Spiller is most dangerous in the passing game where a two to three yard screen can quickly turn into an 80-yard gain in a matter of seconds.

Clemson has also found different ways of using each back in creative offensive formations. They have lined both at quarterback and wide receiver. When they on the field at the same time, they have been great decoys for fakes and misdirection plays allowing others on the Clemson offense to flourish. If Clemson can stay the course, they should be hosting the game to decide the ACC Atlantic Division on November 17t when Boston College visits Death Valley.

THIS DATE IN HISTORY


Sept. 27, 1969: Rutgers and Princeton celebrate the Centennial of college football (first game played in 1869 between these schools) as the Scarlet Knights blank Princeton 29-0. Antique car parades and appearances by surviving members of both universities’ 1927 teams mark the occasion, while RU quarterback Rich Policastro goes 14-for-19 passing for 164 yards and one TD to pace the attack.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

LIVE FROM THE DOME: THE BIG EAST REPORT



BY CHRISTOPHER MOGOLLON
BIG EAST INSIDER


Big Winners

Syracuse -
There was nobody who thought the Orange could possibly win this game -- as 38 point underdogs -- this was a historic win. This was the best football played under coach Greg Robinson who earned his second conference win in three seasons. The quarterback Andrew Robinson was efficient and smart, making the tough throws and the easy ones, throwing for four touchdowns. Robinson hit the big plays throwing for 423 yards including a 79-yard touchdown pass to Taj Smith to open up the game. Smith showed nice hands and big play ability catching four balls for 173 yards including a 60-yard touchdown where Smith put the moves on a couple Louisville defenders before taking it to the house for about 50 yards of YAC. Even though they gave up 35 points the ‘Cuse defense was solid and made plays. Jameel McClain has been waiting to break out and it may have started in Louisville where he recorded a sack and an interception. Syracuse forced four turnovers in a 38-35 victory, as Louisville scored two touchdowns in the last four minutes to make it close.

Connecticut -
In what was supposed to be a battle -- the Huskies just walked all over Pittsburgh on their home field. The defense for Connecticut played their best ball of the year, forcing four turnovers and holding star freshman tailback LeSean McCoy to 70 yards rushing. The defense forced quarterback Kevan Smith to his worst game of the season, which included two interceptions and a fumble which directly led to 17 points. Smith had to be taken out at halftime after only completing 3/9 passes for 23 total yards. Pittsburgh did not convert any of their first seven third downs.

Most Lost

Louisville -
The most noise in Papa John’s Stadium on Saturday was the cheers when Mario Urrutia was taken out of the game after committing a personal foul penalty. In total, Louisville’s 12 penalties cost them 105 yards. For whatever reason the offense ignored their tight ends and running game and instead just kept on throwing the ball up for grabs. Brian Brohm did throw for a remarkable 555 yards and four touchdowns but wasn’t as efficient has his opponent. The secondary was just embarrassed leaving Syracuse receivers open for big plays numerous times, twice the Orange responded after Louisville scores with quick long pass plays for touchdowns.

Setting Up a Showdown

Both South Florida and West Virginia took care of business before their much anticipated match up on Friday night. Neither of these teams looked ahead and blew out their opponents. South Florida came out strong putting up 14 points in the first quarter and never looked back. Matt Grothe threw for 230 yards and a touchdown, he also ran for 35 yards. The running game was strong rushing for a total of 192 yards, with junior Benjamin Williams led the way with 64 yards and a touchdown. The South Florida defense held North Carolina to only 85 passing yards and 164 total yards. North Carolina was four of fifteen on third down conversations and turned the over four times. Meanwhile in Morgantown, it was the Pat White show. White was an outstanding 18/20, throwing for 181 yards and two touchdowns. He rushed for 42 yards and two touchdowns. Wide receiver Darius Reynaud caught five balls racking up 54 yards and two touchdowns. He also scored on a reverse for a touchdown and had a 12-yard run on an option play. The defense was just as good holding East Carolina to 54 yards passing in the 48-7 win.

Under the Radar


The Cincinnati Bearcats have quietly remained undefeated after a romp over Marshall 40-14. Junior Mike Mickens started the blowout with an interception and a fumble recovery to setup their first two scores. Dustin Grutza played most of the game throwing for 142 yards and was 14/20 with two touchdowns. Ben Mauk was 6/7 with 77 yards and a touchdown. Freshman receiver Marcus Barnett caught 6 balls for 77 yards, and two touchdowns, both coming in the third quarter.

Oregon State's Langsdorf nominated for FedEx Orange Bowl Courage Award


DALLAS (FWAA) - Oregon State's Danny Langsdorf has been nominated for the FedEx Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award, to be announced at the end of the 2007 season. Langsdorf, Oregon State's offensive coordinator, donated a kidney last summer to Laurie Cavanaugh, the wife of Oregon State offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh.

Laurie Cavanaugh's family has a history of kidney disease. Her kidney function was operating at 10 percent capacity when the operation occurred. The Cavanaugh family had been looking for a donor match for more than a year when Langsdorf suggested he should be tested. When he learned he was a match, Langsdorf volunteered one of his kidneys.

"It's incredible what Danny has done," Mike Cavanaugh told the Portland Tribune. "You talk about a miracle gift - sacrificing to save somebody's life. All the things you talk about in coaching about how we're a family ... how much better a family can you get than that?"

Said Oregon State coach Mike Riley: "This whole thing is a good description of the kind of guy Danny Langsdorf is. What he did is bigger than all the stuff we do as coaches."

For the second straight year, the Football Writers Association of America and the FedEx Orange Bowl will announce a weekly nominee each Wednesday during the season. A blue-ribbon panel will determine the winner from all of the nominees. The winner of the FedEx Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award will be announced in December and be presented with the trophy.

The Courage Award was created by ESPN The Magazine's senior writer Gene Wojciechowski, also a FWAA member. A select group of writers from the FWAA vote on the winner each year. The requirements for nomination include displaying courage on or off the field, including overcoming an injury or physical handicap, preventing a disaster or living through hardship.

Previous winners of the FWAA's Courage Award are Clemson's Ray Ray McElrathbey (2006), the Tulane football team (2005), Memphis' Haracio Colen (2004), San Jose State's Neil Parry (2003) and Toledo's William Bratton (2002).

2007 FedEx Orange Bowl Courage Award Nominees

· Sept. 12: Brian Kajiyama, Hawaii
· Sept. 19: Terry Clayton, Kentucky
· Sept. 26: Danny Langsdorf, Oregon State

CFI: THIS DATE IN HISTORY


Sept. 26, 1998: Prairie View A&M ends the NCAA’s longest losing streak at 80 games by downing Langston 14-12 in Oklahoma City, Okla. The skein began on Oct. 28, 1989, and lasted almost a full decade. The second-longest losing streak in NCAA annals belongs to Columbia – almost half the total amassed by PVA&M in the 1980s and 1990s.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

MORAL VICTORIES


BY SHANNON O’KEEFE
NOTRE DAME INSIDER


Two offensive touchdowns and positive yardage may not add up to a win, but it does soften the blow for Fighting Irish fans in what has begun to feel like the longest September ever. In Saturday’s match up against Michigan State, which the Irish dropped 31-14 en route to their sixth consecutive loss, Spartan quarterback Brian Hoyer threw four touchdown passes. By contrast, the Irish quarterback was only sacked four times – something to take note of, given that 23 sacks were allowed in the first three games of the season, and that Michigan State was leading the nation in sacks coming in to the game.

When did it get to the point that only being down by three points at the half was something to be celebrated by Irish faithful? Probably around the same time they realized the team would likely roll to an 0-8 start, despite the fact that no team in Notre Dame’s 119 season history has been 0-4 before. Despite the fact that as Michigan State went on to their own record – the first team in the nation to win six in a row at Notre Dame Stadium – the Irish were thought to be improving and not looking quite as pitiful as they have in weeks prior.

That being said, there were a few highlights, most notably sophomore halfback James Aldridge’s performance, with 18 carries for 104 yards, including a 43-yard run that led to a touchdown. Still, the Irish are going to have a hard time coming up with enough clips for the highlight reel shown to national television audiences and starry-eyed recruits. Did you notice that NBC’s intro to Saturday’s game showed more Irish players running than catching/throwing/tackling? That’s a problem Notre Dame and NBC will likely face for the next season or two. While Aldridge’s run may end up there, one or two decent plays a game just won’t be enough.

PENN STATE FUMBLES ONE AWAY


BY PAUL ASPAN
PENN ST. INSIDER


I was all ready to rip into Anthony Morelli and Austin Scott for their play during Penn State’s loss to Michigan, when I saw a clip of Oklahoma State Coach Mike Gundy’s press conference. Gundy lashed out at a reporter for a story she wrote criticizing Cowboy’s quarterback Bobby Reid for not being tough enough. For a second it made me step back and if nothing else – think twice about the nature of covering college athletes. On the one hand, no they’re not getting paid, they have to balance class and practice, a lot of them are good kids, and the nature of the criticism they endure might not always be fair. On the other hand, they embrace the media spotlight when they perform well, they get preferential treatment, and let’s face it, it’s kind of tough to feel sorry for guys that have girls throwing themselves at them on a nightly basis. They don’t even have to be good. I watched it at Syracuse for the last four years.

On to the Penn State loss to Michigan….

Anthony Morelli didn’t exactly instill confidence in the Penn State faithful before the Michigan game, but afterwards, let’s just say I don’t think he received a hero’s welcome on his return to Happy Valley. The Nittany Lion quarterback was 15/31 for 169 yards, no touchdowns and a huge fumble on the day. The key for the Wolverines coming in was to jump on Penn State early, as the Lions offense has struggled to get going in its last few games. The Maize and Blue parlayed Morelli’s first quarter fumble into an early touchdown and the Lions had to play catch-up the rest of the way. This allowed Michigan to grind it out with their All-American tailback Mike Hart.

It was a battle on the ground between the Lion’s nation-best rushing defense and the third best rusher in the nation. Often it seemed like it was All American PSU linebacker Dan Connor vs. Hart – as the two met repeatedly. In fact, Paul Maguire wouldn’t shut up about it. Especially with freshman quarterback Ryan Mallet under center, Hart was going to get his carries – 44 of them to be exact – so he was going to get his yards – 153, and eventually a one yard TD run. Ironically enough, it was a heads-up Mallet run that put Michigan on the board first.

Coming into the game – especially after that early Michigan score – if you had told me the Wolverines were only going to score 14 points, I absolutely would have picked Penn State. There is no question that the Penn State defense played well enough to win. To be perfectly honest with you, I expected something like 17-14 or 21-14 PSU.

Morelli didn’t play well, but he didn’t get much help from his running backs either. Scott chose an awful time for his fourth fumble in the last three games – this one at the Michigan nine-yard line in the third quarter. The Lions got the ball back at the Wolverine 35-yard line a few plays later, after a Mallet fumble, but they had to settle for a field goal to cut the lead to 7-6. Scott finished with 35 yards on nine carries, and backfield mate Rodney Kinlaw ran for 69 yards on 12 carries. Kinlaw, Morelli, and Scott are all seniors, but the latter two have not been the leaders on offense that one might expect. Scott’s inability to hold on to the ball speaks for itself, and do you think Penn State fans had any hope with Morelli under center for that last drive – not even drive, last series – for the Lions? He didn’t even give them a chance to get excited as he threw the ball away on the first two plays, and almost threw interceptions on the final two.

Penn State’s national title hopes (yea, yea they were a bit overrated) are gone, but they still have the chance to have a very good season. With upcoming match-ups against Illinois and Iowa in the next few weeks, the Lions defense should be able to carry them to a couple wins. But, they’re going to lose AT LEAST one more game if they don’t change something with the offense. It’s time to give Kinlaw the full workload, and for the Lions to see if there is a better option at quarterback.

Defense wins championships, but they need to have a lead.

Northern Illinois' English is Nagurski National Player of the Week


DALLAS (FWAA) - Northern Illinois end Larry English has been named the FWAA/Bronko Nagurski Defensive Player of the Week for games the weekend of Sept. 22.

English, a 6-3, 254-pound junior from Aurora, Ill., had a school-record five sacks and five quarterback pressures in the Huskies' 42-35 victory at Idaho. He also caused a fumble that he recovered for a touchdown and registered a pass break up. Overall, he had 12 tackles, 10 unassisted and his sacks accounted for 34 yards in losses.

English already is on the 2007 Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List. The Bronko Nagurski Trophy will be presented to the best defensive player in college football on Dec. 3 by the FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club at the Westin Hotel in Charlotte, N.C.

Each week during the 2007 season the FWAA All- America Committee will select a national defensive player of the week from nominations made by the 11 Division I Bowl Subdivision Conferences and major independents.

Last season Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis won the coveted Bronko Nagurski Trophy during the 12th season the FWAA has named a Defensive Player of the Year.

JASPER BRINKLEY DONE FOR THE SEASON


COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- Only hours after learning his senior season was finished with a knee injury, South Carolina star linebacker Jasper Brinkley was pointing toward next year.

Brinkley, on the preseason watch lists for the Lombardi and Butkus awards, sustained a right knee sprain during the Gamecocks' 28-16 loss at No. 2 LSU last Saturday.

South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said Monday the team expects to get a medical waiver from the NCAA so Brinkley can be with the Gamecocks in 2008. Jasper's twin, Casper, expects his younger brother to return next fall.

"He's very excited about having another chance to come back and play his whole year," said Casper, who also starts for South Carolina's defense.

When asked about his standout middle linebacker Sunday, Spurrier said Jasper would most likely miss a few days of practice but expected him to be ready when No. 16 South Carolina faces Mississippi State on Saturday.

The prognosis worsened Monday. Spurrier expected Jasper to need about three months of rehab after surgery.

"At first, he was real down about it," Casper said. "This whole year, we were planning on this being a big year, going out with a bang this year. But he's holding up pretty good."

Jasper Brinkley was a key part of South Carolina's successful start this season. He had 21 tackles and led the team with two interceptions.

More importantly, Casper said, Jasper was the leader everyone else could follow.

"Next year at this time, we might be saying, 'We're glad he got hurt,"' Spurrier said Monday night. "We all plan to be here next year. We should definitely have a stronger team next year. In a way, having Jasper here next year is a positive."

The Gamecocks were fortunate to have the 6-foot-2, 262-pounder around this year. Jasper Brinkley led the team -- and was fourth in the Southeastern Conference -- with 107 tackles, which was more than double the next highest Gamecock defender.

Jasper, though, passed up the lure of the NFL draft for his senior season.

And it looked like the right decision, at least in the eyes of Gamecock fans, when Jasper Brinkley had a late interception to preserve South Carolina's 16-12 victory at Georgia on Sept. 8.

Brinkley hoped to have a similar impact at second-ranked LSU, but was hurt in the opening quarter. He went back in briefly before leaving the game for good.

Casper said Jasper thought he only had a "little bump on the knee.

"But after the game, he was in so much pain, he knew it was serious," Casper Brinkley said.

Jasper Brinkley showed similar grit earlier this season, missing several preseason practices and some of the Gamecocks' season-opener against Louisiana-Lafayette.

Brinkley is the second starter South Carolina's defense has lost for the year. Defensive lineman Nathan Pepper injured his left knee on a 19-yard interception return for a touchdown in a 38-3 win over South Carolina State on Sept. 15.

Gamecock coaches shifted Casper Brinkley from linebacker to Pepper's end position. This time, Spurrier said junior linebacker Marvin Sapp, second on the team with 51 tackles a year ago, would get the call to clog up the middle the way Jasper Brinkley did so effectively.

"We've had previous injuries," Sapp said. "But we've done a great job of pulling together in times when it's really rough and key people go down."

TOP FIVE UNCHANGED IN AFCA DIVISION III COACHES’ POLL


WACO, TEX.— The Mount Union Purple Raiders still own the top spot in the AFCA Division III Coaches’ Poll. Mount Union received 39 of 40 first place votes and are 3-0 on the season after a 62-0 shutout of Muskingum.

Mary Hardin-Baylor still sits in the second position and received the remaining first place vote after the Crusaders moved their record to 3-0 with a 48-0 win over Texas Lutheran. No. 3 St. John’s (Minn.) beat Concordia-Moorhead, 52-21, and moves its record to 4-0. Wisconsin-La Crosse was idle this past week and holds down the fourth position. No. 5 St. John Fisher extended its record to 4-0 after a 37-16 victory over Ithaca.

Wheaton is still No. 6 this week after the Thunder beat Hope, 42-7. Capital moved into the seventh position after the Crusaders blocked three punts in its 42-10 win over Heidelberg. No. 8 Wisconsin-Whitewater prepared for its Top 10 clash with conference rival Wisconsin-La Crosse with a 27-0 blanking of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. No. 9 Central (Iowa) is now 4-0 on the season after edging past Loras, 17-14. Baldwin-Wallace blanked Wilmington, 34-0, and became the third Ohio Athletic Conference team in the Top 10.

Ohio Northern is a fourth OAC team on the cusp of the Top 10. The Polar Bears moved into the 11th spot after a 23-13 win over John Carroll, upping its record 3-0 on the season. No. 12 Washington & Jefferson kept its record unblemished at 3-0 after a 56-26 victory over Oberlin. No. 13 Linfield moved up one spot this week despite being idle. The Wildcats will face Willamette on Sept. 29. No. 14 Trinity (Texas) defeated Colorado College, 38-13, while No. 15 Bridgewater (Va.) handed La Grange a 39-14 loss.

No. 16 Wartburg beat Luther 25-8, moving its record to 3-0. Montclair State made the biggest move in the Coaches’ Poll this week. The Red Hawks upset then-No. 7 Wesley, 27-26, ending the Wolverines 23-game home winning streak, and moved from No. 24 to No. 17. Salisbury handed Delaware Valley a 36-16 loss and stayed in the 18th spot. St. Olaf moved its record to 4-0 after a 70-31 victory over Augsburg, and jumped two positions to No. 19. Wabash remained No. 20 this week despite a 15-0 shutout over Ohio Wesleyan.

Wesley dropped 14 spots to No. 21 after its loss to then-No. 24 Montclair State. Rowan blanked Widener, 41-0, and stays in the 22nd position. Occidental is still No. 23 this week after being idle. The Tigers will play Claremont-Mudd-Scripps on Saturday. Mount St. Joseph was also idle, but the Lions moved up one spot to No. 24 as they prepare to face Anderson. Wisconsin-Oshkosh jumps into the poll at No. 25. The Titans are 2-0 so far this season and host Wisconsin-Eau Claire on Sept. 29.

Conference Breakdown:
Ohio (Mount Union, Capital, Baldwin-Wallace, Ohio Northern), Wisconsin (Wisconsin-Whitewater, Wisconsin-La Crosse, Wisconsin-Oshkosh), Atlantic Central (Wesley, Salisbury), Iowa (Central {Iowa}, Wartburg), Minnesota (St. John’s, St. Olaf), New Jersey (Rowan, Montclair St.), America Southwest (Mary Hardin-Baylor), Empire 8 (St. John Fisher), Heartland (Mount St. Joseph), Illinois-Wisconsin (Wheaton), North Coast (Wabash), Old Dominion (Bridgewater), Northwest (Linfield), Presidents (Washington & Jefferson), Southern California (Occidental), Southern Collegiate (Trinity).

Head-to-Head
There is only one game featuring teams ranked in the AFCA Division III Coaches’ Poll which highlight this weekend’s action, and it is a Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tilt as No. 4 Wisconsin-La Crosse hosts No. 8 Wisconsin-Whitewater. The Warhawks have won the last two meetings, including a 45-10 decision in Whitewater last season. Wisconsin-La Crosse owns the all-time series lead at 31-23.

Poll Points

Capital held Heidelberg to minus-28 yards rushing and 68 yards of total offense in the Crusaders’ 42-10 win ... Montclair State sophomore Jeff Bliss returned the second half kickoff 89 yards for what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown in the Redhawks 27-26 victory over Wesley ... Mary Hardin-Baylor runningback Jarvis Thrasher was named American Southwest Conference Co-Offensive Player of the Week after he ran for a career-high 209 yards and tied a school record with three rushing touchdowns in the Cru’s 48-0 victory over Texas Lutheran ... The 52 points scored by St. John’s in their 52-21 win over Concordia-Moorhead is the most-ever in the 74 meetings versus Concordia (the previous record was a 49-0 win on Oct. 16, 1976) ... St. John Fisher quarterback Rob Kramer was named Empire 8 Offensive Player of the Week by helping the Cardinals’ to a 37-16 win over Ithaca. The victory was a first for St. John Fisher at Butterfield Stadium. Kramer completed a career-high 20 passes on 27 attempts for 242 yards and two touchdowns.

For more information on the AFCA and its programs, log on to the AFCA’s website at www.afca.com

AFCA DIVISION II COACHES’ POLL REACHES CENTURY MARK


WACO, TEX.-- The AFCA Division II Coaches’ Top 25 Poll debuted on August 29, 2000, and it has been going strong for 100 weeks during the fall. This week’s poll marks the 100th time selected coaches from around the country have been voting on a Top 25 in Division II. During the first seven years of the poll, only one team has ever spent the entire season ranked No. 1, and it is this week’s No. 1 team, Grand Valley State. The Lakers have done it twice, in 2002 and 2006.

North Dakota remains No. 2 after a 63-42 shootout against Western Washington. No. 3 North Alabama again received one first place vote after holding Southern Arkansas in check, 27-8. Chadron State jumped up one spot to No. 4 after handing Colorado School of Mines a 35-7 loss. Valdosta State survived a scare against Arkansas Tech, 28-27, and drops to No. 5 this week.

No. 6 Nebraska-Omaha beat Augustana (S.D.), 36-23, and moved its record to 4-0, as did No. 7 Carson-Newman, after beating Dixie State, 35-13. Delta State moved up a spot to No. 8 after dominating Ouachita Baptist, 42-10. No. 9 Newberry turned five West Georgia turnovers into 28 points in the Indians’ 64-9 victory. No. 10 Northwest Missouri State regained “The Old Hickory Stick” for a sixth straight year after beating Truman State, 53-6.

West Texas A&M blanked Northeastern State, 38-0, and jumps one spot to No. 11. California (Pa.) was idle and sits No. 12 this week. No. 13 Midwestern State handed East Central a 49-14 loss and moves it record to 4-0. Catawba moved up a position to No. 14 despite being idle. Tarleton State is the new No. 15 team this week giving Texas A&M-Commerce a 24-7 loss.

No. 16 South Dakota recorded its first shutout of the season in a 31-0 win over St. Cloud State. Abilene Christian moved up one spot to No. 17 after a dominating 50-14 win over Southwestern Oklahoma State. No. 18 Wingate also moved up a spot after being idle. Pittsburg State fell 12 positions to No. 19 after its loss to Missouri Western State. West Chester edged Shippensburg, 34-29, and stays in the 20th position.

No. 21 Indiana (Pa.) is 3-0 on the season after a 45-0 blanking of Millersville. No. 22 Shepherd rebounded from its first loss of the season last week with a 31-10 victory over Fairmont State. Mars Hill moved up to No. 23 this week after beating West Liberty State, 28-23. Missouri Western State jumps into the poll at No. 24 after upsetting then-No. 7 Pittsburg State, 39-32. It was the Griffons first win at “The Pitt” since 1984. Tuskegee stays in the 25th spot after handing a conference rival, Fort Valley State, a 34-3 loss.

Conference Breakdown: South Atlantic-5 (Carson-Newman, Newberry, Catawba, Wingate, Mars Hill); Lone Star-4 (West Texas A&M, Midwestern State, Tarleton State, Abilene Christian); Gulf South-3 (North Alabama, Valdosta State, Delta State); MIAA-3 (Pittsburg State, Northwest Missouri State, Missouri Western State); North Central-3 (North Dakota, Nebraska-Omaha, South Dakota); Pennsylvania State Athletic-3 (California (Pa.), West Chester, Indiana (Pa.)); Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic-1 (Grand Valley State); Rocky Mountain Athletic-1 (Chadron State); Southern Intercollegiate Athletic-1 (Tuskegee); West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic-1 (Shepherd).

Head-to-Head

Two games featuring teams ranked in the AFCA Division II Coaches’ Poll highlight this weekend’s action. The first is a Top 10 match-up of conference rivals as No. 9 Newberry travels to No. 7 Carson-Newman. Newberry beat the Eagles for the first time in 19 years last season, 32-18. Carson-Newman owns the overall series lead at 25-16. The second Top 25 match-up is another South Atlantic Conference tilt as No. 14 Catawba hosts No. 23 Mars Hill. The Indians have defeated Mars Hill in 10 of the last 11 meetings, but the Lions won last year’s meeting, 25-7.

Poll Points

Pittsburg State is the only team to be ranked in all 100 Division II Coaches’ Top 25 Polls ... Valdosta State has been ranked in 99 of the polls, only missing the preseason poll of 2000 ... Grand Valley State has been ranked No. 1 for 60 of the 100 weeks of the Division II Coaches’ Poll, followed by Valdosta State (13 weeks), Northwest Missouri State (12 weeks), Delta State (7 weeks), Pittsburg State (4 weeks), Saginaw Valley State (3 weeks) and North Dakota (1 week) ... Chadron State’s Danny Woodhead rushed for 160 yards on 31 carries in the Eagles’ 35-7 win over Colorado School of Mines, becoming Division II’s all-time leading rusher with 7,066 yards. He needs 288 yards to break the NCAA all-division record of 7,353 set by Grove City’s (Pa.) R.J. Bowers ... North Dakota and Western Washington scored a combined 105 points, the most in North Central Conference history, during the Fighting Sioux’s 63-42 win.

For more information on the AFCA and its programs, log on to the AFCA’s website at www.afca.com.

CFI: THIS DATE IN HISTORY


Sept. 25, 1920: California knocks off the rival San Francisco Olympic Club football squad 21-0 to start a 50-game winning streak from 1920-25.

Monday, September 24, 2007

GEORGIA 26 ALABAMA 23


BY RAFAEL GARCIA
SEC INSIDER


When this game got underway the home crowd was in an uproar. Their beloved Crimson Tide was back. They were 3-0 and looking to make four straight with a win against the Bulldogs of Georgia. Alas…they had trouble with pass protection and missed throws by QB John Parker Wilson. The defense seemed to be in a hurry at times to get lined up before snaps like they were confused as to what play to call. On the other side of the field, the Bulldogs were looking to boost their confidence with a win here and they got it. The play calling that was criticized last week seemed to be corrected against the Tide. Because of the inexperience of the ‘Dogs offensive line coach Mark Richt called a lot of screens and quick passes to offset their lack of pass protection. This ended up helping Georgia sustain longer drives and balanced out their offensive production. It all paid off with the winning touchdown in overtime.

Key Points

1. Georgia WR Mikey Henderson’s (pictured above) game winning catch on Dawgs first play of OT.
2. Alabama QB John Parker Wilson’s 1-yard touchdown run to tie it at 10 in the third quarter.
3. Georgia K Brandon Coutu’s 45-yard field goal to give the Dogs a 10-0 lead.

Catch Happy
1.Alabama WR Keith Brown makes a nice move to break free of cornerback for big 43-yard gain. The senior had 3 grabs for 73 yards.
2. Georgia had seven different receivers catch at least a pass with two going for scores.

That Yellow Flag
1. Both teams combine for 13 penalties for 110 yards.
2. One big penalty was for pass interference on a fourth and seven that allowed Alabama to continue its comeback in the fourth quarter.

Low Ends
1. Costly penalties and poor execution put Alabama in a hole in the first half.
2. Georgia would never have had to go to OT if not for their fourth quarter meltdown that allowed Alabama to tie it in regulation.

KENTUCKY 42 ARKANSAS 29


BY RAFAEL GARCIA
SEC INSIDER


At one point in the first half, it appeared that the momentum favored the Razorbacks. They out gained Kentucky 373-131 in yards but had only a 20-14 lead to show for it. Kentucky trimmed the lead to six points when Arkansas RB Michael Smith fumbled on a key drive. That led to a 66-yard return for a touchdown for Kentucky with 26 seconds left in the half. Then just as quick as the Wildcats took the lead in the third quarter. After giving up a safety and a touchdown to fall behind 29-21, Andre Woodson turned it on and showed his Heisman credentials. He simply took over the game and led his team to 21 unanswered points to put the game away.

Key Points
1. Kentucky’s Trevard Lindley’s 66-yard fumble return for a touchdown to cut the lead to six at the end of the first half.
2. Kentucky WR Keenan Burton’s 32-yard touchdown catch to retake the lead.
3. Arkansas scores on a 16-yard fumble return to open a 10-0 lead and momentum.


Fully Armed
1. Andre Woodson throws for 265 yards and two touchdowns and runs for another score. He engineers a fourth quarter comeback for a second straight week.

Road Runners
1. Arkansas RB Darren McFadden runs for 173 yards and the lone offensive score.
2. His running mate Felix Jones runs for 133 yards of his own on only 12 attempts.

Low Ends

1. Kentucky defense gets shredded for nearly 300 rushing yards.
2. Kentucky fumbles three times and losses all three. Gotta hold on to the ball or next time you may not get the win.
3. Arkansas gets all kinds of yards running the ball but it never amounted to the scores they needed to win the ballgame.

LSU 28 SOUTH CAROLINA 16


BY RAFAEL GARCIA
SEC INSIDER


Well looks like the ol' ball coach Steve Spurrier found where he measures against the SEC’s best now. The Tigers used a fake field goal for a touchdown, dominated the line of scrimmage and was just flat out too fast for the Gamecocks. Did you see when he threw a notepad down when LSU converted a key third down early in the first half? As for LSU, they showed the college football world they may be worthy of being #1 in the nation.

Key “Points”

1. LSU’s Trindon Holliday’s super-fast 33yd touchdown run.
2. LSU fake field goal where QB Matt Flynn flipped the ball behind his head to kicker Colt Davis who ran in from 15 yards for the score.
3. Mike Davis’s (S.C.) one-yard touchdown run to open the scoring. It was the first time LSU had trailed this season.

Big Hits
1.The Tigers offensive line was huge. They consistently pushed South Carolina’s young defensive line back, opening huge holes for their running backs to the tune of 288 yards.
2. At one point their center blocked a defensive player on the line then went around him to hit a linebacker on the same play.
3. The defense held the Gamecocks to a net rushing total of six yards.

Low Ends
1. South Carolina quarterback Blake Mitchell has a woeful first half and gets benched for Chris Smelley who put up some good numbers.
2. South Carolina’s defense had no answer to the LSU’s running game or their speed.
3. Steve Spurrier was so overmatched he switched his quarterbacks a few times in the game.

Into The Minds
1. LSU coach Les Miles had to change very little in his game plan. He knew that if his defense could stop the run it would be an easy day. That and the fact that S.C. quarterback Blake Mitchell had such a bad first half -- made it an easy day for the Tigers. He even had the confidence in his team when they missed one trick play by answering it with the fake field goal for a touchdown.
2. The ole' ball coach looked like he might go to 12-1 against LSU in his career. His team was in the game and playing pretty good defense until the fake field goal made it 21-7 and took the air out of his team. He spent the second half trying to catch up to a team that’s still a league above his team.

THE ACC REPORT


CHRISTOPHER J. KRESGE
ACC INSIDER


MIAMI 34 – TEXAS A&M 17

It seemed like old times for the Hurricanes as they took the Aggies out to the “woodshed” on national television Thursday night. The Orange Bowl was rocking as the home fans were treated to a performance that they have become so accustomed to over the past 25 years. The defense dominated all night long and was not fooled at all by the Aggies play action ball fakes. As usual, the linebackers led the attack and Colin McCarthy recorded an interception. The defensive front overpowered A & M’s offensive line and the secondary’s speed was no match for the Aggies skill players. The real story of the night was the re-emergence of Kyle Wright, the passing game and the overall confidence of the offense. Wright went 21/26 passing and threw for 275 yards and two touchdowns. He showed a lot of poise and accuracy all night. As per the season, the running combination of Javarris James and Graig Cooper was impressive and slowly but surely, the wide receivers are starting to come together as a solid unit. There is still no standout “playmaker”, but they are improving each week. It will be interesting to see if the Canes build off this big win or slip back to mediocrity.
NEXT WEEK: DUKE

VIRGINIA 28 – GEORGIA TECH 23

Guess who is 3-0 in the ACC? Yes, that is right, it is the Cavaliers. UVA has rebounded after their opening game lost to Wyoming to rip off three wins and none being more important than this one at home against the Yellow Jackets. What is even more surprising is that Georgia Tech is now 0-2 in the ACC. Jameel Sewell has silenced his critics for at least one week after a strong performance (16/25, 177 yards and one touchdown). But Virginia’s strength is both its running game led by Cedric Peerman who went for 138 yards and one touchdown, as well as their defense, which is led by future first round pick Chris Long. This is Georgia Tech’s second loss in a row and they have 13th ranked Clemson coming to town on Saturday. A must win situation is starting to formulate in Atlanta for the Ramblin’ Wreck.
NEXT WEEK VIRGINIA: PITTSBURGH
NEXT WEEK GEORGIA TECH: CLEMSON

NORTH CAROLINA 10 – SOUTH FLORIDA 37

Butch Davis must have been reminiscing on Saturday -- what it was like when he was the head coach at the University of Miami -- when all that speed and playmaking ability that South Florida unleashed on his Tar Heel squad was on his team. Granted, UNC has 42 freshmen on their roster and if you can use the term “re-building” in college sports -- this would be the perfect scenario. T.J Yates was cooled off a bit by USF defense and was a horrid 11-27 for 85 yards and four interceptions. To be fair, the Heels have no real running game to speak of and when you play a nationally ranked team, you have to have a balanced attack. A few bright spots for the young Tar Heels were freshman running back Ryan Houston scoring a touchdown and rushing for 43 yards and freshman Marvin Austin was active and disruptive all day on defense. Butch Davis has a young, talented group. They will get better as the season progresses.
NEXT WEEK: @ VIRGINIA TECH

VIRGINIA TECH 44 – WILLIAM MARY 3

It was batting practice for the Hokies against William and Mary as they ran up 44 points in their win on Saturday. Tyrod Taylor went 6/13 for 72 yards and one touchdown as he started his second straight game. It is tough to evaluate him against a William and Mary defense, but overall, looked good. His athletic ability is overwhelmingly obvious whenever he is flushed from the pocket. Taylor must show more patience though -- and think pass first and run second, this will eventually happen with more experience. As usual, the defense was superb, combining for three interceptions. This was a good confidence building game as they are still recovering from their LSU debacle.
NEXT WEEK: NORTH CAROLINA

DUKE 43 – NAVY 46

Thaddeus “AIR” Lewis erupted for 428 yards on 23/36 attempts and four touchdowns as Duke lost to Navy by three. The Blue Devils might not win many games this year, but they sure will entertain you with an aerial assault. Lewis’ favorite target is Eron Riley, whom scored four touchdowns and had a total of 235 yards. They head down to Coral Gables next week and have to play against a secondary that is fast and full of players who all have NFL potential.
NEXT WEEK: @ MIAMI

THE BIG TEN REPORT


BY MICK MILLER
BIG TEN INSIDER


Fall is officially here, and we all know, that the Big Ten season is upon us, time to start the show. While not all played their opener – that’s just how it goes – there were eight teams that battled conference foes. Teams fire out of the gate as the autumn wind blows, so they are in good position by December snows. Each team relies on their stars to glow, some of which will shine as pros. So from Mike Hart’s power runs to Curtis Painter’s touchdown throws, let’s look back at Saturday’s game day highs and lows.

Purdue 45 Minnesota 31

A first half implosion by the Golden Gophers spelled doom for them in their conference opener against the Boilermakers. Five dropped passes, four turnovers, and four penalties dug the hole, and Purdue quarterback Curtis Painter buried them there. Painter threw for 338 yards and three touchdowns, mostly to his favorite receiver Dorien Bryant, who finished with 12 receptions for 150 yards and two scores. Minnesota’s redshirt freshman quarterback Adam Weber rebounded nicely from a disastrous first half to lead the Gophers to 28 second half points, but it was too little, too late.

Up Next: Purdue hosts Notre Dame; Minnesota welcomes Ohio State


Illinois 27 Indiana 14


The Illini won their first Big Ten opener in 14 years with their win in Bloomington. Tailback Rashard Mendenhall had a career day against the Hoosiers with 214 yards rushing on 27 carries, scoring one rushing touchdown and adding a receiving touchdown as well. Indiana quarterback Kellen Lewis (26 for 51, 263 yards, two touchdown passes) was erratic most of the day, missing on throws that would have resulted in scores. Illinois signal caller Juice Williams did not play well either, going 13 for 28 for 98 yards, but he also threw for two scores, as Mendenhall had to carry the day.

Up Next: Illinois invites Penn State; Indiana travels to Iowa


Michigan 14 Penn State 9


Michigan is gaining a second wind after a dismal start to this season by winning their Big Ten opener against the 10th-ranked Nittany Lions. Mike Hart has picked up this team and carried it the last two weeks -- his career high 44 carries for 153 yards and a touchdown are proof of that. In winning their ninth straight over head coach Joe Paterno and Penn State, freshman quarterback Ryan Mallett (16 of 29, 170 yards, interception, and touchdown run) ran his record to 2-0 as a starter. Timely turnovers by the running game and a poor performance by Lion quarterback Anthony Morelli (15 for 31, 169 yards) hastened Penn State’s demise.

Next Up: Michigan visits Northwestern; Penn State goes to fight in Illinois


Ohio State 58 Northwestern 7


Did the Wildcats even show up for this game? The Buckeyes crushed Northwestern in all phases and got out to a 45-0 at the half at the Horseshoe’s 500th game. Northwestern simply went belly-up on offense, netting 20 yards on 35 plays in the first half while falling into a 28-0 hole less than ten minutes into the game. Buckeye quarterback Todd Boeckman hit wide receiver Brian Robiskie for three touchdowns (his only three receptions on the day) in the first half and finished with 11 of 14 for 179 yards and four touchdowns. Outside of a 99-yard kickoff return to open the second half, Northwestern simply supplied the doormat for Ohio State to walk on. Chris Wells went for 100 yards on 12 carries and a 36-yard touchdown while the Wildcats mustered 120 yards of offense all day.

Next Up: Ohio State motors to Minnesota; Northwestern hosts Michigan


Wisconsin 17 Iowa 13


The ninth-ranked Badgers continue to play close games as they held off the upset-minded Iowa Hawkeyes at home. P.J. Hill scored the go ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter to put Wisconsin up for good at 14-10. While Iowa’s run game sputtered, Hill finished with 113 yards on 29 carries in a workman-like effort as the rest of the Badger offense struggled against a stingy Iowa defense. The difference in the game was Hill, as Wisconsin could run the ball, and the Hawkeyes could not. The usually efficient quarterback Tyler Donovan completed a mere 12 of 23 for 138 yards and a three-yard touchdown to tight end Travis Beckham. Iowa gave a gallant effort after losing two more receivers (tight end Tony Moeaki and wide receiver Andy Brodell) to injury in the first quarter in this battle of defenses.

Up Next: Wisconsin hosts Michigan State; Iowa welcomes Indiana


Michigan State 31 Notre Dame 14


Although the Fighting Irish scored their first two offensive touchdowns of the year, the defense continues to struggle as they lose to the visiting Spartans. Quarterback Brian Hoyer got off to a slow start, but came on with four touchdown passes, set up by a staunch running game that totaled 219 yards on 49 attempts. Both Spartan tailbacks, Javon Ringer (26 rushes, 144 yards) and Jehuu Caulcrick (20 carries for 83 yards) bruised the Irish repeatedly and set up easy touchdown tosses for Hoyer. Having a breakout season is Spartan two-way player Kellen Davis (tight end/defensive end). He caught two touchdown passes on his only two receptions and helped pressure Irish quarterback Jimmy Clausen into a woeful 7 of 13 for 53 yards. The lone bright spot for Notre Dame was halfback James Aldridge, who finished with 104 yards on 18 carries. Notre Dame is setting all-time lows each and every week as they are now 0-4 for the first time in 119 years of Irish football.

Up Next: Michigan State wings over to Wisconsin; Notre Dame plays Purdue

Kentucky is Tostitos Fiesta Bowl National Team of the Week


DALLAS (FWAA) - With their 42-29 win over at Arkansas, the Kentucky Wildcats (4-0) are the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl National Team of the Week for games of the weekend of Sept. 22.

Andre Woodson threw for 265 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another score, leading the Wildcats to second consecutive fourth-quarter comeback. Keenan Burton caught a 32-yard touchdown from Woodson with 4:02 remaining to give Kentucky the lead for good.

Woodson completed 21-of-39 attempts and has now thrown 296 passes without an interception, breaking Trent Dilfer's major college record of 271.

Including last season, Kentucky has won nine of its last 10 games. That is the best 10-game stretch since the 1977 team won nine of its last 10 games of the season.

Other Tostitos Fiesta Bowl Bowl National Team of the Week nominees for the weekend of Sept. 22 included:

· Syracuse (1-3): Andrew Robinson threw for a career-high 423 yards and Taj Smith caught four passes for 173 yards and two scores as the Orange stunned Louisville, 38-35, ending the Cardinals' 20- game home winning streak.

· UNLV (2-0): Frank Summers rushed for 190 yards and scored three touchdowns to lead the Rebels to a 27-0 upset victory over Utah, ending an 11- game losing streak to the Utes.

The FWAA has named a national team of the week since the 2002 season. This is the third season that the award has been sponsored by the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.

SPURRIER MAKES QB CHANGE


COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- Steve Spurrier is at it again, shuffling quarterbacks at South Carolina until he finds someone who plays the ball coach's game.

The latest demotee is Blake Mitchell, a fifth-year senior who only a week ago Spurrier declared would be the one to take the 16th-ranked Gamecocks (3-1) as far as they would go this season.

But after South Carolina's undefeated start ended with No. 2 LSU's 28-16 victory, Spurrier said freshman Chris Smelley would get the start when the Gamecocks return to action this week against Mississippi State (3-1).

It's the second straight year Mitchell's been benched early in the season.

"Blake's had a lot of pressure on him" and that has led to erratic performances, Spurrier said. "So we're going to give Chris Smelley a chance right now."

Mitchell lost his starting spot in 2006 after South Carolina's 18-0 loss to Georgia. He returned late in the season and led the Gamecocks to close with three straight wins -- something that hadn't happened in 33 years.

But Mitchell hasn't looked as sharp so far this year. He was 7 of 16 for 70 yards against LSU before Smelley took over.

The loss dropped South Carolina four spots in this week's ranking and ended their six-game win streak.

Spurrier had been concerned about Mitchell's tendency to hold the ball too long, missing chances to connect with receivers on timing patterns.

Smelley did a good job, Spurrier said, in getting rid of the ball quickly enough to move the Gamecocks. Smelley was 12-of-26 for 174 yards and South Carolina's only touchdown pass Saturday, a 1-yard scoring toss to Kenny McKinley.

Spurrier didn't want to get into particulars about what Mitchell did wrong to lose his spot.

"But obviously we weren't going very far and we just decided to let Chris have a chance," Spurrier said. "He threw the ball pretty well, actually."

Spurrier also didn't say if Mitchell or third-stringer Tommy Beecher would come in if Smelley was ineffective or aggravated the sprained right shoulder hurt in the Gamecocks' opener against Louisiana-Lafayette.

"Right now, Chris has a chance to go the distance," Spurrier said.

CFI: THIS DATE IN HISTORY


Sept. 24, 1994: NFF Hall of Fame head coach LaVell Edwards of Brigham Young wins his 200th game as the Cougars edge New Mexico 49-47 in Provo. At the time, Edwards is the 13th coach in NCAA Division I-A (now the FBS) to hit the 200-victory plateau.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

CFI: THIS DATE IN HISTORY


Sept. 23, 2000: UAB, playing its second season in Conference USA, upsets LSU 13-10 at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge behind head coach Watson Brown. It is the Blazers’ first triumph over a Southeastern Conference opponent and occurs on LSU’s Homecoming. Rhett Gallego decides the outcome with a 32-yard field goal on the game’s final play.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

OKLAHOMA ROMPS TULSA


TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- With so much talent, No. 4 Oklahoma can take turns scoring touchdowns.

Allen Patrick ran for 145 yards and two TDs, Sam Bradford threw two long touchdown passes to Juaquin Iglesias and the Sooners outraced Tulsa 62-21 Friday night.

DeMarco Murray made it into the end zone three times for the highest-scoring team in the nation -- twice on runs and once on a kickoff return.

"We've just got a lot of playmakers on the offensive side of the ball -- a lot of them. A lot of people who whenever they touch the ball, you never know what they're going to do," Murray said. "Anyone can get six points whenever they touch it."

The Sooners (4-0) have put up at least 50 points in all four games. That's only the second time in school history they've had such a streak -- they also did it in 2003, capped by a 65-13 romp over Texas.

"We didn't think it was going to be like that, especially with some question at quarterback," Iglesias said. "We still had confidence in him, but the way he's playing now and the way we are playing around him, it's like we can't really be stopped right now."

After Tulsa quickly moved downfield following an interception for an early lead, the Sooners scored on five straight first-half possessions. Patrick high-stepped into the end zone on a 29-yard burst for a touchdown, and later pushed through from the 1 to make it 35-14.

Paul Smith threw for two scores and ran for another to lead Tulsa (2-1), which scored more touchdowns than Oklahoma's first three opponents combined. But the Golden Hurricane's spread scheme -- brought from Arkansas by offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn -- couldn't keep up with all the Sooners' talent on offense.

Oklahoma racked up 553 yards of total offense, including 285 on the ground.

"We've got to play better defense than what we're playing," Tulsa coach Todd Graham said. "They're going to have rushing yards, but we can't continually give up the big play."

The Sooners are averaging 61.5 points and 562 yards per game.

"I don't care what scores are or what statistics say," Sooners coach Bob Stoops said. "Everybody's statistics at this point of the year are very skewed because of strength of schedule and this, that and the other. So I don't pay any attention to it.

"To me, it's about are we improving and getting better?"

The Sooners play next week at Colorado, then take on No. 7 Texas.

After throwing an interception on the first possession of his first road game, Bradford settled in to throw for 244 yards on 16-for-22 passing.

Bradford connected with Iglesias for a 46-yard score down the left sideline, getting cornerback Charles Davis to bite on a pump fake before delivering the deep ball. Bradford also squeezed in a 21-yard scoring pass to tight end Jermaine Gresham between two defenders.

Iglesias later shrugged off three tacklers for a 40-yard score that made it 48-21 early in the fourth quarter.

"I know when we get the ball in to any one of those guys' hands, they're bound to take it to the house sometime," Bradford said. "That's kind of what I'm trying to do right now."

"I don't know if it's easy, but it's definitely fun watching those guys make plays."

Oklahoma moved to 10-8 in Friday games. The Sooners hadn't played on a Friday since the 2002 season opener, also at Tulsa. The crowd was split about 50-50 between fans clad in Tulsa blue and Sooners crimson.

Tulsa, which came in ranked fourth in the nation in total offense, showed early on it could move the ball against a Sooners defense that was ranked second in the country.

Smith capped a seven-play drive with a 15-yard TD pass to Jesse Meyer to give Tulsa an early 7-0 lead, and the Golden Hurricane were in range for a long field goal on their second drive when linebacker Chris Chamberlain lined up at quarterback and got stuffed on fourth-and-1.

Patrick tied the game on Oklahoma's ensuing possession, and the Sooners just kept scoring.

Brennan Marion caught a 48-yard touchdown pass to get Tulsa back within 21-14, but that's as close as it got.

Smith, coming off a career-best 454-yard, five-touchdown performance against BYU, finished with 350 yards on 22-for-32 passing. Meyer caught seven passes for a career-high 114 yards.

"This might sound nuts, but we were planning on being 3-0," Smith said. "We've still got a great opportunity to have a great season here and that's everybody's plan: to go be 13-1.

"To lose to a team like that, we're not going to be too down because we know they're a great team."