Paul Kenney – Sunday Recap
Maybe it was the result of the Polar Vortex, but Broadway should hope for such boffo openings as we saw in the first week of the 2014 college football season.
It was a “Phantom of the Opera” evening for the so called “elite” of the 2014 season.
We’ll begin in Arlington, Texas and Jerry Word, where the 18 point favorite No.1 Florida State Seminoles, after jumping out to a 17-0 lead, hung on for a 37-31 victory against a bunch of gritty Oklahoma State Cowboys.
It was a sloppy dog-fight for the defending National Champions which won its school tying record 17th straight game, but ominously, FSU were only able to rush for 107 yards against a young rebuilding Pokes defense. Yikes!!
“We all preached it, but I do think that they felt the pressure of being No.1, now I think, we can relax and go play football,” said Coach Jimbo Fisher.
They’d better, or the dream of a repeat will disappear quicker than gubernatorial candidate Don Berwick. Who?? Exactly!!
In the other surprise, Alabama a 26 point favorite over West Virginia, found itself “tied” 17-17 late in the first half, and if not for a half dozen drops, including a sure TD pass in the fourth, the Mountaineers may have been on the cusp of springing the monster upset.
What was very disturbing for the Crimson faithful was the exploitation Alabama’s secondary which once again struggled (365 yards passing) against a spread offense. Double Yikes!!
But if anyone can figure it out, it is the “Bear” clone, St. Nick, Nick Saban.
In Baltimore the Midshipmen of Navy held a 7-6 halftime lead against the mighty Bucks of Ohio State, and were down 3 to start the fourth quarter, leaving the Middie Faithful with a sense that Navy just might torpedo the mighty SS Urban Meyer.
But a pair of late TD’s, and the solid play of r-shirt freshman J.T. Barrett, only the second freshman since the Truman Administration (1950) to start an opener for the Boys from the Horseshoe, finally prevailed.
Rule number one, if the urge to place a few shekels on a team should bubble up inside, remember, noon kickoffs, especially for West Coast teams traveling east, is a very dangerous proposition.
That premise once again reared its ugly head, this time in Charlottesville, Virginia as the mighty Bruins of UCLA, and its Heisman candidate QB Brett Hundley hung on for a 28-20 win over lowly UVA.
The other team from LA, a 22 point favorite over the Cavaliers, needed three TD’s from its defense, a first since Ronald Reagan occupied the White House – 1986 – to avoid the upset. Yikes!!
Virginia was able to sack the athletic Hundley (who scored the only offensive TD on a tough run) five times, and kept him under duress the entire game.
Despite the smallest home crowd since 1998, maybe there is some fight in the Sons of Thomas Jefferson, there certainly was on Saturday.
On the debut stage James Franklin’s Nittany Lions of Penn State won a dramatic last second (3 on the clock) victory in Dublin over a very good Central Florida squad, when PSU kicker Sam Ficken booted a 36 yarder for the 26-24 victory.
Somehow it just doesn’t seem right that a coach with the surname of O’Leary should lose in the last second in Dublin!! Oh well, I’m sure he was able to find comfort with a few Guinness!!
So much for controversy, as newly minted USC Coach Steve Sarkisian saw his Trojans, and QB Cody Kessler run a PAC-12 record 105 plays, as Southern Cal crushed Fresno State; 52-13.
Sark, who was once the offensive coordinator for Pete Carroll’s championship teams, proved you can come home again.
In another truly entertaining game with massive playoff implications, LSU came roaring from a 17 point second half deficit to knock off the Badgers of Wisconsin: 28-24.
LSU under the “Mad-Hatter” aka Coach Les Miles has now won a school record 46 in a row against non-conference opponents.
Wiscy was no pushover, and under Miles the Bayou Bengals are a jaw-dropping 22-21 when trailing in the fourth quarter. Amazing!!!
The grass chewing head man, who is 11-0 in season openers, used his patented bold move, after what appeared to be a three and out to start the second half, and called for a fake punt to secure the first down, and change the entire momentum of the game.
The victory propels LSU into the playoff race.
But the most impressive team of the first week was the Aggies of Texas A&M, who marched into Columbia, South Carolina, and marched out with a stunning 52-28 victory over Steve Spurrier’s Cocks.
In the distant days of Spurrier’s Florida “Fun-n-Gun” the Head Ball Coach used to say, “We hung a half-a-hundred on ‘em.”
Well this time it was the Aggies freshman QB Kenny Hill, who torched the Gamecocks for school record 511 yards through the air, as the Sons of George H.W. Bush scored 7TDs in its first eleven possessions.
Truly a Fifth Avenue penthouse worthy performance!!
And as always, the man who retired the MOO Award (Master of the Obvious) Mr. Obnoxious, analyst Gary Danielson said in the Navy – Ohio State game, “I would take the penalty, because if you don’t OSU will be in field goal range.”
Really!! And for this they pay him large dinero. Only in America!!!
On the local front it was close for a half, but BC exerted itself in the second, and defeated UMass 30-7 spoiling the debut of Coach Mark Whipple.
Finally a shout out to the Temple Owls who stunned Vanderbilt 37-7 as the Commodores turned the ball over seven times.
It was Temple’s first victory over a SEC opponent since FDR sat in the Oval Office in 1938!!
Good for them – and Temple which won a total of 2 games last season, just may be ready to do some flexing this season.
That’s it from cyber-space. We’ll be up and running with our analysis of week 2 Wednesday night. Until then, Peace, and listen to the music. pk