With the long weekend’s marquee game still lurking – VaTech/Boise State – tomorrow night – we did learn a few things on the opening weekend of college football.
Houdini lives in Ann Arbor! Michigan’s sophomore sensation Denard Robinson (his first start) – aka “Shoelace” because he never lace his shoes, set a Maize and Blue record for quarterbacks by rushing for 197 yards as he darted around, over and through the Huskies of UConn in Coach Rodriguez’s much needed 30-10 victory. And when he wasn’t running, the magician completed 19 of 22 passes, accounting for 383 offensive yards in the refurbished Big House ($226 million) which set a new college football attendance record of 113,090. It was a pressure relieving win on the entire Wolverine program, but questions remain on defense, particularly in the secondary, as Michigan prepares to visit South Bend and Notre Dame this weekend. One other note – to put that $226 million in perspective – when Patriots owner Bob Kraft purchased the Patriots, the pundits said he was crazy to pay $180 plus million!!!
One of the “weekend’s” more impressive performances occurred in Columbia, South Carolina on Thursday evening, as “The ‘Ol Ball Coach” Steve Spurrier’s South Carolina Gamecocks made an impressive debut –utilizing a stifling defense, the running of true- freshman Marcus Lattimore, and the stellar play from junior quarterback Steve Garcia in defeating Southern Mississippi 41-13. Spurrier has his best team since his arrival, and they will make some noise in the SEC East.
We can’t go any longer without singling out old friend Bob Griese, known to us here as the MOO – (Master of the obvious). In working the Florida/Miami of Ohio game yesterday – Miami-Ohio made a big fourth and one stop against Florida, but the play was flagged against Miami for offside – and a first down was given to Florida. The MOO said, “That was a big penalty, because they had them stopped and were going to take over on downs.” Really!! He gets paid large dough for those pearls.
Speaking of Florida – in its first game “AT” after Tebow, the Gators played like Johnny Damon trying to read Shakespeare – stuck in slow motion and struggling all day. Entering into the fourth quarter the “mighty” Gators, now under the direction of quarterback John Brantley had garnered a total of 26 total offensive yards. They had a baker’s dozen of bad snaps, eight fumbles, (3 lost), and overall were lost in the Swamp, all day. The D came to the rescue with four interceptions and several red-zone stops in a
34-12 stinker that drew boos from the 90,000 plus Gator faithful.
Kudos to a pair of coaches named: Kelly. Brian Kelly had a solid debut as the new head man at Notre Dame as the Irish defeated Purdue 23 – 12. The most impressive aspect of that victory was the solid defensive display – something that had been lacking the last few seasons under Charlie Weis. ND coaches have a record of 26-3 in their debuts, which dates back to 1896. The other Kelly runs the show for the Oregon Ducks – who hung a school tying record of 72 points on the hapless Lobos of the University of New Mexico. The Ducks also set a school record by compiling 720 offensive yards. New Mexico coach Mike Locksley, was 1-11 last season, and was disciplined for fighting with one of his assistants. Why doesn’t New Mexico just do the right thing – especially for its players and pull the plug on the overmatched coach?
Shocker in Oxford!! Division 1AA ( Football Subdivision team) Jacksonville State after being down 21, outscored Ol Miss 21-3 in the fourth quarter, including a 2 point conversion to tie, then won in double overtime to stun the Rebels. To make it all the worse – JSU was facing a fourth and 15 in the second overtime – down 7 – when freshman quarterback Coty Blanchard – who just entered the game – threw a 30 yard touchdown pass to pull within one. Head coach Jack Crowe, who one time was the head man of Arkansas – called a time out – and went for two and the win. On the winning play, Blanchard was falling to his right, when he found Calvin Middleton over the middle for the stunning victory. Mississippi Coach Houston Nutt called it his worst loss of his career. Amazing!!
In the best back in America that nobody know category: the winner is Daniel Thomas of Kansas State – who sliced the UCLA “defense” for 234 yards, averaging over 8 yards a carry. The win brought KState Coach Bill Synder’s September record to an eye-popping 44-5.
In the good news front, our friends to the north, the University of Syracuse Orange won its season opening football game for the first time since the George W. Bush was in his first term, 2003, with a 29-3 victory over Zips of Akron. Now if they can beat Washington next week in Seattle- then we’re on to something.
Old Friend Tom O’Brien and his NC State Wolfpack won its opener in impressive style, 48-7 over Western Carolina.
Mighty Oklahoma was severely tested in Norman, eking out a 31-24 victory over Utah State – Yikes!!
Unlike Dorothy – Turner Gill is, in Kansas now, and after yesterday’s stinker – he may wish he was anywhere but!! The Jayhawks laid on of those salmonella tainted eggs in Memorial Stadium losing to 1AA North Dakota State – 6-3. Double Yikes!! Where’s Mark Mangino when you need him?
Poor Washington State – one of the nation’s worst defenses, and worst teams the last two season (3-22 outscored 1,032 -309!!) – started this year where it left off surrendering 65, in its 65 -17 shellacking to Oklahoma State. Coach Paul Wulff is the proverbial “dead man walking.”
TCU once again showed the country it’s the real deal – defeating a quality, and ranked Oregon State team 30-21.
Coach Les Miles and his LSU Tigers nearly blew a 20 point lead to the outmanned North Carolina Tar Heels – and hung on for 30-24 win, as UNC had two game winning passes dropped in the end zone as time expired. LSU looks uninspired, and its secondary is shakier than Mayor Menino’s pronunciation of iconic. The faithful are restless.
That’s it from cyberspace. We’ll be up and running with our week two analysis on Wednesday night. Until then, Peace and listen to the music. pk