Now we’re talking!!
We’ve been waiting for this weekend all season.
For the first seven weeks of the college football campaign, it’s been a pale, hum drum scenario; the chalk (favorite) wins again.
In East Lansing, and of all places, Norman, “Shake-Up Saturday,” was brighter than the maple trees in Vermont, as the landscape shook like a LA skyscraper after an earthquake aftershock.
That noise; was the Number 3, and Number 4 teams in the land, falling like a Redwood.
We’ll start with the Miracle at Michigan State, where it was shades of Flutie.
In one of the classic college football games of any year, and what separates the game from the professional level, the Spartans took down mighty Wisconsin, 37-31, on a 44 yard “Hail-Mary,” with no time left.
The play sequence could never be recreated.
The touchdown pass from Sparty QB Kirk Cousins to (former quarterback) Keith Nichol, was corralled on a rebound from the facemask of teammate B. J. Cunningham, who was standing in the end zone.
Once Nichol, standing on the one, made the catch, he had to fight his way into the end zone, with two Wisconsin defenders draped over him.
He stretched the ball barely breaking the plane for the touchdown.
Initially ruled short of the end zone, it went to the replay booth, where the call was reversed, as the dreams of Wiscy’s undefeated season, and national championship hopes vaporized into the ether.
It truly was; one for the ages, and will live forever in Michigan State football lore.
In Norman, Bobby Stoops Sooners were 75-2, and riding a 39 game home winning streak.
That was all erased, by the right arm, of Texas Tech QB Seth Doege, who threw for over 400 yards and four TDs as the Red Raiders piled up more than 572 yards of offense in shocking the out of synch Sooners; 41-38. WOW!!
What makes this victory even more remarkable was the way the Boys from Lubbock, 29 point underdogs, did it.
TT dashed off to a 31-7 third quarter lead, and then held on with the intensity of a kid going down the hill on his first roller coaster ride.
Tech was also the beneficiary of a pair of missed field goals, the most devastating occurring with 2:52 left on the clock, which clanged off the right goal post.
Good for the Red Raiders, as Oklahoma saw its national title hopes whistle away on the night plains of Oklahoma.
In South Bend, Notre Dame’s season can be summarized in a single word: FUMBLE!
It began its season, a loss to South Florida, with an opening drive fumble on the one yard line, which was returned for a dagger killing touchdown.
In the first night game at Notre Dame in 21 years, it was deja-vu, as Notre Dame fell to a mediocre USC team; 31-17.
The “Fighting?” Irish, once down 17-0, had the ball on the one yard line, ready to tie the game, when QB Tommy Rees, you guessed it, fumbled, and the Trojans picked it up and rumbled 80 yards for the dagger killing touchdown.
It ended ND’s bloated dreams of a BCS invite, and was another example that the Irish are not ready for prime time, as its defense was shredded, while it rushing attack was held to a puny 41 yards. Yikes!!
The other team from Oklahoma; the Oklahoma State Cowboys of Stillwater, unlike its rivals from Norman, look like legitimate title contenders, in its 45-24 beat down against Missouri.
Although its All-World receiver Justin Blackmon suffered a shoulder injury.
In Clemson, which celebrated the 30th anniversary of its national championship season, Dabo Swinney’s defense challenged Tigers, hung another 50 spot on an opponent; a 59-38 creaming over North Carolina, in which its starry QB Tajh Boyd tied a school record with 5 touchdown passes. YIKES!!
Clemson is 8-0 for the first time since new millennium; 2000.
At the Heights it’s more of the same, as Frank Spaziani’s Eagles (1-6, with its only win against 1AA UMass) played a gritty game, in losing to Virginia Tech; 30-14.
It was also another desultory performance by BC quarterback Chase Rettig (13-30 181 1-1).
The Eagles streak of 12 consecutive bowl game appearances will definitely end this season, as the sad-sack Eagles may not win another game.
Another bad day for the Academies as all three went down in defeat, but it was a good day for the alums of Silver Lake Regional High.
Classmates Buddy Teevens head man at Dartmouth, Tim Murphy of Harvard, and Jeff Hawkins, Senior Associate Athletic Director at Oregon, all celebrated with big victories.
And congrats to Penn Coach Al Bagnoli, whose 18 game league win streak, is now the second longest in Ivy League history.
Old friend Tom O’Brien also celebrated a big win, with his season saving; 28-14 victory over Virginia.
In the Fraud Alert Category; we have two entries: Georgia Tech and Illinois, who both lost for the second consecutive week, and will not likely sniff the rankings again this season.
Old Man River – JoPa keeps on rolling, as the Penn State Lions are now 7-1.
While Paterno tied Eddie Robinson with his 408th Division 1 victory; a satisfying 34-24 win over Northwestern.
Another old timer who continues to roll on; congrats to Bill Snyder and his KState Wildcats, who after its 59-21 destruction of Kansas, are sitting 7-0, with a chance to climb into the top ten!! Amazing!! How long can Turner Gill remain at the helm of Kansas?
How come we can’t find guys like this?
QB Dominique Davis, once the signal caller at BC, set a pair of NCAA records yesterday. He completed his first 26 throws, and last week completed his last 10, breaking the single game completion record of 23, and consecutive streak of 26, in East Carolina’s 38-35 victory over Navy. Congrats!!
Finally, on the hot seat: Houston Nutt of Ole Miss, who after shooting out to a 17-0 led over heavily favored Arkansas, saw his Rebels eventually fall 29-24 to the Razorbacks. The loss set a program record for futility for Mississippi as the Rebels have now lost ten straight to SEC opponents. Ouch!!
Can you say; job search?!
That’s it from cyber space, we’ll be up and running with our analysis of week 9 Wednesday night.
Until then, Peace, and listen to the music. pk