Where’s Jim McKay when you need him.
Halloween arrived early in Ann Arbor yesterday, as the Big House, in a matter of ten skinny seconds, was transformed from a House of Joy into a House of Horrors.
On fourth down, with ten seconds left on the clock, and nursing a 2-point lead, all Michigan needed to do was punt away the football to seal one of its biggest victories in nearly a decade.
It would also have sent a message to the college football world that Jim Harbaugh’s Maize and Blue was indeed a force to be reckoned with.
But that’s when the unimaginable happened.
Michigan’s rugby style punter Blake O’Neil dropped the perfect snap, then, as he tried to kick it, fumbled it into the waiting arms of Michigan State safety Jalen Watts-Jackson, who with an escort of teammates dashed 38-yards along the left sideline before tumbling into the end zone for one of the most improbable victories in the history of college football; 27-23. AMAZING!!
It left the Big House faithful silent and slack-jawed, with the echoes of McKay reverberating in their heads: “The thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat.”
On the local front the “Teammates” Tim Murphy of Harvard, and Buddy Teevens of Dartmouth continued toward their October 30th collision course at the Stadium with a pair of convincing victories.
The Crimson whitewashed Lafayette; 42-0, for its nineteenth win in a row, and its thirteenth consecutive road victory, while the Big Green bowled over Central Connecticut; 34-7 for its eighth straight victory.
In Amherst, and Chestnut Hill, it was “Deja-vu all over again” as Mark Whipple’s “Belles of Amherst” (1-5) fell to a mediocre bunch of “Golden Flashers” from Kent State 15-10, while BC (3-4) lost to a high quality undefeated squad from Clemson; 34-17.
In Amherst there remains more questions than answers, as a season that once held such promise has fully unraveled (1-5, 0-2).
And in order for the Minutemen to reach its bowl game goal, it must win 5 of its remaining 6 games. DOUBLE YIKES!@!
I don’t want to say that’s an impossible task, but the Lincoln Chaffee has a better chance of winning the presidency. OUCH!!
On the Heights, BC now sits (3-4, 0-4), losers of four of its last five, and also in need of a Chafee-like miracle to go bowling this year, especially because it needs 7-victories after opening the season against a pair of 1AA teams. For the Eagles; it’s that Boston mantra; “Wait till next year!!”
Back onto the national scene, Alabama strengthened its case as a playoff contender knocking off the 9th ranked Aggies of Texas A@M; 41-23.
The Tide scored 21–points on a school-record three “pick sixes,” while its All-America tailback Derrick Henry ran for a career high: 236 yards.
It was the Coach Nick Saban’s sixth victory over a top-10 team, which ties him with Bear Bryant. WOW!
In Baton Rouge, the “Mad Hatter,” struck again as LSU (7-0) defeated the previously unblemished Florida Gators: 35-28.
But it was the way the Bayou Bengals did it that warms the hearts of the “Hatter” faithful everywhere.
Tied at 28 early in the fourth quarter, the Tigers set up for a 28 yard field-goal, when Miles brilliantly called for a fake. It was perfectly executed as kicker Trent Dominique, who bobbled the ball several times, calmly rumbled into the left side of the end zone for the winning score. AMAZING!!!
Mobbed by his behemoth teammates, the 170-pound kicker looked like a tooth pick amongst Redwoods as he clutched the touchdown ball tighter than Richard Burton clutched a glass of scotch. Good for him!!
In South Bend, the Irish defeated a dysfunctional, yet talented bunch of USC Trojans: 41-31.
But this wasn’t just another Irish victory, there is a certain Zen-like calmness and resolve amongst Brian Kelly’s troops.
And it was on full display under the lights at South Bend.
After coughing up a 14-point lead, and trailing by 7, the Irish (6-1) behind the passing of r-shirt freshman DeShone Kizer, and the running of C J. Prosise, convincingly and impressively scored 17-unanswered fourth quarter points, edging Notre Dame into the playoff conversation.
In order to receive that invite, the Irish need two things to happen: Clemson must finish undefeated, and Stanford must continue its domination. ND and the Cardinal meet at season’s end
If those two happen: let the games/arguments/ hatred begin!!
In Iowa City a coaching seat that was once as warm at the ocean around the Plymouth’s Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant, has cooled like a seat at the Ice Bar at Faneuil Hall, as Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz watched his Hawkeyes blow-out a good Northwestern team on the road; 40-10.
Iowa climbs to a jaw-dropping 7-0, and takes a stranglehold on the Big Ten West Division.
When asked how good his Hawkeyes are; Ferentz answered: “I have no idea. But I do know we play with a lot of guts.” Iowa is a very good team. Period!!
In one of the season’s feel-good stories, and there are a bunch this season, the Memphis Tigers are 6-0 for the first time since JFK was chasing Marylyn around the Oval Office – 1961.
They have a terrific QB in Paxton Lynch, and an even better coach; Justin Fuente, whose phone should be ringing with either Maryland or Rutgers on the other end.
Another hot coach is Matt Campbell of the Toledo Rockets (6-0), which continues to maul its opponents, and like Fuente should be on speed dial of the two previously mentioned schools.
Finally we would be remiss without ending with our “Star-Kist” kiss to the spirit of Charlie Weis and the Kansas Jayhawks, who actually played tough against the Texas Teck Red Raiders losing 30-20 and falling to 0-6.
KU remains one of the worst programs in college football sitting 120th in scoring (19), and 123 in total D, allowing 42 points a game. Sorry Charlie!!
That’s it from cyber-space. We’ll be up and running with our analysis of week 7, until then Peace, and listen to the music. PK