We’re finally into the good part of the season- conference play and (mostly) competitive games. Here’s what we learned yesterday:
Things We Learned In College Week Five
-So you thought Brady Hoke’s seat couldn’t get any hotter? He could be making s’mores on it right now. Michigan’s ninth-ranked run defense (that’s nationally, not in the Big Ten) had no answer for Minnesota’s David Cobb, who ran for 183 yards on 32 carries. Nor did their pass defense, offense, or special teams have answers for anything.
-I think it’s safe to say starting Shane Morris at quarterback was a mistake; the only time the Wolverines’ offense looked anything other than hapless was after somebody finally realized Morris had a concussion and took him out, and senior Devin Gardner was handed back the reins. More on that situation here from my colleague Alex Sibo.
-Staying in the Big Ten, Ohio State may have spanked Cincinnati, but they’re still giving up a lot of big plays.
-Looks like C.J. Beathard may have won the starting quarterback job at Iowa with his performance last week. He started and led Iowa to a 24-10 win (admittedly, over Purdue) yesterday.
-Seriously, does anyone want to win the Big Ten? It’s looking like the West, at least, is Nebraska’s to lose. With Penn State going down to Northwestern yesterday, I’m not sure anyone wants to win the East.
-I was pleasantly surprised by Tennessee yesterday. That was a much closer (and more entertaining) game than I thought it might be, especially after the announcers started the game by talking about how many freshmen are starting for the Vols. Quarterback Justin Worley is a senior, so he’ll be gone next year, but given how young this team is aside from him, they should be very good in a year or two.
-I liked the creativity the Tennessee offensive staff showed when Worley went out with an injury and was replaced by the inexperienced Nathan Peterman. (Worley did return and showed no ill effects from the helmet he took to the elbow; on his first drive back, he drove the team down the field for a touchdown AND a successful two-point conversion).
-Best name in football nominee: Vols’ wideout Pig Howard.
-Aggies, how do you allow a PUNTER to run for 51 yards and a score? I know you probably weren’t expecting the punter to take off with the ball, but still.
-Too many mistakes for Arkansas in the fourth quarter. All little ones, but they add up.
-This was a first for me: Ole Miss had their kicker get ejected from the game. The KICKER. For FIGHTING!
-It’s looking like there may be a quarterback controversy at LSU. Sophomore Anthony Jennings had a rough start against New Mexico State, going 2/5 for 11 yards, with two interceptions and a lost fumble. He was replaced by freshman Brandon Harris, who went 11/14 for 178 yards and three touchdowns. It’s tough to come to any serious conclusions against this level of competition (LSU won 63-7), but I wouldn’t be shocked to see Harris start the Tigers’ next game.
-Way to bounce back from a bad loss, Missouri. That wasn’t the greatest game of the weekend- lots of sloppy play from both sides- but the Tigers definitely needed that win. I was disappointed in the lack of a Steve Spurrier Visor Throw, though.
-Cal and Colorado played a barnburner, combining for 115 points and 1,205 yards, 898 of them through the air. I really wish more Pac-12 games were played at a reasonable hour on the East Coast.
-Good for Stanford getting the late TD to preserve their conference title hopes.
-Duke’s loss to Miami is big, in that they’re both in the ACC Coastal and that game could end up being a tiebreaker in favor of the ‘Canes if the two teams finish with the same record. However, Duke still has the best record in a division where multiple teams (Pitt, Virginia Tech) haven’t looked as good as expected to date. I still think the Blue Devils have a decent shot at the division.
-Florida State fans must have had a sense of “here we go again” yesterday as the ‘Noles spotted the Wolfpack a 24-7 lead early. Why FSU tends to play so badly in Raleigh I have no idea, but yesterday they did manage to come back and win the game. Don’t be surprised, though, if some pollsters drop them to #2 or maybe even #3. They looked weak for much of the game, and allowed 41 points. Injured defensive end Mario Edwards was definitely missed.
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