The fact that my rankings took me close to half an hour this morning to puzzle out is a pretty good indicator that yesterday was a great day of college football. Let’s review:
Things We Learned In College: Week 10 In College Football
-Northwestern lost their quarterback in the first quarter against Penn State but hung in there to win the game. Both offenses had some sloppy plays, but the defenses were sound. I hadn’t realized how big Penn State’s defensive linemen are, including guys who rotate in. Those are some huge dudes.
-Northwestern defensive end Dean Lowry was the victim of a terrible unnecessary roughness call that was actually upheld after review. It was clear to me, and to both commentators, that Lowry was already bringing Penn State QB Christian Hackenberg down when the whistle blew. How that wasn’t overturned, I don’t know. Maybe the Miami-Duke crew from last week was doing the replay.
-Shockingly, it appears that having open tryouts for a kicker doesn’t always pay off. Florida dental student Neil MacInnes missed his first PAT attempt, and the Gators were never able to get him a second shot at one. Head coach Jim McElwain went back to kicker Austin Hardin for a game-winning 43-yard field goal late, and to Hardin’s credit, he nailed it.
-Vanderbilt’s defense is better than I think most people realize. It was nice of the Gators to help them out with four turnovers, though.
-Not a good day for TCU, obviously. Oklahoma State QB Mason Rudolph had all day to throw- the Frogs were getting no pass rush to speak of. Add to that some uncharacteristic interceptions from Trevone Boykin and the injury to Josh Doctson, and it’s a recipe for an upset.
-Circle November 21 on your calendar. That’s when Baylor and Oklahoma State face off.
-I think the Michigan-Rutgers game can be summed up in one stat from the broadcast: eight minutes into the second quarter, Rutgers QB Chris Laviano was 0 for 4 passing. Michigan QB Jake Rudock had already hit 200 yards. The running game didn’t have much more success for the Scarlet Knights, gaining just 128 yards and no TDs.
-This game also had one of the strangest penalty calls I’ve ever seen. As Michigan broke the huddle, TE Jake Butt headed over to the sideline as if he was leaving the field. He didn’t, instead lining up way out near the sideline. No one covered him, and I mean no one- his ruse that he was leaving the field worked. Wide open, Butt caught a pass for 51 yards, but it was called back for “unsportsmanlike conduct- intent to deceive”. Head coach Jim Harbaugh… well, let’s just say he wasn’t pleased with the call.
-I love how Harbaugh is using Sione Houma, ostensibly a fullback. Six carries for 19 yards, plus a 32-yard reception. At six feet, 243 pounds, Houma has fullback size but clearly has the skill to do more than just pound ahead for a yard or two. On the broadcast yesterday, it was mentioned that Houma ran a 4.53 40-yard dash as a high school senior.
-As long as we’re on the topic of the Big Ten, does anyone know what to make of Nebraska? They looked good, not great, against Minnesota, lost to 2-6 Purdue a week later, and then upset Sparty yesterday. Would the real Cornhuskers please stand up?
-Despite miscue after miscue in the first half, Clemson finished in a big way against Florida State yesterday. Up by three, the defense stoned Florida State running back Dalvin Cook on fourth and short. The Tigers got the ball back and ran for a touchdown to go up by 10. With the ‘Noles on offense and 2:30 left on the clock, lineback Ben Boulware ripped the ball out, recovered it, and that was that.
-With a young offensive line, it seems as though going with the hurry-up offense would be a mistake. Counter-intuitively, it worked for the Seminoles. It got them into a better rhythm, and I guess sometimes you want to eliminate time for young linemen to overthink as well.
-Alabama had success early against LSU going hurry-up. Running the ball and the short passing game somehow seemed to stymie the Tigers’ defense.
-Alabama’s defense held Leonard Fournette, to 31 yards on 19 carries. The Tide’s Derrick Henry ran for 210 yards and three scores. I’ve said it before, I think Nick Saban creates these players in a lab somewhere. Heisman talk this week should be interesting.
-Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey was 1/1 for 28 yards and a touchdown yesterday- passing.
-Iowa QB C.J. Beatherd looked pretty good for a guy with a nagging groin injury, although you could see from his movement that he isn’t 100%.
-I have the game on the DVR and will be writing a full article on it in the coming days, but good for Minnesota to rebound from a last-second loss and hang in there with Ohio State. Looking forward to watching that.
-UConn 7, Tulane 3. Tulane doesn’t have a hockey team (that I know of), so why is there a baseball score on the ESPN crawl in November?
-This is stupid, but I have to mention it: Clemson’s mascot was doing some really lame push-ups last night. I’m sure push-ups in a mascot costume aren’t easy, but the Oregon Duck can do legit ones and he had that big duck bill to deal with.
-Louisiana Tech running back Kenneth Dixon ran for 195 yards and SIX touchdowns last night against North Texas. I’m pretty sure the ESPN crawl mentioned that being a Conference USA record. Good for him.