Things We Learned In College Football, Week 5
Thursday night got the weekend off to a strange start. Houston was missing two starting linebackers during the game with UConn after team-building activities got out of hand on Wednesday. Apparently, Matthew Adams and Tyus Bowser got a little “overly competitive” during what was supposed to be some friendly sports games and got into a minor fight. Adams was suspended for the game, while Bowser suffered an undisclosed injury. Houston won 42-14, avenging their only loss last season which, surprisingly, came against UConn.
The weirdness continued Friday night as anything that could go wrong, did go wrong for Stanford. In what was expected be a close, exciting game, the Huskies blew out the Cardinal 44-6. Stanford coach David Shaw called the first half the worst half of football he had seen in a long time. Washington, on the other hand, was surgical on offense and dominating on defense. This was the first time I’ve seen them this year and I was very impressed. Huskies’ QB Jake Browning, in particular, played a fantastic game. He’s very mobile, and does a really nice job keeping his eyes focused downfield looking for a chance to pass while he’s on the run. I’m making a mental note to get another couple of UW games on my DVR.
Christian McCaffrey– still no touchdowns on the road.
Plenty of special teams issues to go around today. Texas missed three consecutive extra points against Oklahoma State; I’m not sure I’ve ever seen that before. The Northwestern–Iowa game featured a touchdown-saving tackle by each team’s punter. Michigan followed up their 1/3 field goal performance against Penn State a week ago with three more missed field goals from two different kickers. Finally, Minnesota had their fourth player ejection of the year after linebacker Jaylen Waters leveled Penn State kicker Joey Julius. The two had exchanged shoves earlier in the game.
Julius, by the way, is the biggest kicker I’ve ever seen at 5’10” and 258 pounds. I had the Minnesota game on my TV with the Michigan game on my iPad, and when I glanced up I wondered what I had missed that resulted in the Nittany Lions having a lineman kicking.
Penn State, it’s time for a new mascot costume. The current one looks like it might have arrived in Happy Valley when Joe Paterno did.
I’ll have a full article on the Gophers mid-week, but for now I’ll say this: they are going absolutely nowhere if they don’t start playing with some discipline. That’s a shame, because their division is up for grabs.
Tennessee played with fire for a second week in a row, and again they narrowly avoided getting burned. After their miracle comeback against Florida, they spotted Georgia a 17-0 lead early. Once the Vols started the comeback, it was a back-and-forth affair, and when Georgia’s freshman quarterback threw a 47-yard touchdown with just ten seconds on the board, I’m guessing most people assumed the game was over. Tennessee’s Joshua Dobbs had other ideas, throwing a 43-yard Hail Mary to Jauan Jennings. Game over. We’ll be able to re-watch this one on ESPN Classic for autumns to come.
Speaking of classics, Clemson–Louisville should go down in that category as well. Anytime you get arguably the two best quarterbacks in college football going head-to-head, it’s special. When the game comes down to the last play, even moreso.
No Fournette, no problem for LSU. Six days after firing longtime coach Les Miles, interim coach Ed Orgeron had the Tigers firing through the air and on the ground. Fournette sat out the game with an ankle injury, but Derrius Guice and Darrel Williams were more than adequate in his stead with three touchdowns apiece. The team’s rushing yardage was still close to twice the rushing yardage, but when your backs are being successful, why throw? I’ll be interested to see how much Orgeron and offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger air it out next week against Florida if the Gators have more luck than Missouri did stopping the run.
Nice article about Orgeron from Saturday’s USA Today. He’s a fantastic defensive line coach and an excellent recruiter. It will be interesting to see how he changes LSU and how seriously they consider keeping him at the helm. If you’re interested in some behind-the-scenes looks at his head-coaching tenure at Ole Miss, Meat Market by Bruce Feldman is a fascinating read.
Maryland led the nation in turnovers last season with 36. They committed their first of this season yesterday.
Northwestern’s Ifeadi Odenigbo had himself a game yesterday, with four sacks and a forced fumble. The Wildcats looked very good in their 38-31 win over Iowa. How on Earth did they lose some of those early games?
The fact that Texas found it necessary to come out and say they aren’t going to make any changes (read: fire Charlie Strong) in season is probably not a good sign for Strong in the long run. After the upset of Notre Dame in Week One, they’ve lost to Cal and now Oklahoma State. The Cowboys hadn’t beaten Texas in Stillwater since 1997.
Most weeks, when I look at my game notes on Sunday morning, I find some odd things. This week was no exception. At some point I scribbled the following: “Indiana over Mich. St. in OT for the spittoon”. I’m not sure what I find weirder about that sentence- the fact that Indiana beat Michigan State, or the idea that their rivalry trophy is the Old Brass Spittoon.
I had a couple of notes about interesting player names this week as well. Penn State has a Marcus Allen, and Cincinnati has a Mike Tyson. Michigan has a candidate for Best Football Player Name Ever in Eddie McDoom.
Things to watch for next week: Will Tennessee play with fire again when they face Texas A&M? Is there any chance Arkansas takes down Alabama? And can Florida State get back on track against unbeaten Miami? Time will tell. Have a great week everybody!