College Football Comprehensive: Breaking Down The Highs and Lows Of Week 4

Tim CarySenior Analyst ISeptember 27, 2010

College Football Comprehensive: Breaking Down The Highs and Lows Of Week 4

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    Every week in college football provides plenty of mind-boggling decisions, ridiculous highlights, amazing endings, wacky announcer quotes, and unbelievable stat lines.

    And this edition of COLLEGE FOOTBALL COMPREHENSIVE is jammed full of them.

    Which team scored touchdowns on its first nine possessions?

    Who has the most commonly misspelled name in the country?

    Will LSU ever lose another non-conference game at home?

    Which commentator said "Potential is a four letter word" with a straight face?

    And who is the most immature coach in college football?

    Bottom line: Whether you watched 10 games, zero games or somewhere in between on Saturday, CFC is the ultimate wrap-up you don’t want to miss, featuring the always-popular segments:

    WHO’S NUMBER ONE?

    THANK GOODNESS FOR MY DVR

    THAT CAN’T BE RIGHT!

    UNDER THE MICROSCOPE

    MAYBE BROADCASTING IS EASIER THAN I THOUGHT

    MAYBE COACHING IS EASIER THAN I THOUGHT

    MAYBE OFFICIATING IS EASIER THAN I THOUGHT

    SINCE I DO LIVE IN OHIO...

    OVERTIME

     

    Let’s kick it off…

Who's Number One?

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    WHO’S NUMBER ONE?

    Taking a stab at ranking the nation’s Top 25 teams…

     

    1. Alabama 4-0

    2. Ohio State 4-0

    3. Boise State 3-0

    4. TCU 4-0

    5. Oregon 4-0

    6. Nebraska 4-0

    7. Florida 4-0

    8. Oklahoma 4-0

    9. Wisconsin 4-0

    10. Stanford 4-0

    11. LSU 4-0                           

    12. Arizona 4-0

    13. Utah 4-0

    14. Auburn 4-0

    15. USC 4-0

    16. Arkansas 3-1

    17. Iowa 3-1

    18. Miami 2-1

    19. Michigan 4-0

    20. Michigan State 4-0

    21. Nevada 4-0

    22. North Carolina State 4-0

    23. Penn State 3-1

    24. South Carolina 3-1

    25. Texas 3-1

Thank Goodness For My DVR

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    Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images

    THANK GOODNESS FOR MY DVR

    The jaw-dropping highlights that were worth rewinding for…

     

    Great hustle by SMU punter Matt Szymanski: when the Mustangs’ fourth-and-10 snap hit the up man, he calmly picked up the loose ball, sprinted to the right, and picked up enough yardage to get his team a first down on the broken play.

    That wasn’t the only impressive highlight from SMU, as wide receiver Darius Johnson made a beautiful one-handed grab over the middle in a losing cause against TCU.

    Trailing 24-17, Ohio nearly stunned Marshall with a 36-yard Hail Mary touchdown pass from Boo Jackson to Terrence McCrae as time expired, but the Bobcats came up short on a go-for-broke two-point conversion attempt.

    How about Oregon State’s James Rodgers, who zig-zagged from one side of the field to the other en route to a 54-yard punt return touchdown at Boise State?

    Despite Rodgers’ heroics, Boise made more than enough of their own mind-blowing plays to stay undefeated on the Smurf Turf, including two that stood out above the rest: a left-handed catch by Titus Young on a go route and a beautiful trick play touchdown pass from wideout Austin Pettis.

    Major vertical ability shown by Pittsburgh defensive back Jarred Holley to go up with one hand and knock a Jacory Harris pass attempt down to himself for an interception.

    Alabama running back Mark Ingram is becoming a regular in this category, but with good reason: his stiff-arm on Arkansas cornerback Ramon Broadway was downright filthy. (I’d say “Broadway-worthy”, but I want to save my bad puns for later in the column. There’s a quota, you know.)

    Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson and Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor each had their typical, once-a-week, long, darting-and-weaving touchdown runs: Robinson scampered 47 yards in the first quarter to put the Wolverines up 14-0, while Pryor scrambled 53 yards for the Bucks’ first score at the ‘Shoe.

    Incredible hustle by Oklahoma’s Jonathan Nelson to chase down Cincinnati wideout D.J. Woods from behind. Nelson came from nowhere to knock the football free just before Woods crossed the goal line, and the Sooners recovered in the end zone to thwart a second-quarter Cincy scoring opportunity.

    Here’s the amazing part: Nelson had already used his superior closing ability to catch up to Woods and pull him down short of the end zone in the first quarter as well. Big-time head start for the Bearcats player both times? Absolutely. Breakaway speed? I don’t think so.

    Remarkable effort by Auburn wide receiver Emory Blake on his late-game TD reception: Blake juked a defender at the 15-yard line, kept his balance, broke a tackle at the 10, and pushed his own blocker the final five yards into the end zone for a score.

That Can't Be Right!

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    THAT CAN’T BE RIGHT

    The ridiculous stat lines, improbable scores, and ticker typos that cause double-takes everywhere…

     

    On Wisconsin… The Badgers scored touchdowns on their first nine drives of the game against Austin Peay. Read the previous sentence one more time to make sure it sinks in: that might be the most unbelievable stat in the history of this column. Wisconsin ended up winning 70-3, and the game wasn’t nearly that close. Not sure what happened to the Big Ten’s “three yards and a cloud of dust” image, but I definitely didn’t expect 73, 70, and 65 points from the Buckeyes, Badgers, and Wolverines.

    Shouldn’t he be rusty by now? Speaking of Michigan, Tate Forcier got his first playing time of the season and took full advantage, merely hitting on all 12 of his pass attempts for 110 yards and a touchdown against Bowling Green.  

    It was the worst of times, it was the worst of times, it was the worst of times, it was the worst of times, it was the worst of times, and THEN it was the best of times… Alabama-Birmingham kicker Josh Zahn was 0-5 on field goal attempts in regulation at Tennessee. That’s not bad. That’s horrible. Zahn missed from 41, 35, 49, 30, and 54, and somehow the Blazers still managed to take the Vols to overtime. Incredibly, Zahn made both of his overtime field goal tries, a 35-yarder to tie the game at 26-all (imagine what was going through the young man’s head right before that kick!) and a 21-yarder that gave the Blazers a short-lived lead in the second extra session.

    On the other end of the place-kicking spectrum… If UTEP kicker Dakota Warren doesn’t get every special teams player of the week award imaginable after his performance against Memphis, I will personally file as many protests as it takes to see that the issue is corrected.

    Warren drilled a 57-yard kick in the first quarter, a 50-yarder in the fourth, and then finished things off by knocking through the game-winner from 18 yards out with only three seconds left. The Miners prevailed, 16-13.

    My crusade against incorrect television graphics continues… FSN’s on-screen scoreboard had Oregon leading 31-24 for the first minute and a half of third-quarter action, despite the fact that the Ducks only had 28 points. I know we all expect Chip Kelly’s high-octane offense to score on pretty much every play at this point, but that’s still jumping the gun a little bit.

    Looks like Favre/Farve has competition in the “most commonly misspelled quarterback name” category… Arkansas senior Ryan Mallett has two T’s in his last name, not one. Yes, I’m talking to you, ESPN. (Always love to see the College GameDay topic bar spell a name one way while the banner across the middle of the picture spells it a different way.)

    For those who have a tough time keeping it straight, allow me to offer this reminder: when referring to a hammer-shaped object, spell “Mallet” with only one T.

    When referring to quarterbacks that choke away signature wins because they don’t have the arm strength to throw the ball out of bounds properly, use two Ts. Does that clear it up?

    His fantasy numbers just went through the roof… Trey Burton had five carries for Florida in a 48-14 win over Kentucky. Trey Burton had five rushing touchdowns for Florida in a 48-14 win over Kentucky.

    That’s as close to automatic as it gets. (Oh, and Burton caught a touchdown too, just to prove he’s multi-dimensional and all.)

    Hook ‘em Bruins…All kinds of strange stats in Austin this weekend, including UCLA pounding the top-ten Longhorns 34-12, the Bruins going almost exclusively to the run game (it’s not often that the winning quarterback is 5-8 for 27 yards), and Texas turning in its sloppiest performance in recent history (don’t look now, but I think they just fumbled again).

    Back-to-back… Stanford two-way player Owen Marecic pulled off what has to be one of the rarest feats in college football Saturday at Notre Dame, scoring on a one-yard touchdown plunge (from his running back position) to put the Cardinal up 27-6 and then getting in the end zone again on the VERY NEXT SNAP.

    When the Irish took over at their own 16 after the ensuing kickoff, Marecic picked off a Dayne Crist pass on the first play (from his linebacker spot) and ran it back 20 yards for another score.

Under The Microscope: LSU 20, West Virginia 14

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    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    UNDER THE MICROSCOPE: LSU 20, WEST VIRGINIA 14

    In-depth spotlight and analysis of a game that deserves a closer look…

     

    The last time LSU lost a non-conference game (26-8 at Virginia Tech in the 2002 season), the Department of Homeland Security hadn’t been established yet.

    The last time LSU lost a non-conference game in Tiger Stadium, (13-10 to UAB in the 2000 season), the Sydney Olympics were going on, Bill Clinton was still president, and Enron was known as a reputable and successful company.

    Safe to say the West Virginia Mountaineers had their work cut out for them in Baton Rouge Saturday night.

    The visitors hung tough for 60 minutes, but ultimately, it wasn’t enough to prevent the Mountaineers from becoming the 31st straight non-conference victim for LSU.  

    The Tigers’ hard-fought 20-14 victory extended the nation’s longest streak of victories over inter-conference opponents and might have even vaulted Patrick Peterson into the thick of the Heisman Trophy discussion.

    Peterson, a junior cornerback from Pompano Beach, Fla., struck “the pose” (you know exactly which pose I’m talking about, although Desmond Howard might be less than thrilled) after a highlight-reel 60-yard punt return that gave LSU a 17-0 lead midway through the second quarter.

    And with the way the home team’s defense performed, 17 points was all they would need.

    Peterson and the Tigers harassed WVU quarterback Geno Smith into a completion percentage under 50%, held the Mountaineers to 2-13 on third-down conversions, and yielded a grand total of only 177 yards in the contest.

    True freshman Tyrann Mathieu made his presence felt with a first-quarter fumble recovery and a second-quarter interception, sparking LSU to 10 points directly from the pair of turnovers he came up with.

    West Virginia refused to go away, using talented speedsters Jock Sanders, Noel Devine, and Tavon Austin to make enough plays to keep things close.

    Sanders, Devine, and Austin go 5’7”, 5’8”, and 5’9”, respectively, and their quickness (even at less than 100 percent*)stood out against a vaunted SEC defense like LSU’s.

    (*Both Sanders and Devine were nicked up in the first half before returning, which didn’t help the WVU upset bid at all.)

    Offensively, LSU leaned on Stevan Ridley for much of the night: the junior tailback rolled up 116 yards on 20 carries to lead the Tiger attack.

    If the Tigers can move the ball on the ground consistently this fall (coupled with the type of defense they displayed in this game) they’ll be extremely difficult to beat.

    Ridley had four carries on a pivotal seven-minute, 14-play drive that resulted in LSU’s final points of the evening and seemed to take some wind out of the WVU sails.

    In the end, the Mountaineers were left to wonder what might have been after getting a first-quarter field goal blocked and missing a 48-yarder wide left in the final period.

    Those six points loomed large with the final margin being…wait a minute while I do the math…yes, exactly six points.

    And the streak goes on.

Extra Points From This Week's Microscope Game

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    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Extra points from this week’s Microscope game:

     

    -Is Jock Sanders the best football player name ever? (It sure beats SMU’s Banjo or South Carolina’s Gurley, right?) Discuss.

    - Neither team converted a third down in the first 29 minutes of the game. Can you say “defensive struggle”?

    -Maybe this will be a new category in College Football Comprehensive: “The Hard-Luck Play of the Day.”

    No contest for that particular title in Baton Rouge, as West Virginia defensive back Eain Smith snared an interception, raced the other way with blockers in front of him toward a likely touchdown, and promptly tripped over his teammate at the LSU 15-yard line.

    To make matters worse, Smith tossed the ball in the air as he got up from the ground, earning a personal foul flag. From would-be touchdown to the 15-yard line to the 30-yard line: that’s the type of mistake that you can’t make if you want to upset LSU at LSU.

    -There were an awful lot of inflatable objects flying through the air in a wild night-game atmosphere. I’ve seen beach balls (and yes, there were plenty of those too), but what’s with all of the blow-up fish/sharks/dolphins?

    I guess I’d expect that at San Jose NHL games or Miami NFL games, but not at Tiger Stadium.

    -LSU replaced their struggling quarterback, Jordan Jefferson, with less than seven minutes to go in a one-possession game.

    Nothing like throwing backup Jarrett Lee into the fire…isn’t that similar to bringing in a young relief pitcher with the bases loaded in the World Series? You’ve got some guts, Les Miles.

    -Favorite play of the day: the Death Valley crowd got so loud on an important third-down play late in the game that WVU’s Smith lined up UNDER THE RIGHT GUARD to try and take the snap.

    Nice job, Noel Devine, to casually tap your quarterback on the rear end and let him know he should move down the offensive line to the center that…you know…actually had the football.  Giant shocker: the play was unsuccessful.

Maybe Broadcasting Is Easier Than I Thought (The Lou Holtz Specials)

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    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    MAYBE BROADCASTING IS EASIER THAN I THOUGHT

    This week’s wacky and weird announcer quotes…

     

    “It’s not gonna be a run if it’s a pass.” – Chris Spielman

    “I think that skillet was last washed when the Game of the Century was played.” – Joe Tessitore

    “The Norman Dale approach to playing in the Big House…or the big stadium.” – Carter Blackburn trying to cover his tracks in Columbus after confusing Ohio Stadium with Michigan Stadium.

    “Potential is a four-letter word.” – Matt Millen

    “Folks, if you want to hear a sound emanating from Boise, Idaho, come on back.” – Brent Musberger

    “And here's Hershey Hawkins with the carry, tackled by his shoetops.” – Dick Nelson trying to come up with the name of Hersey Jackson on Grand Valley State radio (via @kleshreen)

    “Kirk Ferentz and 18th-ranked Iowa State” – Wendi Nix

    “Third and Columbus to go” – Mark Jones describing the length of a third-and-23 play in Cincinnati

    [On whether Purdue backup quarterback Rob Henry could play basketball for him] “I’d have to see him play. Actually, I’d like to see him become a better football passer.” –Gene Keady pulling no punches on his visit to the Big Ten Network booth

    “Will he get the first down? NO HE WILL NOT. [long pause] …I don’t think.” – Verne Lundquist after the most dramatic third-down play of Alabama-Arkansas

    “That’s a little risqué call.” – Chris Martin describing a late-game Penn State pass attempt (In unrelated news, the play call was also risky.)

    “To replace the shoes of John Elway, for a lot of quarterbacks, that’s a tough thing” – Mark Schlereth (Did you mean “Fill the shoes”, Mark? Or were you jealous of Elway always wearing Nikes and thought you’d switch them out with some Reeboks instead?)

    “Big weekend in the SEC, guys…so, if somebody’s ripe for an upset, who’s it gonna be? “ – John Saunders introducing the halftime segment

    “I think that Stanford better be on the upset alert because University of Notre Dame is only 24 yards a game less than Stanford…” – Lou Holtz

    “I’m just trying to figure out when Stanford and Notre Dame got in the SEC.” – John Saunders

    “The big runs they’ve had have been on the perimeter or the outside.” – Chris Spielman

     “As you look down on this field, you just have to wonder, what would it look like if it was a green field?” – Brent Musberger (Good question, Brent. Maybe it would look like basically every other football field in America?)

    “He just doesn’t like owls.” – Eric Collins on Joe Paterno’s career domination of Temple

    “Bob, thank you very much…[update on Mississippi State-Georgia game]…Mississippi State all over Georgia 24-6 with under two minutes to play. Bob? Elsewhere, Florida leads Kentucky 41-14…” Wendi Nix to Ron Cunningham (So outside of calling the announcer by the wrong name at the beginning AND end of the highlight…oh, and pretending to toss it back to him but then continuing to describe another game… yep, that was a pretty flawless game break.)

    AND MY FAVORITE QUOTE OF THE WEEK…

    “Mike and I were down on the field…and it was a little bit windier than it feels certainly in this press box.” – Brock Huard

     

    If you hear an unbelievable announcer quote during the football weekend, send it my way! E-mail cfcmailbag (at) yahoo (dot) com: your submission could make it in to next week’s COMPREHENSIVE.

Maybe Coaching Is Easier Than I Thought

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    MAYBE COACHING IS EASIER THAN I THOUGHT

    Did somebody’s seat just get hotter?

     

    Some characteristics have to be considered “non-negotiables” when hiring a head football coach for a major college program. Examples: relevant experience, good communication skills, and the like.

    Apparently maturity is not one of these required characteristics.

    In this week’s “boys will be boys” scenario, Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh and Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly let their mind games and childish shenanigans get way out of hand in Saturday’s meeting.

    How else to explain the Irish choosing to go for two with six minutes left after cutting into a 34-6 Cardinal lead? Kelly may have been frustrated by the fact that Stanford had converted a two-point try of its own earlier in the quarter, but that one had a bit of logic involved : it put the visitors up 27-6 (or three touchdowns).

    Sure, that 27th point might not have been needed with only eight minutes to play, but there’s no way the game was over, and in my point of view (as well as that of the NotreDame Broadcasting Company NBC commentators), Harbaugh’s decision made sense.

    Kelly’s retaliation did not. At 34-12, every coach knows to kick the extra point and cut the margin to 21 (again, three touchdowns).

    The two men didn’t end the antics there, as Harbaugh called a ridiculous timeout with 24 seconds left and a 23-point lead. No excuse for that, and Kelly responded by using a timeout with five seconds to go as Harbaugh was already heading out for a postgame handshake.

    The Stanford coach no doubt deserved a taste of his own medicine, but I’d much rather see these two settle their apparent differences over a rock-paper-scissors contest or some other backyard game, not trading stupid “anything you can do, I can do better” moves in a nationally-televised football contest.

    One other note: Kelly told the South Bend Tribune that his timeout in the final moments was to teach his team “that we’re always going to play right down to the very end of the game.

    “That wasn’t for any other reason,” he said.

    If you believe that quote, I have some authentic Golden Dome paint to sell you.

    Maybe coaching is easier than I thought.

Maybe Officiating Is Easier Than I Thought

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    MAYBE OFFICIATING IS EASIER THAN I THOUGHT

    Throwing the flag on the guys in stripes…

     

    With Oklahoma leading Cincinnati 31-22, Bearcats quarterback Zach Collaros passed to Adrien Robinson for what was ruled to be a 19-yard touchdown. Robinson made a great play to dive for the pylon, but as I watched the play live on television, he appeared to step out of bounds around the 1-yard line.

    I expected the play to be reviewed, and it was.

    I expected the call to be overturned, and it wasn’t.

    Just to be sure, I paused the DVR and looked at Robinson’s foot touching the ground out of bounds before he reached the ball towards the goal line.

    Apparently “conclusive” just doesn’t mean what it used to, because that was a no-doubter.

    Or maybe I missed the new rule that the Big East enacted shortly after making up the concept of “lag time”: from now on, stepping out of bounds before crossing the plane of the goal line won’t be considered a big deal, as long as you don’t stay there too long.

    Touchdown, Cincinnati.

    Maybe officiating is easier than I thought.

Since I Do Live In Ohio...

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    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    SINCE I DO LIVE IN OHIO...

    News from around the Big Ten…

     

    -I’ve always said that supporting the Buckeyes is like a religion in my home state. As a transplanted outsider, the level of fanaticism in central Ohio is just a little “nuts” (again, pun intended).

    However, the devotion to OSU has apparently gone to new heights, according to Twitter posts from @adamjardybsb and @rollercd.

    These reporters both pointed out that the Ohio State press box announcer asked media members to stand for playing of the national anthem before the Bucks’ game against Eastern Michigan…and the band proceeded to play the university’s alma mater, Carmen Ohio, instead.

    Insert your own punch line about Ohio State taking over the government here: personally, it makes me wonder how many of my tax dollars are being used to provide sweater vests to the less-fortunate.

    -Also of note from OSU’s shellacking of the Eagles, in the “random but interesting” file: reader @BBilling notices that Ohio State has played four straight home games in the month of September, and all four have come against squads with white and green color schemes (Marshall, Miami Fla., Ohio, EMU).

    No, the Buckeyes don’t play Michigan State next week.

    -Did anyone doubt that the Ohio State coaching staff is spending a lot of time dreaming up ways to help Pryor’s stat lines look as extraordinary as possible to the Heisman voters? The junior quarterback threw for four touchdowns, ran for one, and CAUGHT one.

    Tough to overshadow Dane Sanzenbacher’s four receiving touchdowns, but Pryor probably did anyway.

Overtime

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    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    OVERTIME

    Since CFC isn’t really done until the fat lady sings…

     

    Things that keep me awake at night…

    -The Stanley Cup made an appearance at Northwestern’s home game in Evanston Saturday afternoon. It also showed up at Notre Dame’s home game in South Bend Saturday afternoon.

    Sure, the schools are only 115 miles apart, so it’s feasible that the Cup could make the trip from Illinois to Indiana in short order, but I admit it started me wondering if there are “impersonators” for the Stanley Cup.

    We know the president has used “stand-ins” before for public appearances…why not the Cup?

    What can I say, Lord Stanley? I love brainstorming a ludicrous conspiracy theory.

    -Question: What kind of weather does it take to delay a college football game?

    Answer: This kind. Wow.

     

    Tim Cary’s COLLEGE FOOTBALL COMPREHENSIVE (formerly “Carrying On About College Football”) is a weekly wrap-up series featured each Monday on BleacherReport.com.

    To submit unbelievable stats, strange announcer quotes, amazing highlights, or dumb coach/referee decisions for next week’s column, e-mail Tim by 1:00 pm Sunday at CFCmailbag (at) yahoo (dot) com or contact him on Twitter at @TimCary.

    Miss a previous edition of COMPREHENSIVE?

    Week Three (Sept. 19)

    Week Two (Sept. 12)

    Week One (Sept. 5)