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.
How did Florida out-gain Alabama and lose by 25 points?
Which injury-prone team went through three quarterbacks in 15 minutes?
What does marriage have in common with playing defensive back?
Is there any coach in the country worse at clock management than Les Miles?
And when is it okay to rush the field?
Plus a special bonus: ESPN's Holly Rowe drops in from Dallas to break down the Red River Rivalry.
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...
Let’s kick it off…
WHO’S NUMBER ONE?
Taking a stab at ranking the nation’s Top 25 teams…
1. Alabama 5-0
2. Ohio State 5-0
3. Boise State 4-0
4. Oregon 5-0
5. TCU 5-0
6. Nebraska 4-0
7. Oklahoma 5-0
8. Arizona 4-0
9. Auburn 5-0
10. Utah 4-0
11. LSU 5-0
12. Arkansas 3-1
13. Iowa 4-1
14. Stanford 4-1
15. Miami 3-1
16. Michigan State 5-0
17. Michigan 5-0
18. Nevada 5-0
19. Florida 4-1
20. South Carolina 3-1
21. Northwestern 5-0
22. Oklahoma State 4-0
23. Wisconsin 4-1
24. Missouri 4-0
25. Kansas State 4-0
THANK GOODNESS FOR MY DVR
The jaw-dropping highlights that were worth rewinding for…
Amazing play by Oklahoma State’s Josh Cooper, who snared a swing pass left-handed, put his head down, and absolutely destroyed Texas A&M’s Terrence Frederick on the way to a 13-yard gain.
Possibly the most extraordinary facemask penalty I’ve ever seen in the fourth quarter of Air Force-Navy, as the Falcons’ Jordan Waiwaiole body slammed Navy punt returner Gary Myers with 1:09 to go in a one-possession game. As Myers raced toward the left sideline, Waiwaiole lunged past him, caught the returner’s facemask with his right hand, pulled it around nearly 180 degrees, and yanked Myers down hard as the Navy player’s feet went out from under him. I thought the play could have drawn two personal fouls, one for a facemask and an extra one for unnecessary roughness, but it only cost Air Force a single 15-yard flag. (Memo to players everywhere: I guess if you’re going to get whistled for a facemask anyway, get your money’s worth.) Waiwaiole atoned for his flagrant tackle with an interception six plays later to preserve the Falcons’ victory.
Great cutback from Oregon State running back Jacquizz Rodgers on a four-yard touchdown run. Rodgers started to the left, didn’t find anything there, reversed direction, and outran the Arizona State defense to the right corner.
How about the big-time punts Saturday? Florida’s Chas Henry hit a 75-yarder that rolled dead at the Alabama 2, while Penn State’s Anthony Fera nearly equaled the feat a couple hours later with a 74-yard kick.
Excellent first-series play call from Illinois to surprise Ohio State with a backward pass to Jarred Fayson, who threw back to quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase for a 23-yard gain.
Ridiculous one-handed touchdown catch for Georgia wideout AJ Green at Colorado. Welcome back, AJ. Can I buy your jersey?
THAT CAN’T BE RIGHT
The ridiculous stat lines, improbable scores, and ticker typos that cause double-takes everywhere…
Well, that’s never happened before… Perennial doormats Baylor and Iowa State had record offensive days against Big 12 foes Saturday, as the Bears mauled Kansas 55-7 (thanks to Robert Griffin’s school-record 444 yards of total offense) and the Cyclones blew past Texas Tech 52-38. I checked in with stats guru Chris Antonacci, who confirmed that since the Big 12 was formed in 1996, neither Baylor nor ISU had ever scored 50 points in a league game until both accomplished the feat within the span of a few hours Saturday.
That’s all, folks… Washington kicker Erik Folk stunned USC with a field goal as time expired to give the Huskies a 32-31 win. A year ago, Folk hit a field goal with three seconds left to knock off the Trojans, 16-13. The year before that? USC beat Washington 56-0.
Hoosier heartbreak… Indiana put on an offensive clinic against Michigan, rolling up 35 first downs (compared to only 15 for the Wolverines), controlling the time of possession 41:47 to 18:13, and getting 480 passing yards from Ben Chappell on 45 completions. Wide receiver Tandon Doss had 15 catches by himself for 221 yards, as the Hoosiers moved the ball up and down the field all afternoon.
Too bad they lost.
And they have only Denard to blame… Despite the Hoosiers’ prolific numbers, Denard Robinson did them one better, throwing for 277 yards, running for 217 more, and scoring the winning touchdown with 21 seconds left to play. Robinson became the first FBS player ever to throw for over 200 yards and rush for over 200 yards in the same game twice in a career; oh yeah, and we can still count the number of Shoelace’s career starts on one hand.
DRob wasn’t the only 200-yard rusher… Pittsburgh tailback Ray Graham ran for a mind-boggling 277 yards against Florida International Saturday, and we can still count his career starts on one finger. Other backfield standouts included USC’s Allen Bradford (21 carries for 223 yards and two TDs) and Temple’s Matt Brown (who found the end zone four times and rushed for 226 yards to spark the Owls over Army).
Sometimes stats don’t tell the whole story. Florida outgained Alabama 281 yards to 273 in Tuscaloosa Saturday night. The Crimson Tide won the ballgame, 31-6.
And sometimes they do. After the first quarter in Iowa City, the Hawkeyes had gained 148 yards. Penn State, meanwhile, had exactly one more yard than I did sitting on my couch. Iowa has had JoePa’s number in recent history, and Saturday wasn’t any different.
Hankering for the end zone… Miami wide receiver Leonard Hankerson had five catches for 131 yards and three touchdowns at Clemson. In the first half.
Calling all quarterbacks… Wake Forest quarterback Tanner Price missed Saturday’s game against Georgia Tech with a concussion. Ted Stachitas started the contest under center for the Demon Deacons before leaving in the first quarter with an injury of his own after attempting only one pass. Stachitas was relieved by Brendan Cross, the third-stringer, who lasted for all of two pass attempts before getting hurt. By the start of the second quarter, Wake was down to their fourth-string QB, Skylar Jones, who (thankfully) managed to finish the game. However, there is no truth to the rumor that the Demon Deacons held open quarterback tryouts underneath the stands at halftime.
UNDER THE MICROSCOPE: OKLAHOMA 28, TEXAS 20
In-depth spotlight and analysis of a game that deserves a closer look…
Oklahoma dominated the first 50+ minutes of their annual Red River Rivalry game with Texas, racing out to a 28-10 lead.
From there, the Sooners were lucky just to hold on.
The Longhorns used a Cody Johnson touchdown run to start their comeback, cut Oklahoma’s lead to a single possession on a Justin Tucker field goal with 1:43 to play, and then things really got interesting.
Texas missed out on two golden opportunities in the final moments, first forcing a Landry Jones fumble that scooted out of bounds inside his own 10-yard line before the Longhorns could pounce on it, and then muffing the ensuing punt with just over a minute to play.
If either ball bounces differently, Mack Brown’s team is driving for a potential tying touchdown.
Instead, Mack Brown’s team has back-to-back losses for the first time since 2007, putting its national-best string of nine straight ten-win seasons in serious jeopardy.
So what’s wrong with this traditional powerhouse?
I asked sideline reporter Holly Rowe, who covered the game for ESPN, what she thought of the Horns. Rowe said that the big issue for Texas is a “lack of explosive playmakers”.
While both schools lost talented offensive players in the most recent NFL draft (you might have heard of Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy, Jermaine Gresham, Jordan Shipley, etc.), it does seem like Oklahoma’s done a better job of reloading for 2010.
Rowe also told me she thought Saturday’s game turned on a crucial fourth-quarter personal foul against Jackson Jeffcoat. With Texas pitching a second-half shutout and forcing a 3rd-and-20 incompletion that should have resulted in a Sooners punt, Jeffcoat instead handed Oklahoma an automatic first down.
“Huge momentum changer,” Rowe said. “Worst mistake of the day.”
(And that’s saying something, because the Longhorns made plenty of mistakes. For a defending league champion, this team just doesn’t have a lot of discipline: nine penalties and three turnovers in all.)
Three plays after Jeffcoat’s costly error, the Sooners capitalized on the gift with a beautiful 20-yard tightrope touchdown run from DeMarco Murray to extend their lead to 28-10. There were a lot of great highlight plays in college football this weekend (as described in the Thank Goodness For My DVR section), but I’m not sure any of them were as amazing as Murray’s balancing act to keep both feet inbounds for the last 10 yards.
“I was right there and didn’t see him touch white paint,” Rowe said later. “He told me after the game it’s something he practices every day on the ladder drills.”
Murray finished his run with an all-out dive to sneak the ball inside the pylon, and the remarkable effort ended up giving the Sooners enough points to finish off Texas.
Extra points from this week’s Microscope game:
-Texas had no answer for Oklahoma’s fast-paced no-huddle attack in the first quarter. The Sooners scored touchdowns on their first two drives by racing quickly to the line of scrimmage and wearing down the Longhorns’ D. On Oklahoma’s first score, an 18-yard scamper for Murray, the Texas front seven was still shifting around trying to get set when the ball was snapped and the OU tailback took off for pay dirt.
Rowe said that the Sooners’ tempo wasn’t a surprise to Texas, but “it’s one thing to know what to do, another thing to do it quickly.”
-Oklahoma wideout Ryan Broyles made a fantastic play to snare a second-quarter pass over two defenders in the end zone, but the apparent touchdown was waved off after an illegal shift penalty. That makes it merely an “honorable mention” highlight catch for Broyles.
-It’s funny how often we talk about home-field advantage and how little we talk about “sideline advantage” in college football. Two important plays happened right in front of Brown and the Texas coaching staff, a 4th-and-3 fake punt and a 3rd-and-10 flare pass that picked up just about 10. Both plays came down to the judgment call of the referee on the spot, both were either converted or missed by mere inches, and I’d be naïve to think that Brown and his staff screaming at the official as he marked the ball right in front of them didn’t have anything to do with Texas benefitting from both decisions.
-Big-time hit from Oklahoma’s Tony Jefferson on a slant pass to Marquise Goodwin. Ouch.
-In case “That Can’t Be Right” didn’t have enough ridiculous stat lines for you, how about these? Oklahoma had the first 11 first downs of the game (read that one more time!) and outgained Texas 270 yards to 165 in the first half…but in those 30 minutes, the Longhorns gained 6.1 yards per play compared to only 4.7 for OU.
-I grew up watching Barry Sanders, who made a career in the NFL of following up two or three negative runs in a row with a big touchdown. It seemed like 7 percent of Sanders’ runs were for somewhere between minus-two yards and two yards, but he was always threatening to break a big one that made it all worthwhile. In that vein, DeMarco Murray had a Sandersesque opening drive, gaining a grand total of minus-1 rushing yard in his first three carries combined…and then promptly ripping off an 18-yard score to put the Sooners on top for good.
-They really fry beer? Really?
-Great play call and design by Texas on their first touchdown, a 60-yard run for D.J. Monroe. Quarterback Garrett Gilbert faked an end-around handoff to the right, and then gave Monroe the ball on a counter heading back to the left. The defense was utterly confused, and Monroe was off to the races: nobody touched him.
-Speaking of play calls, I have no idea who the Sooners coaching staff thought they were fooling with a fake field goal in the fourth quarter. OU had already passed on a 48-yard field goal attempt in the first quarter, choosing to try and pick up a 4th-and-10 instead, so it’s obvious the Sooners don’t trust their kicker from long range. (I mean, come on. Choosing to go on 4th-and-2 in field goal territory is one thing; passing up the three points to try a 4th-and-10 is something different altogether.)
After that decision, when said kicker lines up for a 47-yard field goal in the fourth quarter, maybe it’s just me, but I’m watching for a fake, since it’s already obvious his coaches don’t think he has a big-time leg.
The fake was unsuccessful…shocking, I know.
Maybe coaching is eas…oh wait, that segment comes later.
-Many thanks to Holly Rowe for taking the time to share her insights in this week’s COMPREHENSIVE! Follow Holly on Twitter at @sportsiren for news and notes from the sideline.
MAYBE BROADCASTING IS EASIER THAN I THOUGHT
This week’s wacky and weird announcer quotes…
“If you fry it, I’ll try it.” – Todd Blackledge on food at the state fair
“Playing secondary is a lot like marriage. If you don’t have communication, you’ll have a breakdown...then they head over to the sideline for some counseling.” – Chris Spielman
“Can’t beat the pinots in Oregon.” – Brent Musberger
“I like Terrelle Pryor from the neck up.” – Chris Martin
[before the kick] “Derek Dimke has never missed in his college career, a perfect 9 for 9.” [after the kick]. “He’s a perfect 10 for 10! [long pause] No, it’s short! The ball didn’t get there!” – Eric Collins adding a jinx to his goof, or would that be adding a goof to his jinx?
“Cousins is just as cool as the other side of the pillow.” – Mike Patrick
“Pat Fitzgerald’s bald spot is gonna start to resemble mine.” – Bob Wischusen
“Did he bobble it or was it high and to his left?” –Gary Danielson describing a Florida snap that was bobbled because it came high and to the left. (Yes to all, Gary.)
“This would make it a three-score situation if they hit the field goal.” – Brad Nessler with Oklahoma leading 28-17
“I’ve gotta be careful how I say this, but I like IU.” –Bob Griese, Purdue alum
“They’re going to the Chappell, man. They’re gonna get married.” – Chris Spielman on the Hoosiers
“They give up more pancakes than Aunt Jemima.” – Craig James
“Well, Stanford’s still got Luck on its side.” – Brent Musberger (How long were you keeping that line in your back pocket, Brent?)
“This is a pass-third offense.” –David Pollack describing how much Georgia Tech loathes throwing the football
“I think Florida’s been served notice that they’re gonna have to score in this football game.” – Gary Danielson (Tough to win without scoring, isn’t it?)
“We don’t want to speculate, but it did look like it could possibly be a cramp.” – Eric Collins
“How’s that for neck muscles? My trapeziuses are bothering me.” -- Joe Beninati
“Do you go for two now, David?” – Rob Stone contemplating advanced strategy with 5:50 left and Georgia Tech cutting the lead from 17-9 to 17-15 (No, Rob, I think they want to be down 17-16 late.)
“It’s a great night to be a duck, but the real duck is saying, ‘I’ve got to do 52 more pushups.’” – Brent Musberger (Um, Brent, sorry to break it to you, but it actually isn’t a real duck. There’s a human being inside that outfit pretending to be a duck; we call it the “mascot”. And no, the tooth fairy isn’t real either.)
“Red zone interceptions: those are what kill drives.” – Danny Kanell (Because no other type of interception does, right?)
“Heart attacks are a little less painful when you’re 5-0.” – Gary Danielson (Um, really?)
“That one wasn't golden. That one wasn't even silver or bronze.” – Brad Nessler describing a poor punt by Texas punter John Gold
“A huge day, but even huger, Indiana hangs on to the football.” – Pam Ward
“Ohio State looking good, under two minutes to play, up by ten.” – Eric Collins summing up the Buckeyes’ 24-13 lead
[After Florida called a timeout] “Yeah, they had to. The play clock, I mean the 24-second clock was coming down.” – Gary Danielson (Hoops season is still a few weeks away, right?)
“I’ve been jabbering away here pretty good.” – Brent Musberger
And last but not least, it’s always great to close the Lou Holtz Specials with a Lou Holtz quote:
“I’ve got a great diet that will cause you to lose weight. It’s a Chinese diet: you can eat all the food you want, but you can only use one chopstick.” – Lou Holtz
If you hear a weird or wacky 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
Calling timeout to pick on the coaches who never use theirs at the right time...
With Illinois trailing Ohio State 17-10 and less than five minutes to play, the Illini needed a touchdown to avoid defeat.
The home team had driven the ball the length of the field before stalling out in the Buckeyes’ red zone, so Ron Zook looked at the scoreboard, evaluated his team’s 4th-and-7 predicament, and chose to kick a field goal.
The kick was good, pulling Illinois within 17-13 and meaning that…wait for it…
With Illinois trailing Ohio State 17-13 and less than five minutes to play, the Illini still needed a touchdown to avoid defeat.
What exactly did that accomplish, Zooker?
How do you spell “worthless drive”? H-O-T-S-E-A-T.
Maybe coaching is easier than I thought.
MAYBE OFFICIATING IS EASIER THAN I THOUGHT
Throwing the flag on the guys in stripes…
Entire books could be written about the debacle of an ending in Baton Rouge.
But I’m on deadline.
So let me summarize with a few random lessons (in chronological order) that should never be forgotten after LSU’s 16-14 escape against Tennessee.
These are all strictly hypothetical, of course, but…
If your team faces a 4th-and-9 play with the game on the line and 1:21 to go, that’s a bad time to take a delay-of-game penalty.
If your team is flagged for the delay-of-game penalty to set up 4th-and-14, don’t use your final timeout with the clock already stopped. (You might just need that later.)
If you’re the color commentator, don’t ever say, “That’s a good decision” when a team burns their final timeout with the clock already stopped.
If you’re the color commentator, don’t ever say, “That’s a good decision” when it’s related in the slightest way to Les Miles and clock management.
If you have 2nd-and-goal at the 2-yard line with no timeouts left and 32 seconds to go, consider passing.
If you have 2nd-and-goal at the 2-yard line with no timeouts left and 32 seconds to go, don’t switch quarterbacks.
If you run the ball on 2nd-and-goal and get stuffed, don’t take 29 of your 32 remaining seconds to get the third-down snap off. (That extra play you wasted might have come in handy later.)
If you are the center and the quarterback isn’t looking at you with three seconds left, wait an extra second or two to snap the ball so it doesn’t sail 15 yards over his head.
If your name is T-Bob Hebert…actually, let’s stop right there for a second. If your name is T-Bob, consider changing your name.
If your name is T-Bob Hebert, don’t slam your helmet down while the final play is still going on. This will cost you a 15-yard penalty.
Oh wait, the game was in Baton Rouge. Strike that last sentence about a penalty against the offense. Apparently the whole helmet-bouncing thing was actually a mirage.
If you are a PA announcer, don’t say “Final score: Tennessee 14, LSU 10”.
If you are a defensive coordinator, don’t send 13 players onto the field at the same time. It’s an unlucky number, from what I’ve been told.
If you are a referee, don’t throw a flag for illegal substitution and ignore the helmet-bouncing.
If your name is T-Bob Hebert and your team has just won 16-14 (thanks to an extra snap that shouldn’t have been granted because of your stupid helmet decision), don’t celebrate the game-winning touchdown by taking your helmet off and slamming it to the ground. (This really did happen, unbelievable as it may seem.)
And lastly, if your name is Les Miles, don’t start your postgame interview with a comment like “Just another day in the SEC” to give the oh-so-incorrect impression that every conference game contains clock management as horrendous as yours.
At least the bakers’ dozen of Volunteers defenders…and the referees…okay, especially the referees…bailed you out.
Maybe officiating is easier than I thought.
P.S. If you write a column called "College Football Comprehensive" and don’t want to miss the craziest ending of the decade, wait a few extra seconds before changing the channel to a different game, even after the clock hits 0:00. (Let’s just say I was surprised to find out a few minutes later on Twitter that LSU won the game when I mistakenly thought I had watched the final play.) Thank goodness for my DVR.
SINCE I DO LIVE IN OHIO...
News from around the Big Ten…
Best wishes to Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio, who was readmitted to the hospital this week with a blood clot. Dantonio’s undefeated ballclub made their coach proud Saturday afternoon with a textbook 15-play, 84-yard fourth-quarter drive to put away Wisconsin, 34-24.
MSU capped the drive with a 4th-and-goal touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins to B.J. Cunningham, earning interim coach Don Treadwell his second victory in Dantonio’s stead. The Spartans’ execution down the stretch was perfect, and here’s hoping their head coach can get back to 100 percent soon to enjoy a special season with the Green and White.
Since CFC isn’t really done until the fat lady sings…
-Does Stanford have the world’s strangest-looking mascot? Discuss.
-This coverage map was not one of ESPN/ABC’s better decisions. I know it seems like a novel concept, but when undefeated Top-10 teams clash in primetime, some of us actually would like to see the game in HD.
-What a week for Utah State coach Gary Andersen, who was taken to the emergency room Monday after blacking out and falling at his home. Andersen was back on the sideline, neck brace and all, for Friday night’s nationally televised clash with BYU, and his Aggies responded with a 31-16 victory to snap a 10-game losing streak against their in-state rival.
-Why did Colorado fans rush the field after beating Georgia? Come on, Buffs. Georgia’s 1-4. You just aren’t supposed to come streaming onto the turf after beating a team with a .200 winning percentage.
-I mean, what’s next? Oregon fans storm the field despite being undefeated and ranked in the top five?
Um, yeah, about that.
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.
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