It is a day late but here are brief comments on the football happenings from last weekend. As usual, I want to start with college football.
- Penn St. 41 Michigan 13: I thought the Lions would have trouble covering a 10-point spread; so much for that. Saquon Barkley accounted for 263 yards in the game and Michigan was shut out in the second half.
- Rutgers 14 Purdue 12: Surprise! Rutgers is on a two-game win streak…
- Louisville 31 Florida St. 28: This loss puts Florida St. at 2-4 meaning the Seminoles will have to go 4-1 in remaining games to be bowl-eligible.
- Iowa St. 31 Texas Tech 13: This win puts Iowa St. at 5-2 which is about as surprising as seeing Florida St. at 2-4. The Cyclones have beaten Oklahoma on the road and held Texas Tech to 13 points in Lubbock. Strange doings…
- Notre Dame 49 USC 14: The Irish are 6-1 and the loss was by 1 point to Georgia. The remaining schedule for Notre Dame is not a cupcake with games against NC State, Miami and Stanford on tap.
- Army 31 Temple 28 (OT): It is not yet Halloween and Army is bowl-eligible as a result of this victory.
- Fresno St. 27 San Diego St. 3: This loss for the Aztecs means every team in the Mountain West has 2 losses and probably means the Mountain West will not be the “other conference” to get a New Year’s Day bowl bid. The other interesting thing here is that Fresno St. was 1-11 last year and now leads its division of the Mountain West.
- TCU 43 Kansas 0: It is not surprising to see that TCU smoked Kansas or even that Kansas was shut out. The surprise here is in the stats; total offense for Kansas for the game was 2 yards. That is not a typo; passing yardage was 27 and rushing yardage was minus-25 yards.
- UMass 55 Georgia Southern 20: UMass “improved” its record here to 1-6. The score at halftime was 48-17 so it looks as if both offenses forgot to return to the field for the second half.
The victory for UMass allows them to join a bunch of other teams with a single victory for the season. Several teams sport 1-7 records at this point including Bowling Green, BYU, Nevada, San Jose St. and UNC-Charlotte. If I have counted correctly, there are only two winless teams left with 0-7 records; they are Baylor and UTEP.
Moving up to the next rung on the ladder, here is a run-down of NFL action from the weekend:
- Titans 12 Browns 9 (OT): What is worse? Needing OT to beat the Browns or being outgained by the Browns? The Titans looked awful even though they won. The Browns are a hot mess – – plain and simple.
- Rams 33 Cards 0: Adding injury to insult, Carson Palmer broke his arm and will be out a minimum of 8 weeks. The Cards are toast! Stand by for at least a dozen commentaries about why the Cards ought to sign Colin Kaepernick immediately. Even if they do, their season is over.
- Jags 27 Colts 0: The Colts should put Andrew Luck on IR immediately lest someone involved with decision making for the team be tempted to put him on the field any time this year. He needs to heal his shoulder completely; this team is down and out for the season. The Jags dominated both sides of the ball gaining more than 500 yards on offense while the defense pitched a shutout.
- Chargers 21 Broncos 0: Shutouts are rare in the NFL and this is the third one for this weekend. The Broncos’ defense played well enough to win allowing only 242 yards for the game. But the offense was a no-show once again Trevor Simian was sacked 5 times. Chargers have won 3 straight now.
- Bears 17 Panthers 3: Mitchell Trubisky was the winning QB here; he completed 5 passes all day and the Bears had all of 5 first downs. Shades of Texas football under Darrell Royal? The margin of victory here was a scoop-and-score of 76 yards and a Pick Six both by the same defender – – Eddie Jackson. Total offense for the Bears was 153 yards. The Panthers managed to be less productive than that.
- Vikes 24 Ravens 16: A late TD by the Ravens makes this look closer than it really was. The Ravens were held to 220 yards total offense. The Vikes are looking good in the NFC North right now.
- Saints 26 Packers 17: The Brett Hundley Era did not begin well. He was 12-25 for 87 yards in the game and that sort of stat line will not feed the bulldog. Meanwhile, the Saints are in the lead in the NFC South and have won 4 in a row.
- Dolphins 31 Jets 28: Jay Cutler left this game with a chest injury and Matt Moore came in to finish the game. The Jets led 28-14 when Cutler exited so maybe – just maybe – there is an emerging QB controversy in Miami? A last-minute INT by Jets’ QB, Josh McCown set up the Dolphins’ winning field goal.
- Bills 30 Bucs 27: The Bills ran the ball for 179 yards and collected 3 turnovers in the game. Nonetheless, they needed a fumble recovery with less than 3 minutes to play to set up the winning field goal here.
- Pats 23 Falcons 7: The Pats dominated this game on both sides of the ball. For the first time this year, the Pats did not allow 300+ yards passing, and the Pats gained 162 yards rushing. The Falcons have a strange schedule this year. They play their first division game on Nov 3 and then they play 5 NFC South games after Thanksgiving.
- Steelers 29 Bengals 14: Cincy kept it close for a while, but the Steelers were clearly the better team here. The Bengals total offense in second half was 19 yards.
- Cowboys 40 Niners 10: The Cowboys had 501 yards of offense here. The Niners decided to start rookie QB CJ Beathard over Brian Hoyer. The result was the same, however; the Niners remain winless.
- Seahawks 24 Giants 7: The Giants only gained 177 yards on offense for the entire game. Nevertheless, the game was close at the end of the 3rd quarter with the Seahawks leading only 10-7. How did that happen?
- Eagles 34 Skins 24: Carson Wentz was the star of the show here; he led 4 TD drives of 80+ yards in this game. The Eagles’ defense continues to generate significant pass rush using only the four down linemen.
Finally, here is a comment from syndicated columnist Norman Chad regarding the new football locker room at Texas featuring 126 flat screen TVs:
“It’s essentially Buffalo Wild Wings, without the liquor license.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………
5 thoughts on “The Weekend Football Roundup …”
SDSU’s fall from grace particularly surprises me. This is a team that beat Stanford at home and ASU in Tempe, and cannot beat a Fresno State team that might still have holes (1-2 nonconference, losing to Washington and Alabama) at home? Jeff Tedford can do some miracles in the first couple of years (he’s an alum of FSU as well) from what I’ve seen at Cal, but SDSU should have been better than the Bulldogs. One can only blame a letdown after the Aztecs lost their game the week before to Boise (also at home). It does not seem to be due to turnovers (1-0 against) or injuries (Penny’s still playing but now has two sub-100 yard games in a row).
Then again, WSU was blown out by Cal (a 7-0 turnover margin will do that) after beating Oregon in Autzen for the first time in a while in what was billed at the time as a trap game in Eugene. Keep in mind that the Pacific Northwest teams hate each other with intensity, so motivation is never a problem when they play each other.
As I recall, Tedford took over a Cal program that was on the rocks and proceeded to string together a bunch of winning seasons until he was fired after about a decade there. Now at Fresno St. he took over a program that was 1-11 last year and has them at 5-2 for this season. He may not be Nick Saban or Urban Meyer, but he obviously has a knack for turning things around.
Indeed that is true about Cal. Toward the end of his tenure there it appeared that he was going through the motions (some speculation as to why) and was not really in coaching mode. The teams played like it and he was gone, succeeded by Sonny Dykes. While on-field defense took an extended holiday as a result, Dykes was actually very strict about the academics (more so than Tedford was, but Tedford’s APIs weren’t wretched either) which will pay dividends down the road.
The other thing that surprises me this season is in Ivy-land. Since I do not want to jinx it, I will not mention it further but it is an equivalent earthquake to the Cubbies winning it all last year.
Jimmy Graham dropped a couple of TD passes early-on thrown into his mid-section. Which raises the question: does Graham need passes he can reach for? Other than that, Seattle just wore the NY Giants into the ground.
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