Tag:Quick Hits
Posted on: October 15, 2011 4:29 pm
Edited on: October 15, 2011 5:03 pm

QUICK HITS: Michigan State 28, Michigan 14

Posted by Adam Jacobi

MICHIGAN STATE WON. No. 23 Michigan State picked up a huge victory win a 28-14 win over No. 11 Michigan, knocking the Wolverines out of the ranks of the unbeaten. Denard Robinson had his worst day of the season, throwing for 123 yards and rushing for only 42 more while cycling in and out of the lineup with backup QB Devin Gardner.

WHY MICHIGAN STATE WON: The Spartan defense showed that its dismantling of Ohio State in September was no fluke, holding Michigan to 250 total yards and 3-15 on third downs. Robinson was hounded constantly on passing plays, and Michigan always seemed to be facing 3rd and long. Meanwhile, Edwin Baker was just unstoppable on the ground for MSU, gaining 167 yards on 26 carries.

WHEN MICHIGAN STATE WON: This game was very much in doubt in the fourth quarter, but when Michigan got the ball back with 4:51 left and a 21-14 deficit, Denard Robinson opened up the drive by throwing a back-breaking interception which was taken to the house by MSU defensive back Isaiah Lewis. Ballgame.

WHAT MICHIGAN STATE WON: This victory makes it four straight for Michigan State over its in-state rival, and the Spartan seniors are going to be happy ot graduate having never participated in a loss to the Wolverines. More than that, though, MSU is now in prime position to challenge for the Legends Division crown; whoever takes the October 29 game between MSU and Nebraska is probably going to face Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship.

WHAT MICHIGAN LOST: Michigan loses its unblemished record and its spot at No. 11, but it might actually be worse than that. For Michigan fans, it's hard not to feel a little deja vu after this loss; for the last two years, Michigan has raced out to an undefeated record early, only to collapse down the stretch. With the meat of the schedule coming and MSU demonstrating a perfect blueprint on how to beat this year's Wolverine squad, that all might be coming to pass again.

THAT WAS CRAZY: Will Gholston had a fine day for the Spartans, but he probably shouldn't have been on the field for the fourth quarter. In the third quarter, Gholston was flagged for piling on Denard Robinson well after the play was over, then wrenching Robinson's helmet around for good measure. Later in the quarter, Gholston was being manhandled away from the play by Michigan OL Taylor Lewan, and when Gholston made it to his feet, he summarily punched Lewan in the facemask. Famed referee Mike Pereira said on Twitter that he would have ejected Gholston, and it's entirely possible that MSU or the Big Ten will suspend Gholston next week when Wisconsin comes to town.

Posted on: October 15, 2011 4:13 pm
Edited on: October 15, 2011 8:51 pm

QUICK HITS: No. 15 South Carolina 14, Miss St. 12

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

SOUTH CAROLINA WON: Victories don't come much uglier, what with Marcus Lattimore injured and Connor Shaw rocketing back to earth after his performance against Kentucky. But the Gamecocks will take it. Alshon Jeffery redeemed a quiet day (5 receptions, 24 yards) by coming down with the game-winning touchdown in double-coverage with 3:50 to play. Lattimore had his leg rolled into while blocking for a Wildcat play and left the game, eventually going to the locker room on crutches.

WHY SOUTH CAROLINA WON: Because in the end, the lackluster Gamecock offense threw away one fewer scoring opportunity than the lackluster Mississippi State offense. After driving 69 yards in 10 plays for a 7-0 first quarter lead, the Bulldogs took 18 snaps in Carolina territory over the rest of the game, spread over five drives ... and turned all those opportunities into a total of three points. Paticularly damaging were a pair of second-half possessions, one of which yielded a first down at the Carolina 31 and the other a first-and-goal at the 5. The first ended with a missed 40-yard Derek DePasquale field goal attempt, the second with only three points after multiple missed passes into the end zone. 

In a game in which the two teams finished only five yards apart in total yardage -- 294 for the Bulldogs, 289 for the Gamecocks -- that Shaw was able to hoist his pass towards a target like Jeffery while Tyler Russell had no such red zone help made all the difference.

WHEN SOUTH CAROLINA WON: Not until one final missed opportunity went by the boards for State. Russell enjoyed a decent (if not exactly "good") game in his first start of the season for Dan Mullen, completing 11-of-29 passes for 165 yards, one touchdown, several third-down conversions, and just one batted interception ... until with less than two minutes to play and his team on the Gamecock 32, Russell launched a hopeless airball which safety D.J. Swearinger duly intercepted. Ballgame.

WHAT SOUTH CAROLINA WON: The spoils of victory may be overshadowed by the costs if Lattimore misses any length of time with his injury, but a loss to the flailing likes of the Bulldogs would have all but ended the Gamecocks' hopes of going to Atlanta. As it stands, Steve Spurrier still has a lot of work to do offensively (and possibly without his greatest weapon) to get his team into the kind of shape necessary to beat Florida or Arkansas. But they're still alive.

WHAT MISSISSIPPI STATE LOST: As with Auburn and Georgia, another game against a beatable opponent--and this time at home. A winning regular season looks to be out of reach with the likes of Alabama and the Razorbacks still on the schedule, and an upset vs. Kentucky or Ole Miss would now leave the Bulldogs home for the postseason. 

THAT WAS CRAZY: Depending on which sportsbook you placed your wagers at, Carolina came into this game a 2.5 to 3.5-point favorite. That didn't matter with the Gamecocks sitting on their 14-10 lead and State out of timeouts at game's end. But with four seconds remaining and the Gamecocks snapping the ball on fourth down, Spurrier elected to have Shaw run out the clock by running out the back of the end zone from the 9. That safety pushed the final margin to 2--and made any gamblers (or CBSSports.com Experts) who had picked the Gamecocks to cover sudden, stunning losers. Rest assured the Gamecock fans who had their money on the home team will have a few choice words for the Ol' Ball Coach after that one.

Posted on: October 15, 2011 3:49 pm

QUICK HITS: Wisconsin 59, Indiana 7

Posted by Adam Jacobi

WISCONSIN WON. The fourth-ranked Wisconsin Badgers rolled to an easy 59-7 win over hapless Indiana on Saturday. Montee Ball rushed for 142 yards and three touchdowns on just 10 carries, and the Badgers as a whole rushed for 332 yards on the day. Oh, and Ball also threw a 25-yard touchdown... to Russell Wilson. It was that kind of a day.

WHY WISCONSIN WON: Wisconsin is hands-down the best team in the Big Ten, and Indiana is arguably the worst team in the Big Ten. Put the two together, and a blowout is sure to ensue. Indiana just couldn't do anything to stop Wisconsin, and the Badgers knew it. Russell Wilson was 12-17 through the air for 166 yards and one score, and between that and the aforementioned TD catch, he looked like a front-runner for the Big Ten offensive MVP yet again.

WHEN WISCONSIN WON: When they took the field. There's just no way Indiana was ever going to keep this game close, much less even think about a victory.

WHAT WISCONSIN WON: Another week, another victory, another step closer to the Big Ten Championship for the Badgers. Wisconsin just needed nothing to go heinously wrong during this game, and that's exactly what it got. The Russell Wilson Heisman Train keeps chugging along.

WHAT INDIANA LOST: It's hard to come off a 52-point loss with heads held high, but considering the Badgers hung 83 points on the Hoosiers just last year, this result is downright palatable. At least Indiana coach Kevin Wilson can look his players in the eye and tell them, "we will never face a team that good for the rest of the year."

THAT WAS CRAZY: In a perfect summation of the challenges facing the Hoosiers, Indiana punter Adam Pines had his punt blocked... by the back of one of his teammates. Seriously. The punt would net exactly one yard, with Wisconsin taking over at the Indiana 26, and the Badgers turned the play into a touchdown two snaps later.

Posted on: October 15, 2011 3:38 pm
Edited on: October 15, 2011 3:38 pm

QUICK HITS: Texas A&M 55 Baylor 28

Posted by Tom Fornelli

TEXAS A&M WON. The Aggies put together their best game in weeks. Yes, the A&M defense gave up quite a few yards, but most teams do when going against this Baylor offense. The biggest difference was that the A&M offense put its foot on the gas pedal in the second quarter and never took it off. Ryan Tannehill finished the day with 415 yards and 6 touchdown passes and Ryan Swope was by far his favorite target. Swope had 11 receptions for 206 yards and a school record of 4 touchdowns. Texas A&M's offense would finish with 679 yards of total offense.

WHY TEXAS A&M WON. While Texas A&M's defense didn't have a strong performance, it was still better than that of Baylor's. The Aggies were able to get pressure on Robert Griffin throughout the day, and also made some key stops, none bigger than on a 4th and goal in the fourth quarter. Texas A&M even managed to intercept a pass, which was only the second time Griffin had been picked off all season, and A&M's first interception in a span of 23 quarters. Combine that with an offense that refused to be stopped, and the Aggies proved to be too much to handle.

WHEN TEXAS A&M WON. The aforementioned stop on fourth and goal. At the time Baylor was trailing 41-28 and looking to cut A&M's lead, but the Aggies blitzed and got to Griffin, causing him to heave up a prayer as he was being dragged down. It landed incomplete, and seven plays later Tannehill was throwing his sixth score of the day to Uzoma Nwachukwu to seal it.

WHAT TEXAS A&M WON. First and foremost, the Aggies won a conference game that it needed after losing to Oklahoma State three weeks ago and is back to 2-1 in Big 12 play. What the Aggies also got was a bit of revenge on Baylor. You'll remember that when the Aggies announced they were leaving for the SEC, it was Baylor that through a wrench in the process by threatening litigation. So this one had to taste a bit sweeter because of it.

WHAT BAYLOR LOST. For all intents and purposes, Baylor's chance to win the Big 12 this season has been erased. The Bears now fall to 1-2 in Big 12 play, and will have to be resigned to the chance to play spoiler down the stretch.

THAT WAS CRAZY. After both Baylor and Texas A&M combined for only 10 points through the first 21 minutes of the game, both teams managed to put up 21 points while taking less than 2 minutes off the game clock about halfway through the second quarter. In that span, both offenses ran 11 plays for 230 yards.
Posted on: October 9, 2011 1:17 am

QUICK HITS: Nebraska 34, Ohio State 27

Posted by Adam Jacobi

NEBRASKA WON. In the biggest comeback in program history, No. 14 Nebraska stormed back from a 27-6 deficit to stun Ohio State, 34-27, in front of a packed Memorial Stadium in Lincoln. The man of the match for the Huskers was oft-maligned QB Taylor Martinez, who overcame a sluggish start to finish with 16/22 passing for 191 yards and two passing touchdowns. Martinez also shined in the ground game, sparking the rally with an 18-yard touchdown and finishing with 102 yards on 17 carries.

WHY NEBRASKA WON: In the second half, Nebraska gave Ohio State a heavy dose of Taylor Martinez and Rex Burkhead, and the Buckeye defense basically caved lated under that relentless rushing attack. Both Martinez and Burkhead finished over 100 yards rushing, and Nebraska outgained OSU 337 yards to 112 in the second half. It's nearly impossible to protect a lead by getting pummeled like that in yardage, and OSU just found that out the hard way this week.

WHEN NEBRASKA WON: In a one-possession game, the win's not secure until there are all zeroes on the clock (or at least the team's in victory formation), but there were really two key plays here that swung the game for Nebraska. The first big play was Lavonte David essentially stealing the ball from Braxton Miller's grasp deep in Buckeye territory when the game was 27-6 midway through the third quarter. Nebraska scored two plays later to get the game within 27-13, and the swing woke up a Husker crowd that had been silent for most of the game.

The second big play happened on Ohio State's next possession, as Miller appeared to twist his ankle while on a rollout. Miller would not return to the game, even after taping his ankle and trying to test it on the sideline, and Joe Bauserman was utterly horrific in relief. Bauerman finished the day 1-10 for 13 yards, and the one long pass he actually kept in the field of play (instead of throwing it into the seats, which happened several times) was intercepted. Nebraska would turn that pick around into the game-winning touchdown drive, and OSU never threatened again. 

WHAT NEBRASKA WON: This was an inestimably important victory; Nebraska had looked underwhelming all year long, and when it found itself down three scores to Ohio State, it was easy to wonder if perhaps this wasn't going to be the Huskers' year -- or if Taylor Martinez was even the best option at quarterback. Safe to say, all is well now in Lincoln, at least for the next week or so. At the very least, the season no longer threatens to spiral out of control, and now that the Huskers know they've got a comeback in them, they'll be even tougher for the rest of the Big Ten to handle for 60 minutes at a time.

WHAT OHIO STATE LOST: If Braxton Miller's ankle keeps him out for an extended amount of time, that's awful news for the Buckeyes; Miller was hands-down the better quarterback on Saturday, and Joe Bauserman looked as bad as he's ever been. More than that, though, Ohio State had an opportunity to get its Big Ten season back on track and even keep its division title hopes alive; with this loss pushing the Buckeyes to 0-2 in conference play, that's significantly less likely. There'll need to be some soul-searching on the defensive side of the ball too, as the Buckeye D wilted after Nebraska started to turn things around. That's wildly uncharacteristic for a defense in Columbus, and the OSU coaches will undoubtedly let their players know that. 

THAT WAS CRAZY: At the time of Braxton Miller's injury, Ohio State had run 41 plays: 33 rushes and eight passes. It had a 27-13 lead. So with Joe Bauserman coming in cold and a 14-point lead to protect, did OSU stick with a rushing game that was busy netting six yards a carry? No, of course not; Bauserman threw on 10 of his 18 snaps (and was sacked on an 11th), and his interception came on a 2nd and 6 after Carlos Hyde (who finished with 104 yards on only 13 carries) had gained 16 yards on his last two carries. What Bauserman was doing throwing a deep pass in that scenario is baffling.

Posted on: October 8, 2011 11:34 pm
Edited on: October 8, 2011 11:34 pm

QUICK HITS: Texas A&M 45 Texas Tech 40

Posted by Tom Fornelli

TEXAS A&M WON. Finally the Aggies were able to get the second half monkey off their backs, though it came down to the final minute in Lubbock on Saturday night. Still, A&M played a full 60 minutes for the first time in three weeks as the Aggies rode the legs of Cyrus Gray and Christine Michael, along with all of Ryan Tannehill's limbs to a much-needed win. Tannehill finished the night with only 189 yards passing and a touchdown, but he also rushed for another 55 yards and two touchdowns. Gray and Michael combined for another 167 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground. Seth Doege had a big day for Tech in the loss, throwing for 389 yards and 3 touchdowns, and Alex Torres (8 catches, 111 yards) was his favorite target.

WHY TEXAS A&M WON. Looking at the box score, you might have a hard time figuring out how Texas A&M won this game. The Red Raiders outgained the Aggies 523 yards to 410, had the edge in time of possession, didn't turn the ball over and Texas A&M had 9 penalties for 100 yards. In spite of all that, the Aggies still leave town in a dirty bus with a victory. What it came down to, though, was that even though the Aggies gave up yards rather easily, the defense made the plays it needed and the Aggies offense kept answering Tech scores with scores of its own.

WHEN TEXAS A&M WON. It wasn't until Texas Tech's onside kick came down in the arms of an Aggie with 31 second left to go in the contest that you could consider this one official.

WHAT TEXAS A&M WON. A much needed conference victory to not only get out of an 0-1 hole in Big 12 play, but to restore some confidence to the roster. You can say that the two collapses of the last two weeks are things of the past and out of your mind all you want, but until you go out and prove that you can hold a lead in the second half, the doubt is always going to be there. Had Texas Tech completed the comeback in the fourth quarter, I'm not sure the Aggies would ever be able to recover from it.

WHAT TEXAS TECH LOST. The dreams of an undefeated season are no more, and although a 1-1 start in the Big 12 isn't devastating, when Kansas State, Oklahoma, Texas, Oklahoma State and Baylor all remain on the schedule, it could be.

THAT WAS CRAZY. In the third quarter Seth Doege threw a pass out to Eric Stephens in the flat that Stephens bobbled and dropped. Texas A&M's Damontre Moore then dove into Stephens' knee, causing it to bend in a way you never want to see a knee bend, and then rolled over on it. Eric Stephens then had to be carted off with an air cast on his leg, and I'm not expecting a positive diagnosis. I don't think Moore was trying to hurt Stephens in any way, but why are you diving into the knee of a player who just dropped a ball? There's absolutely no reason for it.
Posted on: October 8, 2011 11:26 pm
Edited on: October 8, 2011 11:31 pm

QUICK HITS: Michigan 42, Northwestern 24

Posted by Adam Jacobi

MICHIGAN WON. After a slow start, Michigan outscored Northwestern 28-0 in the second half to earn a 42-24 victory in Evanston. Denard Robinson overcame three early interceptions to lead the Wolverines with 325 yards passing and 117 yards on the ground. The win pushes Michigan's record to 6-0, its best start since 2006 when the Wolverines opened the season 11-0.

WHY MICHIGAN WON: For the first half, Northwestern looked like the sharper team; the Wildcats led 24-14 and that was only after a pair of dropped passes in the end zone by Northwestern receivers before a half-ending field goal. Michigan came out strong in the second half, and once the turnovers started for Northwestern, this game was in hand for the Wolverines.

WHEN MICHIGAN WON: Michigan took the lead in the third quarter, but this one didn't appear to be truly in the bag until Northwestern failed on a 4th down conversion with a little over seven minutes left -- and more on that play in a bit. The Wildcats wouldn't get the ball back until there was 2 minutes left and an 18-point Michigan lead, and at that point the game's functionally over.

WHAT MICHIGAN WON: This was Michigan's first game away from home, and also a quality test of Michigan's mettle -- especially with a 10-point deficit. Denard Robinson, in particular, righted his ship and got out of the second half without committing a turnover, which was instrumental in Michigan's comeback. The Wolverines don't have much time to enjoy the victory, though, as a road game at Michigan State looms this week.

WHAT NORTHWESTERN LOST: Believe it or not, Northwestern's now on a three-game losing streak, dropping contests to Army, Illinois, and now Michigan. The Wildcats surrendered a late, backbreaking touchdown drive to both Army and Illinois, and now the complete second half collapse is on Northwestern's resume. Dan Persa at least looked good this week, though certainly not at his 2010 levels of play. This game might have gone a different way if Northwestern played as sharp as it did in the first half, but alas, no such luck -- and now Northwestern is 2-3. 

THAT WAS CRAZY: On Northwestern's 4th down play mentioned earlier, Persa had his helmet ripped off by a blitzing Jordan Kovacs in the pocket. He stayed up and scrambled to get the play off, but it feel incomplete. Pat Fitzgerald screamed for a face mask penalty, which he didn't get... but Fitzgerald did get a 15-yard penalty for his efforts to persuade the officials. At a high volume. Two inches from the officials' faces. Oh, and Persa was ruled down at the point where Kovacs took off his helmet, so it went down as a 10-yard sack. Not fun times for the Wildcats, there.

Posted on: October 8, 2011 11:08 pm
Edited on: October 8, 2011 11:09 pm

QUICK HITS: Baylor 49 Iowa State 26

Posted by Tom Fornelli

BAYLOR WON. Baylor got a nice bounce-back win on Saturday night after losing to Kansas State last week. After getting off to a slow start and trailing the Cyclones 14-7 halfway through the second quarter, the Bears reeled off 28 straight points to take command. Robert Griffin didn't have his best night of the season, but even RG3's "off" nights are better than a lot of people's. Griffin finished the night with 319 total yards and 3 touchdowns. The star of the game for the Baylor offense, however, was running back Terrence Ganaway. Ganaway rushed for 200 yards on 23 carries with 3 touchdowns of his own.

WHY BAYLOR WON. Iowa State's defense did a nice job early in the game, but the Baylor offense is way too explosive to keep contained for a full 60 minutes. Baylor's offense not only racked up 614 yards of offense, but picked up 402 yards on the ground to keep Iowa State's offense off the field, and therefore keep the Baylor defense off the field. Which is never a bad thing.

WHEN BAYLOR WON. When Tevin Elliot picked up a Steele Jantz fumble and took it back 84 yards to the house for a touchdown that made the score 35-14 the fat lady began belting out an impressive aria signifying the end of the Cyclones' chances.

WHAT BAYLOR WON. After getting off to an 0-1 start in conference play last week, the Bears were able to get back to .500 in Big 12 play and remain in contention for the Big 12 title, even if their odds aren't great. It also moved one win closer to becoming bowl eligible for the second straight season, which is a remarkable feat in Waco.

WHAT IOWA STATE LOST. This loss not only put Iowa State in an 0-2 hole in Big 12 play, but it also put Iowa State's bowl chances in peril. Sure, the Cyclones already have three wins on the year, but looking at the rest of Iowa State's schedule, a home date against Kansas is probably the only contest left in which Iowa State would be considered the favorite.
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