Posted on: September 3, 2011 12:08 am
Edited on: September 3, 2011 12:13 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli
BAYLOR WON. For the first time since 2004, Baylor picked up a victory over a ranked opponent by defeating No. 14 TCU in Waco on Friday night. Robert Griffin III sparked a Baylor offense that racked up 564 yards against the nation's best defense in 2010, throwing for 359 yards and 5 touchdowns. The majority of those yards going to Kendall Wright, who finished with 12 receptions for 189 yards and 2 touchdowns.
WHY BAYLOR WON. Baylor tried to lose. The Bears entered the fourth quarter with a 47-23 lead but 25 unanswered points later TCU had retaken the lead with 4:27 to go. Thankfully for the Bears, after the offense got a bit too conservative in the fourth, things picked up again on a final drive that finished with a 37-yard field goal from Aaron Jones that proved to be the winner.
WHEN BAYLOR WON. Originally it felt like Baylor had the game won early in the third quarter when it took a 40-23 lead, but this one wasn't over until Mike Hicks intercepted a Casey Pachall pass in the closing seconds.
WHAT BAYLOR WON. Respect, pure and simple. Yes, the Bears went bowling last season, but not many people were giving them a chance against the defending Rose Bowl champions. Sure, they just held on, but a win over TCU is a win over TCU and it's one of the bigger wins in recent Baylor history, including last year's victory against Texas.
WHY TCU LOST. TCU turned things on late and were able to take a lead in the fourth quarter, but the hole it dug in the first three quarters was just too much to overcome. While the defense played much better late, it was still torn apart for the first 45 minutes and it's something TCU will have to address in the coming weeks.
WHAT TCU LOST. The Horned Frogs lost some credibility on Friday night. A team that many felt deserved a shot at the national championship the last few years, the odds of TCU returning to a BCS bowl game may already be erased after losing to Baylor. The good news is that there's still a lot of games left in the year, and memories are short, so if the Frogs can win the Mountain West and beat Boise State, they could find themselves back in the BCS this January.
THAT WAS CRAZY. The entire 60 minutes. Honestly, trying to pick out one insane moment in this game is impossible. The 60 minutes of football played on Friday night in Waco were exactly what make college football the greatest sport in the world. Thank goodness it's back.
Posted on: September 1, 2011 11:39 pm
Edited on: September 2, 2011 9:32 am
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
MISSISSIPPI STATE WON: Despite suspending five players just before kickoff, the Bulldogs manhandling the overmatched Tigers from the opening kick, taking a 24-0 second-quarter lead and racking up 405 yards of offense by halftime. Running back Vick Ballard finished with a career-high 166 yards on 16 carries and three touchdowns, and the Bulldog offense as a whole set a school record with 645 total yards.
WHY MISSISSIPPI STATE WON: The overwhelming advantage in talent and coaching over one of the worst teams in FBS, mostly. But State fans will be happy to see an offense that looked sluggish for much of 2010 flash some serious big-play potential. Chris Relf threw several precision deep passes, connecting for scores of 44 and 35 yards, and Ballard broke loose for touchdown runs of 35 and 66 yards. Redshirt freshman receiver Jameon Lewis even added an 80-yard score in garbage time.
If any of the suspended players were truly missed, it was starting defensive tackle Fletcher Cox; the Tigers found enough room up the middle for running backs Billy Foster, Artaves Gibson, and Jerrell Rhodes to average a healthy 5 yards per-carry and combine for a total of 170. But Memphis's passing game (quarterbacked by first-year starter Andy Summerlin and true freshman Taylor Reed) was no match for the veteran Bulldog secondary, which held the Tigers to a miserable 4.2 yards per-attempt through three quarters. Much stronger foes await (starting with Auburn in Week 2), but the MSU defensive backfield looks SEC-ready.
WHEN MISSISSIPPI STATE WON: Tempting as it is to say "as soon as they successfully negotiated walking down the tunnel into the stadium," Memphis looked like they'd gained a modicum of second-quarter momentum when they foiled a State fake punt, turned it into a 21-yard Foster touchdown, and forced MSU to start their next drive at their own 2. But State went 98 yards in 5 plays to go up 31-7 with 1:51 left before the half, ending whatever shreds of competitive drama remained.
WHAT MISSISSIPPI STATE WON: By scheduling the game for Thursday, a couple of days extra preparation for Auburn. And by scheduling Memphis, a healthy sense of confidence that should let Mullen make the most of that extra time.
Posted on: September 1, 2011 11:33 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2011 11:36 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
WISCONSIN WON. The No. 11 Wisconsin Badgers dispatched the UNLV Rebels Thursday night, 51-17, in front of a raucous crowd at Wisconsin's Camp Randall. Senior Wisconsin QB Russell Wilson was stellar in his much-anticipated Badger debut, completing 10 of 13 passes for 255 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions in little over a half of work. Meanwhile, RB Montee Ball had 130 yards from scrimmage and four scores, also seeing limited duty before taking the rest of the night off.
WHY WISCONSIN WON: Wisconsin won for the same reason it has over the last decade-plus: pure physicality. UNLV struggled all game long to maintain the line of scrimmage on either side of the ball, and once tailbacks like Ball, James White, and even freshman Melvin Gordon get a big lane, slowing down the Wisconsin attack is basically impossible. On the defensive side of the ball, Wisconsin struggled at times to keep UNLV from moving the chains, but the Rebels missed on their first eight thrid-down conversion attempts, and were stymied by missed field goals twice early in the game when the score was still close.
WHEN WISCONSIN WON: As soon as Montee Ball high-stepped into the end zone over a would-be tackler for his second score of the day. We were barely halfway through the first quarter when Wisconsin put together its second easy touchdown drive of the day, and the Badgers would roll up a 51-3 lead after only eight possessions before calling off the dogs.
WHAT WISCONSIN WON: For head coach Bret Bielema, today's game was a dream come true. His Badgers throttled UNLV early on and looked capable of hanging 70+ points on the beleaguered Rebels, but Bielema got his offensive stars out of the game early in the second half, and UNLV went on to outscore the Badgers 14-0 in the last 1.5 quarters. No, that's not the production Bielema wants out of his defense, but it is enough for him to keep the pressure on them and to avoid any sense of complacency. There were signs the defense had a lot to work on in rush defense even before the Rebels got into the end zone -- now Bielema has the touchdowns given up to prove it.
WHAT UNLV LOST: The Rebels didn't lose a whole lot other than the game itself. The game was a prolonged act of brutality in the first half, and it was immediately obvious that UNLV wasn't going to win this game, but the offense settled down in the second half, put together a couple touchdown drives, and at the very least covered the ~35-point spread. Further, nobody was seriously injured, and the Rebels have now gotten their most physical opponent of the season out of the way. It sounds cliche, but if the Rebels can survive a game in Madison, they can survive anything anyone else will throw at them, and that can do wonders for a rebuilding team's confidence early in the season.
THAT WAS CRAZY: Russell Wilson looked fantastic throwing the ball with his 255 yards and two passing scores, but Wilson's play of the game came courtesy of his feet. With time winding down in the first half and the ball at UNLV's 46-yard line, Wilson took off on a scramble and wove through the Rebel defense, eventually gliding into the end zone on a sensational run that was immediately evocative of Cam Newton slicing through opposing defenses at Auburn last year. Wisconsin won't face a UNLV-caliber defense in the Big Ten, to say the least, but opposing defensive coordinators are going to be losing sleep after seeing that rush.