Saturday, October 13, 2012

College FB '12 Dread News - Week 6

One of the benefits of having Texas A&M and Missouri join the SEC this season was that it allowed the schedule maker to move the South Carolina-Georgia game from its usual spot in Week 2 to later in the season. Not that South Carolina Coach Spurrier considered it a benefit. In the days before the game Spurrier quipped that he "sort of always liked playing them that 2nd game because you could always count on them having two or three key players suspended." Ha ha. Sorry Coach, but your program has gotten so good lately that Week 2 is too early in the season for an important game like this.
The Bulldogs and Gamecocks (both 5-0) met last Saturday night at Columbia, and it was no contest. South Carolina jumped out to a 21-0 lead before the 1st quarter was over and cruised to a 35-7 victory to remain undefeated.

Junior WR Ace Sanders, who had a highlight reel punt return that came up a bit short of the end zone a couple of weeks ago, took one all the way to the house this time, making several defenders miss on a 70-yard return (photo above) that made the score 21-0 and earned him SEC co-special teams player of the week honors. RB Marcus Lattimore rushed for 100+ yards against UGa for the third consecutive year. And when he needed a break, senior RB Kenny Miles chipped in with 39 yards rushing on 10 carries.
Just before the start of the game I said to myself that Georgia was fixin' to have some defense played against them. The Bulldogs came in averaging 48.2 points per game but were almost shut out, not scoring their TD until the 1:55 mark of the 4th quarter. In their meeting last year Georgia got a breakout performance by a freshman RB by the name of Isaiah Crowell. Of course, Crowell is no longer on the team, but he hasn't been missed at all thanks in part to another freshman RB with dreads. Up to this point Todd Gurley had been enjoying a solid rookie season, rushing for 9 TD. But the stingy South Carolina defense held him to a season low 39 yards rushing on 13 carries. For the game Georgia gained just 224 total yards. Sensational sophomore DE Jadeveon Clowney continued to make a living in the opposing offense's backfield, with 2 TFL and 1 sack (photo below) included among his 4 tackles (4-0). Senior S D.J. Swearinger had 1 PBU and 4 tackles (2-2), the biggest of which came on 4th and goal from the 2-yard line late in the 2nd quarter, when he stopped WR Rantavious Wooten at the 1 after a 1-yard reception. That kept the score at 21-0 and ended Georgia's only chance to get back in the game. Now 6-0 and up to #3 in the rankings, the Gamecocks are now fixin' to be tested. They play at LSU and at Florida in their next two games.
Like Georgia and South Carolina, LSU and Florida were both undefeated when they faced each other last Saturday. And, to say the least, the defenses dominated. While Stanford and Arizona racked up 617 yards each in their 54-48 game out west, the Tigers and Gators had 437 yards combined in their slugfest at Gainesville. LSU had exactly 200 of those, but 56 were wasted when WR Odell Beckham fumbled the ball away after a long catch and run in the 3rd quarter. Junior RB Spencer Ware had 41 of the 200 on 9 touches; but the Tigers' offense just isn't very good. Heck, they couldn't even score a TD on a possession that start at the UF 7-yard line following a fumble recovery late in the 2nd. They settled for a FG and a 6-0 halftime lead.
The LSU defense eventually wore down and ended up having Florida run the ball right down their throat throughout the 2nd half, with the Gators prevailing 14-6. Senior S Josh Evans (photo above), who has some of the best dreads in the SEC (although I wish he'd lose that extra rubber band he's been using this year), had 5 tackles (5-0), including 1 sack, for Florida. Junior LB Lamin Barrow had 9 tackles (8-1), including 2 TFL, for LSU.
Another SEC team playing some good defense this week was, oddly enough, the Arkansas Razorbacks. Through their first 5 games the Hogs had been allowing a whopping 510 yards and 40 points per game on average. But they gave up just 321 yards on Saturday in a 24-7 win at Auburn. Star senior WR Cobi Hamilton was shut down with 5 catches for 72 yards (hey, for him, that's a shutdown), and sick sophomore WR Kiante Minor had a bad muff on a fair catch (with senior CB T'Sharvan Bell making the recovery, photo below) in the 3rd quarter; but Arkansas ended their 4-game losing streak thanks to their D. Or maybe it's just that Auburn's offense is truly awful. Freshman CB Will Hines and sophomore S Alan Turner each got their 1st career INT for the Razorbacks. 
Cincinnati won the Victory Bell for the 7th straight year. The trophy goes to the victor in the rivalry between UC and Miami (Ohio), and there was little doubt the Bearcats would be keeping it for another year as they rolled to a 52-14 win over the RedHawks to improve to 4-0. After Miami struck first, the Bearcats took the lead for good 7-6 on a 68-yard INT return for a TD by senior CB Camerron Cheatham, his 2nd career pick 6. Then junior CB Deven Drane ended MU's next possession with an INT, and his 33-yard return set up a 23-yard drive for UC's 2nd TD. Junior QB Munchie Legaux, a lock to be on my dread all-America team at the end of the season, followed up last week's 376-yard passing game in the thrilling victory over Virginia Tech with a more modest 157-yard, 2 TD night against MU. He also ran for a TD. And freshman RB Tion Green also contributed, with 37 yards rushing and his 1st TD in a Cincinnati uniform.

Groh must go? Georgia Tech thought so after the Yellow Jackets' 47-31 road loss to Clemson. Groh is Al Groh, the former NFL coach - remember? So far this season he has been GT's defensive coordinator. But he was fired after Tech followed up last week's embarrassing 49-28 home loss to MTSU by allowing 601 total yards to Clemson. 129 of those (82 rushing, 47 receiving) were gained by senior RB Andre Ellington (photo below), who barely missed the dread stars list. Andre went with the reduced dreads this week, which you could clearly see after his helmet came off after one play. Sophomore WR Sammy Watkins, back after missing last week's game with a stomach virus, might not have been at 100%. He had 6 receptions for only 42 yards. But as has often been the case this season, junior WR DeAndre Hopkins had Watkins' back, turning in another huge performance.

Ohio State sophomore CB Bradley Roby got his 1st and 2nd INTs of the season, one of which set up a short TD drive, the other of which he returned 41 yards to the house for his 1st career TD as the Buckeyes improved to 6-0 (5-0 at home) with a 63-38 win over Nebraska ..... Senior WR Markus Wheaton had 9 catches for 95 yards and 1 TD and senior S Anthony Watkins had an INT that set up a FG as Oregon State improved to 4-0 with a 19-6 home win over Washington State ..... Sophomore LB Qyendarius Griffin had a game-high 7 tackles (6-1), including 2 TFL, and 2 PBU for Louisiana-Lafayette in a 41-13 home win over Tulane ..... Senior RB Akeem Daniels had 5 catches for 78 yards, including the go-ahead 54-yard TD with 4:58 to go, and Northern Illinois went on to win at Ball State 35-23 ..... Junior DT Travonte Boles had a career high 3 TFL, junior RB Antoin Scriven had 86 total yards and 2 TD, and JC transfer WR Justin Collins (photo below) scored his 1st TD in a Western Michigan uniform in a 52-14 blowout of Massachusetts ..... 
Sophomore WR Courtney Williams had 2 TD catches, and sophomore WR Deon Butler scored his 1st TD in a Central Michigan uniform, but the Chippewas could not hold a 21-10 lead in a 50-35 loss at Toledo ..... Senior WR Anthony Amos barely missed the dread stars list with 7 catches for 96 yards, but MTSU lost at home to Louisiana-Monroe 31-17 ..... Sophomore RB Darren Reaves had 53 yards rushing, 57 yards receiving, and 1 TD as UAB picked up their 1st win of the season, 52-3 over Southeastern Louisiana ..... And senior S Gary Walker had a game high 13 tackles (7-6) and 2 PBU, and sophomore WR Jahrie Level had 8 receptions for 92 yards and 1 TD as Idaho got their 1st win of the season, defeating New Mexico State 26-18. 

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right? Well, how about this one: first beat 'em, then join 'em. That's what Andre Martin did. Actually this is a story from Week 5; but I missed my report last week and this was too good to skip ..... While going through the Week 5 game recaps I found a picture that made me ask this question: who's that #8 with the sick dreads for North Dakota State? When I discovered that #8 was Martin, another question popped up: didn't he used to play for Northern Iowa? Answer: Yes indeed. 
Martin went 2-1 against North Dakota State while playing for UNI from 2009-11. But after starting at CB in his first two seasons, his playing time dropped significantly during his junior season. So after graduating last May (he redshirted in 2008), Martin decided to transfer to none other than North Dakota State, the defending FCS champion, for his final season of eligibility. UNI and NDSU have been among the top programs not just in the Missouri Valley, but in the entire FCS as well. So this move was like a player transferring from LSU to Alabama. As it turned out, Week 5 not only would feature Martin's trip back to UNI to face his former teammates, it also would include a slightly more important event: the birth of his and his wife's first child. Here's the short version in a brief feature by Fargo TV station WDAY:
With wife and baby doing fine (photo above), Martin was on the field against his old team (photo below), contributing 5 tackles (2-3) as #1 ranked NDSU defeated #14 Northern Iowa 33-21. The Bison's other players with dreads had success too. Junior RB Sam Ojuri gained 58 total yards on 15 touches; junior CB Marcus Williams got his 2nd INT of the season; and junior OT Billy Turner played well enough to be named MVFC offensive lineman of the week. Sophomore DT Xavier Williams had a good game for UNI with 10 tackles (5-5) and a block of an NDSU FG attempt. Despite dropping to 1-4, UNI remained in the top 25 at #22 (they have lost to NDSU, #3 Youngstown State, Wisconsin, and Iowa).
Back home this week, North Dakota State kept right on rolling, whipping Youngstown State 48-7 in front of a record crowd of 19,065 to gain revenge for their only defeat last season. The turning point came on a play made by Williams, who is a definite NFL prospect. With YSU trailing 14-7 near the midpoint of the 2nd quarter but threatening to tie the game, Williams made his 3rd INT of the season on 3rd and 6 (photo below) and took the return 98 yards all the way to the house to make it 21-7. YSU went 3 and out on their next possession and before you knew it NDSU was going into the locker room with a 35-7 halftime lead. Martin chipped in with 6 tackles (2-4) as the Bison improved to 5-0. YSU, which opened the season with a win at Pittsburgh, dropped to 4-1.
 Albany was the NEC's representative in the playoffs last season. The only blemish on their 7-1 conference record was a 31-17 home loss to Bryant. I decided to watch this year's meeting between the teams - at Bryant - mainly because it likely would be the only chance to see a couple of players for Bryant that I had yet to see play - junior CB Jeremy Woodson and junior WR Jordan Harris. They did not disappoint. Woodson may be short (he's listed as 5-7), but his dreads certainly are not. He deservedly is in the top 10 on my preseason list of the best dreads in the FCS, and he'll be on my dread all-America team again too. He finished the day with 4 tackles (3-1), 3 PBU, and also was credited with a QB hurry as he came in unblocked on a blitz and forced the Albany QB to throw the ball away. Harris, a regular on the dread stars list, might hold every receiving record in the Bryant record book by the time his career is done. But except for a brief spurt late in the 2nd quarter, he had a quiet day. He finished with 5 catches for 50 yards. One of them went for a 12-yard TD that tied the game at 7. Albany turned the ball over on the ensuing possession, and on the very next play Harris caught a lateral and then threw an 18-yard TD pass to put the Bulldogs ahead 14-7. With Albany turning the ball over and missing field goals, it looked for a long time that Bryant might pull off the upset again (if the FCS had point spreads, Albany would have been favored by 14, at least). But the Great Danes finally got their act together late in the 3rd and put Bryant away, winning 31-14 to improve to 5-1, 3-0 in the NEC. Bryant (7-4 last year) is off to their worst start ever at 0-6.
Tennessee State won their 6th in a row to start the season with a thrilling, come-from-behind, 23-20 home victory over #17 ranked and defending OVC champ Eastern Kentucky. A 3-yard TD run by dread star Trabis Ward with 8:49 remaining in the 4th got the Tigers to within 20-16, and on their next drive the Tigers score the winning TD with :08 on the clock on a 1-yard QB sneak by Michael German. Senior WR Travis James (photo below) had 4 catches for 33 yards, but sadly he continues to deny everyone a look at his awesome dreads by keeping them reduced for every game this year so far. Yo Travis, you can't make the dread all-America team with reduced dreads. With the win, TSU enters the top 25 at #18. Now let's see if they can stay there.
Senior S Rickie Hubbard had 15 tackles (8-7), including 1.5 TFL, and forced a fumble that resulted in a scoop and score for NCCU in a shockingly easy 40-10 win over South Carolina State in the Circle City Classic at Indianapolis; sophomore RB Julius Pendergrass had 93 total yards and 1 TD for SCSU ..... Senior RB Keion Wade came very close to making the dread stars list with 95 yards rushing and 3 catches for 44 yards as St. Francis (PA) picked up a 10-3 NEC home win over Robert Morris ..... Senior CB Demetrius McCray had 8 tackles (7-1), 1 PBU, and his 3rd INT of the season, and junior S Jamill Lott got his 2nd INT as Appalachian State defeated Elon for the 17th straight time, 35-23 ..... With Richmond clinging to a 4-point late lead at Villanova, sick senior CB Darryl Hamilton got his 1st INT of the season deep in VU territory to set up a 9-yard TD drive then added another pick on the Wildcats' next possession to wrap up the Spiders' 28-17 victory ..... Junior LB Bryan Presume and freshman S D.J. Cameron both got their 1st career INT, and senior RB Steve Strother (photo below) had a season high 78 yards rushing for Southern Illinois in their 17-0 upset on the road of #9 Illinois State .....  
Sophomore RB Malcolm Cyrus rushed for 54 yards and 1 TD and had a 44-yard punt return, and junior CB Darius Knox got his 1st and 2nd INTs of the season as Alabama State routed Texas Southern 45-0 .....Senior S Jarvis Webb had 11 tackles (4-7), 1 TFL, 1 PBU, and recovered 2 fumbles for Arkansas-Pine Bluff in a 34-24 home win over Jackson State ..... After Savannah State opened the scoring with a TD, junior WR Chris Flowers took the ensuing kickoff return 88 yards to the house, sending Morgan State on their way to an easy 45-6 road win ..... Sick junior DT Lesley Deamer had 8 tackles (3-5), including a key sack and strip in the 4th quarter, and also blocked a FG attempt as Northwestern State defeated Lamar 30-23 ..... And in a battle of the winless (both teams 0-5) senior WR Spencer Nelson had 8 catches for 78 yards and added 47 yards rushing, and junior S Adrien Grant got his 1st INT of the season as Prairie View A&M defeated Grambling 31-14 in the State Fair Classic at Dallas; senior DE Eric Harper (a former WR) had 15 tackles (8-7), 1 TFL and 1 PBU for GSU.

After Josh Furman cut off his dreads last spring, the competition for the longest dreads on the Michigan roster became a 2-way race between QB Denard Robinson and CB J.T. Floyd. But that competition abruptly and unfortunately came to an end when Floyd lost his dreads at some point during Michigan's bye week. Here's the sad proof, as Robinson included a photo of himself with the new-look Floyd on his Twitter page.
Oh well, another one bites the dust.


1. Pittsburgh sophomore TE Drew Carswell fumbles the ball as he is tackled by junior S Jeremi Wilkes after a 2-yard reception late in 1st quarter at Syracuse. The fumble resulted in a 52-yard scoop and score by LB Dyshawn Davis, putting Syracuse ahead 14-0.

 2. Senior S Shamarko Thomas had been putting hard hits on everybody all game but bites off more than he can chew here. As he tackles 245-pound TE J.P. Holtz after a 15-yard reception in 4th quarter, Thomas has his helmet knocked off and gets himself knocked out. He's officially listed as a game time decision for the Orange's next game, at Rutgers, about 6 hours from now. Thomas had 9 tackles (7-2) against Pitt as Syracuse held on for a 14-13 win. 

3. Florida WR Andre Debose is upended by junior S Craig Loston after a 5-yard reception on 2nd and 6 on the Gators' opening possession of the game at Gainesville. Loston finished the game with 3 tackles (3-0), but LSU lost 14-6.

4. Louisiana-Monroe QB Kolton Browning gets rid of the ball (and avoids an intentional grounding penalty) before MTSU sophomore LB Christian Henry can sack him during 3rd quarter at Murfreesboro. Henry had 5 tackles (3-2), but MTSU lost to ULM 31-17.

5. Sophomore WR Sammy Watkins dives for the end zone between LB Daniel Drummond (left) and CB Louis Young of Georgia Tech on 2nd and goal but comes up 1 yard short after an 8-yard gain during 1st quarter. Not to worry though. Clemson got the TD on the next play to take a 7-0 lead. Watkins finished with 6 catches for 42 yards and 4 kickoff returns for 71 yards in the Tigers' 47-31 home victory.

6. WR Josh Lenz beats junior CB Jason Verrett on a slant route for a 1-yard TD catch - his 3rd TD of the day - to give Iowa State a 23-10 lead over TCU early in 3rd quarter at Ft. Worth. Verrett did not have the coverage on Lenz-s other 2 TDs.

7. Jason Verrett denies Josh Lenz a 4th TD as he breaks up a pass in the end zone early in 4th quarter. But ISU got the TD on the next play. In addition to this PBU, Verrett also got his 3rd INT of the season, but ISU handed TCU their 1st defeat of the season, 37-23.

8. Eastern Illinois junior S Nick Beard gets his dreads jostled by Tennessee-Martin RB Quentin Sims while trying to make a tackle. Beard finished the afternoon with 6 tackles (5-1) and 1 TFL; but EIU, despite dominating in total yards 616-381, lost to UTM 51-37.

9. Murray State senior WR Patrick Robertson is tackled by Austin Peay CB Montez Carlton at the 16-yard line after a 19-yard reception on the opening drive of the game at Clarksville, TN. Murray State got the TD on the next play to lead 7-0. If Carlton had been more alert, he could have stripped the ball from Robertson. You gotta protect the ball better than this, Patrick. Robertson finished with 5 catches for 48 yards as Murray State rolled to a 52-14 road victory.

10. Junior WR James Green of Toledo makes a catch for a key 27-yard gain to the Central Michigan 20-yard line in the closing seconds of the 1st half. Green had 2 catches for 40 yards on the 90-yard TD drive before halftime that cut the Rockets' deficit to 21-17. Toledo rolled in the 2nd half and came back for a 50-35 victory. And yes, with dreads like these, Green is looking good to be a 1st team selection on my dread all-America team coming up in a couple of months from now.

  • DeAndre Hopkins - Clemson - 7 catches for 173 yards and 2 TD in 47-31 home win over Georgia Tech
  •  J.D. McKissic - Arkansas State - 5 catches for 124 yards, including 74-yard TD, in 34-20 road win over FIU
  • John Hubert - Kansas State - 101 yards and 4 TD rushing on 10 carries in 56-16 romp over Kansas
  • Trayion Durham - Kent State - 116 yards and 2 TD rushing on 24 carries in 41-14 win at Eastern Michigan
  • Phillip Thomas - Fresno State - 8 tackles (5-3), including 1 sack and 1 FF, and got his nation-leading 6th INT of the season in 28-7 road win over Colorado State - named MWC defensive player of the week. Details:

  • Brandon Sharpe - Syracuse - named Big East defensive player of week - career high 7 tackles (7-0), 6 of which were TFL, including 4 sacks for 42 yards lost in 14-13 home win over Pittsburgh
  • Nickell Robey - USC - 7 tackles (5-2), 1 FF (setting up short TD drive), 22-yard punt return (setting up short FG drive) and 38-yard INT return for TD in 38-28 road win over Utah

  • Jamill Smith - Ball State - 14 catches for 146 yards in 35-23 home loss to Northern Illinois
  • Jeff Scott - Mississippi - 20 carries for 108 yards rushing and 1 TD in 30-27 home loss to Texas A&M
  • Isaiah Crowell - Alabama State - 17 carries for 149 yards, including TD of 63 and 34 yards, in 45-0 blowout of Texas Southern

  • Demetrius Bronson - Eastern Washington - 13 carries for 118 yards rushing and 1 TD in 55-17 home win over North Dakota
  • Darreion Robinson - Georgia Southern - 124 yards and 1 TD rushing in 45-13 road win over Western Carolina

  • Dominique Swope - Georgia Southern - 20 carries for 117 yards and 1 TD rushing as GSU rushed for 614 yards in the W
  • Walt Aikens - Liberty - 9 tackles (7-2) and had huge FF and INT, both in 4th quarter, in 42-35 home win over Gardner-Webb
  • Trabis Ward - Tennessee State - 113 yards and 1 TD rushing on 24 carries and had 2 receptions for 47 yards in big 23-20 home win over Eastern Kentucky

  • Jake Walker - Eastern Illinois - 182 yards and 2 TD rushing on 33 carries in 51-37 loss at Tennessee-Martin
  • Tyrone Walker - Illinois State - 8 catches for 104 yards in 17-0 homecoming loss to Southern Illinois, the first time ISU had been shutout in 8 years
  • Jerodis Williams - Furman - 121 yards rushing, 14 yards receiving, and 1 TD in 20-17 loss at Wofford
  • Carlton Heard - Gardner-Webb - 7 catches for 137 yards, including 54-yarder for his 1st career TD in 42-35 loss at Liberty
  • Albert Wilson - Georgia State - 3 catches for 105 yards, including TDs of 54 and 47 yards, in 44-21 home loss to New Hampshire

Week 5 dread stars were: Tony Creecy (North Carolina St.), Tevin Reese (Baylor), Cobi Hamilton, Andre Ellington, DeAndre Hopkins, Munchie Legaux (Big East off. player of week), Todd Gurley, Will Sutton (Arizona State, Pac 12 def. player of week), Jay Ajayi (Boise State), Vintavious Cooper (East Carolina), Senorise Perry (Louisville), Chuck Jacobs (Utah State), Markus Wheaton, Darius Taylor (Sam Houston St.), Jordan Harris (201 yds. rec.), Keion Wade, Isaiah Crowell, Brandon Roberts (Alabama St., SWAC co-def. player of week), Tyrone Walker, Sean Price (Appalachian St.), Jody Owens (Montana St., Big Sky def. player of week), Dominique Swope, Jaamal Berry (Murray St.), Gus Johnson (Stephen F. Austin, 215 yds., 4 TD rush.), Deonte Williams (Cal Poly)

It was a very weak showing this week as far as touchdowns are concerned. The most TD by players with dreads in any game was just 4, and that occurred in only one game. The Week 6 HOD was the end zone at Snyder Stadium in Manhattan, KS, named for the former and current coach at Kansas State. The 4 TD were all scored by K-State junior RB John Hubert - on runs of 20, 32, 1, and 10 yards - in a 56-16 victory over Kansas. Not that anybody at the game noticed. As you probably know by now, Kansas State is one of the teams where you are not allowed to have your dreads showing outside of your helmet. That being the case, I'll include an interview of Hubert from earlier in the season instead of a photo:
The Week 5 HOD was at Dwight Fisher Field in Lorman, MS, where Alabama State defeated Alcorn State 54-14. There were 6 TD by players with dreads. T.C.McWilliams, Isaiah Crowell, Malcolm Cyrus, Greg Jenkins, and Corey Schofield all scored for ASU. Tollete George scored a TD for the other ASU.

I've been looking for a new title for the player of the week award (I didn't like "dreadest" anymore), and this was the best I could come up with. The head dread for Week 6 is Michigan senior QB Denard Robinson. Robinson was able to showcase his running ability in a 44-13 road win over Purdue. Denard carried 24 times for 235 yards and in the process established a new record for career rushing yards by a Big 10 QB. Currently at 3,905 yards (and still climbing), Robinson broke the mark of  3,895 set by former Indiana QB Antwaan Randle El. Just as importantly, Robinson threw 16 times, and none of them was an INT (!!). That doesn't sound like much, but it is with the way he's been throwing the ball this season. He completed 8 of the 16 for 105 yards and 1 TD. The 340 yards of total offense earned Denard Big 10 co-offensive player of the week honors.

Week 5 head dread was Furman senior RB Jerodis Williams, who rushed for a career high 239 yards and 2 TD on 18 carries in a 45-24 home win over Western Carolina. One of the TD was an 89-yarder, which was the longest run by a Furman player in 61 years. Jerodis also took home Southern Conf. special teams player of the week honors, as he took a kickoff return 100 yards to the house. His 370 all-purpose yards set a new school record and were second most in SOCON history.

I'm not going to miss South Carolina-LSU. Other than that, I don't know which games I'll be watching.One thing for sure, though, is that I'll have a shorter report (promise). 


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