Although there was plenty of blame to go around, one player who had a particularly horrific evening was CB Jason Verrett (photo above). In his first game in a TCU uniform after playing one season in junior college, Verrett had about as embarrassing a half of football as a DB can have. Earlier this week I viewed the highlights of the game on the Baylor website, and that #2 with the sick dreads was in a lot of them. Verrett was beaten in coverage - badly - three times for big gains, including 2 TD. And he also had a blown coverage that resulted in another easy TD for Baylor. It got so bad that they had to take him out of the game (Actually I'm not sure about that, but I don't remember seeing him on the field at all in the 2nd half.). Baylor ended up winning 50-48, the first time since 2006 that TCU had allowed that many points in a game.
Honestly though, as it turned out Verrett didn't need to have felt too bad about his performance. After all, thanks to a certain Heisman Trophy winning QB and an NFL 1st round WR, the Baylor offense had their way with a lot of other DBs too last season. And indeed Jason rose from the ashes of that first game to earn honorable mention all-MWC honors by the time the season was over.
Now in the same conference as Baylor, TCU's schedule included a game at Baylor again this season. And so Verrett and his fellow DBs returned to the scene of the crime - Waco - last Saturday looking for redemption. It certainly was a shaky start, but in the end it was mission accomplished for the TCU secondary as the Frogs whipped the Bears 49-21 to end Baylor's 9-game home winning streak. This time it was the Baylor sideline eating humble pie. "It was very humbling, very embarrassing, and very uncharacteristic for us to turn the ball over that many times," said Coach Briles of the Bears' 6-turnover evening, including 4 INT.
While Verrett did OK, TCU's other #2 was the star of the game. That would be QB Trevone Boykin, who rushed for 1 TD and threw 4 TD passes. Indeed thanks to Boykin, it was Baylor's CBs with dreads getting beat for TDs, with junior Joe Williams (left photo below) and junior K.J. Morton (right photo) giving up 1 TD each. Morton finished with 9 tackles (9-0). Junior WR Tevin Reese, a regular on the dread stars list, was held to 4 catches for 75 yards.
Stop the presses! Tulane has won! I repeat, TULANE HAS WON!!! It took a month longer than was hoped, but the Green Wave finally got that victory to dedicate to injured (and likely crippled) S Devon Walker and in the process ended their 15-game losing streak. It looked like it would be just another Tulane defeat when a 20-6 halftime lead disappeared thanks to a 20-0 SMU run. But after doing nothing on offense the entire 2nd half (5 three-and-outs and 1 turnover), the Green Wave suddenly drove 68 yards in 5 plays, tying the game on a 16-yard TD reception by sophomore RB Rob Kelley with :35 remaining and then kicking the point after to win it 27-26. Kelley also finished Tulane's first drive of the game with a TD reception and finished with 4 catches for 64 yards. Freshman S Darion Monroe had 13 tackles (10-3).
With South Carolina facing back-to-back road games against LSU and Florida, only the greediest of Gamecock fans would dare wish for their team to win both. No, a split was realistically the best they could hope for. And with the Gamecocks and Gators battling for the top spot in the East Division of the SEC, a win over Florida would be much more important than a win over LSU. So all was not lost last Saturday night, when the Gamecocks dropped a tough one at Baton Rouge 23-21 to end their 10-game winning streak. With nearly 30 players with dreads in uniform, this was the must-see game for Week 7. And although I was extremely tired, I managed to make it almost all the way through without dozing off.
If you carried the ball for Pittsburgh last Saturday, you probably got tackled by a Louisville player with dreads: freshman LB Keith Brown had 12 tackles (5-7); sophomore S Calvin Pryor had 8 (3-5); sophomore CB Terell Floyd had 7 (4-3), including 1 sack, along with 1 PBU; senior CB Adrian Bushell had 6 (6-0); and sophomore DE Lorenzo Mauldin had 5 (2-3), including 1.5 sacks, as the Cardinals improved to 6-0 with a 45-35 road victory ..... Junior QB Munchie Legaux passed for 262 yards and 2 TD and also ran for a TD as Cincinnati defeated Fordham 49-17 to improve to 5-0 ..... Sophomore CB Bradley Roby scored a TD for the 2nd straight week, recovering a blocked punt in the end zone, and had 3 PBU as Ohio State improved to 7-0 with a wild 52-49 road win over Indiana ..... Junior DT Will Sutton boosted his season total of TFL to 13 with 3 more, including 2 sacks, for Arizona State in a 51-17 road win over Colorado ..... Freshman WR Breshad Perriman had season highs with 5 catches for 55 yards, and senior S Kemal Ishmael got his 2nd INT of the season (photo below) on Southern Mississippi's first play of the 2nd overtime to end the game as UCF improved to 2-0 in CUSA East with a 38-31 home victory .....
IN THE FCS
It started out like it was going to be just another day at the office for the high-scoring ODU offense. Senior WR Nick Mayers' 17-yard TD reception just 67 seconds after the opening kickoff put the Monarchs in front, and another TD on their third possession of the game made it 14-0 at the 4:59 mark of the 1st quarter. With #1 North Dakota State and #2 Montana State having already lost earlier in the day (both at home), the #3 ranked Monarchs were in perfect position to treat their homecoming crowd to a victory that would lift the program to their first ever #1 ranking. But then something funny happened - they didn't score again the rest of the game. Huh?
That's right, the same team that had scored 57, 70, and 64 points in their first three home games went scoreless over their final 8 possessions. Villanova recovered from their bad start and proceeded to put a whipping on ODU 38-14. "In the 2nd half it was as one-sided a football game as I've been involved with. They completely dominated us," said Coach Wilder after watching Villanova gash his defense for 376 yards rushing, which allowed the Wildcats to keep the ball for 39:56 time of possession. Wilder didn't like the view in the little time his offense was on the field either. After taking the 14-0 lead, ODU punted 5 times in a row, and their next drive ended with a fumble by junior RB Colby Goodwyn (photo below), ruining what would have been at least a 15-yard gain. Goodwyn finished with 39 yards rushing on 5 carries. Mayers had 2 catches for 29 yards (his second worst output of the season). Sophomore CB Reggie Owens contributed with 5 tackles (5-0), including 2 sacks, and 1 PBU. Senior S Ronnie Akins, a key player in the Villanova secondary, tied for the team-lead with 8 tackles (6-2) for the Wildcats.
Later in the afternoon I found myself tuned in to the Eastern Washington-Montana State game in a matchup of two Top 10 teams. And there was some disappointment there too, as I found out that Montana State's star LB Jody Owens doesn't have dreads anymore. He had them during training camp back in August, but they're gone now. I guess we'll have to remove him from the Week 5 dread stars list. #2 MSU dominated in total yards 365-211; but #6 EWU scored touchdowns on a blocked punt and an INT return 59 seconds apart early in the 4th quarter to take a 27-17 lead and held on to win 27-24. Junior RB Demitrius Bronson rushed for 41 yards for EWU, and sophomore RB Quincey Forte rushed for 27 yards and had a 33-yard reception for the Eagles' only offensive TD.
Murray State, the team that brought you that 72-59 game against Missouri State two seasons ago, was at it again, playing another game that threatened to cause the scoreboard to blow a fuse. Once again the losing team scored 59 points, and this time it was the Racers, who fell at home to Tennessee-Martin 66-59. Defense? Well, except for that pick 6 on the opening drive of the game, if you like good defense, this one would have had you crying. Murray State had a slight edge in total yards (747-693) and 1st downs (40-35). The two QBs combined to go 87 for 113 (that's 77%) for 1,097 yards with 15 TD and only the 1 INT. With numbers like those, you might think it would be a big game for a couple of Murray State WRs with sick dreads. But unfortunately seniors Patrick Robertson and Ja-Vonta Trotter haven't been the main targets this season for the Racers. In this game Robertson finally got his 1st TD reception of the season, finishing with 4 catches for 52 yards. And Trotter chipped in with 4 catches for 45 yards and 2 TD.
- Eddie Lacy - Alabama - career high 177 yards rushing and 3 TD on 18 carries and 2 catches for 17 yards in 42-10 win at Missouri
- Jeff Scott - Mississippi - 21 carries for 137 yards rushing, and 3 catches for 70 yards, including highlight reel 55-yard TD, in 41-20 home win over Auburn
- Senorise Perry - Louisville - named Big East offensive player of the week - 101 yards and 4 TD rushing on 12 carries, and 2 catches for 17 yards in 45-35 road win over Pittsburgh
- Khaseem Greene - Rutgers - named Big East defensive player of the week - 14 tackles (9-5), 1.5 sacks, 3 FF (2 of which were turnovers and converted into 10 points), and got his 2nd INT of the season in 23-15 home win over Syracuse
Denard Robinson - Michigan - 128 yards and 2 TD rushing on 11 carries - went 7 for 11 passing for 159 yards and 2 TD with 0 INT in 45-0 blowout of Illinois
Anthony Amos - MTSU - 8 catches for 148 yards and 1 TD in 34-30 win at FIU
- Markus Wheaton - Oregon State - 5 catches for 66 yards and 2 TD, and scored 12-yard TD run on reverse in 42-24 road win over BYU
- Cordarrelle Patterson - Tennessee - 57 yards rushing on 3 carries, 2 catches for 25 yards and 1 TD, and had 98-yard kickoff return for TD in 41-31 loss at Mississippi State
- A.J.Johnson - Tennessee - 21 tackles (4-17), 1.5 TFL, becoming first Tennessee player in 48 years with 20+ tackles in one game
- Dominique Swope - Georgia Southern - named SOCON offensive player of the week - 137 yards and 2 TD rushing on 25 carries in huge 17-9 home win over Wofford
- Julian Burton - Missouri State- named MVFC special teams player of the week - 4 catches for 98 yards and 1 TD, and had 3 punt returns for 68 yards, including 30-yarder with :53 to go to help set up game-winning FG as MSU scored 17 points in the final 5:36 to get 1st W of season, 27-24 over South Dakota
- Cameron Bailey - Eastern Kentucky - 3 catches for 125 yards, including 84-yard TD, in 45-14 home win over Austin Peay
- Jordan Harris - Bryant - 10 catches for 201 yards and 2 TD , including game-winning 16-yarder as Bulldogs got 1st W of season, 38-35 over Robert Morris
- Lenworth Lennon - FAMU - 6 receptions for 134 yards, including 57-yard TD, in 44-3 blowout of Savannah State
- Rico Richardson - Jackson State - 5 receptions for 144 yards and 1 TD in 37-34 win at Alabama State
- D'Vonte Graham - North Carolina A&T - 2 PBU and 2 INT, one of which he returned 58 yards to the house in 38-10 home win over Howard
- Johnny Towalid - Indiana State - named MVFC defensive player of the week - 6 tackles (2-4), 1 PBU, and 2 INT, both of which he took to the house, a 27-yarder in 2nd quarter and a 31-yarder in 4th quarter, for ISU's only TD of game in shocking road victory over FCS #1 North Dakota State 17-14
- Jake Walker - Eastern Illinois - 22 carries for 103 yards rushing and 1 TD, and 3 catches for 10 yards in big 31-28 OVC home win over Jacksonville State
- Deonte Williams - Cal Poly - 117 yards and 3 TD rushing on 22 carries in 56-28 home win over Northern Colorado
- Lyndell Gibson - Hampton - 8 tackles (3-5), 0.5 TFL, 4 PBU and 2 key INT as HU picked up 1st W of season, 28-14 over rival Norfolk State
- Keion Wade - St. Francis (PA) - 106 yards rushing, including 53-yard TD, and 26 yards receiving in 36-13 loss at Albany
HOUSE OF DREAD
With the way things have been going at Alabama State this year, it's only fitting that their last home game at Cramton Bowl would take the HOD award for Week 7. In Jackson state's 37-34 come-from-behind win over ASU there were 5 TDs by players with dreads. Senior WR T.C. McWilliams had a 6-yard reception (photo below), senior QB Greg Jenkins had a 20-yard run, and sophomore RB Isaiah Crowell had TD runs of 4 and 11 yards for the Hornets. Star senior WR Rico Richardson had a 17-yard TD catch for JSU. After playing their next 3 games on the road, Alabama Staste will make their debut in their brand new stadium in their annual Thanksgiving Day game against Tuskegee (hich will be televised, as usual, by ESPNU).
Sharing this week's award with Cramton Bowl is the end zone at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, home of the NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers and also the Pittsburgh Panthers. In Pitt's 45-35 loss to Louisville, junior RB Senorise Perry scored on runs of 6, 2, 1, and 59 yards for the U of L. Sick senior WR Cameron Saddler got a foot down inbounds in the back right corner of the end zone (photo below) for a nice 7-yard TD catch for Pittsburgh.
There were a lot of standout performances under consideration for this week's player of the week. I'm going to give it to the player who worked the hardest for it. That would be Tennessee State junior RB Trabis Ward, who carried the ball 43 times in the Tigers' 40-28 win at Southeast Missouri State. Ward earned OVC co-offensive player of the week honors as he rushed for 267 yards (second most in TSU history) and 4 TD. After scoring on runs of 7, 4, and 1 yard, his 30-yard TD with 1:26 to go iced the victory as TSU improved to 7-0. Congratulations, Trabis, and we look forward to seeing you do that again next week -on TV.
That's right, Tennessee State will be on TV (Fox College Sports), and their undefeated record is in jeopardy as they travel to Jacksonville State. I'll also be trying to keep an eye on South Carolina-Florida, Virginia Tech-Clemson, and Florida State-Miami, among others.