And it was a senior, QB Ryan Nassib, who was the most responsible for their demise, carving up their defense for 246 yards and 3 TD on just 15 completions. The Orange's two seniors with dreads, S Shamarko Thomas and DE Brandon Sharpe, both NFL hopefuls, didn't do quite as well as Nassib, but I doubt they're complaining. Thomas tied for the team lead with 6 tackles (6-0). Sharpe had only 1 tackle (0-1), stopping RB Jeremy Wright for a 2-yard loss during the 2nd quarter (photo above, with Thomas - on the right - looking on).
There were 3 touchdowns by players with dreads in the game, but they weren't by the players you would expect. U of L junior RB Senorise Perry scored 4 TD the last time the Cardinals played on the road but had just 11 total yards on no TD in this one; and senior WR Andrell Smith, who scored 2 TD in Louisville's win over Temple last week, didn't score either, although he did have 4 catches for 54 yards. Surprisingly, it was two players wearing the blue and orange who accounted for the 3 TD. Junior RB Prince-Tyson Gulley scored on an 8-yard run (photo below) to put Syracuse ahead 10-3 late in the 1st quarter then added a 55-yard TD run late in the 2nd quarter to complete a 21-0 run that made the score 31-10. Then junior LB Lewellyn Coker, whose recovery of a muff on a Louisville punt return had set up Gulley's 1st TD, scored one himself. Playing as a FB on offense, Coker scored his 1st career TD on a 3-yard reception that upped Syracuse's lead to 45-19 in the 4th.
Louisiana-Lafayette, fresh off their upset of Louisiana-Monroe last week, tried their best to give Coach Hudspeth a wonderful present for his 44th birthday - a much bigger upset. But as it turned out, it was Hudspeth's own inability to trust his players that resulted in a heartbreaking 27-20 loss to #7 ranked Florida in a bizarre finish at Gainesville. It was a typical Florida game - both offenses struggled. The Gators finished with a 311-267 advantage in total yards but needed 2 TD in the final 1:42 to pull out the victory.
ULL got no contribution from soph LB Qyendarius Griffin, who has been suspended for the rest of the season. Sophomore WR Jamal Robinson, who made that dread stars list last week, had 0 receptions. Senior CB Jemarlous Moten had 6 tackles (3-3), and senior LB Le'Marcus Gibson had 4 tackles (2-2). For Florida sick senior S Josh Evans had 6 tackles (3-3); but the day did not have a happy ending for Evans and his teammates. A few hours after their victory Georgia defeated Auburn to clinch the SEC East title over the Gators.
I will admit that I'd prefer that Clemson make a repeat appearance as the Atlantic Division representative in the ACC championship game. So I was kind of excited when Virginia Tech took the lead over Florida State 22-20 on a FG with 2:19 to play last week Thursday. Clemson needed an FSU loss to move into 1st place in the Atlantic, and for a moment it looked like they would get it. But this is the season where Virginia Tech can't do anything right. And it took the Seminoles just 1:33 to drive 68 yards and regain the lead. FSU hung on from there to win 28-22 and improve to 9-1. Virginia Tech, now 4-6, is in jeopardy of not getting a bowl bid.
..... set up the first Miami-FSU matchup for the ACC championship. Remarkably, despite a 5-5 overall record, and despite a heartbreaking 41-40 loss to Virgina last Saturday, the Hurricanes need only to win at Duke in Week 13 to clinch 1st place in the ACC Coastal. Sophomore TE Clive Walford had a 9-yard TD catch for the Canes, and junior WR Allen Hurns had 2 TD receptions (his 3rd and 4th of the season); but TE Jake McGee's 10-yard TD catch in the back of the end zone with :06 to play, completing an 87-yard drive, won it for the Cavaliers.
The Maryland-Clemson game immediately got off on the wrong foot as Tigers sophomore WR Sammy Watkins injured his ankle while being tackled on his 39-yard return of the opening kickoff. Watkins played on, finishing with 4 catches for 60 yards; but with Clemson building a big lead, there was no need for him to play in the 2nd half. Clemson built a big lead because freshman LB turned QB Shawn Petty fared no better for Maryland than he did in his debut a week ago. Petty, who had 2 turnovers in the Terrapins' loss to Georgia Tech last week, had 3 more - all fumbles. The first was scooped up for a 16-yard TD return that made the score 14-0. The second ended a drive that had reached midfield and also was cashed in by Clemson, with junior WR DeAndre Hopkins' 28-yard TD catch (photo below) making it 21-0 late in the 1st. Maryland's only TD came on Petty's 17-yard pass to senior TE Devonte Campbell to make it 28-7. But the Tigers answered, as senior RB Andre Ellington's 6-yard TD run with 1:30 remaining in the 2nd made it three straights games that the Tigers have scored at least 35 points before halftime.
I have seen a lot of football games in my lifetime, but I don't remember ever seeing a defensive player charged with a 15-yard penalty on three consecutive plays. Until now. After South Carolina kicked a FG on their first possession of the 2nd half to increase their lead to 24-10 over Arkansas, the Razorbacks 'drove' from their 25-yard line to the Carolina 36 on the first two plays of the ensuing possession - thanks mainly to back-to-back personal foul penalties on senior S D.J. Swearinger. But on the next play Swearinger made up for his misdeeds, picking off a pass and taking the return 69 yards to the house (photo below). Then came the good part. Just before he came to a stop after crossing the goal line Swearinger flung the ball up into the crowd behind the end zone, causing me to break out into laughter, but also costing him another 15-yard penalty (assessed on the kickoff). Yo D.J., you have to wait 'til next year before you can celebrate like that. Said Swearinger of his toss, "It was sort of a stress relief from both of the penalties." Right.
Senior S Phillip Thomas had 12 tackles (11-1), 2.5 TFL, and his FBS-leading 8th INT of the season as Fresno State remained tied for 1st in the MWC with a 52-36 road win over Nevada ..... Junior DT E.J. Dunston had 7 tackles (4-3), 1 TFL, 2 FF, and 1 FR; senior S Kemal Ishmael had 10 tackles (5-5) and his 3rd INT of the season; and senior LB Ray Shipman had a career high 14 tackles (6-8) as UCF improved to 6-0 in CUSA East with a 31-24 win at UTEP ..... Senior CB Josh Johnson had 6 tackles (5-1) and 3 PBU, and senior WR Antavian Edison had 5 catches for 50 yards, the last of which was a 20-yarder with :05 to go to move the ball into range for the game-winning 46-yard FG as Purdue ended a 5-game losing and picked up a win at Iowa for the first time in 20 years, 27-24 ..... Senior WR Jamill Smith scored his 6th and 7th TD catches of the season to help Ball State pick up an impressive 34-27 road win over Toledo ..... Junior S Josh Pettus, filling in after star S BooBoo Gates went down with an ankle injury in the 1st quarter, had 11 tackles (5-6) as Bowling Green moved into 2nd place in the MAC East with a 26-14 road win over Ohio U ..... Almost making the dread stars list were: Wisconsin freshman RB Melvin Gordon (96 yards and 1 TD rushing on 8 carries in garbage time in a 62-14 road win over Indiana); Oregon State senior WR Markus Wheaton (7 catches for 91 yards and 1 TD in a tough 27-23 loss at Stanford); and Alabama junior RB Eddie Lacy (92 yards rushing, 35 yards receiving, and 1 TD in the Crimson Tide's 1st defeat of the season, 29-24 at home to Texas A&M .....
IN THE FCS
Apparently you can throw out the records whenever William & Mary takes on ODU. The two Hampton Roads area rivals dueled last Saturday at Norfolk, and for 3 quarters you couldn't tell which team entered the game with a 2-7 record or which team was 8-1 and ranked #4 in the nation. The team with the losing record - William & Mary - led 31-27 with 15 minutes to play, but then ODU's much-maligned defense pitched a shutout in the 4th quarter, while the offense came alive with TD drives of 79 and 80 yards, allowing the Monarchs to escape with a 41-31 home victory. ODU had a slight edge in total yards 488-477 and a big edge in turnovers 3-0, including the 1st INT of the season by junior S Paul Morant, foiling W&M's attempt at a late rally.
Surely that loss wasn't going to be to Tennessee Tech, right? That's Tennessee Tech, as in last place, 0-6 Tennessee Tech. Well, that's why they play the games. Playing at home, TTU went on a 21-0 run in the 4th quarter, capped by a 79-yard TD pass with 1:10 remaining to take a 38-31 lead. Not to be outdone, UTM scored on a 46-yard TD pass with :06 to go to tie the game. Tech scored first in OT to take a 45-38 lead. But UTM came back with a 19-yard TD pass on 4th and 16 - only to blow the extra point attempt due to a bad snap, ending the game and likely ending their playoff hopes. Freshman CB Demario Donnell had a busy afternoon for TTU with 15 tackles (5-10) and 1 PBU (only 5 of the tackles were on plays where UTM picked up a 1st down). Senior LB Jett Howard had 4 tackles (1-3), 1 PBU, and his 2nd INT of the season for UTM.
On Senior Day at Eastern Kentucky, senior WR Cameron Bailey rushed for 36 yards and 1 TD, and had 7 catches for 68 yards and another TD; senior DE Robert Knowles had 6 tackles (1-5), including 1 sack; and senior CB Justin Bell had 4 tackles (3-1) and 1 PBU as the Colonels improved to 8-3, whipping Murray State 55-24 ...... Junior RB Sam Ojuri gained 91 total yards and scored 1 TD as North Dakota State clinched a tie for the MVFC title with a huge 20-17 home win over South Dakota State ..... Sophomore CB Tyrone Bouie got his 2nd INT of the season and blocked a punt that was recovered by sick sophomore WR Torre Price and returned 14 yards to the house; and junior RB Isidore Jackson fell just short of the dread stars list with 97 yards and 1 TD rushing on 14 carries as Bethune-Cookman clinched the MEAC title with a week to spare, spanking Savannah State 49-7 ..... Also almost making the dread stars list were: Georgia Southern sophomore RB Dominique Swope (98 yards and 2 TD rushing on 4 carries in a 69-26 slaughter of Howard); Furman senior RB Jerodis Williams (gained 96 total yards and also returned a kickoff 100 yards to the house for the 2nd time this season in a 33-28 loss at Appalachian State); and Prairie View A&M junior WR Robert Primes (9 catches for 91 yards in a 22-20 road to Mississippi Valley State .....
- Todd Gurley - Georgia - 11 carries for 116 yards rushing and 1 TD in 38-0 road W over Auburn that clinches SEC East title for UGA
- D.J. Swearinger - South Carolina - named SEC co-defensive player of the week - 13 tackles (10-3), 1 TFL, and had 69-yard INT return for a TD in 38-20 home W over Arkansas
- Khaseem Greene - Rutgers - named Big East defensive player of the week - career high 22 tackles (6-16), 1 FF, and 1 PBU in 28-7 home W over Army
- Cortney Lester - Buffalo - named MAC East defensive player of the week - had 3 tackles (2-1), 1 PBU, and 3 INT, becoming 1st UB player in 4 years to get more than 1 INT in a game - details from the Buffalo website:
- Trayion Durham - Kent State - career high 172 yards and 2 TD rushing on 20 carries, and had 2 catches for 26 yards in 48-32 road W over Miami (Ohio)
- Dominique Terrell - Virginia - 9 catches for career high 127 yards in thrilling 41-40 home W over Miami (Florida)
- J.D. McKissic - Arkansas State - 12 receptions for 102 yards in 45-23 home W over Louisiana-Monroe
- William Dukes - FAU - 9 receptions for 104 yards in 37-28 W over Western Kentucky as FAU ends 15-game road losing streak
- Prince-Tyson Gulley - Syracuse - 98 yards and 2 TD rushing on 15 carries in 45-26 home W over Louisville
- Ja-mes Logan - Mississippi - 8 catches for career high 160 yards in 27-26 home L to Vanderbilt
- Justin Collins - Western Michigan - 6 catches for career high 122 yards in 29-24 road L to Buffalo
- Rickey Stevens - Maine - named CAA offensive player of the week - 21 carries for career high 179 yards rushing and 1 TD in 51-7 home W over Georgia State
- Jordan Harris - Bryant - 7 catches for 114 and 1 TD in 28-25 road W over Central Connecticut State, becoming 1st player in school history to reach 1,000 yards receiving in a season
- Teddy Allen - Charleston Southern - 107 yards and 1 TD rushing on 16 carries in 28-10 home W over Gardner-Webb
- Tromaine Dennis - Northern Colorado - 114 yards rushing and 1 TD, and 4 catches for 30 yards and 1 TD in 42-34 W at Weber State
- Deonte Williams - Cal Poly - 125 yards and 3 TD rushing in 70-14 home W over Idaho State
- Joey Harmon - Villanova - named CAA defensive player of the week - 6 tackles (5-1), including 2.5 sacks, 2 of which were in the end zone for safeties, in 35-20 home W over JMU
- Xavier Roberson - Southeastern Louisiana - named SLC offensive player of the week - 21 carries for 117 yards rushing and 2 TD, and had 96-yard kickoff returns for a TD in 42-27 home win over Stephen F. Austin
- Sean Price - Appalachian State - 10 catches for 115 yards (surpassing 1,000-yard mark for the season) in 33-28 home W over Furman as ASU clinches share of SOCON title
- Jake Walker - Eastern Illinois - 132 yards and 2 TD rushing on 23 carries in 39-20 home W over Southeast Missouri State as EIU clinches OVC title
- Nick Mayers - ODU - 9 catches for 131 yards and 2 TD on Senior Day in 41-31 home W over William & Mary
- Darryl Hamilton - Richmond - 5 tacckles (4-1), 2 PBU, and 2 INT (4th and 5th of season), both of which set up FGs, on Senior Day in 23-17 home W over Delaware
- Lenworth Lennon - FAMU - 9 receptions for 104 yards in 22-21 homecoming W over North Carolina Central
- Rico Richardson - Jackson State - 2 catches for 105 yards, including 67-yard TD (surpassing 1,000-yard mark for the season), in 35-21 home W over Alabama A&M
- Ryan Griffin - Jackson State - named SWAC co-defensive player of the week - 10 tackles (4-6), 1.5 TFL, 1 PBU, 1, FF, and 1 FR for 35-yard TD as JSU remains in driver's seat in SWAC East race
- Malcolm Cyrus - Alabama State - 11 carries for season high 126 yards rushing and 1 TD in 31-30 road W over Southern
- Isaiah Crowell - Alabama State - 17 carries for 103 yards rushing and 1 TD as ASU stays alive in SWAC East race
- Charles Hawkins - Southern - named SWAC special teams player of the week - 99-yard kickoff return for TD - and had 5 catches for 94 yards and 1 TD in tough 31-30 home L to Alabama State
- Marcus Washington - Nicholls State - 104 yards rushing, 29 yards receiving, and 1 TD in 34-24 road L to Lamar
- Donte Sawyer - Morehead State - 13 receptions for 152 yards in 41-28 road L to San Diego
- Gus Johnson - Stephen F. Austin - 124 yards and 4 TD rushing on 20 carries, and 4 catches for 34 yards in 42-27 L at Southeastern Louisiana
HOUSE OF DREAD
If you were paying close enough attention to the dread stars list (I forgive you if you weren't) and you're good at addition, you've already figured out that there were 7 TD by players with dreads in Southeastern Louisiana's 42-27 triumph over Stephen F. Austin. So the end zone at Strawberry Stadium in Hammond, LA, takes HOD honors this week. SFA sophomore RB Gus Johnson (having a nice season on a team that doesn't like running the ball) scored 4 TD - on runs of 13, 4, 19, and 11 yards. And freshman RB Xavier Roberson had the other 3, scoring on runs of30 and 8 yards as well as a 96-yard kickoff return for SE Louisiana.
Of the 32 dread stars this week nobody was an obvious choice for the player of the week. But there was one (and only one) player who had a 200-yard game from scrimmage. So I am naming UAB sophomore RB Darrin Reaves the head dread for Week 11. Reaves was named CUSA offensive player of the week after racking up 221 total yards in a 38-31 home victory over Marshall. Darrin rushed for 184 yards and 2 TD on 32 carries and caught 6 passes for 37 yards. It was the 3rd straight 200-yard game for Reaves, who has become the brightest spot in a dismal season for UAB. Even after winning their last 2 games, the Blazers are just 3-7 on the season. If you are interested, you can click on the link below for a 4-minute video as Reaves meets the press after the game.
If I can stay awake, I will be watching parts of these games: Western Carolina-Alabama (your only chance to see the sick dreads of Jaleel Lorquet), Wofford-South Carolina, Alabama A&M-Auburn, Mississippi-LSU, North Carolina State-Clemson, South Florida-Miami, ODU-JMU, and the annual Florida Classic between FAMU and Bethune-Cookman.