Saturday, December 1, 2012

College FB '12 Dread News - Week 13

That didn't take long, did it? I'm talking about the demise of the Auburn Tigers. On Thanksgiving weekend two years ago, on their last visit to Tuscaloosa, the Tigers celebrated one of their most satisfying victories ever in the Iron Bowl rivalry, coming back from a 24-0 deficit to stun the Crimson Tide 28-27 and cap an undefeated (12-0) regular season. A few weeks after that Auburn was on top of the college football world after their victory over Oregon in the BCS title game. But we all knew Auburn wasn't that good. We all knew that 2010 team was just a Cam Newton-led aberration. We knew that as soon as he was gone, there would be a drop-off. But did any of you think Auburn would fall this far so fast? To last Saturday's embarrassing 42-0 deficit at halftime? To this season's 0-8 record in the SEC, the worst in school history?

That's the sad truth for Auburn fans. Last Saturday's trip to Tuscaloosa was as ignominious as the 2010 trip was glorious. Last week Alabama faced Western Carolina - a lousy FCS team - and led 42-0 at the half and 49-0 at the end. This week, same thing: 42-0 halftime lead, 49-0 victory. Now I'm not saying Auburn 2012 is as bad as a lousy FCS team. But just maybe a few Alabama fans might have said something about it to a few Auburn fans in their encounters this week.
Not surprisingly, Alabama dominated in total yards 483-163. Senior S Robert Lester celebrated senior day by letting his dreads show a little more than usual and by leading the Tide in tackles with 5 (4-1) and getting his 4th INT of the season (photo above). Junior RB Eddie Lacy (looking to get past senior CB T'Sharvan Bell in photo below) topped the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the season on his final carry of the game - a 7-yard run late in the 3rd quarter. But unfortunately there was some bad news, as starting junior WR Kenny Bell suffered a broken leg during the game. He possibly could recover in time to play in the Tide's bowl game.
Auburn also had a RB with dreads go over 1,000 yards rushing on his final carry of the afternoon. Sophomore Tre Mason ran for 5 yards on the final play of the game to up his total to 1,002 for the season. Mason had 82 yards on 21 carries but also fumbled twice, losing one. Junior S Ryan Smith (not to be confused with senior S Ryan Smith of JMU) had a game high 9 tackles (6-3) and 1 FR.

Win at Cincinnati one week, then lose at Pittsburgh the next week. Do that in the NFL, and it's expected. But do that in the Big East? --- not good, at least not this year. That's the feat the Rutgers accomplished last Saturday. The Scarlet Knights were terrible on offense again, only this time the defense couldn't bail the team out as Pitt rolled to a 27-6 victory, handing Rutgers their 1st conference loss this season. Rutgers punted 11 times and had 1 turnover in their 13 possessions, finishing with a meager 207 total yards. Junior LB Shane Gordon led the Pitt D with 9 tackles (7-2) and had 1 PBU.Sick freshman CB Lafayette Pitts had 1 PBU and got his 1st career INT early in the 4th quarter, although he suffered slight embarrassment when he got tackled by the QB on the return (photo below). 
It was the final meeting (for now anyway - they'll likely meet again at the next level sometime in the future) in the brother vs. brother matchup of RU senior LB Khaseem Greene and Pitt RB Ray Graham (photo below). Bragging rights go to the Graham household this year. Graham (who if I'm not mistaken started growing dreads - but only very briefly - a couple of years ago) had 163 total yards on his senior day. In last season's meeting Greene had 7 tackles of Graham included in his total of 11 tackles for the game. This year Khaseem got his brother only twice, including 1 TFL, and finished with 8 tackles (4-4) for the day.
I want to take a moment to apologize for not watching as many games as usual this week. Almost my entire report this week is about stuff that I did not see. Due to illness I was in and out of consciousness (mostly out) all day last Saturday. If you have been a frequent reader of this blog in the past, you'll recall that in my Thanksgiving week report the last two years I did a minute-by-minute look at anything that happened in the games on Saturday. I was planning to do it again this year, but (I'm sorry) I just wasn't up to it. No doubt the biggest disappointment of the day was watching only 20 minutes (or so) of the South Carolina-Clemson game, a game I had been looking forward to all year.

"When we play Clemson, they don't seem to play very well." That was Coach Spurrier's blunt but accurate assessment after his Gamecocks defeated Clemson on the road 27-17 for their 4th straight victory in the Palmetto Bowl rivalry. There's no denying that Clemson has struggled to score against South Carolina recently, but just for a moment it looked like things were going to be different this year. That moment came in the 1st quarter, when the Tigers answered a Carolina TD with a 2-play, 75-yard drive, regaining the lead 14-7 on junior WR DeAndre Hopkins' 43-yard TD reception (photo below). But after scoring on 2 of their first 3 drives, the Clemson offense shockingly went without a TD on their final 8 possessions of the night. Clemson actually led at the half 14-10, but once the Gamecocks' offense got going in the 2nd half, it was over.
South Carolina had drives of 10, 8, 15, and 13 plays the first four times they had the ball after the break. Clemson, meanwhile, made just 5 first downs in the entire 2nd half, allowing SC to finish with a huge edge in time of possession, 39:58-20:02. 7 players with dreads carried the ball at least once during the game, and 8 players with dreads had at least 1 tackle. The Gamecocks took the lead (for good) 17-14 on a 34-yard TD catch and run by junior WR Ace Sanders on 3rd and 16, capping an 85-yard drive to open the 2nd half. Then, after a CU 3-and-out, senior RB Kenny Miles (photo below) gained 37 yards on a drive that ended with a FG to make the score 20-14. Miles finished with 45 yards rushing and 3 catches for 39 yards. 
Gamecocks WR Bruce Ellington outshined his cousin, Clemson senior RB Andre Ellington. Bruce had 7 catches for 72 yards and 2 TD. Andre (photo below) had 72 yards rushing on 15 carries but no TD. Sophomore WR Sammy Watkins finished with just 4 catches for 37 yards for the Tigers. And, almost unbelievably, Hopkins' TD was his only reception of the night.  
Leave it to senior S D.J.Swearinger (who else?) to turn in the most entertaining play of the night (and this I actually was awake for). With Carolina leading 20-17 early in the 4th, Andre Ellington had a nice little run going until it was halted abruptly when Swearinger leveled him with a clean shot, de-cleating him actually, at the Clemson 35-yard line after a gain of 9 (photo below). And after a hit like that, you just knew that D.J. wasn't going to be able to leave well enough alone. He just had to celebrate. And so he did - right over Ellington - drawing a 15-yard penalty. Please click on the link below for a video of the play.
That one didn't make me laugh as hard as the time when he fired the ball into the crowd. But I did have a quick laugh and then wondered what this crazy fool is going to do next. Fortunately for Swearinger the penalty turned out not to be costly, as the drive ended three plays later with an INT. Swearinger finished with 5 tackles (5-0). Senior LB Shaq Wilson also had 5 tackles (3-2). And the Gamecocks were led in tackles by sophomore DE Jadeveon Clowney, who, along with Sanders, made the dread stars list.

 Here's how a few seniors with dreads did in the final home games of their careers.

=== Georgia DT John Jenkins had a career high 11 tackles (4-7) in a 42-10 victory over Georgia Tech that improves the Bulldogs to 11-1.
=== S Kemal Ishmael had 10 tackles (6-4), 2 TFL, including his 1st career sack, and 2 PBU as UCF wrapped up the CUSA East title with a 49-24 win over UAB.
=== SMU LB Taylor Reed had 12 tackles (6-6), 1 FF and 1 FR (on the same play), and 1 PBU as the Mustangs, who led 35-6 in the 3rd quarter, barely held on to defeat Tulsa 35-27. Despite being outgained 591-305 in total yards, SMU hands Tulsa their 1st CUSA defeat and becomes bowl eligible at 6-6.
=== WR Antavian Edison (photo below) had 5 catches for 50 yards and his 8th TD of the season for Purdue in a 56-35 win over Indiana as the Boilermakers become bowl eligible at 6-6.
=== CB Jemarlous Moten had 8 tackles (7-1), 1 TFL, 1 FF, and 3 PBU for Louisiana-Lafayette in a 52-30 win over South Alabama.
==== WR Chuck Jacobs had 4 catches for 22 yards and kickoff returns of 39 and 33 yards as Utah State won their 6th straight (their longest winning streak in 51 years) 45-9 over Idaho to clinch the WAC title outright and get the school's first 10-win season ever.
==== TE Marcel Jensen had 3 catches for 46 yards and 2 TD, and S Phillip Thomas had 9 tackles (6-3), including his 4th sack of the season, and 1 FF as Fresno State defeated Air Force 48-15 to clinch a tie (with San Diego State and maybe Boise State) for the MWC championship.

Unfortunately not all seniors go out with a win.

=== Arkansas WR Cobi Hamilton barely missed the dread stars list, finishing with 10 catches for 98 yards as the Razorbacks finished a very disappointing season at 4-8 with a 20-13 loss to LSU.
=== Minnesota CBs Troy Stoudermire (10 tackles, 7-3) and Michael Carter (8 tackles, 5-3) were busy trying to stop Michigan State RB Le'Veon Bell, who carried 35 times as the Spartans defeated the Gophers 26-10. Stoudermire also had a 46-yard kickoff return.
=== UTEP DE Greg Watkins had 5 tackles (1-4) and 1 sack, raising his total to 3.5 sacks for the season, as the Miners finish at 3-9 with a 33-24 loss to Rice. 


Junior CB Jason Verrett had 7 tackles (5-2), 1 PBU, an his 6th INT of the season as TCU won at Austin for the first time in 45 years (ending an 0-15 streak), defeating Texas 20-13 ..... Senior S Daimion Stafford had 7 tackles (3-4), 1 TFL, 1 PBU, and his 4th INT of the season as Nebraska wrapped up the Big 10 Legends Division title with a tough 13-7 win at Iowa ..... Sophomore S Adrian Witty had 3 tackles (2-1), including 2 sacks, 1 FF, and 2 PBU for Cincinnati in a 27-10 home win over South Florida ..... Senior LB Archibald Barnes had 4 tackles (2-2), 2 PBU, and his 1st INT of the season  as Vanderbilt won their 6th in a row, 55-21 over Wake Forest; freshman RB Deandre Martin came close to the dread stars list with 106 total yards and 1 TD for WF .....

..... Also almost making the dread stars list were: Tennessee junior WR Cordarrelle Patterson (photo above) (38 yards rushing and 4 catches for 88 yards and 1 TD) and sophomore LB A.J. Johnson (14 tackles, 8-6, 2 TFL, 1 sack, and a 2-yard TD run in a 37-17 home win over Kentucky); UAB sophomore RB Darrin Reaves (71 yards rushing, 6 catches for 52 yards and 1 TD in a 49-24 loss at UCF); Syracuse junior RB Prince-Tyson Gulley (83 yards and 1 TD rushing on 13 carries, and 3 catches for 32 yards in a 38-20 win at Temple); Kent State sophomore RB Trayion Durham (97 yards rushing and 1 TD as KSU finishes 8-0 in the MAC East with a 28-6 home win over Ohio U); Houston freshman WR Deontay Greenberry (3 catches for 97 yards in a 40-17 home win over Tulane); Oregon State senior WR Markus Wheaton (7 catches for 98 yards in a 48-24 home loss to Oregon); and Miami (Florida) TE Clive Walford (4 catches for 99 yards and 1 TD in a 52-45 road win over Duke .....
..... Junior RB Vintavious Cooper rushed for 52 yards and 2 TD, and junior LB Derrell Johnson had 14 tackles (5-9), 2.5 sacks, and a key FR in the 2nd overtime as East Carolina defeated Marshall in the highest scoring CUSA game ever 65-59; sophomore LB Jermaine Holmes (photo above) had 14 tackles (6-8), including 3 TFL, for Marshall ..... Junior CB Charles Sawyer had a team high 9 tackles (8-1) and 3 PBU as Mississippi (6-6) became bowl eligible with a 41-24 win over Mississippi State; sophomore WR Jameon Lewis took a kickoff return 100 yards to the house for State ..... And freshman S Kevin Pierre-Louis of Colorado State (not to be confused with the KPL without dreads who plays for Boston College)  had 11 tackles (6-5) and a PBU in the end zone on the final play of the game as the Rams held on to beat New Mexico 24-20. 

New stadium, same old disappointing Alabama State ...... I was very thankful on Thanksgiving to see that Alabama State senior QB Greg Jenkins had unbraided his reduced dreads for the Turkey Day Classic, giving us a chance to see just how sick his dreads are when they're at their best as he played his final game in an ASU uniform. Unfortunately, despite making the dread stars list, Jenkins (photo below) could not lead the Hornets to a victory. Division 2 SIAC champ Tuskegee wrecked the grand opening of ASU's new 26,500-seat stadium, defeating the Hornets (7-4) 27-25 as ASU missed a 2-point conversion attempt after scoring a TD with 2:04 remaining in the game.
It was no fluke either. Tuskegee (10-1) had a slight edge in total yards 402-375. The Hornets led only once, 6-3, on the first of 2 TD runs by sophomore RB Isaiah Crowell (photo below). The lead lasted less than 3 minutes as the Golden Tigers drove 93 yards in 5 plays to take the lead for good. Senior LB Brandon Roberts had 7 tackles (2-5) and 1 TFL in his final game for ASU, and senior WR T.C. McWilliams had 6 catches for 47 in his final game.
While 12 teams got a bye into the 2nd round of the playoffs, the other eight were on the field last Saturday in 1st round action. And not surprisingly, OVC champ Eastern Illinois along with MEAC champ Bethune-Cookman are one-and-done. EIU went on the road and took a disastrous 58-10 whipping from South Dakota State, giving up 434 yards rushing (580 overall). Sick junior DBs Tavares Crawford (photo below) Nick Beard both finished with 3 tackles (2-1) and spent most of the day watching RB Zach Zenner shred the EIU defense for 295 yards and 3 TD. It turned out to be to be the final game for sick senior RB Jake Walker. I don't expect Walker to make the NFL; but hopefully those super long dreads of his will show up on a pro football field somewhere else in the future. Although he lost a fumble on the final play of his career, Jake still makes the dread stars list one last time. Freshman CB Je Ryan Butler had 6 tackles (4-2) for South Dakota State, who will play top seed North Dakota State in round 2.
As for Bethune-Cookman, even playing at home the Wildcats couldn't even beat Coastal Carolina (which, besides them, probably was the weakest team in the tournament). It was 24-0 in the 4th quarter before a couple of TD made the final score a more respectable 24-14. Junior RB Isidore Jackson (photo below) had 91 total yards and scored his 10th TD of the season for BCU ..... Villanova, a team I thought would make some noise, was eliminated by Stony Brook 20-10. Senior S Ronnie Akins had 12 tackles (5-7) and 1 FR in his final game in a Villanova uniform; and sophomore LB Joey Harmon had 11 tackles (3-8) and 1 TFL. But just like Eastern Illinois, Villanova had the ball run down their throat. Stony Brook rushed for 263 yards on 58 attempts and threw only 6 passes all game ......In the other 1st round game NEC champ Wagner beat Colgate 31-20 in a game that featured no dreads at all.

Not to be outdone by Auburn, Southern Mississippi took just one year to go from the penthouse to the outhouse. After finishing 12-2 and winning the CUSA championship last year, the Golden Eagles astonishingly ran the table this season, going 0-12. USM's 42-24 loss at Memphis last Saturday capped their first winless season in 87 years. Southern Miss had touchdowns scored by 6 different players with dreads in 2011 (tied for the most in Division 1); but this season the only player with dreads who took one to the house was freshman RB Tyre Bracken, and that's assuming that he still has the beginner dreads he has in his photo on the team's website. Bracken finished with 80 yards receiving, 60 yards rushing, and 2 TD (that's for the whole season, not one game). Sophomore WR Chris Briggs had 11 catches for 144 yards. And senior LB Khyri Thornton finished the year with 9.5 TFL, 1 sack, and 1 INT. Oh well, after 0-12, there's only one way to go, right USM fans? 


1. Freshman RB Matt Jones breaks into the clear and races to the end zone for a 32-yard TD, capping a 24-0 run by Florida in 4th quarter and giving the Gators a 37-20 lead with 2:33 to go. Jones carried 8 times for 81 yards as Florida improved to 11-1, winning at Florida State 37-26.

2. UNC LB Kevin Reddick strips the ball from Maryland freshman QB Shawn Petty as he makes the tackle for a 5-yard loss at the Maryland 18-yard line during 3rd quarter at Chapel Hill. Maryland recovered the fumble. Petty had his best game, going 16 for 35 for 208 yards and 1 TD (1 INT). But the Terrapins, leading 35-21 after a kickoff return TD to open the 2nd half, scored just 3 points in 6 possessions in 2nd half, and North Carolina came back to win 45-38.

3. Sophomore WR Jay Davis can't make the catch as sophomore S Clayton Geathers and CB Brandon Alexander defend during CUSA action at Orlando. Davis finished with 4 catches for 66 yards, Geathers recorded a career high 17 tackles (7-10) as UAB clinched 1st place in CUSA East, defeating UAB 49-24.

4. Sophomore S Derrick Wells and DE Ben Perry make the tackle after a 40-yard run by Michigan State RB Le'Veon Bell during 1st quarter at Minneapolis. The drive ended with a FG. Wells had a team high 12 tackles (7-5), 1 TFL, and 1 PBU, but Minnesota gained just 96 total yards in a 26-10 loss to the Spartans.

5. Junior CB Sidney Hodge gets the tackle, not a PBU, as Hawaii WR Scott Harding pulls in a 39-yard reception to convert a 3rd and 7 during 3rd quarter at Honolulu. It was one of 5 tackles (5-0) for Hodge as UNLV wrapped up a 2-11 season by losing to Hawaii 48-10.

6. Junior WR Isaiah Burse of Fresno State tracks the incoming pass as DB Christian Spears defends for Air Force during MWC action at Fresno. I'm not really sure what happened here. Burse scored a TD in the game, but this wasn't it. According to the box score, there were no incomplete passes to Burse. And there were no tackles of Burse by Spears. Hmm. Maybe it's a play nullified by a penalty, or perhaps Spears missed the tackle.

7. 6-6 WR Mekale McKay of Arkansas makes a 28-yard reception against the coverage by 6-2 freshman CB Jalen Collins for Arkansas' only TD of the game, cutting LSU's lead to 17-10 during 3rd quarter. Collins finished with 2 tackles (1-1), and LSU hung on for the 20-13 road win. Collins, a true freshman, played a lot this season; hopefully three years from now we'll be talking about him being a serious NFL prospect. 

8. Sick senior S Jahleel Addae of Central Michigan, who is a lock for my dread all-America team, clobbers UMass TE Rob Blanchflower as he breaks up a pass during 4th quarter in MAC action at Gillette Stadium. Addae picked up a personal foul penalty for a hit to the head. Jahleel had 8 tackles (5-3), 2 TFL, and his 4th INT of the season in what hopefully will not be his final game for CMU. With their 42-21 win, CMU became bowl eligible at 6-6; but 6 other MAC teams also are bowl eligible, so the Chippewas might not get a bid.

9. Alabama State sophomore RB Isaiah Crowell was not the only #1 on the field with sick dreads in the Turkey Day Classic at Montgomery. #1 for Tuskegee is freshman LB Quavon Taylor, here arriving too late as Crowell scores a 1-yard TD run with 2:04 to play in 4th quarter.

10. Quavon Taylor and ex-dread S Jamar Hornsby tackle Isaiah Crowell at the ASU 48-yard line after a 13-yard run during 2nd quarter, as senior WR T.C. McWilliams looks on. Taylor finished with 10 tackles (5-5), while Crowell made the dread stars list. Tuskegee spoiled the grand opening of ASU's new stadium, defeating the Hornets 27-25.

11. Rutgers senior LB Khaseem Greene gives Pittsburgh senior WR Cameron Saddler a senior day memory he'll never forget with this vicious helmet-to-helmet hit that halted Saddler's punt return during 2nd quarter at Heinz Field .....

12. ...... Saddler and Greene go crashing to the turf after their collision. Despite outweighing Saddler 230-160, Greene actually got the worst of it. He had to be helped off the field, and he picked up a 15-yard penalty on the hit too, setting up Pitt for a short TD drive. Rutgers suffered their 1st Big East loss of the season, falling to Pitt 27-6.

13. South Carolina senior TE Justice Cunningham hurdles Clemson S Rashard Hall, but freshman CB Cortez Davis is waiting for him and makes the tackle at the Clemson 40-yard line after a 19-yard reception on 3rd an 6 during 1st quarter. The drive ended with a TD 4 plays later, tying the game at 7. Davis finished with 2 tackles (2-0), while Cunningham had 2 catches for 26 yards. South Carolina won, leaving both teams at 10-2.  


  • Eddie Lacy - Alabama - 131 yards and 2 TD rushing on 18 carries in 49-0 home W over Auburn
  • Jeff Scott - Mississippi - 28 carries for 111 yards rushing in 41-24 home W over Mississippi State
  • Ace Sanders - South Carolina - 6 catches for career high 119 yards and 1 TD, also had 30-yard punt return, in 27-17 road W over Clemson

  • Akeem Daniels - Northern Illinois - 112 yards and 4 TD rushing on just 12 carries in easy 49-7 W at Eastern Michigan
  • Todd Gurley - Georgia - 97 yards rushing, 20 yards receiving, and 2 TD on 14 touches in easy 42-10 home W over Georgia Tech

  • Rolandan Finch - Boston College - 19 carries for 144 yards rushing and 1 TD in 27-10 L at North Carolina State
  • Isaiah Burse - Fresno State - 7 receptions for career high 158 yards and 1 TD in 48-15 home W over Air Force

  • Denard Robinson - Michigan - 10 carries for 122 yards rushing, including 67-yard TD, in tough 26-21 road L to Ohio State
  • Johnnie Houston - Coastal Carolina - 4 tackles (2-2), including a half sack, 2 FF, one of which set up a FG drive, and took INT return 68 yards to the house in 24-14 1st round playoff road W over Bethune-Cookman
  • Charles Hawkins - Southern - 6 receptions for 99 yards and 3 TD in 38-33 W over Grambling in Bayou Classic

  • Jake Walker - Eastern Illinois - 23 carries for 125 yards rushing and 1 TD in 58-10 1st round playoff road L to South Dakota State
  • Greg Jenkins -Alabama State - 106 yards rushing on 15 carries, and went 20 for 26 passing for 147 yards with 1 TD (1 INT) in 27-25 home L to Tuskegee
  • Isaiah Crowell -Alabama State - 118 yards and 2 TD rushing on 18 carries as ASU loses 1st game in new stadium


For the second week in a row and third time this season one player was responsible for clinching HOD honors. For Week 13 that player is senior RB Akeem Daniels of Northern Illinois. "My hands were kind of frozen but I didn't mind," said the former Kissimmee Osceola HS star after scoring 4 TD on a windy day that was cold enough that some snow flurries fell. The end zone at Rynearson Stadium in Ypsilanti, MI, was the house of dread as Daniels scored on runs of 25, 20, 19, and 16 as NIU routed Eastern Michigan 49-7.


Sacks come so easily for Jadeveon Clowney that it's almost unfair. In fact, the only reason Clowney is a sophomore DE for South Carolina is that the NFL doesn't let you join their league until 3 years after you leave high school. And so, instead of chasing NFL QBs, he was terrorizing Clemson fans in general, and QB Tahj Boyd in particular last Saturday night, leading the Gamecocks to a 27-17 victory over the Tigers. And  it's something Clemson fans had better get used to, because JC says, "I don't know how it feels to lose to Clemson. I'm not going to know how it feels either, because we are not going to lose to Clemson as long as I'm here." Clowney did his best to assure Carolina did not lose to Clemson this year, recording a career high and Carolina single game record 4.5 sacks among his 7 tackles (6-1), earning him SEC co-defensive player of the week honors. The 4.5 boosted his season total to 13 sacks, which is a new Carolina single season record. I'm praying for this kid, praying he stays healthy and praying he keeps himself out of trouble. If he can continue to do that, there's no telling how much money he'll make by the time he's done playing.


I'm not too excited about any of the conference championship games on tap, not even the big one between Georgia and Alabama. And with none of the FCS playoff games being televised (again), I'll probably be changing channels often.

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