Saturday, December 8, 2012

College FB '12 Dread News - Week 14

Jarvis Jones must have been confused. It had been so long since Georgia played Alabama (they last met in 2008) that maybe he just didn't understand. So that there will be no further confusion in the future let's get this clear right now: just because Alabama's players have to have their dreads reduced on game days, it doesn't mean Alabama's opponents have to do it too. Jones, the star junior LB for the Bulldogs, had his dreads reduced so much for last Saturday's SEC championship game that you couldn't see them at all (photo below). I mean, I was almost in a panic at first because, until I got a closer look later on, it looked like he had cut them off. Please Jarvis, don't ever do that again.
Having already guaranteed that Alabama would not make it 2 wins in a row in the BCS title game, and having had a lifelong disdain for Notre Dame, I was desperately cheering for Jones (even with reduced dreads) and the Bulldogs to knock off the Crimson Tide. And for a moment they were looking good, leading 21-10 in the 3rd quarter after scoring on a return of a blocked Alabama FG attempt.
But then Alabama got serious, the lead changed hands three times in the 4th quarter, and in the end the Tide pulled out a 32-28 victory in a thriller at the Georgia Dome.

The momentum began changing immediately after UGA took that 21-10 lead when, on the kickoff return following the TD, junior LB T.J. Stripling picked up an idiotic personal foul penalty after the play was already over, giving Alabama 15 yards for free. At that point the Tide decided they would run the ball, and keep on running it until Georgia stopped them. The Bulldogs never did, and the result was back-to-back TD drives of 77 and 73 yards, with junior RB Eddie Lacy's 2nd TD run of the game putting the Tide ahead 25-21. The two drives combined consisted of 11 running plays, with the only pass attempt resulting in an interference penalty against Georgia. The Bulldogs answered those two scores decisively, striking back with a 75-yard drive in 5 plays, capped by freshman RB Todd Gurley's 2nd TD of the game (photo below). But Alabama regained the lead again with 3:15 to go, setting the stage for a frantic finish. 
The Bulldogs went three-and-out but got the ball back at their 15-yard line following an Alabama punt with 1:08 remaining. They made it all the way to the Tide 8-yard line with :14 on the clock, enough time for two or maybe three passes into the end zone. But on 1st and goal the pass was tipped by a D-lineman, and then caught right at the line of scrimmage by WR Chris Conley, who unfortunately didn't have the common sense to let the ball fall incomplete and stop the clock. Tide senior S Robert Lester was right there in position to make the tackle but didn't have to because Conley slipped and fell at the 5-yard line (photo below) and time expired. You know, I would have been OK with Alabama winning if Georgia had gotten those three cracks at the end zone and had come up short. But for it to be over after just one play, it just left me feeling like the game wasn't meant to end like that. 
For Georgia Jones finished with 6 tackles (3-3), including 3 TFL, one of which was a sack and strip for a turnover in the 1st quarter; senior DT John Jenkins also had 6 tackles (3-3), with 1 sack; Stripling had 2 tackles (1-1) and sick sophomore LB Ramik Wilson had a TFL and FF on his only tackle of the game. Lester led Alabama with 8 tackles (3-5), with 1 TFL; and junior DE Ed Stinson had 2 tackles (2-0) for the Tide before leaving with a leg injury late in the 2nd quarter.

There were a couple of sideline shots during the game that included injured Tide freshman RB Dee Hart. Apparently even if you're not in uniform, you still have to reduce your dreads if you want to be on Coach Saban's team. But Hart didn't braid his long dreads to reduce them. Instead he had not one, not two, or three or four, but five rubberbands around them. That'll definitely keep your dreads from moving, no doubt. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Thankfully, in the end, Lacy was not going to celebrate this victory with his dreads reduced. He had his dreads completely unbraided and back to normal almost immediately after the game was over (photo below). And Eddie had a lot to celebrate too as he was named the game's MVP.
I had been considering including UCF senior S Kemal Ishmael on the 1st team of my all-America with dreads team. But I am recalculating after seeing his boneheaded play in the 4th quarter of the CUSA championship game at Tulsa. Tulsa had gone without scoring on all five of their possessions in the 2nd half when UCF punted with just over 5 minutes left in the game. While covering the punt, Ishmael, instead of catching the ball on the high hop it took or just downing it, for some reason batted the ball forward a few yards. And as Ishmael and six of his teammates stood there waiting for the ball to stop rolling, Tulsa RB Trey Watts swooped in, picked up the ball, and took it 54 yards to the house to tie the game with 5:06 remaining. Tulsa went on to win 33-27 in overtime. I'm not saying Ishmael's play cost the Knights the game, but it sure made things a lot easier for Tulsa.  

Otherwise Kemal had a nice game, finishing with 14 tackles (8-6) and 1 FF. Sophomore S Clayton Geathers also racked up 14 tackles (6-8). And freshman WR Breshad Perriman had 3 catches for 65 yards, including an 8-yard TD early in the 2nd quarter that tied the game at 7. Freshman S Michael Mudoh, one of the very few Tulsa players with dreads, had a FF and FR on his only tackle of the day, which came on the opening kickoff of the game.

Not to be outdone by CUSA, the MAC championship game went to 2 overtimes, with Northern Illinois edging Kent State 44-37 to improve to 12-1 and clinch a most unlikely bid to the Orange Bowl. Sick junior DT Ken Bishop got the start on both defense and offense as he lined up at FB on the Huskies' first snap (and on a handful of other plays as well). He finished with 8 tackles (4-4) (one of them in photo below), including 3 TFL and 1 sack. But he had no stats on offense as a pass intended for him on 3rd and 3 from the KSU 12-yard line was off target. I might have cracked up if Bishop, who is listed at 308 pounds, had caught that and taken it to the house. 
NIU kicked a FG on the next play to up their lead to 27-13 late in the 3rd quarter. But a pair of Kent State touchdowns just 15 seconds apart tied the game at 27 with 4:38 to go in the 4th. Then junior RB Akeem Daniels, who scored 4 TD last week, stepped up again, accounting for 66 of the 75 yards on a 4-play drive that put NIU back in front with 3:12 to go. Back came the Golden Flashes with a TD with :44 on the clock to send the game into OT. After both teams kicked a FG in the 1st OT, Daniels started the 2nd OT with a 23-yard run, and NIU scored on the next play for a 44-37 lead. This time KSU could not answer, with the game ending on an INT in the end zone on 4th and 8.

Last week I mentioned that Dri Archer, Kent State's star RB, had not switched his growing hair to dreads yet. But I noticed that he was wearing a skull cap (for the first time) during this game. That sent me to Google to look for any recent videos of him, and there were a couple. The verdict: whatever he switched his hair to , it doesn't look like beginner dreads. I'm not really sure because it doesn't look like normal braids either. But I've seen a lot of photos of beginner dreads, and none of them looked like Archer does now. Dri is only a junior, so let's wait and see what he looks like at the start of next season. I'd love to welcome him to the house (he has scored 22 TD so far this season!) but not yet. KSU's other star RB, sophomore Trayion Durham, who most definitely has short dreads under his skull cap, was held to 72 yards on 20 carries.

I was hoping for the first ACC championship game between rivals Florida State and Miami, and it looked like we would have it, as both the Seminoles and Hurricanes (after winning tiebreakers) finished on top of their respective divisions. But Miami, still under investigation by the NCAA, decided (wisely) to forgo postseason play for the 2nd straight year, leaving us with Georgia Tech to take on FSU. The ACC was spared the embarrassment of having the Yellow Jackets represent the league in the Orange Bowl with a 7-6 record, but not by much. Florida State jumped out to a 21-6 halftime lead but struggled in the 2nd half and had to hang on for a 21-15 victory to clinch their first ACC crown since 2005.
Sophomore RB Devonta Freeman scored FSU's 1st TD on a 3-yard run (photo above) that capped a 43-yard drive on their first possession of the night. Freeman finished with 59 yards on 13 carries. Sophomore DT Timmy Jernigan had what had to have been the best game of his career so far, finishing with a season high 9 tackles (6-3), including 1 sack. For Georgia Tech junior DE Emmanuel Dieke had 2 tackles (2-0), one of which was a sack and strip (and he got the FR too) on 3rd down to end an FSU scoring chance in the 4th quarter. Sophomore RB B.J. Bostic (photo below) had a nice game with 25 yards rushing on 5 carries and 2 receptions for 41 yards.
You know, When I was at Wisconsin (and that would be many blue moons ago), we wondered if we'd ever see the Badgers go to the Rose Bowl. So to see them clinch a 3rd consecutive trip to Pasadena with their victory in last Saturday's Big 10 championship game is nothing short of amazing. It just shows you that if you live long enough, you're liable to see anything (except the Cubs win the World Series, of course). Do the Badgers deserve to go this year, with their 8-5 record, 4-4 in Big 10 play? Absolutely not. But hey, Ohio State, unlike Miami , didn't have the foresight to take their bowl ban last year instead of this year; so the Buckeyes will be going home with their 12-0 record, while the Badgers will be happily heading out West after annihilating Nebraska 70-31. 

You'd think that the Nebraska defense had never seen a jet sweep before. I mean, the Badgers got a lot of mileage out of that play, including a 56-yard TD run by freshman RB Melvin Gordon on the 4th play of their opening drive. UW also scored on Nebraska's first play from scrimmage, a pick 6 that made the score 14-0 just 2:07 after the opening kickoff. The Cornhuskers got back into it at 14-10, but it was all Wisconsin from there.
The Badgers ended up with 640 totals yards, including 539 rushing. Three RBs, including Gordon, topped the 100-yard mark. On defense junior S Dezman Southward (helping make a tackle in photo above) had a busy night, finishing with 10 tackles (4-6), and junior DE David Gilbert (pay no attention to the photo with his bio on the Badgers' websites - he has dreads now) had a FF for a turnover on one of his 3 tackles (1-2) ..... Attention Badgers, if this was your 'A' game, better bring your 'A+' game to the Rose Bowl, because it's going to be a lot, lot harder against Stanford.

There is no conference championship game in the Big East, but thanks to wise (lucky?) scheduling, the league's top 2 teams met in the final game of the season, as Louisville traveled to Rutgers for what in effect was the championship game. It looked like it was going to be a glorious senior night for RU senior LB Khaseem Greene, as the Scarlet Knights scored an 85-yard TD on their first offensive snap and took a 14-3 lead deep into the 3rd quarter. But then the momentum, and the game, changed in a hurry.
A 26-yard reception by senior WR Andrell Smith on 3rd and 12 got Louisville started on what would become a 90-yard drive, with the TD coming on another conversion of a 3rd and 12. Then on the ensuing kickoff, sophomore S Calvin Pryor, who had missed the tackle at the Rutgers 40-yard line on the earlier 85-yard TD (photo above), recovered a fumble by Rutgers (photo below) and returned it 5 yards to the RU 20-yard line. The Cardinals scored again on the next play, and just that quickly Louisville had the lead 17-14.
With the game tied at 17 late in the 4th, the turnover bug bit Rutgers again, and this time the bite was poisonous. An INT with 3:53 to go gave Louisville the ball at the Rutgers 47, and Smith's 30-yard catch and run (photo below) took it to the 17, setting up a FG 4 plays later that put the Cardinals on top 20-17. And then another INT - this one by sophomore CB Terell Floyd with 1:06 on the clock, sealed the win for Louisville.
Smith finished with 3 catches for 64 yards, and Pryor had 2 PBU and a team high 7 tackles (4-3). Greene had a team-leading 10 tackles (4-6) in his final home game in a Rutgers uniform. The result left four teams tied for 1st place in the Big East at 5-2, with Louisville winning the tiebreaker to earn a spot in the Sugar Bowl. Rutgers, who lost their last 2 after a 5-0 start, will have to settle for a Russell Athletic (formerly the Champs Sports) Bowl game against Virginia Tech.

The schedule maker in the Sun Belt Conference also came out looking like a genius after matching top teams Arkansas State and MTSU in a final-week showdown for the title. Defending champ Arkansas State you could understand. But MTSU??? - the Blue Raiders went 2-10 last year. Unfortunately for MTSU fans, their team played more like that 2-10 team than the one that went 8-3 this year before going to Jonesboro last Saturday. ASU scored on all five of their possessions in the 1st half, building a 35-0 lead, and went on to rout MTSU 45-0 and successfully defend their SBC crown.  

I was kind of angry that this game was not on TV, as both teams have WRs with sick dreads. Arkansas State, in fact, has three. Senior WR Josh Jarboe had only 2 catches for 15 yards on senior day, but one of them was a 6-yard TD that capped an 85-yard drive and made the score 21-0. Then after stopping MTSU for no gain on 4th and 1 on the ensuing drive, on the next play junior WR Julian Jones took a reception 59 yards to the house to make it 28-0. It was Jones' team-leading 7th TD catch of the season, a remarkable total considering he has only 13 receptions all season.
The third of ASU's trio of sick WRs, freshman J.D. McKissic (photo above), finished with 8 catches for 60 yards. MTSU was dominated in total yards 512-203, so it's no surprise that it was a quiet day for senior WR Anthony Amos and junior WR Kyle Griswould. Amos, a candidate for my all-America with dreads team, and Griswould both finished with an identical 4 catches for 32 yards.

Things got even worse for MTSU in the days after the game. In a decision that (despite what the SBC commissioner says) has everything to do with the fact that MTSU is leaving the conference and joining CUSA next year), the Blue Raiders were denied a bid to a bowl game despite finishing 8-4. Western Kentucky, 7-5 including a home loss to MTSU, was picked for a bowl game instead of MTSU (ouch).


The attendance was sparse (31,622), and so were the dreads as Stanford picked up a 27-24 home victory over UCLA in the Pac 12 championship game; the only significant contribution by anyone with dreads was by UCLA junior DE Owa Odighizuwa, who had a career high 7 tackles (2-5), including a half sack ..... Junior Jonathan Wallace, one of three RBs with dreads to carry the ball for FAU, almost made the dread stars list, rushing for 86 yards and 1 TD and catching 3 passes for 18 yards in a 35-21 home loss to Louisiana-Lafayette; senior day at FAU had no seniors with dreads, meaning all 15 players with dreads on the roster are due to return next season, when the Owls (like MTSU) bolt the SBC and join CUSA ..... And thanks to a game re-scheduled from Week 1, it was senior day at Oregon State, and senior WR Markus Wheaton (photo below) caught 12 passes - all in the 1st half - to break the school record for career receptions as the Beavers slaughtered Nicholls State 77-3; Wheaton's 224 career catches are 2 more than James Rodgers had when he left OSU after last season; Wheaton pays respect to Rodgers in his interview after the game (link below).


What a difference a week makes ...... South Dakota State RB Zach Zenner, the leading rusher in the FCS, had his way with Eastern Illinois in last week's playoff opener. But things were a wee bit more difficult on the road in round 2 against North Dakota State's #1 ranked rushing defense. The defending champs put the clamps on Zenner (46 yards on 15 carries) and dominated South Dakota State 28-3 to advance to the quarterfinals. The Jackrabbits were held to 217 total yards and went 2 for 13 on 3rd down, with their only two conversions not coming until a meaningless drive in the final minute of the game. Junior RB Sam Ojuri gained 77 total yards for the Bison; star junior CB Marcus Williams had 3 tackles (1-2) and got his 5th INT of the season; and senior CB Andre Martin contributed 4 tackles (2-2) and 1 PBU. 

Southland co-champ Central Arkansas gave SOCON co-champ Georgia Southern a run for their money, but GSU, after leading 24-6 in the 2nd quarter, held on for a 24-16 home win to advance to the quarterfinals. Senior RB Darreion Robinson rushed for 21 yards and had a 32-yard TD catch (photo above) that gave the Eagles a 14-3 lead in the 1st quarter. Sophomore RB Dominique Swope (photo below) had 64 yards rushing on 17 carries. But the Eagles, almost unbelievably, went scoreless on their final 7 possessions. UCA failed to capitalize, however. After scoring 10 consecutive points to get within 24-16 midway through the 3rd quarter, the Bears failed to penetrate any further than the GSU 41-yard line on any of their final 4 drives. Senior WR Dominique Croom had 2 catches for 70 yards in his final game for UCA, including a 42-yarder in the 1st half that set up a FG. And junior DT Matthew Hornbuckle had 5 tackles (2-3) and 1 TFL. Senior LB Dion Dubose had 4 tackles (2-2) and 2 TFL (including 1 sack) for the Eagles, who improve to 9-3 and will next face ..... 
..... the ODU Monarchs. Defense was optional (as it often is whenever ODU plays) last Saturday at Norfolk. The Monarchs had the edge 672-540 in total yards and 9-5 in TD as they improved to 11-1 with a 63-35 victory over Coastal Carolina. The game was tied at 35 with 3:00 remaining in the 3rd before ODU finally played a little D and pulled away. When I saw the final score, I thought for sure this game would be the Week 14 house of dread winner. But no, there were no TD by players with dreads until the last two of the game - a 13-yard reception by sick senior WR Nick Mayers and a 5-yard run by junior RB Colby Goodwyn. Goodwyn (photo below) finished with 35 yards rushing and 36 receiving. Sick junior WR Marquel Thomas had 3 catches for 26 yards. On defense sophomore CB Reggie Owens had 5 tackles (5-0) and got his 1st INT of the season, ending a CCU scoring chance in the 1st quarter. Sophomore DE Preston Smith had 5 tackles (3-2), including 1.5 sacks. Junior S Paul Morant also had 5 tackles (5-0), and sick sophomore CB Eriq Lewis had 2 tackles (2-0).
ODU scored so often that sick senior CB Tre Henderson had 8 kickoff returns, racking up 190 yards, including a 55-yarder. Junior S Johnnie Houston (chasing Goodwyn in photo above) also contributed for CCU, finishing with 6 tackles (5-1), 1 PBU, and 1 FF.

Cal Poly went on the road and dominated Sam Houston State in total yards 387-241, but a 3-0 deficit in turnovers did them in as SHSU won 18-16. Needing 121 yards to set the Cal Poly single season rushing record, senior RB Deonte Williams had only 48 yards on 13 carries, finishing an outstanding season with 1,506 yards rushing (but falling 72 short of the record). Sophomore DE Wesley Flowers (the transfer from UCLA) had 6 tackles (4-2) and 1 TFL. Senior S Darnell Taylor had a big game for SHSU with a game high 12 tackles (9-3), and on one of them he got a FF and FR at the SHSU 19 to stop a Cal Poly threat in the 1st quarter. Darnell's twin brother, LB Darius Taylor, was slowed by an injury and had only 1 tackle (0-1).

Junior RB Demetrius Bronson rushed for 76 yards and 2 TD, and sophomore RB Quincy Forte had 1 TD run as Eastern Washington survived a -3 margin in turnovers in a 29-19 home win over NEC champ Wagner ...... Also advancing to round 3 were Wofford (23-7 home win over New Hampshire) and Montana State (16-10 home win over Stony Brook) ..... And in a game postponed by Superstorm Sandy, junior RB Joe Ferguson nearly made the dread stars list, finishing with 91 yards rushing, 2 catches for 34 yards, and 1 TD as San Diego won 34-10 at Marist to clinch a tie (with Butler and Drake) for the Pioneer League crown.


With coaches coming and going so fast at this time of year that you can hardly keep up with all the changes, it's nice to be able to mention someone who figured out that the greener pastures were right where he was. With all the success that Coach Moore has had at Appalachian State in recent years, surely he must have gotten at least a couple job offers from FBS schools. But Moore was content to stay at ASU and last Saturday wrapped up his 24th - and last - season at the helm of the Mountaineers, finishing with a 215-87 record after a heartbreaking 38-37 home loss (the only home loss in the eight 2nd round games) in overtime to Illinois State. Moore exits with a resume that includes playoff appearances the last 8 years in a row along with that fantastic run of 3 straight FCS championships from 2005-07.
As Moore steps aside, ASU freshman WR Sean Price is just getting started. In a losing cause against ISU, Price set new FCS freshman single season records in both receptions and receiving yards, finishing with 81 catches for 1,196 yards (breaking Randy Moss's old mark of 1,073).


1. Florida State freshman WR Kelvin Benjamin can't catch an overthrown pass and watches Georgia Tech S Jemea Thomas make a one-handed INT late in 4th quarter of the ACC championship game at Charlotte. Coming on 3rd and 10, the play was as good as a punt for FSU as the INT came at the GT 15-yard line. Although the Seminoles won 21-15, it was a forgettable night for Benjamin, who had only 1 reception for 3 yards and fumbled the ball away after making the catch.

2. On the first play from scrimmage after a Kent State TD, the Golden Flashes get another TD, as Northern Illinois QB Jordan Lynch and junior RB Akeem Daniels miss connection on the handoff, and DE Zack Hitchens (#41) scoops up the fumble and scores on a 22-yard return. The 2 TD in a span of 15 seconds tied the MAC championship game at 27 with 4:38 to go in 4th quarter.

3. With the game tied at 34 in the final minute, NIU goes with the conservative call from their own 25-yard line, hoping Akeem Daniels can break a long one; but senior CB Sidney Saulters stops Daniels after a 9-yard gain. Saulters (whose dreads can't be seen from the front) finished with 9 tackles (7-2). NIU prevailed 44-37 in 2 OT to win their 2nd straight MAC title and, thanks to the crazy rules of the BCS, clinch a bid to the Orange Bowl.

4. Sick sophomore WR Rannell Hall makes the catch for a 35-yard gain as Tulsa CB Lowell Rose makes the tackle during 1st quarter of the CUSA championship game at Tulsa. The drive ended with a punt four plays later. Hall finished with 2 catches for 41yards, but UCF fell short, losing to Tulsa 33-27 in OT.

5. Senior WR Markus Wheaton of Oregon State tries the stiff-arm on Nicholls State freshman CB Darvin Butler on the run after the catch during 2nd quarter at Corvallis. Butler finished the game with 2 tackles (1-1). Going for the OSU record for career receptions, Wheaton made 11 catches in the 2nd quarter alone to break the record set last year by James Rodgers. The Beavers scored their most points ever in one game, destroying Nicholls State 77-3.

6. Junior CB Joe Williams and WR Jay Lee of Baylor try to recover an onside kickoff after an Oklahoma State TD late in 4th quarter at Waco. Neither of them did, but teammate B.J. Allen got the recovery to secure the victory. With Baylor going with the black uniforms, it was considerate of Williams to add a touch of green to his dreads so we can see them better. Joe finished with 4 tackles (4-0) as BU defeated Oklahoma State 41-34, leaving both teams at 7-5. 

7. MTSU junior WR Kyle Griswould can't get past Arkansas State CB Artez Brown and has to settle for 6-yard reception during 2nd quarter of SBC showdown at Jonesboro, AR. It was a long, painful day for Griswould and his teammates. Kyle had just 4 catches for 32 yards, and ASU routed the Blue Raiders 45-0 to clinch their 2nd straight Sun Belt title.

8. Sophomore S Calvin Pryor and senior CB Adrian Bushell of Louisville celebrate with WR DeVante Parker after Parker's 20-yard TD catch gave the Cardinals their first lead of the night, 17-14, in their showdown for the Big East title against Rutgers. Parker's TD came on the first play after Pryor recovered a fumble on a Rutgers kickoff return and was the Cardinals' 2nd TD in a span of 16 seconds.

9. With Louisville leading 20-17 late in 4th quarter, sophomore CB Terell Floyd makes a nice over-the-shoulder grab .....

10. ..... and secures possession before he hits the ground (and hangs on after hitting the ground) for the game-clinching INT at the Louisville 18 yard with 1:06 to play. It was Floyd's 2nd INT of the season, and both have been huge (the other was in overtime against Cincinnati). Floyd also had the FF on the kickoff return that was recovered by Pryor in 3rd quarter. Louisville improved to 10-2 with the impressive 20-17 road win over Rutgers, resulting in the Big East ending in a 4-way tie for the championship. But the Cardinals win the tiebreaker and will represent the league in the Sugar Bowl.

11. Cincinnati junior CB Deven Drane, broken hand and all, breaks up a pass intended for UConn WR Michael Smith during 4th quarter. Drane also had 8 tackles (7-1) and his 2nd INT of the season, which he returned 31 yards to the 4-yard line to set up a TD. The Big East handed out trophies to four teams this season, and Cincinnati was one of them. The Bearcats clinched their share of the title with a 34-17 road win over the Huskies.


  • Akeem Daniels - Northern Illinois - 128 yards and 1 TD rushing on 17 carries, and 4 catches for 67 yards in 44-37 W in 2 OT over Kent State in MAC championship game
  • Markus Wheaton - Oregon State - 12 catches for 123 yards and 1 TD, and had 17 yards and 1 TD rushing as OSU completes turnaround from 3-9 last year to 9-3 with easy 77-3 home W over Nicholls State
  • Eddie Lacy - Alabama - named MVP of SEC championship game - 20 carries for career high 181 yards rushing and 2 TD as Crimson Tide clinch spot in BCS title game with thrilling 32-28 W over Georgia

  • Tevin Reese - Baylor - 5 catches for 108 yards, including 75-yard TD, in 41-34 home W over Oklahoma State
  • William Dukes - FAU - 9 catches for career high and school record 204 yards, including TDs of 75 and 42 yards, in 35-21 home L to Louisiana-Lafayette
  • Todd Gurley - Georgia - 23 carries for 122 yards and 2 TD in tough 32-28 L to Alabama in SEC title game

  • Nick Mayers - ODU - 6 catches for 103 yards and 1 TD in 63-35 FCS 2nd round playoff home W over Coastal Carolina
  • Tyrone Walker - Illinois State - 10 catches for season high 176 yards and 2 TD in thrilling 38-37 road W in OT over Appalachian State in 2nd round of FCS playoffs
  • Sean Price - Appalachian State - 13 catches for 167 yards in 38-37 playoff home L to Illinois State as Mountaineers' season ends when ISU blocks an extra point attempt in OT


The end zone at the Georgia Dome had the most TD by players with dreads in Week 14 - a total of 4 in Alabama's 32-28 victory over Georgia. Junior RB Eddie Lacy for Alabama had TD runs of 41 yards (photo below) and 1 yard, while UGA freshman RB Todd Gurley scored on runs of 3 and 10 yards. 


"...... And I'm sure the coaches are extremely excited for the future, because this player, he's going to be very, very good." The quote is from Wisconsin RB Montee Ball, and his praise was for teammate and fellow RB Melvin Gordon after watching  Gordon's breakout performance in the Badgers' 70-31 demolition of Nebraska in the Big 10 title game. And it's an opinion worth noting too because Ball is a pretty decent player himself, having finished 4th in the voting for the Heisman Trophy last season and having just been named winner of the Doak Walker award for this season.
You know, I was extremely excited back on signing day a couple of years ago when Gordon, who originally had verbally committed to Iowa, changed his mind and instead signed with Wisconsin. And that was before he even started growing his dreads; now I'm even more excited. You see, there is a serious lack of skill position players from Wisconsin playing for FBS teams. And to have potentially one of the best ever - Gordon, who went to HS in Kenosha - sign up with the hated Hawkeyes would have been very, very difficult to swallow. Gordon, mostly in mop-up duty, has flashed some of his considerable potential in his freshman year in 2011 and his redshirt freshman year this season. The UW coaching staff finally decided to put him on the field for meaningful action last Saturday, and the results were spectacular.

The first time he touched the ball, Gordon, a 6-1, 206-pound speedster, scored a 56-yard TD on the 4th play from scrimmage. The next 5 times he carried the ball, he gained 24, 12, 60, 46, and 11 yards - all for 1st downs. The 60-yarder, which will be included on his highlight reel, was particularly painful for Nebraska, because it came with just 20 seconds remaining until halftime and the Badgers content to run out the clock. Instead Gordon took it all the way to the 3-yard line, and the Badgers scored two plays later to make it 42-10 at the half.
Now I know Eddie Lacy had a great game, but after a performance like his, I had to name Gordon the head dread for this week. Nebraska finally stopped Gordon on a garbage-time drive in the 4th quarter, holding him to a total of 7 yards on his final 3 carries. But all that did was lower his yards per carry average for the game from a ridiculous 34.8 to a still-ridiculous 24.0. Melvin finished with 216 yards rushing and the 1 TD on 9 carries. The first link below is to a story about Gordon's performance from the Wisconsin State Journal website. And the one below that is an interview Melvin did with after the game.

Hopefully this will be the first of many great performances to come for Gordon; and I;m wishing all the best for him in the years ahead.

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