UW fans and players will insist that the dawdling Pac-12 officials were directly responsible for the loss, their utter incompetence in the closing seconds denying the Badgers a chance to kick a last-second FG that would have won the game. ASU fans would probably counter that yes, the officials blew it, but that there were a whole bunch of questionable calls that went against the Sun Devils in that game three years ago. Just to name a couple, in fact, I remember an obvious pass interference penalty in the end zone by a UW DB that wasn't called in the 2nd half as well as a TD catch by WR George Bell in the 1st half that didn't count only because none of the TV cameras provided a conclusive-enough view of him getting one foot down in the end zone before his other foot landed out of bounds, even though we all know that's exactly what happened. So now the two teams are even, right?
Listed at 6-foot-1, 205 pounds, Gordon not only is similar in size to Kansas City Chiefs star Jamaal Charles (5-11, 200), but the two have a similar running style as well. Although they both occasionally run with a little power, it's their tremendous speed that makes them so dangerous. On well-blocked plays, they're not going to be gaining 15 or 20 yards - they're taking it all the way to the house. Thanks to his frequent long runs, Charles has a 5.7 yards per carry average so far in his NFL career - one of the best averages in league history. And Gordon, a redshirt sophomore, is currently averaging an incredible 10.1 yards on his first 119 carries in a Wisconsin uniform.
Wow. No doubt the officials certainly should have gotten the ball spotted quicker than that. But the thing is, I was just as irate at the UW coaching staff as I was the refs. Hey, I'm all for trying to move the ball to the middle of the field, but ONLY IF YOU HAVE ENOUGH TIME. Listen, if your kicker can't make a 30-yard FG from the hash mark, he doesn't deserve to be on scholarship - and you don't deserve to win. In fact, he had made a 34-yarder from that same right hash mark earlier in the 4th quarter, so I don't understand the urgency to move the ball to the middle of the field. Yes, the Badgers should have had enough time, but they put the game in the hands of the officials, and that's just not a smart thing to do - especially when it's Pac-12 officials, who infamously also cost Oklahoma a road victory over Oregon a few years back.
Arizona State entered the game 8-0 at home all time vs. opponents from the Big 10 and had outscored those 8 teams 320-111. But even though this was no blowout, the Sun Devils will gladly take it. Junior TE De'Marieya Nelson, who caught a TD pass last week, had no passes thrown to him in this one. He was used almost exclusively as a blocker. Highly-recruited freshman WR Ronald Lewis did not play for the 2nd game in a row. Hopefully ASU isn't planning on redshirting him. On defense senior LB Steffon Martin finished with 5 tackles (2-3) and 1 PBU. Sophomore DE Jaxon Hood had 4 tackles (3-1) and 2 PBU. Hood, a 290-pounder, nearly did the splits while being blocked on one play in the 2nd half and was lucky he didn't suffer a pulled groin. Senior DE Davon Coleman had 2 tackles (2-0). Dealing with a knee injry, star DT Will Sutton (forcing QB Joel Stave into an incomplete pass in photo on left) only had 1 tackle (1-0). And senior LB Grandville Taylor had 1 FR on a muffed punt return by the Badgers in the 3rd quarter.
The muff was not costly for UW though, because senior S Dezmen Southward got his 1st INT of the season on the next play. Southward might have had another INT in the game; but after he caught a deflected pass near the sideline in the end zone on 4th down on ASU's opening possession of the game, the play was not reviewed, and the Badgers took possession at their 3-yard line instead of the play being ruled a touchback. Along with his pick Southward finished with 6 tackles (5-1) and 1 PBU (photo on right, on 3rd down, forcing ASU to settle for a FG). In that game three years ago Dez's dreads were barely visible outside his helmet. It's hard to believe they would grow this much since then, so I think he's added some hair not of his own. You can see a post-game interview of Southward along with some of the UW highlights in the game by clicking the link below.
Southward's dreads now challenge sophomore CB Terrance Floyd's for the longest on the team. Floyd, playing exclusively on special teams, had no tackles. Junior WR Kenzel Doe had no recptions but finished with 80 yards on punt and kickoff returns. And as for Gordon, he's now 3 for 3 this season in appearances on the dread stars list; and I don't see very many good defenses on the rest of the UW schedule, so even though he's sharing carries with two other RBs, Melvin could be heading for a tremendous season.
Two Louisiana schools that hadn't met for 15 years found themselves on opposite sidelines in one of the three Thursday night games that began Week 3. I was trying to keep an eye on the other two games (and an NFL game too), so I didn't watch as much of the Tulane-Louisiana Tech game as I should have. Thanks to the latest round of conference musical chairs, Tulane and Louisiana Tech for this season (and this season only) are in the same conference - Conference USA to be specific, and the Green Wave were more than happy to welcome the Bulldogs to the league. Tulane may have endured more than their share of hard times in recent years, but they've never lost to the Bulldogs. And they still haven't, improving to 9-0 all time with a 24-15 victory at Ruston. The win snaps Tulane's 12-game road losing streak.
Both teams have a RB with dreads that came close to making the dread stars list. Sophomore Tevin King's 47-yard run to the 3-yard line on Tech's 2nd offensive snap of the game set up a FG for an early 3-0 lead. Later in the 1st junior Rob Kelley (left photo below) broke loose for a 34-yard run for Tulane to the 30-yard line, and 3 plays later the Green Wave took a 7-6 lead. King (right photo below) would finish with 88 yards rushing on 14 carries plus 3 catches for 40 yards. Kelley ended up with 110 total yards, including 87 rushing on only 9 carries.
The sickest dreads I saw in an LT uniform belong to senior WR Richie Casey, who finished with 4 catches for 36 yards. Sophomore DE Vontarrius Dora had 2 tackles (1-1), one of which was a sack. For Tulane sophomore S Darion Monroe had 5 tackles (3-2), and sick DT Chris Davenport (who transferred in from LSU for his senior season) had 2 tackles (1-1), including 1 sack. Unfortunately the best dreads in a Tulane uniform remained on the sideline all night. Redshirt freshman QB Devin Powell is #2 on the TU depth chart after losing the competition for the starting QB job to junior Nick Montana (the son of you know who).
You may have noticed that I posted last week's report at 11:10 AM. Well, by the time the clock hit 11:15 I had already crashed, even though the early afternoon games were beginning; so I didn't see very much action at all in any of the afternoon games. If I had been awake I likely would have watched the contest between Louisville and Kentucky. The Wildcats' defense, with three starters with dreads on the D-line, forced Louisville to punt on 4 of their 6 1st-half possessions. But the Cardinals finally got a TD late in the 2nd quarter to take a 10-3 lead. Louisville's 2 TD in the 2nd half were both scored by senior RB and dread star Senorise Perry, capping a pair of 83-yard drives, the second of which made the score 27-6. The Cardinals held on to win 27-13 and improve to 3-0.
The telecast of the Alabama-Texas A&M SEC early-season showdown achieved CBS' highest rating for A Saturday afternoon game in 23 years - but I wasn't one of the millions watching. The Crimson Tide avenged last season's home loss to the Aggies, winning 49-42 at College Station despite allowing 628 total yards. Of the 13 TD in the game the only one by a player with dreads was the 51-yard reception by senior WR Kenny Bell that put Alabama ahead to stay 21-14 in the 2nd quarter. It was his only catch of the game. Senior WR Derel Walker finished with 5 catches for 66 yards for the Aggies.
After being beaten by East Carolina and thrashed by Maryland, the ODU Monarchs were very happy to see a bunch of Bison on the opposite sideline for their home opener this week - the Howard U Bison, that is. So happy were the Monarchs that they racked up 733 total yards of offense and jumped out to a 49-10 halftime lead before cruising to a feel-better 76-19 victory. The 76 points were the most ever scored by ODU in a game.
Did I actually use the word dominating to describe the Bowling Green defense last week? Well, scratch that, because there wasn't anything at all dominating about their performance this week. More like dominated. Trying for a 3-0 start, the Falcons got spanked by Indiana 42-10, allowing 601 total yards in the process. Yes, we knew the Hoosiers' offense was good, so I'm not surprised about the 42 and 601. But we also knew their defense was awful. I didn't think they were capable of holding anybody to 10 points. But they indeed 'held' BGSU to 409 total yards and just 53 of those (on 14 touches) by sophomore RB Travis Greene. A couple of true freshmen with dreads have been getting a lot of playing time so far for IU. S Antonio Allen had 5 tackles (4-1) this week, and LB T.J. Simmons finished with 3 tackles (2-1), including 1 TFL. For the Falcons junior LB D.J. Lynch tied for the team lead with 9 tackles (5-4), including 1.5 TFL; and senior S Josh Pettus had 6 tackles (6-0), 2 of which were TFL.
Sophomore WR Breshad Perriman had 4 catches for 56 yards, and junior S Clayton Geathers had 8 tackles (5-3) and 1 PBU as UCF picked up their 1st win ever against a Big 10 team, 34-31 at Penn State ..... Senior CB Marqueston Huff had 8 tackles (7-1) and 3 PBU for Wyoming in a 35-7 home win over Northern Colorado ..... Sick senior DT Ken Bishop had a career high 8 tackles (6-2) plus a FR to earn MAC West defensive player of the week honors for Northern Illinois in a 45-35 road victory over Idaho ..... Senior LB Enrique Williams had 11 tackles (2-9) and 0.5 TFL for South Alabama in a 31-24 SBC home win over Western Kentucky ..... Junior LB Jabral Johnson had 10 tackles (4-6) and 1 PBU, and junior CB Steven Nelson had 2 INT and 1 PBU for Oregon State in a big 51-48 Pac-12 road win in overtime over Utah ..... Cincinnati freshman QB Bennie Coney (photo above) was 5 for 5 for 60 yards in his debut and threw his 1st career TD pass, a 44-yarder to freshman WR Shakim Alonzo (photo on left) in garbage time of a 66-9 rout of Northwestern State .....Senior WR Quron Pratt became the 2nd Rutgers player with dreads to score on a kickoff return this season, taking one 99 yards to the house in a 28-10 home win over Eastern Michigan ..... After playing three seasons for Mississippi, senior S Frank Crawford got his 1st INT in a UNLV uniform with 3:55 remaining in the game to preserve a 10-point lead as the Rebels came from 21-0 behind to defeat Central Michigan 31-21 ..... Star senior S Nickoe Whitley (great to see him with beginner dreads) had 6 tackles (6-0) and 2 INT, and sophomore WR Sammie Coates had 3 catches for 55 yards as Auburn snapped their 10-game SEC losing streak with a thrilling 24-20 home win over Mississippi State .....And star junior DE Jadeveon Clowney had 4 tackles (3-1), one of which was a sack and strip (photo below) which South Carolina recovered as the Gamecocks bounced back from last week's loss with a 35-25 home win over Vanderbilt; senior CB Stephen Clarke got his 1st career INT - the 1st INT this season for Vanderbilt - and took the return 67 yards to ... 1 yard short of the house (ouch).
IN THE FCS
After romping to victory over Mercer and Chowan in their first 2 games, Division 1 newbie UNC-Charlotte took a small step up in competition this week. The 49ers flunked the test, losing at home to North Carolina Central 40-13. The Charlotte offense continues to roll in high gear with 533 total yards. But all those yards don't mean a thing when you have 7 turnovers.
Having blown a 14-0 lead last week, Alabama State did one better this week - blowing a three-touchdown lead before rallying in the 4th quarter to win a wild one 40-39 at Arkansas-Pine Bluff. This game was televised (on delay) at the same time as the Wisconsin-Arizona State game, so I was able to watch most of it. After taking a 7-0 lead, the Hornets upped it to 14-0 on the first play following a 28-yard punt, with junior RB Malcolm Cyrus scoring on a 33-yard run. ASU got the ball right back on UAPB's next snap on an INT (actually it was a perfect pass that deflected off the intended receiver's hands), and one play later junior RB Isaiah Crowell ran 25 yards to the house for the Hornets' 3rd TD in a span of just 2:36.
After they stopped beating themselves, the defending SWAC champs roared back, finally taking a 26-24 lead in the 3rd quarter after scoring 2 TD in a span of 1:40, the second of which was a 26-yard drive set up by a FF by freshman WR Braxton Hoof on a kickoff return. When the Golden Lions then drove 81 yards for another TD on their next drive, it was 32-24 and ASU looked beaten. But the Hornets, already 0-1 in the SWAC East and desperate for a win to stay in the race, didn't give up. After a TD and then a FG brought them to within 39-33, UAPB reverted to self-destruct mode, turning the ball over on downs at their own 25-yard line when their punter, after fielding a poor snap, tried to run for a 1st down on 4th and 16 rather than risk getting the punt blocked. ASU scored a TD 3 plays later to take the lead with 4:10 to play and held on for the win.
Sacramento State senior WR Morris Norisse barely missed the dread stars list, finishing with 10 catches for 96 yards and 2 TD in a 63-56 overtime home victory over Southern Oregon ..... Presbyterian junior RB Demarcus Rouse (photo below) also barely missed, finishing with 89 yards and 2 TD rushing and 2 catches for 26 yards in a tough 21-20 loss at Furman ..... Junior CB Denzel Rice had 4 PBU, freshman CB Samson Baldwin had 2 PBU and his 1st career INT; and sophomore WR John Israel had a 39-yard TD catch as Coastal Carolina improved to 3-0 with a 51-32 road win over Eastern Kentucky ..... Freshman WR Damien Strange had 3 catches for 29 yards, including a 15-yarder for his 1st career TD in a Jacksonville uniform as the Dolphins routed Morehead State 69-19 in their Pioneer League opener .....
- John Hubert - Kansas State - 18 carriers for 118 yards rushing, and 2 receptions for 50 yards, including 43-yard TD, in 37-7 home W over Massachusetts
- Devonta Freeman - Florida State - 109 yards and 1 TD rushing on 9 carries in 62-7 home W over Nevada
- Jay Ajayi - Boise State - 17 carries for 125 yards rushing and 4 TD in 42-20 home W over Air Force
- Alex Collins - Arkansas - 25 carries for 115 yards rushing and 1 TD, becoming first freshman in SEC history to begin career with 3 consecutive 100-yard games, in 24-3 home W over Southern Miss
- Terrence Magee - LSU - 108 yards and 1 TD rushing on 9 carries in 45-13 home W over Kent State
- Senorise Perry - Louisville - 11 carries for 100 yards rushing and 2 TD, plus 1 reception for 10 yards in 27-13 road W over Kentucky
- Lorenzo Mauldin - Louisville - named AAC defensive player of the week - 4 tackles (3-1), 3 TFL, 2 sacks, and 1 FF as Cardinals improve to 3-0
- Jamill Smith - Ball State - 4 receptions for 115 yards in 34-27 road L to North Texas
- James Baker - Idaho - 73 yards and 2 TD rushing on 19 carries, and had 37-yard TD catch (but also had 1 costly fumble) in 45-35 home L to Northern Illinois
- Melvin Gordon - Wisconsin - 15 carries for 193 yards rushing and 2 TD, including 80-yarder, in tough 32-30 road L to Arizona State
- Anthony Jordan - Bethune-Cookman - named MEAC offensive player of the week - 21 carries for 150 yards rushing, including 58-yard TD, plus 3 receptions for 14 yards, in 34-13 road W over FIU, the Wildcats' first ever win over an FBS team
- Timothy Flanders - Sam Houston State - 108 yards and 2 TD rushing on 19 carries in 55-17 home W over Texas Southern - becomes SLC's all-time leader in career TD scored with 61
- Isaiah Crowell - Alabama State - 29 carries for 161 yards and 2 TD in huge 40-39 road W over Arkansas-Pine Bluff
- Shepard Little - Eastern Illinois - 129 yards rushing on only 7 carries, including 73-yard TD, in 57-24 home W over Illinois State - EIU amassed new school record 739 total yards
- Gus Johnson - Stephen F. Austin - 16 carries for 102 yards rushing and 2 TD, and 4 receptions for 28 yards in 50-13 home W over McMurry
- Fred Gladney - Valparaiso - 10 receptions for 183 yards and 1 TD in 36-34 home L to William Jewell
- Jordan Harris - Bryant - 9 receptions for 182 yards, including 58-yard TD, in 35-22 road L to Maine - surpasses 3,000-yard mark in career yards receiving
With Georgia and Clemson both off this week, it took only 4 TD to take HOD honors. And there were three games that had 4 TD by players with dreads. The houses of dread for Week 3 are the end zones at the Kibbie Dome in Moscow, ID, Golden Lions Stadium at Pine Bluff, AR, and Bronco Stadium in Boise, ID.
In Northern Illinois' 45-35 victory over Idaho senior RB James Baker scored on a pair of 1-yard runs and on a 37-yard reception for Idaho; while junior RB Cameron Stingily had a 2-yard run for his 1st career TD for NIU. In Alabama State's wild 40-39 win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff junior RB Isaiah Crowell had TD runs of 25 and 5 yards for ASU, junior RB Malcolm Cyrus scored on a 33-yard run for ASU, and senior WR Dexter Bryant had a 31-yard TD reception for UAPB. And at Boise sophomore RB Jay Ajayi was a one-man house of dread, scoring on runs of 20, 35 (photo), 9, and 2 yards in Boise State's 42-20 victory over Air Force.
In just the 3rd week of the season we already have a repeat winner for player of the week. Senior RB Jeff Scott of Mississippi, the head dread of Week 1, takes Week 3 honors for his performance in the Rebels' 44-23 road victory over Texas, avenging last year's 66-31 home loss to the Longhorns. Scott rushed for a career high 164 yards and 1 TD on 19 carries, and earned SEC special teams player of the week honors for his highlight reel 73-yard punt return to the house (left photo). Scott's 5-yard TD run capped Ole Miss' 75-yard game opening drive. And after Texas rallied to take a 23-14 lead, Jeff played a large part in helping the Rebels finish the game on a 30-0 run. His punt return TD (link below) increased Ole Miss' lead to 37-23 lead; and he had 47 yards of the 59 yards on a 4th-quarter drive that wrapped up the scoring.
Now 3-0, the Rebels can make the whole country take notice of them if they can get to 4-0. They play Alabama in Week 5.
Once again there's not a great selection of games for Week 4. I'll probably watch a bit of Marshall-Virginia Tech, FIU-Louisville, Toledo-Central Michigan, North Texas-Georgia, Arkansas-Rutgers, Troy-Mississippi State, and Auburn-LSU.