Saturday, October 26, 2013

College FB '13 Dread News - Week 8

Well, that wasn't much of a game. Was it? If you had asked me before Florida State played Clemson last Saturday, I would have told you that I thought FSU was the better team, but I still expected Clemson to win - because they were playing at home. But as it turned out, not even the home field advantage was enough to save the Tigers. Not only were the Seminoles the better team, they were an astonishing five touchdowns better. Losers on their last 5 trips to Clemson, the 'Noles ended that streak and had their fans enjoying themselves from start to finish as they put a 51-14 whipping on the Tigers - the most points Clemson has ever allowed in a home game.
I thought when Clemson struggled last week, scoring only 24 points in a 10-point home win over Boston College, that it was only because they were flat and that they would bounce back in a big way against FSU. Uh, no. The struggles didn't continue, they intensified. The Tigers were held to a season low 326 yards (their previous low was 415) and had 4 turnovers.

And they wasted no time letting their intentions be known, fumbling the ball away at their own 34-yard line on the very first play from scrimmage. FSU's first play was a bit more successful as junior RB Devonta Freeman picked up a 1st down on an 11-yard run - a play I would have enjoyed much more if he didn't have his dreads reduced. Two plays later the Seminoles took the lead (for good) on a leaping 22-yard TD catch by sophomore WR Kelvin Benjamin (photo above). Clemson challenged the play for some reason, but obviously Benjamin made the catch inbounds and got the ball over the goal line before going out of bounds (photo below).
Four different players with dreads scored a TD in the game, but I didn't know that until I checked the game recap two days later. That's because I had forgotten that sophomore DE Mario Edwards has begun growing dreads, which are still too short to see when his helmet is on. So when he scooped up Clemson's 2nd fumble of the 1st quarter and returned it 37 yards to the house to make the score 17-0, I didn't realize it was the 2nd TD of the game by a player with dreads. Edwards, with his helmet off, is #15 in the photo below. He finished with 2 tackles (1-1). On the left, #24 is sophomore LB Terrance Smith, who had 5 tackles (4-1). Making funny faces at each other are #3, sophomore CB Ronald Darby, who got his 1st INT of the season in the 3rd quarter, and #5, sensational freshman QB Jameis Winston - not only the star of the game with 444 yards passing, but also pretty much the star of Florida State's whole season so far. Halfway through the season, he might just be the favorite to win the Heisman.
Junior WR Sammy Watkins' juggling 3-yard TD catch finally got Clemson on the board late in the 1st quarter. And when the Tigers intercepted Winston on FSU's next drive (FSU's only turnover of the night), it looked like the momentum was going to change. But after reaching the FSU 27-yard line on the ensuing possession, the Tigers went backward and ended up punting. The Tigers got the ball back at midfield to start their next drive but punted again. And after FSU then went 95 yards in 4 plays to up their lead to 24-7, the Tigers reached the FSU 25 on their next possession - only to have the drive end with an INT. That interception, with 5:16 to go until halftime, was enough to make me realize it just wasn't going to be Clemson's night. The Seminoles could do no wrong. And when the 'Noles got another TD, making the score 34-7, in the first 90 seconds of the 2nd half, well ..... I got an hour's head start on some much needed sleep. I probably wasn't the only one. No doubt the only people still watching by the time the game ended at 3 minutes before midnight EDT were FSU fans.  
Florida State finished with 565 total yards. Freeman had 95 of them but fell a bit short of making the dread stars list, finishing with 84 yards rushing and an 11-yard reception. Benjamin had 3 catches for 62 yards. Watkins (photo above) had 8 catches for 68 yards for Clemson; junior WR Martavis Bryant had 3 catches for 46 yards; sophomore RB Zac Brooks gained 26 total yards on 8 touches; and senior LB Quandon Christian had 2 tackles (2-0), one of which was a sack. FSU is now 6-0 and dreaming of a spot in the BCS title game. But before they get there, they have to win the ACC first, and at this point they certainly are in the driver's seat in the ACC Atlantic Division race.
After their win over Rutgers last week, Louisville was certainly in the driver's seat in the AAC, and when they took a blocked punt to the house to take a 28-7 lead over UCF midway through the 3rd quarter last week Friday night, I turned the game off, figuring it was already over. Less than an hour later I'm listening to ESPN radio and the update announcer says, "Upset Alert;" And I was like, "What? What upset? There's no upset. That game was over. What happened?" Well, what happened is that the Knights had scored 3 TD in a span of 4:20 to end the 3rd quarter and had gone ahead 31-28 midway through the 4th. By the time I turned the game back on, the Cardinals had regained the lead 35-31. But there were still 3 minutes to go, and the Knights without much difficulty drove 75 yards in 11 plays, scoring for the 5th straight drive on a 2-yard TD catch by WR Jeff Godfrey on 3rd and goal with :23 on the clock, as junior S Calvin Pryor arrived too late to break up the pass (photo above). The Cardinals got an attempt at a Hail Mary on the final play; but it was incomplete, and UCF had their upset, 38-35. With Louisville coming into the game ranked #8, it was UCF's first win ever over a top 10 team. 
Surprisingly the comeback was made without much of a contribution from UCF's two WRs with dreads. Sophomore Breshad Perriman had a 32-yard reception on 3rd and 3 to help get the 24-0 run started; but otherwise both he and junior Rannell Hall were quiet. Perriman finished with 2 catches for 38 yards. Hall had 3 catches for 26 yards plus 13 rushing yards on 1 carry. Junior S Clayton Geathers (photo above, trying to tackle senior RB Senorise Perry) had 5 tackles (4-1), 1 PBU, and a key FF. Junior CB Jason Ozerities finished with 7 tackles (7-0).
Geathers' FF was on a carry by Perry right in the middle of the Knights' comeback. Senorise would not carry again the rest of the game, finishing with just 18 yards on 8 carries. The Cardinals' D, so strong preserving the lead against Rutgers, had no sacks and only 1 TFL all game vs. UCF. Pryor got his 3rd INT of the season (photo above) to end a threat in the 1st quarter and finished with 11 tackles (6-5) but wasn't close to Godfrey on that final UCF TD (but I can't say for sure it was his fault because I don't know who was supposed to have the coverage). Junior DE Lorenzo Mauldin, deeply disappointed at the end of the game (photo below), finished with 6 tackles (5-1) and 1 PBU. Louisville, now 6-1 and their dreams of an undefeated season gone, isn't out of the AAC race. But make no mistake, UCF, now 2-0 in the league and with 4 of their last 6 games at home, certainly now occupies the driver's seat.
Two of the best linemen with dreads in the FBS faced off against each other on the majority of plays they were on the field last Saturday at Knoxville. Knowing he needed a good performance against Tennessee junior OT Antonio Richardson to impress the NFL scouts, South Carolina junior DE Jadeveon Clowney had his best game of the season. Looking a lot like he did during his stellar 2012 sophomore season (and not his illness and injury-plagued 2013 season), Clowney finished with 5 tackles (4-1), including 2.5 TFL. A story from SB Nation (link below) declares Clowney the winner of the battle. But Richardson won the war - allowing no sacks and getting the W, as the Volunteers upset the Gamecocks 23-21.


Also of note in the game, South Carolina junior S Kadetrix Marcus - unfortunately still going with reduced dreads - was ejected from the game in the 1st quarter, a victim of the NCAA's new rule this year designed to keep defenders from using their helmets to make tackles. And for Tennessee, junior LB A.J. Johnson, who surprisingly had his dreads reduced this week, finished with 8 tackles (6-2) and 1 PBU. 
"This is a statement game, and the statement we wanted to put across was that we're coming. It's just getting better from here on out." So said Auburn junior RB Tre Mason after the Tigers improved to 6-1 with a 45-41 road win over Texas A&M. And if he's right, the Tigers just might complete an improbable worst to first journey in the SEC West. Mason had such a good performance last Saturday that he finished in 2nd place for this week's head dread award. Most notable were his 53-yard run to the 7-yard line to set up the TD that gave Auburn a 38-34 lead with 9:06 remaining. Then after A&M went back in front, Tre scored the winning TD (photo below) on a 5-yard run with 1:19 to play - his 9th TD of the season. Wouldn't it be something if the Tigers were 10-1 when they host Alabama in Week 14?
Talk about a momentum-changing big play. You won't find one any bigger this week than the one made by Louisiana-Lafayette freshman S Al Riles. I have been unable to confirm it visually (I need to see him with his helmet off), but I assume Riles still has the short dreads he has in his photo on the ULL website. With Western Kentucky leading 10-0 midway through the 2nd quarter and 1 yard away from making it 17-0, Riles got his 1st career INT on 4th and goal and returned it 99 yards to the house to make it 10-7 instead. It was the longest INT return in 79 years by anyone in a Ragin Cajuns uniform, and it resulted in allowing the game to be tied 13-13 at halftime even though WKU had a whopping 349-81 advantage in total yards. The Ragin Cajuns went on to dominate in the 2nd half and went on to pick up a 37-20 road win. Riles finished with 5 tackles (3-2).


Junior DE Markus Golden had 4 tackles (2-2), including 1.5 of Missouri's 11 TFL, as the Tigers improved to 7-0 with a dominating 36-17 home win over Florida, outgaining the Gators 500-151 in total yards ..... Senior CB Stephen Clarke had 7 tackles (7-0) and 1 PBU for Vanderbilt in a 31-27 victory over Georgia, the Commodores 1st home win over UGA in 22 years ..... Senior WR Isaiah Burse (photo on left) had 8 catches for 73 yards plus a 10-yard run as Fresno State improved to 6-0 with a 38-14 home win over UNLV ..... Sophomore WR Chris Moore had 3 catches for 65 yards and 2 TD, and sophomore DE Silverberry Mouhon had 5 tackles (1-4), including 2 sacks, for Cincinnati in a 41-16 home win over Connecticut ..... Sophomore WR Deontay Greenberry had 11 catches for 68 yards and his 4th and 5th TD of the season, and freshman LB Steven Taylor had 15 tackles (7-8), including a half sack, for Houston; but the Cougars suffered their 1st defeat as BYU picked up 41 first downs (in 115 plays) and 681 total yards in a wild 47-46 road win over UH .....
 Michigan's defense allowed 572 total yards, but senior S Thomas Gordon got his first 2 INT of the season in the 4th quarter to help the Wolverines pull away and defeat Indiana 63-47, their 18th straight home win vs. IU ..... Senior DT Will Sutton had 4 tackles (3-1), 3 TFL, 1 sack, and 1 PBU; and senior DE Davon Coleman had 3 tackles (2-1), 2 TFL, and 1 sack to help Arizona State's defense smother Washington, holding the Huskies (who were averaging 526 yards) to a meager 212 total yards, in a 53-24 home victory by the Sun Devils ..... Sophomore DE Charles Tapper (photo on right) had 6 tackles (4-2), 3 of which were TFL, including 2 sacks as Oklahoma improved to 6-1 with a 34-19 road win at Kansas ..... And junior S Bre' Ford had 1 PBU and got his 1st career INT for Akron as the Zips finally ended their 30-game road losing streak, defeating Miami (Ohio) 24-17; senior CB Dayonne Nunley had a game high 11 tackles (7-4) for Miami (0-7).


Two years ago Charleston Southern ran the table - the bad way - going 0-11. But the Buccaneers have improved quickly and dramatically, to 5-6 one year ago and to 7-0 this season through Week 7. The Bucs were supposed to have a bye in Week 8; but when Colorado called offering a check for 400 grand to play the Buffaloes as a replacement for the game CU was scheduled to play against Fresno State in Week 3 that got cancelled by the flood in the Boulder area, CSU took them up on their offer. The Bucs hung tough for a half, trailing 22-10, before the Buffs pulled away for a 43-10 victory. CSU has several defensive players with dreads playing key roles this season. Among them, senior DE Will Hunt, leading the team with 5 sacks, did not play this week. But sophomore CB Malcolm Jackson did, leading the Bucs with 5 tackles (5-0). Junior DT James Smith had 4 tackles (4-0), senior LB Calvin Bryant (he's the #6 on the ground failing to tackle RB Micha Adkins in photo below - sorry but I couldn't find a better photo) had 3 tackles (3-0), and freshman DB Jeremy Massey finished with 1 tackle (1-0). CSU also has a couple of players with dreads on offense, but they are reserves who don't play that much. Senior RB Teddy Allen had 2 carries for 10 yards against CU, and junior WR Chris Theodore had no catches, keeping his total at 5 receptions for the season. Looking ahead, the Bucs' biggest obstacle in the Big South is Coastal Carolina (7-0), whom they will host in Week 11.
Google Maps calculates that it's only 15 miles between Hampton U and Norfolk State U, but road wins have been difficult to come by lately in the Battle of the Bay rivalry. In fact, the home team (they alternate each season) had won 7 in a row - until last Saturday, that is. Hampton took the short bus ride south and picked up a 27-17 victory, a result that leaves both teams at a disappointing 2-5 this season. But for real, there's nothing disappointing about their dreads.

According to the roster on their website, NSU has 15 players with dreads this season. HU has only about half that many, but the Pirates make up for their lack of quantity with a lot of quality. For example, sophomore WR Tikeem Platt was a 1st team dread all-America last season and will likely be a repeat selection this season. Junior C Vincent Harper and sophomore G Norman Booker have a chance to be on the team too. Harper and Booker are starters on the Pirates' O-line, but unfortunately Platt has 0 receptions so far this season (keep that up, and he might land a spot on the all-dread sideline team instead); and sick sophomore WR J'Rod Beard has only 2 catches all season. Hopefully we'll hear more from them in the next two seasons. Playing time isn't a problem for Antwon Chisholm. The senior RB had 11 carries for 41 yards, 4 catches for 17 yards, 2 punt returns for 8 yards, and 2 kickoff returns for 51 yards against NSU. On defense freshman DT Dwight Campbell had 5 tackles (0-5), 1.5 TFL, and 1 PBU; and sophomore CB Jordan Hill had 2 tackles (2-0).  
For Norfolk State, senior RB Rolandan Finch (the transfer from Boston College) made the dread stars list, while senior WR Je'Ron Stokes (the transfer from Bowling Green) did not - he had 1 punt return for 9 yards and 0 receptions (on at least 3 passes intended for him). Sick senior TE Joseph Hawkins (photo below) finished with 5 catches for 47 yards. Senior QB Nico Flores (photo above) rushed for 21 yards and passed for 23 yards before having to leave early in the 2nd quarter due to what turned out to be a serious knee injury. Stokes, Hawkins, and Flores all are serious candidates to be dread all-Americans. No fewer than 5 players with dreads made tackles for the Spartans, including senior LB Mike Privott (the transfer from Louisville), who finished with 4 (1-3). Junior S Keenan Lambert had 7 (6-1) and also 1 FR and 1 PBU. Freshman CB Leroy Parker (1-1), sophomore LB Abdul Kamara (1-1), and junior CB Collin Frazier (0-2) all had 2 tackles, with Frazier also getting credit for 1 PBU.
Talk about spoiling homecoming, Grambling took spoiling to a whole new level. Jackson State had to go to Plan B for their homecoming after Grambling was a no-show for their scheduled game last Saturday. As you likely have heard by now, Grambling's players in effect went on strike last week, in protest of the shabby treatment and working conditions they've dealt with this season, forcing the school to forfeit the game to Jackson State.
I haven't followed the situation at Grambling closely (although I have noticed the football and men's basketball teams almost never win), but it's obvious that the school has been trying to go cheap (I mean, come on man, a bus trip to a game in Indianapolis?). But this is supposed to be Division 1. You can't go cheap if you're going to be in Division 1. Anyway, with all the publicity this incident has brought, GSU is hoping they'll get a boost in fundraising to help them survive the finincial dire straits they're in. As for the players, they've ended their strike (for now) and were back on the practice field this week, preparing for a Week 9 home game against Texas Southern.
Sophomore RB Xavier Roberson of Southeastern Louisiana earned SLC special teams player of the week honors after taking a kickoff return to the house for the 2nd time this season (and 4th time in his career already), this one a 92-yarder to spark a comeback from a 16-7 deficit in a 37-22 road win over Northwestern State ..... Junior RB Gus Johnson fell 1 yard short of the dread stars list, with 11 carries for 99 yards and 1 TD, and freshman LB Jordan Burton had a team high 13 tackles (4-9) for Stephen F. Austin in a 55-41 home win over Nicholls State ..... Senior RB Rickey Stevens also was 1 yard short of the dread stars list, finishing with 99 yards and 1 TD on 24 carries as Maine improved to 6-1 with a 34-20 home win over William & Mary ..... Sick sophomore RB Jacobi Green (photo below) had 68 yards rushing and a 25-yard TD catch for Richmond, but the Spiders fumbled the ball away at the Rhode Island 20-yard line with 1:19 to play and lost a tough one on the road to the Rams 12-10 ..... Freshman RB Lamont Brown of Morgan State barely missed the dread stars list, finishing with 98 yards and 1 TD rushing on 27 carries in a 34-22 road victory that spoiled homecoming at North Carolina Central; sick senior WR Lamar Scruggs had 7 catches for a career high 92 yards, and sophomore WR Adrian Wilkins took a kickoff return 91 yards to the house for NCCU .....
..... Junior RB Fred Anderson had a team high 69 yards rushing on 9 carries, and sick senior LB Raheem Cardwell had a team high 6 tackles (3-3), including 1.5 TFL, as Prairie View A&M, enjoying a 532-178 advantage in total yards, routed Mississippi Valley State 51-14; sick senior S Kevin Eugene had a game high 10 tackles (4-6) and 1 FF for MVSU ..... Sophomore CB Brandon Mobley had 1 FR and also took an INT (his 2nd of the season) 36 yards to the house to give Campbell a 21-14 lead, but the Fighting Camels still lost at home to Jacksonville 52-45 ..... Sophomore RB Evan Williams rushed for 40 yards and his first 2 career TD in a Northern Iowa uniform, but the Panthers blew a 28-7 lead at home and lost 38-31 in 2 overtimes to South Dakota ..... Junior S Angel Lopez had a team leading 10 tackles (4-6), including 1 TFL, and got his first 2 INT of the season for Abilene Christian in a 40-6 home win over Incarnate Word ..... And star senior RB Tim Flanders somehow was held to a puny 22 yards rushing on 11 carries as Sam Houston State lost their big SLC showdown at McNeese State 31-23.  
The photo the Memphis Tigers' website has of sophomore S Reggis Ball (on left) shows him with beginner dreads. I have not confirmed it yet, so I'll just take their word for it. His bio on the website says that he was a CUSA commissioners honor roll selection last season, no doubt an honorable achievement. But if Reggis is so smart, you wonder what he was thinking during the 4th quarter last Saturday. Having 3 minutes earlier forced a fumble on an SMU punt return that a teammate scooped up and took to the house, Ball was on his way to scoring a TD himself when he intercepted a pass at the 6-yard line and made the long run to the other end zone. But then this happened: ..... You cannot be serious. This rule about needlessly diving into the end zone has been on the books for 3 years now, so you'd think that stuff like this wouldn't be happening anymore. I guess he'll have to get that 1st career TD some other time. The Tigers did end up scoring the TD on the short drive following Ball's screw-up, but the 2 minutes they used up would've come in handy later in the game. The Tigers ended up losing 34-29.



1. Cincinnati senior CB Deven Drane gets his 1st INT of the season at the UConn 49-yard line on a pass intended for junior WR Geremy Davis on 2nd and 1 late in 2nd quarter at Cincinnati ......


2. ..... With the house in his sights, Deven is denied the TD as QB Tim Boyle somehow knocks him off course and causes him to go out of bounds at the 2-yard line, forcing him to settle for a 47-yard return. The Bearcats scored 2 plays later to up their lead to 21-3. Drane also had 8 tackles (4-4) in the game as Cincinnati improved to 5-2 with a 41-16 victory over Connecticut.

3. Southern Mississippi can't get anything right. Even when their defense gets a turnover, they still mess it up. On 1st down from the Southern Miss 18-yard line late in 1st quarter, a fumble by East Carolina senior RB Vintavious Cooper rolls 10 yards behind the line of scrimmage. Senior DE Octavius Thomas is there for the scoop and potential score, but instead his teammate, DE Dasman McCullum, already on the ground, recovers the ball, ending the play and denying everyone the chance to see Thomas' dreads shaking for as long as it would've taken him to go 70 yards. Cooper finished the game with 54 yards rushing and 2 catches for 19 yards. Thomas had 4 tackles (1-3). Southern Miss is now halfway to another 0-12 season after losing 55-14 at East Carolina.

4. In one of the most controversial plays of Week 8, senior LB Ramik Wilson nails Vanderbilt WR Jonathan Krause with what the AJC describes as a "textbook legal hit" to cause a pass to fall incomplete on 4th and 4 early in 4th quarter at Nashville. The official standing right next to the play sees nothing wrong with the hit; but from far away another official throws a flag on Wilson for targeting, a 15-yard penalty and an ejection from the game for the guilty player. The played was reviewed by the replay official and the targeting penalty was overturned. Wilson remained in the game, but by (dumb) rule, the 15-yard penalty still stood, keeping Vanderbilt's drive alive, and they scored a TD 6 plays later to cut Georgia's lead to 27-21. Wilson finished with 8 tackles (3-5) and 1 sack; but this play sparked a game-ending 17-0 run by the Commodores as they defeated Georgia 31-27.

5. Ohio State junior CB Bradley Roby also was called for targeting, as he clobbers Iowa TE C.J. Fiedorowicz after a catch for an 11-yard gain during 1st quarter at Columbus. Roby's ejection was not overturned, and his day was done before the 1st quarter was over. He finished with 4 tackles (3-1) as the Buckeyes improved to 7-0 with a 34-24 win over the Hawkeyes.

6. Sick sophomore S D.J. Cameron of Southern Illinois makes one of his 7 tackles (2-5), helping stop North Dakota State senior RB Sam Ojuri (dreads not visible from this angle) after a 6-yard run to near midfield late in 2nd quarter at Carbondale. Three plays later the Bison scored their 1st TD of the game. Cameron also had 1 PBU and 1 FR in the game, while Ojuri made the dread stars list. Going for their 3rd straight victory over an FCS top 10 ranked team, SIU crumbled in the 2nd half, as North Dakota State rolled to a 31-10 victory.


7. North Dakota junior CB Darryl Brown puts every one of his 163 pounds into stopping Sacramento State WR DeAndre Carter at the UND 32-yard line after a 7-yard reception on 2nd and 8 late in 1st quarter at Grand Forks. Sac State kicked a FG 5 plays later to up their lead to 10-0. Brown finished with 3 tackles (1-2), but North Dakota dropped to 2-5 with a 31-7 home loss.

8. Freshman WR Justin Brownlee of Savannah State is all but assaulted on this play as Bethune-Cookman junior LB Tavarus Dantzler, with an assist from S Nick Addison, lifts him up and drives him into the turf after a 6-yard reception on 2nd and 8 on the last play of 1st quarter at Daytona Beach ..... 

9. ..... As senior DE Spencer Harris watches Dantzler celebrate his tackle, SSU OT Afolabi Ayangbayi checks to see if Brownlee is still in one piece. Dantzler finished with 3 tackles (2-1). Brownlee stayed in the game and ended up with 4 catches for 38 yards. Bethune-Cookman (6-1) as expected easily defeated Savannah State (1-7) 48-21.


10. Texas A&M junior CB Floyd Raven goes down but manages to get just enough of Auburn junior RB Tre Mason at the 15-yard line to cause him to lose his balance and fall out of bounds at the 7-yard line after a 53-yard run on 3rd and 1 during 4th quarter at College Station. The Tigers scored a TD two plays later to take a 38-34 lead. Raven finished with 6 tackles (6-0) and 1 PBU, while Mason made the dread stars list. In a battle of 5-1 teams, Auburn pulled off the mini-upset, defeating the Aggies 45-41.

11. A pair of treys duel as sick senior CB Charles Sawyer of Mississippi gets his 1st INT of the season, picking off a deep pass intended for LSU WR Odell Beckham late in 2nd quarter in SEC action at Oxford. Guess you'll have to take my word for it that Sawyer's wearing jersey #3. ..... Wait a minute .....

12. ..... Here you can see Sawyer's #3, as he makes the first of his 3 tackles (3-0), stopping Beckham after an 11-yard reception at the LSU 46 on 1st and 10 on LSU's opening possession of the game. Ole Miss blew a 17-0 lead in the 3rd quarter but then kicked a FG with :02 to go to defeat LSU 27-24.

13. Iowa State WR Quenton Bundrage can't pull away from the grasp of Baylor senior CB K.J. Morton at the Baylor 41-yard line and has to settle for an 8-yard reception on 2nd and 15 early in 1st quarter at Waco. ISU punted 2 plays later, wasting excellent field position on their opening drive of the game. Morton finished with 2 tackles (2-0) as Baylor improved to 6-0 with a 71-7 slaughter of Iowa State.


14. ODU senior WR Marquel Thomas beats the coverage of sophomore CB Lafayette Pitts and hauls in the perfect pass for a 15-yard TD on 2nd and 10, capping the Monarchs' 10-play, 64-yard game-opening drive at Heinz Field. It was Thomas' 1st TD of the season. This was the first game I noticed this season that Marquel did not have his awesome dreads reduced. If he keeps them like this for the rest of the year, it's not too late for him to be a repeat selection on the dread all-America team. And I'd say Pitts has a decent chance to be on the team too. Thomas finished with 2 catches for 38 yards. Pitts had 4 tackles (3-1). Pittsburgh improved to 4-2, rallying from a 10-0 deficit to defeat ODU 35-24.


  • Tre Mason - Auburn - 27 carries for 178 yards, including game-winning 5-yard TD with 1:19 remaining, in 45-41 road W over Texas A&M
  • Sammie Coates - Auburn - 5 receptions for 104 yards, including 43-yard TD, as Tigers improve to 6-1
  • Dallas Crawford - Miami (F) - 33 carries for career high 137 yards rushing and 2 TD, including game-winning 3 yard run with 16 seconds to play, also had 2 catches for 17 yards in 27-23 road W over North Carolina
  • Derrick Henry - Alabama - 6 carries for 111 yards rushing, including 80-yard TD, in 52-0 home W over Arkansas
  • Melvin Gordon - Wisconsin - 17 carries for 142 yards and 3 TD rushing in 56-32 road W over Illinois - tops 1,000-yard rushing mark for the season (1,012)
  • Tevin Reese - Baylor - 6 receptions for 105 yards in easy 71-7 home W over Iowa State - Bears outgained Cyclones in total yards 714-174
  • Bradley Marquez - Texas Tech - 8 receptions for 112 yards in 37-27 road W over West Virginia
  • Dri Archer - Kent State - 114 yards and 1 TD rushing on 11 carries, and 2 catches for 85 yards and 1 TD in 38-21 road L to South Alabama
  • Xavier Maxwell - Houston - 5 receptions for 136 yards, including 69-yard TD, in tough 47-46 home L to BYU
  • Geremy Davis - Connecticut - 8 receptions for 140 yards in 41-16 road L to Cincinnati
  • Jaamal Berry - Murray State - 22 carries for 156 yards and 2 TD rushing, and 3 receptions for 19 yards in 31-3 home W over Austin Peay
  • Sam Ojuri - North Dakota State - 13 carries for 137 yards rushing, and 2 receptions for 19 yards in 31-10 road W over Southern Illinois
  • Shepard Little - Eastern Illinois - 129 yards and 3 TD rushing on 15 carries in 55-33 home W over Southeast Missouri State
  • Lamar Davenport - Monmouth - 4 receptions for 102 yards and 1 TD in 48-23 home W over Cornell
  • Isidore Jackson - Bethune-Cookman - 54 yards rushing on 12 carries, 3 receptions for 34 yards, and 3 TD (one of them he scored while wearing one shoe) in 48-21 home W over Savannah State
  • Joe Ferguson - San Diego - 24 carries for 167 yards rushing, and 5 receptions for 47 yards and 1 TD in 45-38 road L to Dayton in 2 OT
  • Jordan Harris - Bryant - 10 receptions for 163 yards and 3 TD in 56-28 home L to Sacred Heart
  • Rolandan Finch - Norfolk State - 21 carries for 141 yards rushing, and 3 receptions for 17 yards in 27-17 home L to Hampton 
  • Tromaine Dennis - Northern Colorado - 18 carries for 135 yards rushing, including 43-yard TD in 34-18 home L to UC-Davis
After a 1-week break with a solo winner, we're back to our more familiar 3-way tie for the Week 8 HOD. The first house of dread is the end zone at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, home of the Bowl and the Senior Bowl in January, and home of the South Alabama Jaguars during the fall. There were 4 TD by players with dreads in the Jaguars' 38-21 win over Kent State on homecoming. Senior RB Kendall Houston had TD runs of 14 yards (top photo) and 3 yards for South Alabama, while senior RB Dri Archer had a 74-yard run and 73-yard reception for KSU.
In the OVC, the end zone at O'Brien Field in Charleston, IL, was also the house of dread. In Eastern Illinois' 55-33 victory over Southeast Missouri State, EIU sophomore RB Shepard Little scored on runs of 19, 15, and 8 yards; while junior CB Justin Elias scooped up a blocked punt and scored from 29 yards out for SEMO.
And as was previous mentioned, our 3rd HOD winner is the end zone at Memorial Stadium at Clemson. In Florida State's 51-14 beatdown of the Tigers, sophomore WR Kelvin Benjamin had a 22-yard TD reception; sophomore DE Mario Edwards took a fumble return 37 yards to the house; and junior RB Devonta Freeman scored on a 2-yard run for the Seminoles. And junior WR Sammy Watkins had a nice 3-yard TD catch (bottom photo) for the Tigers. 



We head west for the head dread of Week 8. The player of the week is Boise State sophomore RB Jay Ajayi, who rushed for a career high 222 yards on 24 carries and scored 3 TD - on runs of 9, 4, and 71 yards to help the Broncos defeat Nevada 34-17 in MWC action at Boise. Ajayi would have made the dread stars list off of his production in the 3rd quarter alone; and his team needed it because they trailed 17-7 at the half. The 6-0, 220-pounder from Plano, TX rushed for 118 yards in the 3rd quarter, including the 71-yard TD that put the Broncos ahead to stay at 20-17. For more on Jay's best game so far, click on the link below for the story and media session from the Idaho Statesman.

Before this performance, Ajayi was much more well known as the player seen gulping pickle juice right out of the jar (right photo) during an early-season game in an attempt to keep from cramping up. Not expecting nor wanting to be so famous, he's drinking his juice out of a regular water bottle these days. But seeing him drink out of the jar was pretty funny. Ajayi very quiety has gotten his career off to a very nice start. Hopefully in a couple of years we'll be seeing these dreads on Sundays.


There is no shortage of games with great dreads in week 9, including Louisville-South Florida, FAU-Auburn, and Idaho (with James Baker) at Mississippi. I'll also be keeping an eye on Texas Tech-Oklahoma and South Carolina-Missouri. And don't miss the Magic City Classic on tape late Saturday night for some great dreads as Alabama A&M takes on Alabama State.

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