Monday, October 6, 2014

College FB '14 Dread News - Week 5

The voting for the 2014 Heisman Trophy will take place, as usual, at the end of the regular season in December, with all players eligible for consideration. But let's pretend that the voting were done now, after only the first month of the season, and it wasn't vote as you please - you had to vote for either Georgia RB Todd Gurley or Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon, a couple of juniors who hope to be playing in the NFL at this time next year and a couple of players I'm a very huge fan of. Remarkably, through the first 5 weeks (4 games for both) the two are separated by only 2 yards rushing - with Gordon having rushed for 612 yards and 8 TD to 610 yards and 6 TD for Gurley. But I believe the separation would be much greater at the voting booth ..... with Gurley winning in a landslide. It's not that Gordon hasn't been outstanding, only that Gurley has been more outstanding.

His Heisman campaign already smeared by an ugly 38 yards on 17 carries game against FCS team Western Illinois, Gordon saw his hopes diminishing even further on Saturday, Sept. 27, during the 1st half of the Badgers' home game against South Florida, as he gained only 50 yards on 17 carries.
His frustration at the boiling point, Melvin delivered a message loud and clear to his offensive lineman at halftime: BLOCK BETTER, damn it! Well, we'll never know what would have happened if Gordon had just remained quiet during the break; but after the game he was giving his pep talk all the credit for sparking the team, after he rushed for 131 yards and 2 TD in the 2nd half, and the Badgers broke away from a 3-3 tie to defeat USF 27-10. 
After gaining 6 yards on the Badgers' first offensive snap of the day, Gordon (photo above, with sophomore LB Nigel Harris in his path) ran for 55 on the second snap, only to have the play nullified by a holding penalty. Later, on the Badgers' first possession in the 2nd quarter, after being held to a 3-yard gain on 1st and 16 (after a holding penalty) and then being dropped for a 2-yard loss on 2nd and 13, he missed a block on blitzing LB Reshard Cliett on 3rd down, resulting in a sack that took the Badgers' out of FG range. If that weren't bad enough, the play that got Melvin really angry came in the final minute of the half, when he was hit in the backfield immediately after taking the handoff on 3rd and 2 from the USF 5-yard line, causing him to fumble the ball, with the Bulls recovering.
A week earlier the Bulls' D had held Connecticut to just 145 total yards and 6 first downs all game in a 17-14 home win; but as soon as the 2nd half began, suddenly they were no match for the Badgers' offense. Gordon rushed for 22 yards on the first play of the 3rd quarter and for a gain of 10 on the next play before finishing the 75-yard drive 7 plays later with a 7-yard TD. Then on the first play of the Badgers' next possession, which started in excellent field position thanks to a 24-yard punt return by senior WR Kenzel Doe, Gordon broke free for a 43-yard TD run (photo above) to make it 17-3. The Badgers went 74 yards for a FG and 90 yards for a TD on their next two drives and cruised home for the victory. 
Senior WR Deonte Welch, who early in the 2nd quarter had a perfect pass right between the 8 and the 3 on his jersey that would have converted a 3rd and 17 bounce off his hands and be intercepted, came back with a 26-yard reception (photo above) on the next drive for his only catch of the afternoon for the Bulls. Sick junior S Jamie Byrd (photo below, in pursuit of QB Tanner McEvoy) finished with a game high 14 tackles (11-3), but none were TFL. Harris had 6 tackles (6-0), with 2 TFL; sophomore CB Johnny Ward had 6 tackles (4-2) and 1 PBU; and senior CB Chris Dunkley - unfortunately still with his dreads reduced - had 1 tackle (0-1) and led the Bulls in all-purpose yards with 95 (72 on 3 kickoff returns plus a punt return for 23).
Hopefully I'll be dead wrong about this, but I think that Gordon will end up falling out of the Heisman race because the Badgers just can't pass the ball. Western Illinois crowded the line of scrimmage and shut Gordon down, and I think that strategy will be employed by opponents on a weekly basis once conference play begins. The Badgers passed the ball well enough to beat Western Illinois, but I have serious doubts about whether their receivers will be able to get open against Big 10 DBs. The Badgers had one good WR last year - NFL draft choice Jared Abbrederis - but now he's gone, and they didn't do anything to replace him other than hope the receivers already on the roster would get better.
I was hoping that sophomore Robert Wheelwright would be one of those doing the improving, but he hasn't. On a team with lousy receivers he can't even get on the field. Doe (photo above), who had 1 catch for 9 yards against USF, is more of a slot receiver and doesn't play much. This situation really begged for the Badgers to sign a junior college WR; but it's harder for most JC players to get admitted to Big 10 schools than schools in other conferences. Stuck with what they have - and again I hope I'm wrong - I don't see how their passing game is going to get much better anytime soon. So I suppose Gordon might just be needing to raise his voice a few more times in the weeks ahead.

The same as with Gordon, Gurley has been held under 100 yards rushing in only one of his 4 games. But truthfully, Coach Richt had more to do with that than the opponent. I mean, Gurley might have rushed for 300+ yards if he had played a lot during Georgia's 66-0 slaughter of Troy in Week 4; but he was given the rest of the afternoon off after rushing for 73 yards on 6 carries on the Bulldogs' first two drives of the game. The Bulldogs had a much harder time in Week 5 but successfully picked up their 1st SEC win, coming back from a 10-0 deficit and then holding on to defeat Tennessee 35-32 for their 5th straight win in the series against the Volunteers. 
Gurley dived over the top of the pile on to score from 1 yard out on 2nd and goal to give the Bulldogs their first lead 14-10 midway through the 2nd quarter. Later he broke loose for a 51-yard TD run (photo above) to give UGA a 28-17 lead with 9:31 remaining in the 4th. Apparently forgetting for a moment that he's not playing on Sundays yet, Todd spiked the ball in the end zone after his 2nd TD and drew a 15-yard penalty. And yes, Richt was waiting for him as soon as he returned to the sideline. Gurley's best highlight came the next time he touched the ball, on the first play of the Bulldogs' next possession. Summoning up the skills he used when he was a hurdler for his HS track team, he jumped clear over one defender trying to tackle him in the open field (photo below) and landed on his feet - but only for a second. He couldn't quite keep his balance after landing and stumbled and fell on his next step, settling for a 26-yard gain. And that was a shame, because if he had stayed on his feet and kept running and scored a TD on that play, he might have clinched the Heisman right then and there.
With the emergence of sophomore Jalen Reeves-Maybin and the re-emergence of junior Curt Maggitt (back after redshirting in 2013 due to injury), Tennessee now has three LBs with dreads in their starting lineup - and they all might end up landing spots on my all-America with dreads team. Senior A.J Johnson, a tackle machine throughout his career for UT, had 17 tackles (9-8) against Georgia, including a half TFL. Reeves-Maybin had 10 tackles, 3.5 of which were TFL, including 1 sack. Maggitt (photo below, arriving just ahead of Reeves-Maybin for a 2nd half sack of QB Hutson Mason) finished with 5 tackles (3-2), including 2 sacks and 1 FF. Junior WR Pig Howard gained 54 total yards, including a 31-yard reception for his 2nd TD (and 1st TD catch) of the season to get the Vols with 28-25 midway through the 4th quarter. Georgia has a star LB with dreads too - senior Ramik Wilson, who finished with 9 tackles (5-4) and 1 sack. Senior WR Chris Conley had 3 catches for 30 yards for UGA. 
It was so funny that even the usually stone-faced Coach Bielema had a smile on his face ...... It's not every day you see the punter score a TD, but that's exactly what happened in the Arkansas-Texas A&M game played at a neutral site (AT&T Stadium). Noticing that A&M had nobody lined up wide to the left on 4th and 10, P Sam Irwin-Hill caught the snap and - helped by a nice seal block by senior S Alan Turner - started to run down the left sideline and didn't stop running until he reached the end zone, going almost completely untouched on his 51-yard TD to put Arkansas in front 21-14 with 1:03 to play until halftime. But the smile was gone from Bielema's face by the end of the game, after the Razorbacks had allowed way-too-easy TD passes of 86 and 59 yards in the 4th quarter to wipe out their 28-14 lead and gone on to lose 35-28 in overtime for their 14th straight SEC defeat. 

I watched most of this game because I thought it had a great chance of taking the week's house of dread award. The two teams' offenses performed as expected, with 386 of the Aggies' 523 total yards coming via the pass, and 285 of the Razorbacks' 484 yards coming on the ground. All those yards resulted in only 9 TD though, and only three of those were by players with dreads - not enough to earn HOD honors. Junior RB Brandon Williams ran for 6 yards on the first play from scrimmage then finished the 49-yard drive three plays later with a 13-yard TD run, dragging Turner the final 3 yards into the end zone (photos above) to give A&M a quick 7-0 lead. Oddly, Williams didn't carry the ball again the rest of the game. Sick sophomore RB Alex Collins put Arkansas in front 14-7 with a 50-yard TD run (photo below) early in the 2nd quarter. And the 3rd TD by a player with dreads came when senior WR Malcome Kennedy, quiet for most of the game, scored a 25-yard TD catch on the first play of OT to give the Aggies the lead. And then Aggies' D held on, stopping Collins cold on 4th and 1 on the first series of the Razorbacks' OT possession.
Collins made the dread stars list for the 3rd times in 5 games. Turner finished with 4 tackles (2-2) and 1 PBU. Star sophomore DT Darius Philon had 7 tackles (4-3) for the Razorbacks, and junior WR Keon Hatcher had 3 catches for 35 yards. A&M freshman WR Speedy Noil made that speedy recovery from a knee injury I was hoping for, missing only 1 game (several fewer than what it was speculated he would miss); but he didn't make much of an impact, finishing with 1 carry for 10 yards, 1 catch for 8 yards, and a 36-yard kickoff return. Sophomore DE Daeshon Hall finished with 2 tackles (0-2). And senior CB Floyd Raven, who makes up for not having a lot of dreads by having the longest dreads, had no stats in the game.
If you are an FAU fan and left their game against UTSA when the Owls were trailing 37-27 with 5 minutes remaining, WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH YOU?! Hopefully there weren't any that did; but if there were, all they could do was whack themselves upside their heads for missing what happened in those last 5 minutes, as the Owls came back to win 41-37 in a wild finish in the CUSA opener for both teams. Junior CB Cre'von LeBlanc made big plays early and late, and senior WR Lucky Whitehead made a couple in between, to help lead FAU to the victory. 
With UTSA threatening to add to their 17-7 lead late in the 2nd quarter, LeBlanc picked off a pass (his 1st career INT) and took the return 76 yards to the house (photo above).
Whitehead finished with 7 catches for 79 yards, including a 21-yard TD (photo above) to make the score 37-34 with 4:10 remaining; and including a 36-yarder on the Owls' game-winning drive. After FAU scored to take the lead with 20 seconds remaining, the Roadrunners returned the kickoff 87 yards to the FAU 13. But it was LeBlanc to the rescue again, getting his 2nd PBU of the game on a pass into the end zone that looked like would be caught by senior WR Marcellus Mack on the final play. LeBlanc also had 7 tackles (5-2) in the game. Here's more on Cre'von in an article from the Owl Access blog:

I am happy to report that Stanford, Northwestern, and Oklahoma State - teams where dreads have been almost non-existent in recent years, each had a player with dreads contribute to their teams' victories this week. Even though Washington junior LB Shaq Thompson scored his 3rd defensive TD of the season, taking a fumble return 32 yards to the house, and also had 7 tackles (5-2), 1 TFL, 1 PBU, and 2 FF, it was freshman LB Peter Kalambayi of Stanford who was the only player to make the dread stars list in the Cardinal's 20-13 win over the Huskies ..... Freshman DE Xavier Washington of Northwestern got his 1st career sack and FF for a big turnover in the 4th quarter of the Wildcats' big 29-6 win at Penn State ..... And forced into action when a starter went down with an injury, freshman CB Ramon Richards of Oklahoma State finished with 5 tackles (3-2), 1 PBU, and his 1st career INT (photo below) to help the Cowboys defeat Texas Tech 45-35.
The next stop on what has become a weekly tour to discover WRs with short dreads takes us to Clemson. I knew that with Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant moving on to the NFL and with junior Zac Brooks (who likely would have been the Tigers' starting RB) suffering a season-ending foot injury a week before the season started, there were going to be very few TD by Clemson players with dreads in 2014. But now that might not be the case, because I (finally) have confirmed that starting sophomore WR Mike Williams has dreads. I suspected he did back when he scored a TD in the Tigers' season opener at Georgia, but you couldn't tell for sure because he was wearing a skull cap. But now there is a video (link below, the final minute of it) that clearly shows his dreads.
Mike made his first appearance on the dread stars list as the Tigers outscored North Carolina 50-35. I'm also keeping an eye on star DE Vic Beasley for Clemson, who might be bringing back the dreads he had when he was a freshman. Right now he has braids that look like dreads. We'll see if he changes them to dreads at some point in the future. I'd certainly like to welcome him back to the house, as he is expected to be a 1st round selection in next year's NFL draft. 

Sophomore LB Kendell Beckwith (welcome to the house) had 4 tackles (2-2) and returned his 1st career INT 29 yards to the house; and senior RB Terrence Magee rushed for 62 yards and his 1st TD of the season on 8 carries as LSU rolled to a 63-7 home win of New Mexico State ..... Senior DE Lorenzo Mauldin (photo on right) had 5 tackles (5-0), including 3 of Louisville's 8 sacks, and 1 FF, and the Cardinals' D held Wake Forest to 100 total yards in a 20-10 home victory ..... Senior S Demarkus Perkins tied for the team lead with 7 tackles (5-2), had 2 PBU, and got his 1st career INT, which he returned 31 yards to the house for his 1st career TD for FIU in a 34-20 road win over UAB ..... Junior LB Josh Forrest had a team-leading 6 tackles (4-2), including a half sack; senior DE Alvin Dupree (photo below) had 5 tackles (3-2) and 1.5 sacks; and senior S Ashely Lowery had 3 tackles (2-1), a half sack, and his 1st INT of the season as Kentucky held Vanderbilt to 139 total yards and snapped their awful 17-game SEC losing streak with a 17-7 home victory .....
Senior S Deion Stanley had 4 tackles (4-0), 2 TFL, and his 2nd INT of the season, and junior WR BJ Johnson had 4 catches for 42 yards, including a 17-yard reception for his 2nd TD of the season as Georgia Southern won the battle of the FBS newbies, defeating Appalachian State 34-14 ..... Senior S Bre' Ford had a career high 10 tackles (6-4) and 1 FF, and sophomore WR Mykel Traylor-Bennett had 3 catches for 72 yards, including a 52-yard TD, for Akron in a 21-10 road win over Pittsburgh ..... Senior CB Cortney Lester gave up some plays but also had 6 PBU to go along with 3 tackles (3-0) for Buffalo in a 35-27 home win over Miami (Ohio): (give the page 30 seconds or so to load) ..... Senior S Nigel Haikins had 7 tackles (5-2) and took his 2nd INT of the season 27 yards to the house for his 1st career TD as Nevada won at San Jose State 21-10 ..... Junior RB Jay Ajayi rushed for 63 yards and had 5 catches for 58 yards for Boise State, but also had 2 fumbles lost in a 28-14 road loss to Air Force ..... And senior WR Kaelin Clay had 5 catches for 65 yards and took a punt return to the house for the 3rd time this season - a 58-yarder; while sophomore CB Justin Thomas had 6 tackles (5-1), 2 TFL, and 2 PBU; but Utah blew a 21-0 lead, losing at home to Washington State 28-27.


In my Week 2 report I referred to Western Carolina as a "lousy FCS team." Well, maybe not. Maybe this is the year they're not going to be lousy. If you are a fan of the Catamounts, there have been precious few victories to celebrate in recent years. Starting with last season and going back to 2006 the Catamounts have gone 2-10, 1-10, 1-10, 2-9, 2-9, 3-9, 1-10, and 2-9 in the last 8 seasons. That adds up to 14-76 since their last winning season (5-4) in 2005. Heck, Florida State won 14 games in one season last year. 2014 started with a loss (what else?), but WCU was competitive in a 36-31 road loss to FBS team South Florida. The Catamounts then won their next two games (!), but those were against Division 2 schools Brevard and Catawba. A fairer indication of whether they're actually improving figured to come on the road in Week 5 against Furman, one of three teams that tied for the Southern Conference championship last season and a team WCU has gone 1-15 against the last 16 years. 
Western Carolina passed the test and did it with surprising ease, whipping Furman 35-17 to snap a 22-game road losing streak and pick up their first road win over Furman in 20 years. The Catamounts jumped out to a 21-3 lead late in the 2nd quarter and led by no less than 11 points the rest of the game, finishing with a 415-314 advantage in total yards. Three players with dreads in the WCU secondary helped hold Furman to 14 of 35 passing for 208 yards and 2 INT.
You're probably already familiar with CB Jaleel Lorquet. The junior has already made my dread all-America team twice and is likely to make it twice more. Lorquet (photo on left, breaking up a pass intended for WR Chad Scott on the first play of a four-and-out drive midway through the 4th quarter) finished with 3 of WCU's 9 PBU and also had 5 tackles (3-2). Sophomore CB/S Fred Payne had 4 tackles (2-2), 2 PBU, and got his 1st INT of the season. And sophomore CB Trey Morgan had 1 tackle (1-0), 2 PBU, and got his 2nd INT of the season, which iced the game with 1:27 remaining. And oh, by the way, the Catamounts' first 2 TD of the game came on receptions of 39 and 21 yards by sophomore WR Spearman Robinson, who made the dread stars list.
I actually made it through about half of the FCS game recaps this week, so again I don't have a complete report; but there are a few things worth mentioning. Grambling, which went 1-11 in a tumultuous (to say the least) 2013 season, improved to 2-3 (2-0 in the SWAC) with a 26-20 victory over Prairie View A&M in the annual State Fair Classic at Dallas. The Tigers passed for 275 yards, 55 of which came on 2 catches by sophomore WR Verlon Hunter, including a 32-yard TD; and 82 coming on 6 catches by junior WR Ka'Jandre Domino. (I can now report details on Grambling games because their website finally is up to par with most other teams, complete with photos of all the players and a team photo too). Senior LB Steve Orisakwe finished with 8 tackles (1-7), a half TFL, and a FR that the Tigers cashed in for the tying FG early in the 3rd quarter. Domino had a 31-yard reception on GSU's next drive, which went 80 yards in 7 plays for what proved to be the winning TD. For PVAM freshman S Damond Jackson (photo below) had 12 tackles (7-5) and 1 PBU. Freshman DE DeVohn Reed finished with 7 tackles (2-5), including 1.5 TFL.
Albany improved to 4-0 with a 42-7 home win over Columbia, and three players with dreads made big contributions. Sick senior LB Christian Dorsey had a game high 15 tackles (3-12), including a half TFL; Junior S Jamal Merritt finished with 3 tackles (1-2), 2 PBU, and his 1st INT of the season; and sophomore CB Rayshan Clark made the dread stars list. There was almost a second player to make the list, but I just couldn't ..... 
...... Well, I know for sure there is at least one player with dreads in the Ivy League this season. Junior RB Cameron Molina came oh, so close to being a dread star this week, but he just needed a few more yards, finishing with more than half of Columbia's 256 total yards: 95 yards and 1 TD rushing on 23 carries along with 6 catches for 42 yards. Hang in there Cameron, maybe next week.

Freshman RB Eric Pittman (left photo above, with his dreads reduced) of Norfolk State rushed for 81 yards on 16 carries and returned a punt 13 yards to midfield with 4:55 to play, setting up the game-winning drive as the Spartans scored a TD with :29 on the clock to defeat Morgan State 15-14 ..... Also in the MEAC, freshman CB Carlos Merritt and sophomore CB Marquise Jones of South Carolina State both had 4 tackles (2-2) and both got their 1st INT of the season, with Jones' coming at the SCSU 15-yard line with 11 seconds to play to clinch a 17-10 road win over Hampton ..... Sick senior CB Marcus Berg (right photo above) finished with 4 tackles (4-0), 1 PBU, and his 2nd INT of the season to help Alabama State win at home over Texas Southern 38-3 ..... And freshman DE P.J. Hall tied for the team lead for Sam Houston State with 7 tackles (3-4), including 1 sack, and blocked a FG attempt in a 42-10 road win over Lamar.  

A great big welcome back goes out to senior CB Demetrious Nicholson of Virginia - not back to the house (he has had and continues to have dreads long enough to be considered for the dread all-America team), I'm talking about back to the field. Bedeviled by a turf toe injury, Nicholson hadn't played since Oct. 5 of last season until starting - and contributing - in UVA's 45-13 home win over Kent State as the Cavaliers (3-2) already surpassed the number of wins they had last season, when they finished 2-10.
Nicholson had 5 tackles (4-1), 1 PBU, and a key INT in the end zone in the 2nd quarter to preserve a 14-10 lead. Actually, the pick could just as easily been ruled a TD for WR Chris Humphrey, as he and Nicholson wrestled for possession. Demetrious got the home town call from the refs, I guess. With Nicholson back on the field (although it may not be for long), the Cavaliers had three players with dreads in their starting secondary. Senior S Anthony Harris and junior CB Maurice Canady continued to shine. Harris had 8 tackles (0-8) and 2 PBU, while Canady had 4 tackles (3-1), 1 PBU, and an INT that he returned 69 yards to the house for his 1st career TD, tying the game at 7 in the 1st quarter.
As is mentioned in the article from the Hampton Daily Press (link below), Nicholson has until the end of Week 6 to decide if he's going to redshirt this season, which he's strongly considering to give his toe more time to heal. I wouldn't be disappointed at all if he does redshirt. I think he's going to have a shot at playing in the NFL, and he needs to show that he's fully healthy before any team will even think about drafting him. And if that means sitting out the rest of this season, so be it.


1. There's no such thing as an illegal dreads to the face penalty, as TCU CB Ranthony Texada finds out while stopping sick junior WR Darius Joseph at the SMU 33-yard line after a 5-yard reception on 1st and 10 during 2nd quarter on Sept. 27. The drive ended 6 plays later with an incomplete pass on 4th and 5. Yo Darius, better learn to protect the ball better than that - it's not a loaf of bread! Joseph finished with 5 catches for 46 yards, but SMU lost the battle for the Iron Skillet - badly - to TCU 56-0.


2. Sometimes you have good coverage, and it just doesn't matter at all, as Oklahoma State freshman CB Ramon Richards finds out near the end of 1st quarter on Sept. 25. Richards can only watch helplessly as Texas Tech WR Dylan Cantrell makes a sensational one-handed catch of a perfect pass for a 33-yard gain to the OSU 21-yard line. Revenge would be swift and sweet for Richards, however, as he ended the drive two plays later with his 1st career INT, keeping the game tied at 7. Richards also had 5 tackles (3-2) and 1 PBU in the game as the Cowboys improved to 3-1 with a 45-35 home win over Texas Tech.  


3. On the last play of the game at Boca Raton, the ball falls harmlessly (as far as FAU was concerned) to the ground as UTSA senior WR Marcellus Mack can't hold on for what would have been the game-winning 13-yard TD catch. Mack at first made the catch but lost control after being drilled by junior CB Cre'von LeBlanc (#7), with S Christian Milstead (#18) also defending. Mack finished with 2 catches for 23 yards. FAU scored 2 TD in the final 4:10, including the game winner with 20 seconds to play, to win 41-37 and drop UTSA to 2-3.


4. On 2nd and 4 on the second play of Wisconsin's opening drive at Madison junior RB Melvin Gordon runs for a huge gain of 55 yards before finally being stopped by sophomore CB Johnny Ward of South Florida at the 19-yard line. The play was nullified by offsetting penalties, including a horse collar personal foul called against Ward. The Badgers punted three plays later. Ward had 6 tackles (4-2) that did count along with 1 PBU.

5. Just as he had done all afternoon, junior S Jamie Byrd tackles Melvin Gordon one final time, tripping him up at the USF 12-yard line after a gain of 4 on 2nd and 1 during 4th quarter. It was Gordon's 31st carry of the game, and the 7th time Byrd tackled him. Byrd finished with a game high 14 tackles (11-3). The drive ended with a TD 4 plays later for the final points of Wisconsin's 27-10 win. After a slow start, Gordon went on to make the dread stars list for the 3rd time in 4 games.


6. With Georgia leading Tennessee 21-17 early in 4th quarter, sick senior LB Ramik Wilson gets credit for a sack as he pressures QB Nathan Peterman into an intentional grounding penalty on 2nd and 6. The Volunteers punted two plays later. Wilson finished with 9 tackles (5-4).


7. Georgia junior star RB Todd Gurley often shows off his leaping ability while carrying the ball, but he pays for it this time early in 3rd quarter. After jumping to avoid an offensive lineman who had been knocked into the backfield, Gurley gets walloped by star senior LB A.J. Johnson just as he begins to land at the Georgia 7-yard line, gaining only 1 yard on the play. Johnson was so satisfied with his big hit that he did the old guns in the holster celebration after the play. The Bulldogs punted 3 plays later. Johnson led all players in tackles with 17 (9-8); while Gurley led all players in total yards as UGA defeated UT for the 5th year in a row, 35-32.


8. After intercepting a pass that was deflected, junior LB De'Vondre Campbell takes the return 30 yards to the house for his 1st career TD, increasing Minnesota's lead over Michigan to 20-7, part of a 17-0 run by the Gophers in a span of 4:02 late in 3rd quarter. Campbell finished with 4 tackles (1-3). The Gophers' D held Michigan to 171 total yards in a 30-14 victory at Ann Arbor, snapping a 6-game losing streak in the series with the Wolverines and bringing home the Little Brown Jug back to Minneapolis for the first time since 2005. 


9. Junior CB Ronald Zamort of Western Michigan jumps too late and too low to prevent WR Isaiah Ford from making the 7-yard TD catch on 3rd and 5, increasing Virginia Tech's lead to 25-10 with 5:52 remaining in 3rd quarter at Blacksburg. Although he did not make the dread stars list, Zamort was named MAC West defensive player of the week for his INT and 39-yard return to the 3-yard line that set up a WMU TD earlier in the game. Zamort also had 3 tackles (1-2) and 1 PBU.


10. After being stiff-armed in the face by freshman RB Marshawn Williams, S Justin Currie responds by grabbing both Williams' jersey and a fistful of his dreads to make the tackle at the 21-yard line after a 42-yard run during 1st quarter. Having already scored a TD and a safety before their offense ever took the field, the Hokies settled for a FG 4 plays later on their opening drive to up their lead to 11-0. Virginia Tech went on to win 35-17, and Williams made the dread stars list for the first time.


11. On his 2nd carry of the game with 12:00 remaining in 1st quarter, Arkansas sophomore RB Alex Collins had already picked up the 1st down on 2nd and 1 and was about to spin away from Texas A&M CB Deshazor Everett for some more yards when ...... uh-oh, Everett reached out and said, "Oh no, Alex, you ain't goin' nowhere." After being dragged down after an 8-yard gain to the A&M 30, Collins got up and calmly handed the ball to the official. With dreads as long as his, I'm guessing this wasn't the first time a defender had gotten hold of them. The Razorbacks scored a TD 4 plays later to tie the game at 7 but went on to lose 35-28 in overtime. Collins made the dread stars list. 


12. Sick senior WR Tyler Williams of Akron looks in a pass against Pittsburgh during 3rd quarter at Heinz Field. The caption didn't say so, but I'm assuming this is a shot of Williams' 13-yard reception to the Akron 49-yard line - his only catch of the game. The Zips punted 4 plays later. Akron, listed as a 20-point underdog, defeated an ACC team for the first time in 8 years, knocking off the Panthers 21-10. 

  • Melvin Gordon - Wisconsin - 181 yards and 2 TD rushing on 32 carries in 27-10 home W over South Florida

  • Mike Williams - Clemson - 6 receptions for 122 yards and 2 TD in 50-35 home W over North Carolina 
  • Marshawn Williams - Virginia Tech - 14 carries for 119 yards rushing, and 2 receptions for 19 yards, in 35-17 home W over Western Michigan

  • Dee Hart - Colorado State - 117 yards rushing on 10 carries, including 43-yard run to the 12-yard line on game-winning drive, 2 receptions for 17 yards, and had a 43-yard kickoff return in 24-21 road W over Boston College
  • William Fuller - Notre Dame - 6 receptions for 119 yards, including TD of 23 and 72 yards, in 31-15 W over Syracuse
  • Travis Greene - Bowling Green - 20 carries for 110 yards and 2 TD rushing, and 3 receptions for 15 yards, in 47-42 road W over Massachusetts - surpasses 2,000-yard rushing mark for his career
  • Jowan Davis - Rice - 131 yards and 2 TD rushing on 29 carries, and 2 receptions for 38 yards, in 41-23 road W over Southern Mississippi
  • Paul Perkins - UCLA - 14 carries for 137 yards rushing in 62-27 road W over Arizona State
  • Peter Kalambayi - Stanford - named Pac-12 defensive player of the week - 6 tackles (5-1), 3 of which were sacks, in 20-13 road W over Washington: 
  • Chris Moore - Cincinnati - 3 receptions for 221 yards and 3 TD (covering 60, 83,and 78 yards) in 50-28 road L to Ohio State - 73.7 yards per catch average is new NCAA record

  • Alex Collins - Arkansas - 21 carries for 131 yards TD rushing, including 50-yard TD in tough 35-28 L in overtime to Texas A&M
  • Bradley Marquez - Texas Tech - 8 receptions for 106 yards and 1 TD in 45-35 road L to Oklahoma State
  • Spearman Robinson - Western Carolina - named SOCON offensive player of the week - 5 receptions for 120 yards, including TD of 39 and 21 yards, in 35-17 road W over Furman

  • Marquell Cartwright - North Carolina A&T - 135 yards and 2 TD rushing on 33 carries, and 3 receptions for 21 yarrds, in 38-22 road W over Howard
  • Jalen Overstreet - Sam Houston State - 9 carries for 132 yards and 1 TD rushing, and 2 receptions for 26 yards in 42-10 road W over Lamar 
  • Malcolm Cyrus - Alabama State - 16 carries for 118 yards rushing, and 3 receptions for 25 yards in 38-3 home W over Texas Southern 


The end zone at Provost Umphrey Stadium in Beaumont, TX, home of the Lamar Cardinals, is the house of dread for Week 5, as there were more touchdowns scored - 4 - by players with dreads in Lamar's 42-10 loss to Sam Houston State than all the others (except one). Sophomore RB and Texas transfer Jalen Overstreet scored on a 50-yard run for SHSU, while junior RB Donovan Williams added TD runs of 6 yards and 1 yard for the Bearkats. Senior WR Mark Roberts (4 catches for 84 yards) had a 32-yard TD reception for Lamar.
Thanks to 2 TD by their Division 2 opponent, Bethune-Cookman shares HOD honors with the SHSU-Lamar game. 4 TD by players with dreads were scored in the end zone at Daytona Beach Municipal Stadium as B-C barely defeated Florida Tech 34-33. Senior RB Anthony Jordan (16 carries for 66 yards) scored on runs of 5 yards and 22 yards for the Wildcats; while for Florida Tech WR Xavier Milton (4 catches for 101 yards) had a 79-yard TD catch and white WR Tyler Bass scored on a 43-yard reception with 19 seconds to play (after which the Panthers went for a 2-point conversion and failed, allowing B-C to escape with the win). 


For the 2nd time this season the player of the week is junior RB Todd Gurley of Georgia. You may have noticed that I didn't list his stats earlier in the report, and that was because I was saving them for now. Gurley earned SEC offensive player of the week honors after rushing for a career high 208 yards on 28 carries, catching 4 passes for 30 yards and scoring 2 TD in the Bulldogs' 35-32 home win over Tennessee.
In becoming the first Georgia player in 13 years to rush for over 200 yards, Gurley continued to build a strong case for Heisman consideration with several highlight reel plays, including a 51-yard TD run (photo below) that gave UGA some breathing room at 28-17 in the 4th quarter. Then after Tennessee closed to within 35-32 on a TD with 2:14 to play but failed to recover the ensuing onside kickoff, there was no secret who the Bulldogs were going to give the ball to. Todd picked up one 1st down on carries of 6 and 5 yards. Then after his next three carries netted 7, on 4th and 3 from the UT 26 with 40 seconds remaining, rather than risk having a FG attempt blocked, Gurley got the ball again and gained 4 yards to clinch the victory.
Gurley finished the afternoon on top of the hedges celebrating with fans (photo below) after the Bulldogs improved to 3-1 and picked up their 1st SEC victory of the season. And with the demise of South Carolina, the Bulldogs now have their fate in their own hands. Win all the rest of their games, and they'll be in that 4-team playoff at the end of the season - although winning all the rest ain't going to happen if their defense doesn't start playing better. Although Todd is not anywhere near as bad as Marshawn Lynch when it comes to meeting with the media, he'd rather not have to do it. As he put it a few days before the season opener, ".... I didn't come here to do interviews. I came to play football." Unfortunately for him though, if he keeps playing football like this, the attention he'll be getting will only increase. Better get used to it, Todd.


As of right now, I am planning to do a report for Week 6. But if I do, it will be entirely about games that I did not see. I was busy doing this report on Saturday, so I didn't see any of the afternoon games and watched only a little bit of the LSU-Auburn game. Maybe I'll do a shorter report for a change.

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