Tuesday, October 21, 2014

College FB '14 Dread News - Week 7

Hey, is the TCU-Baylor game over yet?

Forget the Iron Bowl, it's looking more and more like the big end-of-the-season showdown to decide the SEC West might be the Egg Bowl - in the state immediately to the west of Alabama. Halfway through the 2014 season Mississippi and Mississippi State are both 6-0. That's not a misprint - 6 wins, zero defeats. Who woulda thunk it? But before you decide to get rich by scalping your tickets to the Egg Bowl, Rebel and Bulldog fans, remember it's still early, And with teams as talented as Arkansas and LSU bringing up the rear, the West Division of the SEC is an absolute minefield this season. Every game is a difficult game. But really, wouldn't it be something if CBS was televising Hail State vs. Ole Miss on the Saturday after Thanksgiving instead of Auburn-Alabama?
You kind of of expected Mississippi to get good because they had been signing some very highly-ranked recruits the last couple of years. But who saw Mississippi State coming?
The Bulldogs barely made it to a bowl game last season and were expected to (well, at least I expected them to) finish closer to the bottom than the top of the SEC West standings - as usual - this season. But after defeating a team ranked in the top 10 of the AP rankings for the 3rd game in a row, they've moved to the top of the rankings themselves. The last of that trio of impressive victories was last Saturday's (all references to last Saturday in this report are to Saturday, October 11) 38-23 triumph over #2 ranked and defending SEC champ Auburn in front of a record crowd of 62,945 at Starkville.

The Bulldogs needed to go only 33 and 32 yards on their first two TD drives because Auburn turned the ball over on the very first play on each of their first two possessions. They were turnovers forced by the MSU defense - first an interception of a pass deflected by a D-lineman and then a fumble by WR D'haquille Williams, who coughed up the ball after being hit hard almost immediately after making a catch. Later in the 1st quarter the Bulldogs drove 71 yards in 7 plays to make it 21-0. But then it was their turn to start turning the ball over.
After the Tigers missed a short FG attempt, coming away empty on a drive that reached the MSU 9-yard line, the Bulldogs put the wind right back in their sails with an ill-advised fake punt on 4th and 2 from their own 28-yard line. Why Coach Mullen felt he needed to fake a punt with a 3-touchdown lead, I don't know. But as soon as it failed - the pass was intercepted - you got a strong feeling the momentum would change. And it did - but not as dramatically as Auburn fans had hoped. The Tigers drove to the 4-yard line on the ensuing drive but settled for a FG, then drove to the MSU 5 on their next drive (following another INT) but again settled for a FG, making it 21-6. The next MSU turnover - the third INT in a span of 8:53 - partly was the fault of QB Dak Prescott; but mostly it was sophomore WR De'Runnya Wilson who was to blame.
Wilson, who earlier had scored the Bulldogs' 1st TD on a highlight reel 34-yard catch and run, making the catch on 3rd and 11 while being hit by CB Jonathon Mincy at the 15-yard line (top photo above) then breaking away from Mincy (middle photo above) and then dragging CB Jonathan Jones the last 3 yards into the end zone (lower photo above), didn't jump or make any attempt to catch what was supposed to be a jump ball on a fade route into the end zone on 2nd and 8 from the 13-yard line. True, the pass was a bit underthrown, but Prescott was left standing there with a miffed look on his face when Wilson simply let the ball be picked off by Jones (photo below). When talking about his TD after the game, the 6-foot-5, 225-pound Wilson said, "I mean, I'm 6-5. I'm a physical receiver, so it's kinda hard for some cornerbacks." Exactly De'Runnya, since you're so physical, why didn't you at least try to make the catch. I mean, even taking an offensive pass interference penalty would have been better than doing nothing.
Anyway, after the Tigers went three-and-out on their next possession, the Bulldogs still weren't done giving the ball away, as WR Jamoral Graham inexplicably tried to field a fast-moving ground ball punt in heavy traffic. Not surprisingly, he muffed it. Auburn recovered, and 4 plays later the Tigers finally got into the end zone to make it 21-13. Still, State fans had to be feeling OK, because even after 4 turnovers in a row they still had an 8-point lead. The Bulldogs promptly answered Auburn's TD with a 75-yard TD drive in 8 plays to make it 28-13. 
The Tigers closed to within 28-20 in the 3rd quarter and had two possessions after that while trailing by 8. But they both ended with punts, and the Tigers ended up scoring just once - a FG - on their final four drives of the game. State upped the 8-point lead to 18 early in the 4th, getting a FG and a TD 26 seconds apart, with the FG being set up by a controversial PI penalty against Jones, who got flagged even though it was Wilson who reached over him and initiated the contact while trying to make the catch on 4th and 8 (photo above). Without the penalty, Auburn would have gotten another possession with a chance to tie, since Wilson failed to make the catch. Instead State got the 1st down, made it 31-20 four plays later, then added a TD two plays after Auburn fumbled away the kickoff return at the AU 15-yard line.

While Wilson finished with decent numbers - 4 catches for 72 yards - it was an afternoon of complete frustration for Auburn's starting WR with dreads, junior Sammie Coates. Probably the biggest reason I wanted to watch this game was to see how Coates would do coming off his best game of the season against LSU a week earlier. Well, the opportunities certainly were there for another big game, but it just wasn't Sammie's day.

First, it looked like he had scored a 5-yard TD on a reception on 3rd and goal in the 2nd quarter. But you knew he hadn't when, immediately after he made the catch, not one but two officials had their hats off and neither of them was signaling it was a TD. That's because Coates, while running his route across the back of the end zone, carelessly took a couple of steps out of bounds beyond the back of the end zone (causing the hats to come off); and as soon as he caught the pass (and was the first player to touch it after it was thrown), it was a penalty for illegal touching. Auburn settled for a FG on the next play, and the was score was 21-6 instead of 21-10. Later in the 2nd, on Auburn's drive right after State upped their lead to 28-13, Coates got open deep behind the secondary on 2nd and 6; but the pass from QB Nick Marshall was barely overthrown, otherwise it would have been a 60-yard TD.

Finally - and most aggravatingly as far as Coach Malzahn was concerned - Coates, after beating CB Taveze Calhoun along the sideline in front of the Auburn bench on the 3rd play from scrimmage after halftime, caught the pass in stride on 3rd and 5 (top photo on right) and made it all the way to the 2-yard line before being tackled from behind by Calhoun (bottom photo on right). But the 68-yard gain didn't count because Coates was flagged for for pass interference. I didn't see the play live; but after seeing a video of it, I understood why Malzahn was so angry. When asked about it after the game (link below), Sammie didn't reveal his true feelings, pretty much going with a no comment. I mean, that was a play you see hundreds of times without it ever being called offensive PI. But on this day it was. CBS game announcer Gary Danielson insisted it should have been a no-call. But I doubt that made Auburn fans feel any better. The Tigers punted two plays later. Coates ended the afternoon with only 3 catches for 22 yards.

Both teams also have a starting CB with dreads, but neither made a big impact. Senior Trovon Reed of Auburn, the former WR, had a PI penalty while covering Wilson in the 1st quarter on the last play before MSU scored to make it 21-0. Reed finished with 2 tackles (1-1). I didn't notice senior Jamerson Love of Mississippi State on the field at all (and that's not necessarily a bad thing when you're a corner). He finished with 3 tackles (2-1), including 1 TFL.

Just as impressively as Mississippi State defeated Auburn, Mississippi improved to 6-0 for the first time in 52 years, following up their stunning come-from-behind win over Alabama in Week 6 with a 35-20 road win over Texas A&M in front of the largest crowd to ever see an SEC game -110,633 - at College Station. On a team with receivers even better than him, talented sophomore WR Quincy Adeboyejo hasn't played as much as he had liked this season. But if there was one game the Dallas area native really wanted to shine in, it was this one. Adeboyejo finished with only 2 receptions, but they were both big plays - a 31-yarder to the 4-yard line in the 1st quarter that set up the 1st TD of the game, and then a 33-yard TD (photos below) that upped the Rebels' lead to 28-7 late in the 3rd quarter.

Junior S Trae Elston had 2 tackles (2-0) for Ole Miss; while sick DEs Bryon Bennett (1-0) and Fadol Brown (0-1) each had 1 tackle, with Bennett's being a tackle for a 3-yard loss. The Rebels' D allowed 455 total yards but also forced 3 turnovers, two of which were returned for TD. Freshman WR Speedy Noil was a bright spot for Texas A&M, as he made the dread stars list for the first time. Junior RB Brandon Williams gained only 30 total yards on 9 touches, and sick senior CB Floyd Raven finished with 4 tackles (1-3).

Hey, is that TCU-Baylor game done yet?

I was already prepared to be disappointed, so I wasn't disappointed any further after seeing Arkansas sophomore RB Alex Collins on the field against Alabama. After his having his long dreads grabbed at least once by Texas A&M defenders in the Razorbacks' previous game, Collins I hoped would still have his dreads hanging loose this week. But really, I kind of expected him to do something to make them harder to grab. Unfortunately I was right - he had them bunched so tightly together that it was nearly impossible for any defender to get a hold of them. Heck, he could've played for Alabama looking like that.
It's a look we hopefully won't ever see again. And maybe we won't because Alex had his worst performance of the season. After being suspended for the 1st quarter for being late to a practice, Collins fumbled away his 2nd carry of the game (photo above) on a 6-yard run early in the 2nd quarter, setting up Alabama for a short 23-yard TD drive for the game's first points. The 6-yard gain was his longest of the game, and he finished with a puny (and season low) 13 yards rushing on 6 carries. Junior WR Keon Hatcher had 3 catches for 58 yards for the Razorbacks. Sophomore DT Darius Philon had 6 tackles (3-3), including 2 TFL, one of which was a sack; and senior S Alan Turner finished with 4 tackles (1-3) and 1 PBU. Sophomore RB Derrick Henry had 7 carries for 25 yards for the Crimson Tide, who were outgained 335-227 by the Razorbacks in total yards. After losing to Alabama 52-0 in both 2013 and 2012, the Razorbacks lost a heartbreaker this year 14-13, a result that had Coach Bielema nearly in tears at his post-game media session.

I don't care how mediocre Florida has become in recent years, it's always very satisfying for me whenever LSU comes away victorious in their annual meeting with the Gators - especially at Gainesville, where the Tigers won 30-27 last Saturday on a 50-yard FG with 3 seconds remaining for their 1st SEC win this season in a game I didn't see very much of. The star of the game was LSU RB Leonard Fournette, who earned SEC freshman of the week honors. But the Tigers' two RBs with dreads also got some carries, with senior Terrence Magee (6 carries for 50 yards) making more of an impact than freshman Darrel Williams (2 carries for 4 yards).
Florida also had a couple of RBs with dreads in action, although not by design. Starter Matt Jones had 4 carries for 11 yards before leaving at halftime with an injury. That allowed freshman Brandon Powell (photo above) to play more than expected. He had just 6 yards rushing on 3 carries but also gained 66 yards on 6 receptions. Both teams also had LBs with dreads in the starting lineup. Senior Neiron Ball finished with 7 tackles (0-7) for the Gators, including a half TFL. For the Tigers sophomore Kendell Beckwith, who is debuting his dreads this season, had 6 tackles (3-3), while junior Lamar Louis had no stats. I'm hoping I'll be naming sick junior CB Jalen Collins to my dread all-America team at the end of the season. But Collins (photo below, getting beat for a TD by WR Demarcus Robinson in the 4th quarter), who had 1 tackle (1-0) and 1 PBU, continues to play with his dreads folded in half, and that continues to put his place on the team in jeopardy.

Hey, is that TCU-Baylor game finished yet?

What in the name of Tajh Boyd and Teddy Bridgewater was going on out there?! ....... If Louisville had entered the ACC last year instead of this season, their first league meeting with Clemson would have featured lots of passes and lots of passing yards by both Bridgewater and Boyd. But with both of them drafted into the NFL after last season, what we got instead was a game that no doubt had fans who love offense reduced to tears. In the game to determine who's likely to finish in 2nd place (behind Florida State) in the ACC Atlantic Division, Clemson prevailed at home, 23-17, despite gaining only 229 total yards and scoring no offensive touchdowns. Louisville wasn't much better, being held under 200 total yards until a big play late boosted their final total to 264. The teams combined to punt a ridiculous 22 times. TWENTY-TWO! 

Numbers like that would have been unfathomable last year; but now both teams are starting freshmen at QB. And although Clemson's freshman, Deshaun Watson, has been outstanding lately, he missed most of the game after breaking a finger on his right (throwing) hand in the 2nd quarter. Clemson fans probably couldn't even remember the last time the Tigers failed to score an offensive TD in a home game. But they can now, after the Tigers' only 2 TD in this one were on a 72-yard punt return after Louisville went three-and-out on the game's first possession; and a 2-yard scoop and score by senior DE Tavaris Barnes for his 1st career TD,  putting the Tigers back in the lead 14-10 midway through the 2nd quarter.
Box scores that have not been corrected yet credit DT Grady Jarrett with scoring the TD. But if you slow down the replay enough, you can see Barnes briefly but clearly had possession of the ball after crossing the goal line (photo above, and I'm sorry I couldn't find a clearer one, and story on link below) before it was stripped from him and then recovered by Jarrett. After the Cardinals pulled into a 17-17 tie in the 3rd quarter, the Clemson offense had their best two drives of the game - 55 yards that ended with a FG on the last play of the 3rd quarter and 68 yards that ended with a FG to make it 23-17 with 1:24 remaining in the 4th. Then the Cardinals, whose biggest gain from scrimmage in the 2nd half to that point had been 22 yards, got a 73-yard catch and run by WR James Quick for a 1st and goal at the 8-yard line with 1:08 remaining. Then they had 2nd and goal from the 1, but the Tigers' D turned them away, with the pass on 4th down being batted down at the line of scrimmage.
Both teams have close to 10 players with dreads on their rosters, but most of them are freshmen and sophomores who don't play much. The best player with dreads on either team is the man whose red dreads we hopefully we'll see in the NFL next year, Louisville senior DE Lorenzo Mauldin (or maybe he'll change them to a different color if he doesn't get drafted by the Chiefs or the Cardinals). He had 4 tackles (3-1) (one of them in photo above), 1.5 TFL, including 1 sack, and 1 PBU. Sick senior CB Terell Floyd (photo below, celebrating with S Terrence Ross after a play) had 3 tackles (3-0) and 1 TFL; sophomore LB Keith Brown had 2 tackles (2-0); and sophomore DT DeAngelo Brown had 1 tackle (1-0). For Clemson sophomore WR Mike Williams was held to 1 catch for 23 yards. Barnes had no other stats other than the FR for the TD. Also for Clemson I read a couple of days ago that freshman RB Tyshon Dye has started practicing, after having recovered from the Achilles tendon injury he suffered during offseason workouts in February. Hopefully we'll see him take one (at least) to the house before the season is over.

If I had done a report for Week 6 (I started to write one but then decided I'd rather watch this week's games instead of spending the rest of the weekend finishing it), it would have led off with the horror show put on by star WR Deontay Greenberry of Houston in the Cougars' heartbreaking 17-12 home loss to UCF. I don't know, maybe he had some kind of injury and wasn't at 100%, because it's hard to imagine a player as talented as him having such a terrible performance. Of the 13 passes intended for him, he made only 3 receptions for only 26 yards; 8 were incomplete, including 2 that were described as "dropped pass" on the game play-by-play log and including another that he didn't catch cleanly in the end zone on 4th and goal, which allowed CB Jacoby Glenn to break up the pass; and the other 2 were both interceptions, one of which was a perfect pass which he again didn't catch cleanly, instead juggling the ball up into the air and right into the hands of S Brandon Alexander. Fast forward 9 days to last Saturday and I see Greenberry wearing jersey #4 instead of his usual #3 (photo below) for the Cougars' game at Memphis.
The first thing I thought, of course, was that he probably burned that #3 jersey after the UCF game; but it wasn't that. In fact he switched to the #4 worn by teammate Daniel Spencer to honor Spencer, a senior WR who was leading the team in receptions but who unfortunately tore his ACL in practice during the week before the game. Since it's now too late in the season to redshirt, Spencer's UH career is over. Greenberry, who's been struggling right along with everybody else on the Cougars' offense this season, had 5 catches for 79 yards in his first game wearing #4, and UH picked up their 1st AAC win, coming back from a 14-0 deficit to defeat Memphis 28-24. 

Hey, is that TCU-Baylor game through yet? .......
It was exactly 6:22 PM last Saturday and the TCU-Baylor game, which had kicked off at 2:30 PM and was closing in on the 4-hour mark, still had 10:39 remaining in the 4th quarter. It was the 110th meeting between the Horned Frogs and Bears (with the series dead even 51-51 with 7 ties) but their first meeting ever when they both were ranked in the top 25 of the AP rankings. Apparently #5 ranked Baylor and #9 TCU - two programs who for most of their histories were the weak sisters of the old SWC - didn't want to yield the national spotlight. ABC had to move the preview show for their auto race to another channel at 6:30 because TCU vs. Baylor refused to end.

TCU fans probably were getting excited when a pick-6 TD with 11:38 on the clock increased the Frogs' lead to 58-37. But it turned out to be fools' gold. The Bears came roaring back - a 45-yard TD drive in 4 plays that lasted 59 seconds; a 92-yard drive in just 5 plays that took 1:23; and then a 5-play, 91-yard drive in just 59 seconds - and just like that it was 58-58 with 4:42 to go. Where was the defense? TCU then punted again, for the 3rd straight possession, on 4th and 8, apparently giving the ball to the Bears at the 17-yard line with 1:17 to play. But when the Bears were called for an illegal substitution penalty on the punt, the Frogs accepted the penalty and decided to go for it on 4th and 3. When their pass on 4th down was incomplete, Baylor took possession at their 45-yard line instead of the 17. And 9 plays later the Bears kicked a 28-yard FG to win 61-58 (just think, if he had missed, the game would have gone on even longer), extending their home winning streak to 13 in a row.

The official length of game was listed as 4 hours 25 minutes, and I can't imagine there's ever been any other game that's lasted longer (that is, for games that weren't delayed by the weather). Baylor racked up 782 total yards to "only" 485 for TCU. The only player with dreads who made any impact was TCU junior WR Kolby Listenbee (photos above), who all of a sudden has emerged as a dangerous deep threat for the Frogs' offense. Listenbee is pictured with a shaved head in the 2013 TCU media guide, so his dreads aren't long enough to be seen with his helmet on yet unless you get a really close-up view. In making the dread stars list for the 2nd straight week, Listenbee had a 35-yard catch for the 1st TD of the game, a 51-yard reception on the Frogs' 2nd TD drive of the 1st quarter, and also a 45-yard reception on a drive that ended with a FG in the 3rd quarter. The TCU website did an article on Kolby (link below) after his breakout game in the Frogs' Week 6 win over Oklahoma; and if he keeps this up, we're going to be hearing a lot more about him in the future.

Junior CB Briean Boddy-Calhoun of Minnesota recorded a career high 11 tackles (10-1) as the Gophers improved to 5-1 with a 24-17 home win over Northwestern ..... Sophomore WR D'Vario Montgomery came close to making the dread stars list with a season high 90 yards on 9 catches, and junior RB DeVondrick Nealy (photo on left) had a career high 71 yards rushing on 16 carries for Iowa State in a 37-30 home win over Toledo ..... Senior S Brandon LeBeau had a career high 7 tackles (7-0), 3 of which were TFL, including his 1st career sack; and freshman CB Parry Nickerson had 6 tackles (6-0) and 1 PBU as Tulane picked up their first ever AAC win, holding UConn to 217 total yards in a 12-3 victory at New Orleans ..... Junior RB Travis Greene gained 89 total yards, including a 30-yard TD run and 27-yard TD catch as Bowling Green won at Ohio U 31-13 ..... Freshman LB Jerome Lane of Akron picked up his first 2 career sacks, the first coming on 4th down on the first possession of the game and the other in the end zone for a safety later in the 1st; and senior DE Nordly Capi got his 3rd and 4th sacks of the season as the Zips' D recorded 9 sacks in all in a 29-19 home win over Miami (Ohio) .....
Senior WR Alex Kenney had a game high 76 yards receiving on 5 catches as Massachusetts picked up their 1st win of the season, 40-17 on the road over Kent State ..... Senior S Jay Davis of UAB recorded a career high 11 tackles (11-0) and the Blazers enjoyed a +5 turnover margin, including 3 defensive TD, in a 56-21 home win over North Texas ..... Junior WR Marcus Johnson (photo on right) of Texas almost made the dread stars list, finishing with 7 catches for 93 yards, but the Longhorns lost to Oklahoma 31-26 ..... Senior RB Prince-Tyson Gulley almost made the dread stars list, finishing with 80 yards rushing on 16 carries and 7 catches for 25 yards, but Syracuse lost at home to Florida State 38-20 ..... Senior S Demarkus Perkins had a career high 11 tackles (4-7), including 2 TFL, but FIU lost on the road as UTSA kicked 2 FG in the final 1:54 of the game to defeat the Panthers 16-13 ..... Senior DT Tyeler Davison of Fresno State had a career high 14 tackles (6-8), but the Bulldogs lost to UNLV for the first time in 30 years, 30-27 in overtime, ending their 10-game winning streak in the series with the Rebels ..... And senior RB Dee Hart rushed for 90 yards and his 5th TD of the season (photo below) to help Colorado State improve to 5-1 win a 31-24 road win over Nevada; senior S Nigel Haikins had a team-leading 10 tackles (5-5), 1 FF (forcing Hart to fumble) and 1 PBU for Nevada.

Damn, North Dakota State is already good enough; they don't need any help. Sourthern Illinois fans were probably thinking exactly that if they were watching during the 3rd quarter of a midseason showdown in the Missouri Valley between the teams last Saturday at Fargo. The 5-1 Salukis were daring to challenge the 5-0 and 3-time defending FCS champion Bison on their home field when they were done in by a technical glitch. During the commercial breaks of the Auburn-Mississippi State game I was able to catch a couple of plays of the SIU-NDSU game, and one of the plays I saw was very disturbing to say the least.  

The Bison led 17-10 midway through the 3rd and added to it with a 9-yard TD catch by TE Luke Albers. But they shouldn't have, at least not on that play. The replay showed that Albers didn't have control of the ball until after he had stepped out of bounds. But while everybody watching on TV could see that, the replay official could not. The game announcers said something about the replay system being down (temporarily); and I was like, "What do you mean it's down? Just great. No replay when you need it to take a TD away from the home team. How convenient." I mean, all they had to do was come over to the TV booth to see it. But, of course, they didn't. The touchdown stood, and the Bison went on to roll to a 38-10 victory. I'm not saying SIU would have won had that TD not been allowed, just that it really bugs me when something like that happens. 
I should have spent more time watching than I did because SIU once again this season has several players with sick dreads. Junior S D.J. Cameron, who had 4 tackles (2-2) and junior DT Raysean Golden (2 tackles, 0-2, one of them in photo above) very likely will be on my dread all-America team. Junior CB Brandon Willingham (1 tackle, 0-1) might make it too. But senior WR Tay Willis (photo below), a 1st team selection last season as a kickoff returner, better quit reducing his dreads if he wants to be on the team again. He had 5 returns against the Bison for 94 yards, with the longest going 23 yards. Despite losing their best players with dreads (who were seniors) from last year's roster, the Bison aren't totally dread-free this season. Junior Jordan Champion is a starting CB, and he finished with 7 tackles (4-3) and 2 PBU against SIU.
Charleston Southern may never have a better chance to defeat an FBS team than they did last Saturday; but despite outgaining Vanderbilt 389-295 in total yards, the Buccaneers fell to the Commodores 21-20, dropping to 0-15 all time vs. FBS opponents. Last season CSU got to 7-0 before FBS opponent Colorado dealt them their first defeat. This year the Bucs started off with 5 straight wins before heading to Nashville to face a Vanderbilt team that has really struggled this year. After trailing 18-3 in the 2nd quarter, CSU closed to within 21-20 on a FG with 10:14 remaining in the game. But after going three-and-out on their next drive, they punted with 6:00 to go ..... and never got the ball back. Vanderbilt made 4 first downs, driving from their own 3-yard line to the CSU 33 and running out the clock.

The Bucs have several players with dreads on their roster again this season - three WRs (none of whom have any receptions yet) and about a half dozen defensive players. The only starters are junior CB Malcolm Jackson (photo below, getting set to tackle RB Ralph Webb), who tied for the team lead with 7 tackles (4-3) and had 2 PBU; and senior DT Isaac Lowrance, who finished with 2 tackles (0-2).
Junior CB Terrick Colston had 7 tackles (4-3), 1.5 TFL, got his 3rd INT of the season, and scored Delaware State's only TD after blocking a punt, scooping it up and taking it 3 yards to the house as the Hornets, despite gaining only 114 total yards on offense, won at Norfolk State 13-10 in overtime ..... Senior S Tevin Allen had 8 tackles (6-2), 1 PBU, and returned the 2nd half opening kickoff 73 yards to set up a FG and begin Illinois State's comeback from a 6-0 deficit as the Redbirds improved to 5-0, winning at Indiana State 20-18 on a FG with :03 remaining ..... Senior WR Lamar Davenport had 2 catches for 43 yards, scoring his first 2 TD of the season on receptions of 18 and 25 yards as Monmouth improved to 5-1, rolling over Columbia 61-28 ..... Junior LB Nick Dance had a team-leading 9 tackles (2-7), including 1 TFL, for Tennessee-Martin in a 17-10 home win over Tennessee Tech ..... Senior LB Steve Orisakwe had 7 tackles (3-4), including 3 TFL, and 1 FR, and junior WR Ka'Jandre Domino had a 22-yard recption for his 1st TD of the season as Grambling improved to 4-0 in the SWAC West, defeating East leader Alcorn State 28-21 in a possible preview of the SWAC championship game ..... Sophomore RB Jeremy Dobson rushed for 71 yards and his 1st TD of the season, and sophomore DE Khalil Young had 2.5 sacks and 1 PBU for Mississippi Valley State in a 27-23 road win over Jackson State; senior LB Ariane McCree had 12 tackles (8-4), 4 TFL, and 2.5 sacks for JSU ..... And sophomore RB Khalid Thomas rushed for 50 yards and his 3rd and 4th TD of the season on 7 carries, and junior S Najee Bright got his 3rd INT of the season, but Alabama State lost at Prairie View A&M 34-24; freshman S Damond Jackson had 12 tackles (3-9), 1 TFL, and 2 PBU for PVAM.

The South Florida defense didn't bother to cover Breon Allen coming out of the backfield, so the East Carolina senior RB was all alone down the middle of the field for an easy 35-yard TD reception that tied the game at 7 in the 1st quarter at Tampa. But it was Allen's 2nd TD of the night that was even more interesting.
Tired of seeing so many players with dreads having their helmets come off, the NCAA's knee-jerk reaction a few years ago was to put into effect a new rule that forces any player (with dreads or without) to be taken out the game for at least one play whenever his helmet comes off during a play.
So nowadays you don't ever want your helmet to come off - except when it happens exactly the way it did with Allen in the 4th quarter. Breon was already across the goal line when his helmet slid off while being tackled, so he got to celebrate with his teammates and show off his dreads at the same time after his 4-yard run put the Pirates ahead (to stay) 21-17 with 11:42 remaining. He had to miss the next play; but so what, he wouldn't have been on the field for the extra point attempt anyway. ECU went on to win 28-17 over USF, improving to 5-1 and picking up their first ever AAC road win; and Allen made the dread stars list. 


1. Freshman WR Steve Ishmael of Syracuse beats CB P.J. Williams on 3rd and 5 for his 1st career TD on a 22-yard reception, cutting Florida State's lead to 31-13 midway through 3rd quarter at the Carrier Dome. Ishmael later scored his 2nd TD, finishing with 3 catches for 93 yards, but the Orange lost to FSU 38-20.


2. Senior S Jordan Haden of Toledo (whose big brother plays for the NFL team a few miles east of Toledo) arrives way too late as Iowa State senior TE E.J. Bibbs dives into the end zone with a 5-yard TD on a screen pass on 1st and goal, putting the Cyclones ahead (to stay) 30-23 with 10:23 remaining in 4th quarter at Ames. It was the 4th TD of the season for Bibbs, who finished with 5 catches for 33 yards. Haden had 6 tackles (3-3). It was a happy Homecoming at ISU as the Cyclones defeated Toledo 37-30.


3. RB Derrick Craine of UT-Chattanooga takes the pitch on an option play on 3rd and 3 put doesn't keep possession for long as senior LB A.J. Johnson of Tennessee comes in unblocked and separates him from the ball 4 yards behind the line of scrimmage midway through 2nd quarter at Knoxville. UTC ended up losing 12 yards on the play but recovered the fumble and were able to punt on the next play. Johnson led the team with 9 tackles (4-5), with this one being the only TFL, as the Volunteers rolled to a easy 45-10 victory.


4. Senior DE Za'Darius Smith of Kentucky gets his 1st solo sack of the season, dropping Louisiana-Monroe QB Pete Thomas at the ULM 19-yard line for a loss of 6 on 2nd and 10 on the 2nd play of 3rd quarter at Lexington. ULM punted 3 plays later. Smith finished the afternoon with 5 tackles (2-3), 1 sack, and 1 PBU.


5. Junior LB Josh Forrest gets his 1st INT of the season and takes the return 29 yards to the house for his 1st career TD, putting Kentucky ahead (to stay) 17-14 midway through 2nd quarter. Forrest finished with 5 tackles (3-2), 2.5 TFL and a half sack as the Wildcats improved to 5-1 (5-0 at home), whipping the Warhawks 48-14.


6. Freshman RB Nick Chubb of Georgia can't break away from senior DE Markus Golden and is tackled for a 1-yard loss at the Missouri 17-yard line late in 1st quarter at Columbia. The Bulldogs settled for a FG 2 plays later. Chubb did just fine replacing the suspended Todd Gurley - much to the relief of Georgia fans - carrying 38 times (with no fumbles) for 143 yards. Golden had 10 tackles (3-7), including 1.5 TFL, for the Tigers. In a battle of 4-1 teams, Georgia picked up a big and surprising easily 34-0 SEC East road win.


7. Sophomore CB Zack Sanchez of Oklahoma gets his 5th INT of the season and takes the return 43 yards to the house for his 2nd career TD, increasing the Sooners' lead to 17-3 over Texas with 11:18 remaining in 2nd quarter. Sanchez, who at this point would be one of the starting CBs on my all-America with dreads team, also had 8 tackles (5-3) and 3 PBU in the game. On a cold, 58-degree day in Dallas, Oklahoma, despite being dominated by the Longhorns in total yards 482-232, still improved to 5-1 with a 31-26 victory.


8. West Virginia S Karl Joseph thinks he has Texas Tech senior WR Bradley Marquez stopped short on 4th and 3, but Marquez will not be denied, stretching out and getting the ball barely far enough forward to get the 1st down after making a catch early in 3rd quarter at Lubbock. But the drive ended 4 plays later with a stop on 4th and 1 (should have thrown it to Bradley again). Marquez finished with 5 catches for 65 yards; but Texas Tech could not hang onto a 34-20 lead with 6 minutes remaining. WVU scored 2 TD to tie it then kicked a 55-yard FG on the final play to win it 37-34.


9. Central Michigan senior TE Deon Butler runs after the catch during 1st quarter in MAC action at DeKalb, IL. Butler had 2 catches in the game, one on each of CMU's first two drives of the game - an 11-yarder to the Northern Illinois 5-yard line and an 18-yarder to the NIU 13. The Chippewas scored a TD on the next play after each of his catches, wiping out NIU's early 7-0 lead. Central Michigan went on to win 34-17, ending Northern Illinois' 28-game home winning streak. 


10. Junior WR Breshad Perriman can't make the catch on 1st and goal from the 8-yard line during overtime at Orlando; and even if he had caught the pass, it wouldn't have counted because he was already out of bounds. But UCF got the TD anyway 2 plays later and then stopped BYU on their possession. Perriman finished with 6 catches for 83 yards as UCF got their 3rd straight win after an 0-2 start, defeating BYU 31-24 in OT. 

And now here are a couple of photos from Week 6.

11. Junior WR Devonte Robinson of Utah State is wide open on a post-corner route on 1st and 10 and makes the catch for a 22-yard TD, giving the Aggies the lead (for good) 21-14 over BYU with 4:27 remaining in 2nd quarter at Provo. After hardly being heard from at all in the first 5 weeks, Robinson nearly made the dread stars list in Week 6, finishing with 6 catches for 98 yards and 2 TD. Utah State improved to 3-2, defeating BYU in Provo for the first time in 36 years (ending a streak of 17 straight losses) 35-20. 

12. Senior WR Kenzel Doe of Wisconsin beats Northwestern S Traveon Henry on 1st and 10 and makes the catch for a 19-yard TD, the 1st TD catch of his career, cutting the Wildcats' lead to 20-14 with 4:16 remaining in 4th quarter at Evanston. But the Badgers didn't get the ball back until there were 33 seconds to play, and NU held on. Doe had 137 all-purpose yards in the game, including 4 catches for 34 yards, but Wisconsin lost their Big 10 opener at Northwestern 20-14. 


13. Freshman RB Devine Redding, who with dreads like these is a serious contender for a spot on the dread all-America team, falls 3 yards short of his 1st career TD, picking up 6 yards on 1st and goal midway through 3rd quarter at Bloomington, IN. Redding got the ball again on the next play and fumbled, so he was replaced, and somebody else got the TD on 3rd down. The good news for Redding was that he did get that 1st career TD later in the game, scoring on a 3-yard run with :33 remaining in the 4th. He finished with 39 yards rushing on 7 carries in the Hoosiers' 49-24 win over North Texas.


14. Maybe he should have just grabbed the dreads instead ........ Senior CB Steven Nelson grabs a hold of senior WR D.D. Goodson's jersey after a catch on 2nd and 3, but Goodson uses a stiff-arm to get away. But not for long, as S Ryan Murphy came in quickly and tackled Goodson for a 3-yard loss midway through 2nd quarter at Boulder. Colorado punted 2 plays later. Goodson finished with 6 catches for 43 yards, all in the 1st half. Nelson had 3 tackles (3-0) and 1 PBU. Oregon State picked up their 1st Pac-12 win, winning at Colorado 36-31.

  • Dalvin Cook - Florida State - 122 yards and 1 TD rushing on 23 carries, and 2 receptions for 17 yards in 38-20 road W over Syracuse
  • Melvin Gordon - Wisconsin - 27 carries for 175 yards and 4 TD rushing in 38-28 home W over Illinois

  • Will Fuller -Notre Dame - 7 receptions for 133 yards and 2 TD in 50-43 home W over North Carolina
  • Kevin White - West Virginia - 13 receptions for 123 yards, including 26-yard TD in 4th quarter, in 37-34 road W over Texas Tech

  • Darion Monroe - Tulane - 6 tackles (5-1), 1 TFL, 1 FF, and 2 FR in 12-3 home W over Connecticut
  • Shaq Thompson - Washington - named Pac-12 defensive player of the week - game high 11 tackles (5-6) and 1 FR, which he returned 100 yards to the house, his 3rd fumble return for a TD and 5th TD overall this season, in 31-7 road W over California

  • Breon Allen - East Carolina - 124 yards and 1 TD rushing on 18 carries, and 4 receptions for 50 yards and 1 TD in 28-17 road W over South Florida

  • Paul Perkins - UCLA - 22 carries for 190 yards rushing, and 3 receptions for 13 yards, in 42-30 home L to Oregon
  • Kolby Listenbee - TCU - 4 receptions for career high 146 yards and 1 TD in 61-58 road L to Baylor
  • Speedy Noil - Texas A&M - 11 receptions for 105 yards in 35-20 home L to Mississippi
  • Anthony Jordan - Bethune-Cookman - 11 carries for 102 yards and 2 TD rushing, including 79-yarder, and 4 receptions for 48 yards in 49-12 home W over Howard
  • Adrian Wilkins - North Carolina Central - 12 receptions for 144 yards, including 26-yard TD, but also lost 2 fumbles on kick returns, in 48-35 road W over South Carolina State
  • Janawski Davis - Murray State - 6 receptions for 99 yards and 2 TD, including game-winning 7-yard TD in 2nd overtime, in 44-41 home W over Southeast Missouri State

  • Roland Jackson - Cal Poly - 1 carry for 40 yards rushing, and 2 receptions for 100 yards, including 41-yarder on game-winning drive in 3rd quarter, in 30-24 road W over Weber State
  • Demarcus Rouse - Presbyterian - 19 carries for 145 yards rushing, including 52-yard TD, in 40-28 home L to Coastal Carolina
  • Kalif Phillips - UNC-Charlotte - 22 carries for 164 yards rushing, including 26-yard TD, in 63-56 road L to The Citadel in 2 overtimes
  • Maetron Thomas - UNC-Charlotte - 12 carries for 106 yards rushing, including 25-yard TD on first play of 1st OT, as 49ers racked up school record 684 total yards ..... and allowed school record 709 total yards
  • Malcolm Cyrus - Alabama State - 22 carries for 125 yards rushing, and 5 receptions for 30 yards in 34-24 road L to Prairie View A&M

With his 175 yards rushing and 4 TD, not only did junior RB Melvin Gordon reach the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the season faster in a season (6 games) than any RB in Wisconsin history, he single-handedly was responsible for the end zone at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison taking this week's house of dread award. The Badgers' 38-28 win over Illinois had more TD by players with dreads than any other, thanks to runs of 15, 6, and 30 yards by Gordon in the 1st half and then a 1-yard plunge (photo below) in the 3rd quarter.
The house of dread for Week 6 was the end zone at Sanford Stadium in Athens, GA, as 4 TD by players with dreads were scored in Georgia's 44-17 victory over Vanderbilt. Superstar junior RB Todd Gurley scored the first 2 TD of the game on runs of 5 and 14 yards in the 1st quarter. And the Bulldogs' next 2 TD were the first 2 of the season by senior WR Chris Conley - a 44-yard reception (photo below) in the 1st quarter and then a 5-yard reception with 7 seconds to go until halftime.
Gurley's 2 TD, his 8th and 9th of the season, hopefully will not be his last two. As you certainly have heard by now, Georgia has suspended him indefinitely while an investigation is conducted into how much money he received during this past offseason for putting his autograph on various items of memorabilia. It's a situation that's disappointing to me on a bunch of levels; but I'm not going to spend the next half hour doing an essay on it. At this point he already has missed 2 games; and I'd guess that if he misses two more, that would pretty much torpedo his chance of winning the Heisman Trophy. The NCAA probably has already decided how long his suspension will be, but they won't announce it until a couple of days before he's eligible to play. All Todd can do is continue to practice so that he'll be ready to go when the suspension is lifted (if it ever is lifted).


It seems like you can make an argument for Melvin Gordon to be the player of the week for every week. But I don't like giving the award to the same player all the time (unless I absolutely have to); so even though he rushed for nearly a quarter mile in the last 2 games, somebody else will be the head dread for Weeks 6 and 7.

We're going to the FCS to find the player of the week for Week 7. Senior RB Gus Johnson of Stephen F. Austin rushed for 202 yards and 3 TD on only 19 carries in a 42-20 victory over Nicholls State. He also had 2 catches for 19 yards to finish with 221 total yards, helping the Lumberjacks end their 12-game road losing streak. Johnson's 20-yard TD run on the first possession of the night was the 40th of his career, moving him into 1st place in career touchdowns in SFA history - a record which he extending to 42 TD by the end of the game and will continue to add to (hopefully) for the rest of the season. Later in the game he surpassed the 3,000-yard mark for yards rushing in his career. I didn't try very hard (and I'm not going to) to find any photos of Johnson, so I'm just going to post the tiny photo the SFA website has of him. Also, on the link below, is an article from the team website that sings Johnson's praises and that indicates if Johnson can finish the season strong, he'll be in the running for the Walter Payton Award.


I couldn't name Gordon the head dread for Week 6 (despite his huge game) because Wisconsin didn't win. And even though he and several other players gained more yards, we're still going with junior WR Sammie Coates of Auburn for the award. Coates picked up 144 yards on only 4 receptions, sparking the Tigers to a 41-7 home victory over the SEC West's other Tigers, LSU. Finally healthy after being slowed by a knee injury that held him to a paltry total of 56 yards on 5 receptions through the first 4 games of the season, Coates gained 56 yards on his 1st catch of the evening against LSU for his 1st TD of the season (photos below), increasing Auburn's lead to 10-0.

On Auburn's next possession he had a 38-yard reception to the LSU 20-yard line that set up another TD. Then in the 2nd quarter he had a 29-yard reception on 2nd and 15 early in a drive that ended with the TD that made the score 31-7. And his other reception went for a 21-yard gain, converting a 3rd and 6 on a FG drive in the 3rd quarter. If you like, please click on the link below for more on Sammie from the Birmingham News website.

Coates' slow beginning has allowed star JC recruit D'haquille Williams to emerge as the main threat in Auburn's passing game. But Coates has now shown that he's still a force to be reckoned with, a dangerous deep threat. And the Tigers are going to need his big plays if they're going to have any chance of repeating as SEC champs against a brutal schedule in the last half of the season.

The date I'm posting this report reads October 21 instead of October 19 because I endured a frustrating (and I mean frustrating) Saturday and Saturday night/Sunday morning unsuccessfully trying to get it posted then. This one ain't on me. It was technical difficulties beyond my control that were to blame. The bottom line is that I'm now 2 days behind schedule getting ready the report for Week 8. So yes, I'm sorry, but I'm probably going to have skip Week 8 too.

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