After Auburn drove 70 yards on the game's first possession to take a 7-0 lead, Gurley immediately showed he wasn't rusty after missing a month, taking the kickoff return (photo below) 105 yards to the house. Unfortunately a penalty nullified the TD, and he had to settle for being credited with a 32-yard return. Gurley's final TD for the Bulldogs came later, on a 3-yard run on 3rd and 2, making the score 24-7 midway through the 3rd quarter. And his longest run from scrimmage in the game came shortly before he was injured - a 31-yard run that began a 98-yard drive, a drive that ended with an 11-yard TD run by RB Nick Chubb for the final points of the game on the next play after Gurley went down.
As for Gurley (breaking a tackle by DE Gimel President in photo below), the recovery time for an ACL injury is usually 8-12 months. I sincerely hope we'll be seeing him playing on Sundays at some point next season; but the chances of him being drafted in the 1st round have now dropped to somewhere between slim and none. Fortunately for Todd, Georgia recently increased the amount of the insurance policy they had taken out on him (details on link below), so he'll be able to collect whatever money he'll lose as a result of falling out of the 1st round of the draft. But wherever you get drafted, Todd, get well ASAP.
Birmingham native and Mississippi State sophomore WR De'Runnya Wilson certainly would like to have had a big day in the Bulldogs' crucial road game at Alabama, but it was not meant to be as the Crimson Tide hung on for a 25-20 victory, handing MSU (9-1) their 1st defeat of the season and moving into the driver's seat in the SEC West race. The Tide need only to beat Auburn (at home in Week 14) to clinch a spot in the SEC championship game. Wilson nearly made the dread stars list with 8 catches for 91 yards but no doubt had to be disappointed those numbers weren't much better than that. Late in the 2nd quarter, after he was tackled at the 1-yard line (photo below) on an 11-yard reception and after the Bulldogs took a killer false start penalty on the next play on 1st and goal, passes intended for him in the end zone on 2nd and 3rd and goal were both incomplete, and the Bulldogs ended up settling for a FG that cut Alabama's lead to 19-3.
The Coach Muschamp era is now over at Florida (effective at season's end), with the final insult being the Gators' 23-20 home loss in overtime to South Carolina, a defeat that eliminated them from the SEC East race. A couple of late mistakes on special teams doomed Florida. A chip shot 32-yard FG was blocked by senior S Brison Williams of South Carolina with 3:31 remaining, keeping the UF lead at 17-10. Then with only 39 seconds to play, sick junior WR Carlton Heard broke free through the middle of the line and blocked a punt (photo below and details, including video, on link below), giving the Gamecocks the ball at the Florida 34. Five plays later Carolina scored the tying TD with :12 on the clock. The Gators kicked a FG on their possession in overtime before South Carolina scored a TD to win it.
"But I don't think they're better than us. Honestly, I really don't." ...... Well then, if sick Minnesota junior LB DeVondre Campbell's words are right, that means the better team did not win at Minneapolis as Ohio State improved to 9-1 and spoiled senior day at Minnesota with a hard-fought 31-24 victory over the Gophers. Despite what Campbell said after the game, the Buckeyes, honestly, have been better than the Gophers over the years - to the tune of a 37-2 record in their last 39 meetings. But the Gophers made them sweat this time - even if the temperature was a frigid (for mid-November) 15 degrees at game time - with victory not being secured until they recovered an onside kickoff after a FG with 1:19 to play brought the Gophers within 7 points.
The streak lives on. Florida State's winning streak? Yes, that one too, now at 26 and counting. But the streak I'm talking about is the streak of consecutive years that a player with dreads scores a TD in the Florida State-Miami game. When FSU freshman RB Dalvin Cook ran 44 yards to the house early in the 2nd quarter to get the Seminoles on the board and cut Miami's lead to 16-7, it marked the 8th year in a row there has been at least 1 TD scored by a player with dreads in the annual battle between the 'Noles and the 'Canes. And with the highly-recruited Cook expected to move into the starting lineup next season, there's a good chance the streak will continue to continue in the years ahead.
IN THE FCS
Amazingly, JMU lost not only one but two members of their secondary - S Dean Marlowe and CB Aaron Peak - due to targeting penalties on consecutive plays late in the 2nd quarter of their game at Richmond. But Spiders fans wish it had been another JMU DB who had been ejected. CB Taylor Reynolds would have been a strong candidate for this week's head dread award if he had dreads, after being responsible for 4 turnovers in the Dukes' 55-20 win over Richmond. Both teams entered the game with identical records (7-3 overall, 4-2 in the CAA), and I watched a lot of the 2nd quarter realizing it might be the last chance this season to see the awesome dreads of Jacobi Green.
The junior RB must have known I was watching, providing a couple of highlights for me as well as Spiders fans. Green took a perfectly executed screen pass 28 yards to the house (jumping over a teammate who had fallen while throwing a block inside the 5-yard line in photo below) to cut JMU's lead to 21-13 with 5:44 to play until halftime. Then on the first play after the back-to-back ejections, Jacobi scored on a 9-yard reception with 7 seconds remaining to pull the Spiders to within 31-20 at halftime. Green would finish the game with 23 yards rushing on 8 carries in addition to his 2 TD catches.
When I got to the game recap of the Northern Arizona-North Dakota game, I got another rude reminder of just how inadequate a job I've done covering the 2014 season. When I turned my notebook (in which I list which players do and don't have dreads) to the page on Northern Arizona, there wasn't a single name written on it ..... meaning that after 12 weeks this was the first time I had read a recap of one of the Lumberjacks' games. So I didn't know what I had been missing, specifically that there are 3 players with dreads starting in their secondary. Senior CB Blake Bailey had a game high 13 tackles (9-4), including 2 TFL, and 1 sack. Junior S Darius Lewis (photo below, chasing RB Jer Garman) had 10 tackles (5-5). And senior CB Randy Hale, with the best dreads of the three, finished with 4 tackles (2-2). Unfortunately for NAU fans all of those tackles came in a 30-28 defeat that knocked the Lumberjacks (7-4, 5-2) out of a 3-way tie for 1st place in the Big Sky and damaged their playoff hopes.
But even as I did that, this season's photo of him on the UT website (on right) kept me in doubt. Early in the season I tried to get a closer look, but Hunt was wearing a skull cap in all of the interviews of him that I saw, so those videos proved nothing. Finally a couple of weeks ago I saw this video of him .... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLJrJUH7RmA ..... and I was like ..... man, those still look like braids. So even though Kareem rushed for 100+ yards for the 8th straight game this week in a 27-24 road loss to Northern Illinois, I can't put him on the dread stars list. And you can consider him excluded from all the dread stars lists I had him on earlier in the season too. Maybe I'll change my mind again at some point in the future, but not until what he's got growing starts looking more like dreads.
And now, as promised earlier in the season, here is the list of some more players I had to boot out of the house - players I have no longer been writing about this season because they are ex-dreads. I'm sure I missed some, but these are all the players I know of who had dreads when the 2013 season ended but have cut them off since then.
DT Montravius Adams - Auburn CB Jarrell Jones - Miami (Ohio)
LB Steven Daniels - Boston College WR Jazz King - North Carolina Central
LB Tavarus Dantzler - Bethune-Cookman (transfer from Marshall)
CB James Davis - Northern Colorado WR Jameon Lewis - Mississippi State
TE Alex DeLeon - FAU S Angel Lopez - Abilene Christian
WR William Dukes - FAU S Stephaun Marshall - Temple
DE Mario Edwards - Florida State LB Jordan Miles - North Carolina Central
WR Nate Hairston - Temple DT Dwayne Montgomery - Bethune-Cookman
WR Rannell Hall - UCF LB Antonio Morrison - Florida
WR Iric Harris - Massachusetts DT Armand Nance - Boise State
LB Jermaine Holmes - Marshall WR Dennis Norfleet - Michigan
DT Jaxon Hood - Arizona State DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa - UCLA
S Trevor Ishmael - Western Michigan S Witney Sherry - Buffalo
CB John Johnson - Boston College WR Jordon Vaden - Colorado State
WR Rokeem Williams - Miami (Ohio)
- Dalvin Cook - Florida State - 92 yards and 2 TD rushing on 7 carries, and 2 receptions for 18 yards in 30-26 road W over Miami (Florida)
- Todd Gurley - Georgia - 29 carries for 138 yards and 1 TD rushing in 34-7 home W over Auburn
- Jay Ajayi - Boise State - 134 yards and 3 TD rushing on 31 carries, and 4 receptions for 25 yards in 38-29 home W over San Diego State
- Steven Nelson - Oregon State - 10 tackles (6-4) and 3 PBU in 35-27 home W over Arizona State ..... http://democratherald.com/corvallis/sports/beavers-sports/football/osu-football-nelson-s-strong-coverage-sparks-osu-s-upset/article_b10cb7f7-72a7-50f6-8bfd-9ce046f23957.html
- Will Fuller - Notre Dame - 9 receptions for career high 159 yards and 3 TD in 43-40 home L in OT to Northwestern
- Josh Hicks - Rutgers - 20 carries for season high 114 yards rushing and 1 TD in 45-23 home W over Indiana
- Shaquille Murray-Lawrence - UNLV - 20 carries for career high 143 yards rushing, including 68-yard TD, and 2 receptions for 8 yards in 42-23 road L to BYU
- Breon Allen - East Carolina - 129 yards and 1 TD rushing on 12 carries, and 1 reception for 26 yards in 54-46 road L to Cincinnati
- Mark Roberts - Lamar - 4 receptions for 124 yards, including 78-yard TD, in 31-20 W over Incarnate Word on senior night - becomes 1st player in Lamar history with 1,000 yards receiving in one season
- Malcolm Cyrus - Alabama State - despite 3 lost fumbles, named SWAC offensive player of the week - 27 carries for 180 yards and 1 TD rushing, and 2 receptions for 60 yards in 37-23 road W over Grambling
- Bennie Coney - Eastern Kentucky - 6 carries for 24 yards rushing, and went 11 for 16 for 264 yards and 1 TD passing in 43-36 home W over Murray State
- Justin Grier - Morehead State - named PFL defensive player of the week - 5 tackles (4-1), 1 PBU, and 2 INT in 41-18 home W over Stetson ..... http://www.msueagles.com/news/2014/11/16/FB_1116143227.aspx
- Kalif Phillips - UNC-Charlotte - 173 yards and 3 TD rushing on 36 carries in 38-33 home W over Wesley
- Terryon Robinson - Western Carolina - 12 receptions for 127 yards in 42-27 home W over VMI
- John Israel - Coastal Carolina - 8 receptions for 111 yards, including 26-yard TD, in 52-21 home W over Monmouth
- Donovan Williams - Sam Houston State - 13 carries for 212 yards and 3 TD rushing, and 1 reception for 10 yards in 76-0 road W over Houston Baptist
- Jalen Overstreet - Sam Houston State - 8 carries for 130 yards and 2 TD as Bearkats racked up school record 601 yards rushing
- Gus Johnson - Stephen F. Austin - 158 yards and 2 TD rushing on 27 carries in 37-35 home L to Abilene Christian
- Darius Victor - Towson - 136 yards and 1 TD rushing on 22 carries in 37-14 home L to William & Mary
- Anthony Jordan - Bethune-Cookman - 81 yards and 3 TD rushing on 10 carries, and 6 receptions for 43 yards in tough 40-35 road L to Hampton
- Cameron Molina - Columbia - 29 carries for 118 yards and 2 TD rushing, and 5 receptions for 56 yards in 30-27 home L to Cornell
- Ify Umodu - Northern Arizona - 7 receptions for 103 yards and 1 TD in 30-28 road L to North Dakota
- Brian Handley - Arkansas-Pine Bluff - 24 carries for 134 yards rushing in 56-6 road L to Alcorn State
HOUSE OF DREAD
Sam Houston State ruined senior day at Houston Baptist in a major way, routing the Huskies 76-0 and outgaining them 823-177 in total yards in the process. 5 of the Bearkats 10 TD were by players with dreads, and so the end zone at Husky Stadium in Houston is the house of dread for this week. Sophomore RB Jalen Overstreet scored on runs of 38 and 48 yards in the 1st quarter. Then junior RB Donovan Williams took over, scoring on runs of 80 yards (photo on right, making it 35-0 in the 1st quarter), 24 yards, and 56 yards as the Bearkats took a 55-0 lead into the locker room at halftime. Here are the 1st half highlights, including 4 of the 5 TD: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XNCiSivL66Y
Husky Stadium shares HOD honors with the end zone at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, as 5 TD were also scored by players with dreads in Wisconsin's 59-24 beatdown of Nebraska. Sophomore RB Dare Ogunbowale capped the scoring with an 8-yard run in garbage time for the Badgers for his 1st career TD. Before that, the other 4 TD were by this week's player of the week .....
Gordon is the no-brainer selection as head dread for Week 12, earning Big 10 offensive player of the week honors after setting Wisconsin, Big 10, and Division 1-FBS records for the most yards rushing in one game. Gordon rushed for an incredible 408 yards to break the FBS record of 406 that had been held for 15 years by former TCU star LaDainian Tomlinson. Just as incredible was that Gordon racked up those 408 yards on only 25 carries, and not a single one of them came in the 4th quarter, as he took a seat on the bench with the Badgers so far ahead. (Even more incredibly, the ink in the record book didn't even have time to dry, as Oklahoma RB Samaje Perine surpassed Gordon's new record only 7 days later with a 427-yard game against Kansas in Week 13.)
You may recall that this wasn't the first time Gordon has ruined the day for Nebraska fans. As a freshman in 2012 he rushed for more than 200 yards on only 9 carries as the Badgers crushed the Cornhuskers in the Big 10 championship game. Two years later it was same old, same old for the NU defense, as once again they were shredded by Gordon, who did the bulk of his damage on long runs of 42 yards in the 1st quarter; 62, 39, and 44 yards in the 2nd quarter; and 43, 68, and 26 yards in the 3rd quarter - with all of them coming on scoring drives.
Gordon's 42-yard run, on which S Corey Cooper dove at his legs and was able to force him out of bounds (photo on left) at the 28-yard line, led to a FG that cut NU's lead to 10-3 - a FG that wouldn't have happened, by the way, had he not recovered a fumble by QB Tanner McEvoy on the next play. Cooper tried the same thing when Gordon broke loose early in the 2nd quarter; but Melvin was ready for him this time, jumping over the tackle attempt and never breaking stride as he took it 62 yards to the house for a highlight reel TD that made it 17-10. Then on his first carry after his second fumble, Gordon went for 39 yards to the 17-yard line, setting up the tying TD. The 44-yard run came on the drive that put UW ahead to stay at 24-17. He had 189 yards rushing in the 2nd quarter alone on 10 carries.
The onslaught continued in the 3rd quarter, as Gordon scored a 1-yard TD on the next play after the 43-yard gain (right photo above); and then scored a 6-yard TD run (right photo below) on the next play after the 68-yarder (left photo below), making the score 38-17. Just 24 yards away from Tomlinson's record, Melvin broke the record in style - scoring his 4th TD of the afternoon on a 26-yard run on the final play of the 3rd quarter, upping the Badgers' lead to 52-17 on his final carry of the game.
I have to admit I was wrong (and I couldn't be happier about it) when I wrote that I thought Gordon would fall out of the race for the Heisman Trophy in a previous report. (Ironically it was the player I thought would win - Todd Gurley - who dropped out of the race.) A performance like this will do wonders for his Heisman campaign. And if he continues the strong performances while also leading the Badgers to the Big 10 title, he might just win the thing. I'd probably be even happier than him if that happens.
For more details on Gordon's huge game please click on the first link below for an article from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. And if you like, the second link is to a video of highlights of the game.
Well, don't hold your breath waiting for a report on Week 13. But I should be able to get something done for all of the big rivalry games in Week 14 along with the 1st round of the FCS playoffs.