Indeed, even if the Herd finish 13-0, they still might lose out on that bid to a major bowl to a team like East Carolina or Colorado State, or even Georgia Southern - teams that have losses but who have played impressively against tougher competition. Marshall's 35-16 win at Huntington on Oct. 25 wasn't very stylish at all; but it was a walk in the park compared to their last-second 24-23 win at Boca Raton in last year's meeting.
FAU held the ball for 36:31 of the game, running 90 plays to just 59 by Marshall. And yet it was the Herd who dominated in total yards 546-388 - thanks to three long TD runs by 243-pound RB Devon Johnson (the second of which, a 62-yarder in the 2nd quarter, in photo above), who finished the game with a new Marshall record 272 yards rushing on only 24 carries. The Owls had drives of 12, 14, 11, and 12 plays in the 1st half, with three of them reaching the red zone. But they resulted in 3 FG and only 1 TD, and the Owls had to settle for a 16-14 halftime lead. The teams combined for 5 straight three-and-out possessions to begin the 2nd half until the Herd drove 90 yards in 6 plays to take a 21-16 lead. FAU came right back on the ensuing possession, driving to the Marshall 4-yard line. But after QB Jaquez Johnson was stopped for a 2-yard loss on 3rd and 1, the Owls went for it on 4th and 3, and the pass intended for TE Nate Terry was broken up senior CB Darryl Roberts (photos below). Three plays later Devon Johnson broke free for his 3rd TD - a 66-yard run - to make it 28-16, and the Herd hung on from there.
There were several players with dreads on the field for the both teams, and that's why I watched more of this game than any other this week. The only one who made the dread stars list was FAU senior WR Lucky Whitehead (photo below, being tackled by junior S Taj Letman in the 4th quarter), who made just enough yards on his 11 receptions. But really, he could and should have finished with a lot more yards than he did because there were at least 4 catchable passes that he didn't catch. He flat out dropped a pass on 3rd and 3, forcing the Owls to punt on their second possession of the game. In the 2nd quarter if he had made an over-the-shoulder catch cleanly on 3rd and 8, the Owls would have had a 1st and goal; but he juggled it and didn't gain control until after he had stepped out of bounds, so the Owls settled for a FG on the next play. Then midway through the 4th quarter he couldn't make a more difficult catch on a deep pass that would have went for a 34-yard TD and made the score 28-23.
I've been around for a long time, but I was not around for LSU's famous 7-3 victory over Mississippi in 1959. But some of the old timers who were around for that game might have thought it was 1959 all over again at Tiger Stadium last Saturday (Oct. 25) as they watched the Rebels and Tigers fail to score on one possession after another. In the end, the same as it was 55 years ago, a touchdown in the 4th quarter lifted LSU to a victory that dashed Ole Miss' hopes for an undefeated season. After settling for a FG at the end of a 17-play, 90-yard drive in the 2nd quarter, the Tigers finally scored a TD with 5:07 remaining in the 4th - with a 3-yard reception by TE Logan Stokes capping a 13-play, 95-yard drive - to take the lead 10-7 and hung on for the victory.
Ole Miss struck first, getting their only points on a 6-play, 80-yard drive that will not be included on the highlight reel of LSU junior CB Jalen Collins. Cornerbacks are supposed to have short memories, but I doubt Collins will be forgetting anytime soon what happened on two of the 6 plays. On the second play after LSU turned the ball over on a fumble at the Ole Miss 1-yard line (resulting in a touchback) Collins, originally assigned to cover a WR, couldn't get back in time to cover a wheel route down the sideline by RB Jaylen Walton (top photo on left), who caught the perfect pass in stride at the 35-yard line and raced to the end zone for an apparent 80-yard TD. All things considered, it actually wasn't bad coverage by Collins; the play was just too well executed. The TD didn't count, however, and Jalen got a reprieve when a replay review indicated that Walton barely stepped out of bounds at the LSU 37-yard line while trying to elude the last man.
Then three plays later, on 2nd and goal from the 10-yard line, Collins had a chance to get redemption when the Rebels tried a trick play. Not fooled, he was in perfect position when RB Jordan Wilkins threw a cross-field pass to QB Bo Wallace and looked like he would get the INT at the 5-yard line (bottom photo on left). It wasn't a difficult catch at all; but as he was trying to secure possession, the ball got slightly knocked loose from his grasp when it bumped against his knee; and when he landed, it slipped out of his hands and fell harmlessly (for Ole Miss) to the ground. Jalen got credit for a PBU; but I mean, with that pass being thrown close to the sideline, he had a great chance for a 95-yard pick six if he makes the catch. Instead the Rebels scored on the next play to make it 7-0. Collins finished the night with 1 tackle (1-0) and 3 PBU. And it's a good thing LSU won, or else he would have been having nightmares about the play he should have made.
The Tigers' next possession ended with another fumble - the second of their 4 turnovers - this one by senior RB Terrence Magee (photo below). But Magee redeemed himself (a bit), rushing for 36 yards and catching a pass for a 13-yard gain on the Tigers' next drive, the one that ended with a FG, making it 7-3 at halftime. Terrence finished the night with 74 yards rushing on 12 carries and 2 catches for 45 yards, nearly making the dread stars list. After LSU took the lead, the Rebels were stopped on 4th and 1 on their next drive; and then a couple of WRs with dreads were heard from on their final drive. Freshman Markell Pack made his 1st and only catch of the game for a gain of 12 on 4th and 8, keeping the Rebels alive at their own 39-yard line with :46 remaining. Then three plays later sophomore Quincy Adeboyejo tried to come back for an underthrown deep pass and was interfered with, with the 15-yard penalty moving the ball into FG range at the LSU 33 with :14 on the clock.
Junior S Trae Elston had a team high 11 tackles (4-7) and 1 PBU for the Rebels. Sophomore DE Fadol Brown had 4 tackles (0-4). Adeboyejo finished with 0 receptions. For LSU junior LB Lamar Louis had 3 tackles (0-3), and sophomore LB Kendell Beckwith made the dread stars list. Now 3-2 in the SEC West (7-2 overall) after an 0-2 start, LSU just might end up with a piece of the division crown - but only if they can beat Alabama coming up in Week 11 .....
..... And also only if somebody can beat Mississippi State - twice. That's actually a possibility, because the Bulldogs' remaining 2 road games are against Alabama and Mississippi. But for now they remain undefeated, improving to 7-0 with a 45-31 road win over pesky Kentucky. MSU never was in any real danger of losing, but the Wildcats stubbornly stayed within striking distance, three times closing within 7 points in the 2nd half and making it uncomfortable for State fans. The Bulldogs could finally breathe easier when, on the onside kickoff after UK scored a TD to make it 38-31, LB Christian Holmes didn't just recover the ball, he caught it on the bounce and took it 61 yards to the house with 2:22 remaining in the game.
An absolutely awful finish (for the home team) at Charlottesville left Virginia on the losing end of a 28-27 score against North Carolina, dropping the Cavaliers to 2-2 and right in the middle of the wild and crazy race in the Coastal Division of the ACC. When UNC scored a TD to take their 1-point lead with 4:05 to play, there seemed to be plenty of time for UVA to come back on a final drive. But then the Tar Heels shocked everybody by trying - and recovering - an onside kickoff to keep possession. 7 plays later the Cavaliers finally got a stop on 3rd down with 1:17 remaining - still enough time - but once again were denied a chance to get the ball back, only this time it was their own fault. After a timeout the Tar Heels lined up for a FG attempt on 4th and 2; but before they could snap the ball, the whistle blew, a flag was thrown, and Virginia was penalized 5 yards for an illegal substitution - an incredible blunder that had Coach London dropping down to his knees in despair and disgust on the sideline. That's right, first down Carolina, and game over, on a penalty after a timeout.
On Sunday (Oct. 26) at Heinz Field it was offense at its finest by the home team as the Pittsburgh Steelers racked up 639 total yards, shredding the defense of the Indianapolis Colts, in a 51-34 victory. And on the same field 24 hours earlier .... it was offense at its futilest (I don't think you can use that word in Scrabble, but you get the point) by the home team as the Pittsburgh Panthers began the game in bakery mode and stayed there until they dug a crater to deep to escape in a 56-28 loss to Georgia Tech. Amazingly the Panthers fumbled the ball away on their 2nd offensive play of the game ... and their 3rd play ... and their 5th play ... and their 6th play too! - 4 turnovers in the first 4 minutes 33 seconds. Perhaps that's not as fast as your favorite bakery does that, but it was faster than I can remember any football team ever doing it to start off a game. That the Panthers had 4 possessions so quickly brings us to the other problem they were having .....
Sick senior WR Manasseh Garner managed to not have any of the fumbles, finishing with 2 catches for 18 yards for Pitt. Sick junior DT Darryl Render had 5 tackles (3-2), 1 TFL, and 1 FF (resulting in GT's only turnover). Junior DT Khaynin Mosley-Smith had 6 tackles (5-1) and 1 PBU. Pitts and freshman CB Avonte Maddox finished with 1 tackle (1-0) apiece, with Maddox also returning 3 kickoffs for 60 yards. For the Yellow Jackets, who have a severe shortage of dreads this season, seldom-used senior RB B.J. Bostic had 1 carry for 6 yards.
http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=11741647 ) ..... Senior S Nantambu-Akil Fentress (photo on right) had a career high 9 tackles (7-2) for Miami in a 30-6 road win over Virginia Tech ..... Senior RB Breon Allen rushed for 65 yards and 2 TD as East Carolina struggled but improved to 6-1 with a 31-21 home win over Connecticut ..... Cincinnati DE Terrell Hartsfield, finally debuting his dreads during his senior season, had 5 tackles (4-1), including 2 TFL, one of which was a sack and strip for a turnover, and 1 PBU in a 34-17 home win over South Florida; sophomore LB Nigel Harris had a game high 11 tackles (4-7), 1 TFL, and 1 FF for USF .....
IN THE FCS
For fans who have had season tickets to attend South Carolina State games the last 4 years it has been very hard not to notice Austin Smith, a member of my 2013 dread all-America team. But now the senior WR has given those fans something else to remember him by other than the fact that he's got some of the best dreads of any player to ever wear an SCSU uniform. In what undoubtedly has been the highlight of his career (so far), Smith's highlight reel 49-yard TD in the final minute lifted the Bulldogs to a crucial 20-14 MEAC victory over Bethune-Cookman in one of the most bizarre games of the season.
I don't know whether it was good defense or lousy offense, but both teams combined barely topped 300 total yards, with B-C ending up with a 175-129 advantage. The Wildcats scored on a 42-yard pass on their 2nd play from scrimmage for a quick 7-0 lead. From there their offense took the rest of the afternoon off, going scoreless on their final 14 possessions, even though 4 of them began in SCSU territory. The Bulldogs tied the game on a 44-yard pick six in the 2nd quarter and took a 14-7 lead on a 91-yard punt return midway through the 3rd.
An interception by senior CB Joshua Richardson and 15-yard return gave B-C the ball at the SCSU 18-yard line midway through the 4th. But the Wildcats wasted the scoring chance, driving backward in fact, as they turned the ball over on downs after a sack on 4th and 17. The Wildcats got the ball right back on the very next play though on a FF and recovery by senior DE Erik Williams at the SCSU 26. But after advancing all the way to the SCSU 19 over the next 7 plays, the Wildcats came away empty again, missing a 35-yard FG attempt. With B-C out of timeouts, the Bulldogs tried kill as much of the 2:33 remaining as possible; but they couldn't even do that without screwing it up, instead flat out handing B-C the tying TD, as on 3rd and 18 from their own 12-yard line freshman QB Calvin Giles-McClary fumbled the snap and fell down, leaving the ball right there at the 3-yard line for B-C to scoop it up and score with 50 seconds to go.
Smith broke away into the clear and headed for the end zone (photo on left). He encountered some resistance at the 10-yard line but broke another tackle, this one by senior CB Thomas Finnie, to finish off his spectacular 49-yard TD and give the Bulldogs the lead with :33 on the clock. The Bulldogs held on for the win 20-14 and stayed alive in the MEAC race at 3-1 (5-3 overall). B-C dropped to 3-1 (6-2 overall). Just to prove I'm not making this story up, please click on the links below - the first one to the story of the game from the Orangeburg T&D, the second to the game highlights from Charleston TV station WCIV, and the last one to an interview of Smith after the game.
Smith finished with 56 of SCSU's 129 yards, on 2 catches. Junior LB Tevin Richard and junior DE James Robinson each had 2 tackles (2-0) and 1 TFL for the Bulldogs. Sophomore CB Marquise Jones, senior S Sheldon Robinson, and freshman CB Carlos Merritt all finished with 1 tackle (1-0), with Merritt's being a TFL. For Bethune-Cookman Williams finished with 3 tackles (3-0), 2 TFL, 1 FF, and 1 FR; Richardson had 2 tackles (2-0) in addition to his missed tackle and his INT; Finnie had 2 tackles (2-0) and 1 TFL in addition to his missed tackle; and senior S Marquis Drayton had 1 tackle (1-0).
Already leading 21-0 in the 2nd quarter, the Razorbacks looked like they were going to settle for a FG on 4th and goal. But then they shifted to an odd formation, with Tretola moving to the backfield in position to take the snap. Huh? UAB decided not to call a timeout, daring the Razorbacks to run their play. And so they did. Tretola took the shotgun snap, took a couple of steps to his right, then turned back to his left and lobbed a perfect strike to the man who had just snapped him the ball, Alan D'Appollonio, who was wide open for the 6-yards TD. Here is a video of the play: http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=11759773
If you are remembering that Gulley was on the ex-dread list last season, you remember correctly. It turns out that he cut off his dreads, reluctantly, only so that he could join a fraternity. So his saved his dreads, let his hair grow long enough to convert it to beginner dreads, and used his old dreads as extensions. The details:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzpMrr6Vf_8 (the last 30 seconds are all you need to watch)
7. After making the catch on 3rd and goal, Tennessee junior WR Von Pearson cuts back at the 2-yard line, breaks a tackle attempt by CB Cyrus Jones, and scores a 9-yard TD, capping an 84-yard drive, and bringing the Volunteers, who had trailed 27-0, to within 27-17 of Alabama with 5:52 remaining in 3rd quarter at Knoxville. It was Pearson's 2nd TD of the season. The Vols got no closer, however, as the Crimson Tide went on to win 34-20. Pearson finished with 3 carries for 7 yards and 3 catches for 21 yards as UT dropped to 0-4 in the SEC East.
http://www.saturdaydownsouth.com/mizzou-football/mizzou-player-ejected-controversial-hit/ ..... You know, I think the targeting rule is a good rule, but only if a player is obviously headhunting or obviously spears somebody with his helmet. But for heaven's sake, you shouldn't get kicked out of a game for playing good football. Sorry about that, Anthony. Without any further contributions from Sherrills, Missouri still went on to win 24-14.
- Kareem Hunt - Toledo - named MAC West co-offensive player of the week - 26 carries for career high 198 yards rushing, including 36-yard TD, in 42-35 home W over Massachusetts
- Mike Boone - Cincinnati - 19 carries for season high 212 yards and 1 TD rushing in 34-17 home W over South Florida
- Jay Ajayi - Boise State - 118 yards and 2 TD rushing on 26 carries, and 2 receptions for 26 yards in 55-30 home W over BYU
- Melvin Gordon - Wisconsin - 122 yards and 3 TD rushing on 22 carries, and 2 receptions for 12 yards in 52-7 home W over Maryland
- Breshad Perriman - UCF - 7 receptions for 146 yards, including 54-yard TD, in 34-14 home W over Temple
- Kendell Beckwith - LSU - named SEC defensive player of the week - 11 tackles (3-8), 1 TFL and 1 tackle for no gain on 4th and 1 late in 4th quarter, and 1 PBU in 10-7 home W over Mississippi
- Kendall Houston - South Alabama - 18 carries for career high 178 yards rushing, including 41-yard TD, in 27-13 home W over Troy
- J.D. McKissic - Arkansas State - 1 carry for 55 yards rushing, and 7 receptions for 99 yards in 55-40 road L to Louisiana-Lafayette
- Lucky Whitehead - FAU - 11 receptions for 102 yards in 35-16 road L at Marshall
- Brian Hill - Wyoming - 28 carries for 121 yards and 2 TD rushing in 45-31 road L to Colorado State
- Brian Handley - Arkansas-Pine Bluff - 19 carries for 193 yards and 2 TD rushing, and 1 reception for 12 yards in 38-37 road W over Texas Southern
- Terryon Robinson - Western Carolina - 10 receptions for career high 183 yards in 29-15 home W over The Citadel
- Trey Morgan - Western Carolina - named SOCON defensive player of the week - career high 9 tackles (6-3), 1 TFL, 2 FF, 2 PBU, and got his 5th INT of season as Catamounts improve to 6-2 ..... http://www.catamountsports.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/102714aac.html
- Shepard Little - Eastern Illinois - named OVC offensive player of the week - 12 carries for 130 yards rushing, including 50-yard TD, in 28-3 home W over Tennessee State
- Lorenzo Long - Wofford -125 yards and 2 TD rushing on 19 carries in 38-3 home W over VMI
- Gus Johnson - Stephen F. Austin - 116 yards and 2 TD rushing on 22 carries, and 2 receptions for 25 yards in 27-17 home W over Southeastern Louisiana
- John Israel - Coastal Carolina - named Big South offensive player of the week - 3 receptions for 174 yards, including TD of 74 and 51 yards, in 43-22 home W over Charleston Southern ..... http://www.goccusports.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/102614aaa.html
- Brandon Eldemire - Alabama A&M - 13 carries for 120 yards and 1 TD rushing in 37-36 W over Alabama State
- Terell Smith - St. Francis (PA) - 6 receptions for career high 105 yards in 30-27 road W over Sacred Heart
- Kalif Phillips - UNC-Charlotte - 168 yards and 2 TD rushing on 22 carries, and 3 receptions for 52 yards in 48-40 home L to JMU
- Malcolm Cyrus - Alabama State - 26 carries for 148 yards and 1 TD rushing, and 2 receptions for 12 yards in tough 37-36 L to Alabama A&M
- Cameron Molina - Columbia - 29 yards rushing on 10 carries, and 6 receptions for 102 yards in 27-7 home L to Dartmouth
HOUSE OF DREAD
Perkins nearly became a dread star on his 1st carry of the day, as he scored on a 92-yard run on the 2nd play of the Bruins' opening drive. It was the second longest run in UCLA history. In the 2nd quarter Perkins ran for 34 yards on the final 2 plays of a 75-yard drive, scoring a 24-yard TD to up the UCLA lead to 24-7. Although he didn't have a lot of success in the 2nd half. he did gain 20 yards on 3 carries during an 80-yard TD drive in the 3rd quarter. Below are a couple of links you might want to click on. The first is an article in the L.A. Times where Paul is quick to credit his O-linemen for his success. And below that is his on-field interview just after the game, which was televised by the Pac-12 Network, where you can see how nicely his dreads are coming along after they were too short to be seen last year.
Week 11 is already upon us, with a whole bunch of interesting games. I'll try to stay awake for the entire Alabama-LSU game. And I'll also try to catch a bit of Wisconsin-Purdue, Georgia-Kentucky, Notre Dame-Arizona State, Tulane-Houston, Richmond-Maine, Hawaii-Colorado State, Boise State-New Mexico, and FAU-North Texas.