Saturday, November 8, 2014

College FB '14 Dread News - Week 9

There were less than 2 minutes to play in the game, and with Marshall's victory already in the bag, I kept waiting for QB Rakeem Cato to take the snap and kneel down to kill the remaining time. But instead he kept handing the ball off. Then I remembered ..... right, this is college football - not only is running up the score not frowned on, it's necessary. Marshall simply was thinking, "Why beat FAU 28-16 when you can beat them 35-16?" The BCS era may be over, but the truth is that college football remains a beauty contest. Winning isn't the only thing, winning as impressively as possible is. So it's no surprise that the Thundering Herd added a TD with 51 seconds to go, when just taking a knee would have been the sportsmanlike thing to do.
With the teams in the Little 5 conferences (CUSA, MAC, SBC, MWC, and AAC) being allotted just one of the 12 spots in the big 6 bowl games to be played on New Year's Eve and Day, Marshall, now 8-0 and seemingly breezing toward the Conference USA championship, needs their wins to come with as many style points as they can get, because their schedule hasn't been all that difficult.
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. 
Freshman RB Greg Howell, who did not play the first 7 weeks of the season because the Owls were hoping to redshirt him, made the dread stars list in his debut in last week's 45-38 win over Western Kentucky and nearly made it again, finishing with 92 yards on 22 carries. With FAU down by two scores, he got only 2 carries in the 4th quarter. Senior RB Martese Jackson, who looks like he has decided to keep his dreads reduced permanently, had 4 carries for 7 yards. Freshman WR Kalib Woods had 2 catches for 16 yards. And junior CB Cre'von LeBlanc finished with 4 tackles (4-0).
Freshman WR Angelo Jean-Louis had 2 catches for 28 yards for Marshall but missed out on a chance to make the dread stars list when, after beating the coverage on 3rd and 2 (photo above) midway through the 3rd quarter, he couldn't make a difficult, knee-high catch of a pass that hit him perfectly in stride. Had he made the catch it likely would have been an 83-yard TD. Junior WR DeAndre Reaves (photo below, giving the stiff-arm to sophomore WR DJ Juste, who finished with 1 tackle) had 4 kickoff returns for 108 yards, including a 41-yarder after FAU took a 3-0 lead (Devon Johnson ran 58 yards for a TD on the next play). Letman had 12 tackles (6-6), and Roberts finished with 8 tackles (3-5) and 3 PBU. Unfortunately sophomore S Tiquan Lang and junior DE Ricardo Williams did not play for the Herd (due to injury, I guess). Also, it was a good day for a couple of ex-dreads - TE Alex DeLeon scored the only TD for FAU on a 16-yard reception, and LB Jermaine Holmes had 18 tackles for Marshall to earn the CUSA defensive player of the week award.
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.
The Rebels, however, never got to attempt that FG - and they have nobody to blame but themselves. Setting up to try a 42-yard FG with 9 seconds to go, they took a delay of game penalty. Then instead of trying the FG from 47 yards, they decided to run one more play, presumably a short, sideline pass to pick up a few yards and make the FG attempt a little shorter. But Wallace had other ideas, throwing a deep pass into double coverage, and it was easily intercepted. Now I understand what Wallace was trying to do; but damn, you've got to play smarter than that. If the receiver isn't open, you got to throw the ball away.  

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.
Mississippi State had a slight 542-504 advantage in total yards, with a couple of players with dreads accounting for 39 of the 542. Sophomore WR De'Runnya Wilson had 2 catches for 30 yards but also dropped a pass at the 5-yard line in the 2nd quarter that might have gone for a 25-yard TD. Instead, the Bulldogs' lead stayed at 17-10 after they missed a FG two plays later. Sick sophomore RB Ashton Shumpert, spending most of his time on special teams this season, rushed for 9 yards on 2 carries and had 2 tackles (2-0) of WR Demarco Robinson on kickoff returns (one of them in photo above). Senior CB Jamerson Love finished with 1 tackle (0-1) and had a PBU in the end zone of a deep pass intended for Robinson (photo below) in the 2nd quarter on a drive on which UK eventually settled for a FG.
As usual, a lot of players with dreads played major roles for the Kentucky defense. Senior DE/LB Alvin Dupree almost made the dread stars list, finishing with a game high 10 tackles (5-5), including 1.5 TFL, one of which was a sack. He also was credited with a QB hurry late in the 2nd quarter when he hit QB Dak Prescott, causing the pass to be a floater (left photo below) that was easily picked off by junior LB Josh Forrest (right photo below) for his 2nd INT of the season. Forrest, who unfortunately was on the field with his dreads reduced, also recorded 9 tackles (5-4). Senior DE Za'Darius Smith finished with 8 tackles (2-6), including 2.5 TFL. Junior LB Khalid Henderson had 6 tackles (3-3); junior DT Cory Johnson had 2 tackles (2-0), 1 TFL, and 1 FF; and junior CB Fred Tiller had 2 tackles (2-0) and 2 PBU. 

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.
Sophomore Khris Francis (photo above), a frontrunner for one of the RB spots on my dread all-America team, had 2 carries for 8 yards in the game for UNC. Sophomore S Dominique Green had 6 tackles (2-4); junior S Sam Smiley had 4 tackles (2-2) and 1 PBU, and freshman DE Dajuan Drennon had 2 tackles (1-1). Sophomore Kyle Dockins, a frontrunner for one of the WR spots on the dread all-America team, had 1 catch for 9 yards for Virginia, a play that survived a replay review and converted a 3rd and 8 in the 4th quarter (but the drive ended with an INT 7 plays later with 6:09 to play, and the Cavs' offense never took the field again). Junior CB Maurice Canady had 2 tackles (2-0) and 2 PBU but also got beat for a 57-yard TD, which began UNC's comeback from a 14-0 deficit. Senior S Anthony Harris had 6 tackles (3-3), including a half TFL; and sick sophomore DT Donte Wilkins finished with 2 tackles (0-2). Also, and by the way, senior CB Demetrious Nicholson (recovering from surgery on his toe) did decide to redshirt this season and is expected to be back with the Cavaliers in 2015.  

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 .....
After each fumble Georgia Tech almost immediately scored a TD. The Yellow Jackets drove 38, 80, 14, and 34 yards in just 3, 3, 1, and 2 plays. The last of those four scores, a 34-yard run by RB Broderick Snoddy (photo above, as junior CB Lafayette Pitts can't shed a block fast enough and arrives too late to knock him out of bounds before he crosses the goal line), made the score 28-0 with still 9:44 to play in the 1st quarter. For good measure the Panthers then fumbled the ball away again for a 5th straight possession; but at least they were able to hang onto it for 6 plays before they did, and at least GT didn't cash that one in with another TD. By the end of the game, the Panthers had fumbled 7 times, losing 6 of them.

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.

I don't know if the position change is going to be permanent, but at least for this week Washington star junior LB Shaq Thompson became Washington starting RB Shaq Thompson. With the Huskies running out of healthy RBs on the roster, Thompson, who has made some cameo appearances at RB this year, spent almost the entire game on offense in UW's 24-10 home loss to Arizona State. Shaq (photo above) did not disappoint, almost making the dread stars list after rushing for 98 yards on 21 carries and catching 2 passes for 15 yards. With the Huskies trailing 10-7 in the 4th quarter, he carried 8 times for 43 yards on a 15-play, 80-yard drive. The Huskies settled for a 23-yard FG though, tying the game with 7:14 remaining. And ASU came right back, driving 75 yards in 9 plays and getting the winning TD on a 7-yard reception by junior WR Gary Chambers (photo below) with 3:00 to play, his 2nd TD of the season. The Sun Devils then iced the game with a pick 6 TD 2:08 later as they improved to 6-1.
Louisiana-Lafayette senior CB Corey Trim had a team-leading 7 tackles (6-1), 2 TFL, and his 2nd INT of the season, which he returned 30 yards to ... one yard short of the house, where he was grabbed (possibly by his dreads, although the video isn't conclusive) and flung out of bounds (ULL got the TD on the next play), in a 55-40 home win over Arkansas State ( ) ..... 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 .....
Sophomore RB Jowan Davis rushed for 55 yards and 2 TD for Rice in a 41-21 home win over North Texas .....Freshman RB Jarvis Cooper of Memphis (photo on left) almost made the dread stars list, rushing for 93 yards and 2 TD on 16 carries in a 48-10 road win over SMU ..... Junior WR Kolby Listenbee contributed 76 yards (on 4 catches) to TCU's school record total of 785 total yards in an 82-27 home win over Texas Tech; the 82 points are the most ever scored by the Horned Frogs in one game ..... Senior WR Kaelin Clay of Utah had only 3 catches for 23 yards, but one of them was the game-winning 1-yard reception with 8 seconds remaining in the game as the Utes improved to 6-1 with a big 24-21 Pac-12 South home win over USC ..... Sophomore RB Derrick Henry rushed for 78 yards on 16 carries, including a 28-yard run for his 5th TD of the season, as Alabama improved to 7-1 with a 34-20 road win over Tennessee ..... Junior CB Trae Waynes, one of two players with dreads to be named as semifinalists for the Thorpe Award (as the nation's best DB, CB Zack Sanchez of Oklahoma is the other), had 5 tackles (4-1) and 1 PBU as Michigan State improved to 7-1 with an easy 35-11 home win over Michigan; junior S Jarrod Wilson had 11 tackles (4-7) and 1 FF for the Wolverines ..... Freshman WR Saeed Blacknall had 4 catches for 34 yards, including a 24-yard reception for his 1st career TD (photo below) to help Penn State rally from a 17-0 halftime deficit, but the Nittany Lions eventually lost to Ohio State 31-24 in 2 overtimes ..... And senior S Earnest Thomas had 6 tackles (2-4), including 2.5 sacks, one of which was a huge sack and strip on 4th down with 1:25 to play in the game; and senior DE/LB DeJazz Woods had 6 tackles (1-5) and a half sack as Illinois picked up their 1st Big 10 win of the season with a 28-24 upset of Minnesota; junior LB De'Vondre Campbell had 11 tackles (6-5), 2.5 TFL, 1 sack, and 1 PBU for the Gophers, who dropped to 6-2.



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.
At that point it didn't seem possible either team's offense would be able to score in those final 50 seconds. But before you could finish saying the word overtime, a botched squib kickoff by B-C gave SCSU the ball at the B-C 49-yard line. And that's when Smith, of all people, who to that point had scored only 1 career TD, took center stage. Smith caught what looked like a harmless pass near the 35-yard line (photo above). But instead of tackling him, Richardson tried to strip the ball from him (photos below) - and failed.

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).

Sophomore WR Anthony Johnson had 4 catches for 64 yards, including receptions of 17 and 28 yards for his 2nd and 3rd TD of the season as Jacksonville State improved to 6-1 with a 49-3 home win over Tennessee Tech ..... Junior RB Jacobi Green barely missed making the dreads stars lists, rushing for 86 yards and his 5th TD of the season on 13 carries, and catching 3 passes for 63 yards for Richmond in a 30-10 road win over Elon .....
All three of junior DT Joshua Gilmore's tackles (2-1) were TFL, including 2 sacks, and junior S Andrew Hooks took an interception return 95 yards to the house as Jacksonville improved to 7-1 with a 61-10 blowout of Division 2 opponent Limestone ..... Junior CB Anthony Goodman (photo on right) earned OVC defensive player of the week honors after recording 4 tackles (2-2), 1 PBU, and his 2nd INT of the season, which he returned 46 yards to the house for his 3rd career TD for Eastern Illinois in a 28-3 home win over Tennessee State; senior RB Darion Hall had a game high 187 all-purpose yards, including 63 yards rushing on 10 carries, for TSU ..... Senior CB Jaleel Richardson took a kickoff return 97 yards to the house to help Southern to a 42-28 road win over Jackson State ..... Senior WR Tay Willis gained 99 total yards, including 78 yards and 1 TD on 6 catches, for Southern Illinois in a 41-26 home loss to Indiana State ..... Campbell junior CB Brandon Mobley returned his 2nd INT of the season 16 yards to the house for his 2nd career pick six, tying the game at 20 with 9:43 to play, but the Camels still lost at Marist 27-20 ..... And freshman RB Jerickson Fedrick scored his 1st TD in a Maine uniform on a 1-yard run with 1:56 remaining in the game to give the Black Bears a 20-14 road win over Rhode Island; junior CB Myles Holmes took a kickoff return 100 yards to the house for URI, the longest kickoff return in school history.    

Arkansas special teams, the same folks who brought you that ridiculous TD by the punter against Texas A&M a few weeks ago, went to an even more outrageous play in their playbook this week in the Razorbacks' 45-17 home win over UAB. It looks like Sebastian Tretola (photo on left) might be trying to grow dreads; but I'm not ready to welcome him to the house just yet. But it wasn't what kind of hairstyle he has that had everybody talking about the Razorbacks' junior starting guard. I mean, it's not every day you see a 350-pound offensive lineman throwing a pass.

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:
I don't know what the record is for the heaviest player to ever throw a TD pass, but this has to be it. Doesn't it? It certainly will go down as the most unlikely TD of the season. Seriously though, they should have saved the play for a time when they really need a TD instead of using it in a game they were going to win easily anyway. As for Tretola, I'm going to wait until next season to see what his hair looks like to find out if what he's growing truly are dreads or not.


1. Freshman RB Marshawn Williams of Virginia Tech is wrapped up for a 4-yard loss on 1st and 10 by Miami LB Thurston Armbrister midway through 2nd quarter at Blacksburg, VA. The Hokies punted three plays later. Williams rushed for exactly 100 yards on 21 carries, but I didn't include him on the dread stars list because he had a killer fumble at the Miami 2-yard line in the 3rd quarter, ruining the Hokies' chance to try to get back in the game. The Hurricanes led 24-0 at halftime and cruised to a 30-6 victory.


2. Senior RB Prince-Tyson Gulley of Syracuse stiff-arms Clemson LB Tony Steward, and Steward responds by trying to grab some of his dreads during 1st quarter action at Clemson. Gulley had 80 yards rushing on 18 carries and lost a fumble as the Orange dropped to 3-5, losing to the Tigers 16-6.
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: (the last 30 seconds are all you need to watch)


3. Senior WR Kevin White of West Virginia tries to get past CB Kevin Peterson of Oklahoma State during 2nd quarter at Stillwater, OK. White failed to make the dread stars list for the first time this season. Peterson, a shutdown corner, was pleased with himself after helping hold White to 3 catches for 27 yards. But one of those catches was a 19-yard TD, and the Mountaineers improved to 6-2 with a 34-10 road win over OSU. 


4. The Boise State O-line misses a block on BYU DE Logan Taele on 2nd and 10, and junior RB Jay Ajayi pays for it, as Taele tackles him for a 5-yard loss and a safety, cutting the Broncos' lead to 34-16 late in 2nd quarter at Boise. It was one of the few things that went right for BYU in the 1st half. Boise State scored on 7 of their 9 possessions and took a 41-16 lead into the locker room. Ajayi made the dread stars list and became the first RB this season to rush for over 100 yards against the BYU D. Boise State improved to 6-2, rolling over the Cougars 55-30.


5. Colorado State senior RB Dee Hart breaks a tackle by CB Blair Burns of Wyoming during 1st quarter at Fort Collins, CO. I think this was the play where Hart ran for a 7-yard gain to the Wyoming 11-yard line, but I'm not sure about that. Dee almost made the dread stars list, finishing with 87 yards rushing on 13 carries and a 21-yard TD catch as CSU improved to 7-1 with a 45-31 win over Wyoming. 


6. Junior S Najee Bright of Alabama State tries to stop sophomore RB Brandon Eldemire of Alabama A&M during action in the Magic City Classic at Birmingham. I think this was the play in the 2nd quarter where Bright tackled Eldemire after a 49-yard gain that was nullified by a penalty. Bright finished the game with 1 tackle (1-0), while Eldemire made the dread stars list. In front of a big crowd of 67,710 Alabama A&M held on for a 37-36 upset victory when ASU missed a 30-yard FG attempt with 12 seconds remaining (ouch).


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.


8. Freshman CB Anthony Sherrils of Missouri times his hit perfectly, nailing Vanderbilt WR Trey Moore immediately after he tries to catch the punt and forces him to fumble it at the VU 25-yard line late in 1st quarter at Columbia. Unfortunately for Sherrills, in 2014 we're playing under the kinder and gentler rules of football, and you can't make plays like this anymore. He was charged with a targeting penalty and ejected from the game: ..... 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. 


9. After making his 1st catch of the game on a short seam route on 2nd and 3, Mississippi State sophomore WR De'Runnya Wilson is tackled by CB Cody Quinn and senior DE Alvin Dupree at the Kentucky 11-yard line after a 12-yard gain during 2nd quarter at Lexington. State scored a TD 3 plays later to up their lead to 17-7. Dupree finished the afternoon with a game high 10 tackles (5-5), including 1 sack.


10. Kentucky's other senior DE with dreads, Za'Darius Smith, sacks QB Dak Prescott for a 9-yard loss on the first play after a punt late in 2nd quarter. Smith finished the afternoon with 8 tackles (2-6), including 2.5 TFL.


11. On the next play De'Runnya Wilson makes the catch on 2nd and 19 and, after breaking a tackle by junior LB Khalid Henderson at the MSU 39-yard line, he tries to spin out of the grasp of junior LB Josh Forrest at the 45-yard line, but Forrest hangs on and makes the tackle at the 47 after a gain of 18 yards. The drive ended with an INT by Forrest 2 plays later. Wilson finished with only the 2 catches shown here for 30 yards. Forrest had 9 tackles (5-4), and the pick was his 2nd INT of the season. In an entertaining game, Mississippi State improved to 7-0, dealing Kentucky their 1st home defeat, 45-31.

  • 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 .....
  • 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 .....
  • 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
It didn't take much to take this week's award, and yet there were very few contenders to take it. As far as I can tell there were no games with as many as 4 TD scored by players with dreads; and only 3 games had 3 TD. So the three houses of dread for Week 9 were the end zones at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Hughes Stadium in Fort Collins, and Stewart Stadium in Murray, KY. At Camp Randall star junior RB Melvin Gordon was once again a 1-man HOD, scoring on runs of 6, 1, and 3 yards as Wisconsin crushed Maryland 52-7. At Hughes it was senior RB Dee Hart contributing to Colorado State's 45-31 home victory over Wyoming with a 21-yard TD reception (photo on right); freshman RB Brian Hill, forced into action when Wyoming's starting RB went down with an injury, showed that he should have been the starter all along, making the dread stars list and scoring twice on 1-yard runs for the Cowboys (and I heard he had a fairly good game in Week 10 as well). And at Stewart, 3 of Murray State's 12 TD were by players with dreads as the Racers set a new school record for points in an 86-29 demolition of Division 2 opponent Kentucky Wesleyan. Freshman WR DeQavius Walker took the opening kickoff 84 yards to the house, and junior WR Janawski Davis scored on a 37-yard reception and a 64-yard punt return.

A lot of players were close to the 200-yard mark, so nobody was an obvious choice for player of the week. Freshman Mike Boone of Cincinnati might have gotten the nod if he hadn't fumbled at the 1-yard line, spoiling a 39-yard run against South Florida. Instead I've decided to honor UCLA sophomore RB Paul Perkins as the head dread for Week 9 for his contributions to the Bruins' 40-37 road victory over Colorado in 2 overtimes. Perkins, who has rushed for at least 80 yards in every game this season, made the dread stars list for the 4th time in 2014, rushing for 180 yards and 2 TD on 19 carries and also catching 2 passes for 12 yards.

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.  


  1. DeSean jackson has been growing dreads. Do you know of any other players in the nfl that have been growing dreads?

    1. Nice to hear from you again.

      Did you actually see a photo/video of Jackson with dreads? The latest video on the Redskins website, from last Monday November 3, still shows him with a small afro.

      Patrick Robinson definitely has his dreads back; and it looks like Sharrif Floyd and Buster Skrine have dreads now. Those are the only ones I know of.

  2. Preston parker just got the first touchdown ever by a giants player with dreads

  3. Yesterday he was on Fox's pregame show and it looked like he had small dreads, kinda like the ones Ramses Barden had back in the summer.

    By the way, what Preston Parker has are considered dreads, right? They kinda look like the hair ej biggers has

    1. I just saw a photo of Jackson from July with his hair twisted into what looks like baby dreads. Obviously he didn't keep it that way for long, but it certainly seems like he wants to have dreads. But I'm not welcoming him to my house until he shows he's really serious about it. This new look is a good start, but let's see how long he keeps it this way this time. I won't be convinced fully unless he still has it growing when training camp starts next year.

      Please ..... don't compare E.J. Biggers with Preston Parker. Don't compare anybody with Preston Parker. Biggers simply has his dreads reduced, and it's looking more and more like he's planning on keeping them reduced permanently, like his former college teammate, Louis Delmas.

      By the process of elimination I guess you have to say that Parker has dreads, because what else would you call it? But I have seen nobody else in sports that has hair that looks like that. When he was at Florida State, he had normal dreads then cut them off when he got into trouble. Now he has what, about 6 or 7 "dreads"? Have you seen or read anything where anybody asks him to explain why he has this look? Obviously it is a look that he likes.

  4. Can you do a nfl top 20 longest dreads thing again?
    And who are some people who have really long college dreads? I don't know very many