Hoping that there would be lots of touchdowns scored by players with dreads, the Arkansas-Mississippi game was the first choice of games on my viewing list. But with so many other good games on at the same time during the late afternoon time slot, more often than not I was watching the Rebels and Razorbacks out of the corner of my eye while focusing on another game. Disappointingly there weren't very many TD by players with dreads (only two, surprisingly), but there sure were a lot of touchdowns. Although the two teams didn't score on every possession, every time one team would score to take the lead the other team would answer back immediately on their ensuing possession to tie it back up. And so the game was tied at 7, 14, 17, 24, 31, 38, and then 45 heading into overtime, after a last-second FG attempt by Arkansas was blocked.
The Rebels scored to take a 52-45 lead in OT and seemed to have the game won with the Razorbacks facing a 4th and 25 on their possession. And victory seemed even more certain when Arkansas completed a pass 10 yards short of the first down marker on that 4th and 25. Until .....
Realizing he wasn't going to run after the catch for the 1st down, TE Hunter Henry wisely decided to fling the ball high into the air and back toward the line of scrimmage just before being tackled, where it deflected off the hands of a couple of players trying to catch it, hit the ground and bounced perfectly into the hands of Alex Collins - star junior RB Alex Collins, that is. It couldn't have been in any better hands if you're an Arkansas fan, and as soon as he starting running toward the left side of the field you knew he had a real chance to get the 1st down, because most of the Ole Miss defenders were over near the right sideline where Henry was when he lateraled the ball. Collins (photo above) made it all the way to the 11-yard line, 4 yards past the 1st down marker, but then almost blew it. As he was being tackled, forgetting he only needed a first down and not a touchdown, he tried to lateral the ball to a teammate. The ball was on the ground for an instant, but the Razorbacks recovered it, and the 4th and 25 had been converted. Just the way they drew it up, right? If somehow you haven't seen the play by now, you can see it (and see that I'm not making this story up) in this video: http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/eye-on-college-football/25366517/watch-arkansas-uses-insane-4th-and-25-lateral-conversion-to-win-in-ot
..... Especially if Alabama keeps playing the way they did in demolishing #4 ranked LSU. The final score was just 30-16 because the demolition took place mostly in the 2nd half after the Crimson Tide led 13-10 at halftime. The Tide dominated in total yards 434-182 and in time of possession 39:27-20:33.
Speaking of talented players, there was still 12:30 remaining in the 1st quarter and Florida State sophomore RB Dalvin Cook had already made the dread stars list. But unfortunately for Seminoles fans and not surprisingly, after Cook broke free for a 75-yard TD on his first carry of the game and for 36 yards on his next carry, the yards were a lot harder to come by against the Clemson defense for the rest of the game. After allowing Cook 129 yards in the 1st quarter, the Tigers held him to 37 yards in the 2nd half as they improved to 9-0, defeating Florida State 23-13 to clinch the ACC Atlantic Division crown. FSU dropped to 7-2.
Junior RB Paul Perkins rushed for 89 yards and 1 TD; junior LB Jayon Brown (photo on right) had a team high 10 tackles (7-3), a half TFL, and 1 PBU; and junior DE Takkarist McKinley had 5 tackles (5-0), 3 of which were TFL, including 2 sacks, as UCLA recorded their first road shutout in 28 years, 41-0 over Oregon State ..... Senior S Matthias Farley tied for the team lead with 7 tackles (4-3) and got his 1st INT of the season (left photo below) as Notre Dame improved to 8-1 with a 42-30 road win over Pittsburgh ..... Junior CB Dakota Austin had 9 tackles (7-2), 1 TFL, 1 PBU, and got his 2nd INT of the season as Oklahoma improved to 8-1 with a 52-16 home win over Iowa State ..... Junior LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin had a game high 9 tackles (8-1), a half TFL, 1 FF, and got a huge FR at the Tennessee 13-yard line with 32 seconds remaining in the game as the Volunteers won at home 27-24 over South Carolina .....
IN THE FCS
When the playoffs begin in a couple of weeks, Charleston Southern will be one of the teams entered in the tournament. The Buccaneers clinched their first ever playoff bid as well as at least a tie for the Big South championship with a 28-14 road win over Kennesaw State. Sophomore DE Anthony Ellis made the dread stars list and made one of the biggest plays of the game. With KSU beginning a drive at the CSU 34-yard line after a poor punt midway through the 2nd quarter, Ellis penetrated into the backfield and batted away an attempted pitch from the QB to the RB, then scooped up the ball and took it 61 yards to the house to up CSU's lead to a more comfortable 21-6. Just as importantly, KSU's starting QB had to leave the game after injuring himself trying to tackle Ellis on the return.
Senior CB Malcolm Jackson contributed to the win with a team high 6 tackles (5-1) and 1 PBU (right photo above). Sick WR Chris Jenkins (left photo above) had 2 tackles (2-0) on special teams. Freshman DT Johnny Robinson had 1 tackle (1-0); and junior RB Alan Barnwell, who played in junior college last season after being dismissed from the team following his freshman season at UNC-Charlotte in 2013, had 24 yards rushing on 7 carries. Freshman RB Trey Chivers had 10 yards on 5 carries for Kennesaw State. Charleston Southern improves to 8-1 overall, 5-0 in the Big South and gets the league's automatic bid because they have the tiebreaker edge over Coastal Carolina thanks to their victory over CCU in Week 9.
When is 5 TD passes by a QB with dreads not enough to make the dread stars list? I'm glad you asked.
Not only 5 TD passes, Eastern Kentucky junior QB Bennie Coney finished with a career high 354 yards passing (on 22 of 39 attempts) along with 22 yards rushing on 7 carries. But despite those numbers, I could not with a clear conscience include him on this week's dread stars list. There was too much other stuff ..... like a fumble that set up a 28-yard TD drive for Tennessee-Martin that tied the game at 7; like an interception early in the 3rd quarter that led to a FG that cut EKU's lead to 21-17; and especially the other INT he threw, which came with the Colonels leading by 7 in the 4th quarter. That one was returned 41 yards for a TD, tying the game at 35 with 4:32 to go - an absolute killer. Damn, Bennie, a team should never throw a pick 6 when they have the lead in the 4th quarter. The Colonels then went three-and-out on their next possession; and after UTM scored to take the lead 42-35 with 1:05 to play, Coney was benched for EKU's final drive, which also came up empty.
EKU has two players with dreads wearing jersey #4 - Coney on offense and junior LB D'Vonta Derricott on defense. Derricott, the transfer from Kansas State, finished with 2 tackles (1-1) and got his 1st INT of the season. Sick junior LB LaJuan Smith's 1 tackle (0-1) was a half TFL. Sick senior WR Jaucady Rutledge had 2 catches for 20 yards. For UTM junior DE Damani Taylor had 7 tackles (5-2), including 2 TFL and 1 sack. EKU fell to 4-2, while UTM improved to 5-1 in the race to see who finishes 2nd behind Jacksonville State in the OVC.
Just as Toledo has Northern Illinois, Richmond has New Hampshire as their nemesis. After earning the top seed in the playoffs last season, UNH is having a down year in 2015 - just 4-4 through Week 9. But that didn't stop the Wildcats from defeating Richmond for the 5th straight time, 30-25, to end the Spiders' 7-game winning streak. I knew the telecast of this game was not going to be blacked out, and I was able to watch about half of it, while also keeping tabs on Arkansas vs. Ole Miss. Senior RB Jacobi Green still had his dreads reduced; and I'm beginning to think he may have kept them reduced all season. If that's so, I'll be looking for a new starting RB for this season's dread all-America team.
It was another big game for Green; but at first he wasn't even the best player with dreads on the field. Sophomore CB Patrick Mensah was stealing the show for a while, putting an end to a couple of Richmond drives in the 1st half with his first 2 INT of the season (the second of which in photo on right - you'll have to look hard to see any dreads, and I'm sorry about that; but I could hardly find any photos from this game). Mensah finished with 4 tackles (4-0) and almost made the dread stars list. Green did make the list, racking up 239 total yards. But unlike his 5-TD game in Week 8, none of the 26 times he touched the ball ended with him in the end zone. Jacobi had gains of 10 or more yards on 10 plays but no touchdowns.
Maybe the most disappointment I had came on Green's biggest gain of the day. On the first play from scrimmage after UNH settled for a FG with 6:35 remaining to up their lead to 30-25 he caught a screen pass and broke free for a 46-yard gain but was tackled at the 24-yard line after he cut back (and slowed down) to the middle of the field. If he had just stayed outside, he would at least have gotten 10 more yards and might have scored. 3 plays later the Spiders threw their 4th INT of the game with 4:56 to play, and the ensuing New Hampshire drive killed all but the final 21 seconds. Both teams gained exactly 468 total yards; but Richmond had 5 turnovers to none by UNH. You probably need only one hand to count the number of times a team wins when they're -5 in turnovers.
Junior WR Verlan Hunter had 3 catches for 79 yards and his 3rd and 4th TD of the season as Grambling improved to 7-0 in the SWAC West, defeating Texas Southern 41-15 ..... Freshman RB Michael Fredrick had 69 yards rushing and 61 yards receiving to help South Dakota win at home over Southern Illinois 34-31 .....Junior DE Ryan Lewis finished with 8 tackles (2-6) and had 2.5 of Robert Morris' 9 sacks in a 21-9 home win over East Tennessee State ..... Senior RB Cameron Molina had 61 yards rushing and 5 catches for 47 yards as Columbia gave Harvard (8-0) a run for their money before falling 24-16 .....Junior DE Khalil Young had 8 tackles (6-2), including 2 TFL; and senior LB Charles Moore had 8 tackles (4-4), 2 PBU, and a big tackle for an 8-yard loss in overtime as Mississippi Valley State got their 1st win of the season, 27-24 in OT at Alabama A&M ..... Senior WR Janawski Davis had 8 catches for 92 yards and threw a pass (the first of his career) for a 16-yard TD as Murray State won 46-40 in OT over Tennessee State to snap their 13-game road losing streak ..... And on senior day at Samford senior WR Gavin Sinclair had 6 catches for 68 yards, including a 24-yard TD (photo above), in a 43-0 win over Clark Atlanta U.
Russell Hansbrough hadn't scored a TD since New Year's Day, and it had been 33 days since anyone in a Missouri uniform had taken one to the house. But when Hansbrough, the senior RB, took the handoff on 3rd and 4 late in the 2nd quarter on Thursday night, cut up the middle and found running room against the Mississippi State defense, and finished the 14-yard run with a dive into the end zone (left photo below), both of those droughts were finally over.
Hansbrough, who scored 10 TD last season, the last of which was a 78-yarder in Missouri's win over Minnesota in the Citrus Bowl, might have been thinking that his decision to start growing (partial) dreads for his senior season had done nothing but bring bad luck to him and his team. He suffered an ankle injury on the very first possession of the Tigers' season opener. After coming into this season with 6 career 100-yard rushing games to his credit, the most he's run for this season were the 74 yards he got in a 21-3 loss to Florida in Week 6. The Tigers finished 1st in the SEC East the last two seasons, but they don't need to worry about planning for a trip to Atlanta for this year's SEC championship game. And maybe not for a bowl game either, with the Tigers sitting at 4-4 through Week 9. But at least maybe getting that 1st TD with dreads out of the way made Russell feel a little better.
Obviously you can't see Hansbrough's dreads when his helmet is on; but for proof of dreads you can check out the right photo below, a shot of him walking off following Missouri's Week 8 loss at Vanderbilt.
Hansbrough got a season high 16 carries against Mississippi State, gaining 62 yards; and the TD cut the Bulldogs' lead to 14-13. But the Tigers got started on their next drought right after that and ended up going down to a 31-13 defeat.
4. Leading 31-14 midway through 3rd quarter, the Longhorns try to get Marcus Johnson a TD on a deep pass on 1st and 10, and he has CB Brandon Stewart beat; but the pass is just slighty underthrown, and as Marcus reaches back to catch it, he drops it instead at the 11-yard line .....
8. Senior CB Lafayette Pitts of Pittsburgh gets the sack and the strip, clobbering Notre Dame QB DeShone Kizer and forcing him to fumble at the ND 29-yard line late in 1st quarter at Heinz Field. Notre Dame recovered the fumble though, and the drive ended with a TD 8 plays later, upping the Irish lead to 14-3. Pitts finished with 4 tackles (3-1) and 1 PBU, but it was a tough day for the Pitt secondary. Kizer threw 5 TD passes as Notre Dame improved to 8-1 with a 42-30 win over the Panthers, who dropped to 6-3.
9. West Virginia sophomore WR Ka'Raun White gets the better of two Texas Tech DBs on this 3rd and 2 play late in 1st quarter at Morgantown, first outfighting CB Nigel Bethel for the ball to make the catch at the WVU 32-yard and then, after leaving Bethel behind, breaking a tackle by S Keenon Ward at midfield. Ward got credit for the tackle, but not until White stumbled forward another 10 yards before going down after a 30-yard gain. The drive ended with a TD 7 plays later, putting WVU ahead 14-7. White finished with 5 catches for a season high 80 yards as the Mountaineers improved to 4-4 with a 31-26 victory over Texas Tech, which fell to 5-5.
It looks like Ka'Raun's got dreads just as long as his older brother, former WVU star and 1st round NFL draft pick Kevin White; but he's going to have to lose those two rubber bands if he wants a spot on the dread all-America team.
11. Freshman CB Donte Jackson is wrapped up immediately as he catches a punt at the LSU 11-yard line and is dragged down by Alabama CB Minkah Fitzpatrick during 1st quarter at Tuscaloosa. You know, Donte, you are allowed to call for a fair catch. Watching this play in slow motion, it's remarkable that he didn't fumble the ball. Jackson got credit for -1 on this return and gained 6 yards on his only other return in the game. He also finished with 1 tackle (1-0).
Yo, Tim, you play for Alabama; how dare you have your dreads coming that far out of your helmet. Guess it's time for you to see the dreads police.
..... Says Fournette, after being held to a season low 31 yards rushing: "Man, just be thankful you don't ever have to play against your defense."
..... Henry: "See you in NYC in a few weeks, right?"
It remains to be seen if they both get invited to the Heisman ceremony. Henry's campaign certainly got a big boost with his performance in this one.
The victory was the Crimson Tide's 5th straight over the Tigers. their longest winning streak in the rivalry since winning 10 in a row from 1971-1981.
19. Sick senior S Trevon Stewart comes through up the middle unblocked on the blitz on 3rd and 15 and sacks QB Gunner Kiel for a 12-yard loss and a safety, upping the Cougars' lead to 30-14 with 4:54 remaining in 3rd quarter. It was the 2nd of 3 sacks Stewart had in the 2nd half. Trevon finished with 6 tackles (5-1) and I might have put him on the dread stars list had he not also given up 2 TD catches.
20. Senior WR Chris Moore makes a leaping catch on 2nd and 9 and hangs on for the TD as he is tackled in the end zone by CB Jeremy Winchester with 5:07 remaining in the game. It was Moore's 2nd TD of the game. He also made the catch on the next play for the 2-point conversion to cut Houston's lead to 33-30. But the Bearcats got no further than their own 42-yard line on their final drive, and the Cougars held on. Despite allowing 589 total yards, Houston improved to 9-0 with the 33-30 victory.
- Travis Greene - Bowling Green - 106 yards and 3 TD on 13 carries in 62-24 home W over Ohio
- D'Onta Foreman - Texas - 12 carries for 157 yards and 2 TD rushing in 59-20 home W over Kansas
- Alex Collins - Arkansas - 17 carries for 108 yards rushing, and had 35 yards receiving in 53-52 road W in overtime over Mississippi
- David Washington - ODU - 29 for 48 for 378 yards and 2 TD passing (1 INT), and 69 yards rushing on 12 carries in 36-31 road W over UTSA
- Trumaine Washington - Louisville - named ACC DB of the week - had career high 12 tackles (11-1), 4 TFL, 1 sack, and 1 INT which he returned 39 yards for a TD in 41-17 home W over Syracuse
- Will Fuller - Notre Dame - 7 receptions for 152 yards and 3 TD in 42-30 road W over Pittsburgh
- De'Runnya Wilson - Mississippi State - 4 receptions for 102 yards and 2 TD in 31-13 road W over Missouri
- Von Pearson - Tennessee - 8 receptions for career high 121 yards and 1 TD in 27-24 home W over South Carolina
- Darren Carrington - Oregon - 4 receptions for 112 yards in 44-28 home W over California; Ducks racked up school record 777 total yards
- Ronald Jones - USC - 19 carries for 177 yards rushing, including 74-yard TD, and 1 reception for 5-yard TD in 38-30 homecoming W over Arizona
- Al Riles - Louisiana-Lafayette - 8 receptions for career high 103 yards and 1 TD in 23-21 road W at Georgia State
- Devonte Boyd - UNLV - 6 receptions for 120 yards, including 75-yard TD, in 41-21 homecomiong W over Hawaii
- Dalvin Cook - Florida State - 21 carries for 194 yards rushing and 1 TD in 23-13 road L at Clemson
- Gerald Holmes - Michigan State - 22 carries for career high 117 yards and 1 TD in 39-38 road L to Nebraska, ending Spartans' 12-game winning streak
- Chris Moore - Cincinnati - 6 reception for 140 yards, including TD of 25 and 29 yards, in 33-30 road L to Houston
- De'Angelo Henderson - Coastal Carolina - 11 carries for 114 yards and 2 TD rushing in 46-0 home W over Gardner-Webb
- Khalid Thomas - Alabama State - 29 carries for 139 yards rushing in 17-12 road W at Jackson State
- Tremane McCullough - Southeast Missouri State - 150 yards rushing on 19 carries in 44-15 road W over Austin Peay
- Darius Victor - Towson - 24 carries for 101 yards and 1 TD rushing in 10-7 road W over Maine
- Damien Strange - Jacksonville - 3 receptions for 105 yards, including TD of 18 and 44 yards, in 42-12 home W over Davidson
- Anthony Ellis - Charleston Southern - named Big South defensive player of the week - 5 tackles (5-0), 4 TFL, 1 sack, and 1 FF and 1 FR (on same play) which he returned 61 yards for TD in 28-14 road W over Kennesaw State
- Darius Spruill - North Carolina Central - named MEAC co-defensive player of the week - 5 tackles (3-2) and 3 sacks, on one of which he got big FF on 2nd and goal, in 43-10 home W over Delaware State
- Jacobi Green - Richmond - 22 carries for 154 yards rushing, and 4 receptions for 85 yards, in 30-25 road L to New Hampshire
HOUSE OF DREAD
At Doyt Perry Stadium in Bowling Green, OH, Bowling Green whipped Ohio 62- 24, and senior RB Travis Greene scored 3 of the Falcons' 9 TD - on runs of 11, 10, and 43 yards ..... At Heinz Field in Pittsburgh star WR Will Fuller had TD receptions of 47, 46, and 14 yards for Notre Dame in their 42-30 victory over Pittsburgh .....At Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, TN, the home of the Tennessee Volunteers, players with dreads accounted for all of the Vols' TD in their 27-24 win over South Carolina: senior WR Von Pearson had a 37-yard reception, while sophomore RB Alvin Kamara had a 4-yard run and 11-yard reception ..... At Memorial Stadium in Columbia, MO, senior RB Russell Hansbrough's aforementioned 14-yard run was not the only TD by players with dreads in Missouri's 31-13 loss to Mississippi State; junior WR De'Runnya Wilson scored twice for the Bulldogs, on receptions of 5 yards (photo above) and 28 yards ..... At Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, the Foreman brothers accounted for 3 of the Longhorns' 8 TD in their 59-20 rout of Kansas: Sophomore RB D'Onta Foreman scored on runs of 93 yards (the 3rd longest run in school history) and 9 yards, while sophomore WR Armanti Foreman had a 40-yard TD catch ..... And at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, AL, the 3 TD were scored by this week's player of the week .......
Henry scored the Crimson Tide's 1st TD - and his 15th of the season - on a 2-yard plunge in the 2nd quarter - right after he had run for a 40-yard gain on the previous play - to make it 10-0. He also scored the Tide's 2nd TD on a 1-yard plunge (lower photo below) that finished off a 28-yard drive following an LSU turnover, upping Alabama's lead to 20-10 early in the 3rd quarter. He then scored his 3rd TD on a 7-yard run late in the 3rd.
Derrick was not perfect (and with so many carries, that's hardly a surprise). His fumble at the Alabama 22-yard line early in the 4th set up a short TD drive for LSU that got the Tigers back into the game at 30-16 with 9:18 remaining. But LSU would get no closer and in fact would never get the ball back again, as Henry rushed for 78 yards and 4 first downs on 10 carries on Alabama's next drive, which moved the ball from their own 4-yard line to the LSU 16 and was still in progress when time expired. Now that's how you finish a game.
An article (link below) from the Birmingham News website summarizes Henry's big game and also includes a video of his interview after the game if you'd like to hear him.
The win, coupled with Mississippi's loss to Arkansas, moves Alabama (8-1, 5-1) into the driver's seat in the SEC West race. And Henry's 210 yards, which upped his season total to 1,254, keeps him front and center in consideration for the Heisman. So, the best may be yet to come for both Derrick and the Tide.