Expecting that it would be a competitive and exciting contest, I decided ahead of time that the game I would write about to lead off my first report since coming out of exile would be the matchup between Clemson and Miami. Since Clemson plays in the Atlantic Division of the ACC and Miami in the Coastal Division, the Tigers and Hurricanes don't often play each other. Their meeting last Saturday (Oct. 24) was their first since 2010 and only their fifth since the Canes joined the league 11 years ago. The visiting team had won all four previous meetings, with both of the games played in Miami being decided in overtime; so I was expecting Clemson (6-0) to have a difficult time remaining undefeated.
Little did I know ......
..... that not only would the game not be competitive, it would become so one-sided that the stadium would be almost completely empty with still 4 minutes to play
..... that I would be watching Clemson shut out an opponent on the road for the first time in 20 years
..... and that I would be witnessing the worst defeat ever in the history of Miami football.
Honestly, did you ever think you'd live to see the day Miami - the U - trail in a game, a home game no less, by 58 points? The Hurricanes have been playing football for 90 years without ever before losing by that many points. There were a lot of long faces on the Hurricanes' sideline near the end of this one, including senior S Dallas Crawford's (photo above). Not surprisingly the 58-0 final score didn't sit too well with fans, alumni, and former players. And the next day Coach Golden was informed his services would no longer be required. They didn't bother waiting until the end of the season. Get out, now, and don't let the door hit you on your way out.
To be fair to Golden, the Canes had to play most of the game with their 2nd string QB. But really, they were already well on their way to getting their ass kicked even before starting QB Brad Kaaya left the game due to injury (a concussion) early in the 2nd quarter. It was already 21-0 by then, and it became 42-0 by halftime.
The only player with dreads touching the ball on offense for Miami was sophomore RB Trayone Gray, one of a half dozen or so players on the Hurricanes roster who are debuting their dreads this season. Gray gained 5 yards on 3 carries and returned 1 kickoff for 22 yards - all in the 4th quarter - before being injured on the Canes' final possession. Senior LB Tyriq McCord, another of those with beginner dreads, finished with 3 tackles (1-2).
There are also about a half dozen Canes with sick dreads, with freshman LB Mike Smith arguably having the sickest. Smith (photo on left, pressuring QB Deshaun Watson) finished with 2 tackles (0-2). I saw junior WR Malcolm Lewis on the sideline but never on the field (although the box score says he played); but with the way he had his dreads reduced, not seeing him play was no great loss.
You might remember I was worried a couple of years ago because I thought Golden didn't want a lot of players with dreads on his team. Well, I don't know if that's true or not; but like it or not, he's got a lot of them. According the Hurricanes' online media guide, there are 17 players with dreads currently on the team - which might be the most of any team in Division 1. Let's just hope that they along with their teammates that don't have dreads play better for whoever will be the new coach next season.
Less is more.
In some cases this is true. But if you are among the few who have regularly been reading my football posts over the years, you already know that's a policy I almost never follow. I try to include as much information as possible; and if I lose some of you because you don't have all day to read everything, so be it. Unfortunately I now no longer have the time necessary to do a thorough report every week. So like it or not, from now on less is what you're going to get.
Even though the 2015 season is already past the halfway mark, I'm almost starting from scratch. I've been watching a few games each week; but I haven't been following how all the players with dreads have been doing very closely. So it's going to take a few weeks for me to get up to speed as I try to figure out who does and doesn't have dreads on all of the teams in Division 1. The one thing I have noticed so far this season is that if voters for the Heisman Trophy were only allowed to vote for players with dreads, there are two players who would get the vast majority of the votes: RBs Derrick Henry of Alabama and Dalvin Cook of Florida State.
Florida State's kicker made his first three FG attempts against Georgia Tech, but when he tried to win the game with a long, 56-yard attempt on the final play of the game, the Seminoles ended up with the 1st loss of the season instead. With the score tied at 16, the kick was blocked and went about 20 yards beyond the line of scrimmage, where a GT player scooped up the ball and returned it 78 yards to the house to give the Yellow Jackets an improbable 22-16 victory.
As he has done all season Cook (photo below) was a big part of the Seminoles' offense, accounting for nearly half of their 280 total yards. He barely missed the dread stars list this week, finishing with 82 yards rushing on 17 carries and 4 catches for 50 yards, and scoring FSU's only TD (his 12th of the season) on a 2-yard run in the 2nd quarter. Nagging injuries have slowed Dalvin somewhat this season; but if he can get healthy and finish strong, he might be in a seat alongside Henry at the Heisman ceremony.
Picking up where he left off last November, Wyoming sophomore RB Brian Hill has reached the 1,000-yard rushing mark faster this season than anyone in school history. Hill (photo below) did it in only 8 games, upping his season total to 1,061 after rushing for 76 yards on 23 carries (he also had 3 catches for 26 yards) in the Cowboys' 34-14 road loss to Boise State. Brian is the first Wyoming player to top 1,000 since 2008. Unfortunately all those yards aren't resulting in very many points. He has scored only 3 TD so far; and the Cowboys are having a poor season, already out of contention for a bowl game at 1-7.
When I do my house calls post for this season, it might include two Pac-12 teams from Los Angeles. With junior RB Paul Perkins having another good season, UCLA figures to make a repeat appearance on the list of teams with at least 10 TD scored by players with dreads. But when the season began, I had no idea that USC had any chance of making the list. There haven't been very many TD by players with dreads in a USC uniform over the years, but that's changing this year.
Wisconsin (6-2) became bowl eligible with the win, and Wheelwright scored their 1st TD of the afternoon, making a nice catch along the sideline, staying inbounds and diving to the pylon (photo above) for a 23-yard score and a 7-3 lead early in the 2nd quarter - his 4th TD of the season. But after making that tough play, he couldn't make the easy one later in the 2nd. On 2nd and goal he was wide open in the end zone on a crossing route but dropped the on-target pass (argh!!), right off his hands. On the next play another pass intended for him was intercepted (photo below) and the score remained 10-6.
When I noticed Clement growing his hair longer early last season, I thought he was going to convert it to dreads then; so I was kind of disappointed when he cut it shorter. But he decided to take the plunge this season; and when I found out he had started growing dreads (in the right photo above from Big 10 preseason media day), it meant that the Badgers just might successfully defend their crown from 2014 as the team with the most TD scored by players with dreads. Clement scored 11 TD last season as Melvin Gordon's sidekick, and with him moving into the starting lineup this year, there's no telling how many he would score. But his junior season got put on hold when he suffered a groin injury just before the season began and eventually had to undergo surgery. He has resumed practicing though and should be ready to play soon.
A couple of players named Dakota made big contributions during a game played in Oklahoma. Junior CB Dakota Austin had 11 tackles (11-0) and got his 1st INT of the season (photo on right) for Oklahoma in a 63-27 win over Texas Tech; freshman LB Dakota Allen had a game high 15 tackles (3-12) and 1 TFL for Texas Tech ..... Senior CB Lafayette Pitts got his 1st INT and had 6 tackles (6-0) as Pittsburgh improved to 6-1 with a 23-20 win at Syracuse ..... Junior CB Mondo Williams got his 1st career INT as Appalachian State became bowl eligible for the first time ever and handed Georgia Southern their 1st SBC loss ever (they had gone 11-0 since joining the league last season), whipping the Eagles 31-13 ..... Junior S Na'im McGee led San Diego State with 10 tackles (5-5) as the Aztecs spanked Utah State 48-14 for their first ever 4-0 start in the MWC .....
Sick sophomore S Kendall Gant had a team high 12 tackles (6-6) and 1 PBU as Marshall improved to 7-1 with a 30-13 home win over North Texas .....
Junior RB Martez Walker rushed for 86 yards and had 4 catches for 52 yards, including a 19-yard gain on a screen pass on 3rd and 18 on the drive for the game-winning FG in the 4th quarter as Central Michigan won at Ball State 23-21 ..... Entering the game with Wake Forest trailing 28-0, freshman QB Kendall Hinton (photo on left) rushed for 75 yards and 2 TD and went 12 for 22 for 107 yards passing, but it was too little, too late in a 35-17 home loss to North Carolina State ..... And senior LB Quentin Gause had 15 tackles (8-7), including 2 TFL, but it was a rough night for the Rutgers D (528 yards allowed) in a 49-7 home loss to Ohio State.
IN THE FCS
When I tuned in to watch a bit of the big CAA showdown between #11 ranked Richmond and #4 JMU, I got ticked off because the game was blacked out. And when I found out what happened in the game, I got even more angry. I'll have more on that game later.
The FCS game I ended up watching the most was between Youngstown State and Southern Illinois. But I stayed tuned for only a few plays, and none in the 4th quarter, so I missed the Salukis' comeback from a 11-point deficit to win 38-31 in overtime. YSU led 31-20 after kicking a FG with 5:35 remaining, but SIU got right back in it when freshman RB Daquan Isom (left photo below) took a screen pass 75 yards to the house on 3rd and 10. A 2-point conversion made it 31-28. The Salukis then reached the 1-yard line on their next drive but settled for a FG with :06 on the clock before winning it in OT.
Among the plays I did see I noticed that SIU senior S D.J. Cameron (right photo above) still has those very long dreads that are likely to earn him another appearance on my dread all-America team. Senior DT Raysean Golden unfortunately had his sick dreads reduced. Cameron, who has changed numbers from #6 to #2 now, finished with 6 tackles (1-5) and a FF that resulted in a 1st quarter turnover; Golden had 3 tackles (1-2). There was no sign of CB Brandon Willingham, a starter on last season's dread all-America team. He's not even on the SIU roster (I'll have to investigate). There also is no sign of the three Youngstown State players who were on my 2014 all-dread sideline team. None of them are on this year's roster. But I did notice a couple of other players with great dreads for the Penguins - freshman WR Robert Byrd (who had 1 catch for 10 yards) and sophomore CB Solomon Warfield (who finished with 2 tackles). Because of them I'm going to have to make sure I see some more YSU games in the weeks ahead (if any are on TV).
#1 ranked Coastal Carolina kicked a 30-yard FG on the last play of the game to win and escape at Monmouth 23-20. Junior RB De'Angelo Henderson barely missed the dread stars list, finishing with 91 yards rushing on 25 carries; but with his 2-yard TD run on 4th and goal in the 2nd quarter (left photo above) he extended his consecutive games streak of scoring at least one TD to 21 games - establishing a new FCS record that broke the mark set by RB David Sinisi, who set the mark in 2006-07 while playing for Monmouth ironically and met with Henderson after the game (right photo above). One other player with dreads touched the ball on offense for CCU - senior WR John Israel, who had 5 catches for 70 yards. Senior TE Hakeem Valles had 4 catches for 41 yards for Monmouth.
Campbell senior CB Brandon Mobley, a player I hope to be seeing playing on Sundays next year, had 9 tackles (8-1), 1 TFL, and 4 PBU, but the Camels lost at home to Morehead State 31-27 ..... And junior DE Gabe Sherrod had 7 tackles (4-3), including 3.5 TFL and 1.5 sacks; and senior S Terrick Colston had 5 tackles (3-2), 1 FF, 1 PBU, and his 2nd INT for Delaware State, but they weren't enough to keep South Carolina State from spoiling DSU's homecoming game 34-7.
I was about to turn to another channel with 10 seconds remaining in the Michigan State-Michigan game in Week 7. But then I remembered that the Spartans and Wolverines have had some crazy finishes over the years, so I had better stay tuned until the clock hit zero. Sure enough and right on cue, incredibly and much to my amazement and astonishment Michigan completely botched what should have been a routine punt, fumbling the ball, resulting in a fumble return by Michigan State for the game-winning TD - indeed the craziest finish of them all.
What I didn't know (and had no reason to think at the time) and didn't find out until a few days later is that it was a player with dreads who scored that TD. Redshirt freshman S Jalen Watts-Jackson has dreads too short to be seen when he has his helmet on, and the MSU website isn't helping at all with that photo of him from last season before he started growing his hair. But nobody had any trouble seeing his dreads at the press conference he had 4 days after the game (photo).
It wasn't until then that Watts-Jackson was able to meet the press because, as you've probably heard, he was in the hospital getting surgery done on his broken hip, an injury he suffered as he was yanked down from behind by a Michigan player just as he crossed the goal line. It was an injury similar to the one that ended Bo Jackson's football career all those years ago. Thankfully though, Watts-Jackson is expected to heal fully and be back in action next season. Get well asap, Jalen! Here are the details from the Lansing State Journal: http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/story/sports/college/msu/football/2015/10/21/jalen-watts-jackson-michigan-state-football/74338098/
2. Senior S Dallas Crawford and LB Jermaine Grace struggle to get RB Wayne Gallman tackled on 1st and 10 late in 1st quarter. Crawford was credited with a solo tackle after Gallman ran for a 17-yard gain to the Miami 22-yard line. 4 plays later the Tigers scored a TD to up their lead to 21-0.
3. Dallas Crawford can't make the tackle this time as sophomore RB Tyshon Dye eludes him on a play in 4th quarter. Dye carried 8 times (6 of them in 4th quarter) for a season high 52 yards. Crawford finished the afternoon with 2 tackles (2-0).
The "RIP 28" drawn on Foster's wristband is in remembrance of former Alabama RB Altee Tenpenny, who died tragically in a car crash 4 days before the game. It'll take a while for you to read it, but I recommend you click on the link below for a story about Tenpenny in the Birmingham News. It's really kind of heart-wrenching.
- Derrick Henry - Alabama - 28 carries for 143 yards and 2 TD rushing, including game-winning 14-yard TD run with 2:24 remaining in game, in 19-14 home W over Tennessee
- Alex Collins - Arkansas - 105 yards and 1 TD rushing on 25 carries, and 3 receptions for 39 yards in 54-46 home W over Auburn in 4 OT
- Doroland Dorceus - Memphis - 32 carries for 138 yards rushing and 2 TD, and 1 reception for 7 yards in 66-42 road W over Tulsa
- Mike Boone - Cincinnati - 117 yards rushing on 13 carries, and 3 receptions for 17 yards in 37-13 home W over Connecticut
- Trae Elston - Mississippi - named SEC defensive player of the week - 3 tackles (2-1), 1 TFL, and career high 5 PBU in 23-3 home W over Texas A&M
- Bucky Hodges - Virginia Tech - 5 catches for 101 yards and 3 TD in 45-43 home L to Duke in 4 OT
- Bennie Coney - Eastern Kentucky - 27 for 41 for 292 yards and 3 TD (1 INT), and 3 carries for 38 yards and 1 TD rushing in 45-21 home W over Tennessee State
- Jalen Overstreet - Sam Houston State - 28 carries for career high 202 yards rushing and 1 TD in 37-7 home W over Nicholls State
- Kendell Anderson - William & Mary - tied career high with 191 yards and 1 TD rushing on 22 carries, and had 1 reception for 13 yards in 40-7 homecoming W over Hampton
- Daquan Isom - Southern Illinois - 15 carries for 69 yards rushing, and 2 receptions for 98 yards, including 75-yard TD in 38-31 home W over Youngstown State in OT
- Michael Fredrick - South Dakota - 22 carries for 129 yards and 1 TD rushing, and 1 reception for 5 yards in 40-10 home W over Missouri State
- Daniel Brown - Southern - named SWAC defensive player of the week - 6 tackles (3-3), 4 sacks, and 1 FF in 40-21 road W over Texas Southern
- Janawski Davis - Murray State - named OVC specialist of the week - 85-yard kickoff return for TD, and 4 receptions for 112 yards and 2 TD in 52-45 road L to Tennessee-Martin
- Lorenzo Long - Wofford - 24 carries for 143 yards rushing in 20-17 home L to UT-Chattanooga
HOUSE OF DREAD
The end zone where the most TD were scored by players with dreads was at Bridgeforth Stadium in Harrisonburg, VA, where there were five. All 5 were by Week 8's player of the week .....
Those were the words of the Richmond football radio announcer last Saturday (Oct. 24) after one of the 27 carries by senior RB Jacobi Green. The Spiders racked up a school record 720 yards in a wild, 59-49 victory that spoiled homecoming at James Madison, and the 5-foot-9, 192-pounder accounted for 250 of them, including a career high 236 yards rushing. Great blocking, bad defense, whichever, Green took advantage to take home CAA offensive player of the week honors as well as his first ever head dread award.
Green let his intentions be known immediately, rushing for 21 yards on the first play from scrimmage. He later finished the 9-play, 75-yard drive with a 2-yard TD run on 3rd and goal . His 2nd TD came on a 1-yard run, ending an 11-play, 75-yard drive in the 2nd quarter. Then in the 3rd quarter he scored on a 40-yard run to tie the game at 35 and again on a 1-yard run on the Spiders' next drive for a 42-35 lead. Green contributed 29 yards on 3 carries on an 87-yard TD drive that made the score 49-35 early in the 4th quarter. And later in the 4th, on the first play after JMU had closed to within 52-49 with a TD with 4:02 remaining, Green broke loose for a season long 62-yard run to the 7-yard line. Then on 3rd and goal 3 plays later, he got his 5th TD of the game on a 1-yard run with 2:09 to play to finish off the scoring for the game.
That's why I was so upset that the telecast of the game was blacked out. (Somebody needs to explain to me why an FCS game between two Virginia schools and televised by a regional sports channel that's part of a package that I pay for has to be blacked out in Wisconsin. It makes no sense at all.) Sorry I couldn't see you, Jacobi. I sure would have loved to. With the victory Richmond remains undefeated in CAA play at 4-0 (6-1 overall), while JMU, a team that beat FBS school SMU earlier this season, suffers their 1st loss, dropping to 7-1, 4-1. Here is the release from the Spiders' website on Green's CAA honor.
And the link below is to a video of all of the Spiders' highlights in the game. Jacobi, as you already know if you follow this blog regularly, has arguably the longest dreads of any RB in Division 1 and has been a fixture on my dread all-America teams throughout his career. But for this game he had his dreads reduced (doesn't everybody these days?), so they don't look as impressive as they should.