Saturday, December 26, 2015

College FB '15 Dread News - Week 14

The 2015 regular season is already in the books (and the bowl season underway), and congratulations go out to the four chosen ones - the four teams who did not win quarterfinal games to advance to the semifinals of the playoffs but rather will be playing in the semifinals because they were picked (behind closed doors, of course) to play in them by a committee of people who supposedly are experts. So while Clemson, Alabama, Michigan State, and Oklahoma will be playing on New Year's Eve, it's tough luck for Stanford, the Pac-12 champion. Sorry, Stanford, it doesn't matter if your team is good enough to be the national champion. The experts have decided that it isn't, and that's that. At least you had the chance to be picked for the playoffs. That's more than you can say for the teams in the Little 5 conferences.

Oops. Excuse me, that's right, the AAC, SBC, MWC, CUSA, and MAC aren't called the Little 5. They are officially known as the "Group of 5". That's because "Group of 5" sounds less disrespectful than "Little 5". But call them whatever you want, they're the have-nots of the FBS, and no team from one of them will ever even be considered for a playoff spot as long as the playoffs include only 4 teams. The best they can hope for is to claim the one bid (out of 12 total) reserved for a Little 5 team to one of the big New Year's 6 bowl games. The Houston Cougars earned that bid this season after upping their record to 12-1 with a 24-13 victory over Temple on Dec. 5 in the inaugural AAC championship game.

With Navy joining the league this season, the AAC expanded to 12 teams - the minimum number required for a conference to have an end-of-the-season championship game. The AAC schedule maker was very kind to Houston in this first season of two-division play. After wrapping up the AAC West Division crown thanks to home victories over contenders Memphis (in Week 11) and Navy (Week 13) - two games they likely would have lost if they had had to play them on the road - the Cougars found themselves at home for the title game too against surprise East winner Temple. Aided by turnovers on Temple's first two possessions of the game, UH jumped out to a 17-0 lead in the 2nd quarter, upped it to 24-3 in the 3rd, and held off a late rally by the Owls.
There are close to a dozen players with dreads on the Houston roster, but most of them were on the sideline for this game (including some candidates for the all-dread sideline team), With senior RB Ryan Jackson missing his 4th game in a row due to the broken collarbone he suffered in the win over Cincinnati in Week 10, nobody with dreads touched the ball on offense for either team. But on defense the Cougars got contributions from a couple of players who are among the best players with dreads in Division 1 at their positions. After an interception on the 4th play from scrimmage set up a 36-yard TD drive for Houston, the Owls turned it over again on their next drive, with sick senior S Trevon Stewart recovering a fumble at the UH 9-yard line. The FR was the 9th of his career for Stewart, the most ever by a UH player. Stewart (celebrating the FR with S Adrian McDonald in photo above and raising the trophy during the celebration after the game in photo at top of page) also led the Cougars in tackles with 8 (7-1), including a stop of WR Robby Anderson for an 8-yard gain on 3rd and 10 (photo below), as the Owls went three-and-out on their third drive of the game.
Junior LB Steven Taylor had 6 tackles (5-1), the biggest of which was a sack for a 4-yard loss on 2nd and 7 late in the 2nd quarter, helping kill a drive that had reached the UH 22-yard line and ended with Temple settling for a FG two plays later that made the score 17-3. The sack was Taylor's 9th of the season - the most in the AAC. Taylor's final tackle of the afternoon was a stop of QB P.J. Walker on a scramble for a 9-yard gain on 4th and 11, ending Temple's final drive at the UH 24-yard line with 1:58 remaining in the game. A third player with dreads in the Cougars' starting defense, freshman CB Jeremy Winchester, had 4 tackles (4-0) and 1 PBU.
There are only a few players with dreads for Temple, but a couple of them have dreads long enough that they'll be on the dread all-America team - sophomore OT Leon Johnson (photo above) and freshman DT Freddie Booth-Lloyd, who finished with 1 tackle (0-1). The Owls' best player with dreads, junior DE Sharif Finch, also had 1 tackle (1-0). Temple drops to 9-4 with the loss and will face Toledo in the Boca Raton Bowl. Houston has a date with Florida State in the first of the New Year's 6 bowls at Atlanta on the afternoon of New Year's Eve.

For the 3rd straight year it was Northern Illinois vs. Bowling Green in the MAC championship game. Bowling Green took the rubber match, spanking NIU 34-14. The Falcons racked up 501 total yards, and nearly 200 of them were by senior RB Travis Greene, who was named East MVP for the game (one MVP was chosen for each team, with BG representing the MAC East Division and NIU the West). Travis' younger brother, senior LB Trenton Greene, had 6 tackles (2-4) for the Falcons (but couldn't quite stop RB Joel Bouagnon in photo on left on a short run in 2nd quarter), and junior DT Izaah Lunsford finished with 2 tackles (1-1), including a sack.

Senior LB Boomer Mays, a candidate for my all-America with dreads team, recorded a career high 16 tackles (9-7) for NIU, including 9 stops of Travis Greene, but only one of them (0-1) was a TFL. Sophomore CB Albert Smalls finished with 4 tackles (3-1) for the Huskies, and junior DT Mario Jones had 1 PBU. Junior WR Aregeros Turner had a tough time, finishing with 7 yards rushing on 4 carries along with 2 catches for only 8 yards. He also was charged with a fumble when he dropped the handoff on a jet sweep on 4th and 1 for a key turnover in the red zone late in the 1st quarter.

"I'm going to do whatever it takes to help this team win." That was the understatement of star Alabama junior RB Derrick Henry following the Crimson Tide's 29-15 win over Florida in the SEC championship game. A week earlier "whatever it takes" meant Henry had to carry the ball 46 times in the Tide's SEC West-clinching win over Auburn.This week Derrick had "only" 44 carries (one of them in photo on right), finishing with a bit under 200 yards against the rugged Gators defense as he earned game MVP honors.

That rugged defense kept the Tide offense scoreless for the first 20 minutes, with a fumble by Henry at the UF 28-yard line on the first play of the 2nd quarter ending their only chance to score during their first 5 possessions of the game. Alabama scored 2 points during that span thanks to their special teams, getting the safety on a blocked punt that rolled out of the back of the end zone midway through the 1st quarter (it was almost a TD, but freshman RB Bo Scarbrough couldn't quite get a handle on the ball in time before it went beyond the end line (photo below)). Later in the 1st the Tide blocked a FG attempt to keep the score at 2-0. But then the Gators' special teams trumped those two plays with one of their own, taking a punt return 85 yards to the house for a 7-2 lead. But with Florida's offense doing nothing (Alabama finished with a 437-180 advantage in total yards), their defense - on the field for 43:29 of the 60 minutes - was like a dam trying to hold off the Tide offense. The dam never broke completely, but it sprung enough leaks that the Tide were able to score 2 TD and 2 FG in a span of 5 possessions to build to a 22-7 lead late in the 3rd quarter.
Alabama went ahead to stay 12-7 on Henry's 2-yard run with 2:26 to play until halftime. It marked the 18th straight game in which he has scored at least 1 TD. It was also his 23rd rushing TD of the season, tying the SEC record. Derrick upped his season total to 1,986 yards rushing and in doing so broke the SEC single-season rushing record that had stood for 34 years. Details here from the Birmingham News:
Junior LB Tim Williams finished with 2 tackles (2-0) for the Tide, and both were sacks. The first one (photo below) went for a 10-yard loss on 3rd and 20 (although it sure looked like he was offside on the play) as the Gators failed to cash in on the possession following Henry's fumble. The other one was a 4-yard loss on 4th and 11, ending the Gators' final possession of the game with 3:49 to play.
Florida also has a running back with dreads, but he had slightly less impact on the game than Henry. After picking up 3 yards on his 1st carry of the game in the 1st quarter, freshman Jordan Scarlett never touched the ball again. Sick sophomore S Marcell Harris finished with 2 tackles (2-0) and junior LB Daniel McMillian had 1 (1-0). The Gators' best player with dreads, junior CB and future NFL star Vernon Hargreaves, finished with 5 tackles (4-1), 1 TFL, and 2 PBU; but he also got beat for completions of 55 and 32 yards, the Tide's biggest two gains of the game.

When the ACC championship game came to an end, the only thing on my mind was this one question: was the fix in? With #1 ranked Clemson likely to miss the playoffs with a loss and #8 North Carolina not likely to make the playoffs with a win, the league had a lot more to gain if Clemson won. So you couldn't help but wonder if the game officials weren't under an added little bit of pressure to help ensure a Clemson victory - especially after watching what went down in the closing moments at Charlotte.

The Tigers won all right, 45-37, but only after a controversial call went in their favor late, denying the Tar Heels a chance to tie the game. Clemson scored their 6th TD of the game to take a 42-23 lead with 11:34 remaining, but that lead was down to 45-37 after a UNC TD with 1:13 to play. And that lead seemingly was about to be gone altogether when the Tar Heels recovered an onside kickoff after the TD. But the recovery was nullified by an offside penalty against North Carolina. They had to do the kickoff again, and Clemson recovered that one, ending UNC's hopes for a miracle finish.
I was infuriated (and no doubt so were a bunch of North Carolina fans) when they showed a replay of the offside penalty, which showed that actually there was nobody offside. I mean, nobody was even close to being offside when the ball was kicked, making you wonder exactly what the official saw that caused him to throw the flag. In the photo above you can see junior S Dominquie Green standing there watching the replay on the stadium video board, and he's like, "WTF? Where's the penalty? Everybody's onside." And Coach Fedora is berating the line judge: "Just look at the replay, you idiot. Look at it! Nobody's offside! Why'd you throw the flag??" Hmm. Maybe the fix really was in.

There were 10 yards short of 1,000 total yards of offense, including a new championship game record 608 for Clemson; but only and exactly 1 of them was by anybody with dreads. Junior RB Zac Brooks gained a yard on his only carry of the game for the Tigers. Freshman S Van Smith had 6 tackles (5-1) for the Clemson D, and freshman LB Jalen Williams had 1 tackle (0-1). For UNC sophomore DE Dajuan Drennon recorded 3 tackles (1-2); and Green finished with 6 tackles (5-1), the last of which (photo below) was a stop of RB Wayne Gallman at the 12-yard line for an 11-yard gain during Clemson's drive for a FG late in the 4th quarter.
If you enjoy watching football games featuring a lot of players with sick dreads, you might as well plan on doing something else while the telecast of the Rose Bowl is on. With Stanford and Iowa on opposing sidelines, you'd need just one hand to count the number of players with dreads on the two teams combined. The Cardinal and Hawkeyes would rather have met in the playoff semifinals, but the Rose Bowl isn't exactly a bad thing to have to settle for. Neither team had any players with dreads (as far as I know) on the stats sheet in their conference title games.

Stanford won their game, 41-22 over USC, for the Pac-12 crown. But with their overall record a not so sparkling 11-2, the Cardinal were the only champion of one of the Power 5 conferences to be left out of the playoffs. Freshman RB Ronald Jones rushed for 50 yards on 6 carries, including a 27-yard TD (photo below) that gave USC a 16-13 lead with 5:28 remaining in the 3rd quarter. But then the Cardinal scored touchdowns on all three of their drives the rest of the game and added another TD on a pick 6 to pull out the win. The only other player with dreads besides Jones with any stats was USC freshman S Marvell Tell, who finished with 7 tackles (0-7).
Iowa held a 13-9 lead in the 4th quarter of the Big 10 title game; but when they punted with 9:31 remaining, Michigan State went on a drive for their only TD of the game, grinding out 82 yards in 22 (!) plays. The Spartans converted on 3rd down 5 times during the drive; and the only time they failed on 3rd down, they converted on 4th and 2. The TD - on 3rd down, of course - came on a 1-yard run to make it 16-13 with only :27 on the clock, leaving Iowa little chance to come back. Sophomore RB Gerald Holmes got just 3 carries for MSU, finishing with 13 yards rushing. Interestingly the Spartans' top two ball carriers in the game were freshmen, RBs LJ Scott (who scored the TD) and Madre London, which makes you wonder how much of a future Holmes has with the team.


On senior day at Arkansas State senior WR J.D.McKissic had a 7-yard reception for his 3rd TD of the season, one of 8 TD for the Red Wolves as they wrapped up the SBC championship, finishing at 8-0 with a 55-17 rout of Texas State ..... Sophomore LB Devan Stringer had 8 tackles (3-5), 1 sack, and 1 PBU as Appalachian State improved to 10-2, settling for 2nd place (7-1) in the SBC with a 34-27 road win over South Alabama ..... Sick senior WR Jarvis Bentley had 2 catches for a career high 77 yards, including a 67-yard TD on a screen pass, in his final game in a Troy uniform as the Trojans whipped Louisiana-Lafayette 41-17 ..... And sophomore LB T.J. McCollum had 6 tackles (3-3), 1 TFL, and his 1st INT of the season (photo above) as Western Kentucky captured the CUSA crown, rallying from a 21-7 deficit for a 45-28 home win over Southern Mississippi in the league championship game; junior LB D'Nerius Antoine had 9 tackles (9-0), 1 TFL, and 1 PBU for Southern Miss.


Week 14 was Week 2 of the playoffs, the round where the top 8 seeded teams hosted the winners of the 1st round games. Three of the seeded teams - JMU, McNeese State, and Portland State - were eliminated on their home fields. And it was very nearly four .....

When Jacksonville State went three-and-out and punted with 7:23 remaining in the game, it looked like the #1 seed was heading for an early exit. UT-Chattanooga had just scored on TD drives of 79, 45, and 80 yards on their preceding three possessions, turning a 28-14 deficit into a 35-28 lead, had all the momentum, and had JSU on the ropes. But the Mocs could not deliver the knockout blow. Instead they went three-and-out, with senior LB Brandon Bender making a crucial tackle for a 5-yard loss of sophomore RB Richardre Bagley after the catch on 3rd and 4. UTC punted, and the Gamecocks scored on a 75-yard run two plays later to tie it up at 35.
It was Bender to the rescue again in overtime, getting his 1st INT of the season on a pass into the end zone (photo above) on 1st down from the 14-yard line to end the Mocs' possession without any points. From there it took the Gamecocks just 2 plays to go the 25 yards on their possession to win it 41-35. The post-game handshake was hardly friendly. The UTC coach was a little steamed about something after the tough loss and gave the JSU coach a piece of his mind before they went their separate ways.

Chattanooga, who routed Fordham 50-20 in the 1st round, got 18 yards rushing on 3 carries and 3 catches for 1 yard from Bagley; sick sophomore WR Alphonso Stewart scored the 2nd TD during UTC's 21-0 run, catching a short pass and powering his way into the end zone from 15 yards out (photo below) on his only reception of the afternoon. Junior CB Dee Virgin had 1 tackle (1-0) and kickoff returns of 19 and 13 yards.
For the Gamecocks sophomore CB Reggie Hall had 2 kickoff returns for 57 yards, including a momentum-changing 44-yarder right after UTC took a 7-0 lead late in the 1st quarter. The Gamecocks tied the game 3 plays later and went on to score touchdowns on their next two drives too to build a 21-7 lead. In addition to his two key plays, Bender led the Gamecocks in tackles, so I included him on the dread stars list. Sophomore LB Joel McCandless had 8 tackles (3-5); senior S DeBarriaus Miller had 7 tackles (5-2), including 1 TFL; senior CB Rashod Byers (#1 in photo above) finished with 2 tackles (1-1), and sophomore CB DaQuan James had 1 (0-1). Junior CB Lawon Debardelaben, playing with his sick dreads reduced, had 1 kickoff return for 17 yards.

McNeese State was the only undefeated team entered in the playoffs. Of course, that 10-0 record came with an * because the Cowboys' season opener at LSU (which they had a pretty good chance of losing) got rained out shortly after the opening kickoff and was not rescheduled. En route to their SLC championship perhaps the biggest of those 10 wins was the 27-10 spanking of Sam Houston State in Week 10. Unfortunately for Cowboys fans the Bearkats were back in town and looking for revenge in round 2 after getting past Big Sky champ Southern Utah 42-39 in round 1. And they got it, dominating in total yards 494-372 and dealing McNeese their only loss of the season 34-29.

The boiling point of the game came with about 9 minutes to play. After scoring a TD a couple of minutes earlier to pull within 34-29, the Cowboys looked like they were going to take the lead; but a touchdown-saving tackle at the 1-yard line on a 78-yard catch and run on 3rd and 9 kept SHSU in the lead. And instead of getting the TD on the next play, the Cowboys incredibly melted down from then on. First a false start penalty on 1st and goal. Then a sack and a holding penalty moved the ball back to the 25-yard line. Then on 3rd down another sack, this one by star sophomore DE P.J. Hall for a 9-yard loss, took the Cowboys out of FG range and they had to punt. The Bearkats proceeded to kill the final 6:06 on their ensuing 11-play drive, picking up 3 first downs, two of which were 3rd down conversions, to make sure the Cowboys never got the ball back.

Hall finished with 6 tackles (2-4), 2 TFL, 1.5 sacks, and a key blocked extra point attempt. Junior CB Darion Flowers led SHSU with 9 tackles (6-3), including 2 TFL. Junior S Tyrel Stokes had 1 tackle (1-0), and junior RB Jalen Overstreet got only 3 carries, finishing with 15 yards rushing. Sophomore CB Josh Washington had 3 tackles (3-0), including 1 sack, for McNeese State.

When Tyvis Smith ran for a 32-yard gain on the first play from scrimmage, he might have thought he was going to have a good game. But I bet the Northern Iowa junior RB never thought it was going to be this good. Smith accounted for almost half of the Panthers' 432 total yards as UNI followed up their 53-17 home win over Eastern Illinois in round 1 with a 29-17 road win over Portland State.

Smith's opening calling card didn't lead to any points; but he finished the Panthers' next drive with a 3-yard TD run (photo on right), putting them ahead (7-0) to stay. After the Vikings had cut their 16-3 halftime deficit to 22-17 in the 4th quarter, Smith broke free for a 59-yard TD run with 8:02 to play to give UNI some breathing room. And Tyvis then rushed for 2 first downs, one of them a 35-yard run on 2nd and 12, as the Panthers kept the ball for the last 5:54 of the game. The 35-yard run put Smith over the 1,000-yard mark for the season.

Both of the running backs on the all-CAA 1st team have dreads, and they both were on the same field for round 2 of the playoffs. It was the 126th meeting between Richmond and William & Mary, but the first time the Spiders and Tribe ever faced each other in the playoffs. Richmond won this regular season's meeting at home 23-9 in Week 12 to finish in a 3-way tie with W&M and JMU for 1st place in the CAA; and they beat the Tribe even worse the second time, 48-13. W&M, who barely survived NEC champ Duquesne 52-49 in round 1, finished 9-4.

W&M junior Kendell Anderson and Richmond senior Jacobi Green both had huge breakout seasons to earn their all-league honors, with both rushing for over 1,200 yards during the regular season. Green, who torched the Tribe for 217 yards rushing two weeks earlier, drew first blood in the rematch, capping the Spiders' 5-play 30-yard opening drive (following a 50-yard punt return) with a 3-yard TD run. Anderson carried 6 times for 50 yards on the Tribe's ensuing possession to set up a 2nd down from the 1-yard line. But he was stuffed for no gain on 2nd down then tackled for a 3-yard loss on 3rd down, forcing W&M to settle for a FG. Green ran for 49 yards on the first play of UR's next drive then finished the drive 8 plays later with a 1-yard TD run on 4th down as the Spiders upped their lead to 14-3 late in the 1st quarter.

The game started to get away from W&M on their next possession. After driving to the Richmond 6-yard line, a pass on 2nd and goal was intercepted and returned 100 yards to the house at the other end of the field, making it 21-3. Anderson, who finished with 72 total yards, including 63 rushing on 14 carries, scored his 16th TD of the season on a 6-yard run (photo below) with 4:58 remaining in the 2nd quarter on the first play after a Richmond turnover to make it 21-10. But it would be the Tribe's only TD of the game. The Spiders answered back with a TD 28 seconds before halftime to make it 28-10.
The thing that really made this game so enjoyable to watch was that Green, a starter on my 2014 dread all-America team, had his super long dreads flowing at full blast - for the first time this season that I've seen - using just one band to bunch them together. And on one of his 25 carries (in the 2nd quarter, I think) that band either broke or got lost because suddenly we were seeing Green with his dreads completely loose for a couple of carries. Awesome! Jacobi banded them back together for the 2nd half but couldn't make it through the game without being reminded why he has kept his dreads reduced for most of the season, as LB Luke Rhodes grabbed a hold of them and dragged him down on a carry late in the 3rd quarter. Green got the last laugh though, scoring standing up on a 1-yard run 4 plays later to make the score 42-13. And with the victory well in hand, Jacobi took the rest of the afternoon off. As much fun as it was to see his dreads loose, it's still too little too late though for him to make this year's dread all-America team. I don't think I'm going to relax my policy that makes it very unlikely for you to make the team if you keep your dreads reduced for most (or all) of the season.

The Richmond YouTube channel didn't do their usual highlight video of the game (for some reason the NCAA doesn't like schools showing a lot of highlights of playoff games on their websites), so on the short video (link below) from William & Mary's channel you get to see Green's dreads on some of his unsuccessful carries in the game.

The Citadel, who traveled only 100 miles for their 1st round upset of Coastal Carolina 41-38 in round 1, had an even shorter bus ride to their 2nd round game - just 17 miles across town to face Big South champ Charleston Southern. The Citadel, with no players with dreads (of course) because they are a military school, finished with a 267-199 advantage in total yards but were doomed by their 6 turnovers as CSU pulled out a 14-6 victory. Junior RB Darius Hammond, with the beginner dreads you can't see when his helmet is on, had 34 yards rushing on 12 carries for the Buccaneers. Sophomore DE Anthony Ellis almost made the dread stars list, finishing with 8 tackles (3-5), 1 TFL, and 2 FR. Senior CB Malcolm Jackson and freshman DE Johnny Robinson each had 3 tackles (1-2), with one of Robinson's being a TFL.

Another dreadless team saw their season continue. Patriot League champ Colgate, a 27-20 winner over New Hampshire in round 1, eliminated a CAA team for the second week in a row, defeating JMU 44-38. After seeing their 17-0 lead vanish and turn into a 28-24 deficit thanks to 4 TD by JMU in the 2nd quarter, the Raiders broke a 38-38 tie on a TD with 9:15 remaining in the game. But they missed the extra point, making for a very nervous finish for CU fans. JMU drove to the 3-yard line with 3 minutes to play but came up empty when a pass on 4th and goal was incomplete. Junior RB Khalid Abdullah, bringing his dreads back this season after cutting them off before last season, came close to the dread stars list, finishing with 73 yards rushing, 2 catches for 22 yards, and 1 TD for the Dukes. Sick junior S Raven Greene had 6 tackles (4-2) and 1 PBU; and senior DE Alex Mosley had 5 tackles (2-3), a half TFL, and 1 PBU in his final game in a JMU uniform.

4-time defending champ North Dakota State began their attempt for a five-peat, avenging their 38-35 road loss to Montana in the season opener with a 37-6 rout of the Grizzlies. The Bison gained only 316 total yards but scored 2 TD on defense (both were pick sixes) and another one on special teams (kickoff return). Senior CB Jordan Champion had 4 tackles (2-2) for the Bison, and sophomore DE Greg Menard got a sack on his only tackle (1-0).

Illinois State made it 3 teams from the MVFC advancing to the quarterfinals, joining North Dakota State and Northern Iowa, with a 36-19 home win over MVFC foe Western Illinois. ISU dominated WIU 350-18 in yards rushing; but WIU hung tough until the Redbirds put them away with TD drives of 55, 74, and 72 yards in the 4th quarter. Sophomore CB Davontae Harris had 7 tackles (6-1) and 2 PBU for ISU. Freshman CB Timothy Smith had 3 tackles (3-0) and got his 4th INT of the season for Western, who eliminated Pioneer League champ Dayton 24-7 in the 1st round.

A 35-34 victory by Grambling back in Week 7 spoiled homecoming at Alcorn State, but the Braves got their revenge, whipping the Tigers 49-21 in the SWAC championship game at Houston. Alcorn State had a dominating 613-317 advantage in total yards in becoming the SWAC's first repeat champion since 2002.
Three WRs with dreads accounted for roughly half of Grambling's yards. Sophomore Chad Williams had 5 catches for 64 yards; junior Verlan Hunter had 3 catches for 57 yards, including a 24-yard TD in the 2nd quarter (photo on left) that cut ASU's lead to 21-14; and senior Ka'Jandre Domino had 4 catches for 43 yards, along with 67 yards on 3 kickoff returns in his final game for the Tigers.
Junior S Guy Stallworth led the Grambling D with a game high 15 tackles (9-6) (but of course, it's usually a bad thing when your safety has that many tackles). Sophomore CB Ja'Terious Pouncey had 4 tackles (2-2), and freshman LB Malcolm Williams had 2 tackles (0-2), including a half TFL. Sophomore DE Michael Brooks was the only Alcorn player with dreads on the stats sheet. He had 3 tackles (3-0), 2 TFL, and 1 sack. I suppose that junior OT Detonio Dade might have had a good game too, as 3 ASU players finished with over 100 yards rushing.


Hair yesterday, gone today .....
I was going to wait until my Week 15 report to do the list of this season's ex-dreads; but since it's taken me so long to finish Week 14, it's now too late for a Week 15 report.
We welcomed some very good players to the house in 2015 after they began growing dreads; but it really hurt to have to say goodbye to so many players who cut their dreads off prior to the start of the season. I mean, there are a lot (too many) of really good players who decided to lose their dreads. Here is the entire list that I have. There likely are even more that I don't know of.

Kendell Beckwith - LSU                                           T.J. Simmons - Indiana
Briean Boddy-Calhoun - Minnesota                          Chris Thompson - Florida
Devon Breaux - Tulane                                             Gary Thompson - Marshall
Jamie Byrd - South Florida (before and after             Steven West - Kansas State
          photos below)                                                 Aeris Williams - Mississippi State
Brandon Cox - Utah                                                  Brandon Williams - Texas A&M
Eric Finney - Illinois                                                   Kennedy Williams - Utah State
Perez Ford - Northern Illinois                                    Kalib Woods - FAU
Daeshon Hall - Texas A&M
Nigel Harris - South Florida                                      FCS
Steve Ishmael - Syracuse                                          Jabari Bothwell - Coastal Carolina
Angelo Jean-Louis - ex-Marshall (transferred            Devin Brown - Coastal Carolina
         to Division 2 school Shepherd)                         Lamont Brown - Morgan State
Jakob Johnson - Tennessee                                       Je Ryan Butler - South Dakota State
Tiquan Lang - Marshall                                             Brandon Eldemire - Alabama A&M
Alex Lyons - Rice                                                     Justin Grier - Morehead State
Jay Jay McCullough - Clemson                                 Anthony Jordan - Bethune-Cookman
Darion Monroe - Tulane                                           Dominique Miller - Richmond
Claude Pelon - USC                                                Kevin Rucker - Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Brandon Powell - Florida                                          Ja'Vonta Swinton - Stetson
Zack Sanchez - Oklahoma                                        Ladarius Vanlier - Tennessee Tech
Kevon Seymour - USC                                            Brandon Wells - Alabama A&M
                                                                                Shamawn Wright - UC-Davis

Jamie Byrd - Week 3 in 2015
Jamie Bryd - Week 13 in 2014



1. Sophomore S Marcell Harris of Florida zeroes in on Alabama CB Cyrus Jones on a punt return late in 1st quarter of the SEC championship game at Atlanta. Harris made the tackle at the Florida 42-yard line, holding Jones to a 15-yard return. It was one of 2 tackles (2-0) Harris made in the game.


2. After taking the handoff on 2nd and goal, junior RB Derrick Henry meets some serious resistance, as LB Antonio Morrison tries to yank his head off trying to prevent the TD. But it doesn't work; Henry has too much forward momentum going and breaks free from Morrison as he fall backwards into the end zone for the 2-yard TD. It was Henry's SEC record-tying 23rd rushing TD of the season, and it put the Crimson Tide ahead to stay 12-7 with 2:26 remaining in 2nd quarter.


3. With the Tide leading by 14 late, junior LB Tim Williams wraps up his day's work with a sack of QB Treon Harris for a 4-yard loss at the UF 27-yard line on 4th and 11, ending what would be the Gators' last possession of the game .....


4. ..... Tim Williams celebrates after the play. Both of Williams' 2 tackles (2-0) in the game were sacks, increasing his season total to 9.5 sacks. The Tide D held Florida to just 180 yards and 7 first downs all game.


5. Reserve senior DT Darren Lake raises the trophy after the Tide's 29-15 victory. It's Lake's 3rd SEC title in his 4 years with the team, and it's the Tide's 25th SEC championship all time. The back-to-back titles in 2014-15 make Alabama the first repeat SEC champ since Tennessee in 1997-98.


6. Freshman LB Edwin Freeman of Texas tries to stop Baylor RB Devin Chafin at the line of scrimmage on 3rd and 1 midway through 2nd quarter at Waco, but Chafin eludes him at the Texas 34-yard line, and Freeman doesn't make the tackle until Chafin picks up 7 yards. The drive ended with a missed FG attempt 4 plays later, keeping the Longhorns' lead at 17-0. Freeman finished with 4 tackles (3-1), and Texas finished the season at 5-7 after hanging on to upset Baylor 23-17.


7. After an offensive PI penalty left Michigan State with a 2nd and 25, sophomore RB Gerald Holmes picks up 10 yards, hanging on to the ball as Iowa LB Josey Jewell tries to strip it from him while making the tackle at the Iowa 32-yard line during 1st quarter of the Big 10 championship game at Indianapolis. It was the biggest gain of the night for Holmes, who carried only 3 times for 13 yards .....


8. ..... On the next play the Spartans convert on 3rd and 15, as freshman WR Felton Davis, lined up in the slot, gets open and makes the catch, with star CB Desmond King making the tackle at the 10-yard line. The 22-yard reception was the first of Davis' career and his only one in this game. The Spartans settled for a FG 4 plays later to take a 3-0 lead on their opening drive of the game. Michigan State scored their only TD of the game with 27 seconds remaining in the game, as they improved to 12-1 with a 16-13 victory, handing the Hawkeyes their 1st defeat of the season. 


9. North Carolina junior S Dominquie Green arrives too late to make the tackle as QB Deshaun Watson scores a 9-yard TD run on 1st and goal, capping a 96-yard drive during 2nd quarter of the ACC championship game at Charlotte. The TD gave Clemson a 14-9 lead. Green finished the game with 6 tackles (5-1).


10. This time it's a Clemson S with dreads who can't prevent the TD, as QB Marquise Williams falls into the end zone while being tackled by freshman Van Smith. The 1-yard TD run on 3rd and goal cut Clemson's lead to 35-23 late in 3rd quarter. Same as Green, Smith finished the game with 6 tackles (5-1).


11. The official box score makes no mention of any North Carolina players with dreads touching the ball, so it took me a while to figure this one out; and I only did that after to going to the video of the whole game and trying to find the play.
After picking up a punt that bounced on the ground then deflected off the hand of a Clemson player late in 2nd quarter, sick junior RB Khris Francis grabs the ball and tries to return it but is stopped by S Jadar Johnson at the UNC 40-yard line after only a 2-yard return. The play wasn't listed on the box score because the return didn't count, as WR Ryan Switzer (#3), who was supposed to catch the punt, had called for a fair catch. He was unable to catch it, however, after teammate Mack Hollins (#13) got blocked into him. The ball hit the ground then deflected over to Francis; but since a fair catch had been called for, neither he nor any other UNC player was allowed to return it. Got that?
As mentioned earlier, Clemson improved to 13-0, holding off a late UNC comeback to win 45-37 and clinch their 15th all-time ACC championship.


12. On 3rd and 8 from midfield midway through 3rd quarter of the SWAC championship game, after both trying to make a leaping catch of the deep pass at its highest point only to have it deflect off their hands, Grambling junior WR Verlan Hunter and Alcorn State CB Warren Gatewood both fall to the ground - and the ball comes down right into the hands of Gatewood for the INT at the ASU 15-yard line, keeping the Braves' lead at 28-14. It was the 2nd of 3 interceptions in the game for Gatewood. Hunter, who earlier had beaten Gatewood for a 24-yard TD, finished with 3 catches for 57 yards, but Grambling's season ended with a 9-4 record after the Tigers were whipped by Alcorn State 49-21.


13. With Richmond leading William & Mary by 22 late in 3rd quarter of an FCS playoff 2nd round game at Richmond and driving for another score, W&M LB Luke Rhodes prevents an even bigger gain by senior RB Jacobi Green by grabbing onto his long dreads and stopping him in his tracks at the 17-yard line after an 8-yard run. Green, who really hates it whenever someone tackles his dreads, had a brief word with Rhodes after the play then covered the final 17 yards on his next 4 carries. Green carried 9 times on the 12-play drive, accounting for 40 of the 73 yards and ending the drive with a 1-yard TD on his final carry of the day, as the Spiders upped their lead to 42-13 on the 2nd play of 4th quarter. Jacobi made the dread stars list for the 6th game in a row, helping Richmond advance to the quarterfinals with a 48-13 whipping of William & Mary.


14. Temple WR Romond Deloatch lands on his head after being upended by Houston senior S Trevon Stewart at the UH 30-yard line for a 2-yard reception on 2nd and 10 with 3:20 remaining in 4th quarter of the AAC championship game at Houston. It was the last of a team high 8 tackles (7-1) for Stewart, who also had a FR in the game. The drive ended with a stop on 4th and 11 two plays later, and the Cougars killed the final 1:58 on their final drive to finish off their victory over the Owls.


15. After Houston picks up a 1st down to clinch their victory with 1:01 to play, junior LB Steven Taylor drowns Coach Herman with Gatorade then gives him a big hug. Taylor had 6 tackles (5-1), including 1 sack, in the game as the Cougars took the AAC crown in Herman's first season at the helm. Houston improved to 12-1, defeating Temple 24-13 for their 11th all-time conference championship and their first since taking the CUSA crown 9 years ago.


  • Derrick Henry - Alabama - named MVP of SEC championship game - 189 yards and 1 TD rushing in 29-15 W over Florida
  • Na'im McGee - San Diego State - named defensive MVP of MWC championship game - led team with 10 tackles (5-5) and 1 TFL in 27-24 home W over Air Force

  • Tyvis Smith - Northern Iowa - 21 carries for career high 207 yards rushing and 2 TD, and 2 receptions for 4 yards in 29-17 road W over Portland State in 2nd round of FCS playoffs

  • Brandon Bender - Jacksonville State - led team 11 tackles (3-8), including 1.5 TFL, and had huge INT in overtime in 41-35 home W over UT-Chattanooga in 2nd round of FCS playoffs
  • Jacobi Green - Richmond - 25 carries for 141 yards and 3 TD rushing in 48-13 home W over William & Mary in 2nd round of FCS playoffs


The end zone at Robins Stadium, home of the Richmond Spiders, had more TD scored by players with dreads - 4 -  than any other in Week 14 in the Spiders' 48-13 romp over William & Mary in an FCS playoff game. Senior RB and dread star Jacobi Green scored on runs of 3 yards and 1 yards in the 1st quarter and on another 1-yard TD run (photo below) in the 4th quarter. And junior RB Kendell Anderson scored on a 6-yard run for W&M.


It was pretty much a toss-up between Tyvis Smith, Derrick Henry, and Travis Greene for the player of the week. Greene has the seniority, so I'll select him as the head dread for Week 14. The Bowling Green senior RB rushed for a career high 183 yards on 29 carries, added 3 receptions for 11 yards, and scored 2 TD, earning team MVP honors (photo on left, and btw, that's Travis' younger brother Trenton with the dreads smiling in the background) in a 34-14 victory over Northern Illinois in the MAC championship game as the Falcons took their 2nd MAC crown in the last 3 seasons and 12th overall.

Unlike Smith, Greene did not get off to a great start, catching a pass for a 2-yard loss on his first touch of the game and finishing the 1st quarter with just 3 total yards. Doing most of his damage on draw plays up the middle, the 5-foot-10, 189-pounder from Miami got going in the 2nd, rushing for 6 first downs in the quarter, the last of which was a 25-yard TD (photo below, and don't worry, he was well past the goal line before letting go of the ball) that upped the BG lead to 21-0 with 1:04 to play until halftime.
After a pick 6 by NIU made the score 28-14 late in the 3rd, the Falcons answered right back, with Greene carrying 8 times for 38 yards on a 12-play, 83-yard drive, including the 1-yard TD on 3rd and goal that made it 34-14. It looked like Travis was going to finish in a blaze of glory after breaking free for an icing-on-the-cake 56-yard TD run with 2:29 remaining in the game, which would have put him well over 200 yards rushing. But a holding penalty downfield nullified the TD and turned it into only a 13-yard gain instead. I don't think he's sweating it too much though.

If you have 5 minutes, I encourage you to click on the link below for an all-access video of the game from the Bowling Green website that has a couple of shots of Greene, including a ground-level look at his 2 TD (and, if you watch closely enough, a shot of him removing the band from around his dreads after the game).


3 weeks - that's all folks. Out of a 15-week season, all I could do was 3 reports. I keep hitting new all-time lows. Please accept my apologies, but I don't see things getting any better in the future. Right now I don't even know if I'm going to go through the stats of all the weeks I missed, but I am still planning on doing my annual all-America teams (next spring sometime). I also promised I would do some stuff on the NFL. Hopefully I'll be able to do some of that over the next few weeks.


  1. JeRyan Butler is dreaded again, he started over after they got funky in SD.

    1. Thanks for letting us know that.

      Hope to see him in the NFL next season.