Posted: Saturday October 21, 2006 9:25PM; Updated: Wednesday October 25, 2006 11:39AM
Saturday Observations Part I
Texas freshman QB Colt McCoy did a great job of avoiding pressure all day long.
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Don't worry, loyal readers: I didn't shirk my regular responsibilities during the Blondie's excursion (see below). I was actually positioned in a perfect spot in the bar area (yes, I was drinking Coke, boss), where I could simultaneously watch Texas-Nebraska and keep an eye on Illinois-Penn State.
The game in Lincoln was kind of strange, actually, because for the most part, it felt like Texas controlled the contest, stuffing Nebraska's running game and producing methodical drives. And yet, if not for a fumble recovery with 2:23 remaining, the 'Horns likely would have lost the game.
Give the Huskers credit for remaining patient throughout and converting three huge plays: Bobby Purify's 63-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter in which he sliced through two Texas defenders, Brandon Jackson's 49-yard breakaway touchdown off a short pass early in the fourth quarter and Marlon Lucky's perfectly executed halfback pass for a TD to Nate Swift to take the lead late. Those three plays alone, along with Texas' inability to hit a field goal for much of the game, were almost enough to lift Nebraska to a huge victory.
But the star of this day was indisputably 'Horns QB Colt McCoy. Defying the pressure and the hostile crowd -- not to mention a fourth-quarter blizzard -- McCoy continually kept drives alive with both his arm (25-of-39, 220 yards, two TDs, no INTs) and his ability to elude pressure, and he calmly led the game-winning drive at the end. Any McCoy skeptics that may have still been out there from the Ohio State game can now officially retire. The freshman is no longer a question mark.
Texas' secondary, on the other hand -- yeesh.
I'm warning you right now, if I get another e-mail(s) this week from a Penn State fan(s) up in arms about the Nittany Lions' Top 25 absence, I'm going to forward it to the appropriate authorities, because it's possible you may need to be committed. The final score said 26-12, but Illinois had the ball down just 17-12 with 1:20 remaining before Dan Connor sacked Juice Williams in the endzone for a safety and Anthony Scirroto returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown. Penn State had 184 total yards and 10 first downs on the day.
So much for the great Chuck Amato/N.C. State resurgence. Following Maryland's 26-20 victory over the Wolfpack on Satuday, the newest resurgent ACC coach is Ralph Friedgen, whose previously struggling team is now 5-2.
Georgia's latest QB switch -- going back to heralded freshman Matthew Stafford -- did not solve the Dawgs' woes. Stafford threw for 267 yards but he also had three picks as Georgia -- only a couple weeks removed from the Top 10 -- had to tough out a 27-24 win over woeful Mississippi State.
Once again, undefeated Louisville did not look like a Top-10 team for much of its 28-13 win at Syracuse, but at least RB Kolby Smith lifted the Cardinals' suffering running game. His 165-yard performance was Michael Bush-esque in the way he seemed to get stronger in the second half.
Finally, if Duke's last-second pass into the end zone had been caught by a Blue Devils receiver instead of Miami defensive back Willie Cooper, would Larry Coker have been told to find his own transportation home?