College Football Overtime (cont.)
Perhaps Ohio State's two-quarterback system won't just be temporary. The common belief was that true freshman Braxton Miller will eventually supplant fifth-year senior Joe Bauserman, but both players were highly effective against admittedly overmatched Akron. Bauserman went 12-of-16 for 163 yards and two touchdowns and ran for a 15-yard score; Miller was 8-of-12 for 130 yards and a score.
Nebraska unveiled its secrecy-cloaked new offense against Chattanooga, and it included elements both new and retro. The Huskers went no huddle virtually the entire game, a legacy of new coordinator Tim Beck's days at Kansas. But they also broke out the old Tom Osborne triple option, complete with a fullback belly dive on the opening play. The Huskers looked sloppy, but the possibilities are intriguing with a healthy Taylor Martinez, who had gains of 43 and 47 yards.
Speedy Florida running backs Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey always seemed like prototypical Urban Meyer spread-offense guys. It turns out, pro-style coordinator Charlie Weis couldn't wait to get his hands on them. Rainey burst for 168 total yards and three touchdowns (one rushing, one receiving and one return) and Demps ran for 105 yards in the Gators' 41-3 win over Florida Atlantic. Said Rainey: "The best thing that ever happened to me is a pro offense."
North Carolina quarterback Brynn Renner could not have asked for a much better debut. He completed 22-of-23 passes in a 42-10 win over James Madsion, setting an ACC record for completion percentage (95.7). Unfortunately, the one incompletion was an interception. Afterward, interim coach Everett Withers said he'd send the game ball to dismissed predecessor Butch Davis. Here's hoping Davis sends it back to Renner.
All those "PersaStrong" dumbbells apparently couldn't help Northwestern's quarterback rehabilitate from last year's ruptured Achilles tendon in time to play in Saturday's opener against Boston College. However, replacement Kain Colter gave the Eagles fits with his ability to run the option. The Wildcats racked up 227 rushing yards -- 71 by Colter -- against the nation's No. 1 rushing defense from a year ago, as Northwestern held on in the last minute for a 24-17 victory.
It's not shocking news that perennial FCS contender Richmond beat perennial ACC cellar dweller Duke, 23-21. The Spiders have now done it three times in six years. However, Richmond pulled this one off despite a tumultuous preseason in which coach Latrell Scott resigned Aug. 24 following a DWI arrest. Interim coach Wayne Lineburg, the Spiders' offensive coordinator, took his place. Richmond's quarterback is a familiar name: former USC one-game starter Aaron Corp.
We'd heard that Virginia Tech running back David Wilson was tearing things up in preseason camp. Saturday he exploded for 162 yards on 16 carries in a 66-13 blowout of Appalachian State.
The good news for Purdue: It survived a scare and beat Middle Tennessee, 27-24, on a last-second blocked field goal. The bad news: Beating Middle Tennessee is now cause for a full-team on-field celebration at Purdue.
While Texas has its own network, Syracuse's thrilling comeback win over ACC foe Wake Forest last Thursday wasn't even televised. That new Big East deal can't come soon enough.
Speaking of the 'Horns, major props to the Rice marching band for this Stanford-esque halftime salute Saturday night in Austin.
This will be the first and possibly last time this section involves the No. 1 team in the country. That's because Dominique Whaley will likely be the only walk-on and former NAIA backup to rush for four touchdowns for the No. 1 team in the country.
All offseason we wondered which of Oklahoma's running backs would fill the void left by star DeMarco Murray. Would it be sophomore Brennan Clay, a former five-star recruit? How about 5-foot-7 jitterbug Roy Finch Jr.? Or possibly this year's five-star freshman Brandon Williams? Clay got the first carry Saturday night against Tulsa, but Whaley -- a junior who last saw the field at Langston (Okla.) University in 2008 -- was listed as a co-starter on the depth chart and wound up leading the Sooners with 131 yards and four touchdowns on 18 carries.
Saturday night Whaley told reporters in Norman he didn't want any media attention. Reached by phone Sunday, I told him that wasn't going to be possible much longer. "Yeah," Whaley said. "I'm starting to realize that."
Whaley is not your typical overachieving walk-on. He's 5-10, 205 pounds, runs a 4.4 40 and is considered one of the best athletes on the team. But his journey to prominence may be one of the most improbable I've ever heard.
The son of two military parents, Whaley spent his first two years of high school playing on a military base in Ansbach, Germany. Upon returning to the States in Lawton, Okla., coaches at MacArthur High School played him at slot receiver and defensive back. From there he went to Langston, an NAIA school that offered him an academic scholarship. He switched to running back, but even there he was a backup who ran for 258 yards. He left for what he will only say were "personal reasons," enrolling at OU, walking on in 2009 and beginning his long climb up the depth chart.
"Every single day, I looked at it as, 'Even though I wasn't recruited out of high school, I'm just as good as the other guys -- three-star, four-star, five-star," said Whaley. "It's not easy. But I wasn't going to be satisfied just to be part of the team, or just make the travel squad. I came here to start and play."
Against astoundingly long odds, that's exactly what's happening.
Mini-previews for three of this week's big games:
Alabama at Penn State, Saturday (3:30 p.m. ET): It's likely that four different quarterbacks -- Penn State's Rob Bolden and Matt McGloin and Alabama's A.J. McCarron and Phillip Sims -- will play in this game. It may not matter if the Tide play defense the way they did against Kent State, which they held to 90 total yards.
Notre Dame at Michigan, Saturday (8 p.m. ET): The Irish, too, have a decision to make at QB. Michigan's quite happy with Denard Robinson, thank you. Sholeace looked like his 2010 self against Western, still playing plenty in the shotgun. He and his linemen will be challenged by the Irish's newly stocked d-line.
South Carolina at Georgia, Saturday (4:30 p.m. ET): It was in this game a year ago that South Carolina's then-freshman Marcus Lattimore announced his arrival as an elite SEC tailback. For Georgia to avoid falling to 0-2, it would really help if Isaiah Crowell -- who ran for 60 yards against Boise State -- did the same.