SI.com college football writer Stewart Mandel shares his commentary, analysis and random tidbits on the latest developments around the country.
9/09/2006 07:34:00 PM
Saturday Observations Part II
AUSTIN, Texas -- I'll defer to my colleague Luke Winn, who is in South Bend, for thoughts on Notre Dame's performance against Penn State. My main observation of the Nittany Lions: QB Anthony Morelli, as might have been expected, forced too many throws into coverage, but he wasn't as bad as the final score might indicate. Turnovers, and a noticeable lack of speed on defense, killed JoePa's team, which will probably endure more bumps throughout what appears to be another rebuilding year.
∙ Ohio State and Minnesota haven't had their say yet, but so far it's been a fairly disastrous day for the Big Ten. Penn State gets crushed. Illinois gets shut out by Rutgers. Northwestern loses to New Hampshire. Purdue, whose defense seems to have some serious issues, barely escapes Miami of Ohio -- the same team Northwestern held to a field goal last week -- 38-31 in overtime. And Iowa, playing without QB Drew Tate, needed double OT to hold off … Syracuse, 20-13.
∙ I never thought I'd see a bunch of sportswriters crowded around a TV watching the second overtime of an Iowa-Syracuse game, in which the inept Orange offense ran eight plays inside the Iowa 5 (thanks to two pass interference calls) and still failed to reach the end zone. The Hawkeyes have a history of early-season clunkers under Kirk Ferentz, but needing double OT against Syracuse -- who the New York Times last week called the worst BCS-conference team -- is alarming, backup QB or not.
∙ Forget Paul Thompson (who actually had a decent game against Washington) and Adrian Peterson (who ran 32 times for 165 yards and two touchdowns), what on earth is the deal with Oklahoma's vaunted defense? A week after allowing numerous long rushing plays against UAB, Huskies RBs Louis Rankin (17 carries, 112 yards) and Kenny James (10, 68) were surprisingly effective in a 37-20 defeat. Bob Stoops will not be a happy man tonight.
∙ Another year, another heartbreaking overtime loss for Clemson. This time, the Tigers scored a touchdown to go up 33-27 in the second OT against Boston College only to have kicker Jad Dean miss the extra point. The Eagles converted theirs to win 34-33.
∙ Late in the first half, Florida State has rushed 11 times for 17 yards against Troy. The 'Noles are losing 3-0. But yeah -- it was just that Miami's defense was that good.
Well .. it's time for me to concentrate on that little No. 1 vs. 2 game I'm covering, so this may be the last Blog post for today. Enjoy the game.
As an FSU fan I'm embarrassed. With all that talent, that is the best they can do. I think we are in for another long season. If Jeff Bowden had a once of integrity he would resign and not destroy what his father worked so hard to build. What a joke.
Stewart - you thought too much about this game. It came down to a freshman playing against a senior; plus OSU has a defense EVERY YEAR - and I'm a Wolverine. The Big 10's not done for the night..or for the year. Some ACC teams got pushed around today as well. West Virginia will get a BCS game for "running the table" in the Big East - are they still Division I-A? Talk about East Coast Bias. The MAC & WAC conferences get to slug it out for some Toilet Bowl appearance. The media coverage is lagging behind the talent dispersion.
Hey Stew, when are you ever going to respect Georgia and Coach Richt? For what seems like the 4th straight year, you've picked SC to "upset" the Dawgs, and once again, we win. You rank Coach below the guy at Iowa who has won NOTHING, while Coach has won three East Titles and two SEC Titles, not to mention 4 straight top-10's and 4 straight years with double-digit wins.
Why do you hate Georgia, Stew? We all would like to know. Heck, even the guy who hates on Georgia as much as you (but less than Lou Holtz), Mark May, picked them to win.
Why do you hate Georgia and why do you continually disrespect Coach Richt?
How about Caleb Hanie and the CSU Ram defense! Hanie goes 20-23 for 233 yards and a TD while running for another, and the CSU defense holds CU to 28 yards in the 2nd half. If CSU can find a running game and score some more points TCU may be in trouble.
that's a cheap shot on Iowa, Stewart. Losing Tate is a big blow, and it was said that he was a late scratch. No matter how bad the Orangemen are, they are still Division I and the Carrier Dome is a different type of place to play on the road. Syracuse is not that bad. It's not like they lost to Montana St. or New Hampshire. And finally, since when does the New York Times get anything right, especially on college football?
That Penn State lacked speed is not a surprise. The Nitany Lions have over-achieved for years. Their results often eclipses their level of talent. The reason: discipline and execution. The most remarkable thing about the ND game was the glaring lack of execution by Penn State's offense - an aberation for a Joe Pa team.