SI.com college football writer Stewart Mandel shares his commentary, analysis and random tidbits on the latest developments around the country.
9/02/2006 07:06:00 PM
Saturday Observations Part III
If Cal-Tennessee is the “ESPN Primetime” game, the Bears in the first half were the “Not Ready for Primetime Players.” Jeff Tedford’s team hasn’t handled its trip to SEC country well at all, committing a couple false-start penalties due to the crowd noise, dropping catches, etc. The Bears should consider themselves extremely fortunate to only be down 14-0 at halftime.
Meanwhile, Vols offensive coordinator/knight-in-shining-armor David Cutcliffe has been noticeably superb with his play-calling -- much more variety than we’re used to seeing from Tennessee -- and receiver Robert Meachem is absolutely torching Cal’s redshirt freshman cornerback, Syd’Quan Thompson, the apparently overmatched fill-in for standout Tim Mixon, who tore his ACL in the preseason.
Update: Meachem just obliterated this poor Thompson kid again for an 80-yard touchdown! That's just inhumane.
∙ If you didn’t already know about Rutgers tailback Ray Rice, last year’s freshman standout, you should now. He just finished with 201 yards in a 21-16 win over North Carolina. And that’s not the only sign this really is a new era for Rutgers football. The Scarlet Knights looked like they were about to deliver one of their infamous choke jobs (they were up 21-10 in the fourth quarter) but got a huge game-saving interception in the final minutes.
∙ Another sophomore tailback who more than lived up to his billing: Oregon’s Jonathan Stewart, who shredded Stanford for 168 yards on 22 carries in a 48-10 rout. The Ducks’ offense looked unusually crisp for an opening game against a conference opponent, broaching 500 yards.
∙ The Dan Hawkins honeymoon at Colorado came to an abrupt end Saturday -- the two-time defending Big 12 North champions lost 19-10 to I-AA Montana State in Hawkins' debut. Ouch.
∙ Nebraska coach Bill Callahan promised a more balanced attack this year, and the Huskers didn’t disappoint against Louisiana Tech -- tailbacks Cody Glenn and Marlon Lucky combined for 165 yards on 26 carries.
As an avid Tennessee fan I'm glad to see how our offense and defense has turned out for this year. I'm looking forward to this season as I have been for awile, but I just have to question if maybe Cal wasn't as good as advertised. I think its a case of UT being better than most think, and Cal not being quite as good as most thought. Go Vols!
Both Joe Dailey INTs were unforced. He wasn't rushed and the DB didn't make a great play on the ball, Dailey just threw it straight to a defender both times. All due credit to Rutgers for being physical and running down Carolina's throat, but those two turnovers and the puzzling FB dive call on 4th and goal were the reasons they won. The Tar Heels lost the game more than the Scarlet Knights won it, and Rutgers' porous defense needs to be fixed if they expect to contend with West Virginia and Louisville.
I've been watching Meachem play since he was in middle school and the kid is amazing. Too bad his career at UT(should have gone to OU) hasn't been really what it should have been but hopefully this year he will show the country that he is one of THE BEST atheletes from his recruiting class.