By: Will Johnson
This week was truly insane. Five Top 10 teams lost and eight in the Top 25. One team even refused to play! Let’s check out this week’s headlines.
Grambling St. Players Refuse to Play
The turmoil surrounding the Grambling State University football program has reached new heights this week. After firing their head coach earlier in the year and starting the season 0-7, the entire team refused to play their next game against Jackson St. As a result of these actions, Grambling St. will forfeit the game to Jackson St. and will have to pay a $20,000 fine. It seems as if the team was unsatisfied with the job interim head coach, George Ragsdale has done. Today, the team sent a letter to the athletic director, which outlined their complaints of the program. This letter included criticisms of the athletic complexes and the jerseys, both of which are stated to be detrimental to the player’s health. In fact, it seems as if the jerseys have caused multiple incidents of Staph Infection. This incident is a disgrace for both the program and the university. The NCAA needs to seriously punish Grambling State for putting their players’ health in jeopardy. Hopefully, Grambling St. and the NCAA can work together to clean this problem up as quickly as possible.
Game of the Week
Boy I was wrong. Florida St. hammered Clemson yesterday (51-14) and showed the country that it deserves to be in the BCS National Championship Game discussion. Jameis Winston had by far his best game of his season throwing for 444 yards and 3 TDs, if not for his one interception in the second quarter, his night would have been flawless. Explosive playmakers, Tahj Boyd (156 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs) and Sammy Watkins (68 yards and 1 TD), were unable to counter to Winston’s coming out performance. The game started badly enough for Clemson when, after a 22 yard touchdown pass from Winston to sophomore wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin and a 28 yard field goal by Roberto Aguayo, Boyd was sacked and fumbled the ball leading to a 37 yard fumble recovery for a touchdown by defensive lineman, Mario Edwards. The Tigers responded with a 3 yard touchdown grab by Sammy Watkins, but by halftime the game was 27-7 and too far out of reach for the boys from South Carolina. Last night’s outstanding performance puts famous Jameis and his million dollar smile right in the thick of Heisman Trophy hunt and Florida St. marching towards their first title game appearance since 2000.
Upsets Show Depth in SEC
Five Top 25 SEC teams lost yesterday (LSU 24-27 to Ole Miss, Texas A&M 41-45 to Auburn, South Carolina 21-23 to Tennessee, Georgia 27-31 to Vanderbilt, Florida 17-36 to Missouri), and four of whom were heavy favorites going into the game (Florida was not). While this does hurt the chances of the SEC repeating as BCS National Champions for the eighth straight time, it does show the depth of the conference. When you are playing tough games week in and week out, you are going to lose eventually. It now looks as if there is only one “easy win” within the conference, Kentucky, and under the leadership of Mark Stoops, they have been putting together a monster class headlined by Drew Barker (a four-star QB out of Hebron, Kentucky) and Denzel Ware (a four-star DE out of Crestview, Florida) and are ranked #16 in ESPN’s Recruiting Polls. Soon, there will be no more pushovers within the SEC. And while this week proved that Alabama is the only title-contender within the conference (I need to see more from Missouri’s new starting quarterback, Maty Mauk), the SEC showed that it truly is the most powerful conference in the nation.
Rest of the Top 25
Alabama (#1) won 52-0 over Arkansas – Kenyan Drake (104 yards and 2 TDs) and Derrick Henry (111 yards and 1 TD) led the Alabama offense that rushed for 350 yards. Alabama’s defense held Arkansas to only 256 yards and caused 3 turnovers.
Oregon (#2) won 62- 38 over Washington St. – Marcus Mariota improved his case for the Heisman Trophy with almost 400 yards of total offense and 3 total touchdowns. Oregon had over 600 for the third straight game as it gets ready for UCLA next week. Connor Hallaway threw for 557 yards and 4 touchdowns (as well as 4 interceptions) in a losing effort.
Ohio St. (#4) won 34 – 24 over Iowa – Ohio St. scored 24 second half points to overcome a 17-10 halftime deficit. Carlos Hyde ran for 149 yards and 2 touchdowns, including the one that put the Buckeyes ahead for good. Damon Bullock had 300 all-purpose yards and 3 touchdowns as Iowa dropped to 4-3 on the season.
LSU (#6) lost 24-27 to Ole Miss – Zach Mettenburger threw 3 first half interceptions leading LSU to a very poor offensive performance. The LSU defense was unable to stop Ole Miss quarterback, Bo Wallace, who threw for 346 yards.
Texas A&M (#7) lost 41-45 to Auburn (#24) – Despite Johnny Manziel’s 5 touchdowns and 500 all-purpose yard day, Texas A&M was unable to overcome Auburn. The Texas A&M defense could not stop Auburn’s rushing attack led by Tre Mason (178 yards and 1 TD) and Nick Marshall (100 yards and 2 TDs)
Louisville (#8) lost 35-38 to UCF – UCF pulled off a stunner when sophomore quarterback, Blake Bortles, threw his second touchdown of the night to Jeff Godfrey with 16 seconds left. Despite the fact that Teddy Bridgewater threw for 341 yards and 2 touchdowns, his quest for the Heisman trophy came to an end today.
UCLA (#9) lost 10-24 to Stanford (#13) – Stanford used the old ground and pound yesterday to physically dominate UCLA, as Tyler Gaffney ran for 171 yards and 2 touchdowns. Stanford’s defense stifled Brett Hundley (2 INTs) and the UCLA offense (266 total yards).
Miami (#10) won 27-23 over North Carolina – I talked about this in my preview for this week
South Carolina (#11) lost 21-23 to Tennessee – In a defensive battle (both teams held under 350 total yards), Tennessee needed Michael Palardy’s 19 yard field goal (third of the day) to upset South Carolina. Michael Davis (137 yards and 1 TD) carried South Carolina’s offense.
Baylor (#12) won 71-7 over Iowa St. – The Baylor Bear’s scored over 69 points for the fifth time this season as they dominated a severely under-matched Cyclones team. Heisman candidate, Lache Seastruck, had his fifth 100-yard game and added two touchdowns for the Bears.
Missouri (#14) won 36-17 over Florida (#22) – In Matty Mauk’s first game as a starter, he threw for 295 yards and a touchdown to help the Tigers preserve their undefeated season. The Gator offense was unable to do anything against the Missouri defense as they only had 151 yards of total offense.
Georgia (#15) lost 24-27 to Vanderbilt – Georgia was upset for the second straight week as Vanderbilt scored 17 points in the 4th quarter to erase a 14-point deficit. Preseason Heisman candidate, Aaron Murray, had his worst game of the season throwing for only 114 yards and an interception. Georgia’s rushing game also was hurting with the injury to sophomore sensation, Todd Gurley.
Texas Tech (#16) won 37-27 over West Virginia – The Red Raiders scored the last 21 points to overcome the Mountaineers. Freshman quarterback, Davis Webb, threw for 462 yards and 2 touchdowns to keep Texas Tech undefeated. Next week Texas Tech will have a showdown against Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma.
Fresno St. (#17) won 38-14 over UNLV – David Carr had another great game throwing for 412 yards and 4 touchdowns. UNLV was in striking distance until Carr threw for a touchdown to Davante Adams (221 yards and 4 TDs) with 9 minutes remaining. With the win Fresno St. kept its quest for a BCS Bowl alive.
Oklahoma (#18) won 34-19 over Kansas – Oklahoma rebounded from last weeks trouncing from Texas with a convincing victory. The Sooners kept the Kansas offense to only 201 yards and just 16 yards passing.
Virginia Tech (#19) was off this week, they play Duke next week.
Washington (#20) lost 24-53 to Arizona St. – The Sun Devils moved into first place in the PAC-12 South by completely shutting down Keith Price (217 yards passing) and the Husky offense. Washington was only able to make 12 first downs and had a 24 percent 3rd Down conversion rate. Senior running back, Marion Grice, led the way for Arizona State with 195 yards of total offense and 3 touchdowns (2 rushing, 1 receiving).
Oklahoma St. (#21) won 24-10 over TCU – The Cowboys overcame their worst offensive performance of the season by shutting down the TCU offense. They caused four turnovers and held TCU to only 325 yards of offense. John Stewart had a 95-yard punt return to get the Oklahoma St. festivities rolling.
N. Illinois (#23) won 38-17 over C. Michigan – N. Illinois continued its streak of 19 straight regular season victories going with a commanding win over the Chippewas. Jordan had 316 yards rushing (as well as 155 yards passing) and 4 total touchdowns in the win.
Wisconsin (#25) won 56-32 over Illinois – Wisconsin used their punishing rushing offense, led by Melvin Gordon (142 yards and 3 TDs) and James White (98 yards and 2 TDs) to overpower the Fighting Illinois. Nathan Scheelhaase threw for 249 yard in a losing effort.
Heisman Power Rankings
In the thick of the season the Heisman Hopefuls show themselves and this week the men were separated from the boys.
1) Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon – has been spectacular every Saturday, and this week was no different accounting for almost 400 yards of total offense and 3 touchdowns.
Season Stats: 2051 passing yards and 19 TDs with 493 yards rushing and 9 TDs
2) Jameis Winston, QB, Florida St. – had his coming out this week against Clemson throwing for 444 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Season Stats: 1885 yards and 20 TDs
3) Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M – he was injured for almost a quarter and still put up gigantic numbers (454 yards passing and 4 TDs plus 48 yards rushing and 1 TD)
Season Stats: 2289 yards passing and 18 TDs with 486 yards rushing and 6 TDs
4) Sean Mannion, QB, Oregon St. – with the loss to E. Washington to start the season people have not been paying attention to Oregon St., but Sean Mannion leads the nation in passing and had another great week yesterday against Cal (481 yards and 4 TDs)
Season Stats: 2992 yards and 29 TDs
5) Derek Carr, QB, Fresno St. – kind of reminds me of Case Keenum from a few years ago. Being in a non-BCS conference hurts him, but always puts up big numbers, like last week against UNLV (412 yards and 4 TDs)
Season Stats: 2276 yards and 23 TDs
Player of the Week
Jordan Lynch, QB, NIU 316 yards rushing and 3 TDs with 155 yards passing and 1 TD
What a crazy week in college football. I expect next week will be a lot different, but watch out for Oregon against UCLA.