Under The Radar: What You May Have Missed in Week 1
For those who turned off the UCLA-Texas A&M game with the Aggies leading 44-10 with 2:49 to go in the 3rd quarter…..I'm sure you know by now that the Bruins came back to win 45-44 in one of the biggest comebacks in major college football history.
Certainly Josh Rosen deserves a lot of credit for the way he ran the team the last 17+ minutes of the game, but here are some things that you may have slipped under your radar.
1. UCLA’s defense changed up some schemes forcing Texas A&M into more passing downs where they really struggled.
2. Texas A&M failed clock management. With a big lead they stayed in a hurry-up approach leaving 13-15 seconds on the play clock each play that added up to minutes of extra time for UCLA’s offense to make the comeback.
3. Early in the game Texas A&M returned a fumble to the UCLA 4. A big 3rd and goal tackle held the Aggies to a field goal. That tackle saved four points that turned out to be HUGE at the game’s end. While it was 44-10 that play may have seemed insignificant, but when the game was over it may have been the most important tackle of the game.
4. UCLA Tight End Caleb Wilson was vital to that comeback. On Sunday night he had a monster game with 15 grabs for 208 yards and was a huge match-up problem for Texas A&M. His performance certainly makes him one of the tight ends to watch nationally.
Speaking of Tight Ends there is another one worthy of mentioning playing under the radar. UMass Tight End Adam Breneman is off to a great start in 2017. The Penn State transfer has overcome injuries that cut short his Penn State career. Last year at UMass he caught 70 passes for 808 yards and 8 TDs. This season he has 18 receptions for 305 yards in two games.
While the skeptic will say that he plays at UMass consider last year’s games against Florida, BC, Mississippi State, South Carolina and BYU where he averaged 5.6 catches and 65 yards per game and scored 3 TDs. The NFL scouts are very aware of him. They’ll be watching him closely in upcoming games against Tennessee, South Florida, Mississippi State and BYU. Expect him to keep performing at a high level.
Speaking of performing at a high level, Indiana once again proved they can hang with anyone in the country-for a half. Indiana has a solid veteran defense, a good quarterback and some very talented receivers. For one half last week they gave #2 Ohio State fits before the Buckeyes pulled away for a 49-21 win.
The big step Indiana needs to take is the theme their coaching staff is trying to hammer home. They want the team to play all 4 quarters and finish with the win. These halftime scores against ranked teams during over the last 27 games show what they can do for a half:
2015 Indiana 10 #1 Ohio State 6 Final Ohio State 34-27
2016 Indiana 14 #10 Penn State 14 Final Penn State 45-31
2016 Indiana 7 #3 Michigan 3 Final Michigan 20-10
2016 Indiana 17 #19 Utah 17 Final Utah 26-24
2017 Indiana 14 #2 Ohio State 13 Final Ohio State 49-21
That list doesn’t include some near misses as well:
2016 #10 Nebraska 27 Indiana 22
2015 #14 Michigan 48 Indiana 41 2 OT
So if Indiana can find a way to finish just half of the games they play like these listed they’d have 3 or 4 wins over Top 20 opponents to put the program on another plane—a "plane" that doesn’t fly under the radar.