Under the Radar: Stanford Old School, Momentum Moments, Buckeye QB on Fire, Best Division in College
1. Stanford Goes Old School on USC: Stanford ‘s17-3 win over USC came down to great defense. Stanford held USC to under a 50% pass completion rate and just 3.1 yards per run. But the bigger number was field position. Because Stanford protected the football with no turnovers USC’s averaged starting at their own 23 yard line. Also USC never started a possession further out than their own 37. That is some old school football.
2. Momentum—Catch it While You Can: Both Pitt and South Carolina had chances in the first half to get leads that could've altered the course of their losses. Lost in the final score to Penn State was a second quarter where the Panthers squandered 4 straight possessions to get ahead while trailing by one point. The results: an interception at Penn State’s 1, a missed field goal from the 17, and stopped on 4th down inside the 5. The fourth possession resulted in a fumbled punt snap giving Penn State a short field and a 14-6 halftime lead. On average Pitt’s next 9 possessions started on their own 15, while Penn State’s averaged starting on their own 48. That massive difference sparked the second half rout for Penn State. In The Georgia-South Carolina game the Gamecocks trailed 14-7, got the ball to the Georgia 34 and got no points. Later in the first half trailing 17-10 they failed to close the gap on 3 straight possessions. Georgia weathered the threats and scored the next 10 points before pulling away to win 41-17. Momentum swings often occur in the first half. If a team capitalizes they can pull the upset…if not it can turn ugly in a hurry.
3. Buckeye QB Dwayne Haskins Impressive In Short Work: In routs over Oregon State and Rutgers new Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins has gotten short work playing just 5 of 8 quarters. But he and the offense have put up ridiculous numbers while he’s been in the game. With Haskins in the game, Ohio State’s 15 drives have resulted in 12 Touchdowns, 2 punts and 1 interception. His stat line in 5 quarters: 42 completions in 53 attempts for 546 yards 9 touchdowns and only 1 interception. Adjusted to reflect one game’s stat line that would be 34 for 42 for 436 yards and 7 TDs per game. His short work assignments will likely end when he faces 15th-ranked TCU on the road.
4. Big Ten East vs SEC West--Who Is Best?: The debate over which division is the best in College football often comes down to the SEC West vs The Big Ten East. The Big Ten East took big hits with Michigan’s week one loss at Notre Dame and this weekend’s Michigan State loss at Arizona State. The big wins in the Big Ten East’s 10-2 non-conference slate have been Maryland beating Texas, Indiana beating Virginia and Penn State winning at Pitt. Meanwhile the SEC West has rolled to a 12-2 non-conference record with wins by Ole Miss over Texas Tech, Alabama over Louisville and two Top-Ten wins with Auburn over #6 Washington and LSU over #8 Miami. One of the two SEC West losses was Texas A&M’s near miss against #2 Clemson. So two weeks in, the SEC West is wearing the crown.
5. Texas A&M's Close Call: No Moral Victories But…..: Saturday night a young Texas A&M team rallied to come within a late two-point conversion from sending their game against 2nd-ranked Clemson into overtime. Coaches will tell you there are no moral victories, but games like that can give a team a belief they can compete with anyone in the country. One powerful example: 1967 un-ranked Penn State narrowly lost 17-15 to #3 UCLA. Penn State then went 31 straight games without a loss. Texas A&M will need a lot of confidence as they make the trip to #1 Alabama in 2 weeks.
Screen Shot of the Week: It is well known that the left corner of Nebraska’s Memorial Stadium is a little tight--as you can see in the aftermath of Nebraska’s last pass to try and beat Colorado.