Wednesday, September 27, 2006

College Football Wrapup

Were coming up on the final Saturday of September and there are plenty of stories making news in the college football world, even if all the games sucked last weekend. Well, almost all...

Amidst the driving rain, swirling winds and clamoring thunder Saturday night in East Lansing, Michigan, a bolt of green lightning touched down at Spartan Stadium and did some serious damage. The Green Machine took a while to get cranked up against the Spartans, spotting them a 37-21 lead after 3 quarters before barrelling through campus like that severe weather that accompanied their miraculous 19-pt 4th quarter comeback. As the stunned Spartan fans & players could only watch with horror as a potential HUGE victory turned into a 40-37 loss, MSU coach John L. Williams was heard asking if the National Weather Center was going to name the system that stalled over the stadium; no word, but I'd go with something fitting- how 'bout Seamus?

Party in Piscataway: Rutgers ranked for 1st time in 30 years
Yes folks, you read that right- The Scarlet Knights have received their first national ranking, at No. 23 in all 3 major polls, for the first time since 1976. That year they finished with an 11-0 record and final ranking of #17. This squad boasts the school's first 4-0 start since 1980, albeit against less-than-quality opponents (No. Car, Ill, Ohio, Howard) and travels to Ray Jay Friday night for a prime time ESPN2 match up with the USF Bulls. I know my good buddy/RU alum Ira would LOVE to attend that tilt but has a prior engagement, so I am going to try to score tix to the game and see what all the fuss is about first hand. Soph RB Ray Rice may be small (5'9") but his numbers aren't (604 yds, 9 TDs), helping RU average 200+ yards rushing and 33.5pts /game. Ironically now that the Knights are garnering national attention, head coach Greg Schiano is being rumored as a replacement for embattled Miami coach Larry Coker. Ah the price of success; let it roll off the tongue- Rutgers is ranked, Rutgers is ranked...

Don't let the final score (28-6) fool you into thinking the Buckeyes rolled the Ninty Lions; it was a 14-6 game with just under 3:00 to go with Penn St driving for a tying TD when OSU's underrated (but not for long) defense intercepted 2 Anthony Morelli passes and returned them for game-ending scores just 90 seconds apart. The Lions shut down Buckeye play maker Tedd Ginn Jr, allowing him only 2 catches for 15 yards, but the other Buckeye studs picked up the slack: QB Troy Smith's Vick-like 37-yd TD to Brian Robiske minutes into the 4th was a decisive and incredible play; RB Antonio Pittman plowed through the Lion D-line for 110 yds and a score; and new Columbus hero LB James Laurinitis intercepted his 3rd ball of the season and is quickly helping Buckeye fans forget all-everything LBs AJ Hawk and Bobby Carpenter. Bottom line, OSU is still good enough to win even on an off day. Bad news for the rest of the nation. UP NEXT: 8P Sat nite @ #13 Iowa, ABC

Now auditioning for Kickstar: Tuscaloosa
Anyone with aspirations of becoming a D-1 placekicker should bring their resumes, and their kicking foot, to the Tuscaloosa campus of the Alabama Crimson Tide and see head coach Mike Shula. He has to be looking for a new kicker after current applicant Leigh Tiffin missed 3 field goals and an extra point in the Tide's 24-23 OT loss to Arkansas Saturday. That PAT would have meant the Razorbacks could have only tied the game in the OT, forcing another extra frame. But Tiffin's ineptitude made it a moot (extra) point.

-Injuries, illness and even death hit campuses
Sad to report that Rice DB Dale Lloyd died after a practice session Sunday, a day after the Owls 55-7 loss to FSU. Lloyd was inactive in that game and had only played in one game this season as the coaches were planning to redshirt the 19-year old. The Owls will play Army this weekend and wear a special patch to commemorate Lloyd's contribution to the school.

In less pressing news, USC WR Dwayne Jarrett was thought to be out for this weeks' contest at Washington St. but has now said he will try to play despite a nasty shoulder sprain. The junior suffered the injury in the Trojans victory over Arizona Saturday; he was expected to miss 4-6 weeks. If he misses time or is hampered by the injury look for the Trojan title hopes to be severely hampered as well.

And just when the Noles were feeling better about themselves (see aforementioned 55-7 win) word came down that defensive stalwart Tony Carter could miss 2-4 weeks after suffering a knee sprain in that win. Remember this is a kid who scored a safety and a TD off 2 blocked kicks in FSU's loss to Clemson. In other words, despite the outburst vs. Rice, the Noles offense could use this cornerback's scoring prowess to get through the rest of their schedule unscathed.

And to end on a good note,
Indiana head coach Terry Hoeppner has made a miraculous recovery
from his second brain surgery in less than a year. Hoeppner has returned to the field a mere 2 weeks after his latest surgery to remove a recurring tumor and has received a clean bill of health to resume coaching; he plans to be on the sideline when the Hoosiers take on Wisconsin Saturday at noon. Can I get an amen?

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