Pearls & Vodka

My College Football Thoughts

Rough weekend for my three teams. It’s time for Jeff Long, Bret Bielema, and his staff to start packing. Auburn fans need to pump the brakes on the panic button. And Clemson will come back stronger than ever.

I’d have to say my top 5 teams right now are:
4-Penn State

Here are my thoughts on college football this weekend:

10-The Bulldogs from Athens, Georgia, continue to impress. Kirby Smart is on to something at UGA. 4 touchdowns on the ground, and two by air spurred the Georgia offense on to victory. Sony Michel ran like a man on a mission Saturday in Athens. The Bulldog defense only gave up 112 yards of offense in the 2nd half. At least today, they appear to be on a collision course to meet Alabama in Atlanta for the SEC title.

9-An 0-2-3 Arizona State team used their stout defense to take down the #5 Huskies of Washington. Maybe it was the desert air, or maybe it was the smothering defense of the Sun Devils. Holding Jake Browning to only 139 yards of offense and no touchdowns is worthy of a little Twitter bragging by the A-State defense! Browning did run in a touchdown for the only score by the Huskies.

8-USC squeaked out a win against Utah in the Coliseum. Thank God for the Trojan defense in the second half, or this one could have gone differently. For the 5th time in 7 games, USC has entered the 4th quarter trailing or tied. Perhaps they are the new “heart attack kids!” The Utes have lost eight straight in the Coliseum, maybe next time? Sam Darnold threw for 358 yards and three touchdowns, but he was only 27 of 50. But they still found a way to win, and that’s what is important I guess.

7-If you haven’t seen the replay of the Darrell Langham 28-yard catch on the tipped ball, you should find it. As he fell to the ground, somehow, the ball fell in his arms helping to set up the Miami Hurricanes with a 24-yard field goal with 4 seconds left to beat the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Travis Homer rushed for 170 yards and two touchdowns, one receiving and one rushing for the Canes. Miami also carried out one of the worst onside kicks I’ve ever seen, which led to a Tech touchdown.

6-Will Grier lit up the scoreboard in Morgantown yesterday against the Red Raiders of Lubbock, Texas. Grier threw for five touchdowns, four coming in the second half. The Mountaineers were down 18-points but rallied to take down Texas Tech. The Red Raiders quarterback, Nic Shimonek threw for four first-half touchdowns, but after halftime, their offense fizzled. Traveling without their regular kicker proved costly for Texas Tech, but when you are flagged 16 times for 159 yards, things can’t go well.

5-Lighting delayed the TCU manhandling of the KState Wildcats, but when the time came, they were ready. Kenny Hill threw for 297 yards and ran one in. Sewo Olonilua added to running touchdowns to help secure the win for the Horned Frogs.

4-The Red River Shootout is always one for the history books, no matter how awful, or how great OU or Texas is playing; they always rise to the challenge at the Cotton Bowl. Oklahoma was reeling after a blistering lost to Iowa State the week before. Baker Mayfield was ransacked viciously. And still, Mayfield found a way to throw for 59 yards to Mark Andrews for the go-ahead touchdown in the 4th quarter. The Sooners had blown a 20-point lead just minutes before. Mayfield wasn’t going down without a fight in his last shootout. He threw not one, but two, touchdowns of more than 50 yards in the defeat of the Longhorns. The Texas defense began to show signs of life after allowing Mayfield to throw for 179 yards in the first quarter; they grabbed the first interception off Mayfield this season, their 9th on the season.

3-Eric Dungey. Heard of him? Probably not. But he threw for 278 yards and three touchdowns to take down the mighty Clemson Tigers. I wouldn’t write the season off for Clemson; they will be back with a vengeance. That’s coaching. Dabo Swinney is a legend. Dabo made his way to the Syracuse locker room after his defeat to shake the hands of the players who ruined his perfect season. That’s class. Swinney hugged Syracuse Coach Dino Babers at midfield after the clock hit 00:00 and told him he was proud of him. That’s being gracious, even in defeat. That’s Dabo Swinney. Clemson lost their starting quarterback to a concussion in the first half, that hurt. Clemson’s kicking game needs some consistency. I don’t expect the Tigers to lose again this season, but this one hurts.

2-Coach Oregron has seemingly “righted” his ship in Baton Rouge. My poor Auburn Tigers blew it. They were outcoached. And that is hard for me to admit, I’m a huge Malzahn fan. I’ve been on the Gus-Bus since I was in junior high. I don’t think it’s time for a full out panic, but I can understand the frustration of the Auburn faithful. Going up 17-0 and then losing seems bonkers, especially with such a stout defense. Stidham’s performance was a bust, 9 of 28 for only 165 yards. That’s just not going to cut it in a Malzahn-offense. Kerryon Johnson turned in another fantastic performance with 31 carries for 156 yards and a touchdown. Any game on the road in Death Valley is a tough battle, no matter how lackluster the season is going for LSU. Auburn should have had this game.

1-I begged for some new blood under center for my Piggies, and they delivered. Hate to see any player hurt, but especially in their senior season. Hoping Austin Allen recovers quickly. The first play of the game pretty much set the tone, when Damien Harris opened with a 75-yard touchdown. Harris only had nine carries on the day but accounted for 125 yards and two touchdowns. Redshirt freshman Cole Kelley was sacked five times by the Alabama defense. Our offensive line at Arkansas is, well, deplorable. Saban probably ate his special team’s crew for dinner as they seemed to be the only players with miscues for the Tide in the game. Last night’s victory over Arkansas was Coach Saban’s 100th regular-season SEC win; only Bear Bryant, Steve Spurrier, Johnny Vaught and Vince Dooley have reached that milestone.



Photo Credit: Georgia Bulldog Football Facebook Page