Nothing quite beats August Optimism. The college football teams that emerge from Labor Day weekend unscathed feel good about the possibilities ahead… while those schools on the other side of the equation wonder how long the fall (the season and the action) will be. Wisconsin was well on its way to beating the Big Ten Drum…until the fourth quarter happened against LSU. Penn State may have jet lag for another few weeks after escaping upset in Ireland against Central Florida–I’m sorry, “UCF”. I think that AAC school is trying to get accidental hits from people searching for UFC sites. Oklahoma State–despite defeat– has a lot to look forward to after coming up short against #1 Florida State. The area schools? Stock is high in College Park… holding in Blacksburg and Annapolis…and volatile in Charlottesville.
Alma Mater Update–a double overtime one point win over Villanova makes one wonder if Derek Coleman had a double-double…not Friday night’s near-disaster. When you need a fake field goal in OT and a missed 2-point conversion to beat a CAA team…it’s a less than stellar season opener. When your starting quarterback gets tossed for throwing a punch…it’s even less awesome. When does Wagner come to the Dome?
Maryland kicked off the season with a 52-7 smackdown of James Madison. Two CJ Brown touchdowns stand out– one where he pump-faked to his right before taking off to his left for the endzone…and then a 4th and goal from the 2 where he ran over one of his offensive linemen en route to paydirt. Let the record show that James Madison remains the smallest of our Presidents, standing only 5 feet 4 and weighing barely 100 pounds. Terrapin Triumphs– the offensive line allowed no sacks and helped the ground game rumble for 285 yards…the defense held JMU to 4-19 on third down and picked off Vad Lee twice…special teams generated a 35 yard punt return and a 59 yard kickoff return. Terrapin Troubles– CJ Brown had a less than stellar passing day (11-24=111 yards and a TD)…earlier this month he said he was working on his deep ball. Saturday he was having issues with intermediate throws as well. Next– Saturday at South Florida.
Virginia missed a chance at what would have been the biggest upset of the weeekend…falling 28-20 to #7 UCLA thanks to three defensive touchdowns by the Bruins. The sky may not be falling… but I’d get indoors. Cavalier Congrats– the defense held the Bruins to 3.0 yards a carry and made Heisman hopeful Brett Hundley look ordinary… Matt Johns looked decent in his relief appearance… true freshman WR Doni Dowling caught 5 passes. Cavalier Concerns– Greyson Lambert threw a pair of pick sixes in the first half and was benched…looking more like a Vineyard Vines shirt than an ACC quarterback. Kevin Parks was limited to 55 yards on 17 carries. The whole thing with UCLA scoring on 3 turnovers? You’ve got to play to the whistle– even when it’s a turnover. Next– Saturday against Richmond.
Virginia Tech kept things interesting in the first half against William & Mary…before blowing out the Tribe 34-9. The post-Logan Thomas era kicks off with a victory…and plenty of optimism. Hokie Highlights– Michael Brewer threw for 251 yards in his first start… the defense held W&M to 1-12 on third down… freshman Shai McKenzie follows the footsteps of Trey Edmunds (who gained over 100 yards against Alabama in his debut) by rushing for 106 yards on only 9 carries. Hokie Humblings– 10 penalties for 75 yards is not going to help you against the Dukes and Miamis… I’m still not sold on the revamped running game (Marshawn Williams and J.C. Coleman combining for 61 yards on 22 carries)…and Brewer didn’t look that great (10.9 yards per completion plus an interception). Next–Saturday at #5 Ohio State.
Navy had #5 Ohio State on the ropes…before losing 34-17 to the Buckeyes as OSU scores touchdowns on its final three possessions. Midshipmen Markups– 370 yards rushing against anybody’s pretty good (let alone a top 5 team)… Ryan Williams-Jenkins rushed for 118 yards… the defense held OSU to 2 for 8 on third down. Midshipmen Miscues– Keenan Reynolds was obviously the Buckeyes defensive focal point, and he was held to under 2 yards per carry and completed just 2 passes. A missed field goal at the end of the first half and a fumble at the beginning of the second half closed an already small window of opportunity. The defense after coughing up an 80-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter allowed scoring drives of 80 and 70 yards in the fourth. Next– Saturday at Temple.