Previously appearing on–

There’s nothing worse than a false Hurricane Warning.  You brace yourself for destruction and hope for minimal damage…only to realize that the University of Miami is providing fool’s gold once again.  Thursday night’s loss to a .500 Cincinnati team ends another unbeaten dream…and sends fans of the U scurrying while wondering if Al Golden is the right guy to bring this program back to prominence.  Long gone are the days when Miami reigned over college football (four titles in nine years from 1983 to 91) and front and center is the yearly reminder that these not only aren’t your father’s Hurricanes, but not even your big brother’s Canes from 2002.  When they joined the ACC they were placed in a different divsion than Florida State so they could potentially square off with the Seminoles in the Championship Game; sadly they’ve yet to make a trip to the title tilt while Wake Forest, Boston College and Duke each have.  In the last three seasons they’ve appeared to be on the cusp of the Coastal crown before each Hurricane dissipated:  4 losses in 5 games in 2012, 3 straight losses in 2013 and 4 straight losses last year.  Hopes were high as Miami went into Thursday night’s game with Cincinnati of the AAC unranked at 3-0…only to prove why they weren’t in the top 25 with a double-digit loss to the Bearcats.  Hurricane U downgraded again…

Alma Mater Update– the Orange have the weekend off…after losing by 10 to the number 8 team in the nation.  Somehow going with “Plan E” at quarterback undermined the offense and trying to tackle the best runningback on the planet was too much for the SU defense.  After a 3-1 start they get the week off before visiting South Florida and Virginia– winnable games necessary if dreams of a Pinstripe Bowl are to be met.  It’s also a bye week for Orange fans, who instead of buffalo wings, potato wedges or Varsity pizza will enjoy a healthy salad…dressing on the side.

Maryland entertains Michigan– last year the Terps went to Ann Arbor and beat the Wolverines for the first time ever.  This year they have a turnover-prone quarterback and a defense with issues (14th in the Big Ten against the run, 12th in passing efficiency and 13th in yards and points allowed)…while Big Blue comes to College Park with a rock-solid defense (1st against the pass and overall, second against the run and in scoring) and a coach who wears khakis.  The game has been moved to noon, meaning my tailgate friends Matt and Stacia have to audible at the line of scrimmage in shifting their emphasis from shrimp dip to breakfast casserole.  The secret?  Hash browns as the first layer.  The secret for Saturday?  Turnovers and penalties will tell the tale again.  Terps tumble, 31-16.

Virginia Tech hosts Pitt– the Hokies after getting their traditional September throat-clearing (2 losses during Show Me Month for the fourth time in six years) kick off ACC play against a former Big East rival.  The Panthers are one of those programs you just feel should be better– but it’s been over 30 years since Dan Marino and Tony Dorsett were wearing the royal blue and gold with the script “Pitt” on their helmets.  While there was plenty of concern surrounding how Brenden Motley would fill in for the injured Michael Brewer at quarterback, the redshirt junior has actually played well–providing a run/pass threat not seen since Tyrod Taylor wore a maroon jersey.  The issue facing this team is how they’ll mask the loss of standout cornerback Kendall Fuller, out for the rest of the season with a knee injury.  Hokies come up short, 28-26.

Navy meets Air Force– with “Army West Point” as it’s now branded continuing to chase its own tail, this has become the defacto Commander in Chief’s Trophy Championship Game.  As an aside, I’m hoping that the other academies resist temptation to eventually be called “Navy Annapolis” or “Air Force Colorado Springs”.  Despite one school defending our oceans and the other in charge of the skies, both excel on the ground:  the Falcons rank 2nd nationally in rushing offense while the Midshipmen are 3rd (Army West Point is 9th– no doubt slowed down by having three words in its name where one or two would suffice).  The Keenan Reynolds victory tour continues…Midshipmen grind it out, 27-21.

Virginia against “Open”– Kippy and Buffy get a weekend off, but they’ll be busy shuttering up the Outer Banks cottage as is their bye week custom…with a bottle of bubbly.  This year there’s more urgency with Hurricane Joaquin on the horizon.  There’s also more unpleasantness as their Saturday night college football viewing will be #8 Georgia hosting 13th ranked Alabama.  The Bulldogs quarterback?  Former Cavalier Greyson Lambert.  Did you know the guy who couldn’t start in Charlottesville has thrown more touchdowns (5) than incompletions (2) the last two weeks?  Tough to stomach the champagne and caviar under such circumstances…but as always, Kippy and buffy willl find a way. 

Howard falls to Norfolk State, Georgetown loses at Harvard, James Madison gets by Stony Brook, William & Mary defeats Delaware, Richmond over Maine.

Last Week: 3-5. Purely an abberation. An isolated incident. Nothing to see here…

Overall: 28-6. Isolated incident?  Leaves aren’t the only thing turning colors and falling…

I’ve often said September is Show Me Month in college football.  As far as Maryland, Virginia and Virginia Tech are concerned…can we cover it up?  All three schools have come up short on multiple occasions and we aren’t even into the meat of their conference schedule.  The Terps have the toughest road ahead with their Big Ten foes a combined 27-5 record…while the Hokies won’t play a school with a losing record until they face Virginia in the season finale.  The Cavaliers?  Thank goodness they luck out with Louisville as a crossover foe.

Maryland got mauled in Morgantown, losing at West Virginia 45-6.  Not the way you want to wrap up non-conference play, especially with Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State leading off the Big Ten slate.  Terrapin Triumphs– Brandon Ross ran for 130 yards (even though his longest run of the day resulted in a fumble into the endzone).  The defense did notch 3 sacks while Jermaine Carter tallied 14 tackles.  Terrapin Troubles– Caleb Rowe threw 4 interceptions while getting benched for Daxx Garman (the graduate transfer also threw a pick)…and the offense converted just 4 of 14 third downs.  The defense allowed four touchdowns and a missed field goal the first five times the Mountaineers had the ball…coughing over 600 yards.  Ten penalties for 100 yards certainly wasn’t helpful, either.  Next:  Saturday at 8pm against #22 Michigan (3-1 after a 31-0 rout of #22 BYU).  Break out the khakis…

Virginia Tech saw another one of its infamous September stumbles… falling to East Carolina 35-28.  The Pirates pulled “the old switcheroo” by subbing running quarterback James Summers liberally…and instead of dealing with Blake Kemp’s 70%+ completion rate VT had to deal with Summers wheels (169 yards on 21 carries).  Hokie Highlights– Brenden Motley threw for 281 yards and a touchdown while adding 85 more yards and another score on the ground.  Isaiah Ford caught 8 more passes…bringing his total to 22 for the season.  Sean Huelskamp collects 10 tackles and 1 sack.Hokie Humblings– the defense blew a two touchdown lead in the first half…11 penalties for 89 yards dooms you on the road… and the offense converted just 6 of 16 third downs.  Next:  Saturday at noon against Pitt (2-1 after a loss to Iowa September 19th).  The Panthers are coming off a bye week?  Is anyone concerned?

Virginia spared its fans of a lost Saturday by getting fried Friday night, 56-14 to BYU in a game that made one check out the calendar for basketball season.  Coach Mike London’s team needs to go 5-3 in ACC play for bowl eligibility…not exactly a likely run.  Cavalier Congrats– somehow the defense held Boise State to 3-14 on third down…while a Friday game meant that Kippy and Buffy had Saturday to themselves.  Virginia wine country was calling!  Cavalier Catastrophes–  just like Maryland it was a mess.  Four interceptions and a fumble gave the Broncos plenty of short fields when they weren’t returning INT’s back for touchdowns…while the defense didn’t help itself by allowing 358 yards passing.  Next:  October 10th against Pitt (Panthers play Virginia Tech Saturday) in Charlottesville as the bye week allows Kippy & Buffy the chance to shut down the Hilton Head cottage.

Navy receives votes in both polls after disposing of UConn 28-18…as the Mids improve to 2-0 in the American Athletic Conference (of America).  Midshipmen Medals– Keenan Reynolds rushes for 142 yards and three touchdowns while throwing for another score.  The offense converts 8 of 12 third downs…while the defense notches 5 sacks to set the tone.  Midshipmen Miscues– after dissecting the Cavaliers, Hokies and Terps’ warts, is it nitpicking to say that Navy’s punt return game (DeBrandon Sanders 5 yard loss on his lone attempt) was lacking?  They also fumbled twice (recovered both) and committed 3 penalties.  I know– we’re stretching.  Next:  Saturday at 3:30 against Air Force (2-1 after a September 19th loss at Michigan State).

The Nationals were pushed off the precipice of playoff elimination Saturday evening when the New York Mets wrapped up their improbable run to a division title by routing Cincinnati 10-2.  Sadly the September slide for the Nats began a few weeks ago when they were swept at home by the Mets;  their postseason hopes were all but extinguished when they were broomed by Baltimore this past Thursday.  Here’s to an offseason of picking up the pieces…and wondering if what was once one huge window is now closing.

Broomed by Baltimore?  Yes, you read correctly.  The team that couldn’t score a run against Boston over the weekend came to DC and took three straight from the hometown team…rallying in the late innings both Tuesday and Wednesday.  Three winnable games where the team had trouble drawing 30,000 fans–and those that showed up wore orange and shouted “O’s!” during the Anthem.  

Last Week’s Hero– Calvin Coolidge was our 30th President.  He spoke little, thus the nickname “Silent Cal”.  Coolidge’s most famous quote, next to “the business of America is business” was “I do not choose to run for President in 1928”.  Somehow the man who chose not to run is running during the 4th inning of every home game.  As this year is Coolidge’s turn in the White House Christmas Tree Ornament rotation (they go in order of chief executive, meaning next year Herbert Hoover gets his due), the man of few words gets a racing mascot who actually looks more like President Harding (it’s okay if the Nats goofed–at least they spelled names right and didn’t shoot sausage sandwiches inside T-shirts).  Coolidge’s bobblehead night was supposed to be Monday–but the rainout meant that they also gave away renditions of the chief executive Thursday.  Technically not a two-termer (he succeeded Harding after his death), Silent Cal made us proud.

Last Week’s Humbled– plenty to choose from as Ian Desmond was the only regular hitting better than .235 and Stephen Strasburg was the lone pitcher with an ERA of under 5.40.  But Jonathan Papelbon takes the prize for being lit up like the dumpster fire this team has apparently become.  His plunking of Manny Machado stole the spotlight during the sweep by the Orioles before his dugout scuffle with Bryce Harper obscured Sunday’s late-inning collapse.  Also culpable: General Manager Mike Rizzo.  HIs trade for Papelbon at the deadline was the rock in the water that had ripple effects far beyond whatever his 9th inning shortcomings may have been with Drew Storen and Casey Janssen never the same in their new roles.  Manager Matt Williams gets his due because after the scuffle Papelbon went back in to pitch the 9th inning!  Granted, he allowed 2 runs over two thirds of an inning…so you could make the case he really didn’t pitch.  But either Williams thought that choking his star player wasn’t a bad thing or wasn’t aware of the situation.  Incompetence, ignorance or apathy?  That’s a fun trio to choose from.

Game to Watch– Jordan Zimmermann pitches Wednesday in Atlanta.  He deserved better here.  I still maintain he should’ve started Game 1 against San Francisco last year– and I won’t even talk about the decision to lift Zim in the 9th inning of Game 2.  He gets one more chance to match last year’s 14 wins…and it’d be nice to see him make his 178th start a better outing than his final one in DC.

Game to Miss– Monday’s matinee with Cincinnati may be sending Max Scherzer to the mound…but he also started Labor Day afternoon and was torched for 5 runs over 6 innings.  After the hot mess that was last week and this past weekend, do we really want to see another game from this team in DC?

Previously appearing on WTOP.COM

Some schools in college football have reputations that outlast their actual achievements.  For every Alabama and USC that hang banners, there’s a Georgia or UCLA that feels they should be in the rarefied air of the bluebloods–despite results that pale in comparison. Texas is off to a 1-2 start with a disastrous loss at Notre Dame and a heartbreaker at home against California.  They’re one of those premier programs that’s trying to return to the elite first class level many Longhorn fans feel is their birthright.  They pushed Mack Brown out the door because he couldn’t match up to the longterm success of the late Darrell Royal–despite his 2005 National Championship.  If this sounds familiar, recall that they previously jettisoned the regimes of John Mackovic, David McWilliams and Fred Akers for not delivering–even though each brought at least one conference title back to Austin.  Now that the Athletic Director who hired Charlie Strong is no longer with the university, the second-year coach is under fire after a 1-2 start this fall.  Before you measure Strong against the monument that is Royal (let the record show that Texas Memorial Stadium is named after Royal), please recall that his UT squads lost to the likes of Boston College and Miami (Fla) when both schools were cupcakes.  Please remember that he couldn’t beat Oklahoma the last six times Royal coached against the Sooners.  Lost in the glare of his two National Championships is the fact that the Longhorns boasted three consecutive 4-loss seasons in between those titles.  Before you get rid of Charlie Strong before his first recruiting class can contribute, remember that the Longhorns have won the Big XII just three times in 19 years.  Hook’em…

Alma Mater Update– thank goodness I didn’t attend a school with unrealistic expectations.  Syracuse is off to its first 3-0 start since…1991?  Sadly, early season stumbles to giants like Minnesota and East Carolina kept the Orange from going unblemished in the 90’s and since the turn of the century starting 1-0 was reason for celebration.  Saturday they host #8 LSU…Tigers that are far from paper.  It doesn’t help that Eric Dungey is out with a concussion and SU will start former JUCO transfer Zack Mahoney at quarterback.  He’s thrown a total of 4 passes at the Division I level.  Oh well… we always had 3-0.

Virginia entertains Boise State– Friday Night Lights in Charlottesville?  Aren’t Kippy & Buffy supposed to see some one-woman play about a pirate in the 16th century?  No worries– they’re breaking out Linden Vineyards Hardscrabble Chardonnay (“aromas of toasted sesame seeds, papaya, melon rind”) with a sharp cheddar on Captain’s Wafers. I thought this would be a one possession game the Cavaliers would lose…boy did it get ugly early at Scott Stadium.

Maryland visits West Virginia– the Terps have not won in Morgantown since 2002…and even then the kids from Boreman North and South residence halls made life a nightmare for the visitors.  The Mountaineers may average over 40 points a game this year, but they’ve beaten the likes of Liberty and Georgia Southern–not exactly a true litmus test.  They’ll run a spread offense that will put a lot of pressure on a defense that allowed 48 points to a similar setup.  Defensively the 4-2-5 provides a lot of different looks and pressure…could this be the week that the Maryland offensive line finally gives up a sack?  Terps tumble, 35-31.

Virginia Tech at East Carolina– the Hokies aren’t just known for the September Stumble, they trademarked it a few years ago with befuddling losses in the season’s first month to James Madison, Cincinnati and…East Carolina.  The Pirates have been overly pesky since shocking the Hokies in 2008:  ECU stayed within a touchdown of VT in 2011 and 2013 before winning last year in Blacksburg.  They say revenge is a dish best served cold…and with the travel time between Blacksburg and Greenville the smoked turkey legs from Lane Stadium will definitely cool off a bit.  Hokies drop the hammer, 36-24.

Navy at UConn– the Midshipmen roll into Hartford with a full head of steam…averaging just under 400 yards a game on the ground.  The Huskies were painfully close to upsetting Missouri on the road last week in what could have been a season-defining season.  Instead, they’re 2-1 with one-possession victories over Villanova and Army West Point. Keenan Reynolds, are you ready?  Midshipmen handle the Huskies, 38-24.

Georgetown tops Columbia, Howard handles Morgan State,  James Madison falls at SMU, Towson tops Elon.

Last Week: 7-0.

Overall: 23-1?  Are you serious?

What was that Sunday?  A 24-10 thumping of St Louis where the Redskins looked like a contender instead of a pretender?  A game where mistakes were at a minimum?  If this weren’t the 8th win in the team’s last 26 games, there’d  probably be a little more an even keel approach to the aftermath of the club’s first double digit win over a fellow NFC team since the 2012 season finale.  Thank goodness it’s a short week before Thursday night football…

Kirk Beams Up– Cousins completes 23 of 27 passes for 203 yards and a touchdown (Mark Brunell against the Texans, anyone?).  While he did throw a ton of short stuff–he was able to extend the field with 20+ yard tosses to Jordan Reed and Ryan Grant.  Let’s see how he does against the New York Giants Thursday night;  last year he tossed 4 interceptions in a season path defining 45-14 loss.

Saved by the Tandem– remember the episode when Zack realized Slater was his equal?  While Mr. Morris ripped off an early 35-yard run Matt Jones outshone the veteran…tallying 123 yards on 19 carries while scoring two touchdowns.  As the season progresses the two should in a perfect world evolve into a true “thunder and lightning” backfield…able to take advantage of what the opposing defense isn’t best suited to contain.  We just have to figure out how to get Lisa Turtle opportunities.

Life Without Desean– No #11, no problem.  Just no secondary-busting deep threat.  Ryan Grant did average 15 yards a catch…while Jordan Reed and Pierre Garcon each caught 6 passes.  Jamison Crowder grabbed a 7 yarder.  Will they need to apply more pressure against opposing secondaries?  Certainly.  Is this a good start?  Of course.

Third and a Glass Half Full– the Skins converted 8 of 16 attempts…6 of 12 on called passes and 2 of 4 on called runs.  Cousins completed 9 of 11 passes (he was sacked once) with his top target being Pierre Garcon (4 targets, 3 catches and 2 conversions including a touchdown).  Matt Jones carried the ball on 3 of 4 run plays (2 conversions).  Distance breakdown: 3 for 5 on short yardage (less than 4 yards needed), 3-3 on intermediate (4-6) yardage and 2-8 on 3rd & long (7+ yards needed).  Just like last week, 50% of their 3rd down plays were long distance.  Not a good long term trend…

Case for the Defense– for the second straight week the D allowed just one touchdown.  They held Nick Foles to under 10 yards per completion and limited the rams to 2 for 12 on third down.  The defense set the tone in the first half, allowing just 3 first downs while forcing three 3 & outs the first five times the Rams had the ball.  Trenton Robinson in making his first start of the season at strong safety tallied 6 tackles…tying for the team lead with Keenan Robinson.  These Rams will never be concerned with the The Greatest Show on Turf, but this is a far cry from the club that gave up the third most points in the NFL last year.

Flying Flags– the Skins were penalized 7 times for 53 yards…down 4 infractions and 35 yards from week one.  Four were on offense (including 3 holds– 2 by Jordan Reed), two were on defense and the other penalty was a holding call on a kick return.  Bashaud Breeland picked up where he left off last year, getting whistled for an illegal use of the hands (Breeland ranked 3rd in the league in penalties last year).  Were they costly?  Reed’s first hold turned a 2nd and 11 from the Rams 21 into a 1st and 20 from the 30 that resulted in a field goal…you could say 4 points were lost on that flag.  The worst penalty could have been Terrance Plummer’s hold on a punt return that forced the offense to start on their own 9…but Kirk Cousins was able to move the offense to midfield before they had to punt.

Adequate Teams–  Tress way averaged 40.7 yards on six punts…none of which were returned by the Rams.  Jamison Crowder returned 5 punts for a total of 12 yards (10 yards his longest return) while Rashad Ross notched a 23 yard kickoff return.  The new kicker whose name in no way references a Billy Zabka movie made his lone field goal attempt from 46 yards while drilling his 3 extra points.  Only one of his five kickoffs was returned…and that one runback reached the 20.  But in the absence of the bully, Daniel LaRusso runs amok and harrasses poor Ali to the point of where she has to drop out.  Thornton Mellon’s kid turns out to be a trust fund jerk.  And Terry never learns the true lesson of whatever the moral to the story was in “Just One of the Guys”.

Dissecting the Division– only two weeks into the season the 1-1 Redskins are in 2nd place of the NFC East.  Dallas has won two games but has lost two players for a big chunk of the season:  while Dez Bryant could be back for game five, Tony Romo is out eight weeks minimum (in Brandon Weeden they trust).  The Giants (0-2) take third due to a better points differential than Philadelphia.  The early small sample size would result in the Skins taking over first place with a win Thursday plus a Dallas loss in week three.  But it’s only September.

So much for making that October dinner reservation.  Evidently the Nationals noticed everyone writing them off in pen instead of pencil last week…and turned from David Banner into a hulking playoff contender by winning 6 of 7 games.  This coupled with the 2015 version of “Mets Meltdown” (4 losses in their last 5 games) gives cause for confidence.  Something about September:  the club leads the Majors in runs scored (117) this month and owns the 5th best ERA since the end of August.  Thirteen games remain and they’re only six games back!  This is where paying attention in Mrs. Janosz’s Advanced Math class comes in handy:  if the Mets tread water heading home (6-7) the Nats would need to win 12 of 13…and even a Mets implosion (3-10) would need a 9-4 finish to send the season to a 163rd game.  So you’re saying there’s a chance…

Last Week’s Heroes– Back to back #1 picks lived up to their standing.  Bryce Harper merely hit .519 with 5 home runs and 10 RBI…reclaiming the NL batting average and homer lead.  If he doesn’t win the MVP, there should be an investigation.  Stephen Strasburg went 2-0 with a 0.60 ERA, striking out 24 while issuing only a pair of walks.  In a year where he’s been hurt early and often, it’s good to see him shine in September.  Unsung shout out to Jose Lobaton, who Friday ended Miami’s threat in the top of the 10th by throwing out Christian Yelich trying to steal second…before ending the game on a sac fly.  Instead of a second straight loss… the backup catcher set up a series win.

Last Week’s Humbled– Why was Lobaton playing?  Perhaps because Wilson Ramos was hitting .118 with 9 strikeouts…and has been less than stellar (.195 with 9 walks and 43 strikeouts) since the All Star Break.  Jayson Werth may be enjoying a solid September (.289, 6HR & 15 RBI) but his faceplant head first slide Friday night to score the game-winning run definitely left some marks…including a strawberry jam spot on his forehead.  Werth rated the slide “an 8 on the crashlanding scale”–while the East German judge gave him a 4.

Game to Watch– Monday Gio Gonzalez (11-7, 3.83 ERA) pitches against the Orioles Ubaldo Jiminez (11-9, 4.31) as the Battle of the Beltways feature two teams with identical tragic numbers (8).  While the Nats are hoping for a Mets collapse of epic proportions in the NL East, the O’s are chasing Houston for the second AL Wildcard–with three other teams in the mix as well.  And of course, we get to hear people shout “OH” during the Anthem.

Game to Miss– Sunday Gonzalez pitches against Philadelphia’s Aaron Harang (5-15, 5.04 ERA)…who hasn’t won since July 30th.  Have we mentioned that the Phillies own the worst record in the majors and are cratering further with 6 straight losses?   Even the original Nats Park home finale loses that status as next Monday’s makeup date with Cincinnati swipes that honor.  Take a drive out I-66 to Virginia’s wine country…with the knowledge that the green sauce on the salmon puffs at Chateau O’Brien isn’t guacamole, it’s wasabi.

Many have said that Virginia’s shortcomings in the Mike London era is due to inconsistent quarterbacking.  Yes, Phillip Sims was a mistake that imploded the depth chart.  And yes…Matt Johns looks like the answer right now.  But who would have thought that not one but two former UVa QB’s would shine in their new digs?  Greyson Lambert only completed 24 of 25 passes for Georgia against South Carolina to set an NCAA record for completion percentage; the night before David Watford threw for 279 yards while running for two scores at RFK Stadium in DC for Hampton against Howard.  At least Michael Rocco didn’t come back to haunt the Cavaliers last year…

Alma Mater Update– the cup of Gennesee Cream Ale is half-full!  Who’s pumped up about a 3-0 start!  The last time the Orange began with 3 straight wins it was 1991.  I was a senior living in a split level suite in Watson Hall while submitting demo tapes made from the Carrier Dome’s photo deck atop the stadium.  Play by play auditions that thankfully have been misplaced or burned in the intervening years.  I think while trying to say “offensive philosophy” I said “theology”.  Not awesome.  Sadly the cup of Genny does not run over, as Syracuse has to face #8 LSU this week.  Cup still not half-empty? Freshman quarterback Eric Dungey is a question mark for the game thanks to a concussion suffered against Central Michigan.  It’s never ideal to pin your offensive hopes and dreams on a kid who just five months ago was rehearsing for the Senior Class Show.  It’s also not ideal to trot out a kid recovering from a head injury against a defense like the Tigers.  But we’ll always have 3-0…

Maryland bounced back in fine fashion from its loss to Bowling Green by beating South Florida 35-17…in a game that felt eerily similar to their loss against the Falcons as they were in a one possession affair late in the first half despite dominating the yardage battle.  But a last-minute drive to end the first half and a quick touchdown coming out of intermission gave the Terps a cushion they’d maintain for the rest of the afternoon.  Terrapin Triumphs– Caleb Rowe threw for 297 yards and 4 touchdowns…while providing the necessary arm to extend the passing game and create breathing room for the offense.  The offensive line kept Rowe upright as for the third straight game they didn’t allow a sack. The defense notched 6 sacks (2 from Roman Braglio) and 2 interceptions (both by Sean Davis)…while holding the Bulls to 7 of 18 on third down.  Terrapin Troubles– Rowe threw 3 interceptions…2 of which led to both of South Florida’s touchdowns.  He also fumbled 3 times…each of which was recovered by the Terps (one was a botched pitchout that Brandon Ross took into the endzone for a TD) and was “not as crisp in the huddle” as coach Randy Edsall would have preferred.  The defense did allow 240 yards rushing…and South Florida is a far cry from Ohio State and Wisconsin.  The team was penalized 12 times for 120 yards…I can only imagine the film session breakdown on that dirty dozen.  Next:  Saturday at 3pm at West Virginia (2-0 coming off a bye week…seriously who takes a week off in September?)

Virginia avoided its first 0-3 start since 2009 by holding on to edge William & Mary 35-29.   Nothing like a nailbiting non-conference win against an FCS school…and after switching helmets from white (UCLA) to blue (Notre Dame) to now orange, UVa appears to have found a winning formula.  Cavalier Congrats– Taquan Mizzell continues to be a dual threat, rushing for 44 yards on 5 carries while catching 5 passes for 123 yards.  Micah Kiser leads the defense with 15 tackles, including 2 sacks and 1 forced fumble.  Nicholas Conte punted just once…and what a beaut: 58 yards.  Cavalier Concerns– how do you let this team stay with you?  The defense that was gashed for 34 points in weeks one and two continues to have issues.  And will there be a fourth helmet color next week?  Next:  Friday at 8pm against Boise State (Broncos are 2-1 after a 52-0 rout of Idaho State)…Kippy and Buffy bracing for one uncomfortable evening.

Virginia Tech pulled away from Purdue in the second half, blistering the Boilermakers 51-24.  After learning they’re not on par with the #1 team in the nation and much better than an FCS school, discovering a Big Ten bottom-feeder isn’t up to their level doesn’t exactly clarify what kind of season we’ll see–but it’s nice to avoid a September stumble.  Hokie Highlights– Brenden Motley went another game without tossing an interception…and the running game by committee posted 238 yards on the ground.  The defense held Purdue to 2 for 15 on third down…led by Adonis Alexander (7 tackles and an interception).  Special teams averaged over 11 yards per punt return…and tallied a 58 yard kickoff return. BEAMER BALL!  Hokie Humblings–  Five fumbles could have been disastrous…thank goodness they lost only one of those drops.  Penalties were a problem again–getting flagged 11 times for 87 yards.  Next:  Saturday at East Carolina.  Beware the September Stumble…

Navy began American Athletic Conference (of America) play with a 45-21 rout of East Carolina.  Thank goodness this game wasn’t played in Greenville during Halloween weekend.  I hear it gets crazy on campus.  Midshipmen Medals– Keenan Reynolds runs for 142 yards and 5 touchdowns while Chris Swain adds 123 yards and a score…the offense converting 13 of 17 third downs.  Will Anthony makes the difference on defense with a fumble recovery and a sack.  Midshipmen Miscues– the Pirates gained over 400 yards of total offense…converting 8 of 13 third downs.  Coach Ken Niumatalolo won’t be pleased with the 6 penalties–but at least he’s not in Blacksburg or College Park.  Next: Saturday at noon against UConn (the 2-1 Huskies are coming off a 9-6 loss at Missouri).


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