Week two of any season is still more of a snapshot as opposed to a full portrait, but if week one was bad news for the Big Ten then this past weekend was a shameful one for the SEC.  Tennessee’s collapse against Oklahoma? Arkansas losing to Toledo (perhaps there’s something to be said about not underestimating the MAC–see Bowling Green below)?  But the biggest hit came to a school that actually won…as #6 Auburn barely escaped making Jacksonville State this decade’s Appalachian State, holding on for a 27-20 overtime win.  Despite the “victory”, the Tigers dropped 12 spots in the Associated Press poll.  Three SEC teams fell out of the Top 25 (after last week’s record ten conference schools were ranked):  Mississippi State joins Tennessee and Arkansas on the outside looking in, but at least the Bulldogs lost to SEC foe LSU.  Will #17 Mississippi (at #2 Alabama this upcoming week) be next to join them?

 

Alma Mater Update– a comeback in the Carrier Dome!  While a 2-0 start was hoped for at Syracuse…and one recognizes that Wake Forest is rather awful… rallying in the second half behind a true freshman quarterback puts bleu cheese dressing on those wings.  Eric Dungey didn’t necessarily beat the Demon Deacons–but the lad from Lake Oswego, Oregon didn’t make the mistakes that lose games.  Are there concerns?  Certainly–they completed just 8 passes and as far as I know this is still the 21st century.  Is there unfounded optimism?  Heck yes– but the Orange are already 67% of their way to matching last fall’s win total.  Bring on Central Michigan (somehow that doesn’t sound as impressive as it should)!

 

Maryland’s 48-27 loss to Bowling Green actually felt like three games in College Park.  The first half saw both the Terps and Bowling Green stutter and stammer…followed by a 55-minute lightning delay.  While the third quarter saw more than a few causes for concern at Byrd Stadium…the fourth represented every fear coming to roost in a rout that has the team taking serious stock in itself.  Terrapin Triumphs– Will Likely returned a punt for a touchdown again…this time from 85 yards despite the Falcons efforts to kick out of bounds.  The offensive line held the Falcons without a sack and the attack was able to generate big plays in the form of a 36-yard run by Perry Hills and a 42 yard TD pass from Hills to D.J. Moore.  Yannick Ngakoue notched three sacks. Terrapin Troubles– the defense was gashed for 692 yards…and allowed 28 points in the fourth quarter.  The offense converted just 3 of 12 third downs…and the tailback tandem of Wes Brown & Brandon Ross was held to 63 yards on 17 carries.  Even special teams dynamo Will Likely fumbled a punt…setting up a Falcons score.  Next:  Saturday at noon against South Florida (1-1 after a 34-14 loss to Florida State).  Who will play quarterback is a question that won’t die…

 

Virginia’s 34-27 defeat against Notre Dame was painful in a different manner.  The Cavaliers somehow stayed with the Fighting Irish all afternoon in Charlottesville before pulling ahead with 1:54 left in the fourth quarter.  Unfortunately, it was 1:42 too long as Notre Dame won in heartbreaking fashion on a 39 yard touchdown pass from their backup quarterback.  Disney is already optioning the rights to the “DeShone Kizer Story”.  Cavalier Congrats– the defense held Notre Dame to 0-10 on third down.  Caleb Severin caught 11 passes for 153 yards while Matt Johns threw for 289 yards and no interceptions.  Punter Nicholas Conte averaged 47 yards a kick.  Cavalier Concerns– they still allowed a backup qb to drive the length of the field with under two minutes to play and score the gamewinning TD…and the run defense allowed 253 yards rushing.  In previous years it’s been the defense that’s carried the offense.  Could it be the other way around this fall?  Next:  Saturday at 12:30 against William & Mary (1-0 and the Tribe is coming off a bye week).  Who goes on a bye in September?  Was opening weekend that taxing?

 

Virginia Tech avoided the Buckeye hangover by belting Furman 42-3.  Nice bounceback after one tough loss to Ohio State.  So we now know coach Frank Beamer’s team might not be as good as the #1 team in the nation but is definitely better than an FCS school.  Makes figuring out the rest of the season all the easier.  Hokie Highlights– Brenden Motley shined in his first start at quarterback, completing 67% of his passes and threw for 2 scores with no interceptions.  The running game tallied 299 yards (over 7 yards a carry).  Chuck Clark (13 tackles) led a defense that held the Paladins to 9 of 26 passing.  Hokie Humblings– 11 penalties for 114 yards won’t hurt against Furman, but can’t continue if they hope to contend in the Coastal Division.  Two missed field goals takes some of the air out of BEAMER BALL! after last week’s fumble recovery.  Next:  Saturday at Purdue (1-1 after beating Indiana State 38-14).  Beware the September stumble…

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