Archives for posts with tag: Florida

PORTIONS PREVIOUSLY APPEARING ON WTOP.COM-

What time is it?  Oh yes, we’re back from Daylight Saving Time (not to be confused with “daylight savings”, which I’m told is incorrect) and return to “Standard Time” which for some reason takes up only 34.7% of the year.  Why not call DST the “new standard”?  I lived in Indiana when a large part of that state didn’t observe Daylight Saving, and while it was awesome not to change my clocks twice a year it was kind of jarring for it to be bright at 5 a.m. in June yet pitch black at 8:30 a.m. in December (I might be exaggerating slightly).

College football’s elite dealt with the switch back to Standard the only way they could:  top ranked LSU, No. 2 Alabama, and No. 3 Ohio State didn’t play.  I’m sure the respective coaches had their players in cocoons to get the body ready for the clock switch, although the Tigers and Crimson Tide are both preparing for their November 9 showdown.  The Buckeyes probably don’t need an extra week to prepare for Maryland.  Those falling back on the field this weekend include No. 6 Florida, who may be unbeaten in Gainesville yet 0-2 in Baton Rouge and Jacksonville, and No. 15 SMU who sees their New Year’s Day bowl hopes take a major hit with their first loss of the season.  But at least the Mustangs entered November unbeaten;  No. 20 Appalachian State fell for the first time October 31st and doesn’t get credit for reaching “Closing Month” unblemished.  What time is it?

 

Alma Mater Update- it’s time for the defense to show up. At Syracuse the number 44 is special, as the likes of Jim Brown, Ernie Davis, and Floyd Little made those digits famous.  Even men’s basketball’s Derrick Coleman and John Wallace honored that number with great play.  But Saturday the Orange allowed 44 points in the first half to Boston College.  They wound up losing 58-27 and are now 3-6 with games remaining against Duke, Louisville and Wake Forest (a combined 16-8 on the season).  A winless ACC season is a distinct possibility after last year’s 10-3 dream season.  Bring on basketball-who probably won’t allow 44 points in a half this season.

 

Navy (7-1, 5-1 AAC) dominated UConn from the opening kickoff in their 56-10 rout of the Huskies.  The win also gives the Mids a half game lead in the AAC West over Memphis and SMU;  their lone loss is to the Tigers while the Mustangs come to Annapolis later this month.

Midshipmen Medals: Malcolm Perry rushes for 108 yards and two touchdowns while also throwing for 165 yards and a score.  The running game would average eight yards per carry while gaining 408 on the evening.  Kevin Brennan tallied 12 tackles to lead a defense that held UConn to 4-14 on third down.

Midshipmen Miscues: head coach Ken Niumatalolo won’t be pleased with the four penalties, and Owen White averaged under 40 yards per punt.  When you’re parsing penalties and punts, it’s been one heck of a week.

Next: November 16 at 6-2 Notre Dame.

 

Maryland (3-6, 1-5 Big Ten) in their first game after Halloween was haunted by big plays made by Michigan as well as missed opportunities of their own;  the 38-7 loss was one of those games that felt closer than the actual score.  Unfortunately, the result puts the Terps on the precipice of Bowl eligibility elimination.

Terrapin Triumphs:  Javon Leake returned a kickoff back for a 97-yard touchdown.  Josh Jackson in his first start back from injury remained healthy- no small feat concerning Maryland quarterbacks’ recent health history.  Isaiah Davis notched nine tackles and the defense prevailed in 8 of 15 third down situations.

Terrapin Troubles: Special teams they weren’t on a day where the Terps allowed the opening kickoff to be run back for a touchdown, missed a field goal and averaged less than 35 yards per punt while also allowing a first down on a fake punt.  They left points on the table when their best two drives of the day died in the Michigan red zone; instead of converting key third downs Jackson threw an interception and took a sack that set up a long field goal (which was missed).  Jackson was under pressure all afternoon, as Michigan sacked him four times.

Next: Saturday at noon on the road against No. 3 Ohio State.

 

Virginia Tech (5-3) led No. 16 Notre Dame into the final minute of play before the Fighting Irish put together an 18 play, 87 yard drive that ended with an Ian Book seven yard touchdown run.  Instead of beginning college football’s closing month with a signature victory, Tech gets 60 minutes of game tape illustrating their shortcomings.

Hokie Highlights: freshman quarterback Quincy Patterson II ran for 77 yards while throwing a touchdown pass to Damon Hazelton, who caught five passes for 63 yards to lead the team in both categories. Divine Deablo intercepted a pass and returned a fumble 98 yards back for a touchdown while Dax Hollifield intercepted a pass and notched a sack. Brian Johnson made both of his field goal attempts while John Parker Romo averaged 44.2 yards per punt.

Hokie Humblings:  Patterson the passer had issues, completing just 9 of 28 throws while tossing a game-sealing interception.  The offense converted just 4-16 third downs and began the day with four straight three and outs.

Next: Saturday at 3:30 p.m. against 7-1 Wake Forest.

 

Virginia (6-3, 4-2 ACC) has had their season of possibilities turn into a season of surprises. The surprising losses at Miami and Louisville now have their counterpart, a 38-31 win at North Carolina.  Now many of my UVa friends will admit they consider the original ACC member Tar Heels more of a rival than “new money” Virginia Tech, and for good reason: they’re 11-9 this century against UNC and have lost 15 straight to the Hokies.

Cavalier Congrats:  Bryce Perkins once again puts this team on his back, throwing for 378 yards and three touchdowns while running for 112 yards and two more scores.  Yes, that’s all five touchdowns came from this kid’s arm and feet.  Terrell Jana didn’t catch a touchdown pass, but did notch 13 receptions for 146 yards.  Charles Snowden led the defense with eight tackles.  The team committed just one penalty for five yards.

Cavalier Concerns: the defense was gashed for 539 yards and was burned by multiple big plays.  Touchdown passes of 34, 42, 47 and 50 yards were allowed by a D that was supposed be the strength of this team.  They also surrendered a non-scoring 57 yard strike.  The lack of running support for Perkins didn’t cost them this week, but he did get sacked three times as well as take those hits for his 21 runs.  He’s not indestructible.

Next: Saturday at 12:30 p.m. against 2-6 Georgia Tech.

 

 

PORTIONS PREVIOUSLY APPEARING ON WTOP.COM–

September is finally in college football’s rear-view mirror, and while there are a few schools that have taken their lumps in the sports “Show Me Month” (Baylor is 0-5) one state in particular is thankful we’ve turned the calendar page:  Florida.  An entire state saw destruction from Hurricane Irma and the seven FBS schools saw their schedules altered in some way.  Now that some of the clouds have passed, sunny skies are ahead for the state’s big three:  #14 Miami improves to 4-0 with a rout of previously unbeaten Duke, Florida (3-1) is fresh off a shutout of Tennessee and Florida State (1-2) is no longer winless thanks to their comeback rally against Wake Forest (before you snicker, remember it took Virginia Tech double-overtime to beat the Deacons 6-3 not too long ago).  The AAC East will likely be decided between unbeatens South Florida and UCF and even Conference USA’s FAU and FIU aren’t completely unwatchable.  The state of Florida thanks you for your prayers and thoughts:  now their football teams are going back to their autumn tradition of kicking butt.

Alma Mater Update- the ACC season began with a whimper in Raleigh as the Orange came up short to NC State 33-25.  The Wolfpack aren’t even the third most feared of SU’s Atlantic Division foes…and while the road to a Pinstripe Bowl banner became a lot more difficult one is pleased with the progress from year one to two by Coach Dino Babers’ program.  This is going to take a while…

 

Maryland (3-1, 1-0 Big Ten) defied expectations once again by beating Minnesota 31-24.  They shocked us by beating Texas on the road and then stunned us by getting crushed at home by UCF in week four.  So why should Saturday’s game be any different?  Terrapin Triumphs: Max Bortenschlager threw two touchdown passes and ran for a third score…while not committing a turnover for an offense that had just a pair of three-and-outs on the afternoon.  Ty Johnson (130 yards and the game-winning TD) led a ground game that churned out 262 yards against the best run defense in the Big Ten.  Jermaine Carter Jr. led the defense with 8 tackles and forced a fumble.  The D also picked off Conor Rhoda twice, including the game-sealing INT by J.C. Jackson.  Terrapin Troubles:  the suspect secondary allowed 17.6 yards per completion.  Wade Lees averaged under 35 yards per punt.  Next:  3 p.m. Saturday at 4-1 Ohio State.

Navy (4-0, 3-0 AAC) stayed unbeaten while providing plenty cause for concern in their 31-21 win at Tulsa.  Rallying from a 14-point deficit is nice, but the rest of the league will be a little more dangerous when spotted a two-score lead.  Midshipmen Medals:  another great day on the ground: 421 yards this time.  Zach Abey ran for 185 yards and three touchdowns and didn’t commit a turnover.   Tyler Sayles tallied nine tackles to pace the defense that began the second half by allowing 16 yards on 11 plays from scrimmage.  Midshipmen Miscues:  two touchdowns coughed up in the first quarter will definitely have the defense’s attention in the film-review room.  Nine penalties and a fumble lost can’t be ideal for a team and program that has made its mark as one that doesn’t beat itself.  Oh, and they missed another short field goal (this time the 26-yarder was blocked).  Next:  Saturday at 3:30 p.m against 1-3 Air Force.

#12 Virginia Tech (4-1, 0-1 ACC) stumbled in prime time to #2 Clemson 31-17.  There’s no shame in coming up short against the defending national champs, and if nothing else the loss may provide a roadmap of the Hokies as they begin to navigate the Coastal Division waters (decidedly less choppy than the Atlantic).  Hokie Highlights:  the defense held the Tigers to under 350 total yards and 6-of-16 on third down.  Cam Phillips caught 7 passes for 74 yards.  Greg Stroman continued to live up to his “special teams dynamo” status by ripping off a 43-yard punt return.  Hokie Humblings:  three turnovers, including one returned for a game-sealing TD by the Tigers.  The offense went three-and-out on four of their first five possessions.  Next:  Saturday at 7:15 p.m. at 2-3 Boston College.

Heat rises.  It also stifles and confuses.  Last season at this time I saw the multiple hot seats at blue blood programs Texas (Mack Brown retired), USC (Lane Kiffin was fired) and Nebraska (Bo Pellini’s tenure hasn’t expired).  A new year brings new coaches looking over their shoulders at schools that feel they’re entitled to 10 wins, playing for a conference championship and a New Year’s Day reservation.  Michigan’s Brady Hoke not only has the 31-0 thumping by Notre Dame to answer for…but also a home loss to Utah.  Florida’s Will Muschamp saw his Gators get worked by Alabama one week after they needed triple overtime to outlast Kentucky.  There was even talk around Texas and first-year coach Charlie Strong after their early loss to BYU.  Coaches are paid big money to produce wins and revenue for their schools…and the only opponent more difficult than this week’s is yesteryear.  Because nobody in Austin will admit that Darryl Royal ever had problems beating Oklahoma…nobody mentions how Michigan under Bo Schembechler was 5-12 in bowl games…and nobody mentions that the Gators didn’t win an SEC title until 1984 (that had to be vacated).  Thankfully a coach’s salary allows his expenses budget to include antacids.

 

Alma Mater Update– one tough loss at home for the Orange.  As if one didn’t realize after needing a fake field goal in double-overtime to beat Villanova that this wouldn’t be a replay of the 1987 Sugar Bowl season.  Penalties and missed plays helped ruin the offense in the red zone…and coverage breakdowns led to a pair of long TD’s.  Now for Notre Dame–can SU get the 1983 Liberty Bowl season Fighting Irish?

 

Maryland won on the road for the second time in three weeks…edging Syracuse 34-20.  Entering a Big Ten buzz-saw that includes ranked teams Ohio State, Michigan State and Wisconsin (plus Michigan and Penn State and an Indiana team that upset Missouri) at 3-1 is so much better than 2-2…because who wants to sit down for Thanksgiving Dinner at 5-6 needing a win over Rutgers to become bowl-eligible?  Terrapin Triumphs– beware the big play:  CJ Brown tossed a 90-yard TD pass to Brandon Ross that began as a simple swing pass, a blocked punt set up a 2nd quarter TD and Will Likely returned an INT 88 yards for the team’s last TD of the day (he also tallied a team-high 9 tackles)… Red Zone Defense forced the Orange to settle for field goals or nothing at all multiple times… and the team bounced back from a tough loss at home in fine fashion.  Terrapin Troubles– the offense gained just 68 yards in the second half… 8 penalties for 75 yards won’t sit well with the coaching staff…and the defense allowed over 500 yards for the second straight week.  Next:  Saturday at Indiana.

 

Virginia Tech began the ACC season with a whimper–a 27-24 come from ahead loss to Georgia Tech.  Whatever glow this team had from its upset win at Ohio State two weeks ago is washed away…and while there are still Coastal Division hopes (hey– Duke, UNC and Virginia remain Duke, UNC and Virginia) one wonders if it isn’t too early to be concerned if this isn’t another 4 or 5 loss team.  Hokie Highlights– linebacker Chase Williams led the hit parade with 17 tackles … Isaiah Ford notched 8 receptions for 114 yards… the defense held GT to 4-12 on third down while the offense was 8-14 at moving the chains.  Hokie Humblings– Michael Brewer threw 3 interceptions (one of which was returned for a TD)… laundry continues to be an achilles heel for this team with 12 penalties for 79 yards… and was that a blocked field goal I saw?  Whatever happened to Beamer Ball?  Next:  Saturday vs Western Michigan.

 

Virginia had #21 BYU on the ropes for 30 minutes before falling 41-33.  Another one-possession game against an unbeaten…another opportunity missed…but another encouraging sign that this program is moving in the right direction.  Cavalier Congrats–  how did they lose this game after owning a 35-16 edge in first downs and a 519-332 yardage advantage while  possessing the ball for over 40 minutes?  Miles Gooch (6 catches for 65 yards) continues to terrorize secondaries instead of Arnold Drummond… and Khalek Shepherd (73 yards rushing and a TD) looked sharp.  Cavalier Concerns– the defense bent and broke in the second half– allowing 3 touchdown drives… special teams allowed a kickoff return that kept the game out of reach… and neither quarterback averaged 10 yards per completion–even the Eight Ball knows you’ve got to stretch the field somewhat.  Next:  Saturday vs Kent State (evidently it’s schedule a MAC school day in the Commonwealth).

 

Navy fell behind early against Rutgers…and a second half rally wasn’t enough in a 31-24 loss to the Scarlet Knights.  Midshipmen Medals– Keenan Reynolds threw for 231 yards and a TD in his return to the lineup from a knee injury…the defense held Rutgers to 139 yards in the second half and turned an early Scarlet Knights fumble into a touchdown.  Midshipmen Miscues– the run defense was gashed for 284 yards… and after the D forced a fumble and a three & out allowed points on four straight possessions.  Next:  Saturday vs Western Kentucky.