Sunday, September 16, 2007

Random Thoughts from Week 3 Games

Wild and wacky games were the MO for SEC games on Saturday. On the plains of Alabama, Auburn not only had their 6-game winning streak against Mississippi State snapped, they also dropped consecutive home games for the first time since 1999, when Ole Miss and Mississippi State beat them. Yesterday was especially painful, as the defense played very well. MSU was held to just 5/18 passing for 41 yards and one offensive touchdown. The Tigers outgained the Bullies 323-213, but repeatedly shot itself in the foot with 5 turnovers, including 3 interceptions. Backup QB Kodi Burns gave the Tigers a spark off the bench, throwing for 65 yds and running for 87 more an a TD, but a costly interception in the 4th quarter set up MSU's only offensive TD.

Hats off to the Bulldog defense, allowing no points in the second half of a game for the second straight week. The last couple of seasons, dropping a home game to MSU has been the end of two coach's tenures. Ron Zook and Mike Shula were both "Croomed", but obviously, the same won't happen to Tuberville.

Chalk up some Captain Obvious points for Tennessee HC Phil Fulmer for his post-game quote of "certainly this wasn't representative of what we intended to do today." So the Vols didn't plan on giving up 554 yds of offense and turning the ball over 3 times? That must be a load off the Vol Nation's back, because watching that game yesterday, it looked like they were trying to. Poor tackling, bad offensive execution, silly turnovers... Tennessee has a ways to go to get back to where they once were.

And what about Florida? They certainly announced their presence in the National Title race with this win. Human cyborg Tim Tebow continues to silence doubters of his throwing ability, with another solid day - 299 yds, 2 TDs - and chipped in with 61 yds rushing and 2 TDs for good measure. He did make one very ill-advised throw that was returned 96 yards for a UT TD. The defense played better than most expected, holding the normally explosive UT offense to less than 300 yds and only 1 offensive TD. Not to be nitpicky here, but UF did struggle punting the ball, averaging less than 34 ypk and a long of 37. That could be an issue later on against a stout defense like South Carolina or LSU...

Georgia used their game against Western Carolina to get things back on track. After being kept out of the end zone last week, the Dawgs scored 6 times against the hapless Catamounts, hoping to build some momentum heading into this weekends showdown in Tuscaloosa.

Alabama got a little late-game home-cooking from the officials in their last second victory over Arkansas. In an otherwise perfectly even game (450 yards for each team, time of possession was 30:27-29:33 Arkansas), the biggest play of the game was a highly questionable pass interference call in the end zone on the game winning drive. Any questions about Alabama's ability to throw the ball were answered with John Parker Wilson's 327 yds and 4 TDs, but now questions arise about their run defense. After stonewalling Western Carolina and Vandy, Alabama was shredded by DMac, Felix Jones, and company for 301 yds.

Arkansas did what it needed to do to win, which was run the football, and get a solid game from QB Casey Dick. If you had told Hog fans before the game that they'd rush for 300+ yds andDick would throw 3 TDs, they'd have thought it would be a blowout there way. Credit the Tide for hanging in there and making the plays down the stretch, though it didn't hurt that DMac was out the last several minutes of the game for precautionary reasons.

South Carolina was actually trailing SCSU 3-0 early in the game before scoring 38 straight. With a huge game against LSU this weekend, this isn't exactly what Spurrier wanted though, his senior QB tossing 3 INTs. The defense was again rock solid and the OL was on its game as the Cocks rushed for 223 yards.

The porous Ole Miss defense was just the remedy Vanderbilt needed to fix its early season rushing woes. The Commodores hadn't had anyone who rushed for 100 yards total through 2 games racked up 183 yards, including Cassen Jackson-Garrison's 118. How would you like to have been the PA announcer for this one, with Cassen Jackson-Garrison and BenJaurvus Green-Ellis touching the ball a combined 45 times? All SEC WR Earl Bennett was stellar again - 11 catches, 100 yards - but was held out of the end zone for a second straight game.

When the Rebels hired John Thompson as DC, I don't think this is what they had in mind. For a third straight week they faced a spread offense, and for the third straight week, they were lit up, this time surrendering 383 yards to a VU team that struggled mightily a week ago against Bama. And it couldn't have been much fun for Rebels fans to see Brent Schaeffer under center after Seth Adams got hurt. Despite throwing a 54 yd TD on his first play from scrimmage, Schaeffer finished the game 1/5 for those 54 yds, was sacked twice, and none of his other 4 passes were close to their intended receivers.

LSU continues its domination of everything in sight, shutting out MTSU a week after they hung 42 on Louisville. The Tigers rolled up 500+ yards and held the Blue Raiders to just 90. This team is just plain nasty. Anyone who wants to argue they're not the No. 1 team in the country based on what they've accomplished so far this season is either blind or stupid, or probably both. Another major statement game looms this weekend when South Carolina rolls into the Bayou...

Kentucky coach Rich Brooks silenced many of his detractors with UK's incredible win over Louisville last night. For the 12th straight matchup between these two, the team that had more rushing yds won the game. In an amazingly even game - Louisville: 467 yds, 29:37 TOP, UK: 460 yds, 30:23 TOP - UK rushed 35 times for 185 yds and the D made just enough big plays , forcing 2 TOs. On the first play after an unbelievably bad-timed 15-yd personal foul late in the game, QB Andre Woodson threw his 4th TD of the game and 2nd to fellow senior Steve Johnson, who couldn't have been more wide open if he were Britney Spears' mouth at a hot dog eating contest. Sweet redemption for the BlueGrass Miracle of a few years back.

As an aside, what was going with Louisville HC Steve Kragthorpe acting like such a baby after the game? He was caught on film yelling/cussing at UK fans who weren't even glancing his way. He seems to be a clown who's not cut out for football in a BCS conference.

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