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Most people view the number seven as the luckiest of them all, and boy did it have both sides of the spectrum this week. Notre Dame, the ones who favor this luck in calling themselves the Irish, lost to rival Stanford in a discouraging manner. Others, such as Tennessee had luck on their side as the ugliest looking kick I’ve ever seen somehow found it’s way between the uprights to pull off the upset. Maybe the most unfortunate of all parties this week were the mascot handlers at SMU.
I’ll review these storylines and more in my week seven review.
There’s few things that inspire awe like Travis Pastrana’s Nitro Circus. The flipping bikes and stunts make you as the fan say “wow” more than almost anything. Well last Thursday night, there was a lot of “wow” going on at the Bounce House.
The UCF Golden Knights played a real life game of whack-a-mole with the Temple Owls, beating them literally and figuratively. A 70-13 trouncing that was close for a quarter and a half, was then a blowout in the blink of an eye. UCF out-gained the Owls 737 to 293 as they went on a 56-0 run to end the game.
The Golden Knights mascot, Knightro, had to be pleased with his teams’ performance. Not every day do you get a conference win in that fashion where the game is just fun, more than it is hard.
When Worlds Collide
I love the old traditions behind college football, especially those of service academies that stick to the outdated triple option. It’s like watching a game through a time machine, using eye candy and deception with motion just to pitch it or hand it off anyways.
Then you have the newer traditions that have developed over the last few decades, such as the air raid offense. Mike Leach was one of the pioneers of this scheme, allowing his teams to throw the ball around 60-70 times per contest. That created the Big 12 power struggle with potent offenses, yearning for that race to 60 points.
On Friday night I had to tune in as the two schemes of old and new clashed. Navy, coming in with the tricky option, ran the ball a whopping 77 times! While SMU, a team that heavily features the forward pass, was only able to muster 27 attempts as Navy held the ball for nearly 41 minutes.
Surprisingly, Navy was actually able to out gain SMU 510 to 441. It’s just funny that even with the complete difference of these two attacks, the score, which was a 40-34 SMU win, and the yards were close.
Staying on this Navy and SMU game, there should have been nobody more excited than SMU quarterback Tanner Mordecai who had a 60 yard TD run early in the third. He utilized the read option to lure the defender inside, and then pulled the ball and was off to the races.
Just as Mordecai was sprinting free across the field, so was the mascot. A mustang named Peruna represents the team, and lets just say he was so excited he literally pooped himself. Nothing like watching the handlers clean up horse nuggets with Gatorade cups as the cameramen zoomed in to capture the moment like his life depended on it.
Book Hyatt Now!
If you are into college fantasy football, and you had Tennessee Vols wideout Jalin Hyatt, you were in business. After six catches, 207 yards and FIVE TDs, you can say that people are going to be booking Hyatt from here on out. The google search engine now doesn’t pull up hotels when you type in “Hyatt,” but instead Jalin Hyatt. The man changed google with his performance, it was that legendary.
To The River
Thanks to the performance by Hyatt, Tennessee was able to shake the 16 year long skid against Alabama. The fans so eager to storm the field in victory had one target in mind, and it wasn’t to celebrate with their players or chastise Nick Saban. It was the goal posts.
It’s been a while since I’ve seen it actually accomplished, especially with athletic departments having greased them in the past to disallow grip to pull them out. But hey, much respect to the Volunteer faithful in not just getting them out of the ground, but out of the stadium. Numerous videos and pictures shared online are hilarious, showing them carrying it up the stands and people riding them like crazed beasts.
In the end, the goal posts finally made it to the desired location, which is the Tennessee River. With FCS Tennessee-Martin coming up next, a letdown game is fortunately not likely. I don’t think Tennessee would have been able to shake the disappointment if they were to lose next week after such a momentous win.
Freeman A Gone Man?
One of the hottest hirings in college football over the last year was in South Bend. Notre Dame brought in Marcus Freeman in 2021 to be the defensive coordinator, just to have him promoted to head coach less than a year later. After blowing a 28-7 lead to Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl on January 1st, and now a 3-3 start this season, Freeman may be in trouble.
There’s still a lot of time and plenty of games left down the road with top 15 teams Clemson, Syracuse and USC. However, dropping all three of those games means that they would have to beat Boston College, Navy and UNLV just to have a .500 season. I don’t have a warm fuzzy feeling about this team right now with that loss to Stanford, and question marks all over the offensive side of the ball.
You Get A Targeting! You Get A Targeting!
The PAC-12 referees are frequent victims to criticism or controversy, and Saturday night was just another example. On back to back plays, they threw flags and initiated reviews for targeting by USC players, on plays that obviously weren’t. Upon completing the reviews, they picked up the flags and allowed both players to remain in the game.
Though the right call, they were showered by a tremendous roar of BOOs by the home crowd. It’s never ideal to get any calls wrong, but if you’re going to get them wrong on back-to-back plays, they better not be to the advantage of the away team. What we saw in Salt Lake City was a small example of what will happen to officials who don’t do their job properly, and it was completely warranted.
In what was supposed to be a close, exciting matchup between two top 10 Big Ten squads, the Michigan Wolverines pounded the Penn State Nittany Lions…literally. Both running backs for the Wolverines, Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards, had 166 and 173 yards, respectively. Also, each had two TDs on their way to a team effort of 418 yards on the ground.
Penn State’s defense had excelled at stopping the run all year, up until this point. The line of scrimmage was constantly won by the Wolverines, pushing the Nittany Lion front backwards all afternoon. Needless to say, someone should be calling PETA for cat abuse here.
We Have A Pulse!
Last week, I wrote off the Oklahoma Sooners when they got smoked by rival Texas, to the score of 49-0. The return of quarterback Dillon Gabriel must have been the spark needed to ignite the offense again since they went for 52 points and 701 total yards. It’s still an uphill battle for this team the rest of the way, but it’s nice to see that the players are still bought in under first year head coach, Brent Venables.