I didn’t get around to posting last week’s results, when my teams went 3-0, but each of the wins foreshadowed problems that surfaced this week. I meant to write something last week, but got busy with actual work.
Wisconsin d S. Florida
The Badgers played an early (11AM CDT) game against S. Florida. The game was tied at 3 at halftime, as Wisconsin continued to show problems in the passing game, and was slow to get Melvin Gordon and the passing game going with Tanner McEvoy. The Badgers broke out in the third quarter. Final Score: Wisconsin 27, S. Florida 10.
A&M d Arkansas
The Aggies went to Dallas for the second straight week to face an improving Arkansas team in their SEC opener (talking heads seem to forget that we had already played S. Carolina). After the usual fast start, A&M fell behind on a long run by RB Alex Collins. A&M tied it on a TD to Ed Pope, but the Ags misfired with dropped passes and a surprising FG miss by Lambo. While the Ags drives misfired, we did an OK job stopping the Razorbacks until a fake punt that went 51 yards to give Arkansas a 21-14 lead going into halftime. With Arkansas getting the ball first to start the second half, A&M fans were worried about getting into a shootout needing to break service. The D held on that first drive and A&M moved to the Arkansas 21 with a chance to tie the game. But a Kenny Hill to Ricky Seals-Jones out pattern on 4th and 1 was well covered, and the Ags gave the ball back. Arkansas got a 2 TD lead on their next drive on a play-action pass to TE AJ Derby. Derby blocked CB Devante Harris before releasing into the open with no safety help, while QB Brandon Allen did an excellent job of hiding the ball after faking a handoff. 28-14 Arkansas.
The first major turning point of the game came on a bonehead play by Arkansas tackle Dan Skipper in the 4th quarter. Arkansas ran a well-blocked play that sprang Jonathan Williams to the 2 yd line. But away from the point of attack, Skipper was knocked down and reacted by not one but at least two flails of his legs, ultimately drawing a tripping call that brought back the big play that would have led to a 3 TD lead. A&M’s next possession after a punt to the 12 yard line took 2 plays. The second was an 86 yard bomb to Pope to cut the lead to 28-21. Arkansas went 3 and out on their next drive, but Kenny Hill threw a long interception to give the Hogs the ball back with 8:34 to go. Both defenses got stops and Arkansas took over with a TD lead with 5:27 left. A pair of 17 yard runs got the ball into A&M territory. A fumbled snap was recovered by Arkansas, but the Hogs settled for a FG attempt from the A&M 31 to make it a 2 score lead with less than 3 minutes to go. Unfortunately for the Arkansans, the FG was missed. The Ags struck quickly again, with Hill hitting Josh Reynolds on the right side between two defenders. Reynolds shot through the gap and ran to the end zone to tie it up.
After stopping Arkansas again, the Ags had a chance to win in regulation, getting the ball on the 25 with 1:18 left. A&M got as far as their own 38 before opting to go to OT. The OT didn’t last long, as the Ags scored in one play on a Hill pass over the middle to Malcome Kennedy (who got away with a false start that was disguised by Hill’s acting like there was an audible after Kennedy’s twitch). The Arkansas linebacker bit on a fake WR screen to the right, and Kennedy ran straight up the middle to snag the pass and run into the endzone. Arkansas had to score a TD to keep OT going, but couldn’t convert on 4th and 1. Final Score: A&M 35 Arkansas 28. Bullet dodged.
Stanford d Washington
The Cardinal went to Seattle to play Washington. The game started while the A&M game was already going, so I only caught glimpses of it. But what I did see seemed like typical Stanford for this year: good D combined with an offense that has trouble in the red zone. Stanford had 3 turnovers, and the game was tied at 13 in the 4th quarter. I did not see the peculiar decision by Washington to run a fake punt on 4th and 9 from near midfield. It was stuffed and Stanford scored the game winning TD on the next possession.
There were lots of interesting results on the field, but the story that dominated the week was a decision by Michigan’s Brady Hoke to sub in a player who was concussed during a blowout loss to Minnesota. This seemed to be a product of cluelessness and incompetence more than a manifestation of macho throwback values, but it was still appalling. Michigan handled the aftermath badly as well, leading to campus rallies against the AD and grandstanding from congresscritters.
On the field: