Saturday, September 9, 2006

SEC Hands Out Doughnuts; ACC Falls Farther

Georgia 18 South Carolina 0
Georgia shutout South Carolina by whipping the Gamecocks up front. South Carolina's defensive line was not able to put any pressure consistent pressure on the Georgia quarterbacks and the Bulldogs flat got after the ball on defense. Georgia's goaline defense was nothing short of amazing handing Steve Spurrier his first shutout since 1987 while at Duke. Joe Tereshinski was knocked out in the first half - enter freshman phenom Matthew Stafford. The Texas native threw three interceptions, but did display good composure in a hostile environment. The Gamecocks also did not do themselves any favors by fumbling twice inside the red zone resulting in two turnovers. One fumble was recovered in the end zone, but the ball cannot be advanced by a fumble on fourth down. I thought Georgia had more talent coming into this game, but I really felt the Gamecock 'D' would be able to harass the inexperienced Bulldog QBs and the offense woudl catch some breaks. However, The offensive line and defensives lines for the Bulldogs simply would not let that happen.

Going forward, South Carolina has major issues on the offensive side of the ball. They were not able to protect Blake Mitchell who was eventually relieved by true freshman Chris Smelley. Needless to say, Georgia was not gangbusters themselves offensively, but they so dominated the line of scrimmage that three picks did not even phase them. When you have two ends like Quentin Moses and Charles Johnson, you will force teams into mistakes on offense. One more note about this game. Was it just me or did seem like the officials fell asleep at times? It seemed like once a drive there was a play where all the officials were caught looking at each other and had no idea what was going on. Let's say the play reviews saved them.

Quotes from the AP-
Steve Spurrier - "I can't stand watching our offense line up right now. We had some problems. We had a few drives here and there, but we kept stopping ourselves. We should be playing a lot better and we're not. We'll make some changes; I'll announce them later. I just can't watch what we're doing now. If it means playing a bunch of freshmen, that's fine. I'm tired of watching this. We can't get it going. I take some of the blame. I called a lousy game, so we'll try to get better."

On the South Carolina offense: "I didn't call a very good one. You throw the ball down to the 10-yard line and start running. I thought the short-yardage play would work, but we've gotten smashed on it this year.

Mark Richt-
On backup QB Matt Stafford and his play: "I thought Stafford did a nice job considering the circumstances. He played better in the first half then in the second, but part of that was my fault and not calling the game as well. We put him in some tough situations that made it hard to just throw the ball away. He will learn though. Overall, I thought he handled the game pretty well. After getting his feet wet here, I think he will only get better in time."

On Georgia's defensive play: "One of the things we talked about last night with our team was to try and honor Coach Russell. The way to truly honor him as a football player, especially a defensive player is to play like a junkyard dog and that is what our guys did. Of course Erk Russell made that saying famous while he was at Georgia, and we talked about trying to play that way."

Photos from the AP:

Florida 42 UCF 0
Who said Chris Leak could not run Urban Meyer's offense? The Gators rolled over UCF. I really thought the Golden Knights could give a Florida a little bit of a struggle, but Florida rolled up 637 yards of offense and pitched their first shutout since 2001.

Quotes from
Urban Meyer- “I thought it was a very good win against a good team. Our team stayed focused tonight. We had four turnovers, and I can’t remember the last time that happened. Those turnovers were uncharacteristic of a Florida team. We have to correct that before next week. We’re a faster team than we were a year ago, and that is what we want. We want to be the fastest team in America, but we’re not there yet. We’re climbing there, but just not there yet.”

On Chris Leak: “Chris Leak scripts the plays. This is his offense now.”

On entering SEC play next week: “I think if we’re healthy, which I think we are, then our biggest disadvantage will be lack of experience.”

Photos from the AP

FSU 24 Troy 17
FSU got all they could handle and more with Troy. Interesting how this line was 30 points all week and then dropped dramatically on Saturday to 26. I think people saw the same thing that I did - can FSU score 30 on a Division I team coming off only 4 days rest? The Seminoles scored twice in the last 6:12 to escape with a victory.

Quotes from
“We couldn’t close the deal against a top 10 team, but we were very, very close,” Trojans coach Larry Blakeney said. “Our players worked very hard for this thing, and had an idea that they could hang with them.”

Photos from the AP

Miami 51 FAMU 10
Miami took out their offensive frustration on FAMU though I am not sure they really solved their problems on the offensive line when a defense like Virginia Tech or Georgia Tech comes knocking. The Hurricanes rushed for 339 yards on the ground vs the Rattlers after managing just 2 yards vs FSU on Monday.

Quotes from the AP-
"We've got a lot more work to do," Miami coach Larry Coker said. "Proud of our offense. The efficiency was there. We didn't make any mistakes. Guys made plays, conducted drives and I was really very pleased with that part of the game."

"We couldn't finish," said Florida A&M wide receiver Roosevelt Kiser, who caught a 7-yard scoring pass for the Rattlers' lone touchdown. "Their defense was extremely fast. That was the fastest defense I've ever seen."

Photos from the AP

Georgia Tech 38 Samford 6
Georgia Tech followed my prescription for victory - get up early and then use the second half to find a second option on offense. Well, the second string played the entire second half, but I am not convinced that if you double Calvin Johnson and blitz Reggie Ball that Tech's offense will be able to move the ball. The defense was outstanding again returning two picks for TD in the first half and held Samford to 22 yards on 18 plays in the second half and did not allow a first down.

Quotes from the AP
Chan Gailey - [On his confidence in the backups at quarterback]
"I have confidence, right now, probably more-so in Taylor (Bennett) because he's taken more snaps with the first and second groups. He's played in a ballgame before, when it was on the line. But I don't know if you ever have a great deal of confidence that they can go in and do the job, but they are here for a reason. They were good in high school, and if they get reps, they have a chance to be good in college. They just don't have the reps right now. So it would be a wait-and-see situation. I think they would eventually be able to get the job done, but I think today, it would be tough on them. "

DE Adamm Oliver
"This week, we could have sat down and said, "oh, we're playing Samford" and we could have took it a little bit easy, but we didn't, we sucked it up, we practiced just as hard as we did for Notre Dame and we got better. Of course there are still things we can improve on, and I'd say Samford's a good team for a Division I-AA school, but we could have definitely easily just try to roll our helmets out there and thought we already had a win, but we didn't play like that. We still played intense. We still went out there with a little bit of fire, and that's what we have to have, no matter who we play. If we play soft this week, and then soft next week against Troy, it might sneak up on us and we might get beat by a team that we're not supposed to get beat by, just from playing soft. Every week we're trying to play like it's the Championship. "

Photos from the AP

Boston College 34 Clemson 33 2OT
Clemson and Boston, what a game. For the second year in a row, BC prevailed in overtime, but unlike last year Clemson should have won this game. The Tigers saw seven point leads evaporate three separate times. Tom O'Brien gained his first win over a ranked opponent in his tenure at BC.

Quotes from the AP-
"I would say special teams hurt us," Clemson coach Tommy Bowden said. "I don't ever remember a game coming down to an extra point. (We didn't) cover kicks. I don't think it takes a genius to figure out how we'd win the game."

"After they scored, I just knew I had to try as hard as I could to get through there," said BC's Jolonn Dunbar, who deflected Jad Dean's point-after attempt. "I knew our offense would score. I wanted to put an end to it as quickly as possible."

Photos from the AP

Around the rest of the SEC...
LSU had not allwoed a TD in their last 10 quarters; make that 14 after a 45-3 blowout of Arizona. Auburn rolled over Miss St. a squad still looking for their first points of the season. Ole Miss ran into a buzzsaw in Colombia, MO in the form of the Missouri Tigers. Even with the addition of Brent Schaeffer, it appears the Rebels have a long way to go. Alabama squeaked by Vanderbilt. Both teams look like they have strong defenses, but struggle mightily on offense right now.

Around the rest of the ACC...
Virginia Tech used their special teams and defense to set up one TD and scoring another in a 35-10 rout of UNC. The Tar Heels have serious issues at QB. I thought Duke might be able to pull the upset over Wake Forest just one week after being shut out by Richmond, but they could not hold on in the end. NC State lost to Akron at home! This was Akron's first win over a BCS opponent and may have been the nail in Chuck Amato's coffin. Virginia somehow managed to get past Wyoming at home in OT. It may be a long year for Al Groh and company.

The SEC is by far the better conference right now. Florida, Georgia, Auburn, and LSU look like they can contend for BCS bowl games right now. Tennessee would be next in line, but after them there does seem to be a pretty significant drop off to the rest of the conference. The ACC has flat out embarrassed themselves in the first two weeks. Virginia and UNC lose to two Big East teams and the Cavs almost lost again this past week to Wyoming. Throw in Akron beating NC State in Raleigh and looks like the ACC may have a tough time filling out their bowl bids.

This Week: 2-2 SU, 1-3 ATS, 3-1 O/U
Season: 7-2 SU, 5-4 ATS, 7-2 O/U

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