Saturday, September 16, 2006

Super Saturday Lived Up to the Hype

Another classic battle in the SEC went down the wire in Auburn with LSU coming up five yards short on the final play of the game. Auburn won this game with only 182 total yards on offense relying on their defense and special teams. LSU has two drives deep into Auburn territory in the 4th quarter and came away with 0 points. The first drive looked like it would be kept alive from a pass interference call on fourth down, but officials ruled that an Auburn defender tipped the ball before it reached the interfered LSU receiver. I personally thought it was a questionable call on the tipped ball. With time running out, JaMarcus Russell led LSU down the field again, but time ran out on the Bengal Tigers as Craig Davis was tackled on the five yard line with no time left.

Auburn now has a huge leg up in the SEC West race with essentially a two game lead. Despite the lack of offense, these two teams are ones that nobody wants to play.
Pictures from the AP/Reuters

The Florida Gators, behind 3 TD passes from Chris Leak, came out of Knoxville with a gutsy, 21-20 win. This game was dominted by the Gators on the offensive and defensive lines, but yet the Gators found themselves behind 17-7 in the second half. The Vols used a WR pass for a TD to go ahead 10-7 and a slant pass to Jayson Swain set up another TD. But Chris Leak never flinched despite being pressured all night and beset by low snaps in the shotgun. The Gators rushed for 139 yards to 2 for Tennessee.

The winner of this game has played for the SEC Championship nine times since 1992. This win was huge for Florida becuase of their brutal SEC slate this season. It was also big that this win came on the round after three bad losses on the road last season. Tennessee now has some work to do in the SEC especially with their currently non-existent rushing game.
Pictures from the AP

Tommy Bowden pulled a fast one on his old man and came out of Tallahassee with the Tigers first win since 1989. With less than two minutes to play, Clemson used a substitution and quick snap to catch FSU off guard and James Davis raced to the Seminole five yard line where he punched it in for the go ahead score three plays later. The Seminoles scored nine points off of blocked kicks producing their only first half points. In the second half, FSU surprisingly was able to come from behind using the running game.

It is very evident this corps of FSU receivers does not even resemble those in past years. The Seminoles are still very much in the thick of things for the ACC race, but cannot afford any more losses. Clemson is now right back in the thick of things for the ACC Championship. Now, they must avoid that one game where they just don’t show up 100% and lose to a team they should not.
Pictures from the AP

This game had some great buildup with the bulletin board material from Louisville LB Nate Harris and then with the Hurricanes stomping on the Cardinal logo in the pregame. Miami looked like they might pull of the upset into the second quarter, but a 56 yard pass to Mario Urittia gave Louisville the lead and they never looked back. The Canes were never able to make a comeback due to four sacks of QB Kyle Wright. In the second half, it looked like Wright was running for his life every other play.

If the seat under Larry Coker was not hot before, then it is now. Many thought, myself included, that this would be a game where Miami would reassert themselves again in the world of college fooball, but they look very average right now. This loss will likely put Miami out of the polls for the first time since 1999. Going back to last season, the Hurricanes have lost four of their last five games.
Pictures from the AP

Matthew Stafford looked solid but not spectacular in his first start. The true freshman completed 10 for 17 passes for 107 yards scoring one touchdown on the ground. The Bulldogs gained just 271 total yards, but gave up just 163 yards. The star of this game was Georgia's special teams returning a blocked punt for a touchdown, gaining 22 yards per punt return, and netting 49 yards per punt.

An often maligned Georgia Tech offense came alive against Troy Saturday racking up 500 total yards in a 35-20 victory. QB Reggie Ball set a Georgia Tech rushing record for quarterbacks with his 130 yards on the ground. This game was tied at 14 going into the fourth quarter, but Tech scored 21 unanswered in 5:49 to go ahead 35-14. The Yellow Jackets now have a short turnaround with a game against Virginia this Thursday in their first ACC tilt.

Around the rest of the SEC....
After a week full of distractions, South Carolina squeaked by Wofford 27-20. The Gamecocks are just not very good right now though Spurrier may still be good for one upset this year. Arkansas came from behind to beat Vandy on the road 21-19. Kentucky beat Ole Miss 31-14 winning their first SEC opener in 19 years. Alabama's offense exploded for 41 points in a thrashing of UL-Monroe. And the struggles continue in Starkville, as Mississippi St loses to Tulane 32-29. I am begining to think the Bulldogs may not win a game all year.

Around the rest of the ACC....
Virginia Tech is back to its old ways - winning with defense and special teams in a shutout of Duke 36-0. With Miami's dismal performance, the Hokies look like the team to beat in the Coastal Division. Boston College had to go to overtime for the second straight week to get the victory. BYU had several chances to win this game, but missed field goals gave BC the life they needed. Virginia's free fall continues as Western Michigan came into Charlottesville and beat the Cavs 17-10. At least, Virginia only has to wait five days before they can attempt to save face vs Georgia Tech on Thursday. Wake Forest saved some face for the ACC against the Big East by going on the road and defeating UConn 24-13. Stay tuned for Chuck Amato's excuse after the Wolfpack loss to Southern Miss 37-17. Amato's fate my be sealed, but the expectations he put forth guaranteeing national promince in Raleigh are to blame. The Tar Heels narrowly escaped I-AA powerhouse Furman in a shootout 45-42. Maryland was simply run over by Steve Slaton and West Virginia on Thursday night.

The SEC did not disappoint this Saturday with two magnificent games. Florida, Auburn, and LSU are all bona-fide BCS teams, while Georgia is not far behind at all. Miami's loss is another black eye for the ACC and Virginia's loss at home is just embarrassing.

Around the rest of the nation...
Notre Dame was beaten badly by Michigan 47-21 and Brady Quinn threw four interceptions. This loss by the Irish creates more doubt about how good they really are (and how good Georgia Tech is). USC is still USC though it looks like the Trojans may be relying more of their defense than their offense this season. The Longhorns rebound nicely with a sound scrimmage versus Rice.

This Week: 4-2 SU, 2-4 ATS, 5-1 O/U
Season: 11-4 SU, 7-8 ATS, 12-3 O/U

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