We are listed as 7 point favorites at home against Washington State. Once again we are facing an opponent with very high rankings on both sides of the ball. WSU is #1 in offense and #7 on defense. We are 4th and 5th, respectively.
The Cougars have very high rankings for a team that is 2-2. They are not good losses either: 37-30 at home to Baylor and 31-27 at home to Northwestern. Of course, they proceeding to pistol-whip Stanford 53-10. But this is their first road game of the season. The capitalized on their strong season last year to land the #18 recruiting class in the nation. Their prestige jumped 3 points last year, up to 60.
Their QB, SO Eric Williams was a real recruiting coup. He was the #15 player in the nation coming out of high school. He jumped into the lineup immediately and has really blossomed this year: 15 TDs, 4 INTs, 177.4 rating. Our pass D is rated #8 in the nation so far. Probably heading down a bit after today.
99,046 on hand for today's showdown.
One play drive - RB Ken Mahdavi sprints for 67 yards. That isn't the start we were looking for. 7-0, 14:40 left in quarter.
Brown returns the kick out to the 44.
Good to have our QBs back - Edwards to Jackson for 25 on the first play.
Perhaps I spoke too soon - Edwards is sacked and the drive fizzles at the 38.
McMullen comes in for this field goal attempt, 56 yards? Have we lost our minds? It is short.
Whatever crazy juice we were drinking, it appears that it was served on the other sideline as well. On 4th and 1 WSU attempts a 57 yard field goal. I'm pretty sure both sides don't have the wind ... but both kicks were short.
3 and out.
DE Joe Banducci has made a reputation recovering fumbles, but this time he forces one after popping Willie Morris on a WR screen. J.R. Jackson recovers it on our 33.
We are allergic to momentum. 3 and out, Edwards is sacked again.
Defense forces a 3 and out.
FB Hagood Morris picks up 3 on a 3rd and 2 at the 32.
We pick up our first penalty of the day, holding on first and ten at the 16.
We can't pick up 20 yards and settle for a 29 yard McMullen field goal. 7-3, 14:36 left in the half.
Defense forces a sack on 3rd down, WSU punts.
Bowens fumbles after a ten yard punt return, WSU recovers on our 27.
Offsides on 3rd and 6 gives them another shot to get 6.
Which they do - 2 yard TD pass. 14-3, 10:01 left in half.
Brown picks up a pair of first downs before Edwards gets sacked for the 3rd time.
4th and 2, we convert on a screen pass.
Burford to Voight, who makes a great grab for 26 yards.
Brown runs it in from 2 yards out. 14-10, 5:52 left to play in half.
Banducci forces another fumble, but we can't recover it in time.
CB blitz by Bowens nets a QB and a loose ball. Banducci has been around the ball all day and has another fumble recovery. He runs for 11 more yards before being brought down at the WSU 22. The crowd is starting to get into the game.
Brown gets 9 on a pitchout, converting a 3rd and 6.
Burford finds TE T.J. Thomas on a swing pass and he is in for a score! 17-14, 0:55 left in the half.
3 and out, we burn timeouts to get another crack at a score.
We start at the 49 with 0:17 to play and one timeout.
On 2nd down we get a 20 yard gain to Jackson, but having burned our timeout on first down we have to run up and spike the clock. Too late for a field goal attempt.
I feel like we outplayed these guys in the half. They got their points on one big play and one short field. Even then, we gave them 4 more points with a crappy penalty.
Penalties have been an issue - 5 for 35 yards.
Burford goes down on a coverage sack, 4th of the day for WSU.
But Burford goes back to work, selling a ball fake and finding Mike Voight downfield. 32 yard gain before he is tackled at the 36.
Brown runs 37 yards around his left tackle, taking it to the house. There is a flag on the play, but it is against the defense. 24-14, 12:56 left in the half.
3 and out for the Cougars.
We are 3 and out, as they jump the line on 3rd and 1 to stuff Brown.
A holding penalty and a sack set up a 3rd and 23. No dice picking it up on a screen. Punt.
We start at the 49 after a weak punt.
Another sack, we are having some problems deciphering their coverages. Punt, they are backed up to their 7.
FS Greg Moore goes out with a spleen injury. Internal organ = bad news.
First play without Moore is a 20 yard pass play on 3rd and 15.
QB Williams is finding his groove, picking up 14 two plays later.
They get 6 on 3rd and 6, up past midfield.
Illegal motion takes away a conversion on 3rd and 1. They only pick up 2 on a pass play after that and punt from our 40.
Brown passes 100 yards on his 16th carry, near the start of the 4th quarter.
FB LeShon Toomer runs for 11 on 3rd and 2.
Disaster strikes, when Edwards comes in and gets picked by SS Eric Niland. Niland isn't going to be caught, 67 yard return. 24-21, 12:03 left in the game.
First play, Toomer fumbles on a big hit. WSU recovers at our 20.
2 play TD drive, Williams to Morris from 6 yards out. 28-24, 10:22 left in the game.
Edwards connects with Jackson for 20 yards on 2nd and 15.
Burford goes down on a sack. Then Edwards. 7 sacks for the defense. We punt.
And William Blades returns it 77 yards. This game just melted on us. 35-24, 7:55 to play.
Burford hurts his hamstring and is done for the day.
QB Greg Moorehead is in on 3rd and 9 and throws on downfield for Ben Jackson. Jackson fights for it, comes down with it. 32 yard gain.
We are stuck on 4th and 3 at the 23. McMullen comes in and hits a 41 yard field goal. 35-27, 4:36 left to play.
We commit three penalties on D, the worst being a 15 yard facemask by DT Burford.
Make that 4, holding on SS Noland King. This game is a joke.
RB Mahdavi is picking up first downs with some help from the linesmen. But the net result is that they are in field goal range and eating up clock.
They set up for a 47 yard field goal with 0:47 left. It is good, game over. 38-27.
Our defense deserved better than they got today. Special teams score, defensive TD against them, and two short field TDs for Washington. Only one big play was their fault. We gave up 38 points to a team who didn't have one drive over 50 yards.
Was the Arizona RB stud the transfer from texas or a true frosh? Just connecting the dots in my mind in your game world. Two tough losses, but im sure you will turn it around. if not troy is always an option ;)
The offensive line has to take some responsibility for this loss, after giving up 7 sacks.
Jackson and Stablein were both over 100 yards on the day. The QBs completed a good percentage of passes.
Brown ran for 100 yards and was having a solid game until everything fell apart in the 4th quarter when WSU scored 24.
DE Banducci has 2 forced fumbles and one recovery.
The only solace I'm taking on this day is that Oregon went in and beat USC on their home turf 34-27. Finally the evil empire loses a game.
Arizona RB is a true freshman. He was a top 10 guy in the class who seemed very interested in us before deciding to stay home.
The stud RB that USC signed was also interested in us initially, but inked early on with USC so we didn't get our hopes up on bringing him into the fold.
And, if we don't figure out a way to win conference games I'm going to have to go looking for work. Good recruiting classes and non-conference wins only buy so much time ....
Mizzou, I think the future is going to be next year. We only have five seniors on the roster. But I want to see us make some improvement this year.
I needed a shower to wash the stink of those last two games off of me. Seriously, I took a shower because I was infuriated with a computer game. I may need help. Or I may have just needed a shower.
Here are the updated polls, or at least the Media Poll:
1. LSU 5-0. Just beat Alabama 64-0.
2. Miami (FL) 5-0
3. Pittsburgh 5-0 - huh, who knew?
4. Ohio St 5-0 Won against another tough team, #16 Minnesota 21-20
5. Oklahoma 5-1
6. Syracuse 6-0
7. West Virginia 6-0
8. Arizona 5-0
9. Texas 5-1
10. USC 4-1
11. Oregon 4-0
Michigan State is also undefeated, ranked #12. So is NC State at #18. And Bowling Green at #24.
Other Pac 10 teams:
#20 Washington 4-1 (1-1)
#21 Arizona State 4-1 (1-1)
#23 UCLA 3-2 (0-2) Highest ranked two loss team
We are listed as 21 point favorites hosting #21 Arizona State. Hard to believe, bet on the Sun Devils today.
It is unbelievable how good all of the offensive/defensive ratings are for the teams I'm playing this year. ASU is #12 offense and #9 defense. Their QB Wilkerson is about as efficient as efficient gets, at 191.8. 1307 yards, 12-3 TD-INT ratio. WR Robert Coleman will be a focal point for our pass D (#4 in the nation). He has 9 TDs in 5 games, along with 27 receptions for 481 yards.
It takes me 5+ home games to equal your attendance of one game. :)
A few fans are off my bandwagon at this point. Only 96,780 fans here for a matchup of top 25 teams.
We tweaked the gameplan to let Burford get 80% (instead of 60%) of the snaps.
He hits Jackson for 15 to move the chains.
They rape Jackson but no call.
Brown picks up a 3rd and 9 - cheater's proof.
Edwards to Jackson for 4 on 3rd and 4. Nice work, Jackson.
A 26 yard TD pass on a screen to Brown comes back, ineligible receiver downfield.
3rd and 21, at the 37, we run a draw for 2 yards.
McMullen comes in to make a 53 yard field goal. 3-0, 8:59 left in the quarter.
DT Jared Burford makes a big sack on 3rd and 6 as ASU was approaching field goal range. Punt.
OLB Cannonball Jones is making a series of tackles for the D.
Burford to Brewer for a first down on 3rd and 10. Brewer is playing hurt today.
We stall at the 19, McMullen is in for the kick. Good from 37. 6-0, 2:04 left in 1st quarter.
Wilkerson and Coleman - the combo gets their first hookup of the day for 26 yards to start the drive.
We are hit for a roughing the passer after they complete a 3rd and 12. ASU is up to our 25 after that unfortunate series of events.
TD run for Kenny Arrington. 7-6 ASU, 13:33 left in the half.
Holding penalty - they are starting to crop up.
And another holding, 2nd and 21 from our 4. Five penalties for 37 yards in early 2nd quarter.
ASU records a safety with a sack of Edwards. Maybe I need to pull him back to 0% of the snaps ... 9-6, 11:38 left in the half.
Greg Moore has had enough of this. He converges downfield to help with coverage on Coleman and picks off a pass. Hope he has some gas ready on the sidelines, because 99 yards is a long way to run. 13-9, 10:53 left in the half.
ASU is out to our 45 on the return. Kickoff was good, coverage wasn't.
Defensive holding ... I'm steaming on the sidelines.
Wilkerson makes a great pass on the run for 22 yards to Whittle on 3rd and 7. 2nd time he has done that - our guys don't make plays when taking that kind of heat.
DT Jack Farmer succeeds in bringing Wilkerson down, 3rd and goal at the 15.
They don't pick it up on the ground, kicker is in to give them a 27 yard field goal. 13-12, 7:18 left in half.
We see the first penalty of the day called against ASU, a roughing the passer after a 14 yard gain to Jackson. Out to midfield.
Once again they maul Jackson past five yards when they are fooled by a play fake. The refs still refuse to call it both ways. Blood pressure rising ...
Edwards makes a play to Brewer, who zigs and zags all the way to the end zone. 50 yards. Pass interference against ASU is declined. Thanks for nothing, zebras. 20-12, 5:50 left in the half.
Another long 3rd down conversion for Wilkerson - 20 yards when he needed 9. Into Bruin territory.
On 3rd and 9 at our 40 Wilkerson misfires, overthrowing his receiver but leading OLB Hank Swilling nicely. He brings it back to the 35.
Burford senses that the defense is not set, and goes on a quick count. WR Mike Voight gets behind the D, he is led well, and it all comes together for a 60 yard strike. 27-12, 1:53 left in the half.
ASU is having a lot of success in the return game. Out to their 40 this time.
Wilkerson continues to be at his best on 3rd down - 9 on 3rd and 7.
They get 6 on a screen pass on 3rd and 7. 4th and 1 at our 39, no timeouts and 0:43 left.
They run for three.
Wilkerson throws a strike on a deep ball, but it is dropped.
13 yard gain sets up a 41 yard kick, and it is good. 27-15 with 0:08 left in half.
We return the kick all the way to the ASU 41 and get to try a 59 yard field goal before the half. McMullen nails it! 30-15 at the break.
Our passing game is as good as it has been in awhile. Which is good, because we aren't getting much on the ground.
Their passing game is pretty dangerous - we are doing a good job, but need to continue to add points.
Penalties and kickoff coverage need to improve.
Good to see our guys listen to me at the half. The Sun Devils return the kick out to the 50.
And we are called for defensive holding right away.
They cry to the refs again on the next play. Laundry must have gotten stuck in the pocket, no way they tried to give us a break.
ASU can't pick up a first down on their own and they punt from our 45.
We come out passing on first 10 plays. That had to throw them off guard - enough for us to march downfield 80 yards and put up six more points. Voight with the TD catch, from Burford. 37-15, 10:22 left in the quarter.
Turnabout is fair play, as ASU comes out running successfully. But they eventually abandon the run and the drive stalls at our 33. The 51 yard field goal attempt is wide left.
Brown does what he can to ruin the positive vibe we have, fumbling the ball and giving ASU possession on our 33.
Wilkerson gets an 18 yard TD pass on a screen to the TE. Two point conversion is good, score is now 37-23 with 3:44 left in the 3rd.
On 3rd and 7 Burford find Voight across the middle. He reverses his field and has lots of running room. 57 yards, to be exact, to the ASU 20.
Brown makes amends for the fumble with a quick burst from the 19, into the end zone. He really hit the jets on that run! 44-23, 1:45 left in 3rd.
Voight and Brewer are both over 100 yards on the day.
3 and out for Arizona State.
The defense comes up with a sack on 3rd down, we punt.
I've developed a healthy respect for Aaron Lipscomb as a return guy.
DE Joe Banducci comes up with a sack.
We force another 3 and out. Defense is bringing the heat now.
We begin to pound the football on the ground. Brown and FB Toomer pick up first downs.
Toomer drops a pass on 3rd down, we line up and convert a 33 yard field goal. 47-23, 8:23 left.
I think we have built a big enough lead to prevent a meltdown like last week ...
Coleman only has one grab with 7 minutes to play.
Another defensive holding penalty helps them convert a 3rd and 20. Puke.
DE Joe Banducci gets another sack, despite a holding call against the ASU line.
Brown wants his 100 yard game - he has 18 carries for 88 yards with 5 to play.
Brown only gets 1 on a 3rd and 2, we punt and he may have lost his chance for the century mark.
DT Jared Burford drives his shoulder into Wilkerson. 5th sack of the day for the defense.
Brown gets 100 with a minute to play. I would prefer he isn't in there, actually.
We run out the clock, getting Dawson some carries late.
Good win today. The defense really took it to a QB who had been devouring his competition prior to this afternoon.
We do play in a roomy stadium ... what is the capacity of the Troy stadium?
I'm tracking attendance because USC sold out every game I played for them. So I want to know what prestige level is needed to make this happen for UCLA.
Oregon and Arizona keep their undefeated records with home wins.
USC picks off Washington State 37-24 (Cougars scored 17 in last quarter).
We nearly doubled up ASU in yards, 505-257.
9-17 on 3rd down conversions.
QB rotation worked well: Burford 13-23 for 235 yards and 2 scores. Edwards 7-8 for 121 yards and one score. But Edwards gave up the safety and I think he gets sacked too much.
Best game of Mike Voight's career: 4 receptions, 136 yards, 2 TDs. Brewer matched him yard for yard, but needed 8 catches to do it.
Center Nick Moore had 4 KRBs and 4 pancakes.
McMullen was great - 4/4 on field goals, including a pair of 50 yard efforts.
2 sacks each for DE Joe Banducci and DT Burford.
I would like to see us tighten up our kick coverage, but I don't want to nit-pick too much after a pretty good win across all three phases (punter and kicker did their jobs).
Meet the man behind the Arizona revival:
Next up is undefeated, and #10 Oregon. They have a stingy defense, only allowing 66 points in 5 games.
Our health is great for this game. We are fired up about the chance to go up to Autzen stadium and try to pick up a win in a big conference game.
Nothing like looking ahead to recruiting ...
There is a QB out of Valley Christian Academy (CA) with the last name of Greisen that is ranked #9 in the nation. We are listed among the early leaders for his services next year. Very athletic player, with the following mid-season stats:
2476 yards passing
13 TDs, 3 INTs
628 rushing yards
We are listed as six point favorites on the road against Oregon. Tough place to win, I would not be confident wagering on us with that number. Last I checked they had beaten USC and were undefeated ...
They grade out well on both sides of the ball: #10 offense and #22 defense.
There appear to be some QB issues - looks like they have multiple guys getting snaps there so far. But RB Joe Helfman isn't having any issues. 657 yards so far, averaging almost 7 per carry.
OLB Carlos James leads the team in tackles, sacks, interceptions, and passes defended. WR Sean Bishop is the highlighted matchup with 24 catches, 302 yards, and 2 TDs. Our pass defense is now #3 in the nation.
There is a light rain coming down - I've made my feelings about rain known in Eaglesfan's USC dyansty. Short version - not good for UCLA.
Am I the only one that finds it ironic that Oregon has a kicker named Duckett?
Burford comes out passing on the first three plays.
The next five plays are runs, including three by FB Hagood Morris. We are systematically moving down field.
Until a holding penalty ... but it is a blip on the radar as Burford finds Brewer for 22 yards.
We are at 4th and 1 on the Oregon 2 - what to do?
Burford goes for it, throwing a 2 yard TD pass to Voight. 7-0, 8:45 left in the quarter.
3 and out for Oregon.
Unnecessary roughness stops our next drive after we had picked up a tough 3rd down.
DT Jared Burford records a sack.
But QB Johnny McClure picks those yards up, and more with a 20 yard pass play to Bishop on 2nd down.
Their line does a great job on a pair of runs, but the drive ends with ILB Scott Wilson laying out for an interception of a McClure pass.
C Nick Moore is laying people out on a 15 yard pickup by FB LeShon Toomer. But QB Jack Burford somehow sustained a nose injury after the handoff? Out for the game.
Another holding call on us - we aren't getting much help from the zebras so far.
Edwards is not deterred - 26 yards on the next play to TE T.J. Thomas, down to the 16.
Edwards throws a 4 yard TD pass to Dawson and we are up 14-0 at the end of the first quarter.
McClure finds Bishop, who tacks on some yards after the catch. 30 yard gain.
Another penalty, defensive holding. Is there some hidden attribute that I'm recruiting for commiting penalties constantly?
RB DeCarlo runs it in from 19 yards out. 14-7, 12:59 left in the half.
After a 9 yard pickup on first down our QBs have combined for 13 straight completions to start the game.
But I appear to have jinxed it. False start, sack, incomplete, and we punt.
RB Alonzo DeCarlo is hurting us on the ground. 5 carries, 53 yards.
ILB Jerry McCullough records a sack, then DT Burford adds another on 3rd down.
Now Edwards is injured (foot) on a running play. What is going on here? Our great health coming into the game has unraveled and we are going to be hard-pressed to win this game with sub-standard QB play.
Another false start - 6 penalties in 22 minutes.
We are stopped by the refs, with Oregon getting nominated for a supporting role. Punt, putting them back on the 9.
Oregon doesn't stay near the goal line for long. 3 first downs move the ball out near midfield.
On 3rd down McClure stares a hole into his wide receiver and Greg Moore puts an end to this drive. A holding call against Oregon is declined - late flag that would never have been thrown on a completed pass, I'm convinced.
The new offensive game plan is Brown, Brown and Brown. That works just fine, as he keeps converting 3rd downs.
QB Greg Moorehead, emboldened by a screen pass to Brown, then fires a strike to Ben Jackson for 15 yards, into the red zone.
Then he finds Dan Campbell in the back of the end zone - 12 yard TD on an over-the-shoulder catch. Great play, scrub! 21-7, 1:54 left in the half.
FS Greg Moore collects his 2nd interception of the half! We take over at the 44. The secondary has really done a number on McClure so far.
Not a good start to the possession. Sack, incomplete pass (trap) with Jack Brewer going out of the game.
But on 3rd and 14 Moorehead fires deep and Mike Voight is running alone! 48 yard TD pass, 28-7 with 0:18 left in the half.
Our pass defense is so much better this year it is not recognizable.
Penalties continue to be a thorn in our side and I'm sure we cannot sustain this level of play from Moorehead over the last 30 minutes.
Hopefully we have built enough of a buffer to survive some tough times, which are almost sure to be coming ...
McMullen shanks the opening kick of 2nd half, Ducks start at the 40.
They come out running with DeCarlo. Good move, he is giving us fits.
Then McClure and Bishop combine for 19, then 9 yards.
SS Noland King has a spleen injury - the last one wasn't too serious, but he won't be playing again today.
The drive dies at our 11, so they kick a 29 yard field goal. 28-10, 11:07 left in quarter.
K Duckett has three kickoffs, all for touchbacks.
3 and out, we fumble on 3rd but recover. Punt.
3rd and 10, McClure connects with a wide open Willie Edwards. Moore saves a touchdown, but it goes down as a 53 yard gain.
Oregon runs three times from the 11, but are stopped at the 4. Kick? Go for it? They kick, 23 yard field goal is good. 28-13, 6:41 left in the quarter.
Not much on the next drive. QB is giving us nothing. Punt.
DeCarlo hits 100 yards on his 16th carry.
Bishop is working our secondary. Another two receptions, into our territory.
We stop them at our 32, and Duckett misses a 50 yard field goal.
Again the refs call a holding penalty on Oregon when we already have a 1st down. Jags.
They do call a facemask, but I wanted 15 instead of 5.
Brown only gets one on 3rd and 2 from the Oregon 47. Punt? I hope so ...
Nope, and our backup QB is incomplete trying to pick this one up. Ducks start with great field position.
Another defensive holding penalty on our D, giving them a first down.
23 yards to Willie Edwards into field goal range.
The defense toughens up again in the red zone. Ducks settle again for 3, 35 yard field goal. 28-16, 12:11 to play.
Big 3rd down conversion - 3rd and 10, Toomer catches it right on the marker and holds on after getting drilled by a converging linebacker.
Moorehead and Campbell appear to have developed some chemistry running the scout team. They combine on a pretty 41 yard deep ball - great timing there. First and goal at the 8.
The Ducks get a sack on 2nd down and we don't pick it up on 3rd down. McMullen hits a 29 yard field goal. 31-16, 8:22 left.
Sack on first down. Big run stop on 2nd down by DE Ronald Smith. 3rd and 17, McClure converts it. 25 yards.
But McClure pushes his luck and pays the price. CB Elijah McCallister secures an interception, the 4th of the day for McClure.
Moorehead doesn't even think about salting this game away. Nope, he throws an interception right back to CB Kenny Justin. We had recruited Kenny last year, but backed off when we brought in the first couple of studs at the position.
Ducks start at our 42.
The defense only gives up 5 yards in three plays. Punt.
That may have been a mistake, Ducks are running out of time.
3 and out. We punt.
Bishop makes another grab and he is the best we've seen so far at getting yards after the catch. 34 yards, down to our 18.
The Ducks are betrayed by the refs late - losing a first and goal due to an ineligible receiver downfield.
But McClure earns his first down. The refs still call a holding on us to give a couple of extra yards, but they would have had it without the penalty. 1st and goal at the 5, 1:20 to play.
3 plays, -5 yards. 4th and goal from 10.
Refs call a defensive holding on the incomplete pass. You aren't paranoid if they really are out to get you.
DeCarlo finally runs it in from 6 yards out, but there are only 0:15 left. Two point conversion is good, 31-24 with 0:08 left.
We recover the onside - has anyone seen an onside work yet?
Tough road win, we overcame a lot of adversity today.
Arizona is still rolling, up to 7-0 now. Tonnemaker had another 108 yards.
USC is living dangerously, coming back in the 4th quater to win 20-16 at Washington.
3. West Virginia
4. Syracuse - at some point the Big East teams will play each other, 3 undefeateds now
5. Miami (FL)
7. Oklahoma - still highest ranking team with one loss
8. Ohio State
9. Michigan State
10. Auburn - only other one loss team in top 10.
NC State, at #12, is only other undefeated team.
USC is #11
Oregon is #16
We are #18
We swap crappy DEs on suspension. CB Cliff Ledyard remains stupid. But OG James McAddley is a real loss. Freshman starter, I want him back ASAP.
ILB Scott Wilson may be a lost cause with his 1.76 GPA and us not having enough hours. We will have to use hours here to save Derrick (1.93) and perhaps QB Harold Edwards. McAddley has a 1.99, annoying that we lose him when he was that close.
QB: Both Burford and Edwards are hurt and should not be in the lineup. But it is going to be hard to win without one of them.
WR Bill Stablein is going to be sitting for a game with wrist subluxation.
DT Jared Burford is out, perhaps for the year with a torn ACL.
Not so fast...
I played out the next season, and things didn't go so well. I scheduled a tougher nonconference schedule (no one ranked 100 and below this time, and I added Utah and Penn State), but that wasn't the problem. Although I did lose to Penn State in a tough game at home, I was the only team to beat Utah in the regular season.
No, what did me in was my inability to bring in enough impact secondary and defensive line players, and the loss of my best defensive player in the middle of the season. When my star ILB went down, I lost four straight (starting with the Penn State game). With a lack quality up front, and a lack of depth in the defensive backfield, I wasn't very good at stopping the run or the pass. My excellent linebacker corps, led by the star ILB, was the only reason my D was any good at all, so when he went down, we really suffered.
He came back okay, and we went on a season-saving run, with four straight wins, including road win over ranked Cal and a home win over ranked Oregon State. But then unranked (of all things) USC slaughtered us at the Coliseum, and we were relegated to the Emerald. So we wrapped up our follow up to a championship run with a big step back in an 8-5 season.
I have already progressed up to recruiting, so I know I pretty much return my entire offense (it was a Top 20 offense), but I need to make some big improvements on D to start going forward again.
Yeah, this game can be fickle sometimes. I'll lose a key player with an injury and that really affects me. Or a suspension at the wrong time. And that really hurts your season. But I still should have beat Washington State at home, and no way I should have beat Cal on the road (they were 8-1 at the time). Tough to figure...
I'll pretend you didn't even suggest that last part. ;)
I'm hoping that with another couple of recruiting classes we are in a position to reload every year instead of having to rebuild from time to time. But I think that will be hard until the prestige moves up a little higher. USC was definitely in "reload" mode when I left them, although they are starting to show cracks this year after some massive defections.
Where is it at for your UCLA team now, Chief? That USC team was in the mid/high 80s.
They were at 83 last year. I haven't checked yet for this season, but I always do aty the beginning of the new season (halfway through recruiting at the moment).
My UCLA squad jumped up to 69 (from 66) after the national championship run, but we fell one to 68 after falling to 8-5. I am hoping to get that number back up again next year, of course.
Your strong recrutiing classes will get you closer to that reload mode, I think, even if your prestige isn't all that high, and of course, then they will just build off each other. My recruting classes the past four years have been 17, 37, 6, 16 in rankings, and I think that has helped me. I am also off to a good start in my current recruiting, including landing a bluechip running back, but I have a lot of big targets to go after still--it's always tough to tell who I will actually end up with.
We are listed as 15 point favorites at home against Washington. Not without our 2 QBs we aren't. Our next win will qualify us for a bowl game.
The Washington offense struggles, as they are #102 overall. Defensively they are middle of the pack statistically. We remember Merlin Kunz well from last year, but that wideout/return man is suspended for this game. So RB Dave Darden is our biggest threat. He has run for 770 yards, 5.5 per carry. SS Don Reese has 5 interceptions on the year and is a very good player.
97,676 on hand for todays game. Perhaps a few fans were not excited about the Greg Moorehead QB experience?
It isn't all that on the first drive. 3 and out.
Off to a promising start with the refs, as we are hit with a roughing the passer after giving up 14 on 3rd and 12. I find myself complaining about the refs an awful lot lately ...
QB Leon Nugent is leading a drive into our territory; we are stuffing Darden early (5 carries for 1 yard).
Washington stalls, but is able to put three on the board after a 44 yard field goal. 10:48 left in quarter.
QB Derrick Fazande is allergic to complete passes, starting 0-4.
But on 3rd down he finds Jackson for 13.
4th and 1 on their 42, we go for it and see another incomplete pass. 2-9 through the air so far and Brown only has 2 carries.
We benefit from a tripping penalty against UW, erasing a first down.
We immediately capitalize, as CB J.R. Jackson gets down low to pick off an errant Nugent pass. He stops, cuts and gains 16 on the return back to the 50.
3 and out. Worst passing offense I've seen yet from our guys.
Nugent comes out firing to WR John Wallace, who loses the defender and gallops downfield for 57 yards.
OLB Adrian Kyle records a sack on 3rd down, forcing a 46 yard field goal attempt. It is good and Washington leads 6-0, 2:17 left in the quarter.
One play drive. Moorehead finds Voight alone on a blown coverage and Voight isn't going to be caught. 65 yards, 7-6 with 1:55 left in the quarter.
3 and out for Washington.
McMullen is brought out to try a 54 yarder, but it falls short.
Wish we played field position with these guys, make their offense earn points.
They earn seven on the next play. 64 yards, Nugent to TE Steve Milloy. 13-7, 13:13 left in the half.
Nothing is going right today. Jackson fumbles the ball and Washington recovers at our 42.
Defense steps up big. DT Jack Farmer records a 3rd down sack.
The punt pins us at our 4.
We aren't able to move it more than 10 yards and have to punt away.
UW goes for it on 4th and 2 at our 40. But SS Noland King comes up with an interception. We net six yards on the play.
Brown is our best chance to move the ball. He has 57 yards on 8 carries.
The refs are giving us some breaks today, as an interception is called back on a defensive holding penalty.
4th and 3 at the UW 4 yard line. McMullen comes in, but his attempt is blocked. Sigh.
Holding goes against Washington - we are definitely getting the calls so far today.
3 and out, Washington punts away with about a minute left in the half.
3 and out. This game is tough to watch. Wish I had sold my ticket.
Can we pull someone out of the stands to play QB?
So far we have gotten the breaks relative to Washington, but still can't make anything happen.
We will need a defensive score or big plays on offense to generate points because long drives aren't happening with these guys at the helm.
We aren't going to hold Darden to one yard a carry (11-11) in the 2nd half.
The Huskies run the kickoff out to our 45 and get 15 more yards on a tripping penalty. First down at our 40.
3 and out, they punt from our 35.
Penalties are coming back at us - unnecessary roughness on 1st down.
Fazande wipes it off the board with a 25 yard pass to Brewer.
But we can't pick up a 3rd and 3. 2/10 on the day on 3rd down. Punt.
CB J.R. Jackson blows a tackle on Darden that turns into a 25 yard gain. Hope he doesn't get going ...
Washington can't move any further and punts. Or not, it was a failed fake. We start at their 46.
Fazande and Brewer connect for 21 yards on 3rd and 8. I bet Gary is wondering why the guy throwing him passes couldn't hold the jock of his old high school QB ...
We are stopped at the 16, McMullen on to kick a field goal. Good from 34, 13-10 with 5:58 to play in the quarter.
OLB Hank Swilling mauls Nugent on a 3rd down blitz, but he holds on. Punt.
We could really use some yardage on a punt return, but aren't having any luck with that so far today.
Brown goes over 100 yards on his 18th carry of the day.
And adds 27 more on a TD run. 17-13, 1:36 left in the quarter.
Darden answers with a longer TD run, 66 yards. 20-17, 0:10 left in the quarter.
They have two 60+ yard plays but other than that have really struggled to move the ball. We have 15 minutes to rectify this situation.
Darden is up to 114 yards on 18 carries.
Holding, offense, on the first play of the next drive. We are now more penalized than they are for more yards.
But Fazande thrives on 1st and 20. He looks for his go-to guy, Randy Brewer, and connects on a 42 yard strike.
Brown hits the 150 yard mark on a 15 yard carry and adds 14 on his next touch.
RB Dawson is crushed in backfield for six yard loss on 2nd and 3.
A short completion on 3rd down doesn't get us 6, so McMullen adds 3. 20-20, 11:43 to play.
Nugent completes a pass to Turnbull for 11 on 3rd and 9.
Another 3rd down conversion for Nugent
Had more on the above game, but the board went out from under me ... will post more details on it shortly.
Shorter version that the original post, picking up from where this one left off:
Nugent and Wallace hook up a couple of times, closing in on field goal range.
Darden isn't settling for a field goal here, breaking off back to back big runs (18, 23) and putting his team in front 27-20 with 8 minutes to play.
J.R. Thomas with a runback out to the 47.
Nasty three and out, Brown is shut down.
Washington is bailed out again on a 3rd down penalty.
And again on 3rd down! Back-to-back, these are just killers.
Washington gets 5 on 3rd and 7, but they are whistled for holding. Accept or decline? Would they go for in on 4th and 2 with 3 1/2 left? Do we want them to go for it?
We decline, they go for it, and Darden is stuffed! UCLA ball at the Washington 40 after an unnecessary roughness penalty is assessed.
Holding call against us pushes it back to a 2nd and 26. At this point I was just beside myself at the penalties in the 2nd half.
Fazande gets most of it back on a 20 yard pass to Jackson.
Move the chains - 12 yards, Fazande to Brewer.
Again a 3rd down conversion - Moorehead 10 yards to TE Fortunado on a screen pass, down at the one.
Brewer catches a one year TD pass, but it comes back on a holding call. Now first and goal at the 11. 1:40 left in the game.
Moorehead to Brewer, 8 yards.
Moorehead to Brewer, 3 yards and a TD! 27-27, 1:03 left.
Kickoff coverage = teh suck. UW starts at the 49.
Defense comes up huge, forcing a 3 and out.
We get the ball with 0:33 left at our 20 and start using timeouts despite not moving the ball! We actually had to punt with 0:03 on the clock because of miserable clock management. But it is headed to OT.
Fazande with 3 straight completions, 2 to Brewer. Down to the 1.
Brown runs it in, 34-27.
Washinton ball, ILB Wilson records a sack on the first play, loss of 8!
Nugent gets 6 back on 2nd down, 3rd and 12.
27 yard pass, TD, Nugent to Turnbull. 34-34. Crap!!!
Defense forces a 4th and 13 after two runs and incompletion, and UW misses a 46 yard field goal. Just don't screw up, offense ...
Moorehead to Voight, 20 yards on first play.
Fazande to Brewer, 5 yards and game-winning TD! 40-34 is the final!
The better team won this game, although UW showed more heart than I was giving them credit for early in the game.
We ended up with 10 penalties for 104 yards, and a ton of them were at critical junctions. The second half was certainly not 11 vs 11 football.
For other people running dynasties, have you managed to field teams that consistenly commit fewer penalties than your opponents? If so, I'm dying to know what you are doing to help that come to pass ...
QB play really picked up down the stretch. Overall our guys combined for 25-43 for 310 yards, 3 TDs and 0 INTs.
Brown finished with 25 carries for 172 yards and 2 TDs, but was outshone down the stretch by Gary Brewer.
Brewer had 10 catches for 141 yards and 2 TDs.
C Nick Moore had 5 krbs. I'm pretty confident he will be pulling down some end-of-season honors in at least the Pac 10.
SS Noland King led the team in tackles (7 solo, 1 assisted), had an interception and 2 passes defended. Plus one STF.
Great game, very happy to pick up the win. Hope our two primary QBs recuperate quickly ...
A close-up on Gary Brewer after his big game ...
USC went to Arizona and handed the Wildcats their first loss, 48-28. A scan of the boxscore shows the leading rusher as J. Sims from Arizona with 101 yards. Did Tonnemaker have his first sub-100 yard game of his career? This requires a look at the box score - he didn't play! Looks like grades have taken him down, as he is suspended. USC is lucky they didn't have to face the phenom ... darn it.
Oregon went on the road and won 30-27 against Cal, our next opponent. Cal QB Victor Glover had 350 yards and 3 TDs in the loss, but struggled with his accuracy (20-43).
Here are the updated Pac 10 standings:
1. USC 4-1
2. Arizona 4-1
3. Oregon 3-1
4. Washington State 3-2
5. UCLA 3-2
6. Oregon State 2-2
7. California 1-3
8. Stanford 1-3
9. Washington 1-4
10. Arizona State 1-4
Nationally, we are down to five undefeated teams. And they hold the top five spots in the rankings:
3. West Virginia
5. Michigan State
6. Southern Cal
9. Miami (FL)
Falling from the ranks of the unbeaten this week:
#8 Arizona - to the enemy
#9 Miami, 17-34 at home to #22 North Carolina
#11 Ohio State, 34-35 at home to unranked Penn State
#14 NC State, 25-29 at home to unranked Florida State
QB - our trainer is recommending a rest for both QBs. I think I'm going to take my chances with Edwards, who is a little sturdier than Burford. I don't want Burford playing while hurt as he is almost a sure bet to reaggrevate an injury.
DT Burford remains out and not close to a return.
OT Anthony Archie, a redshirt freshman with talent, isn't happy with his playing time as a 3rd stringer and I don't really blame him. With a suspension at OG I think we have to give Archie some minutes at this spot. He is the backup OG for both spots and may move into a starter role next week. Lets see if this placates him.
WR Bill Stablein isn't happy with being our 4th receiver. The problem is that the other guys on the roster are better than him and he has been banged up. If Voight or Jackson had been bad I would make a move, but both have done their jobs well and are younger than Bill. No more for now.
ILB Bryant Bruschi - if MLB Scott Wilson stays eligible, then this is going to continue to be an issue. I'm not sure what to do, as Bryant is showing up as higher rated than Jerry McCullough but the coordinator wants Jerry (JR, 3 year starter) in the lineup. Bruschi is a soph, so do we risk pissing him off to keep Jerry in the lineup? I'll defer until next round of grades.
We are 11 point road favorites heading to Cal. We remember Victor Glover well from last year, but he doesn't seem to be quite the same guy without his go-to All-American wideout. He has thrown for a lot of yards (2259, or more than 300 per game) but has a 13-12 TD-INT ratio and is only completing 54% of his passes. All that adds up to a rating of 136.1. Not bad at all, but not a guy who was early entry material last year. Still, he torched us last year so we will come in with a healthy respect for his game.
WR Cleo Barlow is his new favorite target. Barlow is getting over 100 yards per game but has only found the end zone once.
Their secondary has all kinds of talent. Both corners were top 20 guys in their class coming out of high school. Both are juniors now and grade out very well according to our scouts. SS Thurman Odofile is another talented performer who is leading the team in tackles.
We would be well served to run the ball and keep Edwards healthy. I don't want to be behind in this game with Moorehead or Fazande having to throw against this secondary.
3 and out for the Golden Bears on the opening drive.
Bowens makes a man miss on the punt and takes it upfield for a 36 yard gain before being tackled by the punter. We start at the Cal 35.
We drive inside the 10, but can't sustain the running game in close quarters.
McMullen kicks a 27 yard field goal, 3-0 with 9:38 to play in the quarter.
Another 3 and out for Cal. Better punt + coverage that time.
On 3rd and 10 we hand off to Brown, who is tripped up but stays on his feet for an 11 yard gain. There is a flag on the play - unnecessary roughness on Brown? For what, getting tackled too hard? Punt.
3 and out for Cal, defense is very stingy so far.
They pin us on our 8 with the punt.
We pick up a tripping penalty - our OLine and DBacks must be the dirtiest units in the game.
We have to punt, 3 and out.
Another 3 and out. Glover is 0-6 at this point.
But Cal forces a fumble on the punt, recovering at our 27.
Glover is now 0-7 with an interception. J.R. Jackson made a great break on a screen pass and returned it 36 yards to the Cal 30.
3 and out - Edwards is not doing much while playing through his injury.
McMullen is on for a 43 yard field goal attempt - wide right.
But we catch a BIG break as Cal was offsides. 1st down.
3 more plays of meh, and this time it is a 37 yard attempt. Wide left.
McMullen is now officially back on the shit list. I feel like I've been pretty patient this year, but this is brutal.
3 and out for Cal, although Glover gets his first completion of the day.
Holding wipes out a first down.
On 3rd and 20 Brewer makes a fingertip grab for a 32 yard pickup.
Edwards connects with Jackson for 19, into what could be considered field goal range.
Brown runs it in from 2 yards out. 10-0, 8:25 left in the half.
Good drive for Edwards after a slow start.
Cal picks up a first down - first of the game.
But only one before punting.
We punt after three plays.
The Cal passing game finally gets going on this drive.
But we knock out WR Cleo Barlow on a running play.
The drive stops at our 28, but results in 3 points thanks to a 46 yard field goal. 10-3, 1:14 left in the half.
3 and out, ending with a sack.
3 straight incomplete passes and they are forced to punt.
Glover is now 4-18 for 48 yards and an INT.
We get a big return, Bowens takes it back 42 yard to the Cal 43 yard line. 0:10 left in the half to make something happen.
Nope - halftime.
Defense is really setting the tone, only surrendering 3 first downs and shutting down the passing game, but Cal is still in the game.
Offense is pretty spotty, haven't been able to establish ground game yet, although Brown does have 13 carries for 53 yards.
We go deep on 3rd and 3, but Jackson drops the pass. Punt.
Defense comes up with another interception, this time it is Greg Moore.
3 and out - not good execution by the offense.
3 and out for Golden Bears, who move backwards on that drive. ILB Scott Wilson had a sack.
Brown is having less success in 2nd half than first.
Jackson makes 11 yard catch on 3rd and 9.
We pick up a couple of more 3rd and shorts, moving into scoring territory.
Drive stalls on the 28, here comes McMullen.
Short from 46 yards. Not like we needed those points, jagoff.
But Cal again is across the line early.
McMullen hits from 41, 13-3, 3:07 left in the quarter.
Cal comes our running, which is good for one first down.
But that just seems to aggrevate the D, as they crush the next two runs for -5 yards.
Glover completes his 5th pass of the day, for 17 yards, to pick up a long 3rd down.
We lose FS Greg Moore on a screen pass - out for the duration.
Cal has to punt. Glover is now 6 of 25.
Punt pins us on our 6.
Brown for 10.
Jackson for 21. Not near the end zone anymore.
We complete another pass to Jackson for 8 on 3rd and 9. Ball is at the Cal 40, 11:54 left in the game. What to do?
I wouldn't have passed the ball, but we do. 9 yard pickup to Voight.
Another 3rd down pickup, this time to Stablein.
Brown is stopped on 3rd and 2 at the 11 for no gain.
We go for it again, but there is a bad QB-RB exchange. Drive over.
Glover immediately picks up 24 yards to his TE Bob Johnson.
He completes a 3rd and 10 for 19, into Bruin territory.
Bad drop on 3rd and 8. They punt from our 45.
On 3rd and 8 Edwards commits his first turnover of the game on a deep ball.
For all intents and purposes that was a punt. No major harm done.
Again WR Ken Lewis drops a pass on 3rd and 8. Punt, but Cal is running out of time. 3:12 to go now.
Brown runs hard and effectively to eat up the clock.
He also gets his 100 yards on his 27th carry.
McMullen is called in to attempt a 52 yard field goal, which he misses.
Another bad clock management decision.
DT Farmer levels Glover on a sack.
A second sack, this one by DE Ronald Smith.
4th and 24, Glover buys time and fires downfield for a 29 yard pickup.
They are at midfield with 0:49 to play.
Sack for FS Jerry Brock.
Lewis, who had two drops earlier, now makes a one-handed grab for 25 yards.
Glover is stringing together garbage time completions.
They don't add any points. 12-41 is still horrible, Victor.
Great game for the defense. That is four straight wins after an 0-2 start in conference play.
USC wins again, 42-35 at home against Oregon State. But they are not nearly as scary as last year. The defense seems pretty vulnerable ... am I wrong for looking forward to playing them this year? But we still have Stanford to get through before that game.
Our offense wasn't very good, only collecting 344 yards. But we held them to 207.
We held Glover to 12-41 for 177 yards and 2 picks. Plus we dropped him 4 times. I love it. The freshmen on defense have really made a statement with their play this year.
Tough day at the office for Derrick today, but he still finishes with 30 carries for 112 yards and a TD. He knows how to get his numbers week in and week out.
McMullen embarrassed himself out there today. His 2/4 line doesn't show the two missed field goals that came back on penalties.
Our individual defensive stats rarely jump off the page, as the tackles are evenly split most games. No individual dominators, but a good group. Nice work by our DC Liddiard.
Nothing new on the injury front - Edwards will still be in the lineup at less than 100% because Burford is still fragile (nose - deviated septum???).
In other news, two of the Big East undefeateds met and #4 Syracuse won 20-17 at #3 West Virginia. They flip-flop spots in the poll, but it isn't enough to pass #2 Pittsburgh. That will settle itself out soon enough - West Virginia and Pitt meet next week.
Michigan State also sees their undefeated season go down in flames. 62-14 at Purdue. The Boilermakers are unranked with a 5-4 mark, but also embarrassed ND earlier in the year 61-17. Weird team.
We are listed as 11 point favorites at Palo Alto. We have a lot of respect for their RB Eddie Treu. I have no interest seeing him against next season; I'll pack his bags if he goes pro. Their QB play hasn't been anything to write home about, but they do have a nice 1-2 punch at WR in Mark Jordan and Mike Pointer. Both are returning starters from last year. The defense doesn't seem too intimidating. Their OLBs are solid. Jay Ferguson is leading the team in sacks and Kimo Moorehead is a 4th year starter.
We stop Stanford from advancing the opening drive into field goal range, despite 31 yards for Treu.
Pickup of 19 to Voight on 3rd and 12.
OT Lonie Smith is hurt on a screen pass inside the 20. Doesn't look like he will be back.
Edwards throws a 5 yard TD pass to Jackson on 3rd down. Nice opening drive, mixing run and pass. Brown got 38 yards on the ground. 7-0, 6:09 left in quarter.
Treu goes for 25 on the first carry of this drive.
Horn connect with Pointer for 51 yards on the second - TD. 7-7, 4:55 left in the quarter.
Edwards and Brewer combine for a 27 yard gain - Brewer earned the last 6 with a stiff-arm.
We are hit with a tripping penalty. 1st and 25.
The Stanford offense looks good, with QB Michael Horn being better than advertised so far.
A holding call against the Cardinal takes a 54 yard bomb off the books.
Bowens takes a short punt all the way back to the Stanford 22.
Edwards thinks he has another 5 yard TD pass to Ben Jackson, but it is ruled out of bounds just shy of the line.
Brown plunges in for the score. 14-7, 12:57 left in the half.
Stanford runs the kick out to the 43.
3 and out, losing 7 yards in the process.
Brown runs for 13 on 3rd and 10.
But we punt 3 plays later.
Bad punt, Stanford ball at their 45.
We are on our way to another 3 and out when the ref calls a defensive holding after an incomplete give-up pass.
The defense is not deterred. They proceed to force a 4th and 12. Punt.
We are forced to punt after an illegal motion call nullifies a first down.
3 and out. The defense has really shut down Stanford this quarter.
Holding penalty - up to 5 in the first half now.
We have to punt again - we are not moving the chains either.
Another 3 and out. We burned all of our timeouts to get the ball back. Guess our defensive coordinator has tremendous faith in his unit.
Nothing on the punt return, end of half.
Both teams really were shut down in 2nd quarter of that game.
No turnovers yet.
Penalties are once again slowing us down - somehow we have to get better in this area.
Brown runs the kick out to the 43.
OG Luis Jones is out with an injury - bad spot for us, no depth there.
3 and out. Argh.
It took 2:45 to get our first flag of 2nd half, offsides gives them a 1st down.
Horn takes a shot deep, but Moore is there to pick it off.
On 3rd and 8 Edwards connects with Jackson for 7. Edwards is down on the play and gets up slowly. Looks like we'll have another QB for the rest of this one.
4th and 1 at the Cardinal 44.
Rattay, short yardage QB, throws a 7 yard bullet to Voight. Good hands, first down.
Brown follows his blockers for 18 yards, almost to 100 now.
Moorehead can't pick up 3rd and 5, enter the kicker.
Good from 32. But there is a defensive holding call.
We take the points off the board and start inside the ten.
Brown finishes the drive from 1 yard out. 21-7, 7:20 left in 3rd quarter.
We had about almost 2 straight quarters of bottling up Treu after his fast start, but that span is over now. 56 yards, he steps out at the 21 yard line. 13 carries for 112 yards now with 21 minutes still to play.
WR Mark Jordan gets his first catch of the day, good for 2 yards, inside the 10.
Stanford has 4th and goal at the 1.
We stuff them on the goal line, tackle by CB McCallister.
We get out to the 17 before having to punt.
They take over at the 50.
FS Moore is hurt on a screen, 2nd game recently where he has been knocked out.
They drive is halted on the 34, but Stanford gets a 52 yard field goal. Plenty of leg, 21-10 at the end of 3.
3 straight carries for Brown. 2 yards. Punt.
We strip the ball on the return and regain possession at the 50.
3 and out again. Is this actually 6 and out? Punt.
Stanford doesn't do any better, and they punt it back.
Kimo Moorehead has a lot of tackles today.
A 3rd down pass is picked off. Stanford ball at their 42.
Stanford WR Mike Pointer leaves with a knee injury. He has 2/3 of their receiving yards on the day (65 of 98).
4th and 4 - punt.
Clock is becoming an enemy to Stanford, as we are under 7 minutes.
We throw away a screen pass on 3rd and 1. A run would have been a nice selection there, I think. Punt.
Treu gains 8 on 3rd and 6, now has 149 yards on 19 carries.
Horn hits Jordan for a 36 yard TD pass. 21-16, and 21-18 after a 2 point conversion. 3:35 to play.
We are stopped on 3rd down, but get another chance on an offsides call against the defense. But for the 2nd time in 4 snaps there is a botched handoff. Punt.
Stanford takes over at their 26 with 1:40 to play and all of their timeouts.
3 straight incompletions. Horn is now 9-28.
9-29 after another incompletion on 4th and 10.
This handoff thing is evidently really hard, as we butcher another one.
4th and 4 from the 20. 38 yard field goal is good. 24-18, 0:31 to play.
Kickoff coverage is good, Stanford ball at their 17.
Three more plays for Stanford, but they don't advance past the 17, let alone threaten. Game over.
USC is getting their game face on for our matchup. And Arizona State pays the price: 73-6 final.
Oregon and Arizona also pick up wins, so we have a tight race in the conference and all four teams are positioning for the playoffs. More on that next post.
Our pass defense has really been amazing the last two games. We are not surrendering a very high completion percentage at all. On the downside, we are penalty-prone and give up 1-2 big plays per game but I still like what these guys are doing this year.
The offense only had 304 yards, which is pretty piss-poor. Without a lot of turnovers that isn't going to get the job done when USC comes calling in three weeks. We will take advantage of that break to see if we can get healthy.
Brown had 33 carries for 119 yards - defenses are really ganging up on him lately. But another 2 TDs brings him to 14 on the year. I'm guessing he is among the league leaders in yards and TDs. He already has a career high for TDs and could pass his mark of 1433 yards with a big game against USC (needs 130 to tie). Also, he has cut his fumbles down.
Greg Brewer fumbled twice in this game. Glad that is out of his system (it had better be).
0 sacks this game is a bit of a concern, but I'll assume we were dropping extra men in coverage.
Pac 10 Standings:
1. Southern Cal 6-1
2. Oregon 5-1
3. Arizona 5-1
4. UCLA 5-2
5. Oregon State 3-3
6. Washington State 3-3
7. Arizona State 1-5
8. California 1-5
9. Washington 1-5
10. Stanford 1-5
1. LSU 10-0
2. Pitt 9-1 despite losing at home, 28-31 to #3 Syracuse
3. Syracuse 10-0
4. Southern Cal 9-1
5. Miami 8-1
6. West Virginia 8-1
7. Oklahoma 8-1
8. Texas 8-1
9. Arizona 8-1
10. UCLA 8-2
11. Oregon 8-1
I don't think we have wiggle room to lose to USC and still make the 16 team playoff.
Time to see what grades look like.
ILB Scott Wilson
OG James McAddley
Brutal to not get James back again - I can't believe this is good for his development.
Wilson is expected, and it frees up some playing time for Bruschi. No big deal on that one.
We have two off weeks to watch some football and work on fundamentals (like a proper handoff) before Trojan Week begins.
Washington State wins at home 17-16 against Arizona. Looks like their RB is still suspended - sad. Someone is in for a surprise in a bowl game.
Stanford wins 34-16 at Oregon State. OSU is the only conference team we don't play this year. Treu had 153 yards in the game.
Oregon rolled over ASU 41-17, good road win.
Cal won 30-12 at Washington. Glover was 25-32 for 395 yards and 3 TDs.
Awards nominations are out. I'll use the same format as last year, but include guys from Pitt (on schedule last year, not this year) since we played them recently and they are a Top 5 team this year.
QB: Eric Williams (WSU)
HB: Derrick Brown (UCLA), Kimo King (PITT), Eddie Treu (STAN)
WR: Willie Morris (WSU), Bill Phillips (USC), Andre Wilkerson (WSU)
TE: Scottie Peterson (STAN)
OLine: OT Brent Davenport (PITT), OT Ed Robinson (STAN)
DLine: DE Paul Hebron (WSU), DT Tim Mili (WASH), DT Damien Tate (ASU)
DB: CB Marques Herring (ARI), CB Derek Stewart (USC)
K: Morgan Bacon (Pitt)
P: Tremayne Frisch (OSU), Pete Terry (WASH)
Return: William Blades (WSU), Bob Cercone (ARI)
POY: Derrick Brown (UCLA), Kimo King (PITT), Eric Williams (WSU)
DPOY: DT Tim Mili (WASH), DT Damien Tate (ASU)
COY: Jessie Finneran (ORE), Julius Ladd (ARI), Freddie Keaton (PITT), Chris Prewitt (UCLA), Monte Simmons (USC)
I'm pumped that Derrick is a finalist for Player of the Year! And a little surprised by how many Washington State guys are on the list for a team that is hovering around .500
Top 10 after 13 weeks:
1. LSU (11-0)
2. Pittsburgh (10-1)
3. Syracuse (11-0) - SOS of 110 helps explain this, I think although they beat #2 Pitt on the road
4. Miami (FL) (10-1)
5. USC (9-1)
6. Oklahoma (9-1)
7. Texas (9-1)
8. Oregon (9-1)
9. West Virginia (9-2)
10. UCLA (8-2)
11. Arizona (8-2)
So we are securely into the playoffs and almost assured of our Top 25 performance for the year. A win against USC would be great for expectations and allow us into the playoffs. No pressure ...
OG Luis Jones is in bad shape with torn cartilage issues in his left ankle. We aren't going to be able to play him. We are going to be lining up tackles at the guard spots today.
DT Jared Burford - I had allowed myself to hope he might be back for this game but no chance. Torn ACL is not something that you play through.
Interesting, USC is a two point favorite at the Rose Bowl. Spread makes sense in light of records/stats but I suspect they are still considerably more talented than us.
We currently possess the top-rated defense in the land, surrendering only 300.2 yards per game. The offense still checks in at #14 despite our QB problems. With Burford and Edwards healthy today we may be able to approach that level of performance.
That is due, in part, to USC having the #66 defense in the nation. It was much worse before their shellacking of ASU. There are no issues with their offense, however. #6 in the nation.
Ken Gurode is listed as the starter, although it isn't clear who gets the snaps between him and LaShaun Sharpe. Both are seniors and both are very good.
I can't take any responsibility for the USC halfbacks, as both were brought in since I left. SO Solomon VanWagner is the starter. He was the #2 RB in his class and #10 overall. He sat the bench last year behind Vereb and Neil, but still collected 444 yards in spot duty. In his first year as a starter he has run for 1216 yards and 10 TDs. Big back (230), durable (98), with acceleration to tie for (99). He is backed up by FR Jerry King. King toyed with the idea of playing for UCLA before inking on with his childhood team. Also the #2 back in his class, he was #4 overall. He has run for 760 yards as a backup - much more than Dawson has seen in our attack.
The WR ranks have been devastated by graduation. The only guy left that we inked is Bill Phillips. His patience during his first two years has been rewarded, as the Trojan QBs rely heavily on him. 60 catches, 948 yards, 8 TDs. I'm not sure he is good enough to go pro, but I would be just fine if he decided to go that route. They also have a good group of TEs.
The offensive line is anchored by SR Andre Gilbert. 4 year starter, one of the best in college football. These guys are not dominant, but they are probably as good as anyone we've seen on our schedule.
I see a lot of talent here, but it hasn't matured just yet. The current starters are holdovers from my regime. JR DT Marc Burks is a two year startrer. He had 10 sacks last year but his numbers have fallen off this season. DE Andre Hendricks is a four year starter who is consistent but not dominant.
The linebackers have a rock in SR Dave Thomas (not the hamburger guy). He has started the last two seasons and looks like a guy who will go late 1st/early 2nd. Great tackler (99), good coverage skills (88), the guy is a chameleon who will fit into any scheme. All of their starters can run like the win and deliver a pop.
The secondary has fallen on hard times. CB Derek Stewart has had a great year with 7 interceptions and the ability to take a ball back (2 TDs) but he doesn't have much help. Sr Mike Peek is a 3 year starter but hasn't lived up to his hype coming in. Safety Joe Williams is another guy that hasn't been able to take the next step and at SS it appears they are running auditions even now.
100,089 pack the Rose Bowl for today's game. Our first 100k + crowd and the team is pumped.
We have some early success running the ball. Gannon Dawson bursts for 14 and it is followed up by a 25 yard gain for FB LaShon Toomer.
Welcome to the rivalry, Gannon Dawson! 37 yard TD run! Our offensive line just manhandled them on the opening drive. 7-0, 12:47 to play in quarter.
LaShaun Sharpe is the QB today - damn, I am convinced he is the better player at the position. 11 yard completion to Phillips to start the game.
Defensive holding call, our defense is starting early.
Sharpe throws a 52 yard TD pass to WR Lucas. We recruited him this year, but were surprised when he signed with USC as guys in the 200's weren't even sniffing that institution when we ran the ship. But Sharpe makes everyone look good and the receiving corps is pretty thin in Trojan country. 7-7, 10:46 left in the quarter.
USC puts the kickoff out of bounds. Starting at the 40.
Brown runs for 8, but puts the ball on the ground after a big hit from DE Hendricks. C Nick Moore recovers.
The run defense is much better this time around, they stop us on 3 plays. Punt.
USC is running student body left all over us. Gains of 10, 9, and 12.
We bust through the line to sack Sharpe and the ball is loose! Recovered by the Trojans.
They aren't able to recover to get a 1st and have to punt from our 44.
What can Gannon Dawson do for an encore after his first drive? How about break a TD run that is twice as long? 80 yards does the trick. 3 carries, 131 yards, and 2 TDs in less than ten minutes! 14-7, 5:21 to play in the quarter.
3 and out for the Trojans. Punt.
We lose C Nick Moore (forearm) for the game on the first play of this drive. He has been our most effective lineman all year - hate to see that.
3 and out, we punt on 4th and 1.
So far we have attempted 11 runs and 1 pass.
FS Greg Moore jumps the snap count and levels RB Soloman VanWagner in the backfield on 3rd and 2 from our 44.
USC goes for it on 4th and 3. Sharpe picks it up, throwing a dart even as he was hit.
Another injury at a key spot. DT Jack Farmer is knocked from the game with a jaw injury.
Jerry King runs it in from 8 yards out to tie the score. 14-14, 12:48 left in the half.
Edwards to Brewer for 22 yards to start this drive. First completion of the day on 2nd attempt. Brewer added about 10 yard after the catch on that play; he is shifty.
Brown picks up 3 on a 3rd and 8, but the refs rule that there was a facemask violation. USC is not happy with that call.
Neither is OLB Russ Parker, who sacks Edwards on the next play, jarring the ball loose. We recover.
Brown gets six yards back, but there is a penalty against us. Since it is 3rd down USC declines. McMullen will attempt a 51 yard field goal.
Final home game of his career, the crowd is waiting to boo the hell out of him on a miss. But that isn't going to happen. 17-14, 9:40 left in the half.
They get their boos in on the kickoff, which is badly shanked. Trojans start at the 40.
10 for VanWagner.
26 on a Sharpe to Phillips pass.
14 more, again to Phillips. They are making it look very easy against our highly regarded D. 1st and goal at the 10.
Sharpe goes out of the game clutching his elbow after a running play is stuffed. The line on him, assuming he isn't back, is 9-14 for 157 yards and 1 TD.
Gurode throws a TD on his first play of this drive, 3rd and goal from the 9. Lucas is the recipient. Both teams have true freshman with multiple TD games. 21-17, 7:30 left in the half.
Brown starts to get untracked on the next drive, getting positive yards on 3 straight carries.
Mike Voight makes 2 big catches, combining for 40 yards, to move the ball to the USC 26.
10 more for Voight, who is leveled by CB Derrick Stewart on that one.
We run Brown on 3rd and 15, kind of a give-up play. McMullen is out for a 35 yard attempt. Good. 21-20 USC, 2:48 left in the half.
Stewrart makes a couple of moves on the return before being reeled in at the 47.
We force a 3 and out, even after a 9 yard gain on 1st down.
And it is nasty for UCLA - downed at the 3 yard line.
3 passes move the chains, but we are not going to put points on the board before the half.
I'm very happy we knocked out their QB, even though the backup is a stud as well. Hopefully there is a significant drop-off at this position for them next year.
Pretty even game, no turnovers. Both teams are moving the ball on offense.
USC is going to continue to make big plays. We'll need 40 points to win this one.
Bill Phillips is a tough cover. 18 yards, he now has 5 catches for 74 yards.
OLB Adrian Kyle whiffs in the backfield on RB VanWagner and we stand around watching him run for 20 yards to our 36.
We force a 4th and 3 at our 29. They convert a 47 yard field goal. 24-20, 11:38 left in 3rd.
A holding call brings back a first down pass to Brewer.
Ben Jackson gets his first catch of the game, good enough to get those 10 yards back.
Edwards finds Jackson again, for 11 yards on a very nice throw into a tight spot against the sideline.
Edwards fires a strike on a deep crossing route to Brewer, good for 27.
FB Hagood Morris picks up 2 on a 3rd and 1. Great call.
Edwards and Jackson are clicking. Another sideline pass, this time for 20 yards down to the 4.
Brown takes the handoff and swerves way east before turning it up north. He dives for the pylon .... TOUCHDOWN! 27-24, 7:03 left in the 3rd.
Derek Stewart is a menace. USC abused us on special teams last year and is again putting a lot of pressure on our coverage team. Out to the 45 this time.
Crap, we are whistled for roughing the passer after a 3rd down overthrow/miscommunication. We can't give them extra shots ...
Gurode hits VanWagner on a screen pass for 19 yards, down to our 5.
And Jerry King takes it in on the next play. 31-27 USC, 3:25 to play in 3rd.
Edwards completes a pass on the run (!!! that never happens!) to Bill Stablein for 18 yards. Edwards is getting most of the snaps today - I know that I would prefer it was Burford, but Edwards has played well.
A reverse by Brewer loses 7 yards.
And we run a draw on 3rd and 7. Brown gets the 7; we are very pleased by the spot.
Burford is in for 3rd and 6, and he fires a strike to Brewer for 10 yards.
Edwards connects again with Jackson for 17 yards. Ben has been very busy in the 2nd half, as he now has 7 catches for 82 yards.
Add 13 more yards and a TD to those numbers, courtesy of Harold Edwards. 34-31 UCLA, 13:55 to play.
We get a stop after only one first down. Gurode just isn't as good as Sharpe. 4-12 for 48 yards so far. This is yet another guy who torched us last year who isn't quite as scary the 2nd time around.
A 57 yard punt, with no return, sticks up back on the 12.
We are quickly set down on three plays and have to punt.
60 yarder, touche. 54 net.
Gurode is incomplete on 3 straight attempts. Punt. Down to 8 1/2 minutes.
Oh, crap! ILB Dave Thomas comes out of nowhere to intercept a pass and he runs it back 66 yards for paydirt. 38-34 USC, 7:17 left. First turnover of the game - was fearing something like that for most of the 2nd half.
Edwards joins in on the fun, throwing an interception on 3rd and 10. USC ball on our 21.
3 plays, no first down, defense is trying to keep us in this one.
Laird hits a 33 yard field goal, 41-34 USC. This is their biggest lead of the day. 3:47 to play.
Good runback by Brown, out to the USC 45.
3rd and 3, Edwards finds Brewer for first down yardage. CB Stewart converges and brings some serious thunder, but Gary holds on! First down at the 23, 2:38 to go.
3 incomplete passes bring up 4th and 10. Field goal or go for it with 1:45 to play and all 3 timeouts?
Burford is in for the play, he is forced out of the pocket and goes down hard. DE Matt Bennett with the sack. Probably is the ballgame.
3 runs for VanWagner, no first down. But the refs and their flags mess this up. Offsides, now 3rd and 3. VanWagner is tripped, but stays on his feet to pick up the first down. Game over.
41-34, we gave them a war but victory is not yet ours in year 2.
We played toe-to-toe with USC for 53 minutes, but couldn't make plays in the last 1/2 quarter. The momentum really swung with the 2 INTs and we never forced a turnover the whole game.
We had a golden opportunity with Sharpe out. Gurode finished 5-16 for 54 yards and 1 TD.
Ben Jackson continued his strong maturation this year. 8 catches for 95 yards and a TD. If Brewer leaves early I think Ben will be ready to be a legit #1 receiver next year.
We had 100 more yards of offense than USC and were over 50% on 3rd down conversions.
Of course we had more penalties (7-90) but that isn't why we lost this game.
Backup center Knight allowed a pair of sacks. The regular starters did a nice job in pass blocking.
SS Taz Simms had perhaps his best game of the year. 5 solos, 1 assist, a sack, a pass defended, and a forced fumble.
I'm having a hard time getting fired up for a bowl game right now. We are #13 in the Grey Dog rating, so just maybe we can sneak into the playoffs.
Season Awards are in, Pac 10 (plus our other foes)guys listed for All-Americans.
1st Team All-Americans:
RB Kimo King (PITT) 1,600 yards, 5.88 ypc, 20 TDs
WR Willie Morris (WSU) 58 rec, 1080 yards, 12 TDs
OT Brent Davenprt (PITT) 30 rblk, 27 pan, 1 sa
DT Tim Mili (WASH) 32 tackles, 12 sacks, 1 stf, 0 INT
OPOY QB Levon Ferguson (Ohio State) 2,698 yards, 32-6 TD/INT 744 ru
DPOY LB Rick Aybar (WVU) 111 tackles, 10 sacks, 13 stf, 2 INT (note, he was only 2nd team All-American - go figure)
COY Freddie Keaton (PITT)
2nd Team All-Americans
DT Damien Tate (ARI) 30 tackles, 9 sacks, 3 stf, 0 INT
CB Derek Stewart (USC) 28 tackles, 1 sack, 13 pd, 8 INT
P Tremayne Frisch (OSU) 43.3, 38.1 net, 57 lg, 26 in20
3rd Team All-Americans
DE Paul Hebron (WSU) 33 tackles, 7 sacks, 8 stf, 0 INT
Pac 10 1st Team:
HB Derrick Brown 1,381 yards, 4.83 ypc, 18 TDs
C Nick Moore 27 rblk, 11 pan, 4 sa
K Ron McMullen 21-34 FG, 40-40 XP, 59 lg
FS Greg Moore 49 tackles, 0 sacks, 5 pd, 6 INT
OPOY Derrick Brown
FOY Floyd Tonnemaker 1,141 yards, 6.3 ypc, 10 TDs
COY Monte Simmonds (USC)
Pac 10 Second Team:
Pac 10 Third Team:
DT Jared Burford 6 tackles, 5 sacks, 1 stf, 0 INT
I'm happy for Brown getting conference POY, but was hoping he could sneak in as an All-American. I'm a little disappointed that we didn't have more recognition on the conference teams, but the individual stats are not terribly strong. The defense was an ensemble performance all year long.
End of season rankings:
1. LSU (12-0) - one of two unbeaten teams
2. Pittsburgh (10-1) - lame that they are ahead of Syracuse
3. Syracuse (11-0) - SOS of 112 is a joke, worse than Miami (OH) last year
4. Texas (11-1) - last years runner up
5. USC (10-1) - last years champ
6. Miami (FL) (10-1)
7. Oregon (10-1) - beat USC, at least two Pac 10 teams in the playoffs
8. West Virginia (9-2) - lost to both Big East teams ahead of them
9. Oklahoma (9-2) - how do you have SOS 96 in Big 12?
10. Auburn (9-2) - I've got nothing
Playoff seeds do not include us.
#1 LSU vs #16 Louisiana-Lafayette
#2 Pittsburgh vs #15 San Jose State
#3 Texas vs #14 Marshall
#4 Syracuse vs #13 Texas Christian
#5 Southern Cal vs #12 Western Michigan
#6 Miami (FL) vs #11 North Carolina
#7 Oregon vs #10 Minnesota
#8 West Virginia vs #9 Oklahoma
We are headed to a bowl game to face Penn State during Week 19. Tough opponent, think they have a monster at tailback ...
LSU -23 vs Louisiana-Lafayette
Pitt -17 vs San Jose State
Syracuse -19 vs Texas Christian
Texas -21 vs Marshall
Southern Cal -20 vs Western Michigan
Miami (FL) -8 vs North Carolina - first one that could be a game, UNC has some good wins this year
Oregon -7 vs Minnesota - don't like Pac 10 team to cover this number
West Virginia +14 vs Oklahoma - big spread goes against seeds
Miami (FL) 37-20
Oregon 37-16 - big win for Pac 10, two teams in final 8!
Oklahoma 48-30 - only lower seed to win, and they were 14 point favorite
#1 LSU -2 vs #9 Oklahoma
#2 Pitt +5 vs #7 Oregon - wow, this surprises me a little bit
#4 Texas -1 vs #6 Miami (FL)
#3 Syracuse +5 vs #5 USC - this does not surprise me much
Bowls - Pac 10:
#20 Arizona (8-3) +11 vs Kansas State (6-5, NR)
#13 UCLA (8-3) -5 vs Penn State (6-5, NR) - thought they had better record than this
Washington St (6-5) -13 vs Boise St (6-5)
Everyone except DT Burford is cleared to play today.
Penn State SR RB Chris Robertson is a pretty scary player. Four year starter in Happy Valley, ran for 2K yards in his freshman and junior years (13 games each season). The 1678 he has through 11 games would be the worst total of his career - that will hold up as long as he doesn't go for 149 yards against us. 67 TDs in 49 games. Hell, I'll just paste his player card so anyone reading along can gawk at his numbers. No idea why this guy would stay around for his senior year. 99 running and 99 endurance. At 246 pounds he is out of the Christian Okoye mold.
Decent talent on the rest of the offense, but not a lot of gamebreakers at the skill positions. One of the better offensive lines that I have seen - better than the usual Pac 10 fare.
We feel like we can do some things against this defense, but there are a couple of guys we would prefer to avoid. ILB Bill Manoa is one such player. Another four year starter, he has compiled about 300 tackles over his career. And SS Tracy Gordon is yet another talented senior who has started since day 1. Man, they are going to miss this class. 334 tackles and 14 INTs over the career for Tracy.
Their units rank #57 (offense) and #42. The highlighted matchup is Penn State QB Mark Slutzker versus our #1 ranked pass D. Mark is hitting 56% of his passes on the year for over 2200 yards and has a 16-10 TD/INT ratio.
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