Sunday, November 8, 2009

12 Hours Later (plus).....Thoughts On A Football Couch Potato Weekend (And It Ain't Over Yet)




This is part of my weekly series following the Rutgers 2009 football season. RU had a bye this weekend, and will resume action on Thursday night at Rutgers Stadium vs the University of South Florida.

I decided to get really lazy and watch football non-stop since about noon on Saturday- so any of you regulars who drop into this quasi-political blog looking for some words of wisdom (every once in awhile I say something smart), well check back in on Monday. I'll be back with that stuff tomorrow.

Oh The Pain In Giantland!

Just a few minutes ago I finished watching the Giants blow a game to the San Diego Chargers, to extend their losing streak to four games after starting the season 5-0. New York had a 17-14 lead with a first down on the four yard line of San Diego after an interception return. A holding call moved the ball back to the 14 yard line. The Giants couldn't get it into the end zone so they kicked a field goal, making it 20-14. There was a little more than two minutes in the game and the Chargers had one time out.

Philip Rivers then led San Diego on a an 80 yard drive, capped by an 18 yard game winning touchdown to Vincent Jackson with 21 ticks left on the clock. The final- Chargers win 22-21.

Shocking....let the second guessing begin. WFAN's switchboard is going to burning up on Monday.

About six weeks ago I said the Giants would win the first five, and split the next four. Its not quite an official free fall, but its getting darn close.

Here's the box score for all who want to see a post mortem

Next up- Eagles and Cowboys. Is there any way both can loose?

The other game I watched today was the Bengals and Ravens, mainly to see former Rutgers guys Ray Rice (Ravens) and Brian Leonard (Bengals). That game was won by Cincinnati 17-7, a score that wasn't as indicative as to how dominant the Bengals were in this game. They played great defense, were able to contain Rice for most of the game, and scored just enough with 17 points in the first half to get the win. I had forgotten that former Rutgers tight end Clark Harris is now the long snapper for Cincinnati.

Bearcats Keep Winning

And speaking of Cincinnati....and college football for that matter....last night's University of Cincinnati Bearcats game against the snake bit UCONN Huskies was a nail biter, and one that tells you that some times statistics don't tell the whole story. How about a Cincy offense that ran up 711 yards of offense, had a 20 point lead at the half (30-10), but when the smoke cleared it was a shootout after a furious comeback by UCONN, only to see Cincinnati hang on to win 47-45. This really was like watching two separate games, with UCONN showing a lot of heart to nearly steal this one from undefeated #5 Cincinnati (9-0). This two point loss for UCONN added to a season of unbelievable setbacks for the Huskies, this following identical 28-24 losses to West Virginia and Rutgers in consecutive weeks, a last second game winning field goal to Pitt, and a safety at the end of their game against North Carolina to give them a two point loss. All told, this makes five losses by a grand total of 15 points. Unbelievable, and it dropped the Huskies to 4-5. And of course, there is the greatest tragedy of their season, the murder of defensive back Jasper Howard. The losses to WVU, Rutgers, and Cincinnati have all come in consecutive weeks since Howard's death.

This game will be remembered as the coming out party on network TV for Cincinnati's backup quarterback Zach Collaros, who threw for 480 yards and and one touchdown, and rushed for another 75 yards and two TD's. He's the backup for starter Tony Pike, last years first team Big East quarterback....and he might be doing a Lou Gehrig-Wally Pipp thing- Pike is recovering from an injury, and who knows when- or if- he can reclaim his job. Tony Pike was getting some buzz as a potential Heisman candidate...and now he can't get back on the field .

The Big East's two best quarterbacks might be on the same team, the Cincinnati Bearcats.

How about Those Middies"

The last time an unranked Navy team beat a ranked Notre Dame was 1936. And it happened again on Saturday when the Irish (#22) fell to the Midshipmen in South Bend, 23-21. It was the second win in three years for Navy over ND, and the first time Navy has won in back to back trips to Notre Dame since the Roger Staubach era (1961 and 1963). Jimmy Clausen passed for 452 yards for ND and had two touchdowns, but also a costly interception and was taken down in his own end zone for a safety that ultimately won the game for Navy. With Navy leading 21-7 late in the fourth quarter, Clausen connected with Michael Floyd with 4:46 left in the game to make it 21-14 Navy. After a scoreless Navy possession resulted in a punt deep into Irish territory , Clausen was tackled in the end zone by Navy's Craig Schaefer for the safety, making the score 23-14 Navy with only 1:00 left in the game.

The ensuing free quick by Notre Dame was a onside, recovered by Notre Dame, who took it down field quickly and into the end zone, Clausen to Golden Tate for seven with 24 seconds in the game. The Irish tried another onside kick, but this time it was recovered by Navy, who took a knee and ended the game.

The final- Navy 23, Notre Dame 21.

The Irish turned the ball over three times to none for Navy, and couldn't contain the vaunted Navy rushing attack, the Middies racked up 348 yards on the ground.

The win for Navy made them bowl eligible at 7-3, the loss dropped ND to 6-3 and more or less eliminated them from any hope of a BCS bowl bid, and took them out of both the AP and USA TODAY Top 25's.

Orange Crushed By Pitt

If you hadn't noticed, I'm doing this in reverse order....call it The Olbermann Syndrome.

The first game I watched yesterday (Saturday) was Syracuse and Pitt from Heinz Field, at the confluence of the Allegheny and the Monongahela rivers. The final was Pitt 37, 'Cuse 10, but it wasn't that close. Both teams traded field goals for the only scoring in the first quarter (with Syracuse scoring first). Then Pitt's Greg Williams returned an interception for a 51 yard score, giving Pitt a 10-3 halftime score. After the half, the Panthers scored many and often, racking up 27 points in the second half. All told Pitt scored 37 unanswered points between Syracuse's first and last scores, the final being an Orange TD with 1:03 left in the game. Super freshman Dion Lewis ran for 110 yards and one TD for Pitt, tight end Dorin Dickerson went for 118 yards and a touchdown, steady Pitt QB Bill Stull was 16/23 for 225 yards and a TD. The Panthers (8-1) have crept into the AP and USA TODAY Top 10 (at #8 and #9 respectively) while Syracuse falls to 3-6, one loss from bowl elimination.

Those were the games I watched in their entirety...yes, the whole games. Hey, I deserve it. I did see some parts of Georgia Tech- Wake Forest, Ohio State- Penn State, and Louisville-West Virginia, but not enough to get a feel for the games.

What can I say?

I really like football.

2 comments:

GridironGeneral said...

Zach Collaros has been amazing! Ironically enough, Tony Pike won the starting job when the senior QB in front of him got hurt last year. Now it seems the same may happen to him.

I think momentum, confidence, and the hot hand are critically important, especially for QB's. Not only is Pike's fragile arm a big question, but Collaros' running ability adds an extra dimension and he's the QB of the future.

I say go with Collaros and bring in Pike if need be. You can't take the ball out of the hands of a QB that's hot - especially later in the season with so much on the line and so much doubt about Pike's arm and how he'll play after sitting out a few weeks.

It's heartbreaking for Pike - no question. But it's not about one guy - it's about the team - and I think Collaros will give the team the best chance of success from here until he proves otherwise.

Hugh Jee From Jersey said...

Coach Brian Kelly at Cincinnati has one helluva "problem"- which of these two tremendous quarterbacks to play. I was there in person when Tony Pike dismantled Rutgers (which led to the insertion of RU's young star Tom Savage at qb), but Collaros looks like the biggest thing out of Steubenville (Ohio) since a guy named Dean Martin. That was just an amazing performance last Saturday night against a very well coached and very good defensive UCONN squad.

A bigger concern for UC fans- post season, that is- has to be can they hold on to Brian Kelly? I won't be shocked if Charlie Weis's days are ending at Notre Dame....and Rich Rodriguez could be shown the door at Michigan as well (I can just hear bartenders in Morgantown yelling "drinks are on the house" the day that news breaks).

Kelly would be a great fit at either place...an innovative coach with even more talent to tinker around with, and he's an adopted son of the Midwest to boot.

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