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NCAA Roundup: Wolverines Get Help

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No, I don't mean that they went and visited their local psychiatrist to iron out their inferiority issues. They got some help from a sloppy opponent and may have a chance to salvage a respectable season now.

This brings me to a close of using Michigan as the leadin for the roundup, but hey, they were playing a ranked team (#10 Penn State), the only ranked team I really care about, and Michigan is still an intriguing story. After this, when they play Northwestern and East Carolina – not so terribly interesting.

What a wretched game this was, though. This game actually featured less offense than the 14-9 final score might indicate. Michigan got their only score of the first half on a drive that started at the Penn state 10 yard line after a fumble by the most assuredly soon-to-be second string Austin Scott Anthony Morelli.

One needs only look at a very brief sequence of the game to understand what happened. Penn State, with about nine and a half minutes left in the third quarter, trailing only 7-3 (thanks to a couple missed FG opportunities by Michigan), started at their own 20 yard line.

They drove straight down the field, all the way to the 11 yard line. Austin Scott then fumbled the ball. Michigan turned around and drove to their own 33 before fumbling it right back. Penn State then drove right back down the field to the Michigan two yard line – and stalled out, kicking a field goal.

Penn State capped off the lackluster performance with a drive that started at their own 12 yard line (still trailing only 14-9, mind you), which resulted in four straight incompletions and the end of the game.

Actually, who knows. Maybe Michigan's defense is finally turning a corner, but until Chad Henne returns the offense is one dimensional and useless against any quality team.

For the record, they aren't getting any blurbs here, but Penn State was one of only a couple top-ranked teams not to kill their opponent, and only nine top 25 games are even worth talking about. Though I guess that finally brings some sense normalcy. That said, here's the rest of the top 25:

  • #2 LSU used a fake field goal to open up a 21-7 lead at halftime, then held on to take care of #12 South Carolina 28-16.
  • As I mentioned in the Louisville article, Florida's defense isn't great and let Mississippi back in it, but Tim Tebow is a stud, so they are winning shootouts, like the 30-24 one yesterday.
  • Wisconsin and Iowa played a thrillingly dull game, where 17 of the game's 30 points came in the last three minutes of the first half. Iowa stalled out at the Wisconsin 14 yard line late in the game, and that four point drop (they settled for a FG) turned out to be the difference in a 17-13 win for the Badgers.
  • The 13th ranked Oregon Ducks played what may have been the most uneven game this year. They led 21-3 at the end of the first quarter, then needed a great kick return from Jonathan Stewart and a FG just to be trailing 31-24 at halftime. The Ducks then found themselves and went on to win 55-31. Entertaining if nothing else, I suppose.
  • #16 Alabama played from behind all day, trailing 10-0 and 20-10 before a late surge took the game to overtime. Unfortunately, their offense never really clicked, and they fell 26-23 in overtime against Georgia.

As usual, the best comes last. Kentucky was riding high after last weeks embarrasment of Louisville, but for most of the game they appeared doomed to a letdown.

Arkansas used an early fumble recovery for a touchdown and 267 first half rushing yards to stake a 20-7 lead with 5:41 left until halftime, and the prospects were bleak for the Wildcats.

They returned the favor by taking a Razorbacks fumble 67 yards for a touchdown with 26 seconds left in the first half, then came out on the opening drive of the second half and drove right down the field for a touchdown. Before you knew it, three plays into the fourth quarter Kentucky was leading 21-20 and were once again across midfield and driving.

Things seemed to suddenly turn into a bad Hollywood remake called "Gone In 140 Seconds." On the very next play, first and ten from the Arkansas 48, Kentucky RB Tony Dixon took off for a 26 yard gain, only to fumble the ball right back into Arkansas' hands. Arkansas stalled out, but then punted and pinned Kentucky in at their own three yard line. The next two plays were a sack for a saftey and an 82 yard free kick return, and it was 29-21 Arkansas just over three minutes into the fourth quarter.

Luck returned soon after, as the Wildcats got a roughing the kicker call on the Razorbacks that turned a missed field goal into a touchdown, and it was on from there. Arkansas' offense disappeared (60 yards of 4th quarter offense) and Kentucky turned this game into a veritable romp, 42-29.

Kentucky is no different than Florida, lots of offense and no defense, but so far that's enough for them. Off to next week!

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  • RJ

    Michigan looks like they will go undefeated this year. (As long as you don’t count those first two games…)