Monday, 16 September 2013

College Football Week 3 review

Thanks to the wonders of scheduling, we had the marquee match-up of the season in just the third week of the season.  The walking hyperbole or is it hype machine, Johnny Manziel, whose performance on the road at Alabama helped him win the Heisman Trophy this year welcomed the National Champions to College Station, Texas; as the #6 Texas A&M Aggies hosted #1 Alabama on Saturday.

The game that was hyped to the hilt for once did not disappoint as the Crimson Tide remained unbeaten winning 49-42 on the road to stay the No.1 team in the country.  Yet the Aggies still put up a lot of questions of this weaker Bama defence, as wide receiver Mike Evans had 7 catches for 279 yards and 1 touchdown.

The questions of the defence come down to the giving up of 628 total yards (464 passing yards by Manziel), and yet they won by a touchdown owing to A&M having one more turnover.  AJ McCarron marshalled the offence 20-29, 334 yards and 4 TDs with TJ Yeldon having 149 yards off of 25 carries.  Yeldon has filled the hole left by Eddie Lacy. Yet it is the winning mentality of the Crimson Tide who retained enough players from the Championship side to retain a cohesiveness, whilst the offensive line improved allowing McCarron time to throw; the defence needs to step up in later contests down the stretch - Zach Mettenberger must be licking his lips at the prospect of facing this team.

The SEC is fast becoming the highest scoring conference helped by teams like the Aggies; the Tide and LSU Tigers so often renowned for being professional and getting the job done, are now scoring 40 plus points regularly and this is good for the product of College Football.

One reason for the high scoring must be a reaction to the Oregon Ducks and the Chip Kelly offense; the Ducks continued their march with a 59-14 home victory over the SEC's Tennessee Volunteers led by Marcus Mariota throwing for a career-high 456 yards and four touchdowns.  Amazingly, the Volunteers scored on their first possession, but where you worried?  Mariota is my favourite for the Heisman Trophy, if they remain undefeated then the sheer volume of points and dynamic ability will seal it for him.

The Big 10's big noise are the Ohio State Buckeyes who went undefeated last year but were ineligible for bowl selection.  Eligibility is available this year and they intend to make it count with so many players returning. On Saturday, they travelled to California and won 52-34 with fifth year quarterback Kenny Guiton getting his first start and leading them to victory with 21-32, 276 yards and 4 TDs.  In comparison to Braxton Miller who gives you options on the run, Guiton is a better pocket passer and gives time for receivers to get separation and hits his targets.

Florida State Seminoles decimated the Nevada Wolf Pack 62-7 at home, redshirt freshman Jameis Winston went 15-18 for 214 yards and 2 touchdowns.  The Seminoles along with the Louisville Cardinals (who won 27-13 at Kentucky) are attempting to make the ACC get noticed and the play of Winston and Cardinals' Teddy Bridgewater, who is projected as the top quarterback in the upcoming draft, are turning heads.

Another QB who could be drafted high will be UCLA's Brett Hundley who led his Bruins to a supreme road victory at the #23 Nebraska Cornhuskers.  Hundley led his team from an 18 point deficit to win comfortably 41-21 thanks to a 28 point third quarter.  Hundley went 16-24, 294 yards for 2 TDs with help from RB Jordan James who had 105 yards off 22 carries, Hundley had 61 yards off 16 carries.  Hundley's leadership is vital to the Bruins going forward and they need to keep winning for the eventual meeting with the Oregon Ducks in the Pac-12.

And poor old Texas Longhorns, lost for a second consecutive week, to go 1-2 for the first time since Mack Brown's debut season.  They lost 44-23 at home to Ole Miss Rebels (who next play Alabama in two weeks time) thanks to Jeff Scott 164 yards off 19 carries who ran at will against the struggling Longhorns, who have a problem but seem to have no idea of stopping it.

What to watch in Week 4:
Tajh Boyd and #3 Clemson return to national stage on Thursday night at North Carolina State; On Saturday, upset alert as Purdue (who nearly beat Notre Dame) travel to #24 Wisconsin; Alabama are at home to Colorado State (snooze); #23 Arizona State at #5 Stanford should be a great match-up and close contest and Auburn travel to #8 LSU for a typical SEC slugfest.

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