As expected, most teams took care of business this week. That mostly is because virtually everyone in P5 conferences were playing 1-AA teams or G5 teams (whistles innocently). That doesn’t mean that there weren’t a few games worth noting.
(#3) Georgia 41 @ (#24) USC 17
Wow. So following my own advice, I watched this game, and Carolina really wasn’t in it for a moment. Unsurprisingly, the story of the game was on the ground, where UGA destroyed USC 271-54. Yes, UGA held USC’s run attack to nearly 50 yards. While on a technical level, UGA was winning the game at all aspects by the half, it was still in anyone’s reach where it was a 17-7 lead for the Bulldogs. As Vanderbilt fans are all too familiar though, UGA has incredible depth, and that bore itself out in the second half. UGA increased their lead by 10 points within two minutes, and soon went up to 41-10. Carolina is most certainly not a top 25 team at the moment, and UGA is looking every bit the champion contender many pegged them as.
Ball State 16 @ (#8) Notre Dame 24
So we’ve admittedly been bad about our communication with sister site OneFootDown. That said, reading their recap, I can see they’d dig our manner here. Despite the talking heads swooning over Notre Dame’s chances, the Irish had to keep their first team out all game for the win over Ball State, An encouraging result for Vanderbilt, but maybe not as they’ll undoubtedly take the scare out on us. This is especially the case as Brian Kelly himself admitted that he wasn’t prepared for Ball State in the post game presser. The best news for Vanderbilt fans though is that while Ball State didn’t explode on offense, the box score tells an interesting story. The Irish OL is apparently easily exploited. Ball State sacked the Irish four times, had TEN tackles for losses, and four hurries. Ball State. Ball State getting that kind of backfield disruption is great news for us who has a much better defense. Notre Dame was in the lead the whole time, but allowed Ball State to score 10 in the fourth. Even Notre Dame fans aren’t happy about this win. While I’m still expecting a bad loss, this game is full of omens for the optimistic Vandy fan.
(#17) Southern Cal 3 @ (#10) Stanford 17
As much as I wanted this to be a game, a big part of me is glad it wasn’t. That’s not just because I ended up missing this game through a combination of watching Clemson-Aggie, UF-UK and FSU-Samford either. Still, none expected Southern Cal’s offense to be stifled to the point of being shutout in the first half. The debate this week will be whether it was Stanford having the defense or whether it was Southern Cal “beating themselves”. I’m inclined to say Stanford’s defense did plenty to disrupt the Southern Cal OL, but it’s not like Stanford as much of an excuse for their lack of points. Neither of these teams look like top teams right now.
(#2) Clemson 28 @ Texas A&M 26
Might have been the only game this week that was even watchable. Watchable in the sense that it was a great football game, not watchable in the schandenfruede sense (I’m looking at you Southern Cal and UK).
Clemson is still a champion contender, they sure as hell didn’t look like it Saturday night. They constantly gave entirely too much room on the passing game, ultimately letting up 430 yards in the air. The lion’s share of the blame for that goes the the safties. The DBs missed assignments here and there, but the Clemson safeties played outright retarded all game. Failing to come over, not knowing their zones, letting guys get 10 yard buffers. In the end, it was the ACC refs that saved Clemson on an awfully close fumble call that looked to me like it went out before the pylon. Nonetheless, on review not overturning the touchback call was the right one as there wasn’t anything conclusive. As I told you in the preview last Wednesday, Aggie is going to be a top team by year’s end and Jimbo is going to have them there sooner than I thought.
Overall, this game was what college football is all about. Even at 14-3 at the half, it felt a lot closer than it was. Aggie didn’t give up for one second, which is a testament to the Jimbo era. Excitement til the last second.
(#15) Michigan State 13 @ Arizona State 16
Didn’t I tell y’all Arizona State had an upset in the works? You know that feeling we always have watching Vanderbilt games that the game is about to go South real fast? That’s exactly what you were going through all night as a MSU fan watching this game. MSU did, well, everything wrong on a technical level. They weren’t wrapping up, they weren’t covering their zones, they weren’t picking up assignments. More than that, they couldn’t finish when it mattered. Going into the fourth quarter, MSU up 13-3, it seemed like MSU would be able to outlast ASU with their raw talent and depth. Sometimes that’s all that it takes. Then it started to happen. ASU finished a nine play drive with a FG to make it a one score game. A punt-fest ensued before ASU managed to break a 40 yard pass to start a drive that began at their own 38 yard line, and followed it with another 25+ yard pass for the TD. MSU couldn’t move the ball, and punted the ball away with just under five minutes left. What followed was a drive of inevitability. MSU fans will argue that a PI call on DB Justin Layne on a third and ten was not fair, but it certainly didn’t kill the game. ASU still moved the ball 70 yards over 13 plays to end on a chipshot 28 yarder for the win.
Kentucky 27 @ (#25) Florida 16
(Makes Gator chomp in mocking fashion)
You didn’t expect me to be serious here, did you?
(continues to mockingly chomp)
Hey, remember when Dan Mullen joked about the streak at his presser Tuesday?
Samford 26 @ Florida State 36
If you just looked down the scores of Saturday’s games, you’d may hesitate at this result, say “hmm” and move on. The reality is that Samford was up on FSU most of the game, and out-gained FSU offense 525-454 yards. In the end, it was the -4 TO margin that killed Samford. FSU managed to get back into the lead with only 3:50 left in the game, and a pick-6 ended up sealing the deal for the Samford squad. FSU is a bad football team y’all.
Arkansas 27 @ Colorado State 34
For any of you who told me I was mad for saying Vanderbilt has a good chance to beat Arkansas, I’d like to introduce you to this game. Arkansas was up 27-9 halfway through the third before Arkansas got 37 yards the rest of the game (I’m not sure where Arkansas Fight is getting 4 yards). Nevertheless, CO State outscored Arkansas 25-0 to finish out the game for the win. Kind of glad I didn’t get my way about Vanderbilt hiring Chad Morris.
Kansas 31 @ Central Michigan 7
I’m really only bringing this game up because of the CFB writer on mothership who decided to write an essay about how Kansas football doesn’t deserve to exist because it’s not a power football program.