Mississippi Enjoys Second Week Of Unparalleled College Football Success

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College Football Continues To Shine Each Week

By John Ventola

Pardon me, does anyone have two extra tickets to the Egg Bowl in Oxford in November? I am looking for an early Christmas present and I can not think of a better way to wind up this exciting football season that sitting in The Grove with cowbells ringing in my ears before witnessing this year’s feel good story in sports. Mississippi State against the University of Mississippi. The Dak Attack versus Bo Knows, The Battle of the Magnolia State. Maybe those frat boys at Ole Miss have been correct with their annual proclamation that the South would rise again. It took a while, but it seems the ascension has occurred.

Mississippi State took care of its third consecutive Top Ten ranked opponent (they beat then No. 8 LSU, then No. 10 Texas A & M, and now No. 2 Auburn) by defeating the War Eagles 38-23 and ending their 17-game regular season winning streak. Dak Prescott,

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Prescott Climbing The Heisman Ladder

the Bulldogs dual-threat junior quarterback, again led his team to victory by passing for two touchdowns and running for one. Despite throwing two interceptions after MSU had taken an early lead over Auburn, Prescott delivered when the chips were down to thwart a comeback effort by Gus Malzahn’s group. He passed for 246 yards and ran for 121 as he continued to climb the Heisman watch chart. The last four Heisman winners, like Prescott this year, were not mentioned on any preseason Heisman watch lists.

Meanwhile, Bo Wallace triggered Ole Miss to a 21-0 halftime lead and 35-20 win over Texas A & M that was not as close the final score indicates. The Aggies scored on the final play of the game to make their dismal effort in front of a Kyle Field home crowd somewhat respectable. Early season sensation Kenny Hill was under pressure all day from the talented Ole Miss defense that features terrific line play.

Alabama was able to hold on and defeat an improving Arkansas team 14-13 in Fayetteville. The Crimson Tide was again shoddy on special teams, a problem they have been experiencing for the past two seasons. For whatever reason, Nick Saban is finding it difficult to straighten out this part of the Crimson Tide’s game.

Freshman running back Nick Chubb stepped in for suspended Todd Gurley and carried the ball 38 times for 143 yards as the Bulldogs demolished homestanding Missouri. The 5-star recruit had only carried the ball 31 times before his stellar effort in Georgia’s 34-0 embarrassment of the Tigers. While Chubb shined, a sign at the game told the real

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From Gurley Girl To Chubby Girl

story. A Georgia clad lady held up a sign that said, “I use to be a Gurley Girl but now I am a Chubby Girl”. Those Southern belles, you have got to give it to them. They are sweet, and to the point.

LSU was able to topple Florida 30-27 for its first SEC win when Colby Delahoussaye hit a career long 50-yard field goal with three seconds left in Gainesville. In a game that featured erratic coaching decisions and strategy, the Tigers leaned on an outstanding individual effort by freshman running back Leonard Fournette as he rushed 27 times for 140 yards and two touchdowns. Sophomore Anthony Jennings reclaimed his starting quarterback role and provided a steady, if not spectacular, performance, hitting wide receiver Travin Dural on a 10-yard fade pattern in the right corner of the endzone with 2:40 left. Dural caught the ball with one hand before going out the back of the endzone. Two plays earlier, Jennings had hit Dural for forty one yards on a go route that also drew a 15-yard penalty on a defender for committing a hands to the face infraction on Dural’s check at the line of scrimmage. Dural’s touchdown gave LSU a brief 27-24 lead.

Gator quarterback Jeff Driskel then burnt LSU defensive back Rashard Robinson with a 61-yard completion to the Tigers’ four-yard line with two minutes left. Florida coach Will Muschamp then showed why he will be the only SEC coach to be fired this year. Pulling plays from Coach Les Miles’ Goal line Offense manual (remember the Tigers three play calls when they were losing early to Mississippi State 7-0 last month), Muschamp ran first down right into the middle of the line, then had Driskell sneak on second down before calling for a rollout and pass to wide open tight end Kevin Westbrook. Westbrook dropped the football, forcing the Gators to tie the game with a chip-shot field goal, 27-27, with 1:53 left.

How did LSU win you say? It wasn’t so much that they won it, Florida lost it. Fournette took the ensuing kickoff in the endzone and instead of taking a knee and guaranteeing the ball on the twenty five, he ran it out and was crushed on the tackle without reaching the twenty, lucky to hold on to the ball with 1:43 left in regulation. Unbelievably Terrence Magee ran up the middle for a couple before Jennings badly overthrew a receiver. On third down Jennings was flushed from the pocket and tackled for a six yard loss at the 13 yard line with 56 seconds left. The Tigers had run three plays, lost four yards, and run only 47 seconds off the clock. Jamie Keehn punted 45 yards, but purposely aimed the kick out of bounds at the Gators 42 with 54 seconds left. Miles finally used a strategy to counteract the punt return abilities of Andre Debose, who burned the Tigers for a 62-yard touchdown and a 52 yard jaunt on two previous punt returns. Even he gets it—sometimes.

Driskel completed a five yard pass before trying to force a slant route. Kwon Alexander hit the receiver and ball almost simultaneously and the ball popped in the air. Ricky Jefferson intercepted and returned the ball to Florida’s 35-yard-line with twenty four seconds remaining. After a short line dive that placed the ball on the right hash mark (a spot on the field that Delahoussaye told Miles he would NOT prefer), the junior placekicker came in and calmly made the 50 yarder, besting his longest effort in college by one yard.

Miles’ only decent decision during crunch time was his taking a timeout with the Gators sitting at the Tigers two yard line with two minutes left, hoping to safe more clock time for a final drive in case Florida scored a touchdown. Muschamp seemed to match the Tiger mentor with strategic mistakes as he attempted to run down the clock with his conservative play calling when the Gators positioned themselves for the win with a first and goal at the Tigers 4 with two minutes left, Westbrook’s drop stopped that, and Muschamp’s decision to run a slant pattern in traffic on the Gators’ last possession backfired also.

Bottomline, at this point in the season, none of the seven Western Division SEC teams have been beaten by a foe from the Eastern Division. There are many conference battles left in the season, but the Western group is definitely showing its supremacy.

Elsewhere, Notre Dame kept their unbeaten season going by rolling up 50 points on

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Irish Still Unbeaten Despite Turnover Spell

defenseless North Carolina. The Irish, who will play unbeaten Florida State and last year’s Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston (providing he is not suspended or arrested during the week) next Saturday in Tallahassee, won 50-43 despite committing four turnovers in South Bend. Notre Dame has now committed ten turnovers in the last three games and needs to get the problem fixed quickly or it will be once again embarrassed in Florida (BCS mismatch against Alabama in Miami after the 2012 unbeaten Irish season). Everett Golson passed for 300 yards, ran for 71 more in the no-defense contest. Running back Tarean Folston added 98 rushing yards in 18 carries for the Irish. Rebuilding North Carolina has given up 70 points to East Carolina, 50 points to Clemson, and now 50 points to Notre Dame.

Unbeaten Baylor kicked a final play field goal to complete a 24 point last quarter comeback against TCU in a Waco event that started as a football game, but ended up being a track meet. Quarterback Bryce Petty threw for 510 yards and six touchdowns as the Bears overcame a 58-37 Horned Frog lead with eleven minutes left in the game. To say the Big 12 plays no defense is an understatement. 61-58 gives it an exclamation point.

Florida State played another ho-hum game to beat overmatched Syracuse, 38-20, Oklahoma edged Texas in the annual Red River tilt in Dallas, 31-26, and Oregon used its fast paced offense to rush out to a big lead and hold off UCLA, 42-30. Michigan State played poorly but was able to topple Purdue 45-31, while USC upset No. 10 ranked Arizona 28-26 in other Top Ten tussles.

The 13-member selection committee that will choose the four semi-final teams for this year’s College Football Playoff will put out their first list in late October. The teams are jockeying for position, but nowhere is the competition more consistent, more intense than the SEC, particularly the Western Division. Any team that can run the conference’s eight-game gauntlet with no losses or one loss deserves to be in the Final Four.

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