Phil Steele’s College Football News and Notes: Part One

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Welcome to my first post here on The Smoking Jacket! If you’re a college football fan, you’re going to enjoy the posts here on the site – so make sure you’re checking back often.

Many of you are probably wondering how I come up with the information featured in this article? Each Saturday I have 12 TV’s in front of me so I myself have an eye on 12 games but it’s possible to miss things happening in 11 others when I’m focusing in on 1. I also have my staff out in the office also watching one individual game on TV and doing totalcasts for as many as 3 others at the same time. They chart each play in the game then I collect the information and dissect EACH AND EVERY FBS game – even when an FBS is playing an FCS (formerly IAA) team.

What makes my News & Notes different from others is that I analyze each and every drive of every single game – giving you information that you WON’T find by glancing at a boxscore and providing an overall feel for how the game was REALLY played. Enjoy!

Let’s get it started with…

Week 1 News & Notes

wilson

The debut of Russell Wilson was made in the hottest game ever in the 94-year history of Camp Randall Stadium (90˚ at KO). Wilson led the Badgers to 8 scores on 8 poss with 7 of those TD’s and the only FG came on a 29 yd’r on 2nd & 3 on the last play of the 1H. Wisconsin led 51-3 when Wilson came out with 8:45 was left in the 3Q. UNLV drove 75/11 and 70/9 for a pair of TD’s to get in the backdoor by a half point, the latter TD coming with 11:41 left. UW finished the game at the LV22 taking a knee.

Rutgers was not as impressive as the final indicates vs NC Central and starting QB Dodd engineered 3 scoring drives in the 1H but Rutgers only finished the game with a 347-128 yd edge. Leading 21-0, RU blew it open scoring 2 defensive TD’s in a :45 span falling on a fumble in the EZ when DL Vallone fell on a fmbl in the EZ for a TD and 2 plays later Harmon got a 37 yd IR TD to make it 35-0. Backup QB Gary Nova who hit 6-17-97, led the team with a 44 yd TD pass then a 10 yd drive for a 36 yd FG (after fmbl) and a 54/14pl drive for a 22 yd FG with 10:35 left to close out the scoring. NC Central was sacked 9 times and turned it over 4 times.

Toledo alternated their QB’s. Danton had the first 3 series and generated a punt, an 11 play drive for a 22 yd FG and a 30/3 TD drive (after int). Owens came in for the next 3 series and got a 45/1 TD pass, engineered 82/7pl TD drive and a 46/11pl drive for a 33 yd FG and UT led 27-0. Danton returned for 3 series and got a 38 yd FG, a 75/9pl drive for a TD and a 63/1pl TD pass and UT led 44-9. Owens came in for 2 series and led a 53/8pl TD drive and a punt and Macon came in and engineered a 38/5pl drive for a TD and a 12 pl drive to run the clock out. UT had leads of 24-0 and 58-15.

Utah jumped out to a 24-0 lead vs Montana St but only had a 16-12 FD edge and 292-258 yd edge. They had an 8 yd TD drive after a 35 yd IR.

Dave Clawson has done a great job at Bowling Green and a great job in openers. This year they were an underdog at Idaho and gave up a TD on the first drive and were SOD at the IU39 on their first drive but BG scored TD’s on their next 4 poss followed by a FG and led 30-7 at the half with a 377-179 yd edge. IU pulled within 33-15 with 14:44 left in the game but IU was pinned at their 2 and tackled for a safety and after punting on their next poss, IU fmbl’d at their own 30 & 49 on the final 2. BG finished with a 478-280 yd edge.

FIU only had a 22-17 FD and 401-301 yd edges but NT’s 2 TD’s both came via the defense. FIU got a 62 yd KR by TY Hilton and drove 29/4pl for a TD then after NT was SOD at the FIU40, got a 60/1pl TD pass to Hilton, 14-0. FIU went 94/10pl for a TD then after a fmbl, 33/2pl for a TD and led 28-0. It was 31-7 at the half with FIU having a 284-100 yd edge. NT did miss 48 and 42 yd FG’s in the 3Q and trailed 41-14 and were SOD at the 1 yd line with 1:23 left but got a safety on the next play.

WKU had a 13-11 FD edge vs Kentucky and the D’s dominated with 19 punts and just 24 FD’s. WKU had a slim 234-190 yd edge. UK’s 2 scoring “drives” were a 22 yd TD drive in the 2Q (after an int) to lead 7-3 at the half. UK on 3&14 got a 58 yd run by Newton down to the WKU26 and on 1&15 a 31 yd TD pass with 4:35 left to make it 14-3 and that was the final.

Miss St’s offense rolled up 405 yards in the 1H and finished with a school record 645 total yards. Memphis didn’t cross midfield until the 2Q. Miss St avg over 9 ypp and finished with a 645-338 yd edge.

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Louisville finished the Murray St game with a 159-143 rush yd edge but that was helped by the punt game. They had a 40 yd gain on a fake punt while Murray had a 21 yard “rush” loss on a bad snap over their P’s head. That set up a UL TD early and the Cards jumped out to a 21-0 lead and they brought in true frosh Bridgewater in for 1 series. He was int’d at the MSU24 with 6:51 left in the 2Q and UL leading 21-0 and UL would not score again the rest of the game. MSU got a FG in the 2Q and drove 74/13pl for a TD at the start of the 4Q to make it 21-9 but their final poss ended on an int at the 48 with :39 left. MSU had a 19-16 FD edge but UL did have a 385-291 yd edge.

A surprising stat from the Georgia Tech/Western Carolina game was that GT threw for 365 yards. In fact, last year their high passing total for a game was 130 yards and they surpassed that in the 1Q with 148. They did have a couple of short passes go for 82 and 77 yard TD’s. GT appeared in control 42-14 and were attempting a 46 yd FG on the final play of the half. WC not only blocked it they returned it 69 yards for a TD to make it 42-21. GT got a 77 yd TD pass with 3:00 left in the 3Q to go up 56-21 then drove 74/15pl for a TD with 7:25 left. WC was int’d at the GT15 and GT was SOD at the WC33 (:53). GT’s 662 yards was the 2nd best ever, coming up short of their 706 yards vs Citadel in 1948.

Tough loss for WF vs Syracuse. WF absolutely dominated the 1H with 13-2 FD and 242-52 yd edges but settled for 2 FG’s and K Newman who had 14 straight FG’s missed a chipshot 34 yarder. SU got a TD on a 37/4pl drive after WF punted from its EZ and stunningly WF only led 20-7 despite complete domination. Each team took its 2nd & 3Q drive for a TD and it was 26-14 but WF missed a crucial xp. The key play of the game happened on WF’s next drive. They were at the SU12 when on 3&19 Price fired a FD pass to the 2 but he injured his leg and would miss the rest of the year and a hold wiped out the completion. They settled for a FG to keep SU in the game, 29-14. SU went on 73 and 53 yd TD drives, the latter with 7:07 left to tie it. Backup QB Stachitas threw an int at the WF32 but SU K Krautman had a streak of 16 straight FG’s snapped by a blk’d FG with 2:17 left. However, SU won in OT by 7.

Arizona St returnman Jamal Miles was dynamic including a 98 yd KR to open the 3Q as ASU rolled to a 41-0 lead over UC Davis. UCD gained 161 of their 243 yards in the 4Q and on 4&2 with 12:10 left got a 48 yd TD run then on 4&2 got a 38 yd pass to the 1 setting up their backdoor covering TD with 6:26 left in the 48-14 final. ASU did get to the UCD17 but was SOD on 4&4 with :08 left.

Youngstown St last year finished 3-8 but actually led in each and every one of their games showing they were much better than their record indicated. They gave Michigan St a better game than the score indicates at 28-6. In fact, in the 1H YSU had a 14-8 FD edge and held the ball for 19:06. YSU’s first drive was 55/12pl but they were SOD on 4&2 at the MSU35. YSU’s 2nd drive got to MSU’s 33 but a fmbl’d snap on 3rd down put them out of FG range and they punted. YSU’s 4th drive went 62/9pl for a TD and they only trailed 7-6. YSU also had a 9pl drive end in a missed 40 yd FG and trailed 14-6 at the half. MSU’s final TD was a 17 yd drive after a 13 yd IR and came with 7:09 left to make it 28-6.

It sure was an exciting Friday night game and Baylor’s offense was very impressive. TCU has led the nation in defense the L3Y and in their worst game LY they allowed 361 yards. Baylor amassed a surprising 367 yards in the 1H! TCU did miss 2 FG’s and 2 xp’s in the first 3Q’s and trailed 47-23 but charged back within 47-45 with 7:11 left. TCU had their streak of 25 consecutive reg ssn games snapped in this loss. Baylor had not beaten a ranked team since 2004. Last year TCU had beaten BU 45-10. TCU drove for TD’s on the next 3 poss and got two 2 pt conv but had the 3rd one go off the WR’s hands to trail 47-45. QB Griffin fumbled and TCU took over at the BU39 but settled for a 27 yd FG with 4:27 left. BU then hit a 3&10, 15 yd pass for a FD and continued on a drive to get a 37 yd FG with 1:04 left. TCU got to BU40 but on 3&10 was int’d at the 20 and BU held on for the upset.

The Connecticut game was moved from Thurs to Sat due to the use of their home stadium by Hurricane Irene relief staff. RFr TB Lyle McCombs ran for 141 yards and 4 TD’s with 2 in each half. UC used all 3 QB’s and they combined to hit 12-21-228 yds. Fordham was 5-6 LY and was playing their first FBS foe since 1954. Fordham just began offering scholarships last year. UC finished with a 21-8 FD and 434-169 yd edges.

Ohio St rolled over Akron with 27-5 FD and 517-90 yd edges and Joe Bauserman not only got the start, but QB’d all but 1 poss in the 1H with Braxton Miller’s only poss resulting in a punt. Bauserman led 4 TD drives but Miller, after engineering another punt on his first poss of the 2H, did guide 59/6 and 38/4pl TD drives and his final drive got them to the Akron 15 yd line where they ran out the clock. Bauserman hit 12-16-163 and Miller was 8-12-130 playing with mostly backups in the 2H.

paterno

Joe Paterno coached from the pressbox and PSU ret’d the opening KO 95 yards for a TD. PSU dominated the 1H with a 15-2 FD and 252-66 yd edges and led 41-0 when ISU took over with 8:17 left and drove 62/11pl getting a TD with 2:15 left. Bolden got the start but hit just 6-12-37 yards. McGloin hit 6-8-77 yds but McGloin had 4 poss and had 3 TD’s on those. Bolden had 6 poss resulting in a TD, FG and a missed FG. Third string QB McGregger did not throw a pass but led a 12 yd TD drive in the 4Q. ISU was QB’d by Washington transfer Ronnie Fouch (PS#55) who was held to 11-23-105.

The defending National Champs Auburn Tigers were generally outplayed at home by upstart Utah St. USU had a 27-17 FD and 448-364 yd edges and twice led by double digits. They led 21-7 before the half when AU benefited from a 97 yd KR TD. At the end of the game, USU scored a TD with just 3:38 left to lead 38-28. AUB got a 3&gl from the 15 TD pass with 2:07 left then recovered an onside kick and got a TD with :31 left to escape with a 4 pt home win.

Boston College was without top RB Montel Harris and Northwestern was without QB Dan Persa. Kain Colter replaced hitting 17-24-197 and ran for 71 more with a TD. BC’s top RB was Andre Williams who came in questionable but rushed 22 times for 114 yards. NU trailed 10-3 but tied it 10-10 on a TD with :38 left in the half then opened the 3Q with a 60/12pl drive for a TD to lead 17-10. They extended it to 24-10 in the 4Q but BC got a TD with 6:00 left and after NU went for it on 4&1 with 1:41 left, BC took over at their 36 and got 3 FD’s to the NU19 but scrambled under pressure and was tkl’d on the final play. BC finished with a 474-424 yd edge.

Purdue once again lost their QB early in the season and they were without their #2QB as well. Caleb TerBush hit 19-33-219 as the 3rd string QB promoted to starter also threw the game winning TD pass in the final minute. Middle Tenn had a 460-420 yd edge. MTSU trailed for 5:22 of the 1H but led 14-10 and led most of the 2H. PU got a FG with 5:57 left to pull within 3 and a TD with :49 left to take the lead. MTSU went 50 yards and lined up for the game tying 47 yd FG but it was blk’d by Ricardo Allen.

Appalachian St came in highly ranked in the FCS but this game was no contest. Virginia Tech had a 291-61 yd edge at the half and led 38-0. VT had a lead of 52-0 before ASU got on the board and backup QB Mark Leal hit 6-11-113 yds for VT.

Alabama’s 2 QB’s both tossed a pair of int’s but Bama dominated with a 482-90 yd edge and Kent St’s only score came on a 3 yd DRIVE for a TD following one of the int’s. Bama had a 24-6 FD edge. Trent Richardson only had 37 yards rushing but had 3 TD’s. At the half Bama had a 257-22 yd and 13-1 FD edges.

Bryn Renner made an outstanding debut for UNC. He completed his first 8 passes and finished 22-23-277 yards but had 1 int. UNC blasted FCS power James Madison 42-10 with a 24-10 FD edge and 461-411 yd edge. Renner set the ACC record for highest single game completion % (95.7%) and he also scored a TD on a sneak early in the 4Q. Everett Withers made his coaching debut and it was very similar to what Butch Davis did in his first game as that UNC led JM 30-7 at the half and won 37-14.

Air Force dominated the 1H vs South Dakota with a 30-7 lead and had a 340-130 yd edge. They extended it to 37-7 on their opening drive of the 3Q but allowed two 4Q TD’s, the latter with 7:33 left and only won by 17.

Florida St started slow with the first 5 poss of the game being punts. Thanks to an int with 3:04 left in the half they drove 84/6pl and got a 50 yd TD pass with 1:09 left to lead 17-0. They had a 206-93 yd edge. FSU opened the 3Q with a punt but went 66/14pl for a TD, 66/11pl for a FG. Backup QB Trickett came in after a 28 yd PR and his first career pass went 28 yds for a TD with 6:57 left. ULM was SOD at the FSU28 and 39 on 2 of their last 3 drives.

The Houston Cougars had a nice advantage in the fact that temps were in the 90’s and humid. Los Angeles had not been above 75˚ the entire month of August. UCLA also lost QB Prince in the 2Q to concussion. Richard Brehaut hit 17-26-264 yards. UH led 31-14 and took over with :55 left in the half and got a TD on a 64/2pl drive, the TD coming with :08 left to lead 31-14. UH led 38-28 and had the ball with 1:59 left but gave up a TD pass with 1:19 left and then had to recover the onside kick to hold on for the win. UCLA finished with a 554-469 yd edge.

Illinois got a pair of slips by Arkansas St CB’s that turned into long TD’s and opened up a 30-8 lead after 3Q’s. The announced crowd was 35,000 but appeared considerably smaller. UI finished with a 25-15 FD and 473-350 yd edges.

Lane Kiffin continues to try some crafty things and it basically kept Minnesota in the game. Last year he missed three 2 pt conversions vs the Gophers. Once again USC tried 2 pt conv after each of their first 2 TD’s and once again came up short on both and only led 12-0. In the 3Q leading 19-3 Kiffin went for it on 4th & 6 at the UM36 and the snap went over the QB’s head for a huge loss with UM recovering at the 30 and setting up a TD. On their next drive USC was SOD on 4&1 at the 20. UM actually pulled within 19-17 with 8:03 left and had the ball with backup QB Shortell in at their own 29 but were int’d at the 42 with :53 left. QB MarQueis Gray was inj’d and Shortell hit 7-13-98.

Interesting game with Colorado St/New Mexico. Each team missed a FG in the 1Q and NM fumbled at the CSU1. CSU got a TD with 1:32 left in the half to lead 7-3 but NM went 80/8pl getting a 3rd & 16, 27 yd TD pass with :12 left. That TD was their first TD in an opener since 2005 and gave them a 10-7 lead. CSU was SOD on 4&10 at the NM38 and missed a chipshot 28 yd FG early 4Q. CSU took the lead with a 40/11pl drive for a TD with 7:17 left. NM’s hopes appeared out the window when on 4th & 14 they were sacked for a 7 yd loss at the CSU36 but CSU made a daring call going for it on 4&1 with 1:57 left and they were SOD. NM got 2 FD’s to the 19 and another FD to the 5 was called back on a hold and on 3rd & 6 QB Austen was sk’d & fmbl’d with :09 let at the CSU18.

William & Mary had a disappointing debut vs Virginia. UVA did only lead 10-0 when they got a 48 yd FG on the final play of the half to make it 13-0. They had a 212-52 yd edge. The crushing drive of the game came when UVA drove 97/10pl on their opening drive of the 3Q to make it 20-0. W&M did not cross midfield until 8:00 were left in the game and they trailed 40-0 and avoided a shutout with a FG with 4:34 left.

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Houston Nutt was hoping for a heat advantage over BYU which plays in the altitude but with Tropical Storm Lee blooming, it was in the 80’s and overcast skies. This was a defensive struggle as each team got a defensive TD and Ole Miss blew a 13-0 4Q lead, losing by 1. The winning score came when BYU fell on a fmbl in the EZ for a TD with 5:09 left.

Howard Schnellenberger was not on the sidelines for the Florida game as his hip acted up and he was having severe discomfort and made a hospital trip on Friday. UF dominated in Muschamp’s debut scoring on their first 4 poss and led 24-0 with FAU not picking up their first FD until 3:00 were left in the half. FAU did have a 1st & gl at the UF 4 and settled for a 26 yd FG and then missed a 34 yd FG with :05 left in the half, both following UF int’s on their 5th & 6 poss. UF blk’d a punt and ret’d it 20 yds for a TD with 10:09 left 3Q but had a 1st & gl at the FA6 and was int’d in the EZ. UF’s final score came on a 29 yd FG with 1:46 left to make it 41-3 and they had a 30-11 FD edge and 468-137 yd edge.

Oklahoma St’s defense was better than the stats and the score. They led ULL 21-3 in the 2Q and allowed just 113 yards at the half. UL got a 37 yd IR TD by Bentley and 50 yd IR TD by Jemarlous Moten which pulled them within 34-20. In the 4Q trailing 51-20, UL went 82/15pl for a TD and then trailing 61-27 they took over with 2:52 left and went 80/9pl for a 3 yd TD run with :17 left. The much anticipated debut of OC Todd Monken saw the team roll up 666 yards, 9th best in school history.

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