Akron at Virginia – So far, Virginia hasn’t played anyone, but has looked good doing it. Akron is no powerhouse, but UVA completely dominated them, something good teams do in games they should win. In recent years, Virginia has struggled to put away weaker teams, but not this year. If the score isn’t a clear enough indicater of how lopsided this game was, check the total yards – 522 to 86. That’s right, 86 yards for the Zips. UVA outrushed them 326 to 6. And while Akron is a weak sister of the MAC, they do have a four year starter at QB in Charlie Frye, the third leading career yards leader among active NCAA players.
UVA stud TE Heath Miller caught only one pass total in the first two games of the season. Against Akron, he had six catches and two touchdowns.
Running back Wali Lundy rushed for three touchdowns for the third straight game this year. He currently leads the nation in scoring.
Duke at Virginia Tech – Before the season began, I thought this game had upset potential. I thought the Hokies might overlook Duke, a traditional ACC patsy and maybe miss that Duke is improved under new coach Ted Roof. Well, then the games started. Virginia Tech looked good in losing to USC and blasting Western Michigan while Duke was miserable against Navy and improved a bit against UConn. Once Saturday rolled around, I figured Duke was likely in trouble and I was right. It’s no longer clear that they are any better than they were last year. That’s no indictment of coach Roof, as it takes a while to rebuild a program, but people were hoping for miracles.
As for the Hokies, it looks like they may have been underrated to start the season. They appear to be a solid team that can hang with anyone.
Maryland at West Virginia – This one hurts. Maryland has owned West Virginia in recent years, beating them by a combined score of something like 382-14 in the last three games. This year, the Mountaineers are overrated, everybody’s favorite sleeper for a Cinderalla national title contender. It seemed like a great game for Maryland to show that they have stepped up to the national elite. But, they blew it. Despite giving up five turnovers, the game was Maryland’s to win at the end. Driving for the winning score, Coach Friedgen got a bit too conservative, leaving stud kicker Nick Novak with a 50 yarder to win. Novak missed, sending the game to overtime.
In overtime, Maryland found themselves with a fourth and inches from the 16 yard line. They made the right call in kicking the field goal, despite what I’m sure many Terrapin fans are saying. The cost-benefit ratio of going for it just isn’t worth it in that situation. If they make the first down, it’s still no guarantee that they’ll get a touchdown. If they don’t make it, the game is essentially over. No, Maryland made the right choice in taking the easy field goal and relying on their defense that had kept the Mountaineers out of the end zone for three and a half quarters. The defense didn’t hold though, giving up the touchdown and the game.
Louisiana Tech at Miami – Do you know how many people you need to have in a room to have a greater than 50% chance that two people will have the same birthday? Only twenty. Bet you didn’t know that!
Ohio State at NC State – Just like Maryland with West Virginia, NC State had a golden opportunity to beat a top ten opponent and failed. Ohio State is one of those teams that never puts anyone away. They just don’t score a lot of points, so almost any team can beat them if they just make a few plays. The key is that Ohio State rarely lets teams make those plays. On Saturday, NC State made several big plays, but all the wrong kind. Mostly, they were fumbles and interceptions. Ohio State managed to beat the Wolfpack by a touchdown despite gaining a measly 137 yards of offense. 137! That’s amazing.
The reason this game hurts the Wolfpack faithful so much is that this was to be their statement game. They really wanted last year’s game in Columbus to be that game, but the Pack came up just short. In taking the Buckeyes to triple overtime though, NC State felt it had earned respect and showed that they belong with the big boys. Chuck Amato has energized Pack fans like few coaches around the country. You can feel the optimism and excitement in the air and see it in the sea of red in Carter-Finley. At some point though, it’s going to wear off. It doesn’t look like State is any closer to being a national player than they were last year. In fact, if one common opponent is a good measure, they look a bit further.
Georgia Tech at North Carolina – Last week, I mentioned how evenly matched that Clemson, Georgia Tech and Wake Forest appeared. While the transitive property doesn’t really work in sports, looking at head-to-head matchups and common opponents is the best way to compare teams. Well, Wake visited Clemson and lost in double overtime and the next weekend, the Yellow Jackets visited Death Valley and won a nailbiter. Two close games in successive weekends involving three teams – it’s reasonable to assume that means they are all pretty comparable. The question was just how good those three were relative to other teams. Not too great, it turns out.
The Yellow Jackets dropped the first stinker when they went into Chapel Hill and were blown out by three touchdowns. Remember, this Tar Heel team had struggled to beat a 1-AA team in their first week and then got whacked by four touchdowns by Virginia last week. If UNC is bad, what does that say about Georgia Tech? And in turn, what does it say about Wake and Clemson? More on that a bit further down in this article…
UAB at Florida State – I didn’t watch this scrimmage, but the box score doesn’t look too impressive for Chris Rix. Less than 200 yards, no TDs and one INT. When he first went out on the field, many of the 81,825 fans booed him. I’m not a big fan at all of booing college players, but I was amused by Rix’s quote about it, “any human being is going to hear it.” OK, if you say so.
NC A&T at Wake Forest – Yawn. Wake cleared the bench for the second half in this one, probably trying to avoid embarassing a local school that may have more local alumni than Wake does.
Clemson at Texas A&M – If Georgia Tech wasn’t the big loser of the day, Clemson gets the big L on their forehead. This is not a very good Texas A&M team that took them apart. In the Aggies first game this year, they were humiliated by Utah. Admitedly, Utah is good this year, but still – they beat A&M by three touchdowns, and it was only that close because the Utes gave up some charity scores late.
If Clemson is really stepping up with coach Tommy Bowden, they need to be winning games like this. At the very least, they should be close, but the Tigers were never really in this game. A 1-2 start doesn’t mean the season is over. They dug out of a bigger hole last year, but how often can Bowden pull off Houdini seasons? At some point, enough will be enough. If Clemson doesn’t turn it around, and the schedule’s only getting harder, this may be Tommy’s last chance.
20 for 36, 192 yards, 1 TD and 3 interceptions. I think it’s safe to say that Charlie Whitehurst’s shot at the Heisman is not just outside, it’s off the continent.