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College Football Mondays

'College Football Mondays' - Frank Coyle's New Weekly Column

College Football Monday - Bama Dominates LSU in SEC Showdown

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College Football Monday - Week 10

Alabama, Clemson & Oklahoma St. Win Huge Conference Matchups.
Six Undefeated Teams Remain for Final Month

Team of the Week: Alabama

Players of Week
Offense: RB Derrick Henry - Alabama
Defense: DT Chris Jones - Mississippi St

Photo: LB Reggie Ragland - Alabama

Bama Dominates LSU in SEC Showdown, Oklahoma St. Bounces TCU

This past Saturday saw three huge conference matchups among leaders that will shape the SEC, ACC and Big 12 conference titles. The Bama-LSU was a physical matchup that the Tide controlled behind a dynamic running duo of Derrick Henry and Kenyan Drake. Henry gained 213 yards on the ground and scored 3 TDs that were instrumental in the Bama 30-16 victory. Drake was a fine change of pace back opposite Henry and added 68 yards on 10 yards showing the burst to get to the second level.

Leonard Fournette was held to a season low of 31 yards on 19 carries as the Tide defense swarmed to the star tailback. The Bama front seven controlled the line of scrimmage and kept the Tiger star off balance all night and not capable of getting into his usual running rhyme. DT A’Shawn Robinson and MLB Reggie Ragland spearheaded an aggressive Bama defense that keyed on the Tigers star and gave him little room to get past the line and into the second level. DT Robinson put on a dominant performance that disrupted blocking schemes consistently. Alabama won in their usual methodical style that was more dominant than the score indicated.

Clemson held their #1 ranking with a nice win over Florida St 23-13 that clinched the ACC Atlantic Division for the Tigers. It was their first victory over FSU since 2011. They won on a strong second half comeback after trailing 10-6. They held Seminole tailback Dalvin Cook to only 37 yards over the second half after an impressive 158 yards in the first half. The Seminoles played without starting QB Everett Golson who missed his second game due to a concussion. The loss pushed their record to 7-2 which all but eliminates them for national title consideration.

Oklahoma St. bashed TCU 49-29 that elevated the Cowboys to the #5 spot in the new Top 25 teams. The Cowboys relied on QB Mason Rudolph who passed for 352 yards and 5 TDs. OSU travels to Iowa St this week before finishing at home with Baylor and Oklahoma that makes the Big 12 stretch run intriguing. TCU had its school record 16-game winning streak snapped. It was the nation’s second-longest active winning streak, behind Ohio State (21). They fell out of the top ten for the first time this season.

Notre Dame continues to impress with a strong win over a ranked Pittsburgh club. Freshman Irish QB DeShone Kizer directed the Irish’s fourth straight victory. He threw for 5 TDs on 19 of 26 attempts for 262 yards and no interceptions. Once again, Kizer went to star wideout Will Fuller who caught 7 passes for 157 yards and 3 TDs. Fuller continues to be a dominant receiver weekly who has ben uncoverable despite double coverage often. The Irish finish with Wake Forest, Boston College and Stanford in that order. The final at Stanford will most likely matchup two top ten clubs that could provide the winner a final four placement.

North Carolina has quietly had a strong season that improved to 8-1 after a 66-31 blasting of Duke. QB Marquise Williams threw for 494 yards with 404 of them coming by halftime. The Tar Heels have not lost since the season opener vs South Carolina. They host Miami this week before closing the season on the road with Virginia Tech and NC State.

In addition to LSU and TCU, Michigan St (8-1) fell from the unbeaten in a thrilling finish vs Nebraska . The Spartans lost on a strange TD call late in the game when the Nebraska receiver appeared to have gone out of bounds and came in to catch the ball and score. Michigan St was up by two TDs most of the second half but could not hold off a wild Nebraska comeback.

QB Tommy Armstrong drove Nebraska 91 yards in the final minute, hitting Brandon Reilly with a 30-yard touchdown pass that withstood a video review with 17 seconds left to hand the Spartans a devastating 39-38 loss. Referees ruled that MSU corner Jermaine Edmondson forced Reilly out of bounds that allowed him to reenter the field and make the winning score. That was a highly questionable call, though one that can not be reviewed. The loss was the first for Michigan St. and may prove the costly and keep them out of the final four unless they get help from several of the top clubs losing over the final regular season month. Nebraska (4-6) has suffered a few heartbreaking losses this season and hopes to finish strong with Rutgers and a currently undefeated Iowa (9-0) remaining on the schedule.

Games of the Week – Baylor (8-0) at Oklahoma (8-1)

Frank Coyle is a long time member of the FWAA and voter in College player awards - Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi, Thorpe etc for the past 20 years. He writes ‘College Football Mondays’ weekly during the season. He is a longtime scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game. He does sports radio shows for ESPN, CBS Sports, Fox Sports and Sporting News on a year round basis related to College Football especially during the postseason team and All-star Bowl time. He has worked for CBS Sports, NBC Sports, Yahoo and Rivals sports publications and web sites.

College Football Monday - Upcoming Showdown Weekend

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College Football Monday - Week 9

Upcoming Showdown Weekend Set with National Title Impact

Team of the Week: Notre Dame

Players of Week
Offense: QB DeShaun Watson - Clemson
Defense: DE Emmanuel Ogbah - Oklahoma St
Special Teams: S Jabrill Peppers - Michigan

Photo: QB Trevone Boykin - TCU

College Football Monday - Week 9

As the college football season moves into November for critical conference games, this past Saturday saw five of the top ten clubs idle with their bye week. The upcoming week features two huge conference games with LSU at Alabama and TCU at Oklahoma St. contests that will have a huge impact on the national championship race, in addition to Florida St. at Clemson and Notre Dame at Pittsburgh. It has the makings of the most critical weekend for college football this season.

Alabama and LSU scheduled their bye week prior to the matchup to give them both two weeks to prepare and get healthy for an annual game that has national and SEC title ramifications. Each club is starting to peak and the winner will have a stronger case for a top three or higher ranking. Last season, Bama won in OT 20-13. The prior season Bama won 38-17. The LSU play at QB has been lacking and clearly the difference that has kept the Tigers from title game appearances.

Oklahoma St. and TCU enter the game unbeaten, two of the ten remaining D1 teams who have not tasted defeat. The matchup is expected to be another Big 12 scoring fest where defense rarely shows up. Oklahoma St. warmed up for this critical game with a 70-53 thrashing of Texas Tech. The combined point totals are the 3rd most involving a ranked team without playing overtime. The Cowboys used it as another tune up prior to the TCU clash. OSU has scored under 30 points only once in their opening victory 24-3 over CMU. Last week, they waxed pathetic Kansas 58-10, probably the worst D1 team over the past decade.

TCU brings in Heisman Trophy candidate, QB Trevone Boykin who has directed this high powered attack. The Horned Frogs have scored under 50 points only once this season, in an opening day win 23-17 over Minnesota. The Oklahoma St. matchup is obviously critical with the winner in position to claiming #1 nationally and Big 12 leadership. TCU closes its season with Oklahoma and Baylor, both top 15 clubs and Baylor currently #2. Oklahoma St. faces the same final two matchups in reverse order making it an intriguing close to a wild Big 12 season. The Big 12 may come up short vs the SEC, Big Ten and Pac 12, but their games are usually an offensive juggernaut that keep fans captivated to the final minutes with every club alive in high scoring affairs.

On Saturday, several high scoring dramatic games made the weekend significant for national and conference standings, though the higher rated clubs won each game. The Clemson-NC St. (56-41), Notre Dame-Temple (24-20), Oklahoma St- Texas Tech (70-53), Michigan-Minnesota (29-26) and Stanford-Washington St. (30-28) were all wild intense contests that changed often and most decided on late big plays.

None though matched the zany Miami-Clemson (30-27) game that ended on an incredible kickoff return that included 8 laterals before Hurricane Corn Elder took the last one for a game winning and closing TD. The play included a controversial knee down, three illegal blocks in the back and additional 12th Miami player on the field without a helmet. The referees blew all the illegal blocks, though they were right in front of them. They also missed the down knee that would have ended the play. The knee down part of the play was reviewable, though the replay officials also blew the play despite Miami’s Mark Walton being clearly down before he flipped the ball. The ‘series of errors’ was addressed Saturday night by ACC Commissioner John Swofford who stated that the final play “was not handled appropriately.” Swofford suspended the on the field crew, replay official and the communicator for two games in one of the biggest debacles in recent college football history. How the replay official missed the Miami player knee touching is inexcusable. The ACC acted properly in suspending the officials responsible for such shoddy decision making and maybe they were too lenient in the amount of game time suspended.

The tainted Hurricane victory comes one week after the firing of HC Al Gooden who could not survive the embarrassing loss to Clemson (58-0). Prior to the Clemson disaster, the beat a falling Virginia Tech and two losses to Cincinnati and Florida St. The loss to Florida St. (29-24) was particularly upsetting as they lost late in the 4th quarter. It was the 6th straight loss to the instate Seminoles, one that alumni frown on for recruiting purposes. He was hired to bring Miami back to prominence then was tasked with the added burden of cleaning up giant problems that he never knew about when taking the job.

Golden was hired in December 2010 as he took over a falling program due to the massive mess created by the violations of rampant rule breaking by a former school booster who is currently in federal prison for masterminding a $930 million Ponzi scheme. Each of Golden's five seasons have been affected by that NCAA probe. The school was penalized through scholarship reductions that are still in place this season as part of the sanctions.

Game of the Week - LSU (7-0) at Alabama (7-1)

Frank Coyle is a long time member of the FWAA and voter in College player awards - Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi, Thorpe etc for the past 20 years. He writes ‘College Football Mondays’ weekly during the season. He is a longtime scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game. He does sports radio shows for ESPN, CBS Sports, Fox Sports and Sporting News on a year round basis related to College Football especially during the postseason team and All-star Bowl time. He has worked for CBS Sports, NBC Sports, Yahoo and Rivals sports publications and web sites.

Oklahoma St Senseless Tragedy Overrides Key Conference Matchups

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College Football Monday - Week 8

Oklahoma St Wins Amass Weekend Tragedy

Photo: QB Seth Russell - Baylor

Team of the Week: Georgia Tech

Players of the Week
Offense: WR Corey Coleman - Baylor
Defense: CB Lance Austin - Georgia Tech

As the college football season moves into the critical conference games, this past Saturday once again saw insane tragedy on a campus. At Stillwater, Oklahoma, at the homecoming parade for Oklahoma St., a drunk driver crashed into a crowd, killing four people and injuring dozens of watchers prior to the OSU – Kansas game. Police arrested a drunk woman and charged her with second degree homicide. Oklahoma St. officials debated cancelling the game, but opted to play the Big 12 contest with the flag at Boone Pickens stadium at half-mast and players praying before the coin flip. Big 12 stadiums especially Oklahoma U at Norman, Oklahoma held pre game services after another senseless act of violence on our nation’s campuses.

The football season continued with two undefeated clubs, Florida St and Utah falling to conference rivals. Florida St. lost on the last play of the game to ACC rival, Georgia Tech. FSU kicker Roberto Aguayo, statistically the most accurate kicker in NCAA football history and a Lou Groza Award-winner, lined up for a 56-yard field goal attempt that would have broken a late tie and lifted FSU to a victory over the Yellow Jackets. Tech’s Patrick Gamble blocked the kick and Lance Austin picked it up and returned it 78 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown that gave the Yellow Jackets a 22-16 victory as time expired.

The loss is Florida State’s first in the regular season since Nov. 24, 2012, and its first loss in the ACC since Oct. 6, 2012. The Seminoles (6-1, 4-1) had won 28 straight ACC games during that stretch and could have tied a league record with 29 on Saturday. The Yellow Jackets (3-5, 2-4 ACC) entered the season as heavy favorites in the ACC Coastal Division, but were reeling from a five-game losing streak. They never led on Saturday until the game’s final play.

#3 Utah lost to a fired up Southern Cal (4-3) club snap their two-game skid and earn a victory for interim coach Clay Helton in his debut game at the Coliseum. LB Cameron Smith returned the second of his three interceptions 54 yards for a TD, as the Trojans knocked the Utes from the unbeaten ranks with a 42-24 victory Saturday night. Utah QB Travis Wilson threw four interceptions during a rough night throwing the ball while they also inexplicably failed to establish its running game against USC. Talented tailback Devontae Booker had just 14 carries for 62 yards. The victory was Southern Cal’s first win over a top 3 club since 2006.

#1 Ohio St. had their best performance of the season vs an overmatched Rutgers club. QB J.T. Barrett solidified his claim as the Buckeyes' #1 QB with a strong performance.

#2 Baylor (7-0) continued to roll as they beat Iowa St. 45-27 for the FBS best 20th consecutive home victory. The high powered Bears will faces its future without its starting QB after Seth Russell sustained a broken bone in neck for an injury that will force him to miss the remainder of the season following surgery. The typical recovery period for this injury is six months by school medical staff.

With the Big 12 title, a playoff push and possibly an invitation to the final four, the Bears will look to freshman Jarrett Stidham to step in and direct this high powered attack. He was one of the premier HS recruits and chose the high powered Bear offense that has put up incredible numbers over recent seasons.

Russell leads the country in yards per pass (10.5) and passing efficiency (189.7 along with tying for most TD passes (29). Granted, the Baylor offensive system has produced system QBs that developed a Heisman winner (Robert Griffin III) and won consecutive Big 12 titles, all since 2011. The system is on pace for Baylor to shatter the NCAA record for TDs in a season (99, Oklahoma in 2008).

Junior wideout Corey Coleman has taken his game to a higher level and the top scoring machine in the nation. On Saturday, he scored two more TDs, his sixth consecutive game with multiple scores that pushed his FBS leading total to 18 in just 7 games. He broke former Bear wideout Kendall Wright’s school record for career TDs with 31.

The year of the running back continues with Oklahoma tailback Samaje Perine rushing for 201 yards on 23 carries for an 8.7 yard average and 4 TDs. He led the Sooners waxing of Texas Tech 63-27. Alabama tailback Derrick Henry continues to be the difference weekly for the Tides offense. He faced a tough Tennessee front and rushed for 143 yards on 28 carries including a 14 yard burst that put the Tide ahead with just over 2 minutes left. The Tide held on for a 19-14 victory to improve to 7-1 overall and 4-1 in SEC play.

Games of the Week – Florida (6-1) at Georgia (5-2)
Notre Dame ()6-1 at Temple (7-0)

Frank Coyle is a long time member of the FWAA and voter in College player awards - Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi, Thorpe etc for the past 20 years. He writes ‘College Football Mondays’ weekly during the season. He is a longtime scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game. He does sports radio shows for ESPN, CBS Sports, Fox Sports and Sporting News on a year round basis related to College Football especially during the postseason team and All-star Bowl time. He has worked for CBS Sports, NBC Sports, Yahoo and Rivals sports publications and web sites.

College Football Monday - Michigan St Wins On Incredible Final Play vs Michigan

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College Football Monday - Week 7

Spartans Win On Improbable Fumble TD Return

Photo: RB Leonard Fournette - LSU

Team of the Week: LSU

Players of Week
Offense: RB Dalvin Cook - Florida St.
Defense: LB Kyle Fackrell - Utah St.

Miracle Comeback Week
This past Saturday saw a few incredible comebacks but none will rival the miraculous than Michigan St. last second fumble return TD for the winning TD, 23-21 final. The Spartans beat arch rival on the most bizarre play in recent college football on the last play of the game that produced the improbable victory. The scene was a 4th down Michigan punt with 10 seconds remaining when Michigan punter Blake O’Neill bobbled a low snap and spun around to try and make the kick. He was hit and the ball popped up and MSU defender Jalen Watts-Jackson caught it and rumbled 38 yards dodging a few Wolverine tacklers for the dramatic game winning TD. Jackson was mobbed in the end zone and sustained a dislocated hip that required a Sunday morning operation. O’Neill is an Australian punter had a few huge punts during the game including an 80 yard punt and has become a key weapon for the Wolverines nationally ranked defense that was coming off three consecutive shutouts.

This play was an immediate highlight hit and will rival the crazy Stanford-Cal finish from the early 1980s and the BC’s QB Doug Flutie miracle Hail Mary TD pass from the same era. With Cal trailing Stanford, the Bears received a kickoff and lateralled multiple times (5x) to score the winning TD as the Cal band marched on the field and runners used that group as blockers to screen ballcarriers for the return.

Michigan St. went 7-0 overall and 3-0 in the Big Ten. They host an improved Indiana club this week. They were one of several clubs that made huge comebacks. Memphis remained undefeated with an impressive comeback at home vs Ole Miss. The Rebels got up 14-0 but Memphis put up 31 unanswered points to win 37-24 to remain unbeaten at (6-0). Memphis QB Paxton Lynch completed 39 of 53 passes for 385 yards and 3 TDs. It was the redshirt junior QB’s fifth straight 300 yard game. The 6’7” 245 lbs. passer makes all the throws and has the Tigers in the top 25 teams and capable of pressing for a higher ranking with six reasonably soft games remaining on their schedule. The Tigers could become one of the biggest stories of the season if they continue with move up the rankings and a possible prime bowl invitation.

Rutgers trailed Indiana 52-27 late in the 3rd quarter and scored the final 28 points to win 55-52 in HC Kyle Flood’s return after a three game suspension. Rutgers has had a turbulent year with player and coach suspensions and a few disappointing performances that have left the program highly criticized. They improved their record to 3-3 with Ohio St. coming in this Saturday. QB Chris Laviano had a strong game on 28 of 42 passes for 386 yards and 3 TDs. Wideout Leonte Carroo added 7 receptions for 157 yards and 3 TDs. He was injured on his final TD reception with an ankle injury. He produced another 3 TD game vs Michigan St. the prior week. The quick senior receiver continues to elevate his draft stock for the NFL Draft 2016 and remains high on the Senior Bowl Watch list entering the second half of the season.

Year of the Running Back Continues…..
Despite the high powered passing games that highlights college football weekly, this is the year of the running back with a deep group of talented backs who have dominated through the first half of the season.
Most are underclassmen, with several true sophomores like Leonard Fournette, Dalvin Cook and Nick Chubb. They will not be eligible for the NFL Draft 2016 due to only two years removed from high school.

Florida St’s Dalvin Cook continues to provide impact for the Seminoles attack. Against Louisville this week, he rushed for 163 yards on 22 carries and 2 TDs that made the difference in a 41-21 victory. It was his fourth 100 yard rushing effort. Cook is a talented well rounded back with the power to run inside and the speed and quickness to make the corner and break a long play. His strong lower body allows him to break tackles and his quick footwork and cutting skills creates space and running lanes. His fine speed makes him dangerous on every touch as his 12 TDs testify to at midseason. He has deceptive strength and shows little wear despite 20 carries weekly.

LSU’s Leonard Fournette produces impressive efforts weekly and had a strong performance vs #8 Florida. Fournette is a rare combination of size and speed and has produced huge numbers weekly despite facing tough SEC defenses. Against the undefeated Gators, he rushed for 181 yards on 31 carries and 2 TDs that made the difference in the Tigers 35-27 win. For the season, he has totaled 1202 yards on 150 carries for over an incredible 8 yard average and 14 TDs. LSU remained the only undefeated SEC club with a key victory over Florida. LSU travels to Alabama in two weeks after a home contest vs W. Kentucky. The LSU-Alabama game may be the game of the year with both national and SEC leadership at stake.

Alabama tailback Derrick Henry has continued to be a difference maker for the hot Tide offense. This week vs #9 Texas A&M, he ran for a career high of 236 yards and 2 TDs. Henry scored both TDs in the 2nd quarter as Bama built a 28-6 lead that translated to a 41-23 victory. Bama is building momentum on basic football they have been known for – power ground game, field position and tough physical defense. Henry has moved into strong Heisman Trophy contention off a strong October performance.

Ohio St. tailback Ezekiel Elliott continues to pound defenses despite the changing Buckeyes’ QB situation. Elliott has been keyed on every game and has consistently dominated the early action. For the Penn St game, he rushed for 153 yards on 27 carries and 1 TD. For the season, he has totaled 988 yards on 148 carries for over a 6 yard average and 11 TDs. He has also shown big play ability to break long plays from scrimmage. Elliott has been the catalyst for the defending champions who though they remain undefeated have been sluggish during several first half games. They face a weak schedule till late November when they face Michigan St and Michigan in their final two contests.

Bulldog tailback Nick Chubb tailback sustained a knee injury vs Tennessee two weeks ago and is done for the season. Over his short Georgia career, he produced 13 straight 100 yard rushing performances. That includes a deep group of talented Bulldog runners including legendary runner Herschel Walker and last years’ top ten selection Todd Gurley. Chubb produced incredible numbers for a young prospect and is expected to be ready for the 2016 college football season.

Game of the Week - Texas A&M (5-1) at Ole Miss (5-2)

Frank Coyle is a long time member of the FWAA and voter in College player awards - Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi, Thorpe etc for the past 20 years. He writes ‘College Football Mondays’ weekly during the season. He is a longtime scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game. He does sports radio shows for ESPN, CBS Sports, Fox Sports and Sporting News on a year round basis related to College Football especially during the postseason team and All-star Bowl time. He has worked for CBS Sports, NBC Sports, Yahoo and Rivals sports publications and web sites.

Michigan Dominates Northwestern With 3rd Straight Shutout

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College Football Mondays - Week 6

Michigan Dominates Northwestern With 3rd Straight Shutout

Photo: DE Emmanuel Ogbah - Oklahoma St

Team of the Week: Michigan

Players of Week
Offense: QB Trevone Boykin – TCU
Defense: DE Emmanuel Ogbah - Oklahoma St.

Michigan made their strongest statement of the season with their third straight shutout vs undefeated Northwestern. To say new HC Jim Harbaugh has made a big difference in Ann Arbor would be an understatement. The Wolverines reeled off their 5th straight victory since their opening day loss to Utah. They took the lead from the opening kickoff when Jehu Chesson returned the opening kickoff 96 yards for a TD as the Wolverines never looked back. HC Harbaugh has set the pace and created a new culture quickly and starting to build momentum for key games with Michigan St, and Ohio St. on the schedule with every team in their Big Ten East division upcoming.

Their nationally ranked defense will get fully tested this week vs Michigan St. where QB Connor Cook leads a talented offense that has yet to right stride through the first half of the season. The Wolverines are showing the Harbaugh toughness and the ability to play sound football. They will challenge both Michigan St and Ohio St. for Big Ten leadership. We will have more on the upcoming Michigan vs Michigan St. game later this week.

Bulldog tailback Nick Chubb tailback sustained a knee injury on his first rushing attempt vs Tennessee and was finished for the day. He is expected to miss at least the next month and possibly the season that could certainly be in jeopardy. Over his short Georgia career, he produced 13 straight 100 yard rushing performances entering the Tennessee contest that surpassed a record held by legendary runner Herschel Walker.

LSU’s Leonard Fournette produced 158 yards on 20 carries that buried South Carolina 44-24. Fournette had produced three straight 200 yard rushing games that were both a new team and SEC record. At midseason with LSU a top five club currently, he is the leading Heisman Trophy candidate with over 100 yards rushing already in just five games. With several huge SEC games on the schedule like Florida, Alabama and Ole Miss, he will be center stage to impress voters on national TV.

Ohio St. tailback Ezekiel Elliott may be Fournette’s main competition for the Heisman Trophy with several impressive first half performances. Last week, he rushed for 106 yards on 21 carries and 2 TDs. For the season, he has totaled 835 yards on 121 carries for over a 7 yard average and 10 TDs. He has also showed big play ability to break 60 and 70 yard plays from scrimmage.

Two troubled programs, Tennessee and Texas both won huge conference games that can reverse their fortunes this season. The Vols’ beat Georgia 38-31 when they came back from a 21 point deficit. QB Joshu Dodd threw for 321 yards and ran for 118 yards that accounted for 5 TDs. They travel the next two weeks to Alabama vs the Crimson Tide and to arch rival Kentucky that could define their season. They had lost three straight 13 point leads in recent weeks that had the program thinking of major changes throughout.

The Texas Longhorns (2-4) came up big in the Red River Rivalry game vs Oklahoma. They beat the Sooners 24-17 that pushed Oklahoma out of the top ten. Their offense literally pushed the Sooners all over the field with 313 yards rushing that controlled the clock and field position. The Longhorns defense harassed Sooner QB Baker Mayfield with 6 sacks, in their best performance of the season. It was an impressive and surprising victory after getting waxed by #3 TCU last week 50-7 in a horrible overall effort. Texas gets a bye this week and faces a diet of six Big 12 opponents the next two months where they could salvage the season with a possible .500 season. HC Charlie Strong is only in his second season, but inherited a falling program that struggles to play with consistency and the firepower that is essential to winning in the wild high scoring Big 12 Conference.

Game of the Week - Michigan St. (6-0) at Michigan (5-1)

Frank Coyle is a long time member of the FWAA and voter in College player awards - Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi, Thorpe etc for the past 20 years. He writes ‘College Football Mondays’ weekly during the season. He is a longtime scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game. He does sports radio shows for ESPN, CBS Sports, Fox Sports and Sporting News on a year round basis related to College Football especially during the postseason team and All-star Bowl time. He has worked for CBS Sports, NBC Sports, Yahoo and Rivals sports publications and web sites.

College Football Mondays - Alabama Dominates Georgia in Statement Game

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College Football Monday - Week 5

Alabama Dominates Georgia in Statement Game

Photo: RB Leonard Fournette - LSU

Players of the Week
Offense: RB Ezekiel Elliott – Ohio St
Defense: LB Eric Striker - Oklahoma

Team of the Week: Alabama

Alabama education system will teach Mark Twain wisdom as part of their curriculum this week after a powerful statement by the football team. “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” This fits the Bama team completely. The Crimson Tide entered the matchup with Georgia at 3-1, but 0-1 in SEC action this weekend. The criticism of recent struggles was greatly exaggerated despite a good record. An early season loss to Ole Miss does that to national title dreams. Saturday they faced the Bulldogs in Athens and their perfect 4-0 and 2-0 SEC records. The Tide victories have been unimpressive wins vs non conference talent plus the disappointing lost to Ole Miss. The Tide opened vs Georgia and jumped to a 24-3 first half lead that translated into a 38-10 win in a huge SEC victory. This could set the stage for another strong performance with five SEC opponents on the upcoming schedule. The strong victory was an excellent balance between the pass and run behind QB Jake Coker and tailback Derrick Henry that ambushed the home town Bulldogs. QB Coker threw for 190 yards on 11 of 16 completions with 1 TD both running and passing. Tailback Henry rushed for 148 yards on 26 carries and 1 TD as the Tide pounded the rock behind the powerful runner from the opening kick. Henry struggled early, but HC Nick Saban did not abandon the ground game. Henry rushed for just 24 yards on the first eight carries with the downhill runner averaging over 6 yards per attempt the rest of the game.

Running backs continue to dominate the early action with several outstanding performances. Ohio St. tailback Ezekiel Elliott put together a classic performance against a gritty undefeated Indiana. He rushed for 274 yards on 23 carries and 3 TDs, an incredible 11.9 yard average per attempt. Most came over the second half in a game the Buckeyes trailed most of the day. His three TDs came in the second half on runs of 55, 65 and 75 yards in a dominant performance despite heavy attention by the Hoosiers. Elliott remains the irreplaceable part of the Buckeyes defending championship club. With the QB play of Cardale Jones inconsistent, Elliott continues to produce strong efforts despite the main focus of virtually every defense he faces weekly.

The SEC produced other strong performances by talented sophomores tailback, LSU’s Leonard Fournette and Georgia tailback Nick Chubb. Fournette produced his third straight 200 yard rushing game both a new team and SEC record. With week, he rushed for 233 yards and 3 TDs, one a 75 yard burst vs a weak Eastern Michigan club. He has produced 864 yards and 11 TDs in 4 games. The Tigers begin a heavy SEC schedule with only the Western Kentucky the exception. Fournette will be center stage to make a run at the Heisman Trophy.

Bulldog tailback Nick Chubb tailback got lost in the waxing by Alabama, though he set a new Georgia record. Over his short Georgia career, he has produced 13 straight 100 yard rushing performances that surpassed a record held by legendary runner Herschel Walker. He broke an 83 yard TD run late in the 3rd quarter. That accounted for most of his 146 rushing yards on the game. Over this season, he has rushed for 745 yards and 7 TDs in five games.
Michigan continues its strong return to the top of the Big Ten standings. They put together their second consecutive shutout vs a struggling Maryland team Saturday. It brought their record to 4-1 in the strong Big Ten East division. They are in one of the toughest divisions in college football that features Ohio St. and Michigan St., two top 3 clubs nationally. First year HC Jim Harbaugh has this club playing hard weekly. Their offense has been unspectacular but methodical and effective through the early action.

The Wolverines are not the only surprising Big Ten club this fall. Indiana (4-1) gave #1 Ohio St all it could handle Saturday before falling 34-27 behind Ezekiel Elliott. Iowa remains undefeated (5-0) off a hard fought victory 10-6 vs Wisconsin. Northwestern shut out Minnesota 27-0 to improve their record to 5-0 for the first time since 2012. Northwestern hosts Iowa in two weeks, Oct 17 for what could produce the leader and eventual winner of the Big Ten West.

Game of the Week - Northwestern (5-0) at Michigan (4-1)

Frank Coyle is a long time member of the FWAA and voter in College player awards - Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi, Thorpe etc for the past 20 years. He writes ‘College Football Mondays’ weekly during the season. He is a longtime scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game. He does sports radio shows for ESPN, CBS Sports, Fox Sports and Sporting News on a year round basis related to College Football especially during the postseason team and All-star Bowl time. He has worked for CBS Sports, NBC Sports, Yahoo and Rivals sports publications and web sites.

Utah Heads Strong Pac 12 Group in Early Key Games

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College Football Monday - Week 4

Utah Heads Strong Pac 12 Weekly Performances

Photo: WR Josh Doctson - TCU

Team of the Week: Utah
The Utah Utes won their first Pac-12 opener since joining the conference in 2011 with an impressive and dominating 62-20 victory at No. 13 Oregon. The Utes are 4-0 for the first time since 2010 and drilled the highly regarded Ducks on their home turf.

QB Trevor Wilson threw for 227 yards on 18-of-30 passing with 4 TDs and also tallied 100 rushing yards and 1 TD as the Utes racked up the most points against a Pac-12 opponent in its five-year league history. They head an impressive group of five Pac 12 teams that rank in this week’s Top 25 teams. Utes tailback Devontae Booker had 98 rushing yards on 22 carries and also threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Britain Covey. Utah can rest on their laurels with an upcoming bye week prior to two home games vs Cal and Arizona St. that could be pivotal conference matchups.

Michigan has made a strong early season statement under new HC Jim Harbaugh with an impressive win over BYU. The Wolverines earned their first shutout win since 2012 with a dominating defensive showing, holding BYU to just 105 total yards and eight first downs in a 31-0 win. Michigan scored on five consecutive drives in the first half for all of its points to improve their record to 3-1 and rank in the top 25 standings for the first time in recent years.

The top two Big Ten clubs remain, Ohio St and Michigan St., though both registered lackluster victories Saturday. Ohio St. settled on QB Cardale Jones as their starter and looks to him to direct this young club that faces a soft schedule over the next month. They face an undefeated Indiana club this week that should answer some key questions in the early action. Michigan St. recorded a lackluster win over Central Michigan behind a strong defense led by DE Shilique Calhoun. The senior defender registered 2.5 sacks and two blocked kicks that earned him Defensive Player of the Week. The Spartans get struggling programs over the next two weeks in Purdue and Rutgers before facing improved instate rival Michigan on Oct 17th.

The SEC teams produced two huge performances by talented sophomore tailbacks, LSU’s Leonard Fournette and Georgia’s Nick Chubb. Fournette is the first Tiger runner ever to produce back to back 200 yard rushing efforts. Fournette was the #1 HS player in the nation coming out in 2014 and is a currently a true sophomore. He has produced 631 yards and 8 TDs in just 3 games, though can not enter the NFL until the NFL Draft 2017. He is a legitimate Heisman Trophy front runner in the early action. Chubb is also a true sophomore and a typical Bulldog tailback – tough, fast and the ability to run both inside and outside. Over his short Georgia career, he has produced 12 straight 100 yard rushing performances that ties a record held by legendary runner Herschel Walker. He has rushed for 599 yards and 6 TDs in four games.

Outside the SEC, the TCU/ Texas Tech shootout was one of the season’s insane contests in a Big 12 league that produces weekly 80-90 point totals. TCU had a miraculous comeback with a TD on a deflection with only 23 seconds remaining to win a wild shootout 55-52. TCU wide receiver Josh Doctson earned Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts which included 18 receptions for 267 yards and three touchdowns. It was his deflection that was caught by wideout Aaron Green that changed the outcome of the highest scoring contest of the young season. The 18 catches by Doctson were the most in a game by an FBS player this season while tying TCU and Big 12 single-game career records. Doctson is one of just four players since the start of the 2013 season to have 18 receptions in a game. The 267 yards receiving broke the TCU single-game mark of 226 while his 3 TD catches gave him 21 in his career, ranking second on the Horned Frogs’ all-time list.

Meltdown of the Week – Tough call. Both Tennessee and Texas invent new ways to lose games. Each head coach has to look in the mirror after shaky calls over the weekend vs conference foes. Tennessee caved in vs a young Florida team who came back from a 13 point deficit. It was the Gators 11th straight win over the Vols at 28-27. The Vols continue to look for their signature victory under HC Butch Jones in his third season. Jones failed to go for the 2 point conversion with a lead that could have spelled the difference late in the game. The Vols missed a game winning FG that completed their collapse on what appeared to be a huge early season win for a struggling program. Texas went 0-3 to an undefeated OSU Cowboy club that improved to 4-0.

The Longhorns made critical mistakes throughout the game with a few critical late game penalties including an unsportsmanlike flag against HC Charlie Strong. The frustration over the final quarter performance was evident by both the players and coaching staff. Texas lost the prior week to Cal when they failed to convert an extra point in a one point loss that would have gone to overtime. Longhorns face TCU, Oklahoma and K-State over the next month that will fully test the once renowned program that currently struggles to reach the .500 mark.

Contenders or Pretenders – Florida (4-0), West Virginia (3-0) and Indiana (4-0)
Florida hosts Ole Miss this week in a matchup that could determine if the Gators deserve a top 20 ranking. Ole Miss is ranked #3 in the nation after beating Alabama in their third game. Florida will have to improve to beat a talented Rebel defense that has shown dominant efforts in recent years. Indiana hosts Ohio St. in the acid test for a program that has been a Big Ten doormat over the past decade. Ohio St. has continued to win, but has finally settled on QB Cardale Jones. This club could be ready to explode this week vs an Indiana team that won only 4 games all of last season. They lost to the Buckeyes 42-27 in 2014.

West Virginia has beat weak clubs, Georgia Southern, Liberty and Maryland thus far and travels to Norman, Oklahoma to face the #15 ranked Sooners this Saturday. WVa will be hard pressed to stay with the Sooners and could be vulnerable to a fall with a strong Big 12 schedule on the agenda with OSU, Baylor, TCU and Texas Tech coming up over the next month.

Game of the Week – Notre Dame at Clemson

Frank Coyle is a long time member of the FWAA and voter in College player awards - Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi, Thorpe etc for the past 20 years. He writes ‘College Football Mondays’ weekly during the season. He is a longtime scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game. He does sports radio shows for ESPN, CBS Sports, Fox Sports and Sporting News on a year round basis related to College Football especially during the postseason team and All-star Bowl time. He has worked for CBS Sports, NBC Sports, Yahoo and Rivals sports publications and web sites.

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