'Monster Saturday', 'Road Test Saturday'; I know I should be looking forward to some big games next week, but I can't wait to see what clever name they slap on next weekend's group of games.
As far as this weekend is concerned, just about every top ten team passed their 'road test', with the exception of one.
Meanwhile, a couple of Pac-10 teams put up monster offensive performances and another came bursting onto the national scene. A few recent powerhouses continue to struggle to achieve separation, some overtime thrillers defined the primetime matchups and last season's Heisman trophy winner returned to the field in a big way.
Recapping in 500 words or less, this is what we learned about the season:
- Don't sleep on Nevada. California put up 52 points in back to back weeks, but it was the Wolf Pack who hung 52 in this one, running over the Golden Bears on the back of quarterback Colin Kaepernick and what is again a beast of a ground game. Defensively, Nevada wasn't bad, either, coming away with three picks.
- Georgia's offense misses A.J. Green's playmaking ability...obviously. Through their first 11 quarters of the season, the Bulldogs came up with 23 points. A two-touchdown fourth quarter rally showed encouraging signs of life as Georgia was able to tie the game, but until Green returns, this offense will continue to struggle to find its identity.
- Mark Ingram is back. It was against Duke, but you have to love 151 yards and a couple of touchdowns on nine carries. Trent Richardson ripped off a nice 45 yard touchdown run of his own and took a kickoff back for a score.
- Florida and USC continue to struggle to separate from opponents. USC took a 13-7 lead into the locker room, while Florida had a 7-3 lead at halftime. The Gators and Trojans need to start the game much stronger with big games coming up.
- The Volunteers, while they played admirably, showed that there's still plenty of work to be done in Knoxville.
- I lost count of Arizona State's opportunities on Saturday. Statistically, John Clay and Scott Tolzien put in good performances, but if not for a blocked PAT, a last minute tackle on a kickoff return to end the half and a number of stalled drives, Arizona State wins this game.
- With quarterback Taylor Martinez and running back Roy Helu, Jr., the Cornhuskers have an offense to go along with that defense. I cannot wait until their matchup with Texas, who will be coming off the Red River Rivalry.
- Auburn struggled offensively again, but they put together a monster third quarter to come back and take the lead. I hate to take anything away from a team who pulls out a win like this, but if an ailing Kyle Parker throws just a couple of inches closer to Jaron Brown on third down in overtime, Clemson wins that game.
- Mark Dantonio is now synonymous with enormous huevos for that overtime call. (Word has emerged that Dantonio suffered a heart attack last night, had a stent implanted and is out indefinitely. Best wishes to Dantonio for a speedy and healthy recovery.)
- Special teams and a pick-six gave Arizona an early lead on Iowa, but the offense struggled to put points on the board all night. Give a lot of credit to Nick Foles and the offense on that final drive and credit the defense for playing tough, but the offense needs to click more consistently if Arizona wants to win the Pac-10.
- We knew Stanford would score points, but the defense has done a good job of keeping teams out of the end zone.
There were plenty of big time performances from somewhat obscure sources (Auburn's Darvin Adams comes to mind), but the New Household Name for the week is the Arizona Wildcats' collective front seven. The secondary made a few big plays as well, but it was the front seven that really set the tone in this one. Arizona came away with six sacks and shut down the Hawkeyes running game, holding them to just 29 yards.
Meanwhile, Ryan Mallett Proved He's Worth the Hype Saturday on 21 for 33 passing for 380 yards and three touchdowns. He threw zero interceptions in the game in leading the Razorbacks to a 31-24 win. The final drive of that game cemented Mallett among the nation's elite passers and leaders, as he led the offense 73 yards on just three passes to take the lead for good.
My Heisman ballot if they let me vote:
Check out RandallSimonsSausages.com for a weekly Heisman poll in which the following will serve as my entry into the poll. It's a quarterback-heavy ballot this week, as some of the game's top passers put in prolific performances.
1. Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas: Mallett put up 380 yards and three touchdowns on the Georgia defense in leading Arkansas to an early lead and eventually a last minute touchdown drive that gave Arkansas a 1-0 start in the SEC.
2. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State: It wasn't exactly the biggest stage, but Moore threw for 370 yards and three touchdowns against Wyoming Saturday night. Perhaps most impressive about Moore's numbers is that the Broncos maintain an effective rushing attack just about every week.
3. Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan: Robinson and the Wolverines struggled to take down UMass Saturday, but Robinson managed a prolific performance nonetheless, hitting on 10 of 14 passes for 241 yards and two touchdowns through the air and adding 104 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
4. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford: On just eight drives, Luck put up over 200 yards through the air with four touchdowns. He even added 69 yards on the ground, 52 of those yards coming on a big touchdown run. Luck could shoot up Heisman lists with a high profile win over Notre Dame next Saturday. And then he has Oregon and USC...
5. Daniel Thomas, RB, Kansas State: I don't care if it's been against UCLA, Missouri State and Iowa State; if you can put up 234, 137 and 181 yards on the ground and a pair of scores a game, you're doing something right.
There's a few weekday games to tune into as Miami visits Pittsburgh Thursday night at 7:30 PM ET on ESPN and TCU visits Southern Methodist Friday night at 8:00 PM ET on ESPN. The marquee game next Saturday has to be Alabama's trip to Arkansas at 3:30 PM ET on CBS, as we'll learn a lot about both squads. Stanford visits Notre Dame (3:30 PM ET, NBC) and Oklahoma visits a very dangerous and very hungry 1-2 Cincinnati team (6:00 PM ET, ESPN2) as well. Nevada and BYU should be a good one (6:00 PM ET), while Kentucky visiting Florida (7:00 PM ET, ESPNU) will be interesting.
South Carolina at Auburn (7:45 PM ET, ESPN) and Oregon State at Boise State (8:00 PM ET, ABC) headline the primetime matchups. A trio of matchups make up the nightcap as West Virginia visits LSU (9:00 PM ET, ESPN2), Cal visits Arizona (10:00 PM ET) and Oregon visits Arizona State (10:30 PM ET).
If you would like to ask Dr. Roto a question, call (646) 915-9367 on Friday nights at 10:00pm EST and ask your question live on the that weeks Fantasy Football 411 Podcast.
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