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1. If you haven’t been paying attention to the Texas Tech Red Raiders, you should turn your attention toward Lubbock, because in the hierarchy of the Big 12 the Red Raiders look like they’re on the top tier with the Oklahoma Sooners and Kansas State Wildcats. They lost to Oklahoma earlier this year, but with a win next week against KSU, they’ll be in the conversation to win the conference because for two weeks in a row their offense and defense have been impressive, most recently on Saturday in a 56-53 triple overtime win over the TCU Horned Frogs.
This game was incredibly entertaining and I’m so glad that I made it a point to watch it as part of my college football Saturday. The two looked so even and didn’t have much separating their totals on the stat sheet. It was looking like it would go as we had predicted in Friday’s Daily Six Shooter in the 4th quarter. Tech was up 10 and had kept TCU from making big plays. Fans even started leaving the stadium. While the Horned Frogs showed some explosiveness early, in the 2nd, 3rd, and through most of the 4th quarter, TCU had no plays of 20 or more yards and turned the ball over three times.
The Red Raiders had them right where they wanted them, but the Horned Frogs made one more run and forced overtime. Everything kind of goes out the window at that point. TCU’s relative inexperience and mistakes are erased, but Tech’s experience and execution carried over. TCU led the first overtime with a touchdown and Tech responded. Per OT rules, Tech got the ball first in the 2nd overtime, and here’s what they did. This may be my favorite play of the year in college football:
Most defenses almost ignore the quarterback completely in the wildcat formation. If a quarterback still on the field, they’ll line someone up against them but don’t pay attention to him. Tech takes advantage of this by running the wildcat give right to him so that it’s pitched to him and Seth Doege hits Jakeem Grant wide open. Grant does a great job on the route too. Watch him in the slot. He just sort of drifts for a few seconds, selling the run, and then takes off to a wide open part of the field where he scores. I love it because he played it perfectly. If he runs straight for the open field, he might give that play away.
Ultimately, Tech needs to worry about how they gave up a 10-point lead with four minutes to play and getting off to a better start. Still, that wasn’t an easy game to win and they pulled it out on the road. If they do it again this Saturday, we’ll once again have to re-examine what exactly a good team looks like in the Big 12.
Side note: Props to Alex Torres, who made this ridiculous catch on top of the game-winning touchdown.
The kid’s from El Paso, so I paid a lot of attention to his play every week when I was a sports anchor out in west Texas, so I’m not at all surprised that he’d step up for his biggest game the way he did against TCU.
Photo courtesy Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
2. The LSU Tigers were down 9-0 before they ever got a 1st down. They were down 12-0 before they got a drive passed the Texas A&M 49 yard line. And yet the Aggies still lost a tough game at home on Saturday 24-19.
Quarterback Johnny Manziel (aka Johnny Football) had a great start, but ultimately it was his mistakes (three interceptions) that cost the Aggies this one. Two of those interceptions led to LSU touchdowns and a Ben Malena fumble also led to another touchdown. Every other drive that LSU had resulted in just three points. The A&M defense deserved better from their offense and even their special teams (that missed two field goals late). The offense didn’t take advantage of their opportunities and gave the game away.
They gave the game away because this defense made a lot of improvements on what they did wrong the previous week against Louisiana Tech. They were more physical with the receivers at the line and they were making stops without having to send five or six players on the rush. By the time they gave up the final run and touchdown that sealed the game for LSU, they were worn down.
Most importantly, we saw what it’s like when Johnny Manziel becomes a one-dimensional player and has to try to throw on the run. He’s not good at it… yet. Remember, Johnny Football is just a freshman. His impressive competitiveness shows promise for this program that everyone (including, sadly, us) thought would be a doormat in their first year in the SEC. If they can put it together, they can still be a force to be reckoned with in the SEC. The only problem is that now they’re going to have to do it on the road. Their next three games are their biggest and they’re all away starting with Auburn next weekend, then #13 Mississippi State and #1 Alabama.
In all likelihood, A&M could emerge on the other side as a 6-4 team on paper. But in reality, they’re much better than that.
Photo courtesy Cooper Neill/Getty Images
3. Finishing up the weekend in Lone Star State college football, the Texas Longhorns outscored and outlasted the Baylor Bears at DKR on Saturday 56-50. UT was just good enough to get the win.
David Ash played great despite breaking his wrist last week. Joe Bergeron, Daje Johnson, and Johnathan Gray helped Texas dominate on the ground gaining 251 yards total and averaging 5.7 yards per carry with Bergeron scoring five touchdowns. That was great. The defense creating two turnovers and holding Baylor to just 3-12 on 3rd down conversions. That was great.
The problem is that Texas gave up seven plays in the game that went for 20 yards or more. All of them led to scores. The silver lining that the coaches were talking about after the game was that three of those big plays only led to field goals rather than touchowns. It’s sad that this is where the Texas defense is, but it’s true. One of those field goals only came because the Bears ran out of time at the end of the 1st half. There were only three drives where the Longhorn defense got the offense the ball back by forcing a punt. That’s the kind of defense you want to count on during a game because turnovers are so random.
You need look no further than this game to see how random they are. At one point in the game, Baylor quarterback Nick Florence fumbled at the goal line, had the ball roll around for what seemed like an eternity before a Bears lineman fell on the ball in the endzone for a touchdown.
The Texas defense allowing 98 points combined in their last two home games is still unacceptable. The 50 points that Baylor scored are the most that a Texas team has ever allowed in a win. They still have a lot of work to do because after Kansas next week, Texas has to travel to Lubbock to play a Tech team that has as much firepower as any team they’ve played this season.
Photo courtesy Gary Hershorn/Reuters
4. On to the NFL where Robert Griffin III nearly pulled off his first 4th quarter comeback win. With less than three minutes left to play against the New York Giants, the rookie Washington Redskins quarterback led a drive down the field that resulted in a touchdown pass to Santana Moss that put the Redskins up 23-20.
Unfortunately, Eli Manning hit Victor Cruz for a 77-yard touchdown that Washington just couldn’t recover from. Griffin gained 347 total yards and scored two touchdowns, but he also threw an interception and lost a fumble. One of those turnovers led to a Giants touchdown. In any case, Griffin held his own pretty well on the road in a hostile environment and performed well in the 4th quarter. That last touchdown the Redskins gave up was a really poor play from the defense.
Go back and watch the play and watch #41 Madieu Williams, the safety at the top of the screen. Despite Victor Cruz showing no other move other than streaking down the field, he doesn’t break in time to make a play on the pass and basically just lets Cruz run right passed him, the last line of defense.
Griffin had his moment, the one that might define his rookie season in the NFL… but it was taken away, in really heartbreaking fashion. But if you think about it, the Giants really needed it more than he did. With a loss, the Giants would’ve started the season an unthinkable 0-3 in the division. Instead, the Giants come to Dallas next week to play the Dallas Cowboys looking to put a stranglehold on the division.
Photo courtesy Chris Graythen/Getty Images
5. When the Texas Longhorns beat USC in the national championship game at the Rose Bowl in 2006, Vince Young was the obvious MVP for Texas… but if you had to vote for the top 2 spots, tight end David Thomas would have definitely been the runner-up for the Longhorns.
He’s no Jimmy Graham, but he is the new kind of hybrid tight end meant more for pass-catching than blocking so he serves as a solid backup on the Saints. Thomas isn’t as big or as fast as Graham, so he didn’t get the same number of targets or catches as Graham would have against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers yesterday, but he did catch a touchdown pass from Drew Brees to save his fantasy value for anyone that picked him up at the last minute after finding out that Graham was sitting out with an injury.
How about the Saints? With this win, they’re up to 2-4 and, because of how bad the division is (worse than most expected), they’re tied for 2nd at 2-4. The problem with a New Orleans season rebound is how ridiculously tough their schedule is this season combined with how terrible their defense is playing. Next week they play Denver on Sunday, still have to play the Atlanta Falcons, Giants, and Cowboys. Even if they were to win four of those games, they’re likely a .500 team at best unless they can go on a historic run to make up for their 0-4 start.
Although if they win their next three games, I’ll be a believer.
6. Finally, it looks like Marvel has found a new way to draw out the marketing campaigns for their movies. Don’t get us wrong, we’re falling hook, line, and sinker, but still we’re noticing a pattern.
Back in Febuary, right before the Super Bowl, Marvel released a teaser for the commercial they were going to air during the game advertising the release of The Avengers. We had never heard of this before. It reminded me of my favorite Monty Python Album: The Album of the Soundtrack of the Trailer of the Film of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It seemed like an unnecessary move to literally commercialize the release of a commercial… but we ate it up. So Marvel is just going to keep doing it.
We present you with the teaser for the Iron Man 3 trailer that will be released soon:
Tough to pull anything from that trailer commercial. But keep ‘em coming, Marvel!
Extra Shot: One extra shot, though. If you watched Night of Too Many Stars last night on Comedy Central, a bunch of really cool and funny celebrities raised a ton of money to help kids with autism. The most memorable part of the show was released on YouTube last week and was a tear-jerker. I dare you not to cry while watching this girl’s story and then watching her play and sing with Katy Perry.
Deron Williams, point guard for the Brooklyn Nets raised in the metroplex, has pledged to get a tattoo of the viewers’ choosing if they can raise $100,000 for kids with autism. Go to this website to make a donation and also vote which tattoo he gets. There are three choices: Betty White, the dramatic chipmunk, or Russian comedian Yakov Smirnoff.
I donated and voted for Betty White and can’t wait to see Williams rockin’ that tattoo in the season opener against the New York Knicks. It’s going to be fun to watch.