With no Texans game to prepare for nor attend this past weekend, I finally had a chance to sit on the couch for roughly eleven hours unfettered (save about 90 minutes worth of grilling in my backyard) and take in an entire Saturday of college football from beginning to end, a truly glorious way to waste an entire day of my life.
I came away with a few observations and more than a few little college football "Easter eggs" from social media and the Internet. Allow me to share some of them with you...
4. D'Eriq King
The Houston freshman that gets the most buzz around the country and in media circles is defensive tackle Ed Oliver, and it's totally justified. Oliver, a five star recruit from right here in Houston, is a beast. However, on Saturday at Texas State, it was King stealing the "frosh limelight" for a day, and maybe giving a glimpse into what the future holds for this former quarterback as an all-purpose, Swiss Army knife. Here is King's box score from the Coogs' 64-3 win in San Marcos:
PASSING: 1/1, 15 yards, 1 TD pass
RUSHING: 1 rush, 27 yards
RECEIVING: 4 catches, 61 yards, 1 TD catch
KICK RETURN: 2 returns, 130 yards, 1 TD
PUNT RETURN: 3 returns, 16 yards
King became the first player in UH history to throw a TD pass, catch a TD pass and return a kick for a TD in the same game. Now, the Coogs turn their attention to the only team to achieve victory over head coach Tom Herman, the University of Connecticut Huskies, this Thursday night at TDECU Stadium.
3. Dexter Williams
Perhaps, if you're not a fan of the University of Notre Dame (and hell, maybe even if you ARE), you're like "Who?!" That's fine. Just so you know, Williams is a sophomore running back for the Irish, originally from Winter Haven, Florida. On Saturday, in a 38-35 loss to Duke, Williams had five carries for 24 yards and a touchdown. He was also the only Irish player (out of the roughly 100 or so on the roster) who showed any "fire" or "grit," according to Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly:
"Every position, all 22 of them, will be evaluated. Each and every position. There is no position that is untouchable on this football team. And that’s the quarterback, all the way down to — maybe the long snapper’s okay. We’re not going to touch him. But everybody else is vulnerable. …
“Guys that have fire and grit [will be on the field] — we had one guy in the entire football team that had emotion and fire. That is [running back] Dexter Williams. He’s the only one. He’s the only one that I saw. One guy.
“So, if you want to play for me moving forward, you better — I don’t care what your résumé says, I don’t care if you were a five-star [recruit], if you had 100 tackles or 80 receptions or 30 touchdown passes — you better have some damn fire and energy in you. We lack it. We lack it. Severely."
The Irish are now 1-3 on the season, have lost five of six going back to last season, and have given up more than 35 points in all five losses. It's HARD TIMES in South Bend right now, especially for defensive coordinator Brian Van Gorder, whose job was being called for, literally during the game, via chants from the student section. Yet this didn't stop Kelly from giving the entire coaching staff a complete pass in the meltdown on Saturday against Duke:
“Actually, that’s probably the one area that I feel better about today,” Kelly said of his defensive coaches’ efforts. “We did what I wanted today in terms of coaching. And coaching had nothing to do with the outcome today. I was pleased from that perspective.”
If you'd like to watch a coach start a potential civil war with his players in under eight minutes, here's the video of Kelly's entire press conference:
Oh, by the way, about 18 hours after this press conference, Kelly announced that Van Gorder had been fired. What a mess.
2. Jim Ross
As long as football players are getting obliterated with near-lethal hits (like this poor Colorado State quarterback below), as long as NBA players are getting dunked on, and as long as regular civilians are tumbling on their faces, there will be a home for the audio dubbing of WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross's legendary call of Mick Foley getting tossed off a 20-foot-high cage back in 1998...
1. Austin Allen
In a game that was actually a lot closer than the final score would indicate — it was 17-17 late in the third quarter when Arkansas finished a 94-yard drive with no points — the Texas A&M Aggies, who seem to be trending into a dark-horse playoff candidate, beat the Arkansas Razorbacks 45-24. The Aggies BEAT UP Razorbacks QB Austin Allen. Literally, they bludgeoned him into a bloody pulp. Allen, who was about as sports-courageous as any quarterback I've ever watched play a game, dropped back more than 40 times (28-42, 371 yards, 2 TDs) and was hit by at least one Aggie pass rusher on a majority of those plays, including a hit in the first half that had Allen literally crawl back toward the sidelines several feet before standing and walking. (He suffered bruised ribs on the play.) Still, he never missed a snap. This was a Rocky Balboa-type ending for Allen, in which his team lost the game but the college football community had to come away with immense respect for the Arkansas signal caller.
Huge win by the Vols over Florida on Saturday afternoon! After falling behind by three scores at halftime, and looking as if the temperature on his seat might get turned up to "high boil," Tennessee head coach Butch Jones saw his troops come out in the second half and absolutely ruin the Florida Gators, snapping an 11-game losing streak to Florida (an unfathomable streak when you consider the history of this matchup — this used to be an early-season, title-race-shaping matchup!). The Vols' win probably erases some of the social media sting for this poor lass, who managed to (presumably) gain admission to an accredited university thinking that "probably" is spelled "probaly"...
You should probably be more concerned... pic.twitter.com/L02of96wFM— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) September 24, 2016
To be fair, if you spell it phonetically, that IS how roughly 90 percent of us pronounce "probably." Nevertheless... C'mon...
3. Alabama sideline protocol
During Alabama's 48-0 thrashing of Kent State on Saturday, wide receiver ArDarius Stewart was reported by several outlets to have been removed from the game for concussion protocol reasons. Shortly thereafter, several Vines surfaced on Twitter of Stewart toting an axe around the Alabama sideline — Vines embedded in tweets like this one here...
Now, as it turns out, according to Tide head coach Nick Saban, Stewart was removed from the game because of a sprained knee, so in fact Alabama did not have a player whose brain had just been put into "TILT" mode strolling around with a gigantic, sharp apparatus over his shoulder. Still, probably not a great idea having a dude with an axe just bumping around an area highly concentrated with other human beings, despite Stewart's
totally illogical explanation as to why he had the axe...
Axe= assassins.. Had to lead my troops off the field and not let them see me down and out .. I just want the W !!!!! #3peat?????— ArDarius Stewart (@neversleepon13) September 18, 2016
Um, yeah. Still, ArDarius...
2. UCLA betting backers
Our #GambleCast moment of the weekend came from the Stanford-UCLA game, in which the final wagering line seemed to settle in at most betting outlets at Stanford -3 at kickoff. So with less than two minutes remaining in the game and Stanford trailing 13-9 and having to travel the length of the field for a game-winning touchdown (a field goal does them no good), if you were backing UCLA +3, you're probably thinking you have about an 85 percent chance of winning your bet, and worst case, you get a push if Stanford scores a TD. Well, Stanford scored a TD to go up 16-13 with 25 seconds left:
So now the only thing that really concerns you if you're backing UCLA +3 is Bruins QB Josh Rosen's driving his team down to a tying field goal and then losing the cover in overtime, but still, that would've taken a minor miracle. Certainly, no UCLA fan saw this bad beat coming on the final play of the game...
Final score — Stanford 22, UCLA 13.
All-time bad beat or pennies from heaven, depending on which side you were on. Hell, we even got Chris Fowler acknowledging the spread on the play-by-play!
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"A SIGNIFICANT SCORE TO SOME!" - Chris Fowler channels his best Uncle Brent— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) September 25, 2016
College football! The BEST!
1. The poor sucker...
...who is the first to falsely report "Tom Herman to LSU." Herman will lambaste you publicly, you charlatan.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 to 6 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.