The Wrapup

By Adam Caparell - September 24, 2006

There was no official moniker for this Saturday, but Survival Saturday was more than fitting. I think it’s safe to say that we saw that there really isn’t an overly dominant team out there right now.

The top unbeaten teams - Ohio State, USC, Michigan, Florida and Auburn - didn’t have particularly inspiring performances today. And some other top tier teams hung on in their respective games after facing some stiff competition from their opponents early on like Virginia Tech, and most notably, Georgia. But they all survived, and national championship and BCS berth hopes are still intact for nearly all who entered the weekend with big time postseason hopes.

Quick Hits
- It was a tough day for some freshman QBs around the country.

Anthony Morelli, Matt Stafford and Mitch Mustain all had difficult days for their respective teams. Morelli and threw two interceptions that were returned for TDs in Penn State’s loss to Ohio State. Stafford was just plain ineffective and was replaced by Joe Cox in Georgia’s survival over Colorado. Mustain was 7-of-22, and threw three-interceptions on the day. Yes, he did throw what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown in that tough-to-stomach win by Arkansas over Alabama, but that’s another story.

On the contrary, Colt McCoy had himself quite a day for the Longhorns. The redshirt freshman was18-for-23 for 210 yards and two TDs in Texas win over Iowa State.

- Why is it so hard all of the sudden to kick an extra point? It killed team after team today. Boston College, Alabama and very nearly could have cost Notre Dame.

Alabama and BC were the worst culprits. Leigh Tiffin missed an extra point in Alabama’s double overtime loss after the Tide’s touchdown in the second extra frame put them ahead. At one point in the game, Tiffin missed three straight missed field goals and two game-winning field goals. Every miss was wide right. Chalk some of it up to being a freshman, but, come on, you can’t miss four kicks and expect to keep your job for much longer.

That final PAT by Arkansas’ Jeremy Davis wasn’t a given either. He missed one earlier.

Ryan Ohliger missed two PATs for the Eagles and it really cost his team and just may have saved Chuck Amato’s job in the process. NC State won the game 17-15 thanks to the late game heroics of first-time starter Daniel Evans. How big do those two points look now.

Carl Giola missed an extra point for the Irish that could have brought them within two points - instead of three. Thankfully for Notre Dame it didn’t come back to haunt them.

And not to be passed over, Florida kicker Chris Heitland had two PATs blocked in the Gators win over Kentucky.

Best Win
Notre Dame. Is there really any other candidate out there? The Irish, simply, saved themselves from the indignity of getting run rough-shod out of East Lansing and the opportunity to remain in the running for a BCS bid. It also saved the tiny hopes Notre Dame still has of playing for a national championship. You can have an early loss and still make it. Chances are it won’t happen, but if things break right, you never know.

The Irish comeback was unbelievable as they out-scored the Spartans 19-0 in the fourth quarter and Brady Quinn looked like a stud in the final three quarters - and may have just resurrected his Heisman candidacy.

Charlie Weis has so far kept his promise to the Irish faithful. ND is 1-0 against Michigan State post-Weis “Never losing to Michigan State again under my watch” proclamation.

This should be the catalyst for the Irish to roll into their matchup - with that one and only loss to Michigan - with USC at the end of the season.

Be careful not to give too much credit to Notre Dame. Michigan State did just as much to give away the game as the Irish did to take it back. Turnovers, poor decisions and the fact that they blew multiple double digit leads at home should be noted. Don’t forget, this is a Spartan team that very nearly lost to Idaho State - at home - in their season opener.

Worst Loss
Boston College couldn’t put away NC State when it had the chance on a 3rd and 1 and a 4th and 1, only to watch a 37-yard bomb from Evans to John Daniels in the back corner of the endzone - with what seemed like a swarm of Eagles defenders - for the game winning TD with only 8 seconds left.

The No. 20 Eagles could have set themselves up nicely in the ACC Atlantic Division with a win, but regressed with this loss when it looked as if they might be starting to distinguish themselves as the class of the division.

Took A Step Forward
Notre Dame, Colorado, Amato, Troy Smith’s Heisman hopes (thanks to that 37-yard TD pass)

Took A Step Back
Arizona State, UCLA, Baylor

Player of the Day
Notre Dame CB Terrail Lambert had two picks, one that was returned for a touchdown. That one gave the Irish the lead for good.

"I didn't know how to act. I didn't know if we were supposed to chill or get fired up." - Texas linebacker Robert Killebrew on the weather delay at the end of the third quarter that forced the Longhorns to wait to resume their game for over an hour. Texas led by 23 at the time of the delay.

AC Top 10
1. Ohio State
2. USC
3. Michigan
4. Auburn
5. West Virginia
6. Florida
7. Louisville
8. Texas
9. LSU
10. Notre Dame

Posted by Adam Caparell at 01:13 AM on September 24, 2006

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