The Wrapup - Week 3

By Adam Caparell - September 16, 2007

So does anyone have any doubts about USC, most especially the Trojans running game, after their performance in Lincoln Saturday night? Tough to find a whole lot that's wrong with Pete Carroll's squad after the Trojans let everyone know they don't plan on handing over their No. 1 ranking anytime soon.

Heading into this one it wasn't a big secret as to what the Cornhuskers biggest weakness was defensively. That defensive line was very vulnerable and USC took full advantage of it. I thought that touchdown drive at the end of the second quarter that gave the Trojans a nice lead entering halftime was very telling and after that they continued to pound away at the Cornhuskers ending the game with 313 yards on the ground. Of course, Sam Keller throwing two picks right after halftime didn't help.

Obviously Stafon Johnson looks to have established himself as the de facto running back from here on out for the Trojans. 144 yards and five touchdowns is a nice little stat line. The USC defense did a number on Nebraska, holding the Cornhuskers, one the nation's top running teams through the season's first two weeks, to a measly 68 yards - 68 inconsequential yards. John David Booty and the passing attack showed it could use some fine tuning, but other than that USC put together quite a performance.

Nebraska is still looking for that signature win for Bill Callahan. In his fourth year, the coach has yet to beat an opponent he wasn't expected to, whether it be on the road or the at home. Nebraska fans can talk about the Michigan win in the bowl game or the win over A&M last year all they want, but how about beating USC or Oklahoma or Texas or any other top tier team one of these years? And even though the Cornhuskers only lost by 18 points, this game was not nearly that close in the second half.

You would expect USC to pick up some of those first place votes it lost to LSU in the AP Poll last week after this performance that everyone was able to see. Not sure if they're going to regain all of them, but that 15 first place vote lead figures to increase.

Meanwhile, Tim Tebow and No. 5 Florida had themselves quite a day against those hated Volunteers, who will now find themselves among the unranked later Sunday.

Tebow showed his full array of talent in rushing for 62 yards and throwing for 299 yards and 2 touchdowns on just 19 attempts. We knew coming in that this game wasn't going to feature much defense and Tennessee certainly held up its end of the bargain. They actually did a good job in some of those first few series of limiting Florida's rushing game - most especially Tebow - but that didn't last very long.

Florida finished with 556 yards of total offense and averaged an astounding 8.6 yards per play. Tennessee had no answer for the Gators and as the game worn on the defensive line wore down to the tune of allowing 257 yards rushing.

This series, like almost all SEC games, has historically been decided by the team who rushes the ball more effectively. In fact, the winner of this game has out-rushed the loser in 16 of the last 18 meetings. That certainly held true Saturday.

Erik Ainge was not particularly sharp and his injured pinky may very well have contributed to several turnovers - he did not throw the ball all that well and there was that fumbled exchange with Arian Foster.

Yeah this win came against a bad defensive team, but the Gators looked pretty good this afternoon in their first game against a BCS opponent this year. The defense made plays and held a potent Tennessee team to its lowest point total so far this season. But one thing that's going to hurt the Gators are those penalties. Florida had 11 last week and Urban Meyer was understandably concerned about them heading into Saturday. The Gators had eight, giving up 60 yards. That's not going to fly with LSU in three weeks.

Quick Hits

-- Anyone who thinks the Kentucky victory over Louisville is a big upset is lost. Sure the No. 9 team went down to an unranked opponent, but how surprising is it that it came against a rival who happens to be a rapidly improving team in the strongest division of the strongest conference in the nation, one with as potent an offense as the Cardinals and similarly suspect defense? And the game came in Lexington? How could Kentucky winning be a surprise to anyone?

The Wildcats have a quarterback in Andre' Woodson who is the best signal caller at a BCS school who no one talks about. This guy is the real deal. Kentucky is a dangerous offensive team - as many already know. Now if they could just scrounge up something that resembles a decent defense then this team would be a legitimate SEC East threat.

I'd hope this pushes them into the Top 25. They deserve it.

-- I had Boston College in my Top 15 preseason rankings back in August and everyone thought I was crazy. But they're looking pretty good right now after Matt Ryan had yet another stellar game, this time against a good Georgia Tech team.

The Eagles burned that Tech defense with Ryan predictably leading the way with a career high 435 yards. As a team, BC amassed 527 total yards and only allowed 267 - a testament to that overlooked defense that has statistically been one of the better units so far this season when you consider the Eagles have played three conference opponents to begin the year (Wake, NC State and Georgia Tech).

Right now, the Eagles look to be the class of the ACC. The schedule gets very easy with four straight games against beatable opponents (Army, UMass, Bowling Green, Notre Dame) before BC faces Virginia Tech in Blacksburg Oct. 25.

-- Maybe Notre Dame should have employed a spread option attack just for this game because Charlie Weis' offense did absolutely nothing against that awful Michigan defense.

Notre Dame has amassed a total of 13 points through three games, the third worst output through three games in the program's long and storied history. They had 79 yards of total offense and finished with -6 yard rushing Saturday. The offensive line is a mess, Jimmy Clausen barely threw the ball and the Irish ended the day with four turnovers.

The sad part is Notre Dame may not have hit rock bottom yet. With Michigan State and Purdue - two solid offensive teams - up before they take on UCLA, USC and Boston College, the way the Irish are playing they could very easily be 0-8 before Navy comes calling Nov. 3.

I knew Notre Dame wasn't going to be that good. But I honestly had no idea they were going to be this bad.

A friend of mine, who's a Notre Dame fan, texted me Saturday evening saying the Irish "had an off day."

Sorry, Steve, and Irish fans alike; Charlie Weis' boys are in the middle of an off year, an off year unlike any we've seen in a long time with Notre Dame.

-- How sweet would that win had been for Temple over UConn? The incompletion on fourth down with 40 second remaining - with the Owls trailing by five - should have been over-turned after replay showed the Owls had scored a touchdown thanks to Bruce Francis hauling in a deflected pass from wide out Dy'Onne Crudup and managing to get one foot down.

But it's understandable why the call wasn't overturned. The camera angles didn't give the refs definitive proof that he got his foot down. But bottom lime - they missed that one and Randy Edsall and his Huskies dodged a big one as they're now 3-0 for the first as a Division I-A member.

Remember it was Temple who was booted out of the Big East a few years back and a Big East team losing to a MAC school would nothing short of embarrassing - even if it was UConn who was the culprit.

Biggest Winners: Kentucky, Boston College, Sylvester Croom, Florida Atlantic

Biggest Losers: UCLA, Minnesota, Syracuse, Oklahoma State (had to mention that awful loss from Friday night)

Player of the Day: Andre' Woodson - 30-of-44 for 275 yards and four touchdowns. He didn't put up the numbers that Brian Brohm did, but he led his team to its biggest victory in his four years on campus, highlighted by that 57 yard TD pass to Steve Johnson with 28 seconds remaining.

Stat of the Day: 1462. The amount of days, approximately, since UCLA was last kept out of the endzone. That ended in Utah's surprising beat down of the Bruins who outscored the No. 11 team in the nation 30-0 in the second half.

Quote of the Day: "In his first two years he had players that could execute." -- Michigan linebacker Shawn Crable on Charlie Weis and his current crop of Fighting Irish.

The 10 Best Teams In The Nation
1. USC
2. LSU
3. Florida
4. Oklahoma
5. West Virginia
6. Ohio State
7. Cal
8. Boston College
9. Wisconsin
10. Texas

Posted by Adam Caparell at 01:17 AM on September 16, 2007
Comments (4)


Was Callahan expected to beat Michigan in 2005? Nope. A&M on the road in 2006? Check your facts before spewing.

How about iowa state beating iowa for the 7th time in 10 years!!!

Nice work, but I have to call into question Ohio State at #6? They looked very weak at home against YSU & Akron and the only reason they beat UW was freshman CB's. Once they get into the heart of the B10 they'll be exposed.

Also, Wisconsin & Texas? Are you kidding? They barely squeaked out victories in two of their first three. They are Top 10 by end of season but definitely not right now.

video of UConn robbing Temple here:

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