Elsewhere in College Football
By John Kreinbihl
You know the big stories from Week #12 in college football. Saturday included major upsets, incredible last-second scoring plays and enough discussion of poll jumping, or specifically poll jumping teams, to last until probably, Thursday. I saw more than my share of those games, but Sunday morning as I scanned the college football landscape, these are the games that caught my eye.
Here are few of the ups and downs from the weekend…
Biggest Blowout of the Week
Scoring is up across college football and folks are asking, is it a lack of defense? Is it offensive prowess? What’s driving the scoring? Do we/should we care? I don’t. I’m looking for big numbers and there were several on Saturday. Redlands squeaked by Whittier 70-16; and the Salisbury Sea Gulls put up 70 on Frostburg State in a 56-point victory despite fumbling 4 times in the contest—including their first play of the game--but this week’s big winner is Minnesota State. Not the Hayden Fox, Luther Van Dam and Dauber Dybinski led Minnesota State Eagles, this is the real deal Minnesota State. The Mavericks are one of the top teams in D-II and they’ve won 22-straight games—sound familiar?—and in their 73-7 victory over the Upper Iowa Peacocks they set a new single-game high for points. The Mavericks gained 633 total yards, 526 of which came from the running game, in dispatching Upper Iowa. Interestingly they broke the record they set last year with 70 points, against? Anyone? Of course, Upper Iowa in what appears to be an annual year-end beat down. The Mavericks sit at 11-0 and will play in the first round of the D-II playoffs next weekend. The Peacocks, who scored late in the game to avoid the shut out in front of 751 fans at Harms- Eischeid Stadium in Fayette, Iowa, finished at 6-5.
Lowest Scoring Game of the Week
Seven looked to be the lucky number this week as NY Maritime beat Gallaudet 7-6 and both Macalester and Angelo St won 7-0. Macalester beat Hamlin and Angelo State took down Incarnate Word, but upon further review, we went lower. Six points was all Mt. Ida need to win this week. The Mustangs, and for some reason I wanted their nickname to be the Tater Tots but I guess that would be Ore Ida, defeated Husson 6-0. The only score in the game came on a 21-yard scramble by Mt. Ida sophomore Melquan Pinkney early in the first quarter. The remainder of this Eastern Collegiate Football Conference match-up was dominated by the defenses. Both teams finish the season 5-5.
Name Games of the Week
Most Points in a Losing Effort
This week it’s 45. By two teams. Prairie View A&M scored 45 but gave up 65 to Abilene Christian in a game that featured 165 plays and 1,264 total yards, but the biggest biggest loser is Stephen F. Austin. The Lumberjacks led Lamar 45-43 with 20 seconds to go when freshman kicker Alex Bell drilled a 41-yard field goal to win the game for the Cardinals 46-45.
IUP, MIT, UCF, FAU, SMU, BYU, UTEP & UCLA all won. UTEP wins this week’s “Initial Bowl” as the Miners defeated FIU 33-10 in a compelling battle of 1-8 teams.
In addition to FIU, TCU, VMI & UAB all lost.
Directional Game of the Week
This was a no brainer, a clear choice to me for two solid reasons. First, pretty vague geographic descriptor in the name and second, a game that featured something interesting. Therefore, the nod this week goes to the West Alabama-Central State game. The West Alabama Tigers rewrote several team and Gulf Coast Conference scoring records in a 91-28 crushing of the Cental State Marauders. This game was 42-28 at the half, but the Tigers, hoping to gain a spot in the playoffs, outscored Central State 49-0 in the second half. 91 points is thirteen TD’s and West Alabama showed no favoritism in the ways to score in a game. They scored in almost every way with six rushing TD’s; five passing; an interception return and a punt return. As they await their playoff fate, the Tigers will focus their efforts on figuring why they didn’t score on a kick-off return. Kyle Caldwell, the Tigers QB threw five TD passes and ran for another and Javae Swindle set a new single game rushing record with 280 yards and three TD’s on 19 carries. That’s a nifty 14.7 yards per carry. I don’t know if West Alabama will make the playoffs but if style points count for anything—and according to the college football experts over the weekend, they do—then this game may be the poster child for style points.
Some Saints Marching In, Some Saints Marching Out
The following Saints won this weekend—St. Joseph (IN) over William Jewell 37-31 in overtime; and St. John Fisher defeated Alfred 48-13. These Saints lost--St. Nobert dropped at 31-3 decision to Lake Forest; St. Anselm lost to Bentley 56-41 and St. Vincent lost to Bethany 56-35. These Saints played each other—St. Thomas downed St. Olaf 45-22. The football may be good but the nicknames of these teams leave a lot to be desired. It’s the Tommies of St. Thomas. St Olaf? The Oles. Really. Why not the Screwdrivers or the Prancing Rabbits? Wouldn’t the Yodeling Giants or Whiney Nitpickers be better? I think I’ll fill up their suggestion box with more winners like these. By the way in that St. John Fisher-Alfred game, SJF scored 41 of their 48 points in the second quarter. Even cooler? They did it in 15 plays and in less than four minutes time of possession.
To follow-up on a couple of stories from last week, Allegheny College looked to lock up the lowest scoring team in college football title by getting shut out by Wittenberg 56-0. That means the Gators finish the season scoring 65 points in 10 games. I’ll be stunned if 6.5 points a game isn’t bad enough to be the best in that category and you won’t be surprised they went 0-10.
And congratulations to Bo Cordell, the senior quarterback of Tusculum College Pioneers and new all time D-II leader in total offense. Cordell threw for 569 yards in a 49-42 victory over Mars Hill. Cordell had 5 TD tosses Saturday and he finishes his career with 16,432 total yards breaking the record of 16,064 set in 2005 by Jimmy Terwilliger of East Stroudsburg. Additionally, Cordell finished with 112 career touchdowns.
If Allegheny maintains its’ current scoring pace, it will take them about 74 years to match Cordell’s 112 TD’s. Way to go Bo!