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UCLA Defense Is a QB Killing Machine

A week after getting embarrassed at home by Stanford 35-0, UCLA bounced back with a win over Conference USA foe Houston 31-13 at the Rose Bowl. The Bruins are nowhere near a good team, but their defense is decent enough to keep them competitive on most nights. Their offense is another story — it’s by far one of the worst in the Pac-10 and possibly the worst I’ve ever seen from the Bruins. Luckily the defense brought the hurt to Houston Saturday night.

UCLA somehow managed to knock not one, but two Cougars quarterbacks out of the game. Moreover, both of Houston’s top two slingers were lost for the season after the Bruins got done with them. Actually, starter Case Keenum being lost for the year is more about what he did rather than UCLA.

Keenum, playing despite suffering a minor concussion the previous week trying to make a tackle following an interception, hurt himself again trying to make a tackle on an interception. He had driven the Cougars down to the UCLA two-yard line when he was picked off by Akeem Ayers. Keenum somehow tore his ACL as he tried to tackle Ayers by the sideline and is now done for the season. That happened in the second quarter.

As if Keenum’s injury wasn’t devastating enough, backup Cotton Turner broke his clavicle in the second half and was knocked out for the year as well. Turner was hit in the third quarter while attempting a pass and he already had season-ending surgery Sunday.

I’m honestly joking about UCLA’s ferocious defense. I really think it was coincidence more than anything else that Houston lost both its quarterbacks for the season against the Bruins. The 31-13 win was pleasing for Bruins fans, but the same concerns persist; Kevin Prince was just 9/17 for 99 yards and an interception. If you can’t throw the ball, you’re not going to have much success. UCLA fans are seeing it first hand and finding that out the hard way. They likely won’t win more than two of their remaining games which is quite sad.

Photo Credit: Nick de la Torre : Houston Chronicle

Thrill of Crazy Call Gave Mark Dantonio a Heart Attack

Ever have a tense, nail-biting moment during a sports event you’re watching and tell your friends that the suspense almost gave you a heart attack? Ever hear that phrase “cardiac kids” for teams that win by incredible comebacks? The joke is that thrilling moments in games put us through incredible amounts of stress as fans. Well, it turns out that this phenomenon is not a joke. Contrarily, it’s very real.

Michigan State beat Notre Dame in overtime Saturday evening 34-31 by scoring a touchdown on a fake field goal. Everyone was sure the Spartans were trotting out their kicker to try and tie the game at 31 and send it to another overtime. Little did they know Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio had a trick up his sleeve. The play worked and the Spartans pulled off the crazy upset.

What was more crazy than the ballsy call was hearing that Mark Dantonio suffered a heart attack after the game. The coach appeared to be subdued in his postgame interview but that’s probably because he had just peed his pants. Unbelievable. Check out this video if you haven’t seen it yet. And for a twist, watch the play clock expire before the snap and ask yourself how it might feel to be a Notre Dame fan:

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Jamie Harper Early Candidate for Catch of the Year

The Clemson/Auburn game was a tale of two halves. Clemson was up 17-0 most of the first half, scoring their second touchdown on an incredible catch by Jamie Harper. Harper, the team’s running back, was placed in motion out of the backfield and went full-extension with his dive for a 24-yard TD from Kyle Parker. Here’s the incredible Jamie Harper touchdown catch video:

Amazingly enough, Auburn scored three straight touchdowns in the third quarter to take a 24-17 lead and then Clemson tied it with a TD in the fourth. They went to overtime where Auburn won in a bizarre way. Auburn had the first possession and kicked a field goal to go up 27-24. Clemson wound up kicking a field goal and making it, but they had to replay the down because of an illegal snap. On their second attempt, the kick sailed wide left giving Auburn the 27-24 overtime win. Incredible finish.

Phil Fulmer Lights Into Kiffin, Tennessee

Former Tennessee coach Phil Fulmer quietly got the last word with the Vols when his replacement, Lane Kiffin, left the school in horrific fashion. Fulmer was pretty humble and seemed to be holding back in his statement. Kiffin was not as lucky on Saturday when Fulmer served up some thoughts on CBS’ halftime show.

Fulmer said the Tennessee fans felt betrayed and embarrassed by Kiffin, which is nothing new. He added that Kiffin’s arrogance turned people off, no surprise. The best part was the point Fulmer raised about Kiffiin’s luck: “how does a guy like this end up with two jobs with historic football teams like Tennessee and USC?” Phil, we’ve all been wondering the same exact thing. Slap a different last name after Lane and he’s not USC’s coach. The Trojans will learn that the hard way.

As if that wasn’t enough, Fulmer had more thoughts for WDEF (via SB Nation). “I don’t think we should have made the change. I would have won 7 or 8 games just like Kiffin did. You could have saved all that money and heartache.”

Well, here’s the thing: the Vols wouldn’t have hired Kiffin if they thought that was going to happen, and winning 7 or 8 games is the reason they made the change — it’s simply not good enough for Tennessee. Fulmer wasn’t delivering and obviously Kiffin created a mess. The fans will have to be patient with Derek Dooley and hope he can do what his daddy did for Georgia otherwise we’ll be seeing another change in a few years.

UMass Player on Michigan: Big House is Little House on the Prairie

Playing against the Wolverines in the Big House used to be one of the most feared experiences in all of college football. That was until Appalachian State pulled off a shocker winning 34-32 in 2007, all but sealing Lloyd Carr’s ticket out of town. Oregon followed that surprise up with a 39-7 drubbing that showcased Dennis Dixon and Jonathan Stewart, proving the Big House meant very little. Of course Rich Rodriguez took over the following year, went 3-9, and the Wolverines were pwned at home by the likes of Utah, Toledo, and Northwestern. To say the Big House holds the same intimidation factor as it used to would be a stretch. Perhaps the UMass players are feeling it.

As the Minutemen walked onto the field Friday to scan things over, they were clearly in awe of the large stadium. Senior defensive back Ke’Mon Bailey was impressed but tried to downplay things. At the end of this video he calls the Big House the “Little House on the Prairie.” Check it out:

This probably didn’t have enough time to circulate with Michigan fans but I’m sure they won’t be too happy to hear it. Good thing Bailey got the jokes in before the game because after 60 minutes of chasing Denard Robinson around the field, he’ll be begging for mercy.

Just Like Cal to Disappoint Early in Season

Anyone who is a fan of Cal football can tell you what a painful experience it is. Marred with inconsistency, the Golden Bears can get up for a game and blast an opponent by 50 points one week, and then come back and lose to an inferior opponent by 20 the next week. This season has already started out for the Bears much like their others: disappointingly.

Cal blasted UC Davis in their opener 52-3. Sure it was just UC Davis, but beating a low-level team like that is exactly what you’re supposed to do. The following week, Cal surprised me by smashing Colorado 52-7. The loss was so shocking and convincing that Buffs’ quarterback Tyler Hansen guaranteed his team would never get spanked that badly again. At 2-0 and outscoring opponents by a combined 104-10, the Bears appeared to be rolling. As soon as you think Cal is rolling, that’s exactly when they disappoint.

The Bears were on national television Friday night in Reno to play the Wolfpack. Nevada’s motive is simple; they’re going to score a ton of points and give up a ton and just hope they have more than you. Playing against Kevin Riley, the odds are generally in your favor.

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Reggie Bush No Longer Listed as Heisman Trophy Winner on Heisman Website

When Reggie Bush forfeited the Heisman Trophy, I was curious to see how the Heisman Trust would handle his name in the record books. Would they list an asterisk by his name and explain that he forfeited the Trophy for being ineligible that year? Would they wholly strike his name from the list? I thought such an action would be extreme and that listing an asterisk would be the proper way to address the situation. I checked the Heisman site on Tuesday after Bush made his announcement and there was no change to the list. Returning a few days later to see if an adjustment was made, it appears as if the Heisman Trust took as strong a measure as possible — they’ve completely wiped out the 2005 year from the Heisman list:

Like I said, I think an asterisk would have been more appropriate to explain the situation. What do you think was the right thing for them to do?