Well, it sure feels good to finally win again, especially after looking like pure shit in back-to-back road games. And believe it or not, it seems things have taken a turn for the better on the field as we finally have a running game again, thanks to Evan Royster and Rodney Kinlaw. Kinlaw struggled early, fumbling on PSU’s opening drive but redeemed himself in the 2nd half when Royster went out with an injury to his thigh and went on to garner 168 yards rushing on 28 carries.
I want to focus more on the former though: I find it sad that it took Austin Scott getting kicked off the team in order for Evan Royster to get a legit shot at proving himself on the field. He sure did not disappoint, rushing for 88 yards on 16 carries. What really impressed me about Royster was his ability to just lower the shoulder and burst through the blocking holes while dragging defenders along with him, he’s a real North-South runner in the mold of Tony Hunt, one who just pounds away while tiring out opposing defenses throughout the game. It makes me cringe at the blind loyalty our coaching staff shows to seniors who routinely fumble the ball away while talented youngsters like Royster sit on the bench. No matter though, as I suddenly have a lot more hope for us against Wisconsin. Hell, oddsmakers seem to feel the same way too, as we are currently a 6.5 point favorite on Yahoo’s College Pick ‘Em.
Evan Royster: Coming To An Unprepared Defense Near You.
A Few More Thoughts on this past weekend:
- While I’m definitely more optimistic than last week, I’m still keeping level-headed regarding the outcome of our season. Iowa is a terrible, terrible, team that not only is depleted due to injuries/suspensions, but lacks talent in key positions, particularly on offense. Their offense performed like a bunch of kids randomly assigned to a flag football team in gym class that had never played before, Jake Christensen mis-fired on his throws early and often, and the running game struggled to find holes to go through. We’ll find out a little more about ourselves when Wisconsin comes to town this weekend.
- We got the best of both Morellis: There was the Morelli who avoided sacks, planted his feet, and let it fly about 60 yards downfield for a completion and slew together a string of consecutive brilliant passes and then there was the Morelli we’ve all come to know and accept, throwing INTs on back-to-back drives, the latter being one of the more idiotic decisions I can recall him ever making by trying to force a throw when he was in the process of being sacked. I should remind you at that point, we were ahead by 13 points with 8 minutes left, simply trying to milk some clock and maintain possession, absolutely no need to be forcing throws like that, just take the goddamn sack. This did lead to a unintentionally humorous moment however, when the student section cheered Morelli for throwing the ball away during the drive that would put us up 27-7, sticking the final nail in Iowa’s birdhouse.
- Chris Bell’s wide-open drop was inexcusable but I’ll give him a pass because: (1) Anyone who has played football at any level (whether it be backyard two-hand touch, flag, pee-wee, high school, etc.) has likely fucked up on a freebie at some point in their careers and (2) Watching the replay on TV, it seemed to me that Bell was already concentrating on what kind of end zone celebration he would do to commemorate losing his TD virginity and forgot that he needed to secure the ball first.
- Dan Connor and Sean Lee: Can you find a more brilliant linebacking tandem college football right now? Also, I’m still waiting for the student section to begin chanting Sean Lee’s name like Chong Li in Bloodsport everytime he makes a brilliant play.
- I also can’t talk about this past weekend without addressing the never-ending parity that seems to have struck every weekend thus far this season: Appalachian State’s upset will not be topped, but USC’s unexplainable loss to the Stanford Tree-Huggers came pretty face-slappingly close.
- Hey, Mike Hart: It looks like Jim “He’s Not a Michigan Man. I wish he’d never played here.” Harbaugh has done something your team has failed to do in a long time: beat USC.
You know how Mikey likes it…
- On paper, Wisconsin losing to Illinois seems like a monumental upset but in reality the Badgers were a team on borrowed time. Their defense is extremely vulnerable to the ground game and their offense consists of one strategy: feed the ball to PJ Hill.
- The two biggest coaches (literally) also garnered key wins, as Mark Mangino’s Kansas squad remained undefeated with an upset over a “hello, goodbye” Top 25 team in Kansas State and Charlie Weis’ Fightin’ Irish pulled a stunning 20-6 upset at UCLA, launching the Bruins into the running for the “Bo Pelini Sweepstakes.”
It’s not too often that both these coaches manage to snag bigger wins than their Body Mass Indexes.
- The one team that managed to emerge from this clusterfuck of a weekend unscathed was #1 LSU, and even they came damn close to being an upset victim. Luckily for the Tigers, Les Miles has giant, squirrel-sized balls. How else do you explain going 5-for-5 on 4th down conversions (including one with LSU down by only a field goal late in the game and inside Florida’s 10 yard line.)
If you thought I had a lot on my mind in this entry, just wait until tomorrow’s Big Ten Power Rankings. In the meantime, it’s back to work I go…