Monday, November 9, 2009

The Monday After: 11/09

First Quarter Issues Resolved : Third Quarter Issues Revealed
November Swoon? There is just no other way to put other than the month of November has been the most detrimental month for approaching a decade now, and that's just because before then it was often a lost season in October. Really there is only one way I can reasonably address the feelings of Gamecock Nation:


Third Quarter Collapse In a nutshell there was again a single quarter where the entire game was simply lost. As a reminder, Tennessee's 21 turnover-induced points put the Gamecocks in a 21-0 hole from which they never recovered last week. In this game the first quarter went reasonably well with an early Spencer Lanning field goal and an Arkansas touchdown to make it 7-3 Hogs at the end of the first. The second went better as the teams were able to even the score at 10 going into halftime. Then came the disaster. The fourth quarter started with the Razorbacks leading 26-16, the Gamecocks ran the ball exactly once the entire quarter, and Louisville Atlanta Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino's squad emerging as the victor 33-16.

Stats that don't lie Examining the detailed box score would show you that the yardage totals indicate a close game. Arkansas won the total yardage 405-380, passing yardage 329-327, and the rushing battle 76-53. Both team rush 2.1 yards per carry, and so the disparity in rushing yardage is simply a result of different in attempts. Here is the series of drives that comprise the third quarter you need to know about to tell the story of the game:

- SC - 1 play, 80 yards, Garcia 80-yd pass to Jeffrey TD (botched PAT), 16-10
- AR - 11 plays, 73 yards, Mallet 1-yd run TD (PAT good), 17-16
- SC - 7 plays, 41 yards, Garcia INT in endzone, 17-16
- AR - 7 plays, 80 yards, Green 2-yd run TD (PAT good), 24-16
- SC - 3 plays, -10 yards, Maddox recovered fumble in endzone SAFETY, 26-16
quarter ended on ensuing Arkansas possession

You can see it all there. An 80 yard bomb from Garcia to Jeffrey set-up what was supposed to be a high-scoring quarter, and possibly more, of offense. Instead the Gamecocks followed up Arkansas' TD with an INT thrown into the end zone from the Arkansas 25 on 1st and 10. From there things just feel apart as even 24-16 was still a one score game. Then on a first down following a nice first down pass to Wesley Saunders the ball was snapped over Garcia's head, he was unable to recover it outside the end zone, but Brian Maddox was able to recover it for a safety to prevent a defensive touchdown.

Three College Football Thoughts for the Week

Did you say over? Okay, this one is a two for one deal. First, while watching some other games I heard an ESPN host break into the game to give the score of the Cincinnati-Connecticut game, which was 30-10 Bearcats at the half, but was it? The Huskies would eventually lose 47-45, but were a two-point conversion away from tying the game at 38 in the final minutes. Also, following Southern Cal's loss at Oregon last week it was pronounced that their hopes to continue their Pac-10 title streak were done, but were they? Right now the Trojans sit at two losses, behind only Oregon and Arizona (one loss each). Oregon lost just this past weekend at Stanford, and still have Oregon State (the biggest thorn in their side the past decade) left on the schedule. Arizona? Well, Southern Cal hasn't played them yet. Can you see it now? Can you see the three-way tie coming where Southern Cal wins the tie-breaker? I can : it's not over.

They aren't who we thought they were Going into the season the general assumption was the Florida was poised for another title run, and that Alabama could be as well if they could find replacements at quarterback and running back. Well, both now find themselves on the verge of another National Championship Semifinal SEC Title Game showdown. Florida's offense lost three cogs: Percy Harvin, Louis Murphy, and Dan Mullen. The first two are players and the third the offensive coordinator. Mullen is leading a dormant program seemingly in the right direction in Starkville, Harvin is providing a spark to a potential Super Bowl team in Minneapolis, and for Murphy we're just going to say no one is getting the Raiders out of the cellar anytime soon. The Gator offense looks sluggish and predictable, but is getting by on a tremendously talented defense loaded with experience. Alabama has found their running back, as Ingram should be a Heisman Trophy contender at year's end, but their quarterback leaves something to be desired (four touchdowns to three interceptions in six conference games). Yet they will play for a berth in the BCS National Championship game because they can stop you, even if you can stop them.

Since we all need a reminder I've already mentioned that the Southern Cal Trojans appear to be in position to sneak back into the Pac-10 title race we should also mention the Big 11 Ten appears to be once again in the hands of Ohio State. Thanks to Penn State blowing it at home vs the Buckeyes 24-7 and Iowa finally losing both the game and their quarterback who missed most of the loss and will likely miss the next game... at Ohio State. Since we all need a reminder, here's a Rose Bowl preview:


and here:

and now your moment of zen!

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