NCAA Football With Shobe: Week 5
PUTTING THE 'F' IN DEFENSE
I'll get Purdue out of the way first this weekend. Kyle Orton kept up the pressure in his budding Heisman campaign with a very solid performance against another so-so secndary against the Illini. Still, 3 games in, no interceptions? sheesh. his accuracy is something to behold; if you saw the game you won't soon forget the lob wedge tossed perfectly into Brandon Jones' outstretched arms after Jones sprung loose from his blitz-block assignment into a backfield emptier than the Sears parking lot on Sunday morning. That said, Purdue's defense against the run was of the bend, keep bending, maybe even break variety, giving up 137 yards in the first half, which bested their total from the first two games. Credit Ron Turner and the Illini with an inspired offensive game plan and QB Jon Beutjer with the lack of creativity required to exploit a glaring weakness repeatedly when that's precisely what is called for. Apparently, up-the-gut is one way to beat Purdue's economy size D-line. Next weekend in South Bend is shaping up to be a spectacular contest. I'm lucky enough to have tickets to the game so I'll attempt to bring some photos home with me for the Week 6 column.
USC, UW: UPSETTING IN EVERY WAY
Husky fans must now look back on the Don James era as some sort of fable told mostly by grandparents to doe-eyed children at their feet. "Why, there was a time when teams would tremble -- tremble, i says -- at the thought of playing in Husky Stadium." T'was surely the case in 1991 when UW went 12-0-0 and enjoyed all the kiss-yer-sister glory of a co-national championship with Miami. Yesterday, Notre Dame shoved the hapless Huskies around in South Bend on their continuing trek back to national prominence. ND has Washington's number, having beaten them all 4 times they've played. I had the misfortune of witnessing ND apply the 5-point palm exploding heart technique to UW when I was in grad school there. An afternoon spent in a cold, soaking rain capped off by a ND interception run back for a touchdown just as the Huskies were driving for a game-winning score late in the 4th quarter. Classic shillelagh-to-the-forehead outcome for the opposing team.
Enough prattle about my personal misfortune in selecting rooting interests. USC gets a test from Stanford? It wasn't quite a tackle-the-band finish, but for the Trojans to surmount an 11-point halftime deficit and win by 3 takes just the sort of guile and determination reserved for a national power. USC tailback Reggie Bush is getting all sorts of snaps this morning from the usual wags as a Heisman contender, if only for his PlayStation double-spin move on a punt return in the 4th quarter that set up the eventual game-winner.
UNACCEPTABLE BROADCAST MOMENT OF THE WEEK
Pretty much the entirety of Wayne Larrivee's play-by-play call of Purdue/Illinois. Wayne kept referring to Purdue's Taylor Stubblefield as last year's standout receiver "(John) Standeford" and defensive coordinator Brock Spack as "Spock." Ok, so Spack is eerily prescient when it comes to calling pass defenses, but I haven't yet caught him mind-melding with the secondary during timeouts. What's the deal? No one could be bothered to pop for a 2004 Media Guide?
Labels: NCAA Sports