Frauds exposed in college football
After 34-point loss, Gophers are among them
By Mike Huguenin
The Orlando Sentinel
ORLANDO, Fla. -- If last Saturday was "Showdown Saturday," this past Saturday will go down as "Unmasked Saturday" -- as in, five frauds were exposed.
Let's look at the list:
Going in: Virginia was ranked sixth in the nation, running for 275.0 ypg and seriously thinking about winning the ACC. Coming out: The Cavs ran for 20 yards, were trounced 36-3 by Florida State and now are wondering what the weather will be like in Atlanta on New Year's Eve. Hindsight: UVa rolled up all those great stats against bad teams, and its lack of game-breakers at receiver showed up when they couldn't run the ball. Quote: "I never thought we would lose like this. We let ourselves down," Cavs CB Tony Franklin said.
Going in: Oklahoma State was 16th in the nation, thanks to a ground game that was rolling up 285.2 ypg, and some folks thought they were a legit threat to win the Big 12 South. Coming out: The Cowboys fumbled twice early, fell behind 20-0, then allowed a "Hail Mary" TD pass on thm last play of the first half in falling 36-20 to Texas A&M.; The Aggies now appear to be the intriguing "other team" in the Big 12 South. Hindsight: Okie State was another team who really hadn't played anybody, and when A&M; shut down the Cowboys' running game in the first half, their lack of a passing game cropped up. Quote: "The Hail Mary was big, real big. It took the fans and them out of the game," Aggies QB Reggie McNeal said.
• Going; in: Arizona State was ranked 15th, had 16 TD passes and only two picks, was winning by almost 21 points per game and had allowed only eight sacks. Coming out: The Sun Devils fell behind early, threw two picks and no TD passes, saw their questionable secondary get strafed and allowed eight sacks in getting mauled 45-7 by USC. Hindsight: QB Andrew Walter is mighty effective when he has time to throw. But USC had the athletes to disrupt his timing, unlike ASU's first five opponents. And the Sun Devils' weak rushing attack was overwhelmed by USC's speed. Quote: "We are shocked at what happened. We thought we were ready," Walter said.
Going in: Navy was one of the nation's best stories, continuing its resurgence that coincided with Coach Paul Johnson's hiring in 2002. Numerous folks gave them a chance to snap a 40-game losing streak to Notre Dame because of its powerful rushing attack (267.4 ypg). Coming out: Notre Dame scored TDs on its first two possessions and coasted from there, winning 27-9. Navy finished with 216 rushing yards but also allowed six sacks. Navy moved past midfield once in the first half. Hindsight: Navy had played no one, and was too small and too slow to hang with the Irish. Quote: "It's not like they're beating Southern Cal 41 times in a row. They're beating an academy," said Johnson, belittling his own program.
• Going; in: Minnesota was coming off a narrow loss to Michigan but still was ranked 19th in the nation thanks to a ground game that was rolling up 301.0 ypg. The Gophers had hopes for a New Year's Day game in the unsettled Big Ten. Coming out: Michigan State hammered the Gophers 51-19, holding them to 102 rushing yards. Michigan State led 31-10 at halftime and finished with 636 total yards. Hindsight: Minnesota, as usual, built a nice early-season record by beating up on patsies and isn't a threat to beat anybody when its running game is shut down. Quote: "They took it to us, and it kind of turned into an embarrassment," Gophers QB Bryan Cupito said.