Week Four: Monday
GAME OF THE WEEK
Michigan State 44, Notre Dame 41, OT
George Teague scampered into the endzone from 19 yards away in overtime to give the Spartans a 44-41 win over Notre Dame in South Bend. This marked the fifth consecutive time Michigan State has walked into Notre Dame and won. The Spartans went up 38-17 with 5:07 left in the third quarter when Matt Trannon caught a 65 yard pass from Drew Stanton. From there, the Irish battled back. Darius Walker, Maurice Stovall, and Jeff Samardzija all scored on touchdown passes from Brady Quinn. The last one came with 2:31 left in the game. Both the Spartans and the Irish got a shot to win it after that, but failed to be able to move the ball. D.J. Fitzpatrick kicked a field goal in overtime for the Irish, but Teague ran the ball in for the winning score. This game was truly a great game and the Irish showed that they have a great offense but need some help on the defensive side of the ball. The Irish are a good team, but not a great team yet. Michigan State has announced that they want to be a player in this year's Big Ten race. This was the Spartans ninth win in their last ten games against Top Ten teams.
UPSET OF THE WEEK
UC-Davis 20, Stanford 17
You may have missed this one late Saturday night. But it was absolutely shocking. Stanford was ahead 17-0 with 6:21 left to play in the second quarter. Then the Cardinal did not score again for the remainder of the game. The Aggies played ball control offense and hard nosed defense to upset Stanford. The Aggies are transitioning from Division II to Division 1-AA this year, and they lost their first two games to New Hampshire and Portland State. With eight seconds left, Jon Grant hit Ryan Blaise Smith from three yards away for the game winning touchdown. The Aggies outgained Stanford 361-180 and held the ball for over 35 minutes.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
A.J. Nicholson, Florida State
Nicholson intercepted two passes for the Seminoles on Boston College's first two drives of the night. One he returned 19 yards for a touchdown. He also made seventeen tackles. The linebacker was all over the field constantly wreaking havoc with the Eagles offense. Yes, the Seminoles offense started to look better in the fourth quarter, but the truth is that Florida State probably does not win this game without the outstanding play of Nicholson. In a big game with the biggest spotlight, he played one of the best games of his career.
TEAM OF THE WEEK
It is not a sexy pick to say that the top team in the country is the Team of the Week. However, with the Trojans absolutely dominating Arkansas, 70-17, it is easier to say that. No team looked more prepared or more ready to play than the Trojans this weekend, especially on the offensive end. The defense does still have some question marks, but when the offense is clicking, it basically renders those defensive questions meaningless. Who is going to beat the Trojans is they are putting up 50...60...70 points in a game? The answer is...nobody. Someone is going to have to come up with a way to slow down that offense to have a prayer against them.
STAT OF THE WEEK
Those numbers are the rushing yards for Maurice Drew of UCLA and Adrian Peterson of Oklahoma. It was a highly anticipated match-up between two quality running backs, and in the end neither did a whole lot. Drew outgained Peterson though. Before the game, people said the only way the Sooners had a chance was if Peterson had a huge game. As evidenced by the 58 rushing yards, he did not. With Drew having more rushing yards than him, any chance for Oklahoma to win went out the window. The Sooners got beat, 41-24.
PLAY OF THE WEEK
Andre Caldwell's reverse
The Florida Gators beat Tennessee 16-7 last Saturday, only scoring one touchdown. However, the touchdown was a beautiful play. Andre Caldwell, a wide receiver, got the ball on a reverse and the whole Tennessee defense was running in the other direction. Caldwell scampered in from 18 yards away with 4:14 to play in the first quarter to put the Gators up 7-0. For the rest of the game, the Vols defense did a better job of playing assignment football, and this opened up other opportunities for the Gators offense. This reverse helped open up the field for the Gators which eventually helped them win the game, 16-7.
TURNOVER OF THE WEEK
Kenny Phillips overtime interception
Miami safety, Kenny Phillips, intercepted Clemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst in the third overtime to end the Tigers threat to win the football game. After the Tigers had rallied from 20-10 down with less than five minutes to play in regulation, the Hurricanes had taken the 36-30 lead in the third overtime. When Phillips intercepted the Whitehurst pass, the game was over and the Hurricanes had won. After Clemson had upset Miami in overtime in Miami last year, this victory was especially sweet for the 'Canes.
KEY FIRST HALF MOMENT OF THE WEEK
James Wilhoit's blocked field goal
With just over three and a half minutes left in the first half and the Vols and the Gators tied at 7, Tennessee lined up for a 37 yard field goal try. James Wilhoit had his kick blocked. The Gators had given the ball to Tennessee at their own 44 yard line, and for the Vols to come away with no points was huge. The play before the blocked kick had been ruled a catch at the one yard line before being rightly overturned on replay. The blocked kick completely changed the momentum of the game. If the Vols had had that field goal, the score would have been 16-10 in the fourth quarter and they would not have had to abandon the run in the fourth quarter. In the end, this kick killed the Vols chances of winning in The Swamp and gave Urban Meyer and the Gators their first win in the SEC.
MOMENT OF THE WEEK
Jason Snelling's four yard run
Jason Snelling, Virginia's fullback, was called upon to run the ball on a fourth down and one from the Syracuse 9 yard line with just over one minute remaining. The score was 24-24, and the call was a gutsy one for Al Groh. However, Snelling pounded his way into the line, gained four yards and got the first down. It was one of the gutsier calls of the weekend, and a very memorable moment in what was a surprisingly thrilling game.