Week Fifteen: Monday
WEEKEND IN REVIEW
Game of the Week
Akron 31, Northern Illinois 30
Akron won their first ever MAC title and advanced to their first ever bowl game in thrilling fashion. Trailing 24-10 entering the fourth quarter, the Zips zipped back into the game. Down 30-24 with time winding down, Luke Getsy was intercepted by Phil Brown in Northern Illinois territory. Needing just one first down, the Huskies turned to Garrett Wolfe (who gained 270 rushing yards on the day), who could not get the first down. Akron started from their own 19 with 1:41 left in the game before an 81 yard drive won the game for them in dramatic fashion.
Upset of the Week
Louisiana Tech 40, Fresno State 28
Two weeks ago, Fresno State was the toast of the college football world. They had lost by just eight to USC at USC and had put up one heck of a fight. They needed to only win their final two games to clinch the WAC title and they accepted a Liberty Bowl bid. Today, they have lost two in a row, didn't even win a share of the WAC title, and everyone is wondering what went wrong. Their shockingly lazy 40-28 loss to Louisiana Tech on Friday night in their final game shows yet again why these Bulldogs will drive you nuts. Each year they throw a scare into or beat a BCS team and everyone starts talking about how good they are. Yet, in the end, they can't come up with a WAC title, and they lose games they have no business losing. Don't worry Bulldogs. You've still got the Liberty Bowl.
Team of the Week
Any time a team finds their way to a bowl game for the first time and to a conference title for the first time, they deserve mention as the Team of the Week. (Plus, who wants to decide between the Texas and USC blowouts?) The Zips played remarkably well this season and proved that they deserved their bowl bid. Their win over Northern Illinois was sensational. As MAC champs (and finally gettting that elusive bowl bid), the Zip fans finally can gloat a little bit.
Player of the Week
Reggie Bush, USC
Vince Young was amazing. So was Reggie Bush. Maybe they should be co-players of the week. Regardless, Bush had 24 carries, 260 yards and two touchdowns. Amazingly, 228 of those yards came in the first half against UCLA. Now the Bruins run defense was anything but stellar, but Bush still took control of the game early. If the Bruins has scored like Fresno State did, Bush would have accounted for another 500 yards.
Stat of the Week
490 rushing yards.
It's always amazing to see Navy at work when their offense is clicking. The problem for Army is that it always seems to be clicking. The amazing 490 rushing yards for the Midshipmen against their archrivals was the most dominating performance by anyone on Saturday. (Yes, I'm even including USC and Texas in their romps.) The physical toughness required to run the ball that effectively could only be displayed by a military academy. The fact that they show that dominance against another military academy is proof of just how physically superior Navy is right now (on the football field) to Army. One more point about the game- in the pregame teaser, why didn't John McCain put on a cap backwards? That would have made my Saturday.
Play of the Week
Willie Reid's 83 yard punt return.
In the ACC Championship Game, there was no offense in sight. The score was tied at three just after halftime. The Hokies were forced to punt to start off the third quarter, and Willie Reid fielded the punt at his own 17 yard line. He was near the sideline, he made a couple of people miss, and then got into a foot race where he outran punter Nic Schmitt. After the 83 yard run, the Seminoles had the lead, and the momentum was on their side. Virginia Tech spent much of the remainder of the game trying to regain some momentum, and by the time they started to, they trailed 27-3 on their way to a 27-22 stunner.
Turnover of the Week
Tim Jennings fifteen yard interception return.
LSU was down 27-7 early in the fourth quarter with JaMarcus Russell (their starting quarterback) out of the game. Matt Flynn was in the game, hoping to pull off a miraculous comeback. However, his second pass was intercepted by Tim Jennings and returned fifteen yards for a Georgia touchdown, putting the Dawgs up 34-7, well on their way to a 34-14 win and the SEC Championship. That was ten points in the span of 22 seconds for the Dawgs, and when a team does that, they normally win the football game.
Key First Half Moment of the Week
Hugh Charles fumble.
Admit it. There was a split second early in the Texas-Colorado game where you thought the Buffaloes really had a shot at the Longhorns. The Buffaloes opened the game with a very nice drive. They were moving the ball, and they looked like the looser team. On second and three from the Texas 36, Joel Klatt hit Hugh Charles with a pass for a one yard gain, but Charles fumbled the football, and it was recovered by Brian Robison. Texas promptly scored. For a few drives after that, Colorado continued to move the football. (Remember they outgained Texas in the first quarter, and then gained less than 75 yards total during the final three quarters.) The game was really over when on those early drives, Colorado could mount no touchdowns and put the pressure on the Longhorns. That first fumble was truly a killer.
Moment of the Week
Domenik Hixon's touchdown catch.
Domenik Hixon had sat out most of the second half with cramps. He was struggling to run and could not be relied on as the big play receiver that he was supposed to be. Still, he managed to be on the field with around 20 seconds left and the Zips trailing 30-24. He managed to get open in the end zone, and Luke Getsy managed to throw a strike. Hixon managed to get his hands underneath the ball and make the catch as he fell down. The 36 yard touchdown pass with ten seconds left in the game gave Akron the 31-30 lead. If this had been Dwayne Jarrett of USC or Jeff Samardzija of Notre Dame, this would be considered right up there with Michael Jordan making the game winning shot against the Jazz in the NBA Finals when he had the flu. It was truly a magical moment, and clinched a bowl bid for Akron.