Sunday, September 13, 2009

True (young) grit

Who says Southern Californian’s are soft? A couple of true freshmen from here in So Cal made names for themselves in gritty comeback fashion yesterday.

Tate Forcier (Scripps Ranch High, San Diego) and the Michigan Wolverines overcame 336 yards passing by Notre Dame’s Jimmy Clausen to defeat the Irish 38-34 at the Big House and USC’s Matt Barkley (Mater Dei High, Santa Ana, pictured) led a late 4th quarter game-winning drive for a 18-15 victory over the Ohio State Buckeyes in Columbus.

We must say, it was a particularly satisfying win for USC as we were all but ready to concede half-way through the 4th quarter before the Barkley-directed 14-play, 86 yard drive that consumed over six minutes and which left the Buckeyes 1:06 on the clock, zero time outs and ultimately no hope.

A loss early in the season, on the road against a very good team and with your true-freshman QB would not have been a season-breaker. There’d still be a chance to get back into BCS contention but no need for such talk right now and…. no excuses from here on out, right? Grinding one out with a young team in an extremely hostile environment will leave any losses to the Stanfords or Oregon States on the schedule even more inexcusable than they have in the past.

The Tyrelle Pryor question: as in, where was he? Was the defensive scheme and execution that good against the OSU quarterback or was there some timidity on the part of this magnificently gifted run-throw quarterback? We suspect more of the latter than the former. There were flashes like his 56 yard strike to Dane Sanzenbacher in the 1st quarter and his 18 yard gallop on 3rd down mid-way through the fourth quarter that nearly iced the game for the Buckeyes but by and large it was a very pedestrian performance for a player who has been touted as the second coming of Vince Young.

We almost feel bad for Buckeye fans. If they were going to notch the program’s signature victory, this set up perfectly. In the end, though, another big game, another loss. The Buckeyes have now lost six straight against top-five teams including two routs in national championship games (in last 3 years) and have now dropped 7 straight against USC (including last years 35-3 drubbing) going back to 1974.

Other notables:
Speaking of SoCal and gutty… UCLA goes to Rocky Top and ambushes the Vols, 19-15.

Oklahoma St. (#5) coming off a program-defining victory last week against Georgia, most-likely defined their program by letting down against Houston, 45-35.

Conversely, BYU's (#9) own program-defining victory over Oklahoma was followed up by taking care of business against Tulane, 54-3.

TCU (#16) continues to make the case for the Mountain West Conference by smacking a Virgina team, 30-14 who represent a conference in the ACC that continues to stink up the joint in its non-conference games.

Did someone say we've got more football today? O joy.


B-Daddy said...

... and Navy bounced back from a heartbreaking loss to Ohio State by drubbing Louisiana Tech 32-14 in Annapolis after falling behind by two touchdowns. Grit by not letting the tough loss get them down and by not panicking when behind by two TDs. They just went out and played their game and got it done.

eriehm said...

And how could leave out the U of Toledo Rocket thumping of Colorado. Dad