In early September, Missouri’s Sheldon Richardson described Georgia’s style of play as akin to “watching Big Ten football. It’s old man football.”
Fast-forward nearly three months, and with Richardson sitting at home watching SEC football, Georgia and Alabama are in the midst of a game of grown-man football, the winner of which will earn the right to keep the conference’s BcS title-winning streak alive..
Despite two turnovers and butchered clock management at the end of the half — memo to Nick Saban: unlike cell minutes, timeouts don’t rollover — the defending national champion Tide was able to head to the locker room with a 10-7 lead on the Bulldogs. That development bodes well for the Tide as they are 60-3 when leading at halftime under Saban.
After a scoreless first quarter, and following a successful fake punt, Aaron Murray‘s 19-yard touchdown pass pushed the Bulldogs to a 7-0 lead. That’s somewhat familiar territory for the Bulldogs as, in last year’s SEC title game, UGA held a 10-0 lead on LSU in the second quarter; 42 unanswered points later, the Tigers were headed to the BcS title game.
Despite the hard-hitting, defensive nature of the game, the Tide has still rolled up 246 yards of total offense — to 157 for the Bulldogs — on an UGA defense that against LSU last year allowed 237 for the entire game.
One final note, in memo form for the SEC officiating crew watching this game: if you’re going to throw a flag on UGA for a helmet-to-helmet hit on AJ McCarron, respond in kind when Aaron Murray takes a similar, if not exponentially more “illegal,” shot from the Tide.
Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.
Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.
And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.
“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”
Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.
You know how I know we’re gradually creeping up on the end of another regular season? Watch lists are being whittled.
The first major honor to do so is the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which is given out annually to the best quarterback who is a college senior or fourth-year junior. The preseason watch list was 30 quarterbacks strong; the newest list has been cut in half to 15.
The most recent list includes one of the top Heisman contenders (TCU’s Trevone Boykin) and the top two nationally in passing yards (Bowling Green’s Matt Johnson, Western Kentucky’s Brandon Doughty), as well as a quarterback who’s closing in on the all-time FBS record for rushing touchdowns (Navy’s Keenan Reynolds).
The Pac-12 leads all conferences with three watch listers, followed by two each from the AAC, ACC and Big Ten. The SEC has as many players (one, Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott) as the FCS (North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz).
Last year’s winner was Marcus Mariota of Oregon.
Trevone Boykin, TCU
Jacoby Brissett, NC State
Connor Cook, Michigan State
Brandon Doughty, WKU
Everett Golson, Florida State
Kevin Hogan, Stanford
Matt Johnson, Bowling Green
Cody Kessler, USC
Paxton Lynch, Memphis
Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
Keenan Reynolds, Navy
Nate Sudfeld, Indiana
Carson Wentz, N. Dakota State
Marquise Williams, North Carolina
Travis Wilson, Utah