Not many teams have what it takes to overcome an afternoon that sees the offense with five turnovers, but Texas A&M found a way. The Aggies lost four fumbles but still put up over 500 yards of offense in a 56-24 victory over Vanderbilt.
Johnny Manziel finished his day completing 25 of 35 passes for 305 yards and four touchdowns with one interception. This game marked the fifth time Manziel has passed for over 300 yards in a game this season and was his second straight game with four touchdowns thrown. Entering the day with a concern about his shoulder, Manziel quickly put those concerns to rest with a hot start in the first half.
Texas A&M has already been essentially removed form the BCS equation but they are still going to remain a bit of a factor in the SEC in the second half of the season. Few teams are able to pack the kind of offense this Texas A&M can on a weekly basis. As we have seen though, the defense is a bit of a setback for the Aggies. In this game though Texas A&M held Vanderbilt to 329 yards of offense and forced three turnovers, including a pick-six by Howard Matthews to open the second half. Vanderbilt was also held to just three third down conversions out of 14 and 95 rushing yards.
Texas A&M was good at fast starts in each half. Texas A&M took a 21-0 lead after the first quarter and outscored Vanderbilt again in the third quarter 21-0. The third quarter was huge for Texas A&M because it looked as though Vanderbilt had found some offense before halftime. The pick-six on the first play of the second half reset the momentum back in favor of the Aggies.
Texas A&M, now 6-2, has wrapped up postseason eligibility with the win and can now play the role of spoiler in the SEC. Texas A&M will not be heading to the sEC Championship but they can throw a hurdle up for any chance LSU may have and may be the last big threat remaining for Missouri on their way to Atlanta.
As someone loathe to post on the myriad uniform combinations that college football teams toss out there on an almost weekly basis, I have to admit that these are… not bad. At all.
Quite fresh looking, actually.
Ahead of their black-out game against Oklahoma Saturday, TCU unveiled a new chrome helmet that the Horned Frogs will wear against the Sooners. The helmets feature purple facemasks and a rather large purple horned frog on each side of it.
While all of that stuff, the helmets and uniforms and cleats and gloves and the like, are mainly for the benefit of recruits and current players, I and my particular demographic would have to give it a hearty thumbs up. Which I’m certain means the world to the football program.
Like they have the last couple of weeks, Western Kentucky will have to get used to Marcus Ward not patrolling its defensive secondary on game days.
Ward (pictured, left) injured his knee in Week 2 and has not returned to the playing field. Unfortunately for the player and the football program, that absence will continue as the safety underwent surgery on the knee, which is expected to sideline him for the remainder of the 2016 season.
This may not be the last of the fourth-year senior in a Hilltopper uniform, though, as Ward has yet to use his redshirt season and would have a medical waiver at his disposal even if he had. It’s unclear, however, if Ward will return for another season or rather make himself available for the 2017 NFL draft.
Ward has started a total of 31 games since his true freshman season in 2013, including 26 the previous two seasons. He was named preseason second-team All-Conference USA prior to the start of the 2016 season.
Perhaps more importantly, he was named a semifinalist earlier this month as a semifinalist for the Campbell Trophy, also known as the Academic Heisman.
All summer long, people wondered why Washington was getting so much preseason love.
After Friday night’s 44-6 thrashing of Stanford in front of a national audience, nobody is wondering anymore about the Huskies.
The sophomore backfield combo of quarterback Jake Browning (210 yards, three touchdowns) and Myles Gaskin (an even 100 yards rushing, two scores) once again powered Washington to a big win, with the offense scoring on all but two full drives on a night where everything went right for the purple and gold.
Defensively is where the Huskies really impressed though. The team swarmed to the ball on every snap, forced two fumbles, racked up eight sacks and kept Stanford under three yards a play for most of the night. The normally reliable Christian McCaffrey was kept in check in remarkable fashion, rushing for just 49 yards on 12 carries.
Just six days after a remarkable comeback win at UCLA, there wasn’t much left in the tank for a Stanford team that was missing two starting cornerbacks and just couldn’t get anything going offensively on the road in a hostile environment. Quarterback Ryan Burns did throw for 151 yards and a touchdown but was under siege most of the night thanks to some shaky play up front from the normally reliable Cardinal offensive line.
The win by Washington certainly establishes Chris Petersen’s team as the Pac-12 favorite — at the very minimum — with a chance to all but punch their ticket to the conference title game next week at Pacific Northwest rival Oregon. If the Huskies continue to look like they did on Friday in Seattle though, a berth in the College Football Playoff is certainly going to be in the cards as well.
On the first offensive play of the night for Stanford, the Cardinal picked up a first down thanks to a face mask penalty.
It was all downhill from there for the Cardinal.
No. 10 Washington lived up to their high preseason billing on Friday night by manhandling the defending Pac-12 champions in just about every way possible to jump out to a 23-0 halftime lead.
Quarterback Jake Browning threw just three incompletions on his way to 167 yards and two touchdowns and the Huskies looked every bit the part of a top five team in a wild, vintage atmosphere on Montlake. While the offense was impressive, the Washington defense was swarming as well, racking up six sacks in the game so far.
Stanford couldn’t get anything going offensively, averaging just 2.8 yards per play in the first half. Superstar Christian McCaffrey was held mostly in check, with just eight yards receiving and 31 on the ground.
To add injury to the insult of that first half, the Cardinal’s best defender — defensive lineman Solomon Thomas — was injured in the second quarter with a lower leg injury. The team is already without both its starting cornerbacks for the game so it could be a long second half for the visitors.
The game isn’t over yet and there’s plenty of #Pac12AfterDark potential but that was quite a statement made by Chris Petersen’s Huskies in the first half in establishing their credentials for the College Football Playoff.