NCAA Football Report (Week 2)

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The NCAA is another week in and there were more surprises as there always are in the NCAA from week to week. More teams would make their mark on the season while players would show what they were made of. Some players would move up the Heisman rankings while others would fall out of sight. With all of the action this week one game stood out as something special though as the Notre Dame and Michigan Game highlighted the day. It wasn’t necessarily that either team was considered a National Championship contender this year or that either were even top 10 in the rankings. It was all about this rivalry that developed since they first played in 1887. It is a strange rivalry as the Fighting Irish are not in the same conference as the Wolverines, in fact the Irish don’t have a conference. This rivalry was formed thanks to the history of both teams and their role in College football. The Wolverines have been playing football since 1879 and are one of the oldest teams in College Football. They have won 11 National Championships, 42 Conference championships, and have produced three Heisman Trophy winners. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have been playing since 1887 and are also considered one of the most important teams in College Football. They have also won 11 National Titles and have produced 7 Heisman Trophy winners. The two teams are two of the most legendary teams in College Football and so they continue to play each other and continue to fight for a bit of that legend. In the last few years this rivalry has not been one of the highlights of the season though as other teams have taken over the dominance of the league and have created massive great rivalries. In the minds of the Michigan and Notre Dame fans though, this game is a very important won for pride if not rankings. It still remains bitter in the area and for the schools is a game to highlight on the schedule. That was until Brian Kelly took over the Irish and Notre Dame decided to join the ACC. Last year the Notre Dame athletic department would decide to join the ACC and although the football team will not officially be a part of the conference they will play five games against the ACC. When this was announced the immediate though for the Irish was which rivalries they would keep. With five games locked against the ACC the independent team would have to make some tough decisions. The Irish have been independent forever and have always had their choice of games meaning that they have been able to form rivalries with many conferences. Games against Purdue, Michigan, Michigan State, Boston College, USC, Navy, and Stanford have developed into great games for the team. Something had to give though as many of these rivalries would have to be given up to make room for the ACC games they must schedule. One of these rivalries was the Michigan Wolverines as the 2014 game will be the last between these two teams. This week would mark the last game between these two teams in Ann Arbor while next season will mark the last of the games after playing in South Bend. It is the end of an era and marks the era where realignment has taken hold and has left the fans suffering. It may not have been the biggest rivalry in College Football but the Irish against the Wolverines will be missed after 2014 and with the game in week 2 how can anybody claim that it was not one of the better rivalries in the league.

 

Heisman Watch:

1. Tajh Boyd, QB (Clemson)
Tajh Boyd is leading his Tigers to the top of the rankings as they continue to move up the rankings sitting at number 3 this year. With some players disappearing in the last two weeks Boyd has become a favorite for the Heisman and is proving that the hype is real. This week Boyd would not be the force on the ground he is used to being but would make up for it through the air. 397 yards through the air would let Boyd into the top of the Heisman conversation but there is plenty left to do. He is not safe without throwing a TD instead getting 1 rushing TD as he needs to step it up to avoid those players coming from the bottom. Next week Boyd and the Tigers take on NC State in a game that Boyd has to dominate if he wants to stay at the top.
Stats (2 Games):
60.4% (19 rsh)
439 yds (52 yds)
3 TD (3 rsh TD)
0 INT

2. Marcus Mariota, QB (Oregon)
The Ducks are quietly making their way up the rankings in the NCAA and are continuing to dominate teams. A lot of this has to do with their QB Marcus Mariota who entered the Heisman conversation last week with a great performance. This week Mariota would lead the Ducks easily past the Virginia Cavaliers to retain the #2 spot in the rankings. Throwing for 199 yards with 2 TDs and adding 122 yards and 1 TD on the ground Mariota was in full control. Mariota is on his way to being seriously considered a favorite but needs to keep everything up if he hopes to take that big step to favorites. Next week should be another easy one for the Ducks as Mariota will need to be dominant against Tennessee to stay at the top.
Stats (2 Games):
53.1% (9 rsh)
433 yds (235 rsh yds)
3 TD (3 rsh TD)
0 INT

3. Johnny Manziel, QB (Texas A&M)
Playing in his first full game the defending Heisman Trophy winner would begin his climb back into the top spot. After only one half of work last week Manziel would get a full game to showcase why he won the Heisman last year. He would not need a full game though as Manziel would leave the game in the third quarter giving himself a rest and his backups some time. It was a blowout and in over two quarters of work Manziel would throw for 403 yards 3 TDs while running for 36 yards and adding 1 rushing TD. It was business as usual for Manziel and the Aggies and if this performance continues another Heisman may not be far off. Next week is the true test though as Manziel leads the Aggies against the #1 team in the nation where he made his mark last year and looks to do the same this time around.
Stats (2 Games):
69.4% (13 rsh)
497 yds (55 rsh yds)
6 TD (1 rsh TD)
1 INT

4. Teddy Bridgewater, QB (Louisville)
Stats (2 Games):
76.7%
752 yds
9 TD
1 INT

5. Jameis Winston, QB (Florida State)
Stats (1 Game):
92.6%
356 yds
4 TD
0 INT

 

AP Top 25:
1. Alabama Crimson Tide (1)
2. Oregon Ducks (2)
3. Clemson Tigers (4)
4. Ohio State Buckeyes (3)
5. Stanford Cardinal (5)
6. Texas A&M Aggies (7)
7. Louisville Cardinals (8)
8. LSU Tigers (9)
9. Georgia Bulldogs (11)
10. Florida State Seminoles (10)
11. Michigan Wolverines (17)
12. Oklahoma State Cowboys (10)
13. South Carolina Gamecocks (6)
14. Oklahoma Sooners (16)
15. Miami Hurricanes (–)
16. UCLA Bruins (18)
17. Northwestern Wildcats (19)
18. Florida Gators (12)
19. Washington Huskies (20)
20. Wisconsin Badgers (21)
21. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (14)
22. Baylor Bears (23)
23. Nebraska Cornhuskers (22)
24. TCU Horned Frogs (24)
25. Ole Miss Rebels (–)

 

Key Scores:
#11 Georgia Bulldogs 41 – 30 South Carolina Gamecocks #6
– The Bulldogs would fall to the Clemson Tigers in their first game of the season and would fall out of the top 10 immediately but would begin working their way back against the Gamecocks who would be shocked by the Bulldogs with the important SEC loss

#2 Oregon Ducks 59 – 10 Virginia Cavaliers
– The Ducks are on fire and that is why they have snuck and stayed in the #2 spot this year with little fan fare as they have fallen under the radar by beating teams with big scores while still using their up tempo offence that the Cavaliers would fall to this week

Miami Hurricanes 21 – 16 Florida Gators #12
– The Hurricanes are full of problems both on and off the field this year but it all seemed to fade away when they took on their in-state rivals the Florida Gators and would take the win and move into the Top 25 for the first time this year

#17 Michigan Wolverines 41 – 30 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
– The game of the day between two legendary teams would come down to the wire as the Irish would never lead but would come very close with the help of some big mistakes by the Wolverines but it was the mistakes of Tommy Rees that would be the difference for the Irish

 

Next Week:
#16 UCLA Bruins vs. #23 Nebraska Cornhuskers (Saturday September 14th; 12:00 pm ET)
– The Bruins are enjoying a resurgence as they are in the top 20 of the NCAA and will look to continue that rise when they take on the Cornhuskers who have not been the toughest team to play this year

#7 Louisville Cardinals vs. Kentucky Wildcats (Saturday September 14th; 12:00 pm ET)
– It is not one of the biggest rivalries in the league but the battle of Kentucky gets underway with Teddy Bridgewater looking to continue his Heisman campaign by dominating the Wildcats and showing that he deserves some attention

#1 Alabama Crimson Tide vs. #6 Texas A&M Aggies (Saturday September 14th; 3:30 pm ET)
– The Tide would only lose one game last year and it would be against the Aggies while the Aggies would take the game last year and begin a Heisman run for Johnny Manziel as they get back to it with Manziel looking to show he has the Tide’s number and the Tide looking for revenge

Vanderbilt Commodores vs. #13 South Carolina Gamecocks (Saturday September 14th; 7:00 pm ET)
– The Gamecocks are not having a season that most people expect from them with Jadeveon Clowney not dominating like many thought he would be but they will be trying to get back to it when they take on the Commodores in a SEC matchup that the Gamecocks now need

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