Florida Almost Overlooks Vandy, Wins in Snoozer 9-7
If you follow #CanesTwitter you know Saturday afternoon started to bubble with glee as the afternoon passed with Florida trailing all game to Vanderbilt 7-6. The Commodores have been a raging dumpster fire all season and the Gators simply came out flat against them. Besides pulling out the victory which clinched the SEC Eastern Division title, there wasn't much else positive to take out of this game. The Gators offense had just 258 total yards on offense and committed 4 turnovers. One of those turnovers almost cost them the game as they had a late drive in the fourth quarter into the Vanderbilt redzone thwarted. The Gators got the ball back one more time and made that drive count by hitting a 43 yard field goal with two minutes left in the game.
Clemson Pulls Away from FSU Late, Wins 23-13
As good as FSU's offense looked last week against Syracuse it looks like Coach Jimbo Fisher's squads took a step back against Clemson last weekend. Sean Maguire completed a modest 55% of his passes but threw no touchdowns and gave away one interception to the opportunistic Tigers defense. Playing in Death Valley did no favors for the still developing offensive unit and now the Noles must question who their fulltime starter at the quarterback position is again for the upcoming contest with NC State. Assuming Evertt Golson is cleared to play, Coach Fisher has yet again another decision to make.
Miami Takes Care of Business and Beats Virginia
The contest with the Cavaliers wasn't pretty at times but the Canes had enough big plays to down the Wahoo's in front of the homecoming crowd. Brad Kaaya returned to lead the offense at quarterback and had both an efficient day passing as he completed 77% of his tosses for an effective 286 yards and two touchdowns (also had an interception). The Miami ground game has been a work in progress all season but against a newly formidable Virginia run defense, Mark Walton and Joe Yearby were able to claw out 137 yards combined with a touchdown by Walton. Next the Canes face the scalding hot North Carolina Tarheels in Chapel Hill. If Miami can keep up with this no huddle offense and win they have a chance to win the Coastal division title. That's a very large "if" though.
In Monsoon Conditions USF Pulls out Late Win Over ECU
If you like a churning running game in a drenching downpour this was your game to watch. USF pounded the ball on the ground 60 times to the tune of 242 and rediscovered the success they had last month and won yet another conference game, this time over ECU. Coach Willie Taggert knew that because of the conditions he'd have to go back to smash mouth football and this time he stuck to the gameplan. Interestingly enough, both of USF's touchdowns came through the air. The second won was the game winner with 4:40 left on the clock to ice the game. USF plays at home next weekend against top 25 ranked Temple so if the Bulls can win that one... They may party in the streets of Tampa.
FIU Gets 5th Win Over Listless Charlotte Squad
Beating the teams you're supposed to is a fundamental key in building a program. Head Coach Ron Turner maybe able to, at least initially, be able to hang his hat on that principle as FIU got a badly needed victory to get to five wins. Everything went according to plan in this game: quarterback Alex McGough again through for over 250 yards and added in three touchdowns for good measure. Lastly, their running game kept the peddle to the metal and gained 155 yards as well. Now the Golden Panthers must fight their way to one more victory to get to bowl eligibility. If they can beat either Marshall (8-2) or Western Kentucky (8-2) then they'll have a shot to go bowling. It's a tough task so we'll have to sit back and see if they can do it.
FAU Takes Early Lead on WKU But Can't Hold On in 3rd Quarter
Simple fact of the matter in this contest was that FAU just couldn't keep up the offensive pace that WKU was dictating. Both Jaquez Johnson and Jason Driskell saw playing time at quarterback and both did well but it simply wasn't enough to keep up with the torrid WKU offense. The numbers were telling: WKU threw for 95 more yards than FAU and on thr ground they also outpaced the Owls by 55. With the season winding down FAU can look forward to playing out the string and hoping to build on this season next year. With an upcoming contest at Florida looming hopefully Coach Charlie Partridge can take this year as a learning one and move forward in getting better next season.
Four Turnovers Doom UCF, Lose to Tulsa and Fall to 0-10
What I really enjoy about these write-ups is that I get to find out by watching each of these teams how exactly they find ways to win or lose in a coming week. More times than not the team in the cellar of the Sunshine Seven usually finds multiple varieties of ways to lose in just one season. For UCF, they were down 24-3 at half, then made a admirable comeback to 24-20 and then wilted down the stretch. The game was settled in the fourth quarter when Tulsa returned an interception 86 yards for a touchdown that put the game out of reach at 45-23. This season can't end soon enough for the Knights.