Welcome to Week Six Midweek Musings! I missed a chunk of the afternoon games this past week, something I hate to do, but it’s not everyday one’s niece turns two. Here are my thoughts on what I was able to see:
There’s a reason they say you can throw out the records when it comes to rivalry games, and Texas-Oklahoma is as good an example as any of why. Several times in the last decade or so, Texas has limped into this game and either won it or made it a lot closer than it should have been. This year, the Longhorns spent three quarters shutting Oklahoma down in a way nobody else had done this year. In fact, the Sooners hadn’t trailed since the first quarter of week one against UCLA. After forty-five minutes, the ‘Horns had hung 45 on them and allowed just 24. Then they appeared to turn benevolent, allowing three Sooner TDs and a tie score with 2:38 to play. Cameron Dicker (“Dicker the Kicker”) got to play the hero with a forty-yard field goal.
The Longhorns have vacillated between five and seven wins for the last several years. Could this be the year they hit the eight-win mark for the first time since 2013? West Virginia is the only team remaining on their schedule that’s currently in the top 25; that will be a tough test for them. Oklahoma State and Texas Tech, both road games, aren’t gimmes either. But I think it’s finally time to say that Texas is back.
It was another slow start necessitating a (small) comeback for the Wolverines. Ultimately, it was a much tidier game than last week’s effort at Northwestern. This week Michigan was the disciplined team, while Maryland shot themselves in the foot with 12 penalties for 107 yards. Other than DB Antoine Brooks, whose name was called on seemingly every play, Maryland struggled to slow Michigan’s attack. Causing particular problems was senior tight end Zach Gentry, who’s been more involved in the offense with each passing week. At 6’8″ and 262 pounds, Gentry is a match-up nightmare for pretty much any defense. This week, he led the team in receiving with seven catches for 112 yards. Quarterback Shea Patterson had another good game, as did running back Karan Higdon. When Chris Evans is healthy, the Michigan running game is going to be even harder to stop.
But is Michigan for real? I think so, but we’ll have a much better idea four weeks from now, after they’ve faced Wisconsin, Sparty (on the road) and Penn State, with a bye week thrown in.
For more on Michigan, check THIS out!
#6 Notre Dame
Going with Ian Book over Brandon Wimbush, who hadn’t really played badly, was a gamble. It’s looking like Brian Kelly should go out and buy a lottery ticket. In three starts, Book has thrown for 874 yards and eight touchdowns, with one interception.
This was a head-scratcher. The loss to LSU was surprising, but not shocking; LSU is also a very good team and was only ranked a few slots lower than Auburn when the two met in week three. Mississippi State, on the other hand, isn’t ranked and has lost two of the games they’ve played against Power Five teams. Also baffling: the Bulldogs’ Nick Fitzgerald completed barely half of his 17 pass attempts, for just 69 yards and an interception. Those are not numbers that will lead to an upset very often. Fitzgerald did run for 195 yards and two scores. Auburn, on the other hand, was the precise opposite: they couldn’t get their run game going (90 yards, total) but quarterback Jarrett Stidham threw for 214 yards, with no picks. You can read more about this game, from our own Phillip Jordan, here.
I no longer feel like I have any idea what to expect from the Tigers. Games against Tennessee and Ole Miss should let them get back on track before facing Texas A&M, but who knows?
Those are my week six Midweek Musings! Thanks for reading, and enjoy next weekend’s games!
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