BY MICHAEL LEESE
WINDS OF CHAMGE………..Both Lane Kiffin (USC) and Paul Pasqualoni (UCONN) were dismissed from their respective universities over the weekend. It had been speculated that Kiffin was on a short leash. His fate was sealed when Trojan athletic director Pat Haden was seen “shaking his head” on the sidelines in the second half of the debacle at Arizona State Saturday night. He was later informed on the flight home that a change was being made. Ed Orgeron, will take over as the interim head coach. He previously served as the headcoach at Mississippi. With a 3-2 recored, the Trojans can still turn their season around and could possibly still win the Pac-12 South Division. This week they have a bye, giving them an extra week to regroup. The move to fire Pasqualoni comes as a bit if a surprise to me at this stage of the season, particularly after the Huskies nearly beat Michigan the week before. The Huskies weren’t going anywhere so it’s not like a change in week five will help turn the season around. The Huskies embarrassing loss this past weekend 41-12 at Buffalo sealed Pasqualoni’s fate. Pasqualoni leaves with a 10-18 mark in his career in Storrs.
RANTS AND RAVES
PAC 12 BLOWOUTS……The Pac-12 had five blowouts in conference play last weekend. Arizona State blasted USC 62-41, scoring 42 points in the second half! Oregon defeated California 55-16 in monsoon conditions, with an opportunistic Duck defense holding the “Air Bear” offense to 325 total yards. Washington handed Arizona its first loss of the season with a dominating 31-13 win. The Huskies, now 4-0, got 161 yards rushing from tailback Bishop Sankey. Stanford scored two defensive touchdowns en-route to a 55-17 win over Washington State in Seattle. Finally, quarterback Sean Mannion tossed six touchdown passes and threw for 414 yards in leading Oregon State over Colorado 44-17. The PAC-12 now has five teams ranked in the Top-25!
BIG 12 NOTES…….Oklahoma was very sharp, totally dominating Notre Dame and exacting revenge after last seasons loss to the Irish. Blake Bell was outstanding and the Sooner defense even better! The Sooner “D” picked off Tommy Rees three times in the first half. The win puts the rest of the Big 12 on notice that the Sooners are for real! The shocker of the week happened in Morgantown. West Virginia, a huge underdog, shocked Oklahoma State. Clint Trickett the third starting quarterback this season for the Mountaineers looked good throwing for 309 yards before leaving with a shoulder injury! The Cowboys tailback Jeremy Smith had 15 carries for 1 yard!
SEC — ALABAMA MAKES STATEMENT……Prior to Saturdays big game, Mississippi quarterback Bo Wallace was quoted as saying “We can score on anybody”. Really? The Bama defense, led by linebacker C.J. Mosley, proved Bo wrong! The Tide played their best and most complete game of the season in beating Mississippi 25-0. The Crimson Tide defense held the Rebels to only 205 total yards in the game. The game of the week was in Athens, where Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger lived up to their hype as the two combined to throw for 670 yards and seven touchdowns! It was Murray who came out on top as he connected with Justin Scott-Wesley on a 25 yard touchdown with 1:47 left in the game. The score put Georgia up 44-41 and the Bulldogs held on to get the victory.
ACC – BOYD MAKES CASE FOR HEISMANN…….Tajh Boyd threw for 311 yards and three touchdowns in leading No.3 Clemson over Wake Forest 56-7. Boyd hit D.J. Howard with a 75-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter, the 100th touchdown that Boyd has accounted for, the second highest mark in ACC history. The Pitt Panthers have jumped out to a 3-1 record, 2-1 in the ACC. Consecutive wins over Duke and Virginia have the Panthers fans thinking they could be a factor in the ACC. On the other hand what has happened to North Carolina? The Tar Heels have now lost two in a row and surrendered 83 points in those losses. The latest setback was a 55-31 setback to East Carolina at home! The Heels gave up 55 points and 603 total yards!
BIG 10 OHIO STATE FLEXES MUSCLES…….The Buckeyes used a 31-24 win over Wisconsin to go to 5-0. Braxton Miller returned to action from a knee injury and had an outstanding game tossing four touchdown passes. The loss by the Badgers was the tenth time since 2011 they have lost by seven points or less! Big props go out to Iowa for their impressive win on the road over Minnesota. Iowa ‘s defense smothered the Golden Gophers defense, forcing two turnovers, and holding the Minnesota to 165 total yards. Mark Weisman rushed for 147 yards and quarterback Jake Rudock rushed for one touchdown and threw for another in the win. Iowa now at 4-1 needs only two more wins to get bowl eligible.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK……. In losing a tightly contested, 48-34 shootout to Florida State, Boston College exceeded everyone’s expectations. Everyone’s but their own. Said coach Steve Addazio, according to ESPN Boston’s Jack McCluskey: “Don’t let people tell you, ‘Oh boy, you played Florida State nose up.’ Who cares? We didn’t come out there to play them nose up. I heard that crap early in the media. People asking me about, ‘What are you gonna do to keep it close?’ I had all I could do not to explode. What do you think, you coach or play to keep it close? What are you talking about here? You play to win. We played that game physically enough to win it. We let up too many big plays, and that cost us a football game. And it didn’t have to happen. I don’t care who the heck we played.”