I’m still walking around energized by Saturday night’s magical Clemson vs Louisville game.
To have a national championship-type atmosphere, with such a marvelous collection of brilliant talent on one field, this early in the season, was a gift from Fielding Yost, Knute Rockne, Amos Alonzo Stagg, Lou Holtz’ lisp, Eddie Robinson, Pop Warner, Walter Camp and the other college football gods.
And despite losing, 42-36, in a contest that became an instant classic as soon as the clock hit zero, the Cardinals’ wondrous sophomore quarterback Lamar Jackson enhanced his status as the runaway favorite for this year’s Heisman Trophy.
Accounting for 25 total touchdowns in the first four games of the year, Jackson has been scoring more than Wilt Chamberlain at the Playboy mansion. And against one of the meanest, stingiest defenses in the country, he ran for 162 yards and two touchdowns, while also throwing for 295 and another score.
The first half was bumpy for the Boynton Beach, Florida native, with the Clemson defense harassing and stalking him like Robert De Niro as Max Cady in Cape Fear. But man-oh-manischewitz, his second-half performance was something for the ages.
Trailing 28-10 at the start of the third quarter, Jackson put on a show that proved he’s head and shoulders above every other player in the country right now. With his indescribable combination of speed, quickness, elusiveness, wiggle, a rifle arm that zips the ball with touch and accuracy, he led the Cardinals to a 26-point explosion which turned that 18-point halftime deficit into a six-point lead with eight minutes left in the game.
The 11-play, 72-yard drive down the field in the closing seconds, despite coming up one yard short, was scintillating.
#Clemson LB Ben Boulware on #Louisville QB Lamar Jackson: “He’s the best player I’ve ever played against.”
Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) October 2, 2016
Clemson linebacker Ben Boulware chased him all night long, and for him to utter the above words says a lot, considering that he’s also matched up against the likes of Derrick Henry and Todd Gurley.
Clemson’s special quarterback Deshaun Watson was no slouch either, throwing for five touchdowns and 306 yards.
The Michigan vs Wisconsin game was some textbook Big Ten action, with big beefy linemen fighting valiantly for control of the line of scrimmage.
But this old-school game gave us the defensive play of the year in Wolverines cornerback Jourdan Lewis’ remarkable interception. If you haven’t seen it, check the highlight, as my man pulls out some Matrix-type acrobatics and insane body control at warp speed.
And no game was more Bi-polar than the Georgia vs Tennessee game, with both teams trading 50-yard touchdowns in the final ten seconds. The Volunteers had rallied back from a 17-point first quarter deficit, but it all looked for naught when Bulldogs QB Jacob Eason hit receiver Riley Ridley on a beautiful 51-yard touchdown.
But Tennessee has mastered the art of the comeback like Robert Downey, Jr, having previously overcome substantial deficits against Appalachian State, Virginia Tech and Florida. Just when you think they’re down and out, they come roaring back!
And you can now add Georgia to their hit list after quarterback Joshua Dobbs pulled yet another rabbit out of his helmet on the game’s final play.
Dobbs is always worth the price of admission, and he proved it again by accounting for 430 yards of total offense, throwing for three touchdowns and rushing for two more.
North Carolina and Florida State added to the excitement with the Tar Heels marching down the field with only 23 seconds to work with before kicker Nick Weiler nailed a 54-yard field goal as time expired to pull out the unexpected 37-35 victory.
And Washington has proven to be worthy of the preseason hype after shredding Pac-12 favorite Stanford. They smoked the Cardinal, 44-6, in a dominant performance.
Their defense shut down the vaunted Cardinal running game, quarterback Jake Browning was marvelous in completing 71.4% of his passes and throwing for three touchdowns, and they ran the ball with a Debo-like mentality, pounding the rock on 41 carries for 214 yards and three touchdowns.
When your defense makes Christian McCaffrey look like Christian Louboutin, you’re in store for what could be a very special season.
The days of Stanford and Oregon as the big boys out west have come to an end.
The Huskies, like Q when he knocked Bishop off the Harlem rooftop, have the juice now. Can’t wait to see the drama to come this weekend. Stay tuned!