FIRST DOWN: TEAM OF THE WEEK
Alabama Crimson Tide: The Tide displayed a few very crucial and decisive traits on Saturday. They showed they can win on the road, from behind and could do so against a premier talent in Ryan Mallett and force their style of game to be played. After being picked apart by Arkansas’ NCAA leading passer for 3 quarters, the Bama defense tightened its belt and allowed only 44 fourth quarter yards and forced 2 interceptions in the last 12 minutes. After a shaky start, Bama QB Greg McElroy steadied and hit on six of nine passes in the final quarter and set up the stage for a field goal, followed by a knockout punch touchdown from Mark Ingram with three minutes left to pull off an impressive comeback win, which showed that playing the defending champs truly is a 60 minute challenge.
SECOND DOWN: PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Mark Ingram-Alabama: Watching Ingram is becoming truly like watching a man playing with boys every week. Even though he sat for two weeks with a knee injury, he’s come back looking even more beastly than he did when he took the Heisman home last year. He, quite often literally, ran over Arkansas and was able to do what he wanted to, whenever he wanted to seemingly. It’s not often that 157 yards and 2 touchdowns don’t say enough about how good somebody played, but after watching Ingram yesterday, it’s very clear that’s what’s happening here. He looked like a man playing a day too early.
THIRD DOWN: HEISMAN CHASE
1. Terrelle Pryor-QB-Ohio State: 224 pass yards, 4 TD; 104 rush yards, 1 TD; 1 receiving TD in 73-20 win vs. Eastern Michigan
Huge games from the #2 Buckeyes ringleader are becoming the norm. He launched four scores through the air and once on the ground with a 50 yard, field crossing scramble.he even caught a 20 yard TD too show can finish on the other end of what he makes look routine to Buckeye receivers. He’s making it hard for anybody to gain ground on him by making these performances his norm. Season: 939 pass yards, 10 TD/2 Int, 66% comps; 269 rush yards, 2 TD
2. Denard Robinson-QB-Michigan: 60 pass yards; 129 rush yards, 2 TD in 65-21 win vs. Bowling Green
Robinson wasted no time making his impact, getting in the zone twice within the first nine minutes. However, that’s as long as his day would last, as he hurt his knee on his final run of the day in the first quarter and sat out the rest of the day. The Wolverines wouldn’t need him as they cruised to the win and he’ll be ready to go for their next game at Indiana next weekend. Season: 731 pass yards, 4 TD/1 Int, 71% comps; 688 rush yards, 6 TD
3. Mark Ingram-RB-Alabama: 157 rush yards, 2 TD in 24-20 win at Arkansas
Ingram ran like a man possessed and was almost single-handedly too much for Arkansas to contain, in route to another two touchdown performance in guiding the Tide to the road win. He was a problem all day, with a 54 yard first quarter score, and showed his grit with his game clinching goal line score in the fourth quarter. For the year he’s averaging just over nine yards per carry. Season: 33 carries, 308 yards, 4 TD
4. Kellen Moore-QB-Boise State: 288 pass yards, 3 TD in 37-24 win vs. Oregon State
Once again, Moore was steady and consistent for the Broncos in another solid win on their home turf over Oregon State. With this being their last real non-conference test, the days and numbers could get much bigger for Moore with WAC play getting underway. However, will these stats be big enough, and will the wins be meaningful enough, to push Moore up to top of this list? Season: 873 pass yards, 8 TD/1 Int, 71% comps.
5. Ryan Mallett-QB-Arkansas: 357 pass yards, 1 TD in 24-20 loss vs. Alabama
For the better part of three quarters, Mallett looked to be in control of the Hogs and ready to guide them to a big home victory over the top team in the country. However, he was shaky in the all important four quarter and could not make the adjustments to finish the upset. Still, he looked good the majority of the game and this could be a learning experience for the rest of the way in the annually tough road through the SEC. Season: 1,438 pass yards, 10 TD/5 Int, 68% comps.
FOURTH DOWN: BUST OF THE WEEK
Texas Longhorns: It’s been over 8 months since the Longhorns fell to Alabama after an injury to Colt McCoy in the BCS Championship game; they seem to have still not awakened from their nightmare in Pasadena yet. Despite starting the year off in the top 10 of both polls, Texas has never quite looked to be up to speed yet this year and have struggled to find consistency in every game. Yesterday, UCLA exploited this in the most extreme way, by plan out-toughing them….at home. They ran at the former #6 team in the land for 267 yards and forced four first half turnovers to essentially dominate them on both sides of the ball. In the end, despite having over 50 yards more of total offense, they dug too deep of a hole and took at 34-12 loss, in a big upset against a 1-2 Bruins team, who destroyed the Longhorns 66-3 in their last trip to Austin in 1997, and handed these Longhorns their first home loss since 2007 in a dominant fashion.
The worst part about it all is that it’s not going to get any easier coming up soon. And by soon I mean next week, as they head to the Cotton Bowl to face Oklahoma, who has shown they have no problems moving the ball down the field. Perhaps a following up this shocking loss with a rivalry game will wake up Longhorns, if the polls haven’t already. They took a 15 slot slide out of the top 20 for their toothless effort this week. If they don’t wake and find their way soon, they could be in store for a long ride through the Big 12 this year, where there is no shortage of teams that will be ready to take a shot at the league’s perennial top dogs while their licking their wounds.