Keeping track of how the 10 programs vying for this year's Lambert-Meadowlands trophy fared last week, and a look ahead to next weekend's action.
|1. Rutgers Scarlet Knights||5-1||1-1||@ Ohio State|
|2. Temple Owls||4-1||2-0||@ Houston|
|3t. Penn State Nittany Lions||4-2||1-2||Idle|
|3t. Boston College Eagles||4-2||1-1||Clemson|
|5. Pittsburgh Panthers||3-3||1-1||Virginia Tech|
|6. Buffalo Bulls||3-4||1-2||Idle|
|7. Syracuse Orange||2-4||0-2||@ Wake Forest|
|8. Army Black Knights||2-4||--||@ Kent State|
|9. Connecticut Huskies||1-5||0-3||Idle|
|10. Massachusetts Minutemen||1-6||1-2||Eastern Michigan|
Week 7 Results
Temple 35, Tulsa 24
Michigan 18, Penn State 13
Boston College 30, N.C. State 14
Eastern Michigan 37, Buffalo 27
Florida State 38, Syracuse 20
Rice 41, Army 21
Tulane 12, Connecticut 3
Massachusetts 40, Kent State 17
Another weekend, another banner weekend for the gridiron boys of the Northeast. Or something. Eight of 10 Lambert Meadowlands trophy eligible teams were in action this weekend and just three emerged victorious. Let's start with the lowlights.
Penn State was successful is quieting the Brady Hoke hot seat talk with an 18-13 loss in the Big House. Despite facing a historically bad Wolverines team playing without a fully functional quarterback ... a program with a fan base that not only wants the head coach fired, but the A.D. too, the Lions went ahead and lost the game anyway. The boys at BSD are less than thrilled.
The score was 18-13, and Penn State is now 4-2, and I am beginning to wonder if a team that started out 4-0 will finish 4-8.
I wish I were overreacting, but I'm really not, because the simple truth of the matter is that Penn State lost to a historically awful Michigan team on Saturday. Perhaps more impressively, Penn State lost to a historically awful Michigan team despite the fact that this historically awful Michigan football team was forced to play much of the game without a fully functioning quarterback. That last tidbit only added to the lunacy of it all.Yes, it's true: With Shane Morris out entirely because of that nasty ankle injury concussion, and with Devin Gardner suffering some kind of damage to his left leg in the third quarter, the Wolverines at one point turned their historically awful offense over to somebody by the name of Russell Bellomy. He was, as we learned rather quickly, not very good. It didn't take Brady Hoke very long to figure this out, too, but with Morris unavailable, Hoke had to play somebody, so he turned back to Gardner. Who literally could barely stand up. I mean, seriously. He couldn't move.
But yeah, Penn State lost anyway. They lost to a historically awful Michigan team without a fully functioning quarterback.
With games remaining against #13 Ohio State and #8 Michigan State, and what appear to be toss-up games against fellow Big Ten East Division members Maryland and Indiana, it's quite possible that the darlings of the Lambert Meadowlands trophy play their way out of contention over the next few weeks.
The good news for the Nittany Lions is they get an extra week off to prepare to host Ohio State, i.e. can't lose this weekend. Moving right along.
Syracuse did not knock off the #1 ranked Florida State Seminoles this weekend, though they did join Boston College (2013), Clemson (2014) and N.C. State (2014) in the Moral Victory Loss vs. Florida State fan club. Punch and pie.
Syracuse (2-4) (0-2) did not manage to upset the no. 1-ranked Florida State Seminoles (6-0) (4-0), but the Orange managed to put on a good show throughout, continuing to fight through injuries and some costly mistakes. The Tim Lester era at offensive coordinator also started off on the right foot, as Syracuse put up 20 points and totaled 412 yards against FSU.
On the bright side for Syracuse, A.J. Long (187 total yards, two passing TDs) appears to be a very viable answer at quarterback and while there's no confirmation he's wrestled the job away from Austin Wilson for the time being, it's certainly within the realm of possibility. Steve Ishmael also firmly established himself as the star we'd hoped he'd be, catching two fantastic scores that made Orange fans' mouths water. The run game was also thankfully re-established, with 156 yards mostly attributed to Prince-Tyson Gulley and Ervin Phillips.
On the not so bright side, Syracuse's red zone offense continues to struggle mightily as four trips to the red zone yielded just 6 points. SU is scoring on just 78.26% of trips to the red zone this year; good for 94th nationally. The Orange also continue to use a two QB system because that always seems to work out well. Syracuse falls to just 2-4 on the year (0-2 ACC), but ISIS is out there cutting people's heads off, so, perspective, you know?
To round out the lowlights, UConn lost a football game 12 to 3 at Tulane in a nationally televised game (srsly whyyyy ESPNews). Though I didn't bother to watch the game, all indications are this this one would have Walter Camp, the father of American football, rolling in his grave (R.I.P.).
In fact, this game was nothing different from what we've seen all this season. The Huskies come out on their first drive looking somewhat impressive, but then let the fans down with less than a touchdown. They opened the game with a solid drive to Tulane's 27 yard line, only to kick a field goal. It was all downhill from there.
So downhill, that despite starting drives near midfield for most of the first half the Huskies were still not able to score. The Huskies would try running left, running right, running up the middle, but nothing was successful. On the entire night the Huskies ran the ball 28 times for 74 yards, with Arkeel Newsome leading the team in rushing with 38 yards. Diaco also tried putting Tim Boyle in then game at quarterback, but he threw an interception.
/ waves at Tim Boyle
After falling to 1-4 Tulane, the Huskies have the week off to prepare to travel to North Carolina to take on the #18 ranked ECU Pirates oh god I'm sorry.
Buffalo, which has largely played itself out of Lambert Meadowlands trophy contention at this point in the season, fell to Eastern Michigan, 37-27. The Bulls might have a win or two left on the schedule, but that says extremely little given how truly terrible the MAC East is this season.
Army lost to Rice by 20, 41-21. Almost incredibly, despite losing to Yale, there's still a path to bowl eligibility for the Black Knights with games remaining at winless Kent State, Air Force, Connecticut at Yankee Stadium and FCS Fordham ... though the margin for error remains incredibly small.
In other Lambert Meadowlands action, Temple needed a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns to get past 1-5 Tulsa, 35-24. Though the Owls are 4-1 on the year and in sole possession of second place in the Lambert Meadowlands Trophy standings, the schedule gets much more difficult from here on out. Temple's next five games -- @ Houston, @ UCF, #18 East Carolina, Memphis and @ Penn State. Ouch.
Week 8 Schedule
Rutgers at Ohio State
Temple at Houston
Clemson at Boston College
Virginia Tech at Pittsburgh (Thurs.)
Syracuse at Wake Forest
Army at Kent State
Eastern Michigan at Massachusetts
Two of the early leaders for this year's Lambert Meadowlands trophy -- Rutgers and BC -- both face ranked opponents this week in #13 Ohio State and #24 Clemson. Temple (Houston), Syracuse (Wake Forest) and Army (Kent State) are all on the road this weekend, while Pitt (Virginia Tech) and UMass (Eastern Michigan) are home.
Penn State, Buffalo and UConn are all off this week.
Finally, here's a quick peek at the final Lambert Meadowlands standings according to ESPN's Football Power Index:
|Rk||Team||Projected W||Projected L|
|2||Penn State Nittany Lions||6.9||5.1|
|3||Rutgers Scarlet Knights||6.7||5.3|
|4||Boston College Eagles||6.4||5.6|
|7||Army Black Knights||4.8||7.2|
Good god. First one to 7-5 wins?