Don’t get used to this, Hoosiers, unless Kevin Wilson is going to do this all the time, and we’re not saying that wouldn’t be awesome:
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Gunner Kiel’s recruitment has been going on for so long that we weren’t even working here yet when we started writing about it. For those of you just joining us, a brief timeline: The 6-foot-4 pro-style quarterback, who fielded offers in high school from elite programs such as Alabama, Notre Dame, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Oklahoma, USC and Wisconsin, originally committed to Indiana in something of a recruiting shocker back in July 2011. He reopened his recruitment in October 2011, and narrowed his subsequent choices down to LSU, Notre Dame and Vanderbilt. Kiel’s second commitment was to LSU in December 2011, but he re-decommitted in January 2012 and enrolled early at Notre Dame. This is about the time The Les Miles Chest Video happened.
Fast forward to 2012, in which Kiel redshirted and watched Everett Golson lead the Irish to an undefeated regular season and BCS championship game showing against Alabama. Now, Kiel intends to transfer out of South Bend. Tommy Rees, Andrew Hendrix and freshman Malik Zaire would fill out Notre Dame’s quarterback depth chart behind Golson.
• No. 25 Kent State 31, Bowling Green 24. Brothers and sisters, we have nearly come to the end of this thing. This is the last normal weekend of college football in the 2012 season: Next week’s games are scattered willy-nilly over the Thanksgiving holiday, and after that there’s just the conference championships and a dozen or so assorted other contests. Then, we will be all plunged into darkness with only the promise of Army-Navy and the New Mexico Bowl to guide us. So we understand your impatience, and you can imagine ours, as we flipped channels today only to be met time and again with lackluster on-field products.
We were delighted but not surprised to find the most compelling action of Week 12′s first flight of games in the form of daylight MACtion. If you’re not a regular reader of Profiles in Profiteroles or lack a fondness for college football’s less-celebrated conferences, you may not be familiar with the works of Kent State’s Dri Archer. The top-ranked kick returner in the FBS got most of the Golden Flashes’ touches at running back today, and to spectacular effect: 241 rushing yards, including touchdowns of 79 and 74 yards.
Kent State’s other two touchdowns were scored by quarterback Spencer Keith (one passing, one rushing); the last gave the Golden Flashes their final lead of the game midway through the fourth quarter. The Falcons mounted an impressive final would-be scoring drive that ended with Luke Wollet picking off Matt Schilz in Kent State’s end zone with 21 seconds remaining on the clock, and punching the Golden Flashes’ first ticket to the MAC championship game. They’ll face Northern Illinois in Detroit on Friday, November 30. [BOX | RECAP]
• Penn State 39, No. 24 Northwestern 28. Pat Fitzgerald’s herd of cats was 5-0 and well on its way to a 6-0 start, a feat unequaled by any Northwestern squad since 1962. The Wildcats had one conference win and three victories over AQ nonconference opponents to their credit. So, naturally, Week 6 was when they ran into a fourth-quarter buzzsaw in the form of … Penn State?
Pointed momentum swings characterized Saturday’s contest. The Nittany Lions jumped out to a 10-0 lead, only to see the Wildcats retake the scoreboard and then some, carrying a 28-17 lead after three quarters. Then, for lack of a better description for what happened next, the fourth quarter commenced and Penn State proceeded to outgain Northwestern 186-23. Matt McGloin displayed some serious poise in this period, passing for a touchdown, running for a two-point conversion and scoring again on a five-yard run with less than three minutes to play. Penn State scored three unanswered touchdowns in the fourth quarter, the last coming on a Michael Zordich three-yard run precisely one minute after McGloin’s dash for the end zone.
Wildcat fans might be wondering about now why Venric Mark took a knee on a kick return with 2:37 remaining after he’d already returned a punt 75 yards for a score at the end of the third quarter. They might also be flexing their claws (because they’re cats!) at the sight of Mark and Kain Colter, averaging a combined 180-plus rushing yards heading into today’s contest, finishing with a mere 96 combined. But Penn State has now won four straight, including two in league play. A fitting beginning, maybe, to a curious day of football. [BOX | RECAP]
• Down in a poll. Feelin’ so small. Alabama and LSU perch atop the AP Poll. This, for the moment, does not worry us. They will play each other and this will sort itself out for real this time and we continue to believe we will not be subjected to a re-rematch. We must believe. Of greater concern for us, as usual, is what is going on in the bottoms of this exercise in folly we, as a society, continue to refer to as the “Coaches’ Poll.” Wisconsin is ranked. This is problematic and dumb. There are a dozen other stupidities lurking behind this link; can you spot them all?
• Get those Lorax costumes pressed. We’re just a couple short weeks away from the restart of the Harvey Updyke trial, and while from an entertainment standpoint we truly resent this being staged during football season, it’s probably best to get it over with while the whole state’s distracted with football good and football bad.
• Mark Richt, refined meanie. Folks ask us sometimes if we miss cussing a blue streak on the job. We do not, because there are ways to make one’s point without uttering so much as a “consarnit” if you really work at it. It’s like writing poetry with a very strict verse structure. Consider this, from Mark Richt on Sunday, on the subject of Week 4 UGA opponent Vanderbilt: “They have a lot of belief, and they’re playing to win it. They’re doing a good job of it.” The Commodores (1-2) recorded their first win of the season Saturday against Presbyterian, after losing in consecutive weeks to South Carolina and Northwestern.
• It is entirely possible that Arkansas will still be ranked in the “Coaches’” “Poll” when John-El is fired. Your post-Week 2 polls are out and are being met with the usual mix of exasperation and outright contempt. Alabama, USC, LSU and Oregon top the AP Poll, with Florida State and Oklahoma tied for fifth; the Coaches’ Poll favors the same six teams in a slightly rearranged order and some complete and total tomfoolery down in the double digits. When the steam currently emanating from your ears dies down (No love for Kansas State? Any sort of love for UNC?), please enjoy one of our favorite seasonal features, Bryan Fischer’s Poll Attacks.
• We were also really looking forward to constructing a reader poll that “ROLL TIDE” would surely win. Via the AP: “Big East commissioner Mike Aresco says there are no plans for the conference to change its name,” which is all kinds of too bad, because with the conference’s coast-to-coast reach, but dubious likability we were sort of hoping they would name it after Lee Greenwood.
• And that, as they say, is that. Mike Markuson, Wisconsin’s O-line coach, is Wisconsin’s O-line coach no more.
Tired of reading exclusively about Missouri, Texas A&M and LSU heading into the weekend? We’ve got you covered. Read about the rest of the action in our Saturday Superlatives, which are kind of like preseason awards for the upcoming weekend of football, and just as binding. For additional preview content heading into Week 2, check out Andy Staples’ Walkthrough.
• Best Worst Anniversary. It’s Auburn-Mississippi State weekend, which means it’s the anniversary of No. 9 Auburn 3, Mississippi State 2. It also means it’s time to drag our favorite decrepit video down out of the bloggy attic.
We had what our parents called a “real job” in 2008, and constructed this 3-2 tribute video the Monday after the game on some ancient version of Quicktime while rendering something we were actually being paid to make in Final Cut. The video is grainy, but think of that aspect as a tribute to the quality of play captured. The end product is raggedy and not aging well, and it might just be the work we are most proud of in our entire lives.
Dan Mullen, discussing Auburn on his radio show tonight: “Hey, I’ll take a 3-2 win.” #2008
— Brandon Marcello (@bmarcello) September 7, 2012
PLEASE. PLEASE OH PLEASE. PLEASE MAKE THIS HAPPEN, DAN MULLEN POWERS. Week 2 proffers a uniquely terrible slate of games overall, and another 3-2 finish would be its crowning achievement. Auburn is looking to avoid an 0-2 start after an opening-week loss to Clemson, while Mississippi State is coming off a 56-9 win over Jackson State.
Snap Judgments from Saturday’s evening games. For more from SI.com check out our early and midday Snaps, plus our game coverage of Alabama-Michigan, Auburn-Clemson, Ohio-Penn State, South Carolina-Vanderbilt, Washington State-BYU, NC State-Tennessee and Boise State-Michigan State and our full Top 25 review.
• No. 1 USC 49, Hawaii 10. The first line of the play-by-play report from tonight’s Trojans-Warriors game reads thusly: “15:00 USC Matt Barkley pass to Marqise Lee for 75-yard gain (TD).” Do not adjust your monitors. USC whipped out a 75-yard touchdown on tonight’s first play from scrimmage. Not a bad argument in favor of keeping that top spot in the AP Poll, even if it was just against Hawaii, who helpfully boosted the Trojans’ numbers with three turnovers and six sacks allowed.
Don’t forget our “one data point is worse than no data points” argument from the other night. USC is very good at football; Hawaii not so much. But both courses will correct in one direction or the other before the season winds down. We still know nothin’ bout nothin’. What we do know is that tonight’s fireworks were very entertaining, particularly if you like video games.
Before being retired a few minutes into the fourth quarter, Barkley put up a nice, shiny 50-minute performance: 23-of-38 passing, 372 yards, four touchdowns and no picks. Barkley’s star turn was matched by that of tonight’s favored target, Lee, who wrapped up his home opener with 187 yards on just 10 catches. Robert Woods added two additional touchdown receptions. And did we mention Lee ran back a kick the entire length of the field for a touchdown? That’s an afterthought tonight. That’s how good Lee was.
As for the much worried-about position of USC running back: Curtis McNeal got the starting nod, but Silas Redd led the backs with 55 yards on nine carries and a touchdown. (And a fumble.) Linebacker Hayes Pullard recorded the Trojans’ third touchdown of the first quarter with a 27-yard interception return. [BOX | RECAP]
We’re watching from home as the Increasingly Inaccurately-Named Big Ten coaches assemble in Chicago for their annual carousel of preseason press conferences. Assorted highlights from the daylong media blitz follow. As with most media blitzes, not much was learned, but fun was had.
Given the wireless situation at B1G media days, you’ll probably never see this tweet.
— Tom Fornelli (@TomFornelli) July 26, 2012
Conference to conference, some things just never change.
• Big Ten Media Day MVP: Tim Beckman. First things first: We must inform you that Beckman now coaches football at Illinois. It is entirely possible that this fact has slipped your radar. Anyway, approximately half a dozen of Beckman’s staffers were spotted in State College yesterday, and some people thought that total was kind of tacky in terms of sheer volume. So Beckman took the stage today and made very sure everybody knew that Illinois assistants weren’t actually banging on the door of the football complex: “We were in State College, but we did not go on campus. We went to two establishments outside campus and called some individuals.” That is not why Tim Beckman is our Media Days MVP of Thursday, however. This is:
Q. Can you talk about your renewed emphasis on Illinois’s game with Northwestern and why you chose to emphasize that game in particular?
BECKMAN: Again, being around college football for my whole life, rivalries are something that make college football so unique. And even in the Big Ten, I’ve been in those big rivalry football games, and I think it’s something that you breed through your program. We call it the team upstate. And I’m not scared to say that. That’s the school we’re going to call it. We’re going to make it a rivalry and we’re going to make it a very, very important part of our football season.
Don’t make Pat Fitzgerald’s neck angry, Tim Beckman. You wouldn’t like it when it’s angry.
Stanford’s offensive coordinator position was recently endowed by an anonymous donor to honor Andrew Luck (gross autoplay video alert at that link). The donation got friend of the program The Gurgling Cod thinking about how to turn this into a rivalry game:
— The Gurgling Cod (@TheGurglingCod) May 23, 2012
Monied fans, you have your marching orders. Our previous bloggy home has just wrapped up an annual charity drive in which donations are given to match rivalry scores (say, $70.33 for enthusiastic fans of January’s Orange Bowl outcome), but an endowment? Oh, that’s a gift that lasts and lasts. We have 10 modest suggestions for our readers overburdened with spite and disposable income: