Awesome? Naw, Son: Week 5

By Patrick Vint on October 1, 2018 at 10:00 am
© James Lang-USA TODAY Sports


The Most Harbaugh Thing Ever

When most teams pull off a 17-point comeback, it's through the air.  There's just too much ground to make up and not enough time to waste running the football.  But if Michigan is going to stage a 17-point comeback with Jim Harbaugh at the helm, it's going to be methodical.  Everything Harbaugh does is methodical.  His middle name is methodical.  And so Michigan just has to fall behind by 17 really early to give itself enough time to catch up.

Enter Northwestern, which went up 17-0 on the Wolverines in the first eighteen minutes of Saturday's game, then bled it all back slowly over the next 42.  The coup de grace came with four minutes to go, as Karan Higdon finished his 115-yard day in style.

That's 67 yards over eleven plays for the win, with Higdon capping a 115-yard, two-touchdown day at the end.  And Michigan wins.

Sweet Georgia Brown

I played wide receiver in junior high.  We had a couple of really good halfbacks, so my primary task was chopping the knees out of defensive backs so that our sweep plays were clear, but I did catch one pass where the ball was tipped and I misread where it was going.  I fell over, the ball landed on my back, and I hauled it in for a first down.  It was awesome.

Indiana-Rutgers is basically junior high football, and Hoosier tight end Peyton Hendershot threw my junior high football career a shout-out:

Here's a closer, slower look at what happened:

Hendershot went up to catch a high pass, almost lost it, trapped it against his back, secured it with his other hand behind his back, then pulled the ball back around.  It was a spectacular play from a less-than-spectacular game.


Clear Eyes Full Hearts Can't Lose

Penn State coach James Franklin has a certain Eric Taylor quality about him.  He's obviously an excellent motivator, and has done wonders for a program that some left for dead.  In the last two seasons, Penn State has certainly had its fair share of late-game heroics.

But frequent viewers of the old Friday Night Lights know that Eric Taylor got away with a lot of questionable playcalling.  He ran a hook-and-lateral from 40 yards out on the final play of the state championship against a defense that was all sitting in the end zone, as if the flow to the original receiver would be enough to free up the pitchman.  He sprung an upset on his former team by running a totally illegal lineman pass.  He routinely ran shuttle passes and draws for giant, game-winning scores.  It was Hollywood convenient, but it probably wouldn't work in real life.

With Penn State down a point Saturday against Ohio State Saturday night, Franklin faced 4th and 5 from just outside field goal range.  If the Nittany Lions could convert, they would likely get a chance at a game-winning kick.  And with Trace McSorley's track record of success in these scenarios, Franklin only had to put the ball in the hands of his...


Running back?

A zone read with a halfback who was averaging three yards per carry on a 4th and 5 with the game on the line is soooooo Eric Taylor.  And this ain't Hollywood.

Bulletin Board Material

Last week, Nebraska got its doors blown off by a Michigan team motivated by some previous statements by Scott Frost.  After that game, Frost said he believed his team had hit rock bottom, but they were just one week away from the rebound:

"We're really going to find out who loves football, who loves each other and who bands together," Frost said. "We've got a chance to reset next week. This was a really good team and we get a game that we could win next week. We've got to find a way to get better."

Purdue went out and beat Nebraska by two touchdowns Saturday, and if it wasn't clear that the Boilermakers had taken Frost's statement about "a game that we could win" as motivation, the postgame handshake took care of that:

Maybe Scott should just stop talking for a while.

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