Monday, December 1, 2008
Coffee and Alabama roll; Florida State sputters in the rain
By Todd McShay
The opportunity is there every week. Some players seize it; others let it slide away. Here's a look at the players who shone or slipped in Week 13:
|Glen Coffee's performance against Auburn only reinforced his season-long success.|
1. Alabama RB Glen Coffee
Alabama used its notoriously physical ground attack to snap a six-game losing streak to hated rival Auburn on Saturday, and Coffee did a good portion of the damage with 144 yards on 20 carries against a typically stout Tigers run defense. Overall, Bama finished with 234 rushing yards on 50 carries in the 36-0 whitewash.
The Crimson Tide offensive line once again did its part as well. There are probably some Division III backs who could find success running behind this massive front, but that should not diminish Coffee's accomplishments this season. He averages 6.2 yards per carry -- nearly a full yard better than talented freshman Mark Ingram, who has carried 72 fewer times -- and it's also a higher average than any other SEC back with a minimum of 100 carries this season.
2. Pitt RB LeSean McCoy
McCoy, just a few days removed from telling local reporters he plans on returning to school next season, turned in a career performance in the Backyard Brawl against West Virginia. The third-year sophomore paced the Panthers' 19-15, come-from-behind victory over the Mountaineers with 183 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 33 carries.
Most impressive was the stamina he showed late in the game. McCoy's game-winning touchdown -- his second on the day -- came with 52 seconds remaining, capping a 10-play, 59-yard drive in which he carried the ball nine times and accounted for every positive yard gained.
If he makes good on his promise to bypass the upcoming NFL draft, McCoy will be a leading Heisman contender entering the 2009 season.
|More Ups and Downs
Todd McShay takes a look at other big names rising and falling across college football after Week 14. Insider
• Oregon RB Johnson powers onslaught
• Boston College 'D' continues to improve
• Missouri QB Daniel continues to struggle
• South Carolina QB Smelley stumbles
1. Florida State's red zone offense
The Seminoles had their chances early against Florida but failed to cash in. Their first drive began at Florida's 24-yard line thanks to a 63-yard kickoff return by Michael Garvin, but the offense mustered just 5 yards and settled for a field goal. Then, trailing 14-3, Florida State recovered a fumble on the Florida 14-yard line and the offense repaid the favor by losing 6 yards and settling for another field goal. Finally, trailing 21-6 midway through the second quarter, the Noles benefited from a kickoff out of bounds and drove the ball down to the Gators' 18-yard line. Three plays and 4 yards later, FSU settled for its third field goal of the half. The Florida State defense eventually wore down and Florida QB Tim Tebow took advantage, finishing with 185 yards and three touchdowns through the air as well as 80 yards and another touchdown on the ground in the 45-15 defeat of the Seminoles.
2. Georgia's defense
The Bulldogs have not played up to their usual standards on defense this season, especially down the stretch, and the 45-42 loss to in-state rival Georgia Tech was a new low. The Bulldogs owned a 16-point halftime lead before surrendering 26 points in the third quarter, when Tech piled up 201 of its 409 rushing yards. Georgia simply failed to play with the same discipline against the Yellow Jackets' triple-option attack in the second half as it did during the first two quarters. Tech RBs Roddy Jones and Jonathan Dwyer cashed in with 358 yards on 33 combined carries.
Scouts Inc. watches games, breaks down film and studies football from all angles for ESPN Insider. Listen to Todd McShay break down the biggest games and give you all the scores on "College GameDay" on ESPN Radio every Saturday from noon to 7 p.m. ET. He also is a frequent contributor to ESPNU.