Week Nine Awards

The turning back the clock award: Case Keenum, QB, Houston

It’s hard to believe it has been 20 years since Houston quarterbacks Andre Ware and David Klingler were torching defenses for 500 yards on a weekly basis.

After a two-decade hiatus, the firepower is back in the Cougar program. Keenum, was one of the flavors of the month in September but lost national momentum with the 58-41 loss to UTEP.

Despite the lack of a big-time stage, he is still lighting up the scoreboards and burning defenses like a bad grease fire. Against Southern Mississippi on Saturday, Keenum threw for 559 yards and five touchdowns. His 28-yard pass to Patrick Edwards with 21 seconds left in the game was the game-winning score.

Houston has had some stellar quarterbacks, including Ware, Klingler, and most recently Kevin Kolb (now with the Philadelphia Eagles), but Keenum may be the best of the bunch.

At this pace, he will throw for 4,940 yards and 38 touchdowns. In 2008 he threw for 5,020 yards and 44 touchdowns. Should he finish the season at that rate, he would have 12,219 yards for his career…with one more season left to play. That total would leave him 645 yards behind Kolb, and 4,853 yards behind Timmy Chang for most in NCAA history.

That’s a tall task, but all bets are off with this guy.

The Enough is Enough Award: Iowa Hawkeyes

If you have dinner plans with a member of the Iowa football team this week, don’t blame them for showing up fashionably late. The Hawkeyes have won all nine games they have played this season, and they have trailed in eight of them.

On Saturday, Indiana was the fourth team this season to be ahead of Iowa by double digits in the second half, only to give way to Hawkeye glory by the game’s end. We saw the worst Iowa can possibly be, with Ricky Stanzi throwing four interceptions…. in the third quarter.

Even as Iowa trailed 21-7 at halftime, it still took until the fourth quarter before the offense found the end zone again. As the game unfolded, it was the same old story: Iowa would fall behind early, looking like an overrated, mediocre Big Ten team. Then all of a sudden they would turn from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde and come from behind for the win.

This time around, it’s not too much to say even the Hawkeye players might have begun to lose faith. The offense couldn’t even make it to fourth down before turning it over, and Indiana’s offense was a well-oiled machine.

Finally, at what seemed to be the latest possible instant, the flip was switched on the Iowa sideline. Stanzi threw two touchdown passes of over 60 yards, and Iowa outscored the Hoosiers 28-0 in the fourth quarter to win 42-24.

To the computers any one that didn’t watch the game, it looked like Iowa won comfortably and lived up to its number four ranking in the BCS. Instead, it was a three-quarter long debacle, followed up by another miracle finish in Iowa City.

You can’t help but wonder how long Kirk Ferentz can keep pulling rabbits out of his hat.

The “don’t leap to conclusions, America” award: Miami Hurricanes

It seems like only a month ago when the ‘Canes were “back”. Wait, yes, that was a month ago, before losses to Virginia Tech and Clemson, and a near loss to Wake Forest had dotted the Miami schedule.

It has also not been long since Jacory Harris was dubbed the next great quarterback at the school, being mentioned in the same long-winded breath as Jim Kelly, Bernie Kosar, Ken Dorsey, Gino Torretta, and Vinny Testaverde.

The last time I checked, all those former Hurricanes did a lot more than beat Florida State and Georgia Tech. Somehow that was all it took for Harris to become a cult figure in South Florida and a legend-in-waiting.

Starting with the Virginia Tech game, Harris is averaging 241 yards passing with 11 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Those are hardly hall-of-fame numbers. He is only a sophomore, and Miami is still a very young team.

Against Wake Forest on Saturday, Harris’ Hurricanes spotted the Demon Deacons 17 points right out of the gate. It was not until one minute, eight seconds remained in the game before Miami enjoyed its first lead of the night.

When Miami was in its heyday, they were beating teams before they even hit the field. The intimidation factor from players like Ed Reed, Ray Lewis, Dan Morgan, and DJ Williams, etc. were enough to make teams wish they didn’t have to even play the game. One-point wins over below .500 teams were few and far between.

Player of the Week: Jeremiah Masoli, QB, Oregon

If Oregon’s stadium is the “Autzen Zoo”, then Masoli is the zookeeper. The junior Ducks quarterback accounted for 405 yards and two touchdowns in the 47-20 win over USC Saturday night.

The stunning blowout win put Oregon in the midst of the national championship race, and at the same time entered Masoli into Heisman Trophy talk. 

Oregon is now ranked eighth in the BCS standings, the highest of any team with a loss. The Trojans had only lost one road game to a ranked opponent since Pete Carroll became the head coach, making the Ducks’ showing that much more impressive.

Masoli is now the leader of a clear-cut national title contender, or a vritual Rose Bowl lock at the very least. That enough should keep him in the Heisman discussion throughout November, and as crazy as this season has been, his odds are as good as anyone’s to rake in the hardware.


jimmyos said...

Jacory Who? Miami had the potential to be a strong offense this year. That was way before anyone had put any sort of pressure on Harris. Any team with a solid blitz will destroy the Canes O-line, which has given up an average of nearly 3 sacks a game.

Oregon's the real deal, though. They have a shot at making the Pac-10 more than a one-team conference.

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