Griffith’s Got Stats: Highlights from this week’s college football games
No, it isn’t basketball season yet, and yes, I can still find enough to talk about with respect to the college basketball off-season, more popularly known as football season.
To start, Dartmouth put on a clinic this past Saturday against Georgetown University in the team’s home opener, winning 41-0. Quarterback Jared Gerbino ’20 had won the starting job in the preseason, but Derek Kyler ’21 started for the Big Green, throwing for 177 yards and a touchdown, while rushing for one more. The Big Green was also without star receiver Hunter Hagdorn ’20, but Drew Hunnicutt ’19 rose up to the occasion, recording four catches for 102 yards and one touchdown. Running back Rashaad Cooper ’19 also had himself a 100-yard game, with 112 yards on 16 carries and one touchdown. Dartmouth had three different running backs score a touchdown in addition to Cooper. The Hoyas’ running game, comparatively, was not as effective, finishing with 40 by the end of the game. Georgetown also ended the game only gaining three first downs on offense, while the Big Green picked up 21.
Around the Ivy League, six of the other schools played their first game this past Saturday, with Brown University falling to Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo on Friday, 15-44. Princeton University beat Butler University 50-7 after Butler, a school that does not give out athletic scholarships, pulled off an upset against the then-25th ranked Youngstown State University two weeks prior. Columbia University beat Central Connecticut State University 41-24, from the Lions recovering three fumbles by the Blue Devils. Harvard University took down the University of San Diego 36-14 with running back Aaron Shampklin rushing for 178 yards and four touchdowns (that’s 41.8 fantasy points). The University of Pennsylvania beat Bucknell University 34-17, and Cornell University lost to the University of Delaware 10-27.
The game of the day was most definitely Yale University, the team picked to win the Ivy League in the 2018 Ivy League Media Poll, against the College of the Holy Cross. The Bulldogs jumped out to an early lead in the first quarter, putting up 21 points in 12 minutes. Yale would hold its lead until late in the fourth quarter, when Holy Cross receivers Martin Dorsey and Spencer Gilliam each scored a touchdown to send the game into overtime. The Holy Cross defense stopped Yale at the five-yard line and would go on to kick a field goal on the ensuing possession to clinch the victory 31-28. Holy Cross will host Dartmouth next Saturday, while Yale will travel to Cornell to open Ivy League play.
I would be remiss in talking about the other games in the college football world to omit what my hometown squad Syracuse University did against perennial football powerhouse Florida State University. The Orange overcame the Seminoles by a score of 30-7. The last time that Syracuse beat Florida State was in 1966, when, according to head coach Dino Babers, “the Beatles were hot ... [and] the ’66 Mustang was the baddest thing on the road.”
Syracuse also picked up the win with the team’s backup quarterback playing most of the game because starter Eric Dungey left the game after being poked in the eye. Backup Tommy DeVito entered the game and threw for 144 yards and a score. In the win, Syracuse picked up four sacks and held Florida State’s offense to just 240 total yards. After longtime head coach Jimbo Fisher, who led the Seminoles to an undefeated season and a national championship in 2013, left for Texas A&M University, Florida State hired former University of Oregon head coach Willie Taggart to try to give the program a new jolt of energy. The Seminoles have, so far, lost to Virginia Polytechnic Institute in their team’s season opener 24-3, and scraped by with a win against FCS opponent Samford University 36-26, in a game that was much closer than the score indicated. Taggart is now 1-2 at Florida State and winless in the Athletic Coast Conference, so this team needs a turnaround quickly. Syracuse will host the University of Connecticut next week while Florida State faces Northern Illinois University before resuming ACC play against the University of Louisville.
The other major upset of the day was that the University of Wisconsin, previously ranked sixth in the nation and the top team not selected to participate in the College Football Playoff last year, fell at home to unranked Brigham Young University 21-24. This was the Badgers’ first non-conference home loss since 2003 and the loss snapped the longest non-conference winning streak in the nation at 41 games. This loss greatly hurts the perennial Big Ten West powerhouse’s chances of making the College Football Playoff, and it opens the door for the Ohio State University to make the Playoff if the Buckeyes win the Big Ten.
We also got a real doozy of a game in the University of Kansas against Rutgers University. These two programs have been bottom-feeders in their respective conferences for a long time; in the past five years, Kansas’ record is 9-51 with no bowl appearances. The Jayhawks, however, finally snapped their 46-game winless streak on the road with a win against Central Michigan University last weekend. Kansas ended this game not only with a win, going 2-1 and winning back-to-back games for the first time since 2011. The Jayhawks won the game 55-14, rushing for 400 total yards on the ground and recording two pick-sixes. There is reason for optimism in Lawrence after the long period of futility since the Jayhawks went 12-1 in 2007 and reached number two in the polls (future NFL stars Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr. played on that team as well). Kansas opens up Big 12 play against Baylor University next week, while the Scarlet Knights host the University at Buffalo, SUNY, before resuming Big Ten play against Indiana University.