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9/6/05 5:47 PM
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College football notebook  September 5, 2005 
 
Do you think the Utah Utes miss Urban Meyer yet? The Utes did roll up 447 yards against Arizona in a victory. However, they gave up 24 points in a 27-24 squeaker and had only 221 passing yards.
They have a new coach (the former defensive coordinator) and a new quarterback in sophomore Brian Johnson. He replaces Alex Smith, the Heisman Trophy finalist and top overall pick in the NFL draft. The 18-year-old sophomore was effective, though a little nervous early in the game.

The Minnesota Golden Gophers roll ‘under' ground and over it! Minnesota and Glen Mason got right back on track in the opener, using its speed to pummel Tulsa 41-10. The Gopher offense rolled up 536 total yards, including 301 rushing yards, a whopping 6.8 yards per carry! Keep this in mind though: Minnesota plays its home games on artificial turf, which helps this speed-oriented attack. They played at Tulsa in the opener, which happens to have artificial turf, too, which clearly helped the Gopher ground game.

However, Minnesota has struggled offensively on grass the last two seasons. If you're a totals player, watch for when they're playing on grass next and see if the total is too high. It wouldn't be a surprise to see the Gopher offense slow down on grass again this season, but excel on turf.

In last week's column, I wrote about surprise teams in college football. One was TCU, a club that is well coached and loaded with offensive talent. It's clear the Horned Frogs have fixed many of their defensive deficiencies from a year ago, not only covering but WINNING at Oklahoma as a 24-point dog, 17-10. Most impressive was the run defense, which stuffed star sophomore RB Adrian Petersen, holding him to 2.9 yards per carry.

The good news is that Nebraska has a year of Bill Callahan under its belt and got rid of some unhappy campers. Players acknowledge there was some initial resistance to Callahan's West Coast offense a year ago after a 5-6 campaign. That included a 70-10 loss to Texas Tech. LB Stewart Bradley said Cancers began to develop on the team, and there was in-fighting. However, the bad news is they led 9-0 at the half over Maine on the way to a 25-7 win in the home opener. Nebraska was 6-for-20 on third/fourth down! Not exactly a rousing start for my hometown Huskers. The West Coast offense continues to struggle in the heartland. Next up is a date with Wake Forest in Lincoln. Don't look now, but a loss to the Demon Deacons is not out of the question.

South Carolina opened up with a win (non-cover) against Central Florida, marking Steve Spurrier's return to the college grid. The Gamecocks had absolutely no running game, gaining just 32 yards on 28 carries! Their top rusher had 20 yards on one carry. And, while Blake Mitchell connected on 18 of 23, for 330-yards, those types of days will be few and far between against the SEC. Georgia may not be laying enough in this week's matchup.

Scott Spreitzer   
 


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