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September 5, 2011
We're introducing a new feature today, a quickie look at the weekend's action in a conference-by-conference manner.
Think of it as one final chance to look back at the weekend that was. We will have this conference call every Monday.
BIGGEST SURPRISE, TEAM: Georgia Tech's passing attack. QBs Tevin Washington and Synjyn Days combined for 365 passing yards - the Yellow Jackets' highest single-game total since 1987 - in a 63-21 rout of Western Carolina. Tech's 148 passing yards in the first quarter exceeded the Yellow Jackets' highest total in any game last season. Granted, many of these passing yards came on catch-and-run plays that turned short completions into long gains. This still was an encouraging sign. If Tech can offer any semblance of a passing game to keep opposing defenses honest, it will open up much more running room for the Yellow Jackets' option attack.
BIGGEST SURPRISE, TEAM: USF. The Bulls have a solid defense and tend to fare well on the big stage. Nonetheless, this was a landmark victory for USF. Notre Dame gave USF opportunities with turnovers, but the Bulls capitalized early and often.
BIGGEST SURPRISE, TEAM: Michigan's defense. It looked improved in holding a strong Western Michigan attack to 282 yards in a game shortened one quarter by bad weather. The Broncos ran for just 99 yards and committed three turnovers, giving Michigan hope that its defense may have a chance to be at least competent after being one of the worst units in the Big Ten the past three seasons.
BIGGEST SURPRISE, TEAM: Baylor. Considering Baylor hadn't beaten a ranked opponent since 2004, its season-opening victory over TCU was a surprise. The manner in which the Bears won was a shock. The Bears rolled up 564 yards on the usually sound TCU defense en route to a 50-48 victory. Baylor had six touchdown passes.
BIGGEST SURPRISE, TEAM: Boise State's pass offense. The departures of WRs Austin Pettis and Titus Young and the eligibility concerns surrounding Geraldo Boldewijn were supposed to limit QB Kellen Moore's receiving options. It didn't work out that way. Moore threw for 261 yards and three touchdowns while completing passes to nine receivers in a 35-21 victory over Georgia.
BIGGEST SURPRISE, TEAM: California. Cal was a mystery team, as it was coming off a 5-7 season, has no home games because its stadium is being renovated and is breaking in a new quarterback. The Bears turned in a strong opening performance behind new QB Zach Maynard, a transfer from Buffalo, and knocked off Fresno State 36-21.
BIGGEST SURPRISE, TEAM: Vanderbilt's offense. OK, so the competition was relatively weak (FCS member Elon). Still, anytime Vandy scores 45 points in a game, it's noteworthy. Vandy QB Larry Smith threw two TD passes and no interceptions and also rushed for a score. (We won't mention that he, as usual, completed less than 50 percent of his passes.)
BIGGEST SURPRISE, TEAM: Utah State. The Aggies gave Auburn all it could handle in a 42-38 loss. Although Utah State fell apart in the final two minutes, the rest of the WAC will now be on the lookout. True Freshman QB Chuckie Keeton was a revelation, passing for 213 yards and running for two touchdowns. Beyond that, Utah State showed it will be a factor in the WAC race because of its strength at the skill positions and a big, physical offensive line.