What was the highlight of your weekend? Was it the 115 point outburst on Friday night in Morgantown? Or perhaps you enjoyed the demolition in Columbus? Not your speed? Surely you enjoyed watching the Bills Mafia serve a heaping pile of crow to Jalen Ramsey on Sunday. Regardless what your favorite part was, one thing is for certain: this weekend will stuffed with a lot of first times in a long time. Studs & Duds this week serves as an ode to those performances across the football world.
STUD – Browns Road Win
How long has it been? 25 games. TWENTY FIVE! Cleveland last won on the road on October 11, 2015. Clearly there’s just one man to thank.
Here’s looking at you, Hue. The Browns met their former coach with a barrage of back handed insults, starting with DB Damarious Randall handing Jackson an intercepted pass on the Bengals’ sideline. Whoops.
The Browns’ paddling of Hue continued as rookie QB Baker Mayfield stuffed the Bengals defense in a locker, heaping four touchdowns on Cincinnati through the air and ultimately winning 35-20. After the game, Coach Jackson sought out Mayfield on the sideline, hoping to dap up his former player for some love.
Mayfield treated him like a complete stranger. Jackson would gingerly tap Mayfield on the head and tuck tail afterwards. Mayfield didn’t pull any punches in the post-game presser:
“Didn’t feel like talking to him. He was here trying to tell us to play for him, then he goes to a team we play twice a year. That’s how I feel.”
Mark it down: a team with Coach Jackson on the sideline will never beat Mayfield during his time in the league. I’m calling my shot.
DUD – 62 points scored on Michigan
How long has it been? Never.
Dear lord. You’d think Michigan had never seen a crossing route before. Had no idea what to do with them. Had no idea how to handle lateral speed. They didn’t tackle well. After running roughshod through their schedule and coming on the precipice of the College Football Playoff, Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan did what it always does. Lose to Ohio State.
But not like this. WR Parris Campbell was a star for the Buckeyes, his speed blazed holes through the Michigan secondary in a way we hadn’t seen in quite some time. If you set your television schedule on Saturday to this game, my condolences.
STUD – Dolphins Opening Drive Touchdown
How long has it been? Maybe not 84 years…but pretty damn close. 27 games had gone by without an opening possession touchdown for the Miami Dolphins. The team has squandered a 3-0 start this season and watched themselves regress into the fringe of playoff contention with five games to play.
Shoot, these guys ought to try scoring touchdowns more often. Any potential playoff push will be aided with the return of starting QB Ryan Tannehill…not because Tannehill is the answer but rather because it involves putting Brock Osweiler’s rump back on the bench.
Shout out to RB Kenyan Drake, who scored the opening touchdown. Drake has been a fantasy bust this season but his sharp cut in space forced a defender to slip and provided Drake with the alley to score and snap the streak.
Now if only this team could learn how to close a game…that one feels like it’s been a problem for 84 years, too.
DUD – A Seven Overtime Affair
How long has it been since we saw a seven overtime contest? The last one was on October 7, 2017. If you’re a fan of the college overtime system, as I am, you may wonder how this can be labeled a bust. Because this SEC contest wasn’t about a hard fought game after the fact. All we heard about was the officiating.
There were no less than six controversial moments down the stretch that the SEC officials have caught flak for. Some of them were properly handled by the crew. Others were, well….I’ll let you be the judge. But for such an amazing game to ultimately have the focus sit on the zebras instead of the players is a crying shame. And this game deserves better.
STUD – Notre Dame Undefeated
How long has it been? 2012. (Or 1988.) Are the Irish #back? We’ll find out next month, as they’re assuredly in the 2018 College Football Playoff. It wasn’t always easy for Notre Dame, there were multiple near misses along the way. An 8-point win over Ball State stands out. So, too, does a 5-point escape against Vanderbilt. Don’t forget the 5-point win over Pitt and this week’s 7-point win over USC.
…I’m not sure the Irish are back. But their undefeated regular season deserves to be applauded. And getting the Irish back in the title picture is a great thing for college football. Their assumed date with Clemson is one of those bowl match-ups that will get the juices flowing.
DUD – Saquon Barkley’s Usage
Tired: Feeding your stars the football. Wired: Giving him 5 touches in the second half after he had 127 yards and two touchdowns at halftime.
This one was…interesting. Especially considering New York jumped out in front of Philadelphia early and could have afforded to burn that clock down in an effort to hold on for a win. Instead, the Giants dropped yet another game to the Eagles, 25-22 on a late field goal from Jake Elliott.
Why did the Giants pull the plug on a dominant Barkley? Who knows…I know I don’t. And I’m not quite sure the Giants do, either.