Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Monday Musings: LaMichael James is the Oregon Ducks’ Secret to Success

Well, it's not Monday anymore, but these are my musings after last weekend.

1. Play of the year. Forget Michigan State’s fake field goal to beat Notre Dame in overtime. Iowa defensive back Tyler Sash picked off Kirk Cousins at the end of the first quarter. Even though he was in front of the receiver, Sash made the decision to pitch the ball back to Micah Hyde. During the exchange the Michigan State player fell to the turf and Hyde was able to run across the field and down the opposite sideline for a 66-yard touchdown. That made the game 17-0. The route was on. This one play summed up everything that had happened up to that point in the game, and what would happen the rest of the way. This was Iowa’s day.

2. Secret to Success. Anyone else watch Oregon play and wonder how they have so many guys running all alone 15-20 yards down field? The answer is LaMichael James. James commands respect. He averages seven yards per carry. If you want to stop Oregon, you have to stop LaMichael James. When Oregon either hands the ball to James or fakes a hand off to him nearly every play, all 11 guys on defense are watching number 21. By the time the defense realizes James doesn’t have the ball, Oregon’s receivers are 5-10 yards past them.

3. One and done. Even though the BCS number 1 didn’t lose, there is a new team a top the BCS standings. No team has held the number one spot for more than one week. Number one Oregon plays Washington and number two Auburn plays Chattanooga this week. Those teams won’t exactly help your computer ranking. Number 3 TCU, however, plays number 5 Utah. With a win, will TCU become our fifth BCS number one in as many weeks?

4. Hello Helu. Roy Helu, Jr., Nebraska’s “forgotten” back reintroduced himself to the college football world and the Missouri secondary. Playing in the shadow of Taylor Martinez this year, Helu carried the load rushing 28 times for 307 yards and 3 TDs on Saturday. Those touchdowns were for 66, 73, and 53 yards.

5. Could not ask for more. Marcus Lattimore carried the Gamecocks to a victory against Tennessee. The Vols were staging a late comeback, but Lattimore took over and diffused the upset attempt. He ran for 40 and 19 yards on back-to-back carries to get South Carolina to the one yard line where Stephan Garcia snuck in to put the game away. Lattimore ended the day with 29 carries for 184 yards and 1 TD.

6. 42 points in 30 minutes and you still lose. Utah State scored 42 second half points but still came up short against Nevada. That’s because the Aggies were unable to score at all in the first half, while Nevada built a 35-0 lead. Nevada added 21 more in the second half.

7. U are done. Miami quarterback Jacory Harris left the game early with a concussion and is now questionable for this week. At 5-3, Miami’s season is over if Harris misses this week’s game against Maryland (6-2). With Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and South Florida waiting down the line, Miami might not make it to a bowl if Harris can’t come back.

8. One win away. Joe Paterno has reached 399 wins. His next win will get him to 400. Could happen as early as this Saturday against Northwestern, but should not be any later than November 20 against Indiana.

9. Forfeit your AQ spot. With no team in the top 25, this year, the Big East champion does not deserve to be in a BCS bowl. Pittsburgh (5-3) leads the conference and holds the tie breaker over Syracuse (6-2) and Rutgers (4-3). That means Pitt must lose two of its final four games to lose that AQ spot. No three loss team deserves to play in a BCS bowl.

10. Still on top. Michigan might be falling to the bottom of the Big Ten standings, but Denard Robinson is still on top of the rushing list. His 1,287 yards is 77 more than number two LaMichael James. Four more games to go for Robinson to make history.


  1. Good insights. Especially number 9. I think no one from either the Big East or the ACC should be going to a BCS bowl this year.

  2. I wouldn't condemn the ACC yet. Right now four teams are 6-2 (NC State, Florida State, Maryland, and VaTech). The ACC does need one of them to finish 11-2, preferably not VaTech. A team that loses to a FCS team, under any circumstances, should not play in a BCS game.

  3. Stop LaMichael James, stop Oregon? Uhhhhh, no. Oregon also has Kenyon Barner, who would easily be getting more attention had he not suffered a a pretty serious concussion a month ago.. Truth be told, had LMJ been injured or not on the Ducks, you would be saying the same thing about Barner now...and he should be back this week for Washington as a "Super-Sub" for LMJ.

    Forgot to say Oregon's offense is just insane, too... period. Darron Thomas can pass, they have good receivers and depth at RB even BESIDES the 2 already mentioned! Don't even think they are stoppable this year!

  4. Daniel,

    Good comment. Just found it. I agree with you. I am not saying that LaMichael James is not replaceable. Anyone back there that poses the same threat as James will make that offense click the same way it is now.