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Wednesday TV - Games resume tomorrow night

No games on tonight, but we'll have five college games (including two D-II games) and an NFL game tomorrow night.

Eastern time listed.

NFL:

No games

College:

No games

High School:

No games

FootballScoop staff is headed west

A few months back we embarked on a Pac-12 Tour (sponsored by our good friends at Overtime Software). Off-season tour was excellent; but the coaches told us we needed to come back for a few games. Thus, this weekend we're hitting 4 Pac-12 teams...Thursday night we'll be field-level for Oregon at Arizona State and then Saturday night we'll join the fine folks at Arizona as they host Washington. No confirmed appearances scheduled yet on the worldwide leader but you never know what might happen...stay tuned. 

To get you mind right for Thursday night's matchup, take a look at a couple of stats that we found interesting...

-Strength vs. Strength: Arizona State quarterback Taylor Kelley and Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota currently rank 1-2 in the Pac-12 in passing efficiency. Each will face his stiffest test yet as Arizona State (89.4) and Oregon (107.3) also lead the conference in pass efficiency defense.

-Strength vs. Strength, Part deux: Oregon is second in the Pac-12 with 541.7 yards of total offense per game. ASU leads the league in total defense, surrendering just 272.7 yards per game.

-An area where Arizona State will try to take advantage: If Arizona State is able to pull the upset it will be because the Sun Devils consistently put Oregon in bad down-and-distance situations. Arizona State ranks No. 2 nationally by forcing 9.83 TFL per game, while Oregon is No. 102 in the country with 6.83 TFL allowed per game. Of course, when you're as explosive on offense as the Ducks are 2nd and 12 can just mean De'Anthony Thomas' latest touchdown run goes 62 yards instead of just 60.

-Score First, Score Last: Todd Graham's team is 5-0 when scoring first this season, and carries a 62-10 first quarter advantage into Thursday night. Arizona State also enjoys a 64-7 scoring margin in the fourth quarter in 2012. Meanwhile, Chip Kelly's squad has outscored the opposition 112-19 in its six games and holds a 109-28 advantage in the second half over their last four games.

-26-0: Under Chip Kelly, Oregon has never lost in 26 games played between Week 2 and Week 8 in his four seasons as head coach.

- Streaking Ducks: Oregon has the longest road winning streak in FBS (11), and has scored 30 or more points in 19 straight games - also the longest streak in FBS. Oregon is 38-2 when scoring 30 or more under Kelly.

- Stingy in the Red Zone: Oregon has allowed Pac-12 opponents only four touchdowns in 16 trips inside the red zone in 2012.

Suggestions for post-game wind-down in Tempe and Tucson are welcomed below, or on Twitter

Proof that defense wins games

St. Stanislaus HS (MS) and Poplarville HS (MS) staged a shootout for the ages on Friday night in Bay St. Louis, Miss.  Poplarville rallied from a 60-49 halftime deficit to win 82-80 in regulation. The 162 points eclipsed the previous of 145 points set in 2000. 

"It was pretty wild," former Itawamba Community College (MS) offensive cooradinator and current St. Stanislaus coach Gabe Fertitta told the Biloxi (Miss) Sun-Herald. "I've never seen anything like it. It was the perfect storm. The flow of the game is hard to describe."

St. Stanislaus opened the game with a touchdown and, playing without its top two kickers, attempted a squib kick that Poplarville fumbled and the Rockachaws recovered. St. Stanislaus scored on the ensuing possession, attempted another squib kick and again recovered after a Poplarville fumble. Another touchdown put the score at 18-0 before Poplarville's offense took the field for the first time. 

Plenty of players submitted a half-season's worth of offensive statistics in the game. Poplarville running back Jiquan James rushed 37 times for 401 yards and five touchdowns. As a team, the Hornets totaled 639 rushing yards and 846 yards of total offense.

In a losing effort, St. Stanislaus quarterback Tyler Allen connected on 25-of-37 attempts for 443 yards and seven touchdowns. The Rockachaws also had two running backs combine for 393 yards.

On a night when the final score resembled an NBA game, Poplarville head coach Chris Teal cited his defense's three forced turnovers in the third quarter that were pivotal to his team's comeback.

In holding the Rockachawks to just 20 points in the second half, Poplarville built a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter but didn't secure the win until recovering an onside kick with 54 seconds to play. 

St. Stanislaus, who is still searching for its first win in 2012, hopes that 80 points will be enough next week.

"We needed to score 83,'' Fertitta said. "We just didn't get the job done.''

Fitzgerald agrees to a pregame "nap time" for team

The Chicago Tribune did an interesting article last night on some of the changes that Pat Fitzgerald and the staff made to Northwestern's game day schedule for their 3:30pm ET kickoff against Nebraska in Evanston, which can be seen on ABC.

After what Fitzgerald and the staff felt like was a sluggish start against Boston College in week three (which was also a 3:30pm ET kickoff), Coach Fitz sat down with the members of his Leadership Council, and asked them what prevented them back from having a a fast start.

Players told him that the game clashed with their usual nap time.

Normally players show up at the football complex at 6:50am for meetings, followed by a practice from 8:50am to 10:30am, then they head to class and grab a nap in the early afternoon.

So Coach Fitz and the staff decided to rearrange the schedule a little bit to see if they can correct the slow start. For Saturday's match up, Northwestern will get in breakfast a little earlier than normal, and allow the players to take a brief nap at around 9:30am.

When asked about it, Fitz noted that he could hardly believe he agreed to allow a nap six hours before kickoff.

"Unbelievable. This is what I get paid to do. Seriously. Create nap time. It's pathetic."

How this one shakes out remains to be seen, but credit Coach Fitz and the staff on addressing why they started slow with the Leadership Council, and then taking their advice (however unconventional it may seem) on getting the issue resolved. 

 

"Offensive football is all about 11 guys doing their jobs"

After squeaking by Northern Iowa and Utah State, and losing a close to close game to Oregon State in their first three games this season, it seems that the Wisconsin offense is starting to hit their stride.

They have put up at least 31 points in three of the last four games, including their last two Big Ten games (Illinois and Purdue), and have held their opponents to 14 points in their past two conference wins. Last week against Purdue, the Badgers racked up 467 yards rushing, their highest rushing total since Bielema took over in 2006.

The Wisconsin State Journal points out that the Badgers (5-2, 2-1) have averaged 33.2 points over their past four games, after averaging just 16.3 points through their first three contests.

First year Badger offensive coordinator Matt Canada noted that all eleven guys were finally able to put it all together against the Boilermakers, as they averaged a gaudy 8.3 yards per carry.

"I say it in good days and bad days, offensive football is 11 guys doing their jobs. We ran the same plays, it's just 11 guys did their jobs. Nobody likes to hear that, like (there is) some magic potion, but there's not."

"I don't live in a box, but I try to in a sense. I'm very critical, good days and bad days. I think our players have understood that. We just have to keep going. You have to keep believing in the plan and where you are. You've just got to keep moving forward and grinding on the plan."

Bielema noted that one of the reasons that he hired Canada was his calm demeanor.

"One of the reasons I was intrigued to hire him, he's a pretty even-keel guy," Bielema said. "Probably reminds you of another guy that used to be in the same position." 

That approach looks like it's starting to pay off. We'll see how things shape up down the home stretch of their schedule. Their next two games are at home against Michigan State and Minnesota, and they wrap up the year at Indiana, at home against Ohio State, and then on the road at Penn State.

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