Nothing quite said "ugly" like the final regular season weekend of the 2011 season. Coaches were fired, teams blew big leads, and others continued their modus operandi of just being ugly.
Enjoy, if you can stomach it.
If you were pulling for Arkansas just to cause a ripple in the Bowl Championship Series, you are included in this.
Arkansas was up 14-0 on LSU – in the second quarter. The final score was 41-17. Yeah, it was one of those games.
The 14-0 score was as beguile to those holding out hope for a shakeup at the top as any I have ever witnessed. Arkansas had 86 total yards, at the time, following the Tyler Wilson touchdown pass to Jarius Wright and the Alonzo Highsmith fumble return for a score.
When the score was 14-0, LSU did not show consternation when they could have; LSU only had 53 yards itself. LSU did as great teams do. They persevered. They won.
In the end, Arkansas relented, giving up 494 total yards to LSU; 286 of which was on the ground, as the Bayou Bengals pounded away.
LSU running back Kenny Hilliard rushed 19 times for 102 yards, Michael Ford rushed 11 times for 96 yards and quarterback Jordan Jefferson added 53 yards himself.
The Aggies of Texas A&M did not have much of a swan song versus the Longhorns in the two schools final rivalry game – for now.
A&M jumped out to an early 13-0 lead versus Texas, and lead 16-7 at the half. When you hold your challenger to 237 total yards in a game – as A&M did against the Longhorns – you are expected to win. Three interceptions, a fumble and inept coaching – at best – did the Aggies in. Texas prevailed over A&M 27-25.
A&M – who had lofty expectations coming into the 2011 season – underwhelmed its loyal fans by giving up lead after lead after lead, finishing 6-6 overall.
With the future of Mike Sherman’s employment in doubt, A&M now moves on to a bowl game they never envisioned and on to the Southeastern Conference.
More ugly appears to be a now certain virtue of the Aggies.
Good news first; Tulsa led Houston 10-6 in the first quarter.
Enough of that. When the clock struck 00:00 – at the end of the fourth quarter – Houston moved one game closer to their BCS dreams, defeating Tulsa 48-16.
Case Keenum once again torched his opponent, throwing for 457 yards and five touchdowns. In total, Tulsa allowed 558 yards in defeat.
The Akron Zips culminated its season-to-be-forgotten last Friday against Western Michigan, going down – and finishing 1-11 – 68-19.
The loss – by the Zips – and the subsequent firing of Rob Ianello, marked the end of a disastrous two seasons for the University.
Akron – who has not had a one-win season since 1994 – had no other move to make other than to let Ianello – a former Notre Dame assistant – go.
Akron surrendered 68 points, 577 total yards (240 rushing, 337 passing), to a 6-5 Western Michigan team who were just 1-of-7 on 3rd down conversions Friday.
Offensively, Akron was offensive. The Zips managed 208 total yards and its quarterback combination – of Moore, Nicely and Chisholm – were a combined 5-of-25 for 35 passing yards.
A week removed from implementing a self-imposed bowl ban, Miami played unmotivated
At home – and on senior day – Miami welcomed the 3-8 Boston College Eagles to town. The Eagles left with win number four.
Miami quarterback Jacory Harris played his final home game in front of a few thousand rabid (or were they sleeping) fans, throwing four interceptions in the 24-17 defeat.
Arizona State is one of the great enigma’s of this 2011 season. The Sun Devils, chock full of talent, underperformed all season. The misfortunes that befell Arizona State falls on the head coach – Dennis Erickson – and it appears the situation will be rectified.
Akin to Illinois, Arizona State also started the season on the dapper side in 2011. 5-1 heading to face Oregon – where they were dismantled 41-27 – is where it all fell apart. The Sun Devils would only defeat Colorado the rest of the way, finishing 6-6 overall.
Friday, Arizona State faced California (7-5, 4-5 Pac-12) where they, again, were taken down 47-38.
Sure, Arizona State put 477 yards of total offense on California (213 rushing, 264 passing) but this is more a cataclysmic collapse down the stretch than the game itself.
Arizona State turned it over four times and committed 11 penalties for 121 free yards for California. A fitting end for Dennis Erickson.
Rutgers graciously bowed out of Big East contention Saturday, deciding they wanted no part of a BCS bid. Its opponent? The 4-6 UConn Huskies.
This game was never really close. UConn got up on Rutgers 14-0 in the first quarter and never looked back, finishing the Scarlet Knights off 40-22.
To add insult to the loss, Rutgers outgained Uconn by 140 yards Saturday. When you turn the ball over six times, it usually does not matter the yardage you put up. This fact was indeed the case for Rutgers. Rutgers fumbled three times and threw three interceptions at the most inopportune times, well, depending on your vantage point anyway.
As abominable as the Tennessee Volunteers have been this 2011 season, the Kentucky Wildcats have been worse. What Tennessee had going for itself was a 26-game winning streak versus the Kentucky Wildcats, and along with that and being one win away from bowl eligibility, there were silver linings heading into Saturday. It was all for naught.
Kentucky knew it could not pass the ball against anyone – much less Tennessee – so they did not try. Matt Roark – a wide receiver – filled in at quarterback and the Wildcats ran the Wildcat all game long, literally.
Kentucky only threw six passes the entire game as Joker Phillips relied on his defense, and misdirection offense to defeat Tennessee by a final score of 10-7.
Roark ran the ball 24 times for 124 yards Saturday, as Tennessee fell to 5-7 on the season.
Dooley said in the aftermath: '”We thought they might come out in a wildcat, but didn’t know it was going to be the whole game. We had to sit there and basically play wing-T football”
The heat in Knoxville has definitely been turned up a few notches.
NC State had numerous opportunities to surrender this season. It had many more chances to quit Saturday versus Maryland. The Wolfpack never did.
NC State – down by four touchdowns – never said die and Mike Glennon and the rest of the Wolfpack team rallied back – inexplicably really – to defeat the Maryland Terrapins by a score of 56-41.
Maryland led 41-21 entering the fourth quarter Saturday. Stunning everyone who watched or listened to the game Saturday, NC State scored 35 unanswered points to shock the Terps. For the ‘Pack, this game was as beauteous as they come.
From beauteous to revolting, we move to what was the final straw for the Illinois Fighting Illini head coach Ron Zook. Entering Saturday against a two-win Minnesota team, Illinois hoped to end its five-game losing skid. Not only did Illinois do no such thing, but it was dominated – in a losing effort – 27-7.
Illinois mustered just 160 total yards against Minnesota and as time expired on the game clock, everyone had a feeling that Ron Zook’s time had concluded as well.
Zook was relieved of his duties Sunday.
As I watched Penn State Saturday against Wisconsin, I could not help but be apperceive that all the inspiration that Penn State had once lived off of – in the weeks following the dismissal of legendary head coach Joe Paterno – had perished.
Wisconsin put up 450 total yards on Penn State (264 rushing, 186 passing) in complete domination.
Between the two quarterbacks – and one wide receiver – who threw passes for Penn State against Wisconsin, they combined 11-of-25 passing for 119 yards, a touchdown and interception.
In a fall which has already seen Mike Stoops, Houston Nutt, Joe Paterno and others fired for various reasons, the coaching carousel took a few more spins Sunday, with a handful of other head bosses being relieved of their duties. Some of the more high-profile names let go included Illinois’ Ron Zook, Kansas’ Turner Gill, and in a piece of information that just came across the newswire, Arizona State’s Dennis Erickson. To the best of our knowledge, that’s seven open coaching jobs, with three schools currently employing interim head coaches (Ohio State, North Carolina and Penn State). In addition, a few schools like UCLA and Washington State are reportedly in the works of removing their current coaches in the coming days.
THE BOTTOM FIVE: END OF REGULAR SEASON EDITION.
The Five Ugliest Offenses in America
116: Akron – 277.75 yards per game
117: Memphis – 274.25 yards per game
118: Kentucky – 259.75 yards per game
119: Florida Atlantic – 257.91 yards per game
120: Kent State – 253.50 yards per game
The Five Ugliest Defenses in America
115: (Tie) Texas Tech & UAB – 485.58 yards per game
117: New Mexico – 487.45 yards per game
118: Memphis – 491.00 yards per game
119: Ball State – 510.33 yards per game
120: Kansas – 516.42 yards per game
Intercept me please: (Most Interception in the country)
115: (Tie) Tulsa & UTEP: 17
117: Central Michigan – 18
118: (Tie) Oregon State & SMU – 19
120: East Carolina – 20
Take this Damn Ball, I don’t want it: (Most turnovers in the country)
116: (Tie) Oregon State & SMU - 31
118: (Tie) San Jose State & Tulsa – 32
120: East Carolina – 35
Third Downs? What is this you speak of? (Worst third-down conversion percentage)
116: Florida Atlantic – 29.33%
117: Kentucky – 28.98%
118: Kent State – 28.42%
119: Idaho – 28.40%
120: Akron – 27.78%
We must NOT protect this quarterback. (Most sacks allowed this season)
116: Hawaii – 39
117: (Tie) Ohio State & Washington State – 40
119: Miami (OH) – 47
120: Pittsburgh – 53
Red-Zone? More like dead-zone. (Worst red-zone production)
115: (Tie) Iowa State, Middle Tennessee State, Troy and Colorado State – 68%
119: (Tie) North Texas & New Mexico – 63%
Discipline I tell ya, discipline. (Most penalties per game)
116: Florida Atlantic – 7.91
117: Arizona – 7.92
118: Colorado - 7.92
119: FIU – 8.08
120: FSU – 8.17
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