NCAA

Week 3: Ugly games lead to ugly wins and losses

NCAA

There's no way to sugarcoat it, Week 3 was an ugly one with a lot of ugly football games being played. Penn State defeated rival Pitt thanks to questionable playcalling, Maryland lost one of the most bizarre games ever played, Virginia Tech rallied from a double-digit deficit against FCS Furman and Virginia squeaked out a win in a penalty-filled slugfest with Florida State.

Here's a recap of the week's action.

Penn State 17, Pitt 10

The good: Journey Brown

The Nittany Lions finished with 167 rushing and 389 total yards. Brown accounted for 109 of those rushing yards alone.

The bad: The offensive line

Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford completed only 14 of his 30 passes as he faced relentless pressure from the Pitt defense that the offensive line struggled to keep contained. The Panthers sacked Clifford three times and hurried him on several other plays 

The ugly: Pitt not going for the touchdown in the fourth quarter

This is the story of the game.

Pitt trailed 17-10  with the ball at Penn State's 1-yard line and less than five minutes on the clock. Instead of going for the game-tying touchdown, the Panthers lined up to kick a chip-shot field goal which kicker Alex Kessman ultimately missed. Afterward head coach Patt Narduzzi tried to justify the call saying the team needed two scores to win the game "unless you guys are playing for overtime."

Yes, somehow Narduzzi tried to claim going for the field goal instead of the touchdown was actually the bolder move.

 

If Narduzzi is scoffing at the notion of playing for overtime, then score the touchdown and go for two instead of the extra point. The fact is, the Panthers started that drive needing a touchdown. Even if they had made the field goal, the next time they got the ball, if at all, they would still need a touchdown. The problem was not that Pitt missed the field goal, it's that they should not have been trying to kick it at all. The Panthers were on the road playing a fierce and highly ranked Penn State team in the last game between these two rivals for the foreseeable future and Narduzzi went as conservative as possible. This game deserved bolder action from Narduzzi.

Temple 20, Maryland 17

The good: Anthony McFarland

The Terps are loaded with a strong running back core and McFarland has established himself as the dominant force through which this offense runs. He had 26 carries for 132 yards and a touchdown against Temple, as he tried to carry a sputtering offense to the win.

The bad: The playcalling

Going for it on fourth and goal from the 1-yard line in the first quarter? I get it. The Terps' strength is their rushing game, you want to be aggressive and push the Owls around up the middle, fine. But when you do that and then attempt a fake field goal on the very next drive, it came off as desperate. The score was 7-2 in the second quarter. There was no need for the Terps to chose points at that moment in the game and it cost them. Three extra points for Maryland certainly would have been significant in this game.

The ugly: Everything

Unless you watched, I am not sure it is possible to describe this game in a way that can adequately capture how unbelievably ugly and crazy it truly was.

This game featured a muffed punt, a goal-line stand, a safety off a bad snap on a punt, a fake field goal, a missed field goal, an interception negated by a penalty, seven Maryland players failing to pick up a fumble, a defensive holding call on third down which ultimately led to the go-ahead touchdown, a punt return to the 4-yard line that led to a second goal-line stand and seven-yard punt that gave Maryland one final opportunity to win the game .

Virginia Tech 24, Furman 17

The good: Tre Turner's second half

Down 14-3 at halftime to an FCS opponent, the Hokies needed someone to step up and take back control of the game. Turner scored a pair of touchdowns in the second half which took a 14-10 deficit and put the Hokies up 24-14.

The wide receiver proved a versatile weapon on Saturday with five carries for 68 yards on the ground and four catches for 29 yards.

The bad: Turnovers

Virginia Tech simply cannot hold onto the football. The Hokies entered Saturday's game tied for last among all FBS programs in turnover margin. Furman turned the ball over twice, but so did Virginia Tech which now has eight total turnovers through the first three games of the season.

The ugly: The first half

There was outright panic in Blacksburg after the first half as Furman took a 14-3 lead into halftime. That's not supposed to happen against an FCS opponent.

 

Virginia Tech had only 107 yards of offense in the first half with one made field goal, one missed field goal, two punts and two turnovers.

Navy 42, East Carolina 10

The good: Malcolm Perry's six touchdowns

Perry ran for four touchdowns on the ground and threw for another two touchdowns for six total scores. Six is the most a single player has scored for Navy since Keenan Reynolds scored six on Nov. 15, 2014.

The bad: Three wins

Navy is 2-0 on the season, already pulling them within one win of last year's total of three. Their dominance in the early season is a reflection of how much this team hasa improved and is ready to put an ugly 2018 behind them.

The ugly: The pass attack

Who would have thought you would be reading about the passing offense from Navy? If you can't even keep the Midshipmen from passing, it is going to be a long day for you. That proved true for ECU on Saturday.

Perry completed five of seven passes on Saturday for 151 yards and two touchdowns showing a different dimension of the Navy offense most would have assumed they did not have.

Virginia 31, Florida State 24

The good: Bryce Perkins

Florida State linebacker Leonard Warner said earlier in the week of Perkins, “I don’t think we are going to have too much trouble with him. We have a good game plan built up. I think we have pretty good plan for controlling him.”

Perkins ended up throwing for 295 yards and a touchdown and rushing for 46 yards. He did throw two picks, but he also had perhaps the play of the game.

When Virginia scored the go-ahead touchdown with 2:34 remaining in the game, they lined up to go for 2. Left with no one to pass to, Perkin danced around in the backfield desperately trying to find an open receiver. He stepped into the pocket, retreated back, scrambled right, put on the breaks and turned back left, set to throw, pulled the ball in again, then turned the corner on the defense to the left and knifed through the stunned defense into the end zone.

The bad: A missed extra point

A one-yard touchdown run from Taulapapa pulled UVa within one at 24-23 with just over six minutes left to play. Brian Delaney stepped up for the extra point...and missed. At the time, given how much time was left in the game, it felt like a significant blunder for Virginia. Luckily for the Cavaliers, it did not end up costing them.

The ugly: Penalties

Just about everything is going wrong for Florida State in the Willie Taggart era, but one issue that was staggering on Saturday was the Seminoles' total lack of discipline. Florida State was flagged 10 times for 83 yards in this game including four fourth-quarter flags. Two of those flags were personal fouls.

 

As undisciplined as the Seminoles looked in the fourth, Virginia was just as bad with four penalties late in the game, all of which came with less than three minutes remaining to give Florida State a chance to tie the game.

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