College football mix-up: week two

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Despite the fact that there wasn’t a matchup between ranked teams in week two of the college football season, there was no shortage of upsets, holy crap moments, Penn State further incinerating the heart and soul of their fan base, and thrilling finishes. Let’s take a look at the week that was.

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Penn State is ‘Ficken’ up, and they are ‘Ficken’ up bad

            After losing an emotional battle at home to Ohio in week one, Penn State had a great opportunity to rebound against Virginia down in Charlottesville. The Nittany Lions played well, but were let down repeatedly by 19-year-old sophomore kicker, Sam Ficken. Ficken missed three of his first four field goal attempts – including a 20-yard chip shot – and had an extra point blocked before he was called upon to kick a would-be game winner from 42 yards with virtually no time left on the clock.

            Imagine the weight on this kid’s shoulders as he prepares to take this kick. Not only does he have the memory of three missed kicks prior to this one burning in his mind, he knows that this kick would give fans that have endured a heartbreaking year for the ages some happiness. 

            I’m not a Penn State hater and I am certainly not a fan of their program, but as I sit lazily in my living room recliner my internal conscience is rooting for Ficken to make the kick as if he was kicking in the Super Bowl for the New York Jets. As he waits for the ball to be snapped, I audibly repeat to no one in particular, “Come on man, just put it through.” I get up out of my chair and put my hands on my head, tugging at the roots of my hair for this kid.

            The ball was snapped, the holder managed to get the ball down, and Ficken pulled it left.  Call it karma, call it bad luck, call it coincidence – Penn State is in a bad way right now.

A side note of little significance: Ficken’s horrendous day gave birth to one of the greatest name-related puns of all time. Surely Penn State students will use ‘Ficken’ as a swear word for years to come.

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Two shockers for teams that finished in the top 10 last season

            There were two scores that made your mouth drop in week two. First there was Arkansas’ inexplicable defeat to University of Louisiana Monroe. The win was Louisiana Monroe’s first win over a ranked team since 1994. The Razorbacks lost star quarterback Tyler Wilson to a head injury in the first half, but an SEC team ranked No. 8 in the country should be able to defeat a team from the Sun Belt Conference with or without their starting quarterback. The worst part about the loss is that had Arkansas been able to beat UL-Monroe, it would set up a top-10 matchup with Alabama next week. The shine from that game is now gone.

            Just as bizarre was No. 13 Wisconsin’s loss to a bad Oregon State team. Pre-season Heisman candidate Monte Ball was bottled up for just 61 yards on 15 carries and Wisconsin was only able to score once in the 10-7 loss to the Beavers. There is cause for concern here for the Badgers as they were only able to defeat Northern Iowa by five points in their week one opener. Wisconsin better figure it out offensively or a year filled with promise could end in Big 10 mediocrity.

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Heisman Hopefuls

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1. Matt Barkley – Quarterback, USC

            Barkley gave no reason to knock him off the top of the Heisman ladder as he threw for 187 yards and achieved a career high six touchdowns in the Trojans 42-29 victory over Syracuse.

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2. Geno Smith – Quarterback, West Virginia

            West Virginia was idle in week two but Smith’s week one performance was impressive enough to keep his Heisman hype buzzing. Smith will get another chance to put up videogame numbers when West Virginia takes on an overmatched James Madison team this weekend.

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3. De’Anthony Thomas – Running back, Oregon

            Thomas is the Oregon do-it-all back and he has put up eye-popping numbers despite sharing the backfield with Kenjon Barner. In two games this season he has racked up 247 all-purpose yards and five touchdowns. Those numbers despite touching the football a total of 18 times – that is efficiency at its finest.