WASHINGTON — When Arizona State hired Herm Edwards last offseason, more than a few eyebrows were raised. After all, here was a man who had not coached in the NFL since 2008 and had not been in the college ranks since the late 80s. Don’t even get me started about his “crazy eyes” occasionally sported during his on-air work.
Followed by a news conference where he invited the Sun Devils faithful to “get on the train” (for the record, the Pac-12 conference is primarily a jet-travel league), there were snickers about how a 60-something quote machine would win the news conferences but look like Rip Van Winkle guiding a Power Five program. There may have even been references to the Tempe school’s lax admissions policy by the snarks. But two weeks into his rookie campaign, the Sun Devils are 2-0 with an upset victory over #15 Michigan State. In what appears to be down years for USC and UCLA, Edwards has a senior quarterback in Manny Wilkins who threw for 380 yards against the Spartans.
For the moment, Arizona State and Herm Edwards appear to be a match made in the desert.
Maryland (2-0) actually trailed at the half to Bowling Green before outscoring the Falcons 35-0 after intermission in a 45-14 win. They’re already halfway to last year’s four victories … and have yet to lose a starting quarterback to injury. Knock on wood …
- Terrapin Triumphs: After punting on their first drive of the third quarter, the offense tallied touchdowns on their next five drives — led by a running game that averaged more than 8 yards per carry behind Ty Johnson (12 carries for 124 yards) and Tayon Fleet-Davis (15 carries for 102 yards). Linebacker Isaiah Davis notched 10 tackles and two sacks to pace a defense that held BG to 7 yards total on 25 plays in the second half.
- Terrapin Troubles: Fourteen penalties for 139 yards. That’s the kind of day that helps you lose on the road (witness Texas and their penalty issues last week) … and will most likely cost you in conference play. Kasim Hill was held to 50 percent passing one week after the team completed over 60 percent of their throws against Texas.
Next: Saturday at noon against 1-1 Temple.
#12 Virginia Tech (2-0) on a short turnaround (five days) was able provide a knockout blow early in its 62-17 win over William & Mary. The offense that rode caddie to the dominant defense and special teams on Labor Day flexed its muscles — and served notice to the rest of the ACC.
- Hokie Highlights: Josh Jackson threw for 217 yards and a touchdown while directing an offense that gained 305 yards on the ground. After having issues on third down in Tallahassee, Tech moved the chains on nine of 11 attempts against the Tribe. Reggie Floyd (seven tackles) led a defense that limited the visitors to 34 yards on 29 carries. Terius Wheatley notched a 51-yard kickoff return.
- Hokie Humblings: The big play has bit the defense a couple of times this year. They allowed an 85-yard run at Florida State and coughed up passed of 59 and 71 yards this week.
Next: Saturday at 3:30 p.m. against East Carolina.
Virginia (1-1) scored on the opening drives of both halves at Indiana, but provided little else in a 20-16 loss to the Hoosiers. After gaining 146 yards on their first possessions of each half, the Cavaliers managed just 148 yards in their other ten times they had the ball.
- Cavalier Congrats: Bryce Perkins ran for and passed for scores while gaining 123 yards on the ground. Joey Blount led the defense with 13 tackles and Juan Thornhill tallied two points while scoring a defensive point after touchdown.
- Cavalier Concerns: Perkins connected on just 50 percent of his throws while averaging less than 9 yards per completed pass. The defense allowed 237 yards on 5.4 yards per carry — including 204 to freshman Stevie Scott. Blount may have made 13 stops, but he’s also a safety meaning that the front seven weren’t able to contain.
Next: Saturday at 3 p.m. against 1-0 Ohio.
Navy (1-1) bounced back from its loss at Hawaii, rallying to squeak past Memphis 22-21. The Mids owned the fourth quarter, outgaining the Tigers 96 to 47 and sending a message to the rest of the AAC that last year may have been an aberration.
- Midshipmen Medals: Malcolm Perry led the team in passing, rushing and receiving yards — one ridiculous triple play. Despite scoring just 22 points, the offense held the ball for over 42 minutes. Sean Williams notched nine tackles as the defense tallied four take-aways. Just one penalty.
- Midshipmen Miscues: The offense had issues, converting on just 6 of 17 third downs. The defense that allowed 59 points at Hawaii coughed up over 9 yards per carry to the Tigers.
Next: Saturday at 3:30 p.m. against 1-1 Lehigh.