Daniels: What we learned from Cincy victory
While beat writer MATT DANIELS is coming to grips that his perfect prediction record is no more after he picked Cincinnati, here are three items he learned from Saturday:
Devin Gardner picked the perfect stage to honor one of college football’s greats. And Michigan made the right move in letting its quarterback honor Tom Harmon by wearing Harmon’s No. 98 during Saturday night’s primetime game against Notre Dame. Other schools should follow suit. Take Illinois for instance. Imagine Jonathan Brown coming out of the Soldier Field tunnel wearing No. 50 in homage to Dick Butkus, or Donovonn Young sporting No. 77 to commemorate Red Grange. Doubt those number switches will take place before Illinois plays Washington on Saturday evening, but it’s cool to dream.
Two is better than one
Only Miles Osei or V’Angelo Bentley can return a punt when Illinois receives one. Obviously. It would look like a bad sack race if both tried to run at the same time with the ball. But having the two return men back has proved beneficial. The duo has combined for 89 punt return yards, with each player averaging double digits in return average. For comparison’s sake, Illinois only managed 25 punt returns last year. The entire season. “I just felt it gives us security back there,” Illinois coach Tim Beckman said of the two-man approach. “We did a lot of that at other places I’ve been at. Miles Osei is in constant communication. He’s our quarterback back there. V’Angelo can just listen. Miles does a great job with that.”
Sure, Wisconsin hasn’t allowed a point all season. It’s the first time the Badgers have opened the season with back-to-back shutouts since 1958. The wins came against an FCS foe (Tennessee Tech) and a former FCS foe (Massachusetts is in its first season of full-time FBS membership after a two-year transitional period). Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez has talked about not wanting to schedule FCS teams in three years, but the Badgers sure are feasting on weaker opponents thus far. Go ahead and recite the number of FCS teams with wins against FBS opponents in the first two weeks. It’s 11. At an all-time high. But Gary Andersen will get to see if his team is for real this Saturday with a date at Arizona State, whose fans aren’t sure what to think after the Sun Devils crushed FCS foe Sacramento State 55-0 last Thursday night.