UM routs Texas A&M, 41-23 in College Station, shutting up "The 12th Man" and improving to 2-1. Big day for Robert Marve: 16-for-22 for 212 yards and two touchdowns. Two words for the Canes' day overall: Very impressive.
You'd click on Marvelous to read my column off the game. This is about as positive as I can possibly get, Canes fans, so if this one doesn't satisfy y'all, nothing will.
Your thoughts welcome.
In-game live blog:
UM about to score again but thwarted by a Marve interception at the goalline. A rare blemish for Marve.
Aggies punch in a short TD pass to pull within 41-23 with 9:32 to play, after two-point conversion fails. Too little too late? Still looks like it. But A&M has given itself a fighting chance, at least.
The Longest Third Quarter in the History of Football has ended. I began the second half clean-shaven. I now look like I'm in ZZ Top.
Aggies finally on the board again with an 18-yard scoring toss. Canes now up by "only" 41-17, late third. Crowd briefly acted like A&M was back in the game. Isn't that cute!
LB Glenn Cook scores off fumble recovery for UM: 41-10. Has an A&M crowd ever been this quiet?
Eric Moncur interception for UM, Miami's first defensive takeaway of season. Sets up Canes at A&M 15. (Pick upheld after review). Moncur's gem leads directly to Marve's 15-yard scoring pass to Hurri-Kayne Farquharson: 34-10.
Marve another big third-down pass, this one 36 yards to Dedrick Epps. Then 25 yards to Collier. An enormously impressive showing so far by the young QB. Marvelous! (Sorry). Canes add a FG: 27-10.
Dear Aggies fans making a human blizzard by waving your white towels: You didn't invent that. Dolfans were doing it in the '70s. I think it may have been at the encouragement of Rick Weaver. (Anybody still remember Rick Weaver?)
Second half on. Marve still in. That's a good thing.
In the pressbox here scouting today: Randy Mueller, former Dolphins GM, now a senior executive with the Chargers. Maybe he's looking for the next Ted Ginn Jr! (SD one of nine NFL teams repped at the game; Dolphs not among them).
Hundreds of military people are marching on to the field: Texas A&M's ROTC band. Hundreds more in the stands in uniform. Looks like we're ready to invade. That, or a John McCain ad.
Halftime. Canes in control. You get no sense they will lose this game. Nice balance on offense. Marve looks sharp. Impressive kid. His halftime stats: 11-for-13, 128 yards, one TD. Also showing some evasiveness in scramble mode.
Marve back in. Throws 26-yard TD pass to true freshman Thearon Collier in the end zone. There was not a defender with a zip code of Collier. Canes 24-10, 28 seconds before halftime.
Harris still in at QB for Miami. Marve seems fine, so put it off to Randy Shannon's wont to use both guys. UM punting with around 2 minutes left in half.
Aggies miss a 47-yard FG try, after a possible points-saving sack by DE Eric Moncur, who was said to be doubtful with a leg injury (actually ankle) but obviously is playing.
Marve tossing on the sideline. Seems fine and ready to return.
Miami moves ball 88 yards but settles for 20-yard FG and 17-10 advantage, mid-2Q. Harris had hit a big 13-yard third-down completion that had Canes knockin' on the do', first and goal from 7. Be interesting to see if Marve is back in on next possession by The U.
Marve big third-down completion but he's hurt on the play. Up onm his own and trotting off the field. Seems OK. Jacory Harris in at QB, at least temporarily.
Derron Thomas just ripped a 34-yard gain for UM. The Texas A&M defensive coordinator has a shovel and is now digging himself a large hole on the sideline.
Marve 5-for-6 in 1Q, Cooper 3 carries for 77 yards.
Scoreboard doesn't reflect it (yet), but Canes are kicking some Aggie a-- here. This game feels like it could break open for The U.
Robert Marve 66-yard third-down TD pass to Thearon Collier nullified by illegal motion against WR Leonard Hankerson. Punt results. Hurtful penalty, but still say it: A&M D cannot stop Miami.
Aggies add a 38-yard FG, pull within 14-10 late 1Q. Liking Canes right now. A&M defense doesn't look as if it can stop Miami.
Canes up 14-7 after Graig Cooper's 51-yard TD run! A&M run defense as bad as advertised.
Canes roar back fast, tie it 7-7 on a four-play, 59-yard TD drive capped by Graig Cooper's 19-yard scoring run. Robert Marve's 29-yard pass to Kayne Farquharson began the drive -- a welcome sign of an offense that may be more vertical and daring today than we saw in Gainesville. (Hope you bettors out there have the over).
Texas A&M pops UM defense for a 62-yard catch and run for a TD by tailback Mike Goodson. Was on the first play from scrimmage after a penalty. Nightmare start.
Crowd just did that back-and-forth thing during the pregame "Aggie War Hymn," one of its traditions. First time I have ever been in a press box that was literally swaying. Oy! Miami wins toss, defers to second half.
Live blog! (Fergie: "I'm Blogalicious.") Reporting to you from Kyle Field, "Home of the 12th Man," where the Canes are narrowly favored to whup Texas A&M.
Flew into Houston this morning, and saw lots of Hurricane Ike damage as I barreled north in my rental car to my hotel in Brenham. "Hotel" may be a flattery. It's a Fleabag Inn. Not sure if that's a chain. Then drove from Brenham ("Home of Blue Bell Ice Cream") farther north into College Station. Looking forward to the drive back to Brenham late tonight (Borat: "Not!")
So. The U gonna win today or what? I think so. But I'm also not sure if UM has done enough or shown enough to be favored on the road over a similar-caliber opponent in a tough venue. We'll see.
This, to me, is the most telling and in some ways interesting game of the season so far for the Canes. Be honest. You knew they'd clobber Charleston Southern. And you knew (admit it) they'd lose in Gainesville. It is this Saturday's date at Texas A&M (3:30 p.m. Eastern) that is the first "swing game" offering a strong indication how good UM might be in 2008.
If you're realistically thinking small bowl, you need to win a game like this. Both teams are 1-1 but A&M is a four-point 'dog. It tells you the Aggies are down. Yet that vaunted "12th Man" crowd presents another big challenge for Robert Marve and the Baby Canes. Miami should win, But will they? A&M struggles on run defense but I still hope Marve is unshackled here more than he was in The Swamp.
Thoughts welcome here before, during and after today's UM game or others.
Other notable state-college games today:
Minnesota 37, FAU 3: Minny only was favored by 7 today and I thought Owls had a big upset shot. Oops! The Atlantic fell hard to 1-3 instead. Much more of this and Howard might pick up the pipe again.
Boston College 34, Central Florida 7: Liked BC pretty handily. With reason, apparently. Whoever gave Central Florida its one Top 25 poll vote should have his cranium examined.
No. 4 Florida 30, Tennessee 6: Saw Florida winning close, but The Gator swamped the host Vols in a very pollster-pleasing day for the now 3-0 Gainesvillains. Rocky Topped!
No. 12 South Florida 17, FIU 9: Golden Panthers christened their new stadium in fair style. I thought they'd get blown out by 40. Instead USF wins modestly in dropping FIU to 0-3. A very stout showing by The Int'l. For the Bulls? Not a result the polls will like much. (Best wishes and prayers for USF linebacker Brouce Mompremier from Edison High, airlifted from the stadium with what was feared to be a spinal injury).
No. 18 Wake Forest 12, Florida State 3: Liked the Noles, but mainly because I still haven't gotten used to Wake being anything but lousy. Instead, FSU falls to 2-1. Well, Bobby, this is what happens when you play a real opponent.