Inspiring moment at Duke

FROM STAFF REPORTSSeptember 17, 2012 

Duke Holliday Football

Duke wide receiver's Blair Holliday (8) stepped onto the football field at Wallace Wade Stadium with Braxton Deaver (89) before an NCAA college football game against NC Central, Saturday Sept. 15, 2012, in Durham N.C. It was first time for Holliday since being critically injured in a jet ski accident over the July 4 holiday weekend. (AP Photo/The Herald-Sun, Bernard Thomas)

BERNARD THOMAS — AP

Incredible is the only word to describe Blair Holliday’s return to Duke Saturday to serve as the honorary captain for the Blue Devils’ 54-17 win over N.C. Central. Holliday was on the cusp of death after a July 4th jet-ski accident, and by all reports, he was a long-shot to ever walk again. His progress and fighting spirit are inspirational.

Florida State: Given their recent problems with Wake Forest, Saturday’s 52-0 total domination of the Demon Deacons was impressive but the losses by Southern California and Michigan State, and the win by Florida, were also key for FSU.

The Seminoles’ schedule is such a hot, steaming pile of garbage, what Florida does in the SEC East is almost as important to FSU’s BCS title hopes as their own results.

Stanford: In the past two years, the Cardinal has lost the best coach in football (Jim Harbaugh) and the best quarterback prospect in a generation (Andrew Luck), yet it keeps on winning.

Saturday’s 21-14 win over USC was the Cardinal’s fourth straight against the overrated Trojans, whose BCS title hopes are all but shot.

East Carolina: With just a smidge of consistency, which has been elusive under Ruffin McNeill, the Pirates will take the East Division in Conference USA after Saturday’s inspiring 24-14 win at Southern Miss.

A win this week over North Carolina wouldn’t hurt McNeill’s cause either.

Virginia Tech: Yes, that’s an up arrow for the Hokies. Saturday’s loss to a bad Pitt team only means Frank Beamer’s team is guaranteed to win the Coastal Division (see Sept. loss to James Madison, 2010; Sept. loss to ECU, 2008).

You can’t pull the old okey-doke on me, Gobblers. Somehow, it’s fitting in the post-expansion the Hokies are both the ACC’s biggest asset yet also the biggest liability.


Good lines

It’s early, but Utah quarterback Jon Hays delivered the best quote of the season, and perhaps this century, after the Utes’ wild, 24-21 win over rival Brigham Young, which featured not one, not two but three field-storming celebrations by the Utes and their fans.

“That’s something I’ll remember when I’m 85 and with Alzheimer’s,” Hays said.

While a distant second-place to Hays’ line, USC linebacker Anthony Sarao offered a commendable contribution after the Trojans’ 21-14 loss to Stanford.

“I feel bad for the next team we’re going to play,” Sarao said.


Two-minute drill

Heels tuning in: Saturday’s second-half comeback by North Carolina was the best sign yet that athletics director Bubba Cunningham hired the right coach in Larry Fedora. Down 36-7 at the half, North Carolina could have quit, and recent versions have (see the Missouri game). That Fedora can get a group of players that he didn’t recruit, and that have nothing to play for, to tune in and keep fighting for him is commendable.

Not all bad news for rocky top: Not all was lost for Tennessee fans Saturday, despite the disappointing 37-20 home loss to Florida. Reviled former coach Lane Kiffin suffered his first setback with USC, likely one that cost Kiffin – who was booed by Tennessee fans on the jumbotron at the N.C. State game in Atlanta on Aug. 31 – a shot at the BCS title.

Time is not on their side: Paul Johnson bristles at the notion that teams can “solve” Georgia Tech’s offense with extra prep time but Virginia didn’t exactly help his argument Saturday. Last year, with an extra week, Virginia beat Georgia Tech, 24-21 at home.

Saturday without the benefit of extra time, the Yellow Jackets blasted Virginia, 56-20 in Atlanta.

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