Running with reckless abandon earns highest mark


    Welcome to the Week 13 edition of the report card in 2021.

    As the final weeks of the college football season descend upon us, teams have little margin for error and thus will get hammered when the performance does not meet the Report Card standards.

    Remember as always, there is no grading on a curve here, so failing marks have zero chance for being reversed and passing ones are handed out less frequently. (Again, reminding readers that emails and complaint tweets will be deleted).

    Last week’s low marks went to schools scheduling cupcakes late in the season and the ugly ConFLiCT today while Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz and Houston’s student equipment manager received passing grades.

    The Week 13 analysis of how fans, teams, players and coaches fared:

    Heroes can be goats

    Stealing mascots has been a time-honored tradition through the years, although the concept in theory makes no sense and is certainly played out in this day and age.

    But what happened with Army threw logic out the window and went down like a bad “Saved by the Bell” episode in its planning and execution. The students at Bayside and Valley would surely be disappointed in this caper.

    So, some cadets decided to travel to Maryland in an attempt to steal Navy mascot Bill. Not exactly Ocean’s 11, but whatever. Instead of corralling Bill No. 37, they grabbed Bill No. 34, who was probably minding his own business when the culprits decided to raid a goat farm and mess up his day.

    Besides, Mr. 34 was trying to live his best life as a retired mascot with only one horn and arthritis.

    Needless to say the mission wasn’t a success and Bill No. 34 was returned to the farm safely. The whole incident did nothing but waste a lot of time, make some high-ranking military commanders mad and some sticky-fingered cadets nervous because discipline is certainly coming their way.

    Spirit mission impossible: F

    Wardrobe malfunction

    Florida Gators running back Dameon Pierce (27) runs with the ball as his helmet comes off against the Florida State Seminoles  during the second half at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    Florida Gators running back Dameon Pierce (27) runs with the ball as his helmet comes off against the Florida State Seminoles during the second half at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    Football players are a different kind of animal to play the sport, risking their well-being with the possibility of getting hurt on every play. This was once again proven during Saturday’s Florida-Florida State contest.

    Early in the fourth quarter, Florida running back Dameon Pierce was running in for a score when he lost his helmet around the 5-yard line.

    In college football, once a runner loses his helmet the play is automatically ruled dead. Plus, a player has to leave the field for one play once the helmet comes off.

    But Pierce didn’t care about any of those rules as he kept on running into the end zone and was subsequently flagged 15 yards for continuing to run without his helmet.

    Pierce scored a 3-yard touchdown with his helmet on and intact a few plays later.

    Mini beast mode: A+

    Originality decayed

    The Report Card is a big fan of originality and even a sniff of plagiarism — no matter if it was inspired by something else — just doesn’t sit well.

    While NIL deals have been all the rage this season, the latest one comes from the world of dental hygiene. Kentucky defensive end Josh Paschal scored a deal with a Lexington pediatric dentistry and the commercial shows him discouraging kids from eating sugary foods (good luck with that) with lines like “Don’t be bringing these sugar-coated lies into my house.”

    While still waiting for Haribo (the maker of those tasty gummy bears) to sponsor this column, the concept of not having cavities is novel and something that should be applauded.

    Those of a certain age will remember the Reebok-sponsored Terry Tate office linebacker spots when a football player wrecked shop to make the workplace more efficient. Paschal, with the sweet nickname of “Defender of decay”, does a nice job of getting the point across about great dental hygiene even though the reminders of Tate were ever-present.

    Rotten tooth: C-

    Book ’em Dano

    This week’s troll of the week and all its chest-thumping pettiness comes from the Michigan State Police. No not the Spartans, but the actual law enforcement arm for the state.

    After the Wolverines broke an eight-game losing streak to Ohio State, the authorities wanted to make sure those traveling back to Ohio followed all traffic laws.

    “Those leaving Ann Arbor, please drive and celebrate safely. If you happen to be heading to the state down south, you can really take your time, your season is over,” read a tweet that pretty much summed up the day for the Buckeyes.

    Sound of da police: A

    Check out a pair of one-handed grabs from Penn State wideout Parker Washington and Florida State’s Ontaria Wilson.

    Follow reporter Scooby Axson on Twitter @ScoobAxson

    This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: College football report card: Finding inner beast mode gets an ace


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