Downs & Distance

For Georgia-LSU, game day is also mother’s day

Jim McBride’s four items of interest on this week’s college football landscape:

Maternal instinct

It’s a big week in the Southeastern Conference as the No. 9 Georgia Bulldogs prepare to host the No. 6 LSU Tigers. As you may imagine, it’s all hands on deck at the Georgia campus as preparations for the game reach a fever pitch. But one Bulldog employee is not so busy — she’s even putting her feet up for the week. That would be Tammy Mettenberger, one of the athletic department’s administrative assistants. She has another, more important job. She’s a mom. Specifically, she’s mom to Zach Mettenberger. The starting quarterback. For LSU. Georgia coach Mark Richt gave Tammy the week off. “She loves her son, obviously, and it would be awkward for her to be hanging around all week,’’ Richt told the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. Richt dismissed Zach from the Georgia program in 2010 for disciplinary reasons. “I told her, ‘Enjoy it, go have fun.’ ’’ Good call, coach.

Restoration project

Penn State received some good news this week when the NCAA announced it would restore five of the scholarships lost as a result of the alleged despicable acts of former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. Additionally, the school will continue to gain back scholarships slowly and surely until it reaches the maximum of 85 for the 2016-17 season. This is a good decision considering that those most affected by the scholarship reductions — current coaches and players — have been suffering the consequences of past transgressions they had nothing to do with. The fines and bowl restrictions were appropriate penalties from the scandal, but the scholarship reductions hurt not only the current Nittany Lions but those deserving high schoolers who may have their hearts set on playing in Happy Valley. Kudos to Bill O’Brien, who continues to lead the revival of this program with class and dignity.

Doesn’t taste right

Every year the Hilton Bonnet Creek in Orlando hosts “Cupcake Lover’s Weekend,” when guests can celebrate all things cupcake. The event is held in June but it really should have been held last weekend in conjuction with another annual event: “Beat The Filling Out Of Cupcakes Weekend” hosted by many perennial college football powers. (I swear I saw Justin Williams and Candace Nelson on the “College Gameday” panel.) Appropriately, Florida schools were at the center of these nonsensical beatings. Among the embarrassments: Miami hammering Savannah State, 77-7; Florida State ripping Bethune-Cookman, 54-6; Ohio State mashing Florida A&M, 76-0; and Louisville thumping Florida International, 72-0. We know the big schools win with an easy victory and the small schools win with a big payday. But the fans are big losers. There has to be a better way.

Hats off to them


Producing touchdowns isn’t easy. Unless you’re Dak Prescott and Jameon Lewis. The two Mississippi State Bulldogs pulled off rare hat tricks in last week’s blowout win over Troy. Both players collected TDs running, passing, and receiving. Prescott, a 6-foot-2-inch, 230-pound sophomore QB, rumbled for scores of 22 and 11 yards, threw a 50-yard scoring pass (to Lewis), and caught a 36-yard scoring strike (from Lewis). A 5-9, 195-pound junior receiver, Lewis rushed 8 yards for his third TD. Prescott leads the 2-2 Bulldogs in rushing (229 yards) and passing (709 yards) and has accounted for nine TDs on the season. Lewis, who also returns kickoffs and punts, is MSU’s leading receiver (248 yards) and has accounted for four TDs. Prescott’s numbers are especially impressive considering he is just keeping the position warm for QB Tyler Russell, who has been out with a concussion.

Jim McBride can be reached at