This weekend saw 5 ranked teams get beat, 2 by unranked teams, and one top 10 team came inches from being upset. None of these 5 ranked teams got beat as badly as Maryland did. The Seminoles put 63 on the Terps as well as shutting them out. Baylor was once again able to put up 70+ points for the 3rd time in 4 games(the other game they scored 69). Southern Miss extended their losing streak to 17 straight losses after being unable to hold off FIU. Rutgers and SMU had a 3OT thriller that included one of the most amazing 2 point conversions ever(even if the TD before it might have been an incorrect call). Just another average week in college football!
How I Fared; I was 4-2 this week for picking winners, but I was WAY off on margin of victory. I had Florida State beating Maryland by less than two touchdowns and the score was 63-0. I had Baylor beating West Virginia by more than a TD, which, technically, was right. The score was 73-42. Instead of beating Washington by my predicted 2TD, the Cardinal won by 3. I don’t exactly know how to count my Ohio State margin. I picked them to win by a TD, and they officially won by 10 after recovering the ball in the endzone as time expired after Northwestern’s laterals stopped working. The score says 10 points, but I’m going to count it as 4. I was completely wrong in both of the SEC games I picked. I had Ole Miss beating Auburn by 2TD, and Auburn won by 8. I had Vanderbilt beating Missouri by a TD. The Commodores only lost by 23… My overall record is now 25-8.
4Ohio State 40 16Northwestern 30; As I said, I am seeing this game as Ohio State beating Northwestern 34-30, not 40-30. This game went back and forth for all 4 quarters. The end of the first quarter saw Ohio State block a punt and return it for a TD Ohio State’s game winning TD came with 5:22 left on a 7 yard rush by Carlos Hyde who totaled 168 rushing yards and two other TDs. QB Braxton Miller was 15/26 for 205 yards and an INT and had 2 fumbles. The majority of his passes went to WR Philly Brown who had 127 yards. Northwestern QB Trevor Sieman was 13/18 for 245 yards and 2TD. Kain Coulter was 12/12 for 98 yards, a rushing TD and a receiving TD. Cameron Dickerson caught the other TD and Rashad Lawrence had 149 receiving yards. This was an exciting game, and I almost wish I had changed to it after the first quarter of the Arkansas Florida game. Almost.
5Stanford 31 15Washington 28; Darn these west coast games! Some of the most exciting games this season have been going on when I am asleep. This game is just another example. the game started with a 99 yard opening kickoff return TD by Stanford’s Ty Montgomery and a FG to open the 2nd quarter to put the Cardinal up 10-0. The teams traded TDs for the rest of the game, Washington always coming within 3, but then Stanford would score again. One of the most interesting things is that Washington outgained Stanford by 210 yards but the time of possession was almost identical. In picking this game, I was sure Stanford would be able to pull away in the 4th quarter, but the Huskies were able to hold on compete with Stanford the whole way, they just couldn’t quite catch up.
6Georgia 34 Tennessee 31 OT; This was the game of the week by far. And what a game it was. Tennessee came to play and was mere inches from upsetting the 6th ranked team in the country. Inches. The score at the half was Georgia 17, Tennessee 3. Not that close, but not a blowout either. Georgia would have to score a TD with 5 seconds left in the 4th quarter to send the game into overtime. Tennessee scored 4TDs in the second half to make it a game. The fourth came with just under two minutes to play, putting them up by a TD. Now, to an outside observer, the game was over, but to those who watch football every weekend, 2 minutes is a long time. A very long time. Especially when you have to give the ball back to Aaron Murray, the SEC’s all time leader in career passing yards. Murray was able to complete a pass for 32 yards to Brendan Douglas on 3rd and 6 to put the Bulldogs at the Tenn 13. Tennessee then had two costly penalties that gave Georgia 1st and goal from the 2. On 3rd down, Murray hit Rantavious Wooten for the 2yard TD and the PAT was good. In OT, Tennessee’s Alton Howard carried the ball to the UGA 1, but as he was diving toward the end zone, he fumbled before crossing the plane, resulting in a touchback. This gave the ball to Georgia, and they won the game on a FG. During regulation, Tennessee blocked a punt and returned it for a TD. This is the kind of game I love to see in college football. Tennessee was not supposed to be able to beat Georgia, and they almost did. The thing I don’t like to see is injuries, and this game had plenty, including 3 right knee injuries for Georgia. Michael Bennett tore his meniscus and has already had surgery and is expected to return this season. (I will have a special interest in Bennett going forward because I recently tore my meniscus and had surgery.) Keith Marshall and Justin Scott-Wesley each tore their ACL and will be out for the season. This just adds to the long list of already injured Georgia players. Here’s hoping to a speedy recovery to all.
Notre Dame 37 22Arizona State 34; This game was going on at the same time as the Ohio State Northwestern game, so I was flipping channels during the fourth quarter of each game. I ended up paying more attention to the Ohio State game after Notre Dame scored on a pick 6 with about a minute to go in the game, thinking it was over. Arizona State was unable to come back and win, but they did make it interesting by scoring with 11 seconds left. That was not enough time for the Sun Devils to pull the upset. Notre Dame was able to get a win on their home field after getting knocked out of the top 25 by Oklahoma two weeks ago. Tommy Rees had a good game, going 17/38 for 279 yards, 3TD and an INT that was returned for a TD to start the 4th quarter. Those three TDs were caught by TJ Jones, Troy Niklas and Ben Koyack. Arizona State QB Taylor Kelly was 33/47 for 362 yards, 3TD and 2INT. His 3TDs went to Jaelen Strong, Marion Grice and De’Marieya Nelson. Notre Dame was up by 11 points going into the fourth quarter, and Arizona was able to score 3TD in the final 15 minutes.
Auburn 30 24Ole Miss 22; Okay, I didn’t predict this upset, but the outcome of the game was not a surprise to me at all. Auburn has only lost to one team this year, and that team is LSU. And they played better in that game than I thought they would. Auburn is also 2-1 in the SEC West, the division that has produced the last 4 national champions and 5 of the 7 straight from the SEC. This Auburn team is nothing to laugh at or underestimate. They tend to play up to their competition rather than being the same each week. This ability is scary, but will they be able to take that on the road in the SEC? And what about Ole Miss? They only have one more road game this season, and it’s against in state rival Mississippi State. Will being at home give them the chance to compete with Texas A&M, LSU, Arkansas, and Mizzou? Those questions can only be answered after the games are over, so for now, here are the interesting notes from last weeks game. Auburn QB Nick Marshall was the Tigers’ most important player, going 11/17 for 93 yards and 140 rush yards with 2 rush TDs. Tre Mason added a rush TD and Robenson Therezie picked off Bo Wallace and ran 78 yards for the score in the first quarter. The magic matchup for Ole Miss was Bo Wallace and Donte Moncrief, but they weren’t enough magic for the Rebels to overcome the Tigers. Wallace was 25/48 for 336 yards, 2TD(both to Moncrief) and 2INT. Auburn closed out the game by sacking Wallace on 3rd and 4th downs to gain possession with about 2 minutes left in the game.
Rutgers 55 SMU 52 3OT; Rutgers has played some exciting football this year. Exciting was an understate for how this game ended. Going into the fourth quarter, Rutgers was up by 21 points(for the second time in the game). Now, I wouldn’t be calling this exciting if Rutgers won by 21 or 14. It was exciting because SMU scored 3TDs in the 4th quarter. Maybe. I turned it on just as the 3rd “TD” was scored. In my opinion, he was down before the ball crossed the plain, but it was called a TD on the field and upheld. What came after was one of the most amazing, if not the most amazing, 2 point conversions ever. Me explaining it wouldn’t do it justice. If you haven’t seen it yet, click here to see the ESPN highlight. I highly recommend watching it. And that was only to tie the game. I the first 2OT, the teams swapped TDs, in the 3rd, SMU settled for a FG and Rutgers RB Justin Goodwin rushed for a 17 yard game winning TD. SMU QB Garrett Gilbert had a career game going 45/70 for 484 yards, 5TD, no INT and rushed for 2TD as well. Rutgers QB Gary Nova threw 4TD and rushed for one as well. WR Leonte Carroo caught the first two TDs in OT for the Scarlet Knights, that’s not surprising, but he only had 3 receptions in the entire game. This is the second game Rutgers has played in that has gone to OT and both teams have scored at least 50 points. This time, they came out the victors.
18Florida 30 Arkansas 10; When I was a senior in high school, I went to see our football team play their last game of the season in Needles, CA. The announcer introduced the referees by saying “they might not always be right, but they are never wrong.” Just think about that for a minute. If you watched this game on Saturday, you will understand why I am bringing this up. I know I was unhappy(to put it nicely) with the referees during the game. Perhaps the most controversial and confusing call was on a muffed fair catch by Florida that landed in the arms of an Arkansas player. Instead of being a fumble and possession for Arkansas, it was called kick-catch interference and Florida got the ball. It was not explained well during the game, so I went to the official 2013 and 2014 NCAA Football Rules and Interpretations book and found the explanation. Here are the rules from pages FR-68 and 69:
RULE 6, SECTION 4, ARTICLE 1
a. A player of the receiving team within the boundary lines attempting to catch a kick, and so located that he could have caught a free kick or a scrimmage kick that is beyond the neutral zone, must be given an unimpeded opportunity to catch the kick.
b. It is an interference foul if, before the receiver touches the ball, a Team A player enters the area defined by the width of the receiver’s shoulders and extending one yard in front of him. When in question it is a foul.
c. This protection terminates when the kick touches the ground, when any player of Team B muffs or touches a scrimmage kick beyond the neutral zone, or when any player of Team B muffs or touches a free kick in the field of play or in the end zone (Exception: Rule 6-5-1-b)
RULE 6, SECTION 5, ARTICLE 1
b. When a Team B player makes a valid fair catch signal, the unimpeded opportunity to catch a free or scrimmage kick continues if this player muffs the kick and still has an opportunity to complete the catch. This protection terminates when the kick touches the ground. If the player subsequently catches the kick, the ball is placed where he first touched it (A.R. 6-5-1-I-II).
And here are the interpretations from pages 29 and 30:
INTERPRETATIONS ON 6-4-1
VI. B25 is standing at the B-35 in position to catch a punt. As the ball is on its downward flight A88 runs by B25 very close to his side, causing B25 to adjust his position before catching the ball. A88 does not make contact and does not penetrate the one-yard area directly in front of B25. RULING: Foul by A88, interference with the opportunity to catch the kick. 15 yards, spot of the foul. Even though B25 catches the ball, A88’s action causes him to move away from his original location and thus interferes with his opportunity to make the catch.
VII. B10 signals for a fair catch, muffs the ball and then catches it. RULING: If B10 has an opportunity to catch the kick after the muff, he must be given an unimpeded opportunity to complete the catch. If B10 catches the muffed kick, the ball is dead where he first touched it.
Now, thats a lot of words that might not make too much sense. What I got from reading them is this: they got the call right on the field. According to the rules and interpretations currently in place, the call of kick-catch interference was correct. That doesn’t mean it is a good rule, and I think it needs to be looked over again for the specific case in which the kicking team is not causing interference and the ball lands in their arms after being muffed. But, to be fair, the exact words from the rule says that protection of a fair catch only “terminates when the kick touches the ground” not when it leaves the hands of the receiver. There were many more questionable calls and no calls by this officiating crew though. It made it difficult to watch the game.
Besides these calls, there was a game that happened, at least for the 1st quarter. Arkansas dominated Florida in the 1st quarter, putting up a TD and more rushing yards than Florida usually allows in a game. After the first 15 minutes though, it was all Gators. The momentum swing happened when Brandon Allen threw a(nother) pick six. The Hog offense just stopped after that. Whether it was inaccurate passes, dropped ball(lots), or injuries to seemingly everyone. The secondary was also being torn apart, this included Will Hines breaking his arm and being out for the season. The bright spot for the Razorbacks was the defensive line. They stopped the Florida rushing attack cold, only allowing 115 rush yards. And freshman Dan Skipper blocked a FG attempt, his second in two weeks. If the Hogs want to be competitive, they need to start creating some turnovers. They need to get those momentum swings to keep them in these SEC games. The first quarter showed how good this Razorback team can be. They need to be able to play like that all 4 quarters. And the receivers need to start helping out their QB, because, even though he isn’t close to perfect, there are a lot of good passes that have hit receivers right in the numbers that have hit the ground.
1Alabama 45 Georgia State 3
2Oregon 57 Colorado 16
3Clemson 49 Syracuse 14
7Louisville 30 Temple 7
8Florida State 63 25Maryland 0
10LSU 59 Mississippi State 26
11Oklahoma 20 TCU 17
12UCLA 34 Utah 27
13South Carolina 35 Kentucky 28
14Miami(FL) 45 Georgia Tech 30
17Baylor 73 West Virginia 42
19Michigan 42 Minnesota 13
20Texas Tech 54 Kansas 16
21Oklahoma State 33 Kansas State 29
23Fresno State 61 Idaho 14
Texas 31 Iowa State 30
Michigan State 26 Iowa 14
Western Kentucky 31 ULM 10
San Diego State 51 Nevada 44 OT
Nebraska 39 Illinois 19
Missouri 51 Vanderbilt 28
Navy 28 Air Force 10
Indiana 44 Penn State 24
FIU 24 Southern Miss 23
USF 26 Cincinnati 20
New Mexico 66 New Mexico State 17
Stats and scores from ESPN.com