Two thirds of the college football season is already behind us. Alabama is still ranked #1 but the battle for #2 keeps going back and forth. Oregon and Florida State are jockeying for the chance at the BCS title game, while LSU is looking put Alabama on the outside looking in.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. This week didn’t really see any upsets in the top 25, but Oklahoma State was able to beat Texas Tech and Michigan State’s defense proved itself holding Michigan to 2FG.
How I Fared: I was 3-3 this week, bringing my overall total to 38-23. And sadly, all 3 teams I incorrectly picked lost by at least 10 points. I gave Michigan too much of a chance, but I was spot on with both Florida State winning by at least 2TD and Georgia winning by less than a TD. There are 3 games that feature half of the top 10 (and then 13LSU) playing each other. Two of those games are on Thursday. Hopefully I can pick at least one right.
18Oklahoma State 52 15Texas Tech 34; It seems I have once again overestimated the Red Raiders. As shown by the final, a lot of points were scored in this game. Oklahoma State scored 21 in both the first and third quarters and Texas Tech scored 21 in the second quarter. The halftime score was close with Oklahoma State only up 28-24, but the second half belonged to the Cowboys. This win was crucial for Oklahoma State to stay in the running for Big 12 champion. And with a home game against Kansas this week, they needed a statement win. Texas Tech has now dropped two in a row and has fallen to 25 in the BCS standings and they have a home game against Kansas State this week. They need to win it to stay in the running. Oklahoma State QB Clint Chelf was 18/34 for 211 yards, 2TD, 2INT, and 2 rush TD, one of which was 67 yards. The two TD passes went to Tracy Moore and Jeremy Seaton. Desmond Roland ran for 96 yards and 3 scores for the Cowboys as well. For Texas Tech, QB Davis Webb was 45/71 for 425 yards, 2TD and 2INT. Jace Amaro had 174 receiving yards and a TD and Eric Ward caught the other TD. Kenny Williams rushed for a TD and the other score came when Pete Robertson picked off Clint Chelf and took it 21 yards for the score. If Texas Tech wants to stay in the BCS rankings, they will need to make some big statements in the rest of their games.
25Notre Dame 38 Navy 34; Notre Dame just barely escaped Navy this week, making me wonder if they really deserve to be ranked in the BCS. But Notre Dame always seems to be there and, to be fair, they are 7-2. Navy was able to make it all the way to the Notre Dame 31 yard line, but could not get any farther, turning the ball over on downs with 1:08 left in the ball game. This was a game of rushing with Navy rushing for 331 yards and 4TDs and Notre Dame rushing for 264 yards and 3TDs. Notre Dame goes to Pitt this weekend, and need a win to get the chance at a BCS bowl. Notre Dame QB Tommy Rees was 12/20 for 242 yards, 2TD and 2INT. TJ Jones had 111 receiving yards and a TD and Ben Koyack also caught a TD. Tarean Folston had 140 rush yards and a TD with George Atkinson III and Cam McDaniel each adding a score on the ground. Navy QB Keenan Reynolds was 6/9 for 88 yards and a TD to Matt Aiken, but the QB also added 53 rush yards and 3TDs on the ground. Chris Swain also rushed for a TD for the Midshipmen. Another interesting stat from this game was that Notre Dame was only 2-5 on 3rd down, but had 25 first downs.
ULM 49 Troy 37 (Thursday); Ok. Kolton Browning, you need to keep me in the loop when your “season-ending” injury turns out to not be season-ending. Didn’t you tear your quad? I guess it wasn’t too bad looking at the numbers you put up in this conference win. ULM QB Kolton Browning was 21/31 for 354 yards and 5TDs and he also rushed for a TD. Again, I was told he tore his quad, clearly it wasn’t as bad as I thought. With Browning back, I still give them a chance to win the Sun Belt, that is, if ULL stumbles. Three receivers caught those 5TDs: Rashon Ceaser had 105 receiving yards and a TD, Ajalen Holley caught 2 and Tre’ Perrrier also caught 2. One more TD came from RB Centarius Donald who added 111 rush yards. ULM did not trail in this game and they took over in the 3rd quarter, scoring 21 points. For Troy, QB Corey Robinson was 31/52 for 362 yards, 2TD in the air and 2TD on the ground. Bryan Holmes and Wilson Van Hooser each caught a TD. Jordan Chunn rushed for a TD and the Trojans got a special teams TD when KD Edenfield returned a blocked punt. If Kolton Browning can continue to play at this level, the Warhawks have a chance to win the Sun Belt and go to a bowl game.
USC 31 Oregon State 14 (Friday); USC has been doing well since firing head coach Lane Kiffin earlier in the year. Their only loss since then has been a close on to Notre Dame. Oregon State, on the other hand, has lost two home conference games in a row to Stanford and now USC. USC now has 6 wins and only 3 losses. Oregon State also sits at 6-3, but might be on the decline. USC QB Cody Kessler was 17/21 for 247 yards, a TD and an INT. Marquise Lee is back for the Trojans and showed it with 105 receiving yards and a TD. Silas Redd also had a good game, rushing for 140 yards, but it was Javorius Allen who carried the Trojans on the ground by rushing for 133 yards and 3TD. Oregon State QB Sean Mannion was 26/45 for 277 yards, a TD and 3INT. The TD went to Brandin Cooks and the other score came when Ryan Murphy picked off Kessler and took it back 41 yards. Both Beaver TDs were scored in a span of 14 seconds in the 2nd quarter. After playing Stanford well last week, this was a surprise to me, and probably to the Oregon State fans as well.
Georgia 23 Florida 20; I was in line for the Razorback game when this game was going on, and the last time I saw the score, Georgia was up 23-3 on Florida. I saw the final and was surprised. Florida made it a game. But I thought it would be close. The biggest factor in this game was the return of UGA RB Todd Gurley. He ran for 100 yards and a TD and and also had 87 receiving yards and a TD. QB Aaron Murray was 16/25 for 258 yards and a TD. The rest of Georgia’s points came from kicker Marshall Morgan, who was 3/3 on FGs in this game. For the Gators, QB Tyler Murphy was 13/29 for 174 yards and a rush TD. Mack Brown rushed for the other TD. Loucheiz Purifoy tackled Aaron Murray in the end zone for a safety. Florida was unable to get an offensive drive going when Georgia turned the ball over on downs at the UGA39. But Georgia was able to drive for the last 8:17 of the game with the help of Florida penalties. Both of these teams started at the top of the East, but now have almost no chance to make it to Atlanta for the SEC Championship.
Rutgers 23 Temple 20; Once again, the magical connection of Nova to Carroo saved the Scarlet Knights. Rutgers has not shown much after coming back to beat Arkansas and a shootout against SMU, but are still only one win away from bowl eligibility. But Temple is not a good team. The score was 13-3 at the half with Temple in the lead. This was a game of mistakes. Each missed a PAT, each had a fumble, but Temple made more mistakes than Rutgers. Rutgers QB Gary Nova was 27/38 for 371 yards and 3TDs, One to Michael Burton and the other 2 to Leonte Carroo in the 4th quarter. Carroo finished with 147 receiving yards. The winning TD came with :35 left in the game and on a 4th and 10. Carroo’s other TD came a play after Temple QB PJ Walker was intercepted. Walker was 21/31 for 203 yards, 2TD and 2INT. Robbie Anderson caught one TD and Kenneth Harper, who also rushed for a TD, caught the other. Rutgers came up with a defensive stand when Temple had 4th and 1 at the RUT27 and were unable to move the ball. Temple also fumbled at the end of the game to secure the Scarlet Knight victory.
Penn State 24 Illinois 17 OT; Penn State got another big overtime win this weekend. Though it wasn’t over a ranked team, it is still important. Because of the scandal, the Nittany Lions are not eligible for a bowl this year, but they are currently sitting on 5 wins. But the win almost didn’t happen. Penn State was up 13-3 at the half, but didn’t score again until 41 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 17. QB Christian Hackenberg was 20/32 for 240 yards, a TD in the air and on the ground. Kyle Carter caught the TD in OT to put Penn State up. Bill Belton rushed for 201 yards and a TD as well. Sam Ficken kicked the game tying FG at the end of the 4th. For Illinois, QB Nathan Sheelhasse was 33/52 for 321 yards, a TD and 2INT, one of which came on the Illini’s first play in OT to end the game. Josh Ferguson caught the TD and also ran for one. Though this game doesn’t really impact the Big 10 race, it is interesting to see how Penn State was able to win, even while still under the shadow of scandal.
Nebraska 27 Northwestern 24; Northwestern started the season 4-0 and has now lost 5 straight. Nebraska is coming off a loss to a good Minnesota team and needed a win with QB Taylor Martinez out. They got that win in exciting fashion. Northwestern went into half with a 21-14 lead, but Nebraska came back in the 2nd half. The Huskers scored a TD on an Avery Moss pick 6 to tie the game at 21. The score stayed that way until 1:20 left in the 4th quarter when Northwestern kicker Jeff Budzien connected on a 21 yard FG to put the Wildcats in the lead. The game came down to a hail mary pass from freshman Ryan Kellog III, which ended up in the hands of Nebraska receiver Jordan Westerkamp as time expired. This win keeps Nebraska in the running for a chance at the Bg 10 championship game, while Northwestern just hopes to make it to a bowl game.
West Virginia 30 TCU 27 OT; I still haven’t figured out West Virginia. Some weeks they are good, others they are not so good. West Virginia had to score 17 points in the 4th quarter to take the lead over TCU. TCU was able to come back and tied the game with 19 seconds on a FG. While Jaden Oberkrom was able to save the Horned Frogs in regulation, he was unable to save them in OT. This was mainly because of penalties by TCU. They got the ball first in OT and ended up having to attempt a 62 yard field goal, which was missed. On the other side of the ball, WVU’s Josh Lambert was able to make a FG in OT, securing a win for this confusing Mountaineer team. WVU QB Clint Trickett was 25/41 for 267 yards, 2TD and 2INTs. Cody Clay and Charles Sims each caught a TD and Sims also had 154 rush yards and a TD. TCU QB Casey Pachall was 40/58 for 394 yards, 3TDs and 2INT. David Porter caught 2TDs and Josh Doctson caught the other. Next week WVU gets Texas at home. This should be an interesting game and will be an indicator of how good Texas really is.
San Jose State 34 UNLV 24; So, I jinxed them by writing a preview. UNLV is still one win away from being bowl eligible. They have another home game this weekend against a Utah State and they need to get a win at home. I had hoped that because of the big win at Reno, the Rebel fans would show up in great numbers at Sam Boyd, but I was sadly mistaken. The attendance for the game was only 15,837, far less than capacity. It is also only about half as many as who went to the game in Reno. Given that there is not as much to do in Reno as there is in Las Vegas, and I don’t mean that in a bad way at all, I would understand a less than capacity crowd, but not that much less. UNLV let SJSU get off to a quick start and was completely unable to stop the run. Based on Tim Cornett’s 24 rushing yards, they had not trouble stopping our rushing attack. Caleb Herring had to carry the team and was responsible for all 3 UNLV TDs. He was 26/49 for 265 yards, 2TD, 2INT and a rush TD. Marcus Sullivan and Maika Mataele each caught a TD. For San Jose State, QB David Fales was 15/30 for 150 yards, a TD and 2INT. Billy Freeman also threw a TD pass. Chandler Jones and Kyle Nunn each caught a pass with Jarrod Lawson rushing for 187 yards and a score and Thomas Tucker running for another. SJSU outgained UNLV 492-351 in total yards. If UNLV wants to be able to compete in the future, their defense must get better.
11Auburn 35 Arkansas 17; Once again, an INT cursed the Arkansas Razorbacks. Or you could say bad refs cursed the Razorbacks. Again. All was going well until QB Brandon Allen slid and was hit (late) and his ankle was stepped on. He had to leave the game, but no penalty was called. In my opinion, if a QB slides and has to be carted off the field, there should probably be a penalty. But maybe that’s just me (it’s not). The fans went silent because that meant AJ Derby was coming in, and he did what was expected of him, he threw a pick (unfortunately in the red zone), then on the next series he fumbled the ball. To the relief of the fans, Brandon was back after that, but the damage had been done. But Arkansas didn’t go away easily. They scored for the first time in about 2 games on a Hocker FG. That wouldn’t be the end of the scoring for the Hogs either. Arkansas made a huge stop near the end of the 1st half, but a “leaping” penalty gave the ball right back to Auburn who took a knee. I had never heard of “leaping” and neither had anyone sitting around me. So I went back to the NCAA rulebook that I used after the Florida game to learn about “leaping”. So here is what it says in the NCAA rulebook:
1. It is not a foul if the player tries to block the punt by jumping straight up without attempting to leap over the opponent.
2. It is not a foul if a player attempts to leap through or over the gap between players.
After reading that, I don’t think it was a good call, but I understand why it was called. I think the Auburn player channeled Patrick Swayze and made it look like the Arkansas player jumped forward, but that is a judgment call. The Hogs then got on a roll that was sparked when Korliss Marshall returned Cody Parkey’s kickoff 87 yards to the Auburn 13. Brandon Allen then hit Keon Hatcher for a TD. Another great series by the defense that included a sack by Chris Smith forced a 3 and out. Two pass interference calls against the Tigers put Arkansas on the AUB9, but the Hogs needed a trick play on 4th and 3 to keep the drive alive. After the conversion, Auburn possibly faked an injury to run the clock. (I say that because though it looked COMPLETELY faked, the player did not return and was supposedly in a walking boot.) This sent the game to the 4th quarter, where the Hogs promptly scored on a run by Kiero Small. But after that, Arkansas stalled. Offensive pass interference, a penalty you don’t see too often, was called twice in this game. These two penalties were crucial drive killers for Arkansas, and I don’t think either were good calls. The star of the game for Auburn was Tre Mason. He ran for 168 yards and 4TDs. Arkansas goes to Ole Miss this weekend to face a very good Rebel team. It is going to be very difficult for Arkansas to get a win in Oxford. Auburn has to go to Tennessee, where it has been very difficult for teams to win.
3Florida State 41 7Miami(FL) 14
4Ohio State 56 Purdue 0
8Clemson 59 Virginia 10
12Texas A&M 57 UTEP 7
14South Carolina 34 Mississippi State 16
16Fresno State 41 Nevada 23
17Northern Illinois 63 Massachusetts 19
20UCLA 45 Colorado 23
22Michigan State 29 21Michigan 6
24Wisconsin 28 Iowa 9
Arizona State 55 Washington State 21
Minnesota 42 Indiana 39
Boston College 34 Virginia Tech 27
North Carolina 27 North Carolina State 19
Syracuse 13 Wake Forest 0
Arizona 33 California 28
Kansas State 41 Iowa State 7
Arkansas State 17 South Alabama 16
Stats and Scores from ESPN.com