Another week of college football has come and gone, bringing us closer to the end of the season. But don’t cry yet! There is still plenty of great football coming up this year and then we get the bowl season and the final BCS season. But that is still a few weeks away. So, for now, let’s live in the moment (or in the recent past) and talk about the great week that was week 12 of the 2013 college football season.
How I Fared: This week I was 4-2, bringing me to 47-26 overall. Wow. That is a lot of games. Oklahoma State and USC decided to prove me wrong this week. Or maybe Texas and Stanford just didn’t want me to go undefeated this week. It is always great to see teams like USC pull out a huge win against a top 5 team after they have seemingly been counted out. There are a few really interesting games coming up, including 5 that feature two top 25 teams.
1Alabama 20 Mississippi State 7; This was not the Alabama team we have been used to. They made many mental mistakes that allowed Mississippi State to stay in the game. The Crimson Tide turned the ball over 4 times in this game. That just doesn’t make any sense to me. Nick Saban teams don’t underestimate their opponents. So, how was Mississippi State able to look so good against the nation’s top team? Yes, I know it was a 13 point win, but it didn’t seem so on the field. AJ McCarron was able throw 2TDs, one to Brian Vogler and the other to Kevin Norwood, but he also threw 2INTs, something very uncharacteristic of him. TJ Yeldon had a big night, rushing for 160 yards but no scores. Mississippi State’s lone score came when OL Charles Siddoway recovered a fumble by QB Tyler Russel in the end zone for a TD. This game wasn’t the most exciting, but it brings up some questions that Alabama needs to address. The Tide have one tune up game against Chattanooga before heading to Auburn for the game that decides the winner of the SEC West. This might be one of the most important Iron Bowls ever.
USC 20 4Stanford 17; Watching this game, I never really got the feeling that it was an upset. Or maybe I never got the feeling that Stanford was ranked so high. USC seemed to control the game from start to finish. I was also trying to watch 3 games at one time and was exhausted from watching the end of the Auburn game, but it just felt like what happened was supposed to happen. I was impressed by USC and slightly unimpressed by Stanford. This win is huge for USC, but maybe huger for Oregon, who is now back at the top of the Pac 12 North and still in the hunt for the Championship if someone slips up. The winning score was a 47 yard FG by Andre Heidari with 19 seconds left. QB Cody Kessler had a good game for the Trojans. Stanford QB Kevin Hogan was not so lucky, throwing for only 127 yards and 2INT. Tyler Gaffney carried the Cardinal with 158 rushing yards and 2TDs. The USC special teams came up with a huge blocked FG that turned out to be the difference in the game. Despite firing their head coach earlier in the season, USC has shown they are not going to give up and that they are headed back to prominence.
7Auburn 43 25Georgia 38; What an amazing ending. I was watching it when it happened and I still don’t believe it. Any attempt at explaining it would fall flat in comparison to the play. For those who didn’t see it, Georgia mounted a huge 4th quarter comeback and an Aaron Murray rush TD put Georgia up by 1 point with 1:49 left. On 4th and 18, Auburn QB Nick Marshall threw a hail mary that had no hope. Well, no hope until it was tipped by a Georgia defender and pure luck took hold and Ricardo Louis somehow was able to catch the ball and run untouched into the end zone for the go ahead score. It ended up being a 73 yard TD. And one of the greatest finishes I’ve seen. Georgia was able to make it all the way to Auburn 20, but just didn’t have enough time on the clock. Murray was once again the driving force for the Bulldogs, throwing 2TDs in the 4th quarter along with his rush TD and he also ran for a TD in the 3rd quarter. Nick Marshall ran for 2TDs for Auburn with Tre Mason rushing for 115 yards and a TD as well. This win sets up a winner take West game in the Iron Bowl. Just a reminder, Auburn didn’t win any SEC games last season. Any given Saturday, right?
10South Carolina 19 Florida 14; Florida came out of the gates strong, scoring 2TDs to South Carolina’s 2FGs in the first half. But that was all the scoring the Gators would do. Both of those TDs were rushes by Kelvin Taylor. The leading scorer for the Gamecocks was Elliot Fry, the kicker. He was 4/5 on FGs and also hit a PAT, bringing his grand total to 13 points. The TD was a 32 yard pass from Connor Shaw to Bruce Ellington. Florida is now on their 3rd QB of the season with Tyler Murphy hurt. Skyler Mornhinweg started the game and was 10/13 for 107 yards and INT. This win along with Auburn’s win over Georgia means South Carolina still has a chance to win the SEC East. South Carolina gets Coastal Carolina this weekend before finishing their season with a home game against currently 7th ranked Clemson.
17UCF 39 Temple 36; Some of you might not know too much about Temple, so here is what you need to know: they are now 1-9 overall and 0-6 in the American conference. UCF, on the other hand, is 8-1 and 5-0 in the American conference, and has a chance to make it to a BCS game if they can win out. This is the second week in a row the Knights have barely got out alive. To tie this game, UCF needed an amazing one-handed grab in the end zone, and to win in they needed a field goal as time expired. UCF QB Blake Bortles had a big night going 27/38 for 404 yards and 4TDs. Three of those TDs went to JJ Worton who totaled 179 yards receiving. The other went to William Stanback. Temple QB PJ Walker was 26/44 for 382 yards, 4TDs, an INT and a rush TD.WR Robbie Anderson had 184 receiving yards and caught 2TDs, with the other 2TD split between Jamie Gilmore and Chris Parthemore. UCF plays Rutgers on Thursday night, which should be an interesting game depending on what Rutgers team shows up.
Duke 48 23Miami(FL) 30; I’m just going to start this off with an “I told you so.” All year I have been saying Miami was highly overrated and that they did not deserve to be ranked. This game finally knocked them out. But, I am not trying to undervalue this Duke team who I think should be ranked. This Duke football team has a good chance at doing something never done by a Duke football team. And that is play in the ACC Championship game. Brandon Connette was the star of this game for the Blue Devils. He was 5/9 for 81 yards and a TD to Shaquille Powell, but also rushed for 4TDs in the game. Miami QB Stephen Morris was 30/49 for 379 yards, 2TD and an INT. Herb Waters caught both of the TDs and Stacy Coley ran a punt back 79 yards for a TD. Miami was up 17-7 after the first quarter and led by 2 with about 3 minutes left in the 3rd quarter. But after that, Duke scored 20 unanswered to win the game by 18 points. Duke is now 8-2 overall, and in my opinion, should be ranked in the BCS standings before Ole Miss. (I think Minnesota does deserve to be ranked. The Golden Gophers have the same record as Duke, but has two very tough tests against Wisconsin and Michigan State.)
Kansas State 33 TCU 31; Field goals seemed to be the theme of the week, and this game was no different. Kansas State was able to overtake TCU on a last second FG. After the first half, it seemed like Kansas State would be able to control the game, but TCU scored 2TDs in the first 7 minutes of the 3rd quarter to take the lead. Kansas State answered quickly with a 79 yard TD pass from Jake Waters to Tramaine Thompson, then TCU’s Casey Pachall threw a 51 yard TD to David Porter to take a 28-24 lead. That was the end of the TDs and the beginning of the FGs. KSU’s Jack Cantele hit 3 FGs in the last 18 minutes to give the Wildcats the win. TCU’s Jaden Oberkrom kicked a 56 yarder in the 4th quarter to take a one point lead, but that wasn’t enough for the Horned Frogs. With this win, Kansas State is now bowl eligible, and TCU’s loss means they won’t be headed to a bowl.
Maryland 27 Virginia Tech 24 OT; After beating Miami, Virginia Tech once again falls. In this game, a FG would not be enough to secure a win for the Hokies. Virginia Tech took the early lead, but Maryland then scored 21 unanswered points, one TD came when William Likely returned a punt 63 yards, to take a 21-7 lead early in the 3rd quarter. But since this game went to OT, Virginia Tech was in fact able to come back and tie the game. The only scores in regulation were TDs, and that would be what was needed in OT as well. Unfortunately for Virginia Tech, they had to settle for a FG and Maryland was able to get the ball into the end zone on a 3 yard rush by the QB CJ Brown. With this win, Maryland is bowl eligible.
Michigan 27 Northwestern 19 3OT; Michigan has now played 7OTs this season. This game was 60 minutes of field goals. The most exciting was the one that tied the game as time expired. You won’t believe it unless you see it. Michigan had 11 seconds and no timeouts to send the FG unit onto the field and snap the ball for a 44 yard attempt. And Brendan Gibbons’ kick was good. The holder had to literally slide into place right before the ball was snapped. In the first OT, the teams traded TDs, in the second they traded FGs, in the third, Devin Gardner ran for a TD and 2-point conversion and Northwestern was unable to answer. Northwestern started the season 4-0 and since is 0-6, all losses coming against Big 10 opponents. And things won’t get any easier this week because Northwestern welcomes 13Michigan State to town. To be bowl eligible, they will have to win their final two games. Michigan goes to Iowa this week and will finish their season against Ohio State.
2Florida State 59 Syracuse 3
3Ohio State 60 Illinois 35
5Baylor 63 Texas Tech 34
6Oregon 44 Utah 21
8Clemson 55 Georgia Tech 31 (Thursday)
12Oklahoma State 38 24Texas 13
13UCLA 41 Washington 31 (Friday)
15Northern Illinois 48 Ball State 27 (Wednesday)
16Michigan State 41 Nebraska 28
18Oklahoma 48 Iowa State 10
19Arizona State 30 Oregon State 17
20Louisville 20 Houston 13
22Wisconsin 51 Indiana 3
North Carolina 34 Pittsburgh 27
Cincinnati 52 Rutgers 17
Vanderbilt 22 Kentucky 6
Washington State 24 Arizona 17
Arkansas State 38 Texas State 21
Stats and Scores from ESPN.com