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The Fifth Quarter: Week 7 Rewind

LSU Tigers head coach Les Miles celebrates with his team after winning their NCAA football game against the South Carolina Gamecocks in Baton Rouge, Louisiana AP

As is the case each and every season, each and every week, any omission below is not on purpose, it’s merely intentional.


Not geauxing away quite yet
Left for dead by some following a 14-6 loss to then-No. 8 Florida last weekend, LSU faced an equally stiff test in unbeaten and third-ranked South Carolina… and passed with the gritty flair only a Les Miles-coached team can muster.  Down 14-10 in the fourth quarter and struggling again points-wise on offense, the Tigers “exploded” for 13 unanswered points to get themselves right back in the SEC West picture with a 23-21 win.  The math for LSU is simple: win out, and the Tigers will, for the second straight year, represent the West in the SEC championship game.  While the math is simple, the actual execution is a tad more difficult as, in the next three weeks, the Tigers will face No. 22 Texas A&M in College Station, and No. 1 Alabama and No. 19 Mississippi State at home.  Given where the Tigers were just a week ago this morning, however, I think Miles feels good about his team having the ability successfully navigate that daunting scheduling gauntlet.

Tide rolls… again
And the beat goes on for the 2012 edition of the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide.  With their 42-10 woodshedding of Missouri, the Tide has now outscored its opponents this season 243-45 in their six wins.  In the win over Mizzou, the Tide’s defense gave up 152 yards of total offense — the Tigers had been averaging 356 per game — and allowed a miserly .9 yards per carry (26 yards on 28 attempts).  Alabama has conference games the next two weeks against Tennessee (away) and No. 19 Mississippi State (away) — WARNING TIDE: DANGER AHEAD — before heading to Death Valley for its highly-anticipated re-rematch with No. 9 LSU. Based on how the first half of the regular season has gone, and especially based on Gary Pinkel‘s postgame comments (see below), those may be little more than bumps in the road on the Tide’s way to, first, Atlanta and then south to Miami.

Niiice Beaaavers
Coming off a win over Washington State that propelled them into the Top 10 for the first time in several seasons, No. 10 Oregon State was brought back to earth with news that star quarterback Sean Mannion would miss several weeks due to injury.  While some thought this weekend’s game against a BYU team that had given up just 10 points the last three games made the Beavers ripe for an upset, Cody Vaz would have none of that.  All the junior did in place of Mannion was throw for 332 yards and three touchdowns — and no interceptions — in a 42-24 win over the Cougars that marked Vaz’s first career start at the collegiate level and assured yet another stop at In-N-Out.  Vaz proved the top-10 stage was not too big for him, which is a good thing for the Beavers as he’s expected to be under center for an extended period of time.

Pluck of the Irish
Yes, it was ugly, old school (old man?) football played in the rain.  Yes, it wasn’t without a controversial ending (writer’s note: it should’ve been touchdown, Stanford).  Yes, in non-italics, it was a bad call on the part of the Pac-12 officials working the game.  Despite all of that, No. 7 Notre Dame’s 20-13 overtime win over Stanford was yet another data point heavily intimating that, by gosh, the Irish may indeed be back.  Three of Notre Dame’s six wins have come against teams that were, at game time, ranked inside the Top 20, including the No. 17 Cardinal.  Certainly to some degree the luster is off wins over Michigan and Michigan State given their recent performances, particularly the latter, but it doesn’t change the fact that all the Irish continue to do is find a way to grind out a win week after week after week.  Are they BcS-worthy?  That’s for coaches, Harris voters and computers to decide.  What’s not up for debate is the fact that Brian Kelly has the Irish, at minimum, ready to turn a corner that will lead them back toward the national discussion.

Badger Up!
Thanks to NCAA sanctions levied on Ohio State and Penn State — the only unbeatens amongst the Leaders in Big Ten play — the Wisconsin-Purdue game set up as a battle for first place in the division.  Thanks to Montee Ball, it was a Grenada-style battle for the Badgers.  The senior rushed for a season- and career-high 249 yards — the Badgers as a team rushed for a season-high 467 yards — and three touchdowns, setting a Big Ten career mark in the process.  Even as Wisconsin is just 2-1 in conference play with five games left, they are firmly in control of their own Indianapolis destiny as the other three post-season-eligible teams in the division — Purdue (0-2), Illinois (0-3) and Indiana (0-3) — are winless and, most importantly, largely hapless.  The season began with UW widely expected to easily punch its ticket to the Big Ten championship game in early December; while it’s been rougher than expected, that’s exactly the tack on which the Badgers currently find themselves.

One if by air… x3
Navy came into Friday night’s game with Central Michigan tied for dead last among the 124 FBS teams — Army and New Mexico being the others — with just one touchdown pass through five games.  So, of course, Midshipmen quarterback Keenan Reynolds went out and tossed three touchdowns in the 31-13 win over the Chips.  Reynolds, making his first collegiate start no less, became the the first Navy signal caller to accomplish that feat since Chris McCoy against Colgate in 1997, and was just one of the school record set by Tom Forrestal way back in 1957.


The defense rests, as does WVU’s title hopes
You just knew that, at some point this season, No. 5 West Virginia’s “defense” would cost the Mountaineers at least one game.  That point came Saturday in Lubbock, although the much-maligned defense had some help from an unexpected source.  Yes, the Mountaineers gave up 676 yards to Texas Tech in the humiliating 49-14 loss, but it was the play of Geno Smith that was the most surprising aspect of the upset that effectively ends WVU’s BcS title hopes.  Coming into the game as far and away the Heisman favorite, Smith, simply put, imploded in the Lubbock winds.  Smith was held to just 275 yards passing, his second-lowest total of the season (268 against Texas last week), and he misfired on 26 of his 55 attempts; coming into the game, he had just 38 incompletions combined the first five games of the season.  Yes, he went without interception yet again, but, whatever part of the blame for the loss that isn’t put on the defense needs to be placed squarely on Smith’s right arm.  And that object sitting atop his neck.

Red River Blowout
For all the talk through the first few weeks of the season that Texas is “back” after a couple of non-UT-like years, the Longhorns have answered in resounding fashion the past two weeks that “hell no we ain’t,” at least against top-flight competition.  In back-to-back games against West Virginia and Oklahoma, a defense that was expected to be the linchpin of UT’s return has instead been eviscerated to the tune of 111 points and 1,137 yards of total offense.  The Sooners’ offense accounted for 63 of those points and 677 of the yards in the iconic rivalry game that wasn’t even as close as the 63-21 final score would indicate.  After starting the 2012 season 4-0 and reaching as high as No. 9 in the coaches’ poll, the Longhorns have all but officially been eliminated from any shot at its first Big 12 championship since 2009.

Reversal of misfortunes
Needing just one win to become bowl eligible for the first time since 1994, Duke jumped out to a 20-0 lead on Virginia Tech with 3:12 left in the first quarter.  In the final 48:12, however, the Blue Devils were outscored 41-0 as the Hokies came roaring back to slightly spoil one of the cooler stories of the 2012 season.  While the Blue Devils could still very well become bowl eligible at some point prior to the end of the season, their remaining schedule — home games with North Carolina, Clemson and Miami, road trips to Florida State and Georgia Tech — says that could be easier said than done; in the past eight years, Duke is 1-31 against those five schools, with the lone win coming against Clemson in 2004.

LaTech bandwagon
Numerous, numerous media types, and also people such as myself, had been pushing for what we saw as an underappreciated Louisiana Tech squad to be included in the Top 25 rankings.  When the Lil’ School That Could actually landed in the latest set of rankings, we all did a little nerdy happy dance.  A week later?  Yeah, not so much, although it wasn’t for a lack of effort on the scrappy Bulldogs part.  After digging themselves a 27-0 hole late in the second quarter, Tech came back to within a two-point conversion of tying the game at 59-all with :38 seconds left in the game.  A failed conversion and unsuccessful onside kick, though, ended any hope of a miraculous comeback and an upset win over the No. 22 team in the country.  Even in the loss, though, Tech head coach Sonny Dykes likely made himself a hell of a lot of future money, whether it be at his current school or when the next spinning of the coaching carousel comes to an end.

How ranked teams endured close shaves vs. unranked opponents

— No. 4 Florida 31, Vanderbilt 17: With 2:35 left in the fourth quarter, the Gators led the Commodores 24-17.  A 70-yard Jeff Driskel touchdown run 15 seconds later, however, iced the game for UF.

— No. 6 Kansas State 27, Iowa State 21: Taking down the giant-slaying Cyclones, in Ames no less, was no small feat for Bill Snyder‘s Wildcats.  If anything, this game should show voters that K-State is indeed the real deal and in this title chase — Big 12 and otherwise — for the long haul.

— No. 8 Ohio State 52, Indiana 49: The Buckeyes twice held 18-point fourth-quarter leads, but two touchdowns by the Hoosiers in a span of 35 seconds with under two minutes remaining closed the gap to three.  An IU attempt at a second straight onside kick recovery was unsuccessful and OSU held on for a very strange, odd win.

— No. 10 Oregon State 42, BYU 28: The Beavers were actually down by four with just under nine minutes left in the game before a pair of touchdowns effectively put the game out of reach.

— No. 11 USC 24, Washington 14: Twice in the past three seasons, the Huskies have handed the Trojans losses.  A 24-point first half ensured it wouldn’t happen three times in four years.

— No. 18 Louisville 45, Pittsburgh 35: While the final tally indicates a somewhat comfortable double-digit win, the Cardinals actually trailed at halftime before pulling away with four unanswered touchdowns in the second half.

— No. 19 Mississippi State 41, Tennessee 31: After the Vols had gotten back to within three with under six minutes left, the Bulldogs threw the final knockout punch with :09 seconds left to maintain its unblemished record.

— No. 20 Rutgers 23, Syracuse 15: It was far from pretty, but the Scarlet Knights were able to remain unbeaten with a gritty Big East win over the Orange.

— No. 24 Boise State 20, Fresno State 10: The Broncos are this week’s winner of our “win is a win is a win” award.

A snapshot look at how my ballot would look Monday if I, ya know, had a real vote instead of a measly and meaningless preseason poll.

1. Alabama — The Tide’s 42-10 throttling of hapless, in-over-their-heads-in-the-SEC Mizzou in the Columbia rain will do nothing to curb the sense that UA’s on an inexorable march toward back-to-back BcS titles and three in four years. (Last 5Q: No. 1)
Up next: at Tennessee

2. Oregon: The Ducks’ bye weekend did nothing to sour just about anyone on their standing in the polls. (Last 5Q: No. 2)
Up next: at Arizona State

3. Florida: The win over LSU last weekend looks even more impressive after viewing it through the prism of the Tigers’ win over South Carolina this weekend. (Last 5Q: unranked)
Up next: vs. No. 3 South Carolina

4. Kansas State: Any team that can go into Ames as a highly-ranked team and beats a Paul Rhoads-coached squad deserves high praise, regardless of the margin of victory. (Last 5Q: No. 4)
Up next: at No. 5 West Virginia

5. Oregon State: Surprised?  Just watch where the BcS computers place the Beavers Sunday night.  (Last 5Q: unranked)
Up next: vs. Utah

A weekly look at some of the current head coaches who could most likely be an ex-head coaches by season’s end — if not sooner.

— Auburn’s Gene Chizik: 14-0 with Cam Newton, 22-34 without the Heisman winner in his collegiate coaching career.  A 1-5 start to this season has included back-to-back laughably embarrassing losses to moribund SEC West teams Arkansas and Ole Miss.  Chizik was also infamously 5-19 in two seasons at Iowa State; his replacement, Paul Rhoads, has gone 22-22 in three-plus seasons.  Buyout or not, and barring an abrupt turnaround that’s seemingly not in the cards, it would defy logic for Chizik to make it to 2013.

— Kentucky’s Joker Phillips: 1-5 on the season, 12-19 in his two-plus seasons in Lexington.  And the loss to Arkansas may have been the low point; not only did the Wildcats surrender 533 yards of offense in the 49-7 loss, they did so in less than three full quarters of play as the game was called with 5:03 left in the third quarter due to weather.  Out of all the ones who may be on the proverbial hot seat, there appears to be a very significant chance that Phillips, as nice a guy as he is, will be among the first — if not the first — FBS head coach to get the ax in 2012.

“That is maybe the best football team I’ve ever seen. We will see, but I watched the film and couldn’t find a weakness.” — Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel, talking after Alabama’s 42-10 dismantling of his Tigers.

“This is truly a place where opponents’ dreams go to die.” — LSU head coach Les Miles, following the Tigers win over South Carolina in Death Valley.

With 72 career touchdowns, Wisconsin’s Montee Ball now trails just Ricky Williams of Texas (75) and Travis Prentice of Miami of Ohio (78) for the most in FBS history.


— After Week 7 of the 2012 season, there are 16 teams that are bowl eligible — 10 from BcS conferences, five from non-BcS conferences.  The 16th?  Football-independent Notre Dame.

— The Texas A&M-Louisiana Tech game featured several spectacular individual performances as one could expect from a 59-57 shootout.  Aggies’ freshman quarterback Johnny “Johnny Football” Manziel accounted for 577 yards of total offense and six touchdowns (three passing, three rushing), the former breaking his own school and SEC marks set earlier this year.  In a losing effort, Tech wide receiver Quinton Patton caught 21 passes — yes, 21 — for 233 yards and four touchdowns.

— In that game, A&M and Tech combined for 1,306 yards of total offense — 690 for the former, 616 for the latter.  The Aggies were also penalized a whopping 19 times for 175 yards.

— With Texas Tech’s upset win over No. 5 West Virginia, Tommy Tuberville is now 6-2 in his career in games vs. teams ranked in the Top 5.

— In that win, Red Raiders quarterback Seth Doege threw for 499 yards and six touchdowns.  Doege now has 21 touchdowns on the season, 49 in his last 18 games.

Eddie Lacy ran for a career-high 177 yards on 18 carries and three touchdowns in Alabama’s win over Missouri.

Jeremy Hill‘s seven-yard touchdown run in the third quarter of the game against South Carolina was LSU’s first against an SEC foe since the fourth quarter of last year’s SEC championship game.  That’s a span of 14 quarters and 315 days, incidentally.

— In the first two games of the season, Mark Weisman rushed for eight yards on two carries.  In the four games since, the Iowa running back has rushed for 507 yards and seven touchdowns.  His 116 yards — his fourth straight 100-yard game — helped the Hawkeyes to an double-overtime win over Michigan State.

— Oklahoma running back Damien Williams‘ 95-yard touchdown run vs. Texas was the longest in the storied history of the Red River Shootout.

— In their game against Kentucky, Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson threw for 331 yards and four touchdowns in the first half.  For the weather-shortened game, Wilson finished with 372 yards and five touchdowns in the 49-7 win.

— In a literal homecoming game against Miami, Giovani Bernard rushed for 177 yards and two touchdowns in North Carolina’s 18-14 win over the Hurricanes.

EJ Manuel threw for a career-high 439 yards and four touchdowns in No. 12 Florida State’s 51-7 waxing of Boston College.

Silas Redd, a transfer from Penn State, rushed for a season-high 155 yards in USC’s win over Washington.

— With 149 yards in the close win over Indiana, Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller has now rushed for 100-plus yards in all three Big Ten games and in five of the Buckeyes’ seven wins this season.  He’s also just 88 yards away from eclipsing the 1,000-yard plateau for the season.

— Arizona State sophomore quarterback Taylor Kelly (no relation) tossed five touchdown passes in the Sun Devils’ 51-17 thumping of woeful Colorado Thursday night.  Kelly now has 11 touchdown passes the last three games after starting the season with just three in his first three games.

— The 402 points career points for Florida State’s Dustin Hopkins are the most in ACC and fifth in NCAA history.

— Utah State’s defense was credited with a school-record 13 sacks in the Aggies’ dominating 49-21 win over San Jose State.  USU had just 14 sacks entering the game.

— The attendance for the Kansas State-Iowa State game officially announced at 56,800, making it the largest crowd to ever watch a college football game in Ames.

Through seven weeks of the season, Maryland (2-0) is the only ACC team without a loss in conference play.  Yep, the Mayans were right…

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16 Responses to “The Fifth Quarter: Week 7 Rewind”
  1. bouwel92 says: Oct 14, 2012 2:31 AM

    Louisiana Tech played their hearts out, but we waited to late to get started. If we would have played the same as we did in the second half the whole game, it probably would have been a whole other story. Although many people didn’t give us a thought about being 5-1 being a little school in the WAC. But hey theres always next week. GO BULLDOGS.

  2. pricecube says: Oct 14, 2012 3:51 AM

    Still no Dooley on the hotseat huh? He is 4-15 in the SEC..0-13 vs. ranked opponents. He will be 4-17 in the SEC by the end of October. Are Chizik’s and Joker’s hotter? Maybe… but I don’t get it. Kentucky is a basketball school and Chizik won a freaking national championship 2 yrs ago.

    I understand none of that would have happened for Gene without Cam… but you have to give him credit… The 180k he spent on Cecil/Cam may be one of the smartest investments of all time. It got him a 10M dollar buyout! I think it dropped to 7.5M this yr.

  3. southernpatriots says: Oct 14, 2012 7:55 AM

    Maybe the moral is, “Don’t play LSU at LSU after they lose a game on the road!” Miles is now 18 – 1 following a loss and 7 – 0 in Tiger Stadium “Death Valley” after a loss. Consecutive win streak at Death Valley continues.

    Montgomery, Mingo, et al showed up to be noticed. The LSU defense shut down the Gamecock running game which ran all over Georgia last week. I think these veterans and even rookies had something to prove, and they proved it.

    This was a great game, even for the non-SEC fans we heard from. Back and forth, not truly decided until the final play, an LSU interception of Connor Shaw. It was not a pretty game, but if you like defensive excellence at times, if you like offensive production at times and my compliments to Zach and the offense. The offensive line neutralized Clowney and a great defensive front of South Carolina for much of the game. That enabled LSU to run the ball, and mix in enough passes to keep the boxing to a minimum.

    It also gave the defense a rest and LSU’s offense actually had control of the ball on offense a couple of minutes MORE than South Carolina. Most would not have believed this possible after recent games.

    All who were here (over 60) to see our “drive-in” game experience really enjoyed the game, the reprieve from the hurricane aftermath and clean up work and no one left hungry. I saw some waddling away, so I think some may have eaten more than their share…ha.

    BCS ranking out today. Probably one of the first times so far this season that it won’t be to some extent a popularity poll.

  4. blitz4848 says: Oct 14, 2012 8:11 AM

    What will hurt the Pac 12 schools in the BCS with the computers is the trickle down effect of LSU’s 41-3 thrashing of Washington.

    West Virginia is a fun watch but their game with Texas Tech just showed what happens when really good offense meets a good defense.

    Speaking of bad defenses…can anyone remember watching a Top 15 program look so inept at tackling in your life as Texas showed yesterday?

  5. blitz4848 says: Oct 14, 2012 9:04 AM

    BCS rankings will be:
    4-Notre Dame
    7-South Carolina
    9-Oregon St
    12-West Virginia
    13-Mississippi St
    14-Florida St

    With 6 of the top 13 teams from the SEC the haters will have lots of fun with this.

    What is good for fans and voters is EVERYONE in this BCS Top 15 plays at least one other team and most play multiple games against other top 15 teams with the exception of Rutgers……..

  6. queenlivekillers says: Oct 14, 2012 9:19 AM

    I know it’s early, but is CFT ready to potentially eat some crow RE: Randy Edsall and Maryland? After those stories where CFT gleefully reported on the players transferring out of Maryland’s program, it appears that Edsall was weeding out all non-hackers who did not pack the gear to serve Maryland.

    I will agree with a previous commenter: Derek Dooley’s seat has to be getting hot. UT fans might have been willing to cut him some slack since he wasn’t named Lane and he needed to bring in some recruits, but that honeymoon has to be over. If Chizik’s seat is warming up, and he has a crystal football, Dooley has to be right behind him.

  7. florida727 says: Oct 14, 2012 9:55 AM

    Congrats! to my “southernpatriots” friends on their big win over South Carolina. I only saw bits and pieces of the first half while primarily watching my Gators win at Vandy, but when I saw the USC-LSU halftime stats I could hardly believe the score. The disparity in yardage was remarkable. Awesome defensive job by Les’ boys. They certainly earned the win. I’m hoping the Gators were simply overlooking Vandy because South Carolina comes to The Swamp next week. We did not look good and if we have to rely on our QB rushing for 177 yards every week, I think our standing in the Top 5 will be short-lived. But hey, a win is a win, so we’ll enjoy it for now and wait for the ‘Ol Ball Coach to return to Gainesville. Next two weeks: SC at home, Georgia in Jacksonville. Guess we’ll find out soon enough if the Gators are for real, and how good our defense really is. I still think being #3 is a little higher than what we deserve, but we’ll enjoy it for now.

  8. florida727 says: Oct 14, 2012 9:56 AM

    By the way, “southernpatriots”, all leftovers can be shipped directly to my place. You have the address :)

  9. polegojim says: Oct 14, 2012 10:09 AM

    Totally agree on Ohio State and Notre Dame –
    Both barely deserve their ranking.

    That said, at least I give Notre Dame credit for being lucky against Stanford. Ohio State’s was just plain ugly.

  10. manchestermiracle says: Oct 14, 2012 11:20 AM

    1. Alabama
    2. Oregon
    3. Florida
    4. Notre Dame
    5. Kansas State
    6. LSU
    7. South Carolina
    8. Oklahoma
    9. Oregon State
    10. Georgia
    11. USC
    12. West Virginia
    13. Mississippi State
    14. Florida State
    15. Rutgers.

    From Credit where credit is due.

  11. piratey says: Oct 14, 2012 12:26 PM

    Seriously. How can you say that’s a touchdown? Elbow down. Plus whistle blew before…

  12. irishdodger says: Oct 14, 2012 3:20 PM

    John, I’ll quote the COLLEGE officiating expert from ESPN (not an ND-friendly network BTW): he asked if Stanford scored on that last play. He answered “quite possibly ” but when there’s not a 100% irrefutable evidence to overturn, then the call on the field stands. You or I have no idea whether his other elbow was already down & that was the officiating expert’s point. I still read differing accounts about whether the whistle blew or not. Look, most rational ND fans aren’t expecting them to finish undefeated nor are we claiming they’re ready for an elite team like Alabama or LSU. I think they’re a top ten team at best. I’ll warn all u CFB fans now: IF the Irish finish at least 10-2, they’ll get a BCS invite based on tv ratings & ticket sales. I’m nit a fan of the BcS, but most seem to forget that they’re main goal is to match up #1 & #2. After that, of the teams that qualify, it’s who they think will garner the most revenue…it’s not about “deserving”. And frankly, any team that schedules an FCS team shouldn’t be allowed to count that as a quality win…maybe credit for half a win. The cupcake & FCS scheduling will cease w/ the new format…thank goodness.

  13. whitdog23 says: Oct 15, 2012 11:54 AM

    ESPN is not an ND friendly network?? LoL did you not see College Game Day and Lee Corso dancing in a green suit? or not listen to Fridays Mike and Mike from South Bend?

  14. pricecube says: Oct 15, 2012 2:56 PM

    Has anything like this happened to Chizik or Joker yet? The situation with Dooley is getting ugly. I am telling you his seat is HOT!

  15. pricecube says: Oct 15, 2012 3:05 PM

    Actually JT… why hasn’t the “fire fooley” rock gotten its own story? I find it a bit over the top… and disgraceful … but I would be lying if I said I did not understand the frustration. Anyway not sure if anyone has seen it yet… so just throwing it out there. It sure seems like the wheels have fallen off at Tennessee… especially with Bama and South Carolina up next.

  16. southernpatriots says: Oct 15, 2012 3:28 PM

    Coach Les Miles of LSU coached his 100th game for the LSU Tigers on Saturday. He was involved in every play and coached well, especially considering the large number of injured players and patchwork OL that performed admirably. We watched as he personally coached the rookie starting OL as they exited the game each time. LSU’s defense under John Chavis did very well, especially against the run (34 yards? for Lattimore and Shaw? 34 yards rushing) Josh neutralized the great Clowney most plays all night.

    Miles is now 81 – 19 in his first 100 games at LSU for 81 percent winning percentage.

    He is now 18 -1 in games after a loss, including
    7-0 at Tiger Stadium. A 22 game consecutive home winning streak continues to be extended and is the longest in the nation.

    “Let me tell you,” Miles said. “That was Death Valley. That was the place where opponents’ dreams come to die.”

    “Yahoo!” Miles added.

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