Tonight’s game between Louisville and Rutgers was jokingly dubbed the “ACC vs Big Ten Challenge” thanks to future conference affiliations, but the Cardinals came away with this year’s Big East title.
Louisville knocked off Rutgers 20-17 to grab a share of the Big East title and a likely trip to either the Orange Bowl or Sugar Bowl. Rutgers and Syracuse also share the Big East title and Cincinnati can make it a four-way tie with a win over UConn this weekend. However, the BCS representative will be the Big East team with the highest ranking. That’s expected to be Louisville.
It initially appeared as though the BCS bid would go to the Scarlet Knights. Rutgers had a 14-3 lead over Louisville at the half thanks to a pair of long touchdown passes from quarterback Gary Nova to Brandon Coleman and Mark Harrison. But RU’s offense couldn’t replicate the big plays in the second half and receiver Tim Wright dropped some passes that otherwise would have gone for big plays.
And then there was Kyle Flood‘s fake field goal call that went for a touchdown, but was called back because of an ineligible player downfield. Rutgers then elected to punt instead and Louisville drove 90 yards on 14 plays to score a touchdown on the very next drive.
We noted at the beginning of the game that UL quarterback Teddy Bridgewater would not start because of wrist and ankle injuries he suffered against UConn last week, but did Bridgewater deliver a gutsy performance. Visibly hurting, Bridgewater still threw for 263 yards and a pair of scores. The sophomore was unable to step into throws causing some passes to float high, and limped off the field after every drive. Sharing playing time with Will Stein seemed like a bizarre move at the start of the game considering what was on the line, but even one play off gave Bridgewater a little relief.
Bridgewater even got a shout-out from Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.
It was a gritty showing by Louisville, especially after dropping the last two games. And now the preseason Big East favorites will likely be back in the BCS for the first time since the 2007 Orange Bowl.
It wasn’t pretty, but Kansas State (4-3, 2-2 Big 12) will take it. The Wildcats took control of the time of possession in the first half and held off a bit of a second-half push by Texas (3-4, 1-3 Big 12) to pick up a 24-21 victory Saturday afternoon.
Kansas State certainly gave Texas opportunities. The Wildcats had three turnovers, but Texas followed those Kansas State turnovers with two turnover-on-downs and one missed field goal. Jesse Ertz was efficient in the passing game for Kansas State, completing 20 of 27 pass attempts for 171 yards and a touchdown (one interception). Ertz also accounted for two rushing touchdowns and 78 rushing yards.
Despite missing on a number of opportunities, Texas did still manage to push Kansas State to the end of the game with a pair of second-half touchdowns. Shane Buechele‘s six-yard touchdown pass to Dorian Leonard in the back of the end zone was upheld by a video replay and cut the Kansas State lead to three after an extra-point conversion. Buechele completed 17-pf-24 passes for 222 yards and two touchdowns. D'Onta Foreman led all players with 124 rushing yards, and Tyrone Swoopes added a rushing touchdown. Charles Jones was Kansas State’s leading rusher with 81 yards on 12 attempts.
Texas will return to Austin next week to host Baylor. Entering this weekend, Baylor as undefeated and looking to make a push in the Big 12. Texas stunned a depleted Baylor last year, so Baylor will be looking for revenge. Once again, Texas head coach Charlie Strong looks to be in need of a big win to save his job.
Kansas State hits the road next week for an early kickoff at Iowa State. The cyclones entered this week with a record of 1-6, with a record of 0-4 in Big 12 play.
The Big Ten has fully embraced honoring the memory of Sam Foltz, and Purdue became the latest to do as much.
Like Illinois before them, the Purdue captains presented their counterparts at Nebraska with a No. 27 jersey at midfield as the two teams met for the ceremonial coin toss prior to the Big Ten contest. The coin used, incidentally, featured Foltz on one side and Mike Sadler on the other.
Foltz, who would’ve been Nebraska’s punter this season, and Sadler, a former Michigan State punter, were killed in a July car accident on their way home from a kick camp in Wisconsin. LSU kicker Colby Delahoussaye was injured in the wreck, but is kicking this season for the Tigers and honoring both by wearing special cleats.
If you’re in the mood to feel old, here ya go.
Illinois has been hit hard by injuries at the quarterback position, with season-opening starter Wes Lunt dealing with a back issue while Chayce Crouch, last week’s starter in place of Lunt, hurt his shoulder against Rutgers. Neither of those signal-callers are expected to be available for today’s game against Michigan.
So, just who will line up under center against the No. 3 team in the country in the Big House? According to the Champaign News-Gazette, that honor will fall to Jeff George Jr., the son of former Illini great Jeff George.
The 6-3, 205-pound George was a two-star 247Sports.com recruit in 2014 who took a grayshirt that year before enrolling at Illinois in 2015. He took a redshirt his true freshman season, and has not thrown a pass at the collegiate level.
Obviously, this will mark his first career start, and it will come against a team with which his father had some familiarity. From the News-Gazette:
George’s dad, who was scheduled to be at today’s game, started twice against Michigan in the late 1980s.
He had 135 yards in a 1988 loss and threw for 253 yards in a 24-10 loss in 1989 at Memorial Stadium.
If Stanford wants to exit Week 8 still entertaining (slim) hopes of repeating as Pac-12 North and conference champs, they’re almost certainly in must-win territory against Colorado today. Getting their star running back back would certainly help, and it appears that’s what’s exactly going to happen.
In a tweet a short time ago, Bruce Feldman of FOXSports.com reported that “Christian McCaffrey is expected back today” for the Buffs game. Earlier in the week, McCaffrey’s return had been uncertain as he was extremely limited in practice.
In the third quarter of Stanford’s Week 6 loss to Washington State, McCaffrey sustained an unspecified injury that knocked him out for the remainder of the game. He was also sidelined for last Saturday’s win over Notre Dame.
A finalist for the 2015 Heisman Trophy, McCaffrey led the Cardinal in rushing (520 yards), rushing touchdowns (three), yards per carry (5.3), receptions (18), punt returns (8.0 average) and kick returns (22.8 average) prior to the injury that cost him back-to-back games.
His 188.2 all-purpose yards per game was third nationally, but he has not scored a touchdown since Week 2 and had just 84 rushing yards total the last two weeks pre-injury.