Coming into the game against Iowa Saturday, Ohio State had two missions in order to keep pace for a potential spot in the BCS title game: win and win impressively enough to sway voters.
Well, one out of two ain’t bad.
The good news for the Buckeyes is that they were able to pull away from the Hawkeyes courtesy of a 24-7 advantage in the second half, posting its 19th straight win by the score of 34-24. The not-so-good news was that half came after OSU looked positively underwhelming in falling behind the visiting Hawkeyes 17-10 after two quarters of play.
Head coach Urban Meyer has preached that his team can only control what they do and is focused solely on the next opponent, not BCS implications. Meyer and his charges, though, are not only battling its next opponent on the field but fighting perception off of it: the perception that the Buckeyes’ non-conference schedule was pastry-soft and the conference slate is not far behind. And that, simply put, the Buckeyes just aren’t that good of a football team despite the fact that they are on a historic run of wins.
The way OSU played in the first half did nothing to help the perception. Neither did Northwestern, one of the so-called quality wins for the Buckeyes this season, going down in defeat a third straight game.
The stark reality for Ohio State is that, even if they run the streak to 24 straight, they would fall behind the SEC championship game winner… and an unbeaten Oregon… and an unbeaten ACC champion in the BCS title-game pecking order. That’s the situation facing OSU, regardless of if anyone connected to the program wants to publicly acknowledge it.
All summer long, people wondered why Washington was getting so much preseason love.
After Friday night’s 44-6 thrashing of Stanford in front of a national audience, nobody is wondering anymore about the Huskies.
The sophomore backfield combo of quarterback Jake Browning (210 yards, three touchdowns) and Myles Gaskin (an even 100 yards rushing, two scores) once again powered Washington to a big win, with the offense scoring on all but two full drives on a night where everything went right for the purple and gold.
Defensively is where the Huskies really impressed though. The team swarmed to the ball on every snap, forced two fumbles, racked up eight sacks and kept Stanford under three yards a play for most of the night. The normally reliable Christian McCaffrey was kept in check in remarkable fashion, rushing for just 49 yards on 12 carries.
Just six days after a remarkable comeback win at UCLA, there wasn’t much left in the tank for a Stanford team that was missing two starting cornerbacks and just couldn’t get anything going offensively on the road in a hostile environment. Quarterback Ryan Burns did throw for 151 yards and a touchdown but was under siege most of the night thanks to some shaky play up front from the normally reliable Cardinal offensive line.
The win by Washington certainly establishes Chris Petersen’s team as the Pac-12 favorite — at the very minimum — with a chance to all but punch their ticket to the conference title game next week at Pacific Northwest rival Oregon. If the Huskies continue to look like they did on Friday in Seattle though, a berth in the College Football Playoff is certainly going to be in the cards as well.
On the first offensive play of the night for Stanford, the Cardinal picked up a first down thanks to a face mask penalty.
It was all downhill from there for the Cardinal.
No. 10 Washington lived up to their high preseason billing on Friday night by manhandling the defending Pac-12 champions in just about every way possible to jump out to a 23-0 halftime lead.
Quarterback Jake Browning threw just three incompletions on his way to 167 yards and two touchdowns and the Huskies looked every bit the part of a top five team in a wild, vintage atmosphere on Montlake. While the offense was impressive, the Washington defense was swarming as well, racking up six sacks in the game so far.
Stanford couldn’t get anything going offensively, averaging just 2.8 yards per play in the first half. Superstar Christian McCaffrey was held mostly in check, with just eight yards receiving and 31 on the ground.
To add injury to the insult of that first half, the Cardinal’s best defender — defensive lineman Solomon Thomas — was injured in the second quarter with a lower leg injury. The team is already without both its starting cornerbacks for the game so it could be a long second half for the visitors.
The game isn’t over yet and there’s plenty of #Pac12AfterDark potential but that was quite a statement made by Chris Petersen’s Huskies in the first half in establishing their credentials for the College Football Playoff.
Texas Tech may be without its starting quarterback just as Big 12 play is picking up.
Patrick Mahomes II injured his shoulder on a scramble in the third quarter of the team’s romp over Kansas on Thursday night and did not return to the game. While he was shown on television attempting to throw on the sidelines after returning to the sidelines, he watched the rest of the second half with a headset on instead of a helmet.
The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reports there’s a reason Mahomes didn’t return: he’s dealing with an AC joint sprain in the shoulder of his throwing arm. Mahomes’ father posted on social media that the quarterback would not need surgery to correct the injury but it’s still something that could sideline the Red Raiders’ signal-caller for a few games.
Texas Tech does get a little extra rest before traveling to Kansas State next week on Saturday and then host West Virginia at home the following week.
Mahomes entered the week second in the country in passing, third in passing efficiency, and first in total offense. If there is any positive for Tech it’s that there might not be such a huge drop off to backup Nic Shimonek considering the junior came in and threw four touchdown passes in relief of Mahomes in a little over a quarter’s work against the Jayhawks.
Still, Mahomes is one of the most dynamic players in the country at the quarterback position and they’ll certainly need him back behind center if they stand any chance at beating some of the upper tier Big 12 teams to close out the month of October.
Aside from his feet, Demetrius Knox simply can’t catch a break.
In February of 2015, the Ohio State offensive line broke his foot and miss all of spring practice. A year and a half later, ElevenWarriors.com initially reported that Knox had again sustained a broken foot and would be sidelined for the foreseeable future.
An OSU spokesperson subsequently confirmed the redshirt sophomore recently underwent surgery and will be out for eight weeks, although it’s unclear if it’s the same foot he broke last year. Such a timeline means Knox’s regular season is all but over, and it remains to be seen whether he’ll play in the postseason.
A four-star member of the Buckeyes’ 2014 recruiting class, Knox was rated as the No. 5 guard in the country and the No. 15 player at any position in the state of Texas. On 247Sports.com‘s composite board, Knox was rated as the No. 97 player overall in that class.
After taking a redshirt as a true freshman, Knox played in 13 games in 2015, mostly on special teams. This season, he’s been listed as a backup at right guard while maintaining a role on special teams.