No. 16 Fresno State (10-1, 7-1 MWC) will not be going to a BCS bowl game this season. San Jose State (6-6, 5-3 MWC) made sure of that with a resounding and wild 62-52 victory in San Jose Friday afternoon, handing the Bulldogs their first loss of the season at the worst possible time. The win for the Spartans makes San Jose State eligible for postseason play.
Fresno State’s defense was shredded by San Jose State quarterback David Fales for 549 passing yards and six touchdowns. It was the first 500-yard game of his career for Fales. the Spartans also had three different wide receivers record at least 140 yards with Tyler Winston, Kyle Nunn and Chandler Jones all pacing the offense. The Spartans rolled up 736 yards of offense in the game. It was quite the turnaround for San Jose State as well. San Jose State lost at home in overtime last week to Navy. That loss meant San Jose State had to win this week to gain postseason eligibility and to do that against the top team in the conference.
Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr did just about everything you could have wanted him to do with a potential BCS bid within sight. Carr completed 38 pass attempts for 519 yards and six touchdowns. Receiver Davanta Adams accounted for 264 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
Fresno State had been chasing Northern Illinois for an automatic BCS invite despite playing in a conference without an automatic bid. Ranking in the top 16 of the BCS standings and ahead of a conference champion from a conference with an automatic bid was what Fresno State needed, but that is far out of reach this late in the season no matter what happens in next week’s Mountain West Conference championship game, which will be hosted by Fresno State. Northern Illinois completed a 12-0 regular season and now is likely one win away from clinching a second straight BCS trip if they can win the MAC Championship Game against Bowling Green next week in Detroit. The Huskies played Florida State in last year’s Orange Bowl. Northern Illinois needs to stay ranked ahead of Central Florida, who can wrap up the American Athletic Conference championship tonight with a win against South Florida.
Fresno State will host either Utah State or Boise State in the Mountain West Conference Championship Game next week. If Utah State wins their home game against Wyoming, they will advance to the conference championship game. A loss to Wyoming by Utah State would set up a rematch between Fresno State and Boise State. Fresno State defeated Boise State earlier this season in Fresno, 41-40.
Texas has lost two straight upset bids in strikingly similar fashion: true freshman quarterback Sam Ehlinger leads a potential-game winning drive, scrambles, hits his head on the turf and ends the possession in a puzzling throw.
The first came in last week’s loss to No. 10 Oklahoma. Trailing 29-24 late in the fourth quarter, scrambled for two yards to the Texas-48 yard line but hit his head on the Cotton Bowl turf and was forced to leave the game for five plays. Shane Buechele pushed the Longhorns to the Oklahoma 31, but he was replaced after a sack and Ehlinger ended up throwing the ball away on 4th-and-13 from the OU 34 with two minutes to play. That, as they say, was that.
Fast forward to Saturday and Texas was trailing No. 11 Oklahoma State 13-10 in overtime when Ehlinger opened the possession with a scramble that again saw the back of his head bang against the Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium turf. He stayed in the game this time, but ended the game on a puzzling (to say the least) interception to absolutely no one on 3rd-and-4 from the OSU 6.
While Ehlinger was not evaluated for a concussion during the game, he did not practice Sunday and head coach Tom Herman said Monday that Ehlinger and center Zach Shackelford are in concussion protocol.
Complicating matters for Texas is that sophomore back-up Shane Buechele is playing on a gimpy ankle that kept him out against San Jose State and Kansas State that Herman said will not improve as the season goes on.
No matter, Texas will face a hungry Baylor team on Saturday (noon ET, ESPNU) that nearly completed a comeback against No. 22 West Virginia on Saturday night.
The playing career of Tennessee offensive guard Jack Jones has come to an unfortunate end. On Monday, Tennessee head coach Butch Jones announced Jones was stepping away from football as injury concerns with his neck continue to interfere with playing.
Jones played in the season opener against Georgia Tech in Atlanta but has essentially been out of action for the entire season after that. After consulting with doctors, Jones came to the decision to step away from football as it became clear playing football would only put his long-term health in jeopardy.
The loss of Jones leaves Tennessee’s offensive line depth thin down the stretch. It could be quite a bumpy finish to what has already been a turbulent season in Knoxville.
Sitting from his office in Columbus, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer has been able to see just how dangerous a night game at Iowa can be. Last season, Iowa upset Michigan with the first loss suffered by the Wolverines setting off a wild finale to the Big Ten season. Earlier this season, a night game at Iowa nearly caught Penn State before the Nittany Lions managed to get out of Kinnick Stadium with a last-second victory. Knowing the history of Kinnick Stadium at night, Meyer may have managed to successfully lobby himself from having to play a night game at Iowa.
Big Ten kickoff times for Week 10 have started to come together on Monday, with Minnesota announcing it will host Michigan in primetime on FOX. The decision to have the Gophers and Wolverines in primetime was a tad puzzling considering two of the other game son the Big Ten schedule that day. Penn State is playing at Michigan State and Ohio State is playing — you guessed it — at Iowa.
The Buckeyes will be playing at either noon or 3:30 p.m. eastern on November 4, with the Nittany Lions and Spartans likely to be slotted in the other timeslot. The speculation is the 3:30 p.m. ET slot will be reserved for the winner of this week’s Ohio State-Penn State matchup, as the game will likely begin to take more weight in the College Football Playoff picture on top of the Big Ten championship hunt.
Meyer addressed concerns about playing so many road games at night this season, and perhaps the conference is responding to his concerns. Ohio State has already played four primetime games, including three on the road (Indiana, Rutgers, Nebraska). If not for the World Series coverage this weekend, odds are good the home game against Penn State would have been a lock for primetime as well. Ohio State also played a primetime game earlier this year against Oklahoma. But Meyer’s chief concern was playing so many night games on the road, as it becomes quite tiresome for players.
Was Meyer looking forward all along to prevent Ohio State from having to play a night game at Iowa? Regardless of the motive, the Buckeyes will not have to test the fates under the lights at Kinnick Stadium in two weeks.
Over the weekend, Tennessee’s Rashaan Gaulden flipped a double-bird to fans at Alabama after the Vols scored a touchdown. It has quickly become one of the top images from the weekend, and Gauldin has apologized for his obscene gesture to the Alabama faithful. On Monday, another player on the road who decided to flip off the home fans has now apologized for his actions.
Michigan’s Lavert Hill was seen offering a one-finger salute to fans at Penn State after Michigan had suffered a 42-13 loss at Beaver Stadium. The image of Hill gesturing to the fans made the rounds, and now Hill has offered his own apology in a brief statement.
“I sincerely regret my inappropriate gesture at the end of Saturday’s football game. I let my emotions get the best of me and learned a valuable lesson,” Hill said in his statement. “I am truly sorry for this offensive gesture and vow that it will not happen again.”
Hill had committed to Penn State during the recruiting process before flipping to stay in state with the Wolverines. It was a rough night for former Penn State commits playing in a Michigan uniform on Saturday. Kicker Quinn Nordin, who committed to Penn State with an airplane music video but flipped to Michigan after Jim Harbaugh slept over has been rock solid with his kicking this season, but he missed his first kick Saturday night for an extra point.