CFB after dark: Rutgers’ Kyle Flood gets big win, Vandy’s Derek Mason dealt big loss

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In case you fell asleep early last night (or at a reasonable hour, depending on your time zone)…

Rutgers running back Paul James rushed for 179 yards and three touchdowns to pace the Scarlet Knights to a 41-38 win over Washington State at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, a hugely important win for Kyle Flood as he ushers his program into the Big Ten. Rutgers, roundly picked to finish last in the Big Ten East, looked like a team capable of bowl eligibility Thursday night in the Pacific Northwest.

On Rutgers’ first play from scrimmage as a Big Ten team, Gary Nova hit Leonte Carroo for a 78-yard touchdown. But it was James who took over, rushing six times on Rutgers’ game-winning drive (that was teed up when Washington State’s River Cracraft fumbled a punt) and scoring the go-ahead touchdown.

Granted, Washington State’s defense didn’t look good, but the Cougs were a bowl team a year ago and quarterback Connor Halliday threw for 532 yards and five touchdowns. Make no mistake, this was a good win for a Rutgers program that’ll be scrapping for bowl eligibility come November.

And over in Nashville, Derek Mason’s Vanderbilt debut was a disaster. In a game that didn’t kick off until 10:50 p.m. ET due to thunderstorms in the area, Temple embarrassed the ‘Dores 37-7.

It wasn’t necessarily that Temple played well — the Owls converted two of 17 third down chances and only gained 352 yards of total offense — but it was moreso that Vanderbilt played some awful, awful football Thursday night and into Friday morning. Vanderbilt players fumbled four times while Mason cycled through three quarterbacks, who combined to throw three interceptions.

Between the 30-point loss, shocking string of turnovers, storm-delayed game and the “ANCHOR DOWN” mess, things probably couldn’t have gone worse for Mason in his first game at Vanderbilt.

Oh yeah, and this game featured the first fat guy touchdown of the year.

Big 12 upset brewing in Austin? Longhorns tied 7-7 with Oklahoma State at half

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Don’t hit the upset alarm just yet, but No. 10 Oklahoma State is in a bit of a defensive battle on the road against the Texas Longhorns. After one half of play, the Cowboys and Longhorns are knotted at seven points apiece to set the stage for an interesting second half of play in Austin.

J.D. King gave Oklahoma State a 7-0 lead in the first quarter on a seven-yard touchdown run. It came on Oklahoma State’s third possession of the game and at the end of a 96-yard drive. The next time the Cowboys had the football, another long drive for points was stalled when Justice Hill lost a fumble at the Texas 14-yard line. The Longhorns capitalized on the turnover by orchestrating a quick three-play 86-yard touchdown drive. Sam Ehlinger completed a 90-yard pass to John Burt on a 2nd and 16 and then Ehlinger took it in himself from two yards out on the next play to tie the game at 7-7.

Wisconsin defense scores and bails out Badgers offense in first half vs. Maryland

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Wisconsin does not appear to be in much of any trouble this afternoon in Madison, Wisconsin against Maryland, but the Badgers took a while to start putting away the Terrapins. Wisconsin owns a 21-3 lead on the Terps at halftime, but the Wisconsin offense has had two turnovers so far. Maryland just has not been able to capitalize on those opportunities.

The Badgers defense put the first points on the scoreboard on the game’s opening possession. T.J. Edwards picked off a pass from Max Bortenschlager and returned it 54 yards for a score. It was the fourth pick-six of the season for the Badgers, moving them into a tie for the national lead with Duke.

Maryland failed to take advantage of a fumble by Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor that gave the Terrapins the football on the Wisconsin five-yard line. Unable to pick up any yardage, Maryland settled for a field goal to cut the lead to 7-3. The Badgers responded with a 10-play, 70-yard touchdown drive ending with Taylor making his way to the end zone on a three-yard run. Wisconsin added a late touchdown on a pass from Alex Hornibrook to Zander Neuville.

In the second half, Wisconsin will get the ball to start the third quarter and will look to start overpowering Maryland to get this game wrapped up with a “W.”

LOOK: GameDay signs roast Jim Harbaugh ahead of Penn State game

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When you are as high-profile as Jim Harbaugh has been — and when the off-field headlines don’t translate into the type of on-field success your fan base craves– you are the perfect target for the those in attendance for college football’s preeminent traveling road show.

With Penn State set to host Michigan Saturday night, ESPN‘s College GameDay show made its way to Happy Valley>  As is the case every weekend, so too did the signs that have become a huge part of the three-hour pregame show.

And, not surprisingly, Harbaugh was a significant target as part of this Saturday’s festivities.

Syracuse fans looking to help fellow fan who broke both legs celebrating upset of Clemson

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For one fan, his college football team’s win last Saturday came at an extremely steep cost. And now, some fellow fans are hoping to defray those costs.

Ranked No. 2 in the nation heading in, Clemson was stunned by unranked Syracuse in a monumental Week 7 upset in the Carrier Dome last Friday. Predictably, those in attendance went wild over the football program’s biggest win in more than a decade and stormed the field.

One of those fans was Justin Heath, who jumped over a railing to join his fellow fans and promptly injured himself. Specifically, he broke both of his legs, sustained what was described as a crushed right ankle and his left kneecap was displaced.

The injuries, which have already resulted in two surgeries that included having rods, plates and pins inserted in his injured limbs, are expected to keep Heath out of work for at least three months and possibly as long as six.

Other Orange fans have set up a GoFundMe page “to raise funds to help offset medical bills and lost time from work for one of ‘Cuse’s biggest fans.” If you so desire, you can donate by clicking HERE.

The initial goal was to raise $4,400; as of this posting, $5,162 has been raised.