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Idle Alabama takes over No. 1 in coaches poll

Nick Saban

Alabama did not have to do a thing to take over the top spot in the Amway Coaches Poll this week. After Florida State went back and forth in ACC play for a second straight week, the idle Crimson Tide ascended past the defending national champions for the top spot in this week’s coaches poll.

Florida State received 26 first-place votes, more than any other school, but must have dropped past second place on a number of ballots. Alabama only received 15 first-place votes and edged the Noles by nine total points in the coaches ranking. Oklahoma received 14 first-place votes and remained third in the coaches poll, followed by Oregon, Auburn, Baylor, Texas A&M and Notre Dame. Each of those schools stood firm with their coaches ranking this week.

UCLA moved up one spot from tenth to ninth in this week’s poll following a Thursday night beating on the road of Arizona State. The Sun Devils took the biggest tumble in the coaches poll, dropping 12 spots down to No. 24. UCLA swapped places with Michigan State. The Spartans round out this week’s top 10 in the coaches poll after smashing Wyoming at home.

There was plenty of movement in spots 11-25. Ole Miss remained No. 11 in the coaches poll, but every spot after that saw some changes. Georgia and Stanford moved up one spot to No. 12 and No. 13, respectively. Mississippi State moved up two spots to No. 14, followed by LSU (up three spots). No. 16 Wisconsin was bumped up one spot and is followed by two other Big Ten teams. Nebraska and Ohio State each moved up two spots in the coaches ranking. No. 19 BYU also bumped up two spots this week. No. 20 USC rounds out the top 20 after moving up two spots as well.

No. 21 East Carolina remains in good position for a Group of Five bowl spot, if the coaches poll can be used as a litmus test for how the selection committee will view bowl contenders. The Pirates were off this week but moved up three spots with others ahead of them taking a fall. Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Arizona State and TCU complete the coaches top 25 ranking this week.

South Carolina, after losing at home for the second time this season (this time to Missouri) dropped out of the top 25. So did Duke, following a loss at Miami. Missouri is now the top school in the others receiving votes category.

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Charlie Weis has decided financial advantage in buyout money

Big 12 Football Media Days

Somebody get me the agent representing Charlie Weis on the phone, because the now former Kansas head coach has quite a deal going. According to the contract Weis had at Kansas, he will be paid $5.625 million in buyout money between now and December 31, 2016.

Kansas fired Weis as head coach on Sunday morning. According to the terms of the contract, Weis will be paid $5.625 million in buyout money between now and December 31, 2016. According to USA Today reporter Steve Berkowitz, via Twitter, it is likely Weis will be paid an estimated $2.5 million per year by Kansas to not be the head coach. It gets better for Weis, at least in terms of buyout money.

You may remember a report we had detailing how much Notre Dame is still paying Weis for their buyout of his former head coaching contract in South Bend. According to tax return documents, Notre Dame paid Weis $2.1 million in 2012 and it is expected the payment amount is the same through the end of his contract buyout at the end of 2015. In all, Notre Dame and Kansas will be paying Weis an estimated $4.6 million to not coach their football programs through the end of 2015.

This may be the end of the line for Weis as a head coach, but he has some nice retirement money coming his way for another year and a half to fall back on.

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Charlie Weis out at Kansas

Charlie Weis

After losing 23-0 at home to a struggling Texas program, Kansas has decided to cut ties with head coach Charlie Weis. On Sunday morning, Kansas athletics director Sheahon Zenger has relieved Weis of his head coaching duties, the school confirmed on Sunday.

The termination is effective immediately. Defensive coordinator Clint Bowen will take over the Kansas program as interim head coach. This will allow Kansas to get a jump on the coaching search. It will be guaranteed to be a national search and will probably include a search committee, which appears to be the norm these days.

In 28 games as head coach of Kansas, Weis had gone 6-22. His overall coaching record dropped to 41-49 including his time at Notre Dame. This probably means we have seen the last of Weis as a head coach. If you cannot cut it at Kansas, you are going to have a tough time getting another head coaching job. The future of Weis appears destined to be the life of an offensive coordinator.

Where will Kansas go from here? Kansas being in the Big 12 will only make the coaching job attractive to a few coaches looking to climb up the coaching ladder, but the job is a tough task to take on. Kansas is not going to be attracting any high-profile coach, so it would be more likely the Kansas job ends up going to a coach from a Group of Five program looking to get in the power conference mix or to grab an assistant coach with some flair.

Kansas has to find a coach capable of building a program more than anything else, because the Jayhawks have nowhere to go but up. Grounding the program on defense in the wide-open Big 12 would be advisable, but Kansas will also need to find some help on offense as well.

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Notre Dame is pretty good, but playoff argument begins this week

Everett Golson

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are a pretty good college football team. The return of Everett Golson has seen the offense perform efficiently and the defense has been playing very well at the start of the season despite losing some key players to the NFL. With a top 10 ranking and a clean 4-0 record, the playoff whispers are starting to gain some traction for the Golden Domers, but the real opportunity to state a case will begin this week. Notre Dame is about to embark on the biggest three-game stretch of the year. If they get through these next three games without a loss, watch out. The more likely scenario is probably going to result in Notre Dame being brought back to earth.

Notre Dame hosts Stanford this weekend in South Bend. The Cardinal have suffered just one loss this season, a game David Shaw‘s team uncharacteristically handed to USC. After shutting down Washington on the road this past weekend, Stanford will bring the nation’s top-ranked defense to Notre Dame Stadium. They will do so with the sting of a loss from two seasons ago still fresh. Stanford has allowed an average of 198.0 yards per game. That is a ridiculous number after four games, including two against Pac-12 schools. Stanford will bring Notre Dame’s stiffest challenge of the season, as far as defense is concerned.

If Notre Dame can manage to get by Stanford, they will then host a UNC team that has been exposed on defense the past couple of weeks. Larry Fedora‘s Tar Heels have given up 120 points the past two weeks in losses to East Carolina and Clemson.  UNC could arrive in South Bend riding a three-game losing streak if they struggle this week against Virginia Tech. This game looked a bit more challenging at the start of the season, and still could pose some problems if UNC makes some changes, but all eyes will be on the following week.

Notre Dame heads to Florida State on October 18. The top-ranked Seminoles have had some close calls in ACC play the past two weeks but they have managed to get by with the maturity and confidence a defending national champion carries. Florida State should get to the home game against the Irish without a loss. Florida State hosts Wake Forest this week and visits Syracuse next week before the Notre Dame game.

While nobody really knows just who is in the playoff mix yet, it is probably safe to say Notre Dame will need to get through the next three games with a 2-1 record to make a case. Do that and then we’ll talk about the Irish.

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Tennessee listens to fans and will Checker Neyland Stadium

Photo via

The voices of the Tennessee fans have been heard. Tennessee will Checker Neyland Stadium for Saturday’s game against SEC East rival Florida.

The other day we told you about a fan-driven initiative to organize a checkering of Neyland Stadium. The idea is inspired by stadiums organizing stripe-outs for certain games, which takes it up a step form the traditional white-out or red-out etc. This plan at Tennessee aimed to drape Neyland Stadium in an orange and white checkerboard pattern similar to the signature end zone design. A pair of web developers got together and cooked up a website that would allow fans to enter their seat location information so they knew whether to wear orange or white.

The movement spread quickly among Tennessee fans, and on Sunday the Vols have announced they will be supporting the plan.

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Will Boise State ever be the little engine that could again?

Jay Ajayi

The first month of college football is in the books and we know this about the Boise State Broncos; Boise State’s heyday is behind it. Just a couple of years ago you never would have expected the Broncos to be dominated on the road in conference play and lose a neutral site game against a power conference opponent.

Boise State opened the season with a loss to Ole Miss in Atlanta. The Rebels played a rough game on that Thursday night, the kind Boise State used to take advantage of. The Broncos scored a nice conference victory with a win over Colorado State, but last night the Broncos were grounded by Air Force, 28-14. The game was not as close as that score would suggest. Boise State turned the football over seven times, including four interceptions thrown by Grant Hedrick. That has opened the door for head coach Bryan Harsin‘s first quarterback controversy. The problem for the first-year Boise State coach is there is no Kellen Moore to be found on the roster.

Ryan Finley replaced Hedrick in the game and led the offense to two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Harsin will now face questions and pressure regarding the quarterback situation heading into Boise State’s next game, next week on the road against Nevada. Next week’s contest with Nevada is a difficult one and Boise State still has to play Fresno State and Utah State (and BYU in non-conference play).

If nothing else, we are witnessing just how special Boise State’s run as a BCS Cinderella was under head coach Chris Petersen. What the Broncos managed to do in those seasons is difficult to do, and is not common. The pieces fell together for the Broncos under the BCS format. The new College Football Playoff is one that leaves a door open just a bit wider for a program like Boise State to play in a big bowl game. Right now East Carolina appears to be first in line for that prized invitation.

Boise State does not have that far to go to get back to that lofty status among its Group of Five peers, but the Broncos need to find a quarterback that can be trusted with the offense. They have a running back that fits just fine with Jay Ajayi and the defense is good enough, but the Broncos need to improve at quarterback. Under the structure in place, a quarterback can make a huge difference for Boise State. Finding one may be tougher than it used to be though, because Boise State is not in a power conference, which means they do not benefit from the perks that come with autonomy. The overall impact this has on Boise State and other Group of Five schools remains to be seen, but there are plenty of quarterbacks out there.

Boise State’s uphill battle is based on recruiting. Petersen was able to recruit. We will have to see if Harsin can do the same as head coach. But recruiting trends are stacked against Boise State. When playing in California or Texas or anywhere south is a viable option for a player, how many will choose to play in Idaho? It is not a new problem for Boise State, but the sales pitch is easier to sell when Boise State has established itself as a team capable and worthy of being on the same field as power conference opponents. So ultimately it all comes down to winning games.

Boise State has lost its edge as a non-power conference program. Has it been lost for good?

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Pick six, Hail Mary key No. 18 USC past Oregon State, 35-10

Oregon State v USC Getty Images

USC is missing close to 30 scholarship players, but two key players that the Men of Troy absolutely do have: a quarterback and a running back. Quarterback Cody Kessler diced Oregon State for an ultra-efficient 261 yards and two touchdowns on 24-of-32 passing, and Buck Allen added 20 rushes for 115 yards and a touchdown to push No. 18 USC past Oregon State 35-10 on Saturday night.

The quarterback-running back duo may have carried the water for USC, but it was defensive back-turned-linebacker Su’a Cravens that got the Trojans going with a 31-yard interception return for a touchdown with 5:11 to play in the first quarter. Ryan Murphy took the ensuing kick back 97 yards for a touchdown, and the Beavers added a 38-yard Trevor Romaine field goal early in the second quarter to grab a 10-7 lead, but that would be it offensively for Oregon State on this night.

Kessler hit Justin Davis for a 16-yard touchdown on the following drive, and then connected with Darreus Rogers on a 48-yard Hail Mary on the final play of the first half, effectively putting the game away at 21-10. Allen added a 17-yard scoring dash to open the fourth quarter, and his backup Justin Davis closed the scoring with a 21-yard burst at the 5:02 mark of the fourth quarter.

USC threw for 261 yards and rushed for precisely 200 more (Davis added 82 yards on 15 carries) and did not turn the ball over. I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but I feel like teams that rush and pass for 200 yards and don’t turn the ball over win home games approximately 95.2 percent of the time.

Especially when the opponent doesn’t hit 200 yards of total offense.

Sean Mannion looked like a quarterback that ranked second nationally in passing a year ago solely due to the presence of the now-departed Brandin Cooks, passing for a paltry 123 yards (he averaged 358.6 in 2013) on 15-of-32 passing with no scores and two picks. The Beavers rushed 21 times for a total of 58 yards.

With losses by Arizona State and Utah this week, USC (3-1, 2-0 Pac-12) remains atop the Pac-12 South alongside UCLA and Arizona. The Trojans host No. 15 Arizona State on Saturday.

Oregon State drops to 3-1 (0-1 Pac-12) and visits Colorado on Saturday.

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The Fifth Quarter: Week 5 Rewind

Jameis Winston, Kentavius Street AP

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


Exorcising the Raleigh ghosts
When it comes Raleigh, NC, that college town has served as Florida State’s kryptonite over the past couple of decades.  Six times since 1998 a ranked FSU squad lost to North Carolina State, the most recent coming in 2012.  The Wolfpack were looking to continue that rather bizarre run of success, jumping out to a 24-7 first-quarter lead and holding a 10-point lead with just over six minutes remaining in the third quarter.

The reigning Heisman winner and one of his backfield sidekicks, however, weren’t having any of that.

In his first game since a one-game suspension, Winston tossed a pair of third-quarter touchdown passes to give the ‘Noles their first lead of the game at 42-38.  A Karlos Williams one-yard touchdown run three minutes into the fourth quarter essentially put the game away — Winston’s inexplicable interception, which had Jimbo Fisher downright irate, notwithstanding — while Williams’ 12-yard scamper with just over two minutes remaining put the exclamation point on the closer-than-it-looked 56-41 win.  Winston wound up completing 26-of-38 passes for 365 yards and four touchdowns while Williams added 126 yards and three touchdowns to stave off the upset bid.

The win kept FSU’s winning streak alive, extending its school record to 20 straight.  However, the Seminoles have already seen its stranglehold on the top spot in the Top 25 rankings loosened over the past couple of weeks; it’s highly likely that support will weaken yet again when the polls are released Sunday afternoon.  Will it be enough to knock them off the perch?  Probably not this week, but it certainly wouldn’t be surprising if a team like Oklahoma or Alabama leapfrogged the defending BCS champions.

Good gawd Gurley
You would have to do a pretty damn good job to convince me that Todd Gurley is not the best football player in the country this year.  In Georgia’s nail-biting  35-32 win over Tennessee Between the Hedges, the junior running back rushed for a career-high 208 yards and a pair of touchdowns; 129 of those yards came in the pivotal fourth quarter.  One of the scores was a 51-yard thing of beauty that put the back’s exceptional vision and cutting ability on full display.   On his next run after that, he hurdled a Vols defender on his way to a 26-yard gain midway through the fourth quarter.  Provided he stays healthy the remainder of the season, there’s simply no way Gurley won’t at least receive a mid-December invitation to New York City for the Heisman Trophy ceremony.  If Mark Richt & Company continues to feed the beast, that is.

Elementary, my dear Watson
Against North Carolina Saturday, Deshaun Watson became the first true freshman to start at quarterback for Clemson in 20 years (Nealon Greene, 1994 vs. South Carolina). Watson’s debut as a starter was a monster one as the five-star 2014 signee completed 27-of-36 passes for 434 yards and six touchdowns.  The scoring tosses are a school record for a freshman, or for any other class for that matter, as well as an ACC record for a frosh. According to a note from the school, the Tigers are now 5-12 all-time in games started by first-year freshman quarterbacks; three of those five wins have come at the expense of the Tar Heels.  Based on Watson’s play in his first outing, it appears likely he’ll get the opportunity to add to that overall win total as, barring injury, there’s little doubt it’s his job moving forward.

Continue reading »

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Ameer Abdullah’s monster first half carries Nebraska to blowout of Illinois

Ameer Abdullah

No. 21 Nebraska rushed for 458 yards, including 72 by the quarterbacks, and threw for 166 more in a 45-14 blowout over Illinois on Saturday night. If you didn’t know any better, you’d have guessed Tom Osborne or Frank Solich were still patrolling the sidelines in Big Red country.

No, Bo Pelini and his Huskers improved to 5-0 in their quest to win the Big Ten West and end the season with something less than four losses.

Ameer Abdullah led the way with 22 carries for 208 yards and three touchdowns. Ninety percent of his work was done in the first half as the Huskers took a 31-14 lead into the break. The senior has now rushed 114 times for 833 yards (7.31 yards per carry) with eight touchdowns, plus five catches for 108 yards and two touchdowns. He has now topped 200 rushing yards in three of Nebraska’s five games.

Imani Cross added 22 carries for 109 yards and a touchdown, and quarterback Tommy Armstrong, Jr., completed 10-of-21 passes for 166 yards with a touchdown and an interception while rushing 10 times for 66 yards. As a team, Nebraska rushed 70 times for 458 yards and five touchdowns. Impressive as it was, Nebraska’s night was still a good bit away from the school record of 677 rushing yards.

Reilly O’Toole garnered the start for Illinois, and struggled throughout the night. He completed only 17 of his 38 passes for 261 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions. He was also sacked four times, and all-everything defensive end Randy Gregory had a hand in three of them.

After scoring to pull within 28-14, Illinois touched the ball nine times. Seven drives traveled 20 yards or fewer, and the other two either ended in an interception or a sack that ended the game.

Illinois is now 3-2, but sits at 0-2 against Power Five opponents Washington and Nebraska; the Illini were outscored 89-33 in those games. However, the healing elixir of Purdue comes to Champaign on Saturday.

Nebraska, however, now braces for a primetime, network-televised showdown at No. 9 Michigan State next week.

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Hail Mary puts No. 18 USC up 21-10 at the half

Cody Kessler

No. 18 USC leads Oregon State 21-10 at the half in a game full of scores that were not part of the game plan.

Trojans defensive back-turned-linebacker Su’a Cravens opened the scoring with a 31-yard interception return for a touchdown at the 5:11 mark of the first quarter. Ryan Murphy immediately responded for the Beavers, taking the ensuing kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown.

Trevor Romaine gave Oregon State a 10-7 lead with 11:14 to go in the second quarter on a 38-yard field goal, but Cody Kessler closed the half with two touchdown passes – one conventional, one not – to give the Trojans a comfortable lead at the break. The first came on a 16-yard pass to running back Justin Davis with 7:16 to go in the half, and the second came on a 48-yard Hail Mary to Darreus Rogers as time expired.

Rogers’ catch was the rare Hail Mary grab where the receiver leaps from the end zone, comes down at the one yard-line and actually has to step back into the end zone to complete the prayer.

Kessler has completed 17-of-22 passes for 183 yards with those pair of scores, while Sean Mannion has countered with 107 yards on 11-of-19 passing with two interceptions. Neither team has gotten anything done on the ground; Oregon State is out-rushing USC 39-13.

Oregon State will receive the ball to open the second half.

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No road blues here: No. 7 Baylor dispatches Iowa State, 49-28

Baylor v Iowa State Getty Images

If there was one legitimate criticism of Art Briles’ Baylor Bears, it was this: Baylor wasn’t the same program when going on the road, and especially while playing on natural grass. They weren’t the Baylor program that has sent scoreboard operators scurrying in fear, instead performing like any other program.

According to David Ubben of, Baylor entered Saturday night’s game at Iowa State with just a 3-11 record in games played on natural grass, and an 0-2 mark at Jack Trice Stadium, so there was some merit to that criticism.

However, the Bears appear to be moving past their road bugaboo with Saturday night’s 49-28 win over Iowa State.

It wasn’t the 71-7 shock-and-awe campaign that Baylor posted during last year’s meeting in Waco, and but it didn’t have to be. The Bears carried a 35-7 lead at halftime and cruised through the second half, never allowing the Cyclones to pull closer than 21.

Bryce Petty threw for 336 yards with a touchdown and a pick and rushed 47 yards with two more scores. Shock Linwood added 15 carries for 82 yards and three touchdowns, Corey Coleman caught a dozen passes for 154 yards and a score, and Antwan Goodley caught his first six passes of the year for 114 yards. All in all, Baylor totaled 601 yards of total offense, 32 first downs and ran 97 plays all while playing what appeared to be three-fourths speed.

Baylor put up Baylor-type numbers on the road, on – gasp! – natural grass, in a conference game, without breaking into a full sweat.

Meanwhile, the defense did what it had to do, keeping an upset-minded Iowa State at arm’s length for the entire game. Sam B. Richardson registered 311 yards of total offense, but they were a hard 311 yards – he needed 53 total plays to get there, threw an interception and took a number of hits. Outside of Richardson, three Cyclones rushed 20 times for a grand total of 28 yards.

The loss drops Iowa State to 1-3 on the year and 0-2 in the Big 12 with a trip to No. 24 Oklahoma State waiting next week, while Baylor (4-0 in consecutive years for the first time since 1937-38) visits Texas on Saturday.

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Blue Devils’ QB holds back offense as Duke loses 22-10 to Hurricanes

Anthony Boone

Duke head coach David Cutcliffe is known for his ability to develop quarterbacks. But Duke doesn’t have a Peyton Manning, Eli Manning or even a Sean Renfree currently on the roster. The Blue Devils will go as far as senior quarterback Anthony Boone takes them. And Boone didn’t take them very far Saturday against the Miami Hurricanes.

Boone was 22-of-51 passing for 179 yards and two interceptions during Duke’s 22-10 loss to Miami.

Miami did Saturday what it couldn’t do a year ago. Duke gouged Miami for 358 rushing yards in 2013. The Hurricanes only gave up 83 yards Saturday in Miami.

Due to Miami’s newfound ability to stop the run, the onus fell on Boone to elevate the rest of the offense, and he proved incapable of the being the type of passer to carry his team.

The narrative during the game was Boone only lost two games as a starter. Those two loses came when Duke faced Johnny Manziel‘s Texas A&M Aggies and Jameis Winston‘s Florida State Seminoles. Well, Boone has now lost to the Hurricanes’ true freshman, Brad Kaaya.

Boone was outplayed by Miami’s freshman. Kaaya finished the contest 21-of-35 passing for 226 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Saturday’s performance was an important building block as head coach Al Golden continues to rebuild the program.

Despite the poor play from its quarterback, Duke is still 4-1 and one game behind the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Pitt Panthers and Virginia Cavaliers in the ACC’s Coastal division.  Miami, meanwhile, is 1-1 in conference play.

The Blue Devils are talented along the offensive line and at wide receiver. They potentially have an explosive offense as long as their senior quarterback plays to the level expected of him. And Boone’s performance against Miami wasn’t good enough.

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Missouri’s 21-20 victory against No. 13 South Carolina opens up SEC East

Gary Pinkel

The SEC East is completely up for grabs for any team willing to take control of its destiny.

The Missouri Tigers’ 21-20 victory Saturday against the No. 13 South Carolina Gamecocks only muddied the divisional picture.

Missouri now sits atop the division standings with a 1-0 conference record. The rest of the division already lost at least one conference game. The Gamecocks are now 2-2 in conference play.

The current state of the division has even given Kentucky confidence it could possibly claim a division crown.

In reality, the team to benefit the most is the Georgia Bulldogs, who now have a game edge on South Carolina after losing to the Gamecocks earlier this season.

This scenario wouldn’t even exist without a late four-quarter comeback by the Tigers.

Missouri trailed 20-7 with 7:25 remaining. At that point, Missouri’s spread offense finally came to life after being bogged down by South Carolina’s defense the previous three quarters.

Tigers quarterback Maty Mauk orchestrated a quick three-play drive with resulted in a touchdown by pushing the ball downfield and testing the Gamecocks defense vertically. Mauk was only 12-of-34 passing, but his biggest throws came when his team needed them the most.

During the following drive, Missouri was able to move the ball on the ground. Senior running back Marcus Murphy chewed up yardage and finished the contest with 98 yards on 16 carries.

South Carolina gained 58 more yards and held the ball 11:55 longer than Missouri, but it was the Tigers who made the big plays when the game was on the line.

Missouri may have been disappointed after last week’s 31-27 lost to the Indiana Hoosiers, but the team now controls its destiny in the SEC East.

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Ameer Abdullah puts up monster first half numbers vs. Illinois

Ameer Abdullah

Ameer Abdullah became the first FBS player to top 1,000 all-purpose yards during the first half against Illinois on Saturday night. But he’s done so, so much more than that.

The man who saved Nebraska’s season has rushed 20 times for 196 yards and three touchdowns as No. 21 Nebraska leads Illinois 31-14 at halftime. Read that again. 196 yards. Three touchdowns. Halftime.

There’s nothing at all fluky about Abdullah’s yardage, which has come mostly in chunks of seven, eight and nine yards. He has “only” four rushes of 20 yards or more, and most importantly has not recorded any negative plays to this point. He’s carried the Huskers thus far, which is good because he’s absolutely had to. Tommy Armstrong, Jr., hit Kenny Bell for a 63-yard touchdown pass to put Nebraska up 28-7 in the second quarter, but other than that throw he’s 2-of-9 for 40 yards with an interception. Abdullah’s backup Armani Cross has been Nebraska’s second-most productive player with 10 carries for 71 yards.

Reilly O’Toole garnered the start for the Illini, and played like a guy who didn’t start for the first four games of the season. He’s hit 7-of-13 passes for 140 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. The touchdown came on a 58-yard 50/50 ball that Geronimo Allison happened to grab and take into the end zone.

Nate Gerry recorded a sack and a 54-yard interception return, setting up Abdullah’s third touchdown of the half.

Illinois will receive the ball to open the second half.

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Baylor having no trouble with Iowa State through one half

Shock Linwood

More than 50,000 packed into Jack Trice Stadium on Saturday night hoping to see an upset.

They’re going to leave disappointed.

No. 7 Baylor has had no trouble with upstart Iowa State, leading 35-7 through one half. Bryce Petty has completed 22-of-35 passes for 250 yards with one touchdown with one interception. Considering he had only played five quarters this season before tonight, he may hit 50 throws before taking a rest for the night. Petty has also rushed six times for 41 yards and a 16-yard touchdown, keying a Bears ground game that has chewed up 130 yards on 6.2 yards a pop.

Shock Linwood has rushed eight times for 51 yards and two touchdowns, Johnny Jefferson has added six carries for 30 yards and a score, and Antwan Goodley has returned to the lineup to catch his first six passes of the season for 114 yards.

Sam B. Richardson has been Iowa State’s entire offense through one half. Want to know how you’re in trouble against a Big 12 team? When Sam B. Richardson is your entire offense. He’s hit on 7-of-22 passes for 89 yards with a touchdown and an all-timer of an interception, and rushed six times for 23 yards. All together, Richardson has produced 112 yards on 28 total touches – a perfect four yards per play. Iowa State’s three other rushers have compiled 12 yards on 11 carries.

As for Richardson’s interception, it came on a play where he decided to shovel the ball with his left hand (he’s right handed) while in the grasp of a Baylor defender. Karma demanded that this pass end an interception.

Overall, Baylor has outgained the Cyclones 380-124.

Iowa State gets the ball to open the second half.

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