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Buckeyes continue stating CFP case with woodshedding of Rutgers

Rutgers v Ohio State Getty Images

Numerous observers (sheepishly raises hand) left the Big Ten dead playoff-wise after the first couple of weeks of the season. Thanks to the last couple of weeks, that conference in general and Ohio State specifically are right back in the conversation.

After jumping out to a 35-7 halftime lead, the Buckeyes kept their foot on Rutgers’ throat en route to a 56-17 win over the Scarlet Knights in Columbus.  Since the inexplicable home loss to Virginia Tech in Week 2, OSU has been on a roll as it has outscored its four opponents (RU, Maryland, Cincinnati and Kent State) by the combined score of 238-69.

Even as OSU’s margin of victory was 39 points, the game wasn’t nearly that close against a team that was 5-1 coming in.

The Buckeyes scored on seven of its 10 drives that didn’t involve the end of halves — one ended in a punt, one a fourth-quarter fumble and the other a turnover on downs.  They outgained the Scarlet Knights 587-345, tying a school record for most consecutive 500-yard games in school history in the process with four in a row (1998 team).

Once again, the play of J.T. Barrett has a growing number of people wondering if there will be a quarterback controversy when a healthy Braxton Miller returns in 2015.

In a little over three quarters worth of work, Barrett produced 361 yards of total offense (354 passing, 107 rushing) and five total touchdowns (three passing, two rushing).  The redshirt freshman led the team in rushing as well.

In the loss to the Hokies, Barrett threw three interceptions and a touchdowns; in the last four games, his TD-to-INT ratio is a stellar 17-1.  Throwing in rushing scores, and he’s produced 20 touchdowns and no turnovers in that span.

With the win, the 13th-ranked Buckeyes improved to 6-1 on the season.  OSU has two more games (at 4-2 Penn State in primetime, home against 3-4 Illinois) before getting to what will be the biggest game of the season for both the teams and the conference: the Nov. 8 trip to East Lansing to take on Big Ten title game nemesis Michigan State.

If both teams continue winning between now and then — MSU only has to get past the sinking ship that is big brother Michigan at home — it will set up a matchup of squads that will most likely be ranked inside of the Top 10 of the major polls at kickoff.  The winner of that game would then have the inside track on the East Division’s spot in the league championship game.  It would also, with no offense intended toward Nebraska, leave the winner as what would likely be the conference’s lone hope for a spot in the inaugural College Football Playoff.

And, courtesy of the October chaos and its two high-profile team rebounding from early-season losses, the Big Ten can once again realistically talk playoffs, even if some would still consider a spot at that exclusive table a long-shot.

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Go long: Big plays lead to TCU’s 28-9 halftime lead against Oklahoma State

Josh Doctson, Jalen Myrick

No. 12 TCU scored four touchdowns during the first half against the No. 15 Oklahoma State Cowboys. The shortest of TCU’s four scores was a 34-yard run by running back B.J. Catalon.

TCU’s big-play ability led to a 28-9 lead over Oklahoma State after two quarters of play.

When TCU wide receiver Josh Doctson woke up this morning, he probably didn’t expect it to be a career day. But that’s exactly what happened. Docston already established a career high with 167 receiving yards.

The junior wide receiver’s first two catches set the tone for the game. Quarterback Trevone Boykin fround Doctson racing down the sideline twice for long scores. The first was a 77-yard connection as Doctson raced to the end zone. The wide receiver bettered his first touchdown reception with an 84-yard score three minutes later.

TCU hasn’t simply exploited Oklahoma State secondary. The Horned Frogs established a strong ground game, too. Catalon quickly amassed 96 yards on six carries, including a pair of touchdowns. Both scores were 34-yards or longer.

In total, the Horned Frogs tallied 349 yards of offense. They averaged 11.4 yards per pass and 11.1 yards per rush.

Oklahoma State was also able to move the ball, but the Cowboys couldn’t capitalize once they entered the red zone. Three trips inside TCU’s 20-yard line resulted in three field goals.

With a strong first-half effort, TCU will likely utilize more of a ball control offense to secure a victory. The Cowboys, on the other hand, have to clean up the mistakes on defense and finish drives during the second half.

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No Gurley, no problem: No. 10 Georgia routing Arkansas at the half

Markus Golden, Nick Chubb

Arkansas accepted the ball to open the game with No. 10 Georgia in Little Rock and promptly played picture perfect Bret Bielema-era Razorbacks football. The Hawgs marched 75 yards in 13 plays, using 7 minutes and 51 seconds off the clock with 12 Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams rushes and one Brandon Allen pass for 17 yards. The PAT was blocked (what else is new?) and it’s been all Georgia since then.

As in, 38-zip.

Nick Chubb has been the best player on either team and, dare we say it, as good as Todd Gurley could have been in rushing a dozen times for 127 yards and two touchdowns. Hutson Mason added 127 passing yards and a seven-yard scoring strike to Michael Bennett, and Dominick Sanders 54-yard fumble return for a touchdown with 2:08 remaining in the half for the cherry on top of this red and black sundae is the Dawgs lead, 38-6.

Arkansas has been its usual Remington-to-the-ankle self, losing the turnover battle 3-0, committing a personal foul on third down to extend an eventual Georgia touchdown drive, and missing the aforementioned PAT to get the negative mojo going.

Williams has 74 of the Razorbacks’ 80 rushing yards, and Brandon Allen has completed 7-of-15 passes for 81 yards with an interception inside Georgia’s end zone and a fumble that resulted in a touchdown.

Georgia will receive the ball to open the second half.

 

 

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Texas A&M unable to stop Alabama as Crimson Tide leads 45-0 at halftime

TJ Yeldon

Cameron Robinson, Arie Kouandjio, Bradley Bozeman, Leon Brown and Austin Shepherd were the stars of No. 7 Alabama’s first-half pummeling of the No. 21 Texas A&M Aggies.

Who are these five men? They’re Alabama’s starting offensive line.

The Crimson Tide lead 45-0 after two quarters of play behind the strength of its running game.  Alabama’s offensive line absolutely dominated up front. The skill positions benefited with 226 rushing yards.

Last year Alabama ran for 234 yards the entire game. Texas A&M, meanwhile, has zero rushing yards after the first half and 51 total yards of offense.

It didn’t matter who was running the ball for Alabama.

Junior T.J. Yeldon ran over, through, around and by multiple Aggies nearly every time he touched the ball. The star running back accumulated 113 yards rushing on only 13 carries. Backup running back Derrick Henry averaged one less yard per carry and chewed up 58 yards with only eight carries.

Quarterback Blake Sims even got in on the act. The senior-signal-caller ripped Texas A&M’s defense with a beautiful 43-yard scamper. Sims broke multiple ankles during the long touchdown run (see: below).

Alabama didn’t take its foot off the gas after scoring 31 points due to the running game. The impressive ground attack simply opened up the passing game for the Crimson Tide. Sims found junior wide receiver Amari Cooper open for a 24-yard touchdown with 4:10 remaining in the first half.

The Crimson Tide decided to make a statement during the first half and they did so. All they have to do during the second half is continue to run the football and attempt to stay healthy.

Texas A&M, on the other hand, will attempt to salvage some of their pride. Kevin Sumlin‘s squad was embarrassed by the Crimson Tide during the first half. It’s now up to Texas A&M to pick itself up, play respectable football and improve in the areas it was dominated earlier in the contest.

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Ohio State puts first-half pounding on Rutgers

Rutgers v Ohio State Getty Images

Rutgers came into its game with Ohio State with a New Jersey-sized chip on its shoulder thanks to what it perceived to be a lack of respect. At least in the first 30 minutes, the Scarlet Knights showed why the respect may have been lacking.

Through the first two quarters of play, Ohio State has dominated every facet of play and took a commanding 35-7 lead into halftime. A 21-0 second-quarter spurt turned what was a relatively close game, at least on the scoreboard, into a first-half blowout that shows no sign of abating in the last two quarters.

The Buckeyes have outgained the Scarlet Knights 249-156 thus far, an advantage that could’ve been even wider if quarterback J.T. Barrett hadn’t started misfiring on some easy throws in the second quarter.

That said, Barrett was once again a significant reason for the Buckeyes’ offensive success. Barrett finished the half with 147 yards passing and a pair of scoring tosses. The redshirt freshman, who’s fast approaching on-the-radar Heisman status, added a team-high 50 yards on the ground.

Tight end Nick Vannett was on the receiving end of both Barnett scoring tosses after entering the game with one all season.

The Buckeyes’ defense scored on a second-quarter fumble return and held the Scarlet Knights to just 2.2 yards per carry.  Over half of Rutgers’ first-half yardage (83) came on the last drive of the second quarter, a drive that ended with an end-zone interception by the Buckeyes’ Doran Grant with just :12 left in the half.

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West Virginia helps hit reset button on Big 12 with upset of No. 4 Baylor

Clint Trickett

A week ago Baylor managed to come back from a 21-point deficit to beat TCU in the fourth quarter. This week was a different story. No. 4 Baylor (6-1, 3-1 Big 12) was shutout in the fourth quarter and West Virginia (5-2, 3-1) scored twice to pull away from the defending Big 12 champions. It was the second significant upset in the Big 12 that unfolded early Saturday afternoon that could reshape the way this conference now plays out the rest of the way.

West Virginia quarterback Clint Trickett out-dueled his counterpart from Baylor, Bryce Petty. Trickett ended his day with 322 passing yards and three touchdowns, including two in the fourth quarter as the Mountaineers broke a tie and ran away with the win. Petty was held to completing just 16 of 32 attempts for 223 yards and two touchdowns.

Talk all you wish about offense, but West Virginia’s defense deserves great praise for this one. West Virginia lost three turnovers, but the defense only allowed 10 yards to be scored off of those mistakes. The Baylor touchdown following a fumble came on a possession that started on the West Virginia seven, so blaming the defense for that hardly seems fair anyway. Baylor had over 700 yards of offense a week ago against TCU, but West Virginia held the BEars to just 318 yards of offense. West Virgina’s ability to get off the field on defense was magnificent as well. Baylor converted just three out of 16 third-down conversion attempts, and Baylor was 0-for-2 on fourth-down conversion attempts.

This game was polluted by penalties by both teams as well. Baylor was called for 18 penalties and 185 penalty yards. West Virginia was flagged 14 times for 138 yards. Neither Art Briles nor Dana Holgorsen can be pleased with that lack of discipline from start to finish.

Baylor was the Big 12’s final undefeated team. Now, in Big 12 play, Oklahoma State and Kansas State are the only undefeated teams in conference play (and Oklahoma State is off to a poor start at TCU). Baylor sis certainly not out of the Big 12 picture of course, but West Virginia has now made a push as well. At 3-1 in the Big 12, the Mountaineers are ahead fo Baylor in the standings. The Big 12 race is also going to be worth discussing as it relates to the College Football Playoff moving forward, although it is still too early to suggest the conference will be on the outside looking in. An undefeated Baylor team would have been the most likely to be a lock to represent the Big 12, although a one-loss Big 12 champion would likely still have a very good chance to be selected. This despite the conference having any real signature wins in out-of-conference play and no wins against top 25 competition.

Baylor will be off next week. Baylor’s next game will be November 1 at home against Kansas. Odds are the Bears will have little trouble with that one before heading to Norman, Oklahoma the following week to take on the Oklahoma Sooners.

West Virginia will go on the road next week to take on Oklahoma State. The Mountaineers have TCU at home the following week and then a road trip to Austin to play the Texas Longhorns before getting to a mid-November bye week.

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Maryland QB Brown banged up in win over Iowa

James Madison v Maryland

A week after getting roughed up on its home field by Ohio State, Maryland (5-2, 2-1 Big Ten) came back on a little bit of a redemption mission this week at home against Iowa (5-2, 2-1 Big Ten). Maryland took a 38-21 lead in the fourth quarter and held on for a 38-31 win in Big Ten play.

Maryland fell behind Iowa early in the game, with the Hawkeyes jumping out to a 14-0 lead in part because Maryland turned the football over on the first play of the game. Maryland was not rattled though, and rallied with 17 straight points heading to the halftime break with the lead. Maryland linebacker Will Likely intercepted a pass from Iowa’s Jake Rudock and returned it 45 yards for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter, giving Maryland a 10-point advantage. That was later expanded to a 17-point advantage with a Wes Brown touchdown run, his second of the game. Stefon Diggs dazzled with 130 yards and a touchdown on nine catches.

Maryland quarterback C.J. Brown was forced to leave the game after taking a hit from an Iowa defender. Brown was scrambling for a first down when he went diving head first. Brown was able to leave the field under his own power, but given his history with head injuries it is understandable why Maryland would be extremely cautious with their quarterback’s health. Redshirt sophomore Perry Hills replaced Brown under center, a move that was necessary with Caleb Rowe out for the year following an injury this week. Brown is Maryland’s top passer and leading rusher, so his absence could be important if he is unable to play in the future.

Iowa may face some quarterback questions as well. The position has been a frustrating ones at times this season for Iowa, and Rudock had his ups and downs in this game as well. Iowa is far from panic mode, as they still sit in a good position in the Big Ten West division, but if Kirk Ferentz is going to make any adjustments then he may need to do so soon if he feels one is needed.

Iowa will have a week off to prepare for the home stretch to the season. It begins at home against Northwestern and will later end with back-to-back home games against Wisconsin and Nebraska in late November.

Maryland will play the next two weeks on the road before getting another bye week. Next week Maryland will visit Wisconsin. The following week, on November 1, Maryland will rekindle an old series with Penn State in Beaver Stadium.

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Duke clinches bowl eligibility (again) and sits atop ACC Coastal (technically)

Jamison Crowder

Maybe we should start getting used to this whole winning thing Duke has been doing. Maybe David Cutcliffe should start making some room for another possible coaching award. For the third straight season, Duke (6-1, 2-1 ACC) is eligible for postseason play, and the Blue Devils have now moved into first place in the ACC Coastal. The bowl-eligibility clincher came Saturday afternoon with a 20-13 victory over Virginia (4-3, 2-1 ACC). The win puts Duke on top of a crowded and wide-open ACC Coastal Division, but the Blue Devils now get a week off to get ready for a potential division championship defense in November.

Duke’s ability to win this game against Virginia took some character. The Blue Devils were held to 334 yards of offense while Virginia racked up 465 yards, including 325 through the air. Duke was just 4-for-13 on third down conversions and Virginia was a much more successful 8-for-16. Virginia even owned a small advantage in time of possession, but Duke won where it counts the most. They did so playing disciplined football with just three penalties to Virginia’s six, and not having a turnover on offense (Virgina had one).

Anthony Boone completed 22 of his 37 pass attempts for 176 yards and a touchdown. Jamison Crowder was the big target, as he usually is for Duke, with 99 receiving yards on eight catches. Virginia receiver Miles Gooch (129 yards ) was the big target for Miles Gooch (129 yards ) was the big target for Matt Johns, who passed for 306 yards.

At this particular moment, there is a four-way tie for first place in the ACC Coastal between Duke, Virginia, Georgia Tech and Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh played Thursday night, beating Virginia Tech. Georgia Tech is at North Carolina tonight. Duke owns head-to-head victories over Georgia Tech and Virginia.

Duke gets a week off before returning to action. The Blue Devils take to the road to visit Pittsburgh on November 1. Pittsburgh is coming off a Thursday night victory over Virginia Tech this week and will be coming off a home game against Georgia Tech before Duke arrives in the Steel City.

Virginia will be home next weekend when North Carolina travels to Charlottesville. Virginia has an important stretch that kicked off against Duke. After hosting UNC, Virginia travels to Georgia Tech and then Florida State before reaching a bye week.

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With win vs. Purdue, Gophers a B1G 3-0 for first time since 1990

David Cobb AP

Saturday afternoon saw Minnesota accomplish something it hasn’t done in those parts in more than two decades.

Stunned in the first half by a much-improved Purdue squad, the Gophers bounced back in the second half to take home a win over the Boilermakers in Minneapolis. With the win, the Gophers improved to 3-0 in Big Ten play for the first time since 1990.

The Gophers only led for 4:59 of the 60 minutes, but held the lead when it counted: at the end. With that much time left on the clock, Ryan Santoso booted what would prove to be a game-winning 52-yard field to give the Gophers a 39-38 lead.

A diving interception by Cedric Thompson of an Austin Appleby pass two and a half minutes later essentially sealed the win for the Gophers.  That was Thompson’s second interception of the game.

Minnesota entered the half down 31-20 at home, but outscored Purdue  19-7 to earn its first win this year when they’ve been trailing at the half.

David Cobb, who entered the game as the ninth-leading rusher in the country with 819 yards rushing, ran for 194 yards and a touchdown on 35 carries to lead the Gophers to the win.

Come Sunday, Minnesota could also find itself back in the rankings for the first time in years. The Gophers’ lone loss this season was on the road to No. 12 TCU, and they were fourth in the Associated Press Top 25 last week in the “Others Receiving Votes” category.

The Gophers are also bowl-eligible for the third straight year with the win.

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No. 14 Kansas State enters playoff conversation following win at No. 11 Oklahoma

Jake Waters

Oklahoma kicker Michael Hunnicutt was unable to get an extra point attempt off on a botched play that would have tied Kansas State in the fourth quarter, and he later missed a short 19-yard field goal that could have given the Sooners a win. As a result, No. 14 Kansas State (5-1, 3-0 Big 12) remained perfect in Big 12 play after knocking off No. 11 Oklahoma (5-2, 2-2 Big 12) in Norman by a slim margin of 31-30.

Following the missed field goal try, Kansas State looked to kill the rest fo the clock after taking over with 3:53 to play. A pair of runs by Jake Waters followed by a complete pass to Curry Sexton did the trick. Oklahoma was forced to burn its final timeout and the Sooners were unable to get the ball back.

Kansas State allowed 544 yards of offense to Oklahoma, but Kansas State forced two turnovers and protected the ball on offense to help get out of town with the win. Waters had a huge impact on the game as well, completing 15 of 23 passes for 225 yards and a pair of touchdowns and adding another 51 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown to his stat line. Kansas State averaged 5.0 yards per rushing attempt, and the Wildcats were disciplined from start to finish. Kansas State was called for just two penalties in the game.

Oklahoma had chances to grab this one though. Questionable play calling hurt Oklahoma a couple of times inside the red zone. On a 3rd and goal from the one-yard line, Oklahoma ran a formation out of the shotgun with a delayed handoff. This proved costly on the final offensive possession the Sooners would have, as Kansas State broke through the line and stuffed the play. This was followed by the missed field goal. Earlier in the second half, Oklahoma got a little cute on a play that ended up with receiver Durron Neal being intercepted in the end zone.

Oklahoma quarterback Trevor Knight left the game in the first half, but he returned. He ended the day with three touchdowns thrown and 318 passing yards. Sterling Shepard was a monster in the receiving game with a game-high 197 receiving yards and a touchdown. His 15 receptions tied a school record for a single game.

This result could have a significant impact on the Big 12 moving forward as well. With two losses, Oklahoma could have a very difficult time getting back into the playoff conversation, and even the Big 12 could be difficult to grab now as well with losses to Kansas State and TCU. Kansas State is now 3-0 in the Big 12. At the time of this posting, Baylor was in some trouble at West Virginia as well, but with plenty of time to play. Kansas State could sneak into the top 10 of the polls on Sunday, but regardless of what happens it looks as though the Wildcats will start to receive some playoff contender recognition. The only loss this season was at home, but it was against Auburn.

Kansas State returns home next weekend to host the Texas Longhorns. The Wildcats have some more notable Big 12 games coming after that as well, with a home game against Oklahoma State and then a road game at TCU the following week before getting a bye week.

Oklahoma will be off next week, but the Sooners resume play on the road on November 1 at Iowa State. A still potentially pivotal home game against Baylor will be played the next week.

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San Jose State suspends second-leading rusher

Tyler Ervin, Najee Johnson AP

Earlier today we noted that Wyoming had suspended its second-leading rusher for today’s game.  A few hours later, the Cowboys’ opponent has done the same.

According to the San Jose Mercury News, San Jose State has suspended Jarrod Lawson for the game this afternoon against Wyoming.  Head coach Ron Caragher is expected to address the suspension, including its length, after the game.

For now, it will go down as your prototypical “violation of unspecified team rules.”

This could, though, go deeper than just one game.  Earlier this year, Lawson was suspended for the first two games of the season.

Despite playing in just three games, Lawson is second on the team with 149 yards rushing.  Lawson was easily the Spartans’ leading rusher last season, with his 788 yards outpacing Thomas Tucker‘s 338.

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Wake QB John Wolford KO’d by blindside hit, won’t return

John Wolford AP

The day started so well for a Wake Forest offense that had been the epitome of struggling.

After going three and out on their first drive against Syracuse, the Demon Deacons drove 91 yards on their next possession to take a 7-0 lead on the Orange midway through the first quarter.  It was Wake’s longest scoring drive of the season.

Unfortunately, the quarterback who directed that drive, John Wolford, was knocked out of the game in the second quarter with a suspected concussion.  Wolford was the victim of a hard, but legal, blindside hit on a pass attempt, which ended up being picked off and returned for a touchdown to give the Orange a 17-7 lead midway through the second quarter.

After being taken into the locker room, it was determined that Wolford would not be able to return.

Wolford was named the starter early on in summer camp, subsequently becoming the first true freshman in school history to start a season opener.  He was replaced by Tyler Cameron, who as of this posting was 6-8 for 27 yards as the Demon Deacons trailed 30-7 late in the third quarter.

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West Virgina looking for upset of Baylor, leads 24-20 at half

Baylor scored three times in the first quarter, but the Bears only managed to score 13 points. This allowed West Virginia to hang around early on. Will the defending Big 12 champions end up regretting allowing that to happen? West Virginia leads Baylor in Morganton, 24-20 at the half.

West Virginia had three turnovers in the first half, yet the Mountaineers have been able to lock down on Baylor’s offense just enough to not allow that -3 turnover margin to doom them. West Virgina has knocked Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty off his game. Petty has two touchdown passes, but he has completed just nine of 20 pass attempts. Baylor’s offense put together just 157 yards of offense in the first half as well, a week after racking up 782 yards (and 61 points) against TCU.

Baylor took a 20-14 lead midway through the second quarter, but only after officials had to overturn a targeting foul. Baylor wide receiver Corey Coleman was called for a targeting penalty on the play, which could have kept the score off the board. Coleman threw a good  block on West Virginia’s Terrell Chestnut. After a video review, mandated per the rules regarding targeting penalties, the Big 12 officials ruled the block to be clean and awarded the touchdown, scored by Antwan Goodley, to Baylor as a result.

West Virginia took over from that point though. Dreamius Smith wrapped up a five-play scoring drive with a nine-yard touchdown run to regain the lead for the Mountaineers. As the half came to a close, West Virginia’s lead was padded with a 54-yard field goal by Josh Lambert.

Baylor has been called for 10 penalties in the first half of what has been a chippy game at times. The half ended with Baylor getting called for a personal foul penalty that will carry over to the start of the second half as well. West Virginia has been called for five penalties and the two teams have combined for 147 yards of penalty yardage.

If anything was learned last week though, it is that Baylor is not likely to be tied down for very long. Last week Baylor overcame a 21-0point deficit in the fourth quarter. Down four to West Virginia is not likely to last very long, so West Virginia will have to keep pressing.

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Austin Appleby pushes Purdue to surprising halftime lead on Gophers

Austin Appleby AP

As each minute goes by, it’s looking more and more like the Purdue coaching staff made the right call on pulling the trigger on a quarterback change.  And, by extension, it’s looking more and more like the head of that coaching staff will survive to live another season.

In the first half of the Purdue-Minnesota game, and on the road no less, Austin Appleby tossed three touchdown passes as the Gophers headed into the locker room with a 31-20 lead.  Appleby accounted for 191 yards of offense — 135 passing and 56 rushing on just five carries.

The first weekend of the month, Darrell Hazell benched starter Danny Etling in favor of Appleby and it paid off statistically immediately.  In his first career start, Appleby threw for 202 yards in a win over Illinois.  While it came in a loss a week later to Michigan State, Appleby, against one of the best defenses in the country, completed nearly 65 percent of his passes for 211 yards.

Gophers running back David Cobb, ninth in the country in rushing yards, is leading all rushers with 95 first-half yards.

The Gophers, incidentally, are looking for their first 3-0 start in Big Ten play since 1990.

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Duke and Virginia knotted up in battle for ACC Coastal lead

Jamison Crowder, Anthony Boone

First place in the ACC Coastal Division is on the line this afternoon in Durham, North Carolina. The defending division champions from Duke saw a 10-0 lead wiped away as Virginia came up with a huge drive at the end of the first half to tie things up, 10-10.

Duke quarterback Anthony Boone has been smart and accurate with his pass selection, completing 14 of 18 attempts for 119 yards and a touchdown in the first half. The lone touchdown pass was a short toss from the goal line to Erich Schneider midway through the first quarter for a 7-0 lead. Coming into today Schneider had caught just two passes all season. This was his first career touchdown.

Virginia’s defense has not allowed Duke to run away with anything though. Thanks to the performance of the defense, Virginia has managed to keep the game easily within reach. A Matt Johns touchdown pass to Khalek Shepherd in the second quarter got the road team on the board, and gave the offense some life.

Virginia put together a huge drive at the end of the half, starting from its own 11-yard line and moving all the way down to the Duke four-yard line to set up a last-second field goal. Johns completed five passes on the drive, none bigger than a 38-yard gain to Miles Gooch from the Duke 42-yard line. Gooch was brought down with one second left on the clock, but Virginia had a timeout to use to allow for the game-tying field goal to be kicked.

Despite how that final drive ended the half, this game appears to be one that will be won by the defenses in the second half.

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