Category: Vanderbilt Commodores

at Davis Wade Stadium on November 14, 2015 in Starkville, Mississippi.
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The Fifth Quarter, Week 11 Rewind


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

It wasn’t the earth-shattering, landscape-shifting tumult that it could’ve been, but it was enough to, once again, shake the playoff picture up all over — especially at the latter half of the Top 10.

Stanford, No. 7 in the most recent College Football Playoff rankings, suffered its second loss of the season while No. 10 Utah did the same, effectively putting the Pac-12 on a precarious playoff precipice if not outright pushing the Power Five league over the ledge.  No. 9 LSU, coming off the loss to Alabama, saw its playoff hopes go up in smoke with an embarrassing loss to Arkansas.

Even more impactful, No. 6 Baylor fell from the ranks of the unbeatens to a No. 12 Oklahoma squad that will now be very much in the thick of the playoff chase.

That said, the remaining teams in the most recent Top 10 held serve, including the first five.  To varying degrees,  No. 1 Clemson, No. 3 Ohio State, No. 4 Notre Dame, No. 5 Iowa and No. 8 Oklahoma State struggled in closer-than-expected wins.  The key word there, of course, is “wins.”

Conversely, No. 2 ‘Bama put together the most impressive performance of Week 11, a 31-7 shellacking of No. 17 Mississippi State in Starkville.  Along with the Sooners, the Tide may have gained the most tonight in the eyes of the committee.

Will it be enough, though, to leapfrog an unbeaten Clemson into the No. 1 hole?  I think it will, but it wouldn’t shock me either way.  That said, and armed with the knowledge that (pats self on back) I nailed the committee’s top four last week (pulls muscle patting self on back), here are the four teams I believe will occupy the first four slots when the newest rankings, the third of the year, are released this Tuesday.

  1. Alabama
  2. Clemson
  3. Ohio State
  4. Notre Dame

For some perspective, here is how the top four looked after the third release of last year’s CFP Top 25:

  1. Mississippi State
  2. Oregon
  3. Florida State
  4. TCU

Neither Mississippi State nor TCU would end up qualifying for one of the four playoff spots.  The two that did, Alabama and Ohio State, were No. 5 and No,. 8, respectively, with four releases remaining.  With three releases remaining last year, which is what’s left this year, Alabama, Oregon and Florida State were Nos. 1-3, while Ohio State was No. 6 (Mississippi State was No. 4).

Looking ahead to next weekend, the sport could be in for yet another significant shakeup as Ohio State will host No. 13 Michigan State; Oklahoma State will see Baylor invade Stillwater; Oklahoma will square off with a wounded and 15th-ranked TCU in Norman; and No. 14 Michigan will take a dangerous road trip to Penn State.

With Clemson (ACC Atlantic) and Florida (SEC East) clinching in Week 10, we entered Week 11 with seven Power Five divisions/conference up for grabs.  Exiting Week 11, no divisions were decided, but more than a couple came closer to being claimed.

Below are the remaining scenarios for each P5 conference.

Thanks to 6-0 North Carolina’s win over 5-1 Pittsburgh earlier this year, the Tar Heels have total control of the division.  In order to claim its first-ever spot in the ACC championship game, all UNC needs to do is either beat Virginia Tech next weekend or North Carolina State in the regular-season finale the following weekend. For Pitt, they need UNC to lose both of those games and beat Louisville in Week 12 and Miami in Week 13.

Ohio State (6-0), Michigan State (5-1) and Michigan (5-1) all held serve with conference wins in Week 11.  If OSU wins both, they’re back in the Big Ten championship game.  An MSU win over OSU this Saturday and over Penn State in the final game of the regular season gives the division to the Spartans.  UM, because of its loss to MSU earlier in the season, needs their in-state rivals to lose to OSU and then beat the Buckeyes themselves the week after.

At 6-0, and with a win already over 5-1 Wisconsin, Iowa needs to simply win one of its two remaining games — vs. Purdue, at Nebraska — to claim its first-ever West title.  UW can still win the West, provided it wins out (at Maryland, vs. Northwestern) while the undefeated Hawkeyes lose out.  A three-way tie between Iowa, Wisconsin and Northwestern (4-2) is possible, but the tiebreaker would go to the Hawkeyes based on their 2-0 record against the other two.

Oklahoma State v Iowa StateBIG 12
You’d be lying if you said you thought before the season began that the road to the Big 12 title would run through Stillwater, yet that’s exactly where we stand with three weeks left in the regular season.  All that stands between Oklahoma State and a conference championship — and a likely punched playoff ticket — are two rather sizable obstacles: Baylor in Week 12, Oklahoma in Week 13.  An OSU loss in either of those, however, would send the conference plummeting into chaos.  Or, it’d clear things up if it’s the Sooners, more respected by the committee, who win out.  As has been the case throughout the first 11 weeks of the season, this conference won’t be decided until the end of November — unless OU loses to TCU and OSU drops BU in Week 12, of course, which would hand the Big 12 to the Cowboys.

Stanford claims the North if it beats Cal in the Big Game.  Oregon can claim the division with a Stanford loss and wins over USC and Oregon State — in Eugene — the next two weeks.

With 4-3 UCLA’s stunning last-second loss to Washington State and 5-2 Utah’s double-overtime loss to Arizona, it’s 5-2 USC that suddenly controls its own destiny in the South thanks to the Trojans’ Oct. 24 win over the Utes.  Wins over Oregon and UCLA the next two Saturdays would give USC its first berth in the Pac-12 title game.  Utah will need to win out against UCLA and Colorado and have USC lose at least once to win the division.  UCLA would need to win out against Utah and USC and have both of those teams lose out in order to claim the South outright.  A three-way tie is also a possibility as USC, Utah and UCLA could all finish 6-3.  In that scenario, UCLA would win the North based on a 2-0 record vs. the other two.

For 6-1 Alabama, it’s simple: Beat Auburn, and ‘Bama is headed back to the SEC title game as West champs.  A loss in the Iron Bowl, though?  Ole Miss could claim the West with wins over LSU in Week 12 and Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl in Week 13.  Arkansas can still claim a share of the division, but can’t earn a spot in the conference title game as they would lose out on a three-way tiebreaker with Ole Miss and Alabama and a two-way tiebreaker with ‘Bama.

Below is a list of links for all of the Week 11 gamers/pertinent pieces posted by the CFT crew, placed in one handy and convenient space for you, our beloved and dear readers.

A snapshot look at how my ballot would look Sunday if I, ya know, had a real vote.

1. Clemson — After the big win over Florida State, Clemson might’ve been due for a letdown against Syracuse.  They were, but they still managed to take care of business and chugged along its unbeaten way. (Last week: No. 1)
Next up: vs. Wake Forest, Nov. 21

2. Alabama — The ass-whoopin’ ‘Bama put on Mississippi State, coupled with the struggles of the team that was right above them in my eyes, was enough for me to get in lock-step with the College Football Playoff committee.  As was the case with the Buckeyes around this time last season, I don’t know if there’s any team in the country that wants to face the Tide right now. (Last week: No. 3)
Next up: vs. Charleston Southern, Nov. 21

3. Ohio State — With games coming up against Michigan State and Michigan that will go a long way in determining their postseason fate, you can’t really blame OSU if they were peeking ahead.  Based on how they played, for the most part, against Illinois, that peek was actually a full-blown stare. (Last week: No. 2)
Next up: vs. No. 13 Michigan State, Nov. 21

4. Notre Dame — Much like with Clemson the week before, I’m relenting on the Golden Domers and tossing them into my top-five mix.  The Irish doesn’t do anything that really stands out, yet they do almost everything very well.  They’re a fascinating team, and one that you should root for to succeed if you want to see the playoff field expand sooner rather than later. (Last week: NR)
Next up: vs. Boston College, Nov. 28

5. Oklahoma State — The Big 12 OSU didn’t look good against a very below-average Iowa State squad, although, in fairness, there’s something about Ames that makes the Cowboys go off the rails.  They won in the dictionary trap game on the road, though, and that’s all that really matters.  Given all of the tumult above them, OSU should rise in the CFP rankings this Tuesday.  Here, not so much. (Last week: No. 5)
Next up: vs. No. 6 Baylor, Nov. 21

(Dropped out: No. 4 Baylor)
(Others considered: Iowa, Oklahoma)

2014 Heisman Trophy PresentationHEISMAN RACE, BY THE NUMBERS
A statistical look at how the top contenders for this year’s stiff-armed trophy fared this past week.

Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State (8-2, No. 16)
Saturday: 22 carries for 138 yards, two touchdowns; two receptions for 17 yards
Season: 170 carries for 1,369 yards (8.1 ypc), 14 touchdowns; 18 receptions for 202 yards, one touchdown

Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State (10-0, No. 3)
Saturday: 27 carries for 181 yards, two touchdowns
Season: 220 carries for 1,425 yards (6.5 ypc), 16 touchdowns; 24 receptions for 169 yards

Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU (7-2, No. 9)
Saturday: 19 carries for 91 yards (4.8 ypc), one touchdown; three receptions for 36 yards
Season: 214 carries for 1,474 yards (6.9 ypc), 17 touchdowns; 10 receptions for 94 yards

Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama (9-1, No. 2)
Saturday: 22 carries for 204 yards (9.3 ypc), two touchdowns; one reception for zero yards
Season: 240 carries for 1,458 yards (6.1 ypc), 19 touchdowns; nine receptions for 69 yards

Matt Johnson, QB, Bowling Green (8-2, NR)
Wednesday: 23-41 (56.1), 269 yards, three touchdowns, one interception; 10 carries for zero yards
Season: 291-421 (69.1%), 3,955 yards, 36 touchdowns, four interceptions; 87 carries for 147 yards, three touchdowns

Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma (9-1, No. 12)
Saturday: 24-34 (70.6%), three touchdowns, one interception; 15 carries for 76 yards, one touchdown
Season: 217-309 (70.2%), 31, five interceptions; 110 carries for 301 yards, six touchdowns

Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford (8-2, No. 7)
Saturday: 33 carries for 147 yards (4.5 ypc), one touchdown; five receptions for 42 yards; two kick returns for 60 yards; one punt return for minus-five yards; 0-1 passing (0%)
Season: 231 carries for 1,354 yards (6.1 ypc), seven touchdowns; 33 receptions for 367 yards, two touchdowns; 23 kick returns for 665 yards; 11 punt returns for 32 yards; 1-2 passing (50%), 28 yards, one touchdown

Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson (10-0, No. 1)
Saturday: 34-47 (72.3%), 360 yards, two touchdowns, one interception; 14 carries for 105 yards, one touchdown
Season: 216-308 (70.1%), 2,593 yards, 23 touchdowns, eight interceptions; 108 carries for 598 yards (5.5 ypc), five touchdowns

(Dropped out: TCU QB Trevone Boykin, Baylor WR Corey Coleman)
(Added: Mayfield, Watson)

JT’s Personal Top Fivesman
1. Henry — Going from darkhorse to two straight dominant performances against ranked teams puts the talented running back in the stiff-arm driver’s seat. (Last week: No. 3)
2. Cook — If Cook reads this, he’ll think I have him rated way too low.  Don’t believe me?  Scroll down to this week’s “he said its.” (Last week: No. 2)
3. Watson — When you’re the quarterback of the No. 1 team in the country, and you put up a career-high of 461 yards of total offense, you have earned yourself a spot. (Last week: NR)
4. Elliott — Were it not for Elliott, the Buckeyes could very well be a two-loss team.  That said, it’s hard justifying placing him over anyone else currently above him. Games against Michigan State and Michigan, though, could change that. (Last week: NR)
5. Fournette — The exact opposite of Henry as Fournette was the hands-down Heisman front-runner before back-to-back games that saw him run for a total of 121 yards puts him on the verge of missing out on an invitation to New York City altogether.  I still say he’s the best player in the country, but the stat line doesn’t lie. (Last week: No. 1)

Normally, the ESPN College GameDay Twitter feed is all about the on-location signs that litter the crowd, tweeting out the best and the funniest and wittiest throughout Saturday morning.  After the horror in Paris Friday night, signage seemed a little too trivial, save for one.

If the Army football players running out onto the field prior to its game against Tulane with both the American and French flags flying doesn’t give you chills and/or goosebumps, you have no soul.

These are almost too bad-ass for words, with “these” being UCLA’s “Frog Men” helmets worn this weekend to honor the Navy SEALs around Veteran’s Day.

LSU pulled out your standard no-look-touch-pass-for-a-score play against Arkansas.  In fact, the only thing missing was a stick.  And a net.  And a goalie.  And some ice.  Never mind the hockey analogy; just watch the clip.

You ever have that feeling where there’s a pair of hands between your legs when in reality there isn’t?  Welcome to Texas center Taylor Doyle‘s world.

I’m a fan of big-boned touchdowns, thus I’m a huge fan, so to speak, of Baylor’s LaQuan McGowan.  This is sheer poetry — and size — in motion as the, ahem, tight end notched his third career touchdown.

Kansas has lost an FBS-worst 13 straight games.  They’ve also lost 38 straight games played away from Lawrence and 31 consecutive conference road games.  As if that’s not bad enough, and just to add visual insult to on-field misery, KU’s equipment personnel can’t even get their Big 12 helmet stickers correct.  Either that or it was a bassackwards tribute to the old Big 8.

Following Texas’ win over West Virginia last season, Charlie Strong, and with the aid of his players, did some crowd surfing in the postgame locker room.  A year later, following the Mountaineers’ win over the Longhorns, his counterpart, Dana Holgorsen, responded in kind.

On most fall weekend afternoons with the Iowa football team not in action, Kinnick Stadium sits empty.  As this is Iowa, and they’re really into their grappling, they decided to hold a wrestling match on the football field and in one of the stadium’s red zones.  And it actually looks pretty damn cool.

It was a quick turnaround for the stadium crew as the unbeaten Hawkeyes took the field a few hours later for an 8 p.m. ET kickoff against Minnesota.

North Texas was paid $1 million for its trip to Knoxville to Tennessee.  Suffice to say, the Mean Green wasn’t fond of the playing conditions inside Neyland Stadium, and perhaps thought UT should’ve put some of that guarantee toward field repairs.

“It felt amazing. It felt better than it does in here right now. It’s too hot in here right now. I was sweating out there. It was a beautiful day out. Thank God for that. I’ve never had a November in Iowa, from what I can remember, that has been this nice.” — Iowa wrestler Thomas Gilman, on what it was like to wrestle outside at Kinnick Stadium.

“Once again, I’m sure television loves us.” — Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy, following a comeback win over Iowa State that was fueled by a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns.

“I know that if I had any choice at tailback in the country, I got mine. I think I speak on behalf of the team. He’s a tough guy.” — Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer, after watching Ezekiel Elliott rush for 100-plus yards for the 15th straight game.

“I just feel like I run the ball how I run the ball. If I keep doing me, because I’m Dalvin. I am one of them great running backs that are in college football.” — Florida State running back Dalvin Cook, humbly stating his Heisman case.

“Just want to comment about the environment. The fans were fantastic. Sold out, black-out crowd, and the energy was present from the time we came up pregame. Just an electric atmosphere. To be involved in this program 26 years now, these are the things our players will remember their entire lives. So just want to compliment our fans and thank them.” — Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz, following a five-point win over Minnesota at Kinnick Stadium.

Meads Cup Final - North Otago v WanganuiSTREAKING
With 10 wins to start the 2015 season, Ohio State has pushed its nation’s best winning streak to 23 straight.  Clemson (13), Oklahoma State (12), Houston (10) and Iowa (10) are the only other FBS teams with double-digit win streaks, while North Carolina has won nine straight.

On the other side of the won-loss ledger, the “proud” owner of the nation’s longest losing streak is Kansas at 13 straight, followed by UCF (11), Eastern Michigan (nine), Louisiana-Monroe (eight), SMU (eight), Charlotte (eight), Hawaii (eight), Maryland (seven), Boston College (six) and Oregon State (seven).

Entering Week 11, there were 51 teams that had secured bowl eligibility.  Exiting the weekend, there are now 62 teams eligible for the postseason with three weeks left in the regular season.  The newest additions this week total 11: Arizona, Arkansas, Cal, Cincinnati, Louisville, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas Tech and USF.

There are 40 bowl games this season — counting the two College Football Playoff semifinals — meaning 80 teams will need to reach the six-win threshold in order for teams with sub-.500 records to remain where they belong: at home during the postseason.

UMass football will be leaving the MAC following the conclusion of the 2015 season.  The Minutemen will play as football independents in 2016 and 2017 and then reassess their situation, deciding whether to remain independent, move to another conference (AAC, Conference USA, Sun Belt are possibilities) or drop back down to the FCS level.

Alabama has played more games against Mississippi State than any other opponent. The two border rivals met for the 100th time on the gridiron Saturday. Tennessee (98) and Vanderbilt (82) are the only other opponents ‘Bama has played at least 80 times.

Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer has 278 career wins, the most of any active FBS head coach and sixth on the NCAA’s FBS all-time list. Beamer trails only the icons of the game in career wins in Joe Paterno (409), Bobby Bowden (377), Paul “Bear” Bryant (323), Glenn “Pop” Warner (319) and Amos Alonzo Stagg (314). To give some perspective, Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher has averaged 11.6 wins a year in his first five years as a head coach, the best mark in league history. Fisher would have to average 11.6 wins a year for the next 19 years, or until 2034, to pass Beamer on the all-time wins list.

Of the 128 FBS teams, just eight players with junior eligibility have received their undergraduate degree and are now pursuing their Master’s:

Junior Master

Baylor (8-1), Oklahoma (9-1), Oklahoma State (10-0) and TCU (9-1) of the Big 12 are a combined 36-3. No other Power Five conference has four teams with one-or-fewer losses.

Since 2012, Trevone Boykin tops all players nationally in percentage (56.8) of his team’s total offense (12,613/22,199). No one else is above 50 percent.

Ohio State has won 17 consecutive true road games (games on an opponent’s home field), the longest such streak in the nation and extending the school record. The Buckeyes are undefeated, a perfect 17-0, in road games under head coach Urban Meyer, or since the start of the 2012 season.

Courtesy of the Alabama sports information department

Three and Outs

Courtesy of the UT-San Antonio sports information department

First-Time Starters

Courtesy of the Ohio State sports information department

FBS Scoring Since 2013

Courtesy of the Temple sports information department

Grad Rates

Courtesy of the Louisiana Tech sports information department

State Rushing Yards Per Game

Baylor can join BYU (1983-85) and Houston (1966-68) as the only FBS teams in history to lead the country in total offense in three consecutive years.  The Bears led in that category in 2013 and 2014, and came into Week 11 leading with 665.6 yards per game (TCU was No. 2 at 621.4 ypg).  BU put up 416 yards in the loss to Oklahoma Saturday, although that shouldn’t jeopardize their standing entering Week 12 as TCU was held over 200 yards under their average.

During Frank Beamer’s 28 previous years at Virginia Tech, 20 different power conference schools have had six or more head coaches, including five schools in the ACC: Pittsburgh (8), Boston College (7), Louisville (7), North Carolina (7) and Miami (6). Three schools — Pitt, Stanford and Vanderbilt — have had eight different coaches during the time Beamer has been the head coach at Tech.

Utah’s Devontae Booker has handled the football on 305 plays this season, the most of any FBS player.  Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey and San Jose State’s Tyler Ervin are next with 300 and 292, respectively.

Alabama v Mississippi StateDID YOU KNOW THAT

… with 204 yards against Mississippi State and 210 against LSU last week, Derrick Henry became the first player in Alabama history to rush for 200-plus yards in back-to-back games?  He also became just the second Tide back to rush for 200 or more yards three times in a single season, joining Bobby Humphrey in 1986.

… Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds, in addition to breaking the all-time FBS record for rushing touchdowns, now has 81 total touchdowns in his career to tie him with Louisiana Tech’s Kenneth Dixon for second all-time?  The twosome trail the 83 of Wisconsin’s Montee Ball.

… Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott became just the 12th player in FBS history to pass for 8,000 yards and run for another 2,000 in his career?  The others are Central Michigan’s Dan LeFevour, TCU’s Trevone Boykin, Baylor’s Robert Griffith III, Nevada’s Colin Kaepernick, Florida’s Tim Tebow, Northern Illinois’ Chandler Harnish, Missouri’s Brad Smith, USF’s Matt Grothe, Illinois’ Nathan Scheelhaase, USF’s B.J. Daniels and Illinois’ Juice Williams.

Louisville v Wake Forest… six Power Five quarterbacks lead their team in both passing and rushing?  That sextet includes Prescott, Oregon State’s Seth Collins, Texas’ Jerrod Heard, Kansas State’s Joe Hubener, Louisville’s Lamar Jackson and Duke’s Thomas Sirk.

Matt Johnson was held under 300 yards passing (269) for the first time since December of 2013 in Bowling Green’s 41-27 win over Western Michigan Thursday night?  Johnson had thrown for 300-plus in all nine games this season plus one last season — the opener, in which he sustained a season-ending injury — after being held to 272 in the 2013 Little Caesars Bowl loss to Pittsburgh the day after Christmas.

… Florida State’s Dalvin Cook is averaging 189.4 rushing yards per game (947 in five games) against FBS teams with a winning record, the most in the nation? Second is Alabama’s Derrick Henry at 163.7 (1,310 in eight games).

… Christian McCaffrey has now rushed for 100-plus yards in eight straight games, breaking Toby Gerhart‘s Stanford record of seven straight?

Ralph Webb has set school rushing records for freshmen and now sophomores in the first two seasons he’s seen the playing field at Vanderbilt?  Webb is already ninth on the school’s all-time rushing list.

492180284… Iowa State’s Mike Warren is the first freshman in Cyclones history to rush for over 1,000 yards?  He’s also only the seventh Big 12 freshman ever to top 1,000 yards.

… Temple linebacker Tyler Matakevich is the only FBS player to lead his team in tackles every game this season?  Matakevich currently leads all FBS players in career tackles.

… Tulane linebacker Nico Marley is the son of former Miami Hurricane linebacker Rohan Marley and the  grandson of music legend Bob Marley?  The junior is the Green Wave’s leading tackler and is third in tackles for loss.

… the Laufasa brothers at UTEP, tailback Jeremiah and fullback Darrin, are the only brothers on an FBS program starting in the backfield?

… Florida’s Jim McElwain is the third first-year head coach in conference history to reach the SEC Championship Game, joining LSU’s Les Miles (2005, lost to Georgia, 34-14) and Gus Malzhan (2013, beat Missouri, 59-42)?

Wake Forest v Notre Dame… Wake Forest’s Dave Clawson replaced Al Golden as a voter in the coaches’ poll following Golden’s firing as Miami’s head coach?

… since 2010, the winner of the Oregon-Stanford game has also claimed the Pac-10/12 conference title? The Ducks beat the Cardinal Saturday night, so we’ll see if this streak continues in 2015.

… Nebraska is only the second FBS team since 2006 to lose four games in which the opponent scored the winning points in the final 10 seconds or overtime? The other was SMU in 2007.

… Memphis is just the third FBS team since 1996 to overcome double-digit deficits in five or more games in a single season?  UofM’s five such comebacks this season are tied with 2005 UCLA, and one behind 2000 North Carolina State’s six.

… Clemson’s 13-game winning streak ties the school record set from 1980-81?

… North Carolina’s nine consecutive wins is the longest one-season winning streak at UNC since 1914 when the Tar Heels won 10 straight?

Minnesota v Iowa… Iowa is 10-0 for the first time in school history?  C.J. Beathard is the first Hawkeye quarterback to ever win his first 11 starts (10 this season, one in 2014).

… Washington State has eight players with at least 20 receptions this season, the most of any FBS team?  Texas Tech is next with seven.

… Arkansas State has put together five consecutive winning seasons for the first time since 1949-53?

… BYU, Fresno State, Georgia State, Louisiana-Monroe, San Diego State, San Jose State and UNLV are the only FBS teams to play road games in four different time zones this season?

… with two each, Nevada, Pittsburgh and Wake Forest have the fewest senior offensive players on their respective two-deep depth charts?

… Minnesota, Navy and Northwestern are the only three schools in the country that have had the same offensive staff (all coaches) for the last five seasons?

The Fifth Quarter: Week 10 Rewind

STILLWATER, OK - NOVEMBER 7 : Defensive tackle Vincent Taylor #96 and defensive tackle Eric Davis #97 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys celebrate with the fans in the stands after the game against the TCU Horned Frogs November 7, 2015 at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The Cowboys defeated the Horned Frogs 49-29. (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
Getty Images

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

At one point in the early evening hours Saturday, three undefeated teams (Clemson, Iowa, TCU) were all losing, while another (Houston) was tied.  While the week ended up not being as chaotic as it could’ve been, it was more than chaotic enough where we should see a rather sizable shakeup when the College Football Playoff Top 25 is released Tuesday.

Entering the weekend with 11 undefeated teams, those unblemished ranks were sliced to six as No. 2 LSU, No. 7 Michigan State, No. 8 TCU, No. 13 Memphis and No. 24 Toledo all suffered their first losses of the season.  That leaves No. 1 Clemson, No. 3 Ohio State,  No. 6 Baylor, No. 9 Iowa, No. 14 Oklahoma State and No. 25 Houston as the lone remaining unbeatens with a month left in the regular season/championship weekend.

Following Week 9, the first CFP Top 25 looked as follows:

No. 1 Clemson
No. 2 LSU
No. 3 Ohio State
No. 4 Alabama

Clemson added an impressive win over No. 16 Florida State to its win over No. 5 Notre Dame; the Tigers would seem to be a lock to remain at No. 1.  LSU was woodshedded by Alabama, so the Tigers will very likely drop out of the top four.  The Tide, meanwhile, will move on up as the highest-rated one-loss team.

Ohio State, on the other hand, was cruising right along with a 21-point fourth-quarter lead on Minnesota before allowing the Gophers back into the game with a pair of touchdowns before settling for a 28-14 win.  The Buckeyes will likely maintain a top-four slotting, although it wouldn’t be surprising to see them fall out.

And what of Oklahoma State?  No. 14 entering the weekend, the Big 12 OSU put a thumping on No. 8 TCU; could the committee vault the Cowboys up at least 10 spots and into the first four?  I’d say it’s unlikely, but they should be well within earshot heading into an ongoing stretch that, after a road trip to Ames, includes a pair of games to close out the season against No. 6 Baylor and No. 15 Oklahoma.

So, how will the CFP’s top four look when the newest rankings are released Tuesday night?  My best guess is…

No. 1 Clemson
No. 2 Alabama
No. 3 Ohio State
No. 4 Notre Dame

I think those first three spots are fairly well set with the committee, provided the group sees the Buckeyes of J.T. Barrett and not necessarily that of Cardale Jones.  That fourth spot, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least to see Oklahoma State or Baylor there instead of the one-loss Golden Domers.  The only thing that would surprise me at No. 4, in fact, would be Iowa.

Still, remember that this will be just the second of six CFP Top 25s released, so there will be plenty of time for those in and around the Top 10 to find a seat at the playoff table.  Last year, after the second release, eventual national champion Ohio State was sitting at No. 14.  Just sayin’

With three weeks still remaining in the regular season — four if you’re the Big 12 — there’s a surprisingly large amount of clarity in the Power Five conferences.  There’s also, of course, some uncertainty remaining.

The ACC Atlantic and SEC East were decided this weekend, while the ACC Coastal, Big Ten West and Pac-12 North are all but decided.  Conversely, the Big 12 is a muddled mess, while the SEC West has five teams that are still technically alive in the division.  The Big Ten East and Pac-12 South both have three teams each that could still win it.

With that in mind, below are the updates as to where each of the Power Five divisional races stand.

Thanks to the impressive double-digit win over Florida State, Clemson clinched its first division title since  2011.  The Tigers also snapped the Seminoles’ three-year stranglehold on not only the division but on the conference as well as FSU came into the season having won back-to-back-to-back ACC titles.

This one’s not over yet, but a rather large woman is in the latter stages of warming up her throat.  With an impressive and dominating win over Duke, North Carolina, at 5-0 in ACC play, has complete and total control of the division.  UNC already owns the head-to-head tiebreaker over Pittsburgh (4-1) and now owns the same over Duke (3-2).  For the Tar Heels it’s very simple: win two of their next three games (vs. Miami, at Virginia Tech and North Carolina State) and they’ll claim the Coastal regardless of what anyone else does.  UNC could also clinch next weekend with a win vs. Miami and a Pitt loss to Duke.  Pitt has to hope UNC stumbles twice as they are winning out (at Duke, vs. Louisville and Miami), while Duke needs to win out and have UNC lose out.

Iowa v IndianaBIG TEN
Ohio State stands at 5-0 in conference play, with Michigan and Michigan State tied at 4-1.  The Buckeyes host the Spartans week after next, then travel to the Wolverines to close out the regular season.  The only way this division is settled next weekend is if OSU handles Illinois and UM and MSU fall to Indiana and Maryland, respectively.

At 5-0, Iowa holds a half-game lead on 5-1 Wisconsin.  However, the Hawkeyes own the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Badgers, which means Iowa would need to lose two of its last three games (Minnesota, Purdue, at Nebraska) while Wisconsin wins out (Northwestern, at Minnesota) in order for the latter to win the West.

BIG 12
Two teams are unbeaten after Week 10: Baylor (5-0) and Oklahoma State (6-0).  Oklahoma and TCU are both 5-1.  In the last four weeks of the regular season, those four teams will play each other in a total of five games.  In other words, we’re still (probably) a ways away from a conference bereft of a championship game deciding its one true champion.

At 7-0, all Stanford needs to do is either beat Oregon (4-2) in Week 11 or Cal in Week 12 to clinch a spot in its third Pac-12 championship game in five years.  The Ducks would need to win their last three and have the Cardinal lose out in league play in order to get back to the title game.

Utah (5-1) currently holds a one-game lead on UCLA (4-2) and USC (4-2).  The Utes, though, lost to the Trojans in the only game played between the three. With Utah still having to face UCLA, and the two Los Angeles schools set to meet in three weeks, this division likely won’t be decided until well into the month of November.

Just one weekend into November, and Florida, thanks to its win over Vanderbilt, has already clinched the division title and a spot in the conference championship game opposite the West winner.  The Gators will play in their first league title game since 2009 early next month.

Hello, Alabama. Welcome back to the driver’s seat.  As we headed into the weekend, LSU and Ole Miss controlled their own destinies in the West, with Alabama at the mercy of others.  Heading out, the combination of ‘Bama’s win over LSU and Ole Miss’ overtime loss to Arkansas leaves the Tide, at 5-1, in control of their own destiny.  They’re far from clinching, however, as LSU is still in the mix at 4-1, while there are three other teams in the division with just two conference losses: Ole Miss (4-2), Arkansas (3-2) and Mississippi State (3-2).

Below is a list of links for all of the Week 10 gamers posted by the CFT crew, placed in one handy and convenient space for you, our beloved and dear readers.

A snapshot look at how my ballot would look Sunday if I, ya know, had a real vote.

1. Clemson — OK, OK, I relent.  Clemson’s wins over Notre Dame and now Florida State are more impressive than anything any other team in the country can offer up for an argument to be No. 1.  The mission moving forward for the Tigers is simple: don’t trip up against Syracuse, Wake Forest or South Carolina to close out the regular season, then handle North Carolina (probably) in the conference championship game to punch your playoff ticket.  Simple, right? (Last week: No. 5)
Next up: at Syracuse, Nov. 14

2. Ohio State — This ranking is based solely on the assumption that J.T. Barrett will return as the starting quarterback.  If not, the Buckeyes wouldn’t even be in my Top Five.  Allow me to repeat: With Barrett as the starter, OSU is a national title contender; with Cardale Jones, they are an upset waiting to happen. (Last week: No. 3)
Next up: at Illinois, Nov. 14

3. Alabama — Yes, the woodshedding of LSU was an impressive performance.  ‘Bama still has the one loss, to Ole Miss, and that’s looking worse and worse with each passing week.  The Rebels suffered their third loss of the year this weekend, and one of the teams they lost to, Memphis, lost to a service academy. (Last week: NR)
Next up: vs. No. 20 Mississippi State, Nov. 14

4. Baylor — Jarrett Stidham passed his first quiz.  Whether the true freshman quarterback can pass his remaining tests, which includes a home date with No. 15 Oklahoma and road trips to No. 14 Oklahoma State and No. 8 TCU, will go a long way in determining what if any chair the Bears will have at the playoff table. (Last week: No. 2)
Next up: vs. No. 15 Oklahoma, Nov. 14

5. Oklahoma State — It’s not just the fact that OSU “upset” TCU; it’s the fact that they dominated a team that had won 16 straight in every phase of the game.  It was as impressive a performance as any team has put up all season, although the flimsy résumé the first eight games of the year won’t allow the Cowboys to move past those ahead of them.  Yet.  With the meat of their schedule coming up, though, they’ll have ample opportunity to show their playoff worthiness. (Last week: NR)
Next up: at Iowa State, Nov. 14

(Dropped out: No. 1 LSU, No. 4 TCU)
(Others considered: Notre Dame, Stanford)

2014 Heisman Trophy PresentationHEISMAN RACE, BY THE NUMBERS
A statistical look at how the top contenders for this year’s stiff-armed trophy fared this past week.

Trevone Boykin, QB, TCU (8-1, No. 8)
Saturday: 35-57 (61.4%), 445 yards, one touchdown, four interceptions; 19 carries for 73 yards, two touchdowns
Season: 233-354 (65.8%), 3,372 yards, 29 touchdowns, nine interceptions; 107 carries for 597 yards (5.6 ypc), seven touchdowns

Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor (8-0, No. 6)
Thursday: 11 receptions for 216 yards, two touchdowns; two carries for two rushing yards
Season: 58 receptions for 1,178 yards, 20 touchdowns; 13 carries for 51 rushing yards

Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State (7-2, No. 16)
Saturday: 21 carries for 194 yards (9.2 ypc), one touchdown; one reception for four yards
Season: 148 carries for 1,231 yards (8.3 ypc), 12 touchdowns; 16 receptions for 185 yards, one touchdown

Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State (8-0, No. 3)
Season: 167 carries for 1,130 yards (6.8 ypc), 13 touchdowns; 23 receptions for 160 yards

Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU (7-0, No. 2)
Saturday: 19 carries for 31 yards (1.6 ypc), one touchdown
Season: 195 carries for 1,383 yards (7.1 ypc), 16 touchdowns; seven receptions for 58 yards

Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama (8-1, No. 4)
Saturday: 38 carries for 210 yards (5.5 ypc), three touchdowns
Season: 218 carries for 1,254 yards (5.7 ypc), 17 touchdowns; eight receptions for 69 yards

Matt Johnson, QB, Bowling Green (7-2, NR)
Wednesday: 26-35 (74.3%), 365 yards, four touchdowns, zero interceptions; three carries for minus-five yards
Season: 268-380 (70.5%), 3,686 yards, 33 touchdowns, three interceptions; 77 carries for 147 yards, three touchdowns

Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford (8-1, No. 11)
Saturday: 23 carries for 147 yards (6.4 ypc); three receptions for 15 yards; two kick returns for 46 yards; 1-1 (100%), 28 yards, one touchdown
Season: 198 carries for 1,207 yards (6.1 ypc), six touchdowns; 28 receptions for 325 yards, two touchdowns; 21 kick returns for 605 yards; nine punt returns for 25 yards; 1-1 (100%), 28 yards, one touchdown

(Dropped out: TCU wide receiver Josh Doctson)
(Added: Henry)

JT’s Personal Top Fivesman
1. Fournette — That sound you may have heard was the star LSU running back’s Heisman stock plummeting back to earth.  Fournette remains the stiff-armed front-runner, but the gap between himself and the rest of the field closed considerably even as his closest competitor coming in stumbled mightily.
2. Cook — Even in a loss, nobody likely raised their Heisman stock more than the FSU back.  Going up against a defense that came into the game 10th in rushing defense, Cook put up nearly 200 yards (194) in the loss to Clemson.  The fact that the Tigers keyed on Cook and he still put nearly a 200-spot on the ACC Atlantic winners tells you all you need to know about the kind of player Cook is.
3. Henry — Henry was on the periphery of the Heisman discussion prior to Week 10; that 200 yards he put on LSU, in a personal matchup with a struggling Fournette no less, puts him squarely in the mix.
4. McCaffrey — The Stanford running back’s stat sheet added a fourth dimension this weekend as the sophomore threw his first career touchdown pass.  He also tied a school record with his seventh consecutive 100-yard game.  I’ll point out again that McCaffrey is the only player west of the Rockies who’s in the Heisman discussion, which still bodes well for a mid-December trip to New York City.
5. Boykin — Entering Week 10, Boykin was viewed by many, or even most, as the only legitimate threat to Fournette’s Heisman candidacy.  Following a four-pick performance in a 20-point loss to Oklahoma State, the senior has a significant mountain to climb just to get back into the race.

Say what you want about Les Miles, the coach, but Les Miles, the man, is someone the LSU community can be proud of.  If you haven’t seen the latest Tom Rinaldi tear-jerker, click “play” below.  And if you click “play” below, make sure you have a fistful of tissues nearby, just in case.

At least a portion of Bret Bielema‘s press conference following the overtime win over Ole Miss was decidedly PG-13.

Perhaps because ESPN‘s College GameDay traveling road show has stopped there so much, it appears that, based on the quality — or lack thereof — Tuscaloosa has pretty much run out of innovative sign ideas.  Well, save for one.  Or is that No. 2?

Deep in Alabama territory, we find the following:


Winless UCF hasn’t had much to cheer about this season, but Tre’Quan Smith at least gave the fans of the program something to hang their hats on on yet another lost day.

Sometime you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time.  And sometimes when you find yourself in such a spot you also find yourself hurting, as one official in the Penn State-Northwestern game discovered.

With Brandon Allen carving up their defense, some Ole Miss fans apparently looked for some help from the men in blue in slowing down the Arkansas quarterback.

“Those were Madden numbers. Set to rookie.” — North Carolina wide receiver Mack Collins, describing quarterback Marquise Williams passing for 404 yards in the first half of the blowout win over Duke.

“Overall, the coaches and the players did a wonderful job of focusing on what’s important.” — Georgia head coach Mark Richt, following a dominating win over Kentucky that came on the heels of a week rife with rumors and speculation regarding the state of his program.

“He’s a natural at everything he does.” — Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan, after watching teammate and running back Christian McCaffrey run the ball 23 times, catch three passes, return a pair of kickoffs and toss his first career touchdown pass.

“I’m pretty offended by it, that it was called unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. There was really … everything was to not deceive.” — Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, addressing the fact that his Wolverines were penalized for “intent to deceive.”

“I got an explanation. They said that the receiver was pushed out of bounds… everybody saw the replay. I’m not qualified for that job. My job is to coach and I’m going to do the very best I can. That’s somebody else’s job.” — Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio, biting his tongue following the controversial ending in the loss to Nebraska.

Meads Cup Final - North Otago v WanganuiSTREAKING
10 wins to start the 2015 season have pushed Ohio State’s nation’s best winning streak to 22 straight.  With TCU’s 16-game winning streak snapped… and Memphis’ 15-game streak snapped… and Michigan State’s 12-game streak snapped, Clemson is next up at 12 in a row.

On the other side of the won-loss ledger, the “proud” owner of the nation’s longest losing streak is Kansas at 12 straight, followed by UCF (11) and Eastern Michigan (eight).

Entering Week 9, there were 41 teams that had secured bowl eligibility.  Exiting the weekend, there are now 51 teams eligible for the postseason with four weeks left in the regular season.  The newest additions hit double digits at 10: Air Force, Arkansas State, Georgia, Miami, North Carolina State, Northern Illinois, Oregon, USC, Washington State and Western Michigan.

There are 41 bowl games this season — counting the two College Football Playoff semifinals — meaning 82 teams will need to reach the six-win threshold in order for teams with sub-.500 records to remain where they belong: at home during the postseason.

There are five FBS head coaches who serve as their own offensive coordinator and two as their own defensive coordinator:

  • Dana Holgorsen (West Virginia, OC)
  • Mike Leach (Washington State, OC)
  • Paul Johnson (Georgia Tech, OC)
  • Doug Martin (NM State, OC)
  • Mark Whipple (UMass, OC)
  • Rocky Long (San Diego State, DC)
  • Derek Mason (Vanderbilt, DC)

Urban Meyer is a perfect 26-0 in games played in October (14-0) and November (13-0) at Ohio State and is 42-3 in his career in games in which he has more than one week to prepare for an opponent. That latter record includes bowl games and season openers as well as bye weeks.

Running back Jacques Patrick had three rushing touchdowns, while Travis Rudolph caught three touchdown passes against Syracuse, marking the first time in Florida State history a Seminole rushed for three touchdowns in a single game and another caught three touchdowns in the same game.

Oregon is the only team in the nation to score at least 80 touchdowns in each of the last five seasons. The Ducks led the nation in touchdowns scored in 2014 (90), 2012 (89) and 2010 (81), while ranking second in 2011 (88) and fourth  in 2013 (81). Only Baylor has scored 80-plus TDs at least three times in the last five years.  The Ducks have scored 48 in nine games this season and are in danger of seeing that 80-plus streak come to an end, while the Bears have scored an FBS-best 63 in eight contests.

Duke has posted a combined record of 25-7 during the first eight games of the last four seasons. From 2004-07, the last four seasons before David Cutcliffe took over the program, Duke was 3-29 in its first eight games of those years.

Courtesy of the Wisconsin sports information department, a graphic showing the top five teams, percentage-wise, in holding their opponents below their seasonal points-per-game average.

Relative Scoring Defense

Courtesy of the Wisconsin sports information department

Yards Per Play

Courtesy of the Oregon sports information department

Consecutive 10-Win Seasons

Courtesy of the North Carolina State sports information department, the most balanced FBS offenses entering Week 10


(Writer’s note: obviously, the passing yards for NC State should be 1,721.  Deal with it, and move on.)

There are nine current FBS head coaches who did not play college football: Todd Berry (Louisiana-Monroe), Tracy Claeys (Minnesota), David Cutcliffe (Duke), Sonny Dykes (California), Dennis Franchione (Texas State), Hugh Freeze (Ole Miss), Paul Johnson (Georgia Tech), Mike Leach (Washington State) and Chad Morris (SMU).

Since giving up 35 points to Alabama in their season opener, Wisconsin has surrendered an average of just 9.8 points per game.  In those nine games, the Badgers have allowed 10 points or less six times.  The most they’ve given up in a single game in this stretch is 24 in a win over Maryland this weekend.

In 2015, more than 75 FBS quarterbacks have attempted at least 200 passes, and just two have thrown one interception: Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott (300) and Florida State’s Everett Golson (207).  No quarterbacks who have attempted at least 200 passes have gone pick-less.  The player with the most attempts without an interception this year had been LSU’s Brandon Harris with 128, but he threw his first pick in the loss to Alabama.  That honor now goes to Navy’s Keenan Reynolds, who has no interceptions in his 56 attempts this season.  Texas’ Tyrone Swoopes has 55 pick-less throws.

Clemson v Florida StateDID YOU KNOW THAT

… Clemson is now 11-0 when quarterback Deshaun Watson starts and finishes games?  They are 12-1 overall in games in which the sophomore starts.

… Arkansas running back Alex Collins became the third player in SEC history with three consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons, joining former Georgia great Herschel Walker and former Razorback Darren McFadden?

… Baylor wide receiver Corey Coleman‘s 20 receiving touchdowns in nine games this season were more than 108 FBS teams entering Week 10?  Georgia Southern has thrown eight touchdown passes in the last 20 games over the past two seasons.

DeAndre Washington now has 1,036 yards rushing on the season, becoming the first Texas Tech player to crack the 1,000-yard barrier since Byron Hanspard rushed for 2,000 in 1996?

492204726… Arizona State’s D.J. Foster has now caught a pass in 49 consecutive games, breaking the Pac-12 record of 48 set by USC’s Kareem Kelly (1999-2002)?  Central Michigan’s Bryan Anderson (2006-09) holds the FBS record at 54 in a row.

… Ohio State’s Urban Meyer is the only coach in FBS history with four seasons of 13 or more wins?  Alabama’s Nick Saban has three such seasons, while Washington’s Chris Petersen and Nebraska’s Tom Osborne have two each.

 Tom Herman became the first head coach in Houston history to win the first nine games of his career with the Cougars? Back in 1990, John Jenkins won his first eight.

… Iowa’s 9-0 start matches the best start in school history, accomplished the first and only time back in 2009?  The Hawkeyes have never started a season 10-0.

Kansas v Texas… Kansas has lost 34 consecutive true road games and, overall, 37 consecutive played away from Lawrence? The Jayhawks have also lost 30 consecutive Big 12 road games.

… Baylor (No. 14 Oklahoma, No. 12 Oklahoma State, No. 5 TCU) and Minnesota (No. 15 Michigan, No. 1 Ohio State, No. 10 Iowa) are the only teams currently scheduled to play three straight games against teams that were either in the Associated Press Top 15 when they played them or are currently in that Top 15?

… Florida and Michigan are the only teams to hold three FBS opponents without a touchdown this season?

… UCLA is 31-0 when leading at halftime under Jim Mora?

… the Border War between Colorado State and Wyoming is the longest continuous rivalry west of the Mississippi, played every season since 1946?

Gators (barely) survive Vandy, become first to clinch P5 division

Ralph Webb, Antonio Morrison, Jarrad Davis
Associated Press

This was a game that was not only beaten senseless with an ugly stick, it fell out of the tree and hit every branch on the way down.  In the end, though, the scoreboard was all that mattered to Florida.

In a contest that only a (blind) mother could love, UF survived miscue after miscue in outlasting Vanderbilt by the score of 9-7 in The Swamp.  The game-winning score came with 2:22 left in the fourth on Austin Hardin‘s 43-yard field goal.

With the win, Florida clinched the SEC East title and a spot in the conference championship game a month from now.  This marks the first Gators’ divisional title since 2009, although the celebration was very nearly put on ice for another week.

First and foremost, the Gators turned the ball over four times — three fumbles, one interception.  Their average starting field position was close to midfield, yet they managed just six points the first 58 minutes of the game.  They had just the six points thanks to a missed extra point off the foot of a walk-on dental student.  Thanks to the utter ineptness of the Vandy offense, however, UF was able to overcome the self-inflicted gunshots to their own feet.

The Commodores managed just 31 yards passing, and averaged three yards per carry on the ground.  Ralph Webb ran 74 yards in the second quarter for Vandy’s lone score of the day; in their 61 other plays, they produced 103 yards.

The Gators’ offense didn’t exactly stir up memories of Baylor’s attack, though, as they managed to average just 4.3 yards per play in producing 258 yards of offense.

Week 9, Statistically Speaking

stats word on a lptop computer
Associated Press

A statistical snapshot of the week that was in college football…

.18 — Pass efficiency rating of Vanderbilt’s Johnny McCrary.  The quarterback completed 2-of-9 passes for 24 yards, zero touchdowns and two interceptions.

.842 — Percentage of Air Force’s offensive plays that have been runs (505-600).

1.000 — Notre Dame’s winning percentage in 16 games played on Halloween following Saturday night’s win over previously unbeaten Temple.

Colgate v Navy3 — Different players who rushed for 100 or more yards in Navy’s 29-17 win over USF, the first time that’s happened in the military academy’s history. Chris Swain led the way with 131 yards, followed by Keenan Reynolds‘ 117 and Dishan Romine‘s 115.

10.5 — Yards per carry Corey Clement averaged (11-115) in his first game back from injury since the season opener in Wisconsin’s 48-10 win over Rutgers.  Clement added three rushing touchdowns for good measure.

12 — Wins since 2005 for North Carolina State and Oregon State over ranked teams when both were unranked, the most of any FBS teams.

13 — Consecutive years Wisconsin has both qualified for a bowl game and earned a spot in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.  The next-longest such streak belongs to Michigan State (eight years), followed by Louisville and San Diego State (five each).

23 — Penalties called against Miami in its win over Duke, the second-most in FBS history behind San Jose State’s 24 in against Fresno State in 1986.

32 — First-time starters for winless UCF, the most of any FBS team.

Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl - Illinois v Louisiana Tech35 — Games in which Louisiana Tech’s Kenneth Dixon has scored at least one touchdown, which is three off the FBS record of 38 held by Texas’ Cedric Benson, Texas Tech’s Tauren Henderson and Florida’s Tim Tebow.

38.2 — Yards per reception, on five catches, Travis Rudolph averaged in Florida State’s 45-21 win over Syracuse.

87 — Consecutive games UCLA has gone without having a punt blocked, dating back to 2008.  No. 2 nationally is Hawaii at 85 straight, followed by Auburn at 84.

143 — Career-high rushing yards for Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer in the 24-20 win over Temple.  His previous high was 55 in the Week 5 loss to Clemson.

179 — Career-high rushing yards for Arkeel Newsome in UConn’s 31-13 win over East Carolina.  His previous high was 84 yards three weeks ago.

200 — Receiving yards, on just four receptions, for James Washington in Oklahoma State’s wild 70-53 win over Texas Tech.

205 — Rushing yards for Matt Breida in Georgia Southern’s Thursday night win over Texas State.  The running back’s performance was part of a 503-yard effort on the ground by the Eagles.

New Mexico State v Georgia Southern212 — Rushing yards for Larry Rose III as New Mexico State snapped its 17-game losing streak with an overtime win over Idaho.  He also scored four touchdowns, including the tying score with :51 left and the game-winner in the first extra session.  In fact, all four of his touchdowns came in the fourth quarter and overtime.

221 — Yards on six kick returns for Maryland’s William Likely in the 31-15 loss to Penn State, including a 100-yarder for a touchdown.

232 — Career-high receiving yards for Marshall’s Davonte Allen against Charlotte.  It was the senior’s first 100-yard game of the season, and the fourth of his career.

296 — Number of yards Utah State gained both rushing and passing in the 58-27 rout of Wyoming Friday night. The 592 yards of offense are the Aggies most since gaining 646 yards against Louisiana Tech in 2012 and the 14th-most in school history.  The 58 points are the most in a conference game since a 63-17 win over Idaho in 1997.

301 — Pushups performed by Clemson’s mascot in the 58-0 Week 8 blowout of Miami, breaking the old road record of 251 set at Wake Forest in 1978.

323 — All-purpose yards (178 receiving, 146 kick returns, minus-one rushing) for Texas Tech’s Jakeem Grant in the loss to Oklahoma State.

East Carolina v Cincinnati388.64 — Pass efficiency rating for Cincinnati’s Gunner Kiel, the second-highest single-game rating ever for quarterbacks with at least 12 attempts (403.4 by Indiana’s Tim Clifford vs. Colorado, Sept. 26, 1980). Kiel went 15-15 for 319 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions. Clifford, incidentally, went 11-14 for 345 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions.

407 — Passing yards for Nebraska’s Ryker Fyfe in his first career start, a 55-45 loss to Purdue.  He came into the game with 33 career passing yards.

437 — Total offense for Deshaun Watson (383 passing, 54 rushing) in Clemson’s 56-41 win over North Carolina State.  Watson also tied a career-high with six total touchdowns (five passing, one rushing).

469 — Career-high passing yards for true freshman Brett Rypien in Boise State’s 55-27 win over Nevada.  It’s the third 300-yard game of his seven-game career.

495180466480 — Passing yards for Patrick Mahomes in Texas Tech’s loss to Oklahoma State, the fourth time this season he’s thrown for 400-plus.  The Red Raiders are now 2-2 in those games.

486 — Career-high passing yards for freshman Chase Litton in Marshall’s 34-10 win over Charlotte.  His previous high was 270. Only Byron Leftwich (576, 2001 GMAC Bowl vs. East Carolina) and Michael Payton (496, vs. VMI, 1991) have thrown for more than Litton’s 486 as members of the Herd.

1976 — The last time South Carolina had played a football game in the state of Texas prior to Saturday’s game against Texas A&M.

3,534 — Announced attendance for the Western Michigan-Eastern Michigan game Thursday in Ypsilanti.

No. 11 Florida on brink of SEC East title after chomping Georgia

Kelvin Taylor, Tim Kimbrough
Associated Press

It wasn’t supposed to happen this year, what with Jim McElwain still picking up the pieces left by the Will Muschamp regime and quarterback Will Grier suspended for the rest of the year and then some. It wasn’t supposed to happen this year, but it is. After a 27-3 thrashing of Georgia Saturday in Jacksonville, No. 11 Florida all but clinched a spot in its 11th SEC championship game and first since 2009.

All that’s required from here is a win over Vanderbilt next week. If that doesn’t happen, all the Gators would need is a win over South Carolina the following week (both games are in The Swamp) or a ‘Dores loss to Texas A&M or Tennessee in the weeks to follow. Point is, Florida is winning the SEC East, Georgia is not, and it could not be more obvious why.

On a day when neither team found consistent play from its quarterback, Florida did everything Georgia did not, staking itself to a 20-0 halftime lead through the trusted bit of well-timed opportunism the Gators have used throughout McElwain’s first season. The downpour started when Georgia’s Reggie Davis muffed a punt at his own five-yard line, and Florida’s Nick Washington recovered in the end zone to give the Gators a 6-0 lead (the ensuing PAT was blocked). The score remained that way until Florida quarterback Treon Harris, who’d missed nine straight passes to that point, hit Antonio Calloway for a 66-yard catch-and-run score with 5:06 to play in the second quarter.

As if that didn’t end the game right there, Florida’s defense made sure of it two plays later when Vernon Hargreaves III snagged a tipped interception at the Georgia 20 and returned it to the five-yard line. Kelvin Taylor punched in a three-yard score two snaps later.

Georgia had a chance to pull within two scores early in the third quarter when Davin Bellamy sacked and stripped Harris at the Florida 26, but the Bulldogs settled for a 27-yard Marshall Morgan field goal. The Dogs had one more chance midway through the fourth quarter when, facing a 2nd-and-goal at the Florida 3, Bauta tossed a pressured throw into the end zone, which deflected off Jalen Tabor‘s right hand and into the waiting arms of Florida’s Keeanu Neal.

The Gators hammered the final nail in the coffin with a six-play, 80-yard drive, punctuated by a 16-yard Taylor touchdown run.

Making his first career start, Bauta confirmed Georgia’s offense is comprised of one injured running back and zero capable quarterbacks. The junior completed 15-of-33 passes for 154 yards with no touchdowns and four interceptions. With no passing game to help him and no Nick Chubb to spell him, Sony Michel struggled to find room with just 11 carries for 45 yards.

Florida ran roughshod over Georgia for the second year in a row, as Taylor led the charge with 23 carries for 115 yards and two touchdowns, Jordan Scarlett added nine carries for 96 yards. Harris rushed 10 times for 39 yards while connecting on 8-of-19 throws for 155 yards and a touchdown.

In all, the score can be accurately and acutely summarized in two statistics: Florida out-rushed Georgia 258-69 and enjoyed a whopping 5-1 turnover margin.

The loss drops Georgia to 5-3 (3-3 SEC) on the year, and clinches a 10th straight season without an SEC championship and a third straight year without an SEC East crown in a span when the division hasn’t produced a national championship contender.

That is, outside of this Florida team that just implanted its cleat in Georgia’s chest.