Week 10 wrap

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LOOK: Boise State fan busts out all-time Colin Kaepernick sign

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Out of all of the things that happened this weekend in college football, this is one that should add a bit of levity to a national hot-button issue but probably won’t for most.

Before Colin Kaepernick became THE lightning rod of all lightning rods in the NFL, he was a quarterback at Nevada.  And, as the starting quarterback at Nevada, he faced Boise State four times.

The first three games resulted in losses for the Wolf Pack; the last, in late-November of 2010, was an overtime win that snapped the No. 3 Broncos’ 24-game winning streak and ruined their Mountain West rival’s BCS title hopes.  It was a crushing and unexpected blow for the Little Program That Could, as well as its fans.

While that loss was nearly seven years ago, it still doesn’t sit well with a Broncos’ fan base that clearly has a very good and extensive memory.

Very well-played, sir.

In doing some digging on the Kaepernick-Boise connection, though, there’s this somewhat ironic quote from a player — who some say is being blackballed for his sitting/kneeling during the national anthem last season being turned into an NFL-wide movement this year — when he was asked how he dealt with the late-game stress in 2010, which included two missed field goals by the Broncos that could’ve potentially won the game.

“To be honest, I was on a knee on the sideline praying, hoping we’d get another shot.”

No. 17 USC takes control of Pac-12 South after holding on for win over No. 22 Arizona

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A few weeks ago, No. 17 USC and No. 22 Arizona were like passing ships in the night, headed in opposite directions as their seasons took wildly different paths. On Saturday night at the Coliseum however, both appeared to get back on the course many thought they would be on.

The Trojans used a solid defensive effort combined with some big plays on offense to power to a 49-35 victory over the Wildcats and all but lock up an eventual berth in the Pac-12 title game as a result.

Clancy Pendergast’s group was swarming at the start of the game, blocking a punt in the first quarter for a touchdown and doing better than anybody in the country at slowing down dynamic quarterback Khalil Tate until the second half rolled around. The Trojans recorded five sacks on the night all told, as many as Arizona had allowed all year coming in.

The home side also got things going offensively too, mostly using their big offensive line to pave the way for tailbacks Ronald Jones (194 yards, three touchdowns) and Aca’Cedric Ware (122 yards rushing, one score). Quarterback Sam Darnold was also pretty sharp outside of a bad interception in the end zone, throwing for 311 yards and a pair of touchdown passes. The signal-caller did appear to injure his hip late in the third quarter but stayed in the game to see out the win.

Thanks to that early special teams gaff, Arizona played most of the night from behind. Tate seemed to be slightly off behind center in his Los Angeles homecoming early on but did help key a second half rally that made the game interesting and saw the team tie it up with a two point conversion in the fourth quarter. All told he finished with 146 yards passing and two touchdowns (two interceptions) while rushing for 161 and a score. Those numbers weren’t bad all told but they were well below his season averages — which says plenty about a player many have started touting for the Heisman Trophy.

Instead, the win by USC will all but secure them the division title they were heavily favored to win prior to the season starting. The Trojans are the only Pac-12 South team with one loss and have head-to-head wins over both of the other two teams behind them (the Arizona schools). With a trip to Colorado and crosstown rival UCLA at home being all that remains in the regular season, it seems like a lock that the cardinal and gold will head to Santa Clara to play for a New Year’s Six bowl bid.

The season hasn’t played out as expected for either of these two teams but at least they’re entertaining going on these rollercoaster rides each and every week.

Washington’s Dante Pettis sets FBS record for career punt return TDs

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Why anyone ever punts anywhere near Dante Pettis is beyond me.  Yet, here we are.  Again.  And again and again and again…

Entering Saturday’s action, the Washington returner extraordinaire was tied for the FBS career record for punts returned for a touchdown with eight.  In the second quarter of the Week 10 game against Oregon, the wide receiver put himself alone at the top of that particular chart.

That 64-yard scoring return gives him nine and breaks the tie that Pettis had been in with Texas Tech’s Wes Welker (2000-03) and Oklahoma’s Antonio Perkins (2001-04).  Not only did Pettis, who has four for scores in 2017, break that career mark, he’s also now also within one of tying the single-season mark of set first by Hawaii’s Chad Owens in 2004 and matched by North Carolina’s Ryan Switzer in 2013.

Earlier this year, Pettis also joined Kansas State’s David Allen (1998) and Switzer (2013) as the only players in FBS history to return a punt for a score in back-to-back-to-back games.

The U might actually be back as No. 10 Miami beats No. 13 Virginia Tech to remain undefeated

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Hard-hitting defense. Big plays on offense. Celebrities in boxes and on the sidelines. A loud crowd on a smoke-filled South Florida night. You know what folks, ‘The U’ might indeed be back on the national scene.

No. 10 Miami secured the inside track to their first ACC Coastal division title on Saturday night, beating No. 13 Virginia Tech 28-10 to remain undefeated and pass their biggest test of the season.

The Hurricanes’ ornate turnover chain made four appearances along the way as part of another strong defensive effort. In addition to hauling in two interceptions, they also recorded two fumble recoveries and bailed out their suspect offense several times after turnovers of their own.

A key moment in the game came midway through the third quarter, quarterback Malik Rosier (193 yards, two touchdowns) had just tossed his third interception and the Hokies were slowly moving toward the end zone. Head coach Justin Fuente opted to go for it on 4th down instead of kicking a long field goal but a bad snap resulted in a fumble and turnover on downs. The ‘Canes promptly capitalized on that sequence by finding the end zone on a 43 yard touchdown pass to Chris Herndon just three plays later.

That extended the Miami lead at a critical time in the contest and they later added to it with a Rosier scramble past the goal line that all but salted the game away in the fourth quarter. The comfortable margin — a blowout by recent standards — was their first win by more than one score since late September. Running back Travis Homer also had 95 yards rushing to pace the home team, including a 64 yard scamper to the end zone in the first half.

While they were in the game most of the night, Virginia Tech never could seize momentum and take control. Josh Jackson threw for 197 yards and two picks under center, doing what he could to only get sacked four times despite constant pressure in his face. Travon McMillian led the team in rushing with 55 yards but it was an otherwise un-memorable effort running the ball. Depending on how things shake out, the Hokies could still be playing for a New Years’ Six bowl bid if they continue to win out but they’ll need some additional help to make it Charlotte given the two conference losses.

Saturday night was all about The U however. Miami will almost certainly move up in the top 10 given the victory and a number of other losses around the country, setting up a massive game at Hard Rock Stadium against old rival, No. 3 Notre Dame. The Irish and Hurricanes have waged some memorable ones over the years with national title implications on the line and it seems that will be the case once again.

No. 2 Alabama cruises to seventh straight defeat of No. 19 LSU

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It wasn’t dominant and it wasn’t pretty, but it was a 2-touchdown win over a top-20 opponent in which the home team was never seriously threatened. Such is life in this series after No. 2 Alabama scored its seventh straight win over No. 19 LSU in a 24-10 final in Tuscaloosa.

The streak, which began after LSU won at Bryant-Denny Stadium in that 9-6 overtime “Game of the Century, has seen Alabama win by an average score of 23-10 in a series that used to be as competitive as any in college football.

Alabama opened the scoring on a 4-yard toss from Jalen Hurts to Irv SmithJr., then pushed the lead to 14 on a 9-yard burst by Bo Scarborough. LSU finally dented the scoreboard with a 21-yard Connor Culp field goal with 8:38 to go in the first half, ending LSU’s scoreless streak against the Crimson Tide at 90 minutes and 40 seconds, dating back to the fourth quarter of its 30-16 loss in Tuscaloosa in 2015.

Hurts effectively put the game away for good with a 3-yard rush at the 2:55 mark to go in the third quarter. LSU immediately responded thanks to backup running back Darrel Williams, who broke free for a 54-yard run and then punched in a 2-yard touchdown to pull the Bayou Bengals within 21-10.

But Andy Pappanastos pushed the lead to 14 on Alabama’s next drive with a 40-yard field goal at the 13:25 mark of the fourth quarter, and LSU never threatened again.

Danny Etling hit 12-of-26 passes for 137 yards and an interception that led to Alabama’s second touchdown. He was replaced by Myles Brennan, who completed 3-of-5 throws for 18 yards. Williams led all runners with 83 yards on seven carries, and Derrius Guice added 71 yards on 19 carries. Though the Tigers did lose 34 yards in sacks, LSU (6-3, 3-2 SEC) still managed to out-rush Alabama, 151-119. Hurts led the Tide with 44 yards on 14 carries while hitting 11-of-24 passes for 183 yards and a touchdown. LSU also won the first downs battle, 16-14, and possessed the ball for more than eight minutes more than Alabama.

The ho-hum win will either serve as a wake-up call or a warning sign for Alabama as the schedule picks up from here. The Tide (9-0, 6-0 SEC) will visit No. 16 Mississippi State next week before closing with a trip to No. 14 Auburn and, presumably, a date with No. 1 Georgia, who clinched the SEC East on Saturday, in Atlanta.