As is always the case every week, any omission below is not on purpose, it’s merely intentional.
Except this time, it’s also unintentional.
Clemson? That Clemson? Yes, that Clemson.
When Kirk Herbstreit picked No. 13 Clemson to upset Virginia Tech at Lane Stadium this morning on College GameDay, I was convinced the Tigers were going to lose. After all, it’s only their nature to suffer a letdown the moment they’re on the national radar. But, Dabo Swinney‘s team went in to Blacksburg and made it look easy with a 23-3 victory over the No. 11 Hokies. Before the season, there were many, ourselves included, who felt the ACC championship would come down to VT and Florida State. Could it go through Clemson, South Carolina? I’m anxious to find out.
Here comes the BOOM!
With a growing concern over head injuries in football, officials have really clamped down on big hits, especially helmet-to-helmet. That’s all well and good, but sometimes it’s great to see someone just lower the pads and de-cleat a guy. Case in point, this monster hit delivered to Rutgers RB Jawan Jamison courtesy of ‘Cuse LB Dyshawn Davis that resulted in a fumble return for a touchdown for the Orange. It was the only positive thing to come from this game (read below).
Revenge of the Smurfs
I don’t think Boise State coach Chris Petersen needed to use last year’s stunning loss to Nevada as motivation against the Wolf Pack this time around — coaches always preach about sticking to the game plan — but it had to feel good for No. 4 Boise State to handle Nevada 30-10. Quarterback Kellen Moore didn’t have a Heisman-esque kind of performance with a pair of interceptions, but running back Doug Martin had a great day with 126 yards and two touchdowns. Boise keeps rolling along, and after No. 20 TCU’s loss to SMU, the Broncos’ road to the BCS is still very clear.
Red River Relevance
Oklahoma had the preseason hype and all early signs have pointed to the No. 2 Sooners being a real player for the BCS national championship. Texas, on the other hand, was breaking in a pair of coordinators and trying to see if Garrett Gilbert‘s 2010 struggles were nothing more than growing pains. They weren’t, and the No. 17 Longhorns finally pulled the plug on the junior quarterback’s disappointing tenure two weeks ago. Since moving to Case McCoy and David Ash at QB, though, UT’s offense has been clicking. A blowout win by the Longhorns over the oft-pesky Iowa State 37-14 has suddenly zipped a little more excitement into next week’s Red River Rivalry in Dallas. It’s just a better game when UT and OU are playing well.
From sidelined to sidelines
It’s been an especially scary couple of weeks for the Minnesota community with coach Jerry Kill suffering from a pair of seizures, resulting in as many hospital visits. Yet, for the second week in a row, Kill was on the sidelines to coach his Gophers against Michigan — an eventual 58-0 loss to the No. 19 Wolverines. That shows a tremendous amount of heart and dedication — perhaps against better judgement — to his work. Likewise, Joe Paterno returned to the sidelines as well for the entire game against Indiana; the Nittany Lions squeaked by 16-10. Still, it was good to see both back doing what they love to their full capability.
Lucky grab? Ha! Surely you jest
As if we needed any more reasons to love Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, the redshirt junior showed he could catch the ball too — and maybe better than some receivers. In the first quarter of a rout of UCLA, Luck made a nifty one-handed catch from a Drew Terrell pass that netted 13 yards for the No. 6 team in the land. If that weren’t enough, Cardinal tight end Coby Fleener responded with his own one-handed touchdown grab. Check ’em both out below.
Welcome to the Big Ten, now prepare to feel our House of Pain!
It was close for a quarter-ish, but Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez threw three interceptions en route to a 48-17 smackdown at the hands of No. 7 Wisconsin. The No. 8 ‘Huskers deviated from their game plan in the second and third quarters, somehow convinced that Martinez was really Russell Wilson. Turns out, he’s not. Nebraska has some work to do for when they take on Ohio State next week, but the Legends Division is still up for grabs. Still, what a welcome to the new conference.
Earlier this week, Florida offensive coordinator Charlie Weis said he was going to throw the kitchen sink at Alabama. While that may have been true for the Gators’ first offensive possession when John Brantley connected with Andrew Dubose for a 65-yard touchdown pass, No. 12 Florida had no such sink-throwing luck the rest of the night. Alabama’s stingy D held UF to 15 whole yards rushing and forced two turnovers. Speedsters Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps combined for 14 carries for 8 yards. Brantley was also hurt before the half and did not return. In all, it was a bad night offensively for the Gators, and No. 3 Alabama went on to win 38-10.
Stephen A. Smith says “A football game is 60 minutes long”
First of all, Utah State has some bad Juju going on right now with three gut-wrenching losses. The Aggies allowed BYU to march 96 yards — ninety-six — with under three minutes to play Friday night to give up the game-winning score with 11 seconds remaining. BYU would win 27-24. Meanwhile, No. 18 Texas A&M utterly collapsed into full fetal position for the second week in a row, blowing an 18-point halftime lead to No. 14 Arkansas, falling 42-38. And Northwestern, Dan PersaStrong and everything, gave up its own 18-point lead to No. 24 Illinois on its way to a 38-35 loss at the hands of the now 5-0 fightin’ Zooksters.
Wounded Warrior Fail
No. 10 South Carolina was set to honor America’s heroes in its game against Auburn on Saturday by sporting Under Armour’s speical “Wounded Warrior” threads. The only problem? The numbers were too hard to read and SEC officials requested that the Gamecocks change uniforms, so Steve Spurrier‘s team came out in black tops with white numbers instead. On the bright side, it only confirms that fans are right: every referee in the business needs their eyes checked.
Nads not good
Inexplicably not addressed in Illinois’ win over Northwestern was this CHEAP SHOT by Illini LB Jonathan Brown to the “lower extremities” area of NW lineman Patrick Ward. There was no justification for it, and even more astonishing, no personal foul was called. Brown deserves to be suspended for his actions. If nothing else, I thought that was against guy code. Not cool, dude.
New coach, same problems
A week after firing coach Mike Locksley, New Mexico wasn’t much better off against in-state rival New Mexico State. The Aggies defeated the Lobos 42-28 as UNM continues to slide in a winless season. The dark cloud that’s hovered over Albuquerque could take a long time to move on, as Locksley really dug that program into a hole. To top it off, the Lobos sported all silver uniforms tonight against NMSU, which as one beat writer (whose name escapes me) opined on Twitter, made the lineman looked like baked potatoes in tin foil. Fantastic.
Odds & Ends
— Recently reinstated LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson‘s first play of the year was a one-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-goal to put the No. 1 Tigers up 7-0 against Kentucky, but Jefferson was greeted with some boos from those in Tiger Stadium when he ran on to the field. After the game, head coach Les Miles said he didn’t talk to Jefferson about the reaction because the thought the senior could “handle 2,500 fans that are a little disposed to bemoan someone who is busting his tail to do everything he can do to help LSU.”
— It’s been no mystery that Penn State has struggled to find an offensive identity this season. Joe Paterno says it’s not because of the two quarterback system that splits time between Rob Bolden and Matt McGloin. Whatever the reason, the Nittany Lions have not scored a touchdown in the first quarter this years against Division 1-A opponents.
— After their 38-7 drumming of Maryland last week, I opined that Temple should be considered for Big East membership. Then the Owls showed up to their home game against Toledo hungover as hell, losing 36-13 in front of a crowd of 21,000. Did I say Big East membership? I meant to say continued MAC membership.
— In a win over Minnesota, Michigan running back Vincent Smith became the first player since Clemson’s C.J. Spiller in 2009 to rush for a touchdown, throw for a touchdown and catch a touchdown pass.
— In a 40-33 overtime victory over No. 20 TCU, SMU defeated a ranked team for only the second time since the NCAA imposed the Death Penalty on the program nearly 25 years ago; the loss snapped a 22-game home winning streak for the Horned Frogs at home.
— With their win over Virginia Tech, Clemson became the first ACC member to beat three consecutive AP Top 25 teams in consecutive weeks.
— Ohio State’s 10-7 loss to Michigan State puts the Buckeyes at 3-2, equaling their worst five-game start since 2005. That ’05 team, though, went on to win the rest of their games, including a Fiesta Bowl victory over Notre Dame.
— Dylan Favre, the nephew of Brett Favre, finally saw some time on the field in Mississippi State’s 24-10 loss to Georgia. He went 0-for-2.
— Idaho channeled its inner Tom Osbourne against Virginia on Saturday, going for two during the first overtime. But, the conversion failed and the Vandals left town on the wrong end of a 21-20 loss. Joke’s on the Cavaliers, though, who needed overtime to beat freakin’ Idaho.
For Statistical Purposes Only
— Arkansas’ Jarius Wright and Illinois’ A.J. Jenkins caught the ball like it was their job today. Wright had nine catches for 227 yards against Texas A&M — in the first half; he ended up with 13 catches for 281 yards. Jenkins had a staggering 12 catches for 268 yards and three touchdowns in a 38-35 win over Northwestern. Both are school records.
— Additionally, Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson threw for 510 yards in the win over A&M — also a school record.
— LSU defensive back and Heisman candidate Tyrann Mathieu has three forced fumbles on the year, two of which have been returned for touchdowns. Just a sophomore, Methieu has nine forced fumbles — two more than the school’s previous record.
— Keeping with school records, quarterback Matt Barkley set a USC single-game record with 468 yards passing in a wild win over Arizona.
— Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin entered Week 5 with more touchdowns (13) than incompletions (12). He exited today after the No. 15 Bears’ loss to Kansas State with 18 touchdowns and 20 incompletions. He also threw his first interception in 171 attempts.
— As long as we’re on the subject, Ball State’s quarterback Keith Wenning had a streak of 176 pass attempts without an interception. Then, he threw three against No. 1 Oklahoma… in the next four attempts.
— West Virginia’s freshman running back Dustin Garrison tallied 291 yards in the No. 22 Mountaineers’ easy 55-10 win over Bowling Green. That number ranks third all-time in Big East rushing yards — former WVU running back Kay-Jay Harris holds the record with 337 yards — and most for a freshman.
— In a 19-16 double OT game that reminded me of my youth football days, Rutgers and Syracuse had nine combined turnovers. The Orange’s five turnovers equaled the amount of yards Rutgers was able to gain on the ground. Yikes.
— Speaking of bad Big East football, Western Michigan quarterback Alex Carder threw for a career-high 479 yards in a 38-31 win over UConn. The Huskies offense put up 451 total yards.
— As we noted earlier, Boston College running back Montel Harris needed 98 yards to become the school’s all-time leading rusher. He got 10 more to grab 3,735 yards; Derrick Knight held the previous record of 3,725 yards.
The condescending “you’re not that good” quote of the day:
“We just have to keep going, because in my mind, we haven’t played real competition to really test our skills. We’ve played great teams this year, but I’m looking forward to the tough games – Virginia Tech and Clemson. Those really are going to make a statement on what this team is about.”
— Georgia Tech running back Orwin Smith on beating North Carolina State