Entering the fourth quarter with a seemingly comfortable 49-14 lead, Western Kentucky appeared to be on the verge of winning the football program’s first-ever bowl game. 15 minutes of game time later? Wow. Just, wow.
Central Michigan scored a whopping five touchdowns in the final frame, including a multiple-lateral one with no time remaining on the clock, to pull to within one point. An extra point would’ve improbably sent the game into overtime; much to head coach Dan Enos‘ credit, he got his full Tom Osborne on and eschewed the PAT in favor of a two-point conversion.
The Cooper Rush pass into the end zone was knocked away, however, giving the Hilltoppers a thrilling 49-48 win in the inaugural Popeyes Bahamas Bowl. But that touchdown leading up to the to the failed two-point try, the Hail Mary Hook-And-Lateralis one for the postseason history books.
While that was the play of the young bowl season thus far, and while Rush set an all-time bowl record with seven touchdown passes, breaking the mark of six previously held by Washington State’s Connor Halliday (2013 New Mexico Bowl), West Virginia’s Geno Smith (2012 Orange Bowl) and Iowa’s Chuck Long (1984 Freedom Bowl), it was Brandon Doughty who was named the Player of the Game.
The nation’s leading passer entering the game, Doughty passed for 486 yards and five touchdowns. 350 of those yards and all five scoring tosses came in the first half as the high-powered WKU offense hit the snooze button in the second half.
This game marks the fourth times this season Doughty has passed for 400-plus yards. The fifth-year senior passed for 300 or more yards in 10 of WKU’s 13 games this season, and will finish 2014 with 4,830 passing yards. Over the past three games, Doughty has thrown 18 touchdown passes, including eight in the regular-season finale against eventual Conference USA champion Marshall.
In that frenetic fourth quarter, though, Doughty and the Hilltopper offense went stagnant as they punted three times and fumbled once. At the same time, CMU scored touchdowns on all five of its fourth-quarter possessions.
A statistical snapshot of the week that was in college football…
.2 — Yards per attempt for USF on its 22 carries in Friday’s 16-0 loss to UCF.
.611 – Winning percentage of visiting teams in Pac-12 road games (33-21) this season. The four teams ranked in last week’s Associated Press Top 25 (Oregon, UCLA, Arizona State, Arizona) have a combined overall road record of 19-3 (.864).
5 — Single-game rushing performances Georgia Southern has placed in the Top 30 all-time at the FBS level this season alone. Those are No. 2 (613, vs. Georgia State), No. 3 (564, vs. Savannah State), No. 21 (421, vs. Troy), T-No. 22 (419, vs. New Mexico State) and No. 30 (408, Appalachian State).
5 — Times during their 124 meetings Minnesota and Wisconsin have faced each other when both teams are ranked (1954, 1962, 1999, 2005, 2014).
6 — Consecutive losses to end the regular season for Kentucky after it began the season 5-1, leaving the Wildcats one win shy of bowl-eligibility. UK was also 0-4 after the announcement of a contract extension for head coach Mark Stoops.
6-0 — UCF’s home record in 2014, its first perfect season at home since 2001.
7 — Consecutive seasons Alabama, Nebraska and Oregon have won at least nine games, the only teams in the country that can make that claim.
7 — More wins Western Michigan and Air Force have in 2014 (8-4 and 9-3, respectively) than they did in 2013 (1-11 and 2-10, respectively), the biggest turnarounds this season. TCU (4-8 last year, 10-1 this year) could reach that mark with a win in Week 15, while Memphis (9-3 in 2014, 3-9 in 2013) could do it in a bowl game.
12 — Bowl-eligible teams for the SEC, a conference record. The only teams from the 14-team league that failed to qualify for the postseason were Kentucky and Vanderbilt.
12 — Consecutive games in which Jake Waters has thrown for 200 yards or more, the longest such streak during Bill Snyder‘s tenure at Kansas State.
12 — Points scored by Northern Illinois off of Western Michigan’s six turnovers in NIU’s 31-21 win Friday.
13 — Consecutive games in which TCU has scored 30 or more points, the longest such streak at the FBS level.
14 — Interceptions this season by Louisville’s Gerod Holliman, tying the FBS record set by Washington’s Al Worley in 1968.
15 — Combined touchdown passes for Marshall and Western Kentucky in Friday’s 67-66 game; Army has thrown 15 touchdown passes the last four seasons combined.
16 — Consecutive home wins for Alabama, the longest such streak in the country. Baylor is next with 15 straight, followed by Florida State (14) and Boise State (14).
16 — Consecutive seasons Boise State has won eight or more games, the longest such streak in the country. The Broncos went 6-5 in 1998 prior to starting their streak.
17 — Interceptions this season for Florida State’s Jameis Winston in 392 attempts, the most for any Power Five quarterback. During his Heisman-winning 2013 season, Winston threw 10 interceptions in 384 attempts.
18 — Players in FBS history to run for 2,000-plus yards in the season, with Indiana’s Tevin Coleman becoming the most recent. Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon had already surpassed that mark earlier this season.
19-4 — Kansas State’s record vs. Kansas under Bill Snyder, including a 19-1 record since 1993. Prior to Snyder’s arrival, KU held a 59-23-5 advantage on K-State in the in-state rivalry.
23 — College GameDay appearances, home, road and neutral sites, for Alabama since Nick Saban took over as head coach in 2007, the most of any other team. Oregon is next with 18 in that span, followed by LSU (16), Ohio State (13), and Oklahoma and Florida (12 each).
25 — Point deficit Rutgers overcame in 41-38 win over Maryland, the largest comeback in school history. The previous largest was 24 against Vanderbilt in 2004.
38 — Yards for Melvin Gordon in a Week 2 win over FCS-level Western Carolina, averaging 2.2 yards on his 17 carries. In his other 11 games, all against FBS competition, Gordon is averaging 202 yards per game and 8.3 yards per carry.
39 — Number of wins for Duke in David Cutcliffe‘s six-plus years as head coach. It’s also the number of wins the football program had in the previous 17 years prior to Cutcliffe’s arrival in 2008.
40 — Consecutive games Texas Tech has totaled at least 325 yards of total offense, the longest such streak in the country.
42 — Yards on a second-quarter completion by Navy’s Keenan Reynolds in a win over South Alabama, his only completion in four attempts in a game that helped the service academy become bowl-eligible.
43 — Years since Memphis won a conference title before clinching at least a share of the AAC in Week 14.
45 — Touchdowns responsible for in 2014 (34 passing, 11 rushing) for Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett, breaking the Big Ten record of 42 set by Purdue’s Drew Brees in 1998 (39 passing, three rushing).
95 — Non-offensive touchdowns for Kansas State since 1999, the most of any FBS team in that span.
100 — Graduation rate percentage for Duke, Northwestern, Notre Dame and Stanford football for the most recent academic year, the only FBS programs that can make that claim.
124 — Including Saturday, games played in the Minnesota-Wisconsin series, the most-played rivalry at the FBS level. It’s also the longest-running, consecutively-played rivalry at 108 straight; Clemson-South Carolina at 106 straight is the second-longest.
133 — Points scored in the Western Kentucky-Marshall football game, more than the the combined score of the former’s basketball game Thanksgiving Day (121) or the latter’s Black Friday hoops contest (127).
222 — Rushing yards as a team for Western Kentucky in its win over Marshall, even as Leon Allen had 237 on his own. The only other Hilltopper credited with a run was quarterback Brandon Doughty, whose statline read two carries for minus-15 yards.
317 — Number of yards rushing Oklahoma’s Samaje Perine ran for in the second and third quarters alone in his record-setting 427-yard rushing performance in Week 13.
320.2 — Logan Woodside‘s pass efficiency rating in Toledo’s 52-16 win over Eastern Michigan Friday. Woodside, who came into the game with a 131.2 rating, completed 14-of-18 passes for 323 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions.
340— Consecutive games Nebraska has sold-out Memorial Stadium, a streak that dates back to Nov. 3, 1962.
381 — After replacing the injured Reggie Bonnafon, career-high passing yards for Louisville freshman Kyle Bolin in the 44-40 win over Kentucky. Bolin, who entered the 2014 season as the Cardinals’ No. 3 quarterback, entered Saturday’s game with 35 career passing yards.
456 — Passing yards for Auburn’s Nick Marshall in the Iron Bowl loss to Alabama, his first career 400-yard passing game. In fact, it was just his second career 300-yard passing game, with the first (339) coming Sept. 14 of last year vs. Mississippi State.
469 — Rushing yards for Arkansas State in its 68-35 rout of New Mexico State. Three different Red Wolves players rushed for 100-plus yards: quarterback Fredi Knighten (153) and running backs Michael Gordon (143) and Johnston White (110). Knighten and Gordon combined for eight touchdowns as well, two passing and two rushing for the former and three rushing and one receiving for the latter.
598 — Passing yards for Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes in the two-point loss to Baylor, setting a Big 12 freshman record. The previous record of 462 was set last season by Tech quarterback Davis Webb, whose injury earlier this season opened the starting door for Mahomes. It was also the fourth-highest single-game total in Red Raider history.
1,074 — Rushing yards in 2014 for Boston College’s Tyler Murphy, breaking the single-season ACC record for a quarterback of 1,061 set by Clemson’s Woodrow Dantzler in 2001.
1,773 — Yards passing for Washington State’s Luke Falk in the four games since Connor Halliday went down with a season-ending injury. That’s more than nine FBS teams had in 12 games this season, and nearly more than a 10th (Wisconsin, 1,774).
1933-35 — Last time a Big Ten team (Minnesota) went three straight years without a regular-season loss in conference play prior to Ohio State pulling that trick in 2012-14. The Buckeyes are also the first team ever to produce no ties or losses in conference contests over a three-year period in Big Ten history.
1940s — Last decade in which Indiana had a winning record over Purdue in the battle for the Old Oaken Bucket (7-3). With Saturday’s win, the Hoosiers now have a 3-2 record in the rivalry game in the 2010s.
1968 — Prior to CBS airing it Saturday, the last year the Mississippi State-Ole Miss Egg Bowl was aired on a broadcast network, with that network being NBC.
1983 — Last season LSU played on Thanksgiving Day prior to Thursday’s win over Texas A&M. The Tigers have played on Turkey Day a total of 26 times in their history, the first coming in 1899.
1986 — Last season Arizona State (No. 13) and Arizona (No. 15) both entered the Territorial Cup as ranked teams prior to this year’s rivalry game.
1998 — Last season prior to this year that Arizona won at least 10 games in the regular season. It’s also just the second time ever 116-year history of the program the Wildcats have pulled off that feat.
2,260 — Rushing yards in 2014 for Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon, surpassing the Big Ten single-season record of 2,109 of former UW running back Ron Dayne in 1996. Gordon’s total currently stands fourth-best in FBS history, behind only Oklahoma State’s Barry Sanders (2,628 in 1988), UCF’s Kevin Smith (2,567 in 2007) and USC’s Marcus Allen (2,342 in 1981).
3,387 — Career rushing yards for Miami’s Duke Johnson, breaking the school record of 3,331 yards set by Ottis Anderson.
A statistical snapshot of the week that was in college football…
.592 – Winning percentage of visiting teams in Pac-12 road games (29-20) this season. The six teams ranked in last week’s Associated Press Top 25 (Oregon, UCLA, Arizona State, Arizona, Utah and USC) have a combined overall road record of 23-6 (.793).
.815 — Ohio State’s winning percentage (97-22) in Big Ten play since 2000, the highest league winning percentage among all Power Five schools. Oklahoma 99-24 is next at .805.
.933 — Career field-goal percentage for Florida State’s Robert Aguayo (42-45). The all-time career mark, for at least 45 attempts per the 2014 FBS record book, was .900 (45-50) by Louisiana-Lafayette’s Brett Baer (2009-12). The career mark, for at least 55 attempts, is .895 (68-76) by Nebraska’s Alex Henery (2007-10).
0 — Touchbacks this season for Wake Forest punter Alex Kinal, the only player in the Top 25 in punting average who can make that claim.
1 — 400-yard passing games for Jake Waters in his career, the lone one coming in Kansas State’s win over West Virginia Thursday night (400 even). Waters had only one previous 300-yard game, that coming in November of last year against Oklahoma (348).
1 — Kickers at the FBS level who have yet to miss a field goal attempt (minimum eight attempts) this season: Maryland’s Brad Craddock (17-17). Craddock has made 23 straight attempts dating back to 2013, the longest current streak at the FBS level and third-longest in Big Ten history.
1.2 — Yards per play Savannah State averaged in its 64-0 loss to BYU. The Cougars limited the Tigers to 40 yards passing on 28 attempts and 23 yards rushing on the same number of attempts.
4 — FBS teams currently undefeated in conference play:
Florida State (ACC, 8-0)
Georgia Southern (Sun Belt, 7-0)
Marshall (Conference USA, 7-0)
Ohio State (Big Ten, 7-0)
5 — Consecutive games Auburn allowed 30 or more points prior to playing Samford, the first time that’s ever happened in the history of the football program.
5 — Number of undefeated home seasons in the history of Utah State football: 1968 (4-0), 1972 (5-0), 1982 (4-0), 2012 (6-0) and 2014 (6-0).
6 — Total touchdowns (five rushing, one receiving) for Colorado State’s Dee Hart in a win over New Mexico, the second-highest single-game total in Mountain West History.
USC linebacker Su’a Cravens may have been moving around on crutches as the Trojans blew away Washington State this weekend, but he may not be out of action for very long. Head coach Steve Sarkisian told reporters an MRI showed there “nothing structurally wrong” with Cravenb’s injured right knee. In fact, he will be expected to return to the field for USC’s next game, against California on November 13.
Cravens is USC’s fifth-leading tackler this season, with 42 tackles and 31 solo efforts. The sophomore has been a significant part of the defensive production this season with 12.5 tackles for a loss and four sacks to go along with seven pass deflections and two interceptions. One of those interceptions was returned for a touchdown.
“We’re going to do everything in our power, and I know he’s going to do everything in his power to get as healthy as he can get for next Thursday night,” Sarkisian said to reporters.
Washington State also lost a key player to a leg injury, but it was much more severe than the injury to Cravens. Quarterback Connor Hallidaybroke his leg in the game, which will bring an end to his season and collegiate career.
A numerical snapshot of the week that was in college football…
.850 — Duke’s winning percentage with Anthony Boone as a starter (17-3), the highest mark in the program’s history. Worth Lutz‘s record of .846 has stood for 60 years (1951-54, 11-2).
0 — Number of intersectional foes that have played continuously longer than Notre Dame and Navy, meeting every year since 1927 (88 games). The Irish’s 43 straight wins over the Midshipmen from 1964-2006 remains the longest winning streak by one team over another in FBS history.
1 — FBS quarterbacks with at least 150 pass attempts who have not thrown an interception this season, that one being Utah’s Travis Wilson (165 attempts). Last season, Wilson’s 16 interceptions — in just 237 attempts — were the second-most in the nation. Ball State’s Jack Milas has not thrown a pick in 116 attempts.
1.1 — Number of interceptions Louisville’s Gerod Holliman has averaged per game this season. His 10 interceptions in nine games are the most for an FBS player since North Carolina State’s David Amerson recorded 13 in 13 games in 2011. The all-time FBS record for interceptions in a season is 14 by Washington’s Al Worley in 1968. I should also add that Ole Miss’ Senquez Golson has nine picks in the same number of games.
1-34 — Kansas’ record in Big 12 play over the last 35 conference games, stretching back to early November of 2010. The Jayhawks haven’t won back-to-back league games since October of 2008.
3 — Players who have thrown for more than 3,000 yards through the first 10 weeks of the season, with Western Kentucky’s Brandon Doughty and Cal’s Jared Goff joining the group. Entering this week’s slate of games, there was one — Washington State’s Connor Halliday, who sustained what turned out to be a season-ending injury Saturday.