NCAA College Football – Week Eight Recap
It was the most exciting week of the year so far, as six Top 25 teams, including two in the Top Five, went down to defeats. Oklahoma and Wisconsin saw their national title hopes take a big hit, while LSU and Alabama continue on a collision course for a huge showdown in two weeks. Here are all the highlights from this week in the Top 25.
#1 Louisiana State 45, #19 Auburn 10
Despite missing three key players due to suspension, top-ranked LSU had no problems dispatching the defending national champions in a 45-10 rout in Baton Rouge. LSU’s quarterback tandem of Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson combined to go 16/23 for 219 yards and three touchdowns. The Bayou Bengals’ defense also showed up big, holding Auburn to just 248 total yards (87 rushing), forcing two turnovers and returning an interception for a touchdown. LSU now has eight-straight double-digit wins, a first in school history. They now have a week off to prepare for their much-awaited showdown with #2 Alabama.
#2 Alabama 37, Tennessee 6
Alabama’s offense got off to a slow start, going into halftime tied at six. But the Crimson Tide rose to the challenge in the second half, rolling up 31 unanswered points in the final two quarters. Running back Trent Richardson’s game of 100+ yard games ended at six (77 yards on Saturday), but he scored two touchdowns in the second half. Alabama’s already stingy defense further bolstered their impressive resume, holding Tennessee to just 155 total yards (63 passing) and six first downs, in addition to forcing two turnovers. The Volunteers have now been outscored by a combined 52-0 in the second half of the last two weeks.
Texas Tech 41, #3 Oklahoma 38
Texas Tech quarterback Seth Doege threw for 441 yards and four touchdowns as the Red Raiders pulled off the upset of the weekend and snapped Oklahoma’s 39-game home winning streak. Tech owned the first 2+ quarters of play, taking a 31-7 lead early in the third quarter. But quarterback Landry Jones (412 yards, five touchdowns) and the Sooners offense finally kicked things in gear, twice pulling within one score in the fourth quarter. However, Texas Tech’s offense was able to pick apart an Oklahoma defense that was missing three starters due to injury and keep the OU offense off the field just enough to hold on for the win. Sooners kicker Michael Hunnicutt missed two field goals, including a 28-yarder that banged off the right upright with less than three minutes to go in the game. This is just the third home loss for the Sooners in the Bob Stoops era (75-3 in 13 seasons).
#15 Michigan State 37, #4 Wisconsin 31
In one of the most exciting finishes in football history, the Spartans upset Wisconsin on a last-second Hail Mary pass that was originally ruled short of the goal line, but was ruled a touchdown after review. Michigan State held a 31-17 lead with less than nine minutes to play in the game before Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson rushed and passed four touchdowns to tie the game with 1:26 to go. But Spartans quarterback Kirk Cousins, who finished with 290 passing yards and three touchdowns, led his squad to the Wisconsin 44-yard line with four seconds left, setting up the game-ending drama. Cousins’ heave into the end zone was tipped by a Wisconsin defender and bounced off the facemask of a Spartans receiver before bouncing into the hands of Michigan State receiver Keith Nichol, who carried Wisconsin defenders with him just across the goal line.
#5 Boise State 37, Air Force 26
Boise State’s defense struggled to find an answer for Air Force’s triple option offense, but Kellen Moore and the Broncos’ offense were able to carry the team to victory. The Falcons racked up 408 yards in total offense and controlled the clock. Air Force pulled within a touchdown twice in the fourth quarter, but both times Moore led the Broncos on a scoring drive to answer. Moore, who finished with 281 yards and three touchdowns, tied former Texas quarterback Colt McCoy’s NCAA record with his 45th win as a starting quarterback.
#6 Oklahoma State 45, Missouri 24
While Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon grab the headlines for Oklahoma State’s high-powered offense, running back Joseph Randle showed just how valuable the Cowboys’ running game can be, racking up 151 total yards and four touchdowns as Oklahoma State rolled over the Tigers. Missouri had pulled within seven at halftime, but Randle’s touchdown runs of 16 and 59 yards in the third quarter put the game out of reach. The Cowboys defense also rose to the challenge, forcing four Missouri turnovers in the second half. OSU has now won nine straight road games.
#7 Stanford 65, #22 Washington 21
For all the talk about Andrew Luck’s Heisman campaign, it was Stanford’s running game that blew out the Huskies. Three different Cardinal running backs went for more than 90 yards and Stanford had a school-record 446 rushing yards and five touchdowns. Washington had pulled within three early in the second quarter before Stanford responded with 31 unanswered points. Luck threw for just 169 yards and two touchdowns in the big win. Stanford is the first team since 1936 to win 10 straight games by at least 25 points.
#8 Clemson 59, North Carolina 38
Clemson quarterback continued his stellar season, throwing for 367 yards and a school-record five touchdowns as the Tigers got off to their first 8-0 start in 11 years. Not to be outdone, the Tigers’ defense got in on the act with defensive end Kourtnei Brown returned an interception and a fumble for touchdowns. North Carolina moved the ball well (418 total yards), but turned the ball over six times and was just 2-of-12 on third down conversions in the loss. The Tarheels only trailed by seven at halftime before Clemson outscored them 35-7 in the third quarter.
#9 Oregon 45, Colorado 2
Colorado scored a safety with 1:32 left in the game, but only after Oregon had owned them for the previous 58+ minutes. Even playing without starting quarterback Darron Thomas and running back LaMichael James, the Ducks had no problems for a Colorado team struggling with a rash of injuries of their own. Backup running back Kenjon Barner carried the ball just ten times, but made them count, rushing for 115 yards and two touchdowns. Freshman quarterback Bryan Bennett avoided any mistakes, throwing for 156 yards and two touchdowns. Oregon outgained the Buffaloes 527-231.
#10 Arkansas 29, Ole Miss 24
Ole Miss jumped out to a quick 17-0 lead before the Razorbacks regrouped and scored 29 unanswered points before holding off a late rally by the Rebels. Arkansas running back Dennis Johnson rushed for 160 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries.
Ole Miss has now lost 10 straight SEC games for the first time in school history.
Syracuse 49, #11 West Virginia 23
West Virginia’s defense had no answer for Syracuse tight end Nick Provo, who caught six balls for 61 yards and three touchdowns in the upset. West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith had another big day (338 yards and two touchdowns), but threw two interceptions. Syracuse’s defense was the real story of the game, holding West Virginia almost 100 yards and 20 points under its season average. The Syracuse win snaps an eight-game losing streak to the Mountaineers.
#12 Kansas State 59, Kansas 21
The Sunflower Showdown got ugly early, with the Wildcats jumping out to a 21 point lead early and then adding 31 unanswered points when Kansas had responded to pull within 14 late in the second quarter. KSU quarterback Collin Klein had another solid day on the ground, rushing for 92 yards and four touchdowns. He also threw for 169 yards and a touchdown. The Jayhawks rushed for just 76 yards while committing nine penalties for 105 yards. Kansas has the worst defense in the nation statistically but, in an interesting quirk, every one of their opponents has been undefeated when Kansas played them. This the Wildcats’ best start (7-0) since 1999, when they finished 11-1.
#13 Nebraska 41, Minnesota 14
This game was over early, as the Cornhuskers outgained the Gophers 330-88 in the first half and led 34-0 after the first two quarters of play. Running back Rex Burkhead rushed for 117 yards and a touchdown, and wide receiver Kenny Bell got in on the action, scoring on an 82-yard reverse. Quarterback Taylor Martinez was erratic passing the ball, but managed 162 passing yards and a touchdown without throwing an interception. Minnesota had just 254 yards of total offense, (just 160 through the first three quarters) but did score against the Huskers for the first time in their last three meetings (48-0 in 1989 and 56-0 in 1990). Minnesota has been outscored 144-31 in three conference games this year.
#14 South Carolina BYE
The Gamecocks will return to action next week at Tennessee.
#16 Virginia Tech 30, Boston College 14
Boston College got on the board first, but the Hokies responded with 27 unanswered points and cruised to an easy victory against a struggling BC squad. Tech quarterback Logan Thomas continued his hot play, accounting for 328 total yards and two touchdowns in the win. Running back David Wilson added another 134 yards on the ground and a touchdown. Boston College is off to an 0-4 start in the ACC for the second consecutive year. Their only win this season came against FCS Massachusetts.
#17 Texas A&M 33, Iowa State 17
Running backs Cyrus Gray and Christine Michael both rushed for over 100 yards as a powerful running game pushed Texas A&M to victory over a struggling Iowa State squad that, after a 3-0 start to the season, has now dropped four straight. The Cyclones defense held A&M’s high-octane in offense in check early on, but the Aggies put up 24 unanswered points in a 9:29 span during the late second and early third quarters to take the game in hand. Iowa State receiver Josh Lenz had a career-high eight catches for 117 yards in the loss.
#18 Michigan BYE
The Wolverines will be back in action next week versus Purdue.
Miami 24, #20 Georgia Tech 7
Miami’s defense was the story of the game, stuffing Georgia Tech’s triple option offense, which has been in the top ten of virtually every offensive category, and holding them to more than 300 yards and 35 points below their season averages. Georgia Tech’s 211 total yards was their lowest offensive output since an Orange Bowl loss to Iowa after the 2009 season. Miami quarterback Jacory Harris was a nonfactor (8/23 for 140 yards and an interception), but a strong ground game from running back Lamar Miller (93 yards and a touchdown) gave the Canes all the offense they would need. The Miami defense was dominant, forcing three turnovers (recovering one fumble for a touchdown) and holding a Yellow Jackets running game that was ranked second in the nation to just 134 yards on the ground. The Hurricanes have won their last three against Georgia Tech by a combined score of 92-34.
#21 Houston 63, Marshall 28
Houston quarterback Case Keenum became the NCAA’s all-time leading yardage leader, passing former Hawaii quarterback Tim Chang’s record of 16,910 yards (set 2000-2004). The Houston signal caller’s record came during another big night in which he went 24/28 for 376 yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions. Marshall had tied the game at 14 early in the second quarter, but the Cougars responded by outscoring the Thundering Herd 49-7 over the next 36 minutes. Keenum has won 19 consecutive home games and has thrown 66 touchdowns to just nine interceptions in that span.
Purdue 21, #23 Illinois 14
Purdue’s defense shut down the Illini offense, sacking quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase four times and keeping Illinois off the scoreboard for the first 51 minutes of the game. Boilermakers quarterback Caleb TerBush played the whole game (instead of rotating with Robert Marve as he had in previous weeks), throwing for 178 yards and two touchdowns in the upset. Illinois receiver A.J. Jenkins, the nation’s leading receiver coming into the game, caught eight passes for 92 yards but was unable to score or break any big plays.
#24(T) Georgia BYE
The Bulldogs will be back in action next week for their annual shootout in Jacksonville against Florida.
#24(T) Arizona State BYE
The Sun Devils return to action next week at Colorado.
Penn State coach Joe Paterno tied former Grambling coach Eddie Robinson’s Division I record for career wins (408) in the Nittany Lions 34-24 win over Northwestern.