By Bob Gaughan
West Virginia 31 Maryland 21
RIP Steve Sabol of NFL films. One of my favorite films of his was an obscure one on the “Pottstown Firebirds” a semi-pro team in Pennsylvania. Geno Smith was an obscure Heisman pick to start the year but not anymore. Smith completed 30 of his 43 passes for 338 yards and three touchdowns. This border war was much closer than most people expected. The Maryland defense played very well in holding the explosive Mountaineer offense in check most of the day.
Central Michigan 32 Iowa 31
Watching Iowa football this year has been more awkward than watching Clint Eastwood on stage with an empty chair. The offensive line hadn’t been playing well up to this point. This game the offense played well and the defense let them down. The Hawkeye defense couldn’t hold an 8 point lead with 2:15 to play. Central Michigan recovered an onside kick and drove 28 yards to set up a 48 yard game winning field goal by David Harman. It was a great day for the MAC, Ball State, Northern Illinois and Western Michigan all beat opponents from major conferences.
Wisconsin 37 UTEP 26
The Big 10 continues to struggle against teams they usually feast on. To make matters worse for the Badgers their star RB Montee Ball left in the second quarter with a head injury. Melvin Gordon replaced the injured Bell and rushed for 112 yards on only eight carries. UTEP played well earlier this year against Oklahoma and had their chances to pull the upset.
TCU 27 Virginia 7
I just want everyone to know I’ve never changed my story regarding O.J. I’ve never changed my thoughts about TCU either. This team can win the Big 12. The TCU defense again came up big in leading the way to victory. The Horned Frogs defense gave up their first touchdown of the year late in the fourth quarter when the game was already decided. I like Casey Paschall and he had another big day throwing for over 300 yards and three touchdowns.
Miami Florida 42 Georgia Tech 36 OT
The Georgia Tech performance was more confusing than why Bill Belichick won’t play Wes Welker. The Georgia Tech defense under Paul Johnson is always a question. Miami gained 609 yards against the Yellow Jackets. Tech fell behind early but built a 17 point 3rd quarter lead 36-19. The Tech defense was not able to hold the lead. Stephen Morris threw a 10 yard touchdown pass with 27 seconds left in regulation to force overtime. Mike James ran 25 yards untouched in OT for a much needed victory for Miami.
South Carolina 31 Missouri 10
Connor Shaw was back under center for the Gamecocks. It went well. Shaw completed 20 straight passes in leading the seventh ranked Gamecocks to victory. Marcus Lattimore rushed for 85 yards as well. Lattimore takes such a pounding, I wonder if the NFL people worry about how long of a career he will have? James Franklin returned as the starting quarterback for Missouri and his return wasn’t nearly as good as Shaw’s. Missouri was held to a season low 254 yards on the day.
Oregon State 27 UCLA 20
People are excited in Los Angeles over new Head Coach Jim Mora's (don't call me Junior! ) team, although he has benefited greatly this year from the maturation of many of previous Head Coach Rick Neuheisel's top recruits. The story of this game was the Oregon State defense. In their first game the Beavers defense held Montee Ball of Wisconsin to 60 yards rushing. In this game the nation’s leading rusher Jonathan Franklin was held to 45 yards which is 135 yards below his average. Oregon State burned the UCLA tight coverage with two long touchdown passes in the first half.
USC 27 California 9
Lane “Shady” Kiffin blamed Matt Barkley for the loss against Stanford. One wondered how he would respond against California. Kiffin was surely this week with reporters after the loss. Kiffin is the living embodiment of the Peter Principle more than Randy Travis, Nick Nolte & Mel Gibson accompanied by bikini clad Co-eds banging back Jagermeister shooters all night till the bar closes. Barkley responded with an average performance. He threw two touchdowns and two interceptions. The star for USC was former Penn State running back Silas Redd. Redd rushed for 158 yards and a touchdown to lead the USC offense.
LSU 12 Auburn 10
LSU defense is a flesh eating defense of Rudyard Kipling Punjab massacre proportions. The defense needed to be great for LSU because the LSU offense could muster very little against an inspired Auburn team. Auburn’s offense again struggled and was held under 180 of total offense on the night. Concern for LSU fans is an offense that could only score one touchdown against what was an average Auburn defense.
Notre Dame 13 Michigan 6
The Notre Dame defense is for real. Say it out loud with me, the Notre Dame defense is for real. The Irish defense forced six Michigan turnovers in leading the way to victory. Denard Robinson had been a Notre Dame nemesis in the past but on this night he had a horrible game with five turnovers. Manti T’eo had two interceptions as NFL scouts are drooling over him. Tommy Rees relieved Everett Golson and was responsible for leading Notre Dame to all of their points. Rees should be the starter from here on out.
Georgia 48 Vanderbilt 3
There was bad blood at the end of last years contest between these two teams. No surprise that Georgia showed little mercy against Vanderbilt. Thought going into the week was Vanderbilt might switch quarterbacks. Justin Rodgers (Aaron’s brother) was again at the helm but again he couldn’t lead the offense to do anything against a good Georgia defense. Todd Gurley rushed for two scores and Aaron Murray threw for two touchdowns as well in leading the Bulldogs offense.
Florida State 49 Clemson 37
Good Ole Boy, Jack McBriar look-a-like and sound-a-like (30 Rock, NBC Thursday Nights), Coach "Dabo" Sweeney of Clemson was out to give Florida State their biggest test of the year. In the first half Clemson was able to move the ball up and down the field and took a seven point lead into the break. The second half was all Florida State. The Seminoles defense clamped down. The Florida State offense gained 667 yards on the night. Clemson’s defense gave up 70 points last year in the Orange Bowl. The Tigers still have problems on that side of the ball.
Kansas State 24 Oklahoma 19
Bill Snyder is a head down, stiff upper lip and nose to the grindstone type of a guy. The Big 12 is not known for tough teams. Kansas State is a lunch pail tough team. Oklahoma played a sloppy game and deserved to lose. The Sooners turned the ball over three times which led to 17 Wildcat points and they were sloppy with their use of time-outs as well. I love Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein. He is the face of this team. John Hubert ran over the Oklahoma defense for 130 yards and two scores.
Minnesota 17 Syracuse 10