College Football Overtime (cont.)
Jim Tressel apparently got the memo to unleash Terrelle Pryor. The quarterback set or matched career highs for both passing (262) and rushing (110) yards against Toledo. Just as impressive, the Buckeyes' defense shut out a Toledo offense that had posted 85 combined points against Purdue and Colorado. Rockets quarterback Aaron Opelt, who came in averaging 371 passing yards, managed just 197.
Syracuse coach Doug Marrone got his first career victory in dramatic fashion. With the score tied 34-34 late, safety Max Suter intercepted previously torrid Northwestern quarterback Mike Kafka (35-of-42 for 390 yards), setting up Ryan Lichtenstein for a game-winning 41-yard field goal. Much like Washington, the previously dormant Orange seem far more energized thus far under Marrone.
One day I swear I'll stop overlooking Connecticut. A week after nearly knocking off North Carolina, the Huskies went to Baylor a 10-point underdog and left with a 30-22 victory. Lest you think Randy Edsall's team misses departed star Donald Brown, running backs Andre Dixon (31 carries, 149 yards) and Jordan Todman (22 for 103) helped keep Baylor star Robert Griffin off the field for 39 minutes.
Fresno State running back Ryan Matthews pulled off a rare feat Friday night against Boise State, breaking three touchdown runs of 60 or more yards to finish with 234 on the night. The Broncos still prevailed, 51-34, and now face nine remaining FBS foes with a combined 10-18 record. It's because of that schedule that I believe a one-loss Mountain West team could still finish higher than Boise.
Embattled Virginia coach Al Groh can't catch a break. Just when his new spread offense seemed like a lost cause, quarterback Jameel Sewell exploded for 312 passing yards and the Cavs jumped to a 27-10 halftime lead against a very good Southern Miss team. Unfortunately, the Golden Eagles were good enough to roll off four second-half touchdowns and win 34-27.
Here's all you need to know about the state of Maryland's program: The Terps lost Saturday to Middle Tennessee State -- for the second straight season.
N.C. State quarterback Russell Wilson broke an FBS record previously held by Kentucky's Andre Woodson by throwing his 326th straight pass without an interception Saturday against Gardner-Webb. He finished the game at 331.
Northern Illinois, which came in with a 1-32-1 all-time record against Big Ten foes, knocked off Purdue 28-21 for its first win over a Big Ten team since 1988.
I regret that the deadline for this column prevents me from commenting on Sunday night's Curb Your Enthusiasm premiere. I'm sure it was phenomenal.
Smaller story, but I'm sure you're following it...
Is it too early to start the Army bowl watch?
Under new coach Rich Ellerson, the Black Knights -- who last went bowling in 1996 (Independence) and haven't won more than four games in a season since -- are off to a 2-1 start, beating Ball State 24-17 on Saturday.
''It feels right. It feels like that's the way it should be,'' said Ellerson, whose team previously beat Eastern Michigan but lost to Duke. ''But we don't want to start the celebration too soon."
Of course they don't. But that doesn't mean the rest of us can't scout Army's schedule and find four more potential wins: Tulane (Oct. 3), at Temple (Oct. 17), VMI (Nov. 14) and at North Texas (Nov. 21). The Black Knights already have a standing invite from the EagleBank Bowl if eligible.
Dave Matthews: Please, make it stop
Kenny Chesney, while not a personal fave, I could at least understand. "This is our time," yada, yada, yada, seemed vaguely connected to college football.
But I've yet to hear a logical explanation for why ESPN has chosen to relentlessly interweave snippets from sappy 15-year-old Dave Matthews songs like Ants Marching into its college football broadcasts. It's true that when I hear that familiar fiddle, I do think of college -- as in, people blasting Under the Table and Dreaming in my freshman dorm hall at 7:30 in the morning -- but not football.
However, Saturday on CBS, following a Verne Lundquist voiceover and shots of Florida and Tennessee coming out of the tunnel at The Swamp, producers set up the long-awaited showdown with an rockin' intro set to Green Day's Know Your Enemy. You know -- because the two teams are enemies. While not one of the pop-punk trio's finer efforts, I'll take it over Dave's headache-inducing voice any day.
Thanks for letting me rant.
Tim Tebow-Eric Berry: You decide
According to the description by this particular uploader, the Tennessee safety "jacked up Tim Tebow" in their epic collision during Saturday's contest. Personally, I kind of saw it the other way. To the judges...
Sean McDonough attempts to one-up Gus Johnson
Last week, Gus Johnson nearly had a heart attack on air while calling Denver Broncos receiver Brandon Stokley's 87-yard game-winning touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals. Saturday, it sounded as if Sean McDonough's lungs might pop right out of his body following Virginia Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor's two miraculous throws to beat Nebraska.
Scenes from the couch
Let's face it: Twitter has completely changed the Saturday game-watching experience. If you've been following me, you know I do my best to keep the masses updated on everything I'm seeing while at the same time reading and re-tweeting accounts from others around the country. And Saturday at around 6:45 p.m. ET, I became the most popular man on Twitter (besides @OGOchoCinco).
As you may have seen, I called the Washington-USC upset Friday. Starting with a congratulatory tweet from @JimmyTraina (that I promptly re-tweeted), I received about 50 "mentions" in a five-minute span. I started receiving texts from numbers I didn't even recognize (apologies if you sent one and are currently reading this thinking "that jerk doesn't have me programmed in his phone?"). And I checked my e-mail, which included a slew of laudatory messages, highlighted by someone calling it a "career-defining pick."
I don't know about that. If my career was dependent on picking games correctly, I would have been unemployed long ago. But coming as it did on the heels of a nightmarish 3-7 week, I appreciate the love (even Sarkisian noticed).
But now I'm wondering ... does this make next week my "trap game?"
Mini-previews for three of this week's big games:
Ole Miss at South Carolina, Thursday (7:45 p.m. ET): At last, the No. 4 team in the country faces someone of note. Will that someone shut down Rebels quarterback Jevan Snead the way it did Russell Wilson on opening night or get caught up in a shootout as it did at Georgia? Steve Spurrier would be wise to avoid the latter.
Miami at Virginia Tech, Saturday (3:30 p.m. ET): I've given up trying to figure out the Hokies. They had been outgained by Nebraska 343-190 before producing a game-winning 88-yard drive. Either they'll intercept Harris three times, run back a punt and win 19-17, or they'll suffer a fate worse than Georgia Tech.
Texas Tech at Houston, Saturday (9:15 p.m. ET): If the Cougars want to bust the BCS, they need another Big 12 win. The Red Raiders largely slowed down Colt McCoy on Saturday, but can they do the same to Case Keenum? And has any team ever played two quarterbacks with such cool names in back-to-back weeks?
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