College Football Overtime (cont.)
Houston quarterback Case Keenum entered the season with a realistic shot of breaking the NCAA career passing yards record. Sadly, the redshirt senior's college career ended rudely and prematurely Saturday night when he suffered a torn ACL in a 31-13 loss to UCLA. Making matters worse for the Cougars, his backup, Cotton Turner, is also done for the year with a fractured clavicle.
Keenum finishes his career ranked on the NCAA top 10 lists for total offense (14,448 yards), passing yards (13,586) and touchdown passes (107), but we'll never know what might have been. He played a huge role in bringing Houston's long-dormant program some national relevance. Now it's up to true freshman Terrance Broadway to keep the Cougars from falling back off the tracks.
Less than three weeks removed from arthroscopic knee surgery, Heisman winner Mark Ingram announced his return by running for 48 yards on his first carry and finishing with 151 yards on nine carries in Alabama's 62-13 rout of Duke. Between Ingram, sophomore Trent Richardson (144 yards against Penn State) and freshman Eddie Lacy (111 against San Jose State), the top-ranked Tide have had a different player rush for 100 yards in each of their games. Not too shabby.
No. 4 TCU would like to remind you that it's taking care of business. The Horned Frogs throttled Baylor, 45-10, on Saturday, with a near-perfect offensive performance. Quarterback Andy Dalton went 21-of-23 for 267 yards and two touchdowns. Said Frogs coach Gary Patterson: "We played a Pac-10 team [Oregon State] and a Big 12 team, we did all right. And we treated a I-AA team [Tennessee Tech] like we were supposed to [62-7]." The Southwest Conference reunion tour continues Friday at SMU.
Florida coach Urban Meyer's successful fake punt from his own 39-yard-line, in a game tied 10-10 at the time, changed the course of Florida's eventual 31-17 win at Tennessee. Remarkably, the Gators are now 8-of-8 on fake punts under Meyer, a slightly more flattering stat than another one that made the news this week. Also impressive: Quarterback John Brantley, in his first career road start, went 7-of-7 on third-down attempts of six yards or longer.
Remember Evan Royster? He's the Penn State running back who entered the season 481 yards shy of breaking the Nittany Lions' career rushing record. If you find him, alert the authorities. Against Kent State, someone impersonating Royster was held below 40 yards rushing for the third straight game, and coaches benched him for most of the second half following a fumble. He and replacement Stephfon Green are now mired in a "running back controversy."
It's feeling a lot like 2009, with LSU winning games while ranking just 91st nationally in total offense. Of the 27 teams that have started 3-0, LSU is the only one that has done so against three BCS-conference opponents. The good news: The Tigers' defense notched five interceptions (two by star Patrick Peterson) against Mississippi State in a 29-7 win. The bad news: LSU's own offense had just 264 yards. Up next: West Virginia, Tennessee and Florida.
Suffice it to say, new Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen, formerly of Houston, is earning his paycheck. Through three games, he's produced both the nation's No. 3 rusher, Kendall Hunter, and No. 6 passer, Brandon Weedon, who lit up Tulsa for 409 yards and six touchdowns in a 65-28 rout. Receiver Justin Blackmon, who had six catches for 174 yards and three TDs, laughs at his teammates' piddly national rankings. He's the No. 1 receiver.
On the opposite end of the Big 12 South spectrum, Texas A&M needed three fourth-quarter touchdowns and a last-second defensive stand to survive Florida International, 27-20. Preseason All-Big 12 quarterback Jerrod Johnson endured a nightmarish 11-of-31, four-interception performance. Apparently FIU coach Mario Cristobal has quite the defensive juggernaut on his hands in South Florida. Last week, the Panthers held Rutgers to 172 yards in a 19-14 loss.
First year Vanderbilt coach Robbie Caldwell earned a Gatorade shower and "had tears in his eyes in the locker room," said quarterback Larry Smith, after earning his first SEC victory, 28-14 at Ole Miss. The Commodores, who nearly knocked off Northwestern in their opener before falling 27-3 to LSU, ended a 10-game SEC losing streak thanks in part to Warren Norman's 80-yard touchdown run and an Eddie Foster pick-six against Rebels quarterback Jeremiah Masoli.
Texas Tech defensive end Scott Smith turned in a monstrous performance in the Red Raiders' 24-14 loss to Texas. The juco transfer tipped two Garrett Gilbert passes at the line of scrimmage that turned into interceptions (one to himself), sacked the Longhorns' quarterback twice and forced a fumble on a Fozzy Whitaker run. "He gives us a pass-rush when we don't get penetration because he's so tall," coach Tommy Tuberville said of the 6-foot-6 Smith, a budding star.
N.C. State (3-0) picked up the ACC's first win in 10 tries over a BCS-conference foe in last Thursday's 30-19 rout of Cincinnati (1-2). Quarterback Russell Wilson, as he's done so many times in his career, shredded the Bearcats (26-of-40 for 333 yards and three TDs), while the defense picked up five sacks. This could be the year Tom O'Brien's team, having posted losing records his first three seasons, finally turns the corner. Or, Cincinnati really misses Brian Kelly.
The Bearcats are hardly the lone contributors to the Big East's horrific nonconference performance. This is bad, people. The league's eight teams are just 4-9 against FBS competitors. That record rises to 12-9 if you throw in FCS competitors, but even that puts the Big East at about the same level as the WAC (12-10, 7-10 vs. FBS) and Conference USA (13-14, 8-14).
Don't leave UCLA for dead, yet. A week after losing 35-0 to Stanford, the Bruins dismantled No. 23 Houston, even before the Cougars' QBs began dropping.
Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson remains the nation's No. 1 rusher. Unfortunately, the Wolverines' defense ranks 100th.
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