College Football Overtime (cont.)
Thoughts and prayers go out to Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand, who underwent emergency spinal surgery and was paralyzed below the neck after making a tackle against Army. Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said he spoke with mentor Joe Paterno, whose former player, Adam Taliaferro, endured a similar injury in 2000 and made a long, successful recovery.
"As I talked to our team, we're just going to believe that Eric LeGrand is going to walk onto that field again with us," said Schiano. "That's what we believe. We'll see with the speed of which that happens."
Oklahoma State (6-0) ended its 66-year drought in Lubbock behind the most dominant performance yet from star receiver Justin Blackmon (10 catches, 207 yards). The sophomore is having a Michael Crabtree-like season, with 57 receptions, 955 yards and 12 TDs just halfway through the season. Next week, however, he and the Cowboys face their first elite defense when sure-to-be-angry Nebraska visits Stillwater in a defining game for Mike Gundy's team.
USC quarterback Matt Barkley picked up where he left off last week against Stanford, torching Cal for 352 yards and five touchdowns in a 48-14 drubbing. Barkley has now thrown 20 touchdowns, second-most nationally, and freshman receiver Robert Woods has five TD catches in the past two games. A looming game to keep an eye on: No. 1 Oregon's trip to the Coliseum in two weeks. There's little evidence to this point that either team can stop the other's offense.
Oklahoma running back DeMarco Murray's career is often associated with disappointment, most notably the injuries that kept him out of the Sooners' 2007 and '08 bowl games. But Saturday against Iowa State, Murray etched himself into the school record books, breaking Sooners' legend Steve Owens' career touchdowns record with his 58th score. "I admire him for coming back and continuing to play and be competitive," Owens told the Tulsa World. "I'm a big fan of his."
The Sooners will be facing a much different Missouri team this week than they did in the 2007 and '08 Big 12 title games. The Tigers (6-0) have a legit defense, one that sacked Texas A&M quarterback Jerrod Johnson seven times in Saturday's 30-9 victory and now ranks second nationally in scoring defense (10.8 points per game). Still, you have ample reason to remain skeptical until proven otherwise. Missouri coach Gary Pinkel is thus far 0-11 against Oklahoma and Texas.
Following in Oregon's footsteps last week, Arizona (5-1) saw its quarterback, Nick Foles, go down to injury against Washington State. However, unlike Darron Thomas, who suffered a mild shoulder sprain, Foles will miss "probably two to three weeks" with a knee sprain, said coach Mike Stoops. Arizona, which probably can't afford more than one stumble to keep its Rose Bowl hopes alive, plays Washington, then visits UCLA and Stanford in the next three weeks.
Driving from Lincoln to Omaha late Saturday, my radio picked up a Chicago sports talk show that was suggesting a "quarterback controversy" at Michigan. Seriously? Yes, Tate Forcier threw for 239 yards against Iowa after Robinson went down, but the Wolverines were down 35-14 by then and Forcier had to throw it. Robinson ran for 105 yards and was 13-of-18 for 96 yards before going out. Just a guess: He'll be staying on the field for as long as physically possible.
Two former SEC coordinators, Mississippi State's Dan Mullen and Kentucky's Joker Phillips, got their first signature victories as SEC head coaches. Mullen returned to his old training ground, The Swamp, to torture reeling Florida 10-7 (the Bulldogs won despite throwing just one pass in the second half) and improve to 5-2. Meanwhile, Phillips' Wildcats returned South Carolina to reality, rallying from a 28-10 deficit to win 31-28 and picking off Stephen Garcia in the end zone to seal it.
Florida's offense has scored a combined four touchdowns in its past three games (all losses) -- yet the Gators still control their own destiny in the SEC East.
The most entertaining game Saturday night took place in Seattle, where Washington's Jake Locker threw five touchdown passes, Oregon State's Jacquizz Rodgers scored four times and the game went to double overtime, where Beavers quarterback Ryan Katz's two-point conversion pass to tight end Joe Halahuni barely missed. Beavers coach Mike Riley will take heat for not kicking the extra point, but he made the right call, on the road, with a drained defense, to try to win it.
Florida State began the season with a "CP7 for Heisman" campaign to promote quarterback Christian Ponder. There was a time during Saturday's Boston College game when it looked like it might get changed to CP6, as in pick-six, because Ponder threw one and had another nullified by penalty in a four-turnover game. The 'Noles (6-1) overcame those mistakes, eventually edging the Eagles 24-19, but for some reason it's still hard to put full confidence in this team.
Hawaii (5-2) earned its biggest win since the June Jones era Saturday by upsetting Nevada (6-1). Quarterback Bryant Moniz (26-of-36, 287 yards, three TDs) was cranking it as always, but more impressively, the Warriors held the Wolf Pack to 293 total yards in a 27-21 win. But don't go thinking Hawaii is suddenly Boise State's toughest remaining WAC foe. The Warriors are significantly more imposing at home than on the Mainland. They have to visit Boise on Nov. 6.
N.C. State's Russell Wilson may be the ACC's top quarterback, but he'd rank pretty low on Conference USA's pass efficiency charts. Wilson's worst performance of the season, a 10-of-30, 105-yard nightmare, came in a 28-21 win at UCF in the second week of the season. On Saturday, East Carolina held him to 26-of-52 completions and picked him off three times in a 27-23 overtime upset.
TCU has now allowed three points in three weeks after handling BYU, 31-3. And yet for the second straight week, a Big 12 team (Oklahoma) passed the Horned Frogs in the coaches' poll. Whom did Gary Patterson tick off?
Baylor (5-2) stands one win away from ending its 16-year bowl drought following a 31-25 win at Colorado (3-3). That sixth win will either come next week against Kansas State or Nov. 13 against Texas A&M, both of which are in Waco.
Bizarre factoid: North Carolina's 44-10 win at Virginia marked its first win in Charlottesville since 1981, ending a 14-game losing streak there. You don't just walk into Scott Stadium and ...