Snap Judgments: Costly win for S. Carolina, more Week 7 thoughts
South Carolina won on the road, but it may have lost Marcus Lattimore to an injury
Texas A&M looks like the only team besides Okla. St. that can compete with OU
Penn State has managed to go 6-1 despite having an anemic offense
Before you start pelting me with "Where's Holly" e-mails, allow me to explain. I'm reprising my former role as snap judge because Holly has a friend who should not be allowed to live in the South. Why? Because this friend scheduled her wedding on a Saturday in October. Holly, because she is a good friend who doesn't judge -- except when asked to do it for money by SI.com -- is attending the wedding. Hopefully, after the honeymoon, the bride and groom will leave their home in Nashville for somewhere where they're a better cultural fit.
On to the judginess....
South Carolina 14, Mississippi State 12: The students of the Palmetto State will learn the meaning of the phrase Pyrrhic victory in the next few days. The Gamecocks out-uglied Mississippi State in Starkville, and such a win normally would produce a lot of quotes like this: "Blah, blah, blah SEC road win. Blah, blah, blah every game counts in this league." But as trainers gathered around tailback Marcus Lattimore on the sideline in the fourth quarter, it was obvious the Gamecocks might have lost more than they won.
South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said the initial diagnosis was a sprained knee. Later, Spurrier said the injury "could be serious" and that Lattimore "could be out for a while," according to Josh Kendall at The State. Anyone who watched South Carolina lose to Kentucky last year knows the Gamecocks are a different team without Lattimore. Against the Bulldogs, the post-Garcia South Carolina wasn't particularly good with Lattimore. The Gamecocks gained 303 yards and managed just 3.1 yards a carry on the ground.
By virtue of its Week 2 win at Georgia, South Carolina controls its destiny in the SEC East, but it's difficult to believe the Gamecocks can emerge unscathed from games at Tennessee and at Arkansas if Lattimore doesn't play. Fortunately for them, the Gamecocks have an open date before they head to Knoxville. That's enough time for Spurrier to go deep into the swamps around Charleston to find a healer capable of bringing Lattimore back healthy. (RECAP | BOX | HIGHLIGHTS)
Wisconsin 59, Indiana 7: I looked down at my laptop and saw the following sentence on Twitter courtesy of Matt Hinton of Yahoo!: "Indiana just kicked a one-yard punt." That about sums up the theater of pain that is Camp Randall Stadium for a conference doormat. Russell Wilson caught a second-quarter touchdown pass from tailback Montee Ball in the second quarter -- just because he could.
It's a testament to the generosity of Badgers coach Bret Bielema that he didn't try to break 100 a year after hanging 83 on the Hoosiers. Of course, if Michigan State or Ohio State do something to tick off Bielema in the next two weeks, it's entirely possible the Badgers might hit triple digits against Purdue or Minnesota. (RECAP | BOX | HIGHLIGHTS)
Texas A&M 55, Baylor 28: Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman came across a wild concept this week. If you keep scoring after halftime and continue that scoring into the fourth quarter, your fans don't want to sic an angry collie on you. After second-half collapses against Oklahoma State and Arkansas and a shaky second half at Texas Tech, the Aggies finally figured it out Saturday.
I don't get to call them the Fightin' Texas Gaggies anymore, but what I do get to call them is the best threat to knock off Oklahoma before Bedlam. A&M is one of the few teams that can match up with the Sooners athletically, and they might be able to match Oklahoma's scoring pace if Landry Jones has an off day. Unfortunately, that game is in Norman -- so the folks in College Station shouldn't get their hopes up too much. (RECAP | BOX)
Miami 30, North Carolina 24: Whatever disease Texas A&M had infected Miami on Saturday, but the Hurricanes built such a commanding lead that even a lethargic second half couldn't keep them from winning.
Most interesting is the fact that Miami won on the arm of Jacory Harris, who threw for the three touchdowns and -- wait for it -- zero interceptions, while star tailback Lamar Miller gained only 29 yards on 16 carries. Your unbelievable true fact of the day: This was Miami's first win at North Carolina in five tries. John Bunting remembers this every time he checks his bank balance. (RECAP | BOX | HIGHLIGHTS)
Penn State 23, Purdue 18: What do we make of a Penn State team that has only one loss -- to a top-three team, no less -- yet makes its fans want to jump out a window every time it gets the ball? Here's a silver lining. The defense, after carrying the squad for six weeks, had a bad day and the Nittany Lions still won.
Silas Redd (28 carries, 131 yards, one touchdown) was Penn State's most reliable offensive weapon, and the defense came up huge when it stuffed a two-point conversion try late in the game to maintain a lead. It isn't pretty, but 6-1 is 6-1, and next week's visit to Northwestern is winnable. Then, if the Nittany Lions can sneak a win against Nebraska or Ohio State -- stranger things have happened -- they can win eight games despite having no discernible plan at quarterback. That would be nothing short of astounding. (RECAP | BOX)