More Overtime (cont.)
Tennessee's best hope of ending Florida's eight-year winning streak over the Vols went up in smoke during the final 3:15 of the third quarter Saturday. First, Trey Burton tied the game 20-20 with an 80-yard touchdown run. Then Jeff Driskel -- in a breakout performance -- hit Jordan Reed for a 23-yard score. The Gators (3-0) scored the last 24 points of a 37-20 victory that gives a boost to second-year coach Will Muschamp while reigniting the flame under Derek Dooley's orange pants.
Louisiana-Monroe's quest to take down back-to-back SEC West foes fell just short, as Auburn edged the Warhawks, 31-28, in overtime. Quarterback Kolton Browning was sensational again (28-of-46 for 237 yards, three touchdowns and no picks) and threw the game-tying touchdown with 1:18 left. But ULM couldn't stop the Tigers' running backs (42 carries, 255 yards). Browning and the Warhawks now have one more shot against the big boys: They host Baylor Friday.
Apparently losing to Sacramento State did not fully expose the depths of Colorado's ineptitude. On Saturday the Buffs (0-3) traveled to Fresno State, where the Bulldogs racked up 55 points and 516 yards in the first half of a 69-14 rout. Mind you, Fresno was blown out by Oregon the week before. FX will air the Buffs' Pac-12 opener next week at Washington State. The network must be getting a head start on the new season of American Horror Story.
Nebraska coach Bo Pelini returned to work Sunday a day after giving everyone a scare when he left the Huskers' game against Arkansas State with reported flu-like symptoms. A team doctor had checked Pelini's pulse on the sideline, and Pelini was later transported by ambulance to a hospital for precautionary tests. "Everything checked out fine," he said in a statement. Defensive coordinator John Papuchis filled in during the second half of the Huskers' 42-13 win.
Welcome to the ACC, Pittsburgh. After opening with losses to FCS Youngstown State (31-17) and Cincinnati (34-10), the Panthers turned around and throttled No. 13 Virginia Tech, 35-17. Oft-maligned quarterback Tino Suneri delivered one of his finest performances (19-of-28, 283 yards, three touchdowns, one interception), while Hokies counterpart Logan Thomas tossed three picks. "We definitely went out there and made noise today," said Pitt running back Ray Graham.
The Big Ten is down to just two undefeated teams with postseason eligibility: Minnesota and Northwestern. While the Gophers have played three non-AQ foes, the Wildcats' 23-13 win over Boston College Saturday made them the lone team in the country with three wins over BCS-conference opponents (the others: Syracuse and Vanderbilt). Northwestern's next four games are against South Dakota, Indiana, Penn State and Minnesota. Could Pat Fitzgerald's team start 7-0?
Cal (1-2) put a scare into Ohio State (3-0) before falling late, 35-28. One major reason: It gave Brendan Bigelow the ball. The sophomore speedster has spent two years recovering from a pair of ACL injuries and has served primarily as a kick returner. Cal didn't play the tailback until the third quarter, but he didn't take long to make an impact. Bigelow promptly busted an 81-yard touchdown on his first carry, broke a 59-yard score to tie the game with just over eight minutes remaining and finished with 160 yards on four carries.
Wisconsin: What the heck? Apparently firing the offensive line coach was not a cure-all for Bret Bielema's squad, which eked out a 16-14 home win over Utah State to improve to 2-1. On the positive side, MonteÚ Ball ran for 139 yards. However, it took him 37 carries to do so, a pedestrian 3.8 yards per carry average. Meanwhile, Bielema benched quarterback Danny O'Brien at halftime in favor of Joel Stave. Lest you think he ignited Wisconsin's comeback from a 14-3 deficit, Stave completed two passes.
The one notable bright spot thus far for rebuilding Miami (2-1) has been freshman sensation Duke Johnson. The running back notched 246 all-purpose yards against Bethune-Cookman Saturday and scored touchdowns in three different ways: A 95-yard kick return, a 50-yard reception and two touchdown runs, from one and 28 yards out. He is believed to be the first player to pull off that feat (two rushing, one receiving and one return touchdown) since East Carolina's Chris Johnson in 2007.
Connecticut fans had to take particular glee Saturday in the Huskies' 24-21 win over Maryland (2-1) and its head coach, Randy Edsall -- the man who left Storrs two years ago to pursue his purported "dream job." Edsall had tears in his eyes when talking about seeing his former players. "I have emotions," he said. "You aren't human if you don't have emotions. It was good to see some of those guys and wish them well." Either that or he desperately wishes he could go back.
Few would have expected Texas' David Ash to be ranked among the top five nationally in pass efficiency. After shredding Ole Miss (19-of-23, 326 yards, four touchdowns) in Saturday's 66-31 blowout, Ash has completed 76.4 percent of his attempts for seven touchdowns and no picks. Of course, he's faced three dreadful opponents so far. (One of them, Wyoming, lost to Cal Poly on Saturday.) Texas has a bye before opening Big 12 play at defending conference champ Oklahoma State.
Speaking of Oklahoma State, the Cowboys' starting quarterback, true freshman Wes Lunt, may not be available against Texas. Lunt injured his knee in the first quarter of Saturday's 65-24 win over Louisiana-Lafayette. Coach Mike Gundy did not elaborate, but Fox Sports reported during its broadcast that Lunt suffered a dislocated kneecap. It might not matter who plays quarterback in Gundy's offense. Lunt's replacement, redshirt freshman J.W. Walsh, went 21-of-30 for 347 yards and four touchdowns.
While the SEC made a spectacle of Missouri and Texas A&M's conference debuts last week, TCU quietly played its first Big 12 game Saturday at Kansas. The Horned Frogs (2-0) prevailed, 20-6, behind deadly accurate quarterback Casey Pachall (24-of-30, 335 yards, two touchdowns). Counting its last three seasons in the Mountain West, coach Gary Patterson's team has now won 25 consecutive conference games.
A week after throwing for 580 yards in a loss to Louisiana Tech, Houston quarterback David Piland threw five interceptions in Saturday's 37-6 blowout loss to UCLA. But the Cougars' six points came on an 86-yard Piland touchdown run.
Georgia racked up a school-record 713 yards of total offense against Florida Atlantic -- on just 63 plays. That means the Bulldogs averaged a first down (and more) on every snap.
Never fear: Ohio's (3-0) march to the BCS remains alive. Matt Weller's 37-yard field goal with 1:37 remaining lifted the Bobcats over Marshall, 27-24.
Ball State, which knocked off Indiana 41-39 Saturday, is 3-49 against BCS schools all-time. All three wins have come against the Hoosiers since 2008.