Georgia survives Tennessee scare; more midday Snap Judgments
Georgia has found a running game to complement passing, but D struggled
Cincinnati should crack the Top 25 after a last-second win over VaTech
Cal has four losses in September, while Arizona State keeps playing well
No. 5 Georgia 51, Tennessee 44: The fine fans of the Southeastern Conference pride themselves on the fact that their league plays defense better than any other. They thumb their noses at such football farces as Saturday's Baylor-West Virginia score-a-thon.
Well, two SEC stalwarts met Saturday in Athens, Ga., and there was no shortage of missed tackles or blown assignments in No. 5 Georgia's 51-44 win over Tennessee. Georgia freshman tailback Keith Marshall broke two 70-plus yard touchdowns; Tennessee receiver Cordarrelle Patterson at one point fielded a reverse, cut back and made about eight Bulldogs miss on a 46-yard score; Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray completed a 32-yard touchdown pass; Tennessee counterpart Tyler Bray completed a 62-yard pass. The teams combined for 1,037 yards.
In fairness, big defensive plays ultimately made the difference. Tennessee forced two fumbles deep in Georgia territory at the end of the first half to help turn the Vols' 27-10 deficit into a temporary 30-27 lead. And with the game on the line, the Dawgs squelched three straight attempts at game-tying Tennessee drives by forcing Bray turnovers: the first an interception by Sanders Commings, the second a forced fumble by Jordan Jenkins, the third another pick by Commings on a tipped pass with :08 to go.
Overall, it was not the finest performance for Georgia's previously stout defense, especially considering it got back two suspended starters, Bacarri Rambo and Alec Olgetree. But the 5-0 Dawgs go into next week's showdown with No. 6 South Carolina knowing they've got one heck of a running game to complement Murray. Freshman tailbacks Marshall and Todd Gurley combined for 293 yards and five touchdowns. Wow. [RECAP | BOX]
No. 14 Ohio State 17, No. 20 Michigan State 16: In a continuing effort to send an unranked Big Ten champion to Pasadena, ineligible Ohio State shut down Michigan State star Le'Veon Bell to move to 5-0. SI.com's Andy Staples was on hand for Urban Meyer's first Big Ten win and has more here. [RECAP | BOX]
Cincinnati 27, Virginia Tech 24: You ... go ... Munchie Legaux. In one of the most exciting game-winning plays to date this season, on third-and-10 with less than 20 seconds left, Cincinnati's quarterback shook off a deluge of oncoming pass-rushers, hurled the ball nearly 50 yards off his back foot and into the hands of diving receiver Damon Julian, who lunged into the end zone for the game-winning touchdown. This after Corey Fuller's 56-yard catch-and-run put Virginia Tech up 24-20 with 1:49 left, forcing Legaux and the Bearcats to drive 85 yards to win.
Cincinnati (3-0) became the second Big East team in three weeks to knock off Frank Beamer's Hokies (3-2), and the Bearcats previously throttled the other, Pittsburgh. Look for Cincy to crack the Top 25 this week. [RECAP | BOX]
No. 17 Clemson 45, Boston College 31: Clemson star Sammy Watkins, laid up back home with an abdominal virus (which does not sound fun), could take heart in watching his quarterback, Tajh Boyd, bounce back from last week's loss at Florida State by throwing for 367 yards and three touchdowns. The Tigers racked up 567 total yards. Their defense remains shaky, but did pick off two Chase Rettig passes. [RECAP | BOX]
Arizona State 27, California 17: Remember when Jeff Tedford was a quarterback guru? Remember a time when a Cal quarterback, in this case Zach Maynard, would never complete just 9-of-28 passes and get sacked six times? Remember when the Bears didn't lose four games all season, much less in the month of September?
While Tedford's team is a mess, Todd Graham's Sun Devils (4-1) continue to impress. Previously the nation's most undisciplined team under Dennis Erickson, ASU committed no turnovers and just two penalties Saturday (compared with 12 for Cal). Taylor Kelly threw for 292 yards and three touchdowns. It's still a few weeks away, but keep an eye on ASU's Thursday night home game against No. 2 Oregon on Oct. 18. [RECAP | BOX]
Louisiana Tech 44, Virginia 38: The 4-0 Bulldogs failed to crack 50 points for the first time this season. Slackers. But they did explode for three straight third-quarter touchdowns to surge to an eventual 44-24 lead and notch their second consecutive win over an AQ-conference foe after beating Illinois last week. [RECAP | BOX]
Purdue 51, Marshall 41: The Boilers (3-1) -- now Wisconsin's biggest (and only) threat to represent the Leaders Division in Indianapolis -- went up 42-14 at halftime, then apparently sent their defense home early. [RECAP | BOX]
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