More Overtime (cont.)
Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy dropped a bombshell in his Sunday night teleconference, announcing that quarterback J.W. Walsh is out for the season with a knee injury suffered in the first half of Saturday's 31-10 win against Iowa State. The news comes as a complete surprise seeing that Walsh played the whole game and threw for a career-high 415 yards while running for 46 more. Walsh's likely replacement is the player he replaced earlier in the season, true freshman Wes Lunt.
It wasn't pretty, but Michigan (5-2, 3-0 Big Ten) ended its four-year skid against Michigan State (4-4, 1-3), 12-10, on Brendan Gibbons' 38-yard field goal with five seconds left. Wolverines star Denard Robinson, who struggled so mightily against the Spartans' defense the past two years, completed a 20-yard pass through a tight window to receiver Drew Dileo to set up Gibbons' kick. "This program was in desperate need for a win in this game," Michigan safety Jordan Kovacs said afterward.
No. 8 Oklahoma's (5-1) offense tuned up for next week's showdown with Notre Dame by ripping hapless Kansas (1-6), 52-7. Much of the damage came on special teams: Justin Brown had a 90-yard punt return touchdown and Roy Finch had an 100-yard kickoff return score. "We know that Notre Dame's a great team but we're a great team also," said Finch. "So, we just wanted to close out Kansas and we know that the game ahead of us next Saturday is going to be a crazy game."
USC's Matt Barkley was a cool 19-of-20 for 298 yards and six touchdowns in a 50-6 rout of woeful Colorado (1-6), and in doing so, he threw his 100th career touchdown to break Matt Leinart's school record. Meanwhile, someone please have mercy on the Buffs, which must turn around and visit ... No. 2 Oregon. The Ducks led Arizona State 43-7 a few minutes into the second quarter last Thursday. Larry Scott needs to invoke emergency legislation and install a running clock.
It's come to this: After a 17-13 loss at Vanderbilt (3-4, 2-3 SEC) in which it gained just 212 total yards, Auburn has become the first team in the history of the AP Poll (since 1936) to go 1-6 two years after winning a national title. It's also the Tigers' worst start since 1952. And on a truly sad note, tight end Phillip Lutzenkirchen, one of the few holdovers from that glorious 2010 team, suffered a career-ending hip injury. "... sad to say it is over at Auburn," he tweeted.
Nebraska (5-2, 2-1 Big Ten) scored two touchdowns in the last 5:55 at Northwestern (6-2, 2-2) to turn a 12-point deficit into a crucial 29-28 victory in Evanston. It was the second time this season the Wildcats have blown a double-digit fourth-quarter lead to a Big Ten foe. More embarrassingly, there were so many Nebraska fans in attendance at Ryan Field that Northwestern had to employ a silent count on its failed final drive. "We didn't prepare for that all week," said quarterback Kain Colter.
Clemson (6-1, 3-1 ACC) keeps taking care of business while waiting and hoping that Florida State stumbles again to cede control of the ACC Atlantic Division. The Tigers throttled Virginia Tech (4-4, 2-2), 38-17, thanks in part to two Jonathan Meeks interceptions, one of which he returned 74 yards for a touchdown. "I believe it was [the defense's] best effort," said coach Dabo Swinney. This the first time since 1992 that Frank Beamer's Hokies have lost four games before November.
For the second straight season, Florida State (7-1, 4-1 ACC) may be without running back Chris Thompson, this time to a knee injury suffered in the second quarter of Saturday's 33-20 win over archrival Miami (4-4, 3-2). Thompson will have an MRI Monday. Fortunately the 'Noles still have last year's freshman standout, Davonte Freeman, a Miami native who broke off a 33-yard run and scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns in his return home to put the game away.
Cal coach Jeff Tedford is inching ever closer to the chopping block. On the 30th anniversary of The Play, and on the earliest date the Big Game has ever been played, Stanford (5-2, 3-1 Pac-12) came to Berkeley and shut down the Bears (3-5, 2-3), 21-3. In a not particularly uncommon sight, the Cardinal sacked Cal quarterback Zach Maynard four times, raising the Bears' season total to an FBS-worst 33 sacks allowed. "That was a poor performance," said Tedford. "We couldn't block them."
Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez finally scored his first Pac-12 victory with a 52-17 win over struggling Washington (3-4, 1-3 Pac-12). The Wildcats (4-3, 1-3) racked up 533 yards and now rank fifth in the nation in total offense (548.7 yards per game). Meanwhile, the mysterious struggles of Washington quarterback Keith Price continue. He went 29-of-52 and threw two interceptions. "We're going to get together and fight our way through this," said Huskies coach Steve Sarkisian.
Another week, another pair of Big 12 shootouts. First, No. 15 Texas Tech (6-1, 3-1 Big 12) survived TCU (5-2, 2-2), 56-53, in triple overtime thanks to seven touchdown passes from Seth Doege. "Welcome to the Big 12," Horned Frogs coach Gary Patterson said of his first-year conference team. Then, in the nightcap, Texas and Baylor's defenses (ranked 107th and 120th in the nation, respectively) allowed the offenses to run wild in a 56-50 Longhorns victory. Texas (5-2, 2-2) got its ground game going, with Joe Bergeron scoring five touchdowns, while the Bears (3-3, 0-3) racked up 607 total yards.
Geno Smith broke Trent Dilfer's NCAA in-season record for consecutive pass attempts without an interception when he reached 273 shortly before throwing his first pick against Kansas State. But Smith's record lasted barely an hour. Louisiana Tech's Colby Cameron upped his total to 275 following his 29-of-37, 400-yard night in the No. 24 Bulldogs' (6-1) 70-28 rout of Idaho (1-7).
No. 7 Oregon State (6-0), a 21-7 victor over Utah (2-5) Saturday, has already doubled its win total from last season. That's incredible. Even more remarkable: This is the Beavers' first 6-0 start since 1907.
In a thrilling game that may ultimately determine the Sun Belt title, Louisiana-Monroe (5-2, 3-0 Sun Belt) edged Western Kentucky (5-2, 2-1), 43-42 in overtime. SEC nemesis Kolton Browning's two-point conversion proved to be the difference.
Navy (4-3) has bounced back nicely from a 1-3 start. Saturday, it knocked off Indiana (2-5), 31-30, for its first win over a Big Ten opponent since 1979.
South Alabama (2-5) scored its first Sun Belt win and its first-ever victory over an FBS opponent. The Jaguars beat FAU (1-6) in double overtime, 37-34.
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