More Overtime (cont.)
Ohio State (9-0) is three victories away from a perfect season following an impressive 35-23 win at Penn State (5-3), a game in which Braxton Miller rushed for 134 yards and the Buckeyes' previously suspect defense dominated the line of scrimmage. Miller completed just 7-of-19 passes for 143 yards, but one of them, a 72-yard catch-and-run by tight end Jake Stoneburner, helped put the game away. "I was so excited I missed a lot of throws," Miller said.
All that's left for Urban Meyer's team are games against 2-6 Illinois; a Wisconsin team that managed just 19 rushing yards in an overtime loss to Michigan State Saturday and lost quarterback Joel Stave (collarbone) for the season; and a Michigan team that's managed a combined 21 points over the past two weeks. (Denard Robinson has an elbow injury.) Ohio State could become the first undefeated team without a postseason opportunity since Auburn in 1993.
Kansas State (8-0, 5-0 Big 12) looked like it might finally face adversity Saturday against Texas Tech, as it led just 13-10 at halftime. Instead, for the second straight week, the Wildcats scored on eight consecutive possessions en route to a 55-24 rout of the Red Raiders (6-2, 3-2). Heisman frontrunner Collin Klein delivered another typical performance, going 19-of-26 for 233 passing yards and two touchdowns while carrying 12 times for 83 rushing yards and another two scores.
Mack Brown owes an eternal debt of gratitude to the McCoy family. While former Longhorns quarterback Colt helped produce two of Brown's greatest Texas teams, younger brother Case helped avoid what would have been the most humiliating defeat of the coach's tenure. Replacing an ineffective David Ash, McCoy led the 6-2 'Horns on a 70-yard scoring drive with 2:28 remaining to escape 1-7 Kansas. "We were in trouble, obviously," said Brown, who possibly might have been barred from Austin if he lost to Charlie Weis.
Ohio's hopes of an undefeated season -- first prophesized by our own Holly Anderson -- ended in heartbreaking fashion Saturday. Down 23-20 to rival Miami (Ohio) at the Redhawks' seven-yard line with nine seconds left, quarterback Tyler Tettleton allowed himself to be sacked, and the clock ran out. "I just totally forgot [that the Bobcats had no timeouts left]," said Tettleton. "That's my fault." Ohio (7-1, 3-1 MAC) must now play catch up in its division, as it trails ...
This column first called your attention to upstart Kent State two weeks ago, well before the Golden Flashes (7-1, 4-0 MAC) knocked off undefeated Rutgers (7-1), 35-23. And after notching its first-ever win over a ranked opponent, Kent State appears headed for its first bowl game since 1972. It was the fourth time this season an opponent had scheduled Kent State for its homecoming game. "We are 4-0 on homecoming, so be careful," said coach Darrell Hazell afterward.
Louisville (8-0, 3-0 Big East) is the last remaining undefeated Big East team (though Rutgers remains unbeaten in conference play) following a dramatic 34-31 overtime win over Cincinnati (5-2, 1-1) Friday. Cardinals quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (24-of-41 for 416 yards) was sensational, but Louisville also got a little help when Bearcats coach Butch Jones attempted to ice kicker John Wallace's initial 30-yard attempt in overtime. Louisville botched the snap just as Jones called timeout.
North Carolina's (6-3, 3-2 ACC) first win over NC State (5-3, 2-2) since 2006 came in particularly satisfying fashion, as electrifying running back Gio Bernard returned a punt 74 yards for the go-ahead touchdown with 13 seconds left in a 43-35 win. With UNC flying under the radar due to NCAA sanctions, Bernard is not getting nearly the attention he deserves. He had 294 all-purpose yards against the Wolfpack and now ranks No. 3 in the nation in rushing (132.9 yards per game).
This week in the train wreck that is Auburn football: Texas A&M (6-2, 3-2 SEC) came to the Plains and racked up 464 yards in the first half en route to a 63-21 rout of the Tigers (1-7, 0-6). The Aggies' output marked the most points allowed by Auburn since 1917, and the Tigers are 1-7 for the first time since 1952. "We couldn't tackle, we couldn't cover and we couldn't could rush the quarterback," said coach Gene Chizik, whose job security departed along with about half the crowd by the third quarter.
Defending Big 12 champ Oklahoma State (5-2, 3-1 Big 12) moved into a tie for second in the conference standings and back into the national polls following a surprisingly easy 36-14 win over TCU (5-3, 2-3). In his first appearance since Sept. 15, freshman quarterback Wes Lunt, back in the starting job following J.W. Walsh's season-ending knee injury, went an effective 18-of-33 for 324 yards against the Horned Frogs' top-25 defense. Up next for Lunt: 8-0 Kansas State.
In a wild West Coast game, UCLA (6-2, 3-2 Pac-12) moved into contention in the Pac-12 South with a 45-43 win over Arizona State (5-3, 3-2). The Sun Devils rallied from a nine-point deficit to take a 43-42 lead with 1:33 left, but quarterback Brett Hundley drove the Bruins back down the field, and Johnathan Franklin's 19-yard run set up Ka'imi Fairbairn's game-winning 33-yard field goal. "Johnathan is like Yoda," offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone told the Los Angeles Times. "He never panics."
Spinal Tap had better luck with drummers than Maryland is having with its quarterbacks. The Terps have now lost their top four quarterbacks to season-ending injuries, including three in the past two weeks. The latest casualty, true freshman Caleb Rowe, tore his ACL in last weekend's loss to Boston College. Coach Randy Edsall said freshman linebacker Shawn Petty, who played quarterback in high school, will move under center Saturday against Georgia Tech.
Welcome back, Sammy Watkins. The formerly injured Clemson star caught his first touchdown while amassing a school-record 202 receiving yards in the Tigers' (7-1, 4-1 ACC) 42-13 rout of Wake Forest (4-4, 2-4).
Florida State (8-1, 5-1 ACC) brought Duke (6-3, 3-2) back to reality with a 48-7 drubbing. The Blue Devils will still go bowling, but Saturday showed they still have their limits.
Second-year Indiana coach Kevin Wilson finally captured his first Big Ten win. The Hoosiers notched a 31-17 result over Illinois (2-6, 0-4), whose own coach, Tim Beckman, may have to wait until 2013 to claim his elusive first league victory.
Fourth-year Purdue coach Danny Hope (3-5, 0-4), on the other hand, may not see 2013 on the sidelines at all. The Boilermakers fell to Minnesota (5-3, 1-3), 44-28.
You know who's having a great first year? Ole Miss' Hugh Freeze. The Rebels improved to 5-3 (2-2 SEC) with a 30-27 win over Arkansas (3-5, 2-3).
You know who's having the worst imaginable first year? Southern Miss' Ellis Johnson. Johnson took over a program with 16 consecutive winning seasons -- including a 12-2, Conference USA championship season just last year -- and has led it to ... 0-8. Rice (3-6) drubbed the Eagles, 44-17, Saturday. Ouch.
Auburn officially returns to the college football elite
Breaking down the BCS bowl matchups