Georgia edges LSU in SEC shootout; midday Snap Judgments
• No. 9 Georgia 44, No. 6 LSU 41: Another week, another scintillating SEC shootout between a pair of future NFL quarterbacks. However, unlike Week 3's Alabama-Texas A&M clash, in which the Crimson Tide led for the entire second half, this one went back-and-forth to the very end. Ultimately, Aaron Murray (20-of-34, 298 yards, four touchdowns, one interception) outdueled a very impressive Zach Mettenberger (23-of-37, 372 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions) after connecting with wide receiver Justin Scott-Wesley on a go-ahead 25-yard touchdown pass with 1:47 remaining. An emotional Mark Richt choked up in his postgame interview with CBS' Tracy Wolfson after the Dawgs got their second win in three matchups with top-10 foes.
• No. 14 Oklahoma 35, No. 22 Notre Dame 21: The Sooners' much-improved defense announced its presence right from the get-go. On the third play of the game, a third-and-seven for the Fighting Irish, rush linebacker Eric Striker drilled Notre Dame quarterback Tommy Rees and sent the ball flying into the hands of linebacker Corey Nelson, who returned the interception for a touchdown and a quick 7-0 lead. Oklahoma would pick Rees off three times before the first half ended, igniting familiar groans about "Turnover Tommy" in South Bend. Rees, who finished a miserable 9-of-24 for 104 yards, gave the Irish a brief moment of hope with a 30-yard touchdown pass to wide-open tight end Troy Niklas that cut the Sooners' lead to 27-21 with 14:10 left, but an impressive Blake Bell (22-of-30, 232 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions) -- who briefly went to the locker room with a leg injury in the third quarter and was seen getting treatment on the sideline between possessions -- sealed the victory with a 54-yard touchdown pass to Sterling Shepard less than two minutes later.
Barring a scorching finish to the season, Notre Dame (3-2) won't play in a BCS bowl this year. Rees has struggled the past two weeks, but more disturbing has been the play of the Irish defense, which badly misses star linebacker Manti Te'o. Oklahoma (4-0), on the other hand, has to feel good about its shot at the Big 12 title. The Sooners and Baylor are the conference's lone remaining unbeaten teams following West Virginia's upset of No. 11 Oklahoma State. [RECAP | BOX]
• No. 3 Clemson 56, Wake Forest 7: Tajh Boyd has no mercy for overmatched divisional foes. The Tigers star quarterback threw a 64-yard touchdown pass to Sammy Watkins in the first minute of the game and a 75-yard scoring strike to D.J. Howard later in the first quarter. He finished 17-of-24 for 311 yards, three touchdowns and no picks and staked his team to a 42-7 lead midway through the third quarter before giving way to backup Cole Stoudt. With the performance, Boyd joins former NC State star Philip Rivers as the only ACC quarterbacks to account for 100 career touchdowns.
Clemson visits Syracuse next week, and all those still waiting for a "Clemsoning" will point to the matchup as a trap game. But coach Dabo Swinney's Tigers have so far shown no signs of an impending letdown. That, and this Clemson team is also considerably better than its predecessors. [RECAP | BOX]
• No. 8 Florida State 48, Boston College 34: The Seminoles have a track record of posting at least one inexcusable ACC road loss in recent years. For much of the first half, it looked like history might be set to repeat itself, as coach Steve Addazio's Eagles raced out to a 17-3 second-quarter lead.
But Florida State redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston erased his team's 14-point deficit with three second-quarter touchdown passes, most notably a 55-yard Hail Mary to Kenny Shaw on the final play of the first half, which put the Seminoles up 24-17. Florida State was mostly in control from there, as Winston completed 17-of-27 passes for 330 yards, four touchdowns and one interception.
Still, this was not a great day for Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher's defense. Boston College came in with the nation's 116th-ranked offense. Eagles quarterback Chase Rettig threw four touchdown passes and helped his team gain nearly 400 yards. The 'Noles defense did reel in a pair of interceptions and allowed just 3-of-14 third-down conversions, but this is clearly not the dominant unit of 2012. [RECAP | BOX]
• Oregon State 44, Colorado 17: The Beavers dealt coach Mike MacIntyre's rebuilding Buffaloes their first loss of the season in humbling fashion, overcoming a sloppy start to go up 38-3 late in the third quarter. Oregon State's opening week loss to Eastern Washington has obscured what a huge season quarterback Sean Mannion is having. With a 414-yard, six-touchdown, one-interception performance on Saturday, the Beavers junior has already thrown for 2,018 yards and 21 touchdowns, with just two interceptions. Top target Brandin Cooks (nine catches, 168 yards, two scores) is arguably the best receiver in the Pac-12 this season. And Oregon State's previously shaky defense held Colorado below 200 yards well into the fourth quarter.
• Iowa 23, Minnesota 7: Since losing their opener to Northern Illinois, the Hawkeyes have rolled to four straight wins, with the latest coming in impressive fashion. Iowa bottled up the previously 4-0 Gophers' top-15 rushing offense, holding it to just 30 yards on 27 attempts. Minnesota quarterback Philip Nelson, coming off a hamstring injury that sidelined him last week against San Jose State, was ineffective. The Hawkeyes mostly rode running back Mark Weisman (24 carries, 147 yards) and their ground game, though receiver Damond Powell had a nice 74-yard catch-and-run. Floyd of Rosedale stays in Iowa City. [RECAP | BOX]
• Buffalo 41, Connecticut 12: Yes, this really happened, and it's hard to say which team looks worse because of it, 0-4 UConn ... or Michigan. Coach Paul Pasqualoni's Huskies -- who previously lost to FCS Towson -- turned the ball over five times and gained just 220 total yards. There will be a job opening in Storrs this offseason. [RECAP | BOX]
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