College Football News and Notes Week 7

College Football News and Notes Week 7

USC slips to No. 10 in AP Poll; LSU No. 1
October 7, 2007

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- No doubt about it, LSU is No. 1.

As for the rest of the Top 25, five wild weeks of college football have taken quite a toll.

The Tigers were a unanimous choice for the top spot in The Associated Press rankings released Sunday, receiving all 65 first-place from the media panel. The last unanimous No. 1 during the regular season was Ohio State in December.

LSU is one of just four teams that started the season ranked in the top 10 and remain there. The others are No. 6 Oklahoma, No. 8 West Virginia and No. 10 Southern California, which became the latest team to take a tumble after a startling loss to an unranked opponent.

The Trojans fell to Stanford 24-23 on Saturday, then dropped eight spots in the rankings.

California is the new No. 2, with its best showing in the AP Top 25 since 1951, when the Golden Bears were No. 1.

Ohio State is No. 3 and No. 4 Boston College has its highest ranking since Doug Flutie had the Eagles fourth in 1984. South Florida, which entered the poll for the first time three weeks ago, is now No. 5.

A week before the first Bowl Championship Series standings are released, LSU is a unanimous No. 1 in all the major polls. In the coaches' poll, the rest of the top five is California, Ohio State, Boston College and Oklahoma and South Florida are tied for fifth.

In the Harris poll, the top four are the same as the AP and coaches' poll, but Oklahoma holds the No. 5 spot all to itself with USF sixth. The Harris and coaches' polls are part of the formula to determine which teams will play in the BCS national title game Jan. 7 in New Orleans.

On Saturday, a week after half the top 10 and nine ranked teams lost, another four top-10 teams and 11 ranked teams overall went down Saturday.

As a result, there are 10 teams in the latest rankings, including four in the top 10 (BC, USF, No. 7 South Carolina and No. 9 Oregon), that were unranked to start the season.

Coach Steve Spurrier has led South Carolina to its highest ranking since Dec. 12, 1984, when the Gamecocks were also seventh.

"It's nice, very nice," Spurrier said Sunday. "We appreciate it. Obviously it's good for our football program, for our university and all that. But we realize that it's almost exactly halfway through the season, six games. A lot can happen in the next six."

The second 10 starts with No. 11 Missouri, which has its highest ranking since 1981, when the Tigers were No. 8.

No. 12 Virginia Tech is followed by Florida and then three unbeaten teams -- Arizona State, Cincinnati and Hawaii. No. 17 Kentucky fell nine spots after losing at South Carolina 38-23 on Thursday.

Five teams fell from the rankings this week. Illinois, which beat No. 5 Wisconsin 31-26, and unbeaten Kansas, which won at Kansas State for the first time since 1989, moved into the poll for the first time this season.

The Illini are No. 18 and ranked for the first time since 2001. Kansas is No. 20 and ranked for the first time since 1995. In between is No. 19 Wisconsin, which dropped 14 spots after its first loss of the season.

No. 21 Florida State, winners of four straight, moved back into the Top 25, as did No. 22 Auburn. No. 23 Texas benefited from so many other ranked teams losing and stayed in the poll after a second consecutive loss. The Longhorns fell to Oklahoma 28-21.

No. 24 Georgia dropped 12 spots after a 35-14 defeat to Tennessee, and the Vols moved back into the rankings at No. 25, giving the Southeastern Conference seven ranked teams, the most of any conference.

Falling out of the Top 25 were Nebraska, Clemson, Kansas State, Rutgers and Purdue.

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Re: College Football News and Notes Week 7

Georgia RB Brown out 4-6 weeks
October 7, 2007

Associated Press

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) -- Georgia running back Thomas Brown will miss 4-6 weeks because of a broken collarbone, coach Mark Richt said on Sunday.

Richt wasn't sure whether Brown broke the collarbone in Saturday's 35-14 loss at Tennessee or the previous week in a victory over Mississippi.

"He might have played a week with it," Richt said. "He is just that tough. He would go anyway."

Knowshon Moreno, the team's leading rusher with 77 yards per game, and Kregg Lumpkin are expected to take up the slack on offense.

"They are both going to play an awful lot," Richt said. "I think the play will be close to 50-50. It will be very similar to the carries Thomas and Knowshon were going."

Brown, a senior, is 301 yards away from being among the top five rushers in school h history. He has 2,280 career yards.

"It is a shame," Richt said. "He is probably the toughest guy on our football team."

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Re: College Football News and Notes Week 7

Hokies LB Hall to undergo wrist surgery
October 7, 2007

Associated Press

BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) -- Virginia Tech linebacker Vince Hall was to undergo surgery for a broken left wrist Sunday and is expected to miss four to six weeks.

Athletic trainer Mike Goforth says surgeons at Montgomery Regional Hospital were to insert a plate into Hall's wrist to help stabilize it.

The leading tackler was injured in Tech's 41-23 win over Clemson on Saturday when he collided with fellow linebacker Xavier Adibi. He led the Hokies with 11 tackles.

Hall is fourth in the Atlantic Coast Conference in tackles per game and has 61 this year.

His replacement in the staring lineup has not been announced.

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Re: College Football News and Notes Week 7

College football today - October 7
ASSOCIATED PRESS

STARS - Saturday

-C.J. Bacher, Northwestern, threw for a career-high 520 yards and five touchdowns, including the game-winner in overtime, in the Wildcats' 48-41 victory over Michigan State.

-Mike Hart, Michigan, ran for 215 yards, and matched a career high with three touchdowns to lead the Wolverines to a 33-22 win over Eastern Michigan.

-Tim Webb, Presbyterian, threw for 648 yards and seven touchdowns Saturday as the Blue Hose outgunned North Greenville 66-52.

-Dominic Randolph, Holy Cross, passed for 404 yards and six touchdowns and the Crusaders beat Brown 48-37.

-Matt Ryan, Boston College, threw for 312 yards and four touchdown passes and the Eagles overwhelmed Bowling Green 55-24.

-Rashard Mendenhall, Illinois, rushed for 160 yards and scored two touchdowns in the Illini's 31-26 win over Wisconsin.

-David Sinisi, Monmouth, ran for 200 yards and three rushing touchdowns and the Hawks won a 49-8 victory over Sacred Heart.

-James Starks, Buffalo, ran 36 times for a 183 yards and two touchdowns, and the Bulls defeated Ohio 31-10.

-Dan LeFevour, Central Michigan, passed for 360 yards and five touchdowns - and ran for 146 yards and another score - to lead the Chippewas to a 58-38 victory over Ball State.

-Benjamin Williams, South Florida, ran for 186 yards and four touchdowns, and the Bulls held off Florida Atlantic 35-23.

-Jordan Scott, Colgate, rushed for 270 yards and three touchdowns in a 28-24 victory over Bucknell.

-Ryan Mathews, Fresno State, ran for 171 yards and three touchdowns, in the Bulldogs' 49-41 victory over Nevada.

BADGERED


Rashard Mendenhall, rushed for 160 yards and scoreing two touchdowns in Illinois' 31-26 win over Wisconsin. The Illini ended Wisconsin's 14-game winning streak, the longest in the nation. Illinois is off to a 3-0 start in the Big Ten for the first time since 1990. Wisconsin's P.J. Hill entered the game as the Big Ten's top running back, averaging 133.4 yards a game. But the Illini held him to 78 yards on 20 carries and a touchdown.

HOOKED HORNS?

Sam Bradford threw for three touchdowns to steer Oklahoma past Texas 28-21 in their annual grudge match Saturday. Texas is now 0-2 in conference play for the first time since 1956. The Longhorns - who were ranked seventh before a 20-point loss to Kansas State last weekend - could be in jeopardy of ending a 114-week stint in the AP poll, the longest in the country.

FLYING HIGH


Matt Ryan threw four touchdown passes and Boston College overwhelmed Bowling Green 55-24 Saturday and to get off to its best start in 65 years. The Eagles, entering the game with their highest ranking in 23 years, have won 16 straight home games. The Eagles began the 1942 season with eight straight wins and finished at 8-2. They've gone unbeaten three times, the last in 1940 when they went 11-0 and won the Sugar Bowl. In 1984, they were ranked as high as fifth when Heisman Trophy winner Doug Flutie led them to a 10-2 record and a Cotton Bowl win. ... Kansas beat Kansas State 30-24 on Saturday. Todd Reesing threw for 267 yards and three touchdowns and the Jayhawks have started a season 5-0 for just the third time in 39 years.

WHAT A RUSH

Chadron State running back Danny Woodhead broke the NCAA all-divisions career rushing record in a game Saturday against Western New Mexico. Woodhead got the 121 yards he needed by the third quarter to surpass the previous record of 7,353 yards held by R.J. Bowers. Bowers, who set the record from 1997-2000 at Division III Grove City (Pa.) College. Woodhead, who won the 2006 Harlon Hill Trophy as the outstanding player in Division II, and set an all-division single-season record with 2,756 yards rushing last year.

GOTTA HAVE HART

Mike Hart ran for 215 yards to become Michigan's career rushing leader, and matched a career high with three touchdowns to lead the Wolverines to a 33-22 win over Eastern Michigan on Saturday. Hart needed 33 yards to break Anthony Thomas' record of 4,472 yards rushing. Thomas, who plays for the Buffalo Bills, set the previous record at Michigan from 1997-2000. Hart also became the first Wolverine to run for at least 100 yards in six straight games to start a season. Jamie Morris surpassed the milestone in the final six games of his career in 1987.

HURRICANE BUTCH

Brandon Tate scored on a long reverse in a spurt of 27 points to start the game while Connor Barth kicked four field goals to lead North Carolina past Miami 33-27, giving coach Butch Davis a victory against his former program. It was Davis' first league victory and ended a four-game Tar Heels' losing streak.

BETTER TO RECEIVE

Texas Tech's Michael Crabtree set the NCAA record for touchdown receptions by a freshman with a 32-yard scoring catch against Iowa State. It was his 15th of the season. The Red Raiders' receiver overtook the 14 TD catches by freshmen Jabar Gaffney (Florida, 2000); Mike Williams (Southern California, 2002) and Davone Bess, (Hawaii 2005). Coming into the game, Crabtree leads the nation in in receptions (60), receiving yards (920) and touchdowns (14).

STRONG IN DEFEAT


Javon Ringer rushed 12 times for 185 yards and three touchdowns, in Michigan State's 48-41 overtime loss to Northwestern. ... Brown's Michael Dougherty threw a school-record 65 passes, and completed 42 for 422 yards and two touchdowns in a 48-37 loss to Holy Cross. ... Matt Nichols completed 37 of 59 passes for 451 yards and two touchdowns, and Aaron Boyce had a school record 17 receptions for 232 yards and a score but Eastern Washington lost to Montana 24-23. ... Alex Brink completed 27 of 50 passes for 369 yards, with two touchdowns in Washington State's 23-20 loss to Arizona State. ... Colin Kaepernick, completed 20-of-31 for 330 yards and three touchdowns in Nevada's 49-41 loss to Fresno State.

SNAPPED

No. 5 ranked Wisconsin lost to Illinois 31-26 on Saturday. The loss snapped the Badgers' 14-game winning streak, which was the longest in the nation. ... Jake Brownell's third field goal of the game, with nine seconds left, gave Temple a 16-15 victory over Northern Illinois on Saturday. The win snapped an eight-game losing streak for the Owls, who had lost 27 of their last 28 games. It was the Owls first victory since the team's 28-14 homecoming win over Bowling Green on October 28, 2006.

RECORD-BREAKERS

Kareem Moore and Ladarius Webb each had two touchdowns and 114 yards on interception returns in the first half to tie an NCAA record and lead Nicholls State to a 58-0 victory over Northwestern State on Saturday. The Colonels' four touchdowns on interception returns tied a record set by Houston in 1987 against Texas. ... Alex Brink completed 27 of 50 passes for 369 yards, with two touchdowns in Washington State's 23-20 loss to Arizona State. Brink set a Washington State record for career yards passing with 8,923. Jason Gesser had the old record with 8,830.

SPEAKING

''That's why he's an All-American and some of the tacklers aren't.''- Eastern Michigan coach Jeff Genyk after Michigan's Mike Hart rushed for 215 yards in the Wolverines 33-22 victory over the Eagles. Hart broke Anthony Thomas' record of 4,472 yards by making a defender miss in the backfield and picking up 14 yards.

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Re: College Football News and Notes Week 7

Top 25 betting recaps for Week 6
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Stanford 24, No. 1 Southern California 23

Cover: Stanford +40

Stanford scored 17 points in the fourth quarter and moved 45 yards in 11 plays for the winning touchdown during a shocking 24-23 upset of the No. 1 ranked Trojans.

USC's John David Booty had an awful day with four interceptions in the defeat.

No. 7 Florida 24, No. 2 LSU 28

Cover: Florida +4

The Tigers barely converted a pair of fourth-down runs before Jacob Hester powered over from the 2-yard line with 1:09 remaining, completing a stunning comeback that gave LSU a 28-24 victory over the No. 7 Gators.

LSU improved to 30-2 at home over the last five years.

No. 4 Ohio State 23, No. 20 Purdue 7

Cover: Ohio State +9

Todd Boeckman passed for 200 yards and two touchdowns as No. 4 Ohio State beat No. 20 Purdue 23-7.

Purdue had averaged 45 points and 496 yards per game, but Ohio State held the Boilermakers to 272 total yards.

No. 6 Boston College 55, Bowling Green 24

Cover: Boston College +12

Matt Ryan threw four touchdown passes and Boston College pulled away with four interceptions late in the first half to overwhelm Bowling Green 55-24 Saturday and get off to its best start in 65 years.

The No. 6 Eagles entered the game with their highest ranking in 23 years after two unimpressive wins over Army and Massachusetts.

No. 12 West Virginia 55, Syracuse 14

Cover: West Virginia +14

Fullback Owen Schmitt scored his first two touchdowns of the season, defensive tackle Keilen Dykes returned an interception 19 yards for another score, and No. 12 West Virginia beat Syracuse 55-14 on Saturday.

It was the 100th victory for West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez and helped put last week's 21-13 loss at South Florida behind.

Illinois 31, No. 5 Wisconsin 26

Cover: Illinois +3

Rashard Mendenhall led Illinois into unfamiliar territory Saturday, rushing for 160 yards and scoring two touchdowns in the Illini's 31-26 win over No. 5 Wisconsin.

The Illini ended Wisconsin's 14-game winning streak, the longest in the nation, and improved to 5-1 overall. Illinois is off to a 3-0 start in the Big Ten for the first time since 1990.

Tennessee 35, No. 11 Georgia 14

Cover: Tennessee +22

Arian Foster rushed for 98 yards and three touchdowns, Lucas Taylor made the most of his very short time as a quarterback and Tennessee put an emphatic end to No. 11 Georgia's winning streak in Knoxville with a 35-14 victory Saturday.

It was Georgia's worst loss since the 2003 Southeastern Conference championship, a 34-13 loss to LSU, and coach Mark Richt's first loss at Tennessee. The Bulldogs had won their last three games at Neyland.

It also was the most points allowed this year by Georgia (4-2, 2-2 SEC).

No. 10 Oklahoma 28, No. 16 Texas 21

Cover: Texas +5

Facing a tough foe in a hostile setting, Sam Bradford looked as at ease as he did in his record-setting first few games against overmatched opponents, throwing for three touchdowns and hardly making a mistake to steer No. 10 Oklahoma past No. 16 Texas 28-21 in their annual grudge match Saturday.

Bradford was 21-of-32 for 244 yards with plenty of poise and patience, helping the Sooners (5-1, 1-1 Big 12) rebound from a second-half meltdown against Colorado and end a two-game losing streak against the Longhorns (4-2, 0-2).

No. 9 South Florida 35, Florida Atlantic 23

Cover: Florida Atlantic +5

Benjamin Williams ran for 186 yards and four touchdowns, Matt Grothe added 120 yards rushing and a score and the No. 9 Bulls held off fellow upstart Florida Atlantic 35-23 on Saturday.

South Florida (5-0) committed four turnovers for the second straight game. But Williams and Grothe did enough to overcome the mistakes.

No. 19 Arizona State 23, Washington State 20

Cover: Washington State +6

Thomas Weber kicked a 37-yard field goal with 50 seconds left to lift No. 19 Arizona State to a 23-20 win over Washington State on Saturday, keeping the Sun Devils undefeated under coach Dennis Erickson.

Washington State had a chance to tie with 12 second left, but Romeen Abdollmohammadi's 46-yard field goal missed left and Arizona State held on despite scoring its fewest points of the season for Erickson, who coached at Washington State from 1987-88.

No. 14 Virginia Tech 41, No. 22 Clemson 23

Cover: Virginia Tech +23 1/2

The 14th-ranked Hokies had a record-tying 100-yard kickoff return TD by Victor Harris and an 82-yard punt return score from Eddie Royal in topping No. 22 Clemson 41-23 Saturday night.

Clemson heads into its off week likely minus its national ranking and with questions about its star rushers - ''Thunder and Lightning'' backs James Davis and C.J. Spiller ended with a combined 12 yards on 12 carries.

Utah State 37, No. 15 Hawaii 52

Cover: Hawaii +25 1/2

Backup quarterback Tyler Graunke replaced an injured Colt Brennan and provided Hawaii the spark it needed. Graunke threw for three touchdowns in the third quarter and ran for another score as No. 15 Hawaii defeated Utah State 52-37 on Saturday night.

The victory gave the Warriors school-record 10 straight conference wins and their best start since the 1981 team opened 7-0.

No. 23 Nebraska 6, No. 17 Missouri 41

Cover: Missouri +28 1/2

Chase Daniel passed for a career-best 401 yards and ran for two scores and No. 17 Missouri got a big game from its suspect defense in a 41-6 victory over No 23 Nebraska on Saturday night.

Missouri coach Gary Pinkel is 2-15 against ranked opponents in seven seasons, both victories coming at home over Nebraska.

No. 24 Cincinnati 28, No. 21 Rutgers 21

Cover: Cincinnati +3 1/2

Ben Mauk threw two of his three touchdowns in a 19-second span late in the third quarter and Cincinnati forced four turnovers, including a game-saving interception by linebacker Ryan Manalac with 1:19 to play as the Bearcats defeated No. 21 Rutgers 28-23.

Safety Haruki Nakamura and linebacker Andre Revels also had clutch interceptions for the Bearcats, who have now forced 25 turnovers this season.

Notre Dame 20, No. 25 UCLA 6

Cover: Notre Dame +35

Jimmy Clausen scored on a sneak and Maurice Crum returned a fumble 34 yards for another touchdown during a 50-second span of the third quarter and Notre Dame won for the first time this season, 20-6 over UCLA on Saturday.

Notre Dame knocked UCLA quarterback Ben Olson out with a knee injury late in the first quarter, then pressured freshman redshirt McLeod Bethel-Thompson into mistakes the rest of the game.

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Injuries dim UW's star power
journalsentinel.com

Champaign, Ill - Right before halftime of its first loss of the season, the University of Wisconsin faced third and goal from the 6-yard line and broke the huddle with the following personnel on the field:

Freshman Zach Brown lined up at tailback. Freshmen David Gilreath and Kyle Jefferson were at receiver. The tight-end package featured regulars Travis Beckum and Garrett Graham.

With all due respect to the Badgers' "next man in" philosophy, Illinois fans had to breathe a sigh of relief.

Running back P.J Hill was on the bench getting treatment for a groin injury. Receiver Luke Swan had just left with a strained hamstring. Add Paul Hubbard's continued absence because of a knee injury and Wisconsin's once-potent offense looked really green.

"It hurts. It does," quarterback Tyler Donovan said of the injuries after UW's 31-26 loss at Memorial Stadium. "But then again in this program, it's been a staple for the next man to step up."

Gilreath, Brown and Jefferson did, but not on the aforementioned play. Wisconsin missed a golden opportunity to cut a 17-3 deficit to seven when no receiver could work free and Donovan was dropped for a sack.

The Badgers settled for a 26-yard field goal by Taylor Mehlhaff with 5 seconds left that left them with an 11-point deficit at the start of the second half.

Hill, UW's goal-line back, missed at least the final two downs of that possession.

"That was due to my little groin trouble, but I worked on it and put myself back in the game," said Hill, who gained 53 of his 83 yards in the second half. "I was playing with a sore groin the rest of the game . . . I know the team needs me."

The Badgers needed Swan just as much. He suffered his injury making a 17-yard catch across the middle on third and 10 that gave UW a first and goal at the 7. Swan made a twisting play on the ball, reaching across his body to catch it. But just as he made the grab, he was nailed by safety Justin Harrison and came close to doing the splits as he hit the ground.

Swan couldn't walk off the field under his own power and returned the field in the second half out of uniform and on crutches.

"I don't know the specifics of it but that last hit put him in an awkward position and strained his leg a little bit," Bielema said. "He claims he is going to be back."

The question is when. Considering how Swan left, it would be surprising if he played Saturday at Penn State

If he can't play, expect to see a lot more of Jefferson, Gilreath and Marcus Randle El and perhaps more two and three-man tight end packages that feature Beckum, who finished with a collegiate high in catches (11) and yards (160).

Jefferson finished with three catches for 65 yards, including a 43-yard touchdown that trimmed Illinois' lead to 17-13 with 10 minutes 8 seconds left in the third quarter. Two of his catches and 48 of his yards came after Swan's departure.

Brown was the No. 2 running back instead of Lance Smith, who is serving the second of a five-game suspension. Brown carried four times for 17 yards in the second half, including an 8-yard gain he nearly broke for a touchdown.

In all, UW scored three touchdowns and gained 286 of its 519 total yards after Swan left the game.

The Badgers once again showed life after one of their top players was unable to continue; only this time it wasn't enough.

"Kyle made a big play again and David continues to do some things," Bielema said. "I thought he made a couple of nice efforts to get the football.

"But they're freshmen. They're six games into it. And unfortunately because of the injuries to Paul and Luke they've been thrust right in the middle of it quite a bit."

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Re: College Football News and Notes Week 7

Booty plays despite fracture
Los AngelesTimes.com

October 7, 2007

USC quarterback John David Booty suffered a fractured finger on his throwing hand during Saturday night's 24-23 loss to Stanford, setting up a potentially delicate decision for USC coaches this week.

Booty, who threw four intercepted passes, said he was injured midway the second quarter when his finger hit another player's helmet after he completed a 31-yard pass to Patrick Turner that set up USC's first touchdown.

Booty played the rest of the game and finished having completed 24 of 40 passes for 364 yards and two touchdowns.

"We could have made a change but we went with our guy," Coach Pete Carroll said.

Booty said coaches asked him if he was OK.

"I want to compete. I want to fight. No way I was coming out of that game," he said. "Look at [Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett] Favre, look at those guys, they don't hardly ever play healthy so it's one thing you have to deal with."

Third-year sophomore Mark Sanchez did not play against the Cardinal, but he will probably get some first-team snaps in practice this week as Booty's condition is evaluated.

"I'm playing," Booty said. "I don't know what we're going to have to do to it. . . . It's my plan to play and start every game."

Fans booed the Trojans as they left the field at halftime and early in the third quarter as the offense struggled.

"Believe me, inside I was booing too. I was as frustrated as they were," Booty said.

Turner caught nine passes for 83 yards, but he also dropped several.

Asked what was problematic, Turner said, "I don't know."

Tight end Fred Davis caught five passes for a career-best 152 yards and a touchdown. Davis eclipsed his previous best of 124 yards set against Washington State on Sept. 22.

USC redshirt freshman Zack Heberer started for the first time, replacing injured Chilo Rachal at right guard.

Rachal suffered a sprained knee last week against Washington on the same play that center Kris O'Dowd suffered a torn knee ligament.

Rachal is expected to miss at least two weeks. O'Dowd had surgery on Tuesday and hopes to return by the Oct. 20 game at Notre Dame. Senior Matt Spanos started at center.

Cornerback Cary Harris, who was questionable because of a sore right shoulder, returned to the starting lineup after missing the Washington game.

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Re: College Football News and Notes Week 7

UCLA could soon call Rasshan's number
Los Angeles Times

October 8, 2007

Osaar Rasshan was warming up. The need for him, or something, was apparent, as UCLA was quarterback-needy against Notre Dame on Saturday night.

Ben Olson was knocked out of the game because of a knee injury. Patrick Cowan, his backup, was still weeks away from returning from his knee injury. Walk-on McLeod Bethel-Thompson was earning an A for effort for trying to fill that breach. But everything else was graded as an incomplete . . . or interception.

Rasshan was ready. Coach Karl Dorrell wasn't. The Bruins offense, he said, could not call that audible.

Rasshan was recruited as a quarterback and trained two seasons to be a UCLA quarterback before moving to wide receiver over the summer. Yet, when the offense failed to re-boot under Bethel-Thompson during Saturday's 20-6 loss to previously winless Notre Dame, Rasshan was considered user unfriendly for reasons beyond his control.

"It wasn't an option," Dorrell said in a conference call Sunday night. "He hasn't had any reps in quite some time at quarterback."

The question some might ask is, "Why?"

The Bruins' top two quarterbacks have not been healthy in the same game this season. Olson missed one game because of a concussion and Cowan missed the first three because of a partially torn hamstring and the last two because of a partially torn knee ligament. Yet, the Bruins seemed unprepared for disaster, with Bethel-Thompson and freshman Chris Forcier, who they hope to redshirt, as the only backups to Olson on Saturday night.

Dorrell had considered resorting to the Rasshan option going into the season opener at Stanford, when Cowan was out because of a hamstring injury. Dorrell said they had a "package" ready for Rasshan in case of emergency. When an emergency came Saturday, the expiration date on that package had passed.

"We haven't practiced that package since the early portion of the season," Dorrell said. "We thought the injuries our quarterbacks had were not long term. We thought that Pat would be back soon. . . . We felt in pretty good shape."

They weren't. Bethel-Thompson showed he was not nearly ready, with four passes intercepted.

Rasshan's immense athletic abilities seem suited for a basic spread formation -- he had 1,716 yards passing and 860 yards rushing as a senior at Pomona Garey High. Against a slowish Irish defense, such a formation in his hands might have succeeded. It almost certainly wouldn't have resulted in the interceptions Bethel-Thompson put on his resume Saturday.

Other teams have used such a limited offense to take advantage of multi-dimensional quarterbacks. Florida spotted Tim Tebow effectively in its national championship run last season. The Bruins had seen it up close, when Utah used freshman Corbin Louks in opportune situations during the Utes' 44-6 win Sept. 15.

"With what we had going, how the offense continued to progress, we felt pretty good," Dorrell said. "We felt the injury Pat had wasn't long term. We wanted to continue Osaar's development at receiver."

Rasshan shifted from quarterback this summer after being unable to make headway on the Bruins' depth chart. But his career as a receiver hasn't exactly soared. Rasshan missed time before the season because of a concussion and Dorrell has seemed reluctant to use him since.

This week, though, he is apt to get a refresher course at quarterback.

Olson's injury is still being called a sprain, although he was expected to undergo an MRI exam today. Cowan, Dorrell said, "is not quite healthy." The Bruins have two weeks before playing No. 2 California to come up with an answer.

Now, Dorrell said, "we'll have the opportunity to look at a couple other guys, Chris Forcier and Osaar."

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Re: College Football News and Notes Week 7

Injury won't stop O'Connell at Utah
signonsandiego.com

October 8, 2007

Less than 24 hours after orchestrating a dramatic comeback against Colorado State, Kevin O'Connell was sporting a sling on his left arm and a smile that suggested it would take a lot more than that to ruin his day.

San Diego State's senior quarterback, who scored three rushing touchdowns in Saturday's 24-20 victory, the final one coming with 43 seconds left, said yesterday that he has a slight separation of his nonthrowing shoulder but will play this week when the Aztecs travel to Salt Lake City to face Utah.

O'Connell, who was injured when he was hit by Rams linebacker Ricky Brewer while diving for the end zone on the Aztecs' opening drive, accounted for 225 all-purpose yards against Colorado State, completing 13-of-26 passes for 184 yards and rushing 16 times for 41.

After the Rams had taken a 20-17 lead with 2:29 left, O'Connell, SDSU's all-time leading rusher among quarterbacks, marched the Aztecs 80 yards on seven plays, providing the winner on a 1-yard run.

The drive was highlighted by O'Connell's 57-yard pass to wide receiver Brett Swain that came with SDSU facing a third-and-10 at its 20 with under two minutes left. The pass was delivered only after O'Connell had managed to weave his way through an onslaught of defensive pressure.

“He just rose to the occasion,” said coach Chuck Long. “He really measured up in the clutch, and that's what we're trying to find out about our whole team.

“He's really playing well right now. He's playing with a lot of confidence, and you can feel the rest of the team becoming confident around him. That's what good quarterbacks do.”

And do even better when they're upright. Under constant pressure throughout the day by a CSU defense that blitzed with regularity, O'Connell was sacked seven times. Keep in mind that this is a team whose backup quarterback, redshirt freshman Kelsey Sokoloski, has thrown six career passes.

“We had too many plays where we lost yards,” Long said. “But considering the conditions we were in and what we were facing at the end of the game, it was a great comeback.”

Step in right direction

SDSU's much-maligned defense turned in its best performance of the season, limiting CSU to 327 total yards.

If that number doesn't appear overly impressive, consider that in their three previous games against Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) teams, the Aztecs had allowed an average of 43.6 points and 560 yards.

On the mend

Long said the team is hopeful that linebacker Jerry Milling (foot), wide receiver Chaz Schilens (foot) and linebacker Brett Martin (knee) can resume running by the end of the week. Milling, who was expected to start at weak-side linebacker, has not played this season. Meanwhile, running back Lynell Hamilton, who suffered a rotator cuff injury a week earlier against Cincinnati, may return to practice this week.

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Re: College Football News and Notes Week 7

Texas WR Sweed out for season
October 8th, 2007

Austin, TX (Sports Network) - Texas senior wide receiver Limas Sweed will have season-ending surgery to repair ligament damage in his left wrist.

Sweed, a 2006 first-team All-Big 12 selection and 2007 preseason All-American, has started 39 consecutive games and caught a pass in each of the last 24 contests. He hurt the wrist in the preseason, but played in Texas' first six games, and had 19 catches for 306 yards with three scores this season, bringing his total to 20 TD grabs in his collegiate career.

Late Monday afternoon team physician Dr. Carey Windler recommended the surgery.

"I knew it was an injury I would be dealing with going into the season and I did everything I could to play through the pain and help the team," Sweed said. "I've aggravated it a couple of times and again last week and have probably been in more pain than I let anybody know. I spent most of the afternoon on Monday with the doctors and training staff and they said that I should go ahead and have surgery to get it taken care of, so I'm going to take their advice."

Sweed led the Longhorns with 46 catches for 801 yards and a school-record- tying 12 TDs in 2006. His streak of seven straight games with a TD catch that year tied Roy Williams' UT record.

Texas also will be without two other players for at least part of the season. Junior fullback Luke Tiemann will undergo surgery to repair a fracture in his left wrist and junior defensive end Aaron Lewis sustained a fracture in his left elbow versus Oklahoma on Saturday. Tiemann will miss at least two weeks and Lewis will be out indefinitely.

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Re: College Football News and Notes Week 7

Mizzou's Temple questionable for Saturday
October 8, 2007

Associated Press

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) -- Missouri may be without its leading rusher Saturday when the 11th-ranked Tigers play No. 6 Oklahoma, coach Gary Pinkel said Monday.

Tony Temple, a two-year starter for Missouri (5-0, 1-0 Big 12), sprained an ankle in Saturday's 41-6 win over Nebraska. He won't practice until Wednesday or Thursday, and a decision on his availability for the Oklahoma game will be made later this week.

"We've seen ankle injuries linger on," Pinkel said. "We can know by Thursday that he's not even going, or he might go on the trip and it'll be a game-day decision."

Temple had three carries for minus-2 yards and a reception for 20 yards against the Cornhuskers before getting hurt on a drive that ended with a Jeff Wolfert field goal that put Missouri up 17-3 with 5:28 left in the second quarter. Temple is averaging 70 yards per game with three touchdowns on the season.

Temple's backup, Jimmy Jackson, has 12 carries for 62 yards this season. Freshman Derrick Washington has played in three games and is averaging nearly five yards per carry.

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Re: College Football News and Notes Week 7

SMU foe Southern Miss in QB quandary
The Dallas Morning News

SMU, coming off its bye week, is preparing for its first trip to Southern Miss (2-3, 1-1 Conference USA).

The Golden Eagles, who lost, 31-29, last week to previously winless Rice, are in a quarterback quandary.

Senior starter Jeremy Young (high ankle sprain) could not play in last week's loss and is questionable for SMU. Redshirt freshman Martevious Young started against Rice but broke his fibula and is out for the season. Senior backup Stephen Reaves was pressed into duty despite a strained oblique and threw four interceptions and lost two fumbles.

"We've got to prepare for both of them," SMU coach Phil Bennett said.

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Re: College Football News and Notes Week 7

McFadden will play against Auburn
October 9, 2007

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) -- Arkansas coach Houston Nutt says a CT scan of tailback Darren McFadden's ribs shows he suffered no fracture, clearing him to play in the coming game against Auburn.

Nutt says the Heisman Trophy hopeful was diagnosed with bruised ribs. McFadden does not recall a specific play that caused the pain in his ribs, but he appeared to clutch his chest after his final carry during Arkansas' 34-15 victory against Tennessee-Chattanooga last weekend.

Arkansas, 0-2 in the Southeastern Conference, will face Auburn in Fayetteville this Saturday.

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Re: College Football News and Notes Week 7

UCLA QB Olson out 3-4 weeks
October 9, 2007

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- UCLA quarterback Ben Olson will be sidelined three to four weeks with a partial tear of the lateral collateral ligament in his left knee.

The school announced that arthroscopic surgery on Olson's knee Tuesday showed he didn't have torn cartilage.

The Bruins (4-2, 3-0 Pac-10) are off this week. Their next game is Oct. 20 against No. 2 California (5-0, 2-0) at the Rose Bowl.

Patrick Cowan, Olson's backup, is also sidelined due to a partial tear of the medial collateral ligament in his right knee. It's uncertain whether Cowan will be able to play against Cal.

Walk-on McLeod Bethel-Thompson played most of the way at quarterback in UCLA's 20-6 loss to Notre Dame last weekend, but was ineffective, completing 12 of 28 passes for 139 yards with four interceptions. He replaced Olson in the first quarter.

Osaar Rasshan, who spent two years practicing at quarterback but moved to wide receiver over the summer, has returned to his original position. Freshman quarterback Chris Forcier hasn't played this season and was expected to redshirt, but it's possible those plans will change.

UCLA linebacker Reggie Carter had arthroscopic surgery to remove a piece of cartilage removed from his right knee Tuesday, the school said. He might be able to play against Cal.

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Re: College Football News and Notes Week 7

N.M. State QB Holbrook out this week
October 9, 2007

Associated Press

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) -- New Mexico State quarterback Chase Holbrook won't play in Saturday's game at Louisiana Tech because of bruised ribs.

Coach Hal Mumme said Monday redshirt freshman J.J. McDermott will start.

"Chase cannot go. He cannot play," Mumme said. "J.J. will be playing."

Holbrook was hurt in the fourth quarter of a 20-17 victory over Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Sept. 29. He returned with 56 seconds remaining and directed a 35-yard drive, capped by Paul Young's decisive 37-yard field goal.

Holbrook started last weekend's 58-0 loss at Boise State but was shaken up on New Mexico State's first possession and left in the second quarter. McDermott took over but struggled, and the Aggies finished with 108 yards passing and minus-23 yards rushing.

Holbrook had 4,619 yards passing and 4,541 total yards last season, setting NCAA records for a sophomore.

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Re: College Football News and Notes Week 7

Concussion may keep Steffy out for a month

Terps QB to undergo more tests tomorrow

Maryland quarterback Jordan Steffy, who suffered the second concussion of his career Sept. 29 at Rutgers, could be out as long as a month and will undergo more tests tomorrow, coach Ralph Friedgen said yesterday.

"It could be awhile with Jordan," Friedgen said. "You don't know on the concussions. ... He's shown some improvement on the tests, but they're going to need a lot more to be clear."

The injury-laden Terps got positive news on offensive lineman Andrew Crummey, who underwent surgery for a fractured fibula and was upgraded from a season-ending injury to possibly being able to play in the season finale.

Friedgen also gave updates on the following injuries:

• Linebacker Rick Costa (neck) is out two to three weeks.

• Defensive tackle Travis Ivey (torn right MCL) is out four to six weeks if no operation is necessary.

• Linebacker Dave Philistin (shoulder) practiced and should play Oct. 20 against Virginia.

• Offensive tackle Scott Burley (elbow) didn't practice but should play against Virginia.

• Cornerback Kevin Barnes (neck) practiced in a non-contact jersey and should play against Virginia.

• Wide receiver Danny Oquendo (ankle) practiced and should play against Virginia.

• Linebacker Erin Henderson (knee) is questionable.

www.baltsun.com

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USC's Mark Sanchez appears likely to get start

John David Booty tested his broken finger by throwing passes Tuesday, but Mark Sanchez appears on track to start at quarterback for USC on Saturday against Arizona.

Sanchez, a third-year sophomore, spent part of the afternoon fielding dozens of questions from reporters after Coach Pete Carroll's weekly news conference.

"I need to be conservative and play well and play smart," Sanchez said, describing his possible role as "taking the keys to this awesome sports car we have here and not crashing."

Sanchez continued to get comfortable with the controls by taking all of the snaps with the first-team offense.

Meanwhile, Booty threw passes for the first time since Saturday, when he had four passes intercepted against Stanford.

Booty, who broke a bone in the middle finger of his right hand during the first half, threw about 50 balls.

"It felt better than I expected, it's just my accuracy is not where I quite want it to be," Booty said, adding, "I'm not going to go out there if I don't think I can play the way I'm capable of playing."

Booty said that he would continue to ice the finger with hopes that the swelling would subside.

Carroll, however, sounded as if he was leaning toward playing Sanchez and allowing Booty to fully recover.

During the news conference, Carroll said: "It could turn out that if John is OK, that we hold him in reserve and go with Mark through the preparation. . . . If we needed him in an emergency, maybe we could do that."

After the practice, Carroll said, "If we give him a break, maybe he can come back strong and be ready to finish the season. I don't know that, we're just kind of guessing, but we'll try and wait to see how it responds."

Sanchez said his father, Nick, a fire captain in Orange County, eased any nervousness by leaving him a funny voice mail after a brief conversation Monday night.

"He said, 'Hey Mark, it's your dad. One of the guys at the fire station said they have some tickets for Disneyland. We're going Saturday if you're not doing anything around 12, so call me back,' " Sanchez recalled.

USC's game against Arizona begins at 12:30 p.m.

Sanchez, asked to describe the post-Stanford mood on campus, said: "I don't think I've gotten through a single class without somebody mentioning something. . . . One of the teachers said, 'Am I going to be disappointed if I go to the game this week?'

"He wasn't directly talking to me, but I'm sure he knew I was in the class."

Center Matt Spanos did not practice again because of cuts on his right pinkie and ring finger, but he said he would play against Arizona regardless of whether "it opens or closes, if it's infected or not. I could care less what it looks like." . . . Tailback Stafon Johnson (foot) did some running and said, "if I'm 90%, I'm playing." . . . Linebacker Thomas Williams (ankle) did not practice. Clay Matthews appears on track to start at strong-side linebacker. . . . Tailback Joe McKnight sat out much of practice because of illness, Carroll said.

www.latimes.com

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Re: College Football News and Notes Week 7

Ferringo Examines Early Line Moves
by Robert Ferringo

It's time once again for that weekly waltz that occurs between our friends over at the Las Vegas Sports Consultants and the sharp gamblers that pry apart the early college football spreads. Essentially, the LVSC recommends the lines to their clients, the sportsbooks, each week and the books respond by posting a suitable opening number. The sharps then come along like ravenous wolves encircling a wounded animal, ready to pounce on any number that they feel displays weakness or vulnerability. The result is an early week steam move on those seemingly weak lines, and that helps set the number that a majority of bettors in the general public will then have to wager on.

Just as there is a science and an art to setting the lines, it also requires a certain amount of skill to be able to red these opening line movements. Like stockbrokers, handicappers and bettors can learn a lot about a game by the way the early line moves break. To this point, sharp action has gone 18-17 against the spread in college movements and 14-8 ATS in the NFL movements. That's 32-25 ATS (56.1 percent) overall. Here are some of the most noticeable and significant early steam movements in both the college and pro football opening lines:

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Florida State at Wake Forest (8 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 11)

Open: Florida State -3.5.
Current: Florida State -6.0.

The luster has clearly worn off the Deacons. Wake Forest is now a home underdog after their less-than-impressive win over lowly Duke last Saturday. However, FSU wasn't exactly stellar while holding of N.C. State. Wake Forest won 30-0 in Tallahassee last season and it was their first win over the Seminoles since 1973. Looks like the books are expecting revenge, but can you really trust Xavier Lee laying points on the road?

Cincinnati over Louisville (7 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 13)
Open: Cincinnati -7.5.
Current: Cincinnati -10.0.

The Bearcats have been the best bet in college football this season, posting a 5-0 ATS record. Conversely, the Cardinals have been one of the most disappointing teams in the nation, losing four of out of five against the number and three out of five overall. I guess it's safe to say that the players haven't taken to Steve Kragthorpe. The defense can't stop anyone but the Cards are 7-2 ATS against the Bearcats.

Oklahoma State at Nebraska (12:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 13)
Open: Nebraska -7.0.
Current: Nebraska -4.0.

Good ol' Bill Callahan. The man never met a Big Game that he couldn't have his team unprepared for - with last weekend's 41-6 whitewashing in Missouri as the latest example. Now Bill gets to come home to an angry fan base and try to take on an OSU team that they are 1-4 ATS against over the last five seasons. Nebraska hasn't played well since early September, and the Big 12 South still owns this conference, so laying any points in this one could be dicey.

Connecticut at Virginia (3:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 13)
Open: Virginia -6.5.
Current: Virginia -3.5.

My friend Nolan has a firm rule when betting any college sport - always take a Big East team over an ACC team, in any sport. I don't have any solid numbers for you but I can say without question it's been one of the most profitable systems I've ever played. Clearly I'm not the only one.

Indiana at Michigan State (9:15 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 13)
Open: Michigan State -7.5.
Current: Michigan State -5.0.

The Hoosiers have been playing inspired ball all season and have been one of the best stories in college football. They've also been one of the best bets in the business, and are facing a team they put a 25-point beat down on last year. However, the Spartans have won eight of 10 in this series and are 4-1 ATS recently.

Central Florida at South Florida (Noon, Saturday, Oct. 13)
Open: South Florida -14.0.
Current: South Florida -11.5.

This is a lot of points for what is becoming a heated rivalry. The Bulls are 2-0 straight up and ATS over the past two meetings and the Knights are a horrendous against the Big East, posting a 1-10 ATS mark. These are two very physical squads and I'm looking for a grinder here. Also, USF has a crucial Thursday game at Rutgers lurking so their heads may not be 100 percent in this game. That is, until central Florida punches them in the face.

www.docsports.com

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Re: College Football News and Notes Week 7

ASA: Big Ten report
October 10, 2007

Illinois looks to hold down its spot in the top 25 against Iowa. Michigan State aims to avoid another midseason swoon. Michigan attempts to continue its domination over Purdue. Northwestern looks to capitalize on Minnesota’s secondary woes. And Wisconsin tries to rebound from its first loss of the season against Penn State.

Here’s a look forward to the week that will be in the Big Ten.

Illinois

The Illini joined the top 25 for the first time since the 2001 season when they ended Wisconsin’s 14-game winning streak with a 36-21 victory last weekend. A national ranking automatically puts a bulls-eye on Illinois with Iowa getting the first crack at sending the Illini back out of the top 25. Illinois, which is riding its first five-game winning streak since that 2001 season, will be 3.5-point road favorites.

The Illinois offense was unable to get anything going in last year’s meeting with Iowa with Juice Williams throwing three interceptions and the running game averaging just 3.5 yards per carry in a 24-7 home loss. The Illini are currently fifth in the country with 261.2 rushing yards per game and will need a bettor effort this time around if they are to take out an Iowa team desperate for a win.

Illinois has dropped four straight decisions to Iowa but has covered two of the last three meetings. This is rarely ventured territory for the Illini, though, as they’ve been favorites at Iowa just three times since 1982. They have won the last two occurrences but those games came in 1989 and 1999. The favorite is 7-2 ATS in the last nine meetings between the programs, though, which bodes well for Illinois.

Indiana

The Hoosiers matched last season’s win total when they improved to 5-1 SU and 4-1 ATS on the season last week following their 40-20 win over Minnesota. Indiana will try to reach six wins for the first time since 1993 when it travels to Michigan State as 5-point dogs.

Indiana snapped a four-game losing streak to Michigan State last year with a convincing 46-21 win over the Spartans. The Hoosiers fell behind 7-0 in that game but then proceeded to run off 46 straight points behind five Kellen Lewis touchdown passes, four of which went to James Hardy.

Last year’s 25-point win as 7-point dogs marked the first ATS win for Indiana over Michigan State since 2001. The Hoosiers are just 6-18 SU and 9-15 ATS versus the Spartans since 1981 but are 4-1 ATS in their last five games overall. Indiana has been underdogs in East Lansing in every meeting since 1981 but the five-point spread in this game marks the fewest amount of points it has ever received.

Iowa

Iowa’s struggles continued when it lost 27-7 to Penn State, marking its eighth straight Big Ten contest. The Hawkeyes’ overall losing streak is now at four and they’ll look to snap it this weekend when they host 18th-ranked Illinois as 3.5-point underdogs.

The Hawkeyes took out Illinois last year 24-7 in their conference opener but this is a very different Illini team. They’ll need to get their defense, which has allowed 65 points the last two games, back on track after it allowed just 35 points in their first four games. Iowa will have to especially tighten up its rush defense, which surrendered 256 rushing yards to Penn State last week and now must face Illinois’s fifth-ranked rushing attack.

Iowa has won its last two home games against the Illini by an average of 29.5 points, easily covering both contests. The home team is 5-0 ATS in the last five meetings overall and the Hawkeyes will attempt to keep that record perfect. Iowa put together a home record of 23-3 SU and 22-4 ATS from 2002 to 2005 but have gone just 3-6 ATS since.

Michigan

The Wolverines once again got a scare from a far inferior team but this time pulled away in picking up a 33-22 win over Mid-American Conference foe Eastern Michigan. Their win improved their SU record to 4-2 and extended their winning streak to four straight. They’ll look to make if five straight this weekend when they host Purdue as 5.5-point favorites.

This year’s meeting marks the first time Michigan has played Purdue since the 2004 season. The Wolverines won that contest to extend their winning streak within the series to four games. They have dominated their series with the Boilermakers, going 18-3 SU since 1981 and 5-1 ATS in the last six meetings.

Within those games, Michigan is 9-1 ATS when Purdue owns a record of .500 or better and 11-0 SU and 8-3 ATS at home. And the Wolverines haven’t just beaten the Boilermakers at home, they have dominated them. Those 11 straight home wins have come by an average of 25.5 points per game with only one coming by single digits.

Michigan State

The Spartans did not rebound from their loss to Wisconsin the way head coach Mark Dantonio had hoped, falling 48-41 at home to Northwestern last week. The loss evoked flashbacks of the John L. Smith regime as Michigan State again started a season strong only to flounder once the leaves started to turn. The Spartans will look to reverse that trend Saturday when they host Indiana as 5-point favorites.

Michigan State lost an embarrassing 46-21 decision to the Hoosiers last week and will look to exact some revenge this year. Its running attack will have to play a large role if that revenge is to be exacted. Indiana has proven susceptible to a strong running game so the 14th-ranked Spartans running game, which tallied 287 yards on just 32 carries last week, should find some holes.

Prior to last season’s loss to Indiana, the Spartans had owned the Hoosiers. Overall, Michigan State is 9-2 SU in the last 11 meetings and 7-3 ATS in the last 10 games and 18-6 SU and 15-9 ATS in the last 24. The Spartans have struggled mightily at home, though, going just 3-13 ATS in their last 16 homes contests.

Minnesota

Minnesota allowed at least 30 points for the sixth time in six games in losing 40-20 to Indiana to extend its losing streak to four straight. The Gophers currently sit at the bottom of the Big Ten standings with an 0-3 conference record and a 1-5 (1-4-1 ATS) mark overall. Minnesota will try to stop the bleeding on the road at Northwestern this weekend as a touchdown underdog.

Pass defense has been a problem for the Gophers all season and their secondary will receive yet another test this weekend from the Wildcats. Minnesota is last in the country with 345.8 passing yards allowed per game and must take on a Northwestern passing game that has climbed to 18th in the nation following a 520-yard showing last week.

The Gophers have won three straight games over the Wildcats but haven’t faced them since the 2004 campaign. Minnesota is 5-2 ATS in its last seven games with Northwestern and is a perfect 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings in Evanston. But the Gophers have been plagued by poor coverage and an awful turnover ratio, two key ingredients to a losing recipe.

Northwestern

The Wildcats snapped their three-game slide and climbed back to .500 with their 48-41 overtime win at Michigan State Saturday. Northwestern has a chance to move over .500 when it hosts Big Ten cellar-dweller Minnesota this weekend as 7-point favorites.

A big part of Northwestern’s success last week was quarterback C.J. Bacher limited mistakes. Bacher has a solid year in his first full season as the starter but has been plagued by inconsistency, throwing four touchdowns and no interceptions in the first two games and zero touchdowns and seven interceptions in his next three. He responded this week with five touchdowns and no interceptions to go along with 520 passing yards.

Bacher has a great chance to build on that performance against a Minnesota defense that can neither stop the pass nor force turnovers. A win would snap Northwestern’s three-game losing streak to the Gophers but the Wildcats haven’t fared well as the favorite in this series and overall. They have been favored just four times against Minnesota since 1980 and is just 1-3 ATS in those games and are just 7-21 ATS in their last 28 games as a home favorite overall.

Ohio State

The Buckeyes continued their ascent up the rankings with another dominating defensive performance in their 23-7 win over previously unbeaten Purdue. The win extended Ohio State’s regular-season winning streak to 24 and its conference winning streak to 17. The Buckeyes can extend their regular-season streak this weekend when they host Kent State as 30-point favorites.

Ohio State is now in the top 3 in four major defensive statistical categories: first in scoring defense, second in rushing and total defense and third in pass efficiency defense. That doesn’t bode well for a Kent State team that is 77th in the country in scoring offense. If the Buckeyes can hold Purdue’s previously eighth-ranked offense to just seven points, the Golden Flashes will have little chance of moving the ball.

The Buckeyes are a perfect 13-0 SU against MAC schools since 1992 but are just 4-7 ATS in those contests, including an earlier ATS loss this season to Akron. Ohio State was favored by 30 or more points in three of those games and went 1-2 ATS. It has been favored by 30 or more points 22 times since 1980 and has gone 12-10 ATS in those contests.

Penn State

Penn State rebounded from its 0-2 road trip with a 27-7 home win over Iowa Saturday for its first win in conference action. It was a dominating performance by the Nittany Lions as they outgained the Hawkeyes by nearly 300 yards. They are now 4-0 at home this year and will look to keep that record unblemished when they host Wisconsin this weekend as 6.5-point favorites.

The Lions dropped an ugly 13-3 decision in their battle with the Badgers last year, totaling just 36 rushing yards on less than two yards per carry. This year could be a different story. Penn State tallied 256 rushing yards on 50 carries last week and are facing a Wisconsin stop unit that has struggled to stop the run this year.

Penn State is just 3-7 ATS versus the Badgers since joining the Big Ten in 1995. The Lions haven’t fared well against good competition this year, going 0-2 against Michigan and Illinois but 4-0 against teams with a combined record of 5-19 SU. The favorite in this series is 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings, though, while Penn State is 11-5 ATS in its last 16 home games.

Purdue

The Boilermakers faced their first true test Saturday and failed miserably, getting completely dominated in a 23-7 home loss to Ohio State. They’ll look to get back on track this weekend but it won’t come easy against a rejuvenated Michigan team at home and riding a four-game winning streak.

Purdue started the 2006 campaign with four straight wins only to lose four of its next five games. It started this season with five straight wins and will look to avoid the same fate it suffered a year ago. Another similarity could be the production of the offense. The Boilermakers’ offense was among the nation’s best through four games last year but averaged just 15.8 points per game over a six-game stretch in conference action. They proved last week that their offense couldn’t hang with Ohio State’s defense and must face an improving Michigan defense this week.

The Boilermakers have historically struggled against the Wolverines, going just 3-18 SU and 9-12 ATS since 1980. Additionally, they have lost three straight games ATS in Ann Arbor and are 1-4-1 ATS in the last six meetings overall.

Wisconsin

Wisconsin’s first loss was bound to happen eventually as it was flirting with disaster for weeks. It finally came in a 31-26 road loss to Illinois in which Wisconsin couldn’t stop the Illini running attack. The Badgers will continue their road trip this weekend when they travel to Penn State as 6.5-point dogs.

The Badgers won last year’s battle with the Lions 13-3 by controlling the clock with their dominating running attack and stout run defense. P.J. Hill churned out 148 yards on the ground in giving Wisconsin a plus-15 minute time of possession advantage. The Badgers will need another workmanlike effort from Hill in this meeting in order to keep a suddenly struggling Wisconsin defense off the field.

Wisconsin is 7-3 ATS in its last 10 meetings with Penn State, including a 3-2 mark in Happy Valley. This has traditionally been a good spot for the Badgers as they are 7-2-1 ATS in their last 10 road games and 19-7-2 ATS in their last 28 games as the underdog. This year has been a little different, though, as they have dropped four straight contests ATS.

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Re: College Football News and Notes Week 7

News and Notes - Week 7
Northcoast Sports 

Week 7

Despite playing their 3rd game in 11 days, Memphis had a 245-125 yd edge at the half but settled for 3 short FG's and only led 9-7. They still managed to lead 24-14 in the 4Q and held on for a 24-21 win at home...

Kansas got its first road win over a ranked team since 1995 and started the season 5-0 for just the 3rd time in 39 years when they upset KSU in Manhattan for the first time since 1989...

C Michigan had an impressive game in the battle for the MAC West Title as they had 32-20 FD and 658-369 yd edges at Ball St, a team that basically outplayed Nebraska on the road earlier in the season...

Indiana needs just 1 more win to become bowl eligible and has not played in the post season since 1993...

W Virginia had a DL score a TD for the first time since 1981 when a deflected pass was int'd by Keilen Dykes who returned it 19 yds for a TD. WV rolled to a 55-14 lead with a 486-222 yd edge delivering as the NC Sportsline Comp College Play...

Buffalo got a TD early 4Q to lead Ohio 24-10 and then OU was int'd in the EZ for a TB, SOD at the UB 2 and 28 with 2:14 left. UB got a 72 yd TD run by Starks on the next play who extended the lead to 31-10...

Wisconsin came in with the nation's longest win streak at 14 but Illinois ended it. The Illini led 17-0 mid-2Q and 31-19 with 5:28 left before allowing UW a TD. Illinois rec'd the onside kick and went for it on 4th & 1 at the UW 36 and converted and ran out the clock...

Kent St had 25-16 FD and 463-411 yd edges but they settled for a couple of short FG's and at the end of the game, QB Edelman, on 4th & goal at the13 took off for the EZ and was tkl'd at the 1 and Miami, Oh prevailed 20-13...

Ohio St made a case to be the #2 team in the country. The Bucks dominated Purdue even more than the 23-7 score would indicate. It was 23-0 and OSU had a 381-184 yd edge before PU took over with 2:56 left and went on an 88/13pl drive getting a garbage TD with :10 left...

Ole Miss beat Louisiana Tech 24-0 but LT had a 301-232 yd edge and LT, trailing 17-0 had a 1st & goal at the 6 late in the game but settled for a 26 yd FG which Ole Miss not only blk'd but ret'd 55 yds for a TD...

Texas Tech led Iowa St 42-3 when they pulled their starters with 9:24 left in the 4Q. ISU made it respectable by going on 2 long drives for garbage TD's which came in the final 4:32. ISU did not cross midfield on its first 8 poss...

Penn St's offense, which was marred by TO's and redzone mistakes the previous weeks, rolled up 489 yds vs a top-notch Iowa D in their 27-7 win. PSU had a 26-8 FD edge and allowed the Hawkeyes just 194 yds, 132 of those yards came in the 4Q with the game out of reach...

Despite losing 31-14 to AF, UNLV had a 471-432 yd edge...

LSU trailed 24-14 in the 4Q but converted on five 4th downs during the game including 2 on their final drive. Trailing by 3, they took a huge risk and went for it on 4th & 1 at the Florida 6, but converted and got a TD with 1:09 left for the win...

UTEP and Tulsa combined for well over 1,200 yards offense with Tulsa having a 672-595 yd edge. Tulsa trailing in the 4Q, got a TD with 4:34 left but UTEP drove for a 14 yd TD pass with :58 left to pull out the 48-47 win...

Virginia had a 374-308 yd edge but needed a 34 yd FG with :08 left to pull out a 23-21 road win at Middle Tenn...

When Colorado's players gathered on Sunday to watch game film of their upset vs Oklahoma they were instead shown film of their 3 OT loss to Baylor the previous year. That possibly helped CU avoid a letdown and they led BU 43-16 before allowing a garbage TD in the final minutes winning comfortably on the road...

Tennessee was coming off a bye and simply dominated Georgia allowing just 2 FD's in the 1H while rolling up 401 yds offense for the game...

Alabama was cruising with a 23-0 lead after 1Q vs Houston and appeared on their way to a rout. It was 23-7 at half and 30-10 after 3Q's but UH rallied back for a couple of TD's then got an int with 2:48 left and actually drove to the Tide 15 yd line when on 4th & 3 trailing by just 6 their pass was int'd by Castille...

Oklahoma St's D came in allowing 443 ypg but held A&M to just 132 in the 1H and OSU led 17-0. A&M controlled the 2H and took a 24-20 lead with 8:04 left. OSU settled for a 24 yd FG with 3:11 left but then roughed the P with 1:57 left and A&M ran out the clock...

Michigan led E Michigan 33-14 before allowing a TD with :47 left on an 81 yd garbage drive. EM then rec'd the onside kick and got to the UM 41 but was int'd in the EZ on a Hail Mary on the game's final play...

Oregon St was dominating Arizona leading 31-3 and driving for another score when they allowed a 60 yd IR TD with just :25 left 1H. The Beavers dominated and won 31-16 surviving that huge momentum swing...

Northwestern QB CJ Bacher threw for a school record 520 yards...

Oklahoma outrushed Texas 170-61 and DeMarco Murray raced 65 yds for a TD in the 3Q. Colt McCoy threw for 324 yds but rFr Sam Bradford was equally impressive hitting 21-32 for 244.

WHO NEEDS OFFENSE?

Looking at the score, it appears VT's offense was potent as they rolled up 41 points vs a solid Clemson D. Looking a little closer, we see CU had a 380-219 yd edge with VT managing just 9 FD's. VT scored on a 32 yd IR TD, an 82 yd PR TD and a 100 yd KR TD in the 1H. VT's TD drives both started on CU's side of the field.

FINAL PLAY FG'S THAT WERE MISSED

TCU only led 7-6 at the half vs Wyoming but WY pulled ahead 21-6 after 3Q's and went on a 94 yd drive for a 23 yd FG with 8:25 left, 24-6. TCU got a TD then tackled the P at the WY 15 with 6:30 left to set up another TD to pull within 24-21. They got the ball back with 1:17 left and drove to the WY 31. With the wind at their backs, a 48 yd FG was missed wide right as it hit the upright on the final play of the game and WY won by 3...

Chris Turner, in his first start for MD threw for 255 yards and the Terps led 21-10 at the half. GT rolled up 484 yds and crossed midfield on every poss except its first. GT scored 9 pts in the 4Q including a TD with 8:21 left and forced a MD punt with 6:44 left. GT went on a 39/12pl drive but holding forced a 4th & 20 and they missed a 52 yd FG with :54 left and lost 28-26...

Arizona St got a 37 yd FG with :50 left to give the Sun Devils a 23-20 lead but WSU drove 51/7pl. Their game tying 46 yd FG with :12 left was wide left and despite leading most of the game they lost to #18 Arizona St. Alex Brink hit 27-50 for 369 yds and became WSU's career passing leader topping Jason Gesser (8,830).

BIGGEST UPSET IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL HISTORY???

The Gold Sheet, which has logs in college football dating back to 1950 ruled that Syracuse's upset of Louisville at +37 was the biggest upset in college football since 1950 topping the 1985 Oregon St (+36) upset over Washington in Seattle. Stanford topped that as they were a 41 point underdog vs USC. Jim Harbaugh had gotten into some verbal banter with Pete Carroll during the offseason so USC was well motivated and SU was also without their starting QB. Tavita Pritchard who got his first ever start hit just 11-30 for 149 yds but SU converted twice on 4th down on their final drive and despite being outgained 459-235, the Cardinal ended USC's 35 game winning streak at The Coliseum in perhaps the biggest upset of all-time. Keep in mind, that SU had been outscored 141-51 in their first 3 Pac-10 games.

KEY PLAYS OF THE GAME

A key play in the SM/Rice game happened when SM hit a 50 yd pass across midfield which was clearly a catch. Amazingly the replay officials ruled it hit the ground although the ball had bounced off the opposing player. Two plays later SM committed one of their 7 TO's setting up a TD for a 28-7 lead...

N Illinois led Temple 6-0 with 2:54 left 1H and was at the Temple 19 when they fmbl'd and it was ret'd 66 yds for a TD giving Temple a 7-6 lead, a huge turnaround in the game. NI still led 15-13 but TU took over with 3:47 left and drove 56/12pl for a 39 yd FG with :09 left to pull out the win...

While Florida St did miss a pair of FG's and settled for a short FG in the 1H, four key plays doomed the Wolfpack. They were int'd at the FSU 7 with :32 left in the half. After getting 2 FD's to open the 3Q they were int'd & ret'd 46 yds for a TD and FSU led 17-10. FSU punted early 4Q but roughing the P gave them a FD and on the next play FSU got a 40 yd TD pass, 24-10. NCSt then fmbl'd the KO and FSU added a 28 yd FG with 10:50 left. NCSt was int'd at the 16 with 6:08 left and each team finished with 19 FD's although FSU did have a 381-268 yd edge.

HAIL MARY PRAYERS ANSWERED

Tulane appeared to have pulled out the win vs Army leading 17-10 but with :04 left Army threw a Hail Mary pass that went 36 yds for a TD as WR Wright was ruled inbounds on a diving tipped catch in the back of the EZ. Army settled for a FG to start OT but Tulane missed a 34 yd FG wide left and Army got the win. Tulane RB Forté rushed for 202 yds on 32 carries. As a frosh in 2004 Forté had rushed for 216 yds and 4 TD's vs Army. Army won consecutive games for the first time since 2005...

W Michigan had the game vs Akron locked up. They led 38-31 with :15 left and Coach Cubit opted to have WR Simmons run out of the EZ on 4th down for a designed safety setting up a free kick for the last play of the game. Amazingly, the ball headed towards the left sideline where Alphonso Owen scooped it up, tossed to Andre Jones and he followed a blocking wedge for an amazing 89 yd KR TD with no time left on the clock. Akron had scored a 51 yd TD pass with 10:06 left trailing 38-24 in their miracle win.

TURNOVERS MAKE A DIFFERENCE

At the half, Boston College only had a 251-193 yd edge vs Bowling Green and in fact, BG got a TD with 8:55 left in the half to make it 14-10. Amazingly in the final 6:00 of the 1H BG would have 4 int's including 2 which BC ret'd for TD's and the Eagles led 38-10 at the half. In the 2H BG went on 13, 7, 13 and 5 pl drives but was int'd in the EZ twice. After the game, however, BG Coach Brandon said that BC is arguably the best team he's played since he's coached there and last year they lost to #1 Ohio St 35-7...

Cincinnati continues to live on TO's forcing 4 more vs Rutgers and have now forced 25 TO's this season. UC has opened up 6-0, their best start since 1954. Leading 28-23 they got an int with 1:19 left to seal the victory...

E Carolina trailed UCF 28-17 at the half but UCF imploded in the 3Q with 5 TO's and also allowed a 96 yd KR TD. UCF had 29-16 FD and 495-370 yd edges but EC had 52 points for the first time since 2002 and RB Johnson set a single game school record for all-purpose yards with 372 for the Pirates...

UCLA starting QB Ben Olson was inj'd and with Patrick Cowan also out, 3rd stringer McLeod Bethel-Thompson played the final 3Q's of the game vs Notre Dame. The walk-on had 4 int's and a fumble which was ret'd 34 yds for a TD and was a key factor in the Irish 20 points. UCLA had a 280-140 yd edge but 7 TO's.

MISLEADING FINALS, FRONTDOOR AND BACKDOOR COVERS

Indy should have been up by more vs Minnesota but settled for 32 & 47 yd FG's in the 1H after key dropped passes cost them TD's and they led 27-14 at the half. Indy settled for 25 and 43 yd FG's to open the 3Q and was only up by 19 after 3Q's. UM got a TD with 6:51 left for the apparent backdoor cover, 33-20. They forced a punt but with 4:29 left where not only int'd but ret'd 47 yds to the 5 and Indy got a TD on the next play for the frontdoor cover with 1:23 left. UM threatened the backdoor getting to the Indy 22 but their 4th & 10 pass was incomplete...

Wake led 24-9 at the half vs Duke and got an 18 yd FG after an int and then got a 30 yd IR TD and led 34-9. Duke would battle back with 3 consecutive drives for TD's to get an apparent backdoor cover, 34-29 with 11:05 left. The next 3 poss were punts then Duke was SOD at the WF 47. WF got a 53 yd TD run with 2:18 left for the frontdoor cover but Duke went 67/10pl and got a 3rd & 19 TD pass with 1:05 left for the backdoor cover...

Troy led Florida Int'l 34-10 in the 4Q but FIU got a 9 yd TD pass with :29 left for the backdoor cover.

INJURIES OF NOTE

SM starting QB Jeremy Young was out and backup QB Stephen Reaves was inj'd in practice so 3rd stringer Martevious Young started vs Rice. He was inj'd and lost for the season on the 3rd play so Reaves gutted it out and played the entire game. Seven TO's doomed SM as they had 21-14 FD & 322-236 yd edges but did trail 31-7 after 3Q's rallying for 3 TD's including one with 2:46 left. They missed a 2 pt conversion and trailed by 2 and after forcing a punt, lost their 7th TO of the game with 1:08 left...

Auburn was missing 4 starting defensive players including star DE Quentin Groves but still was able to put pressure on Vandy's QB's. Auburn did get back RB Brad Lester who missed the first four games to suspension and he rushed for 77 yards on 13 carries...

Indiana put up 40 pts vs Minnesota but did suffer some key injuries as RB's Thigpen and Sears were both inj'd in the 1H and Thigpen's backup, McCray was ruled out prior to the game. Also starting C Ben Wyss was inj'd in the 1H and did not return...

WV QB Pat White missed most of the 2H with thigh and shoulder inj's...

NC State lost RB Andre Brown to a fractured foot, its 2nd top RB to go down this season. Jamelle Eugene filled in and rushed 14 times for 101 yards...

Missouri's leading rusher Tony Temple sprained an ankle in the 1H and had just 3 carries for -2 yards but Missouri still plastered Nebraska 41-6 with a 606-297 yd edge...

Idaho starting QB Nathan Enderle missed last week's game vs San Jose St and Brian Nooy, in his first career start led ID to 141 yards in the 1Q and the team held on to the ball for nearly 10:00 but trailed 7-3. ID had just 110 yds the rest of the game. SJSt led 28-6 in the 4Q before allowing a couple of late ID TD's but Idaho did have a chance to tie it getting the ball back with 2:00 left before Nooy was int'd...

Due to inj's Toledo was down to 3rd string QB DJ Lenehan and he hit 19 of 23 for 226 yds. UT had a 293-282 yd edge but needed a TD and xp with 3:47 left to pull out the win...

Virginia RB Cedric Peerman, the ACC's leading rusher, left the Middle Tenn game in the 2Q with a leg inj and his status for this week is questionable. He had just for 19 yds on 5 carries prior to the injury...

Hawaii QB Colt Brennan was inj'd once again, this time in the 2Q vs Utah St with the team up 24-14 and he played just one series in the 2H before leaving due to injury again. Brennan hit 19 of 25 for 219 and Tyler Graunke hit 9 of 11 for 246 in his place and winless Utah St trailed 52-27 before getting a couple of scores including a 15 yd TD pass with :27 left...

Zac Robinson, the starting QB for OSU was inj'd in the 3Q and Bobby Reid, the starter at the beginning of the year filled in well hitting 6 of 9 passes for 72 yards...

Maryland's #1 tackler Erin Henderson who had a bad knee, did not play vs Georgia Tech nor did starting QB Jordan Steffy...

Fresno St did lead Nevada 28-17 at the half but UN lost starting QB Nick Graziano in the 2Q to injury and he may be lost for the season. Colin Kaepernick replaced and hit 23-36 for 384 yds but much of that was late, after the game had been decided. In fact, UN scored 3 TD's in the final 6:42 including 2 in the final :29 of the game. That made the statistics misleading as UN piled up 702 yards offense to FSU's 475. They had 231 yds on their final 3 drives...

Northwestern RB Tyrell Sutton missed his 4th consecutive game.

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