NCAAF: Let Downs -- Week 11
NCAAF: Let Downs -- Week 11
Let Downs -- Week 11
By Judd Hall
Week 10 of the college football season wasn’t as packed with upsets as others. Only 13 underdogs claimed outright victory, and you could count on one hand the matches that were legitimate upsets.
The caliber of the upsets we saw, particularly the one in Lubbock, proved that quality will always beat out quantity.
Three teams are set all too well for the trap this Saturday. Let’s take a look.
Northwestern wasn’t sure what it was going to get out of backup quarterback Mike Kafka last Saturday at the Metrodome to start against the Golden Gophers. Well, the Wildcats know what they have now after he ran for 217 yards and completed 12 of 16 passes for 143 yards and a pair of touchdowns. As great as Kafka played, he wasn’t able to lead his offense to score in the second half. Luckily safety Brendan Smith came up with a 48-yard interception return for a touchdown with 12 seconds in regulation for the outright win, 24-17, as a 5½-point road underdog.
Things look great for the ‘Cats right now, but that could be short lived knowing that Ohio State is coming to Evanston this week. The Buckeyes’ defense may not be as opportunistic as what Northwestern just faced, but they have given Pat Fitzgerald’s team fits in recent years. Just last year the Bucks held the Wildcats without a positive rushing yard as a team. And C.J. Bacher couldn’t do better than get picked off twice in a 58-7 laugher. The defense that performed this dissection of the Northwestern offense is in tact and should have no problems in repeating the performance. Also, Ohio State is 3-0 SU and ATS in its last three meetings with the ‘Cats.
This Jacket is a little too tight…
Georgia Tech may have been a 2½-point favorite against the Seminoles, but it must have known that line was set only because it was playing in Atlanta instead of Tallahassee. Sure the Yellow Jackets were able to play their style of offense, racking up 288 yards on the ground en route to a 24-10 lead. Yet Paul Johnson’s squad played not to lose for the remainder of the contest as Florida State fought back to trail 31-28. And the ‘Noles would have won had Marcus Sims not fumbled the ball into the end zone. Now the Jackets inch one step closer to a spot in the ACC title game for the second time in three years under a brand new coach.
The Yellow Jackets now must come face to face with the other surprise team in the league, North Carolina. Butch Davis has kept his club on a steady pace despite losing its starting quarterback and No. 1 threat at wide receiver. The Tar Heels also have one of the better rushing defenses in the ACC, giving up just 113.6 yards per game on the ground. That could prove important against the triple option attack that Georgia Tech likes to use.
We knew we were going to be in for one hell of a game between Texas Tech and the Longhorns, but that game last Saturday night was ridiculous. The Red Raiders surged out to a 22-6 halftime lead over their foes from Austin. The ‘Horns weren’t scared since they were down 21-0 two years ago in Lubbock at the half, pulling out a 35-31 when all was said and done. Texas certainly made it look like history was repeating by taking the lead, 33-32, with 83 seconds left in regulation. Mike Leach’s squad was up to the task as Graham Harrell completed five of six passes for 62 yards. The final completion being for 28 yards as Michael Crabtree performed an escape most video game players couldn’t pull for the final score with just two seconds remaining.
Now the Red Raiders must find a way to pull themselves together emotionally this week for their next big tilt with Oklahoma State. Some might think there is no way that the Cowboys can hold up to what Texas Tech can produce, but they’d be wrong. Mike Gundy has one of the best receivers in the nation in Dez Bryant, who scored four touchdowns last week against Iowa State. And the Cowboys can run the ball well as evidenced by their gaining 263 yards on the ground versus the Cyclones.