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Phil Steele: NCAAF News and Notes

Phil Steele: NCAAF News and Notes

NCAAF News and Notes
By Phil Steele

Not much was expected of Virg Tech’s offense vs Maryland but Darren Evans emerged and set a school record with 253 yds rushing. It was close early with the Terps having a pair of drives end in a missed FG and a 41 yd FG while VT had 1 drive for a TD and led 7-3. VT went on to lead 23-13 and took over with 5:38 left and generated 4 FD’s on an 11pl drive and was able to run out the clock....Wisconsin dominated Indiana piling up 441 yds rushing on 61 carries. They won 55-20 despite a 4-1 TO deficit...Michigan clinched a losing season the week before but showed plenty of life piling up a 232 yds rushing and 203 yds passing vs Minnesota. Michigan had an 11-1 FD edge at the half and a 257-46 yd edge...Ohio St/Northwestern both came in at 7-2 on the season but the Buckeyes showed who was the stronger team dominating NU 45-10. They led 24-7 at the half and Terrelle Pryor had a fantastic game escaping many tackles and converting 7 plays for FD’s on 3rd & at least 9 yds to go...Iowa St led Colorado 10-0 at the half and 24-13 with 9:14 left. They punted with 4:32 left and Colorado drove 81/11pl for a TD with just 1:30 left to take the lead but ISU went 58/9pl and had a 1st & gl at the 1. On 2nd & gl from the 1 on the last play they were tkl’d for a 2 yd loss and CU hung on...Clemson got a TD and a FG on their first 2 poss but the rest of the game was dominated by Florida St. In fact, FSU fmbl’d a punt at their own 9 giving CU a TD 2pl later and roughed the punter, allowing CU to keep a drive alive for a 20 yd FG. FSU was also int’d in the EZ on a tipped pass but still came away with a 41-27 win...E Carolina has taken control of the CUSA East with a couple of OT victories. Last Sunday night they trailed UCF 10-0 late 2Q but rallied to force OT and win it there. This past Saturday they led Marshall 10-9 when they got a 15 yd punt with 1:33 left only to their own 40. MU got a 34 yd TD pass to tie it and EC missed a 42 yd FG and it went to OT where EC won it. Last year Marshall knocked EC out of the CUSA Title game with an upset...Oregon led 10-0 early but was tkl’d for a safety with 8:41 left and SU, after the free kick, drove for a TD with 2:18 left for its first lead of the game, 28-27. The Ducks drove 88/11pl and got a TD and 2 pt conversion with just :06 left to escape with the win and had a 415-325 yd edge overcoming a 4-1 TO deficit... Duke blew some chances vs NCSt. They had 25-17 FD and 411-377 yd edges. NCSt did get an 89 yd KR TD and Duke was SOD on 4th & 1 at the NCSt 10 in the 2Q, SOD on 4th & gl at the 1 (5:32 3Q), SOD on 4th & 6 at the NCSt45 (13:45) and SOD at the NCSt 12 with 4:34 left. Another key play happened when Duke LB Jones tipped an NCSt pass in the Wolfpack EZ but he couldn’t hold on to the int and NCSt got a 53 yd run on the next play to get out of the hole...LSU’s poor record in afternoon games continued as they lost at home to Alabama despite the fact the 4Q was played after sunset. LSU had a 382-353 yd edge. LSU QB Lee hit 13 of 34 with 4 int’s and despite Miles talking about playing frosh Jefferson, he did not attempt a pass. Bama had a 29 yd FG blk’d a the end of regulation but won it in OT...S Carolina still has some question marks at QB as Stephen Garcia and Chris Smelley combined to hit just 13 of 30 passes for 219 yds but SC still coasted against Arkansas. SC led 34-14 with 6:21 left when Ark drove 80/13pl for a garbage TD with 1:18 left...The Sooners have scored 231 pts in 4 games since their loss to Texas and OU had a 653-278 yd edge over Texas A&M...Nebraska was beaten 76-39 by Kansas the previous year but KU had not won in Lincoln since 1968. NU actually led 45-28 before KU got a 75/9pl drive for a garbage TD with 2:15 left...Kentucky rolled up 226 yds rushing vs the SEC’s 2nd ranked run D and nearly upset Georgia, twice leading in the 4Q. UGA actually jumped out to a 14-0 lead but UK, which had problems with punt blocks vs Florida, blk’d a punt and got a 96 yd KR to get back in it. UK led 38-35 most of the 4Q but UGA thanks to a 78 yd pass to Massaquoi to the 2, got a TD with 1:54 left to pull out the win...Trevor Vittatoe threw 5 TD’s passes as UTEP was probably a bit insulted about being a 10 pt dog to an SBC team and waxed ULL 37-24. The game was 37-17 in the 4Q when ULL got a late TD...Kodi Burns became the first Aub QB to rush for over 100 yds since 1976 and that was accomplished by Phil Gargis. AU was actually tied with the UT Martin Skyhawks who came in 7-2 in FCS, 20-20 in the 3Q but pulled away for a 17 point win...Washington St became the first Pac 10 team to give up over 500 pts in the season and still has 3 games left to play so the 600 barrier is clearly in danger. They actually played one of their better games of the year “only” losing to Arizona 59-28. WSU actually had its first lead in a Pac 10 game this year when they got a TD early to go up 7-0...Myles Eden had a great start the previous week for SJSt vs Idaho leaving fans to speculate they’d found a replacement for Kyle Reed. Eden in his 2nd start hit 3 of 8 passes for 11 yds with 2 int and Kyle Reed, who isn’t 100% hit 4 of 14 for 79 yds but 62 of them came on one play as LT held SJSt to 6 FD’s in their 21-0 road win...W Virginia held Cincinnati to just 2 FD’s after the half and rallied to force OT getting a TD with :18 left, rec’ing an onside kick and getting a 52 yd FG on the last play of regulation. WV kicked a 27 yd FG in OT and while UC went 4 plays (incl a WV penalty) for a TD, won despite WV’s 317-260 yd edge...FIU’s WR T.Y. Hilton had a school record 199 yds receiving and also threw the game winning TD pass with 2:04 left. Hilton had actually fmbl’d on a reverse, scrambled then just threw a wobbly pass for the 38 yd TD. Dustin Rivest set the school single game record with 5 FG’s (ranging from 33-43 yds). FIU threw for 359 yds...The key play to the Hawaii/New Mex St game came in the 2Q when UH got the famed “14 pt swing” on a 91 yd IR TD and instead of trailing, they led by 13 pts. NMSt never really rec’d.

TURNOVERS CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE - The final score shows a 41-7 Pitt win. They benefitted from 5 UL TO’s. The Cardinals actually had a 17-14 FD edge and Pitt only had a 320-299 yd edge. Louisville fmbl’d 2 punts in the 1H. Pitt led 27-7 in the 2H when they got a 3 yd FR for a TD and :50 later an 18 yd IR for a TD to blow it open, 41-7. UL was also SOD twice. Pitt RB LeSean McCoy who had 5 straight games of 142 yards rushing or more actually had negative yardage at one point in the 2H and finished with a career low 39 yds rushing...The stats are a little misleading in the Georgia Tech/N Carolina game as it shows GT with a 423-314 yd edge. They trailed 21-0 when they got an 85 yd TD run by Dwyer and GT took over with 1:34 left and drove 46 yds on their final drive trailing 28-7. TO’s did aid NC. The game was 7-0 and GT had missed a pair of FG’s, when GT fumbled a punt setting up a NC 30/6pl drive for a TD. GT fmbl’d 2pl later and NC went 42/5pl for another TD to lead 21-0...Notre Dame had a 5-0 TO deficit vs BC and lost despite a 292-246 yd edge. The key play of the game happened when ND (down 3-0) was driving and Clausen threw an int that was ret’d 76 yds for a TD. It was the first shutout for either team in the series that started back in 1975 and it was BC’s 3rd shutout of the season.

INJURIES OF NOTE - Stanford RB Toby Gerhart inj’d his hamstring early in the 1Q and was limited to 21 yards on 8 carries vs Oregon. That kept him short of becoming Stanford’s first 1,000 yard rusher since Tommy Vardell in 1991 as he now has 931 yds...The key to the SMU/Memphis game happened in the 2Q when Bo Levi Mitchell led SMU to the MEM27 but was inj’d and lost for the rest of the game. SMU brought in Willis at QB for 2 runs and settled for a FG. With Mitchell out the rest of the game, they went to little used Logan Turner who had a decent game hitting 19 of 31 for 228 but had not received a lot of work with the 1st Tm and SMU lost to Memphis by 3....Houston piled up 693 yds offense while holding Tulane to just 268 in their 42-14 rout. TU, which was already without RB and WR due to inj lost QB Joe Kemp to a broken collarbone in the 2Q.

DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN - Whenever W Michigan plays a BCS conf team, you have to consider a possibility of an upset and once again Bill Cubit engineered another win over a BCS conf foe. This time they beat a very good Illinois team 23-17 in a game that they led 23-10 in the 4Q...Last year Rutgers went into Syracuse and was down 14-0 and looked like they would possibly lose the game but then rallied and ended up winning big. That was the case again. While RU trailed 14-0 vs SU, it was really the result of just 2 plays. SU got an 82 yd TD run by Hogue on their 2nd poss and a blk’d punt for a TD and stunningly led 14-0 after 1Q. SU only had 2 FD’s at the half and finished with 7 for the game as RU had a 483-168 yd edge.

MISLEADING FINALS - Texas led Baylor 28-14 at the half and 42-14 after 3Q’s. They added a 30 yd FG with 5:47 left but Baylor got a 40 yd TD run with 4:58 left...Kansas St’s D did play well as they only trailed Missouri 10-0 with 6:33 left in the 2Q. KSt was stopped by 1 yd on a fake FG averting one of their drives but MO controlled the rest of the game and led 41-10 and had the ball at the KSt 6 yd line. They were SOD with 1:25 left and KSt got a 93 yd TD run, rec’d the onside kick and drove 57/6pl for a TD. Prior to that 93 yd TD run, MO led 41-14 with a 511-213 yd edge but KSt’s 2 late scores for a misleading final...Rice led Army 31-10 at the half and 38-17 after 3Q’s but Army’s option offense got 61 and 43 yd TD runs in the 4Q and they rushed for 461 yds.

BCS BOWL BUSTERS - Utah remains at the front of those teams but the Utes had another narrow escape, much like their earlier one vs Oregon St. TCU jumped out to a quick 10-0 lead and it was 10-6 at the half. Twice TCU had FD’s at the Utah 24 but 3rd down sacks forced them to punt. Utah was SOD at the TCU35 and had a FD at the TCU25 but a pen and a loss forced a punt. Late in the game, TCU missed a 26 yd FG with 5:49 left then a 35 yd FG with 2:48 left and Utah drove 80/9pl for a TD with :48 left to pull out the win.

UNBEATENS - Penn St dominated Iowa for a good portion of the game but couldn’t put them away. PSU fmbl’d on the 3rd play of the game, rec’d at the 1 and punted but Iowa only needed to drive 25 yds for a TD for a quick 7-0 lead. PSU went 71/19pl, 75/11pl and 78/16pl in the 1H but settled for a pair of FG’s and only led 13-7 despite an 18-5 FD edge. PSU had 2H leads of 16-7, 23-14 and had the ball leading 23-21 with 3:46 left when they were int’d at the Iowa 15 and the Hawkeyes would drive for the FG that ended PSU’s National Title hopes...Texas Tech left no doubt that they deserve to be #2. Against Okla St they had 10 offensive drives. They fmbl’d on their opening poss setting up an OSU TD but then scored TD’s on 7 straight drives. They fumbled on their 9th drive but scored a TD on the 10th and final drive in their 56-20 rout with a 629-368 yd edge.

BCS CHAMPIONSHIP - It certainly looks like the winner of the Florida/Alabama SEC Title game will be playing for the National Championship (provided UF does not drop one of their final 3). UF beat Vanderbilt much worse than the 42-14 score would indicate as they led 35-0 at the half and VU gained the majority of their yards and points late with the outcome already decided. The Big 12 Champ (provided it is not Missouri) will also play in the title game but if Oklahoma beats Texas Tech two weeks from now, the Big 12 South will have a mini-version of the usual problems suffered by the BCS at the end of the year. Okla, Texas and TTech would all be ranked in the Top 10 and all have just 1 loss and so the polls would determine who would play in the Big 12 Title game.

OUTGOING COACHES - It was announced that Phil Fulmer would be let go at the end of the year and he said the team responded well in practice. Unfortunately, it didn’t show on game day. While Wyoming scored 13 pts, both TD’s were basically scored by the defense. UW got a 55 yd IR to the 4 which set up a TD then a 24 yd IR TD and led 13-0 at the half. Tennessee got a TD on the opening drive of the 3Q but punted twice and then was SOD at the WY19 and 47 in what was a def struggle and the Cowboys got the upset.

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