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College Football 2012 – Week 11 Recap

Texas A&M knocks off top-ranked Alabama.
Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

Now things are getting interesting.

Texas A&M threw college football for a loop, pulling off the biggest upset of the season and, at least for the time being, knocking the SEC out of the national title picture. But that was far from the only excitement this week in college football.

Here is all the action from around the Top 25.

#15 TEXAS A&M 29, #1 ALABAMA 24

The legend of “Johnny Football” continues to grow as Texas A&M went into Tuscaloosa and pulled off the biggest upset of the college football season. Quarterback Johnny Manziel threw for 253 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 92 more yards against the Crimson Tide’s top-ranked defense. But overlooked in the effort was the surprisingly strong performance from the Aggies defense that forced three turnovers and held Alabama to a season-low 122 rushing yards. A&M jumped out to a 20-0 first-quarter lead and then held off a second half Alabama rally that ended when quarterback A.J. McCarron threw his second interception with 1:36 left. Manziel is now just the second freshman quarterback ever to upset a #1 team on the road and to have 2,000 pass yards and 1,000 rushing yards in the same season.

#2 OREGON 59, CALIFORNIA 17

Marcus Mariota threw for a career-high 377 yards and school-record six touchdowns as the Ducks overcame a slow start to blow the game open late. Cal actually pulled within seven points early in the third quarter before Oregon closed the game with 35 unanswered points. Oregon outgained the Bears 575-349, although they were flagged 11 times for 105 yards. Oregon has scored 40+ points in 13 straight games, a new FBS record.  Cal has now lost four straight for the first time ever under coach Jeff Tedford.

#3 KANSAS STATE 23, TEXAS CHRISTIAN 10

Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein rushed for two touchdowns as the Wildcats moved themselves two wins away from a possible national title shot. TCU’s stout defense actually did a fine job, limiting the Wildcats to just 260 total yards and holding Klein to less than 200 total yards for the first time this season. But the Horned Frogs offense was held scoreless for the first three quarters and was just 4-of-15 on third down conversions. This is the first time since 1997 that TCU has lost three straight home games.

#4 NOTRE DAME 21, BOSTON COLLEGE 6

Everett Golson threw for two touchdowns and ran for another as the Fighting Irish kept their national title hopes alive with a win over their long-time rivals. The Notre Dame defense, which came in ranked second in scoring, held the Eagles to just two field goals and only one trip into the Irish red zone while forcing two fourth-quarter turnovers. Notre Dame is now 10-0 for the first time since 1993, while Boston College is off to its worst season start since 1989.

#5 GEORGIA 38, AUBURN 0

Georgia clinched the SEC East title and a spot in the conference title game with a shutout win over an Auburn squad that has lost six of its last seven games. Georgia outgained the Tigers 497-238 and scored on each of their first four possessions, putting this one out of reach early. Freshman Todd Gurley had his seventh 100+ yard rushing day and had a touchdown to go along with quarterback Aaron Murray’s three passing scores. Georgia has won six of the last seven in this series and the overall series is now tied all-time at 54-54-8.

#5 OHIO STATE, BYE

After becoming the first FBS team to ten wins this season, the Buckeyes finally got a bye week to prepare for the last two obstacles standing between them and an undefeated season. Ohio State returns to action next week at Wisconsin before closing out the season at home against archrival Michigan.

#7 FLORIDA 27, LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE 20

Florida scored with 1:42 to go to tie things up and then returned a blocked punt for a score with just two seconds left to secure the most unlikely come-from-behind win of the weekend. Louisiana-Lafayette came into the game ranked 89th in the nation but held the Gators to just 311 total yards. The Ragin’ Cajuns scored 17 unanswered points in an 11 minute span of the second half to take a 20-13 lead before backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett, playing for starter Jeff Driskel who left the game with an ankle injury, led the Gators on a four-play, 49-yard drive for the tying touchdown. Then, with 1:40 left, Louisiana-Lafayette was unable to get a first down on three plays, setting up the fateful punt attempt that was blocked and returned for the winning score.

#8 FLORIDA STATE 28, VIRGINIA TECH 22

Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel threw a 39-yard touchdown pass with just 40 seconds left to help the Seminoles survive another tough visit to Blacksburg. Manuel singlehandedly carried his team, throwing for 326 yards and three touchdowns while Florida State was held to minus-15 yards rushing on the night. The Hokies actually outgained the Seminoles, 385-311, but the vast majority came on their four scoring drives as the offense struggled to find any consistency. Virginia Tech turned the ball over three times and had nine drives that lasted five or fewer plays and covered less than 15 yards. The loss ensures that Virginia Tech’s nations-best streak of seasons with at least ten wins will come to an end at eight.

#9 LOUISIANA STATE 37, #22 MISSISSIPPI STATE 17

LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger had another solid game, throwing for 273 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. But the big story was once again the Tigers defense, which forced two turnovers, held Mississippi State to just 47 yards on the ground and returned a fourth-quarter interception 100 yards for a score. Bulldogs quarterback Tyler Russell threw for a career-high 295 yards and a touchdown, but was shut out while LSU added 17 unanswered points in the game’s final 27+ minutes. LSU has not lost back-to-back home games since 2001.

#10 CLEMSON 45, MARYLAND 10

Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd threw for 261 yards and three touchdowns as the Tigers had no problems dispatching Maryland for the third consecutive time. The Terrapins have lost their top four quarterbacks to injury, so freshman Shawn Petty, a converted linebacker, was held to just 41 yards passing, although he did toss a third-quarter touchdown. He also fumbled twice and led Maryland to just one third-down conversion on 13 attempts and a season-low 180 total yards.

SYRACUSE 45, #11 LOUISVILLE 26

Syracuse jumped out to a 31-10 second quarter lead and never looked back, snapping a three-game losing streak to the Cardinals. Orange running backs Jerome Smith and Prince-Tyson Gulley rushed for a combined 242 yards and three touchdowns as Syracuse brought a sudden end to Louisville’s undefeated season. Cardinals quarterback Teddy Bridgewater had another big game, throwing for 424 yards and three touchdowns. But in the end, this came down to Louisville’s inability to stop the Orange. Syracuse racked up 524 yards of total offense, with 331 coming in the first half. The loss ends Louisville’s six-game road winning streak.

#12 SOUTH CAROLINA 38, ARKANSAS 20

Without Marcus Lattimore to lead the rushing attack, Gamecocks quarterback Connor Shaw stepped up, throwing for 272 yards and two touchdowns, to help South Carolina end a three-game losing streak to the Razorbacks. The Gamecocks’ defense had another solid game, forcing three turnovers, returning an interception for a touchdown and holding Arkansas to just 83 rushing yards. The Razorbacks made it into the South Carolina red zone five times, but came away with just two touchdowns.

#16 STANFORD 27, #13 OREGON STATE 23

In his first career start, Kevin Hogan threw for 254 yards and three touchdowns while running back Stepfan Taylor added 114 yards and a score on the ground to lead Stanford past the Beavers. Stanford turned the ball over four times, but Oregon State was only able to turn them into three points. Meanwhile, the Beavers only turned the ball over once, but it set up the go-ahead score in the final six minutes of the game.

#14 OKLAHOMA 42, BAYLOR 34

Oklahoma’s defense held the nation’s top passing attack to just 172 total yards. Sooners quarterback Landry Jones, meanwhile, countered with 277 yards and two touchdowns. Backup quarterback and short-yardage specialist Blake Bell broke out for a 55-yard touchdown run, the longest by a Sooner quarterback since 1998, to seal the victory in the fourth quarter. Baylor, which beat the Sooners for the first time ever last season, is now 0-11 all-time in Norman and 0-27 in road games against ranked Big 12 opponents.

#17 UCLA 44, WASHINGTON STATE 36

Don’t let the final score fool you—Washington State scored 22 late points against UCLA’s backups to make the score much more respectable than the game actually was. UCLA erupted for 30 unanswered points in the second quarter to take a 37-7 lead into the locker room. Bruins quarterback Brett Hundley threw for 261 yards and three touchdowns. But the big story was the Bruins’ defense and special teams, which held Wazzu to just 70 rushing yards, forced three turnovers, blocked two field goals and returned one for a touchdown, returned a fumble for a score and recorded a safety, all in the first half. Washington State’s Connor Halliday passed for 330 yards and five touchdowns in the loss.

#18 NEBRASKA 32, PENN STATE 23

Taylor Martinez threw for 171 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 104 to lead the Cornhuskers to their fourth fourth-quarter comeback win this season. Penn State, which had outscored its previous opponents 137-33 in the first half, led 20-6 at the break before Nebraska went on a 26-3 run in the second half. The game’s key play came on a fourth quarter play when Penn State was driving for the lead. Tight end Matt Lehman was reaching the ball out for the goal line when it was knocked loose and was recovered in the end zone by Nebraska. They play was reviewed and upheld, allowing the Huskers to maintain their lead. Nebraska came into the game ranked 106th in turnovers, but actually won the turnover battle, 3-2, to help them maintain their lead in the Big Ten’s Legends division.

#19 LOUISIANA TECH 62, TEXAS STATE 55

Second only to Oregon in total offense, Louisiana Tech had another big night, rolling up 627 yards and 62 points. However, they needed every bit of those numbers as Texas State rolled to season-highs in both yards and points themselves. Running back Kenneth Dixon rushed for 144 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Bulldogs’ scoring. Quarterback Colby Cameron threw for 337 yards and three scores while running his NCAA-record string of passes without an interception to 419. In the win, Dixon broke Marshall Faulk’s NCAA records for the most touchdowns, rushing touchdowns and points by a freshman.

#19 TEXAS 33, IOWA STATE 7

Texas lined up in the wishbone to honor former coach Darrell Royal, and the game quickly turned into a mismatch from there, with the Longhorns outgaining Iowa State 609-277. After being benched two weeks ago, quarterback David Ash had his second-straight solid performance, throwing for 364 yards and two touchdowns. After struggling much of this season, Texas’ defense finally had an impressive game, holding the Cyclones to less than 300 yards, forcing two turnovers and giving up just three third-down conversions in 12 attempts. Iowa State had four drives go inside the Texas 40 in the first half, but came away with points in just one of them.

#21 SOUTHERN CAL 38, ARIZONA STATE 17

Trojans running back Curtis McNeal racked up 185 total yards and three touchdowns while receiver Marquise Lee added 161 yards and a score through the air to help USC avoid its first three-game losing skid since 2001. Arizona State took the lead early in the third quarter before USC responded with 24 unanswered points.  The two teams combined for nine turnovers. Arizona State has not won at The Coliseum since 1999.

BALL STATE 34, #23 TOLEDO 27

In a rare Tuesday night game, Ball State scored the final 14 points of the game to put an end to Toledo’s eight-game winning streak. The Cardinals were outgained 526-446 and turned the ball over three times, but were still able to pull off the upset thanks to 280 yards and three touchdowns from quarterback Keith Wenning. Toledo running back David Fluellen rushed for 200 yards and a touchdown in the loss, the third time this season he has topped the 200-yard mark.

#24 RUTGERS 28, ARMY 7

Army dominated the first half, and the game was tied at seven after three quarters before Rutgers capitalized on Army mistakes to erupt for 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter. In the games’ final minutes, the Black Knights mishandled a punt snap, giving Rutgers the ball at the one-yard line. Minutes later, they fumbled and the Scarlet Knights returned it for a touchdown to seal the win. For the game, Army gave up three fumbles and had two field goals blocked. Rutgers held the Black Knights, the nation’s leading rushing offense, to just 282 yards on the ground compared with their season average of 375.4. Army has not beaten a ranked opponent since 1972.

#25 TEXAS TECH 41, KANSAS 34 (2OT)

Kansas scored the final ten points of regulation to force overtime, but was unable to respond to a touchdown by Red Raiders receiver Darrin Moore in the second overtime period. Tech quarterback Seth Doege threw for 476 yards and three touchdowns to help the Red Raiders survive. Kansas had just 29 passing yards in the game, but got a career-high 202 rushing yards from Tony Pierson in the loss. However, the game will mostly be remembered for what happened off the field, as video of Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville knocking off an assistant coach’s headset and cap quickly went viral. The Jayhawks have lost 19 straight conference games and 17 straight on the road.

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