NCAA College Football – Week Seven Recap
It was an exciting week in college football as five ranked teams went down to defeat, records were broken and several long-running streaks (including one in Austin, TX dating back to 1893) came to an end. Here are all the highlights from this week in the Top 25.
#1 Louisiana State 38, Tennessee 7
Tennessee became just the second team this year to rush for more than 100 yards against the Tigers defense, but an anemic passing game gave the Vols no shot at pulling the upset. Starting in place of the injured Tyler Bray, Tennessee quarterback Matt Simms finished just 6/20 for 128 yards and two interceptions. Tigers quarterback Jarrett Lee had another efficient day, going 10/14 for 115 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Backup quarterback Jordan Jefferson, who has played more each week since returning from suspension, also got in on the action, rushing 14 times for 73 yards and a touchdown. This is LSU’s seventh-straight double-digit win, and gives the Tigers a school-record six straight wins over an SEC East opponent.
#2 Alabama 52, Mississippi 7
Alabama rolled up 615 yards of total offense against an overmatched Ole Miss squad that is now 0-3 in the SEC. Crimson Tide running back Trent Richardson made another strong statement in his Heisman campaign, rushing for 183 yards and a career-high four touchdowns in the win. The 45-point margin was Ole Miss’ biggest loss since 1981. Alabama has now beaten the Rebels eight straight times.
#3 Oklahoma 47, Kansas 17
The Sooners got off to a lackluster start, leading by just 10 at halftime, before turning things on in the second half to put away the Jayhawks. Oklahoma’s star wide receiver Ryan Broyles set a new NCAA-record for career receptions (326), while catching 13 balls for 217 yards and two touchdowns. Kansas actually had to be relatively pleased with the first half, “only” giving up 27 points (they were down 56-7 at half last week at Oklahoma State), while rolling up 246 yards and 17 points of their own. But whatever OU defensive coordinator Brent Venables said in the locker room worked, as the Sooners held the Jayhawks to just six total yards and one first down in the second half.
#4 Wisconsin 59, Indiana 7
Wisconsin had a bye week last week, and things didn’t get much tougher this week against an Indiana squad that came into the game ranking 97th in the nation in total defense. Wisconsin running back Montee Ball rushed for 142 yards and three touchdowns and threw a touchdown pass to quarterback Russell Wilson on a trick play. Ball has scored at least two touchdowns in six straight games, the longest such FBS streak since 2005. The Badgers have now won six straight games by at least 30 points. There is a silver lining for the Hoosiers — last year they lost this game 83-20.
#5 Boise State 63, Colorado State 13
Boise State turned their first Mountain West Conference game into a laugher, jumping out to a 35-0 lead after just 20 minutes of play. Quarterback Kellen Moore threw for 338 yards and four touchdowns, while running back Doug Martin added 200 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. Both players did all their damage in the first 2 ½ quarters, after which the Broncos’ backups played the rest of the way.
Boise finished with 742 yards of total offense to the Rams’ 231.
#6 Oklahoma State 38, #22 Texas 26
Texas knew that Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon were big play threats for Oklahoma State’s offense. But they weren’t prepared for big plays from the Cowboys’ running game. Running back Jeremy Smith carried the ball just seven times but made them count, gashing the Longhorns for 140 yards and two touchdowns. Texas almost doubled OSU’s time of possession and outgained the Cowboys on the ground, but were hampered by quarterback David Ash’s inability to make big plays in the passing game (22/40 for 139 yards and two interceptions in his first start). Prior to last season, Oklahoma State had not won in Austin since 1944. Now, thanks to a quirk in Big 12 scheduling, they have done it two years in a row. This is the first time that Mack Brown has lost a game the week after the Red River Rivalry (13-0 before today). It also marked the first time in school history (70-0 coming into this week) that the Longhorns lost a game in which they rushed for over 200 yards.
#7 Stanford 44, Washington State 14
Leading just 10-7 at halftime, the Cardinal exploded for 28 unanswered points to open the second half and put the game out of reach. Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck finished with 336 passing yards and four touchdowns, all of which came in the second half. But as big as Luck’s numbers are, Stanford’s real strength is its defense, which leads the Pac-12 in virtually every defensive category and held Washington State to just 48 rushing yards and 257 total yards. Stanford has now won 14 straight games, the longest winning streak in FBS. The Cardinal’s last nine wins have all been by at least 25 points.
#8 Clemson 56, Maryland 45
Clemson is off to its first 8-0 start since 2000, but had to do it the hard way this week. Maryland took a 35-17 lead early in the third quarter before the Tigers offense took the game over and outscored the Terps 39-7 the rest of the way. Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd, who left last week’s game with a hip injury, returned to throw for 270 yards and four touchdowns in the win. The Tigers also got a big performance on the ground, with running back Andre Ellington carrying the ball 24 times for a career-high 212 yards and two touchdowns. However, the Clemson defense struggled all game and had no answer for Maryland sophomore quarterback C.J. Brown who threw for 177 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 162 yards and a touchdown in his first career start.
#9 Oregon 41, #18 Arizona State 27
Playing without the injured LaMichael James, Oregon’s potent running game got off to a slow start, only rushing for 58 yards in the first half. But the Ducks turned it on in the second, posting 269 yards and two touchdowns on the ground to take the game in hand. Neither defense really played a factor, as the two teams combined for 996 yards. The first half was a back-and-forth affair, and Arizona State held a 24-21 lead early in the third quarter before the Ducks responded with 17 unanswered points to put the game away. Oregon quarterback Darron Thomas left the game with a leg injury in the third quarter. He returned to the sideline wearing a leg brace, but the severity of his injury is not yet known. The Sun Devils have lost 16 straight games against teams in the Top 10. The game was Oregon’s 20th-straight home win and came in front of the largest crowd (60,055) in Autzen Stadium history.
#10 Arkansas BYE
The Razorbacks return to action next week at Ole Miss.
#23 Michigan State 28, #11 Michigan 14
Michigan’s Denard Robinson came into the game leading the Big Ten in rushing, but he was swallowed up by a swarming Spartans defense that came into the game ranked first nationally in total defense and certainly looked the part on Saturday. Robinson was held to just 123 passing yards and 42 yards on the ground. MSU running back Edwin Baker carried the load for the Spartans, rushing for 167 yards and a touchdown in the win. The Spartans have beaten Michigan four straight years, their longest such streak since 1959-1962. The Michigan State victory sets up a huge game in the Big Ten next week, with the Spartans hosting #4 Wisconsin.
Virginia 24, #12 Georgia Tech 21
The Yellow Jackets came into the game ranked fourth in the nation in total offense, but were largely kept in check by a Cavaliers defense that held Georgia Tech to just 24 passing yards (272 on the ground) and gave up just 14 offensive points. While Georgia Tech’s triple-option rushing attack was certainly the story coming into the game, Virginia answered with a two-headed monster ground game on their own, with running backs Perry Jones and Kevin Parks carrying the ball a combined 35 times for 235 yards and a touchdown.
#13 West Virginia BYE
The Mountaineers return to action next week at Syracuse.
#14 Nebraska BYE
Bo Pelini’s defense got a big dose of bad news this week when it was revealed that All-American defensive tackle Jared Crick’s college career is finished after suffering a torn pectoral muscle in last week’s win over Ohio State. Nebraska plays at Minnesota next week.
#15 South Carolina 14, Mississippi State 12
Playing his first game without Stephen Garcia looking over his shoulder, Gamecocks quarterback Connor Shaw didn’t have a great game (just 155 passing yards, one touchdown and two interceptions), but made a play when it mattered, hitting Alshon Jeffrey for the go-ahead touchdown with 3:50 to play. USC running back Marcus Lattimore, who came into the game leading the SEC in rushing at almost 130 yards per game, was held to just 39 yards on the ground.
Ohio State 17, #16 Illinois 7
Playing his first game of the season, twice-suspended Buckeye running back Dan Herron carried Ohio State to victory with 24 carries for 114 yards and a touchdown. The Buckeyes utilized about the most conservative game plan you’ll ever see, with quarterback Braxton Miller completing just one pass for 17 yards and, instead, relying on a strong running game and a stout defense that forced three turnovers. The Illini’s nation’s-best streak of 21 straight games forcing a turnover came to an end, but not their home losing streak to the Buckeyes, which has now reached 10 straight. This was just the third time since 2000 that an FBS team won a game in which it completed just one pass.
#17 Kansas State 41, Texas Tech 34
Wildcats quarterback Collin Klein rushed for three touchdowns and threw for another as Kansas State survived an upset bid by the Red Raiders. Texas Tech led the game late in the third quarter before Klein, who finished with 146 yards passing and 110 rushing, scored twice at the end of the third and beginning of the fourth quarter to put KSU ahead for good. Tech quarterback Seth Doege threw for 460 yards, but turned the ball over four times, three of which came on consecutive possessions in the fourth quarter. The Wildcat win snaps a five-game Texas Tech winning streak in this series.
#19 Virginia Tech 38, Wake Forest 17
After last week’s upset of Florida State, the Demon Deacons had to be feeling pretty good when they jumped out to a 10-0 lead on Virginia Tech. But it wasn’t to last, as the Hokies rolled off 28 unanswered points in an 11 minute span in the second and third quarters. Tech quarterback Logan Thomas had another strong performance, passing for 280 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for two more. Thomas now has nine touchdowns (five passing, four rushing) in his last two games. After Wake Forest had taken a 10-0 lead, the Hokies offense outgained the Deacons 471-198. Wake has not won at Virginia Tech since 1970.
#21 Texas A&M 55, #20 Baylor 28
A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill threw for 415 yards and a career-high six touchdowns as the Aggies routed Baylor. Texas A&M had the worst pass defense in the nation, and it showed again with Bears quarterback Robert Griffin III throwing for a school-record 430 yards and three touchdowns. But the Bears were unable to get anything going on the ground (50 rushing yards) and had no answers for a Texas A&M offense that is clicking on all cylinders, averaging over 47 points per game the last three weeks. Baylor had pulled within six late in the third quarter before the Aggies closed the game out with 21 unanswered points. A&M junior receiver Taylor Swope was Tannehill’s top target, catching 11 passes for 206 yards and four touchdowns in the win.
#24 Auburn 17, Florida 6
The Tigers came into the game with one of the worst defenses in the SEC, but were able to turn up the heat this week against the Gators’ two freshmen quarterbacks. The team sacked the Gators four times and held them to just 120 yards passing, no touchdowns and one interception. They also held their running back Chris Rainey to just 33 yards on 16 carries. Three Florida turnovers led to 10 Auburn points. Between both schools making quarterback changes and other players taking snaps in the Wildcat, seven different players actually took snaps at quarterback in the contest.
#25 Houston BYE
The Cougars will return to action next week hosting Marshall.