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The Crimson Tide ride a win over Penn State back to the top spot in the Week 3 BlogPoll.
Denard Robinson's game for the ages against Notre Dame leads the Week 2 SitRep.
When it was announced that the Michigan Wolverines would be playing a home night game for the first time in their approximately 80,000-year history, and doing so while wearing special faux-throwback uniforms against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, two schools of thought emerged.
The first being that this is a classic matchup of classic programs in a classic setting with an exciting twist, and the second being that neither of these teams is very good at football. It was like being told we all had to go to Grandma's house for a week, and not the Grandma we like, but the one who insists on doing old person things like watching Notre Dame and Michigan.
But, thanks to the late-game mastery of Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson, we arrived at a happy place of which both young and old could eagerly approve. Grandma's house was awesome! Robinson finished with 432 yards and four touchdowns, offsetting his three interceptions and once again crushing Irish hopes.
Michigan emerged the 35-31 winner, coming back from 17 down in the fourth quarter and regaining multiple final-minute leads. If you're just now joining us, you read that right. The Wolverines became the 2010 Wolverines again after a dabbling into ManBall, turning Robinson loose because they had no other option but to turn Robinson loose.
Of course, they were helped by the fact that the Irish remained the Week 1 Irish, at one point turning the ball over while a tumble away from a touchdown for the fifth time this season.
The video highlights:
Michigan and Notre Dame played Calvinball, the Pac-12 learned to punt and more scores from around college football.
Only in the Pac-12 could a score change after the game has ended, which is kind of fitting for the conference's first-ever matchup. Utah and USC engaged in a wild finish, with the Trojans winning the game by three, 17-14. Or so we thought. Turns out, that wasn't the final score, and the Pac-12 overruled the call on the field some two hours later.
The Pac-12 has overruled officials on the field. TD on last play counts. Final is USC 23, Utah 14.
To recap, USC blocked Utah's last-second field goal try and returned it for a touchdown. Except the touchdown didn't count for some reason as the Trojans were flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct after the bench rushed the field in a Cal-Stanford moment. It's beyond us how this nullified the score at the time -- especially since the official actually said "by rule, that penalty is declined" -- but that's what happened.
And then everything changed as the Pac-12 stepped in and fixed the wrong. In doing so, the score also covered the spread, meaning many heartbroken bettors are now happy bettors hours after the game ended.
Welcome to the Pac-12, Utah. You'll get used to this.
It wouldn't be a college football Saturday if Rick Neuheisel didn't try to derp a game away. As luck would have it, Neuheisel's UCLA Bruins have the nightcap, and are struggling mightily with San Jose State at the Rose Bowl. In the fourth quarter, San Jose State and UCLA are all tied up at 17, and we're going to go ahead and predict a painful ending for someone.
UCLA scored first as Johnathan Franklin plunged into the end zone from one yard out in the first quarter. But instead of rolling over in the face of the almighty Bruins, San Jose State bounced right back as David Freeman scored on a one-yard run of his own. UCLA regained the lead midway through the second quarter on a Joseph Fauria touchdown catch, and the balance of power was restored.
UCLA and San Jose State traded field goals to open the half before the Spartans knotted the score at 17 on a 65-yard touchdown run by Brandon Rutley. That's where we stand early in the fourth quarter, with UCLA trying to fend off San Jose State. We all predicted this, right? It is some kind of rivalry game or something.
With his team trailing 24-7 early in the fourth quarter, Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson put his team on his back to score a stunning, 35-31 win over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish under the lights at the Big House.
Robinson recovered running back Stephen Hopkins' goal-line fumble and ran it into the end zone to cut the lead to ten points. On Michigan's next possession, the offense took advantage of a short-field as Robinson hit Jeremy Gallon for a 14-yard touchdown to a cap a 5-play, 40-yard drive to pull within three.
Notre Dame would drive down to the Michigan 7-yard line on their next possession, but the Irish were once again victimized by a red zone turnover as a Tommy Rees fumble at the Michigan seven-yard line was recovered by the Wolverines. Robinson connected with Junior Hemingway on a 45-yard pass that had 15 yards tacked on for a roughing the passer penalty. On the next play, however, another jump-ball throw from Robinson was intercepted in the end zone by Robert Blanton.
Michigan's defense answered the call, forcing a key three-and-out and giving the ball back to Robinson. After using his legs to convert a third-and-two, Robinson hit Kelvin Grady in stride for a 27-yard gain on first-and-10 from the Irish 48-yard line. On the next play, Robinson rolled out to the right before throwing a screen pass back to his left to running back Vincent Smith, who eluded several Notre Dame defenders on his way into the end zone for a 21-yard touchdown that gave the Wolverines a 28-24 lead over the Irish with just over a minute to play.
Following a 34-yard return by wide receiver Theo Riddick, the Irish took over at their own 39-yard line. A 15-yard pass interference penalty quickly got them into Wolverines territory. Notre Dame quarterback Tommy Rees hit Tyler Eiefert for 12 yards and gained five yards on a check-down to T.J. Jones, who stepped out of bounds to stop the clock. After an incomplete pass, Rees hit a wide open Riddick for a 29-yard touchdown to retake the lead 31-28 with 30 seconds remaining on the fourth quarter.
Taking over at their own 20-yard line, Robinson hit Gallon for a 64-yard catch-and-run that gave the Wolverines a first-and-ten at the Irish 16-yard line with eight seconds remaining. Instead of kicking the field goal, Robinson was giving one shot at the end zone and he found Roy Roundtree, who fought off through an interference penalty to make the catch and give the Wolverines a 35-31 lead with two ticks left on the clock.
On the night, Robinson completed just 11 passes, but they went for 338 yards and four touchdowns. Robinson also had a team-high 108 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
Next week, Michigan head coach Brady Hoke has the challenge of keeping his Wolverines focused on their home game with Eastern Michigan, while the Irish host the Michigan State Spartans in South Bend next Saturday afternoon.
Lane Kiffin attempted to put the game out of reach with about four minutes to go, sending quarterback Matt Barkley off the right side on a third-and-one keeper in Utes territory. A chop block was called on John Martinez, USC punted, and I don't remember ever seeing a penalty on a QB sneak. A third-down QB sneak.
The Utes had a chance to travel like the entire field to tie the game up, but that's a long, long way to go against a defense full of superior talent on the road. Utah's only option: punt and hope for the stop.
USC sent Marc Tyler into the line a few times, then handed the ball back over with about a minute left. There was some debate in the SB Nation news room about whether Jordan Wynn could throw the ball far enough for a scoring drive to even be possible.
Wynn got the Utes to midfield despite fleeing for his life on every snap, as he'd done for much of the evening. On fourth down, Wynn fired a high fastball to DeVonte Christopher that appeared to be spotted well short of how far the ball had actually advanced. Like an entire yard short.
The error was corrected, a field goal was attempted, it was blocked, and USC has won another silly game by the narrowest of margins.
Oh, and an unsportsmanlike penalty negated the touchdown USC scored by running back the blocked field goal. Something for everybody!
The No. 10 Nebraska Cornhuskers survived a scare from the Fresno State Bulldogs, earning a hard-fought 42-29 win to get to 2-0 on the 2011 season.
Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez led the Cornhuskers with 15 carries for 167 yards and two touchdowns, with his 46-yard touchdown with just over two minutes to play clinching the win for the Cornhuskers. Tonight was the seventh 100-yard rushing game of the sophomore quarterback's career.
Nebraska also got 48 yards on 14 carries from running back Rex Burkhead, who added a pair of touchdowns and recovered a fumble following the first of Martinez's two interceptions on the night.
The Bulldogs led 17-14 at the half, getting big games from running back Robbie Rouse (35-166-0) and quarterback Derek Carr, who completed 20-of-41 pass attempts for 254 yards and a touchdown and added a touchdown run of his own in the first quarter.
Nebraska hosts the Washington Huskies in Lincoln next Saturday in a rematch of the 2010 Holiday Bowl, which the Huskies won 19-7. This will be the third meeting between Nebraska and Washington in the last 12 months. After opening their season with a neutral site game against the California Bears and on the road against Nebraska, the 0-2 Bulldogs play North Dakota at home next week in Fresno.
Running back Malcolm Brown's 14-yard run on third-and-eight allowed the No. 24 Texas Longhorns to take a couple of knees to close out a 17-16 win over the BYU Cougars on Saturday night in Austin, Texas.
The Longhorns' offense struggled, with starting quarterback Garrett Gilbert completing just 2-of-8 pass attempts for eight yards and two interceptions before giving way to David Ash and freshman Colt McCoy, the younger brother of Longhorn legend and current Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy. Ash and McCoy combined to complete 9-of-11 pass attempts for 92 yards, with Ash adding nine carries for 36 yards.
Texas had 166 yards on the ground, led by Browns' 68 yards with Cody Johnson adding a pair of second-half touchdown runs, including a four-yard run with 8:46 to play that turned out to be the game's deciding points.
Cougars sophomore quarterback Jake Heap was 22-of-38 for 192 yards and a touchdown on the night, but was intercepted twice. Heap's first interception came late in the first half and led to a Longhorn's field goal, and again on BYU's final offensive possession of the game.
The USC Trojans are involved in a contentious affair to kick off Pac-12 action, since the day's earlier game between the Colorado Buffaloes and California Golden Bears was but a mirage and not officially a Pac-12 game. Still, the Utah Utes trail only 17-14 with about 13 minutes to go in the fourth quarter.
USC has dominated the yardage (381 to 286) and first downs (23 to 14) battles, but three turnovers have put them in this pickle. Really feel like this one is gonna come down to an egregious Lane Kiffin special teams mistake that works perfectly. (Hint: USC is playing.)
Jordan Wynn has manned the Utah offense ably, throwing for 204 yards and a touchdown on 33 attempts, along with nary an interception.
After three quarters of play in Lincoln, the No. 10 Nebraska Cornhuskers clung to a one-point lead over the Fresno State Bulldogs. Running back Rex Burkhead added some breathing room early in the fourth quarter with a six-yard touchdown run to give the Cornhuskers an eight-point lead.
Fresno State actually led 17-14 at the half, thanks in large part to a 67-yard punt return by wide receiver Devon Wylie and some shaky quarterback play by Nebraska's Taylor Martinez, whose strength still appears to lie with his legs. Martinez is just 10-of-21 passing, but several of his completions have been for big gains, including three pass plays of over 40 yards.
Martinez hit Quincy Enunwa for a 16-yard touchdown to give the Cornhuskers the lead in the third quarter.
Thus far, the Bulldogs are grinding it out with running back Robbie Rouse, who has 26 carries for 126 yards on the night. Quarterback Derek Carr is 16-of-30 for 161 yards and the three-yard touchdown to open the scoring.
Notre Dame running back Cierre Wood has 75 yards and a four-yard touchdown run to help give the Fighting Irish a 17-7 lead over the Michigan Wolverines at halftime in the first ever game played under the lights at the Big House in Ann Arbor.
Irish wide receiver Michael Floyd added seven first-half receptions for 112 yards as the preferred target of quarterback Tommy Rees, who opened the scoring with a 7-yard touchdown pass Theo Riddick with 9:05 to play in the first quarter. Wood added a touchdown to extend Notre Dame's lead to 14-0 in the first quarter.
Rees is 13-of-22 for 166 yards in the first half, but has been intercepted twice, including once that the Wolverines' two-yard line when he tried to hit a well-covered Floyd on a first down play.
Michigan got on the board when quarterback Denard Robinson completed a 43-yard strike down the left sideline to Junior Hemingway, who made an athletic play to hit the pylon with the ball while being tackled by an Irish defender. Robinson has seven carries for 40 yards on the ground, but has completed just two of his nine pass attempts for 48 yards and was intercepted once in the first half.
The Irish will get the ball to start the second half.
Dear Memphis: It's time. If it wasn't before, now it is. When Arkansas State is dominating you, it's time to kill the program. Blow it up and start from scratch, Tigers. It can't be worse than the continued humiliation. It just can't.
In the middle of the third quarter, Arkansas State pulled its starters with a 40-point lead. This isn't some powerhouse program: It's Arkansas State. And the Red Wolves are completely dominating Memphis.
A few numbers that stand out:
On the total yards front, Arkansas State is out-gaining Memphis by a margin of 552-158.
The Red Wolves have 356 yards passing on the night, more than double Memphis' total yards.
On the ground, it's 196 yards for the Red Wolves.
But hey: Memphis is winning the turnover battle by a 2-1 margin. That's a moral victory, at least.
As for the score, Arkansas State is in front late in the fourth quarter, 47-3. At least basketball season starts soon, but to dull the pain, it might be a good idea to just call it a season now before this gets any worse. It's the right thing to do for all of us.
Stick with us at SB Nation's college football news hub for more on the day's events.
The Fresno St. Bulldogs are usually good for a significant upset every year -- literally, in fact -- and more than a few Nebraska Cornhuskers fans are worried tonight might be the night. Taylor Martinez just passed a touchdown to Quincy Enunwa to make it 21-20 in favor of the new Big Ten team, but a quarter and a half of a quarter (an eighth) remain.
Martinez has looked pretty darn bad through the air on the night, completing only six of his 17 attempts and hurling two picks. His ground game has made up for much of that, as he leads with 117 yards.
Fresno quarterback Derek Carr can't match that rushing performance (he has 16 yards!), but he's avoided major mistakes, avoiding turnovers and achieving a modest 5.6 yards per attempt. Robbie Rouse has the rushing high for the Bulldogs with 111.
Tyler was suspended for the season-opener against the University of Minnesota following comments he made alluding to payments for players to gossip site TMZ.com.
USC quarterback Matt Barkley has completed 10-of-17 pass attempts for 151 yards, but a costly interception inside the red zone cost the Trojans an opportunity to build on a 10-0 second-quarter lead. The Trojans drove back into the red zone on their next possession, but running back D.J. Morgan fumbled behind the line of scrimmage and the Utes recovered.
The Florida St. Seminoles picked on Charleston Southern, 62-10, which means the Noles were unable to cover the game's 57-point spread.
You are embarrassed and should go to FSU blog Tomahawk Nation.
The Fresno State Bulldogs are giving the No.24 Nebraska Cornhuskers all they can handle on Saturday night, leading 17-14 at the half.
Nebraska sophomore quarterback Taylor Martinez has struggled in the passing game, completing just three of 10 attempts for 66 yards and an interception, but has 110 yards and a one-yard touchdown on the ground. The Cornhuskers have struggled on third downs, completing 1-of-7 attempts and are 1-for-2 on fourth-down conversions.
Meanwhile, Fresno State received contributions from the third phase of the game when wide receiver Devon Wylie returned a punt 67 yards for a touchdown to open the scoring. After Martinez's touchdown run, the Bulldogs drove 67 yards on 10 plays with Derek Carr breaking into the end zone to give Fresno State a 14-7 lead.
Burkhead added a one-yard touchdown run late in the second quarter, which the Bulldogs answered with a 22-yard field goal by Kevin Goessling.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish coach Brian Kelly's decision to start Tommy Rees at quarterback this week looks to have been the right move, or maybe they're just playing the Michigan Wolverines defense. Through two scoring drives, Rees was eight-for-eight as the Irish led 14-0 and the much-hyped first-ever night game at the Big House has so far been all Notre Dame.
Denard Robinson's conversion into a more conventional quarterback has turned up some exciting moments, but it's also delivered an early interception. Robinson has 17 rushing yards, but has completed only one of his four passing attempts.
Recently reinstated Notre Dame receiver Michael Floyd is the leading producer from scrimmage, with 44 yards on three catches.
Rees did eventually cool down, throwing an ugly overthrow and an underthrow before Notre Dame lined up to punt the ball back.
It's not often that South Carolina-Georgia games turn into shootouts. It happens occasionally -- as it did in 2009, the last time the rivalry traveled through Athens -- but generally they are low-scoring, closely-fought affairs.
This year was a little of both. The game was close -- there were seven lead changes in a game decided by a field goal -- but it was also a barnburner, with 87 total points. In the end, it was South Carolina claiming a second straight win in the series for the first time in a decade and taking the inside track in their bid to repeat as SEC East champions.
Whichever team had won, it shows the major flaw in the two teams that essentially split the preseason consensus on who would win the SEC East: Defense. Both defenses had some great moments at times, and had some questionable ones at other points in the game. You don't pass the 800-yard mark in a game with the kind of defensive play we're accustomed to seeing in SEC division champions.
That makes it all the more ironic that the key player in the game was one of South Carolina's defensive linemen: Melvin Ingram. Ingram had a 68-yard touchdown run off a fake punt, scooped up an Aaron Murry fumble and carried it five yards for another touchdown and snagged an onsides kick at the end of the game that allowed the Gamecocks to wear down the clock.
Despite the odd off throw -- including a terrible interception that was returned for a touchdown -- Murray still showed why he's a rising star among SEC quarterbacks, tossing four touchdowns in what could be one of the last gasps of the Mark Richt Era at Georgia.
South Carolina is by no means in the clear, and there's still plenty of time for Georgia -- or Florida or maybe Tennessee, which has looked strong so far -- to catch up. But for now, South Carolina gets a clean start in the SEC East. Warts and all, that's not a bad thing to have.
After a pair of Justin Sorenson field goals gave BYU a 6-0 lead after the first quarter, Heaps lead an eight-play, 82-yard drive that ended with the Issaquah, Washington native hitting Apo for six points. Heaps has completed 11-of-19 passes for 173 yards and a touchdown on the night, a much better night than Garrett Gilbert, his counterpart under center for the Longhorns.
Gilbert is just 2-of-8 for eight yards and has been intercepted twice. Sophomore Case McCoy, younger brother of former Longhorns and current Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy, replaced Gilbert in the second quarter.
California's 36-33 overtime win over Colorado doesn't count as a Pac-12 win this year. But the Bears' close call in Boulder will have Cal on alert for when it does.
A late Colorado field goal pushed the game into overtime, tied at 30, and another three-pointer from Buffaloes kicker Will Oliver forced Cal to score or lose in the second possession of the first overtime. Keenan Allen came through with a touchdown on a five-yard pass from Zach Maynard, giving the Bears a win and pushing their record on the season to 2-0.
Colorado got back into the game, which it trailed 16-6 at halftime, with a passing game that put up 474 yards, all from the arm of Tyler Hansen. But miserable play in the most critical moments — the Buffs were 6-for-17 on third down — and miscues aplenty (12 penalties for 98 yards) doomed Colorado in the end.
The South Carolina-Georgia game has already seen five lead changes so far. For now, the lead is not going to change again -- it's 28-20 in favor of South Carolina -- but the Bulldogs are driving near midfield and could tie the game with a touchdown and two-point conversion, obviously.
Georgia took the lead about halfway through the third quarter, when a 17-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Aaron Murray to Isaiah Crowell put Georgia in the lead 20-14. Then things started to come apart for the Georgia offense, with a fumble setting up a short South Carolina touchdown, and an pick-six by the Gamecocks' Antonio Allen on a pass that hit Allen between the numbers.
Georgia bounced back, though, with Murray going a perfect 8-of-8 while the Bulldogs drove 88 yards. Murray also hit Tavarres King on the two-point conversion to tie the game at 28.
The Colorado Buffaloes have bounced back from a loss to Hawaii in Week 1, storming back in the fourth quarter to force overtime against Cal with the score tied at 30. Colorado scored on the first play of the quarter, taking a four-point lead at the time, 27-23. Cal answered, though, setting up a lengthy drive by the Buffalo to force the extra frame.
Down by four, C.J. Anderson found the end zone from 20 yards out as the Bears took the lead back, 30-27. But Colorado went into grinder mode, methodically moving down the field on a drive that spanned 6:40 seconds. The end result was a field goal with 30 seconds to go as Colorado tied the score at 30.
We're off to overtime in Boulder as the Bears and Buffs battle it out in a Pac-12 matchup that's actually not -- it counts as a non-conference game as it was scheduled before Colorado joined the league.
We're feverishly updating with scores and lunacy from around the country, but here are some interesting scores you might've missed on the college football scoreboard:
Stanford 44, Duke 14: Thanks to a (Duke fluke!) pick-six, the Blue Devil trailed Andrew Luck and company only 10-7 late in the first half. The error was corrected.
TCU 35, Air Force 19: One of the few schools with the power to call itself a rival of TCU's put up a late rush -- because the run the ball a lot -- but the Horned Frogs actually kept pace on the ground, posting 214 rushing yards.
Oregon 69, Nevada 20: Darron Thomas tied a school record with six touchdowns, and Puddles' demise has been preemptively announced.
Tennessee 45, Cincinnati 23: A game that was supposed to be a shootout was indeed, with Tyler Bray's 405 yards and four touchdowns giving Derek Dooley a rare tranquil victory.
Stick with us at SB Nation's college football news hub.
Alabama trailed Penn State in the first quarter at 3-0. That was about the only point in the Crimson Tide's 27-11 win that the game wasn't firmly in their hands. Alabama spread out its scoring, getting on the board in all four quarters, and crushed Penn State with balanced offense and suffocating defense.
Alabama got 196 rushing yards — 111 from Trent Richardson, who scored two touchdowns — and 163 passing yards, all from A.J. McCarron, against a tough Penn State defense. And Alabama's defense held the Nittany Lions to just 251 yards of total offense and under four yards per play.
Penn State quarterbacks Robert Bolden and Matt McGloin both struggled mightily, with Bolden starting three-for-eight through the air before being yanked for McGloin ... who completed one of 10 passes on the day. Bolden finished with 12 completions on 29 throws, with his best plays, a 26-yard pass to Shawney Kersey and a scramble for a two-point conversion, coming on the Nittany Lions' final drive, with the outcome decided.
Alabama moves to 2-0 on the season and should remain highly rated in the college football rankings. Penn State could fall out of the top 25 in the AP and USA Today polls.
In a way, it's not really surprising that East Carolina ultimately lost the game to Virginia Tech, 17-10. Statistically, the Pirates go run off the field, picking up just 111 yards of total offense to Virginia Tech's 327. ECU was 3-of-13 on third and fourth down. East Carolina averaged 3.3 yards per pass attempt and netted minus-15 yards on the ground.
But Frank Beamer's 200th win was still a heartbreaking loss for his opponents, because they were so close for so long. East Carolina carried a narrow, 7-3 lead into halftime. Virginia Tech wasted little time getting a touchdown on their first drive of the second half to regain a 10-7. They never trailed again, but the game was tied for stretch late in the third quarter and a good way into the fourth before Virginia Tech scored again.
Not that there aren't some major warning signs for the Hokies. Logan Thomas was 8-of-20 for 91 yards and a pick. One-dimensional doesn't even begin to describe Tech's offense, which picked up 236 of its 327 yards (72.2 percent) from the running game.
For now, a win's a win. And given their fairly easy schedule, the Hokies can probably win a lot of games while getting the kinks worked out.
For more on the Hokies, visit our Virginia Tech blog at Gobbler Country.
Clemson gets Auburn next week.
To celebrate without a care in the world (no), head to Clemson blog Shakin' The Southland.
A 14-13 game between rivals like South Carolina and Georgia, who have a history of playing each other close, should be interesting enough. But the coaches in this one have gone the extra mile, to wit:
After all those events -- plus a touchdown pass apiece by Aaron Murray (to Rantavious Wooten) and Stephen Garcia (to Alshon Jeffery) -- leave the game were it is: A one-point lead in a series that have been defined by close and somewhat bizzare games. Just another year in the South Carolina-Georgia showdown.
In two weeks, Russell Wilson has carved up defenses as Wisconsin has rolled to dominating wins. We'd say he's doing quite well for himself in his new home. But just to be sure it was the right decision, let's check on North Carolina State.
Wow... while Russell Wilson is thriving at #8 Wisconsin, NC State is losing 27-6 to Wake Forest. Mike Glennon 10-17, 77 yds, 1 INT.less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet ReplyBruce Feldman
Nah, NC State couldn't use him or anything.
How much had the offenses sputtered in the SEC East battle between South Carolina and Georgia before Stephen Garcia hit Alshon Jeffery on a 34-yard touchdown pass? Perhaps it's best to just describe what happened a few moments before.
Trailing 6-0 and sitting at his own 29 on fourth-and-one, Steve Spurrier decides to go for it with more than 10 minutes left in the half. That's vintage Spurrier -- impatient and impetuous. But something goes awry with time management, and the Gamecocks call a timeout.
Steve Spurrier does not reconsider. He sends the offense back out on the field, and once the pre-snap motion is setting down -- Georgia calls timeout. Steve Spurrier still does not reconsider his decision. The Gamecocks take the field again -- and call a timeout. At which point they decide to punt it anyways.
Meanwhile, Georgia's offense has shown an amazing ability to get deep into Gamecock territory and break down. Despite having an almost 50-yard advantage in total offense, the Bulldogs led by just a score before Garcia and Jeffery connected.
The East Carolina Pirates took a 7-3 lead into the locker room against the Virginia Tech Hokies, who were supposed to cruise through their ACC and out-of-conference schedules with the greatest of ease. An interception by Logan Thomas was the major mis-step for the Hokies, who outgained ECU by well more than 100 yards.
VPI re-asserted itself immediately in the third, with a 39-yard run by David Wilson leading to a Josh Oglesby goal line plunge to make it 10-7.
This one really doesn't appear to be in doubt for the Hokies, based on that massive yardage differential and the apparent fact that the Pirates can't do a thing against Tech's defense. Still, much like West Virginia's early struggles with Norfolk State, it's a reminder that anybody can hang with just about anybody for at least a half or so.
For more, head to Virginia Tech blog Gobbler Country.
So Oregon isn't too crushed by that season-opening loss to LSU, it turns out. The Ducks aerated Nevada in the first half of their Week 2 matchup, putting up 41 points in short order.
The first Oregon scoring drive took 3:43 to travel 79 yards on 11 plays, and ended with a failed two-point conversion. All five touchdowns that followed it came on drives that lasted 2:17 or less, and only one of those took more than six plays.
Darron Thomas has been very sharp, throwing for 226 yards and five touchdowns and adding 35 rushing yards to his tally, but Oregon's spread running has been just as good. LaMichael James and De'Anthony Thomas have combined for 145 yards on 18 carries, and those two running backs and the Thomas who throws have each gashed Nevada's defense for more than 20 yards on a single carry.
The bright side for Nevada? The Wolf Pack did score, once. That's why the score's 41-7 at halftime.
For more on Oregon, visit Addicted to Quack.
At the moment, Beaver Stadium is unhappy valley. Alabama has come in and, after an early Penn State field goal, run up a 17-3 halftime lead.
The Tide has scored a pair of touchdowns on a pass from A.J. McCarron -- whose numbers are better than they were in the season opener against Kent State -- to Michael Williams and a three-yard rush by Trent Richardson. Overall, Bama has gained 171 yards to Penn State's 92.
The Penn State quarterback rotation, meanwhile, continues to struggle. Rob Bolden and Matthew McGloin are a combined 5-of-17 for 43 yards, which works out to an average of 2.5 yards per pass attempt. Silas Redd has 46 yards on 14 carries, but the long run of the day for Penn State remains eight yards. And the Nittany Lions have just one drive of more than 21 yards -- the 54-yard drive that ended in a field goal.
In a matchup of two of America's brainier and more selective colleges, Stanford is getting a game effort from Duke in Durham. The Cardinal lead, 17-7, at the half, but only after a late touchdown from Andrew Luck to Chris Owusu finished a lightning-quick drive.
That four-play, 59-yard blitz made up for an interception by Luck on the previous drive. Lee Butler took a Luck throw back 76 yards for a touchdown that cut the Cardinal lead to 10-7 midway with just over two minutes left in the second quarter.
With that blitz, Stanford put some points behind a half it won handily everywhere but on the scoreboard. Stanford's outgained Duke by almost 100 yards, ground the Blue Devils' running game (14 carries, 17 yards) into a fine powder, and harassed Sean Renfree (sacked four times), but the Cardinal haven't been able to convert that dominance into a commanding lead, thanks mostly to the pick-six.
For more on Stanford, visit Rule of Tree.
They're not the first teams to find themselves in difficult spots against supposedly inferior teams -- not on the season, and not even today -- but a couple of the ACC's members are now in hot water against midmajors and FCS teams. After South Carolina fell behind East Carolina early last week, Virginia Tech is following suite against the Pirates. Meanwhile, Clemson is tied with a nearby FCS team after digging a whole early. (You can find your own fun college football scores here.)
Wofford's triple-option attack, meanwhile, has churned out 162 rushing yards as the Terriers try to upset Clemson. Again, the Tigers have more yardage at the half, but the scoreboard says 21-21 -- after having read 21-13 at one point.
Auburn is apparently going to make this last-minute escape deal a signature of its game. In this case, though, it was a last-minute stop of a driving Mississippi State team that preserved the win. The Bulldogs came ever so close to pushing the ball across the goal line twice on the final drive -- once on a leap by running back Vick Ballard that went out of bounds just short, and yet again on the last play of the game, when Auburn stopped quarterback Chris Relf with the ball just inches from the goal line.
This is the same Auburn team that used a last-minute onsides kick and drive to finally put down a challenge from upstart Utah State last week. Maybe they only play well with their backs against the wall.
In any case, the game was not a showcase for supposedly superior SEC defenses. The teams combined for 52 first downs, 912 total yards and, of course, 75 points. Three players -- Relf, Ballard and Michael Dyer -- rushed for more than 100 yards. It was eerily reminiscent of last year's Arkansas-Auburn game, without the national championship implications.
At least, you would think. There's only so many times you can run towards the end of the cliff before you fall off.
Alabama didn't score on its first drive, and didn't take the first lead against Penn State in their clash with the Nittany Lions in Happy Valley. But Nick Saban's team still leads.
The Crimson Tide went three and out to begin their trip to State College, then answered Penn State's early field goal with an 11-play, 69-yard drive that was capped by a five-yard pass from A.J. McCarron to Michael Williams. Jeremy Shelley's extra point made it 7-3 in Alabama's favor.
'Bama's been able to move the ball through the air against Penn State, despite playing the inexperienced McCarron. He's connected on six of his nine throws for 67 yards, picking up an offense that has struggled on the ground, gaining just 13 yards on six rushing attempts.
Penn State's Robert Bolden has been the struggling young quarterback in this game, completing just three of his eight throws. He has since been shuffled out for Matt McGloin.
The West Virginia Mountaineers trailed Norfolk State at halftime, but won 55-12. Oh. Sorry, Mr. Holgorsen.
For more, visit West Virginia blog The Smoking Musket.
The Iowa Hawkeyes and Iowa St. Cyclones gave the young college football season its first triple-overtime shootout in a contest that could be this series' last in Ames for a while. And Iowa State, which might find itself without a major conference soon, took home the really boring new Cy-Hawk Trophy, 44-41.
The Hawks forced the (counting ...) seventh frame when Iowa quarterback James Vandenberg passed to Keenan Davis for a 23-yard squirt of a touchdown to counter a touchdown scoot by ISU's James White. But the third OT began with the Cyclones holding Iowa to a Mike Meyer field goal, setting up sudden death.
White took advantage, banging in a four-yard touchdown to close out a memorable game that never really should've gotten this far. The Cyclones ended up outgaining Iowa 472 to 363, but turned the ball over thrice.
Update: Iowa State won in triple overtime.
The Iowa Hawkeyes led 10-0, 16-10 and 24-17 at various points in their Week 2 rivalry game against the Iowa St. Cyclones, the battle for the all-new Cy-Hawk Trophy. With just over a minute left, ISU quarterback Steele Jantz passed to Darius Darks from four yards out to knot it up.
That trophy actually might explain why nobody really wanted to win this game, but off to overtime we went, and off to overtime we've stayed.
Iowa had the ball first, leaning on running back Marcus Coker as they had all day -- he had 28 attempts entering extra time. He rushed four straight times against stacked defensive fronts to begin overtime, eventually putting in a four-yard touchdown.
An Iowa penalty gave the Clones a short field to work with, and Steele Jantz converted by finding Darius Reynolds to tack on another frame.
The Toledo Rockets put together a 13-play drive to get into the Ohio State Buckeyes red zone down just one score in the fourth quarter, but came up just short of putting together a massive upset. The Buckeyes have just barely kept their various winning streaks involving in-state and unranked non-conference opponents alive, defeating Toledo by a final score of 27-22.
Toledo was in the game start to finish and had a 15-7 lead at the end of the first quarter. Ohio State scored 14 unanswered in the second quarter but couldn't put Toledo away until the very end. The highlight of the final drive was an improbable fourth and 14 conversion for the Rockets, but they couldn't duplicate the feat on fourth and five from the Ohio State 16, as Terrance Owens' offensive line crumbled in front of him, giving him no chance to make a play.
Auburn roared out of the gate against Mississippi, then let the Bulldogs back into the game in a back-and-forth first half. But in the second half, the Tigers have taken control.
After building a 31-24 halftime lead and trading field goals with Mississippi State in the third quarter, Auburn has padded its advantage with a fourth quarter touchdown on a pass from Barrett Trotter to Philip Lutzenkirchen, and now leads 41-27 at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Gus Malzahn's offense has done most of its damage with a relentless running game. The Tigers have 225 rushing yards with most of the fourth quarter left to play, and are averaging nearly seven yards per carry. Three separate Tigers — Michael Dyer, Onterio McCalebb, and Tre Mason — have carries of more than 10 yards, too.
Week 2 of the Russell Wilson Experiment for Wisconsin went pretty much the same as Week 1 -- a blowout win against an overmatched opponent, although this one is at least against an opponent that's nominally part of a BCS conference. (Then again, Oregon State lost to Sacramento State last week, so ... )
Wisconsin pretty easily coasted through the game, picking up 20 first downs and 397 yards. Wilson was 17-of-21 passing for 189 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 11 more yards. Montee Ball ran for 118 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries as he and Wilson were responsible for every touchdown the Badgers scored.
Oregon State gained just 282 yards in total offense -- though they somehow managed 17 first downs at the same time -- in part because the running game has completely collapsed. The longest run play by the Beavers went for seven yards, and the ground game produced only 21 yards on 24 attempts. It's looking like a long season for Oregon State.
Alabama wide receiever Duron Carter is still not cleared to play for the Crimson Tide, and may miss Saturday's showdown with Penn State as a result.
Carter, an Ohio State and junior college transfer whose admission to Alabama was delayed until August 29 by transcript issues, is still waiting on the proper documentation to prove his eligibility. In a statement, Alabama said it is "awaiting documents necessary for Carter to be certified." It is not clear if those documents will be received before Alabama and Penn State take the field at 3:30 p.m. Eastern.
Carter was sparingly used in his freshman season at Ohio State, catching just 13 passes for 176 yards and one touchdown. Academic issues forced Carter to withdraw from Ohio State in 2010 and head to Coffeyville Community College in Kansas.
Carter is the son of NFL wide receiver and ESPN analyst Cris Carter.
It's probably bad enough that West Virginia is losing to Norfolk State at home a week after having to endure hours of rain delays to claim their win over Marshall. And it can't be easy to be outgained by Norfolk State to the tune of almost 100 yards. Or to trail at halftime, 12-10, with the other team scoring only on field goals. But, no, their new media director has to go ahead and tweet fun factoids.
Norfolk State's quarterbacks are carving up the West Virginia secondary, going 14-of-21 for 178 yards. The 3.8 ypc average for the running game also ain't shabby for an FCS team going up against a BCS team, which is supposed to have faster and stronger athletes, after all. The Mountaineers, meanwhile, have sputtered their way to 143 yards of total offense.
For more on West Virginia, be sure to head over to The Smoking Musket.
The Ohio St. Buckeyes have got a fight on their hands. The Toledo Rockets have led at several points throughout this game, including just now in the third quarter, and are down by only five with 18 minutes left.
They're doing it without any major flukes, too. The yardage game is even, and they're actually losing the turnover battle 1 to 0. Actually, if the Rockets hadn't given up 95 penalty yards, this one could be even more surprising right now.
Toledo's most recent score came on a four-yard run by Adonis Thomas. Ohio State countered with a two-yard touchdown by Carlos Hyde, but missed on a two-point conversion that would've evened up the advantage Toledo captured by scoring eight earlier.
The final score in the Mississippi State-Auburn game this year will not be 3-2. It's not even going to be last years' 17-14 slog. At this point, 300-200 might not be entirely out of the question. This time, the two teams are having the barnburner that everyone expected.
The lines are pretty impressive, at least for the offenses. Mississippi State: 14 first downs, 246 yards, two total touchdowns. Auburn: 12 first downs, 229 yards, fhree total touchdowns. All as part of 55 first-half points -- Auburn 31, Mississippi State 24 -- that has turned this into one of the more exciting early Week 2 games. When not distracted by their obvious indifference to what the offenses are doing, the defenses are contributing to the pointspalooza, with each team having an interception return for a touchdown also on the stat sheet.
Clean or crisply-played game? Not really. The two teams have already racked up 135 penalty yards on 14 flags -- again, in the first half. Even the referees are going to have sore arms when this is over.
The Kentucky Wildcats are grueling and a challenge to watch when they're competing at football. After being lucky to outlast Western Kentucky last week, they're losing to Central Michigan, 13-6. No hilarious GIFs have escaped this time, since we actually have other viewing options this time around, but enjoy these stats:
Actually, after looking at those numbers, I'm clueless as to how Central Michigan is winning by only a touchdown. They supposed to be MAC, after all. Kentucky might actually have a really decent defense despite that third down stoppage rate, especially considering how much time they spend on the field.
To lament, head to Kentucky blog A Sea Of Blue.
Mississippi State offensive lineman James Carmon suffered an apparent knee injury late in the second quarter of the Bulldogs' game at Auburn. Carmon, the Bulldogs' left tackle, had his knee rolled during a play, and was unable to get up.
Carmon covered his face as he was carted off the field. A senior, Carmon became the Bulldogs' starter at left tackle after Derek Sherrod went to the Green Bay Packers in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft, and contributed to Mississippi State's onslaught against Memphis in Week 1 of the college football season. The Bulldogs put up 59 points on Memphis, rushing for 309 yards and throwing for 336.
Carmon was replaced by Blaine Causell, who immediately caught the ball on a screen pass intended for Mississippi State running back Vick Ballard and was flagged for illegal touching.
A handful of good games dot the early college football scoreboard, chief among them the Auburn Tigers and Mississippi St. Bulldogs shootout, the Toledo Rockets' upset bid against the Ohio St. Buckeyes and the battle for a white bucket full of smaller white buckets between the Iowa Hawkeyes and Iowa St. Cyclones, which is deadlocked at halftime.
There are plenty of games you can go ahead and scratch off your list of concerns, however:
Ohio State conceded the first touchdown Toledo had ever scored against the Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium, then a second, and trailed by eight points in the first quarter against its in-state foe. No matter: the Buckeyes lead at halftime, 21-15.
Ohio State got second quarter scores from running back Carlos Hyde, on a 36-yard run, and Chris Fields, on a 69-yard punt return with less than a minute left in the period, and shut out the Rockets in the second frame to right the ship. But Toledo did its share to help Ohio State reclaim the lead.
After Toledo added a second touchdown in the first quarter, the Rockets went three and out on five consecutive drives, including four punts and an interception, and lost five yards on those 15 plays. That's not the sort of play Toledo needs to beat Ohio State, and neither is being whistled for nine penalties totaling 78 yards in the first half.
They might play for the most hideous trophy in the history of organized sports, Iowa and Iowa State are actually putting together a pretty interesting ballgame. It started with Iowa taking a 10-point lead to start the game on a James Vandenberg pass to Kevonte Martin-Manley and a 42-yard field goal by Mike Manley.
Iowa State stormed back to tie the game near the end of the second quarter on a bizarre series of events. Iowa found itself punting from the one and down the ball on their own 39-yard line. From their, Iowa State drove to the Hawkeyes 12 before fumbling. Two snaps later, Iowa fumbled it back, and Cyclone QB Steele Jantz hit Darius Reynolds for the 11-yard touchdown pass. Grant Mahoney hit a 54-yard field goal to knot things up.
The game is pretty even across the box score. Iowa State has 10 first downs to Iowa's eight. The Hawkeyes hold a slight, 164 to 140 edge in total offense.
Part of Oregon's struggles in its season-opening loss to LSU may have due to the absence of Cliff Harris, suspended for the Ducks' first game of the 2011 season thanks to an arrest for speeding in which Harris was cited for nearly doubling the posted speed limit. Harris is regarded as Oregon's best cover corner, and perhaps one of the best in college football.
But Harris' suspension has been lifted, according to the New York Times's Pete Thamel, meaning that he'll be able to take the field for Oregon against Nevada in the 3:30 p.m. Eastern game later this Saturday.
Oregon conceded just 98 yards through the air to LSU in its opener, despite Harris' absence, as the Tigers' offense pounded the Ducks with a running game that racked up 175 rushing yards. But Nevada, despite its run-option-heavy pistol offense, can throw: the Wolf Pack averaged over 225 yards per game through the air in 2010.
For more on Oregon, visit Addicted to Quack.
Last week’s episode of “Kentukcy might not be very good this year” was a narrow win over the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, a team that shouldn’t really challenge most WAC teams. This week’s episode features the Wildcats trailing the Central Michigan Chippewas by a touchdown late in the first half.
CMU has piled up 213 yards of total offense to 81 for the Wildcats. The Chippewas also scored on two David Harman field goals. Kentucky’s six points have come entirely through the kicking game, and the Wildcats have gained 19 yards on nine rushes. The passing game has also reprised some of the woes it suffered against WKU, including a big dropped pass.
Kentucky looked to have a slight bit of hope when Danny Trevathan intercepted a Central Michigan pass and returned it to the Chippewas 11. No such luck; the drive broke down and Craig McIntosh missed the 24-yard field goal.
Coming into this week's Mississippi State-Auburn game, the team facing the biggest question was Auburn: Was it an anomaly that the defending national champion had to fight off a challenge from Utah State out of the WAC in Week 1, or would the Tigers struggle to compete in the SEC this week? So far, go with the former. In fact, it looks like we might be headed for a track meet.
Auburn started out with a 14-0 lead, starting with a 35-yard run by Michael Dyer. The second score came in slightly less conventional fashion, when State quarterback Chris Relf bounced a pass off the head of an Auburn defender and into the waiting hands of Demetruce McNeal, who returned the interception 44 yards for the score.
The next drive went slightly better for Mississippi State, when LaDarius Perkins scored on a 40-yard run to cut the lead in half. And Relf redeemed himself on the next series, throwing a 15-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Heavens. Hold on -- this one could get interesting.
The Toledo Rockets have become a reliable upset threat, but they couldn't possibly put a scare into the mighty Ohio St. Buckeyes, could they? Oh indeed they could, friend, with Eric Page's second touchdown catch of the day -- a 66-yarder -- giving the Rockets a 15-7 lead over Ohio State. Entering the second quarter, they had the ball again, but finally decided to take their feet off the gas.
Page's touchdowns have come from two different passers, Austin Dantin and Terrance Owens. Toledo has outgained Ohio State by 40 yards and is hanging with the Buckeyes in the first down battle, 5 to 6.
There's almost no way Ohio State will lose this game, but when a team like Toledo is playing to win (going for two after their first touchdown!), they can make anybody in the country worry.
For more, shield your eyes as you enter Ohio State blog Along The Olentangy.
The Oregon State Beavers have actually done a nice job bottling up the running game of the Wisconsin Badgers. Too bad the rest of the of team has looked utterly dysfunctional in the early going of Saturday's game.
The Beavers started the game with Ryan Katz under center. Three plays and a first down later on the team's first drive he was replaced by freshman Sean Mannion, who promptly threw the ball into the waiting arms of the Badger secondary for a near interception.
The Beavers forced a three-and-out on the Badgers first drive, but couldn't do anything with the ball (and Mannion at quarterback) from within their end zone. Johnny Hekker gave the Badgers back even more field position when his shanked rugby-style punt went for minus-four yards to their own 14 yard line. The Badgers scored three plays later on a touchdown pass from Russell Wilson to tight end Jacob Pederson to take a 7-0 lead.
The Toledo Rockets weren’t being given much of a chance to hang with Ohio State at Ohio Stadium this Saturday, despite a history of giving BCS conference opponents trouble on the road. That had something to do with Toledo never scoring on the Buckeyes in the Horseshoe entering today. But, hey, things change!
Toledo scored its first ever touchdown against Ohio State in the first quarter at Ohio Stadium on a six-yard pass from Austin Dantin to Eric Page, then decided to go for two. The Rockets made that work, too, with Page finding Hank Keighly for the two-point conversion, giving the Rockets their first score and first lead against the mighty Buckeyes in one fell swoop.
If Toledo can, improbably, hold that 8-7 lead, the Rockets will be doing more than breaking through against Ohio State; they could end an incredible OSU streak, too. The Buckeyes haven’t lost to a team from the state of Ohio since a 1921 loss to Oberlin.
Boston College will be wearing red bandana stickers in their games against UCF and Duke to honor 9/11 hero Welles Crowther
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Michigan Wolverines are both wildly talented teams, as well as disasters waiting to happen. Betting men, please stay away.
Ohio State looks to continue their lengthy winning streak against in-state opponents when they take on Toledo this Saturday.
Alabama's national title credentials will be tested this weekend with a tough road game against Penn State. Both teams are yet to name a starting QB, so expect to see four quarterbacks take the field Saturday.
The LSU Tigers have a good argument for being the No. 1 team in the nation following their victory over the Oregon Ducks, but for now they get a soft spot on the schedule with Northwestern State this weekend.
The No. 8 Wisconsin Badgers hosts the Oregon State Beavers, who opened the 2011 season with a home loss to Sacramento State last weekend.
Cincinnati and Tennessee try to learn more about their teams in a showdown in Neyland Stadium on Saturday.
Oregon tries to recover from a big loss in the season opener while Nevada prepares for its final year in the WAC.
Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer has another milestone ahead of him that he can gain this weekend: his 200th career victory with the Hokies. Will East Carolina prevent that on Saturday?
Week 2 of college football is upon us, and with a slew of big lines on the board, there may not be many upsets. But which underdogs have the best chance at covering the spread?
All content courtesy of SB Nation's odds partners at OddsShark.com.
Plan to watch college football this weekend? Unsure of how to root? Allow our own Spencer Hall to guide you.
Let's find out what looks tasty and what might be worth pushing to the side of your plate in this weekend's college football buffet. (All times are Eastern).
In the second week of our SB Nation Blogger Roundtable, we talk Penn State vs. Alabama with Black Shoe Diaries and Roll Bama Roll.
Notre Dame playing in Michigan is important. Sometimes important things are important just because they're important. Check out the week's complete college football TV schedule below, or just print it out right here.
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