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Top 10 Game Grades Plus News and Notes from Week 14

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1 AUBURN South Carolina 238 351 56 156 193 17 117.4
2 OKLAHOMA Nebraska 112 342 23 145 148 20 98.7
3 OREGON AT Oregon St 346 145 37 90 229 20 96.8
4 VIRGINIA TECH Florida St 179 263 44 53 288 33 96.0
5 HAWAII UNLV 183 423 59 92 203 21 92.1
6 PITTSBURGH AT Cincinnati 272 158 28 156 109 10 91.9
7 NEBRASKA Oklahoma 145 148 20 112 342 23 90.5
8 ARIZONA ST AT Arizona 122 267 30 125 266 29 87.5
9 NEVADA AT Louisiana Tech 360 159 35 104 188 17 87.2
10 WEST VIRGINIA Rutgers 170 354 35 62 140 14 87.0

News and Notes

Tough loss for Arizona vs Arizona St. While both D’s controlled matters in the 1H and ASU had a 136-83 yd edge, there were 5 key plays that hurt UA. ASU led 6-0 helped by the fact UA dropping four int’s. Any one of those would have set them up and taken away QB Osweiler’s confidence as he struggled early on. UA also had a zero yd punt and on ASU’s final drive of the 1H they converted on 3&10, 3&8 and even 3&19. UA appeared to take control with two 3Q TD’s and led 14-6 but fumbled at the 49 up 14-9. ASU got a couple of fortunate pen’s. On 2&5 they took a 6 yd sk back to the 11 but a hands to the face on a DL was called for a FD at the 2. Then on 3&3, ASU’s rec pushed the UA DB to the ground and caught the ball for the TD. A flag was thrown for the obvious pass interference but it was ruled def pass interference so it was a TD. The final 2 key plays that went against UA both involved xp’s. They got a TD with :27 left in the game to pull out the win but the xp was blk’d sending it to OT. In the 2nd OT each team got a TD but ASU blk’d the xp again.

Fresno St got their 2nd win over a BCS school this year after beating Cincinnati in the season opener. FSU dominated early with a 72/8pl TD drive then got a 78 yd TD pass and after a 6pl drive, a 45 yd FG to lead 16-0 after 1Q. IL got an 18 yd FG then a 35 yd TD run and it was 19-10 at the half and FSU had a 233-165 yd edge. There were 3 TD drives on the first 5 poss of the 2H, two by Illinois but after their 2nd TD which came with 14:55 left in the game they missed the 2 pt conversion and trailed 25-23. UI punted with 9:31 left and FSU on 3&13 fired incomplete from their own 7 but a pers foul late hit gave them a FD. They then converted on 3&10 and opted to go for it on 4&1 and got a FD to their own 47. After 1 more FD, they finally punted with just :18 left after a 50/15pl drive. IL brought McGee in at QB (bigger arm). After an incompletion he was sk’d at his own 4 on the final play.

Northern Illinois once again lost a MAC Title game with a late 4th down conversion. In 2005 when after 4 FD’s, Akron’s Hixon hauled in a 36 yd TD pass with :10 left and on 1st &15 NI’s Hail Mary pass fell incomplete. This year Miami in the 1H had an xp and FG blk’d and trailed 14-13. They drove for a TD to open the 3Q to lead 20-14 but then faked a FG on 4&gl from the 5 and only gained 3 yds. It appeared those 3 points would come back and haunt them and perhaps the reason they did not try to the FG were the 2 blocks. NI led 21-20 and punted with 2:48 left and MU took over at its own 48. They faced a 4&20 and although a deep pass was underthrown and deflected by a Huskies defender and Givens hauled it in for a 31 yd play to the NI31. On 2&12 they got a 33 yd TD pass for a 26-21 lead. NI got down to the MU32 but on 3&8, Harnish scrambled and was tkl’d and the clock ran out.

West Virginia dominated Rutgers much more than the final score would indicate. The Mountaineers had 25-11 FD and 523-203 yd edges. In the 1H WV fumbled at the RU8 then RU13 costing them 2 scores. They also had a 37 yd FG blk’d and only led 14-7 at the half. QB Smith got a 10 yd run for an apparent TD but as he was going in, he fumbled. For their 3rd fumble inside the 15. WV got a TD with 4:32 left to lead 35-7 but RU on 4&2 got a 6 yd pass to the WV44 and then a 44 yd garbage TD pass to Harrison with 2:02 left to “only” lose by 21.

UCF held the ball for 13:00 in the 1Q and UCF and SMU combined for just 10 points in the 1H, the lowest total in the 6 year history of the CUSA Title game. UCF had their opportunities to take charge. At the end of the half, they had a 1st & gl at the 3 but settled for a 29 yd FG and led 10-0. UCF opened the 3Q with an 85/8pl drive for a 36 yd TD run by Latavius Murray who had 2 TD’s and was the game’s MVP. SMU got a 22 yd TD pass with 9:15 left to get back within 10. UCF got an IR to the SMU28 but after a sk on 4&17 opted for a 52 yd FG and missed it with 3:41 left. SMU converted on 4&5, 3&12 and 4&7 but on 4&10 from the UCF25 was sk’d for an 8 yd loss.

Pittsburgh’s Dion Lewis rushed for 261 yards and 4 TD’s on a snow covered field at Cincinnati. You could not see the yard lines and Pitt was wearing white uniforms which may have helped them as they blended into the surface. Finally Lewis was given the feature back role and was handed the ball 42 times and was very effective. Pitt had a 430-265 yd edge and while they won by 18, they also blew some opportunities including having a pass go through WR Shanahan’s hands and was int’d at the UC1, they hit the upright on a 38 yd FG and fmbl’d at the UC4 with 5:48 left.

Boise St was coming off a rare loss but rolled over Utah St 50-14 in a game they led 43-7. Unfortunately, Kyle Brotzman only had 1 FG attempt in and he missed it. Utah St rushed for 250 yds but only threw for 41 on the blue turf. Utah St’s Kerwynn Williams set a new FBS single season record for KR yards with 1,421 on the year breaking the previous mark of 1,410 set earlier this season by Taveon Rogers of New Mexico St.

Howard Schnellenberger coached his 300th career college game but it didn’t go the way he would have liked it to as Troy dominated FAU. Leading 30-0 at the half with a 307-164 yard edge, Troy rolled to a 44-7 win. FAU lost their last 3 games of the season and finished 4-8 on the year.

Colin Kaepernick tied an NCAA record for TD’s rushing by a QB  as he got his 59th on what was a designed pass play. He ties Nebraska’s Eric Crouch for that mark. Kaepernick hit 13-17-159 passing while rushing for 155 yards on 20 carries. He has topped 100 yards rushing 16x in his career and became just the 3rd QB in NCAA history to top 4,000 yards rushing (4,090) trailing only Pat White (4,480) and Brad Smith (4,289). Louisiana Tech led 14-7. LT’s Phillip Livas nearly set an NCAA record for KR TD’s but Nevada K Ricky Drake tackled him in the 4Q when he was on his way to what would have been his 9th.

Oregon struggled for most of their game vs Oregon St, trailing 7-0 early. OSU faked a FG and was int’d and the Ducks went 74/7pl for a TD. UO did miss a 25 yd FG on the final play of the half after a 73/13pl drive. UO had a 242-126 yd edge. The Ducks were SOD at the OSU32 early 3Q but went 79/7pl for a TD to lead 23-7. OSU went 65/11pl but settled for a 26 yd FG after a 1st & gl at the 2. On OSU’s next drive they had a 1&gl again but settled for a 22 yd FG and trailed by 10, 23-13. UO got a 23 yd TD run with 12:16 left to go up by 17. OSU punted with 10:40 left, was int’d at the UO39 and then the Ducks clinched it with a 10 yd TD run by James with 4:27 left, 37-13. OSU got a garbage 12 yd TD pass with 1:18 left for the 17 pt final. UO did have a 491-319 yd edge.

Idaho blocked a 26 yard FG by SJS on the last play of regulation to force OT and in OT SJS settled for a 39 yd FG while Idaho, on 3&8, got a 23 yd TD pass. SJS outgained the Vandals 496-421. SJS also missed an xp in the 3Q which would have given them the victory in regulation as well. Not only did they have problems with FG’s, but in the 2H SJS went on a 72/9pl drive and had a 2nd & gl at the 1. La Secla was int’d in the EZ for a TB. At the end of the half, SJS had a FD at the ID13 with :43 left but La Secla was int’d at the 5 costing them even more points…Cam Newton wrapped up the Heisman and Auburn got the largest victory ever in an SEC Title game in their rout of South Carolina. Auburn scored TD’s on their first 3 poss to jump out to a 21-7 lead but at 21-14 on the last play of the half, Newton threw a Hail Mary pass to the EZ which bounced off 1 receiver and was hauled in by Adams for a 51 yd TD to make it 28-14. Auburn had a 348-196 yd edge at the half. Auburn finished with a 589-349 yd edge with SC gaining 102 of its 349 yards on the final 2 drives trailing 49-14. Newton rushed for 73 yards and hit 17-28-335.

The Apple Cup was interesting as Washington needed a win to become bowl eligible. Chris Polk had the 2nd best rushing total in UW history with 284 yards on 29 carries. Only Hugh McElhenny’s 296 in 1950 (also vs WSU) is better. UW came into the year the 3rd longest drought of AQ schools of not getting to a bowl with only Baylor and Duke being longer. UW’s last trip came in 2002. Big plays were the keys for the Huskies. On a fake punt they got a 30 yd pass down to the 7 in the 2Q and a TD on the next play made it 14-0. UW led 28-14 when WSU drove 70/10pl and 73/6pl for TD’s to make it 28-28 with 4:26 left. With 1:21 left the FG unit was brought on for a 49 yd’r but changed their mind. They went for it and got a FD run to the 16. A pers foul forced a 2nd & 21 and UW needed just a FG for the win but opted to go for the EZ and got a 27 yd TD pass with :44 left on 2 & 21 to get the cover.

Matt Barkley was questionable coming in but hit 15-26-198 yards. USC got a 68 yd FR TD to lead 14-7 in the 2Q and beat their crosstown rival for the 11th time in the last 12 meetings. USC did have a 474-358 yard edge and a 22-17 FD edge. Despite finishing 8-5, USC will not be in a bowl for the first time S/’07 due to NCAA sanctions and it would have been a Holiday Bowl berth this year. UCLA trailed 28-7 before getting a TD with just :23 left in the game as the Bruins lost their 6th game in the last 7. It was only the 4th time in the last 35 years neither is headed to post season so it was like a bowl for both. The crowd of 71,105 was well below capacity.

Oklahoma won its 7th Big 12 Title, more than 2x as many as any other school and it was the 7th straight for the South Div. OU had 454-293 yd and 19-13 FD edges. The Huskers had 3 big plays to take a 17-0 lead. They got a 66 yd TD run by Roy Helu as they had limited success on offense in the 1H. They got a 53 yd FG by Alex Henery and then got a 33 yd IR to the OU12. At the end of the play, Sooner WR Broyles took the ball out of Osborne’s hands and it was orig ruled OU rec’d a fmbl but replays showed Osborne’s knee could have been down and they gave the ball to NU. Two plays later they got a TB pass out of the Wildcat from TB Burkhead to Reed, 17-0. OU got the 2nd largest comeback in Big 12 Title history (CU came back from 19 down to beat UT in ‘01). NU has now lost the last 2 B12 Title games by a total of 4 points. Taylor Martinez was sk’d 7 times. OU was SOD at the NU34 on 4&5, SOD at the NU25 on 4&1, settled for a 26 yd FG after a 12 play drive, missed a chipshot 24 yd FG, settled for a 20 yd FG after a 59/8pl drive on a 1st & gl at the 3 and settled for a 27 yd FG after a 55/11pl drive.

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  • Keithmcga

    Auburn will stomp Oregon. SEC is down this year, but Pac 10 is weak, weak, weak. Just look at what MWC teams have done to Pac 10 the last 2 years. 2 years ago, MWC was 6-1 against Pac 10. And you will remember what BYU and Utah did to ‘em in the bowl games. Recall BYU putting 60 on UCLA.

    Auburn beats Oregon by 20. TCU beats slow Wisconsin by 30. Haven’t studied the others, ’cause I don’t care.

    You can call me at 1-817-441-6334 if you want to know what is going on with TCU for next year. Congrats on you magazine projection of TCU going 12-0 and finishing number 4. Well, they were number 3, but nobody’s perfect.

    Know OU, Ohio St, and Alabama disappointed as your 1,2,3. But this has been a pretty unusual year. You did pick up on Auburn and Oregon being alot better. I like your magazine alot. Bought 3 copies last year and gave a couple of ‘em to kids in the neighborhood.

    If you ever want to really to know what is going on in Fort Worth and TCU, give me a call. They will surprise folks next year, and that’s not a homer projection. Their QB will be a Bobby Lane wild one, but will “maintenance” him, I think..

    Keith McGarrahan