Akron gave Toledo a game. In fact, leading 3-0 they brought in backup QB Pole on the 3rd series and Pole led them 81/14pl and UA took a 10-0 lead with 14:03 left in the 2Q. The drive began when UT was SOD on 4&2 at their 19. UT went 75/6pl and 85/8pl. Austin Dantin hit a 55 yd td pass to Pasquale and finished 29-35-327 yds. UA answered with an 81/7pl drive for a td with 5:44 left, 17-14. UT punted on their next poss but then took the momentum going 77/5pl for a td with 1:37 left in the half. At the half UT had a 295-257 yd edge. The 3Q opened with 3 punts. UA then went 46/17pl but were SOD on 4&gl from the 16. UT went 51/7pl but was int’d at the UA19 but UT went 62/12pl for a td, 28-17 (9:56) then after an int drove 25/3pl for a td with 8:19 left to go up 18 pts, 35-17. UT fmbl’d a punt with 5:59 left and UA went 45/7pl for a td with 3:30 left but UT rec’d the onside kick, got a FD to the UA36 and took a knee.
By Phil Steele
Last week the Top 25 Forecasts went 17-4 81% and on the year they are now 197-42 82%! On the bottom of the forecasts, I have also listed some Upset Specials for this week which look to bounce back this week.
For projected box scores and the last 14 years matchups, click here.
Ball St solidified its bowl standing and Ohio’s banged up team kept sliding. The Bobcats missed as many as 10 players due to injury but did only trail 21-17 at the half. Ball St lost their starting QB Keith Wenning who hit 16-20-172. Veteran Kelly Page came in and ran 7 yards for a td on his only play of the 1H and OU did get to the BSU12 with :12 left in the half but was sacked on the final play and did not score. OU got a 58 yd td run by Blankenship on the first drive of the 2H to take a 24-21 lead but Ball got a 68 yd Edwards run keying a 71/2pl drive for a td and OU missed a 27 yd FG. After 2 punts, BSU went 59/10pl for a 38 yd FG and OU went on an 11pl drive for a 34 yd FG, 31-27. Ball, after a 46 yard KR and a 15 yd penalty on a personal foul, drove 38/1pl for a td then after a punt went 65/6pl for a td and after OU went 3&out again, went 77/8pl for a td and turned it into a 52-27 rout with 2:18 left. Page hit just 5-7-41 rushing 4x’s for 34 yards.
By Phil Steele
Toledo had a 526-446 yd edge and benefited from a 3-1 TO edge but still lost to Ball St at home. Toledo had entered the AP Poll for the first time since 2001 and as you see many times, teams that enter the AP for the first time in a long time, usually struggle with the attention that next week. Ball St took their opening 2 drives 82/11 and 87/7pl for td’s to lead 14-0 but UT battled back to 17-17 at the half and had a 350-220 yd edge at the half. UT had settled for a 29 yd FG. BS got a 61/10pl drive for a td to open the 3Q then missed a 35 yd FG and UT went 75/14pl. They settled for a 22 yd FG to make it 24-20. UT went 25/4pl and on 4&1 got a 16 yd td run to lead 27-24. BS tied it on a 30 yd FG with 9:41 left. UT went 68/7pl. After the game, Campbell was questioned for going for it on 4&1 on their next drive as they went 68/7pl and based on them settling for 2 short FG’s and the fact they had a td on the last 4&1, he probably made the right decision but UT was stuffed with 6:02 left. BS then went 86/11pl and got a 13 yd td run with 1:43 left to take the lead 34-27. UT on 4&7 from its own 27 fired incomplete.
Last week the Top 25 Forecasts went 15-4 79% and on the year they are now 163-35 82%! On the bottom of the forecasts, I have also listed some Upset Specials for this week which added another winner last week when East Carolina upset Houston.
For projected box scores and Last 14 Years Matchups for all of these games, please click here.
#1 Alabama vs #15 Texas A&M
Bama is, of course, coming off the huge game vs LSU although they do only have Western Carolina on deck. A&M, meanwhile, is on its third straight away game and playing for the 10th straight week. Last week the Tide jumped out to a 14-3 halftime lead at #5 LSU but found themselves down 17-14 late in the game as McCarron completed just 1-7 passes for 0 yards in the 2H prior to the final drive. LSU blew some opportunities to put the game away including 3 failed FG attempts. McCarron led Bama 72/5pl in a drive that culminated with a td pass with just :51 left as the #1 Tide won 21-17. McCarron has still not thrown an int this year but the #1 Tide D did give up 435 yards and they will have their hands full again this week vs ‘Johnny Football’ who tore through Miss St’s D to the tune of 440 total yards (30-36 passing!) as the Aggies rolled to a 38-13 win at MSU. A&M outgained MSU 693-310 and had a 36-15 FD edge. Keep in mind, the last 2 times Bama has lost a game it came at the hands of mobile QB’s in Cam Newton and Jordan Jefferson. Still I can’t step in front of the elephant here as A&M’s offense has been sluggish in the 2H of games vs the other two elite D’s it faced earlier this year in UF/LSU.
#23 Toledo takes on Ball St today. For the Top 25 Forecast and the projections you would normally see on Friday – head on over to PhilSteele.com today!
Nine of the 15 teams that made my Most Improved List featured in this year’s magazine have already clinched bowl bids and there is still a month left!!
Jordan Lynch only accounted for 3 td’s for Northern Illinois despite the final being 63-0 vs overmatched Massachusetts. NI played 2 backup QB’s leaving Lynch in for just the first series of the 3Q and he left with them up 42-0. UMass went for it on 4th down 4 times in the 1H on 4&2 at the NI47, 4&9 at the NI50, 4&2 at the NI27 and 4&8 at the NI7 and all 4 times, failed. They fumbled on their first two 3Q poss and were SOD on 4&6 at the NI46.
Giovani Bernard ran for 177 yards and North Carolina had a 485-415 yard edge. Stephen Morris was having a fine game for Miami and had hit just 12-26-155 yds. He had some crucial runs for 40 yds on 7 carries. He was helped off the field with 8:26 left. Bkp Ryan Williams hit 9-13-80. NC led 7-0 when they were int’d at the UM25 then on the next drive missed a 33 yd FG. UM punted but roughing the P kept the drive alive and they would go 80/12pl for a td. NC led 15-7 at the half with a 313-191 yd edge. UM got to 15-14 after a delay of game pen had then go for just a regular xp. NC got a 48 yd FG then missed a 43 yd FG. UM went 48/13 and on 3&6 was SOD at the NC26. Their final drive got to the NC29 but on 4&16 they gained 11 yds with :22 left.
I will admit when I’m wrong and last week I thought Texas had a great situational advantage. I thought Texas, with their defense would be able to handle West Virginia at home and win the game more comfortably than most thought before a record crowd of 101,851. WV finished with a 26-21 FD edge and 460-404 yd edge. After WV had a 40 yd FG blk’d they attempted to go for it numerous times on 4th down and met with success almost every time. On their 3rd drive they converted on 4&2 at midfield then on 4&4 were stopped but UT called time-out prior and on the next play WV got a 40 yd td pass. Texas led 28-27 at half and got the ball to open the 3Q and appeared to be in good shape going 54/13pl and settled for a 36 yd FG. WV’s 2nd 3Q poss converted on 4&6 and 4&1 on a 76/12pl drive for a td, 41-38 (10:50) UT was SOD on 4&13 and then a key play happened when on 3&6 from the WV 8 the snap got past QB Ash and he fell on it for a 16 yd loss. That forced a 41 yd FG and they missed and WV went 76/8pl as UT couldn’t get them off the field. Perhaps their most impressive player in the game was Andrew Buie who constantly broke tackles and rushed for 207 yards although Geno Smith is clearly the frontrunner for the Heisman hitting 25-35-268 yards. Hats off to WV for going into a hostile environment and beating a pretty good Texas team and they deserve to be in the Top 5.
Here are my projections for games being played on Saturday, October 6th.
I list the projected scores from my computers forecast. Another column shows you the computers yardage forecast for each game. I think it will be interesting to see who the computer picks to win the yardage battle and see if they win the game. In my College Football magazine I have the plus and minus ratings. I update them weekly and then factor in the home edge and I will show you who the Plus Minus ratings forecast. I will also list who Vegas has favored to win each week and we can see how they do picking the actual winners of games. There is also a WEEKLY POLL which you can enter for free each week.
Stanford went on the road for the first time and led 13-3 late 3Q but on a key play of the game, Washington on 4&1 got a 61 yd Sankey td run to get back in it. They later got a 35 yd td pass with 4:54 left and SU’s last gasp was a 4&4 incomplete pass with 1:46 left. Josh Nunes hit 18-37-170. It was UW’s first win over a top 10 team since 2009 and the student section poured on to the turf of CenturyLink Field at the end and actually gave them more of a home field edge than I thought they would playing away from their home stadium this year. UW finished with a 313-235 yd edge and 13-10 FD edge.