Wednesday, October 13, 2010

College Football Wrap-Up - 3 Unbeaten Teams Fall and South Carolina Upsets Alabama, 35-21

Three unbeaten teams bit the dust this week, and none was
bigger than the No. 1-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide who
showed that South Carolina is not only a very good team,
but is tough to beat at home.

The South Carolina Gamecocks spotted 'Bama a field goal and then South
Carolina's Stephen Garcia threw 3 touchdown passes to put
the Gamecocks up, 21-3. Garcia would go on to have the best
day of his collegiate career, completing 17-of-20 passes
(85%) for 201 yards.

When the Tide tried to play themselves back into the game,
South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore took over, scoring once
on a 9-yard TD pass, and rushing for 2 short-yardage
touchdowns while piling up 93 yards on the ground on 23
carriers (4.04).

About all Alabama had to take home with its hurt pride and
a 35-21 loss was the fact that its defense had held another
runner to less than 100 yards gained for the umpteenth game.

The defense was really all South Carolina's as the
Gamecocks sacked Alabama's Greg McElroy 7 times. Their
offense shredded the country's top-rated scoring defense,
putting the most points on the board since a 41-34 'Bama
lost to LSU in 2007.

The win lifted South Carolina from 19th place to 10th in
the AP Top 25 Poll.

South Carolina's victory was its first-ever against a No.
1-ranked team. The Gamecocks win snapped defending national
champion Alabama's 19-game win streak, and threw the
national championship race wide open.

There are now only 13 BCS teams left with an undefeated
record. Ohio State, Oregon, TCU, Auburn, LSU, Michigan
State and Nevada are all 6-0. Boise State, Nebraska,
Oklahoma, Utah, Oklahoma State and Missouri are all 5-0.
There are 120 Division 1-A teams.

The second biggest upset of the week was due in large part
to sophomore quarterback Ryan Katz of Oregon State. Katz
declared himself as a quality Pac-10 QB by completing
30-of-42 passes (71%) for 393 yards and 2 touchdowns, and
rushing for another score as the Beavers traveled to
9th-ranked Arizona and took down the unbeaten Wildcats,
29-27.

It was a huge win for Oregon State as the Arizona defense
had been ranked 2nd nationally, giving up only 230 yards
per game.

The Wildcats' Nick Foles, one of the Pac-10's best,
completed 35 of 46 (76%) for 440 yards and 3 touchdowns,
but it was not enough. Worse yet, Arizona was coming off a
bye week and had double the time to prepare for Oregon
State's visit. The Beaver victory was their 5th straight
against Arizona on its home field.

The third biggest upset was the 17th-ranked Michigan State Spartans, a 4.5-point underdog, upending and then thrashing
the 18th-ranked Michigan Wolverines at the Big House in Ann
Arbor, so-called because it is the largest football stadium
in the country, holding 113,000+ fans.

Michigan State jumped out to a 17-10 halftime lead and then
won the 2nd half 17-7, and the game, 34-17. And it was not
close at the end.

Michigan's wunderkind, superstar quarterback Denard
Robinson, who came into the game on everyone's Heisman list
and leading the nation in rushing with an average 181 yards
a game for his first 5 games, looked a lot more human when
the game was over.

Robinson was held to 86 yards on 21 carries (a 4.1 average
per carry) and was intercepted 3 times. This was primarily
because Michigan State was the first team Robinson played
against this year that actually had a defense.

Meanwhile, Spartan running back Edwin Baker rushed for 147
yards on 22 carries (6.68 ypc) and scored on a 61-yard
touchdown dash. I say dash because Michigan State's
offensive line opened up a hole that a Mac truck could have
driven through.

Michigan State's outstanding freshman, Le'Veon Bell, picked
up another 78 yards on 7 carries (11.14 ypc), and scored on
a 41-yard run that the offensive line opened up like a
crater. Not to be outdone, Michigan State's 3rd outstanding
runner, Larry Caper, picked up another 34 yards and scored
on an 8-yard run.

Michigan, which had the 2nd-best total offense in the
nation at 565 yards per game, was held to 377 yards while
Michigan State rolled up 536 yards, 249 rushing and 287
passing. Spartan QB Kirk Cousins went 18-for-25 (72%) for
284 yards and a 42-yard TD strike to Mark Dell.

The Wolverines got a good butt-kicking, the Spartans won
their 3rd straight over Michigan, and by doing so Michigan
State became the dominate team in the State of Michigan.

The fourth biggest upset saw 12th-ranked LSU travel to
14th-ranked Florida and slide past the Gators, 33-29, in a
game Florida will not soon forget. The Gators saw their
unbeaten record fall by losing 31-6 last week at Alabama,
and hosting LSU was the Gators 3rd ranked opponent in 3
weeks, and proved too much.

The Louisiana gambler, coach Les Miles, rolled the dice
again against Florida by keeping the winning drive alive
with a successful fake field goal that allowed Jarrett Lee
to throw a 3-yard pass to Terrence Toliver for the victory
with 6 seconds remaining.

Worse yet, LSU tried to run the same play to the same
player, Toliver, on their previous last-second play. It was
successfully defensed the first time, but not the second
time as Toliver, with a height advantage, made it count.

Last week Miles was criticized for poor clock management in
the final moments as Tennessee almost upset the Tigers, but
LSU won anyway, 16-14. Miles just smiles, and wins again as
opposing coaches pull out their hair in frustration.

The fake field goal by LSU you may never see again. With 35
seconds left and clock ticking, the holder Derek Helton
throws a no-look pitch over his head that bounces off the
turf and into the hands of place-kicker Josh Jasper who
scampers for the first down to keep the winning drive
alive. They couldn't pull that stunt off again in the
circus.

Nonetheless, LSU is 6-0, fat, sassy, and really lucky. This
is college football, folks, expect the unexpected and
unanticipated EVERY week - that's why it is so much more
exciting and topsy-turvy than pro football.

The fifth upset saw the 23rd-ranked Florida State Siminoles
fly into Miami and upend the 13th-ranked Hurricanes, 45-17.
The Hurricanes saw a lot of Jermaine Thomas' taillights as
he scored a career-high 3 touchdowns (1 passing and 2
running) during the first 21 minutes.

Miami players then spent the rest of their time chasing
Siminole Chris Thomspon's rear end as he rushed for 158
yards and logged in the longest run Miami has allowed in
its illustrious history - a 90-yard scoring jaunt. It was
an easy win for Florida State.

The win lifted Florida State from 23rd place to 16th in the
AP Top 25 Poll.

Six other Top 25 teams had impressive victories Saturday.

They included the 5th-ranked Texas Christian University Horned Frogs who ran their record to 6-0 with a 45-zip shut
out of Wyoming, and the 24th-ranked Missouri Tigers who
stayed unbeaten with their 5th victory, a 26-zip shut out
of Colorado at home.

Seventh-ranked Nebraska ran its record to 5-0 as the
Cornhuskers traveled to Kansas State and handed the
Wildcats their first loss, 48-13. Some thought K-State
should have been ranked with a 4-0 mark. Now we see why
they were not.

The 2nd-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes (6-0) hosted Indiana and
reminded the Hoosiers why Ohio State is unbeaten and the
premier team in the Big 10, thumping them 38-10, while
showing a lot more offensive weapons.

Tenth-ranked Utah went on the road and won convincingly
while staying unbeaten in notching its 5th straight victory
over Iowa State, 68-27 -- a 41-point margin. The 4th-ranked
Boise State Broncos remained unbeaten while hosting Toledo
and beating the Rockets, 57-14 -- a 43-point margin.

Eight other Top 25 teams won, but were hardly dominate in
doing so. They included Auburn, Arkansas, Stanford, Oregon,
Nevada, Oklahoma State, Wisconsin, Air Force,

I am frankly surprised at how many top-ranked teams this
year give up so many points while winning. Very few teams
play defense and it is beginning to seem like they all give
up a lot of points, except TCU in its last two games, and
they have played 5 weak sisters in going 6-0.


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