What a wild weekend of college football! Another week has passed and the road to the coveted Waterford Crystal football becomes clearer every week. Only five undefeated teams remain in college football (LSU, Oklahoma State, Boise State, Stanford, and Houston).
It was yet another wild weekend of college football and that's why you get the phrase–"Any Given Saturday!" Anything can happen but as ESPN's Chris Berman says, "That's why you play the game!"
Let's get down to a brief overview of the college football action from Week 10.
GAME OF THE CENTURY: LSU knocks off Alabama 9-6 in OT
While many people were immediately complaining about the lack of offensive numbers in this contest–I'd have to argue you can't be disappointed with how this one was played (except if you're an Alabama fan, of course). This game was exactly what we expected–a tooth for tooth, punishing, hard-hitting defensive battle.
The defenses of both teams made it near impossible to move the football and when they tried to pass down the field, each team was punished with costly turnovers.
Special teams miscues were the achilles heel of the Alabama Crimson Tide in this game–their kickers (Cade Foster and Jeremy Shelley) missed a combine four field goal attempts between them (three for Foster, one for Shelley. If they make just one or two of those kicks–it would be hard to argue that Alabama doesn't win this game.
Bama wide receiver Marquis Maze also had one blunder in particular that cost the Tide excellent field position. The game was tied 6-6 in the fourth quarter with less than 10:00 remaining and it was fourth down for LSU. LSU punter Brad Wing was kicking from his own end zone and the Tide were likely to get the football back at least at the 50 yard line.
Wing blasted the football to past midfield, where Maze decided against fair-catching the football, instead allowing the ball to roll over twenty yards inside the 'Bama 18 yard line. After it settled, Wing had just launched a 73 yard punt–a critical swing in field position.
Trent Richardson gashed a stout LSU defense for over 160 all-purpose yards (89 rushing, 80 receiving). Still, the Tiger defense didn't allow him an inch in overtime–stuffing him in the backfield.
They also pushed Bama kicker Cade Foster out of his range in OT–forcing him to attempt a 52 yard field goal that fell short and wide left.
LSU capitalized on the miss in OT–after Michael Ford took an option pitch 15 yards to the Alabama 7 yard line. The Tigers then setup kicker Drew Alleman for a 25 yard field goal that he nailed right down the middle of the uprights to lift LSU to victory–9-6. Alleman was a perfect three-for-three on his field goal attempts all night, giving him all nine of LSU's points.
In the end, Alabama really outplayed LSU in this one and should have won the game in my eyes. They had more opportunities to score field goals and touchdowns but those chances were wiped out by costly misses and turnovers (LSU's Eric Reid snatched an acrobatic interception in the fourth quarter at the goal line.) You have to give LSU and their defense credit because they stepped up big in overtime, pushing 'Bama further back to the 35 yard line. That made their field goal attempt highly unlikely and they missed it. The interception by Reid snuffed out a potential touchdown for Alabama.
LSU now sits atop the BCS standings and remain undefeated on the season (9-0, 6-0 SEC), whereas Alabama drops to (8-1, 5-1 SEC). LSU's only remaining roadblocks to the BCS National Championship game will be seventh-ranked Arkansas (Nov. 25) and their foe in the SEC Championship game (Georgia is looking likely at this point.)
Gameball goes to LSU defensive back Eric Reid. His acrobatic interception in the fourth quarter was not only impressive because of its degree of difficulty but because it changed the complexion of the game. It was a heads up play by a man who hasn't been getting as much attention as the rest of LSU's secondary (Tyrann Mathieu, Morris Claiborne). Reid showed how incredibly deep and talented the LSU secondary is by stepping up in the biggest of ways on the biggest of stages.
Third-Ranked Oklahoma State survives Kansas State 52-45 in a classic
The third-ranked Oklahoma State continued to show how unstoppable their passing attack truly is as they survived Kansas State 52-45 in Stillwater. Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden threw for a school record 502 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions as Oklahoma State outlasted the Wildcats in an offensive thriller.
He connected with wide receiver Justin Blackmon on a critical 54 yard touchdown strike late in the fourth quarter to put the Cowboys up 45-38 with 4:47 remaining in the game. Blackmon hauled in 13 catches for 205 yards and 2 touchdowns in the game, making up for his two costly fumbles in the contest.
OSU running back Joseph Randle had two rushing touchdowns in the game. The last one he had proved to be the game-winner, after he exploded through the line of scrimmage, shook a KSU defender in the open field and raced 24 yards to paydirt. The score put the 'Pokes up 52-45 and that would be the final.
Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein did all he could for the Wildcats in this one. He racked up over 370 all-purpose yards (231 passing, 144 rushing) and four total touchdowns (three passing, one rushing). The Wildcats actually had a chance to tie it up with less than 20 seconds remaining but the Oklahoma State defense broke up a few passes in the end zone to ensure the victory.
Gameball goes to Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden and wide receiver Justin Blackmon. They made several huge plays throughout the contest and when they were dealt with adversity–both players stepped up in the biggest of fashions. Weeden threw for over 500 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions. Blackmon hauled in over 200 receiving yards and two touchdowns. He also had two costly fumbles. You've gotta give both players credit for overcoming their mistakes and coming through in crunch time in the fourth quarter.
Stanford knocks off Oregon State 38-13
The Cardinal only led 17-7 at halftime in this one but didn't have any problems creating separation in the second half. Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck completed 20 of his 30 passes for over 200 yards and three touchdowns in the victory.
Boise State pulls away in second half as they down UNLV 48-21
Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore threw for over 200 yards and five touchdowns in the victory for the Broncos. It wasn't that easy for Boise State–who were only up 21-14 at the half to a severely outmatched UNLV team. The Broncos eventually outscored UNLV 27-7 to pull away for the easy win.
Oklahoma defeats the Aggies 41-25
Texas A and M turned the football over four times in this game as the Sooners won 41-25. This game was actually close until the second half. The Sooners were only up 13-10 at the break and it appeared Oklahoma was going to be in for another dogfight.
In the first half, the OU offense looked out of rhythm and out of sync, with Landry Jones missing open receivers and receivers dropping well thrown passes.
Oklahoma really let their foot off the gas pedal late in the fourth quarter in this one. The Sooners outscored the Aggies 28-0 in the third quarter quarter, thanks to some Texas A and M turnovers and Landry Jones touchdown passes.
The Aggies scored 15 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to close the gap to 41-25.
The Sooners lost All-American wide receiver Ryan Broyles to a torn left ACL near the end of the contest. It appeared as if Broyles simply landed on his knee funny. The star receiver was in tears on the sideline as the doctors broke the news to him.
Broyles is a big-time loss for the Sooners, especially with their Bedlam matchup with Oklahoma State looming on December 3rd. He'll still likely be a top draft pick in the NFL Draft–look for him to go around the second round.
Northwestern stuns tenth ranked Nebraska 28-25
Somehow you just knew Northwestern was going to take somebody down this season. Well, it ended up being on the road against the tenth-ranked Cornhuskers. The Wildcats are always a tough team to play and they really embody the personality of their head coach Pat Fitzgerald. They're tough, well-coached, and always tough to beat. You can never count them out and their 28-25 upset win is proof of that.
Sophomore quarterback Kain Coulter was the hero for Northwestern in this game–racking up 170 all-purpose yards (115 passing, 57 rushing) and three touchdowns (one passing, two rushing) in the victory.
Louisville shocks WVU 38-35 in Morgantown
Louisville's freshman phenom of a quarterback Teddy Bridgewater made sure that West Virginia fans and college football fans across the country won't forget his name after yesterday.
The former five-star recruit displayed why he was so highly touted coming out of high school– completing 21 of his 27 pass attempts for 246 yards, one touchdown, and interception to pull off the upset victory at WVU, 38-35. Bridgewater was one of the most gifted quarterbacks in the 2012 recruiting class and was originally committed to Miami with Louisville teammate Eli Rogers. Both players attended Miami Northwestern high school and decided to decommit and sign with head coach Charlie Strong at Louisville. Landing both recruits was huge for the Cardinals and both players are showing why they were so highly sought after on the recruiting trail in high school.
Rogers hauled in five catches for 63 yards and a touchdown to lead Louisville in receiving for the game.
Remember the tandem of Teddy Bridgewater and Eli Rogers, folks, They're gonna dominate the Big East for years to come! The scary thing for Louisville opponents is both players are just freshmen.
Iowa takes down Michigan 24-16
Iowa running back Marcus Coker grinded out 132 rushing yards and two touchdowns as the Iowa Hawkeyes handed Michigan their second loss of the season–24-16. Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson had a costly fumble in this one. He has to learn to take better care of the football and become a better passing quarterback if Michigan ever wants to win the Big Ten title. He's shown that time and time again–when he goes against a decent defense in the Big Ten, he struggles to attack the field through the air without turning the football over.
OTHER SCORES TO NOTE
Utah State 35 Hawaii 31
Northern Illinois 63 Toledo 60
Florida State 38 Boston College 7
Cincinnati 26 Pittsburgh 23
Virginia 31 Maryland 13
Ohio 35 Temple 31
Houston 56 UAB 13
Oregon 34 Washington 17
Arkansas 44 South Carolina 28
PRIME TIME PERFORMERS
NIU QB CHANDLER HARNISH–NIU quarterback Chandler Harnish racked up over 390 all-purpose yards and six touchdowns in the insanely high scoring contest. The Huskies won 63-60 in a score that resembles a basketball score more than it does football.
WISCONSIN RB MONTEE BALL–Ball gashed the Purdue defense for 223 rushing yards and three touchdowns in a 62-17 throttling of the Boilermakers. He averaged a dazzling 11.2 yards per carry in the contest!
BAYLOR QB ROBERT GRIFFIN III–If Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III doesn't at least get invited to New York for the Heisman ceremony, I demand a recount. All the guy has done is put up monster numbers week in and week out. Sure, Baylor doesn't have a defense but it's not his fault. He completed 27 of his 41 attempts for 406 yards, while tossing three touchdowns and no interceptions. His monster day helped lead his team to a 42-39 victory over Mizzouri.
OKLAHOMA STATE QB BRANDON WEEDEN–Weeden completed 36 of his 46 attempts for 502 yards, while tossing in four touchdowns and two interceptions against Kansas State to lead his Cowboys to a heart-stopping 52-45 victory. The Cowboys are one of the few teams in college football that remain undefeated and there's no question they wouldn't be there without the golden arm of Weeden. He's another guy that needs an invite to NYC for the Heisman ceremony. He deserves more consideration for the award but likely won't get any since everybody has handed the Heisman to Andrew Luck.
CENTRAL MICHIGAN WR TITUS DAVIS–The freshman receiver made a name for himself in the Chippewas heartbreaking 24-21 loss at Kent State. He hauled in 10 catches for 192 yards and two touchdowns for CMU. He made several acrobatic grabs throughout the night, proving he'll be a name to watch in the MAC for years to come.
TEXAS RB JOE BERGERON–Bergeron shredded the Texas Tech defense to the tune of 191 rushing yards and three touchdowns to lead the 'Horns to a blowout victory over TT 52-20.
LOUISVILLE QB TEDDY BRIDGEWATER–Bridgewater showed a tremendous amount of moxie and poise in leading the Cardinal to a stunning 38-35 victory over WVU in Morgantown. The freshman phenom completed 21 of his 27 pass attempts for 246 yards and one touchdown, while tossing in one interception. Bridgewater has been progressing all season long and now he's showing the same gifts at quarterback that he had in high school at Miami Northwestern. He teamed up with Eli Rogers in high school to form one of the most unstoppable quarterback-receiver tandems in high school football and now they've brought that to Louisville. Look for Bridgewater and Rogers to do big things in the future for the Louisville Cardinals.
Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS