Week 11 of the 2011 college football is in the books and we were once again treated to a few different twists and turns. The race for the coveted Waterford Crystal has now left us with only three unbeaten teams in college football (LSU, Oklahoma State, Houston). LSU and Oklahoma State could be facing off at the end of the season for the BCS National Championship but both teams must win the remaining games on their slate. Both teams will face extremely difficult tests–LSU will have to get past Arkansas and Oklahoma State will have to square off against Oklahoma in their annual Bedlam matchup on December 3rd. The Cowboys–Sooners matchup is sure to be one of the most anticipated college football games of the season.
Let's take a look at the action from this past weekend!
LSU pulls away in the second half from WKU 42-9
The top-ranked LSU Tigers must have been sleepwalking a week after the "Game of the Century" because they were only up 14-7 at halftime against a ridiculously outmatched opponent. Not to worry, the Bayou Bengals pulled away in the second half and cruised to a 42-9 victory over the Hilltoppers. LSU running back Alfred Blue rushed for 119 yards and two touchdowns in the win. Another key contributor on the night for LSU was wide receiver Reuben Randle, who hauled in three catches for 76 yards and a touchdown. The Tigers currently control their own destiny in the race for the coveted Waterford crystal football. If they win the rest of the games on their slate–they will be in the BCS National Championship.
Oklahoma State obliterates Texas Tech 66-6
The second-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys and their high octane offensive attack continue to perform like a well-oiled machine. They've put on a dazzling display on offense all season long and Saturday afternoon was no different. They torched the Red Raiders' for 49 points in the first half and lead 49-0 at halftime. It was smooth sailing after that as the Cowboys coasted to a 66-6 win. Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden has continued to post dazzling performances all season long for the Cowboys' offense. Saturday, he bolstered his Heisman resume even further by shredding the Texas Tech secondary with ease. He completed 31 of his 37 pass attempts for 423 yards, five touchdowns, and no interceptions. Look for Weeden to continue to climb up in the minds of Heisman voters–especially if the Cowboys can take down the Sooners in their Bedlam matchup. He's making a late charge for the hardware and don't be surprised if he wins it if the Cowboys make it to the BCS National Championship. Wide receiver Justin Blackmon hauled in over 100 receiving yards and two touchdowns for the Cowboys in this one as well. Running back Joseph Randle also rushed for 78 yards and three touchdowns in the win for the Pokes. If you want to check out the Cowboys for yourself–tune in this Friday, November 18th as they take on Iowa State on ESPN2. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. Oklahoma State currently sits at 10-0 on the season and the Cyclones are their final roadblock before their date with destiny on December 3rd (Oklahoma).
Oregon pulls away from Stanford 53-30
Sure it might have been a year later but the rematch between Oregon and Stanford resembled a strikingly similar score. The Ducks were simply too fast and too explosive on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball for Stanford. Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck posted his worst performance of the season and his Heisman trophy campaign likely took a hit because of it. He turned the football over three times–two interceptions (one was a pick six that wasn't his fault) and a fumble. Luck also threw for 275 yards and three touchdowns in the loss for the Cardinal, which saw their undefeated season come to a screeching halt. Oregon forced an impressive five turnovers from Stanford in the victory. Running back LaMichael James once again went wild against the Cardinal–rushing for 146 yards and three touchdowns for Oregon. Ducks' quarterback Darron Thomas also threw three touchdown passes in the easy win.
Postseason picture for Oregon and Stanford
The loss for Stanford means their hopes of a Pac-12 championship and a BCS national championship are all but finished. They'll need Oregon to lose one of their next two games in order to make it to the conference championship game. The Ducks, on the other hand, currently control their own destiny in their quest for a Pac-12 crown. As for their hopes for a BCS National Championship–the Ducks are still a longshot to play in the BCS National Championship game but you could still say they have an outside shot. A couple of things need to happen–Oklahoma needs to defeat Oklahoma State and either Alabama or LSU need to lose at some point the rest of the season. Even then, it's doubtful that voters would want to see a rematch of LSU and Oregon in the BCS National Championship because the Ducks already faced LSU at the beginning of the season and lost by double digits.
TCU stuns Boise State 36-35
Another year and yet another dream season has been wiped out by a missed kick for Boise State. Broncos' kicker Dan Goodale sailed a 39-yard field goal wide right as time expired as the Horned Frogs stunned fifth ranked Boise State–36-35. TCU now has a clear path to the Mountain West Conference crown. TCU quarterback Casey Pachall posted a sparkling performance–completing 24 of his 37 pass attempts for 473 yards and five touchdowns, while tossing only one interception. His five passing touchdowns ties a school record. Kellen Moore threw for over 300 yards and two touchdowns in the loss for Boise State. He's still in the Heisman mix but the loss will likely hurt his chances of winning the award. Boise State running back D.J. Harper has proven to be one of the most explosive running backs in all of college football the past two years. He proved it Saturday night with a breakout performance–rushing for 125 yards and two touchdowns in the loss.
OTHER KEY SCORES FROM WEEK 11
ALABAMA 24 MISSISSIPPI STATE 7
ARKANSAS 49 TENNESSEE 7
VIRGINIA TECH 37 GEORGIA TECH 26
CLEMSON 31 WAKE FOREST 28
HOUSTON 73 TULANE 17
NEBRASKA 17 PENN STATE 14
KANSAS STATE 53 TEXAS A&M 50 (4OT)
MICHIGAN STATE 37 IOWA 21
WISCONSIN 42 MINNESOTA 13
SOUTHERN MISS 30 UCF 29
OHIO 43 CENTRAL MICHIGAN 28
VIRGINIA 31 DUKE 21
CURRENT BCS STANDINGS (AS OF NOV. 13, 2011)
2. OKLAHOMA STATE–.9642
8. VIRGINIA TECH–.6755
10. BOISE STATE–.5959
PRIMETIME PERFORMERS FROM WEEK 11
HOUSTON RB CHARLES SIMS — Sims has quietly put together one of the best seasons by a running back in C-USA all season long–it's just he's been over shadowed by the record setting numbers of Houston QB Case Keenum. Sims rushed for 207 yards and 2 TDs on only 10 carries in the Cougars 73-17 rout of Tulane. For those keeping track–that's an average of over 20 yards per carry! Insane performance from Sims. The Cougars will need big performances from him the rest of the way if they hope to keep their hopes for an undefeated season alive. SMU and potentially Southern Miss await in the horizon (if the Cougars and Golden Eagles make it to the C-USA Championship).
OREGON RB LAMICHAEL JAMES — James is the most explosive running back in college football and he proved it again on Saturday night before a nationally televised audience on ABC. He rushed for 146 yards and three touchdowns as Stanford simply could find no answer for Oregon's speedy and explosive playmakers all night long. It was a huge win for Oregon–who kept their Pac-12 championship hopes alive and their BCS National Championship dreams (long shot) alive as well.
GEORGIA RB ISAIAH CROWELL — Crowell was one of the most highly recruited running backs in America coming out of high school last year. All he's done is validate his high school awards and accolades all season long. He's the nation's top freshman running back and he gashed the Auburn defense on Saturday in the big 45-7 victory for the 'Dawgs. He rushed 24 times for 132 yards and a touchdown in the win. The victory means that Georgia keeps their hopes of a SEC Championship game berth alive and a ticket to face either LSU or Alabama.
OKLAHOMA STATE QB BRANDON WEEDEN — Weeden has been simply stunning the past two weeks–taking his game to a new level for the Cowboys offensive attack. Against Texas Tech–he completed over 80 percent of his passes (31 of 37) for 423 yards and five touchdowns. Those numbers weren't even posted in a full game as he was pulled in the third quarter. He's making a late push for the Heisman trophy and if the Cowboys can win their next two games (Iowa State and Oklahoma) then you might as well hand him the hardware in my mind.
TCU QB CASEY PACHALL – –The Texas Christian field general stunned the college football world by taking down the Boise State Broncos. He completed 24 of his 37 pass attempts for 473 yards, five touchdowns, and one interception in the 36-35 heart-stopping victory for TCU. It's not often the Horned Frogs are underdogs but they were in this contest. All they did was remind the nation that they're still TCU.
KANSAS STATE QB COLLIN KLEIN — Kansas State's all-everything quarterback simply has a will made of iron. He once again took matters into his own hands and strapped KSU on his back against Texas A&M. He completed 17 of his 27 pass attempts for 281 yards and a touchdown through the air. He also had 35 carries on the ground for 103 yards and 5 touchdowns! After it was all said and done–Klein accounted for six total touchdowns (including the game-winner) to lift the Wildcats to a heart-stopping 53-50 victory over Texas A and M in quadruple overtime.
TEXAS A&M RB CYRUS GRAY — Even though Gray was without fellow RB Christine Michael, he stepped up and carried the load for the Aggies backfield in their loss to Kansas State. He had 30 carries for 218 yards and two touchdowns in the gut-wrenching loss for A&M.
BAYLOR QB ROBERT GRIFFIN III — RGIII and the Baylor offense were trailing by 21 points with a little more than 11 minutes remaining in the 4th quarter against Kansas. Then the dynamic dual threat quarterback decided to turn it on and stage the biggest comeback in school history. Griffin III completed 22 of his 29 pass attempts for 312 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception through the air. He also gashed the Jayhawks for 103 rushing yards and one touchdown on 10 carries. After it was all said and done–he accounted for over 400 all-purpose yards and four total touchdowns in the 31-30 stunning comeback victory for his Baylor Bears.
NORTHERN ILLINOIS QB CHANDLER HARNISH — Harnish shredded BG for 445 all-purpose yards (294 passing, 151 rushing) and three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing) in NIU's 45-14 throttling of Bowling Green last Tuesday night. Harnish is one of the best dual threat quarterbacks in America that nobody knows about. He'll likely lead the Huskies to a MAC crown and they're my favorite to win it. Nobody can stop Harnish–he's hands down the best player in the conference in my eyes.
WESTERN MICHIGAN QB ALEX CARDER — Carder put up numbers that would be near impossible to reach on a lot of video games last Tuesday night against Toledo. He threw for 548 yards and seven touchdowns in WMU's 63-66 loss to Toledo. He also rushed for a touchdown in the loss. If Harnish is the best QB in the MAC, then Alex Carder gets my pick for the second best. He's been inconsistent this season but he's shown that when he comes to play he can put up insane numbers.
WESTERN MICHIGAN WR JORDAN WHITE — White hauled in 16 catches for 238 yards and three touchdowns for the Broncos in their game against Toledo. He's been one of the best receivers in college football the past two seasons, it's just because he plays in the MAC that nobody knows about him. The sure-handed receiver is bound to make a splash in the NFL.
TOLEDO RB ADONIS THOMAS — Thomas is one of the best all-purpose running backs in college football and can really shred opposing defenses through the air and on the ground. He racked up 293 all-purpose yards (216 rushing, 77 receiving) and three touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving) in Toledo's 66-63 victory over WMU. Defense is clearly optional for the Rockets–who have allowed over 60 points in their past two contests. Simply ridiculous.
MIAMI (OH) WR NICK HARWELL — Harwell hauled in 15 catches for 229 yards and two touchdowns in the Redhawks 24-21 loss to Temple last Wednesday. He's one of the best receivers in the Mid-American Conference–even though he has been inconsistent at times this season.
WASHINGTON STATE QB CONNOR HALLIDAY — The freshman signal-caller raised some eyebrows on Saturday when he led a 37-27 victory over Pac-12 rival Arizona State. He completed 27 of his 36 pass attempts for 494 yards and four touchdowns, while tossing no interceptions. The future is remarkably bright for this kid in Pullman, Washington folks!
WASHINGTON STATE WR MARQUESS WILSON — Wilson is one of the hot rising stars in the Pac-12 receiving corps. He's just a sophomore and it's going to be fun to watch him and Halliday connect over the next couple of years. He was a huge reason for the Cougars upset victory over Arizona State on Saturday. Wilson hauled in eight catches for 223 yards (27.9 yards per catch) and three touchdowns in the stunning victory for Wazzu. He'll be fun to watch over the next few years–except if you're a defensive back in the Pac 12.
Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS