#3 Alabama 35, #19 Wisconsin 17
In a contest that wasn’t as close as the final score would suggest, Alabama looked like it’s more than ready for its meat grinder 2015 schedule. The Crimson Tide outgained its Big Ten opponent
502-268 and held the Badgers to a measly 40 yards rushing, 25 of which came on a 4th-quarter
end-around by a wide receiver. Corey Clement of Wisconsin was held to 16 yards on 8 carries and sat out the second half with a left groin injury. Meanwhile, the Alabama offense did pretty much as it pleased. Derrick Henry carried only 13 times but had 147 yards and three touchdowns. Quarterback Jake Coker completed 15 of 21 for 213 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions.
If Nick Saban’s team’s goal was to send a message, it came through loud and clear: January 1st was a fluke; we’re still the SEC and you’re still the not-so-Big 10.
Texas A&M 38, #16 Arizona State 17
A&M freshman Christian Kirk stuck it to his home state team with two huge plays: a 79-yard punt return for a touchdown and a 66-yard catch-and-run on a screen pass for another score. Total yardage favored the Aggies 425 to 291. Kevin Sumlin got solid play from both of his quarterbacks, each with a different skill set. Kyle Allen passed, and Kyler Murray ran. Punter Drew Kaser launched punts of 64 and 53 yards during the sluggish early going for keep the Sun Devils backed up.
Temple 27, Penn State 10
Temple was 2-10 in 2013, 6-6 a year ago, lost to Penn State in Happy Valley in November and was a touchdown underdog yesterday, so no one really saw this coming. And one other thing: The Owls hadn’t beaten Penn State since 1941, having gone a humiliating 0-38-1 since.
The Nittany Lions led 10-0 after one quarter and were outscored 27-0 thereafter. Penn State was
2 for 13 on third down, managed just 31 yards on 25 second-half plays, and gained less than 200 total yards in getting thoroughly manhandled by the Temple defensive front. Temple sacked P.S.U.
quarterback Christian Hackenberg a ridiculous 10 times!
The win was undoubtedly especially sweet for Temple coach Matt Ruhle, who played his college football at Penn State. Ruhle was a linebacker for Linebacker U from 1994 to 1997.
#6 Oregon 61, Eastern Washington 42
Oregon quarterback Vernon Adams, an Eastern Washington transfer, was knocked woozy in the fourth quarter on a late hit by Eastern’s John Kreifels, who was flagged and ejected. Before being knocked from the game, Adams shined: 246 yards passing and 94 yards running. Royce Freeman added 180 yards, a career best, and three touchdowns. The Ducks had 731 yards of total offense but their youthful secondary gave up 438 yards passing to an FCS school.
#7 Auburn 31, Louisville 24
The highly-touted Tigers survived despite three picks thrown by their quarterback Jeremy Johnson and a late Louisville comeback attempt. Auburn got an 82-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Justin Garrett to go up 14-0. It was 31-10 with just over 10 minutes to play before Louisville rallied behind quarterback Lamar Jackson.
#8 Southern California 55, Arkansas State 6
U.S.C. celebrated the end of scholarship restrictions in a big way with a pounding of visiting
Arkansas State. Trojan quarterback Cody Kessler threw for 236 yards and four scores to four different receivers.
#11 Notre Dame 38, Texas 3
Seeking an improvement over last year’s largely inept offense, Texas will have to wait for another day. Charlie Strong’s Longhorns accumulated only 163 yards of total offense in the blowout loss.
Notre dame’s Malik Zaire threw only three incompletions in 22 attempts while passing for over 300 yards. The highlight was a third-quarter 66-yard touchdown to will Fuller, who caught seven balls for 142 yards and two scores on the night. The Texas defensive front was unable to get any pressure on Zaire, causing Strong to say he was “pissed” at his defense. ( Pardon me, Coach, but a more pressing problem lies on the other side of the ball.)
#10 Georgia 51, Louisiana-Monroe 14
The game was called due to lightning with 9:54 to go, and it only appeared that Georgia coach Mark Richt made the decision. Sanford Stadium was nearly empty due to an earlier lightning delay. Nick Chubb and Keith Marshall had each rushed for two scores, and Virginia transfer Greyson Lambert was okay at quarterback with 141 passing yards and two touchdowns.
#9 Florida State 59, Texas State 16
Quarterback Everett Golson matched his career high of four touchdown passes and completed 76% of his throws (19 of 25) for 302 yards in his Seminoles debut.
#15 U.C.L.A. 34, Virginia 16
True freshman quarterback Josh Rosen was certainly up to the challenge of leading a veteran team as he threw for over 350 yards and three touchdowns with no INTs. His stats could have been even more impressive if not for a drop by his receiver on a perfectly thrown bomb on the game’s first play from scrimmage. Virginia QB Matt Johns showed how he beat out Lambert for the job with 238 yards in the air and an expressive leadership style.
#12 Louisiana State and McNeese State, cancelled
Play was halted early in the first quarter before four hours of lightning and heavy rain forced a cancellation, L.S.U.’s first since World War I. The game will not be rescheduled. McNeese State will receive its $500,000 without having to play the game. This was the second game lost to weather this weekend; Stony Brook at Toledo was the other. Maybe God doesn’t like FBS-FCS
matchups any more than coforepr does!
#14 Mississippi 76, Tennessee-Martin 3
Speaking of which… In another SEC-FCS that diminishes the game of college football, does it really matter who did what?
Brigham Young 33, Nebraska 28
B.Y.U. won the battle in dramatic fashion but lost the war. After beating Nebraska on a Hail Mary,
Cougar coach Bronco Mendenhall announced that quarterback Taysom Hill will be lost for the season due to a foot fracture. Hill played much of this game in spite of it, passing for 268 yards and running for 72 more. The senior had missed over half of last season with a broken leg.
Freshman Tanner Mangum had replaced Hill by game’s end and threw the 42-yard Hail Mary that won it on the final play. A field goal would have sufficed too, as the Cougars were down only one point, but the kick would’ve been from 59 yards.
Nebraska played a strong second half after trailing 24-14 at the break.
Northwestern 16, #20 Stanford 6
In a stunning upset the key stat was 3rd down conversions: Northwestern was 12 for 22 while the offensively challenged Cardinal went 3 for 15. Stanford was sloppy with procedure penalties and dropped passes hampering the effort. A nice win, though, for Northwestern and for the Big Ten.
This afternoon’s game, Purdue at Marshall, won’t draw a big TV audience, which is too bad. Coforepr expects a most entertaining game. James Madison transfer quarterback Michael Birdsong is no Rakeem Cato for Marshall, but coach Doc Holliday seems to always find ways to move the ball.
Tomorrow night Ohio State takes on Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. Bud Foster is one of the best defensive coordinators in the game, but this will be like trying to plug 15 holes in the dike when you only have 10 fingers.
Coforepr returns Tuesday. Enjoy your holiday (Only one “l” in “holiday” this time!)