The Top Ten Moments from a Saturday that Reminded Us Why College Football is the Best Thing on Earth
1. The Prayer at Jordan-Hare - It would be beyond the realm of human possibility to properly surmise everything that happened at Auburn today, but understand this: the Tigers built a 37-17 lead with 10 minutes left in the game, but Georgia chipped and chipped and chipped. After gaining all of four yards and zero points in the first quarter, Georgia put up 528 yards and 38 points in the final three, which gave the Bulldogs a one-point lead when Aaron Murray bowled over Auburn linebacker Jake Holland at the goal line for an official review-certified touchdown.
Then, with Auburn facing a 4th and 18 from their own 27, this happened:
If you don't like college football I'm afraid we simply can not be friends.— FootballScoop Staff (@footballscoop) November 17, 2013
2. One week after being the biggest upset victor, Stanford is this week's upset bait - We have much more coverage on USC's win over Stanford here, but just know that the night ended with Ed Orgeron standing above the USC marching band holding a sword - and this was a good thing.
2a. Cal goes to the mountains to hit rock bottom - Sonny Dykes should absolutely be given ample time to clean up the radioactive sludge Jeff Tedford left behind, and this season serves as a lesson of just how far he has to go. In a meeting of the Pac-12's two winless teams, Colorado dominated Cal 41-24, dropping the Golden Bears to 1-10 with a trip to Stanford closing out the season next week.
3. Kansas Won. Kansas Won. Kansas Won. - The Jayhawks didn't just win, they dominated. After West Virginia opened the scoring with a six-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to open the game, and then Kansas ran off 31 straight points to put the game completely out of reach. West Virginia added some cosmetics to the final score, but a 31-19 result has to feel as cathartic as a week straight on the psychiatrist's couch for the Kansas coaches and players, especially the seniors that suffered 27 straight Big 12 losses. It was Kansas' first conference win since Nov. 6, 2010, its first win over a current Big 12 member since Oct. 10, 2009 and its first win over a current Big 12 not named Iowa State since Nov. 1, 2008.
3a. Dana, Dana, Dana. - On Oct. 6, 2012, West Virginia was 5-0 and ranked fifth nationally after a 48-45 win over Texas, and Dana Holgorsen busted into his new league with 118 points and 16 touchdowns in his first two games. Since then, West Virginia is 6-13 and the Mountaineers have been held to less than 20 points seven times in those 19 games. Once the Mad Scientist of Offense, Holgorsen is now the Coach Who Lost to Kansas.
4. The ACC makes no sense - One week after beating Miami at Miami 42-24, Virginia Tech dropped a 27-24 decision to Maryland in overtime. A Maryland team that had dropped three of four ACC games (by a combined 157-40), with that one winning coming in a 27-26 squeaker over Virginia. The Terps are now 6-4 after going 6-18 over the past two seasons.
Behold Randy Edsall's bowl eligible face:
4a. Duke - DUKE! - is now 8-2 - There's really nothing else that needs to be said, but allow me to add a few notes. First, the Blue Devils scored the game's final 20 points after falling behind 30-28 with 5:04 left in the third quarter. Second, Duke - DUKE - controls its own destiny reach the ACC title game. Finally, Miami started this month undefeated and ranked in the top ten. Now they're unranked.
Duke now has more wins over the last two years (14) than it had under both of Cutcliffe's predecessors combined (13-90 from 1999-2007).— Paul Myerberg (@PaulMyerberg) November 17, 2013
5. Central Florida survives Temple - Matt Rhule came this close to putting a peacock-sized feather in his Stetson on Saturday. After falling behind 5-0 in the first quarter, Temple had a 28-22 lead on the 17th-ranked leaders of the American, and a 36-29 lead with just two minutes to go. But UCF"s J.J. Worton hauled in perhaps the catch of the year to tie the game with 1:04 to play, and then UCF did as conference championship squads do - they forced a punt and hit a 64-yard catch and run to Rannell Hall to set up a game-winning 24-yard field goal as time expired.
6. Tommy Tuberville has Cincinnati rolling - The eye-popping score of the early games was Cincinnati's beat down of Rutgers in Piscataway. It was 24-7 Bearcats through one quarter, 38-7 at the half, 45-7 through three and 52-17 at the final gun. After giving South Florida its first victory of the year on October 5, Cincinnati has won five straight, pushing its record to 8-2 (5-1 American) with Houston and Louisville waiting.
7. What do we make of Michigan State? - The Spartans have played two teams ranked 43rd or higher nationally in total offense, and allowed 28 points each time. That includes Saturday, when Nebraska racked up 392 yards and 6.13 yards per play, well above Sparty's average of 210 yards allowed per game and 3.47 per play. But Pat Narduzzi's defense forced five turnovers, helping the offense score a very un-Michigan State like 41 points. A win over Northwestern on Saturday clinches a trip to the Big Ten title game.
8. A game that no one wanted to win - This is where I have the Michigan offense from the beginning of the Michigan State game to the final drive against Northwestern: 192 plays, 616 yards (3.20 yards per play), 20 punts, 10 three-and-outs, 7-of-47 on third down and 25 total points. Of course, Michigan marched 29 yards in 12 plays to hit the game-tying field goal just before the final buzzer (which tied the game.... at 9-9) and went on to win, 27-19, in triple overtime.
9. Leach gets his biggest win at Washington State - There is no longer road trip in the lengthy Pac-12 than Washington State's 1,300-plus mile trek to Tucson, Arizona. The distance alone usually spells a death sentence for a program that won three Pac-12 road games from 2007-12, but Mike Leach's 2013 Cougars have turned into road warriors. Wazzu played Auburn to a 31-24 final at Jordan-Hare to open the season, beat USC in Los Angeles (two results that look more impressive by the day), won by three touchdowns at Cal, spurred Nick Aliotti into a late-night tirade for showing the audacity to score on Oregon in the fourth quarter, and then topped Arizona 24-17 on Saturday. Washington State won the second half in a very un-Washington State like score, 14-3, to earn its fifth win of the season. Beat Utah in Pullman next week or Washington in Seattle the week after, and Wazzu is going bowling after a decade of quiet Decembers.
10. The NCAA all-divisions rushing record was set today - And it was set by a player named Cartel Brooks. Playing for Division III Heidelberg University in Ohio, Brooks rushed 465 yards and three scores on 38 carries in a 42-14 win over Baldwin-Wallace, which surpasses the previous record of 455 yards set by Western Connecticut's Octavious McKoy earlier this season. While we're here, it's worth mentioning that Boston College's Andre Williams set an ACC record with 339 rushing yards, Colorado State's Kapri Gibbs ran for 291 yards and six touchdowns, and UCLA linebacker Myles Jack ran the ball 13 times for 59 yards and four touchdowns.
11. And finally - A reader adds that NAIA Warner University earned its first win in school history on Saturday, topping Concordia (Ala.), 13-7. Congratulations to Jeff Schaum and his staff.