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Coaches of the Week - Week 10

Plenty of coaches across the nation did outstanding jobs in preparing their teams to play, but the group below shined above the rest to win our Coaches of the Week for Week 10 of the college football season. 

Head Coach of the Week - Mark Hudspeth, Louisiana - Lafayette: Hudspeth's team became the first squad outside the Big 12 and SEC to defeat ULM with a 40-24 win on Saturday, snapping a two-game losing streak to their intrastate rivals. The 24 points was a season-low for the Warhawks, while the Ragin' Cajuns became the first Sun Belt team to drop 40 points on ULM in regulation since 2009. Quarterback Terrance Broadway was an efficient 23-of-32 for 373 yards and four touchdowns with one interception, while Hudsepth's team controlled the line of scrimmage by out-rushing ULM 234-74. The win moved ULL one victory away from a second straight bowl berth and just one game back of first place in the Sun Belt. 

Offensive Staff of the Week - LSU: Credit must be given to Oregon for putting up school records (and USC opponent records) with 62 points and 730 yards, but this week we recognize the work of Greg Studrawa and LSU's offensive coaches. The Tigers offense outperformed even the loftiest expectations against college football's top total, scoring, passing and pass efficiency defense. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger played his best game as a collegian, connecting on 24-of-35 passes for 298 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions. Running back Jeremy Hill became just the fifth opponent in Nick Saban's tenure at Alabama to run for 100 yards against the Crimson Tide (29 carries, 107 yards, one touchdown). The Tigers moved the ball consistently on Alabama by refusing to leave the field. They were successful on 10-of-20 third downs and ran 85 plays, which adds up to 39:15 time of possession, allowing the Tigers to penetrate for two touchdowns and three field goal attempts. 

Defensive Staff of the Week - UCLA: One week after slicing and dicing the USC defense to the tune of 588 yards and 39 points, the Arizona offense compiled just 257 yards and 10 points in a 66-10 shellacking by UCLA. The Bruins held the Pac-12's leading passer Matt Scott to a season-low 124 yards on 15-of-25 attempts. Defensive coordinator Lou Spanos' unit limited Arizona to 3-of-14 on third down, a season-worst 18 first downs, recovered three fumbles and forced seven punts. It did not surrender a touchdown until midway through the third quarter with the Bruins nursing a 42-point lead. The UCLA coaching staff decided to wear war paint on the sidelines and if Saturday's results are any indication, Bruins football just got itself a new tradition. 

Special Teams Unit of the Week - San Diego State: Special teams keyed a historic win for San DIego State on Saturday night, 21-19 over Boise State. In defeating Boise State 21-19 on Saturday night, the Aztecs earned the program's first win over an AP top 20 team away from home. Colin Lockett opened the game with a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. That play stood as San Diego State's only offense until Dwayne Garrett blocked a punt in Broncos territory and returned it to the 8-yard line. Two plays later, San Diego State had its second touchdown of the day and a lead it would not relinquish. 

Call of the Week - Butch Jones and Mike Bajakian, Cincinnati: A few weeks ago in this space we promised that any time a coach goes for two and the win late in a game would receive automatic Call of the Week honors, so respect must be given to Gary Patterson and TCU for doing just that in their 39-38 win in double overtime at West Virginia. But this award goes to head coach Butch Jones and Mike Bajakian for doing what no staff has done - calling a jump pass in the middle of the field. Jump passes entered national consciousness with Tim Tebow at Florida in 2006, and we've even seen some running backs execute the play in recent years but the play had exclusively been used as a goal line tactic until Saturday. Trailing Syracuse 10-7 and facing a 4th and 2, Cincinnati opened the second quarter with a simple hand off to tailback George Winn. As Winn approached the line of scrimmage he sprung in the air and found Travis Kelce all alone behind the defense for a 37-yard touchdown. Cincinnati would go on to defeat Syracuse, 35-24.

Lane Kiffin: "You've always got to look at yourself"

As recently as a few months ago, USC head coach Lane Kiffin has been criticized for what many have called a lack of maturity. The criticizm came to a head following his now-infamous 29 second press briefing in September.

However, none of that person was present during Kiffin's press conference Saturday night following the Trojans' 62-51 loss to Oregon. 

When asked how much blame the coaching staff deserves for USC's fall from preseason No. 1 to a three-loss team, Kiffin had this to say.

"All of it," Kiffin said. "That's what you do as coaches. For us to have the penalties that we've had, the turnovers, (it's a big part of) the three losses. The first two, we were ahead in those games. We should have closed those games out."

Perfect answer.

Kiffin continued, offering an assessment of his performance against the Ducks.

"There's things I could have done better," Kiffin said. "There were situations where I could have called better plays. You've always got to look at yourself. I could have put us in a better situation at the end of the half."

Obviously, offense wasn't the reason USC lost to Arizona and it wasn't why Oregon beat the Trojans. USC allowed a school-record 730 yards to Oregon, one week after allowing Arizona to compile 588 yards.

"If you have back-to-back games where you're giving up 600 yards, we've got to look at what we're doing," explained Kiffin. "That's not real sound and that's not where we want to be. I don't have an answer right now or else I would have tried to fix it during the game."

The Trojans defense dropped 32 spots in the NCAA rush defense statistic after Oregon posted 426 yards on Saturday night. 

With dates against No. 17 UCLA and No. 2 Oregon still ahead, here's hoping for Kiffin's sake he doesn't have to show off his mature side any more this season. 

Colorado AD Mike Bohn promises changes coming for football program

In an interview with the Boulder Daily Camera on Saturday, Colorado athletics director Mike Bohn took stock of the Buffaloes' football program, expressing the need to make changes. The Buffs lost 45-0 to Stanford at Folsom Field, dropping their record to 1-8 on the season.

"We're not where we want to be," Bohn said. "No one is happy with what has happened on the field, players, coaches, staff, fans."

In his second season on the job, Embree is 4-18 at Colorado. The Buffaloes are in the midst of a five-game losing streak, scoring no more than 17 points and allowing no less than 42 points during the skid. 

"Recognizing our shortcomings early in the season, coach Embree, his staff, our leadership team along with football professionals have been engagedin numerous endeavors to address our challenges," Bohn said. "We are working to correct voids now in an effort to not lose time before the end of the season."

Earlier this season, CU President Bruce Benson issued suport for Embree. 

"I don't like to micromanage," Benson said in September. "There's no point that I or anybody else is going to step in that I know about. So we're going to play it out. We're going to rebuild and be positive and move forward."

Read the Boulder Daily Camera's full report here

Sunday TV - Dallas and Atlanta square off in prime time slot

Wow. Some great games last night, complete with record breaking offensive performances and teams making their definitive cases for the national title game. We've got some quality NFL games lined up all day today, including the prime time game that has the Cowboys at the Falcons.

Eastern time listed.

NFL:

Denver at Cincinnati - 1 - CBS

Baltimore at Cleveland - 1 - CBS

Arizona at Green Bay - 1 - FOX

Chicago at Tennessee - 1 - FOX

Miami at Indianapolis - 1 - CBS

Carolina at Washington - 1 - FOX

Detroit at Jacksonville - 1 - FOX

Buffalo at Houston - 1 - CBS

Minnesota at Seattle - 4:05 - FOX

Tampa Bay at Oakland - 4:05 - FOX

Pittsburgh at NY Giants - 4:25 - CBS

Dallas at Atlanta - 8:20 - NBC

College:

No games

High School:

No games

Saturday Scoreboard - Week 10

We'll keep you up to date on all the games worth noting from across the country throughout Saturday.

Alabama 21, LSU 17. Tiger Stadium was rocking, Alabama couldn't move the ball and LSU couldn't be stopped. And none of it mattered. LSU had marched half the field and had a 2nd-and-7 at the Alabama 29 when the Crimson Tide forced a loss of three yards to set up a 3rd-and-10. Two plays later, LSU missed a field goal and Alabama took over at the 28 with 1:34 still to play. To that point in the second half, Crimson Tide quarterback A.J. McCarron had completed one pass for zero yards in the second half, but four completions for 72 yards later and Alabama had a 21-17 lead it would not relenquish. LSU forced two turnovers and committed none, but the lion's share of costly mistakes belonged to the home team: two missed field goals, a failed fake field goal and a botched onside kick cost the Tigers in the end. Les Miles' team out-executed Alabama for most of the night. The Tigers went 10-for-20 on third down to the Tide's 1-for-9, and Zach Mettenberger's 298 passing yards more than doubled the Alabama defense's season average. And yet it is Alabama celebrating its 13th straight victory.

Kansas State 44, Oklahoma State 30. Kansas State forced five turnovers while committing none of their own, built a 38-17 lead in the third quarter and rode out the final frame to move to 9-0 on the year. A vintage Collin Klein performance (16-of-22 for 245 yards, 17 carries for 64 yards and a touchdown) ended at the 9:48 mark of the third quarter when Klein left due to an apparent wrist injury. Daniel Sams completed 5-of-6 passes for 45 yards and rushed seven times for 20 yards in relief. Speaking of relief, after starter Wes Lunt was knocked from the game, Oklahoma State's third-string quarterback Clint Chelf connected on 16-of-27 passes for 233 yards with a touchdown and an interception. 

Oregon 62, USC 51. 113 points, 16 touchdowns, 1,345 yards of total offense, 68 first downs and two punts. This was pretty effective counter-programming to LSU-Alabama. Chip Kelly's team got off to a 21-3 lead and stayed two steps ahead of USC for the rest of the night. The Trojans pulled with 34-31 and 41-38 in the third quarter and both times the Ducks responded with touchdowns. Neither team had an answer for the other's strongsuit. Oregon ran for 426 yards and five touchdowns, while USC threw for 484 yards and five scores. The difference came in the sharp play of Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota (20-of-23 for 304 yards and four touchdowns) and Oregon's 3-1 edge in turnovers. 

Notre Dame 29, Pittsburgh 26 (triple overtime). There's surviving and then there's surviving. Notre Dame executed the latter by managing to win a game in which it lost the turnover battle 3-0, including losing two turnovers near the Pittsburgh end zone (one in double overtime) and missed a field goal. Brian Kelly and co.'s chances seemed dead when Fighting Irish running back Cierre Wood lost the ball when diving into the end zone in the first frame of double overtime, but Pittsburgh missed a field goal on the ensuing possession. The Notre Dame defense forced a field goal at the top of the third overtime, and quarterback Everett Golson sneaked into the end zone to move Notre Dame to 9-0. Notre Dame survived, and now they advance. 

Nebraska 28, Michigan State 24. Taylor Martinez hit Jamal Turner in the corner of the end zone with eight seconds left to give its second down-to-the-wire win in three weeks. Both teams were determined to pound out the win on the ground, as the Spartans ran for 238 yards and the Cornhuskers responded with 313 yards of their own. Martinez led the way for Nebraska, rushing for 205 yards, including a 35-yard scoring scamper to pull Nebraska within three at 24-21 midway through the fourth quarter. He also threw for 160 yards and two scores, including the aformentioned game-winner. The win keeps the steering wheel firmly in the hands of Bo Pelini and co. in the Big Ten's Legends Division. 

 

TCU 39, West Virginia 38 (double overtime). Yet another thrilling game between the Big 12's middle class. West Virginia had the game in hand when Tavon Austin took a punt 76 yards for a touchdown with 3:19 to play, but Trevone Boykin connected with Josh Boyce for a 94-yard catch-and-run with 1:28 remaining to force overtime. After a stalemate in the first frame, West Virginia scored on the first play of double overtime on a 25-yard strike from Geno Smith to Stedman Bailey. TCU punched right back with a 25-yard score on their first play, and Gary Patterson went for the jugular  when Boykin connected with Boyce for two and the win, but only after the play was upheld by video review. 

 

Texas 31, Texas Tech 22. Texas ran the ball early, late and not much in between but it was enough to hold off Texas Tech for Mack Brown's first win over a top 25 foe since 2010. Bryan Harsin dialed up an explosive passing game, connecting on 11 passes for 264 yards and three touchdowns. The much-maligned Texas defense didn't do anything spectacular but did enough to win. They forced three field goals in five Texas Tech red zone trips and didn't allow a play longer than 25 yards. 

 

Georgia 37, Ole Miss 10. Victory didn't always seem certain for Mark Richt's Bulldogs as Hugh Freeze and Ole Miss took a 10-0 lead with 11:45 to play in the second quarter. But Georgia ran off the game's final 37 points, the biggest of which came when Aaron Murray found Tavarres King for a 40-yard score just three seconds before halftime to put the Bulldogs up 14-10. The SEC East will now be locked up at next week's Georgia-Auburn game. A win gives Georgia the East title, while an Auburn win would send Florida to Atlanta. 

Florida 14, Missouri 7. It wasn't pretty, but Florida got it done in the way they've become known for so far under Will Muschamp. The Gators ran the ball 33 times and completed only 12 passes, but the biggest play of the day was a screen pass to Florida running back Mike Gillislee for a 45-yard score to put UF up for good. Missouri ran close to 30 plays in Florida territory but managed just seven points. Early in the fourth quarter the Tigers had a 1st-and-10 at the Florida 25 and promptly retreated 20 yards before punting. Missouri threw into the end zone twice to end the game, but quaterback James Franklin threw his fourth pick of the game on fourth down from Florida's 21-yard line. 

 

 

Oklahoma 35, Iowa State 20. Kirk Herbstreit called this game a potential trap for Oklahoma and things appeared headed that way late in the first half with OU leading just 7-6 after two Landry Jones interceptions. But the Sooners pieced together a four play, 75-yard drive with 14 seconds to go before halftime. Oklahoma filled the box score, achieving 34 first downs 405 passing yards and 188 rushing yards. Oklahoma has now won its last 20 games following a regular season loss. 

Texas A&M 38, Mississippi State 13. In all honesty, the final score isn't an accurate picture of what a mismatch this game was. The Aggies did anything they wanted to offensively, outgaining Mississippi State by 299 yards in the first half. For the day Kevin Sumlin's team posted 718 yards of total offense (357 passing/361 rushing) with 36 first downs. In going 9-for-16 on third down, Texas A&M touched the ball 11 times and put together nine drives of nine plays or more. On the flip side, Mississippi State also possessed the ball 11 times and had just two nine-play drives. The Bulldogs had no success in corralling quarterback sensation Johnny Manziel as he connected on 30-of-36 passes for 311 yards and led the Aggies with 21 rushes for 129 yards and two touchdowns. 

Louisville 45, Temple 17. The initial meeting of Urban Meyer's former coordinators goes to the defense as Charlie Strong's Cardinals moved to 9-0. Temple opened the game with a 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and played Louisville to a draw over the game's first 20 minutes. But Louisville imposed its will from there, scoring the final 28 points of the game. Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater completed 19-of-28 passes for 324 yards and five touchdowns.

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