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Saturday Scoreboard - Week 9

Another full slate of college football games has come and gone. Here is what stood out to us today from games across the country. 

Notre Dame 30, Oklahoma 13. Brian Kelly's team believed in who it is, stuck to what it does well and never wavered from the gameplan to achieve the biggest win in the third year coach's tenure. Bob Diaco's defense kept the Oklahoma passing game in front of them (52 passes for 364 yards, long of 35 yards) and shut down the Sooners' multi-faceted running attack (24 carries for 15 yards). The Fighting Irish offensive line owned the line of scrimmage, producing 215 yards and three scores on 39 carries and an effective 188 passing yards on 27 throws. After Oklahoma tied the game at 13-13, Kelly's team reeled off the game's final 17 points over the last 5:05 to stake their claim as a true national title contender in 2012. 

Alabama 38, Mississippi State 7. Just another destruction of a ranked opponent. As we head into November, Nick Saban's team has never scored less than 33 points and has yet to allow more than 14 points. Saban and defensive coordinator Kirby Smart's defense limited Mississippi State to 47 rushing yards and forced the Bulldogs into three turnovers. LSU awaits. 

Nebraska 23, Michigan 9. A tight game through one half turned when Wolverines quarterback Denard Robinson injured his right wrist late in the first half. Robinson's backup, redshirt freshman Russell Bellomy, was overwhelmed by the moment as evidenced by his stat line: 3-of-16 for 38 yards and three interceptions. Bo Pelini's team put the game away with just over 10 minutes left on a 12-yard touchdown dash by Ameer Abdullah. Nebraska now stands alone in first place in the Big Ten's Legends Division. 

 Miami (Ohio) 23, Ohio 20. Frank Solich's team fell from the ranks of the unbeaten and fell into a dogfight in the MAC East with a last-second loss to the RedHawks. Down by three at the Miami seven yard-line, Ohio elected to bypass a field goal try to attempt a pass with nine seconds left and no timeouts. Instead, Bobcats quarterback Tyler Tettleton was sacked and Ohio was unable to get off another play. With the loss, Ohio falls from first to fourth place in their division behind 4-0 Kent State, 4-1 Bowling Green (who Ohio faces next week) and 3-1 Miami. 

Ohio State 35, Penn State 23. A game that ulimately had no effect on the Big Ten standings, but don't tell that to anyone at Beaver Stadium. Penn State opened the scoring by recovering a blocked field goal in the end zone but Ohio State ran off 28 of the game's next 31 points to wrest control of the game. Urban Meyer's club won this game at the line of scrimmage, owning a 234-32 rushing advantage. Ohio State is now just three wins away from joining the 1993 Auburn Tigers as teams with perfect seasons under probation. 

Arizona 39, USC 36. One of the trendy upset picks of the day comes through as Arizona survives a Hail Mary to topple USC. Rich Rodriguez's offense shredded USC to the tune of 369 passing yards, 219 rushing yards and 30 first downs. Lane Kiffin's team had a chance to win despite five turnovers and 14 penalties almost singlehandedly behind the effort of sophomore wide receiver Marqise Lee, who set a Pac-12 record with 345 receiving yards and also added 123 yards on kickoff returns (including a 72-yarder). It's not out of the realm of possibility that Rodriguez could win the Pac-12 South in his first season, despite a 2-3 league record at the moment. With the win over the Trojans and games still to play with UCLA and Arizona State, the Wildcats have a chance to play their way into the conference title game.

Georgia 17, Florida 9. Nine turnovers. 24 penalties. 25 incomplete passes in 53 attempts. A missed field goal. A successful onside kick called back by penalty. This game was anything but a thing of beauty. The perfect ending came when Florida tight end Jordan Reed lept from the Georgia five-yard line and fumbled on his way down into the Georgia end zone, ending Florida's last chance to tie. But credit Mark Richt's team, who overcame a sluggish month in which the Bulldogs beat Tennessee and Kentucky (combined SEC wins: zero) by just 12 and lost to South Carolina by 28, for finding a way to win its second straight over Florida and put itself in position to win back-to-back SEC East crowns. Georgia now just need wins over Ole Miss and Auburn (combined SEC wins: two) to make plans for Atlanta in early December. 

Kansas State 55, Texas Tech 24. Once again Bill Snyder's team methodically ground another ranked opponent into submission. The Wildcats trailed 10-3 midway into the second quarter and then scored the next seven times they touched the ball until running out the game's final 2:33. Nothing they do is specatcular, but everything they do is efficient. Quarterback Collin Klein threw for 233 yards and two scores, added 83 yards and two scores on the ground while tailback John Hubert threw in two more rushing jaunts. Kansas State won the turnover battle 3-0 and took an interception 37 yards back for a touchdown. 

Oklahoma State 36, TCU 14. Bill Young's defense isn't forcing turnovers like it did a year ago, but the Oklahoma State coordinator has produced a better unit overall in 2012. In holding TCU to just seven offensive points, none after the first quarter, Oklahoma State forced quarterback Trevone Boykins to throw 40 passes to gain only 185 yards. Meanwhile, Mike Gundy and Todd Monken continue to get production no matter what freshman plays quarterback. Stepping in for injured redshirt freshman J.W. Walsh, true freshman Wes Lunt threw for 324 yards on 18-of-33 attempts. Mike Gundy's team has very quietly played itself into a position where the Cowboys can defend its Big 12 title. With a trip to Manhattan next week, Oklahoma State sits one game behind first-place Kansas State and tied with Oklahoma. Wins over both clubs should give the Pokes another Big 12 crown.

Kent State 35, Rutgers 23. For the second straight week a MAC team has downed an undefeated Big East foe. Darrell Hazell's 7-1 squad handed Kyle Flood his first loss at Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights entered the day ranked third nationally in scoring defense and rushing defense, but Kent State dominated the line of scrimmage to the tune of 50 carries for 224 yards and more than triple Rutgers' points-against average. Kent State's rushing success allowed Hazell's team to stay on the field for more than 37 minutes on the afternoon. On the other side of the ball, Kent State forced Rutgers into six interceptions and a sum of seven turnovers. 

 

North Carolina 43, N.C. State 35. Earlier this week we highlighted how badly Larry Fedora wanted to end North Carolina's losing skid to N.C. State. A furious final 90 seconds gave North Carolina the win and Fedora a 1-0 record against the Wolfpack. N.C. State held a 35-25 lead after three quarters, but the Tar Heels pulled within three early in the fourth quarter. Fedora's team threatened to take the lead until quarterback Bryn Renner was sacked on third-and-goal, forcing the Tar Heels to settle for a field goal and a 35-35 tie with 1:24 to play. After securing a three-and-out on N.C. State's ensuing possession, running back Giovani Bernard took a punt back 73 yards for the game-winner, his third touchdown of the day. The loss is a costly one for Tom O'Brien's team as N.C. State no longer controls its own destiny to  play in the ACC Championship. 

 

Ole Miss 30, Arkansas 27. A Bryson Rose 31-yard field goal as time expired gave Hugh Freeze's team its second consecutive SEC win. It can not be understanded how important this win is for Freeze's program, which suddenly is just one win from bowl eligibility after putting an end to its 16-game conference losing streak last week. Perhaps the most encouraging aspect of the win for Freeze is that his team found a way to win despite being outgained by 109 yards and committing two turnovers. Arkansas isn't the team they were expected to be, but Ole Miss still had enough talent to defeat an SEC foe without owning the stat sheet. 

 

South Carolina 38, Tennessee 35. A Big 12 game broke out in SEC country. The Vols and Gamecocks teamed up to accumulate 987 yards from scrimmage and 10 total touchdowns. Tennessee mounted a late drive that could have given them the lead, marching from their own 19-yard line to the South Carolina 19, until Jadeveon Clowney forced a Tyler Bray fumble that the Gamecocks recovered with 1:08 remaining. We want to send well wishes to South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore, who suffered what Steve Spurrier called a "serious injury" in the second quarter. With the loss Derek Dooley now falls to 4-18 in SEC play. 

 

Texas 21, Kansas 17. The Texas offense had accomplished nothing since the first drive until backup quarterback Case McCoy led the Longhorns on consecutive scoring drives for the comeback win. To be fair, it was the Texas running game that did the heavy lifting on McCoy's first touchdown drive, as Bryan Harsin got the ball in the hands of speedsters D.J. Monroe and Marquise Goodwin as Texas rushed seven times for 84 yards to tie the game at 14-14 with 9:41 to play. Charlie Weis' team responded with a 14 play, 61 yard drive that ate 7:13 off the clock but notched just three points to leave Texas a window to rally. McCoy connected with Jaxon Shipley on 4th-and-6 for 18 yards to keep Mack Brown's team in the game, and five plays later McCoy hit tight end D.J. Grant for the winning score with just 12 ticks left on the clock. Kansas played with a great game plan, attacking the Texas run defense to the tune of 234 rushing yards while Dave Campo's defense forced Texas quarterback David Ash into his worst game of the season (8-of-16 passing for 63 yards and two interceptions) before Brown pulled Ash for McCoy. Unfortunately for Kansas, this marks yet another close call that left the Jayhawks just short of its first Big 12 win since Nov. 6, 2010.

Saturday TV - College GameDay is in Oklahoma

College GameDay is in Norman, but there are plenty of other quality games to be played before the Irish and Sooners kick things off at 8pm ET.

Eastern time listed.

NFL:

No games

College:

Ball State at Army - 12 - CBSSN

Delaware at Old Dominion - 12 - NBCSN

Eastern Illinois at Eastern Kentucky - 12 - FCSP

Indiana at Illinois - 12 - BTN

Iowa at Northwestern - 12 - ESPN2

Temple at Pitt - 12 - SNY

Tennessee at South Carolina - 12 - ESPN

Northern Illinois at Western Michigan - 12 - ESPN3

Ole Miss at Arkansas - 12:21 - SEC Network

North Carolina State at North Carolina - 12:30 - ESPN3

Maryland at Boston College - 1 - ESPN3

Utah State at UTSA - 2 - ESPN3

Colorado at Oregon - 3 - Pac 12 Network

UCLA at Arizona State - 3 - FX

Brigham Young at Georgia Tech  - 3 - ESPN3

Florida vs Georgia - 3:30 - CBS

Texas Tech at Kansas State - 3:30  - FOX

USC at Arizona - 3:30 - ABC

Duke at Florida State - 3:30 - ESPNU

Kent State at Rutgers - 3:30 - ESPN3

Boise State at Wyoming - 3:30 - CBS Sports Network

Ohio at Miami (OH) - 3:30 - ESPN3

Michigan State at Wisconsin - 3:30 - ABC

Purdue at Minnesota - 3:30 - BTN

Eastern Michigan at Bowling Green - 3:30 - ESPN3

North Texas at Middle Tennessee - 3:30 - ESPN3

Harvard at Dartmouth - 5 - CSNE

Illinois State at Northern Iowa - 5 - CSNC

Ohio State at Penn State - 5:30 - ESPN

Western Kentucky at Florida International - 6 - ESPN3

Washington State at Stanford - 6:15 - Pac 12 Network

Texas A&M at Auburn - 7 - ESPNU

Syracuse at South Florida - 7 - ESPN3

Massachusetts at Vanderbilt - 7 - ESPN3

Notre Dame at Oklahoma - 8 - ABC

Michigan at Nebraska - 8 - ESPN2

Louisiana Tech at New Mexico State - 8 - ESPN3

UCF at Marshall - 8 - CBS Sports Network

Mississippi State at Alabama - 8:30 - ESPN

Oregon State at Washington - 10:15 - Pac 12 Network

High School:

St. Edward at St. Ignatius - 7 - Sportstime Ohio

 

 

 

 

 

What We're Watching - Week 9

Another full slate of college football action is now just a mere hours away. What matchups stand out to us on the final college football Saturday of October? Here's nine games that we'll be keeping our eyes on throughout the day. 

Florida vs. Georgia (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS): Florida has won 18 of the last 22 in this series, and win No. 19 will lock in a trip to Atlanta in December for Will Muschamp's team. Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease will test Georgia's 72nd-ranked run defense early and often; the Gators have run the ball 319 teams this season and thrown it just 134 times. Georgia will look to turn around an unimpressive three-game stretch that includes a 35-7 loss to South Carolina and two wins by a total of 12 points over Tennessee and Kentucky (combined SEC record: 0-9). 

Texas Tech at Kansas State (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX): It's pretty safe to say not many people saw this as a battle for Big 12 supremacy this preseason. The teams that combined to knock West Virginia out of any title conversations square off with first place on the line. Texas Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville's reputation as a giant killer preceeds him, according to blogger Matt Hinton, Tubberville is 7-4 versus top 5 opponents since 2000. Texas Tech, which boasts the Big 12's top defense statistically, meets the conference's most diverse attack: quarterback Collin Klein is the second-most efficient passer in the nation while also rushing for 14 scores, and tailback John Hubert has four 100-yard games on the year. Meanwhile, Texas Tech quarterback Seth Doege meets the Big 12's leading pass efficiency defense fresh off a whitewashing of West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith (season-low 143 passing yards, two interceptions). 

Duke at Florida State (3:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU): Saturday's Duke-Florida State game featues a team in control of its own destiny to win the ACC championship, and Florida State.  Yes, it is Duke that is alone in first place of the ACC's Coastal Divison, while Florida State needs to win out and a Clemson loss to win the ACC's Atlantic Division. The Blue Devils clinched their first bowl appearance since 1994 with last week's 33-30 win over North Carolina, but to achieve more than that David Cutcliffe's team will need to find a way to slow down the ACC's most statistically-sound team. Jimbo Fisher's squad leads the ACC in nine categories including total offense, scoring offense, total defense and scoring defense. 

USC at Arizona (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN2): Pac-12 South leading USC travels to Tucson to face 4-3 (1-3 Pac-12) Arizona in what figures to be an easy Trojans win, right? Not exactly. Behind Rich Rodriguez's fifth-ranked total offense, Arizona is the 13th best team in college football according to Football Outsiders' F/+ rankings, six spots ahead of USC. The Wildcats have played better than their record indicates, after close losses to Stanford and Oregon State, Arizona is fresh off a 52-17 pounding of Washington. After losing its conference opener at Stanford, Lane Kiffin's team has feasted on the lower rungs of the Pac-12 standings with wins over California, Utah, Washington and Colorado (combined Pac-12 record: 4-13). 

TCU at Oklahoma State (3:30 p.m. ET, FSN): Perhaps Mike Gundy and Gary Patterson can console each other on the hard luck each staff has been dealt at the quarterback position. After redshirt freshman quarterback J.W. Walsh ably stepped in for opening-day starter Wes Lunt, accounting for 461 yards of total offense in a win over Iowa State last week, before he was lost for the season with a knee injury. Oklahoma State will either turn back to Lunt, a true freshman, or to third-string quarterback Clint Chelf. On the opposite sideline, redshirt freshman Trevone Boykin continues to improve as TCU's newly-minted starting quarterback. Boykin threw for 332 yards and four touchdowns in his third start on Saturday versus Texas Tech. Like the majority of games pitting the Big 12's middle class, expect a down-to-the-wire outcome with both teams reaching the mid-30's. 

Ohio State at Penn State (5:30 p.m., ESPN): Technically, this is the most meaningless game on the Big Ten schedule in 2012. Or, depending on what you read, it could be the most meaningful college football game played this year. This game could wind up deciding the Big Ten Coach of the Year, as both first year coaches' fingerprints are evident through the improvements each quarterback has shown from 2011. Bill O'Brien's has completely transformed Nittany Lions quarterback Matt McGloin, improving the senior's 2011 totals (1,571 yards with eight touchdowns and five interceptions) through just seven games. McGloin leads the Big Ten with 1,788 passing yards while tossing 14 scores against just two picks. His counterpart, Ohio State sophomore Braxton Miller, places second in the conference with 2,349 yards of total offense and ranks second among all FBS quarterbacks with 959 rushing yards.

Notre Dame at Oklahoma (8 p.m. ET, ABC)Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly stated earlier this week he wants his program to emulate the success that Oklahoma has enjoyed under Bob Stoops. His team can start with a win in Norman on Saturday night. The closer and more low-scoring this game plays the more it will benefit Notre Dame. Oklahoma teams tend to pounce early on any displays of weakness but can fold in a 60 minute boxing match. After going a solid half-decade without losing in Norman, Oklahoma has lost two of its last six home games. Both losses contained a minus-2 turnover margin for the Sooners, good news for Notre Dame and it's plus-9 turnover balance. Notre Dame needs to improve on its 43 percent third-down conversion rate to keep Oklahoma's explosive offense on the sideline. 

Michigan at Nebraska (8 p.m. ET, ESPN2): The Big Ten's most-explosive offense hosts the league's most sneaky-good defense in a game that could ultimately decide the Big Ten's Legends Division title. Nebraska leads the Big Ten and ranks among college football's top dozen offenses in yards gained (512.4 per game, 6.9 per play) and scoring (41.6 points per game) faces a Michigan team that arrives in Lincoln quiety riding a three-game winning streak. Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison's unit has held its last five opponents to 13 points or less and checks in at No. 10 nationally in total defense (277.1 yards per game, 4.4 yards per play). 

Mississippi State at Alabama (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)Both of these teams have benefitted from back-loaded schedules to arrive at this game with a 7-0 record. Only one of these teams has something to prove, however, and it's not the Crimson Tide. Mississippi State hasn't beaten Alabama since Nick Saban's first season and has scored 10 combined points through the first three quarters of the past four meetings. Fortunately for Dan Mullen, his team excells at the best ingredient to creating an upset - Mississippi State leads the nation in turnover margin. But unforunately for Mullen, Alabama checks in just two spots behind Mississippi State in the national rankings. 

You have to see this Washington high school's hook-and-ladder to the center

Thanks to Scott Enyeart, who alerted us to one of the most creative play calls we've seen to date. Washington's Mercer Island High School held a 29-22 lead over Interlake when Mercer Island called for a hook-and-ladder to the center. Yes, the center. 

Credit to center Alex Emanuels, a Cornell commit, for making a man miss after catching the pitch at the 50 and then racing through the defense before he's finally chased down inside the 10-yard line.

 

Hear from Northwestern's strength staff

Northwestern has made some major strides as a program over the past 12 months.

At this point last season, the Wildcats were sitting at 2-5 and had to battle to earn bowl eligibility. This season, they're sitting at 6-2 (2-2 in conference), and are looking at their fifth straight bowl appearance, and hoping to tally their first win in those four trips.

From everything that we've heard out of Evanston, the strength and conditioning staff took made sure that they took their offseason training to the next level following 6-7 season of 2011.

Featured in this video are two strength and conditioning assistants who used to line up against each other in the very competitive College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin. The CCIW is regarded by many to be one of the top three Division III football conferences in the country. The third member of the staff that is featured in the video is Troy Sutton, who serves as the assistant director of strength and conditioning.

Jose Jose Palma (who played defensive line at North Park) and Derek Sulo (an All American running back at North Central) have come together in Evanston as two pieces of a staff built on ensuring that the Wildcats put in the year round work that is required to win a Big Ten title under head coach Pat Fitzgerald.

Palma recently became a full time member of the strength staff, while Sulo is currently working as a graduate assistant. Hear from each of them, as well as coach Sutton, in the clip below about their journey, as well as some of the philosophies within the Wildcat strength and performance program, and what makes the Northwestern environment special.

Some really good content in here from some quality people on what it takes to do what they do, and what it means to them to have the unique opportunity of working under coach Fitz in a Big Ten environment.

 

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