VIDEO: Go inside the Notre Dame locker room
Notre Dame provided some great footage from the locker room and sidelines of last night's win over USC.
The video opens with Brian Kelly's halftime address to his team. The Fighting Irish led 16-10, and you can see on Kelly's face how close they are to 12-0. "Alright men, this is it," Kelly said. "This is it! Play the last two quarters together and play to the last second. That's who we are. Be who we are.
"You've got a great opportunity. Go seize the moment. Let's go play."
The video then picks up at Notre Dame's goal line stand and shows the post-game celebration on the field.
Kelly enters the locker room to cheers from his players and a kiss from Joe Theismann.
"You put yourself in the history books," Kelly told his team. "Our want and desire to win football games is unparalleled, and it's because of great players and a great coaching staff."
"We're going to South Beach."
VIDEO: Jim Mora wins the press conference
After Saturday's 35-17 loss to Stanford, UCLA head coach Jim Mora opened his post-game press conference giving customary credit to Stanford for their win.
Los Angeles Times columnist T.J. Simers nabbed the first question and immediately engaged Mora in a dialogue of whether Mora truly wanted to win the game. Mora, of course, dismissed the allegation wholeheartedly.
Here's his quote: "Because we're competitors, T.J. Those guys in there don't spend all the time they spend preparing for a game in the offseason, during the week, the sacrifices they make to go out and not try their best to win ... So that's what they did, and they came up a little short. To insinuate that our players didn't give their best effort"
Simers, however, continued arguing in favor of the angle he took in his post-game column.
"I've never in my life stepped on the field and given less than my best, nor will I ever," Mora continued.
I give Mora a lot of credit for showing restraint here. I've been in my share of post-game press conferences and have never seen a press conference get derailed quite like that, especially right off the top.
At the four-minute mark, another media member asked if Mora held anything back for next week. Mora answered, "We're trying to create a culture about winning. You try to win every single time you step on the field and if you don't do that you cheat everybody. You cheat yourself, you cheat your players, you cheat your alumni, you cheat the students the students that suport you, you cheat your fans. We're trying to be great."
At the 5 minute mark Simers again comes back for more and Mora responds a bit this time. Watch the death stare at about the 5:40 mark. Priceless. Mora wins this one.
Watch for yourself below.
Coaches of the Week - Week 13
Here are the coaches whose work jumped out to us as the best across college football for Week 13.
Head Coaches of the Week - Brian Kelly, Notre Dame and Urban Meyer, Ohio State: Thirteen weeks ago, 124 FBS teams were unbeaten and now only two are left standing. Each coach led his team to an emotional win and each team showed the mark of a true winner, growing more focused with every step closer it got to the finish line. Meyer's Buckeyes started the day by playing an inspired defensive effort to choke out Michigan, not allowing the Wolverines to cross midfield in the second half. Kelly's Fighting Irish went on the road and played like the better team for all 60 minutes against USC. Notre Dame's offense threw for 217 yards, ran for 222 yards and never turned the ball over. The defense limited USC to a lone field goal in the second half, and its exclamation point, of the game and the season, came in a goal line stand with two minutes left.
Offensive Staff of the Week - Florida: The Florida offense has been far from effective for much of this season but the Gators came up big when it mattered the most on Saturday in defeating Florida State, 37-26. The Seminoles brought in college football's best run defense and Florida ran for 244 yards, its third-best performance of the season. Florida State brought in the nation's best total defense and Florida accumulated 398 yards, more than it gained against Bowling Green, Missouri, Louisiana - Lafayette and Jacksonville State. Brent Pease's group scored 37 points, three times what Florida State normally allows. Florida State led the nation in third down defense, allowing opponents to compete 25 percent of their opportunities. Florida converted over half of its third downs (8-of-15). Florida State allowed the fewest first downs in college football. Florida gained 21, one more than Florida State.
Defensive Staff of the Week - Kent State: No defense filled the box score quite like Jon Heacock's Golden Flashes in topping Ohio 28-6 on Friday. Kent State returned a fumble and interception for touchdowns in building a 21-0 first-quarter lead. The Golden Flashes created a total of four fumbles on the day, sacked Bobcats quarterback Tyler Tettleton eight times and forced Ohio to punt nine times. Kent State held an Ohio offense that has run for 210 yards per game and 4.5 yards per carry to just 107 yards and 2.1 yards per carry. Ohio's 339 yards were its third-fewest of 2012 and, most importantly, its six point output was its worst of the season.
Special Teams Unit of the Week - Notre Dame: On a night when Notre Dame moved the ball everywhere except the red zone, sophomore kicker Kyle Brindza came up huge for the Fighting Irish. He hit 5-of-6 field goals, including a career long 52-yarder, the second longest field goal in school history, just before the half to give Notre Dame a 16-10 lead at the break. Ben Turk boomed three punts for a net average of 44.3 yards, and the Irish coverage units neutralized the explosive Marqise Lee and Robert Woods in the return game. George Atkinson III also returned a kickoff 39 yards, setting up Brindza's fifth field goal to put the Irish up by two scores, 22-13, with 5:58 to play.
Call of the Week - Mark Tommerdahl and Sonny Dykes, Louisiana Tech: The Bulldogs didn't win the game, but they do win our Call of the Week with a beautiful fake field goal call of Saturday night's game with San Jose State. Trailing 17-6 in the second quarter, Louisiana Tech lined up for a 33-yard field goal when holder David Gru grabbed the snap and ran left, directly at the oncoming edge rusher. Gru then shoveled it forward to Malon Lee (who had lined up as the right wing), who raced in for a 15-yard touchdown. A bit of a read option type look, nice design.
The Saints took their team photo yesterday...
The Saints took team photo yesterday and paid tribute to Sean Payton. Everyone wore visor and a spot in the front row left vacant. #Saints— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) November 25, 2012
Do. Your. Job.
Why do some "Spread" teams struggle on defense?
Brent Schrotenboer of USA Today Sports wrote an interesting article about the question of why some "Spread" teams struggle defensively.
Schrotenboer's article, in which he quotes Sonny Dykes and Mike Leach extensively (and relays information from a survey conducted by our friends at X&O Labs), presents a number of theories; but, as you might expect, neither the coaches, nor the author, were able to come to a consensus on some "spread" teams struggle defensively.
Sunday TV - Packers and Giants on tonight
Plenty of quality NFL games on tonight, including the Packers and Giants later tonight.
Eastern time listed.
Minnesota at Chicago - 1 - FOX
Oakland at Cincinnati - 1 - CBS
Pittsburgh at Cleveland - 1 - CBS
Buffalo at Indianapolis - 1 - CBS
Denver at Kansas City - 1 - CBS
Seattle at Miami - 1 - FOX
Atlanta at Tampa Bay - 1 - FOX
Tennessee at Jacksonville - 1 - CBS
Baltimore at San Diego - 4:05 - CBS
St. Louis at Arizona - 4:25 - FOX
San Francisco at New Orleans - 4:25 - FOX
Green Bay at NY Giants - 8:20 - NBC
Update on Purdue
Sunday 3PM Update> We have confirmed that Danny Hope has been let go. Details to come...
Danny Hope's 4th season at Purdue started off 3-1. Unfortunately, 5 straight losses followed (Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Minnesota and Penn State). At that time, we checked with sources on the staff and seemed to believe that if they won their final three they would have another year to continue to show improvement.
Well, the Boilermakers did just that. They won their final three (at Iowa and Illinois and against Indiana today). 6-6, 3-5 in the Big Ten. Bowl eligible; but is it enough?
Sources tell us we'll all find out tomorrow and we'll certainly keep you posted.
We listened to Coach Hope's press conference after their win over Indiana. Inevitably the question came up, listen to how Hope answered. I guess he's just speaking honestly; but his response likely wouldn't be characterized by most as positive.
Saturday Scoreboard - Week 13
Rivalry game litter this week's schedule and, as always, we'll keep you updated on anything you need to know throughout college football.
Notre Dame 22, USC 13. Notre Dame is going to the BCS National Championship. Repeat: Notre Dame is going to the BCS National Championship. Brian Kelly's team led throughout, posting a field goal on its opening drive and taking a 10-0 lead through one quarter. Bob Diaco's defense held redshirt freshman quarterback Max Wittek in check, surrendering just 186 yards and a touchdown while claiming two interceptions. Everett Golson once again went on the road and played mistake-free football, completing 15-of-26 passes for 217 yards and rushing nine times for 47 yards. USC had no answer for Theo Riddick up the middle as the senior running back popped off run after run in compiling 146 yards and Notre Dame's only touchdown on 20 carries. The most enduring image from the win will be Notre Dame's game-clinching goal line stand with two minutes to play in which it held USC out of the end zone despite committing pass interference penalties in the end zone on back-to-back plays. With its 12-0 record intact, Notre Dame will meet the winner of Saturday's Alabama-Georgia game in Miami in 45 days for the national championship.
South Carolina 27, Clemson 17. Once again the battle of the Palmetto State goes to the garnet and black. Sophomore Dylan Thompson stepped into the starting quarterback role and threw for 310 yards and three touchdowns and all-everything Jadeveon Clowney sacked Tigers quarterback Tajh Boyd four times. Boyd started the game hot, leading a 16-play drive that resulted in a field goal and hitting DeAndre Hopkins for a 43-yard touchdown in the third quarter. But Clowney and co. put the clamps on Boyd, and for the third straight year he turned in subpar numbers against South Carolina: 11-of-24 passing for 183 yards with the aforementioned TD and 2 INTs to go with 17 rushes for 26 yards and a score. The most curious aspect of the game came when Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney elected to punt when trailing by 10 with three minutes left. The punt effectively ended the game as Clemson did not regain possession until South Carolina had expired all but 23 seconds of the game clock.
Stanford 35, UCLA 17. Is any team in college football playing better than Stanford right now? UCLA will have six days to find pinpoinr weaknesses in this team, and they might need all six days just to find one. The Cardinal turned 7-7 game into a 35-10 lead in a little over 15 minutes of game action in the second and third quarters. UCLA added another touchdown but, with a rematch imminent, the squads declared a cease fire in the fourth quarter as the battle moves to Palo Alto on Friday. Kevin Hogan threw for 160 yards and a touchdown and Stepfan Taylor rushed for 142 yards and two scores for the Cardinal.
Ole Miss 41, Mississippi State 24. Hugh Freeze has without a doubt improved Ole Miss in his first season in Oxford, and now with the Rebels' first Egg Bowl win since 2008 and first bowl trip since 2009, he has something to show for it. Bo Wallace threw for 294 yards and five touchdowns with two interceptions and the Rebels owned a 233-30 advantage on the ground. Ole Miss put together a dominant 15 minutes as, from the 10:08 mark of the third quarter to the 11:44 mark of the fourth quarter, it turned a 17-17 tie into a 41-17 blowout. Mississippi State closes the regular season at 8-4 but with just one victory over a winning team, 45-3 over Middle Tennessee on Oct. 20.
Oklahoma 51, Oklahoma State 48 (overtime). Bedlam lived up to its name as Brennan Clay raced in from 18 yards out to give Oklahoma a win in the first-ever Sooner State installment to go to extra sessions. Oklahoma outgained the Cowboys by 128 yards, owned a 44-23 first downs advantage but Oklahoma State led almost throughout. The Sooners tied the game at 17, 24, 38 and 45 but its only lead was the final score. On a day when he became the Big 12's all-time leading passer, Landry Jones set school records with 46 completions on 71 attempts, which amounted to 500 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Oklahoma now must turn their horns up and root for Texas to beat Kansas State next week, as a Wildcats loss and OU win over TCU will give the Sooners the Big 12 title.
Florida 37, Florida State 26. The Sunshine State rivals staged a series of momentum swings unlike any other today in Tallahassee. Florida scored the game's first 13 points before Florida State rattled off 20 straight, only to see Florida score 24 straight points to take the lead for good. The Gators won as they did all season, by claiming a 5-1 edge in turnovers and riding running back Mike Gillislee to the tune of 24 carries for 140 yards and two touchdowns. The win locks Florida into an 11-1 regular season and, if Notre Dame loses to USC tonight, the Gators could slide into the coveted BCS No. 2 spot.
Alabama 49, Auburn 0. And to think, just two years ago these teams one of college football's instant classics on Auburn's march to a national championship. These programs now could not be further apart as Alabama takes dead aim at its third national title in four seasons, while Auburn reconciles its first-ever 0-8 SEC record. The only relevant statistic to glean from this game is that Alabama scored as many touchdowns as Auburn had first downs. Alabama will now prepare for a date with Georgia in a national semifinal in Atlanta while Auburn moves into a welcomed off-season.
Oregon 48, Oregon State 24. Now THAT'S the Oregon offense we're all familiar with. The Ducks got their customary 430 rushing yards, 198 from Kenjon Barner, 122 from De'Anthony Thomas and 85 from Marcus Mariota, to finish their regular season at 11-1. The best unit today for Oregon was actually Nick Aliotti's defense as the Ducks forced six turnovers and limited Oregon State to 82 rushing yards. Chip Kelly's team now must send their hearts to Los Angeles, as wins by UCLA and USC are needed to keep their conference and national title hopes alive.
Baylor 52, Texas Tech 45 (overtime). We've said all year on this site that entertaining things happen when the Big 12's middle class gets together and this game was Exhibit A. The Bears and Red Raiders combined for 13 touchdowns, 1,241 yards of total offense and 59 first downs. But, as is so often the case in shootouts like this, it's not the plethora of offensive plays but a handful of defensive stops that prove to be the difference and Baylor forced four Texas Tech turnovers, including Eddie Lackey's 55-yard interception return 15 seconds into the fourth quarter. An unlikely two-game winning streak has Art Briles' team bowl eligible for the third straight year with one game still to go. Tommy Tuberville's team, however, has run out of steam for the second straight year. Today's loss was Texas Tech's fourth in five tries, and the Red Raiders are now 1-7 in November over the past two seasons.
Connecticut 23, Louisville 20 (triple overtime). Thursday's Big East championship showdown certainly lost its luster today after Rutgers' early loss and now Connecticut's upset of Louisville. The Cardinals were shut out through three quarters and needed a six-yard touchdown pass from Teddy Bridgewater to DeVante Parker with 21 seconds left to force overtime. The teams traded scores through the first two overtimes, and the Connecticut defense finally broke serve when it intercepted Bridgewater at the goal line on 3rd and goal. The Huskies then rushed three times to the Louisville 13-yard line and, on 2nd and 8, called for Chad Christen's game-winning 30-yard field goal.
SMU 35, Tulsa 27. Tulsa's comeback bid came as came up one yard short. Trailing 35-6 in the third quarter, Golden Hurricane quarterback Cody Green caught fire by hitting touchdown passes to Willie Carter and Keyarris Garrett and ripped off a 57-yard run to set up an Alex Singleton one-yard plunge to bring Tulsa back within 35-27. After an eight-play drive in which SMU consumed 4:19, Tulsa marched from its six-yard line to the SMU 35, but Green's Hail Mary to Jordan James traveled just 34 yards and the Mustangs held on for the win. The win costs Tulsa nothing but a perfect Conference USA record, and allows June Jones' team to reach its fourth straight bowl game.
Ohio State 26, Michigan 21. This game appeared headed toward the 80-point barrier as the teams traded one big play after another throughout a first half in which Michigan claimed a 21-20 lead. However, The Game turned into an old fashioned, Big Ten land battle in the second half as Luke Fickell's defense did not allow Michigan to cross midfield. The Wolverines' second half drives ended as follows: turnover on downs, fumble, punt, punt, fumble and interception. Michigan offensive coordinator Al Borges could not create a rhythm between senior quarterback Denard Robinson, who ran for 122 yards and a touchdown, but also had a costly fumble, and junior quarterback Devin Gardner, who looked like a player making his third start in completing 11-of-20 passes for 171 yards with one TD and one INT to go with seven rushes for minus-28 yards and a score. Give Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison credit, however, as Ohio State ran 32 plays in Michigan territory in the second half only to come away with two field goals. In concluding his season at 12-0, Urban Meyer can now focus on recruiting and pray for chaos at the top of the polls to allow the Buckeyes a shot at an AP national title.
Urban Meyer: "We went 12-0. This is a great team."— Jon Solomon (@jonsol) November 24, 2012
Georgia 42, Georgia Tech 10. For a game that was 42-3 through three quarters, I can safely proclaim that this contest was closer than the final score appeared. The Yellow Jackets outgained Georgia, achieved 24 first downs, ran for 306 yards but had five trips inside Bulldogs territory come up empty. The empitome of Georgia Tech's day came at the end of its opening drive, as Robert Godhigh rushed to the Bulldogs' one-yard line but had the ball ripped from his hands by Georgia safety Bacarri Rambo, who then returned it to midfield. To be fair, the Georgia offense completely had its way with the Georgia Tech defense as quarterback Aaron Murray hit 14-of-17 passes for 215 yards and two touchdowns, and running back tandem Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall rushed 19 times for 163 yards and four scores. Mark Richt's team now heads to the SEC Championship not only playing for the league title, but also for a spot in the BCS National Championship.
Pittsburgh 27, Rutgers 6. What a strange day for Kyle Flood's Rutgers team. Mere days after accepting an invitation to the Big Ten, the Scarlet Knights lose by three touchdowns to a 4-6 team bound for the ACC. The Panthers pounced on Rutgers with a 21-0 second quarter, including two touchdowns within a span of 2:10. Rutgers never got anything going on the ground with 23 total carries for just 49 yards on the day. Say this for Pittsburgh, they've definitely improved throughout Paul Chryst's first year. After losing 31-17 to Youngstown State in the opener, the Panthers knocked off their second top 20 team and nearly beat No. 1 Notre Dame. Pittsburgh now must win at South Florida next Saturday to reach a bowl game.