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Missouri Sends South Carolina's See-Saw Season Back Down

UCLA Blasts Arizona State; Stanford Prevails at Washington;
FSU Survives Again; Weis Fired From Kansas

by Dave Congrove
September 28, 2014

South Carolina seems to have had a constant flirtation with disaster this season. It caught up to the Gamecocks again on Saturday when Missouri overcame a 20-7 fourth quarter deficit to walk out of Williams-Brice Stadium with a 21-20 win. South Carolina has proven to be anything but the SEC monster everyone thought it would be prior to the start of the season. The Gamecocks were a presumed lock for winning the SEC East and some, including my Congrove Computer Rankings, had them winning the SEC title. Instead, the school that has just 1 conference title in its entire history (ACC, 1969), is mysteriously off to a 3-2 start and now sits at 2-2 in the SEC.

Meanwhile, Saturday provided a little clarity in the PAC-12 as two of its higher-ranked teams dispatched a pair of lower-ranked counterparts. Stanford managed a 20-13 win at Washington, while UCLA was manhandling Arizona State 62-27 in the desert. The victorious Bruins and Cardinal entered the weekend ranked 9th and 19th, respectively, while the Huskies and Sun Devils were 24th and 22nd.

Only one other school in the computer's top 25 was upended over the weekend as Duke fell 22-10 at Miami (Fla.).

Top-ranked Texas A&M got all it wanted from Arkansas as the Aggies tried to keep hold of the computer's top spot. The Razorbacks led 28-14 going into the 4th quarter. Kenny Hill touchdown passes of 86 and 59 yards tied the score and the Hogs missed a 44-yard FG that would've regained the lead. In overtime, Arkansas was stopped on 4 downs after A&M got the ball first and scored on a 25-yard pass on the first play.

Even with QB Jameis Winston back behind center, 3rd-ranked Florida State rallied from a 24-7 first quarter deficit to dash North Carolina State's upset dreams, 56-41 in Raleigh. The Wolfpack scored on the second play of the game, but battled back to take a 42-38 lead into the 4th quarter. Winston sat out last week's 23-17 overtime win at home over Clemson after the school issued a 1-game suspension for yelling an indecent phrase in the middle of campus, and allegedly for not being completely forthcoming about the incident.

15th-ranked Georgia was tested at home by Tennessee. The Bulldogs won 35-32, but trailed 10-0 early. After answering with 21 straight points, it looked like the 'Dawgs would turn the game into a cakewalk, but Tennessee bounced back to make it 28-25 with 8:07 left in the game. A fumble recovery in the endzone stretched Georgia's lead to 35-25 at the 4:27 mark and the Vols answered with 2:14 left on Justin Worley's third TD pass of the game. Afterward, Georgia recovered an onside kick and Todd Gurley ran out the clock. On the day, Gurley ran for 208 yards and with touchdown runs of 1 yard and 51 yards.

Michigan's misery continued with a 30-14 loss at home to Minnesota (4-1, 1-0), giving the Wolverines (2-3, 0-1) 3 losses in September for the first time in program history (135 years). It was Michigan's 4th straight home loss to teams from Power 5 conferences.

Kentucky ended a streak of 17 straight losses to SEC teams with a 17-7 win over Vanderbilt.

Miami (Ohio) extended its streak of losses to FBS teams to 21 with a 35-27 setback at Buffalo.

LSU won its 49th straight regular season nonconference game when it knocked off New Mexico State, 63-7.

A week after surrendering 36 points to Arizona in the final quarter to lose 49-45 on a Hail Mary, Cal avoided a repeat by edging Colorado 59-56 in double-OT. In another crazy finish, Cal scored a pair of touchdowns 25 seconds apart late in the 4th quarter to take a 1-TD lead, only see let Colorado come right back and tie it at 49 with 21 seconds left. After both teams scored touchdowns on 25-yard passes in the first overtime, Colorado was kept off the board in the second OT when the Buffs opted to go for it on 4th-and-Goal at the 1 and an option run by QB Sefo Liufau ended in a 3-yard loss. Cal subsequently secured the win with a 34-yard field goal from James Langford.

Seven teams in the Top 25, 3 of which were among the Top 10, were idle. Those schools were Oklahoma, Oregon, Alabama, Mississippi State, BYU, Marshall and Arizona.

These were the 5 largest expected margins this week according to the computer:
Louisiana State 38.79 over New Mexico State
Auburn 33.68 over Louisiana Tech
Wisconsin 26.01 over South Florida
Virginia Tech 25.42 over Western Michigan
Florida State 23.86 over North Carolina State

When all was said and done, all 5 teams won by at least 15 points.

These were the 5 closest expected margins:
Tulsa 2.18 over Texas State
Kentucky 2.17 over Vanderbilt
Maryland 1.08 over Indiana
California 0.10 over Colorado
Michigan 0.01 over Minnesota

Tulsa fell in triple-overtime to Texas State to join Michigan on the losing end. As already mentioned, Cal needed double-OT beat Colorado, and Kentucky got past Vanderbilt by 10. Maryland wound up beating Indiana 37-15 in its first-ever game as a Big Ten member.

Charlie Weis joins June Jones as an early departure in the head coaching ranks.

Jones announced on September 8 that he was resigning as the head coach of SMU.

Weis was fired Sunday after Kansas lost 23-0 at home to Texas to drop to 2-2 this season with the wins coming over FCS member SE Missouri State and the MAC's Central Michigan. Combined with an earlier 41-3 loss to Duke, Saturday's 23-0 blanking by Texas means Kansas has now been outscored 64-3 in in its 2 games this season against schools from Power 5 conferences. Kansas, which has lost 25 straight road games, visits West Virginia this coming Saturday with defensive coordinator Clint Bowen assuming the role of interim head coach. Ironically, Weis' only conference win came against WVU last year. His Jayhawk career ends with records of 6-22 overall and 1-18 vs. the Big 12.

FBS vs. FCS:
There were just 2 FBS-FCS matchups this week and the FBS fell in one of those as Yale beat Army 49-43 in overtime. Ohio won the other, downing Eastern Illinois 34-19.

FBS schools are now 88-7 (.926) for the year, 919-88 (.913) since 2003.

Last year, 14 FBS teams had lost to FCS schools by September 21st.

Here are the results from all of this season's FBS losses to FCS schools:
8/30: Bethune-Cookman 14, FIU 12
8/30: North Dakota State 31, Iowa State 14
9/6: Eastern Kentucky 17, Miami (Ohio) 10
9/13: Indiana State 27, Ball State 20
9/13: Abilene Christian 38, Troy 35
9/20: NW State (La.) 30, Louisiana Tech 27
9/27: Yale 49, Army 43 (OT)

North Dakota State's win over Iowa State on opening weekend was the 5th straight over a FBS team for the three-time defending FCS champions. Since 2010, NDSU has won road games at Kansas, Minnesota, Colorado State, Kansas State, and now Iowa State. Conversely, Iowa State has lost 2 straight to FCS schools after opening last season with a loss to Northern Iowa.

Bethune-Cookman's win over FIU on opening weekend was its second straight over the Golden Panthers.

This year, 103 FBS schools have scheduled a total of 108 games against FCS foes. Appalachian State, Army, Ball State, Buffalo and FIU each play 2 such games.

Florida State - 20-game winning streak (FBS longest), 15-game conference winning streak (FBS longest). Won 56-41 at N.C. State on Saturday.

Northern Illinois - 27-game home winning streak (FBS longest) in true home games (at own venue). Idle this week.

LSU - Won 49 straight regular season nonconference games (FBS longest). Won 63-7 at home over New Mexico State on Saturday.

Ohio State - Won 9 straight road games (FBS longest). Won 50-28 at home over Cincinnati on Saturday.

Miami (Ohio) - Lost 21 straight (FBS longest). Lost 13 straight conference games. Lost 35-27 at Buffalo on Saturday.

Kansas - Lost 25 straight road games (FBS longest). Lost 23-0 at home to Texas on Saturday.

Kentucky - Had lost 17 straight conference games (FBS longest) until defeating Vanderbilt 17-7 at home on Saturday.

Arkansas - Lost 14 straight conference games (FBS longest). Lost 35-28 in OT to Texas A&M in Arlington on Saturday.

09/01: FSU and LSU Survive On Saturday; Aggies Get One Hilluva Win On Thursday
09/07: Virginia Tech Finishes "Bash Big Ten" Day
09/14: South Carolina Outlasts Georgia; Boston College Upsets USC
09/21: Florida State Prevails In OT As Winston Sits; Mississippi State Upsets LSU
09/28: Missouri Sends South Carolina's See-Saw Season Back Down


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