Georgia, Michigan Continue Streaks Over Conference Rivals
by Mike Mitchell
September 23, 2007
Georgia continued to haunt Alabama, Michigan maintained its dominance over Penn State, and Notre Dame fell to 0-4 for the first time in its 119-year football history.
Georgia beat Alabama 26-23 in overtime in what was arguably the weekend's best game. The Crimson Tide rallied to tie the score at 20-20 on a touchdown late in the game. The Bulldogs, however, were able to maneuver into field goal but the 48-yard attempt sailed left. In overtime, Alabama was unable to convert a first down on its possession and settled for a field goal to go ahead 23-20. The Tide's first lead of the game was short-lived as Georgia scored the game-winning touchdown on a 25-yard pass on its first overtime play.
It was Georgia's third straight win over Alabama dating back to 1995. That's the Bulldogs' best mark against the Tide since it took a series-best five-game winning streak from 1910-16. It's also the second consecutive time that the Bulldogs won in Tuscaloosa on last-minute heroics. In 2002, Georgia snatched a 27-25 victory on a 32-yard field goal with 38 seconds left.
Saturday's win evened Georgia's SEC East record at 1-1. 'Bama dropped to 2-1 in the SEC West, 1/2-game behind unbeaten LSU.
LSU got more than most people expected from South Carolina. The Gamecocks managed to put 16 points on the board against an LSU defense that had only given one touchdown (to Virginia Tech) all season. Still, LSU proved to be too much for the Gamecocks and the Tigers beat a Steve Spurrier-coached team for just the second time ever, 28-16. Spurrier is 11-2 all-time against LSU, including an 11-1 record when he was head coach of the Florida Gators.
Florida broke a three-game losing streak in the state of Mississippi. Its hard-fought 30-24 victory over Ole Miss was the Gators' first in that state since 1994. Since Urban Meyer took the reigns in Gainesville, the Gators are undefeated at home and in neutral venues, but Meyer's road record with the Gators is just 5-4.
In another key SEC contest, Kentucky rallied past Arkansas 42-29 and the Wildcats are 4-0 for the first time since 2002. The Razorbacks fell to 1-2 over-all, and 0-2 in the SEC West.
Michigan continued its domination of Penn State with a 14-9 victory in the Big House. The Wolverines have taken nine straight over the Nittany Lions. Penn State has lost four of its last six conference road openers. The win allows Michigan a chance to capture a Big Ten title, despite an 0-2 start that included an opening day loss to FCS member Appalachian State.
By the way, Appalachian State (Boone, NC) saw its 17-game winning streak come to an end on Saturday with a 42-31 loss to Wofford (Spartanburg, SC). With just 1,350 undergraduate students, Wofford's enrollment is the smallest of any Division I football school.
Notre Dame continued to venture into new, and undesired, territory. The 31-14 loss at home to Michigan State gave the Irish an 0-4 record for the first time in its 119-year history of playing football. Notre Dame's losing streak now stands at six games, the longest since 1960. The visitor has now won the last seven games in the series.
Here are some of the weekend's other notable results:
- Louisville dropped its second game in-a-row, and its first at Papa John's Stadium since November 15, 2003. The surprising culprit of this defeat was Syracuse. The Orange had won just 1 Big East game in its last 14 tries, and had not won a conference road game since defeating Boston College (now in the ACC) on November 27, 2004. The loss ended a 20-game home winning streak for the Cardinals.
- BYU knocked Air Force from the unbeaten ranks, and out of the top spot in the Mountain West Conference standings, with a 31-6 home win over the Falcons. The Cougars have now taken four straight from Air Force.
- Nebraska barely survived Ball State, winning 41-40 in Lincoln when the Cardinals dropped a sure TD pass and missed a 55-yard field wide left in the final 22 seconds. Ball State led by as many as nine points early in the fourth quarter and rolled up 610 yards against the Cornhusker defense.
- Virginia moved to 3-0 in the ACC Coastal division with a 28-23 home upset of Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets, expected by many to be the front-runner for the division, fell to 0-2 with the loss.
- A 100-yard interception return for a touchdown late in the third quarter fueled Wake Forest's comeback from a 24-3 deficit to Maryland. The Demon Deacons wound up forcing overtime on a TD with 3 seconds left in regulation, then won the game 31-24. The loss was devastating for the Terrapins who were hoping to gain a measure of revenge against the team that knocked them out of the ACC title game in the final week of the season. After their 38-24 win at Maryland last year, the Demon Deacons went on to defeat Georgia Tech in the ACC Championship game.
- Just as inexplicably as it beat UCLA 44-6 last week, Utah lost on Saturday to UNLV 27-0.
- Navy beat Duke 46-43 on a field goal on the game's final play. The Blue Devils were looking to secure back-to-back wins for the first time since 2003, and just the second time since 1998.
Oklahoma scored the last 27 points of the game to pull away for a 62-21 win at Tulsa on Friday night. The college football weekend began last Thursday with Miami's 34-17 win over Texas A&M, and Western Kentucky's 20-17 upset at Middle Tennessee.
As the list narrows later in the year, we'll help you keep tabs with those teams that are still on track for an undefeated season. Last year, Boise State (13-0) was the only team that accomplished the task.
FIU and Notre Dame are the among the schools that still haven't won a game.
1-A vs. 1-AA
The divisions were re-named late last year. 1-A was given the new moniker of Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) while 1-AA was labeled the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).
I noted in my Pre-Game column that the FBS schools most-likely to be upset this week by FCS teams were Middle Tennessee, Central Michigan and Tulane.
Two-out-of-three ain't bad. Thursday night, Western Kentucky beat Middle Tennessee 20-17. The Hilltoppers are currently in transition to become the ninth Sun Belt Conference football playing institution and the 120th Football Bowl Subdivision (Division I-A) member. The Hilltoppers will play six SBC teams in 2008 and will be eligible for the conference title and a bowl berth in 2009.
On Saturday, North Dakota State walloped Central Michigan 44-14. The Bison entered the weekend ranked 5th in the FCS Top 25.
Tulane was in jeopardy for a while on Saturday but the Green Wave pulled out a 35-27 win over Southeastern Louisiana.
Those victories gave FCS teams their 7th and 8th wins of the season over FBS schools.
The other wins are:
Appalachian State 34, Michigan 32 (Week 1)
Nicholls State 16, Rice 14 (Week 1)
Northern Iowa 24, Iowa State 13 (Week 2)
Southern Illinois 34, Northern Illinois 31 (Week 2)
New Hampshire 48, Marshall 35 (Week 3)
McNeese State 38, Louisiana-Lafayette 17 (Week 3)
Championship subdivision teams were 7-71 in 2006 against their higher-classified brethren.
Over-all, bowl subdivision teams went 10-2 this week against FCS teams. They are now 53-8 on the year, and 273-33 (.892) since 2003.
This season, 78 bowl subdivision teams face schools from the championship subdivision. WAC members New Mexico State and Hawaii double-dip. The Aggies play Arkansas-Pine Bluff next Saturday, and already defeated Southeastern Louisiana 35-14 in their season-opener. The Warriors, who trounced Northern Colorado 63-6 in their opener, beat Charleston Southern 66-10 on Saturday.
Louisville saw its 20-game home winning streak come to an end with a 38-35 loss to Syracuse.
USC has the nation's longest home winning streak at 35 games. The Trojans won 47-14 at home over Washington State.
Boise State has won 38 consecutive regular season home games. The Broncos also have a perfect home record against their fellow WAC conference members (24-0). Boise State was idle this week.
Wisconsin owns the nation's current longest winning streak at 13 games. The Badgers beat Iowa 17-13.
Florida has won 11 consecutive games. The Gators won 30-24 at Mississippi.
LSU has also won 11 straight. The Tigers won 28-16 at home over South Carolina.
FIU owns the nation's longest current losing streak at 16 games. The Golden Panthers lost 55-3 at Kansas.
Colorado State has lost 10 straight. The Rams lost 38-27 at Houston.
Utah State has also lost 10 straight. The Aggies lost 23-20 at home to San Jose State.
N.C. State has lost 10 straight to FBS teams. The Wolfpack lost 42-20 at home to Clemson.
The 2006 season featured 11 new head coaches. Five led their team to a bowl game.
This year, there are 24 coaching changes for the highest number since 2001 when there were 25. We'll track their progress throughout the season.
Here is how they stand, in order, by won-loss record.
Air Force, 3-1 under Troy Calhoun, lost 31-6 at BYU.
Alabama, 3-1 under Nick Saban, lost 26-23 at home in overtime to Georgia.
Arizona State, 4-0 under Dennis Erickson, won 44-32 at home over Oregon State.
Boston College, 4-0 under Jeff Jagodzinski, won 37-17 at home over Army.
Cincinnati, 4-0 under Brian Kelly, won 40-14 at home over Marshall.
Michigan State, 4-0 under Mark Dantonio, won 31-14 at Notre Dame.
Indiana, 3-1 under Bill Lynch, lost 27-14 at home to Illinois.
Miami (Fla.), 3-1 under Randy Shannon, won at home on Thursday over Texas A&M 31-17.
Tulsa, 2-1 under Todd Graham, lost at home on Friday to Oklahoma 62-21.
Louisville, 2-2 under Steve Kragthorpe, lost 38-35 at home to Syracuse.
Louisiana Tech, 1-2 under Derek Dooley, was idle.
Stanford, 1-2 under Jim Harbaugh, lost 55-31 at home to Oregon.
Tulane, 1-2 under Bob Toledo, won 35-27 at home over FCS member Southeastern Louisiana.
UAB, 1-2 under Neil Callaway, was idle.
Army, 1-3 under Stan Brock, lost 37-17 at Boston College.
Central Michigan, 1-3 under Butch Jones, lost 44-14 at home to FCS member North Dakota St.
Idaho, 1-3 under Robb Akey, lost 42-35 at home to Northern Illinois.
Iowa State, 1-3 under Gene Chzik, lost 36-35 at Toledo.
Minnesota, 1-3 under Tim Brewster, lost 45-31 at home to Purdue.
North Carolina, 1-3 under Butch Davis, lost 37-10 at South Florida.
N.C. State, 1-3 under Tom O'Brien, lost 42-20 at home to Clemson.
North Texas, 0-3 under Todd Dodge, lost 30-20 at home to FAU.
FIU, 0-4 under Mario Cristobal, lost 55-3 at Kansas.
Rice, 0-4 under David Bailiff, lost 58-14 at Texas.