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Oklahoma State Stumbles Early, Rallies For Win

Temple tramples Terps; Clemson Claws 'Noles; 'Cats Scratch 'Canes;
Cajuns Rage past FIU; Southern (doesn't) Miss at UVa.

by Dave Congrove
September 25, 2011

Texas A&M stared prosperity in the face and promptly shot it, blowing a 20-3 lead and losing to Oklahoma State 30-29 in a key Big 12 battle. Meanwhile, the Congrove Computer Rankings' top-ranked Oklahoma Sooners crawled out of an early 14-3 hole to conquer Missouri 38-28 and win their 38th straight home game.

The computer's second-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide barbecued the Arkansas Razorbacks 38-14, leaving no doubt that Nick Saban's club is indeed capable of a BCS title run.

Fellow SEC West member LSU took care of business, too, with a 47-21 romp at West Virginia. The Tigers weren't quite as convincing as the Tide as their once-seemingly invincible defense allowed over 500 yards in the win at Morgantown, but four WVU turnovers helped LSU's case.

Aside from Texas A&M's second-half slide, the biggest stories of the day were the upsets that witnessed Florida State lose at Clemson for a fifth straight time, 35-30, and Miami drop a 28-24 contest at home to Kansas State after it appeared the Hurricanes and gotten back on the right track with the previous week's rout of Ohio State.

On a lesser level, the upset bug also bit Virginia and FIU. The Cavaliers weren't a big favorite over Southern Miss - in fact, the computer picked the Golden Eagles to win and they did so, 30-24. However, FIU's 36-31 home loss to Louisiana-Lafayette was a major surprise as the Golden Panthers entered the game undefeated and fresh off back-to-back victories over UCF and Louisville.

Still, the biggest shocker of the day was Temple's 38-7 win at Maryland in a game in which the Terps were already put away 31-0 at halftime. It was the first-ever win for the Owls over an ACC team (1-12).

It was also a decent day for the FCS schools against the FBS ranks. Thirteen such games took place as the FBS squads prevailed in almost 1/4 of them (3-10). Minnesota lost 37-24 to North Dakota State, UNLV was blasted 41-16 by Southern Utah (a week after upsetting Hawaii) and New Mexico was outscored 48-45 by Sam Houston State in overtime.

Here are some other strangely noteworthy outcomes:
Indiana lost 24-21 at North Texas.

Army was clobbered 48-21 at Ball State, a week after upsetting Northwestern.

Illinois beat Western Michigan (23-20) by the same margin that it defeated Arizona State a week ago (17-14).

Texas Tech had to recover from two 14-point deficits to Nevada to manage a 35-34 win at home after the Wolf Pack had only defeated woeful San Jose State by 3 last week.

And speaking of comebacks, Pitt must be in the pits after watching a victory fade from their grasp in the final quarter for the second straight game. Last week, the Panthers gave up 21 straight points to Iowa in the 4th quarter to lose 31-27. This week, Pitt saw Notre Dame score the decisive TD with under 7 minutes left in a 15-12 loss to the Irish.

Elsewhere, Brady Hoke got the best of his former team as Michigan rolled 28-7 over San Diego State.

UNBEATEN NO MORE
33 teams entered Saturday undefeated. When was all was said and done, only 22 remained unscathed. To start with, there were 8 games where both teams were unbeaten and in those games Alabama downed Arkansas, LSU beat West Virginia, Oklahoma State defeated Texas A&M, Clemson edged Florida State, South Carolina beat Vanderbilt 21-3, Michigan toppled San Diego State, Georgia Tech downed North Carolina 35-28 and Nebraska tripped Wyoming 38-14.

The other three teams that were dealt their first defeat of the season were FIU, California (31-23 at Washington) and Ohio (38-26 at Rutgers).

BEARCATS BACK?
The computer projected Cincinnati to win, but only by a mere 3.37 points. Tack on over 26 more points and it would have been right on the money as the Bearcats literally ran over the North Carolina State Wolfpack, 44-14, on Thursday night.

Isaiah Pead rushed for 167 yards on 27 carries and scored the first touchdown as Cincinnati staked out a 24-7 lead at halftime.

N.C. State quarterback Mike Glennon had two long scoring touchdown passes - 87 yards in the second quarter and 49 yards in the 3rd quarter - but also saw a pair of 1st-quarter picks turn into 14 Cincinnati points.

Cincinnati piled up over 500 total yards in a balanced attack that gained 263 through the air and 241 on the ground. Conversely, the Wolfpack posed no threat with their running game and allowed 7 sacks to finish with a net of minus-26 yards rushing.

N. C. State gained only 1 first down on the ground and 13 all night, compared with 27 for Cincinnati which punted only 3 times and scored on its first four drives of the second half to put the game away.

Cincinnati improved to 3-1 with the win and travel a matter of minutes next week to Oxford, Ohio to face winless arch-rival Miami (0-3). A bye week follows before the Bearcats begin Big East conference play at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati against Louisville on October 15th.

N. C. State fell to 2-2 overall and 0-2 against FBS schools. Its only wins have come against FCS members Liberty and South Alabama. The Wolfpack open ACC play next week in Raleigh against Georgia Tech.

N. C. State was the expected 2nd-place finisher in the ACC Atlantic division race, according to the preseason analysis of the Congrove Computer Rankings. The Wolfpack was expected to open 4-0 in nonconference play and then go 6-2 in the ACC.

While N.C. State's fortunes are fading fast, Cincinnati's are meteorically rising. The Bearcats were projected to go 2-3 in nonconference games and 3-4 in league play. A win next week at the RedHawks would give Cincinnati a 4-1 start after winning just 4 games all of last season.

KICKIN' THEMSELVES
On Friday night, UCF breakdowns on special teams helped BYU avoid a 1-3 start. A 93-yard kick-off return tied the game at 17-all in the 3rd quarter. Early in the 4th, a mishandled punt return led to the final 7 points of the game and a 24-17 win. The kick-off return for a touchdown was BYU's first since October, 1998.

COMPUTER ACCURACY:
The computer endured a weekend of several unexpected results with a 44-16 record and is now 216-51 (.809) for the season).

FBS vs. FCS:
FBS teams were 10-3 (.769) against FCS schools this week to raise their record to 81-6 (.931) for the season and 628-55 (.919) in such games since 2003. The losers were Minnesota, New Mexico and UNLV.

Here are the results of the FBS losses to FCS schools this season:
9/24: North Dakota St. 37, Minnesota 24
9/24: Sam Houston State 48, New Mexico 45 (OT)
9/24: Southern Utah41, UNLV 16
9/17: Indiana State 44, Western Kentucky 16
9/3: Richmond 23, Duke 21
9/3: Sacramento State 29, Oregon State 28

93 FBS teams play a total of 97 games against FCS foes this year. Four schools play two such games - Air Force, Eastern Michigan, N.C. State and Wyoming.

STREAKS:
Boise State - Won 41-21 vs. Tulsa. Has 33 home wins, 63 regular season home wins, and 46 straight conference home victories. BSU joins the Mountain West this season and leaves the WAC having never lost at home to a fellow WAC member (40-0). The Broncos' last home loss to a conference foe occurred in 1998 when they were a member of the Big West and fell to Idaho in the final regular season game. The Broncos are 7-1 in their last eight matches with BCS conference schools. (Next: hosts Nevada on Saturday).

Stanford - Idle. 11 straight wins overall. (Next: hosts UCLA on Saturday).

TCU - Won 55-13 vs. FCS member Portland State. Has 22 straight home wins and 18 straight conference wins. (Next: hosts SMU on Saturday).

Virginia Tech - Won 30-10 at Marshall. Has 14 regular season wins (excludes ACC Championship game win), 12 straight conference wins and 9 straight road wins. (Next: hosts Clemson on Saturday).

Oklahoma - Won 38-28 vs. Missouri. Has 38 straight home victories. (Next: hosts Ball State on Saturday).

San Jose State - Won 34-24 vs. New Mexico State. Snapped 13-game losing streak. (Next: Visits Colorado State on Saturday).

Memphis - Lost 42-0 vs. SMU. Has 12 straight losses vs. FBS schools. (Next: at MTSU on Saturday)

New Mexico - Lost 48-45 in OT vs. FCS member Sam Houston State. Has 17 straight road losses. (Next: hosts New Mexico State on Saturday).

NEW COACHES:
24 teams have a new college football coach in the FBS ranks this season. Last season saw 23 new head coaches, only 8 of whom matched or exceeded the W-L record of their predecessors' final season.

Three of the new head coaches are undefeated, thus far. Four lost for the first time this week - North Carolina, San Diego St., Vanderbilt and West Virginia. The new head coaches are a cumulative 51-41, but only 13 of them have defeated a school from the "Big 6" conferences - Ball State, Florida, Maryland, Miami (Fla.), Michigan, North Carolina, North Texas, Ohio State, San Diego State, Stanford, Temple, Vanderbilt and West Virginia.

Here are this week's results for each new head coach:

Team Coach Game
Arkansas State Hugh Freeze (2-2) Won 53-24 vs. FCS member Central Arkansas
Ball State Pete Lembo (3-1) Won 48-21 vs. Army
Colorado Jon Embree (1-3) Lost 37-17 at Ohio State
Connecticut Paul Pasqualoni (2-2) Won 17-3 at Buffalo
Florida Will Muschamp (4-0) Won 48-10 at Kentucky
Indiana Kevin Wilson (1-3) Lost 24-21 at North Texas
Kent State Darrell Hazell (1-3) Won 33-25 vs. FCS member South Alabama
Louisiana-Lafayette Mark Hudspeth (3-1) Won 36-31 at FIU
Maryland Randy Edsall (1-2) Lost 38-7 vs. Temple
Miami (Fla.) Al Golden (1-2) Lost 28-24 vs. Kansas State
Miami (O.) Don Treadwell (0-3) Lost 37-23 vs. Bowling Green
Michigan Brady Hoke (4-0) Won 28-7 vs. San Diego State
Minnesota Jerry Kill (1-3) Lost 37-24 vs. FCS member North Dakota State
North Carolina Everett Withers (Interim) (3-1) Lost 35-28 at Georgia Tech
North Texas Dan McCarney (1-3) Won 24-21 vs. Indiana
Northern Illinois Dave Doeren (2-2) Won 47-30 vs. FCS member Cal Poly
Ohio State Luke Fickell (Interim) (3-1) Won 37-17 vs. Colorado
Pittsburgh Todd Graham (2-2) Lost 15-12 vs. Notre Dame
San Diego St. Rocky Long (3-1) Lost 28-7 at Michigan
Stanford David Shaw (3-0) Idle - Hosts UCLA on Oct. 1
Temple Steve Addazio (3-1) Won 38-7 at Maryland
Tulsa Bill Blankenship (1-3) Lost 41-21 at Boise State
Vanderbilt James Franklin (3-1) Lost 21-3 at South Carolina
West Virginia Dana Holgorsen (3-1) Lost 47-21 vs. LSU