Upsets, Late Rallies Dominate Weekend
by Dave Congrove
September 27, 2009
As promised in the pregame report, the Big Ten and ACC did indeed steal the spotlight this week as each conference presented a pair of telling battles. The tales they told put Virginia Tech back in the driver's seat of the ACC, and Iowa in great position in the Big 10.
Virginia Tech showed its defensive fortitude in crushing Miami 31-7, while Iowa outscored Penn State 16-0 in the fourth quarter of a 21-10 win at State College.
Meanwhile, Georgia Tech cruised past North Carolina 24-7 in another key ACC Coastal division battle, and Michigan survived Indiana 36-33 in the other match of undefeated Big Ten teams. A late comeback attempt by the Hoosiers was thwarted when the replay booth failed to overturn what appeared to be a simultaneous possession catch that was instead ruled as a Michigan interception. It was Indiana's first play after the Wolverines had taken the lead on Tate Forcier's 26-yard TD pass with 2:29 left in the game.
Another apparent faux pas by the officials may have cost Texas Tech a win at Houston when a short TD by the Red Raiders was nullified early in the 4th quarter. Referees claimed to have blown the play dead, but no whistle could be heard until after QB Taylor Potts landed in the end zone. The TD, and subsequent PAT, would have given Texas Tech a 12-point lead. Of course, Mike Leach could have opted to kick a field goal to put his team up by 8, but a touchdown may have put the game completely out of reach. Instead, the Cougars stayed within 5 points and wound up rallying for a 29-28 win. To Houston's credit, the winning 4-yard TD run by QB Case Keenum came with 47 seconds remaining and culminated a 16-play, 95-yard drive.
Thursday night's game signaled a weekend of hiccups for highly-ranked teams. The Rebels went to South Carolina as the No. 4 team in the AP Poll, but were upended 16-10 by the Gamecocks.
Saturday's biggest shockers befell California and Florida State.
Cal was put on "upset alert" in my pregame column and was utterly destroyed 42-3 at Oregon. The Seminoles lost 17-7 at home to South Florida in the first meeting between the two schools.
USF was playing without QB Matt Grothe as its starter for the first time in over three years. In his place, redshirt freshman B. J. Daniels threw two long TD passes in the second quarter. Grothe was lost for the season when he suffered a knee injury in last week's win over FCS member Charleston Southern.
Some of the strangest upsets occurred in games that were played far from the national spotlight. Northern Illinois, which won at Purdue last week, was beaten at home by perennial WAC doormat Idaho 34-31. UNLV, which nearly upset Oregon State two weeks ago, lost 30-27 at a Wyoming team that was blanked 24-0 at Colorado a week earlier.
Among games decided in the final moments, Notre Dame won 24-21 at Purdue on Jimmy Clausen's 2-yard TD pass with 24 seconds remaining. The Boilermakers inexplicably called timeout after Notre Dame ran the ball on 2nd down and had no timeouts left to stop the clock itself. The Irish would have had to spike the ball on 3rd down to stop he clock, leaving them with just one shot at the end zone. Instead, Notre Dame had two chances and the second chance produced the winning score.
Other last-second victories went to Georgia and LSU.
The Bulldogs edged Arizona State 20-17 on a 37-yard field goal as time expired, and the Tigers preserved a 30-26 win by stopping a third consecutive Mississippi State run from 1-yard out with 1:08 remaining.
Elsewhere, New Mexico State beat rival New Mexico 20-17 on a 4-yard pass with 39 seconds left. N.C. State secured a 38-31 comeback victory when it stopped Pitt from scoring after it reached the 8-yard line in the final two minutes.
A few of the top teams managed to have easy days.
Top-ranked Florida romped 41-7 at Kentucky but Gator QB Tim Tebow was being held for observation at a Lexington hospital after suffering a possible concussion in the 3rd quarter. Tebow rushed for 2 scores and threw for another as the Gators shot to a 31-0 lead in the first quarter.
Texas, ranked 2nd in the CR Top 120, led UTEP 47-7 at halftime and cruised to a 64-7 victory.
Alabama rolled 35-7 at home over Arkansas; Boise State slapped Bowling Green silly in a 49-14 road win; and Ohio State blanked Illinois 30-0 in the 'shoe.
In other games, USC rebounded from an upset loss at Washington with an unimpressive 27-6 home win over Washington State.
Washington returned to its old form in a 34-14 loss at Stanford as the Huskies' offense scored just once.
11 teams lost for the first time over the weekend, leaving only 17 teams with unblemished records. The Big 12 and the SEC each have four undefeated squads while the Big Ten has three.
4 teams picked up their first victory, leaving 10 schools winless.
FBS vs. FCS:
FBS teams were 11-0 against FCS members over the weekend. For the season, the FBS is 72-5 vs. FCS schools, and 447-42 (.914) since 2003.
Duke, Virginia and Temple were the victims in week one; Ball State was added to the list in week two; and Western Kentucky was victimized in week three.
Here are the results of every FBS loss to the FCS this season:
9/19: Central Arkansas 28, Western Kentucky 7
9/12: New Hampshire 23, Ball State 16. New Hampshire also has wins at Army in 2008 (28-10), Marshall in 2007 (48-35), and Northwestern in 2006 (34-17)
9/5: Richmond 24, Duke 16; William & Mary 26, Virginia 14
9/3: Villanova 27, Temple 24
This year, 87 FBS play a total of 94 games against FCS foes. Duke, Kansas State, Mississippi, North Carolina, N.C. State, Rutgers and USF each play two FCS teams.
Florida has won 14 straight. The Gators won 41-7 at Kentucky.
Ole Miss had its' 8-game winning streak halted in a 16-10 loss at South Carolina.
Southern had its' 8-game winning streak halted in a 35-28 loss at Kansas.
Iowa has won 8 straight. The Hawkeyes beat Penn State 21-10.
Texas has won 8 straight. The Longhorns beat UTEP 64-7.
Boise State has streaks of 21 consecutive home wins, 51 straight regular season home wins, and 38 straight conference home victories. BSU has never lost at home to a fellow WAC member (32-0). 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 4-1 in their last five matches against BCS conference schools. The Broncos won 49-14 at Bowling Green.
Oklahoma has won 25 straight home games. The Sooners were idle.
Utah has won 8 straight conference games, and has 13 straight home wins. The Utes beat Louisville 30-14 at home.
Alabama has won 16 straight regular season games. The Tide beat Arkansas 35-7.
Western Kentucky has lost 12 straight overall and 17 straight to FBS teams. The Hilltoppers lost 38-22 at Navy.
Tulane snapped a 10-game overall losing streak with a 42-32 win over McNeese State (FCS). Still, the Green Wave has lost 10 straight to FBS schools.
North Texas has lost 12 straight Sun Belt games. The Mean Green lost 37-21 at home to MTSU.
Washington has lost 8 straight road games. The Huskies lost 34-14 at Saturday.
SMU has lost 9 straight home games to FBS teams. The Mustangs were idle.
(See Coaching Changes for details)
There are 22 new college football coaches in the FBS ranks this season. 18 have secured their first victory. 7 teams have yet to defeat a FBS school (Ball State, Eastern Michigan, Kansas State, Miami (Ohio), New Mexico, San Diego State and Utah State).
||Lost 31-10 at Iowa State
||Won 54-30 vs. Ball State
||Lost 54-30 at Auburn
||Won 27-24 in OT vs. Wake Forest
||Lost 49-14 vs. Boise State
||Lost 14-10 vs. TCU
||Won 31-10 vs. Army
||Won 49-7 vs. Tennessee Tech (FCS)
||Lost 29-19 at Kent State
||Lost 30-26 vs. LSU
||Lost 20-17 vs. New Mexico State
|New Mexico State
||Won 20-17 at New Mexico
||Won 42-3 vs. California
||Lost 24-21 vs. Notre Dame
|San Diego State
||Lost 26-14 at Air Force
||Won 41-24 vs. Maine (FCS)
||Won 34-23 vs. Ohio
||Won 41-31 at FIU
||Won 53-34 vs. Southern Utah (FCS)
||Lost 34-14 at Stanford
||Won 30-27 vs. UNLV
|*-Dabo Swinney took over halfway through last season when Tommy Bowden stepped down after a 3-3 start. Swinney was 4-3 over the last 7 games of the season.