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Stanford Beats USC On Another Wacky Saturday

by Mike Mitchell
October 7, 2007

A strange season keeps getting stranger by the minute. Stanford scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 10-yard 4th-down pass with 49 seconds left, then picked off a 4th-and-17 pass, to shock USC 24-23 in Los Angeles.

The loss snapped a 35-game home winning streak for USC which began after Stanford beat the Trojans 21-16 on September 29, 2001.

Earlier in the day, Illinois beat Wisconsin in Champaign 31-26 to end the nation's longest winning streak at 14 games.

Michigan State fell 48-41 in overtime at home to Northwestern. The Wildcat victory offered some redemption for last year's loss in Evanston where the Spartans engineered the largest comeback in NCAA history when they overcame a 38-3 third quarter deficit to pull out a 41-38 win.

Other upsets Saturday saw Notre Dame end its seven-game losing streak with a 20-6 upset win at UCLA, and Miami (Fla.) lose 33-27 at North Carolina as Butch Davis picked up his first win over a FBS team as head coach of the Tar Heels.

LSU handed Florida a second consecutive SEC loss when the Tigers batted down a nearly 60-yard Hail Mary pass attempt on the final play of the game. The Gators never trailed until LSU scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 2-yard run with 1:09 left in the game.

In a battle of Big Ten unbeatens, Ohio State won 23-7 at Purdue. The Boilermakers were looking to go 6-0 for the first time since 1943. Purdue entered the game averaging 45.4 points per game, but the Buckeyes were allowing just 7.2 points per game. The result seems to once again prove the old adage that "defense wins games".

South Florida held off pesky Florida Atlantic, scoring in the final minute to lock up a 35-23 win.

Arizona State needed a 37-yard field goal with 50 seconds left to win 23-20 at Washington State.

Oklahoma won a see-saw battle in the Red River Rivalry, beating Texas 28-21.

Rutgers lost at home for the second straight week, but this one counts in the Big East standings. The 28-23 loss to Cincinnati came in the conference opener for both schools. The Scarlet Knights were beaten 34-24 last week by Maryland. Rutgers had the luxury of playing its first five games at home but only managed to beat Buffalo, Navy and FCS member Norfolk State.

Tennessee jumped on Georgia for a 28-0 halftime lead and went on to a 35-14 win. It was the first home win for the Vols over the Bulldogs since 1999.

Alabama escaped the upset bid by Houston, securing a 30-24 win by intercepting a pass in the end zone on the games' final play after blowing a 30-10 fourth quarter lead.

Virginia needed a 34-yard field goal with 8 seconds left to escape a trip to Middle Tennessee with a 23-21 win.

Beamerball rolled over Clemson as Virginia Tech returned an interception, a punt, and a kick-off for touchdowns in a 41-23 win. The Hokies improved their career ACC road record to 12-1 while beating the Tigers for the fifth straight time.

Kansas remained undefeated with a 30-24 win at rival Kansas State for its first win in Manhattan since 1989. The Jayhawks entered the game with a 4-21 road record under Mark Mangino and had not won a road opener since 2003. Kansas State was a slim favorite after routing Texas 41-21 a week ago. Kansas' previous wins were all at home against OOC lightweights - Central Michigan, FCS member Southeastern Louisiana, Toledo and FIU - whom they outscored 214-23 while impressing no one. This win stamps the Jayhawks as a legitimate contender for the Big 12 North division title.

Missouri, meanwhile, made an emphatic statement by thrashing Nebraska 41-6 in its Big 12 opener. Chase Daniels passed for 401 yards and 2 touchdowns and added 2 TD's rushing. The Tigers rolled up 606 yards against a Cornhusker defense that allowed 610 to Ball State two weeks ago.

Throw Colorado's 43-23 win over Baylor into the mix and you have a very interesting North division race shaping up.

In the Big 12 South, Texas A&M rallied from a 17-0 halftime deficit to beat Oklahoma State 24-23. The Aggies and Cowboys entered the game as the only remaining South division teams without a conference loss.

A wild CUSA game in El Paso saw UTEP beat Tulsa 48-47 when the Miners scored on a 14-yard touchdown pass with 58 seconds left. The Golden Hurricane missed a 53-yard field goal as time expired. Tulsa had a 30-28 lead when the fourth quarter began, but was outscored 20-17 in the period.

Another CUSA basketball game broke out in Greenville, North Carolina where East Carolina outscored Central Florida 52-38. UCF led at the half 28-17, but the Pirates began a 28-point third quarter onslaught by returning the second half kick-off 95 yards for a touchdown.

The WAC weighed-in with a high-scoring affair of its own as Fresno State outlasted Nevada 49-41. The game really wasn't as close as the final score indicates, however, as the Wolf Pack scored their final touchdown with just 3 seconds left in the game. Nevada trailed 49-20 before closing with three unanswered touchdowns.

Wyoming beat TCU 24-21 in the Cowboys' Mountain West opener, sending the Horned Frogs to their third defeat of the season and second in conference play.  Meanwhile, San Diego State's 24-20 win at Colorado State puts the Aztecs at 1-0 in the conference after defeating a FBS team for the first time this year.

Practically everything was surprising in the MAC where Buffalo clobbered Ohio 31-10, Toledo needed a 12-point rally in the fourth quarter to turn back FCS member Liberty 35-34, Miami (Ohio) turned back Kent State 20-13, Central Michigan out-pointed Ball State 58-38, Akron topped heavily-favored Western Michigan 39-38, Temple edged Northern Illinois 16-15, and huge underdog Eastern Michigan only lost 33-22 at Michigan.

In early week action:

Utah downed Louisville 44-35 at Papa John's Stadium on Friday night to hand the Cardinals their third defeat in the last four games, and second straight at home. The Utes jumped out to a 21-0 lead with 13:29 left in the first half and weathered the comeback effort of Louisville.

Louisville had won 20 consecutive home games before losing to Syracuse 38-35 on September 22. First-year Louisville head coach Steve Kragthorpe, who replaced Bobby Petrino went he went to the NFL's Atlanta Falcons, is just 4-7 in his last eleven games as a head coach. His Tulsa team went 1-4 down the stretch last season after a 7-1 start. He is now just 3-3 with a Cardinals team that was a consensus top ten pick in the preseason.

Kentucky QB Andre Woodson made two crucial mistakes, and South Carolina LB Eric Norwood made him pay for both of them as the Gamecocks beat the Wildcats 38-23 Thursday night. Norwood scooped up Woodson's fumble at the Kentucky two and scored early in the first quarter. On Kentucky's first possession of the second-half, Woodson threw an ill-advised backwards pass while being sacked and Norwood took returned it 53 yards for another score.

The win was South Carolina's 8th straight over Kentucky, and Steve Spurrier improved to 15-0 against the Wildcats as head coach with Florida and the Gamecocks. Kentucky's loss leaves LSU as the only undefeated team in the SEC.

A six-day college football week began Tuesday night with Memphis downing Marshall 24-21, and continued Wednesday night with Rice upsetting Southern Miss 31-29. It was the first victory over an FBS team this season for Memphis while Marshall remains winless.

Memphis played its game less than 48 hours after team member Taylor Bradford was shot and killed Sunday night on campus in what police called a "targeted attack". His memory was honored with a moment of silence prior to kick-off.

Rice's win on Wednesday night was a huge upset, given that Southern Miss was the consensus preseason pick to win the CUSA East title, and the Owls had not won a single game under new head coach David Bailiff. In fact, Rice had lost its first four games by an average of 26.75 points. Take out the 2-point loss in the opener to FCS member Nicholls State, and the Owls had lost to their three previous FBS opponents by an average of 34.67 points per game.

Rice almost blew this win, too, giving away the bulk of a 31-7 lead in the 4th quarter. The Owls finally managed to squelch a furious rally by the Golden Eagles when they forced a fumble with about a minute left in the contest.

Had Southern Miss completed the comeback, 80 percent of the fans in attendance at kick-off would not have witnessed it. They had vacated the Liberty Bowl stands en masse when the score was still 31-7 early in the fourth quarter.

UNBEATEN TEAMS
After Kentucky's defeat on Thursday, and the losses by Wisconsin, Purdue and USC on Saturday, only 11 teams remain undefeated. They are ( in alphabetical order): Arizona State, Boston College, California, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Hawaii, Kansas, LSU, Missouri, Ohio State, and USF.

WINLESS TEAMS
Only 5 schools are in search of their first victory: Colorado State, FIU, Marshall, North Texas and Utah State.

5 schools picked up their first win this week. Rice scored a 31-29 upset at Southern Miss on Wednesday night; Notre Dame upset UCLA 20-6 on Saturday; Temple beat Northern Illinois for its first win of the season, and first-ever conference win in the MAC; Louisiana-Lafayette downed North Texas 38-29; and Louisiana-Monroe defeated Arkansas State 30-10.

There are 4 others that have yet to beat a team from the bowl subdivision: Idaho, Louisiana Tech, N.C. State and UAB.

3 teams notched their first victory over a FCS team this week. Memphis defeated Marshall 24-21 on Tuesday night; North Carolina scored a 33-27 upset of Miami in Chapel Hill; San Diego State won 24-20 at Colorado State.

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).

Only two teams played FCS schools this week. Toledo overcame a 12-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat Liberty 35-34, and Arkansas needed 10 fourth quarter points to finally separate from Tennessee-Chattanooga 34-15.

Bowl Subdivision teams are now 61-8 against FCS teams this year.

The eight losses 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)
North Dakota State 44, Central Michigan 14 (Week 4)
Western Kentucky 20, Middle Tennessee 17 (Week 4)

Western Kentucky is 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.

Bowl subdivision teams were 71-7 in 2006 against FCS schools. Since 2003, FBS teams are 281-33 (.895) in such games.

This season, 78 bowl subdivision teams face schools from the championship subdivision. WAC members New Mexico State and Hawaii double-dipped.

STREAKS
Wisconsin had its winning streak halted at 14 games in a 31-26 loss at Illinois.

LSU now owns the nation's longest winning streak at 13 straight. The Tigers rallied to beat Florida 28-24.

Ohio State has won 24 straight regular season games. The Buckeyes won at Purdue 23-7.

USC's 35-game home winning streak came to a shocking end against Stanford, 24-23.

Boise State has won 40 consecutive regular season home games. The Broncos also have a perfect home record against their fellow WAC conference members (25-0). Boise State won at home over New Mexico State 58-0 on Sunday.

FIU owns the nation's longest current losing streak at 18 games. The Golden Panthers lost 34-16 at home to Troy.

Colorado State has lost 12 straight. The Rams lost 24-20 at home to San Diego State for the Aztecs' first win over a FBS school.

Utah State has also lost 12 straight. The Aggies lost 52-37 at Hawaii on Saturday.

N.C. State has lost 12 straight to FBS teams. The Wolfpack lost 27-10 at Florida State.

NEW COACHES
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.

North Texas and FIU have yet to win a game under their new head coaches. Idaho, Louisiana Tech, N.C. State and UAB have yet to defeat an FBS team.

This week, there were three games where new coaches faced each other - Minnesota lost at Indiana 40-20; Miami (Fla.) lost at North Carolina 33-27; Tulane lost 20-17 in overtime at Army.

Here is how each of the new coaches are faring, in order, by won-loss record.

Arizona State, 6-0 under Dennis Erickson, won 23-20 at Washington State.
Boston College, 6-0 under Jeff Jagodzinski, won 55-24 at home over Bowling Green.
Cincinnati, 6-0 under Brian Kelly, won 28-23 at Rutgers.
Indiana, 5-1 under Bill Lynch, won 40-20 at home over Minnesota.
Air Force, 4-2 under Troy Calhoun, won 31-14 at home over UNLV.
Alabama, 4-2 under Nick Saban, won 30-24 at home over Houston.
Miami (Fla.), 4-2 under Randy Shannon, lost 33-27 at North Carolina.
Michigan State, 4-2 under Mark Dantonio, lost 48-41 in overtime at home to Northwestern.
Tulsa, 3-2 under Todd Graham, lost 48-47 at UTEP.
Army, 3-3 under Stan Brock, won 20-17 at home in overtime over Tulane.
Central Michigan, 3-3 under Butch Jones, won 58-38 at Ball State.
Louisville, 3-3 under Steve Kragthorpe, lost 44-35 at home to Utah on Friday night.
Stanford, 2-3 under Jim Harbaugh, won 24-23 at USC.
North Carolina, 2-4 under Butch Davis, won 33-27 at home over Miami (Fla.).
Louisiana Tech, 1-4 under Derek Dooley, lost 24-0 at Mississippi.
Rice, 1-4 under David Bailiff, won 31-29 at Southern Miss on Wednesday night.
Tulane, 1-4 under Bob Toledo, lost 20-17 in overtime at Army.
UAB, 1-4 under Neil Callaway, lost 30-13 at Mississippi State.
Idaho, 1-5 under Robb Akey, lost 28-20 at San Jose State.
Iowa State, 1-5 under Gene Chizik, lost 42-17 at Texas Tech.
Minnesota, 1-5 under Tim Brewster, lost 40-20 at Indiana.
N.C. State, 1-5 under Tom O'Brien, lost 27-10 at Florida State.
North Texas, 0-5 under Todd Dodge, lost 38-29 at Louisiana-Lafayette.
FIU, 0-6 under Mario Cristobal, lost 34-16 at home to Troy.