Auburn and Georgia Fall; Clemson and Ga. Tech Escape
by Mike Mitchell
Arkansas pulled off the upset of the day, 27-10, over No. 6 Auburn. The No. 30 Razorbacks had two rushers top the 100-yard mark while holding the Tigers to 170 total yards. Arkansas, at 3-0, is the only west division team that is left undefeated in conference play. Auburn had won 20 of its last 21 SEC games.
Auburn wasn't the only highly-ranked SEC team to go down in flames.
No. 12 Georgia staked out a 24-7 lead on No. 31 Tennessee and looked like they would win in a rout. But the Vols found a little life when they cut the lead to 24-14 with 50 seconds left before halftime.
Tennessee took the lead 42 seconds into the fourth quarter and never gave it back, outscoring the Bulldogs 27-6 in the final quarter for a 51-33 win. The Georgia defense had surrendered just 34 points in its first five games. The Volunteers racked up 44 points in 27 minutes and 54 seconds.
Georgia's loss left Florida as the only team in the entire SEC without a single blemish.
The No. 9 Gators led No. 11 LSU by just 14-7 at the half, but Florida pulled away for a 23-10 win. The Tigers fumbled the second-half kick-off and recovered it in their own end zone for a safety. The Gators added a TD on their ensuing possession. Urban Meyer is 11-0 at "The Swamp" as head coach of the Gators.
Meanwhile, no one is left with an undefeated over-all record in the ACC. Wake Forest was the last team standing, but the No. 26 Demon Deacons fell to No. 13 Clemson 27-17, literally giving away the ball game. Wake was beating the Tigers 17-3 in the 4th quarter and getting ready to make it 20-3 on a field goal. Instead, the Demon Deacon holder mishandled the snap and inexplicably tossed the ball in the air to get rid of it. Clemson intercepted the idiotic miscue and returned it for a touchdown to cut the gap to 17-10. The play began a snowball effect as Clemson scored 24 unanswered points to secure their first win at Wake Forest since 2001.
No. 24 Georgia Tech rallied for a 27-23 win over No. 43 Maryland. The Terps held a 23-14 lead going into the fourth quarter, but the Yellow Jackets cut the lead to six with 11:33 remaining. Shortly afterwards, Georgia Tech recovered a Maryland fumble at the Terrapin 17 and took the lead just two plays later. A last-ditch Maryland drive made it to the Georgia Tech 5-in the closing seconds, but that threat was halted by an intentional grounding penalty, and a sack, on back-to-back plays.
Georgia Tech visits Clemson on October 21 in the next ACC game for both teams. The Yellow Jackets are idle next week. The Tigers are basically idle, too, as they play Temple in Charlotte on Thursday night.
No. 2 USC never trailed No. 49 Washington in a 26-20 win, but the Huskies refused to roll over and play dead. The Trojans led 14-3 early in the second quarter, but Washington cut the gap to 4 points, or less, on three different occasions. USC made a 21-yard field goal with 1:34 to play that proved to be crucial for the Trojans as Washington drove to within 15 yards of scoring before time expired.
No. 14 Texas Tech found itself down 24-0 to No. 19 Missouri after just 19 minutes. The Red Raiders managed to close to within 24-21 by the end of the third quarter, but Missouri scored the last 14 points of the game to win 38-21. The Tigers are 6-0 for the first time since 1973.
In other games involving highly-ranked teams on Saturday:
- No. 1 Ohio State methodically dismissed No. 70 Bowling Green, 35-7.
- No. 3 Michigan had no trouble with No. 48 Michigan State, 31-13. The Wolverines have taken five straight in the series.
- No. 5 Oregon was run over by No. 16 California, 45-24.
- No. 7 Texas overcame a 10-7 halftime deficit to walk away from No. 17 Oklahoma, 28-10.
- No. 8 West Virginia took care of business at No. 99 Mississippi State with a 42-14 win.
- No. 10 Boise State slammed No. 92 Louisiana Tech, 55-14.
- No. 18 Notre Dame downed No. 111 Stanford, 31-10.
- No. 21 Nebraska defeated No. 57 Iowa State, 28-14.
- No. 23 Wisconsin beat No. 75 Northwestern, 41-9, in a battle of first-year head coaches - Bret Bielema for the Badgers and Pat Fitzgerald for the Wildcats.
Baylor's 22-yard field goal in the first half of the third overtime proved to be the game-winner as the No. 82 Bears beat No. 101 Colorado, 34-31. The loss dropped Colorado to 0-6 for their worst start since 1980. Add the four losses at the end of last season and the 10-game losing streak is their worst since 1963-1964.
No. 36 Penn State beat No. 59 Minnesota in overtime, 28-27, thanks to the 10th missed extra point in two seasons by the same Golden Gophers' kicker, and an interference penalty on fourth down that kept the Nittany Lions' game-winning drive alive.
No. 95 Indiana kicked the 33-yard game-winning field goal on the last play of the game to upend No. 94 Illinois, 34-32. Illinois had just ended a 10-game losing streak to Big 10 teams last week, and Indiana entered this contest with just one win in its last twelve Big 10 games. That lone victory came against Illinois last year.
Middle Tennessee had a 10-3 lead on Louisville in the first quarter, but the No. 4 Cardinals scored the next 34 points en route to a 44-17 win over the No. 80 Blue Raiders. The Friday night contest was played in Nashville at the home of the Tennessee Titans.
Middle Tennessee's non-conference schedule has also included Oklahoma and N.C. State. They head to South Carolina in November.
Sun Belt members are 3-24 against non-conference 1-A teams this season.
No. 63 North Carolina State rallied for a huge ACC win, upsetting No. 22 Florida State, 24-20, in Raleigh on Thursday night. The Wolfpack scored the final 14 points of the game after falling behind 20-10 late in the third quarter.
Chuck Amato raised his record to 4-3 against his former boss, Bobby Bowden. Amato was an assistant coach under Bowden for 18 years before taking over the head coaching reigns at his alma mater.
N.C. State had an extra week to prepare for the Seminoles after defeating Boston College, 17-15, in their last outing on a 34-yard TD pass with 8 seconds left.
This time, N.C. State took the lead with over 10 minutes still left in the game and the defense made it stand up. Florida State's final threat was halted when the Wolfpack intercepted a tipped pass with just over 2 minutes left in the game.
The Wolfpack, just 3-2 over-all, now find themselves in first place in the ACC Atlantic with a 2-0 conference mark, thanks to Wake Forest's collapse against Clemson on Saturday.
The 'Noles dropped to 3-2 over-all and 1-2 in the ACC. They have lost five of their last six regular season ACC games, and four of their last six meetings with N. C. State.
In another Thursday night game, Utah exacted revenge on TCU for their loss last season. The No. 44 Utes downed the No. 25 Horned Frogs, 20-7.
Last year, TCU's 23-20 win over Utah ended the Utes' 18-game over-all winning streak and 11-game conference winning streak in TCU's inaugural game as a Mountain West Conference member.
This year, TCU's loss to Utah was their second consecutive setback. TCU's 13-game winning streak was snapped by BYU last Thursday. The Horned Frogs fell to 0-2 in Mountain West play after completing the 2005 season with a perfect 8-0 conference record.
Utah, thus far, has either been very pretty or very ugly. The Utes have been outscored by a cumulative 67-13 in their two losses to UCLA and Boise State. But they've drummed their four victims - 1-AA Northern Arizona, Utah State, San Diego State and TCU - by a combined 151-21.
CUSA got all the attention in the first games of the week as Tulsa and UCF picked up victories.
On Tuesday night, No. 40 Tulsa took a 20-6 home win over No. 38 Southern Miss, dropping the Golden Eagles out of first place in the east division. The Golden Hurricane, defending west division champs, were playing their conference opener.
Southern Miss fell to 1-1 with the loss, behind UAB. The Blazers are the only team in the division that doesn't already have a conference loss. UAB defeated Memphis on Saturday.
Wednesday night, No. 84 UCF beat No. 96 Marshall 23-22 on a 22-yard field goal with 7 seconds left in the game. The loss dropped the Thundering Herd to 1-4 over-all in their conference opener. The Golden Knights improved to 2-3, 1-1.
The number of undefeated teams was cut from 13 to 9 over the weekend. The first-time losers were Oregon, Auburn, Georgia and Wake Forest.
The teams that still own perfect records are: Boise State, Florida, Louisville, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio State, West Virginia, Rutgers, and USC.
There were 9 winless teams to start the week, and only one was able to grab its first victory - but, oh, was it a biggie!
Utah State, which has been the definition of pathetic this year, upset Fresno State 13-12. Just last week, the Aggies scored their first offensive points of the season in a 41-21 loss to Idaho. The Aggies lost their first four games by a cumulative score of 144-7, and their lone touchdown came on an interception return in the second quarter of its opening game against Wyoming.
The loss for Fresno State was its' eighth in its last nine games.
The remaining winless teams are Colorado, Duke, Eastern Michigan, FIU, Miami (O.), San Diego State, Stanford, and Temple.
SUN BELT SHENANIGANS
No. 116 FIU and No. 113 North Texas tried for six overtimes to give the game away, combining for 8 missed field goals. UNT finally prevailed, 25-22, in an NCAA record-tying seventh extra period when FIU missed a 35-yard FG and the Mean Green followed by making a 34-yarder. The two teams swapped field goals in the 2nd and 5th overtimes as a total of fourteen overtime possessions produced a grand total of only 15 more points!
FIU forced overtime on a 28-yard FG with 6 seconds left in regulation to knot the score at 16-apiece.
By the way, North Texas was the only team that had not yet been involved in an overtime game.
Prior to this debacle, the only other games to last seven extra periods were Arkansas-Mississippi in 2001, and Arkansas-Kentucky in 2003.
Last week, Houston gave Miami (Fla.) fits in the Orange Bowl before losing 14-13. This week, they blew a 21-0 lead at home against Louisiana-Lafayette and lost 31-28.
1-A vs. 1-AA
1 team played a 1-AA school over the weekend as Army crushed VMI 62-7.
1-A schools are 64-6 against 1-AA teams this year. The 1-A teams went 52-2 in such games last year. Since the beginning of the 2003 season, the 1-A schools are now 228-24 in games played against 1-AA teams.
Over 75 schools took the opportunity of a 12th game to schedule a cupcake opponent during the 2006 season.
The NCAA has officially re-named them the Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly 1-A, now FBS) and the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly 1-AA, now FCS).
With it's 26-20 victory over Washington, USC has now won 37 straight regular season games, a nation's-best 29 consecutive home victories, and 26 straight conference games.
Ohio State owns the nation's longest winning streak at 13 games. They defeated Bowling Green 35-7.
Boise State has won 34 consecutive regular season home games after clobbering Louisiana Tech 55-14. The Broncos have never lost a home game to a WAC opponent (22-0).
Texas has won 17 straight conference games after its' 28-10 win over Oklahoma.
Temple owns the nation's longest losing streak - now at 18 games - after a 28-17 loss to Kent State. They've lost their six games this year by an average score of 40.83 to 6.83.
Duke has lost 13 straight games over-all, 16 straight to 1-A teams, after its 30-14 loss to Alabama.
Colorado has lost 10 straight after a 3-overtime 34-31 defeat to Baylor.
New Mexico State has lost 16 straight to 1-A teams after a 28-20 defeat at Idaho. It is 2-0 against 1-AA teams this season.
The 2006 season introduces 11 coaching changes. We're tracking their progress throughout the season.
Boise State, 6-0 under Chris Petersen, beat Louisiana Tech 55-14.
Wisconsin, 5-1 under Bret Bielema, beat Northwestern 41-9.
Kansas State, 4-2 under Ron Prince, beat Oklahoma State 31-27.
Middle Tennessee, 3-3 under Rick Stockstill, lost to Louisville 44-17.
Idaho, 3-3 under Dennis Erickson, beat New Mexico St. 28-20.
Northwestern, 2-4 under Pat Fitzgerald, lost to Wisconsin 41-9.
Buffalo, 1-4 with Turner Gill, lost to Ball State 55-25.
Rice, 1-5 under Todd Graham, lost to Tulane 38-24.
San Diego State, 0-5 under Chuck Long, lost to BYU 47-17.
Temple, 0-6 under Al Golden, lost to Kent State 28-17.
Colorado, 0-6 under Dan Hawkins, lost to Baylor in 3 OT's 34-31.