Ends At 19 For Ohio State; Six Teams Fall From Unbeaten List
by Mike Mitchell
Six of the eleven teams that entered the weekend unbeaten tasted defeat for the first time this season, just a little over a week before the first BCS Standings are released on October 20.
Ohio State topped the list of giants who were slain as Wisconsin did the honors, 17-10. The Badgers put an abrupt halt to Ohio State's 19-game winning streak, longest in the nation. In the process, Wisconsin ascended to the top of the Big 10 conference rankings, tied with Michigan State and just a half-game ahead of Purdue.
The Big 10 shake-up started Friday night when Michigan ended Minnesota's unbeaten run with a stirring 38-35 comeback win. Minnesota blew a 28-7 fourth-quarter lead to suffer its fifteenth straight loss to the Wolverines in the 100th battle for the Little Brown Jug.
Minnesota and Michigan are each 2-1 now in conference play. Ohio State is 1-1.
Florida State was the next-highest ranked team to go down, falling 22-14 at the hands of Miami. The Hurricanes beat the Seminoles for the third straight time and Larry Coker remained undefeated in 30 regular season games since he took over the head job at Miami prior to the start of the 2001 season.
However, Florida State will remain in first place in the ACC, and even widened their gap on Virginia - thanks to Bobby Bowden's son. Tommy Bowden's Clemson Tigers upset Virginia in overtime, 30-27. The loss drops the Cavaliers to 3-1 in ACC play. Florida State is 4-0 in the conference. Virginia plays host to the Seminoles next Saturday.
You could easily say that Missouri pulled off the weekend's biggest upset with their 41-24 win over Nebraska. The win snapped a 24-game losing streak to the Cornhuskers as the Tigers grabbed their first win in the series since 1978. It also lifted Mizzou into a first-place tie in the Big 12 North.
The SEC has no unbeaten teams left in the league after Arkansas' 10-3 loss to Auburn, and LSU's 19-7 loss to Florida. Both upsets occurred on the home field of the favored team.
Georgia takes sole possession of first in the SEC East as Tennessee only falls to second after the Bulldogs' 41-14 rout of the Volunteers. Florida solidified its hold on third place and is just one game behind Georgia in the division race. The Gators and Bulldogs square off in the world's largest tailgate party in two weeks in Jacksonville, but Florida has to first survive a trip to Arkansas next week.
The SEC West lead has been usurped by Auburn after the War Eagle upset of the Rzorbacks, and Ole Miss trails by just a half-game. Each is still undefeated in conference play and if they are able to keep it that way, their November 8 game will be one to circle on your calendar. Ole Miss spent Saturday pounding hapless non-conference foe Arkansas State 55-0.
The five remaining undefeated teams are Oklahoma, Miami (Fla.), Virginia Tech, TCU and Northern Illinois.
The Sooners won their fourth straight Red River Shootout over Texas, 65-13. The rout comes after a pair of 11-point wins the last two seasons, but outperforms Oklahoma's 63-14 rout of the Longhorns in Y2k.
Virginia Tech welcomed Syracuse and the nation's leading rusher, Walter Reyes, to town. But the Hokies were not very nice hosts as they ground the Orangemen to a pulp, 51-7. Reyes was held to just 40 yards and his teams' lone touchdown. Meanwhile, Virginia Tech's Kevin Jones ran for 131 yards and 2 touchdowns, and DeAngelo Hall returned two punts for scores and caught a touchdown pass.
Northern Illinois found itself trailing Central Michigan at halftime, and the Huskies didn't get the lead for good until Michael Turner's second touchdown run put the Huskies ahead at 31-24 with 46 seconds left in the third quarter. Three fourth-quarter field goals stretched the final margin to 40-24 for NIU.
TCU did something that 21 previous teams had failed to do in Tampa - beat South Florida on its' home field. The Horned Frogs stayed unbeaten by scratching out a 13-10 win on Friday night. They join Southern Miss and surprising Houston as the only CUSA teams that have yet to suffer a conference loss.
Southern Miss lost a non-conference game to Alabama, 17-3, while Houston scored a 45-42 win over Tulane. The Cougars entered the game with four wins already under their belt, but all against teams that were winless when Houston played them. Tulane, however, was 3-2 over-all before the loss to Houston. The Cougars are now 5-1 over-all, 2-0 in CUSA, and are just a half-game out of first place behind the Horned Frogs and Golden Eagles.
The PAC-10 turned in some more perplexing results this weekend. Nevada knocked off Washington, 28-17, sending the Huskies reeling with their third loss of the season. And Arizona State put an abrupt end to its own three-game losing streak with a 59-14 cookout of the Oregon Ducks. Oregon has been outscored 131-43 in its last three games.
UCLA barely got out of Arizona alive as the Wildcats put forth one of their best efforts of the season in nearly tripping up the Bruins. UCLA's 24-21 nail-biting victory allows the Bruins to tie Oregon State and Washington State (both teams were idle this weekend) with a conference record of 2-0.
Air Force rebounded from its startling loss to Navy last week, with an important 24-7 win over UNLV in the Rebels' conference opener. Now, every team except Air Force and Utah, have at least one conference loss.
Boise State, and the aforementioned Nevada, top the WAC. Fresno State, Tulsa, and Texas-El Paso all began the weekend with unbeaten conference records, and all three ended the weekend with their first league losses. Hawaii hammered the Bulldogs, 55-28; the Broncos topped the surprising Golden Hurricane, 27-20; Louisiana Tech eked out a 38-35 win over the Miners.
Winless No More: Two battles of winless teams were staged on Saturday. North Carolina beat East Carolina 28-17, and La.-Monroe upended La.-Lafayette 45-42. Middle Tennessee also broke into the win column with a 35-18 victory over New Mexico State.
Army, SMU and Buffalo join East Carolina and La.-Lafayette as the remaining winless teams.
Advanced Math: Northwestern State (La.), a perennial 1-AA power, routed SE Louisiana, 87-27. This is the first year the Lions have fielded a football team since disbanding it following the 1985 season due to budget constraints. Former Kentucky coach Hal Mumme is coach of SELU and former Vanderbilt had coach Woody Widenhofer is the defensive coordinator.
Tracking the new coaches: There were eighteen head coaching changes in the off-season and seventeen of them now have at least one win this year.
John Thompson at East Carolina is still looking for that breakthrough victory after losing 28-17 to North Carolina on Saturday.
Charlie Weatherbie picked up his first victory as coach of UL-Monroe by upending UL-Lafayette 45-42.
Wyoming coach Joe Glenn, whose only previous win this season had come against 1-AA school, earned his first victory over a 1-A opponent when the Cowboys beat Utah State 48-21.
Mike Hankwitz replaced the fired John Mackovic at Arizona two weeks ago. He is now 0-2 after Saturday's near-upset of UCLA. The Wildcats lost by a narrow 24-21 margin and had a chance to tie it in the fourth quarter but missed a 28-yard field goal with just over five minutes to play. Since Hankwitz took over, Arizona has lost two games by a combined score of 54-28. Under Mackovic, the Wildcats had lost four straight by a combined total of 176-40.
Coaching Stalemate: Bobby Bowden still trails Joe Paterno on the all-time victories list, 338-337, after Florida State lost to Miami and Penn State fell to Purdue.
Good Streaks: Oklahoma and TCU each have a nine-game winning streak. Virginia Tech has won 7 straight. Miami and Northern Illinois have 6 consecutive wins.
Miami has nation-leading streaks of 38 regular season wins, 26 Big East wins and 25 home wins.
Bad Streaks: Buffalo lost its 17th straight game, 59-3, to Miami of Ohio.
Duke has lost 28 consecutive ACC games after falling to Maryland, 33-20.
Rutgers has lost 24 straight Big East games after falling to West Virginia, 34-19.
Bad News Bears Again: The Baylor Bears, which upset Colorado 42-30 last week, got blitzed 73-10 by Texas A&M on Saturday. They are now 5-53 lifetime in the Big 12 conference.
Passing Fancy: Texas Tech's B. J. Symons threw for 487 yards and three touchdowns in Texas Tech's 52-21 win over Iowa State. In the past four games, Symons has 2,328 yards of total offense and 2,170 passing yards, both NCAA records for a four-game span.
Run To Glory: Julius Jones ran for 262 yards and two touchdowns in Notre Dame's 20-14 win over Pittsburgh.
Oklahoma wide receiver Mark Clayton had 190 receiving yards in the Sooners' 65-13 win over Texas.
Northern Illinois' Michael Turner amassed 199 yards and two touchdowns in NIU's 40-24 win over Central Michigan.
North Texas running back Patrick Cobbs rushed 249 yards and three touchdowns as the Mean Green beat Idaho, 24-14.