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College Football Season

Perfect Seasons End For Five Teams

by Mike Mitchell and Dave Congrove
October 12, 2008

No. 1 Oklahoma fell to 2nd-ranked Texas 45-35; No. 3 Missouri lost 28-23 at home to 16th-ranked Oklahoma State; and 6th-ranked LSU was swamped 51-21 at Florida.

Entering the weekend, there were five undefeated teams in the Big 12. Two were guaranteed to lose because of head-to-head matchups. Texas and Oklahoma State emerged victorious in those battles, while Texas Tech escaped with a 37-31 overtime win over Nebraska.

In all, five teams lost for the first time as Vanderbilt and Northwestern joined LSU, Missouri, and Oklahoma.

In the Red River Rivalry, the Longhorns scored the last 15 points of the game with touchdowns on back-to-back possessions after falling behind 35-30 early in the fourth quarter.

Texas grabbed its first lead at 30-28 late in the third quarter on a 28-yard Hunter Lawrence field goal, his third of the day. The score was set up when Texas stopped Oklahoma a foot short of the first down marker on a fake punt attempt from its' own 48-yard line on 4th-and-6. The Longhorns outscored the Sooners 18-7 after that.  Oklahoma countered the Texas field goal with a touchdown drive to retake the lead at 35-30, but the Longhorns took over the game after that score. Texas immediately responded with a 74-yard drive in 8 plays, forced the Sooners into a 3-and-out, and then marched 80 yards in 6 plays to seal the win.

Oklahoma finished with only 45 net yards rushing.  Texas wound up with 161, but 92 of that came on two Chris Ogbonnaya carries in the second half. Runs of 62 yards in the 4th quarter, and 30 yards in the third quarter, set up touchdowns for the Longhorns. Cody Johnson had 3 TD runs of 2 yards or less.

The game was like a boxing match - for every punch Oklahoma threw, Texas punched back. For instance, after the Sooners went ahead 14-3 in the second quarter, Jordan Shipley promptly returned the kick-off 96 yards to make it 14-10.

The loss ruined a fine touchdown passing performance by Sam Bradford who was 28-of-39 for 385 yards, 5 TD's and 1 INT. His Texas counterpart, Colt McCoy, was 28-of-35 for 277 yards and 1 TD with no picks. MCCoy entered the game as his teams' leading rusher but managed just 31 yards.

In Missouri's loss to Oklahoma State, Chase Daniel was intercepted three times in the second half after entering the game with just 1 interception on the year. The Cowboys took the lead for good on Zac Robinson's 40-yard hook-up with Damian Davis with 2:01 to play in the 3rd quarter. That play made it 21-17, and the Cowboys stretched it to 28-17 when Daniel was intercepted to set-up a 31-yard Robinson pass to Davis with 6:30 left in the game.

LSU's visits to 10th-ranked Florida was a battle between the last two national champions. LSU had won two straight in Gainesville before losing the 2006 game. Before that brief run of success, the Bayou Bengals dropped seven in-a-row at "The Swamp".

The Gators stormed to a 20-0 lead, only to see LSU climb back to within 20-14 in the 3rd quarter. After that, however, it was all Florida. The Tigers didn't score again until the Gators had built a 41-14 cushion in the final period. Tim Tebow hit Percy Harvin for a 70-yard touchdown pass on the third play of the game. Jeffrey Demps ran for 129 yards on only 10 carries, including a 42-yard scoring run in the 3rd quarter, and Florida amassed 265 yards on the ground.

Texas Tech survived an upset bid by Nebraska, winning 37-31 in overtime. The Red Raiders missed the PAT in OT, but then picked off a Joe Ganz pass to secure the win. It was Ganz' only interception of the day as he outdueled Graham Harrell statistically. Ganz was 36-of-44 for 349 yards and 2 TD's. Harrell completed 20-of-25 for 284 yards and 2 scores.

Nebraska, which had nearly twice as many first downs as Texas Tech (29-16), forced overtime when they scored the game-tying touchdown with 29 seconds left in regulation.

Vanderbilt, vying to become eligible for its' first bowl game since 1982, was knocked from the unbeaten ranks with a 17-14 loss at Mississippi State. It was the first time this season that the Bulldogs beat a FBS team.

In the Big Ten, Michigan State rudely evicted Northwestern from the unbeaten club with a 37-20 win at Evanston. Next Saturday, the Spartans host Ohio State which won 16-3 at home over Purdue.

No. 5 Penn State rolled over Wisconsin 48-7 to hand the Badgers their third straight loss. The Nittany Lions are the only Big Ten team that is still undefeated overall.

Meanwhile, Minnesota became bowl eligible as it moved to 6-1 with a 27-20 triumph at Illinois. The Golden Gophers were just 1-11 a year ago, and 0-8 in the Big Ten. They were projected to go 2-10, 0-8 this season.

Michigan's 26-yard field goal attempt went wide left with 4 seconds left to preserve a 13-10 Toledo upset of the Wolverines in Ann Arbor on Saturday. Both teams are now 2-4. The Rockets' only previous win this season also came in Michigan where it beat Eastern Michigan. Toledo's losses include a 35-16 setback at home to no. 101 FIU. Michigan entered the game with a 24-0 record against the current roster of MAC teams, but it was their first meeting with the Rockets. The difference maker came early when Toledo's Tyrrell Herbert scored on a 100-yard interception return in the first quarter for the game's first points.

In the SEC, Steve Spurrier continued his mastery of Kentucky with a 24-17 South Carolina win. The ol' ball coach is 16-0 all-time vs. the Wildcats, and the Gamecocks have won the last 9 meetings.

Georgia avoided a third straight loss to Tennessee with a 26-14 win in Athens.

Arkansas won 25-22 at 19-point favorite Auburn. The Tigers have lost three of their last four games and dropped to 2-3 in the SEC. Arkansas' only previous wins came against Louisiana-Monroe and FCS member Western Illinois.

No. 7 Alabama was idle.

A fairly weak PAC-10 slate saw USC blank Arizona State 28-0, and Stanford upset Arizona 24-23 on a TD with 25 seconds left. Arizona's loss was its' first in PAC-10 play, leaving Cal as the only team that has not lost a conference game. The Golden Bears are idle.

Other PAC-10 games saw Oregon edge UCLA 31-24, and Oregon State rout hapless Washington State 66-13.

BYU, ranked 9th, beat New Mexico 21-3 in a Mountain West confrontation to claim their 16th straight win. The Cougars' top competitors in the conference also notched victories. Utah rolled 40-7 at Wyoming, and TCU eked out a 13-7 win at Colorado State. The Utes and the Horned Frogs are both 3-0 in the conference. BYU is 2-0 and visits TCU on Thursday.

Rutgers lost 13-10 at Cincinnati in the best game the Big East could supply this week. Three of the conference's better teams - UConn, Pitt and USF were idle.

West Virginia slogged past lowly Syracuse 17-6 as Pat White sat out the game with a concussion he suffered against Rutgers a week earlier. Noel Devine picked up the slack, running for 188 yards and a touchdown.

North Carolina rallied to beat Notre Dame 29-24, and the Irish fumbled after receiving a pass at the Tar Heel 7-yard line with 2 seconds left in the game.

In other non-conference games for ACC teams, Virginia beat East Carolina 35-20, and Miami held off UCF 20-14.

Six ACC teams were idle - Boston College, Duke, Florida State, Maryland, N.C. State and Virginia Tech. Meanwhile, Georgia Tech was the only FBS team facing a FCS school and barely subdued Gardner-Webb 10-7.

CUSA's schedule was filled with interleague games and they didn't fare very well. Memphis lost to Louisville (Big East) on Friday night. Saturday saw UCF lose at Miami (ACC), East Carolina fall at Virginia (ACC), and Southern Miss lose 24-7 at home to Boise State (WAC).

Undefeated Tulsa remains CUSA's shining star, but the 15th-ranked Golden Hurricane only managed a 37-31 win over 118th-ranked SMU.

Two of the better MAC teams went to overtime as Western Michigan won 34-28 at Buffalo. The Broncos scored 22 point in the fourth quarter and scored the game-tying TD with 5 seconds left in regulation. The Bulls began the overtime by throwing an interception after driving to the 11-yard line.

In other MAC games, Ball State stayed undefeated with a 24-7 win at Western Kentucky, and Ohio beat Kent State 26-19 for its' first win against a FBS team this season. Kent State has dropped 13 straight to FBS schools.

Louisville scored three touchdowns on returns of a kick-off, a blocked field goal, and a fumble to spur a 35-28 win at Memphis in a Friday night interleague game.

Wake Forest beat Clemson 12-7 on Thursday night, scoring the game-winning touchdown on Riley Skinner's 7-yard pass to D.J. Boldin with 5:28 left in the game. The Demon Deacons improved to 4-1 in the ACC, 2-0 overall, by blanking the Tigers 9-0 in the fourth quarter.

Wake Forest could have won by a lot more, but the offense failed to take full advantage of its' first-half opportunities. Two first quarter drives inside the 5-yard line, and a second quarter march to the 22, resulted in field goal attempts. Shane Popham, a redshirt freshman, missed his first from 25 yards out when the hold went awry. He also pushed a 39-yard attempt way right with 1:48 left in the first half. Still, his 22-yard kick in the first quarter was enough to keep Wake in the lead until Cullen Harper hit Jacoby Ford on a 10-yard touchdown pass to put the Tigers up 7-3 just before the start of the final stanza. Wake closed to within 7-6 on its' next possession on Popham's 32-yard field goal.

Popham handled place-kicking duties and punts in place of the injured Sam Swank, a preseason Lou Groza Award candidate. His punts pinned Clemson inside its' own 20-yard line four times.

Wake Forest outgained Clemson 348-198 in total yards, and held the Tigers to only 21 net rushing yards.

Clemson fell to 1-2 in conference play and 3-3 overall after every major preseason forecaster, except the Congrove Computer Rankings, had the Tigers lined up to win the ACC. The computer projected Clemson as the 3rd-place team in the Atlantic Division.

In another Thursday night game, Houston stormed back from a 20-3 halftime deficit to blaze past UAB 45-20.

Troy gained a measure of revenge with its' 30-17 win at FAU on Tuesday night. Last year, the Owls beat the Trojans on the final week of the regular season to wrest away the Sun Belt title.

FAU was the preseason favorites of almost everyone to repeat as conference champs, but now finds itself in jeopardy of failing to become bowl eligible. The Owls sank to 1-5 overall, 0-2 in the Sun Belt. Troy improved to 3-2 overall, 2-0 in the conference.

FAU's problem has been oft-repeated this season - too many dropped passes and turnovers. The Owls entered the contest with a turnover ratio of minus-9 and lost that battle 3-1 to Troy. The second quarter began with Troy scoring a touchdown, the Owls losing the ensuing kick-off when it bounced off the helmet of an FAU player, and Troy cashing in again as the Trojans scored 14 points in a 13 second span. FAU then drove to the Troy 4-yard line before the Trojans intercepted Rusty Smith at the goal line to protect their 17-3 lead.

LSU, Missouri, Northwestern, Oklahoma, and Vanderbilt suffered their first losses on Saturday.

Here are the 10 remaining undefeated teams: Alabama, Ball State, Boise State, BYU, Oklahoma State, Penn State, Texas, Texas Tech, Tulsa, and Utah.

Only Hawaii made it through the 2007 regular season unscathed, and the Warriors were blown out 41-10 by Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. It was the first season since 2002 that no team recorded a perfect record.

Boise State was the only team to finish the entire 2006 season undefeated, while Texas did it in 2005. Auburn, USC and Utah all had unblemished records in 2004.

Only 2 teams remain winless - North Texas and Washington.

Last season, FIU beat North Texas in its final regular season game to avoid being the only winless team. FIU was one of two schools to go winless in 2006 (Duke was the other).

12 teams have yet to beat a FBS school this season: Idaho, Kent State, Louisiana-Monroe, Miami (Ohio), North Texas, Rutgers, SMU, Syracuse, UAB, Washington, Washington State and Western Kentucky.

FBS vs. FCS:
The divisions were re-named late in 2006. 1-A was given the new moniker of Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) while 1-AA was labeled the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).

Only 1 FBS vs. FCS matchup took place this week as Georgia Tech escaped Gardner-Webb 10-7. The Jackets were missing their top two QB's on the depth chart due to injuries and needed to partially block a 43-yard field goal with 3 seconds left to preserve the win.

FBS teams are 82-2 (.976) against FCS teams this season, and 372-37 (.910) since 2003.

Here are the losses by the FBS so far this season:
Cal Poly 29, San Diego State 27 (Week 1)
New Hampshire 28, Army 10 (Week 2)

This year, 82 different FBS teams will participate in a total of 87 games that will pit the FCS against the FBS. Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Texas Tech and Western Kentucky each play two such games.

ACC teams have more games versus FCS schools than any other conference. Here is the number of FCS games for each conference:

Conference Teams In Conf. Games vs. FCS Avg. Per Team
ACC 12 14 1.167
Big East 8 7 0.875
Big 12 12 10 0.833
Big 10 11 9 0.818
MWC 9 7 0.778
WAC 9 7 0.778
SEC 12 9 0.750
Independents 3 2 0.667
MAC 13 8 0.615
CUSA 12 7 0.583
Sun Belt 9 5 0.555
PAC-10 10 2 0.200
Totals 120 87 0.725

BYU owns the nation's longest current winning streak at 16 games. The Cougars have also won 18 consecutive MWC games. BYU beat New Mexico 21-3.

Penn State has won 8 straight games. The Nittany Lions won 48-7 at Wisconsin.

Texas Tech has won 8 straight games. The Red Raiders beat Nebraska 37-31 in OT.

Utah has won 8 straight games. The Utes won 40-7 at Wyoming.

Alabama has won 7 straight games. The Tide was idle.

Boise State has won 46 consecutive regular season home games, and the Broncos have a perfect home record against their fellow WAC conference members (29-0). Overall, they have won 35 straight conference home games since losing to Idaho in the final game of the 1998 season in the Big West. Boise State won 24-7 at Southern Miss.

North Texas and Washington share the nation's longest losing streak at 7 games. The Mean Green lost 59-30 at home to Louisiana-Lafayette while the Huskies were idle.

Idaho has lost 21 straight to FBS schools. The Vandals fell 45-32 at Fresno State.

SMU has dropped 16 straight games to FBS teams. The Mustangs lost 37-31 at home to Tulsa.

Kent State has dropped 13 straight to FBS teams. The Golden Flashes fell 26-19 at home to Ohio.

UAB has a 12-game losing streak against FBS schools. The Blazers lost 45-20 at Houston on Thursday night.

NEW COACHES: The 2007 season featured 24 new head coaches. Nine led their team to a bowl game. This year, there are 18 coaching changes.

Two teams have yet to defeat an FBS school - SMU, and Washington State.

Colorado State, Hawaii, Houston, Nebraska, Northern Illinois, SMU, Southern Miss, Texas A&M, and Washington State have yet to defeat a team from one of the "big 6" conferences (ACC, Big East, Big 10, Big 12, PAC-10 or SEC).

Arkansas 3-3 Bobby Petrino Won at Auburn 25-22
Baylor 3-3 Art Briles Defeated Iowa State 38-10
Colorado State 3-3 Steve Fairchild Lost to TCU 13-7
Duke 3-2 David Cutcliffe 10/18, vs. Miami (Fla.)
Georgia Tech 5-1 Paul Johnson Defeated Gardner-Webb (FCS) 10-7
Hawaii 3-3 Greg McMackin Defeated Louisiana Tech 24-14
Houston 3-3 Kevin Sumlin Defeated UAB 45-20
Michigan 2-4 Rich Rodriguez Lost to Toledo 13-10
Mississippi 3-3 Houston Nutt 10/18, at Alabama
Navy 4-2 Ken Nuimatalolo 10/18, vs. Pitt
Nebraska 3-3 Bo Pelini Lost at Texas Tech 37-31 in OT
Northern Illinois 3-3 Jerry Kill Defeated Miami (Ohio) 17-13
SMU 1-6 June Jones Lost to Tulsa 37-31
Southern Miss 2-4 Larry Fedora Lost to Boise State 24-7
Texas A&M 2-4 Mike Sherman Lost to Kansas State 44-30
UCLA 2-4 Rick Neuheisel Lost at Oregon 31-24
Washington State 1-6 Paul Wulff Lost at Oregon State 66-13
West Virginia 4-2 Bill Stewart Defeated Syracuse 17-6


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