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College Football Season

Texas, Penn State, USC Pass Tests

by Mike Mitchell and Dave Congrove
October 26, 2008

Week nine provided no major upsets among the top teams in the BCS Standings, though a few were certainly challenged.

No. 6 Oklahoma State was the BCS' highest-ranked team to fall as Texas prevailed 28-24 in their showdown of undefeated Big 12 teams. Colt McCoy completed 38-of-45 passes for 391 yards and 2 TD's with a lone interception. MCoy entered the game with a completion percentage of 81.2 and connected on 84.4 percent of his throws against Oklahoma State. He was also the leading rusher for Texas with 40 yards, 1 TD, and a fumble.

No. 1 Texas totaled 503 yards of offense, but surrendered 416. The Longhorns never trailed, and built a 14-point cushion on three occasions, leading 14-0 and 21-7 in the second quarter, and 28-14 in the 3rd quarter.

Running back Kendall Hunter had 18 carries for 161 yards and a TD for the Cowboys. Quarterback Zac Robinson threw for 200 yards and one score.

No. 8 Texas Tech remained undefeated with a 63-21 embarrassment of Kansas in front of the Jayhawks' home crowd. The Red Raiders rolled up 556 yards on offense and Graham Harrell threw 5 touchdown passes. Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing was intercepted three times while being held to 154 yards passing and 2 TD's.

Texas and Texas Tech will go toe-to-toe in Lubbock next Saturday.

Alabama, the No. 2 team in the BCS Standings, beat Tennessee 29-9 in Knoxville. It was only the Crimson Tide's second win in Knoxville in its' last seven trips.

No. 3 Penn State got a stern test from 9th-ranked Ohio State. The Nittany Lions prevailed 13-6 in a defensive battle as they were held to 32 points under their season scoring average. It was Penn State's first win in Columbus since 1978.

No. 4 Oklahoma won 58-35 at Kansas State as the teams combined for 83 points in the first half, but only 10 in the second half. The Sooners blew an early 28-7 lead as the Wildcats came back to tie the game at 28-28 with 8 minutes still left in the first half. But Oklahoma finished the second quarter on a 27-point flurry as Kansas State's next four possession resulted in a fumble, an interception, a punt that was returned 68 yards for a TD, and another fumble.

No. 5 USC had all it wanted from Arizona in a 17-10 win in the desert. Both teams had been averaging around 40 points per game, but this contest saw both teams combine for just 526 yards and the winning points were scored in the third quarter. The Trojans had outscored their previous three opponents (Oregon, Arizona State and Washington State) 141-10.

No. 7 Georgia outscored 13th-ranked LSU 52-38 in Baton Rouge in the first meeting between the two teams since the 2005 SEC Championship, also won 34-14 by the Bulldogs. Georgia never trailed and had three 21-point leads in the second half.

No. 10 Florida has beaten Kentucky 22 straight times after Saturday's 63-5 win.

Florida and Georgia meet next week in Jacksonville.

Friday night, Boise State (7-0, 3-0) pulled away in the 4th quarter for a 33-16 win at San Jose State and kept its' unbeaten season intact. The 16 points scored by the Spartans is the second-most allowed by the Broncos all year, but they were shutout 10-0 in the final stanza and fell to 5-3 overall, 3-1 in the conference.

The 50-game week concluded Sunday night with Tulsa's 49-19 home win over UCF. The Golden Hurricane and Golden Knights have met for two of the last three CUSA titles with Tulsa winning in 2005, and UCF taking the crown in 2007. They were the preseason picks to play for the title again this year, but only Tulsa is living up to the hype. . The Golden Hurricane are undefeated and jumped to 18th in the BCS Standings that were released before Sunday night's game was played. The loss sent the Golden Knights down to 2-5 overall, and 1-2 in CUSA.

In other Saturday games:

Houston Nutt had a successful return to Fayetteville, much to the dismay of Arkansas fans. Ole Miss won 23-21 when a sprinted 4th quarter Arkansas rally fell short. The Rebels led 20-7 until an Arkansas touchdown with 4:28 left in the game cut the lead to 20-14. Mississippi followed with a drive that produced a field goal and a 23-14 lead, but the Hogs answered with another touchdown drive that took less than 40 seconds to make the score 23-21 with 1:07 still left. After recovering the onside kick, a pass appeared to put Arkansas near the Ole Miss 20-yard line, but an offensive pass interference penalty negated the play and killed the comeback.

Nutt was named the new head coach at Ole Miss the day after resigning from Arkansas last year on November 26. Bobby Petrino was named as Nutt's successor on December 11.

Michigan State dropped rival Michigan to 2-6 and in serious jeopardy of missing the bowl season for the first time since 1974. The Spartans pulled away for a 35-21 win by pitching a 14-0 shutout in the 4th quarter. Javon Ringer ran for 194 yards and 2 TD's, and Brian Hoyer threw for 282 yards and three touchdowns for Michigan State's win first win over the Wolverines since 2001. It was the first win for the Spartans in Ann Arbor since 1990.

Minnesota improved to 7-1 overall, 3-1 in the conference, with a 17-6 win at Purdue. That's already a 6-win improvement over last year's records of 1-11, 0-8.

Wisconsin and Indiana picked up their first conference victories of the season, sending Purdue to the cellar as the only Big Ten team that has not recorded a conference win. The Badgers beat Illinois 27-17 to end a four-game losing streak, and Indiana edged Northwestern 21-19.

Florida State's 30-20 win over Virginia Tech kept the Hokies winless in Tallahassee since 1974 (0-6). Virginia Tech lost two quarterbacks to ankle injuries as Tyrod Taylor went down on the very first play, and Sean Glennon exited early in the third quarter. Third-string QB Cory Holt threw a touchdown pass to get Virginia Tech within 27-20, but FSU drove to a field goal on the ensuing drive to put the game out of reach. The Hokies led 13-10 in the 3rd quarter before a roughing the punter penalty allowed the 'Noles to keep the ball and score two plays later. FSU never trailed after that.

In other key ACC games, Boston College lost 45-24 at North Carolina, and Wake Forest fell 16-10 at Miami. Those results leave the ACC Atlantic lead is in the hands of Florida State (6-1, 3-1) and Maryland (6-2, 3-1).

Meanwhile, Virginia took command of the ACC Coastal when it rallied for a 24-17 win at Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets led 14-3 when they scored on their first two possessions of the game. The Cavaliers have now reeled off four straight victories after beginning the season with three losses in their first four games.

Elsewhere, Missouri took its' frustration out on Colorado with a 58-0 smackdown. The Tigers had taken consecutive losses to Oklahoma State and Texas.

Vanderbilt lost 10-7 to Duke to keep the Commodores stuck on the 5-win mark. After a 5-0 start, Vandy has lost three straight as it strives to become eligible for its' first bowl game since 1982. Duke improved to 4-3.

Cincinnati (5-2, 1-1) lost 40-16 at UConn (6-2, 2-1) after leading 13-10 at halftime. The Bearcats had won all four previous meetings.

Cincinnati's loss, coupled with Pittsburgh's 54-34 loss at home to Rutgers, leaves West Virginia as the only team with a perfect Big East conference record.

In another Big East game, Louisville upset USF 24-20.

In the Mountain West, TCU ran its' conference record to 5-0 by squashing Wyoming 54-7. The Horned Frogs are 8-1 overall. The Cowboys, along with San Diego State and UNLV, are winless in MWC play.

BYU barely survived their home game against UNLV. The Cougars topped the Rebels 42-35 on a touchdown and 2-point conversion with 1:46 to play, then intercepted a pass in the end zone on the final play of the game to secure the come-from-behind victory. Last week, UNLV blew a 28-20 4th-quarter lead and lost 29-28 to Air Force on a field goal with 2:36 left in the game.

In the MAC, Ball State ran its' record to 8-0 with a 38-16 win over Eastern Michigan. And Central Michigan is still undefeated in conference play after edging Toledo 24-23.

The three major independent teams - Army, Navy and Notre Dame - pulled off a rare feat, by posting victories on the same weekend for just the second time this season.

Ty Willingham's Washington Huskies lost at home to his former team, Notre Dame, 33-7. He has faced the Irish twice as the Huskies' head coach and lost both times. The previous meeting resulted in a 36-17 defeat in 2005. Washington is tied with North Texas for the nation's current longest losing streak at 9 games.

Army downed Louisiana Tech 14-7, and Navy blasted SMU 34-7.

Hawaii beat Nevada 38-31 with a 77-yard drive that began with 1:30 left in the game. A 24-yard TD pass gave the Warriors the win after the Wolf Pack had scored 14 straight points and tied it on a 34-yard pass with 1:31 remaining.

The football weekn began last Tuesday night with a ho-hum MAC game as Temple edged Ohio 14-10. In the process, the Owls scored their first home field touchdowns of the year. Both teams are precisely on target with the computer's preseason forecasts.

On Thursday night, Air Force improved to 6-2 overall, 4-1 in the Mountain West, with a 23-10 win over disappointing New Mexico. The Lobos were leading 10-0 in the first quarter and about to make it 17-0. Instead, a 96-yard fumble return by the Falcons made it 10-7, and New Mexico was blanked the rest of the way. The Lobos fell to 4-5 overall, 2-3 in the MWC. New Mexico was projected by the computer (Congrove Computer Rankings) to be a 10-game winner this season, and was favored to beat the Falcons by 3.49 points.

The Lobos have been impossible to figure out this season. They defeated Arizona earlier in the year, and entered this game on the heels of a 70-7 win over a San Diego State team that Air Force beat 35-10 the week before. But they were also crushed at home by TCU in the opener, and failed to beat Texas A&M as a 10-point computer favorite the following week.

In another Thursday night game, West Virginia rebounded from an early 10-0 deficit at home to beat Auburn 34-17.

Oklahoma State's loss to Texas drops the number of undefeated teams to 8: Alabama, Ball State, Boise 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.

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).

Kent State and Idaho notched their first wins over FBS schools this season. The Golden Flashes romped over Miami (Ohio) 54-21, and the Vandals downed New Mexico State 20-14.

That leaves 6 teams without a victory over a FBS school: North Texas, SMU, Syracuse, 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).

There are no games this week matching FBS schools with FCS teams.

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

Penn State has won 10 straight games. The Nittany Lions won 13-6 at Ohio State.

Texas Tech has won 10 straight games. The Red Raiders won 63-21 at Kansas.

Texas has won 9 straight games. The Longhorns beat Oklahoma State 28-24.

Utah has won 9 straight games. The Utes are idle.

Alabama has won 9 straight games. The Tide won 29-9 at Tennessee.

Tulsa has won 9 straight games. The Golden Hurricane beat UCF 49-19.

Boise State has won 47 consecutive regular season home games, and the Broncos have a perfect home record against their fellow WAC conference members (30-0). Overall, they have won 36 straight conference home games since losing to Idaho in the final game of the 1998 season in the Big West. Boise State won 33-16 at San Jose State on Friday night.

Oklahoma has won 21 straight home games. The Sooners won 58-35 at Kansas State.

North Texas has lost 9 straight games. The Mean Green fell 45-17 at home to Troy.

Washington has lost 9 straight games. The Huskies lost 33-7 at home to Notre Dame.

SMU has dropped 18 straight games to FBS teams. The Mustangs lost 34-7 at Navy.

Idaho ended a 22-game losing streak to FBS schools. The Vandals beat New Mexico State 20-14.

Kent State ended a 13-game losing streak to FBS teams. The Golden Flashes beat Miami (Ohio) 54-21.

NEW COACHES: The 2007 season featured 24 new head coaches. Nine led their team to a bowl game. This year, there were 18 coaching changes in the offseason, and one more took place when Tommy Bowden stepped down from Clemson on October 13.

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

Colorado State, Hawaii, Houston, Northern Illinois, SMU, Southern Miss, 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 3-5 Bobby Petrino Lost to Mississippi 23-21
Baylor 3-5 Art Briles Lost at Nebraska 32-20
Colorado State 4-4 Steve Fairchild Won at San Diego State 38-34
Duke 4-3 David Cutcliffe Won at Vanderbilt 10-7
Georgia Tech 6-2 Paul Johnson Lost to Virginia 24-17
Hawaii 4-4 Greg McMackin Defeated Nevada 38-31
Houston 4-3 Kevin Sumlin 10/28, at Marshall
Michigan 2-6 Rich Rodriguez Lost to Michigan State 35-21
Mississippi 4-4 Houston Nutt Won at Arkansas 23-21
Navy 5-3 Ken Nuimatalolo Defeated SMU 34-7
Nebraska 5-3 Bo Pelini Defeated Baylor 32-20
Northern Illinois 5-3 Jerry Kill Defeated Bowling Green 16-13
SMU 1-8 June Jones Lost at Navy 34-7
Southern Miss 2-6 Larry Fedora Lost at Memphis 36-30
Texas A&M 3-5 Mike Sherman Won at Iowa State 49-35
UCLA 3-5 Rick Neuheisel Lost at California 41-20
Washington State 1-7 Paul Wulff 11/1, at Stanford
West Virginia 5-2 Bill Stewart Defeated Auburn 34-17

Midseason Change:      
Clemson 0-1 Dabo Swinney 11/1, at Boston College


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