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Illinois Sinks Ohio State;
Va. Tech Ends Streak Against FSU

by Mike Mitchell
November 11, 2007

Illinois ended Ohio State's unbeaten season with a 28-21 upset in Columbus; Virginia Tech ended 32 years and 12 games of frustration against Florida State with a 40-21 home win over the 'Noles.

The Fighting Illini were more than two touchdown underdogs but that didn't stop them from halting several Ohio State winning streaks - 10 straight games over-all, 28 straight regular season games, and 20 consecutive Big Ten games. The Buckeyes dropped from 1st to 7th in the new BCS Standings.

Ohio State's loss leaves only Hawaii and Kansas as the remaining undefeated teams.

Even though the Buckeyes fell, and Michigan lost 37-21 at Wisconsin, the Big Ten title will still go to the winner of next Saturday's game at Ann Arbor between Ohio State and the Wolverines.

Virginia Tech's losing streak against Florida State ended in the first game played between the two schools in Blacksburg since 1989. Frank Beamer notched his first win against Bobby Bowden in his eighth try. Since Beamer took over as the head coach of the Hokies in 1988, the teams had met twice in Tallahassee (1988, 1990), and one time each in Blacksburg, Orlando (1991), a BCS title game (1999), an ACC championship game (2005) and a Gator Bowl (2001). Saturday's game was the first meeting the two schools in an ACC regular season game. The Hokies actually hold a 6-5-1 advantage at home.

Miami's last game at venerable Orange Bowl stadium was one that it would love to forget quickly.  Virginia administered a 48-0 spanking that registers as the worst home shutout loss for Miami at the historic venue that will be demolished sometime after FIU plays its final three home games there. It was the second-worst defeat the 'Canes ever suffered at the Orange Bowl, falling short of a 70-14 Texas A&M triumph in 1944.

Virginia Tech hosts Miami next Saturday and, regardless of the outcome of that game, will play at Virginia for the ACC Coastal division title on Thanksgiving weekend. The Cavaliers are idle next Saturday.

Miami is fighting just to become bowl eligible. The Hurricanes are 5-5 and end the season in two weeks at Boston College after next Saturday's trip to Blacksburg.

Just as USF did after it ascended to the No. 2 ranking, Boston College has gone into a free-fall with back-to-back losses in the ACC. After the home loss to Florida State last week, the Eagles were defeated 42-35 at Maryland on Saturday.

B.C.'s loss, coupled with Clemson's 44-10 home rout of Wake Forest, means the Eagles (8-2, 4-2) will lose their spot in the ACC championship game if they don't beat the Tigers (8-2, 5-2) at Clemson next week.

In action involving top teams in the BCS Standings, LSU dumped Louisiana Tech 58-10 to move into first place in the new standings released Sunday morning; idle Oregon played no one and moved up to 2nd; Kansas climbed from 4th to 3rd after a 43-28 win at Oklahoma State; Oklahoma was bumped up from 5th to 4th following a 52-21 home win over Baylor; and Missouri rose from 6th to 5th after defeating Texas A&M 40-26 in Columbia.

Also worth noting:

  • Arizona State overcame an early 13-0 deficit to beat UCLA 24-20 and remain in the hunt for the PAC-10 title.
  • Alabama fell 17-12 at Mississippi State for its second straight loss to Sylvester Croom, a  former Tide player and assistant coach who was passed over when Alabama hired Mike Shula in 2003. The Bullodgs (6-4, 3-3) are bowl eligible for the first time since 2000.
  • Georgia scored 28 unanswered points to run away from Auburn 45-20. The Bulldogs have won just 4 of the past 15 home meetings with the Tigers. Georgia's chances of advancing to the SEC Championship game hinge on the Bulldogs defeating Kentucky next week, and Tennessee losing to either Vanderbilt or Kentucky in its final two games.
  • Tennessee romped over Arkansas 34-13. The Volunteers control their destiny in the SEC East race by virtue of their win earlier this season over Georgia. The Vols can clinch next week if they beat Vanderbilt and Kentucky defeats Georgia.
  • The losses by Auburn and Alabama gave LSU the SEC West title.
  • Hawaii held off a late rally by Fresno State to remain undefeated with a 37-30 win in which Warriors QB Colt Brennan was knocked out of the game with a concussion from a vicious hit in the fourth quarter.
  • Michigan State won 48-31 at Purdue as the Spartans picked up their sixth win. Michigan State has won just two if its last seven games but became bowl eligible despite having just two conference wins.
  • Iowa State beat Colorado 31-28 to keep the Buffaloes (5-6) from becoming bowl eligible. Colorado let a 21-0 lead slip away, but a bizarre ending saw the Buffs make a 50-yard field goal as time expired that was negated because officials ruled they snapped the ball before it was whistled for play. However, 1 second was put back on the clock and the Buffs made the 55-yarder, only to be told that the clock ran out before the ball was snapped. Now, the winner of the Nebraska-Colorado game (Nov. 23) will determine which of the two teams becomes eligible for postseason play as both schools are 5-6 over-all.
  • Florida beat South Carolina, and former coach Steve Spurrier, 51-31 to hand the Gamecocks their fourth straight loss.

Several of the weekend's games made heads turn.

Navy beat North Texas 74-62 in Denton in the weekend's most ridiculous game, and the Midshipmen became eligible for the Poinsettia Bowl in the process. The 136 combined points ties the FBS record set earlier this year in a 4-overtime game between Boise State and Nevada that ended with the Broncos on top 69-67. The Midshipmen lost to Delaware 59-52 two weeks ago, and downed Notre Dame in overtime 46-44 last week. That makes the combined score of Navy's last three games 172-165 for an average score of 57-55. In Saturday's game, Navy and North Texas combined to score 63 points in the second quarter alone as the Mean Green led 49-45 at halftime.

Nebraska took out its frustrations on Kansas State, ripping the Wildcats 73-31. Nebraska entered the games in the throes of its first five-game losing streak since 1958. Just last week, the Cornhuskers were felled 76-39 at Kansas.

In another high-scoring Big 12 contest, Texas beat Texas Tech 59-43. The Longhorns outscored the Red Raiders 24-23 in the final quarter.

Conference USA was a total wreck over the weekend. The west division leader, Houston, was thrashed 56-7 at Tulsa; the east division leader, East Carolina, was thumped 26-7 at last-place Marshall; and the East division's preseason favorite, Southern Miss, was defeated 29-26 at Memphis. Tulsa (west) and Central Florida (east) now have the inside track to the conference championship game. Houston would have clinched the west title had it defeated the Golden Hurricane, and East Carolina would have clinched the east title had they defeated the Thundering Herd.

In other notable games:

Connecticut lost a Big East game for the first time this season, falling 27-3 at Cincinnati. The Bearcats host West Virginia next Saturday. The Huskies finish their season at the Mountaineers on November 24. UConn and West Virginia remain in control of their own destiny in the battle for the Big East championship.

Notre Dame set school records for futility with its 6th straight home loss, and 9th loss in a single season, with its 41-24 home setback to Air Force. It also marks the first time since 1944 that the Irish have lost to two military academies in the same season.

In early-week action:

Quarterback Pat White scored on a 50-yard run with 1:36 left in the game as West Virginia got past Louisville 38-31 on Thursday night in Morgantown. Meanwhile, Brigham Young kept its perfect Mountain west record intact by holding off TCU 27-22.

Louisville erased a 31-14 deficit with 17 straight points and tied the game at 31-all on a 37-yard field goal with 3:05 remaining. After the Mountaineers reclaimed the lead, the Cardinals were forced to start on their own 1-yard line after the kick-off was mishandled. They never made it to the mid-field stripe.

West Virginia raised its Big East record to 3-1 with a trip to Cincinnati next on the agenda. After that, the Mountaineers entertain UConn in a game that could ultimately decide the Big East championship. Connecticut enters this weekend's game at CIncinnati in first place in the conference with an unblemished 4-0 record, but is a nearly 10-point underdog to the Bearcats. West Virginia concludes the season by hosting the annual Backyard Brawl with Pitt.

Also on Thursday night, Brigham Young moved closer to a successful defense of its Mountain West crown with a 27-22 home victory over TCU. The Horned Frogs got to within five points with 3:49 remaining and got the ball back at its own 32-yard line with 2:30 left - plenty of time left to mount a game-winning drive after stopping the Cougars on their ensuing possession. But the drive went nowhere fast. BYU sacked the quarterback on second down, and he slipped to the ground for another loss while trying to avoid the rush on 4th down.

The Cougars are now 5-0 in the Mountain West, 7-2 over-all, and have won 13 straight MWC games. BYU was 8-0 in the conference last season.

TCU (5-5, 2-4) must win at least one of its final two games to become bowl eligible for the 9th time in the last 10 seasons. The Horned Frogs host UNLV (2-7, 1-4) next Saturday before traveling to San Diego State (3-5, 2-2) for the season finale.

Akron scored two late fourth quarter touchdowns to deny Ohio's comeback bid in a 48-37 win on Wednesday night at the Rubber Bowl.

The Bobcats stormed back from a 34-16 deficit in the 3rd quarter to cut the gap to 34-31 with over 8 minutes still left in the game.  However, Ohio didn't have an answer for an Akron offense that entered the contest averaging just 19.3 points per game. As a result, the Zips rebuilt their lead to 48-31 before Ohio added a touchdown on the last play of the game to provide the final margin.

Ohio fell to 5-6 with the loss, making it critical to win its next game to have any chance at a second consecutive bowl appearance. The Bobcats have 2-1/2 weeks to prepare for that contest, the season finale at home against Miami (Ohio).

Akron staved-off elimination from bowl consideration by improving to 4-6. However, the Zips visit current East division leader Miami next Wednesday, then host West division champion Central Michigan the day after Thanksgiving.

Central Michigan became the first team to clinch a division or conference title on Tuesday night with a 34-31 win at Western Michigan. The Chippewas improved to 6-4 over-all, 5-0 in the MAC, on a quarterback sneak with 12 seconds left in the game.

CMU led 10-7 entering the fourth quarter, but a wild fourth quarter saw a sudden flurry of points, ties and lead exchanges:

  • A Western Michigan field goal tied it at 10 with 14:55 left to play.
  • Central Michigan recaptured the lead on a TD with 12:57 left.
  • The Broncos tied it back up at 17-all on a TD pass with 10:39 remaining.
  • With 6:03 to play, the Chippewas went ahead 24-17 on a TD pass, then stretched the lead to 27-17 at the 3:53 mark on a field goal after intercepting Western Michigan on its next possession.
  • The Broncos cut the lead back to 27-24 on a TD pass just 1:36 later, then recovered a QB fumble to set up a go-ahead 15-yard touchdown run with 1:34 left.
  • Central Michigan then drove down the field for the game-winning points.

Western Michigan's last-gasp effort to pull out the victory was a pass and multi-lateral play that ended far short of the end zone.

Central Michigan repeated as west division champions under first-year head coach Butch Jones. Three days after Central Michigan won last season's MAC championship game over Ohio, head coach Brian Kelly accepted the post at Cincinnati that became available when Mark Dantonio left the Bearcats to go to Michigan State. The Chippewas went on to defeat Middle Tennessee 31-14 in the Motor City Bowl with Kelly's associate head coach, Jeff Quinn, serving as interim head coach. Quinn joined Kelly's staff at Cincinnati after that bowl game.

Jones was named as Central Michigan's new head coach on January 5, leaving his post as receivers coach with West Virginia to take his first head coaching position. Jones had previous ties to the Chippewas, having coached the tight ends, receivers and running backs at various times from 1998-2004.

UNBEATEN TEAMS
Hawaii and Kansas are the only two remaining undefeated teams following Ohio State's 28-21 home loss to Illinois.

WINLESS TEAMS
There are 2 schools still searching for their first victory - FIU and Utah State. FIU was idle this week while Utah State was pounded 52-0 at Boise State.

Additionally, Idaho has yet to beat a team from the bowl subdivision. The Vandals were idle this week.

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).

Two teams faced FCS schools this week. Louisiana-Monroe downed Grambling State 28-14. Sun Belt conference leader Troy survived Western Kentucky 24-17. The Hilltoppers won 20-17 at Middle Tennessee earlier in the year.

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 are 67-10 against FCS teams this year.

The ten 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)
North Dakota State 27, Minnesota 21 (Week 8)
Delaware 59, Navy 52 (Week 9)

Bowl subdivision teams were 71-7 in 2006 against FCS schools. FBS teams are 287-35 (.891) in such games since 2003.

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

STREAKS
Ohio State saw several streaks get halted in its 28-21 home loss to Illinois. The Buckeyes had won 10 straight games over-all, 28 straight regular season games, and 20 consecutive Big Ten games.

Hawaii has won 10 straight games. The Warriors won 37-30 at home over Fresno State.

Kansas has won 10 in-a-row, and 13 consecutive regular season games. The Jayhawks won 43-28 at Oklahoma State.

Michigan had its 8-game losing streak come to an end in a 37-21 loss at Wisconsin.

Boise State has won 9 straight games, 42 consecutive regular season home games, and 16 consecutive WAC games. The Broncos also have a perfect home record against their fellow WAC conference members (27-0). Boise State won 52-0 at Utah State.

FIU owns the nation's longest current losing streak at 21 games. The Golden Panthers were idle.

Utah State has lost 16 straight. The Aggies lost 52-0 at Boise 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.

This week, N.C. State defeated North Carolina 31-27 in the only game where new coaches faced each other.

FIU is the only team that has yet to snag a win with its new head coach. Idaho has yet to defeat an FBS team.

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

Arizona State, 9-1 under Dennis Erickson, won 24-20 at UCLA.
Boston College, 8-2 under Jeff Jagodzinski, lost 42-35 at Maryland.
Cincinnati, 8-2 under Brian Kelly, won 27-3 at home over Connecticut.
Air Force, 8-3 under Troy Calhoun, won 41-24 at Notre Dame.
Tulsa, 7-3 under Todd Graham, won 56-7 at home over Houston.
Alabama, 6-4 under Nick Saban, lost 17-12 at Mississippi State.
Central Michigan, 6-4 under Butch Jones, won 34-31 at Western Michigan on Tuesday to clinch the MAC West title.
Indiana, 6-5 under Bill Lynch, lost 31-28 at Northwestern.
Michigan State, 6-5 under Mark Dantonio, won 48-31 at Purdue.
Louisville, 5-5 under Steve Kragthorpe, lost 38-31 at West Virginia on Thursday.
Miami (Fla.), 5-5 under Randy Shannon, lost 48-0 at home to Virginia.
N.C. State, 5-5 under Tom O'Brien, won 31-27 at home over North Carolina.
Louisiana Tech, 4-6 under Derek Dooley, lost 58-10 at LSU.
Army, 3-7 under Stan Brock, lost 41-6 at home to Rutgers on Friday.
North Carolina, 3-7 under Butch Davis, lost 31-27 at N.C. State.
Rice, 3-7 under David Bailiff, won 43-42 at SMU.
Stanford, 3-7 under Jim Harbaugh, lost 33-17 at Washington State.
Tulane, 3-7 under Bob Toledo, won 34-19 at home over UTEP.
Iowa State, 3-8 under Gene Chizik, won 31-28 at home over Colorado.
UAB, 2-8 under Neil Callaway, lost 45-31 at home to Central Florida.
North Texas, 1-8 under Todd Dodge, lost 74-62 at home to Navy.
Idaho, 1-9 under Robb Akey, was idle.
Minnesota, 1-10 under Tim Brewster, lost 21-16 at Iowa.
FIU, 0-9 under Mario Cristobal, was idle.