Week 11 Recap: Ohio State Takes 5th Straight Big Ten Title
by Dave Congrove
November 15, 2009 (Updated 11/16/09)
Ohio State clinched the Big Ten's automatic bowl bid and Georgia Tech claimed the ACC Coastal division title. USC got spanked again, and TCU made a statement against Utah. Houston lost to UCF and SMU took over 1st place in CUSA's west division.
Ohio State claimed at least a share of the Big Ten title for the 5th straight season by edging Iowa 27-24 in overtime. With the win, the Buckeyes became the first team to secure an automatic BCS bowl bid which will most likely become an invitation to the Rose Bowl. Iowa put up a surprisingly tough fight without QB Ricky Stanzi, but a questionable coaching strategy in the final minute proved to be the beginning of the end for any miracle win. Following an OSU punt, and with 52 seconds left in regulation, Iowa took over at its own 33 with a pair of timeouts left and only needing a field goal to win. But for some inexplicable reason, head coach Kirk Ferentz opted to run out the clock and take his chances in overtime. However, the Hawkeyes threw a 4th-down interception on their overtime possession after losing 16 yards on the two previous plays and the Buckeyes kicked a 39-yard field goal to come out smelling like a rose.
Georgia Tech will return to the ACC Championship game for the first time since 2006. The Yellow Jackets spotted Duke a 10-0 lead, then ran off 49 unanswered points in a 49-10 rout. Its' opponent will be Clemson if the Tigers beat VIrginia at home next week. An upset loss by Clemson would send Boston College back to the title game for the third straight season if the Eagles finish the season with wins over North Carolina and Maryland.
USC has it first 3-loss season since 2001 after getting trounced 55-21 at home by Stanford. It was the 2nd straight win by the Cardinal over the Trojans in Los Angeles, and the second consecutive week that the Trees knocked off a team in the top ten of the BCS Standings. The 55 points allowed, 27 in the 4th quarter, is the most ever scored against USC in the history of the program. Last week, the Cardinal dropped Oregon 51-42.
Arizona and Oregon entered the week as the top two teams in the PAC-10, but the Wildcats lost 24-16 at California. That leaves Oregon alone in the driver's seat after the Ducks rolled 44-21 over Arizona State.
SMU became the frontrunner for the CUSA West title after the Mustangs beat UTEP 35-31 and Houston fell 37-32 at UCF. June Jones' Mustangs are 5-1 in the conference in just his second season at the helm, and SMU has already secured just its second non-losing season in the last 12 years.
If the season ended today, SMU would face East Carolina in the CUSA championship game. The Pirates are also 5-1 in league play and lead the east division, and both teams are 6-4 overall. East Carolina won 44-17 at Tulsa on Sunday night, thanks to 3 turnovers by Golden Hurricane QB G.J. Kinne in the 4th quarter. Tulsa rallied from a 20-0 deficit in the second quarter to close the 3rd stanza down 23-17, but the Pirates scored on interception returns of 42 and 57 yards, and a fumble return of 50 yards. The Golden Hurricane fell to 4-6 on the year and mathematically out of contention for the CUSA West division title at 2-4.
TCU crushed Utah 55-28 in what was expected to be one of the week's best games. This one was never close as the Horned Frogs piled up 549 yards of offense and never looked back after grabbing a 38-14 halftime lead. TCU improved to 10-0 for just the second time since 1938 and won for the 17th time in its last 18 games. The Horned Frogs have won 12 straight games overall, and 13 consecutive home games since losing to Utah two years ago. They were No. 4 in the BCS Standings going into the game. Utah entered the contest ranked 16th and with a 22-1 record of its last 23 games.
Florida, the No. 1 team in the BCS Standings, won 24-14 at South Carolina. Alabama, ranked 2nd in the BCS, rolled methodically over Mississippi State 31-3. Texas, ranked 3rd in the BCS and No. 1 in the CCR Top 120, romped 47-14 at Baylor. Boise State, the No. 6 team in the BCS, destroyed state rival Idaho 63-25.
EARLIER IN THE WEEK
Cincinnati didn't play up to its usual standards in a 24-21 home win over West Virginia. The Mountaineers scored their final TD with 39 seconds left and failed to recover the onside kick. The Bearcats improved to 10-0, 6-0 while stumbling through a game in which it fumbled for the first time all year, threw an interception and missed a field goal - all in the first half. QB Tony Pike took only a few snaps in his first action since the USF game and threw 2 TD passes to help Cincy's cause. West Virginia fell to 7-3, 3-2 and was eliminated from the Big East title chase. Pitt (8-1, 5-0) is the only other team left in contention and it hosts Cincinnati in the season finale on December 5.
In another Friday night game, Temple continued its uncharacteristic run with an 8th straight victory. The Owls took a convincing 56-17 win at Akron to improve to 8-2 overall, 6-0 in the MAC.
Ohio is Temple's closes competition for the MAC East title and those teams meet in Athens in the season finale on November 27. The Bobcats improved to 7-3, 5-1 on Tuesday night with a 27-24 win at Buffalo. A 47-yard field goal with 1:25 left in the game handed the Bulls their 3rd straight loss in overtime or the final 1:25. Last week, Bowling Green won 30-29 at Buffalo an 18-yard TD pass with 39 seconds left. The previous game saw the Bulls lose 34-31 in overtime on a field goal by Western Michigan. It's quite the opposite of how last year played out when Buffalo participated in an NCAA record 4 overtimes and won 3 of those, catapulting it into the MAC Championship where it upset an undefeated Ball State.
Rutgers rolled 31-0 over USF on Thursday night to become bowl eligible. Because it played 2 FCS schools this year, the Scarlet Knights needed 7 wins to qualify for the postseason. Rutgers improved to 7-2 overall, 2-2 in the Big East. The Bulls' fourth straight loss to the Scarlet Knights dropped them to 6-3 overall, 2-3 in the conference, and in need of one more victory to become bowl eligible.
There were a pair of MAC games on Thursday night. Bowling Green crushed Miami (O.) to improve to 5-5 and keep its bowl hopes alive. Northern Illinois downed Ball State 26-20 to improve to 7-3 overall, 5-1 in the MAC, and remain within one conference loss of West division leader Central Michigan. The Huskies travel to Mount Pleasant to face the Chippewas in the regular season finale on November 27.
Central Michigan QB Dan LeFevour threw 2 TD passes and ran for 4 more scores in a 56-28 annihilation of Toledo on Wednesday night. The Chippewas spotted the Rockets a 14-7 lead in the 1st quarter, but then went on a 42-0 run as they improved to 8-2 overall, 6-0 in the MAC. Toledo (4-6) will need victories in its last two games to become bowl eligible under first-year head coach Tim Beckman. The Rockets host winless Eastern Michigan and close the season at nearby rival Bowling Green.
Florida State won 41-28 at Wake Forest to keep its bowl hopes alive. The Seminoles have gone to 27 straight bowl games, the longest such streak in the country. FSU is just 5-5, but can become eligible for the postseason with a home win over lowly Maryland (2-8) next week. The 'Noles better win that one becasue their closing contest is at Florida. Wake Forest was eliminated from the bowl season with the loss.
STEPPIN' IN A SLIDE ZONE
Michigan moved one step closer to missing the bowl season for the second straight season. The 45-24 loss at Wisconsin was its 4th straight overall and 6th straight to FBS schools. The Wolverines' lone win in their last seven games was against FCS meember Delaware State.
Notre Dame lost for the second straight week to fall to 6-4. The Irish have dropped 3 of their last 5 games after bowing 27-22 at Pittsburgh. Notre Dame tried to rally late after the Panthers took a 27-9 lead in the 4th quarter, but the door was finally shut with Irish QB Jimmy Clausen's controversial fumble on his own 28-yard line with 2:10 to go in the game. Originally ruled an incomplete pass, the call was to changed to fumble after video review. It was Pittsburgh's second straight win over Notre Dame, and third in the last four meetings.
6 teams still remain undefeated - Alabama, Boise State, Cincinnati, Florida, TCU, and Texas. Last year at this time, that list consisted of 5 teams - Alabama, Ball State, Boise State, Texas Tech, and Utah.
Rice exited from this list with a 28-20 win over Tulane. 3 teams are still winless - Eastern Michigan, New Mexico and Western Kentucky. At this point last year, Washington was the only team with a goose egg in the win column.
FBS vs. FCS:
There were 3 such games this week and two barely survived. Army thwarted the upset bid by VMI 22-17, and Minnesota eked past South Dakota State 16-13. Navy beat Delaware 35-18.
FBS teams are 88-5 vs. FCS teams on the year (.946), and 463-42 (.917) since 2003.
Here are the results of every FBS loss to the FCS this season:
9/19: Central Arkansas 28, Western Kentucky 7
9/12: New Hampshire 23, Ball State 16. New Hampshire also has wins at Army in 2008 (28-10), Marshall in 2007 (48-35), and Northwestern in 2006 (34-17)
9/5: Richmond 24, Duke 16; William & Mary 26, Virginia 14
9/3: Villanova 27, Temple 24
This year, 87 FBS play a total of 94 games against FCS foes. Duke, Kansas State, Mississippi, North Carolina, N.C. State, Rutgers and USF each play two FCS teams.
Florida has 20 straight victories. The Gators won 24-14 at South Carolina.
Texas has 14 straight victories. The Longhorns won 47-14 at Baylor.
TCU has 12 straight victories. The Horned Frogs won 55-28 vs. Utah.
Cincinnati has 10 straight wins overall and 16 straight regular season wins. The Bearcats won 24-21 vs. West Virginia on Friday.
Alabama has 10 straight wins overall and 22 straight regular season wins. The Tide won 31-3 at Mississippi State.
Boise State has streaks of 22 consecutive regular season wins, 24 consecutive home wins, 54 consecutive regular season home wins, and 40 straight conference home victories. BSU has never lost at home to a fellow WAC member (34-0). The Broncos' last home loss to a conference foe occurred in 1998 when they were a member of the Big West and fell to Idaho in the final regular season game. The Broncos are 4-1 in their last five matches against BCS conference schools. The Broncos won 63-25 vs. Idaho.
Oklahoma has 28 straight home victories. The Sooners won 65-10 vs. Texas A&M.
Utah saw its 13-game conference win streak end with the 55-28 loss at TCU. The Utes still have 16 straight home wins.
Western Kentucky has lost 18 straight overall and 23 straight to FBS teams. The Hilltoppers lost 21-18 at Louisiana-Monroe.
New Mexico has lost 14 straight overall. The Lobos lost 24-19 vs. BYU.
See Coaching Changes for details)
There are 22 new college football coaches in the FBS ranks this season. 20 have secured their first victory. Only Eastern Michigan and New Mexico remain winless against FBS schools.
||Won 22-17 vs. VMI (FCS)
||Lost 31-24 at Georgia
||Lost 26-20 at Northern Illinois
||Won 14-10 at Virginia
||Won 35-14 at Miami (O.)
||Won 43-23 at N.C. State
||Lost 35-14 vs. Western Michigan
||Won 17-10 vs. Colorado
||Lost 38-12 vs. Missouri
||Lost 35-14 vs. Bowling Green
||Lost 31-3 vs. Alabama
||Lost 24-19 vs. BYU
|New Mexico State
||Lost 24-6 at Hawaii
||Won 44-21 vs. Arizona State
||Lost 40-37 vs. Michigan State
|San Diego State
||Lost 30-27 vs. Wyoming
||Lost 10-9 at Louisville
||Lost 42-17 at Mississippi
||Lost 56-28 at Central Michigan
||Won 24-9 vs. San Jose State
||Lost 48-21 at Oregon State
||Won 30-27 at San Diego State
|*-Dabo Swinney took over halfway through last season when Tommy Bowden stepped down after a 3-3 start. Swinney was 4-3 over the last 7 games of the season.