College Football
NCAAF News Wire
  • Monday, October 20, 2014
    Florida AD to continue to evaluate Muschamp
    By The Sports Xchange

    Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley said Monday that he would continue to evaluate coach Will Muschamp following the Gators' embarrassing 42-13 homecoming loss to Missouri.

    • "At the beginning of the season, we said we would evaluate the season as it plays out," Foley said in a statement. "We will continue to do so. Our sole focus right now is supporting our coaching staff and players as they prepare for Georgia."

      Fans chanted "Fire Muschamp" during the second half Saturday as the Gators fell behind 42-0.

      Muschamp is in his fourth season and was 4-8 a year ago. The Gators now have lost 10 of 13 games as Muschamp's record sits at 25-19 at Florida, including 15-14 in conference games.

      "I'm not getting concerned about things I don't have any control over, other than this team. I think that's the most important thing right now," Muschamp said Saturday after the loss when asked about his job security.

      The Gators (3-3, 2-3 SEC) are off this week before facing Georgia (6-1, 4-1) on Nov. 1 in Jacksonville.

  • Monday, October 20, 2014
    Clemson's leading rusher out for season
    By The Sports Xchange

    Clemson freshman running back Adam Choice, the team's leading rusher, suffered a torn ACL in Saturday's game against Boston College and will miss the rest of the season, coach Dabo Swinney said Monday.

    • Choice is expected to have surgery within a few weeks and should be ready to play at the start of the 2015 season.

      He ends his season with 218 rushing yards.

      The 21st-ranked Tigers (5-2, 4-1 ACC) will also be without tight end Jordan Leggett for several weeks after he suffered a knee injury in Saturday's game.

      On the positive side, running back Dyshon Dye, who has not played this season after tearing his Achilles tendon last February, is expected to practice this week and could play Saturday. Dye redshirted the 2013 season because of a back injury.

  • Monday, October 20, 2014
    Archie Manning off Playoff committee
    By The Sports Xchange

    Archie Manning stepped down from the College Football Playoff selection committee on Monday, citing health reasons.

    • Manning needs another operation after unexpected complications from knee replacement surgery. His condition is not considered serious, but Manning is unable to devote the time necessary to the committee with surgery and rehabilitation as his main focus, ESPN reported Monday.

      The committee will release its first poll in eight days as the inaugural four-team playoff in January is ultimately set by the appointed committee chaired by Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long.

  • Sunday, October 19, 2014
    FSU's Winston pro-ready on the field
    By The Sports Xchange

    Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston will enter the 2015 NFL Draft, largely due to a growing divide between the two-sport star and the university, according to CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora.

    • ranks Winston fourth overall among potential draft prospects for 2015, and second to Oregon's Marcus Mariota at quarterback.

      If Winston, who said in August he planned to play "at least two" more seasons with the Seminoles after winning the Heisman Trophy national title as a freshman last season, turns pro, he will be coveted. But most NFL scouts understand the buyer-beware tag that comes with Winston.

      His skill-set says top-10 pick, and his ability was on display in Saturday's primetime comeback victory over Notre Dame.

      But repeated off-field infractions have caused doubt in the public eye and the NFL scouting community about his future. Is it immaturity or ingenious arrogance? That's the polarizing question NFL teams will hope to figure out between now and April 2015.

      On the field, Winston is a natural.

      He has the requisite physical skills with his size, arm strength and athleticism along with the mental process as a passer to pick apart defenses. His anticipation, instincts and chemistry with his targets come easy to him and it's something that scouts search for within quarterback prospects.

      Winston has a rare combination of skills, and that is the main reason he has the makings of a top-10 selection or even No. 1 overall pick.

      As with any prospect -- and perhaps moreso quarterbacks who are paid to be and expected to serve as the face of the organization -- off-field blunders cannot be ignored and some teams won't have him on their draft board because of those doubts.

      Still, Winston's on-field ability will cause a team to roll the dice, most likely in the top-10. He could help himself a great deal by laying low, staying out of trouble and not giving teams additional reasons to doubt Winston between now and the 2015 NFL Draft.

      There are other quarterbacks in the draft who could trump Winston in the final pecking order.

      Mariota and other underclassmen quarterback prospects are likely to join Winston in the 2015 draft class, giving NFL teams options.

      Winston needs to do everything within his power to make sure he remains one of those options. And he does that by continuing to respond to adversity on the field and keeping out of trouble when away from football.

      Winston will be drafted where he deserves to be drafted. And that ultimately will be left up to the Seminoles' polarizing passer.

  • Sunday, October 19, 2014
    First and 20: Freshmen RBs delivering for contenders
    By The Sports Xchange

    Running back is probably the easiest position for a true freshman to make an impact.

    • As the season hits the back stretch, true freshman runners are indeed making significant impressions on the race toward the first College Football Playoff, as well as the chase for conference championships.

      A couple of those young runners reside with top 10 teams.

      All Nick Chubb has done with Todd Gurley-less Georgia in the past two weeks is rush 68 times for 345 yards and three touchdowns in road wins over Missouri and Arkansas. At Oregon, Royce Freeman had 47 carries for 290 yards and six touchdowns in wins over UCLA and Washington, helping the Ducks rebound nicely after losing at home to Arizona.

      Chubb (5-10, 228) runs with Gurley power -- he's uncommonly strong for a freshman (or even a senior) running back -- so the workload while Gurley is suspended and two others are out with injuries is no big thing as the Bulldogs press on toward the SEC East title.

      "I feel good; I have to do it," Chubb said after the 45-32 victory at Arkansas. "We are down on backs and I have to step up. Everything has been great over the last two weeks and I'm ready to run some more.

      "I'm getting way more comfortable. I have help coming in sooner or later, but until then, I'm ready for it."

      Freeman is another big back (6-0, 229) whose presence helped push returning 1,000-yard rusher Byron Marshall to more of a wideout position while putting former superstar recruit Thomas Tyner into a supporting role at tailback. Freeman rushed for four touchdowns and 169 yards in Saturday's 45-20 rout of Washington, Oregon's 11th victory in a row over its supposed rival in the Northwest.

      "We saw some of his elusiveness that was legendary during fall camp, as far as being able to run through guys and make people miss a little better than you think," Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said. "He's starting to play free of thought and is letting his natural gifts take over."

      Speaking of big backs, Oklahoma's Samaje Perine -- he'll answer to "Tank" -- has been indispensible for the Sooners, whose other issues have caused them to lose two of their last three games. The 243-pounder has 133 carries for 657 yards and 10 scores. Perine's best game came at West Virginia when he pinballed off Mountaineers for 242 yards.

      The Sooners have been pushed to the brink of the Big 12 race with two losses, but who knows how that crazy league will end up, and Perine will be a big part of any OU surge.

      The nation's No. 1 recruit was LSU running back Leonard Fournette. The Tigers sit fifth in the SEC West but will still have a say about the race, with games against Mississippi and Alabama coming up. Fournette, who has 344 rushing yards and five touchdowns in the past four games, could yet have his turn in the spotlight.

      And in the crowded Pac-12 South, Arizona's Nick Wilson is the leading freshman runner among Power 5 conference teams. He is averaging 114.8 yards per game for a Wildcats team that is 5-1 and heads to Washington State this week after a bye.

      Five Heisman candidates

      1. Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State. He retains the top spot after a bye. He has the nation's seventh-best passing efficiency mark, mixed with 576 rushing yards and the No. 1 team in the nation.

      2. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon. He has thrown for 19 touchdowns with no interceptions, leading the nation in passing efficiency with a 191.0 rating. His running has been limited this season, but it's there whenever he needs it.

      3. Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin. While he was idle last week, Gordon took over the nation's rushing lead from Indiana's Tevin Coleman. Gordon is averaging 174.3 yards per game on the ground.

      4. Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State. The reigning Mr. Heisman will lose votes because of off-field issues, but his second half against Notre Dame showed his best side on the football field.

      5. Kevin White, WR, West Virginia. With size, speed and one-handed highlight-making catching ability, White leads the nation with 69 catches for 1,020 yards and seven touchdowns. The season's breakout star.

      Five things we think we learned in week 8

      1. Notre Dame didn't hurt itself. A close loss at Florida State in which the Irish looked tougher and in control most of the way is exactly what Power 5 conference teams DIDN'T want to see. A blowout loss might have eliminated the Irish from playoff contention, but this result did not. A run of the table (including Louisville and games at Arizona State and USC) would certainly put a one-loss Notre Dame among the final four.

      2. The Pac-12 South is dangerous. The North Division has ruled the league in the three years since expansion, but those days are over. The South went 3-0 against the North last week and has five teams with five wins (USC, Utah, Arizona State, Arizona and UCLA). Get out the tiebreaker rules now in advance of a wild finish to the race.

      3. Tony Gibson's star is rising. Gibson is the first-year defensive coordinator at West Virginia, a Rich Rodriguez disciple who runs a 3-3-5 scheme like his old boss. Gibson's crew held Baylor to 318 yards and repeatedly won critical situations in a 41-27 win over the previously undefeated Bears.

      4. Alabama is alive and well. Nick Saban, self-described as "pissed off" after fans criticized his team for a 14-13 win over Arkansas, unleashed his frustration against Texas A&M in 59-0 annihilation of Texas A&M. Remember, the Tide's two biggest remaining games -- Mississippi State and Auburn -- are at home.

      5. It's best to keep an eye on Ohio State. The one-loss Buckeyes have scored 50 or more points in four consecutive games. You can quibble with the level of competition, but this stretch has allowed quarterback J.T. Barnett to settle in nicely. The game at Michigan State on Nov. 8 stands as a potential playoff eliminator.

      Five players to watch

      1. Marcus Murphy, RB, Missouri. His punt return and kick return for touchdowns, along with a 5-yard scoring run, helped the Tigers beat Florida 42-13 despite gaining only 119 yards on offense. The all-purpose back has returned his 2012 form, when he was All-SEC as a return specialist.

      2. Gerod Holliman, CB, Louisville. New coordinator Todd Grantham moved him from cornerback to ball-hawking safety, and the result has been a national-best eight interceptions for Holliman. The Cardinals, shockingly under offensive-minded Bobby Petrino, lead the nation in total defense (245.8 yards allowed per game).

      3. Devontae Booker, RB, Utah. The junior college transfer has 89 carries for 563 yards in the past three games, including 229 yards and three touchdowns in a win at Oregon State on Thursday. He'll go against USC's talented front, featuring defensive end Leonard Williams, this week.

      4. Mike Bercovici, QB, Arizona State. He did what many others haven't against Stanford's rugged defense -- manage the game, be turnover-free and keep the chains moving. ASU won 26-10, and Bercovici has been superb as a three-game replacement for injured Taylor Kelly, whose return is imminent. QB controversy?

      5. Trevone Boykin, QB, TCU. He's playing at a crazy-high level right now after many thought he would lose his job to immediately-eligible Texas A&M transfer Matt Joeckel. Boykin is fourth nationally in total offense (369.8 yards per game) and is coming off a 410-yard passing performance in a rout of Oklahoma State.

      Five best week 9 games

      1. Ole Miss at LSU, Saturday, 7:15 p.m. ET (ESPN). The Rebels lead the nation in scoring defense (10.6 points per game) and will try to subdue young LSU in rowdy Tiger Stadium.

      2. USC at Utah, Saturday, 10 p.m. ET (FOX Sports 1). Utah is a great story, sitting at 5-1 overall. Now comes the gauntlet: USC, at Arizona State, Oregon, at Stanford, Arizona.

      3. Texas at Kansas State, Saturday, noon (TV, TBA). Kansas State is the only team still undefeated in Big 12 play. Texas sophomore Tyrone Swoopes is growing up fast; the Longhorns needed every one of his 416 total yards to slip past Iowa State 48-45 last week.

      4. Michigan at Michigan State, 3:30 p.m. ET (ABC). You might call it Brady Hoke's last stand, but his fate with the Wolverines is probably already sealed.

      5. West Virginia at Oklahoma State, 3:30 p.m. ET (ESPN). The Mountaineers, coming off their upset of Baylor, control their destiny in the Big 12 race, with home dates against TCU and Kansas State looming. Film Room Review

      Analyst Dane Brugler's five prospect takeaways for this week. Players listed including position, school, year (Height, weight and current overall rating and by position).

      1. QB Jameis Winston, Florida State, rSo. (6-4, 235, #4/#2): Winston showed off his anticipation all game, delivering strikes before his receivers were out of their breaks or even looking for the ball. He handled pressure well, evading, resetting and speeding up his process when needed, listening to his internal clock. Winston showed a lot of trust and chemistry with his weapons and his confidence clearly extends to his teammates in the huddle. His elongated delivery is something that allows defenders an extra split second to break on the pass, but Winston was able to get away with it because of his NFL-level arm strength.

      2. QB Bryce Petty, Baylor, rSr. (6-3, 230, #89/#6): His struggles against West Virginia matched the concerns many have with Petty in his NFL transition: Struggles against pressure, too many predetermined reads and little touch downfield. Petty seemed out of sync with his targets and couldn't get into get into a rhythm, struggling with a crowded pocket and easily becoming rattled.

      3. WR Kevin White, Sr. (6-3, 209, #36/#6): Added to his Biletnikoff Award candidacy with eight catches for 132 yards and two scores, including an impressive one-handed, fourth quarter touchdown grab. He now has 100-plus receiving yards in all seven games and became the first player in college football to eclipse the 1,000-receiving yard mark in 2014. White has emerged as the top senior wideout prospect in the country and legitimate first-round pick.

      4. DE Shaq Riddick, West Virginia, Sr. (6-5, 242, #276/#26): After a highly decorated career at Gardner-Webb, he transferred to the Mountaineers for his final season in 2014 and has been a reserve for the first half of the season with only one sack entering Saturday. However, Riddick showed off his closing burst and flexible body type finding room to work and rushing the passer in racking up three sacks.

      5. QB Everett Golson, Notre Dame, Jr. (6-0, 200, #13 QB in 2016 class): His positive play has not gone unnoticed by scouts, including his gutsy effort Saturday night. He is 16-2 as the starter at Notre Dame and despite his undersized frame, he has NFL arm strength with the mobility to create with his legs. Regardless if Golson is in the 2015 or 2016 NFL Draft, he will be drafted higher than anyone anticipated at the beginning of this season.

  • Sunday, October 19, 2014
    SEC West lands four in AP top five
    By The Sports Xchange

    The SEC became the first conference to place four teams in the top five of the Associated Press top 25 poll, which was released Sunday.

    • All four are from the West division.

      Mississippi State remained No. 1 after having a bye. The ACC's Florida State held on to the No. 2 spot and is the only team in the top five not from the SEC West.

      Mississippi stayed at No. 3. Alabama moved up three spots to No. 4 after routing Texas A&M 59-0. Auburn rounded out the top five by climbing a spot following a bye.

      Notre Dame dropped two spots to No. 7 after losing to Florida State. Baylor fell eight places to No. 12 after losing at West Virginia.

      A conference has placed three teams in the top five 30 times since 2001. The SEC did it 16 times since 2009 before this week's unprecedented four teams.

      Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Stanford fell out of the poll and were replaced by No. 22 West Virginia, No. 24 LSU and No. 25 UCLA.

  • Sunday, October 19, 2014
    Cal WR Davis released from hospital
    By The Sports Xchange

    Cal wide receiver Trevor Davis was released from a hospital around midnight after undergoing tests, several hours after the Bears lost to visiting UCLA on Saturday, according to the Bay Area News Group.

    • No other details were provided.

      Davis remained on the turf for more than 10 minutes after being hit by UCLA's Ryan Hofmeister late in the fourth quarter of the 36-34 loss at Memorial Stadium.

      The junior gave a thumbs-up sign while strapped to a gurney and carted out of the stadium.

      Davis was taken to Highland Hospital in Oakland, where he was expected to have tests for head or spinal injuries.

      Cal coach Sonny Dykes said after the game that Davis told him he felt OK.

      Davis scored his sixth touchdown of the season on a 24-yard catch in the third quarter.

      He set a school record with touchdowns on kickoff returns of 100 and 98 yards in a win at Washington State two weeks ago.

  • Sunday, October 19, 2014
    High-octane Baylor stalled by unlikely candidate
    By The Sports Xchange

    Just when Baylor seemed indefensible and rolling toward a Big 12 title defense, the Bears got grounded.

    • By a West Virginia team that had looked no better than average, ranking seventh in the league in defense and eighth in points allowed entering Saturday's matchup in Morgantown.

      "All I heard about all week ... was that it was going to be a track meet and was I ready for it," West Virginia defensive coordinator Tony Gibson told the Charleston Gazette. "I took that personal. The coaches took it personal. I challenged our defense."

      Sometimes that doesn't matter against quarterback Bryce Petty and the Bears. They just keep threatening. Yet Baylor converted just three of 16 first downs against the Mountaineers and was held to a pedestrian 318 yards. The Bears punted nine times and actually converted turnovers into easy scores while mounting two authentic drives.

      Just a week earlier, Baylor used 24 unanswered points in the final 11 minutes to outlast TCU, 61-58. No one predicted West Virginia would be the defense that slowed the Bears after Baylor won a 73-42 shootout a year ago in Waco.

      Most amazing for the Mountaineers was that starting cornerbacks, Daryl Worley and Terrell Chestnut, suffered injuries in the first half and did not return.

      "We weren't just going to let them sit back there in the pocket to throw to open spaces," Holgorsen said. "Last year we didn't affect Petty at all. We affected him today."

      Petty completed just 16 of 36 passes for 223 yards and was sacked four times; three by West Virginia defensive end Shaquille Riddick. The Mountaineers countered behind quarterback Clint Trickett, who enjoyed his eighth straight 300-yard game passing and again relied on Kevin White, the nation's top receiver, who had eight grabs for 132 yards and two touchdowns.

      Still, the story was the West Virginia defense ... and penalties. The Mountaineers committed 14 penalties for 138 yards, but the Bears were guilty of 18 infractions for 215 yards, a Big 12 record. Of the 33 first downs West Virginia recorded, 10 were by penalty.

      "I've never been involved with anything like that," Baylor coach Art Briles said. "I guess that was just the way it was seen today. It affected the flow of the game."

      In other Big 12 games, Kansas State became the first team to hand Bob Stoops two home defeats as Oklahoma's 16th-year coach, winning 31-30 after the Sooners' Michael Hunnicutt missed a 19-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter. The victory vaulted the Wildcats into first place as the lone unbeaten left in league play.

      Also, TCU recovered from its stinging loss the week before to pound Oklahoma State 41-9; Texas outlasted Iowa State 48-45; and Texas Tech toppled Kansas 34-21.

  • Sunday, October 19, 2014
    SEC contenders flex their muscles
    By The Sports Xchange

    Call it "Annihilation Day."

    • After more than a month of weekends featuring one-point victories, dramatic comebacks and games hinging on one or two plays, the SEC apparently was due for a clunker in the drama department.

      The league got it Saturday when the average margin of victory for the winners was 33.5 points and the closest game was Georgia's 13-point win over Arkansas.

      And that one really wasn't that close. The Bulldogs led the Razorbacks in Little Rock 38-6 at the half, and it wasn't until late in the Bulldogs' 45-32 victory that the Hogs managed to get closer than 19 points.

      Consider the halftime margins in the other games.

      South Carolina led 28-7 after two quarters on its way to a 41-10 win over Furman.

      Alabama was up 45-0 in its eventual 59-0 rout of Texas A&M.

      LSU led 27-3 midway through its 41-3 thumping of Kentucky.

      Missouri held a 20-0 advantage in its 42-13 victory over offensively-challenged Florida.

      The smallest halftime lead of any of the winners was at Mississippi, where the Rebels played it safe early while coping with poor field position and led only 14-3 at the break of their 34-3 victory over Tennessee.

      After the carnage ended, the division races shook out this way: Georgia established prime position in moving to 4-1 in the East. Missouri at 2-1 is the only other team in the division with just one league loss, but that setback was to Georgia, giving the Bulldogs the advantage in a potential tie-breaker.

      The Bulldogs finish league play with games against Florida, Kentucky and Auburn. The Tigers have Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Texas A&M, Tennessee and Arkansas still to play.

      In the West, Ole Miss and Mississippi State are the only undefeated teams left with the Rebels at 4-0 and the Bulldogs, who had a bye week, at 3-0 in league play. Right behind them are two one-loss teams, Alabama at 3-1 and Auburn at 2-1.

      Among remaining games, Ole Miss still has to play Auburn (at Oxford on Nov. 1) and State still has Alabama to play (at Tuscaloosa on Nov. 15).

      The four leaders also play each other on the final weekend of the regular season with State going to Ole Miss and Alabama traveling to Auburn.

  • Sunday, October 19, 2014
    Arizona State stands up to Stanford
    By The Sports Xchange

    TEMPE, Ariz. -- Arizona State was pounded twice by Stanford last season. Sun Devils coach Todd Graham reworked his defensive plan Saturday night to make sure that would not happen again.

    • Quarterback Mike Bercovici threw for 245 yards and a touchdown and running back D.J. Foster had 151 yards total offense and a touchdown in No. 17 Arizona State's 26-10 victory over No. 23 Stanford on Saturday night at Sun Devil Stadium.

      The game was dictated by Arizona State's strong defense.

      "It hurt us last year, losing to them twice," Graham said. "And we didn't lose to them, we got our tails kicked. To turn the tables and beat a team like that and dominate them physically the way we did, because of the respect we have for their program, that one meant more to me personally than any win we have had."

      Stanford rushed for 240 yards in each of its two victories over Arizona State last season, including a 38-14 victory in the Pac-12 championship game here.

      This time, the Sun Devils (5-1, 3-1 Pac-12) put a little more beef up front and called more blitzes than in any previous game this season, limiting the Cardinal to 76 yards rushing and 288 yards total offense.

      "Our motto this year is unfinished business," Arizona State defensive back Lloyd Carrington said. "We came out tonight with a chip on our shoulder and got the job done."

      Wide receiver Jaelen Strong had eight receptions for 75 yards and a touchdown to help the Sun Devils break a five-game losing streak to Stanford (4-3, 2-2).

      Stanford was held scoreless in the first half for the first time since 2007, a streak of 87 straight games, and did not have a touchdown until fullback Patrick Skov's 1-yard run early in the fourth quarter, when it trailed 20-3. The Cardinal had 128 yards of offense in the fourth quarter.

      "Bottom line, we did not play well anywhere, not up to our standard," Stanford coach David Shaw said.

      "We did not run the ball well enough to keep ourselves in positive down and distances. Our protections broke down on third downs, we got the quarterback hit too many times and sacked too many times."

      Cardinal quarterback Kevin Hogan completed 19 of 39 passes for 212 yards but was harassed much of the night by a blitzing Arizona State defense that had two sacks, both by defensive backs, and many more hurries.

      "People came in here talking about Stanford's defense and left talking about ours," Graham said. "My mother told me, 'Son, when you don't know what to do, blitz.' So I blitz a lot."

      Foster caught seven passes for 92 yards and had 59 yards rushing on 24 carries.

      Arizona State sophomore Zane Gonzalez tied a career high with four field goals.

      "Our motto this year is unfinished business," Arizona State defensive back Lloyd Carrington said. "We came out tonight with a chip on our shoulder and got the job done."

      Foster scored on a 1-yard run with 8:28 left in the second quarter to cap a 13-play, 81-yard drive. Bercovici completed 4 of 5 passes for 57 yards.

      Strong caught a 3-yard touchdown pass with 1:58 left in the half for a 14-0 lead -- four plays after Stanford deep back Ty Montgomery fumbled while attempting to make an over-the-shoulder catch on a 54-yard punt by Matt Haack. Sun Devils safety Damarious Russell recovered on the Stanford 11.

      "Some little mistakes here and there just snowballed to them keeping drives alive," Stanford safety Jordan Richards said. "And they're efficient, that's what they pride themselves on being."

      Stanford kicker Jordan Williamson broke the shutout with 40-yard field goal on the first possession of the second half to make it 14-3 before Gonzalez field goals of 25 and 47 yards made it 20-3.

      Gonzalez booted two more field goals after Stanford closed to 20-10.

      NOTES: Stanford won the Pac-12 championship the last time the teams met, taking a 38-14 victory at Sun Devil Stadium on Dec. 7, 2013. Stanford also won the regular-season game between the two last season, 42-28, at Stanford. ... Arizona State finished a string of three straight games against Top 25 teams Saturday, for the third time in program history. UCLA was ranked No. 11 when it beat ASU 62-27 on Sept. 25 and USC was No. 16 when it lost to the Sun Devils, 38-34, on Oct. 4. ASU beat ranked opponents on consecutive weeks for the first time since 1997 ... With a 13-yard reception on the fourth play of the game, Arizona State RB D.J. Foster has caught a pass in 33 straight games.

  • Sunday, October 19, 2014
    Top 25 roundup: FSU holds off Notre Dame in thriller
    By The Sports Xchange

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- It wasn't quite the Game of the Century, but the first top-five matchup between No. 5 Notre Dame and No. 2 Florida State in two decades certainly lived up to the billing Saturday night.

    • The Seminoles prevailed 31-27 after running back Karlos Williams scored the go-ahead touchdown with 7:39 left in the fourth quarter to give them their first lead of the game and the defense held Notre Dame on a potential game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter to extend the nation's longest winning streak to 23 games.

      "This team has heart. There's discipline. And there's character here," Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said during his live postgame interview on the field. "It's a family. And this group ... this group is something special right there."

      After picking up a fourth-and-18 with a little over a minute to play, Notre Dame (6-1) appeared to score the go-ahead touchdown with 13 seconds left when quarterback Everett Golson hit wideout Corey Robinson in the end zone, but the Irish were called for offensive pass interference.

      Reigning Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Jameis Winston passed for 273 yards and two scores for FSU (7-0), including a remarkable 15-of-16 in the second half, and Williams scored twice after not starting the game or playing a snap in the first quarter.

      No. 3 Mississippi 34, Tennessee 3

      OXFORD, Miss. -- Bo Wallace threw two touchdown passes and the Ole Miss defense dominated Tennessee as the Rebels continued their best start since 1962.

      Ole Miss, which came in with the nation's second best scoring defense, recorded a season-high seven sacks.

      After falling behind 3-0 early in the second quarter, Ole Miss (7-0, 4-0 SEC) scored the next 34 points.

      Wallace completed 13 of 28 passes for 199 yards, throwing touchdown passes to wide receiver Vince Sanders and tight end Evan Engram. Sanders had 108 yards receiving.

      Tennessee quarterback Justin Worley threw three interceptions and the Volunteers (3-4, 0-3) also lost a fumble.

      West Virginia 41, No. 4 Baylor 27

      MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Quarterback Clint Trickett tossed three touchdown passes, including two in the fourth quarter, to spur the unranked Mountaineers to an upset win over Baylor.

      West Virginia (5-2, 3-1 Big 12) put together a complete, four-quarter performance against a dangerous Baylor team that had rallied from 21 points down in the fourth quarter to beat TCU last week.

      Baylor (6-1, 3-1), the reigning Big 12 champion, came into the game averaging an FBS-leading 622.5 yards per game and had scored 63 and 73 points in its past two meetings with the Mountaineers. But the Bears sputtered against a suddenly stout West Virginia defense that limited Baylor to just 318 yards.

      Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty completed just 16 of 36 passes for 223 yards and two touchdowns, and the Mountaineers sacked the senior four times. Baylor's 318 yards marked its lowest output since the Bears amassed just 263 in a 45-10 loss to TCU in 2010.

      No. 7 Alabama 59, No. 21 Texas A&M 0

      TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- After two straight weeks of negative headlines, Alabama's offense silenced the critics with a 45-point explosion in the first half against Texas A&M and cruised to a shutout victory.

      The Crimson Tide's defense held the Aggies scoreless as the Tide took a 45-0 lead into halftime.

      After Alabama kicked a field goal on its opening drive, the Tide scored touchdowns on its next seven possessions. The 35 points in the second quarter were the most in a quarter in school history.

      Alabama (6-1, 3-1 SEC) accumulated 449 of its 602 yards and 22 of 30 first downs in the first half. Led by junior running back T.J. Yeldon, Alabama gashed the Aggies (5-3, 2-3) for 298 rushing yards -- 226 in the first half. Yeldon gained 114 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries -- all in the first half.

      No. 8 Michigan State 56, Indiana 17

      BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Connor Cook threw for 332 yards and three touchdowns and Jeremy Langford ran for 109 yards and three scores to lead Michigan State over Indiana.

      It was the 12th straight Big Ten victory for the Spartans (6-1, 3-0), who piled up plenty of impressive offensive numbers.

      Langford has now topped 100 yards rushing against 11 straight Big Ten opponents and wide receiver Tony Lippett (six catches, 111 yards) went past 100 yards for the fifth time this season.

      The 662 total yards for the Spartans marked the fourth time they have eclipsed 500 yards this season and Cook threw for more than 300 yards for the second time this year and fourth time in his career.

      It all came despite a first half where Indiana (3-4, 0-3) actually took the lead at one point behind some big plays from running back Tevin Coleman and wide receiver Shane Wynn.

      No. 9 Oregon 45, Washington 20

      EUGENE, Ore. -- Freshman running back Royce Freeman ran for 169 yards and four touchdowns as Oregon defeated Washington.

      It was the 11th straight win for Oregon over Washington, which dominated the Ducks in the 1970s and 1980s.

      Oregon (6-1, 3-1) won its second straight game and kept itself in the hunt for the college football playoff with the win over the Huskies (5-2, 1-2).

      Junior quarterback Marcus Mariota was 24-for-33 for 336 yards and two touchdowns as the Ducks rolled up 554 yards.

      No. 10 Georgia 45, Arkansas 32

      LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- For pundits who opined that the loss of suspended star Todd Gurley would be too much for Georgia to overcome are having to reassess that line of thinking.

      For the second straight week, the Bulldogs (6-1, 4-1 in the SEC) proved they are much more than just a one-man team, outscoring Arkansas.

      Trailing 38-6 at the half, Arkansas (3-4, 0-4) roared back, scoring four touchdowns to draw within 13 points with 5:05 to play. But the Razorbacks would get no closer.

      After receiving the ensuing kickoff, the Bulldogs leaned on freshman running back Nick Chubb, who ran for two first downs, enabling Georgia to eventually run out the clock.

      With Gurley back in Athens, Chubb proved more than a capable replacement, rushing 30 times for 203 yards and two scores.

      No. 14 Kansas State 31, No. 11 Oklahoma 30

      NORMAN, Okla. -- Kansas State held off Oklahoma as Michael Hunnicutt missed a 19-yard field goal late in the game.

      Oklahoma drove to the Kansas State 1-yard line in the fourth quarter, but couldn't get in the end zone. Hunnicutt then missed the short field goal that would have put the Sooners ahead with 3:53 remaining. Hunnicutt missed two short field goals and had an extra point blocked

      The Wildcats did it with a bend-but-don't break defensive performance that had the Sooners fighting for every yard, coupled with Hunnicutt's struggles in the kicking game.

      Kansas State remained tied atop the Big 12, improving to 5-1 overall and 3-0 in conference play. The Sooners dropped to 5-2, 2-2 in Big 12 play.

      No. 12 TCU 42, No. 15. Oklahoma State 9

      FORT WORTH, Texas -- TCU routed Oklahoma State and the Horned Frogs re-established themselves as a conference contender.

      TCU romped to a 28-9 halftime lead built on big plays, then put the game away with a dominant third quarter to improve to 5-1 overall and 2-1 in the Big 12, which now appears up for grabs after a wild weekend in the conference.

      TCU outgained the Cowboys 676-258, and held Oklahoma State (5-2, 3-1) without a touchdown for the first time since 2009. The Cowboys had scored at least 20 points in 58 straight games dating back to the 2010 opener.

      No. 13 Ohio State 56, Rutgers 17

      COLUMBUS, Ohio -- J.T. Barrett hit his first eight passes and Ohio State scored on its first three possessions in an easy victory over Rutgers.

      Barrett totaled 368 total yards with three touchdown passes and two more rushing scores.

      In the first half, Barrett was 11-for-14 for 147 yards and two TD passes to lead the Buckeyes (5-1, 2-0 Big Ten) to a 35-7 lead in the first meeting between the schools. Rutgers dropped to 5-2, 1-2.

      Barrett finished 19-for-31 for 261 yards through the air and led the Buckeyes in rushing with 107 yards on seven carries. He has 17 touchdown passes and one interception in the past four games.

      No. 17 Arizona State 26, No. 23 Stanford 10

      TEMPE, Ariz. -- Mike Bercovici threw for 245 yards and a touchdown and D.J. Foster had 151 yards total offense and a touchdown as Arizona State throttled Stanford in a Pac-12 game on Saturday night at Sun Devil Stadium.

      Jaelen Strong had eight receptions for 75 yards and a touchdown to help the Sun Devils (5-1, 3-1 Pac-12) break a five-game losing streak to Stanford and avenge a loss in the 2013 Pac-12 championship game here.

      Stanford (4-3, 2-2) was held scoreless in the first half for the first time since 2007, a streak of 87 straight games, and did not have a touchdown until Patrick Skov's 1-yard run early in the fourth quarter, when it trailed 20-3.

      No. 19 Nebraska 38, Northwestern 17

      EVANSTON, Ill. -- Ameer Abdullah ran for four touchdowns and rushed 23 times for 146 yards as Nebraska rallied in the second half over Northwestern.

      The Cornhuskers senior running back, who had just 39 yards at halftime, picked up 107 more in the second half for Nebraska (6-1, 2-1 Big Ten).

      Northwestern (3-4, 2-2) dropped its second straight -- and third in a row to Nebraska -- despite 128 rushing yards and two touchdowns from Wildcats freshman Justin Jackson.

      No. 22 USC 56, Colorado 28

      LOS ANGELES -- Quarterback Cody Kessler threw a school-record seven touchdown passes to lead USC over Colorado.

      Though Kessler's seventh pass touchdown came midway through the third quarter, the game was sealed in the first half when he threw five touchdowns -- two each to wide receiver Nelson Agholor and tight end Bryce Dixon. Kessler completed 19 of 26 passes for 319 yards.

      Colorado (2-5, 0-4) figured to be a respite for USC (5-2, 4-1) after the Trojans' hard-fought and fortunate victory over Arizona the week before and a matchup with Utah next weekend.

      No. 24 Clemson 17, Boston College 13

      BOSTON -- Running back C.J. Davidson romped 32 yards for a touchdown with 9:35 left and Clemson held off Boston College's upset bid.

      Running back Tyler Rouse of Boston College dropped what would have been a game-winning 26-yard touchdown pass from Tyler Murphy with a little over a minute left, after Murphy had run for 43 yards on a scramble.

      The Tigers' fourth straight victory, all in ACC games, was the 23rd in a row for Clemson (5-2, 4-1 ACC) against unranked teams, the longest such streak in school history. Boston College dropped to 4-3, 1-2.

      No. 25 Marshall 45, Florida International 13

      MIAMI -- Quarterback Rakeem Cato set an NCAA record by throwing a touchdown pass in his 39th straight game as unbeaten Marshall rolled over Florida International.

      Cato was 15 of 27 for 214 yards and four touchdowns as Marshall moved to 7-0 overall and 3-0 in Conference USA. FIU dropped to 3-4, 2-3.

  • Sunday, October 19, 2014
    Oregon earns 11th straignt win over Washington
    By The Sports Xchange

    EUGENE, Ore. -- Oregon extended its decade of dominance over Washington.

    • Freshman running back Royce Freeman ran for 169 yards and four touchdowns as the ninth-ranked Ducks defeated the Huskies 45-20 in a Pac-12 game Saturday night in front of a sellout crowd of 57,858 at Autzen Stadium.

      It was the 11th straight win for Oregon over Washington, which dominated the Ducks in the 1970s and 1980s.

      Oregon (6-1, 3-1) won its second straight game and kept itself in the hunt for the college football playoff with the win over the Huskies (5-2, 1-2).

      "It was a big effort from everyone," UO coach Mark Helfrich said. "I am proud of that part. Our defense was huge in the first half holding them to field goals and the offense responded with touchdowns."

      Freeman went over 100 yards for the second game in a row and had a career high in yards on 29 carries.

      "I just go in every week and try to improve," Freeman said. "I am trying to break through. I run as hard as I can."

      Junior quarterback Marcus Mariota was 24-for-33 for 336 yards and two touchdowns as the Ducks rolled up 554 yards. Mariota kept himself among the frontrunners for the Heisman Trophy.

      "Marcus did a great job getting us into the right plays at times," Helfrich said. "He made some unbelievable plays with his feet. We are all lucky we get to watch him play every Saturday."

      Oregon had 218 yards rushing and 336 through the air as Darren Carrington, Dwayne Stanford and Byron Marshall each had five catches to pace the Ducks.

      Washington finished with 317 yards of total offense, including 133 on the ground.

      "This is an elite program," UW coach Chris Petersen said of the Ducks. "It really is. They do an unbelievable job and they got maybe the best player in college football. ... You're got to play really, really good to beat those guys. You've got to play really, really good to hang with them."

      Washington quarterback Cyler Miles was 19-for-28 for 147 yards and a touchdown, but also had his first interception of the season. Receiver John Ross led UW with 44 yards rushing as no running back had more than 28 yards.

      Oregon went three-and-out on its first drive and the Huskies got the ball at the Oregon 46-yard line. The Huskies moved to the 16 before kicker Cameron Van Winkle made a 33-yard field goal to put UW ahead 3-0 with 10:20 left in the first quarter.

      Oregon answered with an 81-yard scoring drive, culminating with a 37-yard touchdown run by Freeman, to take a 7-3 lead with 8:28 remaining in the quarter.

      Washington got within 7-6 later in the quarter with a 40-yard field goal by Van Winkle.

      Oregon answered with a 17-play drive that went 81 yards. Freeman scored on a 3-yard run on fourth-and-goal on the first play of the second quarter to give Oregon a 14-6 lead.

      Oregon put together an even longer drive to take a 21-6 lead midway through the quarter. After getting the ball at their 1-yard line, the Ducks went 99 yards in 12 plays. Freeman scored his third touchdown of the game on a 1-yard run.

      Mariota converted a fourth-and-1 on the play before the touchdown.

      The Ducks looked to extend their lead later in the period, but kicker Matt Wogan was wide left on a 33-yard field-goal attempt.

      Oregon safety Erick Dargan intercepted a pass by Miles to give the Ducks the ball at the Washington 23-yard line with 1:52 left in the half. It was the fourth interception for Dargan this season and the first thrown by the Huskies all year.

      Two plays after the interception, Mariota found running back Marshall for a 23-yard touchdown that put Oregon ahead 28-6 at halftime.

      Oregon had 380 yards in the first half as Mariota was 16-for-23 for 239 yards and a touchdown. Freeman ran for 81 yards and three scores as the Ducks rushed for 141 yards.

      Meanwhile, Washington had just 27 rushing yards and 125 total yards.

      On Oregon's first drive of the second half, Mariota threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Stanford to put the Ducks ahead 35-6.

      The Huskies answered when Miles tossed a 3-yard touchdown pass to senior running back Deontae Cooper on fourth-and-1. That cut Oregon's lead to 35-13 with 4:45 left in the quarter.

      The Ducks went back down the field and Freeman got his fourth touchdown of the night on a 3-yard run to put Oregon ahead 42-13 early in the fourth quarter.

      Washington backup quarterback Troy Williams entered the game and scored on a 7-yard scramble on fourth down to cut the lead to 42-20.

      The Ducks capped the night with a 26-yard field goal by Wogan.

      "Pretty disappointing," Petersen said. "You play an elite team like that and one side of the ball has to step up a little bit and make something happen."

      NOTES: Oregon QB Marcus Mariota went over 8,000 career passing yards in the first quarter and continued his streak of throwing a touchdown pass in all 33 career games. ... Oregon DE Arik Armstead returned to the starting lineup after missing last week's game at UCLA. WR Keanon Lowe did not play after missing the last three quarters of the UCLA win with a hamstring injury. ... Washington coach Chris Petersen is a former Oregon assistant who went 2-0 against the Ducks as the head coach at Boise State.

  • Sunday, October 19, 2014
    Seminoles stay perfect with 31-27 win over Irish
    By The Sports Xchange

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- No. 5 Notre Dame's unbeaten season came crashing down Saturday night at the hands of No. 2 Florida State.

    • Blame Jameis for that.

      Passing for 273 yards and two scores, Florida State star quarterback and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston shook off yet another week of off-the-field distractions -- and Internet ribbing from the trending #BlameJameis hashtag -- to lead the Seminoles to a thrilling 31-27 win over the Fighting Irish.

      The win not only extended Florida State's nation-leading win streak to 23 games, but it improved Winston's career record as a starter to 20-0.

      "Jameis was phenomenal. He has a drive to succeed, a drive for greatness," Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher said. "You dream of coaching in a game like this of this magnitude. Going toe to toe and having a slugfest. This was Ali-Frazier. This is one of those classic football games, and I feel privileged to have coached in it. I'm just glad we came out on top."

      So was Winston, especially after a first half in which he struggled, going 8-for-15 with an interception.

      "One thing that people need to realize about this Seminoles team is when we have our backs against the wall, we rise," Winston said. "Notre Dame has a great football team. I'm proud we got the win. It was amazing."

      Florida State (7-0) trailed 17-10 at halftime, but Winston was a remarkable 15-of-16 passing in the second half, and running back Karlos Williams scored twice after not starting or playing in the first quarter.

      Williams' biggest score was the go-ahead touchdown from 1 yard with 7:39 remaining in the fourth quarter to give the Seminoles their first lead all game. The defense then held Notre Dame on its potential game-winning drive during a dramatic fourth quarter.

      As well as the Irish (6-1) played, someone had to lose. Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson did what he could, passing for 313 yards and three touchdowns. The loss was just the second of his career as he fell to 16-2 as a starter.

      After picking up a stunning fourth-and-18 with a little over a minute to play to extend the game, Notre Dame appeared to score the go-ahead touchdown with 13 seconds left after Golson found wide-open receiver Corey Robinson for a touchdown. But there was a reason Robinson was able to walk in untouched.

      The Irish were called for offensive pass interference -- specifically, a pick by wideout William Fuller -- and Golson then threw an incompletion on fourth-and-goal from the 18.

      "I told my guys we were going to go down and score," Golson said about the final drive. "But we didn't do that. I take the blame for that."

      Notre Dame fell to 1-17 against top-five opponents since 1999, including nine straight losses to elite competition, and Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly is now 8-8 against Top 25 programs since taking over.

      Kelly wasn't happy the biggest penalty of the game didn't go his team's way.

      "We execute that play every day. And we do it legally and that's the way we coach it," Kelly said. "We don't coach illegal plays."

      Asked if the referees gave him an explanation of the call, Kelly shot back: "No. No explanation."

      Notre Dame kicker Kyle Brindza gave the Irish a 27-24 lead at 11:40 to go on a 46-yard field goal, but the defense couldn't hold it. Linebacker Joe Schmidt led the Irish with nine stops and a first-half pick.

      Linebacker Terrance Smith paced Florida State with 11 tackles. Defensive back Nate Andrews added 10 and freshman LB Matthew Thomas -- who was making his first appearance after missing the opening six games because of an NCAA suspension -- had six first-half stops.

      Rashad Greene, who led the Seminoles with eight catches for 108 yards, helped tie the score at 17 on the Seminoles' first drive of the second half when Winston found the senior for a 10-yard score.

      "We never gave up, and we fought for each other," Greene said. "That's what got us this win."

      Notre Dame answered on its first drive of the second half to make it 24-17 after Golson kept several plays alive with dazzling scrambles.

      But while the 83-yard march in seven plays ended with Golson throwing his third touchdown pass of the game -- this one to Fuller from 11 yards -- it came at a cost as Golson headed to the locker room after the score to seek medical treatment for what appeared to be a leg injury.

      He didn't return for roughly 20 minutes, and in the meantime, Florida State was busy answering Notre Dame's score.

      Williams powered in for the Seminoles' first rushing touchdown of the game from 2 yards, capping a seven-play, 75-yard march with 3:38 left in the third quarter.

      With the score tied 24-24, Golson returned limping and far less mobile, going three-and-out on Notre Dame's next drive. The teams went to the fourth quarter deadlocked at 24, setting the stage for the dramatic finish.

      "I'll tell you what ... I wouldn't trade this team in America," Fisher said afterward. "You can say whatever you want. This team is dominant. It is not as spectacular as (last year's team was), but this team understands how to win."

      NOTES: In the last top-five meeting between the two programs -- dubbed the "Game of the Century" in 1993 when Florida State was ranked No. 1 and Notre Dame was No. 2 -- the Seminoles were given just 5,000 tickets to disperse to fans for the contest that had an announced crowd of 59.075. On Saturday, Florida State returned the favor and allowed Notre Dame an allotment of just 5,250 tickets out of the 82,431 attendance... The Seminoles were without a key member of their coaching staff for the game. Assistant head coach and offensive line coach Rick Trickett was unable to attend because of what Florida State called a "personal health issue." ... Williams curiously didn't play in the first quarter as freshman RB Dalvin Cook started the game. ... Six of the eight games in the series between Florida State and Notre Dame have been decided by seven points or less as Florida State now leads the all-time series 6-2. ... Saturday marked Notre Dame's first true road game of the season after four at home and two at neutral sites, but it was also the first of three in a row. The Irish have a bye next week before hitting the road Nov. 1 at Navy, followed by a huge test Nov. 8 at No. 17 Arizona State. ... Florida State also has a bye next week before returning to action Nov. 8 at home against Virginia. ... The Seminoles had three former stars and Pro Football Hall of Famers in town for the weekend: LB Derrick Brooks, OT Walter Jones and WR Fred Biletnikoff, who was attending his first Seminoles game in 40 years. ... The Irish have a scheduling agreement to play 10 ACC teams in the next two years. Florida State was their third ACC opponent of the season after also facing Syracuse and North Carolina.

  • Sunday, October 19, 2014
    Nebraska takes control in second half to defeat Northwestern
    By The Sports Xchange

    EVANSTON, Ill. -- It was a trick play that Nebraska wasn't quite certain would work.

    • But a reverse and a 16-yard touchdown strike from wide receiver De'Mornay Pierson-El to quarterback Tommy Armstrong late in the second quarter was perfectly executed, forced a 14-14 tie with Northwestern and set the stage for a dominating Cornhusker second half.

      "Earlier this week, we all laughed about it," said Pierson-El, a former high school quarterback who found the wide-open Armstrong. "(But) we knew it would kind of work, we just had to make sure that we executed right."

      No. 19 Nebraska (6-1, 2-1 Big Ten West) then scored 24 unanswered points and held Northwestern to just 28 net yards in the second half on the way to a 38-17 victory before a sellout crowd of 47,330 at Ryan Field.

      Running back Ameer Abdullah shook off a sluggish first half as he ran for four touchdowns and rushed 23 times for 146 yards.

      Northwestern (3-4, 2-2 Big Ten West) dropped its second straight -- and third in a row to Nebraska -- despite 128 rushing yards and two touchdowns from Wildcats freshman Justin Jackson.

      "It was obviously a tale of two halves," Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald said. "I thought the way we started the game and finished the (first) half really gave us solid momentum into halftime. Then we had attrition offensively. ... Nebraska had great adjustments at halftime and really shut us down."

      The Cornhuskers, who came into the game with a Big Ten-leading 532.0 average yards, closed out Saturday with 471 yards.

      Armstrong had much of that, going 18-of-29 for 221 yards.

      "He's getting better," said Cornhuskers coach Bo Pelini. "He's not the finished product yet, but I don't know a quarterback that is. He's only played a year and a half and he continues to get better."

      Nebraska didn't claim its first lead until 4:27 left in the third quarter as Abdullah's 1-yard touchdown made it 21-17.

      Abdullah set up another with a 50-yard run to the Wildcat 1 and then bulled through for his second TD and a 28-17 lead with 13:16 to play.

      Armstrong set up the final score that made it 35-17 with 8:01 to play. Abdullah took it in from there with another 1-yard TD plunge. Kicker Drew Brown made it 38-17 with a 33-yard field goal with 4:38 showing.

      Northwestern quarterback Trevor Siemian was 18-of-39 for 173 yards.

      Nebraska receiver Kenny Bell had five catches for a game-high 89 yards.

      Northwestern's Jackson capped a 15-play, 89-yard opening drive with a 2-yard sweep for a 7-0 lead.

      A Cornhuskers' reply failed nearly three minutes later as Drew Brown's 39-yard field-goal attempt went wide right.

      A second-quarter end-zone interception launched an 80-yard Nebraska drive that was capped by Abdullah's 1-yard touchdown run with 10:14 left in the half.

      Jackson scored his second TD with 1:52 left, bouncing off a Cornhuskers lineman on a 5-yard run to the end zone.

      Nebraska replied with a brisk, three-play, 38-second drive and the trick-play reverse with 1:14 left.

      Northwestern quickly pushed downfield for a 17-14 halftime lead on kicker Jack Mitchell's 29-yard field goal with three seconds remaining.

      NOTES: Three previous meetings had been decided by a total of seven points, including Nebraska's 27-24 win on a Hail Mary last season. ... Nebraska RB Ameer Abdullah entered Saturday with 6,089 all-purpose yards, highest in the nation. ... Northwestern freshman RB Justin Jackson averaged 4.5 yards per carry in his first two Big Ten games and was freshman of the week after his second straight 100-yard game last week.

  • Sunday, October 19, 2014
    Ole Miss sacks Tennessee 34-3
    By The Sports Xchange

    OXFORD, Miss. -- It was a feeding frenzy like no other game this season for No. 3 Mississippi. The SEC's stingiest defense battered and bruised Tennessee quarterback Justin Worley, sacking him seven times in a 34-3 rout Saturday night at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

    • Worley must have thought there were 12 or 13 Mississippi defenders on the field every time he took a snap.

      Ole Miss' defense was ferocious up front and good in the secondary, coming up with three interceptions.

      Rebels defensive end CJ Johnson said he could tell that Worley was rattled and more worried about the rush than looking downfield to find his receivers as the game wore on.

      "I know what everybody is capable of on this defense and tonight was just another total team effort," Johnson said. "I thought we played really, really good. Marquis (Haynes) got after it. Robert (Nkemdiche), Bryon (Bennett). Issac (Gross) had a couple of good rushes.

      "They all did just a really good job. We just really got after the quarterback."

      As impressive as the defensive line was, senior cornerback Senquez Golson had two interceptions. Both of his picks set up touchdowns for the Rebels, who struggled to move the ball early.

      Ole Miss held Tennessee to 191 total yards on 62 plays and zero yards rushing.

      "Again, turnovers were the story of the game," Tennessee coach Butch Jones said. "We had a lot of negative yardage. When you are 3 of 16 on third down conversions, you are not giving yourself an opportunity to be in the game and win."

      Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze raved about the play of his defense, saying his decision-making revolved around the way they have been performing.

      "Our defense is just playing so well. Our punt unit and coverage unit on special teams is just playing so solid," said Freeze, who was asked if he had a certain number his offense had to score in order for his defense just to win the game. "I haven't thought about it that way, but I think you can tell from our play calling and tempo and everything, we're comfortable as long as the defense is playing like they are.

      "We are being very cautious at times on offense until we feel like can find something. You have to figure if we can score 17 to 20, then we have a chance to win all our games the way they're playing."

      While the Rebels weren't dazzling on offense and consistently driving for points like they did at Texas A&M last week until late in the game, quarterback Bo Wallace never made a big mistake either.

      In four SEC games, Wallace has still yet to throw an interception. He threw two touchdowns to raise his season total to 17.

      After punting five times in the first quarter, the Rebels were able to cross the goal line twice in the second quarter. The first touchdown covered 39 yards when Wallace found Vince Sanders open down the sideline. Jaylen Walton then made it 14-3 with just under two minutes left in the first half when he scored on a 7-yard run.

      Ole Miss shut out Tennessee in the second half and the offense continued to pad the lead.

      Gary Wunderlich kicked two short field goals and Even Engram caught Wallace's second touchdown pass late in the third quarter on a 28-yard route. Mark Dodson capped the scoring with an 8-yard run.

      NOTES: The Rebels have defeated the Volunteers only one time since 1983. The victory before Saturday came at home in 2009. ... Tennessee LB A.J. Johnson became the tackles for assist leader in the first half. He now has 194 during his career. He had eight at the half and 10 in the game. ... It was the third largest crowd to watch a game at Ole Miss. The attendance was 62,081. ... Ole Miss leads the SEC with 20 forced turnovers and came into the game ranked eighth in the nation. ... Ole Miss is 7-0 for the first time since going 10-0 in 1962. ... Rebels DE Marquis Haynes finished with 2 1/2 sacks and now leads the Rebels with 6 1/2 this season.

  • Sunday, October 19, 2014
    Former Trojan LenDale White escorted out of Coliseum
    By The Sports Xchange

    One week after bashing members of the Southern Cal coaching staff following a close win over Arizona, former Trojans running back LenDale White was back at the Coliseum on Saturday to watch USC trounce Colorado 56-28.

    • His comments evidently did not sit well with the USC administration because when White tried to get into the Trojans' locker room after the win he was rebuffed.

      In fact, White tweeted that he was escorted out of the Coliseum by police.

      White directed his anger at USC athletic director Pat Haden, whom he called a coward and said should be fired.

      After the Trojans defeated the Wildcats last week, White tweeted critical comments directed at USC's defensive coordinator. Some believe that is the reason for the tension between White and the Trojan athletic department.

  • Sunday, October 19, 2014
    Slow start, strong finish for Michigan State
    By The Sports Xchange

    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Coming into Saturday, No. 8 Michigan State was focused on one thing -- finishing.

    • In the previous two games, that was an issue for the Spartans, who saw fourth-quarter leads dwindle before hanging on in victories over Nebraska and Purdue. But for nearly a half against Indiana, the fourth quarter was far from a concern.

      Instead of building an early lead, it was Indiana that was in front late in the second quarter. But it proved to be nothing more than a wake-up for Michigan State, which scored the next 42 points to grab a 56-17 victory at Memorial Stadium.

      "Yeah, we've talked about it, we talked about it a lot," Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said. "Not necessarily just the fourth quarter, but finish the game.

      "There was a big push at the end of the third quarter in this case today and we wanted to move that process forward. I thought our guys came to play, and an outstanding effort by them. An emotional game for a lot of people."

      The offensive numbers were impressive.

      Quarterback Connor Cook threw for 332 yards and three touchdowns and running back Jeremy Langford ran for 109 yards and three scores. Backup running back Nick Hill had his best day, gaining 178 yards and capping the game with a 76-yard touchdown run.

      The Spartans piled up a season-high 662 yards, including 330 on the ground. Wide receiver Tony Lippett had seven grabs for 123 yards, his fifth 100-yard game of the season, and Langford has now run for more than 100 yards in 11 straight games against Big Ten opponents.

      And as for the fourth quarter, the time of the game when Michigan State's offense hadn't managed to score a point against a Power Five team before Saturday? The Spartans had 21 against the Hoosiers.

      "Finishing in the fourth quarter, we came out and did it," Hill said. "People doubted us that we could finish and we came out and did it."

      The offensive outburst came after it appeared Indiana (3-4, 0-3) was going to give Michigan State all it could handle. Thanks to big plays from running back Tevin Coleman and wide receiver Shane Wynn, the Hoosiers were able to overcome an early deficit.

      With Michigan State (6-1, 3-0 Big Ten) leading 14-3 on a 32-yard Langford run and a 10-yard pass from Cook to tight end Josiah Price, Wynn took a reverse 75 yards for the score to cut the lead to 14-10 with 12:07 to play in the second quarter.

      Linebacker Tegray Scales then intercepted a pass from Cook and Indiana freshman quarterback Zander Diamont scored on a 9-yard run two plays later to put the Hoosiers ahead 17-14 with 5:25 left in the half.

      However, Michigan State closed the half on a strong note with a quick strike of its own.

      Indiana cornerback Donovan Clark went for an interception and missed as the ball fell into the hands of Price, who then scampered 67 yards to inside the Indiana 10-yard line. On the next play, Langford scored from 8 yards to put the Spartans back in front 21-17 late in the second quarter.

      The Spartans closed the half with another solid drive and 14-yard touchdown pass from Cook to wide receiver Macgarrett Kings to extend the lead to 28-17 at the break.

      Michigan State added 4-yard touchdown pass from Cook to wide receiver R.J. Shelton, a 12-yard touchdown run by Langford and a 22-yard scoring run by running back Delton Williams in the second half. And attempting to run out the clock, Hill broke loose for his 76-yard touchdown run, giving the Spartans 42 straight points.

      "We're playing a good team and we're playing with them," Indiana coach Kevin Wilson said. "We're playing some young guys and got a little adversity. Guys need to stay positive. I thought there was a stretch there where maybe we didn't execute cleanly.

      "There were a couple of chances to handle them; we weren't good enough to do so. They made a couple of plays and that's why they're a good team."

      Coleman, the leading rusher in the nation, had 118 yards in the first half, including a 65-yard run, but was held to 14 in the second half. Diamont was 5-of-15 passing for 11 yards in his first start as Michigan State had four sacks.

      "I thought we played extremely well on defense," Dantonio said. "Played extremely well vs. the pass and for the most part I thought we stopped the run, as well."

      NOTES: Mark Dantonio coached in his 100th game for Michigan State on Saturday. The victory improved his record to 70-30 and tied him with Charlie Bachman for the second-most victories in school history. Dantonio also won his 41st Big Ten game. ... C Jack Allen did not play for Michigan State after suffering an injured ankle in last week's game against Purdue. He was replaced in the starting lineup by fifth-year senior Connor Kruse. ... Indiana junior tackle Jason Spriggs injured his neck in the fourth quarter and was taken off the field on a stretcher. Wilson said Spriggs had movement in his extremities. He was evaluated and later discharged from the hospital.

  • Sunday, October 19, 2014
    Kessler passes for 7 TDs in USC win
    By The Sports Xchange

    LOS ANGELES -- Quarterback Cody Kessler had a historic day, throwing a school-record seven touchdown passes to lead No. 22 USC to a 56-28 victory over Colorado on Saturday in a Pac-12 game at the Coliseum.

    • Though Kessler's seventh pass touchdown came midway through the third quarter, the game was sealed in the first half when he threw five touchdowns -- two each to wide receiver Nelson Agholor and tight end Bryce Dixon.

      The fifth pass, which gave USC a 35-7 lead, made Kessler only the third quarterback in school history to throw five TDs in any half, joining Mark Sanchez, who did it once, and Matt Barkley, who did it three times.

      But there were more records to come.

      Kessler, who completed 19 of 26 passes for 319 yards, opened the second half by completing a 75-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Agholor, giving him six and a share of the school record for scoring passes in a game.

      And when wide receiver Steven Mitchell made a diving catch of a 24-yard pass in the end zone, it gave Kessler seven touchdown passes and sole possession of the USC record. It also tied him with Mike Pagel of Arizona State for most touchdown passes in regulation; Pagel did in 1981 against Stanford.

      "It means a lot, it's awesome because I got to watch the guy before me, Matt Barkley, set the record," Kessler said in reference to Barkley, his precedessor. "He was like a big brother to me; he taught me so much and set the bar so high."

      It appeared Kessler might get the record all to himself after the Trojans drove into Colorado territory late in the third quarter, but running back Buck Allen scored on a 39-yard run.

      Colorado (2-5, 0-4) figured to be a respite for USC (5-2, 4-1) after the Trojans' hard-fought and fortunate victory over Arizona the week before and a matchup with Utah next weekend.

      The Buffaloes came into the game 0-3 in Pac-12 play and have not won more than two conference games in a season since 2007 when it was still a member of the Big 12. The Buffaloes joined the Pac-12 in 2011.

      Then again, a lot had been made of the success Pac-12 road teams had enjoyed this season. Coming into this weekend's slate of game, visiting teams were 15-4 for a winning percentage of .790.

      But it was apparent halfway through the first quarter, with USC leading 14-0 and moving the ball seemingly at will, that the Buffaloes would not add to that percentage.

      Colorado did have some success on offense. Running back Tony Jones gained 62 yards on 11 carries and quarterback Sefo Liufau completed 23 of 35 passes for 143 yards and two touchdowns, albeit in the second half after the result had been long decided.

      Kessler was extremely efficient in the first half, completing 15 of 19 passes for 219 yards and five touchdowns.

      "(Kessler) was too good today," Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre said. "His offensive line protected him better than they had been. And they were able to do the play action and get him out of the pocket and they hit them on us."

      USC was equally impressive, outgaining Colorado 304 yards to 174 yards in the first half. The Trojans had 35 first downs and Colorado seven in the opening 30 minutes.

      USC coach Steve Sarkisian said he was as pleased with his team's balance as Kessler's record.

      "I love that we had two running back who each nearly had 100 yards," Sarkisian said in reference to Allen, who gained 128 yards on 15 carries, and Justin Davis, who had 97 yards on 11 rushes. "And then we had a quarterback who threw seven touchdowns."

      Kessler was in sync from the start, completing 4 of 6 passes for 53 yards, including a 16-yard touchdown pass to Agholor on USC's opening drive.

      On Colorado's ensuing drive, safety Su'a Cravens intercepted Liufau's first pass, returning it to the Colorado 47. Six plays later, Kessler completed his second touchdown pass to Agholor, this one from 18 yards.

      Though down early, Colorado was moving the ball against USC's defense and still seemed in the game, especially when it forced USC to punt on its next possession. But the Buffalos were called for running into USC punter Kris Albarado, which gave the ball back to the Trojans.

      On the next play, Kessler completed a 45-yard pass over the middle to wide receiver Juju Smith and, two plays later, a 7-yard pass to Smith, who stretched into the end zone and gave USC a 21-0 that seemed to seal the game.

      "USC played a good game, to say the least, and we gave them too many opportunities in the first half," MacIntyre said. "We weren't even rushing the kicker, we were just ensuring it. We got to do a better job of getting that across to our young men."

      Kessler threw scoring passes of 15 and 9 yards to Dixon, the latter with 5:32 left in the first half that gave USC a 35-7 lead. That pass was also Kessler's fifth touchdown pass of the half -- only the fifth time in school history that a Trojans quarterback had thrown five TD passes in a half.

      NOTES: USC is 9-0 all time against Colorado. ... Colorado has 55 players on its roster from California. USC has none from Colorado. In fact, only 11 players from Colorado have ever played for the Trojans, though that group includes Tony Boselli and LenDale White.

  • Saturday, October 18, 2014
    No Gurley, no problem for No. 10 Georgia
    By The Sports Xchange

    LITTLE ROCK -- For those who predicted that 10th-ranked Georgia would fall by the waysides following the suspension of star running back Todd Gurley, think again.

    • For the second straight week, the Bulldogs proved they are much more than just a one-man team, outscoring Arkansas 45-32 on Saturday at War Memorial Stadium.

      "We didn't think much about that," Georgia coach Mark Richt said referring to Gurley's absence. "Football is a game when a teammate may not wind up playing for a lot of different reasons. He could have easily sprained his ankle; it was a high ankle sprain last year.

      "You've just got to go play. We know its team sport. I think we're becoming a good team," he said. "I'm not sure we're a really good team yet, but we're getting there."

      Georgia (6-1, 4-1 in the SEC) jumped out to a large lead and seemed in total control.

      But trailing 38-6 at the half, Arkansas roared back, scoring four touchdowns to draw within 13 points on running back Alex Collins' second score with 5:10 to play.

      The Razorbacks (3-4, 0-4) would get no closer.

      After receiving the ensuing kickoff, the Bulldogs leaned on freshman running back Nick Chubb, who ran for two first downs, enabling Georgia to run out the clock.

      For Chubb, the game marked his second consecutive impressive show. After carrying the football 38 times for 144 yards against Missouri, he bettered that number in a big way, carrying 30 times for 203 yards and two scores.

      "I was a little more relaxed this game," Chubb said. "I think our line played very well. It was just a great day out there for everybody."

      That included Georgia quarterback Hutson Mason.

      The fifth-year senior completed 10 of passes for 17 passes for 179 yards and two touchdowns, a 7-yard pass to senior Michael Bennett and the 36-yard strike to Chris Conley, who led all receivers with five catches for 128 yards.

      Georgia forced four fumbles in the first half, recovering two, including one when Collins dropped the ball into the hands of outside linebacker Leonard Floyd.

      Mason's pass to Bennett one play later extended Georgia's lead to 31-6.

      But the Bulldog defense wasn't done.

      On its next possession, Arkansas pushed to the Georgia 34 before electing to go for the first down on fourth-and-six.

      What happened next summed up the afternoon for the Razorbacks as quarterback Brandon Allen fumbled when he was sacked by Jordan Jenkins. Freshman defensive back Dominick Sanders scooped up the ball and dashed 54 yards for the score that put Georgia up 38-6 at the half.

      "In that first half, we weren't ourselves. The only person responsible for that is me, I guarantee 100 percent," Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema said. "That's on me. I don't know what we did a little bit different, but came out and I really liked our offense, the way they went down the field and executed our plan.

      "We did a lot of really good things. We didn't have any penalties, we didn't turn the ball over and we executed on first down very successfully and the results is you score."

      Overall, Jenkins was glad with what he saw from the Bulldogs, though Arkansas' second-half surge gave him pause for concern.

      "We did a lot of flying around to the football the first half," Jenkins said. "We came out fired up. Unfortunately, we kind of let them back in there a little bit the second half."

      The way the ball game started it certainly seemed that Arkansas would be in for a better afternoon.

      After taking the opening kickoff, the Razorbacks drove 75 yards to a touchdown on 13 plays, with Collins bullying in from the 1-yard line, only to have the extra point blocked by defensive end Ray Drew.

      Georgia responded with a quick 75-yard drive, one that included a 41-yard pass from Mason to Conley to set up Mason's 1-yard scoring run.

      And the rout was on.

      Chubb followed a 37-yard field by Marshall Morgan with back-to-back scoring runs of 43 and 3 yards as the Bulldogs increased their lead to 24-6.

      Arkansas was able to find a little juice in the second half, getting touchdown passes from Allen to wide receiver Keon Hatcher and tight end Hunter Henry, before adding scores on a 4-yard touchdown pass to Kendrick Edwards and Collins' 6-yard run.

      Jonathon Williams led the Razorbacks with 18 carries for 108 yards.

      "We didn't have a good first half as you can all see. We just got behind the sticks," Henry said. "There was a lot of pressure on Brandon Allen and we just weren't executing like we should in the first half, but we came back and fought in the second half but in the first half we just really got behind."

      NOTES: Arkansas LB Braylon Mitchell was ejected in the second quarter following a targeting call against QB Hutson Mason. ... With the Saturday's loss, the Razorbacks have lost 16 straight SEC games. ... Georgia gets an open week next Saturday before resuming play on Nov. 1 against Florida in Jacksonville.

  • Saturday, October 18, 2014
    No. 12 TCU rolls over No. 15. Oklahoma State
    By The Sports Xchange

    FORT WORTH, Texas -- Coming off back-to-back emotional games, TCU was on the spot Saturday to respond or retreat in the Big 12.

    • The No. 12-ranked Horned Frogs charged ahead, routing No. 15 Oklahoma State 42-9 at Amon G. Carter Stadium as they re-established themselves as a conference contender.

      TCU romped to a 28-9 halftime lead built on big plays, then put the game away with a dominant third quarter to improve to 5-1 overall and 2-1 in the Big 12, which now appears up for grabs after a wild weekend in the conference.

      The Horned Frogs were coming off a last-second loss to Baylor, which came on the heels of a rousing win over Oklahoma, creating some concern over the mental state of the squad. All questions were squashed early, with TCU starting fast and never relenting.

      "Well, I was just proud of the group and the way they bounced back," said TCU coach Gary Patterson. "I told them last week I put too much defense in and confused them and didn't play very well. I told them I wouldn't do that to them again. It's the next ball game. Now we have Texas Tech moving forward."

      TCU outgained the Cowboys 676-258, and held Oklahoma State without a touchdown for the first time since 2009. The Cowboys had scored at least 20 points in 58 straight games dating back to the 2010 opener.

      "They're pretty difficult to defend," said OSU linebacker Ryan Simmons. "That's a great team they have right there. They have great receivers. Great O-line. Great defense. They gave it to us. They came out and played their A game, did their thing.

      "They ended up being the better team today."

      The dominance carried throughout. The Horned Frogs posted their largest margin of victory in a Big 12 game; put up the fifth-most total yards in program history; and for the first time had a 400-yard passer in quarterback Trevone Boykin, a 200-yard receiver in wideout Josh Doctson and a 100-yard rusher in running back B.J. Catalon.

      The Horned Frogs scored on three straight possessions in the first quarter to go ahead 21-3.

      Boykin twice connected with Doctson for long touchdown passes that went for 77 and 84 yards. Catalon scooted 34 yards for a scoring run. And that was just in the opening quarter.

      Boykin finished with a career-best 451 all-purpose yards. Most of it came through the air, as he completed 26-of-39 throws for 410 yards and three touchdowns, with one interception. Doctson caught seven passes for 225 yards and the two scores.

      "Leaders on our team pick guys up during the week," Boykin said. "We knew that taste we had in our mouth after the Baylor game. We made a promise to our team and ourselves that we really don't want that anymore. So we just came out today and played four quarters."

      Cowboys quarterback Daxx Garman wasn't nearly as sharp. He finished 10-of-25 for 132 yards, with two interceptions.

      Oklahoma State entered the weekend after rising in the rankings and standing unbeaten in Big 12 Conference play, yet also on watch as a team still requiring validation.

      After pushing No. 1 Florida State in the season opener, the Cowboys had reeled off five straight wins against struggling squads. Their three wins in the Big 12 came against teams with a combined 0-9 mark before Saturday.

      After Saturday, doubts about Oklahoma State gained ground. It was the Cowboys' worst loss since falling 56-20 to Texas Tech in 2008.

      "It wasn't a very good day for us," said Cowboys coach Mike Gundy. "We didn't make enough plays; coaches coached better than us; players played better. We just got our butts kicked, there's not really anything else I can say.

      "Offensively we couldn't make plays. We never could get out of a jam. We played a better football team. They're definitely a better football team, no question."

      NOTES: The Horned Frogs hosted the Cowboys for the first time as Big 12 members. TCU inherited Texas A&M's schedule upon entering the league, and the Aggies had traded home games with Oklahoma State, which accommodated a request from A&M. ... Oklahoma State played without two secondary starters, as CB Ashton Lampkin and S Larry Stephens suited out, but did not play for the third straight week. Lampkin, out with an ankle injury, was expected to return for the game in his hometown. Stephens continues to be slowed by an Achilles injury. ... Saturday marked the first home game for TCU involving two teams ranked in the top 15 since 1984, when No. 12 TCU faced No. 10 Texas in Fort Worth.

  • Saturday, October 18, 2014
    Buckeyes left wanting more after 56-17 rout
    By The Sports Xchange

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State had just dominated Rutgers 56-17 in Ohio Stadium on Saturday, but the result left the No. 13 Buckeyes disappointed.

    • "It feels good, but we're never satisfied," Ohio State linebacker Darron Lee said. "I remember talking to some guys (in the locker room). We just beat this team pretty badly and it almost felt like a loss.

      "That just shows the hunger we have on the defense and that's why we're going to continue to improve."

      There's not a whole lot to complain about Ohio State redshirt sophomore quarterback J.T. Barrett, who has filled in admirably since starting senior Braxton Miller underwent season-ending shoulder surgery in August.

      Barrett completed his first eight passes and the Buckeyes scored on their first three possessions. He totaled 368 total yards and had three touchdown passes and two more rushing.

      "I wasn't very good last year," Barrett said. "I was just redshirting. It all goes to how we're developing young guys like myself.

      "Last year, I didn't do anything -- scout team getting defenses prepared to play better. Now I'm focusing on getting the offense better every week and keep thing rolling."

      In the first half, Barrett was 11 of 14 for 147 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Buckeyes (5-1, 2-0 Big Ten) to a 35-7 lead in the first meeting between the schools.

      Barrett finished 19 of 31 for 261 yards through the air and led the Buckeyes in rushing with 107 yards on seven carries. He has 17 touchdown passes and one interception in the past four games.

      Ohio State totaled 585 yards and Rutgers (5-2, 1-2) had 345. Scarlet Knights quarterback Gary Nova was 17-of-28 passing for 192 yards with a interception.

      "I have to credit them," Nova said. "They played great defense. There were a lot of self-inflicted things, and things we haven't done all year we did today."

      The Buckeyes set a school record in grand fashion with 4:14 left in the third quarter when wide receiver Evan Spencer made a one-handed grab from Barrett for a 56-7 lead, marking the first time that Ohio State has scored 50-plus points four games in a row.

      The previous wins were 66-0 over Kent State, 50-28 over Cincinnati and 52-24 at Maryland.

      "I think there's a lot to work on offensively," Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said.

      The Buckeyes scored on four of its six possessions by halftime, with the last series being a kneel-down by Barrett on the final play after cornerback Doran Grant had intercepted Nova in the end zone on a third-and-3 from the Ohio State6.

      "I think today is a great example that when you play a really talented football team the margin of error is very small," Rutgers coach Kyle Flood said.

      Rutgers entered the game third in the nation with 24 sacks (four per game). But the Scarlet Knights had no hurries and no sacks in the first half and Barrett took advantage, going 8 of 8 for 112 yards and two touchdowns for a 21-7 lead two minutes into the second quarter. He completed one more pass on the next drive before an incompletion.

      Barrett hit tight end Nick Vannett for a 12-yard score on the Buckeyes' first possession for a 7-0 lead to cap a six-play, 52-yard drive in 2:29. Wide receiver Jalin Marshall's 31-yard catch-and-run down the left sideline set up the second score, a 1-yard run by running back Ezekiel Elliott with 5:24 left in the first quarter.

      Rutgers' lone TD of the half came on a 1-yard rush by running back Desmon Peoples on the 10th play of the series to make the score 14-7. The Buckeyes quickly responded, needing six plays to go 67 yards with Vannett getting his second touchdown reception, this time on a 26-yarder up the middle from Barrett.

      "They certainly executed better than we did today," Flood said.

      The Buckeyes took a 28-7 lead with 9:50 left in the second quarter when Ohio State defensive end Rashad Frazier stripped Scarlet Knights wide receiver Janarion Grant at the Rutgers 9 and cornerback Eli Apple scooped the fumble at the 4 and ran into the end zone.

      "What I like is we're getting more takeaways on defense," Ohio State safety Vonn Bell said. "We're scoring the football on defense."

      Ohio State running back Rod Smith, with a run of 3 yards, upped the margin to 28 at the half.

      Barrett was at it again to open the third quarter when he kept the ball and raced 33 yards for a 42-7 advantage. On The next series, he scrambled on a fourth-and-goal from the 5 and scored untouched.

      NOTES: Ohio State has won 18 straight Big Ten regular-season games. The record is 20, set by the Buckeyes from 2005 to 2007. ... Rutgers has not beaten a ranked opponent since a 31-0 victory over No. 23 South Florida on Nov. 12, 2009. ... Ohio State has won seven straight games after an open weekend, the past five under coach Urban Meyer. Rutgers coach Kyle Flood is 3-3 after an open week.

  • Saturday, October 18, 2014
    Alabama answers critics with 59-0 victory
    By The Sports Xchange

    TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- After two straight weeks of negative headlines, Alabama's offense silenced the critics with a 45-point explosion in the first half against Texas A&M and cruised to a 59-0 victory on Saturday in Bryant-Denny Stadium.

    • The No. 7 Crimson Tide's defense held the No. 21 Aggies scoreless as the Tide took a 45-0 lead into halftime.

      "I was really proud of the way our players played today," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "I think this is as close to the Alabama football that we want to try to get from our players in terms of effort, toughness, emotional excitement and execution that we got throughout the game. Our approach to this game was that we wanted to find what exactly every position and player has to do and see if you can go out there and dominate your box and do your job."

      After Alabama kicked a field goal on its opening drive, the Tide scored touchdowns on its next seven possessions. The 35 points in the second quarter were the most in a quarter in school history.

      Alabama outperformed the Aggies in every statistical category.

      The Tide accumulated 449 of its 602 yards and 22 of 30 first downs in the first half. Led by junior running back T.J. Yeldon, Alabama gashed the Aggies for 298 rushing yards -- 226 in the first half. Yeldon gained 114 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries -- all in the first half.

      Sophomore running back Derrick Henry scored twice and tallied 111 total yards.

      Quarterback Blake Sims completed 16 of 27 passes for 268 yards and three touchdowns, and he also ran 43 yards for a touchdown.

      "As an offense, we practiced hard, and we had one motto: Be better than we were last week," Sims said. "That's something that happened for us. As a team, we listened to our leaders. Our leaders are starting to be more outspoken, and we also listened to coach Saban."

      After a tough outing against Arkansas last week, wide receiver Amari Cooper hauled in eight passes for 140 yards and two scores. He made seven catches for 95 yards and a touchdown in the first half.

      Defensively, the Tide stifled the Aggies and quarterback Kenny Hill. Texas A&M gained just 172 yards. Hill was rattled all day, completing 17 of 26 passes for just 138 yards. He was pulled in the second half for freshman Kyle Allen.

      "We put Kyle in in the fourth to try to get a spark, but our problem was getting first downs," Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin said. "A quarterback gets credit when we win and a lot of blame when we lose. There are 10 other guys out there on offense that make his job easier."

      Texas A&M's ground game was also nonexistent, as the Aggies gained just 31 yards.

      Yeldon scored from 9 yards late in the first quarter and 1 yard early in the second to give Alabama a 17-0 lead.

      The Tide scored on all five second-quarter drives, starting with Yeldon's run. Sims' TD run made it 24-0, Henry finished off an 80-yard drive with an 8-yard score, and Sims followed with two TD passes. After a 47-yard punt return by Christion Jones, Sims threw a 24-yard TD pass to Cooper. He then connected with Henry on a 41-yard scoring toss.

      The Crimson Tide added two touchdowns in the final 30 minutes. On the first drive of the third quarter, Sims hit Cooper in stride for a 45-yard touchdown.

      The Tide's final score came on a 14-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jake Coker to tight end Ty Flournoy-Smith.

      "It's hard to say where we are, and I think the bye week comes at a good time," Sumlin said. "Our message was similar to last week: We do need to look within and examine what we're doing schematically.

      "Personnel saw a bunch of new faces out there in the second half defensively. Those guys didn't do too poorly. We need to evaluate where we are from a timing standpoint. The bye week, I think, is much needed and will also give an opportunity to really evaluate a lot of different things going on."

      NOTES: Alabama RT Austin Shepherd left the game because of a right leg injury in the second quarter and did not return. Coach Nick Saban said Shepherd was fine and added he could have returned had the game been closer. ... Alabama DL Jonathan Allen left in the third quarter. Saban said Allen had cramps and needed intravenous fluids. ... Alabama RB T.J. Yeldon's second touchdown gave him 30, moving him into a tie for sixth place on Alabama's all-time list with Eddie Lacy. ... The 59-0 shutout marked the first time the Aggies have been shut out since 2003 (77-0 at Oklahoma). The 59-point margin of defeat was the most since the 77-0 game in 2003 and the second-most in school history. ... Alabama will travel to Tennessee next week. Texas A&M has a bye.

  • Saturday, October 18, 2014
    Clemson dominates, but barely beats BC
    By The Sports Xchange

    BOSTON -- Clemson coach Dabo Sweeney figured his team would be in for a battle when it visited Boston College on Saturday.

    • He was right.

      In fact, even though the No. 24 Tigers dominated in time of possession and pretty much ruled the stat sheet, it took a late dropped touchdown pass by Boston College running back Tyler Rouse to allow Clemson to escape with a 17-13 victory over the unranked Eagles.

      "Nobody was foolish to think that this wasn't going to a hard-fought battle just like it was. We knew it was going to be a four-quarter, rock-em, sock-em type of game," Sweeney said after his team scored late to win its fourth game in a row, all in ACC play.

      "All you gotta do is watch the tape -- you really know what you're looking at when you watch this tape, you watch how Boston College plays ... they're going to be hard out for anybody who plays them; especially if you come up here."

      The Tigers' win was the 23rd in a row for Clemson against unranked teams, the longest such streak in school history.

      Boston College (4-3, 1-2 in the ACC) took the lead on a 6-yard touchdown pass from Tyler Murphy to wide receiver Josh Bordner with 10:59 left, after a 43-yard run by Murphy. The Tigers (5-2, 4-1) then marched 82 yards in the rain for the winning score as Clemson rallied from a 13-10 deficit after freshman BC kicker Mike Knoll missed an extra point.

      Backup Tigers quarterback Cole Stoudt, the starter again after Deshaun Watson sustained a broken finger in the previous game, passed for 285 yards, including a 32-yarder to wide receiver Mike Williams to get the winning drive going. Running back C.J. Davidson, getting more playing time because of an in-game injury to Adam Choice, burst through for the winning 32-yarder.

      Stoudt finished 29 of 45. He received a pain shot for his sore right shoulder before the game and "a half a shot" during the game.

      "This is a big win," he said. "Getting our first win (in three games) on the road, it's very exciting. It's a great feeling."

      While BC almost won the game, the Eagles running game, fourth in the country coming in at 315.7 yards per game, was held to a net of 120 yards.

      Murphy was 8 of 19 for 108 yards and two touchdowns through the air.

      "We had him hemmed up a couple of times and he just slipped out," Sweeney said of Murphy. "He's done that to everybody."

      Asked if he thought his team should have won, Murphy, the graduate transfer from Florida, said, "Definitely. It almost brings back the same taste as Colorado State (Sept. 27), a game we just kind of let slip away.

      "But we fought and we played really hard. We just have to keep our heads up and find ways to get better and get ready to go on the road and beat Wake Forest, [which] is a good team."

      The game pitted Boston College's rushing attack against Clemson's high-ranked defense, which was 11th against the run and had allowed only 275 yards on the ground in their last five games.

      So, it was strength against strength, and Clemson clearly came out the victor.

      Eagles punter Alex Howell was clearly his team's most effective weapon, booming 10 punts for an average of 50.1 per kick. He also dropped one at the Clemson 3.

      Boston College was only 2 of 14 on third-down conversions, while Clemson was 10 of 21. In the last two weeks, Louisville and BC have been a combined 3 of 30 against the Tigers.

      Williams caught eight passes for 128 yards, while fellow receiver Artavis Scott had 10 grabs for 72 yards.

      While Davidson had the winning run, fellow running back Wayne Gallman scored the other touchdown, dancing for 17 yards for the first score of the game. BC then tied the game when Murphy hit freshman receiver Sherm Alston with a 26-yard score. Ammon Lakip's 23-yard field goal ended the first half and there was no scoring in the fourth quarter.

      NOTES: Clemson QB Deshaun Watson had surgery to install screws in a broken finger and is slated to miss a month. He was 75 of 112 for 1,176 yards, 12 touchdowns and two interceptions in six games, three of them starts. ... The Tigers host Syracuse and Boston College is at Wake Forest next week. ... Clemson P Bradley Pinion registered his first touchback after dropping 42 career punts inside the opposition 20. … The Tigers have won four straight in the series.

  • Saturday, October 18, 2014
    West Virginia controls high-powered Baylor
    By The Sports Xchange

    MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- West Virginia defensive coordinator Tony Gibson called the Mountaineers' 31-point loss to Baylor last year "the most embarrassing game I've ever been a part of."

    • West Virginia's defense redeemed itself in a mighty way Saturday.

      The Mountaineers slammed the brakes on Baylor's nation-leading offense and showed some finishing power of their own. Quarterback Clint Trickett tossed three touchdown passes, including two in the fourth quarter, to spur the unranked Mountaineers to a 41-27 upset win over No. 4 Baylor before a crowd of 60,758 Saturday at Milan Puskar Stadium.

      "Holding Baylor to 318 yards and 80 plays is something," West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said. "We made a decision on Sunday of last week, and coach Gibson did a great job of executing the defense. We weren't just going to let (Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty) sit back there in the pocket and let him throw into open space. We did a great job of affecting him."

      Indeed, Petty completed just 16 of 36 passes for 223 yards and two touchdowns, and the Mountaineers sacked the senior four times. Baylor's 318 yards marked its lowest output since the Bears amassed just 263 in a 45-10 loss to TCU in 2010.

      "Credit goes to West Virginia," Baylor coach Art Briles said. "They played with a lot of energy and a lot of emotion. We knew the crowd would be engaging, which they obviously were."

      West Virginia (5-2, 3-1 Big 12) had played Alabama and Oklahoma tight earlier in the season before eventually losing. This time, the Mountaineers put together a complete, four-quarter performance against a dangerous Baylor team that had rallied from 21 points down in the fourth quarter to beat TCU last week.

      Baylor (6-1, 3-1), the reigning Big 12 champions, came into the game averaging an FBS-leading 622.5 yards per game and had scored 63 and 73 points in its past two meetings with the Mountaineers.

      But the Bears sputtered against a stingy West Virginia front seven, averaging just 2.3 yards per carry. Running back Shock Linwood finished with just 69 rushing yards -- 109 fewer than he had last week against TCU.

      "They had a pretty good game plan," Petty said. "They loaded the box on us. They pressured a lot. At the end of the day, I have the ball in my hands. I've got to make sure what I'm doing production-wise is helping this team be successful. I was off today, and I have to get back to work."

      The game was sloppy in more ways than one. Baylor was penalized 18 times for a school-record and Big 12-record 215 yards, including eight pass interference flags. West Virginia racked up 14 penalties for 138 yards.

      "I've never been involved with anything like that," Briles said. "You could check the last however many games we've had, and I don't think we've ever had that many penalties in a game."

      "The flags were crucial," Baylor linebacker Taylor Young said. "It was a very big part of the game, but as a team we're supposed to overcome it. We're still supposed to get the W."

      West Virginia was positioned for the upset, up 27-20 in the third quarter, but Baylor knotted things up on Linwood's second-effort, 1-yard touchdown run with 3:51 left in the quarter.

      West Virginia reclaimed the lead behind the nation's leading receiver, Kevin White. The senior's one-handed, 12-yard touchdown snatch with 11:36 to play propelled the Mountaineers to a 34-27 advantage.

      White finished with eight catches for 132 yards and two TDs, extending his nation-best string of 100-yard games to seven.

      "He keeps getting better," Holgorsen said. "I think his best football is ahead of him."

      Trickett racked up 322 passing yards and three TDs, including a 39-yard strike to senior receiver Mario Alford with 7:35 to go that was the cherry on top.

      Unlike last week in Waco, that deficit was too much to overcome for Baylor.

      Baylor needed less than a minute to grab the lead at the start of the game. On West Virginia's third play, defensive tackle Andrew Billings punched the ball free from Trickett and the Bears recovered at the 7-yard line.

      One play later, sophomore running back Corey Coleman was standing in the end zone, the recipient of a quick strike from Petty.

      But Trickett found White on a 36-yard scoring connection two minutes later.

      Baylor's longest play of the game was also one of the wildest. Trailing 14-13 in the second quarter, Petty launched a deep ball down the sideline for senior receiver Antwan Goodley, who scored an apparent 63-yard touchdown.

      He benefited from a hard block from Coleman on cornerback Terrell Chestnut -- a play that initially resulted in a targeting penalty for Coleman and a nullification of the score. But the replay official turned over that flag, ruling that Coleman had led with his shoulder. Chestnut was slow to get up and didn't return to the game.

      West Virginia regained the lead with 4:21 left in the half, as running back Dreamius Smith trotted in untouched for a 9-yard TD. Josh Lambert's 54-yard field goal with no time left extended West Virginia's lead to 24-20 at halftime.

      NOTES: West Virginia kicker Josh Lambert, who made a 55-yard field goal last week to beat Texas Tech, nailed a 54-yarder on the last play of the first half. He is now 4-for-4 on the year from 50-plus. ... West Virginia had a school-record streak of five games of at least 500 yards snapped. The Mountaineers finished with 456 yards. ... Baylor's loss was its first in the Big 12 since falling to Oklahoma State, 49-17, on Nov. 23, 2013, in Stillwater, Okla. ... Baylor senior OT Troy Baker left the game in the fourth quarter with what appeared to be a knee injury. Briles said Baker would have an MRI, but "we're pretty sure it's an ACL (injury)."

  • Saturday, October 18, 2014
    Oklahoma can't kick as K-State wins
    By The Sports Xchange

    NORMAN, Okla. -- Kansas State is getting pretty comfortable at Oklahoma.

    • The No. 11 Sooners have been so good at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium during the Bob Stoops era, but for the second time in a row, the Wildcats upset Oklahoma on the road, beating the Sooners, 31-30 on Saturday.

      The Wildcats did it thanks in large part to the struggles of Oklahoma kicker Michael Hunnicutt.

      Hunnicutt had been close to automatic so far this season, hitting all but one field goal attempt and making all 29 of his extra-point tries.

      But Oklahoma's all-time leading scorer struggled big-time against the Wildcats.

      Hunnicutt missed a 32-yard field goal attempt on the final play of the first half, had an extra-point blocked early in the fourth quarter, and missed a 19-yard field goal with 3:53 remaining that allowed Kansas State to run out the clock.

      "The youngster that missed the field goal, he will go another hundred years without missing another field goal," Kansas State coach Bill Snyder said.

      "So we were just lucky. That happens. The other one, we deserved to block it."

      Snyder knows how Oklahoma feels. His team's only loss this season—20-14 at home against Auburn on Sept. 18 came thanks to three missed field goals by his own kicker, Jack Cantele.

      "I feel for Michael," Stoops said. "He's been an excellent kicker for us and a great young man. Unfortunately with a kicker, it just kind of sticks out. It's a lot more than just Michael."

      Oklahoma (5-2, 2-2 in the Big 12) seemed destined to take the lead late in the game, driving the ball down the field with relative ease, relying heavily on freshman running back Samaje Perine.

      But after the Sooners got first and goal at the Kansas State 4-yard-line, the Wildcats defense buckled down, holding Perine to two small gains before bringing him down in the backfield on third down to force the Sooners to kick from the 2.

      Hunnicutt's chip shot went wide left with 3:53 remaining and Oklahoma never got the ball back.

      "You just keep trucking as they say," Snyder said. "We always say keep sawing wood, keep rowing the boat. If you want to get where you are going, you have to do that and we did."

      Kansas State (5-1, 3-0) was outgained, 533-385, but it was the Wildcats that made plays when it counted.

      "Those numbers are not significant," Snyder said. "Turnovers, those are significant. In all reality, that is the difference in the ball game.

      "We get a turnover and get seven points out of it and we don't turn the ball over. The right numbers can tell you something, but not yardage."

      Hunnicutt's troubles and the Kansas State win overshadowed a big day from Sooners quarterback Trevor Knight and receiver Sterling Shepard.

      Knight passed for a season-high 318 yards and three touchdowns, completing 26 of 32 passes.

      But there was one play he definitely would like to have back.

      In the opening minute of the second quarter, with the Sooners pinned at their own 2, Knight elected to keep the ball and try a pass into the flat instead of handing it off.

      Wildcats cornerback Danzel McDaniel picked it off and easily scored from five yards to put the Wildcats ahead, 14-7.

      Outside of that, Knight was steady.

      Shepard finished with 15 catches for 197 yards and a touchdown, while Durron Neal and Blake Bell also caught touchdown passes.

      Quarterback Jake Waters' numbers weren't as good for Kansas State, 225 yards passing and 51 yards rushing, but he made plays when the Wildcats had to have them.

      Waters' 4-yard scoring run late in the third quarter put the Wildcats ahead for what proved to be for good and the Wildcats defense handled things with a couple big red zone stops the rest of the way.

      The Sooners were moving the ball well, facing second and 8 from the Kansas State 17 when they tried some trickery that backfired.

      Wide receiver Durron Neal took the ball on an apparent end around before pulling up to look for Shepard in the end zone.

      The play worked earlier in the season at West Virginia, when Neal found Knight for a touchdown.

      This time, though, Morgan Burns stepped in front of Shepard and came down with the interception to end the drive.

      "We've got a lot of games to go," Stoops said. "We've got to respond from it and do some of the things that we're capable of doing. We did a lot of things really good today but a lot of major mistakes. We just couldn't overcome it."

      Oklahoma had been holding back on running Knight much, in large part due to their concerns about depth at the position behind the sophomore after Knight left two games because of injuries last season.

      From the start against Kansas State, the Sooners used Knight in the running game.

      The fears about depth, though, seemed founded when on his third carry of the game, Knight took a hit to his left shoulder and had to head to the locker room for treatment.

      But Knight's backup, Cody Thomas, might have given the Sooners license to be a bit more free with Knight.

      Thomas, a redshirt freshman who had thrown four college passes coming into the game, got some help but stayed composed in his first home appearance.

      Helped by a 42-yard run by Alex Ross, Thomas led the Sooners to their first touchdown.

      On second and 2 from the Wildcats 7, Thomas bobbled the snap a bit but recovered enough to pick up the first down. A play later, Perine put the Sooners on the board first with a 2-yard touchdown run.

      Kansas State quickly responded, as Waters danced around, looking like he was searching for a running lane before pulling up. Waters found fullback Glenn Gronkowski wide open over the middle for a 62-yard touchdown pass.

      NOTES: Kansas State nickel back Randall Evans wore No. 27 instead of his usual No. 15 in honor of David Garrett. Garrett, who was a three-year starter for the Wildcats, was killed Oct. 11 outside a Cleveland nightclub. ... Oklahoma wide receiver Michiah Quick and safety Steven Parker made their first career starts. ... Sooners fullback Aaron Ripkowski was ejected early in the first quarter for targeting on a block to Kansas State defensive end Ryan Mueller. Ripkowski is the second Oklahoma player to be ejected for targeting this season, joining linebacker Jordan Evans. ... Kansas State hosts Texas next Saturday, while Oklahoma is off before playing at Iowa State on Nov. 1.