Moving quickly today...
...with various degrees of vigilance...
LSU 30 • AUBURN 24
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There's a fine line between gutsiness and insanity, and for the second time in three weeks, Les Miles straddles it in equal parts inspirational believer, calculating tactician, yipping cowboy and unwitting loose cannon - in his postgame with Holly Rowe, Miles said he wasn't worried about the time on LSU's winning drive because his team had "18, 16 seconds left," when, at the snap of the culimnating touchdown, there were eight seconds. Against Florida, the fourth down odds were consistently in LSU's favor, but staring at a 40-yard field goal to win the game with the clock running down, a floating pass to the back of the end zone was not. Then again, to the victor go the spoils, when you dare greatly, etc. Entering its much needed bye week after by far the toughest string of games of any contender to this point, LSU is probably still a favorite to play in the mythical championship game (more on that race later this evening).
Whatever you say, coach.
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I continue to be impressed with Auburn's gameplanning and execution in these big games, and in part that comes from my perception (perhaps flawed) of Brandon Cox as a makeshift option at best against top tier SEC defenses and the lack of game-breaking ability around him - Auburn does not seem to me at all to have the big play ability of LSU or Florida, or even Kentucky, and can't do anything like what Arkansas does in the running game on a pretty consistent basis. But the Tigers have now come out on the road against Florida and LSU and moved the ball with steady, unspectacular running, controlled play-action passing and a move-the-chains mentality that burns up the time those more potent attacks might have to do their own damage. They have also been extremely proficient at playing with the lead, scoring early and keeping the entire playbook open. Against Florida, Auburn held the Gators to a scant 55 snaps on nine possessions, so even though UF moved the ball relatively well, a couple turnovers and a missed field goal proved extremely costly and put the Tigers in a position to win in the closing seconds.
Saturday, LSU had a dozen possessions, two of which ended in a fumble (leading directly to an Auburn touchdown) and an interception. Auburn was efficient enough with its counters, draws, bootlegs, hooks, outs, easy throws to embark on three long, five-minute scoring drives - one of them a potential game-winner at the end of an otherwise dismal half - and disciplined enough to avoid turnovers on its other seven possessions, all of which ended in punts, and so were still in a position to win despite being completely, thoroughly dominated for the bulk of the second half:
LSU's six drives in the third and fourth quarters produced five scores for 23 points, the one failure the result of a bizarre drop/tip by an outrageously open receiver that happened to float into the hands of an Auburn safety. Auburn patiently tried to pound the ball, held it for five and a half more minutes than LSU, avoided the big mistake and generated two crucial turnovers, and it wasn't enough because LSU was just better - like, two and a half yards per snap better, which over 60 snaps should be pretty significant. Again, Auburn deserves respect for forcing the outcome to one fairly crazy call in spite of this fact.
• The decision to eschew the field goal at the end - whether LSU intended to do so or not, its eggs really were all in the basket of Matt Flynn's final lob - only makes sense if Colt David is unreliable from that distance, which could have been part of the thought process. David's only attempted two kicks from beyond 40 yards this year, missing both of them, and also had a big miss from a shorter distance against Florida (which may have led to a decision to fake a field goal with Matt Flynn at a critical point in that game) and missed a much longer game-winner wide that could have beaten Kentucky at the end of regulation last week. There's no doubt he would have lined up for the kick if the pass had fallen incomplete and there was any time left, but his inconsistency in the past may have led to the decision to let 'er rip. That and Les Miles' apparently testicle-dominated thought process.
• Matt Flynn played his best game as a starter in terms of yards, touchdowns, accuracy and clutch heroics, and at a good time, too, as the potential virtues of an all-Perrilloux approach were beginning to look more and more attractive next to Flynn's within-the-offense outings the last four weeks. Admittedly, he's been plagued from the beginning by his putty-handed receivers (and was again Saturday night on his only interception, which found its wide open target but was comically flubbed into Auburn hands), but the offense looked like the complete, balanced nightmare its on-paper talent has promised for the first time. The return of Early Doucet after a five-game absence can't be underestimated in that observation; it's no coincidence that the jump in productivity from the passing game and the offense as a whole - the Tigers still averaged five yards per carry and had five runs of at least 17 yards - coincides with the return of its go-to receiver.
If at first you don't succeed, risk the game to try again.
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This is specific to the Tigers' success in the second half, and maybe for the rest of the season: of Doucet's seven catches, six of them came in the second half, the longest a 33-yarder on 3rd-and-9 that set up a field goal on the opening drive of the third quarter. Another went for 21 yards, another for 17 yards, and all six of Doucet's second half catches resulted in first downs. Flynn threw incomplete in his direction on four other occasions. Remember: LSU scored 45 and 48 points against Mississippi State and Virginia Tech with Doucet in the lineup in the first two games, and racked up 23 in a single half once it committed to his involvement against one of the toughest defenses in the conference. With the Tigers still running the ball as well as they have all year and tight end Richard Dickson emerging as a steady possession receiver, the addition of another, more reliable big play threat to the defense's thought process is frightening.
• I did think it was interesting that the Tigers tried a gimmick ripped directly from Florida's playbook with Perrilloux in the game, faking the empty-backfield draw and looking for a shot downfield. Where Tebow burned Kentucky for a touchdown, though (just as he did against Tennessee), Perrilloux was hit as he threw and misfired badly in Doucet's general direction. He didn't try another pass and was less an influence in the offense overall after the killer fumble in the second quarter.
FLORIDA 45 • KENTUCKY 37
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Both quarterbacks were obviously brilliant, or, alternatively, both defenses were equally hapless. There were 20 non-half-ending possessions in this game, and eight of them ended in "Passing Touchdown"; another four ended in "Rushing Touchdown" or "Field Goal Good." Under those circumstances, the difference in the game was probably the two first half drives for Kentucky that ended, consecutively, "Field Goal Missed" and "Turnover on Downs."
It was pretty obvious at that point Florida's corners were no match for Andre' Woodson, after he dropped four passes over their heads to Dicky Lyons and Steve Johnson on the Wildcats' first two drives. It doesn't take much, though: UK's promising second half possession bogged down when the Cats offensive line was overrun in the red zone, allowing back-to-back sacks that led to a missed 48-yard field goal, and - following the aforementioned fake draw/touchdown bomb by Tebow to Louis Murphy, which is almost illegal in its undefendability - another sustained Kentucky drive ended well inside of Florida territory when Woodson lobbed a ball out of bounds on fourth down (in the same spot, it's worth noting, that he'd missed Keenan Burton moments before, pulling Burton out of bounds on a would-be touchdown when he'd easily beaten Jacques Rickerson for the tying score).
From that point, the offenses were even: four touchdowns and one field goal apiece. It only took those momentary breakdowns to make the difference.
• Gary Danielson harped on this, and he's right about the amazing level of reliance Florida's offense places on Tebow, especially considering the amount of talent it has at every position. The entire system operates through his ability to run, whether he actually is running or not (as often as not, he is: he had 20 carries Saturday, in addition to his 26 passes, meaning he was primarily accountable on 46 of Florida's 63 plays, 73 percent); Florida is more wholly Tebow's team right now than any team is to any other player, even Woodson (who handled 68 percent of Kentucky's plays), in the same way Vince Young was everything for Texas a few years ago, and Saturday was the third time (Tennessee and Ole Miss were the first two) he's lived up to that promise. The Gators had a chance to beat LSU and Auburn by playing defense, but here, when Kentucky was moving nearly at will, answering score for score, the margin of error for Tebow was nil. And he made no significant errors.
• The same can generally be said for Woodson, too, who had a 425-yard. five-touchdown game with no interceptions, after all, and reminded us a) how much a real quarterback can mean to an offense that would otherwise be lost the second it set foot on the field, and b) what a liability Florida's defense has been and will continue to be to its SEC championship ambitions. The youngsters played well in tight coverage against Tennessee, but have been exposed in a variety of fashions in consecutive games now by Auburn, LSU and Kentucky. Both sets of Tigers were more interested than Kentucky in grinding the clock with the running game, but in an up-tempo passing match, Woodson's tremendous success only casts doubt on the secondary and puts pressure on the Gator offense to score virtually every time it touches the ball. This will linger against Georgia next week and South Carolina down the road, and the SEC championship, if applicable.
MICHIGAN 27 • ILLINOIS 17
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I'm not allowed to love Mike Hart the way Michigan fans love Mike Hart, the kind of love that isn't possible, but I do like, like the kid a lot, for his central, untiring role in the Wolverines' offense and especially now for his inability to stand on the sidelines even when he's in street clothes. From the start, Hart was in the Wolverines' huddle every chance he got, still working to be the spark plug, at least, if he couldn't be the engine.
But the story of this game is really the maligned Wolverine defense, still facing so many questions about its ability to handle athletic quarterbacks working out of the shotgun, which now has the hides of Juice Williams and Eddie McGee to show doubters. Rashard Mendenhall had a solid, workmanlike game (18 carries for 85), but had no runs longer than 13 yards, while Williams and McGee were from the start mostly meat: the quarterbacks combined for 29 yards on ten carries, and went backwards on a majority of those - Williams finished with 17 yards despite one scamper for 23 (the one occasion on which Michigan's defensive tackle, unblocked, was made to look completely ridiculous in his confusion), and McGee had 12 despite breaking loose once for a 16-yard gain.
The spread running games of Appalachian State and Oregon, and Ohio State before them, brought an element against the Wolverines that Illinois did not: a functional passing game. Armanti Edwards probably does not measure up to Williams or McGee physically, but he found passing lanes early that kept Michigan decidedly on its heels, and Illinois never found such a rhythm. After Williams' touchdown pass on the Illini's first snap of the game, he and McGee combined to complete 13 of 25 for 90 yards, good for only about seven yards per completion. Oregon and Appalchian averaged about 16 per catch. The Illini weren't able to stretch the field or create space in zones in the same way, and Michigan was that much more decisive about its assignments in a one-dimensional context.
• Michigan's entire offense stepped up in Hart's absence, a credit primarily to the offensive line. With time, Chad Henne was mostly sharp - and it was Henne on every Michigan scoring drive; Ryan Mallett's possessions resulted in zero points - and Carlos Brown had probably the best game of any back in Hart's place since No. 20 stepped on campus (the only other 100-yard effort: Jerome Jackson vs. a truly atrocious Northwestern defense in 2005).
When it came to the game-winning touchdown drive, though, it wasn't Henne, or Brown, or Manningham, or the enduring spirit of Hart in proxy that propelled the Wolverines down the field. It was Illinois:
With the game on the line, the Illini accounted for a 15-yard penalty on what would have otherwise resulted in a 4th-and-11, a second 15-yard penalty for a late hit on the following snap, and, after a stop, the critical fumble that put the ball at the Illini 13-yard line. On a 78-yard "drive," Michigan's offense actually accounted for 19 yards. Great throw by Arrington for the touchdown, though.
That kind of mental breakdown is reminiscent of old Illinois, which constantly gave games away on turnovers and other flimsy premises, and was the second such breakdown in as many games: last week's loss to Iowa came after a simple illegal formation call negated a long, go-ahead touchdown pass in the fourth quarter, when all the offending receiver had to do was recognize he needed to take a step back before the snap tomake sure he wasn't covering up the tight end. Illinois might be undefeated now if not for dumb penalties, fumbles and other mental mistakes, which remain absolutely epidemic.
PENN STATE 36 • INDIANA 31
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The stats of this game are eerily even: 387 yards to 386, 25 first downs apiece, five-point final score. Watching it, though, there was never the feeling Indiana was really in the game in the second half.
This is mainly due to Penn State's physical dominance. As quickly as Indiana began the game - the Hoosiers opened with an easy, 10-play, 80 yard touchdown drive - and as impressive as Kellen Lewis and lanky receiver James Hardy looked most of the time, the IU defense was never up to stopping Evan Royster and Rodney Kinlaw, or even fullback Matt Hahn, who popped through the line on random quick-hitters that worked for 43 yards on just five attempts. The most direct beneficiary of this was Anthony Morelli, who had time to look like a perfectly competent quarterback, and finished with a pair of nice-looking touchdown passes as a result.
The only thing that kept this from being a blowout in the second half was the Nittany Lions' inability to convert on scoring opportunities: off a muffed punt and a pair of fumbles by Lewis in the third and early fourth quarter, PSU was only able to generate three field goals, allowing the Hoosiers to stay in the game with a post-turnover field goal that narrowed the margin to seven points early in the third and a long touchdown drive at the start of the fourth that put the lead back at five. It wasn't until the Lions ate up four minutes on a 77-yard drive in the middle of the fourth in response to that IU touchdown, the last 38 of that on the ground, that it really felt like a 12-point lead would be enough to hold the Hoosiers off with four minutes to play. And it still almost wasn't: Lewis busted a 56-yard touchdown run that cut the margin to five on the Hoosiers' next possession, and was bringing the offense out from its own five with a little under a minute to play when his third lost fumble of the half sealed Indiana's fate.
There's a good chance, without those gaffes, that Lewis would have gotten enough done to win this game for the Hoosiers, but given the short fields Penn State actually had in the second half and Indiana's seeming inability to handle the Lion running game, the final probably should have been worse.
CONNECTICUT 21 • LOUISVILLE 17
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Only one thing really sticks with me from this game, and I don't want to overstate it, because the underrated Sean McDonough and Chris Spielman did a fine job of pounding it into the ground on the broadcast and it didn't exactly decide the game, but Larry Taylor's punt return to tie the game in the third quarter was an egregious oversight:
Unbelievable, but probably also mitigated in the third quarter by an equally terrible call that negated a UConn fumble recovery at the one-yard line. A UConn punt apparently hit a Louisville player and rolled inside the five, where the Huskies obviously recovered it, but the officials ruled the ball dead where it had hit the player at the 16, where Louisville took over. No explanation for the call, and, worse, no replay, just as there had been no replay on the fair catch call. There's no excuse for either play to go without a second look, especially when those looks were so obvious to anyone watching on TV. A terrible performance by the Big East crew, but at least terrible in both directions.
• Brian Brohm got plenty of love from ESPN and even Spielman's pro scout brother on the sideline as a future first round pick, but he ultimately did not play well at all. It might have been a result of the heavy rain, but all of his 29 completions were short dump-offs, and he wound up throwing three interceptions. The Cardinals' only extended drive, a 14-play, seven-minute, 78-yard march in the third quarter, resulted in a field goal; Louisville's other points came on a short field (39 yards in the first quarter) and a fumble return at the start of the fourth. When UConn finally went ahead - the Huskies busted out on consecutive drives covering 50 and 71 yards in the fourth, the only times all game long Louisville's defense really looked like Louisville's defense as we've known it the rest of the year - Brohm's comeback effort was marred by a badly, badly underthrown ball that was picked off to seal the win with a few seconds left. It wasn't a desperation throw, as there was some time to pick up first downs, and it was exactly what Louisville wanted from the defense: the receiver had beaten a linebacker man-to-man and was going to split the safeties for a probably touchdown if the ball was well thrown. Brohm just floated it short, where the trailing backer made the pick.
I like Brohm a lot - I've generally considered him the best passer in the country and gave Louisville a chance to hang in the Big East race based on his talents - but for once, he did not look like a first round prospect. UConn, meanwhile, did not show anything creative or particularly noteworthy on offense (to put it kindly), but responded at exactly the right moments and remains undefeated in-conference.
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<• Oklahoma 17, Iowa State 7: The crowd here was impressive, jacked and loud as long as the Cyclones stayed in the game, but Iowa State missed too many chances for an upset this huge. In the first half, Brent Culbertson badly a missed a field goal to go up 10-0 after a drive inside the OU 20, and the Cyclones were stuffed on 4th-and-1 from the Sooner 11 on their next possession. Later, with a chance to tie in the fourth quarter, Iowa State converted a fourth down inside the OU ten, only to throw a bad, bad interception into a crowded end zone that effectively ended the game. There's no way to win a game like this without taking advantage of all of those opportunities.
Still a reach, maybe, but the Big 12 North is closer to Kansas' grasp every week.
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• Kansas 19, Colorado 14: Down 3-0, Colorado ran this terrific trick in the third quarter, possibly the first ever fake broken play: Cody Hawkins stumbled coming out from under center, spread his hands wide like he was bracing himself to gain his balance while tailback Hugh Charles ran into the line as if he'd missed a handoff. The secondary, obviously thinking Hawkins was either going to fall on the ball or scramble for a harmless run back to the line of scrimmage, naturally let go of its responsibility for a second, allowing tight end Tyson Devree to escape upfield for a wide open touchdown after Hawkins had gathered himself.
It was a momentum-changing play to put CU up 7-3, and Kansas' response may be the most impressive part of this win: the Jayhawks took the ensuing possession 58 yards for a touchdown in five plays, reestablishing the lead, then turning a subsequent interception into a field goal and driving 94 yards for another touchdown on the next possession, on a pretty tight end throwback on the goalline. Colorado scored another touchdown, but that drive, 15 plays over a little more than seven minutes into the fourth quarter, was effectively the back-breaker.
Not to alarm you, but Kansas is 7-0, and this is its remaining schedule before a possible date in the Big 12 championship: at Texas A&M, Nebraska, at Oklahoma State, Iowa State, Missouri. There has to be a loss in there, right? I mean, right?
SMQ was right about: Nebraska was a two or three-point favorite over Texas A&M, and I understand the full-scale retreat from the Aggies, but hasn't anyone been paying attention to the incapacitating meltdown in Lincoln? Texas A&M, I noted Friday, still has a running game to take to the flailing Husker defense, from which I guessed the Aggies would win 34-17; Saturday, TAMU ran for well over 300 yards and won 36-14, five points off the prediction.
• I gave Notre Dame a little too much credit in projecting a 38-7 USC win - the Trojans buried the Irish 38-0 instead. . . . My pick of Michigan 24, Illinois 16 was four points off, even without Mike Hart in the lineup: Michigan 27, Illinois 17. . . . Ohio State 26, Michigan State 20 was five points off as well: OSU 24, MSU 17. . . . Other correct picks, though less accurate in the final score: Florida over Kentucky, LSU over Auburn, Missouri over Texas Tech, Penn State over Indiana, Oklahoma State over Kansas State.
SMQ was wrong about: Tennessee...what are we supposed to think about Tennessee? I noted Friday I had left the Vols for dead after their second bad loss in three weeks at Florida, then pegged them for new life after the blowout win over Georgia and observed UT "looks like it's found the identity on that side the Tide hasn't yet grasped," to the tune of 27-19 over `Bama. Yeah, never mind: only 32 points off, in the wrong direction. Tennessee's identity now, if it has one, must be "no defense."
• Kansas needed another tough road win to make me a believer after its puffy soft schedule, and got a solid one at Colorado, in a much lower scoring game than I imagined. . . . UCLA's win over Cal was in the point range I predicted, but on the wrong side of the final. . . . Miami's win over Florida State, besides being an unexpected Hurricane win, was almost three times as prolific on the scoreboard than the defensive slog I predicted in FSU's favor. . . . I nailed Virginia's point total against Maryland (18), but didn't think it would be enough to win, which it was (though only barely, 18-17). . . . And I almost nailed UConn's total (I gave the Huskies 24, when they put up 21), but vastly overestimated Louisville's offense in an ill-fated attempt to get back on the Cardinals' bandwagon after their win over Cincinnati.
Making sense of what I didn't see.
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• Alabama 41, Tennessee 17: There's no mystery here: Tennessee's secondary cannot cover. I can't speak to the Vols' pass rush - John Parker Wilson was sacked once, which doesn't say anything about the pressure or, more likely, lack thereof in his bang-draped face - but it pays at some point to pay extra attention to the opposing team's best receiver, which either did not happen or was completely ineffective against D.J. Hall, who had 13 for 185 and two touchdowns and hopefully will get some of the attention that's eluded his solid career to date. There are some good things to say about Alabama's mindset here - it was aggressive with its advantages and did not sit on a small lead; how many previous `Bama regimes would call 46 passes in a game the Tide led throughout and won going away? - but mainly this was just a disaster for the Volunteers: `Bama scored on eight of its first ten drives and punted only once until was up by the final 25-point margin in the fourth quarter. Alabama is still alive in the SEC West with Auburn and LSU to come, and Tennessee is basically done without a turnaround and some improbable help against Florida.
Hey, what else is new?
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• Vanderbilt 17, South Carolina 6: It seems South Carolina got itself into an immediate hole with a couple of turnovers and its gameplan went out the window in favor of gunning of the not-so-fun variety. Is there any other way to explain 50 dropbacks by shaky USC quarterbacks when the Cocks' best offensive weapon, Cory Boyd, only carried the ball five times all game? And average 9.8 on those carries? Going through play-by-play, I counted four runs total by Boyd and Mike Davis in the first half; they finished with eleven, which doesn't seem tenable to winning a conference game. That's what happens, I guess, when you turn the ball over for points on your first two possessions - Vandy's scoring drives = 9, 24 and 43 yards.
• Ohio State 24, Michigan State 17: The longer the season goes, the more attractive the Buckeyes look for the simplest of virtues: in a season of constant turmoil, OSU takes care of its business and goes home a winner. Michigan State is not a powerhouse by any measure, but the Spartans were on an impressive run offensively and especially in the running game. Its offensive totals Saturday: 185 yards, 2.1 per carry, nine first downs, three points. Ohio State's offense had to make this interesting by giving up a couple turnovers for touchdowns in the third quarter, but it was never really in doubt, was it? It might make sense to compare this Ohio State team to the 2002 team, which was stylistically identical to a frightening degree, but this version has neither the big wins nor the incredible drama of its championship predecessor. It just wins the games it's supposed to win.
More on the Buckeyes later this week, as they've flown too far under the radar for such a clear frontrunner.
• UCLA 30, California 21: The first focus naturally is and probably should be on Nate Longshore's three interceptions, especially the badly underthrown ball on Alterraun Verner's icing interception return, but the numbers show a physical win for L.A.: Cal, one of the most consistent running teams in the country, was stuffed for 67 yards on the ground, and Justin Forsett, a career six-yards-per-carry runner, had a long run of 13 on 25 carries. The Bruins' Kahlil Bell, on the other hand, ran for 142, making things much easier for Patrick Cowan, who was unspectacular but also did not throw an interception. The fundamental assumption was that Cal would reassume its contender role with Longshore back in the lineup, but in the second half, the Bears had one solid scoring drive (67 yards) and six others that ended in a speedy punt or a third-and-long interception.
• Miami 37, Florida State 29: This score could fool you into thinking this was an offensive game, but only the sense that the offenses were, as usual, offensive. Or at least the quarterbacks were: both sides completed fewer than 50 percent of their passes and combined for five interceptions; there were nine turnovers altogether. Given last year's pathetic rushing performance in this game, the running backs were very good: Antone Smith had 114 yards for FSU and Graig Cooper and Javarris James combined for 153 for Miami. But ultimately it was still the defenses that won it: each side scored a defensive touchdown, and five of the offensive scoring "drives" covered 20 yards or less. A big win for Miami, in the larger scheme of the conference race, but not anything revelatory or corner-turning.
• North Dakota State 27, Minnesota 21. I criticized Minnesota for scheduling a I-AA game as a rule, but nothing surprised me about the Bison's win in the Metrodome except maybe NDSU's defense, which held the usually fast-moving Gophers to 307 total yards. In fact, this game was nowhere near as close as the score suggests: NDSU ran for 394 yards, had nine drives longer than 40 yards and had a 14-minute advantage in time of possession. I want you to read that again: a I-AA team ran for 394 yards against a Big Ten defense, 263 of those yards by one player, Tyler Roehl, who averaged 12 per carry. All told, the Bison averaged eight yards per snap. We knew already that Minnesota is bad, and North Dakota State is the top-ranked team in the Championship Subdivision (though ineligible for said championship, apparently, as it's still in the "transition period"), but please, Gophers, that is a bottom barrell disgrace.
OMG, did you see this? For so many reasons, it's probably best you didn't.
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Other interesting and not necessarily relevant stats
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Clemson racked up 656 yards of total offense against Central Michigan - 315 passing, 341 rushing. Cullen Harper completed 20 of 22 passes. . . . After allowing 250 yards per game rushing over its last three in the Big Ten, Wisconsin held Northern Illinois to minus-13 on the ground and six first downs. . . . Wake Forest's Kenneth Moore had 181 yards and two touchdowns on 15 catches against Navy, more passes than the Midshipmen even attempted. . . . Texas had two 100-yard rushers and outran Nebraska 359-130, though the Huskers averaged six yards per carry before sacks. . . . Houston outgained UAB by 316 yards, 309 rushing. . . . Arizona forced turnovers on Stanford's first three possessions of the second half, turned all of them into three points and lost, 21-20. . . . Ohio U. of Ohio and Toledo combined for 1,033 yards, 50 first downs and nine turnovers, seven by the Bobcats in a 43-40 loss. . . . Holy god: Oregon rushed for 465 yards and six touchdowns on 7.5 per carry against Washington, with a long gain of just 32 - UO picked up an unbelievable 39 first downs. Jonathan Stewart had 251 and Dennis Dixon was a yard away from giving the Ducks three different 100-yard rushers. . . . And Tulane's Matt Forte singlehandedly rushed for 342 yards and four touchdowns on nine per carry in the Green Wave's 41-34 win over SMU.