Bruce Thorson-US PRESSWIRE
I love the smell of victory in the morning, especially when it comes on the road against a quality opponent. Did Ohio State's foes face a similar fate last weekend? Let's break it down.
Miami OH (4-4, 3-1) BEAT Ohio 23-20. My facebook feed is full of Bobcat grads weeping ,wailing, and gnashing their teeth. It's one thing to have a once-in-a-decade season ruined, but to lose to one of your hated rivals?? Ouch. Tyler Tettleton had a brainfart at the worst possible time, forgetting how many timeouts he had as he took a game ending sack while in field goal range. Miami QB Zac Dysert had a great game, going 21/36 for 311 and a score, and the previously dormant Redhawk running game went for 113 yards. With Kent State and Northern Illinois heading up a banner year for the MAC, Ohio needs to right the ship quickly if they still have big plans for this year. The Redhawks will head to Buffalo next week.
UCF (6-2, 4-0) BEAT Marshall 54-17. The Knights get a statement win against an explosive Marshall team, and overcame three turnovers of their own to beat down the Thundering Herd. Quincy McDuffie returned 2 kickoffs for scores, and Latavius Murray ran for 156 yards and scored 4 times. UCF faces SMU next weekend, as they attempt to run away in a very down year for CUSA.
Cal (3-6, 2-4) LOST at Utah 49-27. Going into the game, Utah was struggling to score points, but it appears that Cal was able to cure what allied them. Reggie Dunn had 2 100 yard kickoff returns, John White ran for 105 and 2 scores, and the Utes ran away from the Golden Bears, darkening the cloud hanging above coach Jeff Tedford. Cal outgained Utah 441-344, but turnovers (3) and special teams miscues doomed them. Cal trailed 42-6 late in the 3rd quarter, and now has to beat Washington, Oregon and Oregon State just to make a bowl. In other words, LOL. The Golden Bears host the Huskies next week.
UAB (1-7, 0-4) LOST at Tulane 55-45. This might just be the lowpoint of the Blazers season, giving up 55 points and losing, AGAIN, to one of the most downtrodden programs in FBS, the Tulane Green Wave. Tulane's Ryan Griffin lead the charge, throwing for 466 yards and 5 touchdowns, as Tulane rang up 619 yards of offense. UAB actually did better with 622 yards, but 4 turnovers (including 3 Austin Brown interceptions) and bad tackling created a hole they couldn't dig themselves out of. The Trogdors will try for their first CUSA win against a woeful Southern Miss squad next week.
Michigan State (5-4, 2-3) BEAT Wisconsin (6-3, 3-2) 16-13 OT. To give you an idea of how this game went, Michigan State started a drive at the Wisconsin 11 yard line at one point...AND PUNTED. Andrew Maxwell provided just enough offense at the end of the game to snap Wisconsin's 21 game home winning streak. The Badgers started out well on offense, but Joel Stave broke his collarbone and is out for the season, and the team ended up with less than 200 yards (19 yards rushing!!) without him. Le'Veon Bell had 77 yards rushing for Michigan State. If Wisconsin can't find ways to generate offense the rest of the season, they could absolutely lose to Indiana, Ohio State and Penn State and fail to win the division. God save us all. Michigan State continues their quest for a bowl when they host Nebraska, while Wisconsin travels to Indiana. Seriously, do you think Wisconsin can score enough to hang with the Hoosiers? I'm not saying, I'm just sayin...
#21 Nebraska (6-2, 3-1) BEAT Michigan (5-3, 3-1) 23-9. The big story here is clearly Denard Robinson, who was knocked out of the game with an elbow injury. Michigan was not able to move the ball without him, as backup Russell Bellomy tossed three picks, and Michigan was held to only 188 total yards. The Huskers weren't explosive offensively, but Ameer Abdullah ran for 101 and a score. Nebraska overcame 2 turnovers and 104 yards in penalties. We don't know Robinson's status yet, but without him, Michigan could be in big trouble, in what has to be a pretty disappointing season already. Remember when they were in the preseason top 10? That was fun. The Wolverines travel to Minnesota next week, while Nebraska faces Michigan State.
Indiana (3-5, 1-3) BEAT Illinois (2-6, 0-4) 31-17. Remember when I thought Beckman was a great hire, and Illinois could be a sleeper team? LOL boy am I dumb! Indiana's offense was strangely grounded in this game, but dumb mistakes from Illinois (2 turnovers, 81 yards of penalties, allowing 7 sacks) ruined a competent offensive showing, and their homecoming. Illinois outgained Indiana 372-292, behind a breakout performance from Donovonn Young (21 carries, 124 yards). Nate Sudfeld threw for 107 yards and 2 TDs for Indiana, who could make things really interesting if they can beat Wisconsin next week. Illinois faces Ohio State.
Purdue (3-5, 0-4) LOST at Minnesota 44-28. You gotta be happy for Jerry Kill, who is on the cusp of taking the Gophers to a bowl game, but what the hell happened to Purdue? How bad does that near loss look now? The Gophers flat out killed Purdue, leading 44-7 before calling off the dogs late, behind a great performance from freshman QB Phillip Nelson (3 TDs, 246 yards, no turnovers). Caleb TerBush was yanked after throwing a pick six, and Purdue played QB Roulette again, finally settling on Robert Marve, who was more than competent, (2 TDs). Given Purdue's preseason expectations, and the way they have managed this roster, you have to really worry about Danny Hope's job for next year. He can help himself out by beating Penn State next week. Minnesota will play Michigan.
Penn State (5-3, 3-1) LOST to Ohio State 35-23. Penn State will travel to Purdue next week.
OSU is up to #6 in the AP poll, and if they take care of business against Illinois, should find their way into the top 5 (unless LSU beats Alabama), so that's neat.
In other news, Ohio's high school playoffs will start next week, giving us a chance to check out some Buckeye recruits on a bigger stage. My alma mater, the Granville Blue Aces, will be taking their 9-1 record to face Dover, much to the possible chagrin of our recruiting expert, Ian. Sorry Heath is bad Ian.