Two teams plunged out of the ranks of the nation's unbeatens. Ohio State wasn't one of them, but somehow *fell* in the rankings. Why? Beats me. We know that Bama and Louisville came up short last week, but what about the teams on Ohio State's schedule?
Miami (OH) (4-6, 3-3) LOST 48-32 to Kent State 48-32. Zac Dysert had an excellent day through the air for the Redhawks (37/50 455 yards 4 TDs), but the Redhawk rush defense was completely gouged by Kent State, and Miami's hopes for postseason play appear to have taken a fatal hit. The Golden Flashes ran for an eye-popping 399 yards (546 yards total offense), paced by Trayion Durham's 172 yards and 2 TDs. Kent State now has the same record as Alabama, and isn't that neat. How these guys got *blown* out by Kentucky, I'll probably never know. Miami faces Central Michigan next week.
UCF (8-2, 6-0) BEAT UTEP 31-24. The Golden Knights keep winning, although they aren't going to get many style points by letting clearly inferior squads hang around. UTEP's Nathan Jeffery had a great game, rushing for 174 yards and 2 scores, and UCF needed a big Latavius Murray run with 5 minutes left to break the 24 all tie. The Golden Knights outgained the Miners and forced 4 turnovers, but couldn't pull away until the end. UCF will try to continue their unbeaten streak in CUSA next week with their biggest game yet, a matchup at Tulsa.
Cal (3-8, 2-6) LOST to Oregon 59-17. So Cal thought they had a decent way of stopping the Ducks. They'd just sell out against the run, slow the game down, and make Oregon beat them through the air. Marcus Mariota then proceeded to throw 6 touchdown passes, and oh God, the blood and horror. The Golden Bears needed to play a perfect game to hang with the 2nd best team in the country, so naturally they turned the ball over 3 times and had 88 yards of penalties. Let's all make guesses on who the new Cal coach is going to be, since that's pretty much the only interesting part of their season now. Cal plays Oregon State next week.
UAB (3-7, 2-4) BEAT Marshall 38-31. Break up the Trodgors! UAB overcame 4 turnovers and a late charge by Marshall to hang on for another conference win, likely denying Marshall a chance at a bowl game. Darrin Reaves led the way for the Blazers, pacing a suddenly revitalized UAB rushing attack with 184 yards and 2 scores. Austin Brown also threw for 197 yards and 2 scores, but also had 3 picks. Marshall's prolific QB Rakeem Cato was held to only 216 yards. The Blazers will face Memphis next week, and have a great chance to make it 3 in a row.
Michigan State (5-5, 2-4) Sparty had the week off to get ready for Northwestern.
#16 Nebraska (8-2, 5-1) BEAT Penn State (6-4, 4-2) 32-23. If I had told you that Penn State had the game's leading passer, rusher and receiver, you'd think Penn State would have won right? Nope. The Cornhuskers clawed back from a 20-6 deficit, thanks to another strong team rushing performance, and a fortunate call where an apparent Penn State touchtown was ruled a fumble instead. T-Magic ran for 104 and threw 171 and a score, while Penn State's Zach Zwinak ran for 141 and a score in a strong, but losing effort. Nebraska is a good team, and just might be able to hang around in the Rose Bowl. Who knows? The Cornhuskers will face Minnesota next week, while Penn State will battle Indiana.
Indiana (4-6, 2-4) LOST to Wisconsin 62-14. Hey guys, remember when I wrote about how if Indiana beat Wisconsin they'd have a great chance of going to the B1G Title Game, and gee wiz, wouldn't that be neat? Wisconsin must have that piece, along with all the other "hey, why the hell not Indiana" articles and absolutely boatraced the Hoosiers into basketball season. The Badgers ran for a ridiculous 564 yards, as stand-in QB Cody Phillips only needed to attempt seven asses (he still threw a TD pass). Montee Ball led the charge for Wisconsin, rumbling for 198 yards and 3 scores. Indiana didn't help their cause by rushing for under 70 yards, and turning the ball over 3 times. Thanks for playing Hoosiers, but that bowl push will have to wait until next year. Wisconsin battles the mighty Ohio State Buckeyes next week, while Indiana will face Penn State.
Purdue (4-6, 1-5) BEAT Iowa 27-24. It probably won't save Danny Hope's job, but it was nice for the Boilermakers to grab their first Big Ten win and keep their slim bowl dreams alive. Purdue outgained Iowa 490-264, and this game was probably only close because of three Purdue turnovers, one which was returned for a touchdown. Robert Marve threw for 266 yards and 2 TDs, and the Boilermakers grabbed 102 yards on the ground from Ralph Bolden. Purdue's Paul Griggs hit the game winning 46 yard field goal as time expired. Purdue faces Illinois next week.
Illinois (2-8, 0-6) LOST to Minnesota 17-3. The Gophers, after hitting rock bottom two years before, are finally getting back to a bowl, while Illinois has now supplanted them as the laughingstock of the conference. Gopher runningback Donnell Kirkwood carried the day, rushing for 154 yards and 2 TDs in a slopfest of a game where neither offense was able to get any real traction. Illinois turned the ball over twice and had only 276 yards total offense in another forgettable performance. The Illini will face Purdue next week.
#23 Michigan (7-3, 5-1) BEAT Northwestern 38-31 OT. Stop me if you've heard this one before. Northwestern took a late lead against a strong opponent, only to let the game slip away from them in the final moments. The Wildcats took a 31-28 lead late in regulation, and picked Michigan off on their first play, but couldn't run out the clock enough to prevent the Wolverines from storming back and kicking a field goal at the last second. Backup QB Devin Gardner had another solid day for Michigan, throwing for 286 yards and 2 TDs, along with the aforementioned ill-timed interception. Michigan's offense may actually be in better shape with Gardner over Shoelaces, despite Denard's explosiveness. Venric Mark ran for 104 yards and a score for Northwestern. Michigan will face Iowa as a warmup act to the Big Game.