Here at CSNHouston.com, we will take a look back each week and recap what happened several days earlier in the realm of college football. As to be expected, there were good performances, unmet expectations, and marquee matchups. Without further ado, here is “The Weekend That Was”:
Big Ten Battle:
(4) Ohio State defeats (16) Northwestern 40-30
Normally we don’t start our recap with a matchup from the Northeast, but this one needs to be mentioned because of the impact it has on the title game landscape. Urban Meyer and Ohio State had won 17 straight games before entering Evanston on Saturday against an upstart Wildcat team under Pat Fitzgerald. Northwestern controlled the pace early and jumped out to a 23-12 advantage. However, the Buckeyes got things rolling behind the tough running of senior tailback Carlos Hyde (168 yards, 3 TD). Ohio State has long been on the receiving end of harsh criticism surrounding the strength of their victories. Going into Chicago and beating a top-25 team in that fashion will be huge later in the season, assuming the Buckeyes continue to win. Meyer and his players have a strong case for a national championship berth right now. If they can make it through the season unscathed, it will be very tough to choose a one-loss team from the SEC over the Buckeyes for a chance at the crystal ball.
Around The Region:
(11) Oklahoma defeats TCU 20-17
The Sooners were pushed to their limits by the Horned Frogs, especially late in the 2nd half when the lead had been cut to three. This one was about survival for Oklahoma, in a game where they didn’t play their best football. A 76-yard scamper by Brennan Clay proved to be the winning score, and from there it was just a matter of preserving the lead. Luckily for Bob Stoops, he has a 6-6, 250 pound giant at quarterback in Blake Bell. The “Bell-dozer” was able to extend Oklahoma’s late drive and run out the clock, grinding away tough yards as the time ticked away. Bell didn’t put up the type of stats he did in his first two starts, but he also didn’t make any crushing mistakes. For TCU, it is the same old story. The defense plays very well, but the offense cannot pick up the slack enough to squeeze out a victory. At some point, the Horned Frogs need to run the ball effectively. 27 carries should produce much more than a measly 44 yards. B.J. Catalon, perhaps the most explosive player for TCU, has essentially been rendered ineffective. He mustered only eight yards on eight carries. At 2-3, 2013 is quickly becoming a lost season for the Horned Frogs after high expectations entering the fall.
(10) LSU defeats Mississippi State 59-26
The Tigers had to put up more of a fight than they, or anyone, expected. Mississippi State actually held the lead into the third quarter. After that though, LSU finally woke up and blew this one wide open. The offense in Baton Rouge continues to show an impressive blend of size and speed. Jeremy Hill and Kenny Hilliard teamed up for five rushing touchdowns (the size), and Odell Beckham hauled in nine passes for 179 yards and two scores (the speed). Zach Mettenberger was nearly perfect, connecting on 25 of his 29 attempts. In all seriousness, if there is a weakness for this offense would someone please point it out? LSU has definitely looked vulnerable at times in the secondary, but this is a young defense that will continue to grow and gain experience. Rarely have we seen Les Miles’ squad be able to score at such rapid and consistent rates. That dimension will keep LSU in every ballgame, no matter how the defense plays.
(18) Florida defeats Arkansas 30-10
Bret Bielema may have put unfair expectations on himself as Arkansas came out of the gates at 3-0 earlier this season. In reality, this is a program looking to rebuild from the mess that Bobby Petrino and John L. Smith created. Bielema knew this wasn’t going to be a quick fix. He even deserves some credit for having the Razorbacks be so competitive this early on into his tenure. However, Saturday will not be a day that Bielema looks back on with fond memories anytime soon. Florida manhandled Arkansas in every facet, showing speed at too many positions for the Razorbacks to contain. It was never really close, and Brandon Allen struggled mightily at quarterback. One of the few bright spots so far has been the emergence of freshman running back Alex Collins. The Florida native is shifty in space, but can also lower his helmet and create contact at the end of his runs. He has averaged almost six yards per carry, and has gone over 100 total yards in all but one game. Things will be just fine in Fayetteville soon enough, especially with Collins toting the rock out of the backfield.
(8) Florida State defeats (25) Maryland 63-0
The Seminoles haven’t been under the radar, but rather just hadn’t been showcased to a national audience yet this season. Saturday, the nation was introduced to the next big thing at the quarterback positon: “Famous” Jameis Winston. The redshirt freshman quarterback has a rocket of an arm, and the Terrapins found that out the hard way. Winston put this one out of reach before halftime essentially by himself. He racked up 393 yards and five passing touchdowns, padding his season total to 17. Winston is the rare blend of a big-bodied quarterback who has the speed to get outside the pocket, but ultimately thrives within it. His decision-making has been outstanding so far this fall. He has thrown only two interceptions, and his completion percentage is a shade under 74 percent. Clemson and Florida State are the cream of the crop in the ACC, with Miami just a step behind. That makes the October 19th game in Death Valley all the more interesting in what could be a showdown of top-five teams.
(6) Georgia defeats Tennessee 34-31 in Overtime
The Bulldogs needed everything they had in the arsenal to escape Rocky Top with an overtime victory. The win was not without a hefty price though for Georgia…running back Keith Marshall and receiver Justin Scott-Wesley were lost for the season with ACL tears. If you are keeping track at home, Georgia will be playing parts or all of this season without its top two runners (Todd Gurley is nursing an injured ankle) and two of its top three receivers (Malcolm Mitchell tore an ACL in summer camp). The one constant, however, is senior quarterback Aaron Murray. Murray has been the driving force for the boys from Athens. He simply refused to leave Knoxville with a loss, and made play after play down the stretch with mostly reserves at his skill positions. I don’t think this is something that the Bulldogs can keep up all year. At some point, those injuries will come back to hurt them. Getting Gurley back on the field is the team’s top priority moving forward.
Top Team Performance:
(17) Baylor defeats West Virginia 73-42
At some point, Baylor is going to hit a cold streak on offense… I just can’t see that happening anytime soon. It is remarkable how fast this team moves the football up and down the field with regularly. The college game is all about up-tempo attacks, and right now there is no team that does it as well as the Bears. Bryce Petty continues to lead the FBS in QB efficiency, although he finally threw his first pick of the year. Against the Mountaineers, Art Briles’ crew racked up 468 rushing yards and 8 touchdowns! Those numbers would be tough for most teams to put up against air, let alone another opponent in a Big-6 major conference. As was noted in last week’s recap, this game had the possibility to get ugly early. Not surprisingly, that is exactly what happened. Baylor had 56 points before halftime. Many teams in college football will fail to score 56 points in an entire game all season. West Virginia never had a chance in this one, but not many would with the way Baylor was hitting on all cylinders on Saturday.
Just What The Doctor Ordered:
Texas defeats Iowa State 31-30
Last Thursday got week 6 started with a bang in Ames, Iowa. The Longhorns showed resiliency when trailing late, as Colt McCoy punched in the winning score on the goal line with under a minute to go. However, this Texas win was not without controversy. After further review, it appears as though Mack Brown and company were the recipients of favorable calls on more than one fumble by Longhorn running backs. Cyclones coach Paul Rhodes had an angry thing or two to say about that in his postgame press conference. On paper, Texas should have lost this game. They were handily outgained in yardage by 100 yards and allowed Iowa State to convert on 50 percent of their 3rd downs. Nonetheless, a win is a win. Brown and his team don’t have to apologize to anybody about the ugly victory. What they must do though is try and build off this for Saturday’s showdown at the Cotton Bowl against rival Oklahoma.
Standout “Shout Outs”:
1. Turner Peterson, Rice, Running Back
@ Tulsa: 11 carries, 44 yards; 5 catches, 78 yards, TD
Rice was originally picked to finish 2nd in the western division of Conference USA behind Tulsa. The Golden Hurricane have stumbled to a 1-4 start, and Peterson’s performance on Saturday is a big reason why Rice was able to win on the road. The versatile running back was all over the field with a team-high 15 touches on offense. Charles Ross sat out another game with an injury, leaving a huge vacancy in the backfield for the Owls. The running-by-committee approach proved to be pleasantly successful for David Bailiff’s squad, and Peterson was the catalyst.
2. Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas, Defensive End
@ Iowa State: 7 Tackles, 3 Solo, 1 Sack, 1 INT
The Longhorns really missed Jeffcoat’s leadership and tenacity a year ago when he was lost for the season with a torn pectoral muscle. He showed just how valuable he is in the win over Iowa State last Thursday. Jeffcoat’s 7 tackles make for a nice game, but it was his interception that sealed the victory for Texas. The defensive unit has been much maligned in Austin all season, but it got the stop it needed when it mattered most. Not only is Jeffcoat playing for pride, but he’s also playing for his future… he will be selected somewhere in the 2014 NFL draft. How high he goes will depend largely on his performance moving forward in 2013.
3. Brennan Clay, Oklahoma, Running Back
vs TCU: 9 carries, 111 yards, 1 TD
Clay’s long touchdown turned out to be the difference maker in what ended up being a 20-17 Sooner win. After five games, the senior tailback has a respectable 450 yards on only 68 rushes. Blake Bell has received quite a bit of praise and deservedly so. Having another dimension on offense like Clay keeps the defense honest and allows for Bell to thrive through the air. Oklahoma as a team is averaging 246 yards on the ground each game, which is good for 17th in the country. The shift in philosophy from pass-happy to run-conscience has been fueled by Clay’s physical style. The Longhorns will have their hands full this weekend at the Cotton Bowl trying to contain Clay.
Looking Ahead: Week 7
(12) Oklahoma vs Texas (@ Cotton Bowl)
Saturday, Oct. 12th, 11:00 am
One of the region’s most storied yearly matchups is finally upon us…the Red River Rivalry at the Cotton Bowl. Unfortunately for Texas, this really hasn’t been much of a rivalry in recent years. The Sooners have outscored the Longhorns 146 to 58 in their last three meetings, including a 63-21 drubbing in 2012. Oklahoma comes to Dallas at 5-0, allowing only 13 points per game on defense. For Texas, the reigns will be in the hands of Case McCoy again. David Ash is still recovering from a concussion and will not suit up. The key to this one will be the playmakers for both offenses. Johnathan Gray and Mike Davis need to produce to take pressure off of McCoy. Jalen Saunders and Sterling Shepard can turn short passes into long runs for Blake Bell. Also, whichever team wins the turnover battle will almost certainly win the game.
(17) Florida vs (10) LSU
Saturday, Oct. 12th, 2:30 pm
The Gators enter Death Valley without their most important players on offense and defense. Quarterback Jeff Driskel’s bum ankle has sidelined him for the rest of the season, while defensive tackle Dominique Easley blew out his ACL in practice a few weeks ago. The loss of Easley hurts quite a bit for Florida. He is projected to be selected in the top half of the first round is next April’s draft. With that being said, look for Cam Cameron to really exploit the Gators up the middle with a heavy dose of Jeremy Hill and Kenny Hilliard. Tyler Murphy (5 TD, 1 INT) has played pretty well at the quarterback position since taking over for Driskel. However, he has never played in an atmosphere like the one he’s about to see in Baton Rouge. Les Miles will almost certainly dial up a ton of blitzes to see if he can rattle Murphy. The Tigers could end up dominating this game from start to finish if Murphy gets off to a poor start.