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All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/big-12-week-6-recap-and-awards
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The first week of November can’t get here fast enough for the Big 12.

Each week, it seems more inevitable that the Nov. 7 clash between Baylor and Oklahoma will determine the Big 12 race and perhaps the national landscape. That's the way it looks after Week 6. Baylor’s offense scored 70 points for the third consecutive game, and Oklahoma continued to shut down opponents.

Meanwhile, the rest of the Big 12 doesn’t look ready to compete for a title, even if teams like Texas and Texas Tech are 2-0.

Oklahoma State eked out a close win over Kansas State, earning two Big 12 weekly honors, but Baylor and Oklahoma continued to steal the show as conference play began in full this week.

Big 12 Week 5 Recap and Awards

Offensive player of the week: Bryce Petty, Baylor
Last season’s Baylor-West Virginia game featured 1,507 total yards and 133 points. By halftime, there was a sense Baylor could approach those totals alone if it really wanted to. Quarterback Bryce Petty continued to lead an unstoppable Baylor offense with a Big 12-record 864 yards its conference opener against West Virginia. Petty completed 17 of 25 passes for 347 yards with three total touchdowns and an interception in the 73-42 win over the Mountaineers. Nearly all of the damage occurred in a 56-point first half as Petty threw only two passes after halftime.

Defensive player of the week: Shaun Lewis, Oklahoma State
Defense may need to carry Oklahoma State for the time being, and linebacker Shaun Lewis proved to be up to the task in a 33-29 win over Kansas State. Lewis finished with eight tackles, a tackle for a loss, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in the win, but his biggest play was an interception late in the fourth quarter. The Cowboys led by 1 at the time, but Lewis’ pick and 24-yard return set up a field goal to force K-State to go for the touchdown on the final drive.

Freshman of the week: Ben Grogan, Oklahoma State
A week after special teams were a major liability in the loss to West Virginia, Oklahoma State relied on special teams to defeat Kansas State 33-29. As the Oklahoma State offense stalled in the red zone, freshman kicker Ben Grogan converted four of his five attempts, the lone miss a blocked 43-yard attempt. Grogan made field goals of 30, 34, 23 and 28 yards.

Team of the week: Baylor
Baylor’s schedule is backloaded with the toughest Big 12 competition waiting until November. But after the 73-42 rout of West Virginia, the question is who is going to stop the Bears? Baylor’s scoring output against West Virginia alone was more than Connecticut, Georgia State and Southern Miss have scored all year. The 56 points in the first half alone were more than FIU, Miami (Ohio) and UMass have scored this season. And remember, this was against a West Virginia defense that is vastly improved over the one from a year ago.

Coordinator of the week: Mike Stoops, Oklahoma
The question of who could stop Baylor falls on the shoulders of Oklahoma defensive coordinator Mike Stoops. The Sooners have the Big 12’s top defense and proved it again in a 20-17 win over TCU. The Horned Frogs gained only 16 yards in the first half, failing to gain a first down until their second possession of the third quarter. TCU finished with 44 rushing yards as Stoops’ defense picked up four sacks and seven tackles for a loss.

Fifth Down

• With 172 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries, Baylor’s Lache Seastrunk has topped 100 yards in eight consecutive games.

• Baylor has the top three games in total yardage this season with 864 against West Virginia and 781 each against ULM and Buffalo. Each was a school record.

• Kansas State became the fifth Big 12 team to start a different quarterback since the opener. Daniel Sams started against Oklahoma State, replacing Jake Waters. Sams had been a running specialist, but he completed 15 of 21 passes for 181 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 118 yards and two touchdowns. Sams, though, struggled with the deep ball, throwing three interceptions.

• Michael Brewer, who was the projected starting quarterback for Texas Tech this season, made his first appearance of the season in the final minutes of the rout of Kansas. Brewer never threw a pass but appeared in the final three possessions after missing the first four games with a back injury.

• Texas Tech starting quarterback Baker Mayfield left with an injury in the third quarter after passing for 368 yards. The extent of his injury was not known after the game.

• By now, you’ve probably seen Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads’ impassioned postgame press conference after questionable officiating went in Texas’ favor in the Cyclones’ loss Thursday. In case you’ve haven’t seen it...

• One place where Rhoads has a legitimate beef is penalties: Iowa State’s 10 penalties against Texas doubled the Cyclones’ output this season. Rhoads received a reprimand from the Big 12, but not a fine, for his critical comments.

• Texas wide receiver Mike Davis received a reprimand from the Big 12, but not a suspension, after he lunged at the legs of a defenseless Iowa State player after the whistle in Thursday’s game. He was assessed a 15-yard personal foul on the field.

• Regardless of the outcome Thursday, Iowa State found it has a focal point for its offense in running back Aaron Wimberly, who rushed for 117 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries. Wimberly has rushed for 254 yards in his last two games. Quarterback Sam Richardson also had the best game of his career with 345 yards of total offense (262 passing, 83 rushing).

Teaser:
Post date: Sunday, October 6, 2013 - 16:00
Path: /college-football/florida-states-winston-picks-two-athlon-sports-national-awards
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In the last few years, Florida State has had well-documented issues staying upright in the national championship race.

If the Seminoles’ new star quarterback has anything to do about it, Florida State will remain on its feet for the long haul.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston turned in one of the plays of the week and added to his growing highlight reel of impossible plays with a wild touchdown pass to Nick O’Leary. Maryland’s Yannik Virgil-Cudjoe, a 250-pound linebacker, tried to wrap up Winston for a sack, but the quarterback escaped and scrambled to his right to make the 12-yard pass to O’Leary.

“I can't tell you what the play was but I can tell you I actually held the ball too long,” Winston said. “I just try to get it to the open guys. ... I just slipped out of it and Nick was wide open for the touchdown.”

Winston completed 23 of 32 passes for 393 yards with five touchdowns to earn Athlon Sports National Player of the Week honors in addition to his third National Freshman of the Week award.

Athlon Sports Week 6 National Awards
National Player of the Week and Freshman of the Week: Jameis Winston, Florida State
The redshirt freshman is playing with the poise of a fifth-year senior. In Saturday’s win over Maryland, Winston completed 23 of 32 passes for 393 yards and five scores, while rushing for 24 yards on seven attempts. Winston’s five touchdown tosses were the most by a Florida State quarterback since Christian Ponder threw five in 2009, and the redshirt freshman already has three games of at least 300 passing yards. The freshman ranks second in the ACC with 288.2 passing yards per game, averaging an impressive 16 yards per completion. Winston has tossed only two picks and ranks fifth in the NCAA with a 73.2 completion percentage.

National Defensive Player of the Week: Shayne Skov, Stanford
UCLA had a trio of great performances from Eric Kendricks, Anthony Barr and Anthony Jefferson, but Shayne Skov was all over the field against an excellent Washington offense. Skov played one of the best games of his career, posting 14 total tackles and 1.5 sacks in the huge win over the division rival Huskies. With Trent Murphy, A.J. Tarpley and James Vaughters, the Cardinal boast the best linebacker corps in the nation.

National Coordinator of the Week: Mike Stoops, Oklahoma
The question of who could stop Baylor falls on the shoulders of Oklahoma defensive coordinator Mike Stoops. The Sooners have the Big 12’s top defense and proved it again in a 20-17 win over TCU. The Horned Frogs gained only 16 yards in the first half, failing to gain a first down until their second possession of the third quarter. TCU finished with 44 rushing yards as Stoops’ defense picked up four sacks and seven tackles for a loss.

Athlon Sports Week 6 Conference Awards

ACC
Offense: Jameis Winston, Florida State
Defense: Vic Beasley, Clemson
Freshman: Jameis Winston, Florida State
Coordinator: Jeremy Pruitt, Florida State

Big 12
Offense: Bryce Petty, Baylor
Defense: Shaun Lewis, Oklahoma State
Freshman: Ben Grogan, Oklahoma State
Coordinator: Mike Stoops, Oklahoma

Big Ten
Offense: Carlos Hyde, Ohio State
Defense: Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State
Freshman: Tommy Armstrong, Nebraska
Coordinator: John Papuchis, Nebraska

Pac-12
Offense: Ty Montgomery, Stanford
Defense: Shayne Skov, Stanford
Freshman: Daquon Brown, Washington State
Coordinator: Lou Spanos, UCLA

SEC
Offense: Zach Mettenberger, LSU
Defense: Carl Lawson, Auburn
Freshman: Cam Cameron, LSU
Coordinator: J.J. Green, Georgia

Teaser:
Post date: Sunday, October 6, 2013 - 16:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Big Ten
Path: /college-football/big-ten-week-6-recap-and-awards
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Michigan State posted one of the most complete outings of the Big Ten season thus far in a critical road division win over Iowa. Indiana exercised some demons with the first win in school history over Penn State. Without Taylor Martinez, Nebraska handled its business at home against overmatched Illinois team. And Michigan kept control of the Little Brown Jug.

But Ohio State made the biggest statement of the weekend by clearly yet another big hurdle. The Buckeyes turned to the power running game to make a big statement against a very good Northwestern team in a hostile environment in Evanston.

Here are the Big Ten's Week 6 Superlatives:

Big Ten Week 6 Recap and Awards

Offensive Player of the Week: Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State  

The 235-pound running back from Florida was simply too much for Northwestern to handle. On a night when Braxton Miller didn't play his best, Hyde stepped up and salvaged the Buckeyes national championship hopes. He entered the night with just 22 rushing attempts and 126 yards on the season but finished with 26 carries, 168 yards and three crucial second-half touchdowns. The worn-down Wildcats had no answer for Hyde's physicality in the second half. The Ohio State tailback also caught four passes for 38 yards.

Defensive Player of the Week: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State

The Michigan State cornerback was preseason first-team All-Big Ten pick by Athlon Sports and he showed why Saturday. In a key division road win, Dennard led the team with eight tackles and added two interceptions as the Spartans shut out of the Hawkeyes in the second half. This unit held Mark Weisman to just nine yards and is still leading the nation in total defense (203.8 ypg).

Team of the Week: Ohio State

Both Michigan State and Indiana had critical — and historic in the Hoosiers case — wins in Week 6 over Iowa and Penn State respectively. But the Buckeyes were once again the class of the Big Ten conference after defeating Northwestern 40-30 on the road. With a power rushing attack, a dynamic quarterback, elite-level coach and, now, two huge wins over ranked conference opponents, there is little doubt who the best team in the league is after six weeks of play.

Coordinator of the Week: John Papuchis, Nebraska

Illinois entered the game against Nebraska averaging nearly 500 yards of offense and more than 40 points per game. Quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase was averaging 307.5 yards per game with 12 touchdowns in four games. Nebraska's defense, though, played its best game of the year, holding the Illini to 372 yards, 19 total points, 4-of-15 on third downs, registering three sacks and forcing two turnovers. Without Taylor Martinez, the Huskers' defense came up big once again.

Freshman of the Week: Tommy Armstrong Jr., QB, Nebraska

In the absence of Taylor Martinez, Armstrong (and fellow reserve signal caller Ron Kellogg III) has been charged with running the Huskers offense. Armstrong played excellent football against the Illini, completing 8 of 13 passes for 135 yards and two touchdowns in the impressive win. He also ran the ball nine times for 18 yards on the ground and didn't throw an interception for a second straight game. With a road trip to Purdue up next before another week off, don't be surprised if Bo Pelini goes to his freshman again in an effort to get Martinez fully healthy.

Fifth Down

• Penn State's Christian Hackenberg broke his own school freshman passing record with 340 yards against Indiana.

• Allen Robinson had 12 receptions for 173 yards and two TDs against Indiana. He moved into seventh place all-time in school history with 118 career receptions and fifth all-time with 16 career TD receptions.

• Iowa was leading the Big Ten and was fourth nationally in time of possession entering Week 6 (35:50). The Hawkeyes held the ball for 22:47 in the loss to Michigan State.

• Nebraska is now leading the nation all by itself with just two sacks allowed in 2013.

• Indiana is now 1-16 all-time against Penn State after the win over the Nittany Lions this weekend.

• Ohio State still owns the nation's longest winning streak at 18 and Michigan owns the longest home winning streak with 18. These two will play in Ann Arbor on the final weekend of the regular season.

• After going 10 of 13 on third downs against Minnesota, the Wolverines are leading the Big Ten in third-down conversions at 53.7 percent (36 of 67) which is good for 11th nationally.

• Nebraska's Ameer Abdullah ran for a personal-best 225 yards and two touchdowns against Illinois.

• Despite two different outcomes, Iowa and Michigan are still the nation's only teams that have yet to allow a rushing touchdown.

• Michigan State's Connor Cook set a career high with 277 yards passing. He also had two long scoring strikes in the win over Iowa.

• Saturday was the first game of the season that Nebraska's Stanley Jean-Baptiste didn't have an interception in 2013.

Teaser:
Post date: Sunday, October 6, 2013 - 15:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Pac 12
Path: /college-football/pac-12-week-6-recap-and-awards
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Stanford highlighted the weekend by staying unbeaten after slipping past Washington. Oregon trounced Colorado on the road. So never fear, the collision course for Thursday, Nov. 7 in Palo Alto is still intact. But only by the slimmest of margins.

Elsewhere, Mike Leach had a signature performance for Washington State, UCLA won a critical road game on Thursday night and Arizona State tripped all over itself in Jerry's World against Notre Dame. The league has two remaining non-conference games left in 2013 (Notre Dame at Stanford, USC at Notre Dame).

Pac-12 Week 6 Awards and Recap

Offensive Player of the Week: Ty Montgomery, WR, Stanford

As usual, there were plenty of worthy candidates who accounted for seven touchdowns (Marcus Mariota), topped 500 yards passing (Connor Halliday) or scored three different ways (Brett Hundley), but only one posted 290 all-purpose yards in the biggest conference game to date. Montgomery took the opening kickoff 99 yards for the game's first score and Stanford never looked back. He finished with 204 return yards — a 35.0 yards per return average on his other three returns — three receptions for 56 yards, a receiving touchdown, a return touchdown and 30 yards rushing on two attempts. He was a one-man show in a game highlighted by its defensive prowess.

Defensive Player of the Week: Shayne Skov, LB, Stanford

UCLA had a trio of great performances from Eric Kendricks, Anthony Barr and Anthony Jefferson, but Shayne Skov was all over the field against an excellent Washington offense. Skov played one of the best games of his career, posting 14 total tackles and 1.5 sacks in the huge win over the division rival Huskies. With Trent Murphy, A.J. Tarpley and James Vaughters, the Cardinal boast the best linebacker corps in the nation.

Team of the Week: Stanford

Stanford's slimmest of margins entailed an Keith Price tipped-pass interception inside the Cardinal's 5-yard line with less than seven minutes to play and a final minute replay booth decision. Kevin Hogan was solid — 12 of 20, 100 yards with two total touchdowns — but didn't turn any Heisman voters' heads. More important, the defense pressured Price all night and a playmaker emerged on the outside of the offense in Montgomery. This team has a nasty schedule but the poise and veteran leadership needed to conquer it was on full display Saturday night as the Huskies rallied. Stanford won despite being outgained by more than 200 yards.

Coordinator of the Week: Lou Spanos, UCLA

The Bruins went into a hostile environment and returned home still unbeaten due to extraordinary performance by the defense. Spanos' defense had quarterback Travis Wilson solved from the opening kickoff. UCLA forced six turnovers, registered three sacks and held an offense averaging over 500 yards per and 42 points per game to just 387 yards and 20 offensive points. But maybe the most critical performance came on third downs, where the Bruins held Utah to just 2 o -13. This unit has star power and could quickly develop into an elite defense should the young players continue to hold their own.

Freshman of the Week: Daquawn Brown, DB, Washington State

At some point, we will all have to acknowledge the Pac-12's No. 2 tackler, Colorado freshman linebacker Addison Gillam. He posted 15 tackles, two for loss and one sack in the blowout loss to Oregon. But Washington State's freshman defensive back played an equally large role in a road win for the Cougars. Brown posted six tackles and his second interception of the season against a Golden Bears offense that threw the ball 62 times.

Fifth Down

• Washington had more than twice as many first downs (30) as Stanford (14). But the Huskies never led the Cardinal.

• The Huskies had 489 yards of offense. Stanford had 279.

• UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley threw, ran and caught a touchdown pass on Thursday night against the Utes. He finished with 211 yards passing, 85 yards rushing and seven yards receiving.

• Oregon's Marcus Mariota scored seven touchdowns against the Buffaloes this weekend. So after 18 career games, he has 59 total TDs and just six interceptions. That is 3.3 touchdowns and 0.3 interceptions per game and basically a 10:1 total TD-to-interception career rate. He has gone 202 consecutive attempts without an interception.

• The Ducks scored at least 50 points for fifth straight time. According to ESPN Stats and Info, there are only the second team in history to do so, joining Princeton in 1885.

• There were 129 pass attempts for 1,027 passing yards between Cal and Washington State.

• Taylor Kelly through for his fifth straight 300-yard game but the Sun Devils lost thanks to two more interceptions. He has six on the year, ahead of only Connor Halliday (10) and Travis Wilson (nine) in the Pac-12.

• Nine players are tied for the lead nationally in interceptions with four. Three of them play in the Pac-12: Colorado's Greg Henderson, Oregon State's Steven Nelson and Wazzu's Deone Bucannon. Bucannon also leads the league in tackles with 56 total stops.

 

Teaser:
Post date: Sunday, October 6, 2013 - 15:00
All taxonomy terms: Keith Marshall, College Football
Path: /college-football/georgia-rb-keith-marshall-injures-knee-against-tennessee
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Georgia running back Keith Marshall suffered a knee injury in the first half against Tennessee and is out for the remainder of the game.

Marshall’s injury is a huge loss for the Bulldogs, as starter Todd Gurley did not dress against the Volunteers due to an ankle injury.

With Marshall sidelined, Georgia will have to lean on J.J. Green and Brendan Douglas for the rest of the game.

Teaser:
Post date: Saturday, October 5, 2013 - 18:00
Path: /college-football/smu-scores-crazy-two-point-conversion-against-rutgers
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The Rutgers-SMU matchup wasn’t one of the weekend’s most-anticipated games, but this American Athletic Conference game was an entertaining, three-overtime affair.

The Scarlet Knights led 21-0, and the Mustangs rallied to cut the deficit to 21-14 early in the third quarter.

SMU rallied once again after trailing 35-14 late in the third, with quarterback Garrett Gilbert connecting with receiver Jeremy Johnson on a 13-yard touchdown passes with just over a minute to go.

After Johnson’s touchdown catch, the Mustangs needed a two-point play to tie. And if you haven’t seen it, this conversion is easily one of the best two-point plays in recent memory. 
 

Teaser:
Post date: Saturday, October 5, 2013 - 17:00
All taxonomy terms: C.J. Brown, College Football
Path: /college-football/maryland-qb-cj-brown-leaves-florida-state-game-injury
Body:

Maryland quarterback C.J. Brown took a huge hit in Saturday’s loss to Florida State and did not return to action.

After the game, Terrapins’ coach Randy Edsall indicated Brown suffered a concussion and will be evaluated.

Brown has been a big reason why Maryland got off to a 4-0 start, and his status for next week’s game against Virginia is uncertain.

Teaser:
Post date: Saturday, October 5, 2013 - 16:00
All taxonomy terms: Kenny Bell, College Football
Path: /college-football/nebraska-wr-kenny-bell-makes-crazy-one-handed-td-catch-against-illinois
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Even with quarterback Taylor Martinez sidelined with a toe injury, Nebraska’s offense didn’t miss a beat against Illinois.

The Cornhuskers won 39-19, and freshman quarterback Tommy Armstrong threw for 135 yards and two touchdowns on eight completions.

One of Armstrong’s top passes was a 37-yard scoring strike to receiver Kenny Bell, who made an excellent one-handed grab against the Illinois’ defense.

 

Teaser:
Post date: Saturday, October 5, 2013 - 16:00
Path: /college-football/alabama-wr-deandrew-white-makes-one-handed-td-catch-against-georgia-state
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As expected, Alabama had little trouble scoring in its Week 6 matchup against Georgia State.

Receiver DeAndrew White made one of the top plays of Week 6, as he made a one-handed grab from quarterback AJ McCarron to give Alabama a 21-0 lead in the first quarter.

Check out White’s one-handed touchdown grab against Georgia State:

Teaser:
Post date: Saturday, October 5, 2013 - 14:00
Path: /college-football/texas-qb-david-ash-out-week-7-game-against-oklahoma
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Texas quarterback David Ash has been ruled out for next Saturday’s game against Oklahoma.

The junior suffered a concussion in Texas’ 40-21 loss at BYU on Sept. 7 and sat out the Longhorns’ 44-23 defeat to Ole Miss on Sept. 14.

Ash returned against Kansas State but was forced to leave the game early and did not play in the 31-30 win over Iowa State on Thursday night.

With Ash sidelined, Texas will go with Case McCoy at quarterback once again. McCoy has thrown for 574 yards and two scores this season but missed several throws in the win over the Cyclones.

Will Texas pull the redshirt off of freshman Tyrone Swoopes?

Oklahoma has dominated the Longhorns in the last two seasons, and not having Ash on the field next weekend only adds to the challenge for Texas.

Teaser:
Post date: Saturday, October 5, 2013 - 14:00
Path: /college-football/minnesota-coach-jerry-kill-suffers-seizure-wont-coach-against-michigan
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Minnesota coach Jerry Kill suffered a seizure on Saturday morning and won’t coach the Golden Gophers against Michigan.

Kill suffers from epilepsy and has suffered five seizures since taking over at Minnesota in 2011.

Defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys will serve as Minnesota’s coach against Michigan.

 

 


Minnesota released a statement on Saturday morning regarding Kill:

Minnesota football coach Jerry Kill is at home in Minneapolis and will not be on the sideline for today's game against Michigan. Coach Kill was not feeling well on Friday morning and decided to meet the team in Ann Arbor on Saturday. He then suffered a seizure on Saturday morning and will remain at home in Minnesota for today's game.

Coach Kill has been in contact with his staff today and defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys will serve as Minnesota's acting head coach from the press box.
 

Teaser:
Post date: Saturday, October 5, 2013 - 14:00
All taxonomy terms: Utah State Aggies, College Football
Path: /college-football/utah-state-qb-chuckie-keeton-suffers-knee-injury-against-byu
Body:

Utah State quarterback Chuckie Keeton is one of college football’s most underrated players, but the junior suffered a knee injury in Friday night’s loss to BYU and is out indefinitely.

Prior to his injury, Keeton threw for 1,388 yards and 18 touchdowns this season, while tossing only two interceptions and adding 241 yards on the ground.

With Keeton sidelined, Utah State will start Craig Harrison in next week’s matchup against Boise State.

 

Teaser:
Post date: Saturday, October 5, 2013 - 12:00
Path: /college-football/nebraska-qb-taylor-martinez-out-against-illinois-tommy-armstrong-named-starter
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Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez has been ruled out of Saturday’s game against Illinois with a turf toe injury. This will be the second straight game Martinez will miss due to injury, as he did not play in the Cornhuskers’ win over South Dakota State.

Freshman Tommy Armstrong will start in place of Martinez, and he held up well against South Dakota State, completing 12 of 15 passes for 169 yards and one score. Armstrong also added 38 rushing yards on five attempts.

If Armstrong struggles, Ron Kellogg III will get the call off the bench.

Although Martinez will be missed, Nebraska has a strong supporting cast to ease Armstrong’s transition into the starting lineup.

Also, this experience should serve Armstrong well this offseason, as he is expected to be Nebraska’s No. 1 quarterback in 2014.

Teaser:
Post date: Friday, October 4, 2013 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/college-football-predictions-every-game-week-6-2013
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The Week 6 slate is highlighted by Ohio State’s trip to Northwestern and Washington’s visit to Palo Alto to play Stanford. Elsewhere, Ole Miss tries to get back on track against improved Auburn; Georgia hopes to avoid a letdown at Neyland Stadium against Tennessee; and Maryland looks to knock off ACC superpower Florida State.

Friday

No. 43 BYU at No. 57 Utah State
Gary Andersen is now the coach at Wisconsin, but Utah State is still one of the more underappreciated teams in the nation. The Aggies are 3-2, with a four-point loss at Utah and a three-point loss at USC. They also have convincing road wins over Air Force and San Jose State. This is a very good team.
Utah State 27-24

No. 77 Nevada at No. 103 San Diego State
Nevada quarterback Cody Fajardo returned to the lineup last Saturday after a two-week absence due to injury. He put up Fajardo-like numbers, throwing for 389 yards and three touchdowns and rushing for 81 yards and two scores in a 45-42 win over Air Force. Expect similar numbers this week.
Nevada 47-38

Saturday

No. 125 Georgia State at No. 1 Alabama
Alabama steps out of SEC play for what should be little more than a scrimmage. Georgia State is 0-4, with three of the four defeats coming against teams from the FCS ranks — and all three of those games were at home. Now, the Panthers head to Tuscaloosa to play the nation’s No. 1 team. Good luck.
Alabama 49-0

No. 2 Ohio State at No. 19 Northwestern
ESPN is bringing its travelling road show — better known as College GameDay — to Northwestern for the first time since 1995. That year, the Wildcats were led by an undersized linebacker named Pat Fitzgerald. Nearly 20 years later, Fitzgerald is in the eighth year at his alma mater and has the program positioned to challenge for its first Big Ten title since 2000. This week, the undefeated Cats host No. 2 Ohio State in their first true test of the season.
Ohio State 27-23

No. 3 Oregon at No. 84 Colorado
First-year Oregon coach Mark Helfrich served as the offensive coordinator at Colorado from 2006-08. It’s safe to say he has far more talent at his disposal in his current gig. The Ducks will score a ton of points. Colorado won’t score many.
Oregon 51-10

No. 4 Clemson at No. 68 Syracuse
In two weeks, Clemson will host Florida State in the Game of the Year in the ACC. That game, however, won’t mean quite as much if the Tigers slip up in the next two weeks — at Syracuse on Saturday or at home vs. Boston College on Oct. 12.
Clemson 37-17

No. 5 Georgia at No. 49 Tennessee
Georgia lost nine straight in this series from 1989-99 but has since won nine of the last 13, including three straight. And after looking at both teams’ performances through the first month of the season, there is no reason to believe that won’t be four straight after the Bulldogs’ trip to Neyland Stadium this weekend.
Georgia 34-14

No. 13 Washington at No. 6 Stanford
Washington’s emergence as a legitimate contender in the Pac-12 North has elevated this game to must-see status. The Huskies have cruised to a 4–0 start against a solid schedule that has featured home wins over Boise State and Arizona and a road win at improved Illinois. Stanford might lack dynamic playmakers at the skill positions, but this team has few weaknesses.
Stanford 27-17

No. 7 LSU at No. 48 Mississippi State
LSU proved once again last week that it might be the most improved offensive team in the nation. Unfortunately for the Tigers, they proved it in a loss — despite scoring 41 points on the road. One loss will not eliminate LSU from the national title hunt, but this team no longer has any margin for error.
LSU 33-17

No. 9 South Carolina at No. 83 Kentucky
Steve Spurrier was not pleased with his team’s start or finish last week in Orlando. The Gamecocks got the win — 28-25 over UCF — but it was not the type of performance that gave Spurrier confidence his team can compete with the powers in the SEC. He can’t, however, have many complaints about Mike Davis, his sophomore tailback. Davis leads the SEC in rushing with 127.0 yards per game and has done so on a healthy 7.2-yard average.
South Carolina 24-10

No. 10 Louisville at No. 116 Temple
Things are not going well for first-year Temple coach Matt Ruhle. The Owls are 0-4 and have lost at home to Fordham and at Idaho. Those are two really bad losses.
Louisville 55-10

No. 26 Maryland at No. 11 Florida State
The same week that UConn fired his replacement, Randy Edsall is gearing up for the biggest game of his tenure as the coach at Maryland. The Terps, off to a 4–0 start, head to Tallahassee to play a loaded Florida State team that has dreams of a national title.
Florida State 34-21

No. 32 TCU at No. 12 Oklahoma
The Sooners are beginning to separate themselves in the Big 12. The defense has been better than expected, and Blake Bell, who began the year No. 2 on the depth chart, is emerging as one of the league’s top quarterbacks. He has completed 71.2 percent of his passes and has six TDs and zero INTs.
Oklahoma 24-20

No. 45 West Virginia at No. 14 Baylor
These two teams combined to score 133 points last year in Morgantown, with West Virginia outlasting Baylor 70-63. Baylor is still scoring an obscene amount of points — the Bears lead the nation with 69.7 per game — but WVU, minus Geno Smith & Co., isn’t quite as explosive.
Baylor 54-31

No. 59 Minnesota at No. 15 Michigan
Minnesota’s Big Ten opener was a disaster. The Golden Gophers, who went 4-0 against a soft non-conference schedule, managed only 165 total yards in a disheartening 23-7 loss at home to Iowa. That does not bode well for the rest of the season.
Michigan 41-17

No. 29 Georgia Tech at No. 16 Miami (Fla.)
This was shaping up to be the Game of the Year in the ACC Coastal Division … until Georgia Tech lost at home to Virginia Tech last Thursday. Still, this is a big game for both teams. Miami has only been challenged once, and the Canes passed the test in impressive fashion, beating Florida 21–16 in Week 2.
Miami 27-24

No. 50 Arkansas at No. 17 Florida
So far so good for Tyler Murphy. One week after coming off the bench to lead Florida past Tennessee in Gainesville, Murphy completed 15-of-18 passes for 156 yards with one touchdown and one interception in the Gators’ 24-7 win at Kentucky. Those numbers won’t get you in the discussion for All-SEC honors, but it’s probably more than most Florida fans expected from the former 2-star recruit.
Florida 27-20

No. 20 Fresno State at No. 115 Idaho
Fresno State is undefeated, but the Bulldogs are living dangerously. They have won three games by five points or less, including last week’s too-close-for-comfort 42-37 win over a bad Hawaii team. The Bulldogs’ defense must improve.
Fresno State 48-10

No. 21 Ole Miss at No. 35 Auburn
We learned last Saturday night that Ole Miss isn’t quite ready to contend for the SEC West title. But one loss — especially when that loss is at Alabama — should not derail the momentum the Rebels grabbed with their 3-0 start. This is still a very good team.
Ole Miss 31-21

No. 22 Arizona State vs. No. 28 Notre Dame (Arlington, Texas)
Notre Dame rushed for 220 yards (on a 7.6-yard average) at home last week yet still lost by 14 points to Oklahoma. The reason? Tommy Rees completed only 9-of-24 and was intercepted three times. The Irish will need more balance to beat a solid Arizona State team at Cowboys Stadium.
Arizona State 28-20

No. 55 Kansas State at No. 23 Oklahoma State
Those of us who picked Oklahoma State to win the Big 12 title weren’t envisioning a loss at West Virginia in the Pokes’ league opener. But that’s what happened, thanks in part to a subpar day from quarterback J.W Walsh, who threw 27 incomplete passes (including two picks). The Pokes will have to play much better to stay in the race throughout the season.
Oklahoma State 27-20

No. 58 North Carolina at No. 24 Virginia Tech

It’s hard to decide what stat was the most disappointing last week for North Carolina. Was it the 603 total yards rolled up by East Carolina in the Pirates’ 42-24 win? Was it the 186 rushing yards accumulated by ECU tailback Vintavious Cooper? Or was it the fact that UNC only averaged 2.1 yards per carry against a C-USA defense?
Virginia Tech 24-20

No. 27 Texas Tech at No. 93 Kansas
The schedule hasn’t been too taxing, but the Red Raiders are thriving under first-year coach Kliff Kingsbury. Tech is 4-0, with wins over four teams from Texas — SMU (on the road), Stephen F. Austin, TCU and Texas State. This week, the Raiders leave the Lone Star State for the first time, but their perfect record should remain intact.
Texas Tech 51-17

No. 31 Michigan State at No. 53 Iowa
Iowa opened the season with a loss at home to Northern Illinois but has since won four straight, several in very impressive fashion. Last week, the Hawkeyes limited Minnesota to 165 yards in a 23-7 win in Minneapolis. This week, offensively challenged Michigan State visits Iowa City. Don’t expect a lot of points.  
Iowa 13-10

No. 33 Northern Illinois at No. 104 Kent State
The Huskies are 4-0, with two wins coming against teams from the Big Ten (Iowa and Purdue). Jordan Lynch is completing nearly two-thirds of his passes with 10 TDs and two INTs and has added 439 yards and three scores on the ground. It would be a surprise if NIU does not win the MAC.
Northern Illinois 43-18

No. 60 Illinois at No. 34 Nebraska
Illinois hasn’t won a Big Ten road game in almost two calendar years. They won’t win this week, either — but don’t be surprised if this game isn’t decided until the fourth quarter. It’s tough to trust the Nebraska defense. Plus, the Huskers could be playing without quarterback Taylor Martinez.
Nebraska 37-30 

No. 36 Missouri at No. 37 Vanderbilt
Missouri has cruised to a 4-0 start against a relatively soft non-conference schedule. Now the fun begins for the Tigers, who play eight SEC games over the next nine weeks. On Saturday, Mizzou makes its first trip to Vanderbilt since 1957. Last year, the Tigers outgained the Dores by 100 yards but dropped a 19-15 decision in Columbia.
Vanderbilt 31-28

No. 38 UCF at No. 94 Memphis
Memphis is clearly on the right track under second-year coach Justin Fuente, but the Tigers aren’t quite ready to beat a team as talented as UCF. Blake Bortles is one of the nation’s most underrated players.
UCF 31-20

No. 39 Penn State at No. 62 Indiana
Indiana closes its season-opening, five-game home stand with a visit from Penn State. The Hoosiers, who have already lost two games, will have a tough time reaching bowl-eligibility unless they win on Saturday.
Indiana 31-30

No. 46 Rutgers at No. 97 SMU
There’s no shame in losing to Texas Tech, Texas A&M and TCU — as SMU has done — but the Mustangs haven’t been competitive in any of the three losses. Also, their only win came against Montana State, by one point. It’s fair to say this team has been a disappointment in 2013.
Rutgers 28-20

No. 51 NC State at No. 91 Wake Forest
NC State plays on the road for the first time this year, making the short trip from Raleigh to Winston-Salem. The Wolfpack are 3-1 but don’t have anything resembling a quality win.
NC State 34-24

No. 52 East Carolina at No. 87 Middle Tennessee
East Carolina must avoid a letdown after last week’s shockingly easy 55-31 win at North Carolina. The Pirates rolled up 603 yards of offense and only committed one turnover on 101 offensive plays.
East Carolina 47-24

No. 54 Washington State at No. 69 California
Washington State (-1.5) is favored in a league road game for the first time since late in the 2006 season, when the Bill Doba-led Cougars were a one-point favorite at Arizona State. They lost 47-14.
California 38-30

No. 98 Air Force at No. 61 Navy
After a few days of uncertainty, the Air Force-Navy game will be played despite the government shutdown. Air Force has lost four in a row for the first time since the end of the 2006 season. The Falcons haven’t lost five straight since 1993.
Navy 34-18

No. 63 Cincinnati at No. 110 South Florida
There’s still a lot of football to be played, but South Florida — 0-4 with a 53-21 loss to McNeese State on its resume — has a chance to be remembered among the worst AQ conference teams in the BCS era.
Cincinnati 48-20

No. 123 UMass at No. 64 Bowling Green
Last year, Bowling Green limited UMass to 118 total yards, including only 33 passing, in a 24-0 win over the Minutemen. The Falcons should dominate again.
Bowling Green 34-10

No. 79 Ball State at No. 65 Virginia
Ball State stubbed its toe in a surprising Week 3 loss at North Texas (by three points), but Pete Lembo once again has a very good team. The Cardinals are already 2-0 in the MAC, highlighted by a nice win over MAC West rival Toledo. This will be a struggle for Virginia.
Virginia 24-20

No. 111 Army at No. 66 Boston College
This game, like Air Force-Navy, was in jeopardy due to the government shutdown. But it will be played — and that’s a good thing for a Boston College program that is trying to piece together six wins to get to a bowl game under first-year coach Steve Addazio.
Boston College 34-13

No. 81 Texas State at No. 72 UL Lafayette
Dennis Franchione is quietly doing a solid job at Texas State. The Bobcats are 3-1 after beating a decent Wyoming team by 21 points last weekend in San Marcos.
Texas State 34-30

No. 73 Ohio at No. 112 Akron
Ohio has rebounded from a 49-7 loss in Week 1 at Louisville by winning three straight — highlighted by a 34-31 victory over Marshall on Sept. 14. Akron made headlines in Week 3 with its near-miss at Michigan, but the Zips are 1-4, and the only win came by two points against James Madison.
Ohio 37-14

No. 102 UTSA at No. 74 Marshall
Marshall is just a few plays away from a perfect 4-0 record. The Thundering Herd lost by three at Ohio in Week 3 and by eight in triple-overtime at Virginia Tech in Week 4. This team is good enough to challenge East Carolina for the C-USA East title.
Marshall 34-18

No. 76 Rice at No. 86 Tulsa
Tulsa appears to be in the midst of a slow decline under third-year coach Bill Blankenship. None of the Golden Hurricane’s three losses — at Bowling Green, at Oklahoma and vs. Iowa State — is a particularly bad loss, but it’s pretty clear the talent level isn’t the same as previous Tulsa teams.
Rice 28-20

No. 78 North Texas at No. 89 Tulane
With two roads on the season — at Louisiana Tech and at ULM — Tulane is making solid progress in Curtis Johnson’s second year. Beating North Texas, however, could be a challenge. The Mean Green beat a good Ball State team in Week 3 and made Georgia sweat into the second half last week in Athens.
North Texas 27-17

No. 121 Western Michigan at No. 80 Toledo
The schedule hasn’t been easy, but Western Michigan has been one of the worst teams in the nation over the first month of the season. There’s nothing wrong with losing to Michigan State, Northwestern or Iowa. There is, however, something wrong with losing at home to Nichols State.
Toledo 41-10

No. 85 San Jose State at No. 118 Hawaii
It’s a bit too soon to declare the first year of the Ron Cargher era a disappointment — after all, there are a lot of teams that would lose to Stanford, Minnesota and Utah State — but the Spartans really need to beat Hawaii this week.
San Jose State 41-34

No. 88 South Alabama at No. 101 Troy
This has the makings of a solid regional rivalry. Troy has proven it can win on a consistent basis, and Joey Jones is doing an outstanding job building the program from scratch at South Alabama.
South Alabama 34-30

No. 120 Eastern Michigan at No. 96 Buffalo
It’s been a strange season for Buffalo, which in consecutive games gave up 70 points to Baylor, beat Stony Brook in five overtimes and beat Connecticut by 29 points.
Buffalo 30-20

No. 109 FAU at No. 106 UAB
The record isn’t very good (1-5), but FAU is showing signs of life under second-year coach Carl Pelini. The Owls won at South Florida in Week 3 and have lost their two games — vs. Middle Tennessee and at Rice — by a combined 11 points (one in overtime).
UAB 34-21

No. 122 New Mexico State at No. 107 New Mexico
It’s the annual battle in the Land of Enchantment between two of the worst FBS teams in the country. New Mexico is 0-5, and only one its losses (at home to San Diego State) has come by less than 21 points. New Mexico is 1-3, with its only win in overtime at UTEP.
New Mexico 34-20

No. 113 Louisiana Tech at No. 108 UTEP
Some teams have bad records because they’ve played a tough schedule. Louisiana Tech has a bad record because it’s a bad team. The Bulldogs are 0-4 against FBS competition, including losses to Tulane at home, at Kansas and vs. Army in Dallas.
UTEP 24-20

No. 114 Central Michigan at No. 119 Miami (Ohio)
Miami has scored a total of 35 points in four games and only has two plays of at least 30 yards. Wisconsin, for comparison purposes, has 19 such plays.
Central Michigan 20-7

No. 124 FIU at No. 117 Southern Miss
Southern Miss hasn’t won a game since the end of the 2011 season yet is a 17-point favorite over FIU. This game could be painful.
Southern Miss 38-10

Teaser:
Post date: Friday, October 4, 2013 - 08:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/top-college-football-player-matchups-watch-week-6
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Each week, Athlon Sports will highlight some of the best one-on-one matchups to watch in college football. Here are the most important games within the game to watch this weekend:

Anthony Barr, LB vs. Travis Wilson, QB (UCLA at Utah)
Stopping a 6-foot-6, 240-pound quarterback is a daunting task — even for a freakish 6-foot-4, 245-pound outside linebacker like Barr. Wilson has been dynamic for Utah, rushing for 251 yards and five touchdowns to go with his 279.5 passing yards per game. Barr has the quickness, power and athletic ability to mirror Wilson everywhere he goes. This could be one of the best individual matchups of the entire weekend.

Bishop Sankey, RB vs. Shayne Skov, LB (Washington at Stanford
On the other side of the ball, Steve Sarkisian’s balanced offensive attack will put major pressure on Stanford’s extremely talented linebacking corps, led by the senior inside linebacker. The Washington offensive line was decimated last year and Stanford took advantage with three sacks and seven tackles for a loss. This unit is much healthier this time around and has been churning out yards on the ground and protecting Keith Price. Skov will go head-to-head with Bishop Sankey, who broke the game-winning 61-yard touchdown run last year, all game long in what could be one of the most physical games of the year.

Robert Nkemdiche/C.J. Johnson, DE vs. Greg Robinson/Patrick Miller, OT (Ole Miss at Auburn)
The super freshman Nkemdiche and veteran Johnson are a formidable duo on the edge of the Ole Miss defensive line. Charged with stopping them will be Auburn's sophomore tackle tandem of Robinson and Miller. The Tigers have been solid up front, allowing just 4.0 sacks in 2013, and the Rebels have struggled to get pressure (100th in sacks nationally). To hold serve on the road, the Rebs need to disrupt the quarterback and hold their ground against Tre Mason and the Tigers’ running game.

Vad Lee, QB vs. Anthony Chickillo, DE (Georgia Tech at Miami)
Chickillo was active around the line of scrimmage in last year’s game against Georgia Tech, recording seven stops, three tackles for a loss and one sack. The Yellow Jackets are struggling at times to execute the option, but are still a handful to defend. Assignment football is an overused cliché at times, but it’s important for Chickillo and the other Miami defenders to not lose responsibility of their gaps. Georgia Tech’s offensive line struggled to block Virginia Tech last Thursday, and if Chickillo can disrupt the offense, the Hurricanes will contain quarterback Vad Lee.

Braxton Miller, QB vs. Tyler Scott, DE (Ohio State at Northwestern)
Scott, a 6-foot-4, 265-pound senior, will be under a microscope this weekend. He leads the Wildcats in tackles for a loss (4.0) and sacks (3.0) but will be in for his toughest challenge this weekend against Braxton Miller. It goes without saying the goal for Scott and the Cats defensive line will be to contain Miller in the pocket but, moreover, they need to punish the oft-injured Buckeyes star every chance they get. The more physical the game gets, the better chance Northwestern has at an upset.

Alex Collins, RB vs. Antonio Morrison, LB (Arkansas at Florida)
Jonathan Williams will be a heavy factor in the backfield for the Hogs as well, but his carries have decreased in every game this season. Collins, a freshman from Florida, has quickly shown why he was so highly touted as his 119.4 rushing yards per game rank No. 2 in the SEC. He returns to his home state and gets to face one of the most vicious hitters in the nation in Morrison. The rest of the Gators’ front seven will be tough to move as well, but watching these two underclassmen battle all day will be fun for all parties involved.

James Hurst, OL vs. James Gayle/J.R. Collins, DE (North Carolina at Virginia Tech)
Hurst is the leader of a struggling North Carolina offensive line. The Tar Heels have allowed nine sacks and rank last in the ACC in rushing offense after four contests. With three new starters, the Tar Heels' line was expected to be a work in progress in 2013. However, while the line is inexperienced, this group needs to have a good showing on Saturday against Virginia Tech’s defensive front. Hurst will be matched up against ends James Gayle and J.R. Collins, who have combined for 6.5 sacks in five contests. This Hokies' defensive line is one of the best in the nation, and if the Heels can’t move the line of scrimmage they will have no chance on the road.

Tyler Lockett, WR vs. Justin Gilbert or Kevin Peterson, CB (Kansas State at Oklahoma State)
Kansas State’s offense needs work, but Lockett is a dynamic presence. The Wildcats' primary pass-catcher has hauled in 29 for 469 yards and a touchdown this season despite K-State’s struggles at quarterback. Gilbert is listed as the starter on the school’s two-deep for this game but Oklahoma State could be without its top cornerback, who was ejected against West Virginia for throwing punches. A suspension of some kind could be possible, giving talented sophomore Peterson the chance to mark Lockett.

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Post date: Thursday, October 3, 2013 - 13:00
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Week 6 is here already and now it is time to make a push for the fantasy playoffs.  If your team is in the middle of the pack, every roster move you make from this point on can propel you up in the standings or bring your team closer to irrelevancy. 

Start
Nathan Scheelhaase, QB-Illinois at Nebraska
Dual-threat quarterbacks have had a ton of success against Pelini’s defense in the recent past.  Why should anything be different this week?

Donnel Pumphrey, RB-San Diego State vs Nevada
There is no way that the freshman does not receive significant carries against the fourth-worst rushing defense in the FBS

Saylor Lavallii, RB-Central Michigan at Miami (OH)
After struggling last week on the road against North Carolina State, Savallii should redeem himself in Week 6 when he faces the nation’s fifth-worst rushing defense.

Brian Fields, RB-Western Michigan at Toledo
Fields has totaled over 100 yards in three of five games this season and faces a Toledo defense that has allowed double-digit rushing touchdowns through five games.

Colby Goodwyn, RB-Old Dominion vs Liberty
Goodwyn is averaging 90 total yards per game and has scored seven touchdowns in five games.  As long as the Monarchs face inferior competition, the senior running back is a solid starting option.

Jeff Scott, RB-Ole Miss at Auburn
Scott only carried the ball eight times last week in a 25-0 loss at Alabama.  Expect his workload to increase against an Auburn defense that gives up 175 yards per game on the ground.

Tyler Gaffney, RB-Stanford vs Washington
Gaffney was shelved early in the third quarter of last week’s game against Washington State when the Cardinal went ahead 31-3.   Expect Stanford to lean on Gaffney quite a bit when they host Washington late Saturday.

Alonzo Russell, WR-Toledo vs Western Michigan
Russell has proven himself to be just as valuable as fellow wideout Bernard Reedy, as he leads the team in receiving yards and touchdown receptions.


Bench
Taylor Martinez, QB-Nebraska vs Illinois
As of Tuesday, Martinez remained questionable with a toe injury and fantasy owners should be planning for an alternative course of action this week.

Alonzo Harris, RB-Louisiana vs Texas State
Harris has yet to run for more than 75 yards in a game this season and faces the nation’s third ranked rushing defense this week.

George Atkinson III, RB-Notre Dame vs Arizona State
Atkinson ran for 148 yards last week against Oklahoma, but up until the game against the Sooners, the junior back had only rushed for 121 yards in four previous contests. 

Jordan Hall, RB-Ohio State at Northwestern
Through three games, Hall ran for 402 yards and was one of the nation’s leading rushers.  Then, Carlos Hyde returned from suspension and the senior back has been virtually M.I.A (5 carries for 25 yards the previous two games).

Jahwan Edwards, RB-Ball State at Virginia
Oregon hung up 59 points against Virginia in Week 2, but the Cavaliers defense has only allowed 19 total points in their other three games, which included opponents BYU and Pitt.

Savon Huggins, RB-Rutgers at SMU
We’re pretty sure that Huggins will be the Scarlet Knights’ primary ball carrier this weekend, but don’t be surprised to see more of Justin Goodwin and Desmon Peoples.

Albert Wilson, WR-Georgia State at Alabama
In three games against non-FBS opponents, Wilson has caught 22 passes for 457 yards and four touchdowns.  In his only game against an FBS opponent, West Virginia, Wilson was held without a catch.  He may not get blanked this weekend, but we feel pretty confident about this recommendation.

Quinshad Davis, WR-North Carolina vs East Carolina
We were wrong about Davis last week, as he caught five passes for 111 yards and a touchdown against ECU.  However, we are not ready to insert the sophomore receiver into the starting lineup until he produces on a consistent basis.

For Start/Bench advice from Joe DiSalvo, send an email
Follow Joe on twitter (@theCFFsite)

 

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, October 3, 2013 - 10:00
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For the first time all season, every Big 12 team will be in action as the league begins conference play in earnest.

In some ways, the league has more questions than it was three weeks ago. A TCU-Oklahoma game is now a chance for the Horned Frogs to prove they’re still a league contender or risk falling to 0-2 in the conference.

In a rematch of a wild 70-63 Baylor win over West Virginia, the Mountaineers suddenly appear to have a defense, but there’s a major difference between handling this season’s Oklahoma State team and facing Baylor in Waco.

And then there’s Texas. There are plenty of questions for the Longhorns on a weekly basis (Who will start at quarterback? Will the defense show up?), but the more interesting questions about the long-term (What’s next for Mack Brown?).

That’s the backdrop for the first week of conference play as the calendar turns to October.

Week 6 Previews and Predictions: ACC | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC

Big 12 Week 6 Game Power Rankings
All times Eastern, all games Saturday unless noted


1. TCU at Oklahoma (7 p.m., FOX)
TCU was projected to be one of a handful of teams competing for the Big 12 title, but the Horned Frogs may need to win in Norman to prove they’re still in the mix. TCU’s offense has been inconsistent, but the Horned Frogs continue to have a big-play defense. Even with limited contributions from star defensive end Devonte Fields this season, TCU leads the Big 12 in sacks (15 in four games) and interceptions (nine). And for all the talk of Oklahoma’s quarterbacks, perhaps the Sooners’ run game has been overlooked. OU is second in the Big 12 in rushing at 256.8 yards per game.

2. West Virginia at Baylor (8 p.m., Fox Sports 1)
Baylor’s offensive firepower is well-established, but the Bears also led the Big 12 in total defense (297 yards per game), yards per play (3.8) and fewest touchdowns (three). And thanks to Baylor’s quick-strike offense, only nine defenses nationally have spent more time on the field. West Virginia’s defense is going to have enough trouble against Baylor, but the offense has lingering concerns even after it received passing marks last week. Quarterback Clint Trickett may be the best option for the ailing Mountaineers’ offense, but he’s ailing with a shoulder injury. Ford Childress has a torn pectoral muscle, meaning Paul Millard may get the call Saturday. Millard has completed 41 of 67 passes for 466 yards in two starts, but he was benched for Childress in the second game of the season.

3. Texas at Iowa State (Thursday, 7:30 p.m., ESPN)
For a time, things quieted down around Texas. The Longhorns defeated Kansas State to end their two-game losing streak, the defense looked much improved, and then the Longhorns had an off week. Then, athletic director DeLoss Dodds announced his plans to retire, putting Mack Brown’s fate back into the spotlight. For this week, though, quarterback David Ash will be unavailable again after a second head injury this season, meaning Brown has a key decision on whether to play the underwhelming Case McCoy or remove the redshirt from heralded freshman Tyrone Swoopes. No. 2 wide receiver Mike Davis is also on the injury list as a game-time decision with an ankle injury. Despite the 1-2 record, Iowa State is plus-four in turnover margin and 9-for-9 in the red zone.

4. Kansas State at Oklahoma State (3:30 p.m., ABC regional)
Oklahoma State has been first or second in the Big 12 in total offense in each of the last three seasons, but the Cowboys now have legitimate concerns on offense after scoring a combined 42 points against Mississippi State and West Virginia. The problems start with the run game. Oklahoma State is fifth in the league in rushing (one spot behind Kansas). Jeremy Smith and Desmond Roland have combined for 83 carries for 312 yards in four games. Kansas State’s run game has been even worse. Aside from a 329-yard outburst against UMass, the Wildcats have rushed for 101.7 yards and 3.1 yards per carry in the other three games.

5. Texas Tech at Kansas (noon, Fox Sports 1)
Kansas quietly has the No. 2 pass efficiency defense in the Big 12, holding opponents to a 53.2 completion rate with four interceptions and two touchdowns. Texas Tech will keep Baker Mayfield at quarterback despite recent struggles, but he’ll need to find a way to get the ball to star receiver Eric Ward, who has seven receptions in the last three games.

Big 12 Week 6 Pivotal Players

J.W. Walsh, Oklahoma State
Walsh had his worst game of the season at West Virginia, completing 20 of 47 passes for 322 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. Mike Gundy told reporters he never considered going to Clint Chelf, whom Walsh replaced after two possessions in the opener. Oklahoma State needs Walsh to return to form if the Cowboys are going to remain in Big 12 contention.

Tyler Lockett, Kansas State
Kansas State’s offense needs work, but Tyler Lockett is a dynamic presence. Lockett has caught 29 passes for 469 yards with a touchdown this season despite K-State’s struggles at quarterback. Oklahoma State could be without starting cornerback Justin Gilbert, who was ejected against West Virginia for a throwing punches. A suspension of some kind could be possible, opening up the Wildcats’ passing game.

Trevone Boykin, TCU
The Horned Frogs’ stagnant offense finally showed some life in the second half against SMU last week. A few breaks on special teams helped, including an SMU onside kick returned for a touchdown, but Boykin must bring his momentum from the second half of last week into the Oklahoma game. Boykin was 8 of 10 for 155 yards with two touchdowns in the second half and led TCU to 7.5 yards per play. TCU ranks ninth in the Big 12 in third-down efficiency (33.3 percent) and must find a way to crack the top third down defense in the league (28.6).

Shaq Rowell, West Virginia
The Mountaineers had their best defensive game in more than a year against Oklahoma State, holding the Cowboys to 111 rushing yards. The nose tackle anchored the line in West Virginia’s three-man front and will have another major task this week against Baylor and standout guard Cyril Richardson.

Aaron Wimberly, Iowa State
Iowa Western Community College transfer became the first Iowa State running back to rush for 100 yards since the 2012 season opener when he ran for 137 yards on 19 carries against Tulsa last week. With the Cyclones offensive getting healthier and Wimberly picking yards, Texas has another competent run game to worry about.

Big 12 Week 6 Predictions

 David FoxBraden GallSteven LassanMitch Light
Texas (-8.5) at Iowa StateTexas 28-14Texas 31-21Texas 31-20Texas 24-20
Texas Tech (-17.5) at KansasTech 35-7Tech 38-13Tech 34-17Tech 51-17
K-State (+14) at Okla. St.OSU 28-24OSU 31-17OSU 34-27OSU 27-20
TCU (+10.5) at OklahomaOU 42-24OU 35-20OU 34-20OU 34-20
West Va. (+28) at BaylorBaylor 63-10Baylor 42-21Baylor 45-24Baylor 54-21
Last week2-23-13-13-1
This season29-528-628-628-6

 

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, October 3, 2013 - 08:00
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The midpoint of the 2013 season is getting closer...

Contact us on twitter with a link or a tip we should include each day. (@AthlonSteven)

College Football's Must-Read Stories Around the Web for Tuesday, October 1st

South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw is out 2-3 weeks with a shoulder injury.

In case you missed it: Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds is stepping down.

Lost Lettermen has a look at college football's top-10 most ridiculous mascot costumes.

Baylor safety Ahmad Dixon was arrested late last week on assault charges.

Northwestern will have running back Venric Mark back in the lineup against Ohio State.

Virginia Tech cornerback Antone Exum has been cleared to return to action.

Ohio State safety Christian Bryant will miss the rest of the season due to injury.

Pittsburgh quarterback Tom Savage left last week's game due to injury but is expected to start next Saturday.

Why is Florida State's defense struggling to stop the run? 

NC State quarterback Brandon Mitchell is getting closer to a return.

Ole Miss has a few notable players injured - but all are expected to play against Auburn.

A good read on the expectations and the downfall of Lane Kiffin at USC.

BYU will have running back Jamaal Williams and receiver Cody Hoffman back in the lineup on Friday night against Utah State.

ULM QB Kolton Browning is expected to miss the rest of the year with a torn quad muscle.

Teaser:
Post date: Tuesday, October 1, 2013 - 17:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, SEC
Path: /college-football/sec-post-week-5-power-rankings-2013
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Alabama silenced any doubters — and there were some despite the team’s No. 1 ranking — with an emphatic 25-0 win over upstart Ole Miss in Oxford. Elsewhere, Georgia held on to the No. 2 spot in our power rankings with a huge win at home vs. LSU. The Tigers, despite the loss, remain No. 3. 

More Post-Week 5 Power Rankings: ACC | Big 12 | Big Ten Pac-12 |

SEC Post-Week 5 Power Rankings

RankTeamLWAnalysis
11Alabama (4-0, 2-0): Alabama was dominant on defense in an impressive 25-0 win over Ole Miss in Tuscaloosa. The Crimson Tide limited Ole Miss to an average of 3.6 yards on 57 offensive plays en route to its first shoutout against Ole Miss since 1996. AJ McCarron was solid at quarterback, but Alabama did most of its work on the ground. T.J. Yeldon led the way with 121 yards on 17 carries, and Kenyan Drake chipped in with 99 yards on 12 attempts. Next Week: Georgia State
22Georgia (3-1, 2-0): Georgia protected its home field with a thrilling 44-41 win over LSU in Athens. Led by senior quarterback Aaron Murray (298 yards and four TDs),2 the Bulldogs rolled up 494 yards of offense and scored on all but three possessions. Trailing 41-37 late in the game, Murray led the Dawgs on a six-play, 75-yard game-winning drive that ended with a 25-yard scoring toss to Justin Scott-Wesley. Georgia completed its grueling early season schedule with a 2-1 record against top-10 opponents. Next Week: at Tennessee
33LSU (4-1, 1-1): There is no shame in losing by three points in Athens, but the Tigers have to feel they let one get away on Saturday afternoon. LSU grabbed its first lead of the game with 4:52 in the fourth quarter on a Jeremy Hill 8-yard run, but the Tigers’ defense allowed Georgia to march down for the decisive score on a six-play, 75-drive that lasted 2:27. Zach Mettenberger was once again outstanding for the LSU offense, throwing for 372 yards and three touchdowns and no interceptions. Next Week: at Mississippi State
44Texas A&M (4-1, 1-1): As expected, Texas A&M had trouble slowing down Arkansas’ rushing attack. And as expected, the Texas A&M offense overwhelmed the Razorbacks’ defense. The result was a 45-33 Texas A&M win in Fayetteville, the Aggies’ ninth straight away from home. Johnny Manziel completed 23-of-30 passes for 261 yards and two touchdowns, and five A&M ball-carries combined to rush for 262 yards on 44 attempts. It was the Aggies’ first trip to Fayetteville since 1990 when both schools were members of the now-defunct Southwest Conference. Next Week: Bye 
55South Carolina (3-1, 1-1): It was a struggle, but South Carolina picked up a solid road win, edging UCF 28-25 in Orlando. The Gamecocks, who trailed 10-0 at the half, seized control of the game with 28 unanswered points in the first 20 minutes of the second half. With quarterback Connor Shaw sidelined with a should injury, South Carolina turned to the running game, and Mike Davis delivered. The sophomore tailback picked up 150 of his 167 yards in the final two quarters and scored on runs of 53, 13 and 13 yards. Dylan Thompson completed 15-of-32 passes for 261 yards with no touchdowns and one interception in relief of Shaw. Both teams committed four turnovers. Next Week: Kentucky 
66Florida (3-1, 2-0): The Gators were solid on offense and dominant on defense in a 24-7 win at Kentucky. Making his first career start, junior quarterback Tyler Murphy completed 15-of-18 passes for 156 yards with one touchdown and one pick. The ground game was led by sophomore Matt Jones, who rushed for 176 yards on 28 carries. The Florida defense, as expected, shut down a suspect Kentucky offense. The Wildcats managed only 173 yards of offense, did not have a play longer than 25 yards and converted only 1-of-8 on third down. Next Week: Arkansas
77Ole Miss (3-1, 1-1): The red-hot Ole Miss offense ran into the nation’s No. 1 team. The results were not pretty. The Rebels were held to 205 yards of offense (3.6 per play) and were shut out for the first time since 1998 in a humbling 25-0 defeat at Alabama. Quarterback Bo Wallace completed 17-of-31 passes, but those 31 attempts netted just 159 yards. Alabama took away the Rebels’ zone-read game; Wallace rushed five yards on 12 carries with a long of 11 yards, and tailback Jeff Scott was held to 28 yards on eight carries. Next Week: at Auburn
88Auburn (3-1, 1-1): The Tigers had the week off to prepare for a visit from Ole Miss in key SEC West game that features two of the league’s top offensive coaches — Auburn’s Gus Malzahn and Ole Miss’ Hugh Freeze. Next Week: Ole Miss.
99Missouri (4-0, 0-0): Missouri completed its non-conference schedule with a 4-0 record after surging past Arkansas State 41-19. The Tigers fell behind 16-14 early in the third quarter but outscored the Red Wolves 27-3 the rest of the way. James Franklin continues to play well at quarterback for Gary Pinkel’s team. He completed 20-of-29 for 255 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. The Missouri defense gave up 425 yards and allowed 10-of-20 third-down conversions, but Arkansas State scored only one touchdown. Next Week: at Vanderbilt
1010

Vanderbilt (3-2, 0-2): The Commodores played their most complete game of the season, dominating UAB from wire-to-wire in a 52-28 victory in Nashville. Vanderbilt had a 300-yard passer (Austyn Carta-Samuels), a 100-yard rusher (Jerron Seymour) and two 100-yard receivers (Jordan Matthews and Jonathan Kraus). Matthews, who had 115 yards and one touchdown on eight receptions, is now tied with Dan Stricker for first place on Vanderbilt all-time TD receptions list with 21. Matthews is also third in school history with 190 catches. Next Week: Missouri  

1111Mississippi State (2-2, 0-1): The Bulldogs had the week off after their impressive 62-7 win over Troy in Starkville on Sept. 21. Last week, coach Dan Mullen said the plan is for Tyler Russell to get the start next week against LSU. Russell has missed three games with a concussion suffered in the Bulldogs’ Week 1 loss to Oklahoma State. Next Week: LSU
1212Tennessee (3-2, 0-1): Tennessee appeared to be in complete control after taking a 31-7 lead on South Alabama early in the third quarter. But rarely do things come easy for the Volunteers these days. The Jaguars, in only their fifth year of football, trimmed the lead to 31-24 on a 3-yard run from Cris Dinham with 9:38 remaining in the fourth quarter. South Alabama had an opportunity to tie the game in the final minutes but was unable to punch it into the end zone despite having the ball 1st-and-goal from the 7-yard line. Safety Brian Randolph preserved the win for the Vols, intercepting a fourth-down pass in the end zone. Justin Worley played the entire game at quarterback, throwing for 204 yards with two TDs and three INTs. Rajion Neal was the offensive star for Tennessee, rushing for 169 yards on 25 carries. Next Week: Georgia. 
1313Arkansas (3-2, 0-1): The Razorbacks scored 33 points and had 483 yards of offense — numbers that in year’s past would have almost guaranteed a win at home in the SEC. But times are changing, and on most days four touchdowns will not be enough to beat Texas A&M. The Razorbacks made things interesting, twice trimming double-digit leads to one score in the second half but in the end Arkansas was unable to stop Johnny Manziel & Co. when it mattered most. The Aggies had 523 total yards, with 262 through the air and 251 on the ground. Next Week: at Florida
1414Kentucky (1-3, 0-1): The Wildcats marched 75 yards on 10 plays for a touchdown on their first drive of the game. Not much else went well for Kentucky on Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium. UK had only 98 yards the rest of the way in a 24-7 loss to Florida. Maxwell Smith went most of the way at quarterback for the Cats but threw for only 90 yards on 20 attempts and was sacked four times. The Kentucky defense had trouble stopping the run, allowing Florida sophomore Matt Jones to gain for 176 yards on 28 carries. Next Week: at South Carolina

Offensive Player of the Week: Aaron Murray, Georgia
The spotlight could not have been brighter on Aaron Murray on Saturday afternoon. The game against LSU was a shootout from the start with LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger, a Georgia transfer and former roommate of Murray’s, matching the Bulldogs quarterback pass for pass. Murray, though, came out on top by leading the game-winning drive in the final minutes of a 44-41 win over the Tigers. Murray finished 20 of 34 for 298 yards with four touchdowns and an interception in his second brilliant game in SEC play.

Defensive Player of the Week: C.J. Mosley, Alabama
It was hard to find an Alabama defensive player who did not shine on Saturday night at Bryant-Denny Stadium, but we’ll give the nod to Mosley. The senior linebacker played a pivotal role in the Tide’s surprising shutout against Ole Miss. Mosley recorded seven tackles and made several key plays: He batted down a fourth-down attempt in the third quarter to thwart an Ole Miss scoring opportunity and tackled Rebels quarterback Bo Wallace for a safety early in the fourth quarter to increase the Tide’s lead to 18-0.

Team of the Week: Georgia
The Bulldogs took another step toward a third straight trip to the SEC Championship Game with a thrilling 44-41 win over LSU in a game that lived up to lofty expectations. Since losing at Clemson in Week 1, the Bulldogs have knocked off South Carolina and LSU at home to seize control of the SEC East race. Georgia rolled up 494 yards of offense, led by another terrific performance from quarterback Aaron Murray. The senior threw for 298 yards and four touchdowns for an offense that was forced to play without star tailback Todd Gurley in the second half. Georgia’s defense gave up 449 yards and 41 points but came up with a key stop late to preserve the win. 

Coordinator of the Week: Kirby Smart, Alabama
When you factor in the quality of the opponent, Alabama might have had the finest defensive performance of the season by an team in the nation this season. The Crimson Tide, torched for 628 yards two weeks at Texas A&M, allowed only 205 yards in a 25-0 win over high-powered Ole Miss in Tuscaloosa. The Rebels, who came into the game averaging 490.0 yards and 38.0 points, had no answer for the Alabama defense. Ole Miss averaged 3.6 yards on 57 offensive plays — 22 below its season average — and only had two drives that went for more than 30 yards.

Freshman of the Week: Alex Collins, Arkansas 
Collins bounced back from a subpar performance at Rutgers last week to rush for 116 yards on 14 carries (8.3-yard average) and one touchdown in the Razorbacks’ loss to Texas A&M. Collins has rushed for at least 100 yards in four of his five games and is averaging 6.0 yards per carry.

Fifth Down

• Texas A&M, which beat Arkansas in Fayetteville, has won nine straight games away from home. The Aggies have true road wins over Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi State, Auburn, Ole Miss and LSU, a win over Louisiana Tech in Shreveport, La., and bowl wins over Oklahoma (Cotton Bowl) and Northwestern (Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas).

• Mike Davis continues to shine for South Carolina. The sophomore tailback rushed for 167 yards on 26 carries in the Gamecocks’ 28-25 win at UCF. Davis is averaging 7.2 yards on his 71 attempts this season.

• Vanderbilt senior tackle Wesley Johnson was flagged for a holding penalty for the first time in his career in the Commodores’ 52-24 win over UAB. Johnson made his 43rd career start on Saturday night.

• Kentucky only had 47 offensive plays in its 24-7 loss at home to Florida. The Wildcats only had one possession in the first quarter and one possession in the fourth quarter.

• Matt Jones, Florida’s highly touted sophomore running back, enjoyed the finest day of his young career. Jones rushed for 176 yards and a touchdown and added three catches for 20 yards in the Gators’ win at Kentucky.
 

Teaser:
Post date: Tuesday, October 1, 2013 - 08:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/amazing-college-football-stats-week-5
Body:

Numbers and statistics are unquestionably a huge part of the game. Any game, for that matter.

Some fall on the sabermetric side of things, while others like to keep it simple and use the ol' eyeball test. In the football world, that means total offense, total defense and points scored versus points per play and defensive efficiency ratings. Rational and logical arguments can be made for the legitimacy and relevance of both sides of the stats spectrum.

With that in mind, Athlon Sports brings the most intriguing, important, historic and bizarre stats from around the weekend of college football action:

40-35: Lane Kiffin's career head coaching record
Lane Kiffin was the youngest head coach in NFL history when he was hired in 2007 by the Oakland Raiders. He lasted 20 games and went 5-15 before being ousted just four games into his second year. He worked a minor miracle in his first season at Tennessee, going 7-6 and nearly toppling eventual champion Alabama, before abruptly leaving for USC. Hampered by severe NCAA sanctions, Kiffin managed one quality year (10-2 in 2011) in three-plus seasons in Los Angeles. However, his teams are 10-8 (5-6 Pac-12) since the start of last season — when he was ranked preseason No. 1. He tied his own school record in his final game by allowing 62 points to Arizona State.

1: Time Ole Miss has won in Tuscaloosa
Alabama's defense came to play in a big way by continuing home dominance over the Rebels. Ole Miss is 1-32-1 all-time on the road against the Crimson Tide with the only win coming in 1988. Alabama has won the last 10 meetings overall and has outscored the Rebels 155-34 since 2009. The 25-0 beatdown was as impressive as Bama has been all season, holding an Ole Miss offense averaging nearly 500 yards, 38 points and 27 first downs per games to just 205 total yards, 11 first downs and zero points.

1,086: Miles from Stillwater to Morgantown
Oklahoma State made its first trip to Morgantown, W.Va., since 1928 and for just the second time in series history. The Cowboys were penalized 10 times and turned the ball over four times — more than the entire season combined until that point. There are few direct flights into Morgantown, so the long trip home for MIke Gundy after losing to his former offensive coordinator will be a bumpy one (even if he is riding in a private plane).

21-2: Sean Mannion's TD-to-INT ratio
The Oregon State quarterback is leading the nation in attempts (238), completions (160), yards (2,018) and touchdowns (21). In fact, only two players in the nation have thrown more than 14 touchdown passes — Mannion and Utah State's Chuckie Keeton (17). It makes the two interceptions that much more impressive. Mannion is efficient as well, completing 67.2 percent of his passes (23rd nationally) for a 165.9 passer rating (17th nationally). He has had to carry his team to wins all season but the Beavers sit at 2-0 in Pac-12 to start the year. He threw a school-record six touchdown passes in the easy win over Colorado on Saturday.

41.2: Average points per team in the SEC's three biggest games
It is safe to say the three biggest SEC games to this point of the season have been Georgia over South Carolina (41-30), Alabama over Texas A&M (49-42) and Georgia over LSU (44-41). These six teams combined to score 247 points or 41.2 points per game in these three games. On Saturday, the Bulldogs outlasted the Tigers with two defensive coordinators — John Chavis and Todd Grantham — making just under $1 million salary per year each. The offenses are great, in particular, the quarterbacks have been excellent. But this is starting to look a lot more like the Big 12 than the SEC.

13: Tyler Murphy consecutive completions to start the game
There will still be growing pains but the Gators appear to have found their quarterback. Murphy got his first career start on the road in Commonwealth Stadium and all he did was connect on 13 straight passes. He finished the game 15-of-18 for 156 yards passing, 36 yards rushing and two total touchdowns (one rushing). Should he be able to play consistent and efficient football like he has through two games, the Gators dominant defense will win most games. The nation's best third-down defense held Kentucky to 1 of 8 and gave up just 173 total yards. It was the 27th straight win over the Cats for the Gators, the longest such streak in the nation.

221:02: Game time that passed before UCF trailed in 2013
South Carolina's Dylan Thompson rolled right and scored from two yards out with 3:58 left on the clock in the third quarter of Saturday's 28-25 win over UCF. It marked the first time in four games that the Knights had trailed during 2013. Central Florida never fell behind Akron, FIU or Penn State and led South Carolina for the first 41:02 before allowing four straight touchdowns to the Gamecocks.

0: Passing TDs allowed by Washington State, Oklahoma and Wisconsin entering Week 5
Oklahoma, Wisconsin and Wazzu entered the weekend as the only three teams that had yet to allow a touchdown pass and they combined to allow nine in one weekend. The Badgers allowed four touchdown passes to Braxton Miller and Ohio State in their critical road loss. Washington State gave up three scoring strikes to Kevin Hogan in a blowout "neutral" field loss with Stanford in Seattle. And Oklahoma allowed Tommy Rees to connect on two touchdown throws. The Sooners, however, won their game in impressive fashion on the road in South Bend. For the record, only Iowa and Michigan have yet to allow a rushing touchdown on the season.

497: Rushing yards by New Mexico… in a loss
New Mexico had three players gain 100 yards rushing in the same game for the first time in school history. The Lobos rushed for 497 yards and five touchdowns on 59 attempts for an 8.4-yard per carry average and somehow managed to lose to UNLV. The Rebels outlasted New Mexico 56-42 with two late touchdowns, snapping UNLV's 23-game consecutive road losing streak. The Lobos rushed for more yards at halftime (400) than Washington State did in all of 2012 (349). 

Teaser:
Post date: Tuesday, October 1, 2013 - 08:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/legends-poll-top-25-college-football-week-5-2013
Body:
Aaron MurrayGeorgia made a statement with a signature win over LSU in Athens this weekend and jumped four spots to No. 6 in the Legends Poll.
 
Quarterback Aaron Murray led Georgia on a game-winning drive with just under two minutes remaining and the Bulldog defense held on for the 44-41 victory.
 
"I think (Murray) has been overlooked a little bit this year," former Georgia coach Vince Dooley said. "But I think he'll get more attention if he continues the pace he's on. He's had four outstanding games."
 
Alabama held on to the top spot for a third straight week, once again receiving 14 first-place votes. Oregon, Clemson and Ohio State followed, and Stanford made its first top five appearance of the season. With the loss, LSU dropped five spots to No. 10 in the rankings.
 
No. 12 Oklahoma moved up three spots with a commanding win at Notre Dame, and unbeaten Miami continued to climb the rankings at No. 13.
 
No. 20 Oklahoma State took the biggest tumble in the top 25, falling nine spots after dropping its first game 30-21 at West Virginia.
 
No. 22 Fresno State, No. 23 Arizona State and No. 25 Northern Illinois were newcomers to the poll this week.
 
Notre Dame, Ole Miss and Georgia Tech dropped out of the rankings.
 
To see the individual votes by coach, visit the Legends Poll
 
THE LEGENDS POLL TOP 25
RKTEAMRECORDPOINTSPV RK
1AlabamaAlabama (14)4-03981
2OregonOregon (2)4-03862
3ClemsonClemson4-03633
4Ohio StateOhio State5-03464
5StanfordStanford4-03366
6GeorgiaGeorgia3-131010
7Florida StateFlorida State4-03067
8LouisvilleLouisville4-02798
9Texas A&MTexas A&M4-12759
10LSULSU4-12655
11UCLAUCLA3-024412
12OklahomaOklahoma4-021715
13Miami (FL)Miami (FL)4-020914
14South CarolinaSouth Carolina3-119113
15NorthwesternNorthwestern4-016716
16WashingtonWashington4-015418
17FloridaFlorida3-114117
18BaylorBaylor3-013519
19MichiganMichigan4-011420
20Oklahoma StateOklahoma State3-18711
21Texas TechTexas Tech4-05624
22Fresno StateFresno State4-041-
23Arizona StateArizona State3-140-
24WisconsinWisconsin3-23923
25Northern IllinoisNorthern Illinois4-026-

* The Legends Poll voting process is exactly what the BCS is trying to create and Athlon will bring it to you as the de facto Selection Committee for fans to follow over the next two seasons, allowing you to see how the Selection Committee will operate from 2014 onward.  You can see the entire Poll at www.legendschannel.com.

 

Teaser:
Post date: Tuesday, October 1, 2013 - 08:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Pac 12
Path: /college-football/amazing-pac-12-college-football-stats-week-5
Body:

True college football fans like to examine and dissect statistics, whether its a quarterback's completion percentage or a team's winning record on the road. We, however, love stats. With that in mind, we scoured the Pac-12 to put together some of the strangest, most amazing, and just plain cool numbers from around the conference in week 5.

1: Arizona State looking to become first team to defeat USC and Notre Dame in consecutive weeks

In the history of USC and Notre Dame football, a team has played both programs in consecutive weeks on 12 separate occasions. No team has ever won both of those contests, giving Arizona State a chance to make history when it takes on the Fighting Irish in Arlington, Texas, this week. Only two teams gave themselves a shot to complete the double (Michigan State in 1987 and South Carolina in 1983) by winning the first game of the series but both went on to fall to Notre Dame by scores of 31-8 and 30-6, respectively. Arizona State was actually one of those 12 separate occasions. In 1998, the Sun Devils dropped both contests.

4: Sun Devils make it four straight with a pick-6 against Trojans
Alden Darby’s interception of USC quarterback Cody Kessler and subsequent 46-yard return for a score made it four straight meetings Arizona State has returned a pick for a score against the Trojans. Darby had a 70-yard INT return last season. Shelly Lyons collected a pick-6 in 2011 and Omar Bolden did so in 2010. Darby finished Saturday’s 62-41 win with two interceptions, a forced fumble and fumble recovery.

2 for 12: Cardinal defense collects two picks-6s in rout of Cougars
Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday is second in the nation in pass attempts (223) and tied with four others for the most interceptions thrown (9) this season. It had been 16 interceptions and a year since the junior had one returned for a score. Stanford’s Jordan Richards 30-yard touchdown interception return in the third quarter was the first such score against WSU since Oregon’s Avery Patterson picked off Halliday for a 34-yard TD return in their Sept. 29, 2012 meeting. Halliday was knocked out of the game with an ankle injury on Saturday. Eight plays later, Trent Murphy intercepted Austin Apodaca and collected the Cardinal’s second 30-yard TD return.

36: Stanford’s red zone-scoring streak halted at 36
The Cardinal had its string of 36 straight trips to the red zone with a score stopped in the second quarter of a 55-17 win against Washington State. The streak, which was the second longest in the nation, was snapped when Deone Bucannon intercepted Kevin Hogan in the end zone. The junior does remain the only active FBS quarterback to lead his team to nine straight wins in as many consecutive starts. 

5: Oregon State offense eclipses 30 for fifth straight game
Oregon State’s 44-17 win over Colorado made it five straight games for the Beaver offense scoring 30-plus points, a record for the program. The old mark of four was set in 2009. OSU (4-1) is averaging 41.6 points per game — 20th in the nation and fifth in the Pac-12. The 542 yards of offense the Beavers posted against the Buffaloes is a season high, and quarterback Sean Mannion threw for a school-record six touchdowns, along with 414 yards.

20: Colorado’s defense has forced 20 three-and-outs this year after 29 all of last season
It’s the little things that count for Colorado. In suffering their first loss of the season — a 44-17 defeat against Oregon State — the Buffaloes did manage to force the Beavers into six three-and-out drives. That makes 20 such stops for CU in three games after having accomplished the feat 29 times in all of 2012. Colorado ranks 12th in the nation and No. 1 in the Pac-12 in third down conversion defense (13-of-50 for .258).

40: Sankey’s school-record 40 rushing attempts paces Huskies in Pac-12 opener
Bishop Sankey, the nation’s leading rusher in yards per game, toted the rock a school-record 40 times in Washington’s 31-13 win over Arizona in a Seattle downpour. Sankey, averaging 151.8 yards per game, bested Corey Dillon’s old mark of 38 set in 1996. Sankey had 35 of his 40 carries in the first three quarters for 156 of his 161 yards. The national record for rushing attempts in a game is 58, set by Kansas’ Tony Sands in 1991. 

29 bests 31: Arizona’s first eight drives take 31 plays, net no points; next 29 plays produce 13
Arizona’s offense did itself no favors on their first eight drives at Washington. The 31 plays run produced 75 yards, no points, an interception, a safety and helped the Huskies score the first 11 points. The Wildcats finally put together successful drives to close out the first half and begin the second half — scoring touchdowns on both. They ended the first half with a 14-play, 84-yard TD drive, missed the PAT, and opened the second with a 15-play, 72-yard scoring drive.

32: Oregon backup running backs step in for injured Thomas, carry 32 times for 224 yards, 3 TDs
If there was ever a time for Oregon running De’Anthony Thomas to miss a game, it was against California and the Pac-12’s worst run defense (262.5 YPG). Thomas injured his ankle after returning the opening kickoff 27 yards, and gave way to sophomore Byron Marshall and freshman Thomas Tyner. Marshall, who had 29 carries for 196 yards over the first three games, finished 19-for-130 with two scores. Tyner, who had 12 carries for 80 yards and three scores in two games, added 13 carries for 94 yards and scored again.

90-plus: Cal offense racks up at least 90 plays for the fourth straight game
The Sonny Dykes’ era (1-3) at Cal has not brought a lot of wins yet, but it is bringing a lot more plays than Bears fans are used to. Cal ran 95 plays in its 55-16 loss to Oregon Saturday, marking the fourth time in as many games the Bears have run at least 90 plays. The Golden Bears average 94.8 plays per game. The Dykes offense is a far cry from the Jeff Tedford offense. Only three times in the last five years have the Bears run 80 plays — 88 against Stanford in 2009, 87 against Presbyterian in 2011 and 87 two games later against Oregon. Only 13 times in the last 50 games before Dykes arrived had Cal even run 70 plays a game.

Teaser:
Post date: Tuesday, October 1, 2013 - 08:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/big-12-post-week-5-power-rankings-2013
Body:

The state of Oklahoma’s 1-1 record in Week 5 prompted a change at the top of the Big 12 Power Rankings.

But it also signaled we have no clue how the league race is going to shake out. Preseason conference favorite Oklahoma State lost 30-21 to West Virginia in a sloppy game in what appeared to be one of the Big 12’s weaker teams.

Oklahoma scored the biggest win for the Big 12 by defeating Notre Dame 35-21, but it’s not clear how much stock we should put in a win over a team that lost to Michigan and slogged its way through wins over Michigan State and Purdue.

For now, though, it’s enough to put OU at the top of the Big 12 for at least a week or at least until Baylor picks up a win against a quality opponent.

Big 12 Post-Week 5 Power Rankings

RankTeamLWAnalysis
13Oklahoma (4-0, 1-0): Oklahoma made its statement in the 35-21 win at Notre Dame, ending a seven-game losing streak to the Irish. The run defense was not itself, allowing 220 yards. But the Sooners intercepted three passes and kept the pressure on Notre Dame quarterback Tommy Rees. The offense is in good hands under Blake Bell, who has completed 49 of 67 passes for 645 yards with six interceptions in his two starts. Why was he second-string in the first two games again? This week: TCU
22Baylor (3-0, 0-0): The Bears had their second off week in September, but West Virginia gave Baylor something to think about after shutting down Oklahoma State. Baylor still leads the nation in yards (751.3) and points (69.7) per game by a comfortable margin. This week: West Virginia
31Oklahoma State (3-1, 0-1): Is it time to be concerned for the Oklahoma State offense. In games against West Virginia and Mississippi State, the Cowboys scored only 21 points each. Neither team is a defensive juggernaut. The Mountaineers were the second team this season to hold Oklahoma State to fewer than 3 yards per carry. It had happened only twice in 35 games before this season. Quarterback J.W. Walsh also struggled, completing 20 of 47 passes with two interceptions, but Mike Gundy never went to Clint Chelf on his bench. This week: Kansas State
44Texas Tech (4-0, 1-0): Despite being undefeated, Texas Tech still needs to prove it belongs among the realistic conference contenders. Taking care of business against Kansas will help. Michael Brewer, the Red Raiders’ projected starting quarterback in the preseason, is nearing a return from injury, so that could make the next week interesting in Lubbock. This week: at Kansas
55TCU (2-2, 0-1): The Horned Frogs’ offense has looked lost for most of the season, but it came alive in a 41-point second half against SMU. After recording five plays of 10 or more yards in the first half (one resulting in a fumble), the Horned Frogs had 10 plays of 10 yards or more in the second, not including a 51-yard punt return and a 45-yard kickoff return for a touchdown on an onside kick. With defensive end Devonte Fields hurt, TCU still managed to force five turnovers and sack SMU quarterback Garrett Gilbert seven times. This week: at Oklahoma
66Texas (2-2, 1-0): A win, an off week and a trip to Iowa State. That’s how things calm down around Austin. But don’t look now, the Cyclones just discovered a run game. This week: at Iowa State (Thursday)
78West Virginia (3-2, 1-1): The Mountaineers found something that worked with 21 changes on the depth chart against Oklahoma State. The defense has been one of the most improved units in the Big 12, and it appears the Mountaineers finally have their quarterback in Clint Trickett. Special teams, though, remain a major liability. Some answers, though, are better than none going into a game against the most explosive offense in the country. This week: at Baylor
87Kansas State (2-2, 0-1): Kansas State spent an off week recovering from the loss to Texas and looking for leadership. This week’s opponent may be just as wounded. This week: at Oklahoma State
910Iowa State (1-2, 0-0): The Cyclones had their best game of the season in a win over Tulsa on Friday as Iowa State’s run game was not a major liability for the first time all season. The 434 yards of total offense was a season high and was 166 more than the last time Iowa State faced Tulsa on Dec. 31 in the Liberty Bowl. This week: Texas (Thursday)
109Kansas (2-1, 0-0): Two bad signs for Kansas: The only FBS team the Jayhawks beat this season, Louisiana Tech, lost 35-16 at home to Army. And the team that beat Kansas this season, Rice, needed a fourth-quarter rally to beat FAU at home. This week: Texas Tech

 



Big 12 Week 5 Recap and Awards

Offensive player of the week: Blake Bell, Oklahoma
The Sooners defense set the tone with two early interceptions against Notre Dame, but Bell was key in preserving the 35-21 win. Bell was stuffed on a couple of “Belldozer” short yardage situations, but he still finished 22-of-30 for 232 yards and two touchdowns in his first career road start. He also rushed for 59 yards on 12 carries.

Defensive player of the week: Sam Carter, TCU
The safety Carter was all over the field in an impressive defensive effort against SMU despite the absence of star defensive end Devonte Fields. Carter finished with five tackles, two interceptions and forced fumble and a sack in a 48-17 win.

Team of the week: Oklahoma
Who knows how a win at Notre Dame will look at the end of the season, but for now, it’s the best the Big 12 has. Oklahoma’s win in South Bend was the Big 12’s first over a ranked opponent, though the Irish won’t be ranked after the loss. The Sooners picked up the best non-conference win for the league in a game that was rarely in doubt. OU had three first-half interceptions and then protected the lead with 212 rushing yards

Freshman of the week: Ty Slanina, TCU
In a quiet week for Big 12 rookies, Slanina stands out. The freshman from East Bernard, Texas, caught three passes for 63 yards against SMU, including the 20-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter to take a lead.

Coordinator of the week: Keith Patterson, West Virginia
The West Virginia offense is a work in progress to put it kindly, but the defense is vastly improved since last season. Oklahoma State amassed 433 yards against the Mountaineers, but West Virginia forced three turnovers (two interceptions and a fumble), returning one pick for a touchdown in the 30-21 win. West Virginia held Oklahoma State to 6 of 20 on third down and turned in a successful goal-line stand in the fourth quarter against a team that converted all 15 of its red zone opportunities to touchdowns.

Fifth Down

• Oklahoma beat Notre Dame for the first time in eight tries. The Sooners last beat Notre Dame in 1956.

• West Virginia started its third quarterback of the season in Clint Trickett. The Florida State transfer completed 24 of 49 passes for 310 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions but still looked like the best Mountaineers quarterback this year.

• In a special teams disaster, kickers in the West Virginia-Oklahoma State game went a combined 3 of 7, including misses for 23 and 34 yards and a blocked attempt. West Virginia’s special teams were particularly bad, losing five yards on three punt returns and amassing an average of 9.7 yards on three kickoff returns.

• TCU had four interceptions against SMU, giving the Horned Frogs nine interceptions in two seasons against the Mustangs and nine picks in the last three games of 2013.

• TCU’s 31 points in the fourth quarter against SMU was the most in a fourth quarter by any FBS team this season.

• In Friday’s 38-21 win over Tulsa, Iowa State finally found a threat in the run game in back Aaron Wimberly. The junior college transfer carried 19 times for 137 yards, the most for a Cyclones tailback since Sept. 1, 2012.

• Iowa State was in the right place at the right time by recovering three fumbles, including two by sophomore defensive end Nick Kron.

 

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, September 30, 2013 - 07:00
Path: /college-football/georgias-murray-wins-athlon-sports-national-player-week
Body:

The SEC is a new conference in 2013. Up-and-down offensive showcases are now the norm.

Maybe this is the league where Aaron Murray can truly flourish. Don’t be mistaken: Murray had a fine first three seasons, leading Georgia to two SEC championships game and putting himself in position for conference career passing records.

But, now, Murray has Georgia in position for bigger and better things.

On the biggest stage of the week against LSU and another quarterback throwing darts all over the field, Murray shined again, earning Athlon Sports National Player of the Week honors.

Murray had another standout game on third down and didn’t blink even when LSU took a four-point lead in the final 4:14 lead. Murray guided a six-play, 75-yard drive, capped by a 25-yard touchdown pass to Justin Scott-Wesley for the 44-41 win.

Athlon Sports Week 5 National Awards
 

National Player of the Week: Aaron Murray, Georgia
The spotlight could not have been brighter on Aaron Murray on Saturday afternoon. The game against LSU was a shootout from the start with LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger, a Georgia transfer and former roommate of Murray’s, matching the Bulldogs quarterback pass for pass. Murray, though, came out on top by leading the game-winning drive in the final minutes of a 44-41 win over the Tigers. Murray finished 20 of 34 for 298 yards with four touchdowns and an interception in his second brilliant game in SEC play.

National Defensive Player of the Week: Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State
The hard-hitting star linebacker was all over the field for the Buckeyes Saturday night. Facing one of the most powerful running games in the nation, Shazier led an impressive showing from the Ohio State front seven by holding Wisconsin to just 104 yards rushing. He finished with nine tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and one key forced fumble. There is a reason he is an All-America candidate.

National Freshman of the Week: Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
Florida State got off to a slow start against Boston College, but the Seminoles rallied behind Winston for a 48-34 victory. Winston completed 17 of 27 passes for 330 yards and four touchdowns and added 67 yards on the ground. The redshirt freshman added another play to his highlight reel, as he escaped Boston College’s pass rush on the final play of the first half and hit Kenny Shaw for a 55-yard touchdown. Winston has thrown for 12 touchdowns and just two interceptions on 91 attempts this year.

National Coordinator of the week: Keith Patterson, West Virginia
The West Virginia offense is a work in progress to put it kindly, but the defense is vastly improved since last season. Oklahoma State amassed 433 yards against the Mountaineers, but West Virginia forced three turnovers (two interceptions and a fumble), returning one pick for a touchdown in the 30-21 win. West Virginia held Oklahoma State to 6 of 20 on third down and turned in a successful goal-line stand in the fourth quarter against a team that converted all 15 of its red zone opportunities to touchdowns.

Week 5 Conference Awards

ACC
Offense: Brandon Connette, Duke
Defense: Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh
Freshman: Jameis Winston, Florida State
Coordinator: Bud Foster, Virginia Tech

Big 12
Offense: Blake Bell, Oklahoma
Defense: Sam Carter, TCU
Freshman: Ty Slanina, TCU
Coordinator: Keith Patterson, West Virginia

Big Ten
Offense: Braxton Miller, Ohio State
Defense: Ryan Shazier, Ohio State
Freshman: Danny Etling, Purdue
Coordinator: Phil Parker, Iowa

Pac-12
Offense: Marion Grice, Arizona State
Defense: Alden Darby, Arizona State
Freshman: Justin Davis, USC
Coordinator: Derek Mason, Stanford

SEC
Offense: Aaron Murray, Georgia
Defense: C.J. Mosley, Alabama
Freshman: Alex Collins, Arkansas
Coordinator: Kirby Smart, Alabama

Teaser:
Post date: Sunday, September 29, 2013 - 16:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, SEC
Path: /college-football/sec-week-5-recap-and-awards
Body:

One of the two huge SEC games lived up to the hype last weekend. Georgia outlasted LSU 44-41 in an epic clash in Athens. There was, however, little drama in Tuscaloosa, where the Alabama defense pitched a shout out against Ole Miss.

SEC Week 5 Recap and Awards

Offensive Player of the Week: Zach Mettenberger, LSU
His team didn’t win the game, but Mettengberger was brilliant in his return to Athens. The former Bulldog completed 23-of-37 passes for a career-high 372 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions in the Tigers’ 44-41 loss. Mettenberger, arguably the most improved quarterback in the nation, averaged 10.1 yards on his 37 attempts and completed six of his 10 attempts on third down with all six completions resulting in a first down or touchdown.

Defensive Player of the Week: C.J. Mosley, Alabama
It was hard to find an Alabama defensive player who did not shine on Saturday night at Bryant-Denny Stadium, but we’ll give the nod to Mosley. The senior linebacker played a pivotal role in the Tide’s surprising shut out against Ole Miss. Mosley recorded seven tackles and made several key plays: He batted down a fourth-down attempt in the third quarter to thwart an Ole Miss scoring opportunity and tackled Rebel quarterback Bo Wallace for a safety early in the fourth quarter to increase the Tide’s lead to 18-0.

Team of the Week: Georgia
The Bulldogs took another step toward a third straight trip to the SEC Championship Game with a thrilling 44-41 win over LSU in a game that lived up to lofty expectations. Since losing at Clemson in Week 1, the Bulldogs have knocked off South Carolina and LSU at home to seize control of the SEC East race. Georgia rolled up 494 yards of offense, led by another terrific performance from quarterback Aaron Murray. The senior threw for 298 yards and four touchdowns for an offense that was forced to play without star tailback Todd Gurley in the second half. Georgia’s defense gave up 449 yards and 41 points but came up with a key stop late to preserve the win. 

Coordinator of the Week: Kirby Smart, Alabama
When you factor in the quality of the opponent, Alabama might have had the finest defensive performance of the season by an team in the nation this season. The Crimson Tide, torched for 628 yards two weeks at Texas A&M, allowed only 205 yards in a 25-0 win over high-powered Ole Miss in Tuscaloosa. The Rebels, who came into the game averaging 490.0 yards and 38.0 points, had no answer for the Alabama defense. Ole Miss averaged 3.6 yards on 57 offensive plays — 22 below its season average — and only had two drives that went for more than 30 yards.

Freshman of the Week: Alex Collins, Arkansas 
Collins bounced back from a subpar performance at Rutgers last week to rush for 116 yards on 14 carries (8.3-yard average) and one touchdown in the Razorbacks’ loss to Texas A&M. Collins has rushed for at least 100 yards in four of his five games and is averaging 6.0 yards per carry.

5th Down

• Texas A&M, which beat Arkansas in Fayetteville, has now won nine straight games away from home. The Aggies have true road wins over Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi State, Auburn, Ole Miss and LSU, a win over Louisiana Tech in Ruston, La., and bowl wins over Oklahoma (Cotton) and Northwestern (Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas).

• Mike Davis continues to shine for South Carolina. The sophomore tailback rushed for 167 yards on 26 carries in the Gamecocks’ 28-25 win at UCF. Davis is averaging 7.2 yards on his 71 attempts this season.

• Vanderbilt senior tackle Wesley Johnson was flagged for a holding penalty for the first time in his career in the Commodores’ 52-24 win over UAB. Johnson made his 43rd career start on Saturday night.

• Kentucky only had 47 offensive plays in its 24-7 loss at home to Florida. The Wildcats only had one possession in the first quarter and one possession in the fourth quarter.

• Matt Jones, Florida’s highly touted sophomore running back, enjoyed the finest day of his young career. Jones rushed for 176 yards and a touchdown and added three catches for 20 yards in the Gators’ win at Kentucky.
 

Teaser:
Post date: Sunday, September 29, 2013 - 15:00

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