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Freeman, Benjamin help Jameis overcome two early INTs
If Saturday seemed quiet, that was with good reason.
No Alabama. No Oregon. No Stanford. No Oklahoma. No Baylor.
In their place, Florida State and Ohio State took the opportunity in a less-crowded schedule to prove their mettle.
The Seminoles made the most of their opportunity with yet another rout this season, and another against a top-10 team. Florida State’s home win over Miami likely will be the last opportunity for the Seminoles to pick up a signature win before the final BCS rankings. The next three opponents are Wake Forest, Syracuse and Idaho. The regular season finale at Florida becomes less and less interesting every week, and now Miami is wounded as it tries to win Coastal Division title for a rematch with FSU in Charlotte.
The Buckeyes finished with another lopsided score, but it’s too little too late as long as two of the top three remain undefeated. A Purdue team that historically has given Ohio State fits in West Lafayette will have its worst seasons since before Joe Tiller arrived. And like Florida State, Ohio State can’t expect a major boost with its season-ending rivalry game on the road. Michigan, after Saturday, is simply looking to move the ball forward for a change.
College Football Week 10 Recap: Three and Out
Three Things We Learned from Florida State 41, Miami 14
There’s no reason to keep Florida State out of the title game. Jameis Winston threw two interceptions for the first time in his career, and the Seminoles still won by 27. That's just how FSU is handling opponents these days. In the last three weeks, Florida State defeated Clemson and Miami, both ranked in the top 10 at kickoff, by a combined score of 92-28. The Seminoles have scored at least 40 points in every game this season, and only one team (Boston College) has scored more than 17 against the Noles. Florida State has proven itself to be in a league with Alabama and Oregon right now, but the problem for the Noles is that Alabama and Oregon are equally deserving of title game slots.
It’s not all Jameis. The redshirt freshman quarterback has been the transformative figure for Florida State’s program under Jimbo Fisher, but the win over Miami proved how imposing the Seminoles’ supporting cast is. Running back Devonta Freeman did most of the work on a 49-yard touchdown on a screen pass, and the imposing 6-5, 234-pound Kelvin Benjamin seems to catch any pass remotely in his area. Throw in Rashad Greene, Kenny Shaw and tight end Nick O’Leary, and Winston may have the nation’s most impressive group of skill position players around him.
Stephen Morris needs to get better. And before Dec. 7. With Virginia Tech losing, Miami remains the favorite in the ACC Coastal. A rematch with Florida State is possible, but Stephen Morris will need perform better than he did Saturday. Morris was 16 of 29 for 196 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, both in a problematic second half. With top receiver Phillip Dorsett already hurting and running back Duke Johnson out with a broken ankle, the spotlight is on Morris if the Canes are going to win the Coastal.
Related: Duke Johnson suffers broken ankle in loss
Moving the Chains
Michigan State’s front seven. The nation’s top defense resides in East Lansing. After Saturday, it’s tough to argue otherwise. Michigan rushed for minus-48 yards in a 29-6 loss to Michigan State, setting a Wolverines record for futility in the run game. Most of the lost rushing yards came on sacks (seven sacks for a loss of 49 yards), but Michigan State stopped Michigan’s designed run plays at or behind the line of scrimmage eight times. The Wolverines had only two rushing plays longer than five yards and none longer than nine. Defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi, Mark Dantonio’s defensive coordinator since 2004 at Cincinnati, could have one of the best defenses in recent decades. Since 2000, only 2011 Alabama allowed fewer total yards per game than Michigan State’s 210.2 so far. And in the last 30 years, only four teams have held opponents to fewer than 50 rushing yards per game. The Spartans are holding teams to 43.3 rushing yards per game and 2.1 yards per carry.
Oklahoma State’s Big 12 hopes. A loss to West Virginia and an uneven offense have made Oklahoma State an overlooked one-loss team but not anymore. On Saturday, the Cowboys all but ended Texas Tech’s bid for the Big 12 title, and now the Pokes control their own fate after defeating the Red Raiders 52-34 in Lubbock. Oklahoma State still has games against Texas (Nov. 16 in Austin), Baylor (Nov. 23) and Oklahoma (Dec. 7) for a chance to win the league. On Saturday, Oklahoma State jumped to an early 21-0 lead on turnover and a blocked punt. The Cowboys never really let up even when Texas Tech narrowed the deficit to 4 at halftime. Credit the Oklahoma State offense that has stabilized with Clint Chelf and Desmond Roland in the backfield. In his second consecutive start, Chelf was 18 of 34 for 212 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions while rushing for 88 yards and two scores.
This play by Nebraska. The Cornhuskers’ chances to win the Big Ten Legends Division remain intact thanks to a miracle 49-yard touchdown Hail Mary from senior former walk-on Ron Kellogg off a deflection to mustached redshirt freshman receiver Jordan Westerkamp in the end zone. Nebraska never led after the midway point of the first quarter against Northwestern and gave up a 3-point lead in a field goal with 1:22 left before this highlight reel pass play to win 27-24.
Virginia Tech’s ACC hopes. Two weeks ago, Virginia Tech had plenty of reason to believe the Coastal Division would come down to next week’s matchup against Miami. The defense was stout, and quarterback Logan Thomas had appeared to turn a corner. After losing back-to-back games to Duke and Boston College, Virginia Tech will fighting for a semi-respectable bowl berth. The defense is doing just fine, holding opponents to 18 of 40 passing 2 of 23 on third down in the last two games. But Thomas has been a mess the last two weeks. He threw two interceptions, including a pick six to BC’s Kevin Pierre-Louis to give the Eagles the lead. Thomas has eight turnovers in the last two games (six interceptions, two fumbles).
Florida’s composure. Florida finished its 23-20 in way that’s become all too typical for the Gators — with a momentum-sapping penalty. In the final moments, Florida stopped Georgia on a third and 5 to set up a 42-yard field goal, but a facemask penalty gave Georgia the game-clinching first down. In the third quarter, an illegal formation negated a long pass play into Georgia territory on a third-and-15 conversion. But the tone was set on Florida’s first possession when an 83-yard pass play to Quinton Dunbar, one of the rare long pass plays for the Gators this season, turned into a missed 40-yard field goal four plays later because of a personal foul. Florida finished with seven penalties, the 21st time in the last 34 games the Gators have been flagged seven or more times.
Texas Tech’s first quarter. The Red Raiders gave themselves little chance to bounce back from a loss to Oklahoma with a disastrous first quarter against Oklahoma State. Texas Tech had a three-and-out, a punt, a fumble and a blocked punt to spot the Cowboys a 21-0 lead from which Texas Tech never recovered in a 52-34 loss.
Mike Davis, South Carolina. Davis didn’t have his most prolific day of the season against Mississippi State, but he continued to be one of the most consistent performers of the year. Davis rushed for 128 yards on 15 carries and caught two passes for 26 yards, giving him 150 yards from scrimmage in his sixth game this season. Davis is averaging 7.1 yards every time he touches the ball on offense.
Sean Mannion, Oregon State. The Beavers’ quarterback still has 3,540 passing yards and 31 touchdowns in nine games, but his Heisman bid is probably up after running into two elite defenses for Stanford and USC. Mannion was 67 of 102 for 548 yards. Mannion averaged nearly nine yards per pass attempt in the first seven games but only 5.4 against Stanford and USC.
Ka’Deem Carey, Arizona. The Wildcats are a quiet 6-2 team, but Arizona’s running back should be ready to take center stage in the final month of the season. Carey rushed for 152 yards on 32 carries in the 33-28 win over Cal to give him 1,072 yards in seven games this season. Arizona finishes with UCLA, Washington State, Oregon and Arizona State.
187. Snaps Purdue has taken since it last ran a play in the red zone. Purdue has an eight-game losing streak to FBS opponents and has lost its last three games by a combined score of 114-14. But the biggest sign of Purdue’s futility is the Boilermakers’ streak of 187 consecutive plays outside of the red zone, dating back to the Sept. 28 loss to Northern Illinois.
73. Times Tom Savage has been sacked in his career. It wasn’t a game many people watched, but Pittsburgh quarterback Tom Savage will have the bruises from a 21-10 loss to Georgia Tech. Savage was sacked five times, not a season high, but it highlights that he’s been sacked 24 times this season. The former Rutgers quarterback has played on three teams ranked 100th or worse in sacks allowed, giving him 73 sacks in 25 career games. Just for comparison, Alabama’s AJ McCarron has been sacked 44 times ... in 44 games.
119-14. Amount Ohio State is outscoring opponents since the first BCS standings. Two games, two routs since Ohio State was put at No. 4 in the BCS standings. The Buckeyes may post similar scores against Illinois and Indiana, but it remains unlikely for Ohio State to pass Alabama, Oregon or Florida State without a loss by one of those teams.
Buried on the Depth Chart
Dang, They’re Good
Dang, They’re Bad
Best Midweek Games Next Week
Oklahoma at Baylor (Thursday)
Oregon at Stanford (Thursday)
Ohio at Buffalo (Tuesday)
Best Games Next Saturday
BYU at Wisconsin
Houston at UCF
LSU at Alabama
Texas State is bowl eligible. Texas State has been one of the success stories of teams moving up to FBS after decades in the FCS/Division I-AA. In is third season in the FBS, Texas State is bowl eligible after defeating Idaho 37-21 to move to 6-3.
Tulsa’s fall. The defending Conference USA champions likely won’t go to a bowl game after losing 34-15 at home to slip to 2-6. Tulsa has missed a bowl game only twice since 2003.
Three Big-Time Runners
Todd Gurley, Georgia. Gurley was not at full speed in his first game since Sept. 28, leaving the game at times with stomach ailments. That’s a scary thought. Gurley rushed for 100 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries and had a 73-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter. On his first carry upon returning from the locker room in the second quarter, Gurley rushed for 30 yards.
David Cobb, Minnesota. Cobb, who rushed for 65 total yards in two seasons entering this season, continues to carry the Gophers run game. The junior from Killeen, Texas, rushed for 188 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries while catching two passes for 48 yards in Minnesota’s 42-39 win over Indiana. Cobb has rushed for 429 yards his last three games, all Big Ten wins for Minnesota.
Anthony LaCoste, Air Force. This has not been a shining season for Air Force, but LaCoste ended the seven-game losing streak with 263 rushing yards, second-most in school history, in a 42-28 win over Army.
Reasons You Should’ve Found Something Better to do Saturday Morning
Wisconsin 28, Iowa 9. The Badgers needed two fourth-quarter touchdowns to pull away, but Iowa never really posed a threat to Wisconsin. Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz was risk averse, to say the least. The Hawkeyes settled for three field goals of fewer than 30 yards (29, 22, 29) and even punted once from Wisconsin’s 35-yard line. The game was all but over when Iowa starting quarterback Jake Rudock was lost to a leg injury in the third quarter.
Penn State 24, Illinois 17 (OT). Illinois’ Big Ten losing streak extended to 18 games in excruciating fashion as the Illini coughed up a three-point lead in the final 51 seconds. Illinois bungled its clock management at the end of the first half, settling for a 20-yard field goal despite running three plays from inside the Penn State 10 in the final minute. Illinois also failed to capitalize on a Bill Belton fumble in the final two minutes of the game, giving Penn State the ball at 50 after a three and out.
Syracuse 13, Wake Forest 0. Even though Wake Forest gave Miami trouble last week, no one would have circled this ACC game on the schedule. This game lived up to its non-billing by featuring a combined 23 punts.
Has Anyone Noticed?
Notre Dame is quietly building a BCS case. The Irish will have to move from No. 25 into the top 14 to be eligible for an at-large bid (or No. 12 for an automatic bid), but Notre Dame is on its way to making that a possibility. Navy gave Notre Dame all it could handle in the Irish’s 38-34 loss, but the Irish are 7-2 with games remaining against Pittsburgh, BYU and Stanford. A 10-2 Notre Dame team fresh off a win over Stanford may crack the top 12. On Saturday, though, Navy had a chance to keep the game alive when it caught Notre Dame’s defense off guard with a fourth down reverse, but Shawn Lynch couldn’t beat the Irish D to the first down marker. The Irish played the last two games without standout defensive lineman Louis Nix, but Tommy Rees has played consistently in the last three games.
Boston College is 4-4. With a 34-27 win over Virginia Tech, Boston College improved to 4-4 in the first season under Steve Addazio. The Eagles haven’t won away from home, but they’ll have ample opportunities to get to bowl eligibility or more with games remaining at New Mexico State, against NC State, at Maryland and at Syracuse.
TCU has lost three in a row. The Big 12 is tougher, and TCU has had a slew of injuries and player departures the last two seasons. Still, Gary Patterson has seen better days. With a 30-27 loss in overtime to West Virginia, TCU has lost three in a row for the first time under Gary Patterson. The Horned Frogs scored 10 points in the final 3:49 of the third quarter to force overtime, but collapsed in the extra frame to the point the Frogs attempted a 62-yard field goal (it failed). As TCU has lost three consecutive Big 12 teams, keep in mind this is a team that lost three games total from 2009-11.
The “What Have You Done For Me Lately?” Awards
Dan Mullen, Mississippi State. The Bulldogs have gone to three consecutive bowl games only twice in their history, including 2010-12 under Mullen. But the Mullen era has been marked by uncompetitive games against above-average teams. Saturday was another one of those games as the Bulldogs lost 34-16 to South Carolina. The Gamecocks — quarterback Connor Shaw, in particular — started slow, but Carolina scored 17 third-quarter points for a convincing win. In the last three seasons, Mississippi State is 4-15 against FBS teams with winning records, with those victories coming against Troy, Bowling Green, Middle Tennessee and Louisiana Tech. In order for Mississippi State to reach a fourth consecutive bowl game, the Bulldogs will need to score at least one major upset in the last four games (at Texas A&M, Alabama, at Arkansas, Ole Miss).
Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech. Odds are Beamer gets to decide when he steps aside from the Virginia Tech program he built whenever he wants, but the last two weeks were reminiscent of another legendary ACC coach near the end of his tenure. Virginia Tech is 13-11 overall and 7-6 in the ACC since a 2011 loss to Clemson in the ACC Championship Game. In 2006-07, Bobby Bowden went 14-12 with a 7-9 ACC record. Bowden remained at Florida State until 2009, but Jimbo Fisher was hired as offensive coordinator/coach-in-waiting in 2007.
Will Muschamp, Florida. Injuries have played a major role in the Gators’ 4-4 start this season. That may save Muschamp from a similar fate to another third-year Gators coach with a similar record. Former Florida coach Ron Zook went 23-14 overall and 16-8 in the SEC from 2002-04 while Muschamp is 22-12 overall and 13-9 in the SEC. Even if Muschamp gets the benefit of the doubt for missing five starters, plus a handful of backups, due to injury this season, he’s still the first Florida coach since Galen Hall to have two three-game losing streaks on his resume. Muschamp is also 0-3 against Georgia. If Florida doesn’t win two of its final four (against Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Georgia Southern and Florida State), the Gators will miss a bowl for the first time since 1990.