By Casey Keefe
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Wisconsin 31 Ohio State 18: I don’t mean to gloat or anything, but I did nail this game in my predictions this week. I said Wisconsin would knock off the undeserving #1 team in the land, Ohio State. So for all of those Buckeye fans that sent me hate emails… I hate to say I told you so – but I told you so.
Wisconsin set the tone for this game on the opening kickoff which was taken back 97 yards for a touchdown by David Gilreath. Less than 5 minutes later John Clay broke a 14 yard touchdown run and before you could blink the Badgers were up 14-0. The lead would climb to 21-0 early in the second quarter. Wisconsin was dominating the Buckeyes in every facet of the game. Enjoying on the sidelines was former Badger Ron Dayne, who looks to be in better shape now than he ever was with the Giants.
A big sequence came right before the half when Ohio State, down 21-3, was driving for a much-needed score. Up came a third down around the Badger 20 yard line. The play resulted with Terrelle Pryor being sacked for a huge loss. The Buckeyes had to settle for a 45 yard field goal attempt – key word being attempt – because the try was hooked…no good. Wisconsin went into the break with a commanding 17 point lead.
The Badgers defense was ferocious all night, but you knew it was only a matter of time before Ohio State would mount a run. Sure enough they did, scoring 15 unanswered points to cut the lead to 21-18 with 11:38 left. Pryor finally showed signs of life, especially on the Buckeyes 94 yard drive which also featured a successful 2 point conversion…
Despite the new life, Ohio State’s defense simply could not get the job done. Wisconsin put together another solid drive which resulted in James White’s nail in the coffin TD run with 6:57 remaining. A Philip Welch 41 yard field goal was kicked for insurance… It was insurance that was not needed, because the Badgers defense regained their first half form and any threat from Ohio State was quickly squashed. The gun sounded and that was it – 31-18 Badgers.
Wisconsin dominated this game in the trenches. The line execution on both sides was heavily in favor of the Badgers. They simply out-toughed the Buckeyes, no doubt about it. The defense was fantastic, successfully shutting down Terrelle Pryor and all of OSU’s weapons. And the offense was just as good, led by John Clay (104 yards – 2 TD’s) and James White (75 yards – TD). Also not shabby was quarterback Scott Tolzien who was smart, efficient and mistake free passing for 152 yards on 13 of 16 passing.
You cannot state how big of a win this is for Wisconsin. It was their first win over a #1 team in 29 years. Now standing at 6-1 and 2-1 in the Big 10 – they are in as good of shape as anyone to win the conference title. I’ve been saying it all season long…this team is built for a title.
Texas 20 Nebraska 13: I was shocked the ‘Huskers lost this game. It seemed as if the only thing on their mind for the past year was getting revenge over Texas. I guess motivation only goes so far because the Longhorns went into Lincoln and soundly beat the ‘Huskers thanks to a dominant defensive display. They did the perceived impossible of shutting down Taylor Martinez who was held to just 21 yards rushing and 63 yards passing on just 4 of 12 efficiency. He was actually pulled from the game in the third quarter and replaced by backup Zac Lee.
We saw a Garrett Gilbert that we hadn’t seen before. Finally, Gilbert was looking mature and comfortable in the pocket. The numbers won’t back that up – you had to have seen the game and not just the stat sheet. For the first time all year, Gilbert was quick to duck and run whenever he saw that his receivers were covered or that protection was breaking down. He ended up with 71 yards on the ground and 2 touchdowns.
Nebraska’s defense did everything they could – but with Martinez’s struggles combined with the usual sloppy play and lack of discipline on offense – it wasn’t enough. Texas has now beaten Nebraska in 9 of the last 10 meetings. More soothing for Mack Brown, their 2 game losing streak is now over.
Auburn 65 Arkansas 43: No, that score is not a typo. This game featured 1,036 yards and 108 points – which is the most ever in a regulation SEC game. As expected, this was the Cam Newton show. Newton accounted for 329 yards and 4 touchdowns, 3 on the ground. His counterpart Ryan Mallett was his usual self until a blow to the head forced him out of the game while still in the first half. It was a tough break for Arkansas to say the least.
Backup Tyler Wilson filled Mallett’s shoes nicely for a while. He kept the Razorbacks right in the game until the fourth quarter. That’s when Auburn outscored Arkansas 28-8. Until then it looked like we were heading for a nail-biting finish. Arkansas took a 43-37 lead with 14 minutes left in the game and momentum was solely on their side. But that’s when Mr. Newton and company took over.
Auburn was the benefactor of a few favorable calls. They were also enormous benefactors of Mallett’s early departure. But the biggest difference was something that was a very common theme in week 7 – turnovers. Arkansas committed 3 while Auburn didn’t have any. When the ratio’s that one-sided, you know you’re in trouble.
Kentucky 31 South Carolina 28: The Gamecocks beat the best team in the country, Alabama, then lose to the Kentucky Wildcats a week later. You can’t make this up… But much like some many other games this weekend, turnovers were a huge factor. South Carolina committed 4, while Kentucky had none. You don’t need to look much further than that.
Mike Hartline was superman for Kentucky, throwing for 349 yards and 4 touchdowns – including the decisive 24 yard TD to Randall Cobb which gave the Wildcats a 31-28 lead with 1:15 left in the ball game. That score completed a ferocious comeback for Kentucky who had been down 28-10 at halftime.
Facing defeat, Stephen Garcia drove the Gamecocks down the field in the final minute and ultimately got down to the Wildcat 20 yard line. It was here that Steve Spurrier and company got a little too risky with the play-calling. Rather than be conservative knowing you’re already in field goal range, Garcia took a heave for the end zone – the pass was picked by Anthony Mosley with 4 seconds left.
South Carolina goes from top of the world to the gutter in the matter of a week. That’s life in the SEC.
Mississippi State 10 Florida 7: Florida is an absolute disaster right now. They’ve been out of sync on the offensive end all year long. No time has this been more apparent than in Saturday night’s 10-7 loss at home to Mississippi State. John Brantley and company could not get anything going. They were flat-out sloppy – committing penalties, giving up sacks and dropping balls.
The defense wasn’t great either, despite allowing only 10 points. They were atrocious defending the run, allowing 212 yards on the ground. 49 of the Bulldogs’ 58 plays were runs, including a stretch of 24 in a row. They knew what was coming – they just couldn’t stop it.
Despite all of this, Florida had a chance to tie the game up in the final seconds, but punter Chas Henry (filling in for the injured kicker Caleb Sturgis) hooked a 42 yard field goal… The Gators now have their first 3 game losing streak in 22 years.
Rutgers 23 Army 20 (OT): Rutgers was staring an inexplicable defeat right in the eyes before Chas Dodd saved the day. The Scarlet Knights were brutal heading into halftime down 17-3 to Army. But the freshman quarterback guided them on a couple great scoring drives (77 yards and 93 yards) in the second half which ultimately tied the game up, 17-all.
The defense rose to the occasion in the final 2 quarters, and Dodd fought through some serious offensive line issues (8 sacks allowed) to give Rutgers the spark they needed. Joe Martinek punched in the decisive touchdown in OT to give the Scarlet Knights the 23-20 win at the Meadowlands. Yes, it took them overtime to take care of Army, but you know what they say – a win is a win.
Obviously a distraction from the victory was the scary neck injury that Eric LeGrand suffered. Never a sight you want to see. Our thoughts and prayers are with Eric.
- Impressive performance by Iowa in their 38-28 win over Michigan at the Big House. Ricky Stanzi (17/24 – 248 yards – 3 TD’s), Marvin McNutt (4 receptions – 78 yards) and Derrell Johnson-Koulianos (4 receptions – 70 yards – 3 TD’s) were brilliant – as was Adam Robinson on the ground (18 carries – 105 yards). The game wasn’t as close as the score indicates. The Wolverines actually moved the ball better when Tate Forcier took over for Denard Robinson who left in the third quarter with a shoulder injury. But because of their untimely penalties, 4 turnovers and pathetic defense – Michigan fell again at home, despite the fact that they racked up 522 yards of offense. Athletic Director Dave Brandon said after the game “everyone just has to take a deep breath”… That type of attitude isn’t going to work for a fan base which wants nothing more than to see their head coach fired.
- Big letdown for Syracuse. They carried a 3 game winning streak heading into their matchup with Pitt at the Carrier Dome. They needed a win over the panthers to prove their legitimacy – but Tino Sunseri had different things in mind. Sunseri passed for 266 yards and 4 touchdowns, while Dion Lewis and Ray Graham dominated the ground game. Syracuse didn’t get anything from their “star” Delone Carter and shot themselves in the foot with 4 turnovers… Pitt won 45-14, and it looks like their annual midseason wake up alarm has gone off.
- Michigan State is off to their best start in 44 years, now 7-0 after bouncing Illinois 26-6. The Spartans started of slowly, but dominated the second half – outscoring the Illini 23-0. The play that sparked the rout was Kirk Cousins 48 yard touchdown pass to B.J. Cunningham midway through the third quarter. Illinois did a good job defensively, but couldn’t get anything going on offense. They had some major clock management issues and turned the ball over 4 times. You’re never going to win when those things happens.
- Florida State survived a major scare against Boston College. Christian Ponder was not sharp and turned the ball over 3 times. The Seminoles needed Bert Reed’s 42 yard touchdown on a reverse to really put away the Golden Eagles. The score made it 24-19 FSU and from there they held on. Give BC credit for hanging in and giving FSU their best shot. But in the end, it wasn’t enough.
The BCS rankings came out last night, but you know by now that you haven’t gotten a proper ranking rundown until you’ve read my Tuesday Top 10… Check back tomorrow for that.
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