By Casey Keefe
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LSU 24 Alabama 21: I have to admit, I was shocked at this result. I knew LSU’s defense would keep the Tigers in the game, but never did I think I’d see Alabama allow 433 yards (225 rushing) to LSU’s mediocre and dysfunctional offense. The game was up for grabs till the very end, but the more deserving team won. Shockingly, that team was LSU.

The Tide never got into a good offensive flow. They were able to move the ball at times but did commit two costly turnovers. LSU on the other hand marched up and down the field and were able to hit on some big plays. Few were bigger than Jordan Jefferson’s third quarter 75 yard touchdown pass to Rueben Randle which gave the Tigers a 10-7 lead and really got the crowd into the game. Randle was on the receiving end of another big play when he hauled in a 47 yard pass on a crucial third down late in the game.

The Tigers had to overcome another deficit in the third quarter. They showed the type of fight I didn’t think they had. A big moment came in the fourth quarter with Alabama holding a 14-13 lead – LSU was facing a 4th-and-1, they ran a reverse to DeAngelo Peterson who managed to scamper for a 23 yard gain. That would lead to Stevan Ridley’s go ahead touchdown around the 8 minute mark of the fourth quarter. A successful two point conversion made the score 21-14 – all of a sudden the Tigers were in control.

Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee played poised and mistake-free at quarterback – whereas Greg McElroy was shaky, tossing a pick and losing a fumble. Most impressively, the Tigers defense was able to hold down the usually unstoppable running back duo of Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson. LSU’s defense put their offense in good spots – and the offense did their part. It was a complete team win.

With a second loss added to their resume, ‘Bama sees their chances for national championship repeat go flying out the window. LSU meanwhile remains in great shape, standing at 8-1 and 5-1 in the SEC. They are right in the thick of the BCS picture.

Louisville 28 Syracuse 20: It was a bad day all around for Syracuse, and it started before kickoff when you looked around and realized the Carrier Dome was far short of a sellout. Despite ‘Cuse coming off a couple major victories and looking to continue what is their best season in a number of years, the fans didn’t show up. There was no excuse for that building not to be sold out. Bad job by the Orange “faithful.”

On the field, things were equally disappointing. Louisville was dealing with a number of injuries and was without their top two quarterbacks and top running back. But that didn’t stop the mighty Cardinals. In stepped Justine Burke who was smart and sharp as he outplayed his counterpart Ryan Nassib. The Orange could only muster 256 total yards of offense. They were a step slow all day long.

Running back Delone Carter was the only bright spot for ‘Cuse. He rushed for 107 yards a touchdown and tried his best to keep the Orange in the game. It was a tight, back-and-forth, one possession contest. Louisville was able to deal the death blow when Burke hit Josh Chichester with a 21 yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter, making the score 28-20 – which would ultimately hold.

The Cardinals broke their 12 game road losing streak against Big East opponents. Syracuse on the other hand falls to 6-3 and 3-2 on the season. They blew a golden opportunity. Chalk it up to Syracuse just being Syracuse.

TCU 47 Utah 7: I thought the Horned Frogs would win this game handily, but never did I think they would dominate to THIS extent. The display they put on Saturday was ridiculous. They outgained the Utes 558-199 in total yardage and raced out to a 40-0 lead before Utah ever got on the board. It’s no exaggeration to say this game was over in the first quarter.

The much criticized Andy Dalton had a flawless day for TCU, totaling 355 yards and 3 touchdowns on 21 of 26 passing. Waymon James and Ed Wesley were strong on the ground combining for 2 scores. Meanwhile the defense completely embarrassed Utah, holding the erratic Jordan Wynn to just 148 yards passing. More impressively, they took the running back duo of Eddie Wide and Matt Asiata out of the game. All in all, the Utes turned the ball over 4 times and you know what they say…you’re never going to win when you do that.

This was the game of the week heading into Saturday. It was built as an epic showdown and the entire state of Utah was pumped and ready. But it wasn’t too long after kickoff that the spirit and enthusiasm went flying out of the stadium. When the damage was done Utah was handed their worst home loss in 21 years.

The Horned Frogs remain undefeated at 10-0. After the game Andy Dalton offered a few words for the critics, “This performance showed we can play with anybody.

Nebraska 31 Iowa State 30: Playing without the banged up Taylor Martinez, Nebraska found themselves in a good old-fashioned street fight with Iowa State. Cody Green got the start for the Cornhuskers and wasn’t called upon to do too much thanks to running backs Rex Burkhead (129 yards – 2 TD’s) and Roy Helu Jr. (99 yards – TD).

Despite the efficiency on offense, Nebraska’s defense couldn’t hold up their end of the bargain. They were sloppy and had numerous breakdowns throughout the game. They allowed the Cyclones to rally from down 14 to tie the game 24-24 early in the fourth quarter. Still knotted up at the end of regulation, the game headed to overtime.

The Cornhuskers had the ball first on OT and scored on a Burkhead 19 yard touchdown run. The extra point gave Nebraska a 31-24 lead and it was Iowa State’s turn to answer. Sure enough, the Cyclones drove and cashed in on an Austin Arnaud 9 yard strike to Jake Williams. The game was won by Nebraska when State decided to fake the PAT – holder Daniel Kuehl rolled out and had his target wide open in the endzone, but he lofted the pass too much and it was picked off by Eric Hagg.

Nebraska survived yet another scare. As I’ve said in past weeks, this team is as talented as just about anyone, but they go through way too many lapses. Things will tighten up when Martinez returns, but their mental makeup leaves a lot to be desired.

Texas A&M 33 Oklahoma 19: We knew this was a very flawed Sooners team and they proved us right once again on Saturday. The offense couldn’t get anything going. They were sloppy, took lots of gambles and paid for them. When halftime rolled around they had yet to score which was the first time that had happen in three years.

Oklahoma would battle back and make it close in the third quarter but A&M regained form in the fourth, outscoring the Sooners 14-2. The game ball goes to the Aggies defense which held Landry Jones and company to 362 yards and got big stop after big stop – including consecutive 4th-and-goal stops in the fourth quarter.

Aggie quarterback Ryan Tannehill had a big day passing for 225 yard and 2 touchdowns. His main target was Louie Swope who hauled in 8 balls for 136 yards. Not to be overshadowed, Cyrus Gray made his presence felt on the ground rushing for 122 yards and a score.

A&M snapped their 8 game losing streak to Oklahoma. They had been outscored 131-38 in the past two meetings but they finally got revenge this time around. The Sooners pick up their second loss and fall out of the national title race.

Quick Hits…

– Oregon, Auburn and Boise State all picked up easy victories, but the most impressive result was posted by the Broncos who beat up a pretty good Hawaii team, 42-7. Kellen Moore passed for a career high 507 yards and 3 touchdowns. Their defense meanwhile held the #1 quarterback in the nation (Bryant Moniz) to just 127 yards passing while sacking him 7 times.

– Ryan Mallett out-dueled Stephen Garcia as Arkansas beat up on South Carolina on the road. The Razorbacks rushed for 140 yards against the #1 rush defense in the SEC, while holding Gamecock running back Marcus Lattimore to just 30 yards.

– 1,237 yards and a Big 10 record 132 points were totaled at the Big House between Michigan and Illinois. The only time a defensive play was made was in the last play of the game… Down 2 after a triple OT score, Illinois was forced to go for the mandatory two point conversion – Michigan sent an all out blitz and Nathan Scheelhaase’s heave fell incomplete.

– Quarterback Andrew Luck (293 yards – 2 TD’s), receiver Chris Owusu (9 receptions – 165 yards – TD) and running back Stepfan Taylor (82 yards – 4 TD’s) led a Stanford offense which totaled 510 yards and 37 minutes worth of possession in a dominating 42-17 win over rival Arizona.

– Brandon Weeden (435 yards – 3 TD’s) badly outplayed Robert Griffin III as Oklahoma State reeled off an astonishing 725 yards of total offense in their 55-28 thrashing of the Baylor Bears.

– Ricky Stanzi saves the day again. Down 13-12 with 3 minutes left, Stanzi hit Marvin McNutt on a go-ahead (and game winning) 52 yard touchdown pass which catapulted the Hawkeyes over Indiana. They got a scare, but remain alive for the Big 10 title.

Check back tomorrow for my Tuesday Top 10…

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