By Casey Keefe
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Heartbreak Hawkeyes: The headline game of the week was as good as advertised. Ohio State clashed with Iowa in a back-and-forth heavyweight fight on Senior Day at Kinnick Stadium. In the end the two teams each did what they do best – Ohio State came from behind to pick up a win in dramatic fashion at the expense of the Hawkeyes who dropped their fourth game in the final four minutes.
Terrelle Pryor overcame a shaky performance to lead the Buckeyes on the decisive drive which featured a game saving 4th-and-10 conversion and Dan Herron’s go-ahead touchdown with 1:47 remaining in the ball game which put Ohio State up 20-17. The usually-clutch Ricky Stanzi could not pull off his magic on the Hawkeyes final drive. When the clock struck zero Jim Tressel breathed a sigh of relief knowing that his team is one win away from at least a share of a sixth straight Big 10 title.
Iowa played well in this game, but the defense could not clamp down in the end. Pryor, Herron, Dane Sanzenbacher and the powerful Buckeye offensive line wore the Hawkeyes down in the fourth quarter. I’m sure things would have been different had Iowa running back Adam Robinson been at full strength and didn’t have to miss a quarter due to “academic punishment”. However there’s no downplaying the gutty, gritty win that Ohio State was able to come away with in hostile territory.
Razorbacks Escape Starkville: This game featured a lot of yards (974), a lot of turnovers (6) and a lot of excitement. We saw big play after big play and a whole lot of twists and turns. Mississippi State nearly had a 2-to-1 advantage in time of possession yet they fell 38-31 in double overtime to Arkansas.
In a game that was filled with back-and-forth action, it was quarterback Chris Relf (324 total yards) who led the Bulldogs on a drive that resulted in Derek DePasquale’s game tying 25 yard field goal at the end of regulation. In overtime is where it got crazy… We saw Bulldogs running back Vick Ballard – who was brilliant on the night (156 yards, 3 TD’s) – fumble out of the endzone for a touchback… Then we saw Razorback kicker Zach Hocker miss a makeable 39 yard field goal…
To double OT we went, and all-world quarterback Ryan Mallett said “enough’s enough.” He drove the Razorbacks in for what turned out to be the game winning touchdown. He hooked up with Knile Davis for the decisive which was fitting because those two were really the stars of the game for Arkansas – Mallett threw for 306 yards and 3 TD’s and Davis totaled 191 yards and 3 scores.
Big House Taken Over By Badgers: Wisconsin put on a show on Saturday against Michigan in Ann Arbor. They were without running back John Clay but Montee Ball and James White proved to be an unstoppable duo, combining for 354 yards and 6 touchdowns in the 48-28 thrashing.
The Badgers led 24-0 at half and despite scoring two quick touchdowns to start the third quarter, Michigan dug their own grave with dumb turnovers thanks to Denard Robinson who once again was kept in check – Although he did become the first ever to eclipse 1,500 rushing and passing yards in the same season.
What let Michigan down the most?… Their defense. Shocker, I know. The Wolverines have one of the worst defenses in the country and we once again saw why on Saturday. Scott Tolzien barely threw the ball. Wisconsin just kept running it. Michigan knew exactly what was coming – they just couldn’t stop it.
Sloppy ‘Huskers Fall in College Station: Nebraska lost to Texas A&M 9-6 and this shouldn’t be looked at as an upset. Anybody who’s watched the Aggies knows that they were red-hot ever since the quarterbacking switch to Ryan Tannehill. Most importantly, A&M had the type of defense that was needed to slow down the ‘Huskers.
Nebraska certainly didn’t help its cause much. They created a new definition to the term “undisciplined,” as they committed 16 penalties for an astounding 145 yards. Yes, Taylor Martinez was playing hurt and hasn’t been himself, but there’s no excuse, whenever a team commits 16 penalties they don’t deserve to win. That’s the bottom line.
Hokies Capture ACC Costal Division: Virginia Tech won their ninth straight game, knocking off the Jacory Harris-less Hurricanes 31-17 at Miami. It’s the Hokies longest winning streak in 11 years. Canes backup quarterback Stephen Morris was in way over his head, throwing 3 interceptions – part of 6 Miami turnovers.
Hokie running back Ryan Williams had his best performance of the season rushing for 142 yards and 2 touchdowns on just 14 carries. The game was tight until the fourth quarter when Virginia Tech just took over. Williams hit on an 84 yard touchdown run, soon followed by Tyrod Taylor’s 18 yard scamper to pay dirt.
The Hokies outscored the Canes 14-0 in the final quarter en route to a win that was more convincing than the final score would indicate. The score however wasn’t the ugliest part of this game for Miami – not even close. That honor goes to the uniforms the Canes were wearing. One word – sickening.
Huskies One Step Closer To BCS: With Connecticut’s 23-6 bashing of Syracuse they are now in prime position for the conference championship and the automatic BCS bid. West Virginia takes on Pittsburgh in the Backyard Brawl in Pitt on Friday. If the Mountaineers win and UConn takes care of their business, the Huskies will be top dogs.
They took apart the Orange with dominant defense (235 yards allowed) and an overpowering offensive line effort which allowed Jordan Todman to rush for 130 yards and 2 touchdowns. Syracuse shot themselves in the foot with 2 bad turnovers including one on their own four yard line. Rob Long’s punting also didn’t help matters.
Randy Edsall coached a hell of a game and was his usual-aggressive self going for it on two fourth downs and converting both. The Huskies have now won 4 in a row against Syracuse and 5 in the 7 all-time meetings. Things are really starting to come together for this team.
– Death, taxes and LSU getting lucky. Those are life’s only guarantees. The worst 1-loss team in the land squeaked by Mississippi 43-36 thanks to Stevan Ridley’s game winning touchdown with 44 seconds left.
– 3-touchdown favorite Michigan State avoided disaster against Purdue. Powered by a gutsy performance by the banged up Kirk Cousins, the Spartans outscored the Boilermakers 22-3 in the fourth quarter to come away with a 35-31 victory.
– Yankee Stadium proved to be perfect for football. The new cathedral looked beautiful as Notre Dame beat down Army 27-3 in front of a full and lively crowd.
– Wrigley Field proved to be not nearly as accommodating as Yankee Stadium as Illinois beat down Northwestern in Chicago. Both teams had to drive in the same direction because of the wall being so close to one of the endzones.
– Wide receiver Mark Harrison hauled in 240 yards and 4 touchdowns in Rutgers 69-38 loss – I repeat, loss – to Cincinnati. What’s more ridiculous…giving up 69 points, or having a receiver rack up 240 yards and still lose?
– Pittsburgh picked up a huge 17-10 win over the Bulls of South Florida. Dion Lewis was solid (105 yards, TD) as the Panthers hold on to first place in the Big East, standing at 6-4 and 4-1 in the conference.
Check back tomorrow for my Tuesday Top 10…
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- Casey’s Call: College Football – Week 12 Preview (newyork.cbslocal.com)