Virginia Tech 28, Maryland 9
As expected, Virginia Tech got out of the gate slow and weathered Maryland's early advances. Marcus Vick had an off night throwing the ball, but the Tech offense showed its resilience, getting just enough on the ground, particularly on third down. Vick also had a few long runs to break Maryland's back. There are fast defenses (Florida State), and then there are fast defenses who can dictate the flow of game to their opponent. VT is definitely in the latter category.
Georgia 23, Arkansas 20
It didn't look like the Dawgs were in any danger of losing to Arkansas, but they certainly never gave the impression that they had complete control of this game. Obviously, quarterback D.J. Shockley's injury had a lot to do with this. I thought the play of backup quarterback Joe Tereshinski was admirable, but his coaches had to lighten the playbook while he was in there and cut short any chance of putting the game out of reach. Arkansas' frosh backs (Darren McFadden, Felix Jones) are outstanding, and had the first real good rushing game of any UGA opponent this year, combining for over 200 yards on the day at over six yards a carry. Georgia's backs had an average day, and show how vulnerable the offense is when the quarterback either goes down or has an off day. Its also a reflection of their lack of gamebreaking skill. I remember reading something in the preseason saying that Georgia had the depest backfield of anyone in college football. That's great, but on any given play, there's only one guy carrying the ball, and they have a bunch of "guys" but nobody great to really deliver a string of dominating performances.
North Carolina 7, Virginia 5
Called it, but boy was it ugly. This is typical of the worst that can happen when teams play not to lose. I know UNC got the win, but they won't feel very good about themselves tomorrow, a week from now or a month from now.
Northwestern 49, Michigan State 14
There are several things to take from this game. One, Michigan State has given up. Their implosion last week marked the end of their season, and this game is some of the fallout from that performance. From this point onward they will underachieve, miserably finishing out their season. I hunch MSU's string of big games against Notre Dame, Michigan and Ohio State was a bit much for their players, something my Mom would call overstimulation.
The concept goes like this: sometimes when I'm out at an amusement park or the movies or a restaurant, young children will be acting up, throwing fits for whatever reason. In theory, they've been exposed to a lot of exciting and pleasant things and the emotional swing is a bit hard to handle when they return to some normal activity. It's not too dissimilar to when after a vacation people sometimes become lifeless zombies, fairly disinterested in their surroundings. For MSU, this may have been the case, particularly because they may not be as emotionally prepared or conditioned for as many big games the way players at other more successful programs are. The buildup and in-game excitement and stress may have been just too much for the Spartans, and their play afterwards will reflect their emotional "comedown" or letdown.
But let's not forget Northwestern's role here. The Wildcats are putting together a nice season, and have had success picking off other midlevel Big Ten foes. The offense has continually paved their path to success, and the defense comes around once in a while to pitch in a fine performance. For all the preseason sky-is-falling talk about the Wildcats after several prominent injuries and the transfer of their best defender, its obviously not the talent propelling this team to its wins---its their offensive scheme. Like we've said all along, scheme matters, there's simply no other explanation for certain teams' success given their severe lack of talent and depth relative to conquered foes.
Michigan 23, Iowa 20
Iowa had control of this game, then got rattled after a late Steve Breaston catch-and-run touchdown. Michigan took advantage of the opportunity and pushed the game to overtime and won. It's fun to play spoiler sometimes. The better coach lost, but the game swing reflects his team's fragility.
Ohio State 41, Indiana 10
Up, down, up, down, way up... The Buckeyes are crushing lesser foes right now. Too bad they're fragile as glass. At least the rest of the Big Ten has the same horrible illness, meaning they're still in the hunt.
Notre Dame 49, BYU 23
The Irish are the most confident team in America right now. Pretty impressive considering the heartbreaking loss to USC last weekend. Brady Quinn threw six touchdowns, a new Notre Dame record...eclipsing his old mark of five. Imagine if the Irish offense had a dynamic back instead of the handful of pluggers currently sitting back there? Next year they'll average over 40 a game.
Wake Forest 27, N.C. State 19
The Pack's season is comical at this point. They judiciously subbed ineffective quarterbacks this game, had interceptions returned for touchdowns and got sacked out of field goal range on a series.
Florida State 55, Duke 24
Beat up on the Dukies, but not before making things a little more confusing for themselves. I think they hit something like 14 different receivers in this game, and frosh back Antone Smith finally showed some life, nevermind that they have wasted Lorenzo Booker's time. Smith should be pretty good, though. Hopefully they don't bother to recruit someone to share the backfield with him and cut short his potential, too.
Alabama 6, Tennessee 3
Someone had to win, right?
Texas 52, Texas Tech 17
Tech just ain't ready. The 'Horns are absolutely cruising right now, and survived two early Vince Young interceptions. Apparently their fans are loving the attention and want the country to kiss their Darrell Royal behind, judging by all the irate comments on here and anywhere else that challenge their supremacy as greatest thing to happen to football. Thing is, they've already built a monument to themselves (take a look at the facilities), so why should anyone else have to worship at the altar of their Golden Calf, Bevo?
USC 51, Washington 24
Twelve plays, five touchdowns for USC. Reggie Bush had a stunning punt return touchdown and Dwayne Jarrett's final of his three TD catches was of the one-handed, back of end zone, one foot in variety. The defense is starting to come around, and despite losing victimized starting corner John Walker, they may have found gifted replacements in safety Josh Pinkard and freshman corner Kevin Thomas. The recruiting benefits are showing up again, as frosh linebacker Brian Cushing finally recovered from injury, blocked a punt in his first significant playing time of the season. Freshman Patrick Turner also had a touchdown grab.
Wisconsin 31, Purdue 20
Stanford 45, Arizona State 35
It wasn't really this close. For an explanation of ASU's collapse, see Michigan State above.
Army 20, Akron 0
Another shutout for #1 Army. Oh wait, this isn't the 1940's. Props for the shutout, though.
Oklahoma 37, Baylor 30 (OT)
How the mighty have fallen. All the small Texas schools are taking it out on the Sooners this year.
Penn State 63, Illinois 10
This was definitely a "get well" game. When Penn State's putrid offense puts up 56 against you in one half, you have major problems.
UCLA 51, Oregon State 28
This was a game for about a quarter, then UCLA went nuts. OSU's Mike Haas might just be the best pure receiver in the game. Maurice Drew is playing like he badly wants a trip to New York City for the Heisman ceremony. HP says the cutoff right now is at four, with Reggie Bush, Vince Young, Matt Leinart and Brady Quinn. Got room for one more? Not to be outdone, UCLA quarterback Drew Olsen also threw six touchdown passes (a UCLA record).
Oregon 28, Arizona 21
Much like UGA, the Oregon Ducks had their stellar starting quarterback knocked out of the game. Unlike UGA, their less stellar backup was knocked out a series later! You want to know the name of their third stringer? Brady Leaf. Yes, he's related to you-know-who. Yikes. The Ducks survived this scare, though.
LSU 20, Auburn 17 (OT)
Someone had to win, right? One measure of the offensive acumen of a coaching staff is how well they utilize once in a decade (for the program) type athletes. LSU has one in Skyler Green, a fairly good comparison to Reggie Bush, athletically. So far, he's been a very good returnman in his career, and has a few notable touchdown catches as a receiver, but has done little else. Injuries have something to do with that, but its also apparent their coaches are in no hurry to put him in a position to destroy opponents 15-20 times a game. Wouldn't they rather the score be LSU 35, Auburn 17? Put a guy like that in a position to do something more often, and they could easily have that kind of outcome.
UTEP 31, Marshall 3
It's Wazzou South, in El Paso.
California 42, Washington State 38
A fine back-and-forth performance that forced me to stay up way late to claim witness. Both teams were fairly opportunistic, particularly Cal. The Bears returned an interception for a touchdown, had a nifty no-room touchdown pass to their fullback, and a late long pass touchdown on a busted coverage. Three backs ran for over 100 yards, and a Cal freshman receiver I haven't even heard of had a huge touchdown and over 100 receiving yards.