It was a crazy weekend in college football with scoreboard operators earning their paychecks all around the country. From a record-setting Big 12 debut for West Virginia to second half come backs from Nebraska and Louisville, and down to the wire contests between Texas and Oklahoma State, and Oregon State and Arizona, and Cincinnati and Virginia Tech, there was plenty of drama around the nation.
Why you can’t buy West Virginia yet
When it comes to offense there may not be a better team in college football than West Virginia. The numbers being put up by Geno Smith under center and the talented duo of Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin can pretty much score at will when they are on the field, and you do not need Saturday’s 70-63 Big 12 debut against Baylor to recognize that. But when you score 70 points at home and absolutely need every single one of those points to win a game late in the fourth quarter, which should sound an alarm if you are thinking about any realistic BCS championship hopes. Just ask Oklahoma State.
Florida State avoids letdown week
After such a big win the previous week at home against Clemson, the challenge for Florida State was to not get sucked in to a letdown type of game on the road against a South Florida team that likes to drag you down with them in to an ugly style. The Seminoles did what most BCS contenders will do, and found a way to pull away. Florida State scored 17 third quarter points to build a 20-point lead heading to the final quarter. Florida State is once again on the road next week against North Carolina State, which should be another decent test for the Noles.
Who dug deep for a win?
Ohio State – The Buckeyes played their first road game of the season against one of the top defenses in the Big Ten, at Michigan State. Braxton Miller fumbled twice and was intercepted once and he was roughed up pretty good from start to finish, but Miller and the Buckeyes came up with the big plays and had an answer every time Michigan State made some noise. As a result, Ohio State is now 5-0 on the season.
Nebraska – The Cornhuskers had lost just two Big 12 openers in their time in their former conference, and looked to be on their way to dropping their second straight Big Ten opener Saturday night in Lincoln against Wisconsin. Down 27-10 early in the third quarter, Nebraska chipped away and regained momentum by heading to the fourth quarter tied at 27-27. Nebraska’s win was sealed when Wisconsin’s Danny O’Brien botched a handoff to running back Montee Ball and the Huskers recovered the fumble.
Oregon State – On the road for a second straight Pac 12 game, the upstart Oregon State Beavers had to travel to Tucson to take on an Arizona team that was looking to rebound in a big way after being trounced at Oregon last week. It was not pretty, with ten penalties and allowing over 500 yards of offense and the Beavers needed two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to escape Tucson with another win to move to 3-0, with a 2-0 Pac 12 record.
Louisville – The weather conditions for Louisville’s road game at former Conference USA rival Southern Mississippi were far from ideal, with the artificial turf acting as a sponge in a constant down pour, and the Cardinals were playing as soggy as the conditions. Down 17-6 in the second quarter, Louisville’s defense shutout the Eagles in the second half as Louisville managed to come back despite getting just 269 yards of offense and 85 passing yards from Teddy Bridgewater.
Did Cincinnati get away with one vs Virginia Tech?
Cincinnati’s thrilling victory against Virginia Tech in FedEx Field Saturday was as advertised. The fourth quarter was as back-and-forth as you could find anywhere outside of the Big 12, with the Bearcats getting the last jab, a 39-yard pass from Munchie Legaux to Damon Julian with 13 seconds to play and the lead. Cincinnati had to drive the length of the field with no timeouts to spare to grab the lead from Virginia Tech and the 39-yard score capped off what was thought to be nearly impossible.
Maybe it was.
The replay shows Julian made a sliding catch for the score, with the official ruling stating he did not have possession of the football until he crossed the goal line. I may be alone in this but this sure looked like full possession to me, short of the end zone. The ball was bobbled as he is on the ground, but if he has possession and is down, does that matter? A video review upheld the touchdown, giving Cincinnati the win. What did you think of the call?
Florida – The Gators were off this week but with Georgia and South Carolina each having some cracks pointed out in winning efforts, and with the way Florida has just found ways to win games early on, the Gators are being talked about as the new threat in the SEC East. Florida gets a chance to make a loud statement next week when they host LSU, who has struggled on offense, especially in the passing game.
Geno Smith’s Heisman hype – The numbers speak for themselves, but now may not be the time to buy stock in the Heisman campaign for West Virginia’s quarterback. After all, when things are going this well, isn’t he due for a drop in value? Smith and the Mountaineers head to Austin next to take on a Texas Longhorns team that may be looking for their own statement at home.
Bill O’Brien – It has only been five games but the improvement in Penn State’s play on offense and defense on a weekly basis has been a fascinating development to watch in Bill O’Brien’s first year on the job in State College. Despite large negativity surrounding his program and an 0-2 start, O’Brien has Penn State now with a 3-2 record after a dominating road win at Illinois in the Big Ten opener.
Miami – Don’t look now but the Miami Hurricanes are 4-1 after their thrilling home victory against North Carolina State. The only loss for Al Golden’s team this season came on the road at Kansas State. Miami is also 3-0 in the ACC.
Paul Johnson – Georgia Tech lost at home to Middle Tennessee, 49-28, on Saturday. That was not the best way to rebound after letting Miami sneak away with a win last week in Atlanta, and now the questions about Johnson’s job security are starting to spread.
Virginia Tech – The Hokies were stunned by Cincinnati in FedEx Field on Saturday, their second loss in three weeks against Big East competition. For a program that is expected to play in the ACC championship game, the Hokies have some glaring weaknesses that the rest of the conference should be taking note of.
Arkansas – When you think it can not get any worse for Arkansas, Texas A&M happens. The Razorbacks now face improbable bowl odds, needing to get five wins to become eligible with seven games remaining. The final three games of the season are against currently ranked opponents (South Carolina, Mississippi State and LSU).
Just the stats and facts
In all, there were 3,160 points scored in all 52 FBS games, with 60.8 points per game. According to Elias Sports Bureau, that is the second highest single day scoring average since 1937.
West Virginia receivers Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin became the first pair of receivers to record at least 200 receiving yards in a single game since 2007 (Texas Tech, Crabtree and Amendola). West Virginia’s 807 total yards of offense is a new Big 12 record.
Baylor’s 63 points scored is tied for the most points scored by an FBS team in a loss in regulation.
West Virginia and Baylor combined for 1,507 total yards of offense, which was more than the total offense this season of 58 individual FBS programs entering this weekend’s schedule. Smith’s eight touchdown passes was more than 89 different teams had all season entering the weekend.
Baylor quarterback Nick Florence passed for 581 yards and five touchdowns in the losing effort. Last year’s Heisman Trophy winner from Baylor, Robert Griffin III, had a career high of 479 passing yards (vs. Oklahoma last season).
More stats and numbers from West Virginia’s record-setting night with Baylor from Crystal Ball Run and ESPN.
Not to be totally forgotten, Miami Hurricanes quarterback Stephen Morris passed for a school and ACC record 566 yards.
The fall of the Arkansas Razorbacks has reached historic proportions after a big loss at Texas A&M. Arkansas joined Pittsburgh (1984) as the only preseason top ten teams to lose four games before October.
The 58 points scored by Texas A&M was the most the Aggies have scored in the 69-game series with Arkansas. The 716 yards of offense by Texas A&M was also third most in school history.
Ole Miss took a 7-3 lead on Alabama early in Saturday night’s game. It was the first time Alabama has trailed in regulation since Tennessee held a lead ten games ago. The deficit lasted all of 15 seconds when Alabama returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown to regain control.
Georgia scored at least 40 points for the fifth straight game. The last time an SEC team did that was Florida in 2007. The Gators scored 40 points or more in seven straight games that season, but did not win the SEC.
Nebraska scored 20 straight points to rally for a win at home against Wisconsin. It was the second-largest comeback in program history.
On a day of explosive offenses, TCU walked away from SMU with a 24-16 win with just 156 yards of offense. The Horned Frogs forced six SMU turnovers and controlled the football for 35 minutes, 34 seconds.
Kevin is a national college football writer for quadrust.com and the host of the No 2-Minute Warning podcast. Submit your mailbag questions via Tumblr. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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