Speedster Dri Archer
helped Kent State secure its first MAC title game berth by beating Bowling Green. (AP)
Snap Judgments from the Week 12 early slate. For more, check out our midday Snaps, our coverage of Stanford-Oregon, our look at the new BCS landscape and our complete Top 25 review.
• No. 25 Kent State 31, Bowling Green 24. Brothers and sisters, we have nearly come to the end of this thing. This is the last normal weekend of college football in the 2012 season: Next week's games are scattered willy-nilly over the Thanksgiving holiday, and after that there's just the conference championships and a dozen or so assorted other contests. Then, we will be all plunged into darkness with only the promise of Army-Navy and the New Mexico Bowl to guide us. So we understand your impatience, and you can imagine ours, as we flipped channels today only to be met time and again with lackluster on-field products.
We were delighted but not surprised to find the most compelling action of Week 12's first flight of games in the form of daylight MACtion. If you're not a regular reader of Profiles in Profiteroles or lack a fondness for college football's less-celebrated conferences, you may not be familiar with the works of Kent State's Dri Archer. The top-ranked kick returner in the FBS got most of the Golden Flashes' touches at running back today, and to spectacular effect: 241 rushing yards, including touchdowns of 79 and 74 yards.
Kent State's other two touchdowns were scored by quarterback Spencer Keith (one passing, one rushing); the last gave the Golden Flashes their final lead of the game midway through the fourth quarter. The Falcons mounted an impressive final would-be scoring drive that ended with Luke Wollet picking off Matt Schilz in Kent State's end zone with 21 seconds remaining on the clock, and punching the Golden Flashes' first ticket to the MAC championship game. They'll face Northern Illinois in Detroit on Friday, November 30. [BOX | RECAP]
• No. 22 Rutgers 10, Cincinnati 3. The Bearcats escaped what would have been their first home shutout in seven years with a 36-yard field goal 20 seconds before time expired, but the Scarlet Knights remain the lone team in the Big East without a conference loss. Rutgers had not beaten Cincinnati at Cincinnati since 1987 before this afternoon. Remaining hurdles: a trip to Pittsburgh next Saturday and a prime time date with Louisville the Thursday after. [BOX | RECAP]
• No. 23 Michigan 42, Iowa 17. Nice little sendoff for Denard Robinson in his final home game as a Wolverine: Starting at running back, Robinson recorded 98 yards rushing on 13 carries and caught two passes for an additional 24 yards. His recent replacement at quarterback, Devin Gardner, went 18-for-23 with 314 yards, three passing touchdowns, three rushing touchdowns and one interception. (His stat line accounts neatly for all of Michigan's touchdowns, you may have noticed.) One big blight on the afternoon for the Wolverines: The loss of Fitzgerald Toussaint, who left the game in the first quarter with a nasty-looking leg injury. Toussaint is currently hospitalized and undergoing surgery; the school has provided no further details. [BOX | RECAP]
• Tulsa 23, Central Florida 21. The Golden Hurricane are the last remaining team in Conference USA without a conference loss, are assured of a spot in the conference title game and can only have their league record blemished at this point with some bad work at SMU next weekend. (As of this writing, the Mustangs trail Rice, 13-7.) [BOX | RECAP]
• Temple 63, Army 32. This is how we do it: When facing the nation's 105th-ranked rushing defense with no possibility of securing a .500 record for the season, go out swinging. And swinging. And swinging. Owls running back Montel Harris, averaging just a hair less than 75 yards per game heading into Week 12, recorded 351 rushing yards and seven touchdowns against the Black Knights. Those are his actual stats. We feel that to compare them to any sort of explosion or sorcery, no matter how complimentary, would do them a disservice. [BOX | RECAP]
• Penn State 45, Indiana 22. No postseason implications to consider here, obviously, but we mention this game because of unfortunate injury-related reasons: Michael Mauti, Nittany Lions senior linebacker and a highly visible team leader, was carted off the field in the first quarter with what looked to be a left knee injury. The nature and extent of his injury was not disclosed in the postgame press conference. [BOX | RECAP]
• Northwestern 23, Michigan State 20. To the delight of our Wildcats-heavy college football staff, Northwestern went and held on to a fourth-quarter lead! Mostly! Ten points to Ravenclaw and three cheers for office harmony. [BOX | RECAP]
• No. 10 Florida State 41, Maryland 14. Florida State is in the top 10, and played a football game, and scored five times before Maryland scored once. For more, click these links! [BOX | RECAP]
• LET US NOW SPEAK OF THE SEC.
So when we joked yesterday about half the SEC taking a traditional pre-Thanksgiving nap, we meant that teams in our part of the country like to gear up for their final rivalry games by playing ridiculously overmatched competition -- not that we expected them to play those games as though they were wearing ill-fitted footie pajamas. Taking care of business: Alabama over Western Carolina [BOX | RECAP]
and Auburn over Alabama A&M [BOX | RECAP]
. Making us sweat with disdain, just a little: Georgia over Georgia Southern [BOX | RECAP]
and Florida over Jacksonville State [BOX | RECAP]
. Game featuring an allegedly ranked team that was tied with an FCS team into the fourth quarter: South Carolina over Wofford [BOX | RECAP]
. Everybody go to your rooms.