UCLA's Johnathan Franklin rushed for 171 yards and two touchdowns in a victory over USC. (Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Snap Judgments from the Week 12 midday slate. For more, check out our early Snaps, our coverage of Stanford-Oregon, our look at the new BCS landscape and our complete Top 25 review.
• No. 17 UCLA 38, No. 21 USC 28. You heard a lot last week about the football monopoly in Los Angeles being over. No, again. No, for real this time. Well, you'll hear even more about it this week, but only because it's finally, demonstrably true. (We're taking suggestions on which board-game related jokes to start making in its place from here on out. Balderdash? Sorry? Jenga?)
On a rainy afternoon in the Rose Bowl, the Bruins dashed out to a 24-0 lead midway through the second quarter, only to see the Trojans snatch momentum back by the start of the third, by which point Matt Barkley had thrown two touchdown passes and defensive tackle George Uko had scored a genuine Fat Guy Touchdown on a slip-and-slide fumble recovery. (Storied rivalry, historic venue, high conference stakes, home-and-home jerseys AND a FGTD: This game had it all, y'all.) A pair of traded touchdowns and a successful USC two-point conversion later, and the Trojans were trailing by three points with a little more than seven minutes left in the fourth quarter.
One might think, at this point, that USC would have considered putting a body or two on Johnathan Franklin, but one would be mistaken. On the very next series, the Bruins' star tailback broke off his longest run of the day, a 29-yard touchdown, and the Trojans were suddenly in another 10-point hole. Barkley was knocked out of the game on the subsequent drive after being sacked by Anthony Barr, and he did not return to action. A blocked USC field goal attempt with 1:41 remaining (the sixth, we were told by FOX's broadcast team, in its past two games) wiped out the Trojans' second-to-last scoring chance, and even with a three-and-out from the Bruins, some nice passing by backup quarterback Max Wittek and some ill-timed Bruin penalties, USC would not reach the end zone of the Rose Bowl again.
And while we have you: Consider this the renewal of our occasional plea to have all rivalry games played in home-and-home jerseys, particularly when the uniforms complement one another as well as the Trojans and Bruins'. This is purely an aesthetic concern, but why should that mean it's unimportant? [BOX | RECAP]
• No. 8 LSU 41, Ole Miss 35. Ole Miss led first, led at halftime and led into the fourth quarter. But the Bayou Bengals tied the game late on an 89-yard Odell Beckham punt return you simply must see, but not as much as you must see Les Miles' postgame press conference. Captured by WAFB's Jacques Doucet, we're just gonna step back here and let this wash over you. (Warning: explicit language.)
Stick around for the dance. (Of course there's a dance.) [BOX | RECAP]
• Utah State 48, No. 19 Louisiana Tech 41 (OT). Stay with us here: Louisiana Tech has now lost to the Texas A&M Aggies and the Utah State Aggies, and it put up its lowest-octane game of the 2012 season against ... the New Mexico State Aggies. Something ain't right. What is right: A dramatic finish to presumably wrap up the last-ever WAC regular-season championship. Utah State becomes the last team undefeated in conference play, and it has only to get past Idaho at home next week to finish the season with a perfect league record. Saturday also marks the Aggies' first-ever road victory over a ranked opponent.
Some broken records to note: Aggies sophomore quarterback Chuckie Keeton (known around these parts as That Kid Who Almost Beat Auburn Last Year) set a single-season program mark for touchdown passes and another for single-season mark for total offense. Senior running back Kerwynn Williams broke the school's career all-purpose yardage record. And one broken, broken record: Colby Cameron's FBS-best streak of consecutive pass attempts without an interception was snapped tonight at 444, courtesy of Utah State’s Will Davis. [BOX | RECAP]
• No. 11 Clemson 62, NC State 48. And then came the part of our evening when our editor, leafing through box scores, went, "Have ... you seen Tajh Boyd's stat line?" which is about when we saw that Boyd had scored eight touchdowns. By himself. In three quarters. There was a stretch, in the second and third quarters, where Tajh Boyd scored six touchdowns (four passing, two rushing) in a row. When we tuned in, the Tigers were up 62-38 at the start of the fourth quarter. And here was our first thought: "Clemson should probably keep throwing because that defense could totally still blow this." (They did not.) The combined 110 points between the Tigers and 'Pack is an ACC record, and Boyd broke his own single-game touchdown record for the program and set a new conference high. [BOX | RECAP]
• Oklahoma State 59, No. 23 Texas Tech 21. Numbers! Oklahoma State quarterback Clint Chelf completed 10 passes for 228 yards and three touchdowns. All three of his scoring throws were directed at wide receiver Isaiah Anderson. J. W. Walsh threw another touchdown and rushed for a score. There was a Jeremy Smith rushing touchdown, a Joseph Randle rushing touchdown and a Quinn Sharp field goal, and even a blocked punt returned for a score by Cowboys safety Zack Craig. This is all impressive work, only after watching Tajh Boyd we're all, "Ugh, nobody here scored eight touchdowns by himself? Quitters." [BOX | RECAP]
• No. 6 Ohio State 21, Wisconsin 14 (OT). Storylines tonight: Monteé Ball tied but did not break the all-time FBS touchdown record held by former Miami RedHawk Travis Prentice with a seven-yard run midway through the second quarter. And if you've never heard of the guy quarterbacking for Wisconsin tonight, we don't blame you, but he's got quite the backstory. [BOX | RECAP]
• No. 9 Texas A&M 47, Sam Houston State 28. Just popping in here to note that Johnny Manziel, per A&M sports info, is the first SEC player, first freshman and fifth NCAA FBS player to record 3,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards in a single season. In this feat, he joins the elite company of Vince Young, Dan LeFevour, Colin Kaepernick and Chandler Harnish. [BOX | RECAP]
• No. 3 Notre Dame 38, Wake Forest 0.
Forward, the Irish, and we're sorry in advance for what just happened to your strength of schedule. [BOX | RECAP]