's 54-yard first-quarter TD set the tone for Alabama's rout of Tennessee. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Snap Judgments from the Week 9 midday slate. For more coverage, check out Stewart Mandel's file from Oregon-UCLA and our early and late Snaps.
• No. 1 Alabama 45, Tennessee 10: The Crimson Tide's defense has been the story in recent weeks, but top-ranked Alabama's offense was arguably more impressive in a blowout victory over the Volunteers. Less than a minute into Saturday's game, quarterback AJ McCarron hit receiver Amari Cooper for a 54-yard touchdown to put the Tide up 7-0. 'Bama held a commanding 35-0 lead at halftime. The Crimson Tide converted 8-of-12 third downs and racked up 26 first downs in the victory.
McCarron completed 19-of-27 passes for 275 yards and two touchdowns, as Alabama backed up its No. 1 BCS ranking. The Crimson Tide's margin of victory over Tennessee was the largest for either team in the rivalry since 1963. [RECAP l BOX]
• No. 3 Florida State 49, NC State 17: With legendary Seminoles coach Bobby Bowden in attendance, Florida State throttled the Wolfpack on Saturday. The Seminoles led 35-0 by the end of the first quarter and never looked back. Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, the redshirt freshman phenom, didn't miss a beat in his first outing since the Seminoles' 51-14 rout of Clemson last Saturday. He completed 16-of-26 passes for 292 yards and three touchdowns, with one interception.
Florida State gained 566 yards of total offense (an average of 8.3 yards per play), and its defense put the clamps on NC State. The Wolfpack didn't score until midway through the third quarter, when kicker Niklas Sade hit a 36-yard field goal.
Alabama is a deserving No. 1, but the unbeaten Seminoles have been nothing short of spectacular in winning their last three games, outscoring Maryland, Clemson and NC State by a combined 163-31. In those victories, Winston threw for nine touchdowns, with only two interceptions. [RECAP l BOX]
• Duke 13, No. 16 Virginia Tech 10: Coach David Cutcliffe's Blue Devils upset the Hokies to clinch bowl eligibility for the second consecutive season. For more on this result, click here. [RECAP l BOX]
• No. 9 Clemson 40, Maryland 27: The injury-plagued Terrapins hung around with the Tigers for a while, as Maryland kicker Brad Craddock made a pair of 41-yard field goals early in the third quarter to cut Clemson's lead to 16-13. But it didn't take long for the Tigers to pull away after that. Quarterback Tajh Boyd and running back Roderick McDowell combined for three rushing touchdowns in the fourth quarter to help Clemson improve to 7-1. The Tigers gained 551 yards of total offense to put last week's blowout loss to Florida State behind them. [RECAP l BOX]
• Michigan State 42, Illinois 3: The Spartans struggled offensively in last week's 14-0 win over Purdue, but they looked a bit different in their victory over the Illini on Saturday. Michigan State gained 477 yards of total offense, with quarterback Connor Cook completing 15-of-16 passes for 208 yards and three touchdowns, and running back Jeremy Langord rushing for 104 yards and two scores. Illinois, meanwhile, scored its only points of the game on a 31-yard field goal in the first quarter. [RECAP l BOX]
• Kansas State 35, West Virginia 12: It took a while for the Wildcats' offense to get going, but Kansas State found its groove when it mattered. Coach Bill Snyder's Wildcats scored the game's final four touchdowns to erase a 12-7 Mountaineers lead and earn their first conference win of the season. K-State quarterbacks Jake Waters and Daniel Sams combined to throw for 291 yards and four touchdowns. [RECAP l BOX]
• USC 19, Utah 3: The Trojans' defense came to play on Saturday. USC forced four turnovers and limited the visiting Utes to just 201 total yards. Trojans quarterback Cody Kessler threw for 230 yards, and kicker Andre Heidari made four field goals in the win. [RECAP l BOX]
• No. 23 Northern Illinois 59, Eastern Michigan 20: Huskies quarterback Jordan Lynch can do a little bit of everything. He ran for a score and passed for four more as Northern Illinois set season-highs in points (59) and total yards (658) in an easy win over the Eagles. Lynch also caught a 17-yard touchdown pass from receiver Tommylee Lewis in the second quarter. [RECAP l BOX]
• Notre Dame 45, Air Force 10:
If Tommy Rees
felt any lingering effects from the strained neck injury he suffered last week against USC, he didn't show it on Saturday afternoon. The Fighting Irish
quarterback threw for a career-high five touchdowns in a win over the Falcons
. Notre Dame has now won three straight games. [RECAP l BOX]