Terrance Smith (24) hauled in one of six Florida State interceptions in a win over Wake Forest. (Nell Redmond/AP)
Snap Judgments from the Week 11 early slate. For more coverage, check out columns from Stewart Mandel and Andy Staples off Alabama’s win over LSU and our midday and late Snaps.
• No. 3 Florida State 59, Wake Forest 3: While most of the national attention so far this season has centered on quarterback Jameis Winston, the Seminoles' defense has quietly put together a dominant campaign of its own. But there was nothing quiet about the defense's performance on Saturday against the Demon Deacons. Florida State was up 35-0 just over a minute into the second quarter thanks to four Wake Forest turnovers, two of which went for defensive touchdowns. The 'Noles forced seven turnovers (six interceptions) in the rout, holding the Demon Deacons to seven first downs and 152 total yards.
Florida State might have had some extra spring in its step after seeing No. 2 Oregon fall to sixt-ranked Stanford on Thursday. The 9-0 Seminoles are now one step closer to playing for the BCS championship. With victories over Clemson and Miami in the books, and with regular-season games against Syracuse (Nov. 16), Idaho (Nov. 23) and Florida (Nov. 30) remaining, everything seems to be lining up for Florida State to be one of the nation’s top two teams, assuming it can handle the champion of the Coastal Division in the ACC title game in Charlotte on Dec. 7.
In the victory, Winston (17-of-28, 160 yards, two touchdowns, one interception) continued his remarkable freshman season, bolstering his Heisman hopes despite resting for much of the second half.
It's not a stretch to say the 'Noles look like the most complete team in college football right now. The scary thing? They might still be getting better. [RECAP l BOX]
• No. 7 Auburn 55, Tennessee 23: Doubts about whether the Tigers deserve a top-10 ranking vanish with each passing week. Auburn scored more points against the Volunteers on Saturday than in any other contest in series history. The Tigers rushed for 444 yards on 53 carries, and attempted just seven passes in the blowout.
Quarterback Nick Marshall ran for 214 yards and two touchdowns, and Auburn broke the game open by scoring 28 points in the second quarter. Running back Tre Mason rushed for 117 yards and three scores. The Tigers, now 9-1, visit Georgia next week before a bye in advance of the Iron Bowl on Nov. 30. [RECAP l BOX]
• No. 9 Missouri 48, Kentucky 17: The Tigers got off to a slow start, but they eventually took control behind quarterback Maty Mauk's five touchdown passes to improve to 9-1. Mizzou's loss to South Carolina on Oct. 26 leaves the door to first place in the the SEC East ajar, but if the Tigers win out, they'll be in the conference title game. Missouri's offense is rolling, and the ease with which players such as Henry Josey (113 rushing yards, two touchdowns) and Dorial Green-Beckham (seven catches, 100 yards, four touchdowns) pick up yards complements a stout defense. [RECAP l BOX]
• Vanderbilt 34, Florida 17: The Gators' nightmare season continued on Saturday. For more thoughts on this result -- and what it means for Florida coach Will Muschamp -- click here. [RECAP l BOX]
• Minnesota 24, Penn State 10: For the first time in 40 years, the Golden Gophers have won four consecutive Big Ten games. Interim coach Tracy Claeys’ team has played brilliantly in recent weeks, and with coach Jerry Kill nearing a return to the sidelines, Minnesota is riding a wave of positivity. Unfortunately, waves are dangerous, and they sometimes result in destruction.
(GIF via SB Nation)
Golden Gophers running back David Cobb rushed for 137 yards and a touchdown, and quarterback Philip Nelson completed 15-of-24 passes for 186 yards with a score. Minnesota has won eight games in a season for the first time since 2003, when Glen Mason’s team went 10-3. [RECAP l BOX]
• Kansas State 49, No. 25 Texas Tech 26: In 2011, the Red Raiders opened the season 5-2 before dropping their last five games. Last year, Texas Tech started 6-1, but lost four of its final five regular-season games. This season is unfolding much the same way; the Red Raiders, who raced to a 7-0 start this fall, dropped their third straight on Saturday. The wizardry of Wildcats coach Bill Snyder, meanwhile, continues. K-State has won three in a row to improve to 5-4. The Wildcats are a team no one wants to face down the stretch. [RECAP l BOX]
• Georgia 45, Appalachian State 6:
After the first quarter, the Bulldogs
led only 7-6. But quarterback Aaron Murray
passed for 281 yards and two scores, and running back Todd Gurley rushed for 75 yards and a touchdown to give Georgia an easy win. Even better, all-name candidate and backup Bulldogs quarterback Hutson Mason
got some work, completing 11-of-16 passes for 160 yards and a touchdown. [RECAP l BOX]