Oregon State shocks Wisconsin; more midday Snap Judgments
• Oregon State 10, No. 13 Wisconsin 7. "Oregon State football is broken," a Pac-12-based colleague of mine declared not too long ago as we surveyed the disorder of our preseason predictions. Coach Mike Riley appears to have since reattached at least a couple of limbs to his program. After missing their season opener due to Hurricane Isaac, the Beavers looked less like QWOP and more like a reasonable approximation of a football team in upsetting BCS hopeful Wisconsin 10-7.
The Beavers were bolstered by a Badgers outfit that last week struggled to put away Northern Iowa, and this week put up just 206 yards of total offense to OSU's 357. Wisconsin turned the ball over twice, converted two of its 13 third-down attempts, and allowed three sacks on quarterback Danny O'Brien. Prior to today, Wisconsin had not lost a nonconference game since 2003. The Badgers did not manage a single point until the final two minutes of play, when O'Brien hit Jacob Pedersen for an 11-yard touchdown. An onside kick attempt was foiled by video review ruling the ball had not traveled 10 yards before being touched by Badgers kicker Kyle French.
The attrition along Wisconsin's offensive line was on stark display in Corvallis. Monteé Ball was a near non-factor this afternoon, carrying 15 times for 58 yards. The Badgers finished with 34 net rushing yards, 134 fewer than last week and more than 200 fewer than their 2011 per-game average.
We can perhaps best sum up a weird game on a day of weird games with one moment: Wisconsin drawing an offsides penalty while Oregon State was in victory formation. And the Badgers' bizarro streak may not come to an end any time soon: Their next two opponents are Utah State and UTEP, always good bets to give trouble in games most think they have no business being in. [BOX | RECAP]
• No. 19 Michigan 31, Air Force 25. Making a deep Odell Lake escape in Ann Arbor were the Wolverines, who recalled in their second outing of the 2012 season that Denard Robinson has legs that move rapidly when he holds a football. Robinson recorded his third career 200/200 game, throwing for 203 yards, rushing for 218 more and accounting for four touchdowns along the way. Only the de-suspended Fitzgerald Toussaint even recorded additional ground touches for Michigan, recording seven net yards on eight carries.
Defensively, however ... Air Force actually outgained Michigan by three yards, 417 to 414. Falcons quarterback Connor Dietz had a stat-happy afternoon of his own, throwing for 139 yards and rushing for 62. Cody Getz added 104 rushing yards and all three of Air Force's touchdowns.
• No. 24 Florida 20, Texas A&M 17. The game that made us want to switch over to Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement on ABC Family. Don't look at us like that. It's still in the same family of networks, and you try watching that game with actual Florida fans tearing their hair out because it's been more than three years since their last national title.
The Gators will retain their Top 25 ranking, but not for lack of trying: Texas A&M scored on its first three possessions before being shut out entirely in the second half. (This is something of a habit of the Aggies'.) Pete Thamel was in College Station and has a full report all ready for you, but don't go away without witnessing this heel click. Johnny Manziel, you are SEC material by every possible measure. [BOX | RECAP]
• No. 2 USC 42, Syracuse 29. Bad weather delayed the second half of the Orange-Trojans game, but Matt Barkley and Ryan Nassib made up for lost time when play resumed, turning a 14-3 affair into a 42-29 shootout -- albeit a rather one-sided one. Notice Barkley's numbers: just 187 yards through the air, but six touchdown passes. Silas Redd led the Trojan tailback pack today with 106 yards on 15 carries. [BOX | RECAP]
• No. 1 Alabama 35, Western Kentucky 0. Our Friday prediction that "Nick Saban will race to a 40-point lead against Western Kentucky and then just sit there for the remaining two and a half quarters, because that’s what his logic chip will tell him a 'gentleman hu-man' would do" did not give his famed politeness and serene spirit enough credit. The Tide sauntered to a 14-0 first-quarter lead, more like, and scored precisely one touchdown in each of the three ensuing periods. Don't feel bad, Western Kentucky. You were merely in the path of inevitability. Our sincere apologies to Saban for even writing about this game. The Tide play Arkansas in Week 3, to whom it will be considerably easier to show "respect." Let's all just cling to that. [BOX | RECAP]
• No. 22 Notre Dame 20, Purdue 17. This one got a mite uncomfortable for Irish fans toward the end -- a 10-point fourth-quarter rally by the Boilermakers necessitated a field goal with 15 seconds remaining on the clock to clinch the win, at the end of a drive led by unlikely hero Tommy Rees, who was benched for most of the day. The South Bend student section had far from the most unpleasant afternoon in the stadium, however: Robert Marve and Everett Golson were sacked a combined nine times. [BOX | RECAP]
• Iowa State 9, Iowa 6. The Cyclones' first-half six-point lead proved insurmountable. Who knew? Quarterbacks in Kinnick Stadium today combined for 476 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions. [BOX | RECAP]
• South Florida 32, Nevada 31. The Wolf Pack built an early lead they couldn't hold, scoring three touchdowns in the first quarter but surrendering two to the Bulls in the final three minutes of the fourth. [BOX | RECAP]
• Cal 50, Southern Utah 30. Cal follows up an upset loss to Nevada with a game in which it scored zero points in the first quarter, 20 in the second, zero in the third and 30 in the fourth. There is some sort of Jeff Tedford A Beautiful Mind thing happening here, and we cannot make heads or tails of it. [BOX | RECAP]Tennessee 51, Georgia State 13. [BOX | RECAP]