College Football Top 25 Review
The third Saturday in October was also Derek Dooley's third loss to Alabama. The No. 1 Crimson Tide easily knocked off the Volunteers, as AJ McCarron threw four touchdown passes, including two to wideout Amari Cooper (pictured). Alabama has beaten Tennessee six consecutive times.
Oregon's offense showed just how explosive it can be during its Thursday night showdown with Arizona State. The Ducks exploded for 43 points in the first 19 minutes before cruising to a rout of the previously surging Sun Devils. Running back Kenjon Barner rushed for 143 yards and three touchdowns, while quarterback Marcus Mariota (pictured) carried 10 times for 135 yards and a score. Oregon's defense also stepped up. After allowing a 28-yard touchdown pass on Arizona State's first offensive play from scrimmage, the Ducks held the Sun Devils scoreless until the closing moments of the fourth quarter.
Florida is now in driver's seat to win the SEC East. The Gators dominated South Carolina in Steve Spurrier's return to the Swamp, a game in which the outcome was never in doubt. Jeff Driskel completed 11-of-16 passes for 93 yards and four scores, tight end Jordan Reed hauled in two receiving touchdowns and the Gators shut down the Gamecocks' attack all afternoon. Florida forced four turnovers, including a second-quarter fumble recovery that Chris Johnson (pictured) returned to the one-yard line.
Geno Smith's Heisman hopes and West Virginia's Big 12 title hopes are all but over. Collin Klein's Heisman hopes and Kansas State's Big 12 title hopes are very much alive. Klein (pictured) passed for 321 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 43 yards and four touchdowns as the Wildcats shredded the Mountaineers' porous defense.
It was closer than expected, but Notre Dame held off BYU to stay unbeaten heading into next week's showdown at Oklahoma. Tommy Rees started for the Irish and threw for 117 yards and a touchdown, while running backs Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood (pictured) rushed for 143 and 114 yards, respectively. The Notre Dame defense surrendered a touchdown for the first time since Sept. 8, but it came up big when it mattered most. Manti Te'o and Co. kept the Cougars off the scoreboard for the entirety of the second half.
Texas A&M seemed in control for the early part of the game, but LSU responded to earn a gritty victory in College Station. Freshman Jeremy Hill and junior Michael Ford (pictured) combined for 205 rushing yards and two touchdowns, while the Tigers' vaunted defense kept the Aggies in check for most of the second half. Johnny Manziel threw for 282 yards with three interceptions in defeat.
Ohio State's unbeaten season is still alive -- but just barely. The Buckeyes trailed Purdue by eight points with less than a minute remaining in regulation when quarterback Kenny Guiton, who took over for injured star Braxton Miller, pioneered a 61-yard touchdown and converted the ensuing two-point try to send the game to overtime. After Carlos Hyde (pictured) scored from one yard out to take the lead, Ohio State's defense shut down the Boilermakers to escape with their perfect record intact.
Storm Woods (24) scored three touchdowns on 17 carries as Oregon State remained undefeated. Off to their best start in more than a century, the Beavers parlayed a fumble recovery and an interception into two Woods' scoring runs. Oregon State (6-0 overall, 4-0 in the Pac-12) hadn't opened a season 6-0 since 1907, when the school was the Oregon Agricultural College.
Oklahoma is on quite an offensive roll in advance of next week's game with defensive-minded Notre Dame. The Sooners cruised against the Jayhawks, as Landry Jones completed 20-of-30 passes for 300 yards and three touchdowns. Six Oklahoma receivers, including Justin Brown (pictured), tallied double-digit receiving yardage totals.
Though USC's offense has struggled at times this season, it certainly looked fine in Saturday's matchup with Colorado. Matt Barkley completed 19-of-20 for 298 yards and six touchdowns, Robert Woods amassed 131 receiving yards and four scores and Marqise Lee (pictured) finished with 104 yards and a touchdown as the Trojans hung 50 points on the Buffaloes. USC will visit Arizona next weekend before hosting Oregon Nov. 3.
For a half, Florida State did just about everything wrong and still held the lead. And when the Seminoles finally got clicking, they simply pulled away from rival Miami. EJ Manuel threw for 229 yards, Devonta Freeman (No. 8) ran for a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns and No. 12 Florida State overcame a shaky start to beat Miami, the Seminoles' third straight win over their archrival.
Aaron Murray's record day helped No. 13 Georgia survive a scare. The Bulldogs' QB threw four touchdowns to become the school's all-time career leader and help his team pull off a 29-24 victory over Kentucky. The junior finished 30 of 38 for 427 yards, helping Georgia improve to 6-1 and stay within reach of 7-0 Florida leading up to next week's showdown between the two teams.
Once again, Clemson's playmakers proved too much for an opposing defense to stop. Tajh Boyd accounted for 187 total yards and three touchdowns, running back Andre Ellington rushed for 96 yards and a score and wideouts Sammy Watkins (pictured) and DeAndre Hopkins combined for 152 yards and a touchdown as the Tigers took down the Hokies. Clemson's defense also corralled three interceptions, one of which Jonathan Meeks returned 74 yards to the end zone.
Mississippi State easily beat Middle Tennessee State to improve to 7-0 and set up a big Week 9 showdown with fellow SEC West undefeated team Alabama. Chris Smith (pictured) caught a career-high seven passes for 66 yards and two touchdowns, while Johnthan Banks tied the Bulldogs' record with his 16th career interception.
South Florida made a valiant fourth-quarter push, but Louisville survived to stay unbeaten and tied atop the Big East. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater completed 21-of-25 passes for 254 yards and two touchdowns, while running backs Senorise Perry (pictured) and Jeremy Wright both added rushing scores in the win. After improving to 7-0, the Cardinals will host Cincinnati next weekend.
Billed as a matchup between two of the Big 12's premier defenses, Saturday's meeting between Texas Tech and TCU turned into a high-octane shootout. Red Raiders quarterback Seth Doege (pictured) continued his recent hot streak by throwing for 318 yards and seven touchdowns, while junior wideout Eric Ward pulled in three scoring receptions. After trading punches late in the game, Texas Tech escaped with an eight-yard Alex Torres touchdown grab in triple overtime.
Despite starting slow, Rutgers came alive to overcome Temple and improve to 7-0. Quarterback Gary Nova threw for 232 yards and four touchdowns, running back Jawan Jamison (pictured) tallied 195 all-purpose yards and a score and the Scarlet Knights' defense blanked the Owls in the second half. Nova, who threw just 11 touchdowns all of last year, now has 15 to date in 2012.
Toledo spoiled No. 21 Cincinnati's perfect season by handing the Bearcats their first loss of the season. Bernard Reedy (pictured) scored on a 91-yard kickoff return to put the Rockets up 26-20 in the fourth quarter, a lead they would maintain. The score marked Reedy's third TD on special teams in three weeks.
Thirty years after the Big Game famously ended with The Play, Stanford left little to chance in this year's matchup. Cardinal quarterback Josh Nunes passed for 214 yards and a touchdown, tailback Stepfan Taylor ran for 189 yards and a score and tight end Zach Ertz (pictured) made six receptions for 134 yards and a touchdown. Stanford's front seven turned in the most impressive stat: Cal finished the game with just three rushing yards.
Michigan State's four-game winning streak in the in-state rivalry is over. Brendan Gibbons connected on a 38-yard field goal with five seconds remaining to push the Wolverines past the Spartans and to the top of the Legends Division standings. Denard Robinson collected 259 total yards (163 passing, 96 rushing), while eight different targets -- including Drew Dileo, Roy Roundtree and Mike Kwiatkowski (pictured) -- made catches for Michigan in the victory.
Still clinging to an outside chance to bust the BCS, Boise State added to its profile with a convincing victory over UNLV. Running backs D.J. Harper and Jay Ajayi (pictured) combined for 96 yards and three touchdowns, and quarterback Joe Southwick added 243 yards through the air. The Broncos' defense also shined. UNLV colleced just 210 total yards and was held scoreless until midway through the fourth quarter.