'Horns rebound, Irish survive; more midday Snap Judgments
Running back Johnathan Gray, whose father, James, was a former Texas Tech star, helped establish some rhythm for the Longhorns, and David Ash responded with arguably his best performance of the season. Ash threw for 264 yards and three touchdowns, while receiver Mike Davis caught four balls for a career-high 165 yards and two touchdowns, including one NFL-quality leaping grab.
Gray tallied 60 yards of offense on the opening drive and rushed for 106 yards in the game, but the sensational freshman's biggest asset may have been his versatility, which opened up the Texas offense. Offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin appeared to emphasize Texas' speed players more than he did in last week's escape over Kansas, and the Longhorns' offense looked dominant in a difficult road environment.
Perhaps more impressive, though, was the defense. Blasted as "soft" after the Oklahoma embarrassment and without one of its heaviest hitter in Jackson Jeffcoat, the Longhorns stuffed Seth Doege on a potential game-tying two-point conversion and shut out the Red Raiders in the fourth quarter.
Cornerback Carrington Byndom provided a spark by mixing it up with Texas Tech receiver Eric Ward on several plays, knocking down Doege's two-point try and blocking a fourth-quarter field goal that would have brought Texas Tech to within one possession.
The Longhorns move to 7-2 to remain alive, albeit faintly, in the Big 12 race.
No team dominated the Irish the way Pitt did over the first three quarters of Saturday's showdown. The Panthers didn't merely play better during the first 45 minutes; they played significantly better -- and in South Bend no less. SI.com's
- Notre Dame turned the ball over three times, including Cierre Wood's goal-line fumble in overtime. Pitt did not turn the ball over once.
- Pitt's defense effectively limited Theo Riddick and forced Everett Golson and Tommy Rees to beat it through the air. Golson found some magic in the fourth quarter, but the Irish were vulnerable until that point.
- Frequently maligned quarterback Tino Sunseri played efficiently, and Ray Graham steamrolled the Irish's vaunted front seven. Graham is the fifth-leading rusher in school history, ahead of renowned Panther running backs LeSean McCoy and Dion Lewis. The problem was that Sunseri was unable to make any big plays.
- It will be difficult for Notre Dame to finish the season unbeaten without a dependable kicker. Kyle Brindza missed a fourth-quarter PAT that could've been costly.
- If Paul Chryst sticks around at Pitt for longer than one season, the Panthers may reestablish themselves as dangerous college football contenders.
- Mike Mayock said "this is fun" or some variation of it at least 13 times during the broadcast, but I eventually stopped counting. Mayock is always informative, and he reminded us of the lighter side of the game, too. After the game, Mike mused, "I love this football game." Thanks, Mike.
Gary Patterson went for two, and he went to his playmaker.
TCU wideout Boyce, who finished with six catches for 180 yards and two scores, tucked his hands underneath Boykin's low throw on the two-point try and secured an unlikely road victory for the Horned Frogs.
Boykin finished 12-of-29 for 254 yards and two touchdowns, and the porous West Virginia defense (ranked 120th in pass defense entering Saturday's game) collapsed after holding TCU in check for much of the game. Geno Smith's performance was underwhelming, but electric wideout Tavon Austin
If this game reinforced anything, though, it's never to bet against the futility of the West Virginia defense. And with this loss, the collapse is complete for a team that was once considered a national title contender.
Michigan State's frustrations continue, as it blew a 10-point fourth-quarter lead and wasted a 188-yard, two-touchdown effort from Le'Veon Bell. The Huskers, meanwhile, moved to 4-1 in Big Ten play to stay atop the Legends Division standings.
Georgia still has an inconsistent offense with an athletic defense, but the Dawgs remain in pole position to win the SEC East. Aaron Murray threw four touchdowns in Saturday's win.