By Cory Mccartney
October 29, 2007
Rich Brooks; Sylvester Croom
Dawgs Have Their Day
From Knowshon Moreno and Georgia solving Florida, to Sylvester Croom and Mississippi State knocking off Kentucky, it was a Dawgs-day afternoon in the SEC. As much as the Blitz wants to give Mark Richt & Co. some love for beating the Gators for just the third time in the last 18 meetings, it's hard not to get excited for Croom. This is a coach who was being considered more of a symbol in the SEC than a productive coach after totaling 14 wins in his first four seasons in Starkville. But lo and behold he has the Bulldogs one win away from bowl eligibility for the first time since 2000 as they delivered the signature win of Croom's tenure. Mississippi State smartly stayed patient with Croom, and now, it's beginning to pay off.
A Study In Scarlet (and Gray)
Ohio State quarterback Todd Boeckman was considered simply a caretaker coming into the season, and while he's been unquestionably efficient all season long, he needed to perform in front of 110,134 in Beaver Stadium to garner that one thing many haven't been labeling him with through Ohio State's rise to No. 1: respect. Boeckman was stellar in Saturday's win at Penn State, patiently picking apart the Nittany Lions for 253 yards and three touchdowns. He won't be joining the ranks of Matt Ryan or Brian Brohm in anyone's eyes, but no one should be calling him just a caretaker any longer.
Raising Arizona State
Is it time we considered Arizona State a legitimate threat for the Pac-10 title? There's still bound to be some non-believers after the Sun Devils dumped a struggling Cal team, but it's hard to argue with the way ASU is winning. As they've done all season, the Sun Devils fell behind early (this time 13-0) and coach Dennis Erickson again made key halftime adjustments as Arizona State continued its second-half defensive dominance (keeping the Golden Bears scoreless after the break for the first time this season). Cal was wounded, but this is a major step forward for Erickson and the Sun Devils.
Yes, the 'Eers Play Defense
As we've come to expect, Steve Slaton and Pat White again did their thing as West Virginia continued to cast its spell on Rutgers. But don't discount just how good the oft-criticized Mountaineers defense has been this season. After ranking 62nd in total defense last season, WVU is third this season (262 yards per game) and is second against the rush (101), fifth against the pass (161) and fourth in scoring D (14.8). Safety Ryan Mundy, a former Michigan player, has helped to give WVU an edge, evident as the secondary spooked Rutgers' receiving corps into dropping a number of very catchable balls.
Boston College Eagles
Matt Ryan and the Eagles made a major statement under the lights at Virginia Tech and Ryan delivered the most defining moment yet of any Heisman candidate. VT is lauded for its Thursday night prowess, but now the Hokies are 13-3 on Thursday nights, with all three losses coming against Boston College.
UConn Huskies
Five underwhelming wins didn't get the Huskies any credit. A win over Louisville got them some credit. Now, it's time we give one of the country's biggest surprises their due. UConn beat South Florida, marking its first win over a ranked team in 10 tries and cracked the top 25.
Boise State Broncos
Ian Johnson was out again, but the Broncos' dominance of the WAC continues. Behind freshmen running backs D.J. Harper and Jeremy Avery, who combined for 277 yards and four touchdowns, Boise State beat Fresno State to improve to a staggering 44-1 in conference play.
Texas Tech Red Raiders
Through back-to-back losses to Missouri and Colorado, Graham Harrell has struggled, throwing a combined eight interceptions after throwing three in the first seven games. Texas Tech has also averaged 18 points the last two games after averaging 50 in the seven previous games.
Oregon Ducks
The Ducks kept their name on the short list of national title contenders. While Dennis Dixon and the offense were impressive, they were well off their 558 yards a game. It was defense that stepped up with three turnovers, including two picks, one of which came on USC's final drive.
Virginia Cavaliers
The Cavaliers were denied a school-record eighth straight victory and fell out of the top 25 as they stumbled at NC State. UVa's Chris Long-led defense, which had carried the team to a surprise season, gave up 431 yards, the most since its season-opening loss.
"Anybody who has doubts about them, I don't think they should. You have to give Kansas their due."
--Texas A&M coach Dennis Franchione after Kansas beat A&M 19-11 Saturday. The Jayhawks are 8-0 for the first time since 1909 and lead the Big 12 North.
"I think somebody said on television the next thing we had to look forward to was signing day and the draft. I mean that's stupid. That's stupid stuff. That's someone who doesn't have any idea what Tennessee football is about."
--Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer, whose team climbed back atop the SEC East standings with an overtime win over South Carolina and help from Georgia's victory over Florida.
"We're about to see three different teams."
--Michigan coach Lloyd Carr delivering the obvious statement on what awaits his surging Wolverines to end the season; games against Michigan State, Wisconsin and Ohio State.
Jamaal CharlesRB - Texas
Charles added to what's been a horrific year for Nebraska, piling up the most rushing yards ever allowed by a Cornhuskers' defense as he ran for 290 -- 216 of which came in the fourth quarter -- and three TDs in the Longhorns' come-from-behind victory.
Willie TuitamaQB - Arizona
It's a safe bet Arizona fans won't be calling for backup Kris Heavner this week. Tuitama, a junior, passed for a school-record 510 yards and five touchdowns, including three in the fourth quarter, as the Wildcats rallied to beat Washington.
Colt BrennanQB - Hawaii
Regardless of whether you think it's the system or not, nobody at Hawaii has done it better than Brennan. He threw for 425 yards and six TDs against New Mexico State, giving him 119 TD passes to jump Timmy Chang for the Hawaii record.
Number of laterals Division III Trinity University had as Riley Curry scored a 44-yard TD to beat Millsaps College. It took 46 seconds and seven different Tigers touched the ball.
Total points scored as Division I-AA Delaware knocked off Navy 59-52 in Annapolis. It marked the most combined points in a Midshipmen football game since Navy knocked off Colby 121-0 in 1919.
Iowa State's Bret Meyer became the second Big 12 quarterback to eclipse the 9,000 yard mark in his career, joining Texas Tech's Kliff Kingsbury, who passed for 12,249 yards.

Click image to launch gallery
Wisconsin at Ohio StateNOVEMBER 3
The Buckeyes haven't beaten Wisconsin in the Horseshoe since 1996, but that will likely change on Saturday. Ohio State's stingy defense is bound to bottle up P.J. Hill and put the onus on QB Tyler Donovan, who has thrown nine picks so far this season. Ohio State 31, Wisconsin 18
Navy at Notre DameNOVEMBER 3
Could this be the year the Midshipmen end their now 43-year losing streak against Notre Dame? It's hard to bet on Navy after the loss to Delaware, but on paper the Irish are 93rd against the run, while Navy's run game leads the nation. Still, I just can't see this happening.
Notre Dame 20, Navy 17
LSU at AlabamaNOVEMBER 3
They're calling it the "Saban Bowl" with the 'Bama coach facing off against the team he left to take over the Dolphins. There's bound to be some bad blood considering 20 of these Tigers were signed by Nick Saban. You have to wonder: How dangerous will these Tigers be when they're fired up?
LSU 28, Alabama 17
Arizona State at OregonNOVEMBER 3
The Pac-10's No. 1 scoring offense will meet the No. 1 scoring D in Eugene. The Sun Devils have thrived on falling behind early and rallying, which could get them in trouble against an Oregon team that has outscored opponents 101-30 in the first quarter this year.
Oregon 41, Arizona State 28

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