The best regular season in all of sport, continues to surprise, as another pair of pretenders Alabama and Utah, took its leave from the stage, leaving four challengers remaining in the hunt for the crown.
We begin in Happy Valley, where the “Old Gent,” Coach Joe Paterno and his Nittany Lions roared back from a 21 point deficit, defeating Northwestern University 35-21, giving the octogenarian (83) JoePa his historic 400th Division 1 victory.
It is an achievement, like Cy Young’s 511 victories, that will never be broken by a D1 coach. After briefly thanking the crowd, the Old Lion roared, “Now that the celebration is over, let’s go beat Ohio State.” Classic Paterno.
What’s in the water in Ann Arbor?!
Illinois came into the Big House with the nation’s 15th ranked defense, and left in tatters, after Michigan defeated the fighting “Zookers” 67-65 in triple overtime. It was the most combined points ever scored in the 130 years of Michigan football, and it may well have been a game with the fewest tackles ever recorded.
In the first half the teams combined for 62 points, and over 700 yards of offense!! Amazing.
But the irony of this Maize and Blue bowl eligible victory – despite all the offensive fireworks, it was a play by the Wolverines much maligned defense, preventing Illini’s two point conversion, which saved the day. The victory should also guarantee Coach $Rich Rod will return next year.
Hail the Academies! Air Force defeated Army 42-22 to capture its first Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy since the George W. Bush Administration (2002). While the Middies of Annapolis set a single game scoring record hanging an astounding 76 points on East Carolina in its 76-35 victory, which also once again made Navy bowl eligible.
In this game Navy completed only 6 passes for 75 yards, while running for an eye-popping 521 yards on the ground. Congrats to both.
Its official, after another blowout loss, this time a 39-14 shellacking (borrowing a phrase from President Obama) by Kansas State, the Longhorns of Austin (4-5), losers of five of its last six, will now be known as the longhorns of “Lostin.”
At one point the Horns were down 39-0, and some people feel Mack Brown has lost the team. With games remaining against Oklahoma State, Florida Atlantic and Texas A&M, Texas may not go bowling! YIKES!
Kudos to the Boys from Forth Worth, after TCU, pounded its rival Utah 47-7, looking every bit the part of a national contender. Senior quarterback Andy Dalton was superb, passing for a career high 355 yards and 3 TDs, in snapping Utah’s 21 game home winning streak.
In Baton Rouge, the “Mad Hatter,” LSU’s Les Miles was pulling some more magic out of his chapeau, faking a punt, calling a fourth and one reverse, which went for 23 yards, as the Tigers (8-1, 5-1) knocked Alabama 24-21, out of any title contention.
On the local level, the lads from the Heights have won two in a row, defeating Wake Forest 23-13, keeping its hopes for a 12th consecutive bowl invitation very much alive.
Up north in Hanover, New Hampshire, old friend Buddy Teevens (Silver Lake Regional High School) defeated Cornell 28-10, to climb to 5-3, giving the Green its best chance for a winning season in 13 years.
In Ames, Iowa, Nebraska hung on for a 31-30 overtime victory, when Cyclones holder Eric Hagg had his pass, on the fake extra point intercepted in the end zone by Eric Hagg. If he hadn’t floated the ball, Iowa State would have won the game.
In Indianapolis, Iowa (7-2, 4-1) scored on a Ricky Stanzi 52 yard touchdown pass to Marvin McNutt with less than three minutes remaining, and then hung when IU wideout Demario Belcher belched (dropped) a sure touchdown pass in the end zone as the Hawkeyes got out of Dodge with an 18-13 victory over the Hoosiers. WOW!
In Columbia, South Carolina, the Head Ball Coach suffered his worst home loss in five years, as the Razorbacks sliced the Gamecocks (6-3, 4-3) 41-20. All is not lost for Spurrier’s Cocks, if they can somehow defeat Florida in the Swamp next week, they will play for the SEC Championship in Atlanta.
What a job Coach Butch Davis has done. UNC defeated Florida State 37-35, and is bowl eligible (6-3), despite all the suspensions and allegations they have had to endure. His QB T. J. Yates, (15 touchdown passes – 4 interceptions) the nation’s 20th most efficient passer, has quietly had himself a stellar season.
Out west, Stanford asserted itself as the second best in the Pac 10, by pounding the Boy s from the Desert, Arizona: 42-17. It’s the best start for the Cardinal, since another old friend, Jim Plunkett, took Stanford to the Rose Bowl 40 years ago.
Talk about Jekyll and Hyde. Oklahoma, which has won 35 in a row at home, lost its second in a row on the road, dropping a shocker to Texas A&M 33-19. A&M, who is now bowl eligible, stopped OU on the one yard line not once, not twice, but three times!!! Yikes!
Finally, there can be no doubt that an employment opportunity will be available in Boulder next year.
Coach Dan Hawkins and his Colorado Buffaloes (3-6), blew a 28 point fourth quarter lead to a woeful Kansas team (3-6), who had lost its last four by the combined score of: 187-40, as the Jayhawks scored 35 unanswered points dropping the Buffs 52-45!!!!!! Amazing.
(Material from other sources was used in compiling this report.)
We will be up and running with our analysis of week 11, Wednesday night. Until then, Peace, and listen to the music.