Just three weeks remain in the College Football season. LSU, Oklahoma State and Houston are the last three undefeated schools. Toledo has outscored its last two opponents 129-123, but if you watched football on Tuesday nights, you would know that. That’s just a thought. Here are College Football’s winners and losers from Week 11:
Facing a good Georgia Tech team and a hostile crowd on Thursday night, Virginia Tech played perhaps its most complete game of the season with a 37-26 win over the Yellow Jackets. Quarterback Logan Thomas accounted for all five Virginia Tech touchdowns in the victory. The Hokies scored 21 second quarter points to take a 21-13 lead into the locker room, but Georgia Tech’s Tevin Washington scored a pair of short touchdowns early in the third to put Georgia Tech back on top 26-21. Thomas answered with a touchdown run late in the third quarter and threw another early in the fourth. With Virginia Tech leading 34-26, Cody Journell’s 23-yard field goal put the Yellow Jackets away. Thomas passed for 209 yards and rushed for 70 more while running back David Wilson finished with 175 rushing yards for Virginia Tech. Virginia Tech can clinch the ACC Coastal Division with a win over North Carolina on Thursday night and a Virginia loss to Florida State on Saturday.
The Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles were less than impressive, but defeated UCF 30-29 on Saturday and got help from the rest of the conference to clinch a spot in the Conference USA Championship Game in December. Southern Miss led most of the night, but fell behind in the fourth quarter when Ronnie Weaver’s 13-yard-touchdown-run gave UCF a 23-22 lead. The Golden Eagles answered when Austin Davis hit Chris Briggs for a touchdown; Southern Miss added a two-point-conversion to take a 30-23 lead. UCF scored on the final play of regulation when Blake Bortles threw a 25-yard-touchdown to J.J. Worton. Rather than settle for overtime, UCF’s George O’Leary elected to try for two. Bortles’ pass fell incomplete as Southern Miss escaped with a 30-29 victory. East Carolina’s loss to UTEP and Marshall’s loss to Tulsa allowed the Golden Eagles to clinch Conference USA’s Eastern Division.
Kicker Chandler Catanzaro’s 43-yard field goal as time expired lifted the Tigers to a 31-28 win over Wake Forest and a second trip to the ACC Championship in three years. Clemson fell behind 28-14 in the third quarter, but Tajh Boyd threw touchdown passes to Brandon Ford and Jaron Brown to even the game at 28. Catanzaro missed a shorter field goal earlier in the fourth quarter that would have given Clemson the lead, but the Tigers’ defense forced Wake to punt and gave Catanzaro a second chance, which he would make good on. Clemson will travel to play NC State and South Carolina before taking on the ACC Coastal Champion on the first Saturday in December.
Arkansas State needs just one win in its final two games to become Sun Belt Champions. The Red Wolves defeated Louisiana-Lafayette 30-21 on Saturday. Quarterback Ryan Aplin threw for two touchdowns, but his rushing touchdown late in the third quarter came from four yards out and put the Red Wolves ahead for good. Arkansas State can clinch the conference next Saturday with a win at Middle Tennessee State.
Nebraska scored early and held on late as the Cornhuskers defeated Penn State 17-14 in front of an emotional crowd at Beaver Stadium. Nebraska built a 17-0 lead behind touchdown runs from Rex Burkhead and Ameer Abdullah. Penn State’s Stephfon Green scored twice to draw the Nittany Lions to within three with under six minutes to play in the game. The Nebraska defense sealed the victory when the Cornhuskers stuffed Silas Redd on 4th-and-1 from his own 37-yard-line with 1:49 to play. With the win, Nebraska improves to 8-2 and keeps hopes alive for a Big Ten Championship.
Rarely does a visiting team come to Boise State’s blue turf and go home with a victory, but that’s what TCU did on Saturday with a dramatic 36-35 victory. Boise State led 35-28 late in the game and appeared to be in the midst of putting the game away, but Drew Wright fumbled inside the TCU 30-yard-line giving the ball back to the Horned Frogs with 2:26 to play. Quarterback Casey Pachall led a seven play, 73 yard drive capped with his 25-yard-touchdown-pass to Brandon Carter. Rather than settling for the tie, TCU went for two and converted when Pachall hit Josh Boyce for the score. Boise State reached the edge of kicker Dan Goodale’s range, but his 39-yard attempt as time expired sailed wide right giving TCU the upset. TCU can clinch a Mountain West Championship with a win on Saturday against Colorado State.
Oklahoma State QB Brandon Weeden
For the first time in school history, the Oklahoma State Cowboys are 10-0 following Saturday’s 66-6 thumping of Texas Tech in Lubbock. Quarterback Brandon Weeden was stellar as the senior passed for 423 yards and five touchdowns while completing 31 of 37 pass attempts. Weeden threw touchdown passes to three different receivers including two each to Justin Blackmon and Josh Stewart. Oklahoma State will travel to Iowa State on Friday night before finishing the year with the highly anticipated match-up with in-state rival Oklahoma.
Georgia needs only to beat Kentucky to reach the SEC Championship following Saturday’s 45-7 win over 20th-ranked Auburn. Georgia rushed for over 300 yards while quarterback Aaron Murray passed for 224 and four touchdowns. Murray’s four touchdown tosses all went to different receivers as the Bulldogs scored the game’s final 38 points. Since starting the year 0-2, Georgia has won eight straight.
Georgia Tech’s dreams of an ACC Championship died on at home on Thursday night as the Yellow Jackets fell to Virginia Tech 37-26. Georgia Tech trailed 21-13 at halftime, but a pair of one-yard-touchdowns from Tevin Washington gave the Yellow Jackets a 26-21 lead in the third quarter. The final 16 points of the game however, would go to Virginia Tech as Georgia Tech managed only one yard of total offense on its final three drives. Georgia Tech tallied 340 yards of offense, but couldn’t get the Hokies’ offense off of the field. Virginia Tech totaled 476 yards of offense, possessed the ball for more than 34 minutes, converted on 10 of 16 third downs and both fourth down attempts. Georgia Tech will have the opportunity to get back on the winning track as they play Duke on Saturday.
In Saturday’s 53-30 home loss to Oregon, Stanford not only saw its dreams of a National Championship die, but probably also watched its dreams of a PAC-12 Championship go down the drain. The Cardinal turned the ball over five times and never led in the contest. Andrew Luck passed for 256 yards and three touchdowns, but threw two interceptions which led to Oregon touchdowns. While the dreams of a conference championship appear over, Stanford could still get to a second straight BCS game with some help from other schools and by winning its final two games against California and Notre Dame.
Against a 4-5 Missouri team, the Texas Longhorns were held without a touchdown on Saturday in a 17-5 loss. Texas was held to just 247 yards of total offense while converting on just five of 17 third down conversion attempts. The loss snapped a two-game-winning-streak as Texas was held without a touchdown for the first time since 2004.
For the second straight year, Boise State watched its National Championship hopes die on a missed field goal. Dan Goodale’s 39-yard field goal attempt went wide right as time expired and the Broncos lost to TCU 36-35. Boise State trailed 20-14 at halftime, but the Broncos scored two touchdowns in the first eight minutes of the second half. With the game tied 28-28 early in the final quarter, Kellen Moore threw a 54-yard-touchdown to Dallas Burroughs to put Boise State back on top 35-28. Boise State looked as if it were about to put the game away, but Drew Wright’s fumble with just over two minutes to play gave TCU new life. The Horned Frogs drove 73 yards for a touchdown; Casey Pachall hit Josh Boyce for the two-point-conversion giving TCU a 36-35 lead. Boise State drove into field goal range, but couldn’t convert as the fifth-ranked Broncos lost for the first time all year and the first time at home since 2001. Not only did Boise State’s dreams of a National Championship die, the Broncos hopes of winning the Mountain West are also probably gone.
With the ACC Atlantic on the line, Wake Forest appeared on its way to a road upset over #9 Clemson and a clear path to the ACC Championship. A punt return for a touchdown by Michael Campanaro and a pair of Brandon Pendergrass touchdowns gave Wake Forest a 28-14 lead in the third quarter. Clemson’s Tajh Boyd would answer with a touchdown pass in the third quarter and another in the fourth to tie the game. With the game tied at 28 and seven seconds remaining, Clemson’s Chandler Catanzaro nailed a 43-yard field goal as time expired to send the Tigers to the ACC Championship Game and Wake to a fifth loss. The Demon Deacons are 5-5 and will need to win one their two remaining games to become bowl-eligible.
Kansas appeared on its way to a shocking upset on Saturday as the Jayhawks built a 24-3 over Baylor late in the third quarter, but as Kansas has all year long, the Jayhawks failed to finish. Baylor’s Robert Griffin III rushed for a touchdown and threw two more as the Bears tied the game at 24 with 3:32 to play. Baylor took its first lead of the game on the third play of overtime as Griffin hit Tevin Reese for a touchdown to put the Bears up 31-24. Kansas would score on the first play of its possession when Jordan Webb found Tim Biere for a touchdown, but rather than settling for a second overtime, Turner Gill elected to go for two. Webb’s pass was incomplete as Kansas fell to 2-8 and still have just one win over a FBS school.
In front an emotional home crowd, Penn State put the scandals behind them and fought Nebraska nail and tooth. The Nittany Lions fell behind 17-0 in the third quarter, but came storming back. Stephfon Green scored touchdowns in the third and fourth quarter to cut the Nebraska lead to 17-14. With one last ditch effort late in the game, Penn State’s Silas Redd was stuffed on fourth-and-short by the Nebraska defense as the Nittany Lions fell for the first time since losing to Alabama back in Week 2. Penn State still controls its own destiny in the Big Ten Leaders; it can clinch a spot in the conference title game with a win over Ohio State on Saturday and a Wisconsin loss to Illinois.
Ohio State’s hopes of a conference title were dashed on Saturday in a 26-23 overtime loss at Purdue. Ohio State trailed 20-14 with under a minute to play when Braxton Miller found Jordan Hall for what looked to be the game-winning-touchdown. Drew Basil’s PAT was blocked however and the game went to overtime with a 20-20 tie. Basil gave Ohio State a 23-20 lead in overtime with a 33-yard field goal. Purdue’s Robert Marve would end the game with a quarterback sneak for a touchdown as Ohio State fell to 6-4 and 3-3 in Big Ten play. The Buckeyes had not lost four games in a season since 2004.
Week 11’s Biggest Winner
Oregon looks to have a very good chance to win a third straight conference title following Saturday’s 53-30 beat-down of Stanford. LaMichael James rushed for 146 yards and three touchdowns and Darron Thomas passed for three more, but it was the Oregon defense that was the catalyst for the victory. Oregon intercepted Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck twice and forced five turnovers. Oregon never trailed in the contest and needs only to beat USC on Saturday to advance to the inaugural PAC-12 Championship Game.
Week 11’s Biggest Loser
Former Penn State Head Coach Joe Paterno
Joe Paterno was fired by Penn State University earlier this week when multiple allegations came up regarding former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. On campus in State College, Sandusky had inappropriate sexual conduct with numerous young boys. After being spotted by a current Penn State position coach, Paterno received word of the incident and reported it to the president of the university. Paterno never called the police and never followed up to see what had become of the incident. For a man that has always carried himself with class and integrity and has had a positive impact on so many, it was beneath Joe Paterno to not have done more to see that justice was served. While the firing was controversial on the Penn State campus, it was justified. Unfortunately, Paterno’s failure to act may have led to more incidents of that heinous nature and Joe Paterno is better than that.