Daily Blog • September 23rd

As far as my game grades go after the 2008 season was completed, I devised a power ratings system, which lets me analyze at what level each team played during an individual game. This “game grade” takes into account the yards rushing, yards passing, points scored, rushing yards allowed, passing yards allowed and points allowed and factors them in against the opponent played and even factors in the site the game was played at.

With all these factors taken into consideration you will see teams that lost the game having a better individual game grade than teams that beat them simply because the team they played was superior and much less was expected of them.

Here are the Top 25 Game Grades (Team Performances from Week 4)

        OFF OFF OFF DEF DEF DEF   Total Game
Rank Team   Foe RUSH PASS PTS RUSH PASS PTS TO's Yards Grade
1 Baylor   ULM 311 470 70 75 220 7 3 486 122.38
2 Mississippi St   Troy 235 316 62 47 139 7 2 365 107.31
3 Stanford   Arizona St 240 151 42 50 367 28 1 -26 103.18
4 Maryland   West Virginia 113 217 37 113 62 0 4 155 103.1
5 Wisconsin   Purdue 388 158 41 45 135 10 0 366 99.66
6 Louisville   FIU 210 254 72 3 27 0 1 434 98.94
7 Utah at BYU 129 273 20 183 260 13 1 -41 97.78
8 Georgia   North Texas 191 450 45 7 238 21 -1 396 97.14
9 Missouri at Indiana 280 343 45 98 377 28 0 148 96.64
10 UCLA   New Mexico St 298 394 59 187 146 13 -1 359 96.37
11 Iowa   W Michigan 258 188 59 74 135 3 2 237 96.33
12 Memphis   Arkansas St 329 176 31 74 181 7 0 250 96.29
13 Washington   Idaho St 370 310 56 22 142 0 2 516 96.23
14 Ohio St   Florida A&M 388 215 76 50 30 0 1 523 96.04
15 Georgia Tech   North Carolina 324 104 28 101 218 20 0 109 93.12
16 Colorado St at Alabama 51 228 6 66 272 31 0 -59 93.03
17 Texas A&M   SMU 265 316 42 93 341 13 2 147 92.18
18 Florida   Tennessee 215 167 31 66 154 17 3 162 92.11
19 Utah St at USC 106 179 14 118 164 17 1 3 91.92
20 Michigan St at Notre Dame 119 135 13 82 142 17 -1 30 91.03
21 Wyoming at Air Force 249 373 56 346 127 23 0 149 91.02
22 Penn St   Kent St 287 176 34 56 134 0 0 273 90.53
23 LSU   Auburn 228 229 35 213 224 21 1 20 89.44
24 Auburn at LSU 213 224 21 228 229 35 -1 -20 89.16
25 Miami, Fl   Savannah St 324 313 77 139 44 7 4 454 89

News and Notes Week 4 Part 1

By Phil Steele

Kevonte Martin-Manley was a star early for Iowa as he returned punts 83 and 63 yards for td’s within 1:00 of each other to blow open a 10-0 game and make it 24-0 with 10:46 left in the 2Q. Western Mich was intercepted in the EZ on its next drive. BJ Lowery, who made a spectacular 1-handed interception last week vs Iowa St, intercepted Tyler Van Tubbergen in a crowd and raced 35 yards for a td with :56 left to blow it open 38-3. UI did only have a 159-120 yard edge at the half despite the 35 point lead. UI opened the 3Q with a 13 yard IR td by Zach Terrell, their 4th defensive/special team td of the game, then drove 64/9pl for a td to lead 52-3 with 6:36 left in the 3Q. UI’s final drive had a 1st & goal at the 3 on a 63/19pl drive that lasted 9:26 but the Hawkeyes took a knee 3 times and finished with 446-209 yard and 22-9 FD edges.

Louisville’s 72 points were the most since 2007 when they had 73 vs Murray St. This game was as lopsided as the final and FIU would be a prime time contender for the #1 pick in next year’s draft if this were the NFL. FIU managed 2 FD’s and 33 yards for the game and all 33 yards came in the 1H. UL punted with 6:14 left in the half and FIU fumbled the punt at its 15 and the Cardinals would go 15/3pl for a td then 73/6pl for a td with 1:11 left in the half to blow it open 38-0. UL got a 93 yard KR td, went 45/4pl, 65/5pl, 49/7pl and 46/7pl on their five 2H poss, the last 2 led by Will Gardner who hit 5-5-42. Teddy Bridgewater didn’t have a great statistical day and continues to drop back in the Heisman race hitting just 17-22-212 but did have four td passes. He was hurt by a short field as 4 of UL’s eight 1H possessions started at midfield or in FIU territory.

You have to feel that Ohio St’s Braxton Miller has officially been eliminated from the Heisman race as he missed the entire game vs Florida A&M and Kenny Guiton had another strong performance. Guiton hit 24-34-215 but rushed just 1 time for 5 yards. He guided Ohio St to its most lopsided win since 1935 (85-7 over Drake), 76-0. It was their biggest shutout win since 1934 (Western Reserve, 76-0). OSU had an amazing 34-2 edge in FD’s and 603-83 yard edge. OSU led 55-0 at the half with a 326-54 yard edge and went 65/9pl and 90/7pl on their opening 2 drives of the 2H to lead 69-0. They got the ball back with 11:30 left and went 98/14pl adding a 10 yard td run with just 1:15 left.

Vanderbilt struggled with Massachusetts leading just 10-7 after 3Q’s gaining 167 of their 406 yards in the 4Q. UMass started AJ Doyle who hit 20-28-133. VU led 10-7 but UM missed a 45 yard FG on the final play of the half. At the half VU only had a 181-163 yard edge. UM took its second 3Q drive 56/16pl to the 32 but on 4th & 17 punted. VU went 80/11pl getting an 11 yard td with 13:34 left then went 89/14pl for a td with 4:41 left to clinch the win. Austyn Carta-Samuels hit 18-27-219.

Minnesota was forced to make a switch at QB with Philip Nelson injured and Mitch Leidner did just against San Jose St. While he hit just 5-12-71, he rushed for 151 yards and the Gophers, who are a very physical team, overpowered the MW squad with a 353-47 rush yard edge. David Fales did hit 22-35-439 for SJSt. The Spartans leading receiver, Noel Grigsby, did not make the trip. UM missed a 51 yard FG on its first series but SJSt went for it on 4th & 1 and lost 2 yards back to the UM17 on their 2nd possession. UM then went 83/10pl for a td and led 20-10 when SJSt took over with 3:07 left in the half and drove 85/6pl capped by a 32 yard td pass with 1:08 left. At half SJSt had a 329-239 yard edge but trailed 20-17. UM began to wear the Spartans down in the 2H. An interception set them up for a 12 yard td drive on their 2nd possession. They then went 75/9pl, 46/11pl, 58/9pl for td’s on the next 3 possessions to lead 43-17 before SJSt got a 75 yard drive for a td with 5:37 left.

Wake Forest won for the 7th straight time in the series vs Army although they had just a 360-357 yard edge and the FD’s were even at 18. Josh Harris rushed 19-96 and a couple of td’s although Tanner Price only hit 6-17-132. WF got its running game going for the first real time this season with 228 yards on 45 carries and held Army’s option to a respectable 271 rush yards. WF was pinned at its 2 and tackled for a safety with 3:05 left in the 1Q. WF missed a 25 yard FG. WF went on a 12pl drive but settled for a 35 yard FG, 3-2. WF was intercepted in the endzone on 3rd & 8 from the 23. WF got a 66 yard td pass to Michael Campanaro to lead 10-2 and Army got a 38 yard FG with :38 left in the half to make it 10-5. WF had a 201-184 yard edge. Army got a 32 yard FG at the start of the 3Q following a 22 yard punt by WF to pull within 10-8 and then got a 32 yard FG at the end of an 11 yard drive for an 11-10 lead. WF went 75/5pl and 62/9pl for td’s on their next 2 possessions to lead 25-11. The Demon Deacons were SOD at the A36 with 7:53 left and their final drive gained 78 yards in 19 plays giving them the yardage edge for the game, although it ended at the 2 as they ran out of time.

The Georgia Tech/North Carolina game was played in a steady rain throughout the game. UNC was the superior team early but GT came back late. UNC suspended TE Jack Tabb for 2 games prior but GT was banged up during the game with LB Quayshawn Nealy, S Chris Milton and S Jamal Golden all injured in the first 3Q’s. GT finished with a 428-319 yard edge and Bryn Renner was held to 14-28-218 in those conditions. UNC took its opening drive 58/6pl for a td and the Yellow Jackets’ 2nd possession went 48/12pl but they fumbled. UNC went 54/6pl for a commanding 13-0 lead. After an exchange of td’s, it was 20-7 and GT took over with 5:23 left and got a 21 yard td pass with :30 left in the half to get back to 20-14. Gil Brandt always tells me about scores late in the half and their impact on games. GT, in what was monsoon-like conditions, took its second 3Q possession 53/9pl for a td then went 92/12pl on a drive that included a 4th & 1 defensive offsides call, for a FD and the td made it 28-20. UNC went 54/8pl getting to the GT30 where they were intercepted. GT took over with 6:27 left leading by 8 and went 56/13pl including a 3rd & 10 conversion with :59 left and was able to run out the clock.

Duke and Pitt were in a wild one. Tom Savage hit 23-33-424 throwing to the outstanding WR combo of Tyler Boyd (8-154) and Devin Street (6-166). James Conner was recruited as a DE but moved to FB and is now the feature RB and had a powerful day with 173 yards rushing on 26 carries and many of those yards came after contact. Duke’s Brandon Connette hit 21-32-323 and also rushed for 101. Connette did throw back-to-back interceptions in the 1Q and Pitt jumped out to 27-7 and 30-14 leads but Duke climbed back to 30-28 with 3:08 left in the half on an 82 yard PR by Jamison Crowder. Pitt drove 68/8pl and got a td with :34 left in the half to lead 37-28 and actually had 468 yards in the 1H to Duke’s 248. Pitt led 51-28 but Duke kept battling back. At 51-41, Duke had the ball but was intercepted and returned 37 yards for a td and Pitt led 58-41. Duke went 67/8pl for a td with 5:30 left. After Pitt recovered the onside kick the Panthers punted the ball on 4th & 21 and it went through the P’s hands and Duke went 30/4pl for a td with 3:43 left. Pitt recovered the onside kick again at the D42, got a FD to the 24 and took a knee 3 times.

While Syracuse won 52-17 vs Tulane, the game was closer than the final score. They only had a 405-330 yard edge but the 1H had to be demoralizing for Tulane. Nick Montana hit 22-38-213 while Terrell Hunt, in his first start, hit 16-21-175. TU K Cairo Santos tragically lost his father and flew out of the country for the funeral. He was able to return to the team and on TU’s first drive they went 50/11pl and settled for a 21 yard FG, 7-3. SU blocked a punt and recovered at the 6 setting up a td then TU fumbled a punt at its own 15 setting up another SU td, this one a 16 yard run on 3rd & 11, 28-10. SU blocked another punt and recovered at the TU17 setting up a td, 35-10 and TU went on a 61/10pl drive but Santos’ 32 yard FG was blocked. SU, despite leading 42-17 at half, only had a 261-251 yard edge. Prior to their final drive of the half when they took over with 1:44 left leading by 18 and drove 85/9pl for a td, SU was being outgained 251-176.

Marshall put up 361 yards on a powerful Virginia Tech defense. MU appeared to have the game won in the 4Q but VT would rally to force OT and won it there. VT did have 382 yards offense in the rain as Logan Thomas hit 18-34-181, nearly matching Rakeem Cato (19-41-228). VT’s first td came on a blocked punt 2:00 in. VT would allow td drives of 51/8pl, 75/6pl and 72/7pl on 3 consecutive possessions and trailed 21-14 and missed a 36 yard FG with 1:09 left in the half. At half MU had a 205-175 yard edge. VT was SOD at the MU11 on its second 3Q drive and MU went 55/10pl but missed a 41 yard FG. MU went 58/15pl but on 3rd & 7 from the 30 was intercepted at the 22. VT took over with 9:25 left and went on an 83/14pl drive and on 4th & 2, got a 2 yard td pass to tie it with 3:09 left. MU got down to the VT34 but was intercepted in the endzone with 1:07 left. Each team missed a FG in the first OT (VT 50, MU 39). MU fumbled at its 20 but VT missed a 32 yard FG in the second OT. VT got a td and 2 point conversion to open the third OT and MU got to the 15 but on 4th & 9 fired incomplete.

Florida Atlantic had a 503-446 yard edge vs Middle Tennessee but suffered a tough defeat. FAU’s Jaquez Johnson hit 31-50-321 while MT’s Logan Kilgore is still not 100% and hit just 13-23-150. FAU, trailing 14-7, went 61/13pl and had a 1st & goal at the 9 but on 2nd & 9, fumbled on a sack and trailed 14-7 at the half. FAU went 80/13pl and on 4th & goal from the 7 they got a 7 yard td to tie it at 28 with 3:50 left. They forced an MT punt, took over at their 27 and got to the MT44 yard line, but on 2nd & 4 Johnson was intercepted. On the very next play, Reggie Whatley, who rushed for 154 yards, had a 64 yard td run. FAU went 54/9pl and on 4th & 10 Johnson had a 21 yard td pass with :04 left. In OT, MT got a td and FAU, after a sack on 3rd & 5, fired incomplete on 4th & 9.

Toledo was going to rest QB Terrance Owens and they let Logan Woodside get his first start vs Central Mich. Woodside hit 3-6-27. David Fluellen did rush for 197 for the Rockets. This game was actually closer than the 38-17 final as UT had a slim 418-270 yard edge and the FD’s were even at 23. CMU was intercepted setting up a 29 yard td drive by UT. CMU went 75/9pl for a td to make it 7-7 but then UT got a 22 yard FR td late in the 1Q to lead 14-7. UT went 96/9pl for a td with 4:37 left in the half and CMU went 89/10pl for a 1 yard td run with :35 left. CMU had a 243-201 yard edge but trailed by 7. UT opened the 3Q with a 57/11pl drive for a 35 yard FG. CMU fumbled at the UT21. UT fumbled it back at the 47 and CMU got a 40 yard FG, 24-17 after 3Q’s. UT went 47/6pl for a td and CMU on 2nd & 11 was sacked and fumbled with 9:51 left. UT went 74/9pl and got a td with 5:02 left for the 21 point win.

Georgia was in a flat spot with a big game vs LSU on deck and this game against North Texas was also played in rain. UGA finished with a 641-245 yard edge with the 641 being the fourth most yards in school history. Aaron Murray did hit 22-30-408. NT used 2 big plays to actually have the game tied in the 3Q. UGA punted on its first possession and on its 2nd had a 2nd & goal at the 3 but was intercepted in the endzone. UGA went 69/6pl then got a 98 yard td pass to lead 14-0. Up 21-7, they gave up a 99 yard KR td by Brelan Chancellor. At half UGA did have a 326-134 yard edge. NT got another special teams play, this time blocking a punt for a td on the fourth play of the 2H to tie it at 21. UGA punted on its next possession but then went 53/8pl and 95/12pl for td’s to lead 35-21. UGA took over with 10:05 left and went on a 78/12pl drive getting a td with 3:45 left for a 17 point lead. NT was SOD at its own 41 and UGA went 41/2pl for another td and a 45-21 win.

Watching the Kansas/Louisiana Tech game, the thing that surprised me is that KU had 396 yards offense as that unit appeared ineffective most of the game. Jake Heaps hit 28-46-279. Early, KU went for it on 4th & 3 at the LT32 and was stuffed. On their 2nd drive, they went for it on 4th & 1 at their own 40 and were stuffed. KU was intercepted at the LT28 and LT went 57/10pl for a td to lead 7-0. KU had a 4th & 2 but opted to go for a FG, this one 37 yards and missed it and they trailed 7-3 at the half but had a 197-193 yard edge. Trailing 10-3 they got off 78 and 65 yard punts but LT, after an interception, took over at the KU29 in the 4Q. On the first play Ryan Higgins ripped off a 27 yard run to the 2 but he was reaching for the endzone and the ball squirted out and went into the endzone for a touchback which was huge. KU went 80/8pl and got a 22 yard td pass with 9:54 left to tie it. LT got down there again, this time to the 18 yard line and Kenneth Dixon got a 13 yard run but fumbled at the 5 with 1:33 left and KU went 60/8pl and got a 52 yard FG on the last play to scratch out a win despite LT having a 29-20 FD edge.

Ball St’s Jahwan Edwards, who had missed the previous two games with injury, returned to the lineup and while he had just 15-81 he had 3 td’s vs Eastern Mich. The 1H was closer than the 34-13 score as Ball St only had a 258-218 yard edge. EMU fumbled at its own 17 setting up a Ball St td, then got off a short punt which set up a 45 yard BS td drive. EMU fumbled at the BS26, was SOD at the BS21. BS took over with 2:21 left in the half, up 14, and went 50/6pl for a td to lead 34-13. EMU was intercepted at the BS9 on its second 3Q possession and went on a 79/16pl drive but was intercepted in the endzone with 4:45 left, BS had a 543-416 yard edge but the FD’s were even at 25 and BS won by 31 as Keith Wenning hit 17-26-317.

Ohio had a 494-298 yard edge in their 38-0 win over Austin Peay. They got a 63 yard pass to Jeremiah Cochran but he fumbled into the endzone for a touchback in the 3Q. AP did miss a 32 yard FG and then a 26 yard FG and had a 39 yard FG blocked in the 2H and ended the game at the OU10 yard line firing incomplete twice.

Washington has won its first 3 games for the first time since 2001. The Huskies were a huge favorite over an outmanned Idaho State and finished with a 680-164 yard edge. IDSt has now lost 19 straight to FBS teams. While IDSt had 164 yards, the majority of it came in the 2H vs the backups as UW had a 397-20 yard edge at the half and led 42-0. UW led 56-0 on the first play of the 4Q and IDSt gained 71 of their yards in the 4Q missing a 38 yard FG with 10:26 left. Keith Price hit 16-21-213 and Bishop Sankey was held to 77 yards on 4 carries.

Georgia St’s Ronnie Bell hit 16-41-250. Minnesota transfer Max Shortell, who is now playing for Jacksonville St, hit 12-27-235. JSt was surprisingly a 10 point favorite in this one but played like they deserved to be. At the half they had a 252-214 yard edge and thanks to an interception with :37 left, they went 41/5pl getting a td with :10 left in the half to lead 20-9. GSt was SOD at the JS11 but then got a 3 yard IR td to get back to 23-16. JSt then fumbled the KO at its own 13 and GSt got a td 2pl later to tie it at 23. JSt got a 34 yard FG with 2:58 left and GSt went 62/16pl getting a 26 yard FG on the last play. GSt missed a 42 yard FG and JSt got a 2 yard td run for the 6 point win.

Taylor Martinez was out for Nebraska but Tommy Armstrong hit 12-15-169 and Ron Kellogg III 8-9-136 combining for 305 vs a decent South Dakota St team that came in 3-0. While the points show a 59-20 win, NU’s D did not have a good performance. They did have 645-465 yard and 34-25 FD edges for the game. HC Pelini came into the game under fire after the week’s events including a 2 year old tape that was released. SDSt went 75/4pl and 71/5pl for td’s on their first 2 possessions. They would get 3 FD’s and had a 1st & goal at the 4 when they settled for a 48 yard FG on 4th & 31 after a pair of sacks. SDSt punted with 10:32 left in the 2Q, then was intercepted at the 47, and SOD at the NU16. At half the Huskers had a 401-289 yard edge. SDSt missed a 32 yard FG and gave up a 33 yard IR td to trail 52-17.

Matt Johnson hit 19-22-244, threw for 2 td’s and ran for another in Bowling Green’s rout of Murray St. BG finished with a 660-312 yard edge. It was just 6-0 when MSt fumbled at the BG1 threatening to take the lead. BG went 99/11pl for a td then went 69/5pl and 97/16pl for td’s, the latter with :07 left in the half to lead 27-0 with a 376-117 yard edge. BG took over with 5:32 left up 41-7 and went 80/6pl for a td with 2:31 left.

Maine’s QB Marcus Wasilewski hit 25-40-237 while Northwestern QB’s Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian combined to hit 10-17-122. Maine actually had a 379-373 yard edge despite losing 35-21. In the 1H Maine had a 32 yard FG blocked and missed a 38 yard FG, was SOD at the NU30 but still only trailed 7-0. With just :41 left in the half, Maine had the ball near midfield but was intercepted and returned 49 yards for a td and despite a 179-169 yard edge they trailed 14-0. At 28-14, NU took over with 11:06 left, went 70/8pl for a td, and made it a 21 point game. Maine fumbled at its own 40 but drove 65/8pl for a td with 2:22 left. NU recovered the onside kick.

UAB had a 454-344 yard edge but benefitted from a couple big plays early. Northwestern St had a snap go over the head of the P for a 32 yard loss and UAB recovered at the NWS8 and got a td 4pl later. UAB then got a 63 yard IR td to lead 14-0. Leading 24-14, UAB took over with 3:08 left and went 69/4pl capped by an 8 yard td run by Reaves, 31-14. They opened it up to 45-21 on a 50 yard Reaves td run with 8:00 left in the 3Q. Leading 45-28, UAB took over with 8:34 left and went 58/8pl for a td with 4:54 left and NWSt went 43/11pl missing a 51 yard FG with :23 left.

Virginia had a 580-79 yard edge vs VMI. In the 1H the Cavs were SOD at the 50, had a FD at the 9 of VMI, were intercepted at the 1, intercepted at their own 48 and the 1Q was scoreless. UVA went 70/3pl, missed a 37 yard FG, went 62/12pl and 59/2pl for 3 td’s to lead 21-0 with a 277-47 yard edge. UVA opened the 3Q with 61/2pl, 67/11pl, 52/8pl and 57/6pl drives on their first 4 possessions to go up 49-0 with 13:52 left.

Utah St came in averaging 49.3 points per game and 29 FD’s per game but USC held them to 13 FD’s and 285 total yards. An amazing stat to me is that - including punts and FG’s - USC ran a total of 76 plays. Of those 76 plays 49 were run inside of Utah St’s territory. The Trojans could only manage 17 points. Just before half they threatened to blow it open leading 14-7 when Cody Kessler was sacked and fumbled at midfield on FD. They had a 1st & goal at the 8 but settled for a 25 yard FG and missed a 46 yard FG. At the end of the game, USC had a FD at the US23 and took a knee. Kessler hit 13-27-164 and Chuckie Keeton was pretty contained hitting 21-39-179 with -15 yards rushing.

Melvin Gordon rushed for 147 yards on 16 carries for Wisconsin which actually dropped his ypc on the season from 12.9. James White had 145 on 16 carries and Corey Clement 13-83 as the Badgers had a 546-1808 yard edge in yet another dominating win over Purdue. This seems to happen every year when these two meet. PU was off its big effort vs Notre Dame and the Badgers were off a loss. UW led 24-10 at the half giving up a 55/9pl drive for a td then, after an interception, a 3 yard drive for a 24 yard FG. They did have a 299-95 yard edge. UW scored on 3 of its first 4 possessions of the 2H to blow it open, 41-10 with a 5 yard td coming on the first play of the 4Q. That would be the final score of the game.

Houston had a 494-463 yard edge. Rice actually jumped out to a 13-7 lead. UH went 70/9pl and settled for a 24 yard FG to make it 13-10 with 5:36 left in the half and then drove 62/4pl for a td with :05 left for a 17-13 lead. In the 2H UH went 64/4pl and got a 28 yard td pass, 24-13, and after a 30 yard PR, went 39/4pl for a 32 yard td pass in the 4Q to lead 31-13. The game almost had a remarkable turnaround at the end. UH, leading 31-20, lined up for a 41 yard FG with 2:18 left. The FG was blocked and returned 62 yards for a td and Rice pulled within 5. Rice then recovered the onside kick and would get to the UH36 but fired incomplete on 4th & 4 with 1:11 left.

Maryland dominated West Virginia last week. In fact, at the half, they had 192-65 yard edge allowing just 2 FD’s. MD led 30-0 at the half but did have a 24 yard drive for a td after a fumbled PR and a 28 yard IR td to jump out to a 14-0 lead. They also settled for 36, 30 and 50 yard FG’s in the 2Q. MD added a td with 4:18 left for the 37-0 final and WV was held to 6 FD’s and 175 yards as MD is a perfect 4-0 and all 4 wins have been impressive. CJ Brown hit 16-25-217.

Baylor is the first FBS team since LSU in 1930 to open a season with 60+ points in 3 consecutive games. They are beginning to look like the Oregon of the Big 12. Bryce Petty, once again, completed just 18 passes and once again it was for nearly 20 yards a throw as he threw for 351 yards. ULM took some chances early and it cost them. On their opening drive they were SOD at the BU18 on 4th & 5. ULM was intercepted and returned 41 yards for a td, SOD on 4th & goal at the 5 and yielded a 63 yard IR td to trail 28-0. It was 49-7 at the half with BU having a 430-280 yard edge. BU had a 781-295 yard edge.

The big news out of the Florida game was that QB Jeff Driskel was injured and lost for the year. UF had a 382-220 yard edge vs Tennessee but only won by 14. Justin Worley was benched and Butch Jones gave rFr Nathan Peterman his first start. Peterman hit 4-11-5. Worley came off the bench in the 2H and UT’s offense was much improved. He hit 10-23-149. On the play Driskel was injured, he was intercepted and returned 62 yards for a td and UT led 7-0 and it was 7-3 early 3Q. UF got a 52 yard td run then took over with 3:40 left in the half and went 40/7pl for a td and a 17-7 lead. At half UF had a 199-31 yard edge. In the 2H they had 183 yards and UT 189. It was 17-10 when UF went 79/11pl and 84/11pl for td’s to lead 31-10 but UT went 79/7pl for a td, then was SOD at the UF24 with 2:29 left. Tyler Murphy hit 8-14-134 and ran for 10-84.

Michigan St came in with the nation’s #1 D and held Notre Dame to 220 yards as they had a 254-220 yard edge. Tommy Rees, who had 3 straight 300 yard games, was held to 14-34-142. Connor Cook hit 16-23-135 in the start. The Spartans blocked a punt on the first drive but missed a 30 yard FG. ND got a 41 yard FG to lead 3-0 after 1Q but missed a 37 yard FG. MSt went 79/14pl and got a td with 7:43 left in the 2Q to lead 7-3. The Irish took over with 3:00 left in the half and went for it on 4th & 1 at the 50 and converted and went 50/9pl for a td with :17 left in the half to lead 10-7. At the half ND had a 169-90 yard edge. MSt went 75/15pl but settled for a 25 yard FG. ND got a key interception on a trick pass from RJ Shelton and that turned the momentum as the Irish went 37/5pl for a td to lead. MSt went 51/10pl for a 42 yard FG to pull within 17-13. The next 5 possessions were punts and MSt brought Andrew Maxwell in off the bench at QB (own 33) and on 4th & 20, he ran for 8 yards out to his own 31 and the Irish got a FD and took a knee.

Memphis surprisingly had 329 yards rushing vs Arkansas St with Marquis Warford rushing for 173. The D also held an explosive ASt team to 255 yards. ASt QB Adam Kennedy hit 20-37-166 and Paxton Lynch for Memphis hit 17-26-176. Memphis was flat out dominant. In the 1H they had a 315-134 yard edge and led 24-7 and even went for it on 4th & goal at the AS1 with 1:25 left in the half and were sacked. They extended it to 31-7 after 3Q’s and ASt’s only two 2H threats ended on SOD’s at the M31 with 7:46 left in the 3Q and M45 with 4:01 left in the game.

Texas A&M didn’t show much of a letdown after their big game vs Alabama although statistically they only had 581-434 yard and 27-25 FD edges against SMU. Johnny Manziel hit 14-21-244 and led the team in rushing with 102 yards. Matt Joeckel and Kenny Hill combined to hit 5-14 passes for 72 yards playing from the 3Q on. Garrett Gilbert hit 37-62-310 for SMU. The Aggies went 52/5pl and 80/7pl on their first 2 drives to take a 14-0 lead then recovered a surprise onside kick but were intercepted at the SMU5. SMU got a 42 yard FG to make it 14-3 after 1Q but after A&M’s first punt, the Aggies went 74/11pl and 49/4pl for td’s to lead 26-3, then returned a fumble 12 yards for a td with 6:52 left, 32-3. It was 32-6 at the half with A&M having a 377-193 yard edge. Manziel led a 78/8pl td drive on the first drive of the 3Q to make it 39-6 and then sat out the rest of the game. The Mustangs were stuffed on a fake punt at their own 47, went 65/12pl and were SOD at the A&M5. Trailing 42-13 they were intercepted at the A&M13 with 8:21, and fumbled at the A&M41 with 4:28 left. A&M went 50/7pl taking a knee at the SMU9 at the end.

Texas Tech had a 552-240 yard edge over Texas St and for the second straight game starter Baker Mayfield was pulled. This time after 4 series with his last play being a 4th & 1 QB sneak that was stuffed at the TXS16 and TT only led 3-0. Mayfield hit 14-20-124 in his brief action. Frosh Davis Webb came off the bench and hit 19-43-310. TXSt had a 1st & goal at the 1 but on 4th & goal from the 3 fired incomplete with 6:49 left in the half. TT got a 9 yard FR td 1pl after the SOD and a 21 yard FG with :20 left in the lackluster 1H leading only 13-0. They did have a 281-85 yard edge. TXSt opened the 3Q with a 75/5pl drive and got a 49 yard td run to pull within 13-7 but TT recovered the surprise onside kick, went 44/5pl for a td then 75/9pl for a 27 yard FG to go up 23-7. TXSt was SOD at its own 24 going for it on 4th & 4 and that opened the flood gates. TT went 24/6pl, then 63/9pl for td’s, the final with 9:32 left for the 33-7 final.

I came away very impressed with Mississippi St in their game vs Auburn and last week they were a desperate team in need of wins and Dan Mullen usually puts the hammer down vs non-conference foes. Despite playing a solid Troy last week, those factors added up to a 62-7 rout. Dak Prescott continues to impress giving the Bulldogs a run/pass option at QB. Prescott ran 5-53 and hit 13-21-233. Tyler Russell had been cleared for contact for the game but Mullen opted to stick with the hot hand in Prescott. MSt’s underrated D, which earlier this year held Oklahoma St to 21 points, held Troy to just 11 FD’s and 186 yards while MSt rolled up 551. It was the most points the Bulldogs had scored in a game since 1994. MSt led 10-7 after 1Q. They dominated the 2Q scoring 5 td’s and they went 75/4pl for a td then Troy had a punt mishap on 4th & 4 and MSt took over at the 22 and got a Prescott 22 yard td on the next play, 22-7. They went 76/4pl, 64/7pl, and 61/3pl all for td’s the last with 1:00 left in the half to lead 45-7 with a 349-187 yard edge. MSt went 75/10pl, 53/11pl, 52/8pl and 56/8pl on their first four drives of the 2H, settling for 30 & 24 yard FG’s and 2 td’s to blow it open.


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Phil Steele is a college football analyst who has been publishing his annual College Football Preview since 1995. His magazine is regarded as one of the best in the business.