College Football 2012 – Week Three Recap
It only took three weeks and we already have our first real shakeup in the national title and Heisman races after #2 USC fell to Stanford for the fourth straight year. Other highlights this week include Alabama, LSU and Florida State all putting on defensive clinics, Notre Dame knocking off a Top Ten opponent for the first time in seven years and Virginia Tech and BYU both finding themselves on the wrong end of road upsets.
Here are all the highlights from Week Three.
#1 Alabama 52, Arkansas 0
Playing without injured star quarterback Tyler Wilson, the Razorbacks’ nightmarish week continued. Just seven days after losing to Louisiana-Monroe and falling from the Top Ten to “also receiving votes” in the AP poll, Arkansas was shut out in Fayetteville for the first time since 1966. Alabama running back Eddie Lacey rushed for three touchdowns and quarterback A.J. McCarron added 189 yards and a score through the air. But the big story was Alabama’s continued defensive dominance. Crimson Tide defenders forced five turnovers and held the Razorbacks to just 137 total yards (just 46 in the first half, including minus-four rushing). Alabama ran its shutout streak to nine straight quarters and recorded their biggest shutout of an SEC opponent since a 55-0 drubbing of Auburn in 1948.
#21 Stanford 21, #2 Southern Cal 14
Cardinal running back Stepfan Taylor had 213 total yards and two touchdowns as Stanford relied on a powerful run game and a stifling defense to pull off another upset of the Trojans. Stanford held USC quarterback and Heisman hopeful Matt Barkley to 254 passing yards and no touchdowns while intercepting him twice and sacking him five times. He got no help from a running game that was held to just 26 yards on the ground. The Trojans were 0-for-12 on third down conversions. This is the first time in the 107-year history of this rivalry that Stanford has won four straight.
#3 Louisiana State 63, Idaho 14
LSU’s defense held the winless Vandals to just 213 total yards (39 on the ground), forced four turnovers and returned two interceptions for touchdowns in the Tigers’ rout. Idaho actually kept the game close for a while, trailing just 21-14 late in the second quarter, only to see LSU close the game with 42 unanswered points. With the win, LSU set a new FBS record with their 40th straight non-conference regular season win, passing the old record of 39 set by Kansas State in 1993-2003.
#4 Oregon 63, Tennessee Tech 14
Tennessee Tech jumped out to an early 7-0 lead before watching helplessly as the Ducks rolled off 49 unanswered points in the rout. Quarterback Marcus Mariota threw for 308 yards and four touchdowns and running back De’Anthony Thomas added 135 total yards and two scores. And while Chip Kelly’s offense (652 total yards Saturday) will always be the focus of talk about Oregon, the Ducks’ defense also got in on the act Saturday, holding Tennessee Tech quarterback Tre Lamb to just 46 passing yards, sacking him five times, forcing two turnovers and holding the Golden Eagles to just 1-of-17 on third down conversions.
#5 Florida State 52, Wake Forest 0
A year ago, Seminoles running back Chris Thompson almost saw his career come to an end when he suffered a broken back against the Demon Deacons. This year, he made sure his story had a different ending. Thompson only carried the ball nine times, but he made the most of them, rushing for 197 yards and two touchdowns. Florida State has given up just three total points this year, and the defense continued its dominance today, holding Wake Forest to just 126 total yards (compared with 612 for FSU) and just 1-of-16 on third down conversions. The Seminoles have held 11 straight opponents to less than 20 points, the longest streak by an ACC team since Virginia Tech in 2004-05.
#5 Oklahoma BYE
The Sooners had the week off to prepare for their first Big 12 test of the season next week against #15 Kansas State.
#7 Georgia 56, Florida Atlantic 20
Georgia overcame a slow start, but exploded to set a school record with 713 total yards. Quarterback Aaron Murray threw for a career-high 342 yards and had four total touchdowns (two rushing) and the Bulldogs rolled up 42 unanswered points to break open a 14-14 game. Two freshmen running backs each topped 100 rushing yards in the win and a defense playing without three starters recovered from some early struggles to hold the Owls scoreless on their final 11 possessions of the game.
#8 South Carolina 49, Alabama-Birmingham 6
The Gamecocks rolled up 501 yards of offense but, for the second time in three weeks, starting quarterback Connor Shaw was knocked out with an injury to his throwing shoulder. He was replaced by sophomore Dylan Thompson, who threw for 177 yards and two touchdowns in just over two quarters of play. (He threw for 330 yards and four scores in Shaw’s absence against East Carolina last week.) Gamecocks running back Marcus Lattimore (12 carries for 85 yards) has yet to break the 100-yard mark this season, but his second quarter touchdown run gave him the school record for career touchdowns (34). South Carolina’s defense—which has not allowed a red zone touchdown this season—held UAB to just 27 yards on the ground and returned a fumble for a touchdown.
#9 West Virginia 42, James Madison 12
Geno Smith threw for 411 yards and five touchdowns as the Mountaineers’ offense continued to roll up huge numbers. In two games this year, Smith has as many touchdown passes as he does incompletions (nine). His top receivers, Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin, both had 100+ receiving yards and combined for four touchdowns, all before halftime. However, James Madison can take consolation in one thing—they are the first team in over nine months to hold the Mountaineers to less than 69 points.
#20 Notre Dame 20, #10 Michigan State 3
Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson threw for one touchdown and ran for another, giving a fired up Irish defense all the lead they would need. Playing just days after the death of both his grandmother and girlfriend, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o broke up two passes, had 12 tackles, including one for a loss, and recovered a fumble in the win. Spartans running back Le’Veon Bell, who was averaging 140 yards and two touchdowns per game this year, was held to just 77 yards and was kept out of the end zone. This was Notre Dame’s first win over a Top Ten team in seven years and the Irish are now 3-0 for the first time in ten years.
#11 Clemson 41, Furman 7
If there was any rust left over from Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins’ two-game suspension, it didn’t show as the All-American recorded 119 all-purpose yards and a touchdown in his first action of the season for the Tigers. Quarterback Tajh Boyd threw for 310 yards and three touchdowns and, for the second straight game, running back Andre Ellington had two touchdowns on the ground.
#12 Ohio State 35, California 28
Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller’s hot start to the season continued as the sophomore accounted for 324 total yards and five touchdowns as the Buckeyes held off a late-game upset bid from the Bears. Cal actually outgained Ohio State, 512 to 412, and tied the game at 28 midway through the fourth quarter. But a go-ahead field goal attempt for the Bears sailed wide left with 4:20 to play in the game and, three plays later, Miller hit Devin Smith for a 72-yard touchdown to seal the game.
Pittsburgh 35, #13 Virginia Tech 17
Virginia Tech was riding a 13-game road winning streak and was going against an 0-2 team that had already lost to an FCS school this year. But none of that seemed to matter as Pitt jumped out to a 21-0 lead and never looked back, rolling up 537 yards on a Hokies defense that had been giving up an average of just 255 prior to Saturday. Pitt running back Ray Graham recorded 111 total yards and three touchdowns and the Panthers racked up 254 yards on the ground. Pitt’s defense held Virginia Tech to just 59 rushing yards and forced four turnovers in the upset.
#14 Texas 66, Mississippi 31
If Ole Miss was expected to provide Texas with their first real test this season, the Longhorns passed with flying colors. David Ash threw for a career-high 326 yards and four touchdowns as Texas routed their hosts in a rare road trip to the SEC. The Longhorns rolled up 676 total yards and scored on seven of their first eight possessions. Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace was picked off three times, including one the Longhorns returned for a touchdown. Texas only had to punt once in the contest.
#15 Kansas State 35, North Texas 21
Kansas State might have been caught looking ahead a bit to next week’s showdown with #5 Oklahoma, but a 96-yard kickoff return touchdown and another gutty performance from quarterback Collin Klein led the Wildcats to victory. Klein finished with 315 total yards and three touchdowns as Kansas State survived an upset bid from the Mean Green. North Texas pulled to within 14-13 midway through the third quarter before the Wildcats rolled off 21 unanswered points to seal the win.
#16 Texas Christian 20, Kansas 6
TCU quarterback Casey Paschall threw for 335 yards and two touchdowns as the Horned Frogs recorded their first-ever Big 12 conference win. TCU certainly made things interesting early on, fumbling twice and missing a field goal in the first half, allowing Kansas to pull within one point late in the second quarter. But the Horned Frogs’ defense stiffened in the second half, holding the Jayhawks to just 126 total yards on their next five possessions after halftime.
#17 Michigan 63, Massachusetts 13
Denard Robinson accounted for 397 total yards and four touchdowns in less than three quarters of play as the Wolverines routed a UMass team in their first year of FBS football. Michigan outgained the Minutemen 585 to 259 as the Wolverines had their first easy game of the year. Robinson moved past John Navarre into second place in all-time total offense for the Wolverines. He is now just 90 yards behind Chad Henne for the all-time record.
#18 Florida 37, #23 Tennessee 20
Florida came into the game ranked 104th in the nation in passing offense coming into the game, but quarterback Jeff Driskel made the plays when he needed to, leading the Gators to 24 unanswered points to close the game. Driskel finished with 219 passing yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions as the Gators ended a nine-game losing streak against ranked teams. Driskel was efficient, but the game really hinged on Tennessee’s inability to slow down the Florida running game—the Gators racked up 336 yards on the ground. Tennessee has now lost 12 straight games to ranked opponents.
#19 Louisville 39, North Carolina 34
North Carolina outscored the Cardinals 27-3 in the second half, but their upset bid fell short when the Tarheels were unable to convert on 4th and goal from the Louisville 4-yard line with less than two minutes to play. Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater continued his early-season hot play, going 23/28 for 279 yards and three first half touchdowns in the win. North Carolina’s Bryn Renner almost rallied his team to the upset, throwing for 363 yards and five touchdowns, including four straight possessions in the third and fourth quarters.
#22 UCLA 37, Houston 6
UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley’s hot start to the season continued, with the redshirt freshman throwing for 320 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Johnathan Franklin, who leads the nation in rushing, added 110 yards on the ground. While the Bruins’ offense has been the highlight of their season, it was the defense that really shone in this one—UCLA forced six turnovers and held the Cougars scoreless until Houston quarterback David Piland escaped for an 86-yard touchdown run with less than five minutes to go in the game. After going 13-1 last year, Houston now finds itself at 0-3 for the first time since 2001, when they finished 0-11.
#24 Arizona 56, South Carolina State 0
Arizona quarterback Matt Scott came into the game leading the nation in total offense, and he didn’t let up in this one, throwing for 288 yards and three scores while rushing for another 61 yards and a touchdown. Arizona’s offense rolled up 689 total yards while tallying 43 first downs in 102 total plays (both school records). The FCS South Carolina State squad never had a chance in this one, with the Wildcats defense holding them to just 154 total yards in Arizona’s first shutout in four years. The Bulldogs only crossed midfield once and never really threatened.
Utah 24, #25 BYU 21
This rivalry has featured plenty of wild finishes over the years, and this one didn’t disappoint. BYU rallied with 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter but missed two field goals in the final second, handing the Utes the win. Utah blocked Cougars kicker Justin Sorensen 51-yard field goal with one second left on the clock. However, Utah fans rushed the field before the ball was downed, giving the Utes an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and BYU one untimed down and new life. But Sorensen’s attempt from 36 yards out clanked off the left upright, sealing the victory for the Utes. Utah quarterback Jon Hays threw for 196 yards and two touchdowns in his first start this season in place of Jordan Wynn, who suffered a career-ending shoulder injury in last week’s loss to Utah State.