College Football: Week 13 Recap
By: Tyler Turner
College football has been nothing but electrifying this year with a new powerhouse in Mississippi State and the new College Football Playoff in place. Still, in Week 13 the NCAA only saw three matchups between top 25 teams.
One of the first and few marque matchups of the week was on Thursday night, in West Virginia, as the Mountaineers took on Kansas State. QB Clint Trickett started the season on fire, leading West Virginia to a 6-2 record with a huge win over Baylor 41-27; however the Mountaineers are now on a 3 game losing streak and Trickett isn’t helping the cause. On Thursday he threw two interceptions and only had 112 yards until he left the game with a concussion. The WVU QB has now gone 10 quarters without a TD pass. While West Virginia is going down hill, K-State is making a name for itself. QB Tyler Lockett added another great game to his already monstrous season catching 10 balls for 196 yards. WVU kept the game close, trailing 23-17 early in the 4th quarter; however Kansas State held on to win 26-20.
After coming off a huge win over #1 Mississippi State, Alabama was looking to cruise by Western Carolina. The Catamounts had other plans, coming out firing on all cylinders and scoring the first touchdown of the game; however the new #1, Alabama, recovered from their slow start, scoring the final 31 points. Not to mention Alabama outgained Western Carolina by a massive 399 yards. Roll Tide was in effect all day, but a scare came early when Amari Cooper was hit in the knees in the first quarter. Even with a slow start and several injuries, Bama was able to win easily 48-14.
Even Kordell Stewart couldn’t have saved Colorado on Saturday as #2 Oregon steam rolled the Buffaloes behind QB Marcus Mariota’s 4 total TD’s. The Ducks never trailed, swimming out to an early 20-0 lead. Mariota added to his Heisman credentials with a flawless performance. If Oregon wins out, look for Oregon to make the playoff because of their explosive offensive.
Florida State has been the exact opposite of what they were last year, yet one area remains the same: the Seminoles haven’t lost a game. FSU has played inferior ACC opponents all year and still struggled. If Florida State were in the SEC they wouldn’t stand a chance. With all that being said FSU makes every game exciting. With about 4 minutes left, the game was tied at 17. BC had a 42-yard field attempt miss wide right giving Florida State another chance. Jameis Winston lead FSU down into the red-zone and with 7 seconds left, a 26 yard Roberto Aguayo field goal allowed FSU to escape the claws of defeat.
Mississippi And Mississippi State both played in games in which one team was shutout. Mississippi played a tough Arkansas team that caused 6 turnovers en route to a 30-0 victory. Ole Miss started the season 7-0 and has now lost 3 of their last 4. On the other hand, Mississippi State was the barer of the shutout winning 51-0 against Vanderbilt. Next Saturday will be one of the best days for the state of Mississippi with the annual egg bowl.
#6 Ohio State and #7 Baylor were kept in check by Indiana and Oklahoma State, but in the end came out on top. Ever since losing to Virginia Tech, Ohio State has been on fire. The Buckeyes have beaten quality opponents like Michigan State and Minnesota. With their win against Indiana they have claimed the Big Ten East division, and found a QB for the future. Braxton Miller is a thing of the past with JT Barrett playing like a Heisman candidate. Barrett played well again passing for 302 yards and 4 TD’s. The one bright spot for Indiana is RB Tevin Coleman who has run for 1906 yards and 15 TD’s. Moving to the Big 12, Baylor got out to a fast start and never relinquished the lead. Bryce Petty didn’t have his best game; however the running game stepped up with a total of 317 yards rushing. OK State eventually fell to 5-6 with a 49-28 loss to the Baylor Bears.
One of the best games this week based on rankings was between California opponents as #9 UCLA looked to dethrone the #19 USC Trojans. It wasn’t a pretty start for Brett Hundley, throwing an INT on his first possession that was returned for a touchdown. UCLA struck back scoring the next two touchdowns. USC couldn’t compete in rushing or passing losing in both categories. The Trojans only ran for 62 yards and threw for under 250 yards. It was a different story for UCLA who passed for 326 yards and rushed for 135. UCLA was took much for their rival USC pulling away in the second half and winning 38-20.
Washington State looked as if they were the 13th ranked team in the country in the first 25 minutes of the game prowling their way to a 21-7 lead with 4:52 left in the first half; however Arizona State picked up the pace after a sluggish start. Washington State is one dimensional on offense, seeming to only pass the ball in Mike Leach’s “air raid” offense. On Saturday Luke Falk had 74 pass attempts, while the entire team only ran the ball for 25 yards. The problem with being so one-dimensional comes in the turnover department. Falk threw 4 INTS and only had a QBR of 44.7. Arizona State’s QB Taylor Kelly was effective throwing for 4 TD’s and 232 yards. The Sun Devils were able to bounce back, winning 52-31.
For Utah, this week didn’t get much better. After the bone headed fumble against Oregon that led to a touchdown, Utah came out flat against Arizona. The Wildcats were hungry to get a win and it showed in the first half, jumping out to a 21-0 lead. Utah was never in the game with the closest score being 21-10. Arizona’s freshman RB Nick Wilson didn’t look like a freshman on Saturday, rushing for 218 yards and 3 TD’s. With the rushing game unstoppable, Arizona ran their way to a 42-10 victory.
The Big Ten isn’t the strongest conference; however one of the most exciting games of the week was held in Iowa City. The storyline for Wisconsin again was Melvin Gordon, who ran for 200 yards and 2 TD’s. Gordon now has over 2000 yards rushing on the season, the first player to hit that mark this season. The Badgers had a 2-point lead with five minutes left and were able to preserve the victory by running down the clock. Iowa fought back but couldn’t stop the Badgers ground game. Wisconsin came away with a 26-24 victory to keep their Big Ten Championship hopes alive.
Another Big Ten matchup provided a just as exciting game with Minnesota taking on Nebraska in Lincoln. At halftime it looked like the Cornhuskers were going to win easy, as they were up 21-7; however the Golden Gophers had other plans. Minnesota dug their way out of a hole and stormed back to take the lead late in the fourth, 28-24. Nebraska didn’t give up, driving down into the red zone. On 3rd and 9, Nebraska QB Tommy Armstrong threw a pass towards the end zone that was caught by the Cornhusker receiver, but Minnesota stripped the ball away giving them possession with 1 minute left. A heads up play helped Minnesota walk out of Lincoln victorious.
Notre Dame looked primed to make it to the playoff earlier in the year; however they’ve now lost three in a row and have dropped out of the top 25. Notre Dame was never out of this game, and had a chance to send it to OT; however the Irish missed a 32-yard field goal with 51 seconds left. The Louisville Cardinals left South Bend with a 31-28 win over the Fighting Irish.
Finally, your Pitt Panthers were back home at Heinz Field to take on the struggling Syracuse Orange. It was all Panthers in this contest as Connor, Boyd, and James couldn’t be stopped. James Connor scored the first TD of the afternoon; however he sat out the second half with a hip injury. Chris James stepped up, averaging 6.4 yards a carry and 122 rushing yards. Voytik was efficient going 14/20 for 189 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Panther Defense was solid all day intercepting Syracuse twice. With the 30-7 win Pitt inches closer to becoming bowl eligible. Pitt travels to Miami this Saturday, becoming bowl eligible with a win.
Week 13 wasn’t the most exhilarating week of college football, but next week should be one of the most exciting weeks ever with showdowns between Mississippi and Miss State, Georgia and GT, UCLA and Stanford, and Arizona vs. Arizona State.
Other scores: #10 Georgia 55, Charleston Southern 9; #11 Michigan State 45, Rutgers 3; #14 Auburn 31, Samford 7; #20 Missouri 29, Tennessee 21; #21 Oklahoma 44, Kansas 7; #22 Clemson 28, Georgia State 0; North Carolina 45, Duke 20; Texas State 45, Ark State 27; South Caroline 37, South Alabama 12; Army 42, Fordham 31; Marshall 23, UAB 18; Illinois 16, Penn State 14; East Carolina 34, Tulane 6; Texas Tech 34, Iowa State 31; Maryland 23, Michigan 16