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NCAA College Football – Week Nine Recap

Stanford survived a wild 3OT finish to remain undefeated.
Stephen Dunn, Getty Images

It was another wild weekend in college football, with seven Top 25 teams, including three in the Top Ten, going down to defeat. Stanford remained in the national championship hunt with a triple overtime win, while Clemson and Kansas State are likely out of the title discussion as their undefeated seasons came to an end. Here are all the highlights from this week in the AP Top 25.

#1 Louisiana State BYE

The top-ranked Tigers had the week off to prepare for next week’s monster showdown in Tuscaloosa.

#2 Alabama BYE

The Crimson Tide will be hosting LSU next week in the biggest game of the year.

#3 Oklahoma State 59, Baylor 24

OSU running back Joseph Randle continued to power the Cowboys’ surging run game, rushing for a career-high 152 yards and four touchdowns in the win. All-American wide receiver Justin Blackmon had 11 catches for 172 yards and two touchdowns to show that Oklahoma State is still committed to the passing game. And the Cowboys “bend but don’t break” defense continued to be effective, giving up 622 Baylor yards, but forcing five turnovers and not allowing the Bears into the end zone until the fourth quarter when the game was well in hand and OSU’s starters were on the sideline. Oklahoma State’s 8-0 record is the team’s best start since 1945.

#4 Stanford 56, #20 Southern Cal 48 (3OT)

After going to halftime at 10-6, the two offenses exploded for 88 points in the second half and overtime. Both quarterbacks were on top of their games, with the Cardinal’s Andrew Luck throwing for 330 yards and three touchdowns while USC’s Matt Barkley answered with 284 yards and three touchdowns of his own. The game ended when Stanford running back Stepfan Taylor scored his second touchdown of the game in the third overtime, and the Cardinal defense recovered a Curtis McNeal fumble in the end zone on USC’s subsequent possession. However, the wild finish was not without controversy. USC receiver Robert Woods was trying to get out of bounds at the end of regulation to stop the clock and give the Trojans a shot at a 50-yard winning field goal. Initially it was ruled that time expired before Woods got out of bounds. But instant replay showed his knee down in bounds with one second left and USC coach Lane Kiffin on the sideline trying to get a timeout. But officials did not give him the timeout and ruled that the one remaining second would have run off, sending the game into overtime.

#5 Boise State BYE

The Broncos had the week off. They will return to action next week at UNLV.

Georgia Tech 31, #6 Clemson 17

Georgia Tech’s potent running game was on full display, racking up 383 yards and four touchdowns and snapping the Yellow Jackets’ two-game losing streak. Tech quarterback Tevin Washington rushed for 176 yards (a school record for a quarterback) and a touchdown in the upset. The Tigers turned the ball over four times and were held almost 24 points under their season scoring average. Clemson has lost four straight at Georgia Tech.

#7 Oregon 43, Washington State 28

Oregon quarterback Darron Thomas returned from a knee injury, but his comeback was short-lived as he was benched at halftime. In the first two quarters, Thomas was 8/13 for 153 yards and a touchdown, but also threw two interceptions, the second of which was returned for a touchdown. His backup, freshman Bryan Bennett, was efficient, throwing just seven passes, but completing four of them for 88 yards and two touchdowns. The Cougars actually had more yards and first downs in the game and more than doubled Oregon’s time of possession. But on their six drives of eight or more plays, they managed just 11 points, two turnovers and a missed field goal. This was Oregon’s 21st straight home win.

#8 Arkansas 31, Vanderbilt 28

Come-from-behind wins have been nothing new for Arkansas this season, but this one came awfully close to getting away. Down 14 late in the first half, the Razorbacks had pulled to within eight, but needed a 94-yard fumble return touchdown by linebacker Jerry Franklin and a subsequent two point conversion to tie the game in the fourth quarter. They would add a field goal later in the game, but couldn’t relax until Vanderbilt missed a 27-yard field goal that would have forced overtime with just eight seconds left in the game. Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson was hit often and sacked three times, but still threw for 316 yards and a touchdown. This is Arkansas’ best start in five years.

#13 Nebraska 24, #9 Michigan State 3

While much of the talk before the game understandably focused on the matchup between Michigan State’s stout defense against the Nebraska ground game, it was Nebraska’s defense that proved to be the key difference in this game. The Blackshirts held the Spartans to just 187 total yards and sacked Spartans quarterback Kirk Cousins four times. Nebraska running back Rex Burkhead provided all the offense the Cornhuskers would need, rushing for 130 yards and scoring three touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving). The Huskers rushed for 190 yards against a Spartans defense that had been giving up an average of just 88.9 per game.

#11 Oklahoma 58, #10 Kansas State 17

Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones threw for a school-record 505 yards and five touchdowns as the Sooners, who lost their first home game since 2005 last week, went on the road and ended Kansas State’s undefeated season in a big way. The Wildcats kept it close early and actually held a 17-14 lead three minutes into the second quarter. But the Sooners took control and scored 44 unanswered points in the final 42 minutes of the game. Oklahoma’s offense put up 690 yards of total offense, compared to just 240 for Kansas State. However, there was one big cloud over the Sooners victory: leading rusher Dominique Whaley will miss the rest of the season after breaking his left ankle on the first play of the game.

Ohio State 33, #12 Wisconsin 29

A week after dropping their first game of the season on a Michigan State Hail Mary, lightning struck twice with Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller hitting receiver Devin Smith for a 40-yard touchdown with just 20 seconds left to give Ohio State the win. The Badgers had scored 15 unanswered points in just two and a half minutes to take a 29-26 lead with 1:18 to go. But the ensuing kickoff went out of bounds, giving the Buckeyes the ball at the 40-yard line and a shot at the win. Miller didn’t throw much (7/12 for 89 yards) but made the big play when he needed to.

#14 South Carolina 14, Tennessee 3

Freshman Brandon Wilds rushed for 137 yards in his debut as the Gamecocks’ replacement for injured star running back Marcus Lattimore. South Carolina’s top-ranked pass defense held Volunteers quarterback Justin Worley, who was also making his first start, to just 10/26 for 105 yards and two interceptions. Tennessee had just 35 rushing yards and 186 total yards in loss. This was South Carolina’s second ever win in Knoxville.

#15 Virginia Tech 14, Duke 10

Duke put up 326 yards against a Hokies defense that came in ranked 13th in the nation. But four Blue Devil turnovers and three missed field goals doomed their chances to pull off the upset. Virginia Tech’s offense was sluggish and sloppy, but made just enough plays—led by running back David Wilson’s 148 rushing yards—to secure the win. The Hokies are riding an NCAA-best 11-game road winning streak.

Missouri 38, #16 Texas A&M 31 (OT)

For the third time this season, Texas A&M lost a game in which they had led by double digits at halftime. Missouri quarterback James Franklin threw for 198 yards and two touchdowns—including the game-winner in overtime—and added 97 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Tigers running back Henry Josey, the leading rusher in the Big 12, added 162 rushing yards and a touchdown.

#17 Michigan 36, Purdue 14

Wolverines running back Fitzgerald Toussaint rushed for a career-high 170 yards and two touchdowns as Michigan answered an early Purdue score with 36 unanswered points. Michigan’s defense was outstanding, holding the Boilermakers to 306 yards and 14 points (7 of which game with just 15 seconds left in the game) and scored a safety.

#18 Houston 73, Rice 34

The Case Keenum express continued rolling, with the Houston quarterback throwing for 534 yards and nine touchdowns. He now holds the record for career touchdowns (139). Houston’s 8-0 mark ties the best start in school history.

Iowa State 41, #19 Texas Tech 7

Texas Tech certainly didn’t look like the team that went on the road last week to knock off Oklahoma. The Red Raiders managed just 290 yards and seven points, their lowest point total at home since 2000. Tech quarterback Seth Doege, who threw for 441 yards and four touchdowns last week against Oklahoma, was held to just 171 yards, no scores and two interceptions by the Cyclones. Texas Tech had no answer for Iowa State’s run game, which put up 368 yards on the ground (their first 300+yard game since 2001) and controlled the ball for over 40 minutes.

#21 Penn State 10, Illinois 7

Penn State coach Joe Paterno moved past former Grambling head coach Eddie Robinson as the all-time winningest coach in college football history. But he did it in dramatic fashion, as the win was not secured until an Illinois field goal attempt bounced off the right upright as time expired. Penn State’s rising star sophomore running back Silas Redd rushed for 137 yards and a touchdown. After their first 6-0 start since 1951, the Illini have now lost three in a row.

#22 Georgia 24, Florida 20

The Bulldogs effort wasn’t pretty, missing two field goals, giving up two turnovers and allowing a 99-yard kickoff return touchdown and another touchdown on 4th-and-19. But Georgia’s defense kept the Bulldogs in the game, holding Florida to just 226 yards, including minus-19 yards on the ground, and forcing six sacks and two turnovers. The Gators are now riding their first four-game losing streak since 1988.

#23 Arizona State 48, Colorado 14

The Sun Devils continued their march toward the first Pac-12 championship game, rolling over an injury-depleted Colorado team that was held to 86 rushing yards and turned the ball over five times. ASU quarterback Brock Osweiler threw for 307 yards and two touchdowns, while running back Cameron Marshall added 114 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.

#24 Cincinnati BYE

Riding a five-game winning streak, the Bearcats will return to action next week at Pittsburgh.

#25 West Virginia 41, Rutgers 31

A week after suffering their worst loss in 20 years, West Virginia scored 20 unanswered points in the second half against Rutgers to overcome a ten-point halftime deficit and avoid a second straight loss. After being held under 100 yards rushing in four of their last five games, the Mountaineers’ running game suddenly took off this week, accounting for 210 yards and four touchdowns. Rutgers turned the ball over four times and went just 1-of-4 on fourth down conversion attempts. The Scarlet Knights have now lost 17 consecutive games to West Virginia.

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