Tommy Tuberville in big games, man… Many thought West Virginia would be exposed some day. Few saw it coming like this. Texas Tech obliterated the No. 5 team in the nation at home 49-14. The Red Raiders averaged 9.4 yards per play, with Seth Doege throwing for 499 yards and six touchdowns. Their defense, closer to the stats than most realized, held Geno Smith below 200 yards and 50 percent completions until a tension-less, face saving touchdown drive. A befuddled Dana Holgorsen was left blaming the wind.
This loss will spark the fraud debates. The defense fetishists will feel vindicated, but this may be more about structure than agency. West Virginia is a very good team, encountering a unique set of obstacles. Joining a new conference requires novel preparations for each team. Joining the Big 12 means playing a capable opponent every week and a heavy travel burden. Playing a third heated game in a row and flying across the country on consecutive weekends played an undoubted role here. Not to mention whatever is in the visting locker room water supply in the Jones. The Mountaineers may be only a 9-3 team. That’s still a successful season.
Back Among the Living: LSU’s game wasn’t perfect – An untimely mistake kept South Carolina close – but the Tigers dominated the Gamecocks physically in an encouraging 23-21 at home. Freshman Jeremy Hill, who had three carries combined against Towson and Florida, ran for 124 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries. The offense converted 11/17 third down attempts and averaged more than five yards per play against one of the nation’s best defenses. Both teams can still win the SEC Title…if they can beat Alabama.
Out of Ammo. The Longhorns lost 63-21 to Oklahoma. That score, containing two pointless touchdowns in the fourth quarter, flattered them. The Sooners man-balled Texas into submission on both sides of the ball, with the Bell-dozer powering his way to four touchdowns in the first half. They ran up 677 total yards. The Longhorns could not tackle. It was a slaughterhouse. Texas fans looked on in horror. Even the neutral had to look away. Texas now has been blown out in two-straight Red River Shootouts. They have lost their last nine games against AP Top 25 teams. This program has depth and talent, both on and off the field, but they remain a team imprinted by their head coach: complacent, imprecise and in a fog since the 2009 title game.
The Insomnia Bowl: Texas A&M and Louisiana Tech kicked off at 9:00pm ET and finished around 2:00am, without going to overtime. Shutout in the first quarter, the Bulldogs trailed 34-7 with five minutes left in the first half, but roared back with six touchdowns after halftime. Sonny Dykes’ team scored to make it 59-51 with around two minutes left, converted the onside kick, scored again to make it 59-57 and then missed the two-point conversion. Johnny Football put in his most emblematic performance of the season, amassing 576 total yards and six touchdowns. He even tossed in a terrible pick six from the end zone to keep the fire burning.
Happy Trails, Derek Dooley: The Tennessee coach faced an absolute must-win against Mississippi State. He looked on from the press box and lost 41-31. This Tennessee team may be better than the previous two years, but they are not competitive. Playing Alabama and South Carolina the next two weeks, the Vol’s ceiling this season is 7-5 and getting there is no given. Perhaps Tennessee will have better luck poaching a second coach from Louisiana Tech?
They are ND: Notre Dame’s offense has been luck luster. Their defense has gone five games against a reputable schedule without allowing a touchdown. Stanford was robbed on Stepfan Taylor’s not awarded touchdown in overtime, though the Cardinal could blame predictable play-calling and poor quarterback play for putting them in the position to need it. Oct. 27 in Norman looks more ominous, but Brian Kelly has brought Notre Dame, by all measures, back to national relevance.
Digging Deeper: It’s seven weeks into the season and Auburn has not beaten an opponent in regulation. The Tigers fell to 1-5 with a 41-20 loss to Ole Miss in Oxford. They were doubled over in total yardage and allowed 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter. Coordinator turnover has not helped, but Auburn’s problems under Gene Chizik are not confined to this season. Without Cam Newton at quarterback, he is 14-15 vs. FBS teams and 7-13 in the SEC. It may not be possible for a coach to be fired two years after a BCS title, but Chizik is testing that presumption. The best argument for keeping him will be neither form nor sentiment but his absurd $7.5 million buyout.
The Most Ferentz Season Ever: Iowa visited the Woodshed. Like most recent visitors, they were well acommodated. The Hawkeyes beat Michigan State 19-16 in overtime, getting a fourth-straight 100-yard effort from walk-on sensation Mark Weisman. This win raises the prospect that Iowa could win the Big Ten, while losing to Iowa State and Central Michigan outside the conference. Sprinkle in a drug arrest or four and this could be the most “Kirk Ferentz” season of all-time. This is a rough loss for Sparty who, at 4-3, face a three-game stretch – at Michigan, at Wisconsin, home to Nebraska – that could leave tthem scrambling for six wins.
Bad Beat: Vanderbilt held Florida to 2/11 on third down conversions. The Commodores held Driskel to under four yards per pass attempt. They held Gillislee under four yards per carry. They had the same number of turnovers. They had less than half as many penalties. Two dropped touchdown passes and allowing a 70-yard quarterback touchdown run in the final five minutes saw them not cover the (+8.5) spread at home. Wagering on 19-year-olds…
Oh Hai, Montee Ball: Wisconsin’s offense is back. It was against Purdue, but nonetheless, the Badgers gained 467 yards on the ground. Montee Ball had 247 of them on 29 carries, scoring three touchdowns. James White also put up 124 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries. Wisconsin is 2-1 in the Big Ten Leaders. They are the only eligible division team with a conference win. Beating Minnesota and Indiana should clinch them the a place in Indianapolis.
Defensive Collapse: BYU entered Saturday with the No. 4 overall yards per play defense. That unit did not show up against Oregon State. Despite the Beavers starting backup quarterback Cody Vaz, they put up five touchdowns on offense. The Cougars had given up just three offensive touchdowns in their previous five FBS games, all to Utah.
West Virginia Slightly West: Ohio State’s defense has some issues. Indiana (Yes, Indiana) dumped 35 points on the Buckeyes in the second-half, with two final-two-minute touchdown passes bringing the final margin to 52-49. Maybe Luke Fickell should have consulted the pizza guy?
Highlight You Might Have Missed… Ole Miss’ Jeff Scott rolled over a defender and bounced back up to score on a 55-yard touchdown reception.
Stephen Orr Spurrier Quote of the Week: Texas safety Kenny Vacarro on Oklahoma’s offense: “They ran it right down our throat. They didn’t run many formations, even the receivers on the field were like, ‘We’re running it.’ ”
Picks: In a week of blowouts and bad beats, we came out even at 3-3. We hit on Texas Tech beating West Virginia and on covers by Iowa State and Louisiana Tech. We missed on Texas (never again), Vanderbilt (so it goes) and Buffalo (six sustained drives into N. Illinois territory for three points). Our picks are 23-18-1 ATS on the season.
[Photos via Presswire]