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Notre Dame Faked 'n' Baked

by Dave Congrove
September 19, 2010

Michigan State needed a 46-yard field goal to extend overtime with Notre Dame, but caught the Irish, the Spartans' home crowd and a national television audience by surprise when holder Aaron Bates rose to his feet and patiently lofted a 29-yard touchdown pass to Charlie Gantt for a 34-31 win. The heartbroken Irish saw victory turn to spoils for a second straight week after falling victim on the previous Saturday to Michigan's winning touchdown with 27 seconds left in regulation.

Michigan State wasn't the only big overtime winner. Auburn won 27-24 when Clemson's second attempt at a field goal was pulled left of the upright. A successful 27-yard attempt was nullified by illegal motion on the center who drew the defense offside by lifting the ball before snapping it. I'm pretty sure the Tigers have now won every game in the series (that's a joke - both teams are the Tigers). Actually, Auburn has taken 14 straight since Clemson's last victory in 1951. This was the first regular season meeting between the schools since 1971. The team's played in the 1997 season Peach Bowl and 2007 Chick-fil-A Bowl (formerly known as the Peach Bowl).

Meanwhile, Michigan found itself in an early 17-7 hole to FCS member UMass. The Wolverines rallied to a 35-17 lead after three quarters, then nearly watched themselves to succumb to another Appalachian State-like defeat. The Minutemen stormed back to with 42-37 with 2:08 left, but the ensuing onside kick went out-of-bounds and Michigan averted disaster.

FBS teams won all five games on Saturday against their FCS brethren, but Michigan's wasn't the only close call. San Jose State needed a touchdown with 1:10 remaining to subdue Southern Utah 16-11. Oregon certainly didn't have any trouble with its FCS opponent as it pounded Portland State 69-0. The final score was achieved with more than a quarter left to play.

In games involving highly-ranked teams, Texas (No. 2, Congrove Computer Rankings) outlasted No. 13 Texas Tech 24-14 while No. 1 Boise State rolled over Wyoming 50-6. No. 3 Alabama rolled Duke 62-13; 4th-ranked TCU blasted Baylor 45-10, and The Ohio State University (No. 5) toyed with Ohio University 43-7.

No. 6 Florida sputtered to a 31-17 win at Tennessee; and No. 8 Oklahoma avoided the home upset with a 27-24 win over 25th-ranked Air Force.

The highest-ranked loser of the day was No. 10 Iowa. The Hawkeyes fell 34-27 at Arizona after recovering from a 27-7 halftime deficit to tie the score at 27-each midway through the 4th quarter. The 19th-ranked Wildcats got the game-winning touchdown on a 4-yard pass with 3:57 left in the game.

14th-ranked Stanford may have been the most impressive team over the weekend, bullying previously unbeaten and 50th-ranked Wake Forest 68-24. Least impressive could go to QB Jake Locker of Washington who completed just 4-of-20 passes for 71 yards with 2 interceptions. Locker did manage a TD pass and a 59-yard TD run, but he was totally outshone by his Cornhusker counterpart. Taylor Martinez ran for 137 yards and 3 TD's, and threw for 150 yards and another score, in the 56-21 cakewalk.

No. 14 Cal was the first ranked team to lose this weekend. The Golden Bears took the nation's top defense (statistically) to face 24th-ranked Nevada and got riddled 52-31 by the Wolf Pack on Friday night. California had outscored its two previous opponents, UC-Davis and Colorado, by a combined 104-10. Cal must now head to Arizona this Saturday.

No. 22 Houston may have the weekend's toughest luck. QB Case Keenum was able to play despite suffering a concussion in last week's game, but he left in the 2nd quarter with a leg injury he incurred while making a tackle after throwing an interception (it's the same way he got his concussion). The Cougars then lost backup QB Cotton Turner to a shoulder injury in the 3rd quarter. Austin Elrod, a junior, saw action, but it was freshman Terrance Broadway that led Houston to 10 points in the fourth quarter. Of course, that was far too little in the 31-13 defeat at the hands of the previously-inept UCLA Burins.

Virginia Tech finally woke up and notched its first win. The 49-27 defeat of East Carolina was made possible by a 28-3 run in the second half by the Hokies who trailed 24-21 at halftime. Virginia Tech had started the season 0-2 for the first time since 1995 and was in danger of dropping to 0-3 for the first time since Frank Beamer's first year as its head coach in 1987.

Temple is 3-0 for the first time since 1979 after knocking off Connecticut 30-16. Each of the Owls' first three games have been played at home, but it's not like that gives them a huge crowd advantage. Last week's game against Central Michigan attracted a crowd of 15,152 and Saturday's contest drew 18,702. This week's game will be played at Penn State's Beaver Stadium which regularly draws over 100,000.

The computer had another strong week picking winners as it turned in an overall record of 46-12, including a 41-12 mark in FBS vs. FBS games. It has now picked the winner of 85% of all games played this season and, more importantly, has forecasted the winner of 81.8% of all FBS vs. FBS matchups.

FBS vs. FCS:
FBS teams went 5-0 vs. FCS schools, and are now 527-48 (.917) in such contests since 2003.

Here are the results of every FBS loss to the FCS this season:
9/4: Jacksonville State 49, Mississippi 48 (2 OT's)
9/4: North Dakota State 6, Kansas 3
9/11: Gardner-Webb 38, Akron 37
9/11: Liberty 27, Ball State 23
9/11: South Dakota 41, Minnesota 38
9/11: James Madison 21, Virginia Tech 16

This year, 85 FBS teams play a total of 90 games against FCS foes. Five schools play two such games - Arizona State, Ball State, San Jose State, Syracuse and Virginia.

STREAKS:
Boise State has streaks of 16 overall wins, 27 regular season wins, 26 home wins, 56 regular season home wins, and 42 straight conference home victories. BSU has never lost at home to a fellow WAC member (36-0). The Broncos' last home loss to a conference foe occurred in 1998 when they were a member of the Big West and fell to Idaho in the final regular season game. The Broncos are 5-1 in their last six matches against BCS conference schools. Boise State won 50-6 at Wyoming.

Alabama has 17 straight wins overall and 27 straight regular season wins. The Tide won 62-13 at Duke.

Oklahoma has 33 straight home victories. The Sooners defeated Air Force 27-24.

Utah has 19 straight home wins. The Utes won 56-14 at New Mexico.

Western Kentucky has lost 23 straight overall and 28 straight to FBS teams. The Hilltoppers lost 38-21 vs. Indiana.

Eastern Michigan has lost 15 straight overall after a 52-14 home loss to Central Michigan.

Colorado State has lost 12 straight. The Rams fell 31-10 at Miami (O.)

Washington State lost its 11th straight game to FBS schools with a 35-21 setback at SMU.

NEW COACHES:
Of the 24 new head coaches this year, only 2 are undefeated - Joker Phillips at Kentucky and Lane Kiffin at USC.



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