Tennessee Rallies Past LSU; Louisville and Purdue Fall
by Mike Mitchell
Tennessee rescued its season in the second half at Baton Rouge on Monday night. The Volunteers overcame a 21-0 deficit after two quarters to beat LSU in overtime 30-27. Instead of staring at an 0-2 conference mark and virtual elimination from the SEC title race, Tennessee improved to 1-1 while the Tigers are 0-1.
The loss ended LSU's 10-game home winning streak and stunned a crowd of over 90,000 who finally got to watch their team play a game in Tiger Stadium. Hurricane Katrina postponed LSU's season-opener with North Texas and forced their next home game to be played at Arizona State. Hurricane Rita delayed this game from Saturday to Monday.
The past week's college football action produced several dramatic come-from behind wins, six overtime games, a few good-old-fashioned butt-kickings and the end of a 17-game losing streak. At the same time, millions of residents along the gulf coast were dealing with another hurricane as Rita ravaged parts of Louisiana and Texas.
Among the higher-ranked teams, Louisville's loss was the biggest shocker. The Cardinals were plucked from their sky-high undefeated perch and stomped by the upstart Bulls of South Florida, a school that didn't even field a football team in any division until 1997. USF built a 24-7 halftime lead, then blew the game wide open when they returned the second-half kick-off for a touchdown. The final score: 45-14.
In a battle of unbeatens, Minnesota stayed that way with a double-overtime 42-35 home win over Purdue, Glen Mason's first win over the Boilermakers in seven tries. It was the Golden Gophers first win against Purdue since 1995, ending a 7-game losing streak to their Big 10 rival. Minnesota tied the game on a TD pass and 2-point conversion with 1:34 left in regulation and stayed alive with a 4th-down TD pass in the first overtime.
Meanwhile, Virginia Tech brought out a giant can of Raid and sprayed the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets with a 51-7 fumigation. When the previously undefeated Ramblin' Wreck ended the Virginia Tech defense's string of 13 shutout quarters with a 3rd quarter touchdown pass, the Hokies answered with 17 points in a 44-second span that included back-to-back TD's off picked passes. Earlier in the game, Virginia Tech scored on a blocked field goal return. Oh yeah, the offense scored 30 points just for good measure. The Hokies are 4-0 for the eighth time in the last nine years.
Central Florida finally put one in the win column, handing Marshall a 23-13 defeat as the computer predicted would happen. The victory came in their first meeting as CUSA rivals after the Thundering Herd had won all three matchups when both schools were members of the MAC. Magically, the Golden Knights find themselves all alone in first place of CUSA's eastern division.
Top-ranked Southern California sweated for a half but turned an early 13-0 deficit into a 45-13 rout of Oregon. Number two Texas was idle.
The Big Ten had its share of wild and woolly affairs. In addition to Minnesota's win, Michigan and Wisconsin fought back and forth as did Northwestern and Penn State.
Barry Alvarez got his first victory over a Lloyd Carr-led Wolverine team when John Stocco scored from 4 yards out on a quarterback draw with just 24 seconds left in the game at Madison. The win improved the Badgers to 4-0 (1-0 in the Big 10) while dropping Michigan to 2-2, 0-1. The game saw four lead changes in the fourth quarter.
Penn State trailed at Northwestern 23-7 in the second quarter. Finally, at the 8:52 mark of the fourth quarter, the Nittany Lions grabbed a 27-26 lead. They relinquished it 6:42 later when the Wildcats kicked a 25-yard field goal. But Penn State took the lead back, scoring the eventual game-winning touchdown on a 36-yard touchdown pass with 51 ticks still left on the clock.
Iowa's trip to Ohio State couldn't have been any different. The Buckeyes rolled 31-6 sending Iowa to its second-lopsided road loss in three weeks. The Hawkeyes' only wins of 2005 have come against 1-AA Northern Iowa and winless Ball State.
Michigan State seems to be flying under the radar, despite handing Notre Dame its only loss of the season last week. On Saturday, the Spartans ran roughshod over Illinois 61-14 for a win that may have served as a wake-up call to the rest of the Big 10 and the nation.
In the SEC, Florida jumped to a 49-7 halftime lead over Kentucky before cruising to a 49-28 win with subs playing the bulk of the second half against the Wildcats' starters. Georgia had a tougher task at Mississippi State where the Bulldogs managed an unimpressive 23-10 win. Alabama improved to 4-0 for the first time since 1996 with a 24-13 home win over Arkansas. Vanderbilt squashed the 1-AA Richmond Spiders 37-13 and the 4-0 Commodores are just two wins away from becoming bowl-eligible for the first time since 1982.
The widely-anticipated matchup between Ty Willingham's old team, Notre Dame, and his new Washington team was anticlimactic. The Irish recovered from last week's loss to Michigan State with a 36-17 win over the homestanding Huskies.
In another cross-sectional battle, Miami kept Colorado's offense bottled-up all day in a 23-3 win in front of a sparse Orange Bowl home crowd.
Half of the Big East, nearly three-fourths of the Big 12 and 40 percent of the PAC-10 was idle this weekend.
Earlier in the week, Iowa State overcame a 21-14 deficit at the end of three quarters to turn back upset-minded Army 28-21 on Friday night at West Point.
In the only other Friday night game played, California methodically closed out New Mexico State 41-13.
Utah built a 38-21 fourth-quarter cushion, then held off a late Air Force rally to preserve a 38-35 Mountain West Conference victory on Thursday night. The game wasn't decided until the Utes recovered an attempted on-side kick by the Academy with just over a minute left to play. Utah improved to 3-1, 1-1.
Meanwhile, Louisiana-Monroe got off to a 1-0 start in the Sun Belt with a 28-21 upset win at FAU in the Owls' first-ever 1-A conference game.
Texas A&M managed a 44-31 win over 1-AA Texas State in a game that was moved up to Thursday to avoid complications from Hurricane Rita on Saturday. The usually-packed Kyle Field was about half-empty as the Aggies gained over 550 yards on offense but allowed almost 500 yards on defense.
Boise State held Bowling Green's Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback, Omar Jacobs, in check and stampeded past the Falcons 48-20 on Wednesday night. The win extended the Broncos home-field winning streak to 26 games. BGSU had scored at least 40 points in each of its past nine games. Jacobs finished 18-of-36 for 220 yards and 3 TD's but his stats were padded on meaningless drives after Bowling Green had dug a 48-6 fourth-quarter hole. Boise State outgained the Falcons 546-304.
Yet Another Hurricane: While most of the nation enjoyed college football, Hurricane Rita forced some schools to juggle their schedules. Southern Mississippi's game at Houston was postponed until November 12th or 13th. The Golden Eagles' home-opener with Tulane on Labor Day weekend had already been postponed by Hurricane Katrina.
Navy's game at Rice was also postponed and will be made up on October 22nd.
As mentioned above, Texas A&M's game with 1-AA Texas State was rushed up two days to Thursday night.
Tulane's game with SMU in Dallas went ahead as scheduled (the Green Wave won 31-10), even though Tulane is a team without a home. The Green Wave will use LSU's Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge for their upcoming home game with Southeastern Louisiana. The following week, Tulane will "host" Houston at Louisiana-Lafayette's stadium. The venue for their games with UTEP, Marshall and Tulsa are still unknown.
Let's Settle This Later: 60 minutes of football wasn't enough for the 12 teams that combined to play six overtime games on Saturday.
TCU earned an overtime win for the second straight week when the Horned Frogs rallied to beat BYU 51-50 after trailing 41-29 with 8:25 left. TCU took the lead with 1:25 remaining but BYU tied it on a field goal on the last play of regulation. In overtime, BYU got a TD but flubbed the PAT on a bad snap. TCU then scored six and converted the try for the 1-point win.
Boston College's 16-13 win at Clemson handed the Tigers an overtime loss for the second week in-a-row and gave the Eagles their first ACC win.
Tulsa knocked off Memphis in overtime 37-31 to win their inaugural CUSA game. The Tigers had scored the game's last 10 points to knot the score at 31-31 with 1:54 left in regulation.
Eastern Michigan turned back Central Michigan 19-16 in Mt. Pleasant in OT after tying the game on a 19-yard FG on the last play of regulation.
Akron blew a 21-point fourth quarter lead against Northern Illinois but the Zips won 48-42 in 1 OT.
As mentioned above, Minnesota beat Purdue in double-overtime 42-35.
1-AA Schools Strike Out: There were 5 games played between 1-AA schools and their higher-classified brethren. The smaller schools went 0-5 and fell to 2-44 for the year.
From the beginning of the 2003 season through Saturday, 1-AA teams are 18-156 in such games, an 89.65 losing percentage.
Streaks: USC owns the nation's longest winning streak at 25. The Trojans also have streaks of 22 straight home wins and 16 consecutive PAC-10 victories. They have won 36 of their last 37 games. The Trojans overcame an early 13-0 deficit at Oregon to win 45-13 and tie the longest winning streak in PAC-10 history. The 1931-1933 Trojans also won 25 straight.
Boise State owns nation-leading streaks of 26 straight home wins and 26 straight conference victories. The Broncos beat Bowling Green 48-20 in a non-conference home game on Wednesday night.
Iowa has won 20 straight home games but they are 0-2 on the road in 2005 after getting trounced 31-6 at Ohio State.
North Texas has won 26 straight over Sun Belt conference opponents. UNT has also won four consecutive Sun Belt titles as they have topped the conference in every year of its existence. However, they have lost 9 straight to non-conference foes after falling 54-7 at Kansas State.
Central Florida ended a 17-game losing streak with a computer-called 23-13 home win over Marshall, their first-ever over the Herd in four tries. That means Rice and Army now share the nation's longest losing streak at 8 games. It was Army's win over Cincinnati on October 9th last year that ended the Black Knight's 19-game losing streak and handed the honors over to Central Florida. Ironically, UCF has now handed it back to Army.
Western Michigan had lost 13 straight to 1-A teams but the Broncos got that monkey off their back with a 19-16 win at Temple.
New Coaches: The 2005 season began with 23 coaching changes. Here is how each has fared thus far
(list compiled alphabetically by team):
BYU, 1-2 under Bronco Mendenhall, lost to TCU in OT 51-50.
East Carolina, 1-2 under Skip Holtz, lost at West Virginia 20-15.
Florida, 4-0 under Urban Meyer, beat Kentucky 49-28.
Illinois, 2-2 under Ron Zook, lost to Michigan State 61-14.
Indiana, 3-0 under Terry Hoeppner, was idle.
LSU, 1-1 under Les Miles, lost to Tennessee in OT 30-27.
Marshall, 1-2 under Mark Snyder, lost at Central Florida 23-13.
Miami, O., 1-2 under Shane Montgomery, was idle.
Mississippi, 1-2 under Ed Orgeron, lost to Wyoming 24-14.
Nevada-Las Vegas, 1-3 under Mike Sanford, lost at Utah St. 31-24.
New Mexico St., 0-4 under Hal Mumme, lost to California 41-13.
Notre Dame, 3-1 under Charlie Weis, beat Washington 36-17.
Ohio, 2-2 under Frank Solich, beat Kent State 35-32.
Okla. St, 3-0 under Mike Gundy, was idle.
Pittsburgh, 1-3 under Dave Wannstedt, beat 1-AA Youngstown St.
41-0 for his first win.
San Jose St., 1-2 under Dick Tomey, lost to San Diego St. 52-21.
South Carolina, 2-2 under Steve Spurrier, beat Troy 45-20.
Stanford, 1-1 under Walt Harris, was idle.
Syracuse, 1-2 under Greg Robinson, was idle.
Utah, 3-1 under Kyle Whittingham, beat Air Force 38-35.
Utah State, 1-1 under Brent Guy, beat UNLV 31-24.
Washington, 1-3 under Ty Willingham, lost to Notre Dame 36-17.
Western Michigan, 2-2 under Bill Cubit, beat Temple 19-16.