From the Margins of My Note Pad

If you're looking to see who's on a roll and who got rolled over the weekend you've come to the right place. Who's got great offense or who's just offensive? Who can play defense or who gets defensive about their team's performance? Check out this week's notes' column for answers to those questions and more.

ON WISCONSIN. No, really it was more like off Wisconsin. A week after toppling Ohio State from the ranks of the undefeated the Badgers hosted Purdue. The last three winners in this Big 10 matchup have gone to the Rose Bowl. Joe Tiller's crew escaped with a, 26-23, win and maintained their standing, with Michigan State, as the only schools with unbeaten records in conference play.John L. Smith, coach of Michigan State (AP)

       The Badgers had no answers for stopping Boilermaker WRs John Standeford who grabbed 14 passes for 184 yards and Taylor Stubblefield who pulled in 16 passes for 130 yards.

       Purdue faces road games with Michigan and Ohio State down the stretch. Since 1967 the Boilermakers are a combined 1-27 in games at Ann Arbor and Columbus.

       GOPHER BROKE? It appears that Minnesota suffered more damage from allowing Michigan to score 31 fourth quarter points a week ago than was originally thought to be the case. The Golden Gophers' normally robust ground game--which was averaging 298 yards entering last weekend's game with Michigan State--gained only 148. The Spartans picked up their first win in the Metrodome since 1996 and raised their record to 4-0 in the Big 10. The Spartans overcame 112 yards in penalties and a 112 yard deficit in total offense. A 100 yard kickoff return for a TD by DeAndra Cobb and a 60 yard sprint for a TD by Jason Teague highlighted MSU's win. Those of you waiting in anticipation for a Michigan State-Purdue game featuring the Big 10's only undefeated teams in conference play...keep waiting. The teams don't meet in the regular season this year.


       BOWLING LEAGUE REGISTRATION. Well, here's a real shocker. Nebraska's, 48-12, thumping of Texas A & M made the Cornhuskers bowl qualified for the 35th consecutive year. The Huskers used a school record eight turnovers (five interceptions and three fumble recoveries) to turn the game into a rout by the end of the first quarter when they built a, 20-3, lead. One week after amassing 719 yards of offense against Baylor, Texas A & M was held to 244 yards by the Huskers' defense.

       ROADBLOCK. Notre Dame RB Julius Jones ran for a school record 262 yards against Pittsburgh one week ago. Southern Cal held him to less than one third of that total--84 yards on 18 carries--as the Trojans destroyed the Fighting Irish 45-14. Five hundred fifty-one yards of total offense, a brilliant 27 for 36 passing performance--most of it from QB Matt Leinart--and having to punt only once in the contest were the factors which cemented USC's walk in the park versus Notre Dame as the Trojans won in South Bend for the first time since 1997.

       BETTER AND WORSE ALL AT ONCE. The Ohio State Buckeyes rebounded from their first defeat of the season by beating Iowa, 19-10, but looked pathetic in doing it. OSU entered the game ranked 109th of 117 teams in division 1-A football in terms of total offense per game. Jim Tressel's bunch sputtered and stuttered its way to 185 yards on the day and relied on its defense to register two TDs and a safety. OSU's defense--second in the nation in fewest yards allowed rushing per game--yielded only 66 to the Hawkeyes. As for Ohio State's offense....What's that? Maurice who?

       STOPPED SHORT. Texas Tech's furious fourth quarter rally--in which the Red Raiders outscored the Oklahoma State Cowboys 28-3--came up two points shy. OSU kicked a field goal with less than six minutes to play and needed those three points to produce the margin of victory in its wild, 51-49, Big 12 conference shootout.

       OSU held a seemingly insurmountable, 48-21, lead with less than fourteen minutes to play. That's when TT QB B. J. Symons (46-67-552 on the day) went to work in earnest. Symons heaved two TD passes and rallied his team to four, fourth quarter scores, but it wasn't enough to lasso the Cowboys. The game was the proverbial aerial circus as the teams combined for 883 yards and 6 TDs through the air. TT WR Wes Welker caught 10 passes for 129 yards and two scores, while OSU's Rashaun Woods grabbed 6 passes for 147 yards.

       HANDLE WITH CARE. Fresh from its win over Nebraska, the Mizzou Tigers took on the top rated Oklahoma Sooners in Norman. This one was over by halftime as OU mounted a 24 point second quarter to squelch any thoughts Missouri might have entertained regarding a second consecutive upset in Big 12 conference action.

       Missouri entered the game having committed just four turnovers this season and lost the ball only once via an interception. The Sooners had lost the ball a mere five times before this game and suffered a lone interception as well. The teams' 12-2 combined record is, in part, a byproduct of their ability to protect the ball. Oklahoma scored TDs on the ground, through the air and via a punt return as the Sooners continued to show they have few points at which they can be attacked by opponents. Maybe Missouri can take some solace in being the first team in five games to hold OU under 50 points.
      
       HOLD THOSE TIGERS. The game between South Carolina and Louisiana State matched two of the top ten defenses in the country. The Gamecocks had been yielding only 273 yards a game, but were mauled for 472 by the Bayou Bengals.

       LSU had been limiting LSU's coach Nick Saban teams to 265 yards a game and were even better than that against Lou Holtz's team when they allowed 254. LSU held the Gamecocks to zero rushing yards on seventeen carries. LSU built a, 19-0, lead before being burned for a 77 yard TD pass early in the third quarter. Coach Nick Saban's team recovered nicely and added two more second half TDs and coasted to a, 33-7, win in the SEC contest.

       In the their first loss of the season last week to Florida, the Tigers punted eight times, fumbled once and threw a pair of interceptions. They punted only three times and committed one turnover versus South Carolina. LSU plays a key game in the SEC's Western division this week against Auburn.

       THAT'S BETTER. Texas rebounded from its pummeling at the hands of Oklahoma last week to beat hapless Iowa State, 40-19. After surrendering 552 yards and 65 points to the Sooners, the Longhorns found it much easier to contain the Cyclones as they limited ISU to 277 yards for the game and blanked them 27-0 in the first half. The Cyclones were swept away by the Texas passing attack which struck for 343 yards.

     TWENTY-ONE, BUT NO BLACKJACKVanderbilt's losing effort against Beorgia (AP0 . The Vanderbilt Commodores lost to Georgia 27-8. The loss consigns Vandy to a twenty-first consecutive losing season.

       MOMENTARY LAPSE. Miami (Fla.) spotted the Temple Owls a, 7-0, lead before storming back to post a, 52-14, win in Big East play. The Hurricanes have won 26 in a row at home, 27 straight conference games and 39 consecutive regular season games. The going gets considerably tougher next week when the 'Canes travel to Blacksburg to face the undefeated Virginia Tech Hokies.

       STREAKING. Texas Christian beat Alabama Birmingham, 27-24, to win its ninth straight game. The Horned Frogs and OU Sooners have each won nine in a row dating back to the 2002 season.

       STAR BILLING. Arizona State QB Andrew Walter connected on 34 of 58 pass attempts for 408 yards in the Sun Devils' 33-31 victory over North Carolina. Ryan Dinwiddie needed only 27 completions to throw for 508 yards against SMU as Boise State clobbered the Mustangs 45-3.

       NUMERICALLY SPEAKING. Syracuse topped Boston College, 39-14, in a Big East game to raise its record to 4-2 on the season. The 'Cuse remains the only team in division 1-A football not to have thrown an interception this year.

       Mississippi handed Alabama only its 8th loss in 51 games in the series between the long time SEC rivals when it bested them, 43-28, on Saturday. QB Eli Manning finishes his career for Ole Miss with a 2-1 record against the Crimson Tide. His dad, Archie, had the same record a generation ago giving the Manning family a major hand in half of Mississippi's wins against the Tide.

       Nebraska's win over Texas A & M in Lincoln pushed the Cornhuskers' record to 100-5 (.952) in their past 105 home games.

       FOOT IN MOUTH DISEASE. Before the season began, Colorado coach Gary Barnett told media outlets throughout the state that this year's Buffs' team would have the finest defense in the school's history. CU lost to Kansas State over the weekend by a, 49-20, score. The game marked the fifth consecutive contest in which the Buffaloes have been torched for 42 or more points. In its season opener CU snuck past Colorado State, but not before giving up 35 points. Colorado ranks dead last--117th--among division 1-A teams in points allowed per game, passing them out at the rate of 40.1 per game--the only team in the nation giving up over forty points a game.
      
       It's going to get worse....much, much worse....before it gets better for the Buffs. Next up on the schedule is Oklahoma followed by Texas Tech. The Sooners are second in the nation in scoring average. The Red Raiders are first. Ya gotta wonder if Barnett has enough room left in his mouth for that other foot.

       BCS HEADACHE OF THE WEEK. Northern Illinois refuses to lose and is staying uncomfortably close to the top ten for some folks at BCS headquarters. This week the Huskies take on one of the two teams remaining on their schedule with a legitimate shot to beat them when they hit the road to play Bowling Green. The MAC rivals are ranked among the nation's top twenty-five teams. The BCS' headache quotient would drop precipitously with a win by the Falcons over NIU.

       Oddsmakers have installed Bowling Green as a four point favorite over Northern Illinois--one of five remaining undefeated teams in division 1-A--along with Oklahoma, Miami, Virginia Tech and TCU.

       FORTY WINKS. They're dropping likes flies from the ranks of the defeated. East Carolina's win over Army last week means their are only three division 1-A teams still in engaged in a futile snipe hunt for their maiden win of the season. Army, Buffalo and SMU are a combined 0-22 this fall.

       If you're expecting a grueling week at work and are anxiously awaiting some of the marquee match-ups in college football this Saturday such as: Texas Tech/Missouri; Michigan/Purdue and LSU/Auburn, then you'll need a means by which to unwind from watching all the action in such competitive battles. No problem!!

       Make sure you catch a few moments of the coma-inducing The Buffalo Bulls are way down! exercise in ineptitudewhich is the Buffalo Bulls and the Ohio Bobcats. The nap you take after feasting your eyes on this atrocity masquerading as a division 1-A football game will make Rip Van Winkle look like he was wired on Columbia's finest caffeinated product.
 
        


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