Recapping the week's action:
East – Delaware, last year's D1AA champion, was upset at home by New Hampshire 24-21. Back-up QB Ricky Santos completed 10 of11 passes for 146 yards including a 44-yard game-winning toss to David Ball in the 4th quarter.
Midwest – Boston College struggled to a 19-11 road win over Ball State. Redshirt freshman L.V. Whitworth rushed for 129 yards and a TD and CB Will Blackmon scored on a 96-yard kickoff return to lead the Eagles to victory.
Southwest – Pete LoCoco's 47-yard field goal in the 2nd OT provided the winning margin as TCU edged Northwestern 48-45. Both teams' junior quarterbacks were outstanding. Northwestern's Brett Basanez set a school record with 513 passing yards and 4 TDs. The Horned Frogs' Tye Gunn threw for a career-high 368 yards and 4 TDs. Both teams had problems with their kicking games. Senior Brian Huffman missed 5 FGs for the Wildcats, including one in each OT session. LoCoco had his 25 yard FG blocked in the 1st OT before connecting for the game winner.
West – #20 Utah lived up to their pre-season hype by dominating Texas A&M to the tune of 41-21. Junior QB Alex Smith threw for 359 yards and 3 TDs and also rushed for 76 yards and 2 TDs to lead the Utes.
East – #10 West Virginia's senior RB Kay-Jay Harris rushed for a school and Big East record 337 yards to power the Mountaineers over East Carolina 56-23. Harris scored 4 TDs and his back-up, sophomore Jason Colson, added two more as WVU accumulated 478 rushing yards against the overmatched Pirates.
Connecticut celebrated their first game as a Big East member by thrashing D1AA Murray State 52-14. The Huskies struggled early. The game was tied at 14 before senior QB Dan Orlovsky got untracked, UConn scored the final 38 points, as Orlovsky finished with 382 yards in the air and 5 TDs.
A record Rutgers Stadium crowd of 42,612 went home happy as the Scarlet Knights held off Michigan State 19-14. Despite dominating the 1st half, the Scarlet Knights went into the locker room trailing 7-6 as freshman PK Jeremy Ito missed 3 of 5 field goal attempts. Ito redeemed himself by nailing two 3rd quarter FGs wrapped around a 31-yard interception return by senior DE Ryan Neill. The Spartans closed to within 5 points on a 54 yard TD pass from Damon Dowdell to senior TE Eric Knott early in the 4th quarter. However, Rutgers' defense held firm the rest of the way, including a key stop on a 4th and 6 at the Rutgers' 25 yard line with just over one minute remaining.
Penn State spoiled J.D. Brookhart's head coaching debut as the Nittany Lions routed Akron 48-10. Senior QB Zack Mills ran for one TD, threw for two more, and caught another TD pass from back-up QB Michael Robinson. The Nittany Lions also displayed a strong ground game. Sophomore RB Tony Hunt had 137 yards and a TD while fellow sophomore Austin Scott added 116 yards and 2 TDs.
South – #4 LSU needed several huge breaks and got them as they edged Oregon State 22-21 in OT in Baton Rouge. The Tigers' offense was non-existent in the 1st half as the Beavers went into the locker room with a 9-0 lead. Redshirt freshman QB JaMarcus Russell came off the bench and hit junior WR Skyler Green with a 16-yard TD pass in the 3rd quarter to close the gap to 9-7. Oregon St. responded with a 4-yard TD pass from senior QB Derek Anderson to WR Anthony Wheat-Brown. However, redshirt freshman PK Alexis Serna missed his 2nd PAT to keep LSU within eight points at 15-7. It appeared that might be enough until Russell rallied LSU in the final minutes. He found sophomore WR Dwayne Bowe with a 38-yard TD pass with just over a minute remaining. Russell then rolled out to his left and dove into the end zone for the two point conversion that sent the game to overtime. Russell scored on a 5-yard run in OT and the Tigers converted the PAT. Anderson responded with a 19-yard TD strike to sophomore TE Joe Newton, but Serna missed his 3rd PAT attempt of the night as he sailed far to the right.
In another thriller, #15 Clemson needed two overtime sessions to defeat Wake Forest 37-30. Clemson led 19-3 early in the 2nd quarter before the Demon Deacons reeled off 24 points to take a 27-19 lead with just over 12 minutes left. The Tigers tied the game at 27 on a one-yard run by senior Yusef Kelly and a 2 point conversion pass from junior QB Charlie Whitehurst to sophomore WR Kelvin Grant. After both teams kicked field goals in the 1st OT, Whitehurst tossed an 11-yard screen pass to Kyle Browning for the go-ahead TD. Clemson then held Wake Forest on their final possession.
#23 Maryland barely escaped a second straight loss to Northern Illinois, winning 23-20. The Terps survived 3 lost fumbles by new starting QB Joel Stratham. The game ended with the Huskies on Maryland's 33 yard line but the clock expired before they could run another play. Terp senior PK Nick Novak booted 3 field goals and 2 PATs to bring his career points total to 335, a new ACC record.
Elsewhere, South Carolina scored in every quarter to trounce Vanderbilt 31-6. #3 Georgia struggled before finally disposing of D1AA Georgia Southern 48-28. Georgia Tech handled D1AA Samford 28-7. Alabama routed Utah State 48-17. Auburn tossed a shutout at Louisiana-Monroe 31-0. Memphis edged Mississippi 20-13. North Carolina came back from a 24-14 halftime deficit to beat D1AA William & Mary 49-38. North Carolina State had no problems with D1AA Richmond, shutting out the Spiders 42-0. Troy State upset Marshall 17-15. UAB routed hapless Baylor 56-14. Finally, the first black head coach in SEC history had a successful debut. Sylverter Croom's Mississippi State Bulldogs turned back Tulane 28-7. All the scoring came after halftime.
Midwest – #8 Michigan capitalized on numerous errors by Miami of Ohio in a 43-10 win at Ann Arbor. True freshman QB Chad Henne started for the Wolverines in place of injured starter Matt Gutierrez. Henne completed 14-24 passes for 142 yards and 2 TDs, both to senior WR Braylon Edwards. Henne did throw one interception, but was impressive in his first college game. David Underwood also aided the Wolverines cause, running for 61 yards and 2 TDs on 22 caries.
#9 Ohio State survived numerous mistakes from their new starting QB, sophomore Jason Zwick, to defeat Cincinnati 27-6 in Columbus. Zwick fumbled four times and threw two interceptions. On the plus side, he did complete 14-26 passes for 213 yards and a TD. His back-up, fellow sophomore Tony Smith, led the Buckeyes to two TDs in the three drives he orchestrated. As usual, the Buckeyes' defense was dominant, preventing their turnovers from making the game close.
#12 Kansas State had a real battle with D1AA Western Kentucky. The Wildcats finally emerged victorious 27-13. Kansas St. only led 10-6 at the half and 20-13 after the 3rd quarter. They finally put the game away on an 8-yard TD run by back-up QB Allen Webb midway through the 4th quarter. The Wildcats' Heisman Trophy candidate, senior RB Darren Sproles, rushed for 221 yards and a TD.
Bill Callahan made a successful debut at Nebraska, as the Cornhuskers routed D1AA Western Illinois 56-17. Sophomore QB Joe Dailey tossed 4 TD passes and ran for 2 more scores. However, he was also intercepted 4 times by the Leathernecks. Even with their new West Coast offense, Nebraska managed to have two running backs go over the 100 yard mark. Junior Corey Ross rushed 13 times for 125 yards and freshman Tierre Green carried 7 times for 112 yards and 2 TDs.
In other games involving ranked teams, #18 Missouri routed Arkansas State 52-20. #19 Iowa pounded Kent State 39-7. #21 Wisconsin spoiled George O'Leary's debut at Central Florida, drubbing the Golden Knights 34-6. #25 Minnesota jumped off to a 42-7 halftime lead and coasted past Toledo 63-21.
Elsewhere, Illinois pasted D1AA Florida A&M 52-13, Indiana defeated Central Michigan 41-10, Iowa State shut out D1AA Northern Iowa 23-0, Kansas topped Tulsa 21-3, and Ohio overcame D1AA VMI 42-14. In another game of note, Luther defeated Martin Luther 44-6 – a sibling rivalry game no doubt!
Southwest – #2 Oklahoma struggled against a game Bowling Green squad before finally putting the Falcons away 40-24. Heisman Trophy winner Jason White threw for 238 yards and 3 TDs for the Sooners. Senior WR Mark Clayton caught two of White's TD tosses. Oklahoma also had an effective ground game, as junior RB KeJuan Jones ran for a career-high 148 yards and a TD.
#7 Texas had no trouble with North Texas. The Longhorns rolled to a 65-0 victory, which included 673 yards of total offense. 513 of those yards came on the ground, with senior RB Cedric Benson contributing 181 yards and 2 TDs. Texas' defense held the Eagles to just 4 first downs and 130 yards of total offense.
West – #13 California used a 2nd half explosion to ground Air Force 56-14. The Golden Bears only led 21-14 at the half, as they struggled to stop the Falcons' unusual modified wishbone offense. California obviously made some excellent adjustments in the locker room, as they totally shut down the Falcons' offense in the 2nd half while running up 42 points of their own. Senior RB J.J. Arrington led California, rushing for 181 yards and 3 TDs.
BYU's junior back-up QB Matt Berry passed for 167 yards and a TD to lead the Cougars past Notre Dame 20-17. Berry entered the game in the 2nd quarter after an injury to starter John Beck. Notre Dame's offense was crippled by an anemic ground game. The Irish rushed for only 12 yards on 21 carries. Sophomore QB Brady Quinn threw for 265 yards and one TD, but it wasn't enough. Senior kicker Matt Payne was a major factor in the Cougars' win. He hit 44 and 53-yard field goals and also averaged 46.8 yards punting.
Embattled Colorado head coach Gary Barnett watched his team squander a 17-0 lead before pulling out a 27-24 win over Colorado State in Boulder. The Rams came back to tie the game at 17 in the 4th quarter. Colorado responded with a 55-yard field goal by sophomore Mason Crosby and a 37-yard interception return for a TD by junior LB Brian Iwuh. Freshman WR John Walker caught a 31-yard TD pass to bring the Rams within 3 points. Colorado St. got the ball back on their own 36 yard line with 2:36 remaining and drove to the Buffalos' 1 yard line. Two running plays failed and the clock expired before the Rams could get off a final play.
South – Louisville easily kept arch-rival Kentucky's offense in check all game and wore down the Wildcats by a 28-0 score. Senior RB Lionel Gates led the way for the Cardinals, rushing for 112 yards and 2 TDs.
Tennessee alternated two freshman QBs, and both were effective as the Vols routed UNLV 42-17. Brent Schaeffer started for Tennessee and tossed one TD pass and ran for another. Eric Ainge contributed 2 TD tosses. The lone bright spot for the Runnin Rebels was diminutive senior RB Dominique Dorsey, who rushed for 128 yards and a TD.
Midwest – #25 Purdue embarrassed Syracuse, 51-0. Senior QB Kyle Orton threw a career-high 4 TD passes, two to senior WR Taylor Stubblefield, and finished with 287 yards in the air. Purdue's defense, with 8 new starters, totally frustrated Syracuse all afternoon. The Orange started true freshman Joe Fields at QB. Fields and the rest of Syracuse's offense struggled all day, with 4 fumbles, 2 interceptions, and only 197 yards of total offense.
West – Fresno State scored 3 defensive touchdowns to upset Washington 35-16 in Seattle. Fellow juniors SS James Sanders and CB Richard Marshall each returned an interception for a score. Senior DE Brian Morris ran a Husky fumble back for another TD. The Bulldog's offense was paced by junior RB Dwayne Wright, who rushed for 109 yards.
Hurricane Frances wiped out both the Florida State-Miami and Pittsburgh-South Florida contests.
South – The only remaining Labor Day game was a WAC match-up between Nevada and Louisiana Tech. Louisiana Tech prevailed 38-21 behind the rushing of junior Ryan Moats, who gained 257 yards and scored 3 TDs. The Bulldogs' defense also played a major role in the win, limiting the Wolf Pack to 7 yards rushing and recording 7 sacks.
Here's a summary of the key games coming up this week:
South – Florida St. at Miami
West – Oregon St. at Boise St.
East – Penn St. at Boston College
South – Auburn at Mississippi St., Georgia at South Carolina, Georgia Tech at Clemson, Mississippi at Alabama
Midwest – Arizona St. at Northwestern, Southern Mississippi at Nebraska, Iowa St. at Iowa, Michigan at Notre Dame, Fresno St. at Kansas St.
Southwest – Texas at Arkansas
West – USC at Colorado St., Colorado at Washington St., Indiana at Oregon, Utah at Arizona