Weekly Sports Report

The two biggest games last weekend both turned out to be thrillers that weren't decided until the final seconds. In an SEC – West contest, Auburn came from behind to edge LSU 10-9. This time, LSU was the victim rather than the beneficiary of a missed extra point. In the SEC – East, Tennessee kicker James Wilhoit booted a 50-yard field goal with 6 seconds left to nip Florida 30-28.

The shocker of the day was Arizona State's 44-7 rout of #16 Iowa. Finally, congratulations are in order to the New Mexico Highlands Cowboys. Coached by John Fassel, the son of former N.Y. Giants head coach Jim Fassel, they defeated Mesa St. 41-24. It was the first victory for New Mexico Highlands since the 2001 season. Now that's a dry spell!

FRIDAY

East – In the Big East opener for both teams, Boston College defeated Connecticut 27-7 in Chestnut Hill. Senior QB Paul Peterson led the way for the Eagles with two TD passes. He completed 14-23 for 193 yards and one interception. The Huskies appeared to be somewhat "tight" since this was both their Big East and National TV debut. Sophomore Allan Barnes lost a fumble on the opening kickoff and the Eagles quickly turned that gaffe into a 7-0 lead on a 12-yard pass from Peterson to senior WR Joel Hazard. Boston College extended their lead to 17-0 before UConn scored in the 2nd quarter on a 7 yard run by sophomore Cornell Brockington. The 2nd half was scoreless until the Eagles capitalized on junior DE Mathias Kiwanuka's interception of a tipped pass thrown by Husky QB Dan Orlovsky. Peterson capitalized on the turnover by tossing a 34 yard TD pass to Senior WR Grant Adams to seal the win.

SATURDAY

East – If there was any furniture remaining in Morgantown, it went out in a blaze of glory after #7 West Virginia's 19-16 overtime win over #21 Maryland. After the Terps' Nick Novak booted a 33-yard FG to begin the overtime session, the Mountaineers won the game on a 7-yard TD pass from senior QB Rasheed Marshall to sophomore WR Chris Henry. Marshall struggled for most of the game, finishing with 10-20 completions for 132 yards. Senior RB Kay-Jay Harris supplied most of WVU's offense, rushing for 142 yards and a TD.

Penn State survived another poor outing by senior QB Zack Mills and defeated winless Central Florida 37-13. Mills lost four fumbles and threw two interceptions. However, sophomore RB Tony Hunt saved the day for the Nittany Lions, scoring three TDs.

In their home opener, Syracuse held off Cincinnati 19-7. Sophomore QB Perry Patterson replaced true freshman Joe Fields in the 1st quarter and sparked the Orange's offense. Patterson completed 10-16 passes for 156 yards including a 68 yard TD toss to junior RB Damien Rhodes in the 4th quarter that iced the win. Senior RB Walter Reyes chipped in with 117 rushing yards and a TD. Syracuse's defense and special teams continually foiled the Bearcats, intercepting four passes and blocking a punt.

In a game best described as "sloppy," Rutgers hung on to defeat Kent State 29-21 in Piscataway. The two teams combined for 22 penalties, nine fumbles, two bad snaps, and seven turnovers. The Scarlet Knights seemed to be in control, leading 23-7 at the half. However, the Golden Flashes closed to within five points with 8:52 remaining on two TDs wrapped around a field goal by Rutgers freshman Jeremy Ito. Ito's second field goal of the 4th quarter with 5:43 left gave the Scarlet Knights their final margin of victory. Neither team could move the ball on the ground, but both showed potent passing attacks. Kent State's senior QB Joshua Cribbs completed 29-47 passes for 311 yards and a TD. Senior WR Darrell Dowery was on the receiving end of 14 of Cribbs' throws. For Rutgers, junior QB Ryan Hart was 19-30 for 238 yards and 2 TDs.

Nebraska turned a laugher into a nail-biter as the Cornhuskers barely held on to defeat Pittsburgh 24-17 at Heinz Field. Nebraska led 24-10 at the half after four costly Panther turnovers. Sophomore Tyler Palko was intercepted three times and freshman Allan Richardson fumbled a punt in the 1st 30 minutes. Three of the turnovers gave Nebraska the ball inside Pitt's 10 yard line. After a scoreless 3rd quarter, Panther's sophomore LB H.B. Blades picked off a Joe Dailey pass with 4:53 left. On the 2nd play following the turnover, Palko tossed a 34 yard TD pass to fellow sophomore WR Greg Lee to pull the Panthers within 7 points. Pitt had one final opportunity as Palko completed a pass to freshman WR Darrell Strong to the Nebraska 14 yard line with 6 seconds left. After being backed up 5 yards for an illegal substitution, Palko's last gasp pass was batted down in the end zone as time expired.

Temple won their first game of the year, 38-7 over D1AA Florida A&M. The Owls were paced by junior QB Walter Washington, who passed for one TD and ran for two more. Washington rushed for 119 yards, while junior RB Umar Ferguson added 118 yards and 2 TDs on 25 attempts. This was the first time the Owls have had two 100 yard rushers in a game since 1996.

South - #3 Georgia struggled past Marshall 13-3 in Athens. Georgia's senior QB David Greene completed 17-30 passes for 209 yards but could only get his team into the end zone once against the surprisingly tough Thundering Herd defense. Georgia led 10-3 at halftime, but a fumbled punt early in the 3rd quarter gave Marshall a huge opportunity. They went for a tying TD on a 4th and one play from the Bulldogs' two, but senior QB Stan Hill's pass fell incomplete. Georgia's freshman kicker Andy Bailey then booted his 2nd field goal of the game in the 4th quarter to seal the victory.

#4 Miami opened up a 34-0 halftime lead and waltzed to a 48-0 home win over Louisiana Tech. Sophomore Devin Hester returned two punts for TDs; one for 51 yards in the 2nd quarter and the other a 92 yarder in the 4th quarter. Senior QB Brock Berlin completed 10-14 passes for 122 yards for the Hurricanes. Miami's defense limited the Bulldogs to 183 yards of total offense and broke their streak of 130 consecutive games without being shut out.

In a key SEC West tilt, #14 Auburn edged #5 LSU 10-9. Both teams' kickers missed their PAT attempts, but sophomore John Vaughn got a second chance after LSU's Ronnie Prude was called for a questionable personal foul penalty. Vaughn then nailed his second attempt for the winning point. His kick followed Auburn's only TD, a 16 yard pass from senior QB Jason Campbell to sophomore WR Courtney Taylor on a 3rd and 12 play with just 1:14 remaining. The combo of Campbell to Taylor kept Auburn's final drive alive by connecting on a 14 yard pass to the LSU 14 on a 4th and 12. Campbell finished with 16 completions in 27 attempts for 170 yards. LSU's sophomore kicker Ryan Gaudet missed his PAT attempt after the Tigers scored on their opening possession of the game. The loss snaps a 10 game LSU winning streak.

#8 Florida State rebounded from last week's loss to Miami by thumping UAB 34-7. The Seminoles dominated on both sides of the ball. They accumulated 489 yards of total offense as four different backs rushed for TDs with junior Leon Washington leading the way with 104 yards. FSU's defense sacked the Blazers' junior QB Darrell Hackney eight times and held UAB to only 144 yards.

#9 Ohio State didn't generate much offense against North Carolina State. However, the Buckeyes' defense forced 5 Wolfpack turnovers and senior kicker Mike Nugent again played a huge role with five field goals as Ohio State triumphed 22-14. Despite receiving good field position all day, Ohio State's offense could only manage 137 yards of total offense. However, with Nugent's leg and North Carolina State's own offensive woes, it was enough for the win.

In the most thrilling game of the day, #13 Tennessee came from behind to nip #11 Florida in a huge SEC East contest in Knoxville. The winning points came on a 50 yard field goal by sophomore James Wilhoit with just 6 seconds left. That was sweet redemption for the young kicker, since he missed his first career PAT just minutes before following a 13 yard TD pass from freshman QB Erik Ainge to Jason Swain that left the Vols behind by one point, 28-27. Ainge connected on 16-24 passes for 192 yards and 3 TDs while fellow freshman QB Brent Schaeffer was 3-4 for 40 yards. The Gators' sophomore QB Chris Leak was outstanding in defeat. He completed 22-31 passes for 286 yards and 3 TDs including an 81 yard strike to fellow sophomore Chris Jackson with 7:43 remaining that put the Gators ahead 28-21.

#12 Virginia rolled over Akron 51-0. Junior RB Wali Lundy rushed for 3 TDs for the 3rd consecutive week. Lundy picked up 142 yards on 22 carries. Cavs' junior QB Marques Hagans completed 16-25 passes for 148 yards and 2 TDs, both to huge junior TE Heath Miller. The Zips showed little zip, with only 84 yards on total offense and six first downs.

Virginia Tech won their first ACC game, drubbing Duke 41-17 in Blacksburg. The Blue Devils led 7-0 after the first quarter, but the Hokies tallied 24 points before halftime to put the game away. Senior QB Bryan Randall threw for one Hokie TD and scrambled 30 yards for another.

North Carolina unleashed a strong ground game to upset Georgia Tech 34-13. The Tar Heels rolled up 284 rushing yards, led by senior Jacque Lewis who rushed for 161 yards and 2 TDs. North Carolina only led 7-6 at the half, but broke the game open with 21 third quarter points. The Tar Heels' defense was outstanding, forcing 5 Yellow Jacket turnovers including 3 interceptions of Tech's sophomore QB Reggie Ball.

Mississippi won for the 1st time this season, edging winless Vanderbilt 26-23 in overtime. The Rebels rallied to tie the game at 23 with ten 4th quarter points. In OT, they held the Commodores on downs and won the game on a 35-yard field goal by senior Jonathan Nichols. It was the 4th field goal of the game for Nichols, last year's Lou Groza Award winner. In his first collegiate start, Rebs' sophomore QB Ethan Flatt completed 21-37 passes for 187 yards. Junior RB Vashon Pearson rushed for 111 yards and a TD.

In a real shocker, D1AA Maine went into Starkeville and upended Mississippi State 9-7. The Bulldogs led 7-0 at the half on a 1st quarter TD pass from sophomore QB Omarr Connor to Eric Butler. Three turnovers in Maine territory prevented any further Bulldog scoring and silenced the cowbells in the crowd. The Black Bears closed to within 7-3 on a 3rd quarter FG and scored the winning TD on a 17 yard pass from sophomore QB Ron Whitcomb to WR Kevin McMahon with 2:55 left.

In other games, Alabama shut out D1AA Western Carolina 52-0. Arkansas routed Louisiana-Monroe 49-20. Kentucky handed Indiana its first loss, 51-32. South Carolina rolled over South Florida 34-3. Finally, beware the Mighty Owls! Howard Schnellenberger's Florida Atlantic team, a "provisional" D1 newcomer, improved their record to 3-0 with a 27-20 road win over Middle Tennessee. All three of the Owls' wins have come against D1A teams on the road.

Midwest - #17 Michigan barely avoided a 2nd consecutive upset loss as the Wolverines edged San Diego State 24-21. The winning score came in the 3rd quarter on a 7-yard pass from freshman QB Chad Henne to senior WR Braylon Edwards. Henne completed 11-24 passes for 162 yards and 2 TDs, both to Edwards. However, he also threw 3 interceptions. Another freshman played a major role for the Wolverines. RB Mike Hart rushed for 121 yards on 25 carries. Junior QB Matt Dlogolecki was outstanding in defeat for the Aztecs. He was 26-42 for 277 yards and a TD. The Aztecs had two chances to tie the game in the 4th quarter, but Garrett Palmer missed field goals of 46 and 49 yards.

Notre Dame's defense forced six Michigan State turnovers as the Irish toppled the Spartans 31-24. Sophomore FS Tom Zbikowski accounted for two of the turnovers. The first came on a 75 yard fumble return for a TD after he stripped the ball from junior RB Jason Teague. The second came on an interception of a pass by Spartans' freshman QB Stephen Reaves. Reaves threw two more 1st half interceptions before being benched. Notre Dame' sophomore QB Brady Quinn completed 11-24 passes for 215 yards and a TD and ran for another score. Freshman RB Darius Walker helped out with 26 carries for 98 yards.

Diminutive senior RB Darren Sproles set a new Kansas State rushing record as the Wildcats doubled up Louisiana-Lafayette 40-20. Sproles darted for 292 yards and a TD on 38 carries as Kansas St. rebounded from last week's upset loss to Fresno St. Senior kicker Joe Rheem added four field goals for the Wildcats.

Northwestern's first win of the year was a dramatic one. The Wildcats edged previously unbeaten Kansas 20-17 in Evanston. After the Jayhawks scored 2 TDs to take a 17-13 lead, Junior QB Brett Basanez tossed a 12 yard TD pass to junior WR Brandon Horn for the winning score. Jayhawks' senior kicker Johnny Beck had a chance to send the game to overtime, but missed a 43 yard field goal with 90 seconds left.

Iowa State scored 28 straight 2nd half points, 21 coming in the 4th quarter, to defeat Northern Illinois 48-41. The game-winning TD came on a 4-yard pass from QB Austin Flynn to freshman WR Todd Blythe. It was the 3rd TD reception of the game for the 6' 5" Blythe.

Elsewhere, Central Michigan outlasted D1AA Southeast Missouri 44-27. Illinois edged Western Michigan 30-27. Miami (Ohio) topped Ohio 40-20. Missouri whitewashed Ball St. 48-0. Finally, Toledo got their first win of the year, 42-32 over Eastern Michigan.

Southwest – #2 Oklahoma scored an easy 31-7 win over Oregon. True freshman Adrian Peterson, a heralded recruit from Texas, led the way for the Sooners with 24 carries for 183 yards and 2 TDs. He has rushed for over 100 yards in each of his three games. Peterson replaced injured starter KeJuan Jones, who injured an ankle in the 1st quarter and sat out the remainder of the game. 6th year senior QB Jason White, last year's Heisman Trophy winner, had another quietly efficient performance for the Sooners. He completed 17-23 passes for 213 yards and a TD.

An old Southwest Conference rivalry was revived for the first time since the conference's demise. TCU was left wondering if it was a such good idea after losing 70-35 to Texas Tech. Remarkably, TCU actually led the game 21-0 in the 2nd quarter before the Red Raiders exploded for 5 straight TDs, three coming before the half. Tech senior QB Sonny Cumbie ran the Red Raiders spread offense to near perfection, completing 30-50 passes for 441 yards and 4 TDs. He did suffer 2 interceptions, though. Sophomore WR Jarrett Hicks had 8 receptions for 211 yards and junior RB Taurean Henderson added 3 TD runs for Texas Tech.

Sophomore RB Courtney Lewis rushed for 165 yards and the game's first two TDs as Texas A&M drubbed Clemson 27-6. The Aggies defense throttled the Tigers' attack all afternoon, intercepting 3 passes by junior QB Charlie Whitehurst and sacking him five times.

A 44-yard TD pass from sophomore QB Kevin Kolb to junior WR Vincent Marshall with 6:58 remaining snapped a 21 all tie and Houston went on to defeat Army 35-21.

Oklahoma State scored in every quarter as the Cowboys routed hapless SMU 59-7.

In other games, #25 Memphis came from behind to defeat Arkansas State 47-35. Navy torpedoed Tulsa 29-0. Finally, Rice outscored Hawaii 41-29.

West - #1 USC scored 21 points in both the 2nd and 4th quarters to subdue BYU 42-10 in Provo. The Trojans' sophomore RB tandem proved too much for the Cougars defense to contain. Reggie Bush rushed 14 times for 124 yards and LenDale White added 110 yards and a TD. Junior QB Matt Leinart completed 22-35 passes for 236 yards and 2 TDs for the Trojans. USC's defense forced four BYU turnovers, including three interceptions of QB John Beck, and held the Cougars to just 27 yards on the ground.

#15 Utah routed rival Utah State 48-6. The Utes led 41-0 at intermission and rested their starters throughout the final 30 minutes. Junior QB Alex Smith directed the balanced Utah offense, completing 9-12 passes for 163 yards and a TD. Smith also scampered 7 yards for another score.

#19 Fresno State had a surprisingly tough time with D1AA Portland State, winning 27-17. The Bulldogs attack featured a powerful 1-2 punch at RB. UCLA transfer Wendell Mathis rushed for 123 yards and 2 TDs and junior Bryson Sumlin added another 127 yards.

#20 Wisconsin barely survived both a thunderstorm and the Arizona Wildcats. The Badgers scored all 9 of their points in the final period to eke out a 9-7 win. The game was scoreless with just over 6 minutes remaining in the 2nd quarter when a severe thunderstorm forced an 88 minute delay. Both coaches agreed to forego the halftime break. When play resumed, Arizona took a 7-0 lead in the final seconds of the 2nd quarter on a 44 yard TD pass from sophomore QB Kris Heavner to WR Mike Jefferson. The Badgers finally got on the board in the 1st minute of the 4th quarter on a 7 yard TD run by sophomore Booker Stanley. However, senior kicker Mike Allen missed the PAT leaving the Badgers trailing 7-6. Stanley, filling in for the injured Anthony Davis, rushed for 135 yards on 30 carries. Allen atoned for his miss by connecting on a 23 yard game-winning field goal with 3:47 remaining. Sophomore kicker Nick Folk had a chance to regain the lead for the Wildcats, but he was wide on a 47 yard field goal attempt with 43 seconds left.

#22 Minnesota defeated Colorado State 34-16 in Fort Collins. The Gophers' powerful tandem of running backs, junior Marion Barber III and sophomore Laurence Moroney, proved too much for the Rams defense to handle. Barber rushed for 201 yards and 2 TDs and Moroney added another 132 yards. Minnesota also displayed a bit of a passing attack as sophomore QB Bryan Cupito hit fellow sophomore TE Matt Spaeth for two scores. CSU's Junior QB Justin Holland completed 25-41 passes for 298 yards and a TD. However, he also had 3 passes picked off and a botched hand-off resulted in the Rams' 4th turnover of the game.

#23 Boise State trailed at UTEP 10-0 after the 1st quarter. The Broncos then rang up 20 second quarter points to take a 20-17 lead at intermission. After UTEP regained the lead at 24-20, Boise St. went ahead for good midway through the 3rd quarter when senior TE Andy Weldon alertly recovered a fumble by sophomore QB Jared Zabransky in the Miners' end zone. Zabransky completed 26-37 passes for 392 yards and 2 TDs. Boise St. has now won 14 consecutive games, the longest active streak in D1A.

#16 Iowa was buried by Arizona State, 44-7. Senior QB Andrew Walter completed 31-43 passes for 428 yards and 5 TDs. Walter's final TD pass gave him 66 for his career, breaking the Sun Devil record of 65 set by Jake Plummer. Arizona State's defense dominated the Hawkeyes, limiting them to only 100 yards and 6 first downs. Iowa barely averted a shutout when junior Walner Belleus returned a punt 83 yards for a TD with 18 seconds left.

UCLA got a huge performance from 5'8" sophomore RB Maurice Drew to edge Washington 37-31 in Seattle. Drew ran for 322 yards and 5 TDs as the Bruins' ground game accounted for 424 yards against the porous Husky defense. Washington's last gasp ended when senior WR Charles Frederick was stopped at the Bruins' two-yard line as time expired after catching a pass from junior QB Casey Paus.

Elsewhere, Colorado broke a 14-all tie with 21 second quarter points and went on to rout North Texas 52-21. Senior QB Buck Pierce hit sophomore TE Travis Samuel with a 7 yard TD pass with 2:05 left to rally New Mexico State past Troy State 22-18, spoiling the Trojans Sun Belt Conference debut. Oregon State struggled past stubborn New Mexico 17-7. San Jose State dispatched D1AA Morgan St. 47-28. Air Force traveled to Sin City and left with a 27-10 win over UNLV. Nevada broke open a close game with 17 unanswered 4th quarter points to defeat Buffalo 38-13. Finally, Washington State scored in every period in a 49-8 thrashing of Idaho.


The following are this week's top games:

THURSDAY

Southwest – #4 Miami @ Houston – Canes have an excellent chance for an undefeated season. This one should be easy.

FRIDAY

West – BYU @ #21 Boise State – Watching games on the Broncos' blue turf gives me a headache. Boise St. should extend their winning streak to 15.

SATURDAY

South – North Carolina State @ Virginia Tech – ACC opener for the Wolfpack, as they try to rebound from a disappointing performance against Ohio State.

Clemson @ #8 Florida State – The Tigers have lost two in a row and Tallahassee isn't a good place to go to end a losing streak. Will a loss to poppa Bobby put Tommy Bowden back on the hot seat?

Mississippi State @ #13 LSU – Both teams should be in foul moods after losing last Saturday. Unfortunately for Sylvester Croom's Bulldogs, their loss was at home to D1AA Maine while LSU dropped a one point decision at Auburn. This one should get real ugly real fast.

Memphis @ UAB – CUSA opener for both schools.

Midwest - Iowa @ #18 Michigan – Both teams have struggled on offense with new QBs. Now they open their Big Ten seasons. It will be difficult for the loser to come back and win the conference title.

Penn State @ Wisconsin – Tough conference opening game for Joe Paterno's Nittany Lions. 3-0 Wisconsin's defense has been tough to dent thus far.

Northwestern @ #19 Minnesota – Will the Wildcats be able to slow down the Gophers' powerful ground game?

Washington @ Notre Dame – With victories over Michigan and Michigan State in his last two games, Ty Willingham's job looks a lot more secure. An 0-2 start has put Huskies' coach Keith Gilbertson's job in jeopardy.

Southwest – Alabama @ Arkansas – Bama comes in with a 3-0 record, but against weak opposition. The Razorbacks' only loss was a tough one to Texas. We'll see if the Tide is for real after this game.

South Florida @ TCU – CUSA opener for both teams playing their final season in the conference. They both come into the game off bad losses. Who will rebound?

West – #1 USC @ Stanford – The Cardinal have had an extra week off and are improved over last year. None of that will keep this game close.

Air Force @ #14 Utah – Utes needed overtime to down the Falcons last year. This one should be less of a struggle.

Oregon State @ #22 Arizona State – Can the Beavers contain the Andrew Walter Aerial Circus in Tempe?


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