ACC – Clemson's (3-4) Tommy Bowden may need to win 3 of his final 4 games. Since one of those games is at Miami, there's no margin for error. John Bunting of North Carolina (3-4) could also be in trouble.
Big East – After a slow start, it was a foregone conclusion that Pittsburgh's (5-2) Walt Harris would be axed by the end of the season. However, the Panthers have won three straight and are still in contention for the Big East title. It would appear that, at minimum, Harris will need to get the Panthers to another bowl game to save his job. Paul Pasqualoni of Syracuse (3-4) has seemingly been on the brink of losing his job for the past few years. The Orange have been hampered by a murderous out-of-conference schedule, but that might not save "Coach P." this time if the Orange again fail to receive a bowl bid.
Big Ten – At any other school, Penn State's (2-5) Joe Paterno would have been relieved of his duties some time ago. JoePa, in his 39th year in Not-So-Happy Valley, may finally be pressured to step aside, but don't bet against him returning. Since his Big Ten title in 2001, Illinois (2-6) has gone steadily downhill under Ron Turner. His 8th year in Champaign will likely be his last.
Big Twelve – Colorado (4-3) coach Gary Barnett almost lost his job in the off-season after the school was hit with accusations of "recruiting improprieties." Barnett also was censured for making an inappropriate remark about a former female kicker. He'll probably need to win at least 2 more games to keep his job. Dan McCarney, in his 9th year at Iowa State (3-4), could be in trouble if he loses his final four games. It seems a bit crazy to put Mack Brown of Texas (6-1) on this list. However, the Austin faithful are getting tired of losing to Oklahoma (5 straight) and many believe Brown is a great recruiter but an awful coach. He should be safe as long as the Longhorns win their final four games. If not, all bets are off.
PAC 10 – Keith Gilbertson is as good as gone at Washington (1-6). In his 2nd year, the wheels have totally fallen off of the Huskies. After an encouraging start to the season, Buddy Teevens could be in trouble at Stanford (4-3). Three of the Cardinals' four remaining games are on the road. A second consecutive 4-7 season could spell the end.
SEC – Will Rich Brooks get more time to turn things around at Kentucky (1-6)? Brooks debuted with a 4-8 mark last year, but this season has been a disaster, including an embarrassing home loss to Ohio.
Next week, I'll take a look at some of the possible candidates to fill the vacancies that will doubtless occur.
Meanwhile, here's a summary of last week's games:
West Virginia took over sole possession of first place in the Big East with a 27-6 pasting of Syracuse in Morgantown. Senior QB Rasheed Marshall led the way for the Mountaineers, completing 7-12 passes for 144 yards and 3 TDs and rushing 14 times for 87 yards. Junior WR Chris Henry was on the receiving end of two of Marshall's TD passes in the 1st half, as West Virginia opened up a 17-0 lead at intermission. Sophomore RB Jason Colson added 113 yards on 18 carries for the Mountaineers. For the Orange, sophomore QB Perry Patterson completed 23-37 passes for 249 yards. Syracuse was without star RB Walter Reyes, who was sidelined with the flu.
#15 Louisville returned home after their heartbreaking loss at Miami. The Cardinals rebounded quite nicely, smashing South Florida 41-9. Senior QB Sefan LeFors completed 21-26 passes for 242 yards and a TD for Louisville. Lefors connected on his first 13 throws, before missing on an attempt to senior WR J.R. Russell late in the 2nd quarter. Russell finished with 8 receptions for 111 yards. Sophomore RB Michael Bush added 64 yards and 2 TDs on 9 carries. The Bulls' offense struggled all evening, especially their passing game. Sophomore QB Pat Julmiste completed only 3-20 for 67 yards and a TD, that coming on a 50 yarder to freshman WR Johnnie Peyton early in the 4th quarter.
In the annual "Border War," Colorado State overcame an early 7-0 deficit to down Wyoming 30-7. Making his first start in place of the injured Justin Holland, Rams freshman QB Caleb Hanie completed 11-22 passes for 167 yards. Junior RB Jimmy Green also made his first career start a success, rushing 32 times for 124 yards and a TD. Senior Jeff Babcock added 3 field goals, becoming Colorado State's all-time career leader with 47. For the Cowboys, junior QB Cory Bramlet completed 26-38 passes for 256 yards and ran for their lone score.
In a game best described as "offensive" to watch, #25 Iowa limped past Penn St. 6-4. The Nittany Lions took an early 2-0 lead on a safety following a bad punt snap by the Hawkeyes. Iowa went ahead 3-2 on a 27 yard 1st quarter field goal by sophomore Kyle Schlicher. Following a 53 yard interception return of a Zack Mills pass by senior FS Sean Considine, Schlicher added another 27 yard field goal before halftime to give Iowa a 6-2 lead. The only score of the 2nd half came on a deliberate safety by Iowa late in the game, taken to avoid having to punt from their end zone. Coach Kirk Ferentz's strategy paid off, as the Hawkeyes recovered a fumble by Penn State's junior QB Michael Robinson. Penn State blew several excellent scoring chances in the 2nd half, as senior kicker Robbie Gould missed a 25 yard field goal attempt in the 3rd quarter and Robinson was intercepted on the Iowa 1 yard line by junior CB Antwan Allen in the final period. The two teams combined for a puny 16 1st downs and 315 yards of total offense. The deciding factor was turnovers. Iowa committed just two, while the Nittany Lions had five including two interceptions each thrown by Mills and Robinson.
Larry Taylor returned the opening kickoff 97 yards for a TD as Connecticut defeated Temple 45-31. The Huskies added two more long scoring plays to jump out to a 21-0 lead after the 1st quarter. Junior WR Jason Williams hauled in a 90 yard TD pass from senior QB Dan Orlovsky, and sophomore RB Cornell Brockington scored on a 61 yard run. Orlovsky finished with 18 completions in 29 attempts for 260 yards and 2 TDs. He now holds the school record for career touchdown passes with 75. Williams had 5 receptions for 138 yards, and Brockington rushed for 181 yards and 2 TDs on 15 carries. As usual, junior QB Walter Washington provided the bulk of the Owls' offense. He completed 21-44 passes for 276 yards and 2 TDs and ran 20 times for 84 yards and another 2 scores.
Pittsburgh improved to 5-2 with a 41-17 rout of Rutgers. The game was eerily similar to last year's between the Big East rivals. In both games, Pittsburgh jumped out to a 35 point lead at the half. Last year, Rutgers outscored the Panthers 25-0 in the 2nd half to turn a runaway into a tight game. This time, the Scarlet Knights could only manage two 3rd quarter touchdowns before a 4th quarter field goal by Panthers' junior kicker Josh Cummings iced the win. Pitt jumped off to a 14-3 lead after one quarter, as sophomore QB Tyler Palko completed two 17 yard TD passes to fellow sophomore WR Joe DelSardo. The Panthers broke the game open with 24 points in the 2nd quarter, including a spectacular 82 yard interception return by junior CB Josh Lay. Palko completed 27-43 passes for 318 yards and 3 TDs. Two Panther receivers had over 100 receiving yards. DelSardo caught 8 passes for 102 yards and sophomore Greg Lee nabbed 6 for 102. For the Scarlet Knights, junior QB Ryan Hart completed 31-57 for 351 yards and a TD, but was intercepted four times.
Navy is now 6-1 and bowl-eligible after edging Rice 14-13. The Middies' senior quarterback Aaron Polanco led the way, rushing 33 times for a career-high 179 yards. Polanco also threw a 37 yard TD pass to senior RB Eric Roberts in the 3rd quarter to give Navy a 14-0 lead. The Owls stormed back in the final period behind freshman QB Joel Armstrong, who replaced senior starter Greg Henderson. Armstrong ran 3 yards for a TD that closed the gap to 14-7, then tossed an 11 yard TD pass to senior RB Ed Bailey to bring Rice within one point with 4:41 left. However, junior kicker Brennan Landry missed the PAT, and Navy held on for the win. In an oddity, Rice completed all five of their passes, though they gained only 35 yards.
#3 Auburn ripped Kentucky 42-10. The Tigers potent backfield duo of seniors Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown were too much for the Wildcats' defense. Williams rushed 17 times for 149 yards and 2 TDs and Brown also scored twice. Auburn's defense was dominant. Redshirt freshman QB Andre Woodson, starting in place of the injured Shane Boyd, was sacked seven times and lost two fumbles. Auburn has now defeated Kentucky 14 consecutive times.
#4 Miami came up with a big road win, defeating North Carolina State 45-31. The Wolfpack had the nation's #1 defense, allowing just 204 yards per game. However, their decision to play man-to man coverage against the Hurricanes backfired as the Canes racked up 416 yards. Senior QB Brock Berlin tied a school record with 5 TD passes, two to junior WR Roscoe Parrish. Berlin finished with 15 completions in 30 attempts for 265 yards. The Wolfpack's offense was surprisingly effective against Miami. However, they were undone by special teams errors and turnovers in the first half. Canes' sophomore Devin Hester returned the opening kickoff 100 yards for a TD, and another Miami score followed a lost fumble on a kickoff return by Bobby Washington. Junior RB T.A. Mclendon gained 145 yards on 22 carries, but lost a key fumble inside Miami's 10 yard line with the ball going through the end zone for a touchback. Junior QB Jay Davis had a strong game for the Wolfpack, completing 20-38 for 260 yards and 4 TDs.
#5 Florida State survived another close call on the road, edging Wake Forest 20-17. The Demon Deacons scored two defensive touchdowns to take a shocking 14-3 lead at intermission. Redshirt freshman DE Matt Robinson picked off a tipped pass from sophomore QB Wyatt Sexton and returned it 19 yards for a score in the 1st quarter. In the 2nd quarter, Sexton fumbled after being sacked by Eric King and Brad White returned the fumble 36 yards for another score. The Seminoles finally got untracked in the 3rd quarter, as Sexton hit junior WR Willie Reid with a 20 yard TD pass to pull within four at 14-10. FSU then took the lead with 9:59 remaining on a 46 yard TD pass from Sexton to senior WR Dominic Robinson. Wake Forest got a huge break when a Sexton pass was intercepted by freshman Jeremy Thompson, setting up a tying 41yard field goal by junior Ryan Plackemeir with 4:32 to go. The Seminoles' senior Xavier Beitia then won the game with a 22 yard field goal with 1:03 left. Sexton completed 17 of 39 passes for 194 yards.
In a defensive struggle in Knoxville, #11 Tennessee held on to defeat Alabama 17-13. The Vols took a 14-10 lead into the locker room after freshman QB Erik Ainge hit Jayson Swain with a 19 yard TD pass in the 2nd quarter. Sophomore kicker James Wilhoit extended the lead with a 40 yard field goal in the 3rd quarter, but the Crimson Tide closed the gap back to four points with 6:26 remaining on a 47 yard field goal by senior Brian Bostick. After forcing a Tennessee punt, Alabama's final drive was thwarted by sophomore safety Corey Campbell's interception of a Spencer Pennington pass at the Vol's 15 yard line with 46 seconds remaining. Ainge finished with only 10 completions in 22 attempts for 132 yards and 2 interceptions. For Alabama, sophomore RB Kenneth Darby rushed 25 times for 99 yards.
#14 Virginia used a powerful ground game to crush Duke 37-16. The Cavaliers rushed for 348 yards, led by senior Alvin Pearman who carried 38 times for a career-high 223 yards and a TD. Junior Wali Lundy added 82 yards and 2 TDs on 11 carries. For the Blue Devils, sophomore QB Mike Schneider completed 18-30 for 191 yards and 2 TDs and junior RB Cedric Dargan rushed for 108 yards on 21 carries.
#18 LSU needed a 30 yard TD pass from senior QB Marcus Randall to junior TE David Jones with 2:18 left to edge Troy State 24-20. The Tigers led 17-10 at the break, but the Trojans tied the game on a one yard run by senior RB DeWhitt Betterson late in the 3rd quarter. Troy St. then took a 20-17 lead with 3:59 remaining on a 24 yard field goal by Greg Whibbs. With LSU held to a season-low 57 yards rushing, Randall had to take to the air all game, completing 24-37 for 328 yards. However he was intercepted 3 times, allowing the Trojans to stay in the game.
In the upset of the day, #20 Florida dropped a 38-31 decision to Mississippi State in Starkeville. The win broke the Bulldogs' five game losing streak, which included a home loss to D1AA Maine. Trailing 31-24, the Gators tied the game on a one yard TD run by sophomore QB Chris Leak with 5:05 left. On their next possession, Leak was intercepted by sophomore safety Jeramie Johnson at the Bulldog 44 with 2 minutes to go. The winning score came on a 37 yard gallop by junior RB Jerious Norwood with just 32 seconds left. Norwood was the offensive star for the Bulldogs, rushing 29 times for 174 yards and 2 TDs. For the Gators, Leak completed 20 of 35 passes for 260 yards and 2 TDs, both to sophomore WR Chad Jackson.
Clemson came from behind to defeat Maryland 10-7. The defeat was the 3rd in a row for the Terps, the longest losing streak in the four years Ralph Friedgen has been at the helm in College Park. Maryland took an early 7-0 lead on a one yard TD run by junior RB Josh Allen. Clemson got a 21 yard field goal from sophomore Jed Dean in the 2nd quarter and the half ended with Maryland in front 7-3. It appeared that would be enough, but junior QB Charlie Whitehurst finally got the Tigers' offense going on their final series of the game. It ended with a 2 yard game-winning TD run by Reggie Merriweather with 23 seconds left. Whitehurst finished with 14 completions in 31 attempts for 170 yards.
In one of the wildest games of the day, Tulane outscored UAB 28-21 IN THE 4TH QUARTER to notch a come-from-behind 59-55 win. The defeat was the first in CUSA play for the Blazers, and ruined their opportunity to move into the Top 25. Sophomore QB Lester Ricard, a transfer from LSU, set a Green Wave record with 6 TD passes. His final one, a 12 yard toss to senior WR Chris Bush with 27 seconds to play, was the game-winner. UAB had taken a 55-52 lead on a 6 yard TD run by Norris Drinkard, his 3rd of the game, with 1:43 left. Ricard ended with 36 completions in 49 attempts for 417 yards. For UAB, junior QB Darrell Hackney hit on 23-38 passes for 448 yards and 2 TDs.
Sophomore QB Damion Carter, filling in for injured starter Dustin Almond, led Southern Mississippi to a 51-10 rout of East Carolina. Carter completed 6-9 passes for 84 yards and 2 TDs and ran for another score. Meanwhile, the Golden Eagles' defense held the Pirates to just 178 yards of total offense, including minus 3 yards rushing.
UTEP won their 4th straight game, defeating Louisiana Tech 44-27. The Miners only led 30-27 with just over six minutes left, but put the game away on a 13 yard TD pass from QB Jordan Palmer to junior WR Chris Francies. It was the 4th TD pass of the game for Palmer, who finished with 17 completions in 29 attempts for 259 yards. For the Bulldogs, junior RB Ryan Moats rushed 21 times for 99 yards and a TD.
Elsewhere, Vanderbilt defeated D1AA Eastern Kentucky 19-7. Marshall routed Buffalo 48-14. Louisiana-Lafayette edged Arkansas State 27-24. Louisiana-Monroe won their 3rd game in a row, 17-13 at Florida Atlantic. Finally, Middle Tennessee topped Idaho 34-14.
#6 Wisconsin improved to 8-0 with a 24-12 win over Northwestern. The Badgers led 17-0 at the half on a 29 yard field goal by senior Mike Allen, a 4 yard TD pass from sophomore QB John Stocco to Owen Daniels, and a 7 yard run by senior RB Anthony Davis. Davis added another TD run in the 3rd quarter before the Wildcats finally got on the scoreboard on a 29 yard TD pass from junior QB Brett Basanez to junior WR Mark Philmore. Northwestern added a 4th quarter score on a 14 yard run by senior RB Noah Herron, but the Badgers defense, despite missing three injured starters, shut the Wildcats down the rest of the way. Davis finished with 31 carries for 117 yards. For the Wildcats, Herron gained 109 yards on 19 attempts. He is the first back to gain over 100 yards against Wisconsin this year.
#13 Michigan also remained unbeaten in Big Ten play with a hard-fought 16-14 win at Purdue. Sophomore Garrett Rivas hit a 36 yard field goal, his 3rd of the day, with 2:45 left to win the game for the Wolverines. The Boilermakers had taken a 14-10 lead in the 3rd quarter on a 63 yard TD pass from senior QB Kyle Orton to junior RB Brandon Jones. Rivas then hit a 25 yard field goal to bring Michigan within one at 14-13. Purdue's final drive ended after an Orton completion to WR Dorian Bryant in Michigan territory. Bryant was drilled by both Markus Curry and Ernest Shazor and coughed up the ball. It was recovered by sophomore CB Leon Hall just before it was about to roll out of bounds. For the Wolverines, true freshman Michael Hart was once again the offensive star, carrying 33 times for 206 yards and scoring their first TD on a 25 yard pass from fellow freshman QB Chad Henne. Michigan's defense limited the Boilermakers to just 50 yards on the ground, though Orton completed 14-30 for 213 yards.
#22 Oklahoma State trailed Missouri 17-0 in the 2nd quarter before rallying for a 20-17 win in Columbia. The Tigers got off to a fast start, as junior QB Brad Smith tossed TD passes in each of the first two quarters. The Cowboys got on the board before intermission on a 12 yard pass from redshirt freshman QB Donovan Woods to his brother, sophomore WR D'Juan. The 2nd half was all Oklahoma State. Jason Ricks connected on a 27 yard field goal in the 3rd quarter to close the gap to 17-10. The Cowboys got the tying TD in the final period on a 37 yard run by Donovan Woods. Ricks then connected on the winning field goal from 28 yards out with just 55 seconds remaining. For the Cowboys, junior RB Vernand Morency rushed 31 times for 173 yards. Smith ended with 18 completions in 29 attempts for just 96 yards.
Boston College overcame a 20-7 halftime deficit to edge #24 Notre Dame 24-23. Freshman RB Darius Walker's 8 yard TD run in the 2nd quarter gave the Irish their 20-7 lead, but senior D.J. Fitzpatrick missed the PAT. Notre Dame could have put the game out of reach in the first 30 minutes, but sophomore QB Brady Quinn was intercepted twice deep in Eagles' territory. The Eagles' winning score came on a 30 yard TD pass from senior QB Paul Peterson to WR Tony Gonzalez with 54 seconds remaining. Peterson finished with 27 completions in 41 attempts for 383 yards and 2 TDs. Quinn completed 20-33 passes for one TD and also ran for a score.
Minnesota broke a two game losing streak, shutting out Illinois 45-0. The Gophers ran up 587 yards of total offense, led by junior RB Marion Barber III. Barber carried 11 times for 138 yards and 2 TDs and also threw a TD pass. Minnesota's usually anemic passing attack was also effective, as sophomore QB Bryan Cupito completed 10-21 for 247 yards and a TD.
Sophomore QB Troy Smith's first start for Ohio State was a success as the Buckeyes broke a 3 game losing streak with a 30-7 win over Indiana. Ohio State scored on their first four possessions of the game to quickly take control. Smith completed 12-24 passes for 161 yards and 2 TDs. Freshman Tony Pittman got the Buckeyes ground game in gear, finishing with 144 yards and a TD on 20 carries. Senior kicker Mike Nugent added 3 field goals, including a 52 yarder in the 2nd quarter. The Hoosiers have now lost 5 straight.
Sophomore QB Allen Webb filled in admirably for injured starter Dylan Meier, leading Kansas State past Nebraska 45-21. The win snapped a 3 game losing streak for the Wildcats. Webb carried the ball 34 times for 147 yards and 4 TDs and completed 14-23 passes for 124 yards. Senior RB Darren Sproles rushed 22 times for 135 yards and scored the other two Wildcat TDs. Nebraska was held to 222 yards of total offense, and suffered four turnovers, including three straight in the 4th quarter.
In other games, senior QB Gino Guidugli completed 13-18 passes for 182 yards and 2 TDs as Cincinnati upset Memphis 49-10. Bowling Green won their 4th in a row, 41-16 over Ohio. Brett Biggs carried 31 times for 195 yards and scored 3 TDs as Akron defeated Ball St. 35-23. Miami (Ohio) routed winless Central Florida 43-7. Northern Illinois improved to 5-0 in the MAC, outscoring Western Michigan 59-38 as QB Josh Haldi threw for a career-high 333 yards and 6 TDs. Finally, Toledo kept pace with Northern Illinois, holding on to edge Central Michigan 27-22.
Kansas kept up with #2 Oklahoma for the first 30 minutes. After that, it was all Sooners as they outscored the Jayhawks 27-0 in the 2nd half to win 41-10. Kansas' senior kicker John Beck hit a 43 yard field goal on the final play of the 1st half to bring the Jayhawks within four at 14-10. That seemed to awaken the Sooners, who thrilled their homecoming crowd with an impressive offensive display in the final two periods. Senior QB Jason White led the way, completing 27-44 passes for 389 yards and 4 TDs. True freshman RB Adrian Peterson added 126 yards and a TD on 22 carries.
#8 Texas overpowered Texas Tech 51-21 in Lubbock. Sophomore QB Vince Young silenced his critics, rushing 25 times for 158 yards and 4 TDs and completing 10-15 passes for 142 yards and another score. Senior RB Cedric Benson added 168 yards and a TD on 38 carries. The Red Raiders were held to minus 17 yards rushing, though senior QB Sonny Cumbie did complete 34-51 passes for 403 yards and a TD. Senior WR Nehemiah Glover caught 11 of Cumbie's passes for 166 yards.
#10 Georgia overcame a 14-10 halftime deficit to defeat Arkansas 20-14 in Fayetteville. Trailing 10-7 in the 2nd quarter, the Razorbacks pulled ahead before intermission when DE Marcus Harrison picked up a fumble by Bulldogs' senior QB David Greene and rambled 18 yards for a TD. Georgia's winning score came in the 3rd quarter on a 10 yard TD pass from Greene to sophomore TE Leonard Pope. Greene finished with 22 completions in 29 attempts for a career-high 382 yards and 2 TDs. Freshman RB Thomas Brown added 107 yards on 23 carries. For Arkansas, senior QB Matt Jones completed 12-19 passes for 181 yards and a TD.
#17 Texas A&M won their 6th in a row, 29-26 in overtime over Colorado. The Buffaloes led 19-7 in the 3rd quarter as junior QB Trent Klatt threw two TD passes to fellow junior WR Evan Judge and sophomore kicker Mason Crosby booted two field goals. The Aggies closed to 19-10 after 3 quarters on the first of Todd Pegram's five field goals. Pegram added a 25 yard FG and the Aggies then took a 20-19 lead on a 2 yard TD run by sophomore RB Courtney Lewis, his 2nd score of the game. Pegram added another field goal to increase the Aggies' lead to 23-19. Colorado responded with a one yard TD run by senior RB Bobby Purify. Trailing 26-23, junior QB Reggie McNeal led the Aggies on a long drive culminating in a game-tying 20 yard Pegram field goal as time expired. Pegram booted a 19 yarder in the Aggies first possession of OT. Junior LB Lee Foliaki then recovered a Purify fumble to end the game. McNeal finished with 23 completions in 38 attempts for 243 yards and rushed 12 times for 139 yards. For the Buffs, Klatt was 25-42 for 346 yards and Purify gained 130 yards on 20 carries.
Elsewhere, Iowa State ended their 13 game Big Twelve losing streak with a come-from-behind 26-25 win at Baylor. Sophomore RB Stevie Hicks scored the winning TD on a 5 yard run with 41 seconds left. TCU defeated Houston 34-27 as junior QB Tye Gunn replaced injured starter Brandon Hassell and ran for two TDs and passed for two more. Finally, freshman RB Jamario Thomas carried 33 times for 258 yards and a TD as North Texas topped New Mexico State 36-26.
#1 USC overcame a slow start to throttle Washington 38-0. The Trojans only led 10-0 at intermission, but pulled away with 28 second half points. Junior QB Matt Leinart completed 24-43 passes for 217 yards and 2 TDs and sophomore RB LenDale White added 93 yards and 2 TDs on 17 carries. Washington suffered their first shutout since 1981. The Huskies feeble offense could manage just 6 first downs and 133 yards of total offense.
#7 California posted their first shutout since 1999, defeating Arizona 38-0 in Tucson. Junior QB Aaron Rodgers led the Golden Bears, completing 20-27 passes for 235 yards and 3 TDs. Senior WR Geoff McArthur caught 6 passes for 94 yards and a TD, in the process breaking the school record for career receiving yards with 2,768. Senior RB J.J. Arrington added 135 yards and a TD on 24 carries.
#9 Utah routed UNLV 63-28 in Salt Lake City. The Utes set the tone early as senior FS Morgan Scalley took the opening kickoff back 90 yards for a TD. Utah kept the pressure up the entire game, as junior QB Alex Smith completed 11-19 passes for 147 yards and 3 TDs and rushed 9 times for 77 yards and another score. Utah's defense forced 4 turnovers, including a blocked punt that was returned for a TD. The lone bright spot for the Rebels was senior RB Dominique Dorsey, who rushed 24 times for 179 yards and 2 TDs.
#19 Boise State extended their winning streak to 18 games, defeating Fresno St. 33-16. Sophomore QB Jared Zabransky led the Broncos, passing for 227 yards and running for a TD. Lee Marks added a career-high 112 rushing yards on 21 carries and senior Tyler Jones booted four field goals. The Bulldogs were held in check most of the night by Boise State's defense, and were limited to just 17 yards on the ground. In a thriller in Tempe, #21 Arizona State scored 17 points in the final 6:36 to down UCLA 48-42. Senior QB Andrew Walter led the Sun Devils' comeback. Trailing 42-31, Walter threw a 36 yard TD pass to junior WR Derek Hagan. After holding UCLA to a "3 and out," Walter found sophomore WR Terry Richardson with a 65 yard TD pass to put ASU ahead to stay 45-42. Sophomore kicker Jesse Ainsworth capped the comeback with a 26 yard field goal. Walter completed 25-51 for 415 yards and 6 TDs, three to Hagan. However, he was picked off three times. For the Bruins, junior QB Drew Olson completed 30-44 passes for 325 yards and 2 TDs, but he suffered 4 interceptions.
Oregon came from behind to defeat Stanford 16-13 in Palo Alto. Junior RB Terrence Whitehead scored the winning TD for the Ducks on a 2 yard run with 10:39 remaining. Whitehead finished with 28 carries for 131 yards and also caught 8 passes for 92 yards. Junior QB Kellen Clemens was 22-33 for 275 yards for Oregon. The Cardinal had a chance to send the game into overtime, but junior Mike Sgroi's 49 yard field goal attempt was short as the clock expired. Stanford's starting QB, sophomore Trent Edwards, left the game in the 2nd quarter with a shoulder injury. T.J. Ostrander took over, and completed 18-29 for 236 yards. Oregon's defense harried the Cardinal QBs all game, recording 10 sacks.
Oregon State used a balanced attack to down Washington State 38-19 in Corvallis. Senior QB Derek Anderson led the Beavers, throwing for 270 yards and 3 TDs. Sophomore RB Ryan Cole added 104 yards and a TD on 12 carries. For the Cougars, redshirt freshman QB Alex Brink started in place of the injured Josh Swogger. Brink completed 15-41 for 201 yards and a TD but was intercepted twice.
In other games, BYU rebounded from a 10-3 halftime deficit to down Air Force 41-24. John Beck tossed 4 TD passes for the Cougars, and finished with 20 completions in 31 attempts for 319 yards. Sophomore QB Kole McKamey threw for one TD and ran for another as New Mexico held off San Diego St. 19-9. Senior QB Timmy Chang completed 25 of 39 passes for 318 yards and 2 TDs as Hawaii topped San Jose St. 46-28. Finally, Nevada outlasted Tulsa 54-48 in triple overtime. The winning score came on a 25 yard TD pass from sophomore QB Jeff Rowe to junior WR Nichiren Flowers. With a chance to tie or win, Golden Hurricane's RB Brandon Diles fumbled through the end zone from the one yard line, ending the game. It ruined a great night for Diles, who carried 34 times for 202 yards and 3 TDs.
Here's a look at this week's key games:
Hawaii @ #18 Boise State – The Broncos need just four more wins for an undefeated season.
#15 West Virginia @ Rutgers – The Mountaineers are the only undefeated team in Big East play. The Scarlet Knights' bowl hopes are fading fast.
Connecticut @ Syracuse – The Huskies have two Big East losses, but only a trip to Rutgers remains after this game. The Orange have one Big East loss, and are still very much alive for a bowl bid.
#3 Auburn @ Mississippi – The undefeated Tigers are very much in the hunt for the Orange Bowl.
#4 Miami @ North Carolina – The Hurricanes also have their eyes on an Orange Bowl invitation.
#5 Florida State @ Maryland – If the Seminoles keep winning, they'll be playing in a BCS Bowl. Can Terps coach Ralph Friedgen fix his pathetic offense in one week? In a word – no.
#10 Georgia vs. Florida in Jacksonville – How will the Gators respond to the announcement that Ron Zook will not be back next year? Florida has beaten the Bulldogs six straight times and 13 of the last 14.
#11 Tennessee @ South Carolina – This is the last tough SEC game for the Vols, who only have one conference loss. What will Gamecocks coach Lou Holtz come up with to rattle Tennessee's true freshman QB Erik Ainge?
Michigan State @ #12 Michigan – The Wolverines can take a ½ game lead over Wisconsin with a victory. The Spartans have won two in a row since sophomore QB Drew Stanton took over.
Missouri @ Nebraska – Somebody has to win the Big 12 – North, right?
#2 Oklahoma @ #20 Oklahoma State – After losing two in a row to the Cowboys, the Sooners crushed them 52-9 in Norman last year. An upset by the Cowboys would throw the Big 12 – South race wide open and would make Auburn, Miami, Florida State, and Wisconsin VERY happy!
#16 Texas A&M @ Baylor – The Aggies are shooting for their 7th straight win and have Oklahoma at home the following week. Would anyone object if the Big 12 Championship game is canceled for lack of interest?
#1 USC @ Washington State – With starting QB Josh Swogger out for the year, the Cougars have no shot at derailing the Trojans march to the Orange Bowl.
#20 Arizona State @ #7 California – One of the best match-ups of the day. Can Sun Devils' QB Andrew Walter make up for the lack of a running game and a shaky defense? Not likely against the powerful Golden Bears.
#8 Texas @ Colorado – With only one conference loss, the Longhorns are still in the Big 12 – South race and will contend for an at-large BCS Bowl bid if they don't win the title. As long as they win out, that is.
#9 Utah @ San Diego State – Like Boise State, the Utes only need four more wins for an undefeated season. The difference is Utah will likely go to a BCS Bowl if they do it. The Aztecs are a very disappointing 2-5.