Top Team Notes & Thoughts
Week 10 - Part Three
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Week 10 Top Team Notes & Thoughts
| Rank 9-17
No. 18 UCLA (7-2)
Last week: at UCLA 66, Arizona 10
Notes: Just when it seemed like Arizona was poised and ready to be a major factor in the Pac-12 South race, UCLA rose up and showed who the real player might be. The Bruins destroyed the Wildcats with three fumble recoveries and a terrific day from the offensive stars. Johnathan Franklin is starting to score touchdowns, rather than be a yardage back, running for 162 yards and two scores, while Brett Hundley completed 23-of-28 passes for 288 yards and three touchdowns. … Linebacker Eric Kendricks came up with a terrific game making 13 tackles with two sacks. He was all over the field screwing up the Wildcat offense. … On a three game winning streak, the Bruins have to keep their focus against Washington State before finishing up with showdowns against USC and Stanford. Win three games, go to the Pac-12 championship, take the swing against Oregon.
No. 19 USC (6-3)
Last week: Oregon 62, at USC 51
Notes: USC was fast enough and athletic enough to get around the ball and get to Kenjon Barner and the Oregon weapons, but the defensive back seven looked like it was on ice skates when it came time to making a play. … Matt Barkley did his part with 484 yards and five scores with two picks, but he was in a deep hole thanks to the D. … 62 points and 740 yards of total offense. The defense didn't have any answers. … Can the team get its head back in the game? The South is still there for the taking, along with a possible rematch against the Ducks, but Arizona State, at UCLA and Notre Dame could make for a rocky finishing kick. USC could just as easily be 6-6 as 9-3.
20. Louisiana Tech (8-1)
Last week: at Louisiana Tech 51, UTSA 27
Notes: That's more like it. After a sluggish effort against New Mexico State, the Bulldog offense got back on track with Colby Cameron completing 30-of-39 passes for 348 yards and three scores. Kenneth Dixon came up with 72 yards and three touchdowns. … The offense cranks it out, and the defense gives it up. UTSA's Eric Soza threw for 314 yards and four touchdowns and made it interesting early. … Quinton Patton is unstoppable when he's on, catching ten passes for 152 yards and a score. … There's one more tune-up game with Texas State up next before the showdowns against Utah State and San Jose State.
No. 21 Mississippi State (7-2)
Last week: Texas A&M 38, at Mississippi State 13
Notes: Before the Bulldogs could catch their breath, Texas A&M got up 14-0 on the way to a 31-0 lead. MSU couldn't keep the ball and couldn't keep the chains moving to help out the struggling defense. … Tyler Russell wasn't bad. He completed 19-of-30 passes for 212 yards and a touchdown and a pick, but he didn't turn it on until it was way too late. … 361 rushing yards to 98. MSU needed to stop something A&M did offensively, but the defensive front was ripped apart by the very good, very technical Aggie O line. MSU wasn't blown off the ball, but it got shoved just enough to open up the holes needed. … Can the team get it back after demoralizing blowouts to Alabama and Texas A&M? With a trip to LSU up next, there's no time to get down. The offense has to come out far stronger than it has the last two weeks.
No. 22 Texas Tech (6-3)
Last week: Texas 31, at Texas Tech 22
Notes: The Red Raiders are already bowl eligible, but there has to be some concern about a second straight second-half slide. Playing Kansas State and Texas will make things look worse than they are, but if Tech loses to Kansas in the home finale, watch for the panic sirens to go off. … Seth Doege threw for 329 yards, but the offense couldn't get any control of the game. There were too many stalled drives with third down conversions and penalties a problem. … Darrin Moore and Eric Ward each caught over 100 yards worth of passes. … Defensively, the problem was the lack of pass rush with no sacks and just three tackles for loss.
No. 23 Rutgers (7-1)
Last week: Didn't Play This Week, Army Up Next
Notes: Army is coming off to a shocking win over Air Force when the running game came up with 314 yards and the defense held down a high-powered ground game to 103 yards. Rutgers has to control the clock and the ball, and most importantly, it has to own third downs. Army converted ten of 20 changes. … LB Khaseem Greene could come up with 20 tackles. Watch out for a statistically huge performance. … Coming off the loss to Kent State, getting two weeks to rest up and prepare for the option attack should make a big difference. The offense should be fine, but this game will be all about the D before the finishing kick in the Big East with road games at Cincinnati and Pitt and the finale against Louisville.
No. 24 Northwestern (7-2)
Last week: Didn't Play This Week, at Michigan Up Next
Notes: The Wildcats aren't totally dead in the Legends race, but now they're realistically playing for a better bowl position. The next two weeks at Michigan and Michigan State will be the difference between a prime New Year's Day bowl in Florida and a throwaway game in the middle of the pack. … The running game is coming off one of its strongest games yet, and now what will the offense come up with after getting two weeks off to prepare for the Wolverines? It's hard to scout a team that doesn't give the same look two games in a row. … The team's biggest problem has been the pass defense, but it'll happily take Michigan trying to make things happen through the air.
No. 25 Toledo (8-1)
Last week: Didn't Play This Week, Ball State Up Next
Notes: The week off couldn't have come at a better time. The Rockets might not need two weeks to prepare for Boise State, but after a sluggish win over a bad Buffalo team, a little rest and fine-tuning should help before the finishing kick. Ball State has the talent to end the eight-game winning streak, but it's all about the showdown in a few weeks against Northern Illinois. … The pass defense has been a problem. The offense isn't coming up with the pop down the field, but David Fluellen and the running game are able to grind out the tough close wins. As long as the mistakes are kept to a minimum – turnover margin has been the Rockets' friend – there shouldn't be a problem against a Cardinal team that isn't playing a lick of defense.
Ohio State (10-0)
Last week: at Ohio State 52, Illinois 22
Notes: And now the fun begins. Ohio State has had a few fun tests over the last several weeks, but Illinois was nothing more than a scrimmage before going to Wisconsin in two weeks and dealing with the Michigan game that's going to be the Buckeyes' bowl. … The less work Braxton Miller has to do, the better. Carlos Hyde is turning into a nice complementary option rushing for 137 yards and three scores on just 18 carries. Miller ran 18 times for 73 yards and a score and completed 12-of-20 passes for 226 yards and two touchdowns. … The Illinois offense is floundering, but the OSU defense still did a terrific job, especially on third downs allowing just two of 14 conversions. … Ryan Shazier personally introduced himself to Illinois players time and again with 14 tackles and two tackles for loss with a broken up pass.
Week 10 Top Team Notes & Thoughts
| Rank 9-17