Top Team Notes & Thoughts
Week 11 - Part Three
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Week 11 Top Team Notes & Thoughts
| Rank 9-17
No. 18 USC (7-3)
Last week: at USC 38, Arizona State 17
Notes: Finally, no drama. Outside of giving up a pick six, there was nothing to worry about. The Trojans lined up against an inferior team and won without a problem. However, the five turnovers kept the game from being a blowout. The O is still way too mistake-prone. … Marqise Lee has wrapped up the Biletnikoff catching ten passes for 161 yards and a score. He was unstoppable, rushing for 66 yards, too. … Curtis McNeal picked a great time to have a tremendous game with 163 yards and two scores. … With six sacks and 13 tackles for loss, the defense swarmed all over the ASU passing game. … It has been a rough season with plenty of disappointments, but with one win over UCLA the Trojans can be where they were supposed to be all along with a shot at Oregon for the Pac-12 title.
No. 19 Louisville (9-1)
Last week: at Syracuse 45, Louisville 26
Notes: The Cardinals ran into a buzzsaw. Teddy Bridgewater did what he could to rally the team back, finishing with 424 yards and three scores with a pick, but the defense dug too deep a hole. … The UofL D couldn’t get off the field giving up third down play after third down play. … Preston Brown made 12 tackles, but overall, there wasn’t enough pressure from the defense. … The unbeaten dream might be gone, but the Cards can’t lose focus and give up the Big East chase. Beat Connecticut, beat Rutgers, go to the BCS.
20. Louisiana Tech (9-1)
Last week: Louisiana Tech 62, at Texas State 55
Notes: The defense might be among the worst in the country, ranking next-to-last in yards allowed, but the team sure is fun. The O leads the nation in yards and is second in scoring. … Kenneth Dixon is putting together a whale of a freshman campaign with a record-setting 25 touchdown runs and one receiving. He has scored 16 on the ground in the last six games. … Colby Cameron spread the ball around extremely well hitting ten different targets and not throwing a pick. … How great does the 59-57 loss to Texas A&M look now? … There’s still a date with San Jose State to deal with, but next week’s showdown against Utah State is effectively for the WAC title.
No. 21 Michigan (7-3)
Last week: at Michigan 38, Northwestern 31 OT
Notes: It might not be the prettiest season, and things might not be going according to plan, but the Wolverines are still right there with a chance for the Big Ten title. It’s going to take a Nebraska loss to either Minnesota or Iowa, and it’s going to take wins over Iowa and Ohio State, but they’re still alive. … With Denard Robinson still hurting, Devin Gardner is coming into his own throwing for 286 yards and two scores while running for 47 yards and two touchdowns. Of course, getting a miraculous 53-yard play from Roy Roundtree helps add to the magic. … The pass defense might be No. 1 in the nation, but it had way too many problems with the pedestrian Wildcat attack, allowing 183 yards and three scores.
No. 22 Rutgers (8-1)
Last week: at Rutgers 28, Army 7
Notes: It might not have been perfect, and it might have come against an inferior team, but 8-1 is 8-1 and now it’s business time. With road games to Cincinnati and Pitt up next before the showdown against Louisville, the Scarlet Knights have a BCS appearance for the taking. … The run defense gave up 282 yards on the ground, but there was a lot of bending with little breaking. … As expected against a team that runs like the Black Knights, there were plenty of big plays by the defense. Khaseem Greene made 22 tackles with a key forced fumble, and Lorenzo Waters made 16 stops with a forced fumble. … Corner Logan Ryan was terrific with nine tackles, a tackle for loss, three broken up passes and a fumble recovery. … The offense had problems on third downs, but Gary Nova completed 14-of-17 passes for 123 yards and a score with a pick.
No. 23 Texas Tech (7-3)
Last week: at Texas Tech 41, Kansas 34 OT
Notes: All the focus and all the attention will be paid to the Tommy Tuberville shot across the bow, hitting graduate assistant Kevin Oliver, the bigger issue is how the season is starting to slide away. Yes, the Red Raiders won, but it shouldn’t take two overtimes to beat Kansas at home on Senior Day. … Seth Doege had a strong day throwing for 476 yards and three scores with a pick. Eric Ward was unstoppable with 12 catches for 180 yards. … All of a sudden, the defense suffered flashbacks to last year when the run defense couldn’t slow anyone down. The defensive front had an awful day against a KU offense that had no prayer of throwing the ball, allowing 390 yards and two scores. … With road games at Oklahoma State and Baylor up next, it’s shootout time. The nation’s No. 1 passing offense needs to be ready to do even more.
No. 24 Oklahoma State (6-3)
Last week: at Oklahoma State 55, West Virginia 34
Notes: Very quietly, the Cowboys are still alive for a really, really good bowl game. With Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Baylor to close out the regular season, and with Texas playing Kansas State, a 10-2 OSU could get an at-large BCS bid. … Clint Chelf might not be the team’s top quarterback option, but he played like it completing 22-of-31 passes for 292 yards and four scores with a pick. … Josh Stewart was fantastic with 13 catches for 172 yards and two scores along with a 46-yard run. … Quinn Sharp did his part with three of his five punts put inside the 20. That was just enough to help the beleaguered D, but the special teams as a whole were good with Justin Gilbert with a kickoff return for a score in the first.
No. 25 Washington (6-4)
Last week: at Washington 34, Utah 15
Notes: There’s the Keith Price we’ve all been waiting for. It has been a rough season, but he came up with the type of game Dawg fans were hoping he’d have from the start completing 24-of-33 passes for 277 yards and two scores to go along with a rushing touchdown. … Bishop Sankey is making a case for all-star honors in a crowded All-Pac-12 backfield running 36 times for 162 yards and two touchdowns. … Linebacker John Timu had a nice day for a defense that had problems against the run, making nine tackles with a pick. … The key to the game was ball control. UW had the ball for 36:40 and converted 7-of-15 third down plays. Utah converted just 1-of-13 chances. … With winnable road games at Colorado and Washington State to close, 8-4 is a must.
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 11 Top Team Notes & Thoughts
| Rank 9-17