Top Team Notes & Thoughts
Week 13 - Part One
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Week 13 Top Team Notes & Thoughts
Rank 9-17 | Rank 18-25 & Ohio State
No. 1 Notre Dame (12-0)
Last week: Notre Dame 22, at USC 13
Notes: Ireland, Norman, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, and now Miami. The Irish are well-travelled on their way to the BCS championship. … First and foremost, Notre Dame didn’t screw up. The formula isn’t all that hard. Run the ball with power, get to the quarterback, and don’t give the ball away. There were seven penalties, but there weren’t any turnovers and no big mistakes. … USC is soft, and the Irish took advantage. Theo Riddick ran with a purpose, breaking tackles and not easily going down on the way to 146 hard yards with a score. … Manti Te’o didn’t do enough to make the Heisman his with just five tackles, but everyone will remember his key pick and toughness on the key goal line stand. … Louis Nix was a force on the nose. USC couldn’t get anything going on the inside, and he helped blow up the quarterback sneak attempts.
No. 2 Alabama (11-1)
Last week: at Alabama 49, Auburn 0
Notes: 49-0 win in the Iron Bowl. 11-1. A shot at the national title with a win in the SEC championship. Gene Chizik got fired. The Tide have had a relatively successful weekend. … The one down side was the loss of WR Kenny Bell with a broken leg. There are still weapons, but he was a key part of the offensive puzzle. … Bama is leading the nation in passing efficiency again. A.J. McCarron completed 15-of-21 passes for 216 yards and four scores. … This was a dominant effort on every level. Auburn didn’t have any room to breathe, while the Tide offense looked like it was going through a light scrimmage. It wasn’t working hard on the way to a 42-0 halftime lead. … Against Georgia, generating a pass rush on Aaron Murray is a must, or else the secondary will get picked apart like Zach Mettenberger and Johnny Manziel were able to do.
No. 3 Georgia (11-1)
Last week: at Georgia 42, Georgia Tech 10
Notes: So much for the Dawgs being caught looking ahead to the SEC championship. They came out roaring from the start and put the game away immediately, not letting the Yellow Jackets breathe early. … Georgia Tech ran without a problem, but it didn’t matter. After getting up early, the Georgia defense was allowed to bend without breaking. … Alec Ogletree came up with 15 tackles, while Bacarri Rambo had a huge game with eight tackles, two forced fumbles, a pick and a fumble recovery. … Todd Gurley averaged 8.1 yards per run, and Keith Marshall ran for 9.4 yards per try. The offensive line gave the backs plenty of room to move, and they dominated early on. … Aaron Murray completed 14-of-17 passes for 215 yards and two scores. … On a six game winning streak with four straight blowouts since the win over Florida, the team is peaking at just the right time for the showdown against Alabama. Win that, and it’s on to the BCS championship.
No. 4 Florida (11-1 )
Last week: Florida 37, at Florida State 26
Notes: The Gators didn’t panic. The momentum had completely shifted the other way with a wild swing, but the offense was slow and steady, able to pound away and take the game back by controlling the clock. The O had the ball for over 36 minutes thanks to run after run, with 14 of the 21 first downs coming on the ground. Mike Gillislee ran 24 times for 140 yards and two scores. … Jeff Driskel didn’t do anything big, but he didn’t screw up like E.J. Manuel did, completing 15-of-23 passes for 147 yards and a score. … Matt Elam continued to show why he deserves to be an All-American with seven tackles and a pick. He was all over the field. … They did it. They’re not going to the BCS championship, but at 11-1 they’re going to be in the BCS somewhere, most likely the Sugar Bowl.
No. 5 Oregon (11-1)
Last week: Oregon 48, at Oregon State 24
Notes: It might have taken a little while to get the motor humming, only up 20-17 late in the third, but then Oregon became Oregon again. The takeaways started to come from the defense, and the offense took advantage of the momentum with a breathtaking 28 straight points. …. De’Anthony Thomas has GOT to get the ball in his hands more. He ran 17 times for 122 yards and three scores. Kenjon Barner got back on track with 198 yards and two scores on 28 carries. … The Ducks didn’t get the breaks they needed to get to the Pac-12 championship – UCLA didn’t do its part in the loss to Stanford – but at 11-1 with the only defeat coming in overtime, they’re destined for the BCS, likely the Fiesta Bowl.
No. 6 Kansas State (10-1)
Last week: Didn’t Play This Week, Texas Up Next
Notes: The Wildcats have had two weeks off to wonder about what might have been. All they needed to do was beat a mediocre Baylor team, and they would’ve been playing Texas for a shot at the national title. However, a win over the Longhorns, a Big 12 title and the Fiesta Bowl are hardly consolation prizes. … The Wildcats are coming into the game No. 1 in the nation in punt and kickoff returns. Texas is fourth in the nation in punting. … The time off should make all the difference. The team played like it was running in sand against Baylor, and it looked like it could use a rest. Collin Klein, who was coming off a few rough outings and a few bangs and bruises, should be back to his old self against the Longhorns.
No. 7 LSU (10-2)
Last week: LSU 20, at Arkansas 13
Notes: Les Miles might disagree, and it’s hard to argue with a 10-2 season, but his team is underachieving. The team that rose up and came within seconds of beating Alabama just isn’t playing up to its talent level. Between this game, the close call against Ole Miss last week and the battle against Auburn, it took too much work to put away some bad, bad teams. … The defense is too good to give up 359 passing yards, even if Tyler Wilson has NFL skills. Meanwhile, the offensive front couldn’t keep Zach Mettenberger clean and didn’t do enough to pave the way for the ground game that averaged 2.3 yards per carry. Arkansas won more than its share of battles. … Where was the pass rush? Sam Montgomery all but disappeared for a D that came up with just one sack and one tackle for loss. … Jarvis Landry might have made a miraculous touchdown catch, but Odell Beckham’s 47-yard catch-and-run was almost as important. It took a while, but Mettenberger figured it out.
No. 8 Stanford (10-2)
Last week: Stanford 35, at UCLA 17
Notes: The Cardinal came out roaring. Stanford needed the win, UCLA didn’t, and that’s how the first half looked. … The lines dominated the Bruins, getting a terrific push for Stepfan Taylor and the running game. Taylor ripped off 142 yards and two scores on just 29 carries, but everyone who got the ball ran well. … The pass rush dominated. The Cardinal didn’t let the Bruin offense breathe with seven sacks including two from Chase Thomas. … Did the coaching staff show anything UCLA can use in the rematch? Not really. There wasn’t anything out of the ordinary; get to the quarterback, get into the backfield, smash away with the running game. It’s what Stanford has been doing all season long.
Week 13 Top Team Notes & Thoughts
Rank 9-17 | Rank 18-25 & Ohio State