The Top Ten Noteworthy Nuggets from a wild Week 11 in college football
1. The Champ is still standing - A 17-17 tie turned into a 38-17 win, and Alabama earned its second 21-point win over LSU in three games. The last team to beat the Tigers by 21 or more other than Alabama? Florida, back on October 11, 2008. Speaking of Florida...
2. Making the wrong kind of history at the Swamp - A 34-17 win gave Vanderbilt its first wins over Florida and Georgia in the same season for the first time in school history. The loss was the Gators' first to the folks from Nashville for the first time since Will Muschamp was in high school. Muschamp will now likely need to beat South Carolina (or Florida State) to avoid Florida's first empty bowl season for the first time in 22 years.
3. Football games are still won on the ground - Auburn, Kansas State and Stanford combined to rush 164 times for 1,009 yards and 12 touchdowns - while only throwing a cumulative 21 passes. Those teams went a combined 3-0 this weekend.
4. Football games are still lost on the ground, too - In its last three games, Texas Tech has allowed 849 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns on 150 carries (5.66 yards per carry). The Red Raiders are 0-3 in those games. And in its last two games, Michigan has been credited with 65 rushes for minus-69 yards. The Wolverines are 0-2 in those games.
5. Wake Forest completed 13 passes on Saturday - Seven of them were to their own team, and six of them went to Florida State. At one point the ratio was even worse:
Visual proof of what should be impossible: pic.twitter.com/DrefjA9S0n— Paul Myerberg (@PaulMyerberg) November 9, 2013
6. The Pac-12 South leaders survived scary road games - UCLA built a 24-10 lead and held on to a 31-26 victory over Arizona, thanks to seven tackles, a forced fumble, 120 rushing yards and a touchdown from freshman linebacker/running back Myles Jack. That sentence was not a typo. Arizona State took a 7-0 lead at Utah, and then promptly fell behind 19-7. The Sun Devils got two fourth-quarter touchdowns to hang on for a 20-19 win.
Arizona State will visit UCLA on November 23 to decide the Pac-12 title.
7. Blackjack Mack survived, again - Mack Brown, whom Texas writers have dubbed Blackjack Mack for his ability to turn 9 cards into a 21, saw his team fall behind 9-0, then take a 10-9 lead, then fall behind 26-16 lead, then take a 30-26 lead, then fall behind 33-30, then take a 37-33 lead, then fall behind 40-37, then send the game to overtime at 40-40 (his first such game as a head coach) and then hang on for a 47-40 win.
8. The worst game of the day turned out to be one of the best - There weren't a lot of reasons to get hyped about 1-8 Western Michigan visiting 1-8 Eastern Michigan, but the game turned out to be fantastic. The lead changed hands five times in regulation until Brogan Roback threw a touchdown and two-point conversion to knot the score at 29-29 with 51 seconds left in regulation. In overtime, Western Michigan knocked in a field goal to open the extra frame, but Eastern Michigan secured the game-winning touchdown six plays later to give the Eagles win No. 2 just one day after removing head coach Ron English.
9. Duke (Duke!) may play for the ACC title - After a 6-7 season in 2012, David Cutcliffe's team is now 7-2 and may find itself in the ACC championship game if things break right. Thanks to a win over Virginia Tech on October 26 and the Hokies' defeat of Miami on Saturday night, the Blue Devils need wins over Miami, Wake Forest and North Carolina and a Clemson win over Georgia Tech to meet Florida State in Charlotte on December 7.
10. USC continues to improve under Coach O - USC's defense, naturally, drew the first round of applause under interim head coach Ed Orgeron. The Trojans had allowed only 27 points in their last three games. They allowed 28 on Saturday, but that's okay because the USC offense and special teams exploded against middling Cal. The Trojans threw for 243 yards and ran for 256 more while scoring five touchdowns; USC special teams added three scores of their own en route to a 62-28 rout. USC is now 4-1 under Orgeron.