1. What has to be most frustrating about Mississippi State’s 25-20 loss to Alabama for Dan Mullen… The Bulldogs actually proved themselves worthy of a 1 vs. 5 game on the road in Tuscaloosa. Mississippi State out-gained the Tide 428-335 and held a 26-17 advantage in first downs. But their glut of negative plays and positive plays not made left them nothing to show for it. Mississippi State never had the ball with a chance to take the lead after falling behind 12-0. There were just too many turnovers, too many dropped passes and too many missed tackles to win that game.
2. The result in Tuscaloosa was the worst case scenario for the non-SEC crowd. If you are one of those inclined to root for only one SEC team to make the College Football Playoff (read: the Big 12 and Big Ten), you needed a Mississippi State win or an Alabama blowout. Instead, you got stuck in no man’s land with a close Alabama win, which eliminates neither team.
For more on the College Football Playoff, click here.
3. We need to talk about what happened in Madison. The last time Nebraska and Wisconsin met was in December 2012 for the Big Ten championship. The 7-5 Badgers beat the 10-2 Huskers 70-31 on the strength of a running game that produced 50 carries for 539 yards and eight touchdowns, including nine carries for 216 yards by Melvin Gordon. Somehow, this felt worse.
Nebraska actually led the Badgers 17-3 early in the first quarter, and then Wisconsin ripped off a 56-0 run. Gordon, as I’m sure you’ve heard by now, set the FBS single-game rushing record with 408 yards…. on 25 carries…. in three quarters. As a team, Wisconsin rushed 53 times for 581 yards and seven touchdowns and racked up 624 yards on 64 plays – 9.8 a pop.
3a. The 581 rushing yards were the most ever by a Nebraska opponent.
3b. Nebraska has now allowed the FBS single-game record for rushing yards and receiving yards.
3c. This was the tweet of the day, and maybe the tweet of the year.
— Badger Football (@BadgerFootball) November 15, 2014
3d. On second thought, maybe this was the tweet of the day.
3e. Western Kentucky’s Leon Allen rushed for 345 yards – briefly the FBS season-high – and Indiana’s Tevin Coleman ran for 307 yards, the Big Ten season high until Saturday. Bad day to peak, guys.
3f. If you are a running back offered a scholarship by Wisconsin, what possible reason is there not to accept it?
Melvin holds the ncaa yards in a game record. Ron Dayne holds the ncaa rushing record and I hold the ncaa touchdown record lol #badgers
— Montee Ball (@ballrb28) November 15, 2014
3g. The good news for the Nebraska run defense? They get to do it all again next week. Next up on the schedule is Minnesota and their running back David Cobb, who hit Ohio State for 145 yards and three touchdowns on Saturday.
4. How much did Northwestern’s upset of Notre Dame mean to Pat Fitzgerald? This much.
Northwestern trailed 40-29 inside of five minutes to play, but came back to win 43-40 in overtime. Fitzgerald has now won in Notre Dame Stadium as a player and coach.
5. Georgia continues to be… Georgia. One week after blasting Kentucky for 63 points, Mark Richt’s crew turns right around and holds Gus Malzahn to his worst offensive night in Auburn colors. Auburn opened the game with a 10-play, 70-yard touchdown drive, and then did not score again as Georgia ripped off 289 rushing yards in a 34-7 win.
The 292 yards of offense is lowest by a Gus Malzahn-coached team since a loss to Nebraska at Arkansas State in 2012 (286 yards).
— Brandon Marcello (@bmarcello) November 16, 2014
6. The Ohio State-Minnesota and Nebraska-Wisconsin games were cold, but not this cold.
7. TCU grew up today. Gary Patterson’s Frogs clearly walked into Lawrence not expecting a fist fight, but that’s exactly what Kansas gave them. At one point in the third quarter, TCU fell behind 27-17 and immediately gave Kansas the ball in its own territory after fumbling a kickoff, but the Frogs stiffened, scoring 17 straight points to squeeze out a 34-30 win. Survive and advance. Survive and advance.
8. Florida State is college football’s version of the early 2000’s Lakers. This team does not turn it on until the very moment it feels it absolutely has to, and then it blows the competition away. After turning a 17-10 deficit into a 23-17 win over Clemson, a 24-7 hole into a 56-41 win over N.C. State , deficits of 7-0, 14-7, 17-10, 24-17 and 27-24 into a 31-27 win over Notre Dame, and a 21-0 deficit into a 42-31 win over Louisville, Florida State trailed Miami 23-7 in the second quarter and outscored the ‘Canes 23-3 from there to escape with a 30-26 win. So many teams get right to the brink of knocking off the defending champions and then just…. can’t… make…. that one final play to get over the hump.
9. Congrats to Bret Bielema and Arkansas for – at long last – winning an SEC game. It took 18 tries, but the Razorbacks got it done with a 17-0 defeat of LSU. After the way this team lost to Texas A&M, and Alabama, and Mississippi State, there may not be a happier team in college football tonight.
10. Charlie Strong continues to turn Texas into a Charlie Strong team. Texas has now won three straight by scores of 34-13, 33-16 and 28-7, winning (or securing a draw) in the turnover and rushing battle in all three games. Thanksgiving night in Austin against TCU will be fun.
Charlie Strong on his pregame message to players: “They told me it was cold. I told them it wasn’t cold.” — Mike Finger (@mikefinger) November 16, 2014
11. Speaking of turning it around, Butch Jones is closing in on bowl eligibility at Tennessee. Josh Dobbs has been the answer at quarterback, accounting for 345 yards and four touchdowns, while Jalen Hurd rushed for 118 yards and a touchdown in a 50-14 rout of Kentucky. These gentlemen were excited.
12. Meanwhile, Mark Stoops has a crisis on his hands. Kentucky has now lost five straight, and allowed 113 yards and more than 1,000 yards in the last eight days. After a much-needed week off, Kentucky will put its season on the line against Louisville on Nov. 29.
13. Snatching defeat out of the Gator jaws of victory. How else do you explain Florida’s loss to South Carolina? The Gators forced a turnover on downs with 2:22 to go, leading 17-10. South Carolina had one timeout, meaning a first down won the game. The Gators gained five yards on first down, and two on second down, but lost five yards on third down. The punt was blocked, and South Carolina took over at the Florida 34 with 39 seconds and no timeouts. Florida then surrendered a 27-yard completion and a pass interference flag, a first and goal at the 2. South Carolina tied the game with 12 seconds to go by recovering a fumble in the end zone, won the coin toss, forced a Florida field goal after not surrendering a first down, and then won the game with a four-yard Dylan Thompson touchdown run five plays later.
The win moves both teams to 5-5 on the season. This feels appropriate.
14. SMU keeps finding depressing ways to lose games. The Mustangs took a 13-0 lead over South Florida into the fourth quarter, but the Bulls pulled within 13-7 midway through the frame, then forced an immediate SMU three-and-out, and then mounted a game-winning 21-play, 75-yard touchdown drive, consuming the game’s final six minutes and two seconds, capped by a 4th-and-goal touchdown pass from the four-yard line on the final play of the game. Oy vey.
15. Another Arizona game went down to the buzzer. The Wildcats won their fifth one-score game of the season and had their third game decided on the game’s final snap with a 27-26 come-from-behind victory over Washington. Kicker Casey Skowron notched an 18-yard touchdown run to pull the Wildcats within 17-14 in the second quarter, and then booted two fourth quarter field goals to bring Arizona back from a 26-21 deficit.
16. A tip of the cap Part I: Matt Wells. Utah State won its fourth straight in a 28-21 defeat of New Mexico, keeping hope alive of a 10-win regular season and a possible. Mountain West championship.
Eight wins for Matt Wells at Utah State with four different quarterbacks this year. Can get to 10 before a bowl too. — Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer) November 16, 2014
17. A tip of the cap Part II: Mark Hudspeth. After starting the season 1-3 (with forgivable losses to Louisiana Tech, Boise State to Ole Miss), Louisiana-Lafayette has ripped off six straight wins, playing themselves in position to likely share the Sun Belt title with Georgia Southern after a 34-27 win over Louisiana-Monroe. Hud is now 34-15 at Louisiana-Lafayette and 100-36 overall as a head coach.
18. What Urban Meyer is doing at Ohio State deserves more credit. A week after winning an emotionally-charged game against Michigan State, his Buckeyes go back on the road and win a game against a tough and charged up Minnesota team in the snow. He’s still never lost a regular season Big Ten play, and doing it all with a redshirt freshman quarterback who was a back up three months ago and will be a Heisman finalist three weeks from now. J.T. Barrett set an Ohio State quarterback record with 189 rushing yards (while also throwing for 200 yards and three touchdowns), and the Buckeyes are now two wins away from three straight 8-0 Big Ten regular seasons. Remarkable.
19. Paul Johnson has his best Georgia Tech team in half a decade. The Yellow Jackets staked their claim as the ACC’s Best Team Not Named Florida State with a 28-6 blowout of Clemson. Georgia Tech is off next week, preparing for a fascinating game at Georgia on Nov. 29 with a likely Orange Bowl berth on the line.
20. Utah at Stanford was relegated to Pac-12 Networks, and we should probably be thankful for that. Here’s the drive chart after a 7-7 tie through four quarters.
21. Iowa beat Illinois 30-14, but the most interesting aspect was what happened on the sidelines. I need three of these.
22. Navy did something no one else has done this season. The Midshipmen laid the wood to Georgia Southern with a 52-19 win. Navy also out-rushed the Eagles, 394-375.
23. Gary Pinkel and Missouri have done the impossible. The Tigers have managed to go 5-1 in the SEC while flying under the national radar. (Losing at home to Indiana will do that to you.) After trailing 13-6 at the half, Missouri gained 312 yards on four third quarter touchdown drives and mounted a late goal line stand to beat Texas A&M 34-27. The Tigers can win a second straight SEC East title with wins over Tennessee and Arkansas.
Best records in SEC play since the start of last season: Alabama 13-2 Missouri 12-3 Auburn 12-4 Georgia 11-5
— Paul Myerberg (@PaulMyerberg) November 16, 2014
24. Everyone wants to keep giving the Mountain West title to Colorado State, but Boise State refuses to hand it over. Bryan Harsin’s team won its fifth straight late Saturday night, rallying from a 20-0 second quarter hole to race past San Diego State for a 38-29 win. Utah State at Boise State is shaping up to be the best Thanksgiving Saturday game that most of the nation won’t watch (but absolutely should).
25. And, finally… Harvard beat Penn and Yale beat Princeton on Saturday. Yale is 8-1, and Harvard is 9-0. They play Saturday in Cambridge. If ever there was a week for College GameDay to visit The Game, this is it.