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October 31, 2011
Here's a quickie look at the weekend's action in a conference-by-conference manner.
Think of it as one final chance to look back at the weekend that was. We will have this conference call every Monday.
BIGGEST SURPRISE, TEAM: Georgia Tech's offense. After scoring a total of 28 points in its two-game losing streak, Georgia Tech's option attack returned to form Saturday in a 31-17 upset of previously unbeaten Clemson. Led by QB Tevin Washington's 176-yard effort, Georgia Tech rushed for 383 yards and averaged 5.7 yards per carry. Tech's ability to run on Clemson's defense allowed the Yellow Jackets to maintain possession for 39 minutes. Tech's hardly resembled the offense that had gained 211 total yards in a 24-7 loss to Miami a week earlier.
BIGGEST SURPRISE, TEAM: Louisville's offense. Last week, Louisville's rushing attack enjoyed a revival against Rutgers. Saturday, the Cardinals were able to sustain a more balanced approach against the same Syracuse team that flummoxed West Virginia a week earlier. Freshman QB Teddy Bridgewater is getting better by the week, going 17-of-24 for 198 yards with two touchdowns and no turnovers in the 27-10 win over Syracuse. The Cardinals also rushed for 145 yards, led by 93 yards and a touchdown from oft-injured TB Victor Anderson.
BIGGEST SURPRISE, TEAM: Penn State's offense (on its final drive). For most of the game against Illinois, the offense was punchless even by the Nittany Lions' standards. Then came the final possession. Of Penn State's 209 total yards Saturday, 80 came on the possession that ended with the winning touchdown in a 10-7 victory over Illinois. On the final drive, Penn State trotted out injured WR Derek Moye, who was available only in an emergency. Down by four points at home to Illinois with three minutes to go certainly qualified. Moye caught two passes for 29 yards on the drive and redeemed himself for a drop on a third-and-6 play by drawing a pass interference on fourth down in the end zone to put Penn State inside the 10. Silas Redd capped the win with a 3-yard touchdown run and had his fifth consecutive 100-yard game.
BIGGEST SURPRISE, TEAM: Oklahoma State's defense. Everybody knows the Cowboys can score, but there have been doubts about the strength of their defense. But the Cowboys' defense showed it just might be championship-caliber in a 59-24 victory over Baylor. Yeah, the defense gave up a lot of yards, but the unit held Baylor's high-scoring offense to three points through three quarters and did not allow a touchdown until the Cowboys had taken a 49-3 lead. They also forced five turnovers, including two interceptions of Robert Griffin III.
BIGGEST SURPRISE, TEAM: Wyoming. One year after going 3-9, the Cowboys have a legitimate shot at a bowl bid. True freshman Brett Smith threw two passes and ran for two more scores - all in the first half - as Wyoming improved its record to 5-2 and remained unbeaten in conference play by recording a 30-27 road upset of San Diego State. The Cowboys scored all their points before halftime and hung on despite allowing Ronnie Hillman's 99-yard touchdown run and mustering minus-1 net yards of total offense in the fourth quarter. Because two of Wyoming's victories came against FCS teams, the Cowboys must win two more games to lock up bowl eligibility.
BIGGEST SURPRISE, TEAM: UCLA's rush offense. The Bruins rolled up 294 rushing yards against a California defense that had held six of seven opponents to 118 or fewer yards on the ground. QB Kevin Prince rushed for 163 yards and RB Derrick Coleman scored three TDs.
BIGGEST SURPRISE, TEAM: Vanderbilt's offense. The Commodores fell 31-28 to Arkansas, but their offense looked quite good. Vandy had 462 yards of total offense against Arkansas, the second-most the Hogs have allowed this season (and 65 more than Alabama managed against Arkansas). Vandy rushed for 222 yards.
BIGGEST SURPRISE, TEAM: Tulsa. The Golden Hurricane were dominant on both sides of the ball in a 37-7 rout of SMU. Tulsa rolled up 451 yards and surrendered just 265. The defensive performance was especially noteworthy because the Golden Hurricane had been allowing 431.7 yards per game and SMU came in averaging 431.0.
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