It’s the calm before the storm. “Rivalry Week” looms next weekend, and for the first time in several weeks there wasn’t a “marquee matchup” on the books. Does that mean this Saturday didn’t offer up any noteworthy action? Not by any means.
Samaje Perine — Oklahoma. Have you heard of him? Me neither, but he stole the show today with his record breaking performance against Kansas. Perine now holds the single-game rushing record after piling up 427 yards on the ground (to go along with five touchdowns) in the Sooners 44-7 blowout victory over the Jayhawks. Just a week ago Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon thrust himself into of the Heisman Trophy race after he put up a record 408 yards against Nebraska. Gordon held that record for all of seven days.
Kansas State escaped Morgantown with a 26-20 victory over West Virginia. The Wildcats’ Jake Waters had a career day throwing for 400 yards.
No. 6 Baylor crushed Baylor, TCU, and Kansas State are all in a three-way tie for first in the Big 12.
Speaking of Gordon … The Badgers’ RB had another huge game. Gordon picked up 200 yards and added two touchdowns as Wisconsin narrowly beat Iowa, 26-24. The Heisman candidate reached 2,000 yards on 241 carries, which is the quickest a running back has cracked the 2,000 yard mark; he also tied former Badger Ron Dayne’s Big 10 record with 2,109 yards.
Ohio State continued to impress with a 42-27 victory over Indiana. Buckeyes wide out Jalin Marshall had a rough outing last week losing two fumbles against Minnesota. This week he excelled; Marshall caught five passes for 95 yards and 3 touchdowns and he scored a fourth touchdown on a 54-yard punt return.
Minnesota helped give Ohio State some style points by going into Lincoln and beating Nebraska, 28-24.
They’ve seen far better days in Ann Arbor … Maryland came into the Big House and defeated Michigan, 23-16. The outlook is pretty bleak for Michigan as they head into Columbus next week to take on Ohio State in what is generally considered to be the biggest rivalry in college football.
They might as well have called it a bye week. Seriously, look at the teams the SEC teams played and tell me the conference to which they belong. You know you’re not playing top tier competition when your opponent has “ern” at the end of the direction that they come from. Florida beat Eastern Kentucky, 52-3, Georgia beat Charleston Southern, 55-9, and Alabama defeated Western Carolina, 48-14 … There was one legitimate SEC battle today, as unranked Arkansas smashed No. 8 Ole Miss, 30-0, in Little Rock.
Louisville added to Notre Dame’s struggles. The Fighting Irish, who started 6-0 and were ranked as high as No. 5, have now lost three straight games. After being down 17-6 at the half, the Irish came fighting back. Notre Dame had two quick touchdowns in the second half (one due to a huge punt return to put them on Louisville’s three-yard line) and found themselves up 20-17 early in the third. Louisville answered back with two touchdown’s of their own to make it 31-20. The Irish cut the lead to three and lined up for a 32-yard game-tying field goal with under a minute left. Kicker Kyle Brindza missed.
What do we make of Florida State? The defending national champions have now won 26 straight contests, but could they possibly make it look any harder? This simply isn’t the same team that took the field last year. The 2013 Seminoles absolutely destroyed everyone in their path, winning games with an average score of 51-12.
“Has there ever been a more begrudged 11-0 team than Florida State? … They can’t win public approval but can’t seem to lose a football game.”
— Bill Plaschke (@BillPlaschke) November 23, 2014
This year’s Seminoles are a shell of last year’s team. Jameis Winston and Co. struggled again with a “mediocre” opponent. Boston College went into Tallahassee and gave Florida State all that they could handle. It was 17-17 in the 4th quarter and the Eagles had an opportunity to take the lead with under five minutes left, but it was all for naught. Boston College missed the 42-yard field goal attempt, and then Florida State did what Florida State does. Winston drove the Seminoles 66 yards on 12 plays, setting up FSU with a chip shot 26-yard field goal for the win. FSU-20, BC-17. Again, Florida State comes away unscathed.
The Heisman Trophy is officially a two-man race. Marcus Mariota has been the front runner for a good chunk of the season (Mariota was 24/32 with 323 yards and three touchdowns; he also ran for 73 yards and a touchdown in Oregon’s 44-10 victory over Colorado) but Gordon is hot on his heels. Gordon may have only held the single-game rushing record for a whopping seven days, but he joined elite company today. Gordon become just the 17th player in FBS history to rush for 2,000 yards in a single season, and he currently sits at 2,109 yards on the year. It sounds crazy but Gordon has an outside shot of catching Barry Sanders single season record of 2,686 yards … I believe it isn’t much of a stretch to call this one of the closest Heisman races in history.