Sunday, October 31, 2010

Helmet Stickers: Week 9

ACC—With Florida State driving for the go-ahead score in the final minute of the game, North Carolina State’s Nate Irving recovered a Seminoles’ fumble in the last minute, to lock up a 28-24 Wolfpack win over the Seminoles. NC State dodged a bullet and keeps their ACC title hopes alive. The Wolfpack has exceeded last season’s win count and got its first signature win under fourth-year head coach Tom O’Brien.

Big 12—Baylor defeated Texas for the first time since 1997 in front of a crowd of 100,452. The Bears rallied after being down 19-10 early in the third quarter. Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III passed for two touchdowns and ran for a third in the 30-22 win. He is emerging as a Heisman dark horse. Baylor punter Darryl Epperson averaged 56.8 yards on four punts. The Bears are in first place in the Big 12 South and got their first win in Austin since 1991.

Big East—The Huskies defeated the Mountaineers for the first time ever Friday night. West Virginia came into East Hartford with a superior roster, but Connecticut, led by demoted-to-third-string quarterback Zach Frazer, found a way to win in overtime. The Mountaineers’ Ryan Clarke fumbled 1 yard from the goal line and came away pointless on their overtime possession. The Huskies went on to hit a 27-yard field goal to get the 16-13 win. The game was a story of turnovers. West Virginia fumbled seven times and lost four of to the Huskies. UConn had no turnovers.

Big Ten—Iowa shredded previously-undefeated Michigan State by a score of 37-6. The Iowa defense only allowed the Spartans to rush for 31 yards and picked off Spartans quarterback Kirk Cousins three times. All three interceptions were converted into points. Iowa gave up no turnovers of its own. Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi was 11 for 15 with three touchdowns. The Hawkeyes keep their Big Ten title hopes alive.

C-USA—Tulsa stunned Notre Dame 28-27 in South Bend Saturday. With the Irish leading 27-18 in the third quarter, the Golden Hurricane scored a touchdown and later a field goal with 3:23 left to take a one-point lead. Notre Dame had one more possession to retake the lead, but Tulsa cornerback John Flanders intercepted Notre Dame quarterback Tommy Rees’s touchdown pass at the goal line. A Tulsa team composed of mostly two-star recruits beat a Notre Dame team chock-full of blue chip recruits. The last time a current member of Conference USA defeated the Fighting Irish was Southern Methodist in the 1984 Aloha Bowl. The last time the Golden Hurricane beat a BCS automatic qualifying team was Iowa in 1996.

MAC—With Western Michigan leading late in the fourth quarter by a point, the Northern Illinois Huskies put together a seven-play, 79-yard scoring drive to retake the lead by seven. Chandler Harnish connected with Willie Clark in the end zone, and seconds later Harnish completed a pass to Nathan Palmer for the two-point conversion. With 3:42 remaining, the Broncos had a chance to tie the game up. Western Michigan drove to the Northern Illinois 16 yard line only to be intercepted by Huskies defensive end Jake Coffman. Northern Illinois is perfect in conference play and on a six-game winning streak.

MWC—With San Diego State’s victory over Wyoming on Saturday, the Aztecs have become bowl eligible for the first time since 1998. Quarterback Ryan Lindley passed for three touchdowns and running back Brandon Sullivan rushed for three touchdowns in the 48-38 victory at War Memorial Stadium in Laramie. Wideouts DeMarco Sampson and Vincent Brown each had over 140 yards receiving. Brady Hoke has the SDSU program headed in the right direction.

Pac-10—No. 2 Oregon gave USC its third loss of the season in a 53-32 decision; Oregon's 53 points were the most the school has every scored against USC. Running back LaMichael James ran for 239 yards, wide receiver Jeff Maehl picked up 145 yards, and quarterback Derron Thomas passed for 288 yards. In all, the Ducks scored a yard shy of 600 yards. The Trojans came into the Coliseum as an underdog for the first time since 2001 and lost the biggest game in their bowl-less season. By contrast, the Ducks have further-asserted themselves to play in the BCS Championship Game on January 10th.

SEC—The Florida Gators came off a three-game losing streak in their 34-31 overtime win over Georgia, whose three-game winning streak was snapped with the loss. With a crowd of 84,444 on hand at Municipal Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida, the Bulldogs forced overtime when they scored seven with less than five minutes left in the game. During overtime, Georgia’s Aaron Murray was picked off by Will Hill, and the game would have been over if Hill had not stepped out of bounds at the Bulldog’s 4 yard line on the return. Florida punter Chas Henry, filling in for injured Gators kicker Caleb Sturgis, split the uprights on a 37-yard field goal to seal the win for Florida.

Sun Belt—Louisiana-Monroe delivered Sun Belt Conference frontrunner Troy its first conference loss of the 2010 campaign. The last time the Trojans lost a conference game was 2008 to Louisiana-Monroe. The Warhawks defense played lights out, not allowing Troy to score in the last thirty-seven minutes of the game and picking off Corey Robinson twice. The Warhawks outgained the Trojans 428 yards to 285 yards.

WAC—Boise State keeps its hope alive to play in the national title games as it demolished Louisiana Tech 49-20 at Bronco Stadium on Tuesday night. Kellen Moore’s Heisman resume was padded during the games as the Broncos’ signal caller threw for 298 yards, caught a touchdown pass as a receiver, and punted a pooch punt. Running back Doug Martin had a career-high outing, rushing for 150 yards. Tyler Shoemaker also had a career-high 124 yards receiving.

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