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College Football Recap: Week 9

October 31, 2012

Four games this past weekend featured opponents both ranked in the top 14. In each game a statement was made one way or the other. No. 3 Kansas State demolished No. 14 Texas Tech 55-24; No. 10 Georgia beat No. 2 Florida 17-9; and No. 5 Notre Dame beat No. 8 Oklahoma 30-13. K-State and Notre Dame just again solidified what we already knew about them – that they’re very real title threats. Georgia, while looking shaky all year long, finally beat a quality opponent behind its stingy defense. But 11th-ranked Mississippi State got thoroughly dominated by No. 1 Alabama, proving what I’ve said about the Bulldogs all year long – that they’re a product of a soft schedule and aren’t worthy of being in the top 25, let alone ranked 11th.

Texas Tech had won two games in a row against quality opponents – West Virginia and TCU – before heading to Manhattan. Tech made some noise early in the season, ranking at the top in total defense. But that was just a product of playing a crappy schedule, and in against West Virginia and TCU the Red Raiders gave up 924 yards of offense – a good sign for Kansas State. The Wildcats horsed around a little bit, falling behind 10-3 early in the second, but then scored 24 unanswered points before giving up a touchdown. Then they scored 28 unanswered points, including a touchdown on an interception return by stud linebacker Arthur Brown, who’s one of the five best ‘backers in the country. One of the five best quarterbacks in the country also plays for Kansas State. Colin Klein had over 300 yards of offense and four touchdowns Saturday, raising his season totals to 28 total touchdowns. He ranks 29th in total offense despite only being involved in 287 plays, the 55th most in the country.

Before Saturday Georgia hadn’t beaten anyone of consequence and was crushed by its only ranked opponent. But Georgia’s defense, led by an LB who’s even better than Brown, Jarvis Jones, finally lived up to its preseason billing, holding Florida to a season-low 81 rushing yards. This game was ugly, or if you live in the south then it was beautiful. The teams combined for nine turnovers, including six by Florida. There were 24 penalties for 227 yards, and Florida didn’t score a touchdown. The game was decided by a defensive play by Jones, who stripped Jordan Reed as Reed was jumping for the end zone with two minutes left in the fourth. Jones finished with 13 tackles, three sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. The guy literally looks like a cyborg and will be a top pick in next year’s draft.

Notre Dame also won in part due to linebacker play. Manti Te’o intercepted a Landry Jones pass late in the fourth to seal the Irish’s win. He also had a monster sack on Jones earlier in the game when he came untouched on a delayed blitz in the B gap. Unless he gets hurt or several offensive players go off in November, Te’o should go ahead and book his flight to New York. Notre Dame’s 30 points were the most scored on Oklahoma this year, and the 13 scored by Oklahoma was the fewest its scored all year. Notre Dame played great in a hostile environment, with three players scoring a rushing touchdown and rushing for at least 64 yards a piece. The Irish gave up a ton of yards through the air, but Jones was inefficient, only averaging seven yards per attempt – fewer than his counterpart Everett Golson’s YPA that night. The Irish also kept Jones from passing for a touchdown and limited the Sooners to 50 rushing yards on 20 attempts.

Mississippi State had won seven in a row to start off the season and was up to No. 11 in the polls before its game against Alabama. But the Bulldogs had only played one team with a winning record – Middle Tennessee State. Against their only quality opponent all year the Bulldogs fell behind 24-0 at half and were down 38-0 late in the fourth before they scored against Alabama’s backups, which prompted Nick Saban to yell at them. “You don’t get to be 7-0 by accident,” Nick Saban said after the game. That’s true, Nick. Because in college football you can purposefully schedule crappy teams to win games. And when you play Jackson State, Troy, South Alabama and MTSU, you better win those games. MSU will probably finish the season 7-5 and un-ranked, but it plays in the SEC so if it’s 7-0 it should be ranked really high! We knew Alabama is for real, and now we just know what we thought we knew: MSU is not for real.

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