Blair Kerkhoff

Conference call: Blair Kerkhoff's college football breakdown

Updated: 2013-09-16T15:02:38Z

By BLAIR KERKHOFF

The Kansas City Star

Big 12

•  RISING: Case closed. Blake Bell is Oklahoma’s quarterback, and there is no competition. Trevor Knight won the job in the preseason, but Bell passed for 413 yards — breaking Sam Bradford’s first-start record — in a 51-20 victory over Tulsa. “So much for your controversy right now. You can’t deny what he just went out there and did,” Sooners coach Bob Stoops said.

• FALLING: Kansas held a one-point lead in the fourth quarter at Rice as it looked to end its four-year road losing streak. But the Owls got a 56-yard field goal from Chris Boswell, and the Jayhawks couldn’t respond in a 23-14 loss

SEC

• RISING: Alabama can win with defense, or the Crimson Tide can outscore an opponent. The Tide surrendered 628 yards to Texas A&M, but Alabama scored 35 straight points after falling behind by two touchdowns and outlasted the Aggies 49-42. The Tide remained No. 1 in The Associated Press poll, winning all but one first-place vote. No. 2 Oregon got the other vote.

• FALLING: Tennessee scored first and last, but Oregon’s 59 points in between added up to a blowout. The 59-14 outcome meant the worst loss for Tennessee since 1910.

Big Ten

• RISING: Great first career start for Indiana quarterback Nate Sudfeld. He completed 17 of 26 for 335 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for a score in a 42-10 victory over Bowling Green.

• FALLING: Nebraska has had its share of pratfalls under Bo Pelini but not one at home, and nothing like UCLA’s 41-21 triumph. The Cornhuskers, who fell out of the AP poll, led late in the second quarter 21-3. The Bruins scored the final 38. It was the largest lead coughed up at Memorial Stadium by the home team since 1920, and it inspired a tweet from former Husker star quarterback Tommie Frazier: “I have fought, bled, and cried over this program. I didn’t do all that for the program to become what it has today. Time for change!”

Pac-12

• RISING: Did you catch the end of Arizona State’s 32-30 victory over Wisconsin? The Badgers had the ball at the Sun Devils 13 with 18 seconds remaining. Joe Stave took the snap, ran toward the center of the field and took a knee. He also set the ball down. Arizona State players jumped on it, but the officials pointed to the ground indicating a dead. But the clock kept running, and the Badgers didn’t get another snap for a spike to stop the clock.

• FALLING: Utah started Pac-12 play with 0-4 record each of the last two years, and the Utes threw everything they had into opening league play with a victory. But Oregon State prevailed 51-48 in overtime on Sean Mannion’s 6-yard TD pass to Brandin Cooks.

Atlantic Coast

• RISING: The four touchdown passes by Georgia Tech quarterback Vad Lee were the most thrown by a Yellow Jacket in the Paul Johnson era. Lee also rushed for a touchdown as Tech beat Duke 38-14.

• FALLING: Bad day for Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons came up with 15 rushing yards and were five of 15 on third-down conversions in a 21-19 home loss to Louisiana-Monroe.

American Athletic

• RISING: Central Florida picked up a signature victory for the new conference, 34-31 at Penn State, and the Knights did it with the big play. Central Florida had 16 plays that went 10 or more yards and 10 that went at least 20 in amassing 507 total yards,

• FALLING: Temple became Fordham’s first Fooball Bowl Subdivision victim. Rams quarterback Mike Nebrich threw a 29-yard touchdown pass in a final seconds, and the extra point gave Fordham a 30-29 victory.

Other

• RISING: North Dakota State didn’t play on Saturday, but the Bison scored big with the announcement that ESPN will bring its GameDay operation to Fargo this week. “It’s huge, probably the biggest thing that ever happened to Fargo and North Dakota State in terms of athletics,” Bison athletic director Gene Taylor told The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. North Dakota State is meeting Delaware State in a nonconference game on Saturday, but ESPN’s appearance is about the Bison, the two-time defending Football Championship Subdivision winner that beat Kansas State opening the season.

• FALLING: Stony Brook of the FCS had its chances to beat an FBS team, but Buffalo prevailed 26-23 in five overtimes.

| Blair Kerkhoff@bkerkhoff@kcstar.com

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