Blair Kerkhoff’s weekly college football roundup

Blair Kerkhoff’s Conference Call

Updated: 2013-11-11T05:23:46Z

Big 12

•  RISING: Kansas State is hot, hot, hot. The Wildcats traveled to Texas Tech and made themselves at home in a 49-26 victory that felt over by halftime. K-State dominated up front with running back John Hubert going for 157 of the team’s 291 rushing yards. That’s three straight victories for a K-State squad that started 2-4.

•  FALLING: Oklahoma got off to a nice start, but to stay with the Baylor Bears you have to keep up a scoring pace. The Sooners couldn’t in a 41-12 loss Thursday at Waco. Quarterback Blake Bell wasn’t effective, and the loss pushed Oklahoma further back in the Big 12 title chase.


•  RISING: If this was Johnny Manziel’s final performance at Kyle Field, he made it a memorable one. He threw for 446 yards and five touchdowns in a 51-41 victory over Mississippi State, and Johnny Football is on pace to surpass most of his statistics from his Heisman Trophy season.

•  FALLING: Oh, Florida. Gators fans probably won’t take much comfort in the thought that the team overachieved last season in winning 11 games now that these Gators have fallen to 4-5 after a 34-17 home loss to Vanderbilt. The Commodores won in Gainesville for the first time since 1945.


•  RISING: How would Stanford do in the SEC? Probably contend for championships. The Cardinal is the Pac-12’s most physical team, and for the second straight year that style was too much for speedy Oregon to overcome. Stanford survived a shaky fourth quarter in a 26-20 victory Thursday.

•  FALLING: California visits Colorado this week, which means somebody’s going to win their first Pac-12 game. The teams limp into the meeting coming off horrible losses — the Buffaloes 59-7 at Washington and the Bears 62-28 against Southern California.

Big Ten

•  RISING: Wisconsin bowed out of the national title race early, but the Badgers picked up their fourth straight victory, 27-17 over a dangerous Brigham Young team. It was a solid day for running back James White, with 147 yards and two touchdowns, and a happy one for linebacker Chris Borland, who came up with 13 tackles and two sacks after missing the previous game because of a hamstring injury.

•  FALLING: Michigan is still going backward, literally. A week after being credited with minus-48 rushing yards against Michigan State, the Wolverines had minus-21 in a 17-13 loss to Nebraska that snapped the program’s 19-game Big House winning streak.

Atlantic Coast

•  RISING: Duke, wow. The Blue Devils are not only winning but they’re doing it in dramatic fashion. They trailed North Carolina State by a field goal with about 6 1/2 minutes remaining before unleashing three touchdowns, two on pick-sixes by DeVon Edwards, who also returned a kick for a touchdown. Duke in the ACC title game? Football? Could happen.

•  FALLING: Virginia Tech doesn’t have much offense, but the Hokies looked terrific against Miami. The Hurricanes are spiraling, surrendering 549 total yards to Tech, and without injured running back Duke Johnson the offense is in disarray. Last January, Miami stunned top-ranked Duke in basketball. Can the Blue Devils take down the perennial football power on Saturday?

American Athletic

•  RISING: Central Florida passed perhaps its toughest remaining test, getting past Houston 19-14. The Cougars had driven to the Knights’ 7 in the final seconds, but John O’Korn’s fourth-down pass fell incomplete. Central Florida has four league games remaining, and none of the opponents have a winning league record. Win out and the Knights will be in the Orange or Sugar Bowl.

•  FALLING: SMU’s modest two-game winning streak ended with a 28-25 loss at Cincinnati. Quarterback Garrett Gilbert entered the game leading the nation in total yards, and he passed for 403 in this one. But his fourth-quarter rally fell short.


•  RISING: Wyoming scored the first 10 points against Fresno State. The Bulldogs scored the final 48 as quarterback Derek Carr threw for 360 yards and three touchdowns. Fresno, 9-0, is in the driver’s seat in the Mountain West and winning out likely will produce a Fiesta Bowl berth.

•  FALLING: In an odd pairing, Boston College outlasted New Mexico State 48-34 largely because the Aggies couldn’t do much with Eagles running back Andre Williams. He went for a school record 295 rushing yards, including touchdown runs of 80 and 47 yards.

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