Conference call: Blair Kerkhoff breaks down the week in college football

Updated: 2013-12-02T04:56:04Z


The Kansas City Star

Big 12

•  RISING: With what happened at Auburn, Ann Arbor and Columbia, not many buzzed about Iowa State’s 52-44 triple overtime victory at West Virginia. But this amazing performance by the Cyclones started after they trailed 31-7 in the second quarter and included a bit of everything. A goal-line stand, a fake punt, 17 straight points in the fourth quarter that forced overtime, and the only touchdown of the extra time, a 25-yard pass from Grant Rohach to Justin Coleman, added up to one of the most amazing victories in school history.

•  FALLING: TCU threw a major scare into Baylor, falling 41-34, and Horned Frogs coach Gary Patterson wasn’t happy with counterpart Art Briles. “The bottom line, he’s picking on the wrong guy,” Patterson said. At the heart of the matter was Baylor senior safety Ahmad Dixon’s targeting penalty on TCU wide receiver Trevone Boykin. It’s the same Dixon who was arrested on a misdemeanor assault charge in September. Patterson said his coaches in the press box told him Dixon was caught by TV cameras laughing underneath his towel. When officials were explain the call, Briles came on to the field yelling something at Patterson. “(Dixon) beats up a guy at the beginning of the season and he didn’t get suspended,” Patterson said. “He takes a shot today, and I wanted him kicked out. And (Briles) comes across the field at me.”


•  RISING: What else to say about Auburn’s 34-28 conquest of Alabama? Considering the stakes, it must rank among the greatest finishes in the game’s history, along with “The Play” when the Stanford band ran on the field against Cal, and Doug Flutie’s “Hail Mary” for Boston College against Miami. How the Crimson Tide didn’t account for a field goal-return possibility will haunt them forever.

•  FALLING: Johnny Manziel wasn’t himself, and based on last year’s results, neither was Missouri. Manziel, the Texas A&M quarterback and reigning Heisman Trophy winner, was held in check for the second straight week as the Tigers prevailed 28-21. Missouri finished 2-6 in SEC play a year ago and in the conference championship game will take on an Auburn team that finished 0-8 in the SEC last year.

Big Ten

•  RISING: The Ohio State-Michigan intensity ratcheted up to even higher levels. A kickoff return sparked a fight that got three players tossed, the underdog Wolverines rolled to 603 total yards, and the Buckeyes needed to a thwart a two-point conversation attempt with 32 seconds remaining to survive 42-41. Onward for Ohio State, which meets Michigan State in the Big Ten championship game.

•  FALLING: Action at Nebraska, which fell at home to Iowa 38-17 on Friday, spilled over to Saturday, when Cornhuskers athletic director Shawn Eichorst issued a statement supporting coach Bo Pelini, who had a statement of his own. Pelini apologized for his temper tantrum on the sideline Friday. It wasn’t the first blown gasket for Pelini, nor the first apology.


•  RISING: The Pac-12 title game opponents were set before the weekend, but the game’s site wasn’t determined until Arizona State’s 58-21 victory over Arizona. Stanford will visit Tempe on Saturday. The Sun Devil’s defense was solid throughout the day and was highlighted by a 64-yard interception return by cornerback Damarious Randall.

•  FALLING: Now what, Pat Haden? Haden, the Southern California athletic director, has a big decision before him: Remove the interim tag from Ed Orgeron or remove him from the job. Orgeron saved the Trojans’ season after taking over for Lane Kiffin in late September, and perhaps a victory over UCLA could have sealed the deal. But the Bruins ran away for a 35-14 triumph for their first road triumph in the rivalry since 1997. “UCLA runs LA now,” Bruins quarterback Brett Hundley said.

Atlantic Coast

•  RISING: Duke didn’t just win its first Coastal Division championship; it accomplished the feat by beating its top rival on its field. The Blue Devils outlasted North Carolina 27-25 and are headed to Charlotte on Saturday to meet Florida State in the ACC title game. Coach David Cutcliffe has guided Duke to its first 10-victory season, and now the Devils will bid for their first league championship since 1989, when Steve Spurrier was the coach.

•  FALLING: Boston College running back Andre Williams had a chance to run toward the top of the Heisman charts but instead ran into a wall at Syracuse. Williams had 29 yards when he left the game for good in the third quarter because of an injury as the Eagles fell 34-31.


•  RISING: Is Central Florida leaking oil with the finish line in sight? For the second time in three games, the Knights struggled to beat a lower-division team. It was Rutgers three weeks ago, and Friday, Central overcame five turnovers and beat South Florida 23-20. But if the Knights win at SMU on Saturday, they’ll win the American outright.

•  FALLING: SMU’s offense without quarterback Garrett Gilbert couldn’t score against Houston. Gilbert, who had a knee sprain, watched the Mustangs fall at Reliant Stadium 34-0.


•  RISING: For the first time in a decade, Bowling Green is back in the MAC title game. The Falcons won at Buffalo 24-7 on Friday in the first college game played at Ralph Wilson Stadium since 1979.

•  FALLING: Bad time for a first loss. Fresno State fell at San Jose State 62-52 on Friday in a game in which the starting quarterbacks —the Spartans’ David Fales and the Bulldogs’ Derek Carr —combined to throw for 1,066 yards and 12 touchdowns. Fresno probably ended its BCS bowl hopes with the loss.

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