Week Five: Monday
GAME OF THE WEEK
Minnesota 42, Purdue 35 (2OT)
The Gophers finally got a close win over a big name opponent. Minnesota has pulled off a handful of these over the years, but it seems like they haven't been able to do it on a big stage in a long time. That is mostly because of their renowned struggles Michigan. Purdue returned a Bryan Cupito pass for a touchdown in the fourth quarter to put the Boilermakers up by eight and make most people around the country say, "Same ole Gophers." But the Gophers responded with a stirring twelve play drive and capped it off with a two point conversion. Laurence Maroney ran for a career high 216 yards on a career high 46 carries. The Gophers defense held on second, third, and fourth and short in the second overtime to give the Gophers the big win.
UPSET OF THE WEEK
South Florida 45, Louisville 14
Strange things happen in college football. This was one of them. A week after I said that Louisville would go down to Oregon State, the Cardinals decided to lay egg. An embarrassing 45-14 loss to South Florida was not on the radar. No one could have expected the Bulls to win by this margin. Louisville looked unfocused and (get this) slow. As the score continued to come up throughout the first half, the nation waited for Louisville to turn it around. That moment never came. Suddenly USF has to be considered a team to be reckoned with in the Big East, and Louisville has to go back to the drawing board and find out where they went wrong.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Drew Stanton, Michigan State
His numbers may not be mind blowing, but he got the job done in what was expected to be a landmine game for the Spartans against Illinois. He completed 20 of 26 passes for 259 yards and five touchdowns. The five touchdowns were especially important. He ran the offense to perfection in the 61-14 win over the Illini. Stanton has made his presence felt in the Heisman Trophy race.
TEAM OF THE WEEK
Virginia Tech Hokies
The Hokies 51-7 win over Georgia Tech was proof of exactly where the Hokies stand in the college football world. After watching the Hokies this year, I think there could be a reasonable debate about which team should be number one- USC, Texas, or Virginia Tech. The Hokies scored three touchdowns on special teams and defense. Georgia Tech's quarterback Reggie Ball wasn't 100%, which meant that the Hokies defense was able to tee off on him, but the pummeling proves that Virginia Tech is the team to beat in the ACC this year.
STAT OF THE WEEK
Iowa's 137 total yards
The Hawkeyes offense did next to nothing against Ohio State on Saturday afternoon. They gained just 137 total yards, with 146 yards coming from the passing game. Yes, that means that the Iowa rushing attack was up to their old tricks of losing nine yards for the game. Of course, the main reason for the negative yardage rushing was that Drew Tate was absolutely crushed by the Ohio State defense. The Hawkeyes offensive line couldn't block long enough for Tate to be able to get off his passes. Ohio State's 530 total yards on offense were impressive, but the fact that they held the Hawkeyes to just 137 was even more impressive.
PLAY OF THE WEEK
Chad Simpson's kickoff return
South Florida's Chad Simpson took the second half kickoff back 94 yards for a touchdown. Above everything else, this play put the game away. The Bulls were ahead of Louisville 27-7 at the half, but most people around the country probably expected the Cardinals to come storming back in the second half. When Simpson returned that kickoff for a touchdown, it took all the wind out of the Cardinals sails and proved that USF was going to beat Louisville. There wasn't going to be any let up from these Bulls.
TURNOVER OF THE WEEK
Arkansas throws an interception
The score was 17-13, Alabama. There was just a little bit over five and a half minutes to play in the game. The Razorbacks had been dominated last week by USC by allowing 70 points. This week, they were hanging with another Top 25 team. Things couldn't have been going better for the Razorbacks. They were at their own 45 yard line, so they were in good field position to drive down the field for the winning touchdown. However, Robert Johnson threw an interception to Juwan Simpson that effectively put the game away. Simspon returned the interception to the Arkansas 40 yard line, and eight plays later, the Tide was in the endzone for the touchdown that really put the game away. The Razorbacks victory was not to be. That turnover was as much the Razorbacks undoing as anything.
KEY FIRST HALF MOMENT OF THE WEEK
The penalty against Oregon
The Ducks Kellen Clemens completed a pass down to the USC 1 yard line with around 9 minutes to play in the first half. The score was already 10-0 Oregon. It looked like it was going to be 17-0. But, the play got called back because of a personal foul penalty against Oregon, and one that was questionable by many accounts. The Ducks wound up settling for a field goal and a 13-0 lead. From that point forward, though, the momentum had changed. The Ducks had left the door ever so slightly open, and a great team like USC took advantage of that. The Trojans won 45-13, but the Ducks could have made it a different game if they jump out to a 17-0 lead. Probably not, but maybe.
MOMENT OF THE WEEK
John Stocco's four yard touchdown run
The Badgers coach Barry Alvarez had never beaten Lloyd Carr of Michigan, going 0-6 all time against him. This being Alvarez' last year, this was his final shot. Down 20-16 with time running out, the Badgers called a quarterback draw from the Michigan four yard line. John Stocco ran it to perfection and snuck into the endzone for the game winning touchdown. The crowd roared and Alvarez (24 seconds later) would finally have that elusive win over Carr. It was truly a special moment for the Badgers.