Week Twelve: Monday
Weekend in Review
Game of the Week
LSU 16, Alabama 13 (OT)
It wasn't always the prettiest game on the planet, but the game that was billed as the Game of the Week heading into the weekend certainly lived up to it. The Tide jumped out to a 10-0 halftime lead over LSU, and everything appeared to be heading Alabama's way. But in the second half, JaMarcus Russell started playing better and lead the Tigers back to tie it at ten. The Tide offense could do virtually nothing in the second half, and as time ticked down, Alabama was being forced closer and closer to their own endzone and LSU was getting closer and closer with each exchange of punts. Russell then found Dwayne Bowe from 11 yards out in the overtime to come up with the win. The defenses dominated the fourth quarter, but the game was entertaining, and highly intense. The Tigers now control their own destiny in the SEC West with game against Ole Miss and Arkansas remaning.
Upset of the Week
Oklahoma State 24, Texas Tech 17
Did anyone in their right mind really see this one coming? The Red Raiders were 8-1 and were building a resume for a BCS at-large bowl bid, which they probably were not going to get anyway. Yes, the Cowboys played well against Texas a couple of weeks ago, but this defense has been like paper and the Red Raiders offense kills defenses like that. Not so. The Cowboys jumped out to a 17-0 lead before Texas Tech charged back to tie the game at 17. After a very intense fourth quarter of back and forth, Al Pena ran the ball in from a yard away to give the Cowboys the dramatic upset. Absolutely amazing. This may go down as the Upset of the Year so far.
Player of the Week
Charlie Whitehurst, Clemson
Whitehurst has been battling the injury bug, but there was no way he was going to miss his last chance to play Florida State. It was a game in which the Tigers had everything to play for (a bowl game) and Florida State had nothing to play for. The two teams played like it. Whitehurst sparked the Tigers completing 21 of 32 passes for 269 yards and three touchdowns. His numbers don't really tell the whole story, as Clemson truly dominated most of this game, and Whitehurst was the clear leader of the team. The 35-14 win may be the most important win for Clemson yet, as they are really becoming a serious rival of Florida State's. The 'Noles are in danger, if they lose to Florida in two weeks and/or in the ACC Championship Game, of not even being ranked heading into their bowl game. Given that they were in the Top Ten just last week, this is very disappointing.
Stat of the Week
42 and counting.
Ho hum. Another year, another Notre Dame win over Navy. That makes it 42 in a row, which is an incredible stat. No other rivalry has ever gone that long. With Fresno State ending their streak to Boise State, Texas beating Oklahoma, Florida State beating Miami, and even Kansas beating Nebraska, this seemed like the year for streaks to die. Even Boston and the White Sox have won the World Series in the last thirteen months. Yet, this streak never dies. It never goes away. It just keeps going and going and going and going....
Play of the Week
Steve Paris' 66 yard fumble return.
Iowa State was leading Colorado 16-13 with time running down in the third quarter. Steve Paris picked up the Lawrence Vickers fumble, which had been forced by Tim Dobbins, and ran it 66 yards for a touchdown. It was a huge play that turned the momentum of the game completely in Iowa State's favor. What is remarkable is that Colorado found a way to bounce back at all. But they did. At least until...
Turnover of the Week
Brent Curvey's 66 yard interception return.
Joel Klatt dropped back to throw a screen pass with under two minutes to play and his Buffaloes trailing Iowa State 23-16. He threw the ball, and Curvey stepped in front of it and returned the interception 66 yards for a touchdown. The interception sealed the game for Iowa State and the touchdown put the icing on the cake. As everybody knows by now, one of my favorite plays is watching the big defensive lineman rumble down the field for a touchdown. That's what happened on this play. It was a huge win for Iowa State, as they keep their hopes for a Big Twelve North title alive. A Nebraska upset of Colorado on the Friday after Thanksgiving will give the Big Twelve North title to Iowa State. A Colorado win in that game gives the Buffaloes the title.
Key First Half Moment of the Week
A.J. Hawk's touchdown.
A.J. Hawk and the Ohio State Buckeyes lead Northwestern 14-7 with the second quarter just getting underway. The Wildcats were punting, and the punt was blocked by the Buckeyes. A.J. Hawk, playing in his last game in Columbus, returned the blocked punt eight yards for a touchdown that put Ohio State up 21-7, and effectively put the game away. Northwestern never fully recovered from the jolt.
Moment of the Week
Devin Aromashodu's 62 yard catch.
It was fourth down and everything hung in the balance for the Auburn Tigers. They trailed Georgia 30-28. But on this fourth down play, Brandon Cox found Aromashodu and he scrambled down the sideline 62 yards. The ball got poked out from behind and rolled into the endzone, but the Tigers recovered it. Since a ball cannot be fumbled forward on a fourth down, the ball was spotted back at the three yard line, which meant that the Tigers got to run some clock and then kick the game winning field goal to win, 31-30. Why Georgia didn't let Auburn score and get their offense, which had been explosive all night, back onto the field is amazing. Coaches need to learn that sometimes late in games, that letting the other team score is the best strategy.