College Football 2012 – Week 12 Recap
Just when you think you’ve got things figured out in college football, anarchy rears its ugly head and reminds you who’s in control. Never was that more true than this week when the top two teams in the country both went down to defeat. The door is now wide open for Notre Dame and the SEC champion to meet in the national championship game. But if the last two weeks have taught us anything, the top of the polls can be a very scary place to be.
Here are all the highlights from this week in the Top 25. Let chaos reign.
#14 STANFORD 17, #1 OREGON 14 (OT)
Stanford snapped Oregon’s school-record 14-game winning streak and derailed the Ducks' title hopes with a rare road upset in overtime. The credit in this one has to go to the Stanford defense, which came into the game leading the Pac-12 in defense and held Oregon to just 405 total yards, almost 160 less than their season average. Heisman hopeful Kenjon Barner was held scoreless and limited to just 66 yards on 21 carries in the loss. Cardinal running back Stepfan Taylor rushed for 161 yards to key the upset. Oregon missed a 41-yard field goal attempt in overtime, allowing Stanford kicker Jordan Williamson to boot the game-winner. The 14 points scored by Oregon were its fewest since September 2009.
BAYLOR 52, #2 KANSAS STATE 24
Baylor jumped out to a 28-7 second quarter lead and Kansas State would never again pull within single digits, likely ending the Wildcats hopes of a national championship. Kansas State’s defense simply had no answer for a Baylor rushing attack that rolled up 342 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Conversely, Kansas State could manage just 76 yards on the ground against what had been the nation’s worst defense. In addition to losing a title shot, Wildcats quarterback Collin Klein may have lost his status as the Heisman frontrunner after throwing three interceptions and rushing for just 39 yards (more than 35 yards below his season average) in the loss. The Wildcats have not won in Waco since 2002.
#3 NOTRE DAME 38, WAKE FOREST 0
Notre Dame stated its case for why it should be Number One when the new polls come out on Sunday as they pitched their first shutout of the season and held the Demon Deacons to just 209 yards (55 rushing). Everett Golson threw for 346 yards and three touchdowns as the Notre Dame offense had one of its best games of the season, racking up 584 yards of total offense. The Irish are 11-0 for the first time since 1989 while Wake Forest dropped to 1-33 all-time against Top Five opponents.
#4 ALABAMA 49, WESTERN CAROLINA 0
With Oregon and Kansas State falling this week, Alabama is suddenly right back in the mix for the national title. This week, they didn’t face much of a challenge from a Catamounts squad that was just 1-9 at the FCS level and brought in a defense that ranked 120th out of 122 FCS teams. Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron went 6/6 for 133 yards and a touchdown and running back Eddie Lacy rushed for 99 yards and three touchdowns before both were pulled in the second quarter. After struggling last week, Alabama’s defense responded with a solid performance, holding Western Carolina to just eight first downs and returning a fumble for a touchdown. McCarron’s second quarter touchdown pass was his 21st of the season, a new school record.
#5 GEORGIA 45, GEORGIA SOUTHERN 14
Don’t look now, but Georgia suddenly finds itself in the middle of the national championship hunt, with next week’s matchup against Georgia Tech and an SEC championship showdown with Alabama all that stands between the Bulldogs and a title shot. After a slow start this week, Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray threw four touchdowns in less than less than 13 minutes to blow this game open in the third quarter. This win should help Georgia as they got to see firsthand Georgia Southern’s triple-option offense, the same attack they’ll face next week against Georgia Tech.
#6 OHIO STATE 21, WISCONSIN 14 (OT)
Ohio State was outgained 360-236 in this game, but running back Carlos Hyde made the plays when he needed to, rushing for two touchdowns including the game-winner in overtime, to keep the Buckeyes’ dreams of an undefeated season alive. Wisconsin’s defense was in control much of the day, allowing just 46 total yards in the final 41 minutes of regulation. But Hyde scored his second touchdown of the game in overtime and Badgers’ quarterback Curt Phillips’ fourth-down pass in overtime was batted down, securing the Buckeyes’ victory.
#7 FLORIDA 23, JACKSONVILLE STATE 0
The Gators offense really could have taken the day off as a second quarter interception return for a touchdown gave Florida all the points it would need in this mismatch. Florida held the Gamecocks to 4-of-16 on third down conversions and to just 48 rushing yards on 29 attempts. Florida has now won 51 straight against non-BCS opponents and has never lost to an FCS foe.
#8 LOUISIANA STATE 41, MISSISSIPPI 35
LSU needed a punt return touchdown to tie the game late and a Jeremy Hill touchdown run with just 15 seconds to survive a strong upset bid by the Rebels. Ole Miss actually outgained the Tigers, but the Rebels turned the ball over four times, leading to 13 Tiger points. Hill rushed for 77 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Tigers while Ole Miss receiver Donte Moncreif caught six passes for 161 yards and two touchdowns in the loss. LSU turned the ball over three times Saturday after having not turned it over in their previous three games.
#9 TEXAS A&M 47, SAM HOUSTON STATE 28
The legend of Johnny Manziel continues to grow as the freshman racked up 367 yards and five touchdowns against an overmatched FCS defense. In the win, Manziel broke the NCAA records for most total yards by a freshman and most rushing yards by a freshman quarterback. He also became just the fifth player in FBS history (and first freshman) to rush for at least 1,000 yards and pass for 3,000 in the same season. He has already set the school record for total offense. With A&M up 40-0 in the third quarter, Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin even let Manziel attempt an extra point (he missed wide right).
#10 FLORIDA STATE 41, MARYLAND 14
With Maryland starting a converted linebacker at quarterback, the outcome of this one was never really in doubt. But Florida State still rolled in convincing fashion, outgaining the Terps 397-170, to clinch a spot in the ACC title game. Seminoles running back Devonta Freeman rushed for 148 yards and two touchdowns as Florida State jumped out to a 27-0 halftime lead and then coasted to victory from there. In the win, FSU kicker Dustin Hopkins set a new NCAA record for career points scored (439).
#11 CLEMSON 62, NORTH CAROLINA STATE 48
The bad news for Clemson is that, after giving up an average of just 14.3 points per game in the previous three weeks, the Tigers’ defense returned to their early season ways, giving up 48 points and 597 yards this week. The good news is that the offense continues to chug along at a school record pace, rolling up 754 total yards and, at one point, rolling off 42 unanswered points. Tigers quarterback Tajh Boyd threw for five touchdowns and ran for three more to lead Clemson to their seventh ACC win (a first in school history) and its first 10-win regular season since its national championship season in 1981. Wolfpack quarterback Mike Glennon threw for 493 yards and five touchdowns in the loss.
#12 SOUTH CAROLINA 24, WOFFORD 7
The last two times these teams met, both games were settled by seven or fewer points. For much of the day, it looked like this game could follow that same pattern as the two teams were tied at seven in the fourth quarter before the Gamecocks rallied for 17 unanswered points to provide the final margin of victory. Replacing the injured Marcus Lattimore, running back Kenny Miles rushed for 127 yards (his first 100-yard day since 2009) and a touchdown in the win.
#13 OKLAHOMA 50, WEST VIRGINIA 49
While this might not have been the de facto Big 12 title game many people expected early in the year, the game certainly delivered plenty of exci