AROUND THE COUNTRY – After beating three ranked teams and soundly defeating all of them, the pollsters decide that Louisiana State University just can’t be brought down and give them the No. 1 ranking. This week No. 2 LSU went to Morgantown, West Virginia to take on the 16th ranked University of West Virginia. Until kickoff for this game, LSU has beaten its opponents with a high powered defense and a running game that opposing teams have been unable to stop. This week LSU showed they could successfully throw that ball without any question.
In the first drive of the game LSU quarterback, Jarrett Lee, completed a 16-yard pass to Rueben Randle, a 30-yard pass to Odell Beckham, and an 11-yard touchdown pass to Randle.
In the second quarter, it was a 52-yard touchdown from Lee to Beckham that gave LSU a 20-7 lead which really deflated the spirits of West Virigina.
LSU went on to win 47-21.
Oklahoma fans got a little bit of an early scare when Missouri took a 14-3 lead in the first quarter, but the Sooners turned it around quickly and took a 24-14 lead into halftime. Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones completed 73 percent of his throws which garnered 448 yards of offense for the Sooners in their 28-38 win over Missouri.
No. 21 Clemson showed that the Sooners’ offense is a force to reckon with as they defeated a second ranked opponent in as many weeks. This week it was 11th ranked Florida State that was very much in this game, but they were unable to muster enough offense to pull off the victory as they lost by only five points 30-35.
Third ranked Alabama hosted No. 14 Arkansas. It was supposed to be an incredible matchup of Alabama’s stellar defense against the amazing Arkansas offense. Alabama certainly won that battle; not only was their defense able to hold Arkansas to 14 points, but Alabama’s offense also put on a show. Quarterback A. J. McCarron completed 75 percent of his passes, which accounted for 200 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Trent Richardson also did some damage as he picked up 126 yards rushing, he also caught three passes for 85 yards and a touchdown in their 38-14 win.
Of the big games this week, the closest and most intriguing was Oklahoma State at Texas A&M. In the first half, the Aggies took control of the game as they jumped to a 20-3 lead at its finish. But Oklahoma State came back in the second half and scored 27 unanswered points spanning the third quarter and half the fourth quarter. Down by 10, Texas A&M got themselves back in the game on an 80-yard drive that ended with a 4-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Tannehill to Jeff Fuller to cut the lead to 3, 30-27. Texas A&M gave themselves a chance to win as their defense held Oklahoma State, getting the ball back with 1:47 left in the game. On the second play of the drive James Thomas intercepted the ball. Oklahoma wasn’t able to do anything with it as they lost 15 yards in three plays. With Five seconds on the clock they decided not to give Texas A&M the ball back. Instead of punting on fourth down, Oklahoma State ran the ball backwards from the 39-yard line into the end zone and out the back of the end zone, which gave Texas A&M a safety to make it 30-29 but ran out the clock to give them the victory.
It’s official, a press release from the Southeastern Conference on Sunday stated, “The Southeastern Conference Presidents and Chancellors, acting unanimously, announced today that Texas A&M University will join the Southeastern Conference effective July 1, 2012, with competition to begin in all sports for the 2012-13 academic year.”
Now that the Big 12 finally looks stable again, A&M has joined the SEC starting next season. That gives the SEC 13 teams. Nobody really believes they will stay at 13 teams for very long. It causes in imbalance in the two divisions, but nobody knows when they will expand next or whom they will invite.
Brigham Young University
BYU, looked to get back on the winning side of things, as they hosted the University of Central Florida Knights. Once again BYU’s defense kept them in the game early despite errors by the offense, which didn’t look good in the first half. Both teams scored field goals on their first possessions, but on their second possession quarterback Jake Heaps got sacked on second down and threw the ball into coverage on third down. That throw was intercepted, giving the Knights the ball on the 17-yard line. Three plays later UCF was up 10-3.
On their next drive, BYU got to the Knight’s 32-yard line and decided to go for it on 4th and 2. They put Riley Nelson in to try to throw off the Knight’s defense, but it didn’t work and Nelson’s pass fell incomplete.
After that, BYU really struggled to get anything going offensively and they were fortunate that their defense was able to hold it at 10-3 through the first half.
On their first drive of the second half, BYU really tried and establish its passing game, but Heaps only completed 1 of his 6 passes on the drive and the only upside was the 21-yard run by David Foote.
With their next possession, BYU switched up their attack and went back to a more balanced effort. They scored a touchdown off the 16-yard run by J.J. DiLuigi to tie up the game.
UCF quarterback Jeff Godfrey hit A.J. Guyton with a 54-yard pass early on in their next possession and then hit him again for another 10 yards to put the team in position for the rushing touchdown by Godfrey, pulling ahead 17-10.
After Sorensen returned the kickoff for a touchdown to tie it up, Godfrey got sacked and hurt on the first play of the possession. The hit took him out of the game for a few possessions, but the Knights didn’t miss a beat while he was out. Backup quarterback Blake Bortles went in on 2nd and 19 on their own 11-yard line and led the Knights on a 62-yard drive as he completed 4 of his 5 passes for 46 yards; and, with a little help from running back Latavius Murray, set up a 35 yard field goal which Nick Cattoi missed.
Tied at 17, BYU was held on their next possession to a three and out, but J.J. Worton hesitated on the punt return, he let the punt bounce then hesitated again and decided to grab it, but he couldn’t hold onto it and Michael Alisa picked it up to give BYU the ball on the UCF 23-yard line. Bryan Kariya ran the ball three times for 7, 10 and 6 yards, respectively. He picked up a touchdown on the last run to put BYU up 17-24.
It was BYU’s defense that won the game from there. Unona Kaveinga forced a fumble that was recovered by Jameson Frazier to stop them once. Joe Sampson picked off Jeff Godfrey at the BYU 3-yard line to stop the Knights a second time, and Godfrey was sacked on consecutive tries by Kyle Van Noy and Mike Muehlmann to end the Knights third and final try, giving BYU the victory.
Next week BYU will need to find their passing game if they hope to get revenge on Utah State whom they host next Friday.
Dixie State College of Utah
The Red Storm never even showed up on Saturday. Western Oregon came in and took it to them. They held Dixie State scoreless and dropped 56 points on them in a complete blowout.
Dixie State hopes to get back on track on Saturday when they travel to Humboldt State University.
Southern Utah University
The Thunderbirds traveled to Las Vegas on Saturday to take on University of Nevada Las Vegas. SUU quarterback Brad Sorensen really struggled during the first half, but the T-bird defense stepped up to keep them in the game early including a pick six to put them up 10-7 in the second quarter. The game was tied 10-10 at halftime, but SUU scored 31 consecutive points in the second half to pull away and give them a huge victory 41-16. Full coverage of this game reported at St. George News on Sept. 25.
After this big win over an FBS team, SUU will certainly be ranked when the rankings come out this week. SUU will take the momentum from this win home as they host North Dakota this week.
Copyright 2011 St. George News. This material may not be published or rewritten without written consent.