Monday, October 31, 2011
Weekend rewind: Non-AQs
By Andrea Adelson
Taking a look back at Week 9 for the non-AQs:
Southern Miss flying high: Plenty have taken notice of the Golden Eagles this season following a 7-1 start. They are now ranked No. 25 in the BCS standings for the first time since 2004, and have gotten off to its best start since 1996. After getting a big challenge from UTEP on Saturday, going into halftime tied at 10, Southern Miss scored 21 points in the second half and shut the Miners out in the fourth quarter to win 31-13. The defense, which has had its share of letdowns the last several seasons, has shown major improvement. Southern Miss has allowed just a touchdown and three field goals over the last two games, and held its fourth opponent of the season to under 100 yards rushing. Southern Miss went undefeated in October for the first time since 2000 and have emerged as the favorite to win the East in Conference USA.
Houston QB Case Keenum is on the cusp of breaking the NCAA career passing yards record.
Arkansas State red hot: The two best teams in the Sun Belt are quite unexpected -- Arkansas State and Louisiana-Lafayette, under two first-year coaches. The Red Wolves are bowl eligible with Hugh Freeze leading the way after a 37-14 win over North Texas. This is a program that posted back-to-back 4-8 seasons before Freeze took over. They have one bowl appearance as an FBS team, back in 2005, a 31-19 loss to Southern Miss. They now lead the Sun Belt at 4-0, with a huge showdown against Louisiana-Lafayette (7-2, 5-1) looming Nov. 12.
Keenum watch:Case Keenum threw a whopping nine touchdown passes in a 73-34 win over Rice, passing Graham Harrell for the most career touchdown passes in FBS history. Keenum now has 139, five more than Harrell had from 2005-08 at Texas Tech. Next up on the Keenum assault of the NCAA record book -- the career passing yards record. Keenum now has 16,805 passing yards to rank second in NCAA history. He needs 268 yards Saturday against UAB to pass Timmy Chang, who holds the mark of 17,072 yards set from 2000-04 at Hawaii.
Upset of the week: Wyoming 30, San Diego State 27. The Cowboys scored 30 first-half points behind true freshman quarterback Brett Smith, who scored two passing and two rushing. One of those scores came on third-and-goal from the San Diego State 26. Then Wyoming had to hold off a furious comeback. Ronnie Hillman ran for 224 yards -- including a 99-yard touchdown that was the longest play from scrimmage in school history. But it was not enough. Kicker Abel Perez had a tough game, missing field goal attempts from 39 and 27 yards in the fourth quarter, along with an extra point as well. Coach Rocky Long said the first half was “as bad a defensive performance in the first half as I've been associated with.” Wyoming, 18-point underdogs going into the game, moved to 5-2 on the season but needs two more wins to become bowl eligible because two of its victories came against FCS teams. Still, the Cowboys have a shot with New Mexico and Colorado State left on the schedule.
Close calls:Akron. The Zips came oh so close to beating Central Michigan after Clayton Moore drove the team 56 yards and threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Marquelo Suel as time expired. Rather than go for the tie, they went for the win. But Moore threw incomplete on the 2-point conversion and Central Michigan won 23-22.
Idaho. Hawaii kicker Kenton Chun made a 35-yard field goal with 32 seconds to play to give the Warriors a 16-14 lead. Idaho nearly pulled the upset, but Trey Farquhar missed a 53-yard field-goal attempt with 8 seconds left. Idaho dropped to 1-7 and 0-4 in the WAC.
Colorado State. UNLV quarterback Caleb Herring ran for a 5-yard touchdown 1:20 left to give the Rebels a 38-35 win. Pete Thomas tried to rally the Rams, but one of his passes was tipped and intercepted at the UNLV 28-yard line with 35 seconds left. Also of note in the game, Phillip Payne set the school career touchdown receptions record with 25. Colorado State, a team many thought had a shot for a bowl game this season, dropped to 3-5.
Patrick Edwards, WR, Houston. Edwards had seven receptions for 318 yards and five touchdowns in a 73-34 win over Rice -- the best receiving performance for any player this season. Edwards leads the nation with 11 touchdown receptions. Also in the game, Tyron Carrier returned the opening kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown, the seventh of his career. That ties the NCAA mark for kickoff returns for touchdown, set by C.J. Spiller at Clemson.
Jordan White, WR, Western Michigan. White had nine catches for 172 yards and two touchdowns in a 45-35 win over Ball State to become Western Michigan's career receptions record holder at 261. He also went over 1,000 yards this season, making him only the third receiver to have back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in school history.
Jonathan Anderson, S, TCU. Anderson finished with a career-high and team-best 17 tackles (11 solo) and recorded his first career interception in a 38-28 win over BYU. Anderson, who came off the bench to replace the team’s leading tackler, Tekerrein Cuba, had the team's highest tackle total since 2004.
Alonzo Harris, RB, ULL. Harris had a career-best 189 yards and two touchdowns while averaging 5.7 yards per carry in a win over Middle Tennessee.
Lampford Mark, RB, Nevada. Mark had 185 yards on eight carries for a 23.1 yard average in a 48-34 win over New Mexico State. He got all those yards after sitting out the first three quarters, then posting two runs of 80 yards or more.