Editorial note: I'm not planning to let the weekly review of opposition games slide this late on a regular basis, but it's been a busy week and it's not like there's a game preview for Saturday anyway...
Nebraska throttled Nevada, 52 - 10. The Huskers rolled up 625 yards of offense, of which 413 were rushing yards... easy to achieve when Marlon Lucky posts 233 yards and 3 touchdowns. Sam Keller was 14 / 5 for 193 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT. Nevada managed 108 yards passing and 77 yards of rushing. The guys at SBN's Corn Nation liked what they saw. That kind of power running and stout defense is going to make for an interesting game on the 15th.
Washington State traveled to Madison and lost 42 - 21 to Wisconsin. Wazoo kept it respectable through the third, when they were down 28 - 21, but the Badgers scored 2 TDs in the 4th to close the game down. The Cougars were fairly close to the Badgers in the running game - 157 to 182 - but got killed in the passing game, 328 to 426. (This is Wisconsin we're talking about, right?) Wazoo went 6 - 14 on third down conversions to Wisconsin's 11 - 15. I'm guessing that the Coug's D was gassed by the 4th quarter. If Turner is healthy and either Hazelton or Ausberry step up, that could be a long game for the Cougs.
Washington got their sweat on in the Carrier Dome against Syracuse and came away with a 42 - 12 win. The Huskies got off to a slow start but eventually piled on to the truly woeful Orange(men), who posted a net of 8 yards rushing to Washington's 302. Syracuse's 199 yards of passing, against the Huskies' 142, wasn't close to enough to compensate. Redshirt freshman QB Jake Locker looked impressive in both running and passing the ball, but I suspect he would have had a harder time against the Huskies' D at practice. Louis Rankin was thoughtful enough to put up 147 yards on the ground, and three touchdowns. Locker was impressive, but he's going to have to either faster or more cautious against SC's linebackers if he wants to spend a lot of time running the ball.
Stanford hosted UCLA and were thumped 45 - 17 for their trouble. On the one hand, Stanford can look to a couple of TDs and a field goal as an improvement - they posted 331 yards of passing and held onto the ball for only 52 seconds fewer than the Bruins. However, Stanford gained only 52 yards of rushing while giving up 624 total yards. They hung in there until the third quarter at which point it all came apart.
Arizona started another turning the corner season but around the wrong corner, losing to BYU 20 - 7. BYU posted 392 yards of total offense (288 passing and 104 rushing) and held the Mildcats to 32 yards of rushing - which was too low for Tuitama's 223 passing yards to offset. In fact, Arizona was 52 seconds away from being shut out before Tuitama completed a TD pass to Earl Mitchell.
Notre Dame, as I am sure you are aware, got hammered 33 - 3 at home by Georgia Tech. Charlie Weis put all three QBs in the game, to very little effect: Demetrius Jones fumbled twice, Evan Sharpley was sacked 7 times, and li'l Jimmy Clausen didn't get up to much of anything. If I tell you that GA Tech posted 386 yards of offense (121 passing and 265 rushing, including 196 from Tashard Choice) to Notre Dame's 122 (130 passing, -8 running), you get the idea of how the game went. Peter Bean of [Burnt Orange Nation www.burntorangenation.com] was there, and recounted on EDSBS Live this weekend a story about meeting a former walk-on who opined that Weis should have picked his QB by making Jones, Sharpley, and Clausen have a foot race from the 50 yard line to the end zone... because the O Line was so bad, whoever ran fastest would live longest.
Oregon hosted Houston, and beat them 48 - 27. The game was close into the third quarter, tied at 20 and looking ugly for the Ducks until Houston QB Keenum was picked off in the end zone. Oregon preceded to outscore Houston 28 - 7, and that was that. Far from rusty from playing summer baseball, Dennis Dixon played a pretty good game, throwing for 134 yards and rushing for 141, of which 80 came on a touchdown run. However, the Ducks don't seem to be very interested in defense, which means that there will be shout-outs galore this season. Nonetheless, Dave from SBN's Addicted to Quack was pleased.
Oregon State beat Utah State 24 -7 in a bruising game during which the Utes lost several key players including their QB. There was an element of stalemate by the end of the first half, but the Beavers opened it up in the second half and put a convincing win together. I saw segments of this game and was impressed by Oregon State's defense - not huge, but quick to the ball - and also Yveson Bernard, who made a nice one handed catch to convert on 4th down at one point.
Cal put up a nice game against Tennessee at Memorial Stadium, winning 45 - 31. The Bears got off to a quick scoring start when Ainge fumbled the ball and splendidly named lineback Worrell Williams took the ball in for a TD, but overall this was not what you'd call a defensive exhibition game. DeSean Jackson actually looked not too bad, especially when he was returning a Vols punt (sent straight to him) for a touchdown.
Arizona State put a beat-down on San Jose State, 45 - 3. ASU put up 520 yards of offense (250 rushing, 270 passing) and held San Jose State to 115 yards of total offense. San Jose State mustered 4 out of 14 third down conversions, against ASU's 13 of 17. Looks like Erickson's got the Sun Devils motivated...
UCLA, as noted above, rode Stanford hard and put them away wet. The Bruins posted 624 yards of offense against Stanford - 286 passing and 338 running, of which Kalil Bell put up 197. Olson threw for 5 of the TDs. Interestingly, UCLA only made 6 of 16 third down attempts, but that hardly seems relevant when they were averaging nearly 18 yards per passing play and 7.7 yards a carry. The only real shortfall was in the kicking game, where Kai Forbath missed 2 of his 3 field goal attempts.