Week 10 Rewind
November 9, 2009
By Brian Edwards
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Iowa’s unbeaten season had seemingly been living on borrowed time since Week 1 when it had to block a pair of field goals in the final seconds to beat Northern Iowa. The Hawkeyes had survived a slew of near-misses in recent weeks, but they couldn’t do so Saturday when Northwestern went into Iowa City and captured a 17-10 win as a 15-point underdog.
The game turned in the second quarter when Iowa QB Ricky Stanzi was sacked and fumbled in his own end zone. Northwestern’s Marshall Thomas recovered the fumble for a touchdown. Making matters worse for Kirk Ferentz’s team, Stanzi suffered a severe ankle sprain and would not return.
Freshman James Vandenberg was ineffective in relief, connecting on just 9-of-27 passes for 82 yards and an interception. The Hawkeyes didn’t score again after Stanzi was injured.
Iowa can still win the Big Ten if it wins out, but its national-title hopes are completely dashed. The Hawkeyes play at Ohio St. next week.
Alabama stayed undefeated by winning a 24-15 decision over LSU that clinched the SEC West for Nick Saban’s team. The Crimson Tide trailed for most of the game, yet found a way to cash tickets for its backers as a seven-point favorite.
Down 15-13 with 10:24 left in the fourth quarter, ‘Bama QB Greg McElroy hit Julio Jones with a screen pass and the sophomore wideout did the rest. Jones raced 73 yards down the sidelines to paydirt to put the Tide back in the lead. After McElroy found Trent Richardson for a three-yard pass on the two-point conversion, Alabama led 21-15.
When the Tide got the ball back, it moved into LSU territory at around the five-minute mark. That’s when LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson, who held Jones in check all day but was out of the game suffering from cramps when McElroy and Jones hooked up for their TD, appeared to make a game-turning interception.
However, the would-be pick was ruled incomplete on the field and although instant replays seemed to indicate that Peterson got at least one of his feet down, the ruling on the field was inexplicably upheld. Several plays later, Leigh Tiffin’s 40-yard field goal made him the school’s all-time leading scorer and put the game on ice. Most importantly, Tiffin’s boot hooked up ‘Bama backers with a spread cover.
While Alabama was rallying to beat LSU, Ga. Tech was in a battle with Wake Forest on The Flats in Atlanta. The Yellow Jackets, who still maintain hopes of getting to Pasadena, survived the Demon Deacons by winning 30-27 in overtime.
Although Jim Grobe’s team came up short in gut-wrenching fashion for a second straight week, it still hooked up its backers with a winner as a double-digit underdog. Riley Skinner shook off last week’s concussion in a heartbreaking loss to Miami and threw for 263 yards and a pair of touchdowns without being picked off.
Jonathan Dwyer ran for 189 yards and one TD on 23 carries for Paul Johnson’s team. Josh Nesbitt had a pair of touchdown runs, including a three-yard scamper into the end zone during the extra session. Wake Forest had the first possession of OT, but it had to settle for a 34-yard field goal from Jimmy Newman.
Moments later with the Jackets facing a fourth-and-one play at Wake’s six, Johnson opted to roll the dice and go for it. The move, like nearly every other the second-year head coach has made since taking the Ga. Tech job, paid dividends. Nesbitt ran for the first down on a two-yard plunge and then had the walk-off TD on the next play.
The Jackets saw their 6-0 ATS surge end, but they can clinch a berth in the ACC Championship Game by winning at Duke next weekend. They conclude their regular season by hosting arch-rival Georgia at Bobby Dodd Stadium on Nov. 28.
Oregon saw its national-title hopes go up in flames in Palo Alto. That’s where Stanford took a double-digit lead on the Ducks early and cruised to a 51-42 victory as a seven-point home underdog. Jim Harbaugh’s team hooked up money-line backers with a generous plus-220 payout (risk $100 to win $220).
Arkansas scored 23 unanswered points in the second half to knock off South Carolina by a 33-16 count. The Razorbacks covered the number as seven-point home favorites. Ryan Mallett was sensational, completing 23-of-27 passes for 329 yards without an interception. He also had a one-yard touchdown run.
Arkansas tight end D.J. Williams, who many pundits had predicted to be a first-team All-American, erupted for his best performance of the season. Williams had seven receptions for 137 yards.
In the losing effort, Stephen Garcia threw for 327 yards, including an 80-yard scoring strike to freshman WR Alshon Jeffery. The Gamecocks were playing without two of their best defensive players in DE Cliff Matthews and safety Chris Culliver.
Pittsburgh won its fifth consecutive game to improve to 8-1. Freshman RB Dion Lewis rushed 18 times for 110 yards and one touchdown. The Panthers have cashed tickets at a 4-1 clip during their five-game winning streak. They will host Notre Dame next week.
Speaking of the Irish, they went down 23-21 against Navy as 12 ½-point home favorites. I have two thoughts stemming from that outcome. First, I can’t believe I didn’t back the Midshipmen catching double digits. Secondly, Charlie Weis is done at Notre Dame and the school would be wise to get in the ear of Cincinnati head coach Brian Kelly’s agent very soon.
Navy closed at plus-350 on the money line, paying its backers $350 for each $100 wagered.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
--North Carolina outscored Duke 10-0 in the final stanza to drop the Blue Devils by a 19-6 count. The Tar Heels covered the spread as 10-point favorites.
--Baylor pulled one of the day’s biggest upsets by winning 40-32 at Missouri as a 14-point road underdog. The Bears won outright while listed at plus-450 on the money line.
--All bettors know that injuries happen in the game of football. Nevertheless, you have to feel for LSU fans because if QB Jordan Jefferson, RB Charles Scott and Peterson don’t leave the game with injuries while the Tigers were leading Alabama, you have to like LSU’s chances of winning that game.
--ESPN college football analyst Robert Smith is absolutely atrocious at his job. I thought he retired early from the Vikings to go to medical school. What happened to that plan?
--Clemson fans are a complete joke. What a disgrace for them to rush the field after beating a five-loss FSU team. Seriously? On the other hand, C.J. Spiller is a total stud whose going to score a lot of touchdowns and make a bunch of cash at the next level.
UPDATE: Several e-mailers have informed me that it's a Clemson tradition for fans to come on the field after every game. Who knew? Whatever the case, with my inbox being flooded by the minute, I've decided to address all of you Clemson die-hards longing for the days of Charley Pell and Danny Ford in this blog installment.
--Clemson covered the spread thanks to an interception of Christian Ponder with the team leading the Seminoles by nine points. The return of the pick set up the Tigers for a spread-covering TD run late in the fourth quarter. Ponder prevented his interception from being a pick-six with a jarring tackle that left him injured. He will miss this week's game against Wake Forest.
--LSU's Scott is out for the rest of the regular season (collarbone) but might be able to return for a bowl game.
Brian Edwards can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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