PORTIONS PREVIOUSLY APPEARING ON WTOP.COM–

Hurricane Matthew upended this past weekend’s college football schedule, maneuvering more than a few games on the slate to different start times or completely different days played.  One game that was not moved was the duel between #10 Miami and #23 Florida State.  The 20-19 thriller was decided by a missed extra point the Seminoles took their first step towards salvaging their season.  The Hurricanes?  A seventh straight loss to their sunshine state rival…plus another downgrade from a storm to a weather system in the ACC.  And another stumble as a ranked team.  This decade the school that has always been about the sizzle as much as the steak  has been less than USDA Prime, going 6-5 when ranked in the Top 20 and 2-2 as a top ten team.  Mark Richt has a better track record at a higher level of play than his predecessors Al Golden and Randy Shannon combined, so this setback feels more of a part of the rebuilding process as opposed to a ceiling smacking the program’s head.  What doesn’t help is the fact that Miami fans threw beer bottles and trash at Florida State players after the Hurricanes Jamal Carter was ejected.  Stay classy… because college football karma can make you miss a crucial extra point.

Alma Mater Update- the team’s loss at Wake Forest drops the Orange to 2-4…with dreams of a Pinstripe Bowl beginning to vanish.  Their remaining schedule is daunting:  a combined 25-9 mark of remaining foes includes just one team that doesn’t have a winning record (Boston College is 3-3) while featuring November dates with Clemson and Florida State.  Saturday they host former Big East rival Virginia Tech- my memories of this series begins and ends with a 62-0 loss in 1999 that sucked the air out of the Paul Pasqualoni era.  I was covering an 0-11 Ball State football team that fall…and the coaching staff was giving me grief.

Maryland (4-1, 1-1 Big Ten) ran into a buzz-saw named Penn State…and a Nittany Lions team that was inconsistent over the first month of the season handed the Terps their first loss of the season.  And unlike the last time Perry Hills injured his shoulder, there’s no bye week.  Terrapin Triumphs:  Perry Hills completed 5 of 7 passes before leaving with a shoulder injury while Tyrell Pigrome ran for a touchdown on his first play from scrimmage in relief of Hills.  Linebacker Shane Cockerille tallied 13 tackles to lead the defense.  Terrapin Troubles: the defense allowed 372 yards rushing, over triple the Nittany Lions average this fall.  The one play that hurt came with less than a minute in the half right after Maryland scored to make the game a 3-point affair;  Saquon Barkley’s 45 yard touchdown took whatever momentum the Terps had away for good.  The offense had seven second half possessions:  three were three and outs while a fourth lasted four plays.  Next:  12 p.m. Saturday vs Minnesota (3-2, 0-2).

#25 Virginia Tech (4-1, 2-0 ACC) slogged around in the rain en route to a 34-3 rout of #17 North Carolina.  Armed with a conference schedule that does not include Clemson, Louisville or Florida State…is it too early to be fantasizing about winning the Coastal Division?  Hokie Highlights:  linebacker Andrew Motuapuaka was a beast…notching 12 tackles, an interception and half of a sack.  The defense held the Tar Heels to 2-14 on third down and let UNC enter the red zone just twice all afternoon.  Four takeaways led to 20 points…and a fumbled snap on a punt led to another TD.  The offense controlled the ball for over 39 minutes…including 13+ minutes in the fourth quarter.  Hokie Humblings:  Jerod Evans was held to 7-17 passing in the rain and fumbled twice…while the team put the ball on the ground seven times (they did recover five of their fumbles).  Next:  3:45 p.m. Saturday at Syracuse (2-4, 0-2).

Navy (4-1, 3-0 AAC) exacted revenge on the only team they lost to in conference play last year, outscoring #6 Houston 46-40.  All of a sudden keeping an eye on Tulsa and Memphis is mandatory for fans in and around Annapolis.  Midshipmen Medals:  Will Worth’s wheels.  I’ve been hyping the senior quarterback’s passing (he did throw two touchdown passes) since he took over for Tago Smith…but Saturday he ran for 115 yards and a score.  The running game cranked out 306 yards against a Cougars defense that had allowed less than two yards per carry this fall. Josiah Powell notched two interceptions…and the offense scored after each of their three takeaways.  Midshipmen Miscues:  The offense had issues on third down (converting 6 of 15)  The pass defense allowed 359 yards…and Houston did not punt.  At all.  Thank goodness for the takeaways.  Next: 7:30 p.m. Thursday at East Carolina (2-4, 0-2).

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