PORTIONS PREVIOUSLY APPEARING ON WTOP.COM-

Second ranked Ohio State’s 49-20 loss at Purdue (shades of the Buckeyes 55-24 loss to Iowa that kept OSU out of the College Football Playoff last year) robbed the Big Ten of its last standing unbeaten, meaning there are only three Division I FBS conferences to have at least one school still perfect on the season.  Alabama remains heads and shoulders above the pack in the SEC after trashing Tennessee 58-21 while Clemson showed that the ACC is currently its personal playpen in a 41-7 thumping of previously unbeaten (but untested) NC State.  Notre Dame is without a loss as well as without a league, clinging to its independent status because not sharing TV revenue is the proper thing to do.  That leaves the American Athletic Conference and not one but two unbeatens:  UCF and South Florida (a third unbeaten in the AAC-Cincinnati-fell for the first time this past Saturday).  The Knights and Bulls meet on the final weekend of the regular season, and while South Florida plays three of its next four games on the road it’s nice to at least dream about a November showdown of unbeatens.  Even if it’s not in a Power Five Conference.

Alma Mater Update- the Orange sent the alums home happy after posting a 40-37 double overtime victory over North Carolina.  Yes, the Tar Heels currently occupy the Coastal Division Cellar–but they beat Pitt and the Panthers got past the Orange in OT earlier this month.  Tommy DeVito once again came off the bench to lead SU to victory… and even though the defense once again had its issues they played just well enough.  At 5-2 the Orange have already surpassed their win totals in the first two years of the Dino Babers regime.  And while the D isn’t earning an A, they’ve improved each year (120th nationally in 2016, 99th last year and 70th this fall).  Pinstripe Bowl possibilities are in the air.

Maryland (4-3, 1-2 Big Ten) faced 40 MPH winds at Iowa’s Kinnick Stadium Saturday.  Unfortunately they also faced a relentless Hawkeyes defense and got shut out 23-0 to begin the second half of their season.  Terrapin Triumphs: Tre Watson tallied 15 tackles and an interception (the team’s 15th takeway of the season) as the defense held Nate Stanley to 86 yards passing one week after he threw for six touchdowns.  Terrapin Troubles: the offense was held to a season-low 115 total yards and had possession of the ball for just 19 minutes.  While the running game averaged just a shade under three yards per carry, the pass attack misfired (6-of-16 while gaining 2.9 yards per attempt).  Next:  Saturday at 3:30 p.m. against 3-4 Illinois.

Virginia (5-2, 3-1 ACC) combatted its recent road woes (0-2 this year, 3-10 since Bronco Mendenhall took over) and defeated Duke 28-14.  Can the Commonwealth Cup game against Virginia Tech the day after Thanksgiving actually become the defacto Coastal Division championship game?  Cavalier Congrats:  Bryce Perkins ran for two touchdowns while passing for score.  Olamide Zachheus caught 10 passes.  Chris Peace notched seven tackles and two and a half sacks while the defense intercepted Blue Devils quarterback Daniel Jones twice.  Lester Coleman averaged 44.5 yards per punt.  Cavalier Concerns:  Perkins did little to stretch the field with his arm, averaging under ten yards per completion.  The defense gave up a pair of big plays for touchdowns, allowing 22 and 46 yard strikes.  Brian Delaney missed two of four field goal attempts.  Next:  Saturday at 12:20 p.m. at home against 1-5 North Carolina.

Navy (2-5, 1-3 AAC) led Houston by 10 points in the first half before the Cougars went on a 35-point run;  UH scored the first three times they had the ball after halftime and the Mids fall 49-36.  The road to bowl eligibility just got quite a bit tougher for coach Ken Niumatalolo and company.  Midshipman Medals:  Garret Lewis completed 9 of 13 passes for 135 yards and  a touchdown…with a favorite target emerging in Taylor Jackson (5 catches for 120 yards and a score).  Malcolm Perry tallied 97 yards rushing from his old slotback position.  Sean Williams led a defense that notched two takeaways with seven tackles.  Midshipman Miscues:  the defense failed to register a sack on 39 Houston pass attempts, and allowed Houston to convert 8 of 10 third downs.  The Cougars averaged 6.3 yards per carry and over 10 yards per pass attempt while rolling up 570 total yards.  Next: Saturday night at 8 p.m. in San Diego against #3 Notre Dame.

Advertisements