NCAA Football News

Arkansas vs. Texas A&M: Score and Twitter Reaction

Texas A&M came back from down 14 points in the fourth quarter to earn a 35-28 overtime win over Arkansas in a neutral game at AT&T Stadium.

After a rough start to the day, Kenny Hill came through with 386 passing yards and four touchdowns, including three long scores in the fourth quarter and overtime. 

The Aggies were expecting an easier time against the only unranked team in the SEC West, but a furious comeback and 523 yards of offense were enough to secure the win. This gave the Razorabacks their 14th conference loss in a row with the last win coming on Oct. 13, 2012. 

Alex Collins had a strong effort in defeat with 132 rushing yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. Quarterback Brandon Allen finished with 199 passing yards and a touchdown in the loss.

ESPN's Paul Finebaum looks ahead for Arkansas:

With former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel in attendance, this game had all the signs of a high-scoring battle in the early going. Texas A&M scored on the first drive after a big kickoff return by Trey Williams. It took only four plays before Brandon Williams was able to get into the end zone on a 13-yard run.

Arkansas answered right back, though, with Collins and Jamaal Williams doing work on the ground before tying the game up at 7-7.

The two sides continued to trade shots over the next few drives as the score doubled to 14-14, including a 50-yard touchdown run by Collins.

However, the defense picked up from there as Arkansas did an amazing job limiting the big-time Texas A&M offense. Jon Solomon of CBS Sports provides a look at some interesting stats at the half:

Benjamin Allbright of Yahoo Sports discussed the surprising numbers between a Heisman candidate and a game manager:

Of course, the biggest play of the first half came on a fake punt on fourth-and-10, which punter Sam Irwin-Hill took all the way for a 51-yard touchdown.

This gave the Razorbacks a 21-14 lead at the half, although head coach Bret Bielema was not satisfied:

His team apparently was not either because Arkansas kept playing well. In the third quarter, the squad was able to take a two-touchdown lead when Allen connected with a wide-open A.J. Derby for a 44-yard touchdown on a well-designed play-action pass.

Jim Harris of ESPN WPS liked what he saw from the fake:

With Texas A&M continuing to struggle offensively, ESPN SEC made this statement:

This ended up being a bit premature as the Aggies were able to cut the deficit in half on an 87-yard touchdown pass from Hill to Edward Pope. As you can see in the replay below, the defender fell down to allow an easy score:

 

Later in the fourth quarter, Texas A&M was able to tie the game on another long pass to Josh Reynolds, who made up for a number of bad drops with a 59-yard score with just over two minutes remaining.

The game ended up going into overtime, which was just fine for the Aggies. They scored on the first play in the extra session with Hill throwing a strike to Malcome Kennedy for a 25-yard touchdown, putting the pressure on Arkansas:

On the next possession, the Razorbacks were stopped on fourth down as Texas A&M were able to secure the difficult win. 

The Aggies came into the day hoping to keep proving they are worthy of a spot in the College Football Playoff at the end of the season. With a 4-0 record and a win at South Carolina already on the resume, they had as good of a resume as anyone.

While they were able to add to the win column on Saturday, the overall struggles had to be concerning. The team remains in the playoff hunt, but they cannot afford too many more poor performances.

Things do not get any easier for Texas A&M either with a road contest at Mississippi State next Saturday.

Meanwhile, Arkansas helped again prove why the SEC is so tough. The team is now 0-2 in conference, but it is good enough to create a challenge for every team it faces this year.

After next week's bye, the squad will host Alabama as it tries to find a way to complete an upset.

Either way, fans were once again reminded that anything can happen in this sport.

 

Follow Rob Goldberg on Twitter for the latest breaking news and analysis.

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FSU vs. NC State: Score and Twitter Reaction

Florida State's run toward a second consecutive national championship is still in play, after the Seminoles came back from a 17-point first-quarter deficit to defeat North Carolina State. The thrilling back-and-forth contest ended with a final score of 56-41.

Quarterback Jameis Winston tossed four touchdowns for the 'Noles, while Karlos Williams overcame a slow start to finish with three rushing touchdowns.

Here is a quarter-by-quarter look at the score from the ACC contest:

The Seminoles have everything: a national title-winning buzz-saw defense, a mammoth offensive line, a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback in Winston and a fantastic coach in Jimbo Fisher. NC State simply ignored the sterling pedigree and put up 24 points in the first quarter, a novel event in Florida State's long and storied history, per ESPN Stats & Info:

NC State opened the scoring with a 54-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jacoby Brissett to wideout Bo Hines.

Winston—back in action after a one-game suspension that forced him to sit out the Seminoles' tightrope win over Clemson—quickly pulled the 'Noles back, firing a 32-yard touchdown pass to Jesus Wilson to tie the game at 7-7.

ESPN's Jared Shanker noted the bizarre series of events before the play, which included a first-down catch nullified by an NC State timeout call:

Fans on Twitter had a good bit of fun with Wilson's name:

The Wolfpack responded, putting together a 13-play drive that ended in a three-yard scoring run from halfback Shadrach Thornton.

The Seminoles' troubles continued on the ensuing possession. A fearsome NC State pass rush got the best of the Florida State offensive line, and defensive tackle T.Y. McGill hit Winston from behind and forced a fumble that the defense recovered, leading to an NC State field goal.

The upset-alert meter hit Wolfpack Red when Brissett made one of the plays of the year, scrambling to his right, shedding a pair of would-be tacklers and then floating a pass to wide receiver Johnathan Alston in the end zone just before he fell out of bounds.

The powers that be at SportsCenter were justifiably excited:

Brissett used to play for Florida, who would be happy to have a quarterback of his caliber this season, as Fox Sports' Bruce Feldman noted: 

The atmosphere at Carter-Finley Stadium was electric, but Florida State showed its No. 1 ranking wasn't based on reputation alone with a fantastic start to the second quarter. Winston executed a wonderful drive that ended in a Karlos Williams touchdown run, and then FSU's defense forced a three-and-out. Winston took advantage of some very favorable field position, tossing a 22-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Christian Green.

The rapidly improved performance caused Sports Illustrated's Pete Thamel to wonder if Florida State was simply repeating a slow start from last season:

The Wolfpack offense fizzled as the second quarter dragged on, but the defense held tough and prevented the 'Noles from scoring the rest of the way. Both teams struggled to establish a sound running game. Williams finished with just 41 yards at the half, while Thornton put up only 37 yards of his own on the ground for the home team.

Winston started off the second half with a costly mistake, firing a pass over the middle that freshman linebacker Jerod Fernandez did well to intercept.

Brissett took over the ensuing drive, marching the Wolfpack down the field. He drew rave reviews for flipping a pass to running back Matt Dayes while getting dragged to the turf by two 'Noles defenders, then scrambled for first downs on consecutive plays to take his team deep into enemy territory. Brissett finished off the drive with a missile strike to Dayes in front of the end zone to give the Wolfpack some much-needed breathing room.

ESPN's ACC Twitter account recognized Brissett's magic on the drive:

Winston refused to wilt under the pressure, showing off a preternatural ability to shrug off mistakes by calmly and efficiently commandeering the 'Noles on a nine-play, 81-yard scoring drive, which was finished off with a peach of a run by backup tailback Dalvin Cook. 

It stands to reason that few teams can go toe-to-toe, tit-for-tat with the Seminoles. Something had to give way for the Wolfpack to complete the upset, and it turned out to be turnovers. FSU wideout Rashad Greene fumbled on a punt return that the Wolfpack's Malcolm Means pounced on, allowing the upset-minded hosts to take a 38-28 lead on another bruising Thornton touchdown run.

ESPN U couldn't help but dig up this gem to capture the excitement of Wolfpack fans:

The resiliency of Winston was astounding, and his teammates rewarded his brave play. He tossed touchdown passes—to Wilson and Greene, respectively—on either side of a costly Brissett fumble in the third quarter, putting the 'Noles in front 42-38 for their first lead of the afternoon. The full head of steam built up in that 24-point first quarter had slowly dissipated over the course of the contest.

ESPN ACC noted the silence overtaking the stadium:

Florida State took a 49-38 lead early in the fourth quarter on a Williams touchdown run, and the Wolfpack's hopes of a famous win looked to be in serious jeopardy after a 14-play drive ended with a lost Brissett fumble. 

The day was not yet won for Florida State, as Fernandez came up with his second interception of the day, which led to an NC State field goal and gave the team some life heading into the final minutes of play. Take a look at the play, courtesy of Pack Pride:

Williams snuffed out that hope on the Seminoles' ensuing possession, ripping off big chunks of yardage and capping the drive with a 12-yard scoring run to create the final score of 56-41.

Florida State doesn't have a signature, dominant win as of yet on the season, but as long as it avoids a mark in the loss column, it appears destined to head to the College Football Playoff. Winston's leadership and ability to put together long drives in the face of immense pressure make him one of college football's best players.

Winston himself remained supremely confident, via Aaron Beard of The Associated Press. "When's the last time the offense and defense actually clicked on the same note? I don't know. We've got so much potential. We've got so much to look for. I'm telling you, that's the most exciting part."

It's the Wolfpack's first loss of the season, but the fight they showed in this game makes them considerable threats in the ACC going forward. As long as they recover from this disappointing loss, the Wolfpack look like a team capable of finishing the season as one of the Top 25 teams in the nation.

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Florida State Coach Jimbo Fisher Chews Out Jameis Winston After Interception

Considering Florida State's Jameis Winston is the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher has high standards for his quarterback. When the star player makes a mistake, the coach isn't afraid to chew him out.

With an 11-point lead midway through the fourth quarter of Saturday's game against NC State, Winston threw an interception on 2nd-and-14 from his own 23-yard line. 

The interception set the Wolfpack up with great field position as they tried to get back in the game.

Once the quarterback returned to the sideline after throwing the interception, Fisher let Winston have it.

NC State managed to get a field goal on its ensuing possession to chip Florida State's lead down to eight, so Winston's mistake ended up costing the Seminoles.

[FanSided, gifdsports]

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Texas A&M's Kenny Hill Connects with Edward Pope for 86-Yard TD Against Arkansas

Texas A&M needed Kenny Hill to make a big play in the fourth quarter against the Arkansas Razorbacks, and the Aggies quarterback stepped up for his team.

On a 2nd-and-9 from his own 13-yard line early in the fourth quarter, Hill threw a beautiful deep ball to receiver Edward Pope. With the defender on the ground after tripping up, Pope was able to run into the end zone without any trouble.

The 86-yard touchdown cut the Razorbacks' lead to 28-21.

[CBS Sports]

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UMass Video Board Collapses During Game vs. Bowling Green

Saturday's showdown between the Massachusetts Minutemen and the Bowling Green Falcons was interrupted when the video board collapsed during the third quarter.

You can hear the crowd react, although there's no video of the actual fall.

[The Big Lead]

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NC State's Jacoby Brissett Completes Pass While Getting Tackled

North Carolina State's Jacoby Brissett is doing everything he can to help the Wolfpack upset the No. 1 Florida State Seminoles.

In the first quarter, the N.C. State quarterback miraculously avoided multiple sacks on a play and got the ball to his receiver for a touchdown. That wasn't the only unbelievable play the junior made in the game.

On a play in the second half, Brissett managed to complete a pass while getting tackled.

That angle doesn't do this crazy play justice. Check out this angle:

The Seminoles apparently need to do something different to stop Brissett.

[Vine]

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Georgia Football: Defensive Front Key to Bulldogs Surviving Tough Stretch Ahead

Though it wasn’t always pretty, the Georgia Bulldogs defensive front made just enough plays to secure victory against the Tennessee Volunteers on Saturday.  And for a team desperately in need of an identity outside of running back Todd Gurley, such performances will be crucial as the Dawgs continue conference play.

While the box score once again was highlighted by a stellar effort from Gurley, who racked up over 200 yards rushing and two touchdowns, it was big plays by Georgia’s front seven that saved the Bulldogs from a near-upset.

In what has quickly become a pattern for the Bulldogs defense, Georgia coordinator Jeremy Pruitt dialed up pressure early and often and was successful in blowing up plays in the Volunteer backfield.  And while pressure usually disrupts opposing offenses, the Bulldogs defense seems to succeed only when its front seven applying as much heat as possible. 

Put bluntly, when Georgia’s defensive front gets a push, the unit is as impressive as any in the conference.  When it doesn’t, the results are disastrous.  There is no middle ground.

That's because the Georgia secondary continues to struggle mightily when opposing quarterbacks get time to throw the ball.  To be sure, it is difficult to cover when passers are not getting rushed, but even shorter routes across the middle of the field are consistently available to opposing signal-callers.  When the pocket breaks down, however, everyone benefits.  Even linebackers downfield in coverage can defend much more proficiently when the quarterback has to hurry his throws.

And the conflicting identities of this unit are not confined to defending the pass.  At times, Georgia seems perfectly content to give up chunks of yardage on the ground.  A few weeks ago, South Carolina’s Brandon Wilds buried Georgia’s comeback attempt with a host of clock-eating, chain-moving runs.  On Saturday, Tennessee’s Jalen Hurd had similar success at times.

As the Bulldogs move further into a brutal stretch of seven consecutive games against SEC opposition, Pruitt must find a way to keep the defensive front’s switch toggled to the on position.  The unit can ill afford to merely show flashes.  And in theory, Georgia has the personnel to be consistently dominant up front. 

Inside linebackers Amarlo Herrera and Ramik Wilson are well-established, sure tacklers in the middle of the field.  Their backups, Reggie Carter and Tim Kimbrough have acquitted themselves tremendously well both against the run and the pass.

Outside 'backers Jordan Jenkins and Leonard Floyd are disruptive pass-rushers and true freshman linebacker Lorenzo Carter is already proving to be the stud that so many hoped for when he committed to Georgia on signing day in February. 

Additionally, Ray Drew and Josh Dawson showed on Saturday that they can foil the best laid plans of quarterbacks and sound ground attacks.

But all of these elements need to gel so that consistency replaces the occasional big plays as this defense’s calling card.  After all, as good as this front seven can be, it also has a tendency to lose its way at costly times.

Tennessee drove 83 yards for a touchdown in under 60 seconds as the first half came to a close.  Hurd broke two long runs and Justin Worley completed two long passes as the Georgia defensive line and linebackers played conservatively.  Some of that was likely schematic, but some of it was surely a reflection of effort and diligence—or lack thereof. 

And, frustratingly, that drive was not an anomaly.

Georgia opened the season with a brutal two-game stretch, and for all the Bulldogs’ struggles, the team is fortunate in some ways to be 3-1.  But the next six games against conference foes could break the Bulldogs if the defensive front doesn’t continue to step up.

To be clear, games like Saturday’s certainly give cause for optimism.  Georgia caused havoc in the Tennessee backfield. And that made the difference. 

If that happens more often, it could make the Dawgs contenders in the SEC and beyond.

 

Unless otherwise noted, all quotes obtained firsthand.

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Missouri vs. South Carolina: Live Score and Highlights

Missouri 7, South Carolina 0—Early 1st Quarter

We are underway in Columbia as the the No. 13 South Carolina Gamecocks host SEC East rival Missouri.  

You can watch live on ESPN, but make sure to stay right here with us at Bleacher Report for live scoring updates and analysis throughout the game. 

You can find the complete box score at NCAA.com

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Arkansas' Sam Irwin-Hill Takes Fake Punt 51 Yards to the House Against Texas A&M

Arkansas decided to take a chance on a 4th-and-10 late in the second quarter of Saturday's game against Texas A&M, and the Razorbacks were rewarded in a big way for making the gutsy call.

From their own 49-yard line, the Razorbacks called for a fake punt. Thanks to great blocking from his teammates, Arkansas punter Sam Irwin-Hill didn't have much trouble getting into the end zone.

The fake punt allowed Arkansas to take a 21-14 lead over the No. 6-ranked Aggies right before halftime.

[Instagram, h/t The Big Lead]

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Stanford's Ty Montgomery Runs over Washington Defense on His Way to 17-Yard TD

On Saturday, the Washington defense learned Stanford receiver Ty Montgomery doesn't go down easily.

The 6'2", 220-pound wideout caught a pass on 3rd-and-2 that was good enough for a first down, but he wasn't satisfied with just moving the chains. Montgomery ran over several Huskies defenders—while managing to stay inbounds—as he made his way into the end zone.

Montgomery's 17-yard touchdown gave Stanford a 10-0 lead over Washington early in the second quarter.

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Notre Dame vs. Syracuse: Live Score and Highlights

Notre Dame and Syracuse will go head-to-head in the third edition of New York’s College Classic at MetLife Stadium. The game will kick off at 8 p.m. EDT, and it will air on ABC.

Notre Dame is coming off a bye week, and it is looking to remain undefeated. Syracuse is looking to bounce back after losing to Maryland last week.

Be sure to come back to this live blog when the game kicks off for scoring updates and highlights.

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Cincinnati vs. Ohio State: Live Score and Highlights

Ohio State 30, Cincinnati 14 — Late 2nd quarter

Game action is now underway between No. 22 Ohio State (2-1) and Cincinnati (2-0). The Big Ten Network is televising the matchup from Columbus.

We are watching the game, providing live analysis as the action unfolds:

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NC State's Jacoby Brissett Avoids Sacks, Throws TD Against Florida State

Everything is going NC State's way Saturday as the Wolfpack try to upset No. 1 Florida State.

On a 3rd-and-6 from the Seminoles' 8-yard line, Wolfpack quarterback Jacoby Brissett did a great job of avoiding a sack. He was able to keep the play alive long enough to find receiver Johnathan Alston in traffic in the end zone for a touchdown.

Here's a better look at Brissett's effort:

The wild touchdown gave N.C. State a 24-7 lead over Florida State with just more than two minutes remaining in the first quarter.

[SB Nation, @_MarcusD_Instagram]

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Hutson Mason Needs to Improve If Georgia Wants to Win SEC East

In a game that was sloppy, ugly and disjointed, Georgia found a way.

The Bulldogs topped the Tennessee Volunteers, 35-32, on Saturday afternoon in Athens in a game that was littered with four combined turnovers, 14 combined penalties and some of the most curious play-calling in college football in 2014.

Two of those turnovers came in the form of interceptions by Georgia quarterback Hutson Mason, who finished the day 16-of-25 for 147 yards, one touchdown, those two picks and one rushing touchdown.

Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo clearly was trying to get Mason into a groove, and with eight and sometimes nine Vols in the box to stop running back Todd Gurley, there were passing lanes wide open for Mason to exploit.

He couldn't, much to the displeasure of head coach Mark Richt:

His downfield passes lacked zip and his touch wasn't there, despite Gurley forcing the Vols to take some risks in the secondary and Bobo giving Mason plenty of chances to get settled.

Meanwhile, on the other sideline, Tennessee quarterback Justin Worley battled constant pressure and an elbow injury to light up Georgia's defense to the tune of 264 passing yards, three touchdowns and no picks.

Somebody has to win the East, despite the fact that the division looks more like a punchline than a power.

If it's going to be Georgia, Mason has to make major strides because things aren't going to get any easier. It took a while, but eventually Gurley took over in the second half once the running back rotation took a back seat and Bobo remembered that the Heisman Trophy candidate still wears red and black. 

Mason has been used as a game manager for the most part during the season, and while that's a pretty solid plan with No. 3 in the backfield, Georgia is going to need Mason to keep opposing defenses honest at times. Georgia's lack of consistency in its own secondary is going to force the Bulldogs into shootouts more times than not in SEC play.

Every team in the SEC East has flaws, and Georgia's—like the rest of the division—are glaring and plentiful. Quarterback is one of them. If the Bulldogs are going to emerge as the a contender in the division, Mason has to improve significantly. 

It would go a long way toward taking pressure off of Gurley and the inexperience and inconsistency in its own secondary. 

Receivers Justin Scott-Wesley and Malcolm Mitchell could be back from injury soon. When combined with healthy wideouts Michael Bennett and Chris Conley, there are plenty of options outside with more coming.

Mason hasn't done anything to suggest that it will matter.

Teams will continue to load the box and force him to beat them through the air, and until he proves he's up for the challenge, it will continue to be the "Todd Gurley Show."

That is, of course, if Bobo remembers he's still on the team.

 

Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer and video analyst for Bleacher Report, as well as a co-host of the CFB Hangover on Bleacher Report Radio (Sundays, 9-11 a.m. ET) on Sirius 93, XM 208.

Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. All stats are courtesy of cfbstats.com, and all recruiting information is courtesy of 247Sports. Follow Barrett on Twitter @BarrettSallee.

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South Florida vs. Wisconsin: Game Grades, Analysis for the Badgers

It was close at halftime, but the Wisconsin Badgers were able to open things up in the second half, leading to a 27-10 victory. Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon was held to 50 yards on 17 carries in the first two quarters, but he finished the game with 181 yards and two touchdowns.

South Florida was able to win the battle at the line of scrimmage before halftime, but Wisconsin controlled the offensive line in the second half, finishing with 294 total rushing yards.

South Florida freshman running back Marlon Mack was coming off a 103-yard performance against Connecticut, but he was held to 34 yards on 10 carries Saturday.

You can find the full box score here, courtesy of NCAA.com.

 

Pass Offense

The passing offense didn’t look very great today, but it wasn’t that bad either. Tanner McEvoy threw for 160 yards and one touchdown, but he missed some wide-open throws in this game also.

McEvoy has to improve as a passer moving forward, but Wisconsin doesn’t need him to be a Heisman candidate. The Badgers just need him to make plays and not turn the ball over, and today he did that.

 

Rush Offense

After limiting Gordon to 50 yards on 17 carries in the first half, the Badgers broke things open in the second half. Gordon finished the game with 181 yards and two touchdowns.

Corey Clement also played well, finishing with 77 yards on 16 carries.

The run offense is ultimately what won the game for the Badgers, gaining 294 yards. More importantly, the run game allowed them to eat up the clock in the fourth quarter, making it near impossible for South Florida to make a comeback.

 

Pass Defense

The pass defense played fairly well for the Badgers. South Florida had a couple of drops in the first half that could have been big plays, but Wisconsin only allowed 173 total passing yards and was able to come up with a big interception.

 

Run Defense

The Badgers front four played just as well as any unit in the second half. South Florida only gained 72 total yards on the ground, and Marlon Mack was held to 34 yards. Besides the 26-yard touchdown run by Rodney Adams, this was a solid performance from this unit.

 

Special Teams

We didn’t see anything bad from the Badgers special teams unit Saturday either. Kicker Rafael Gaglianone was 2-of-2 on his field-goal attempts, and Drew Meyers had a punt go inside the 20-yard line.

 

Coaching

The coaching was questionable in the first half because of the inability to break out offensively. The offense stalled in the red zone a couple of times, and I thought the play-calling could have been better.

The staff made the necessary adjustments at halftime, however, so it finished with a good grade. We knew Wisconsin would have to run the ball in the second half in order to win, and the staff called plays that allowed Gordon to get out into space and make plays.

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Penn State's True Colors Unveiled in Loss to Northwestern

Penn State entered Saturday’s Big Ten home opener against Northwestern with plenty of momentum and excitement under first-year coach James Franklin. 

The Nittany Lions were 4-0. They were entertaining thoughts of Big Ten contention following the NCAA’s decision to restore postseason eligibility after lifting a bowl ban connected to the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

A 29-6 defeat at the Wildcats' hands completely exposed those hopes, forcing the Lions to refocus their season.

A 1-2 Northwestern team—whose only win in three games came against Western Illinois—walked into Beaver Stadium and totally dominated the Nittany Lions, raising major concerns as Penn State moves into the meat of its league schedule.

Penn State failed to score a touchdown at home for the first time in nearly 10 years. The last time it happened? Oct. 23, 2004, when Kirk Ferentz and Iowa handed Penn State a 6-4 defeat; the Lions scored a pair of safeties, one an intentional safety by Iowa running out of the back of the end zone on a punt. It was also Northwestern’s first win in State College since a 14-7 victory in 2004.

Two weeks ago, James Franklin and the Lions generated good feelings with a fourth-quarter rally at Rutgers for a 13-10 victory, building on a season-opening last-play win over Central Florida. 

But once Northwestern built a 14-0 first-quarter lead, there was little hope of a rally.

Sophomore quarterback Christian Hackenberg struggled with accuracy, completing 22 of 45 passes for 216 yards with no touchdowns and an interception.

Big Ten Network cameras caught him arguing on the sidelines with senior tailback Bill Belton following an underthrown ball in the third quarter, per CBS Sports’ Tom Fornelli.

The Nittany Lions’ beleaguered offensive line labored to protect Hackenberg, and it also failed to open any holes for the Penn State running game.

Penn State gained just 50 yards on 25 running attempts, averaging 2.0 yards per carry. Belton was the leading rusher with 25 yards on eight carries.

Saturday, the Lions looked one-dimensional, which could prove to be a storyline for opposing defenses moving forward. If defenders don’t have to worry about the run game, it puts more pressure on Hackenberg, who now has four touchdowns against six interceptions on the season.

Hackenberg is a talented quarterback, but it remains unclear whether he can carry an offense by himself. He certainly didn’t do so against the Wildcats.

Penn State’s schedule doesn’t get any easier from here. Following an off week, the Lions travel to Michigan, which will be hungry for victories, and follow that with another off week and a visit from Ohio State.

With four wins as September ends, the Lions look like a postseason team. But hopes of Big Ten contention should be cast aside given the ugly Saturday that unfolded in Happy Valley.

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Todd Gurley vs. Tennessee: Stat Line, Highlights, Twitter Reaction

Todd Gurley bolstered his Heisman Trophy candidacy with another overpowering performance, setting a personal best in the process.

The junior led the Georgia Bulldogs to a 35-32 win over SEC rival Tennessee. The Macon Telegraph's Seth Emerson relayed the final damage amassed on 32 touches:

Late in the game, Gurley upped his total to 200 yards, setting a career high. Athlon Sports' David Fox's reaction to the mark shows just how tremendous the junior has been for the Bulldogs:

Gurley actually lost four yards on his last handoff, momentarily losing the milestone, before two late runs brought him north of 200. After gaining eight yards on 3rd-and-11, Mark Richt fed him the ball one last time, and the star sealed the victory with a four-yard run. 

It seems like Gurley received a full workload with 28 carries, but freshman Nick Chubb was given 11 of those rushes, which he turned into a more human 32 yards. Before the game, Tennessee coach Butch Jones commended Georgia's backfield, which would decimate his squad for 289 yards on the ground.

“Todd Gurley’s one of the best I’ve seen in a very long time, but I think their entire running back group is one of the best—if not the best—in the country when you look at it from top to bottom,” Jones told The Associated Press, via The Washington Post.

The highlight of Saturday's game came when Gurley flew through the air for one mesmerizing 26-yard run, as provided by ESPN SEC's Twitter page:

Lana Berry, formerly of Sports on Earth, wonders if it's fair to compare Gurley to any of us mere mortals:

No college players have an answer for him, but it won't be long until he takes the next leap to the NFL. ESPN's Sara Walsh is ready for his promotion:

He's certainly the type of rusher that fantasy football players will salivate over once he arrives in the pros. The 6'1", 226-pound back is impossible to bring down in one try. ESPN College Football shows how much he strives after initial contact:

Gurley now has an outstanding 606 rushing yards through four games, generating 8.9 yards per carry and six scores. He fell short of 100 yards once, and that's because he was given six touches during a 66-6 rout over Troy.

Is that enough to propel him to a Heisman Trophy? NFL.com's Albert Breer believes he and Alabama's Amari Cooper are worthwhile choices to take the award away from the quarterbacks:

Rightfully so or not, Georgia's team standing will likely impact Gurley's outlook. Whether or not the Bulldogs make some noise in the SEC, though, Gurley should be classified as one of college football's premier stars.

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Northwestern vs. Penn State: Game Grades, Analysis for the Nittany Lions

Penn State's offense sputtered through four quarters and was unable to find the end zone even once, as the Nittany Lions dropped their first game to Northwestern at Beaver Stadium since 2004.

Christian Hackenberg had a rough day, which was exacerbated by the offensive line's complete inability to protect him in the pocket or provide him any time to find open receivers.

Northwestern's defense did a great job of locking down receivers on coverage while pressuring Hackenberg and plugging up any running lanes.  All in all, Penn State had a terrible afternoon in nearly every aspect of the game, so we're going to need a parent or guardian to return this report card with a signature by Monday.

Box score via NCAA.com.

 

 

Pass Offense

Christian Hackenberg was 22-of-45 for 216 yards, no touchdowns and an interception.  While Hackenberg certainly struggled, a good deal of the issues rest solely with the offensive line that was so ineffective today.  Hacknberg rarely had time to let the play develop, and when he did, he often short-hopped the passes to his receivers.

A few deep completions make the yardage numbers look respectable, but overall, a very ugly day for the Penn State passing game.  A "C" is, we think, generous.

 

Run Offense

It really doesn't get much worse than it did today.  Granted, Penn State is a pass-first kind of team, but when the O-line struggles to protect the quarterback against a team like Northwestern, there's little hope for the running game to make up the difference.

Northwestern was swarming to the ball-carrier all afternoon and limited the Lions to just 2.1 yards per carry on 20 attempts.  Finishing with 50 rushing yards and no touchdowns barely allows us to pass the Nittany Lions—and we do that only because there was some improvement over the first half's performance of seven yards on 13 carries.

 

Pass Defense

The defense for Penn State wasn't nearly as atrocious as the offense, but there were still some glaring issues.  First off, as much as Penn State is a passing team with a passing quarterback, Northwestern is not.  Still, Trevor Siemian was able to find enough room to build up 258 yards through the air.

The Penn State defense did keep the areal attack out of the end zone, but Northwestern did use the passing game to set up several rushing touchdowns.

 

Run Defense

Like the pass defense, things weren't a complete loss here, but neither was there anything particularly impressive.  Northwestern was held to just 103 yards on 38 carries, but all three Northwestern touchdowns were scored by Siemian on the ground.

We have to mark the run defense down for giving up three touchdowns, but anything less than a "C" wouldn't be too harsh.

 

Special Teams

The special teams unit's biggest contribution to the game came in the form of punting, but Sam Ficken did add two field goals (on three attempts), giving Penn State its only points on the day.

That missed field goal was blocked, but what makes that so extra terrible is the fact that Northwestern only rushed four, as the Wildcats were in a "safe" formation, looking for the fake.

A punt return from Jesse Della Valle of 41 yards gives the Nittany Lions enough extra credit to earn a "C" here, but only just. 

 

Coaching

James Franklin now has his first loss as the head coach of Penn State, and what concerns us most is the inability of his team to make any substantial adjustments in order to crawl back into the game in the second half.

Penn State had been building its reputation on late comebacks, but today, it finally caught up with the Nittany Lions.  We'll be very interested to see how Franklin, his staff and his team respond to this loss in two weeks, but for today, we're giving the coaching a "C" for being unable to show us anything worthy of anything better.

 

Unless otherwise noted, quotes or references to quotes were obtained firsthand by the writer.

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Watch Todd Gurley's Insane 4th-Quarter Performance vs. Tennessee

When you feed Todd Gurley the ball, good things happen.

With the Georgia Bulldogs in a dogfight with the Tennessee Volunteers during Week 5 of the 2014 college football season, head coach Mark Richt decided to put the game in Gurley's hands.

Watch as the star running back breaks off a 51-yard touchdown run and follows it with a ridiculous hurdle over a Tennessee defender.  

Is Gurley atop the Heisman boards after this performance? Watch the video and let us know!  

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Tennessee vs. Georgia: Score and Twitter Reaction

The Tennessee Volunteers traveled to Athens and gave the No. 12 Georgia Bulldogs all they could handle on Saturday in an SEC showdown that resulted in a 35-32 victory for the home team. The Bulldogs may have notched the win, but Tennessee made them earn every single yard from the onset of the contest.

Volunteers quarterback Justin Worley got things going early for the visiting team, completing four of his first five passes to drive his offense 43 yards into field-goal range. Aaron Medley capped off the nine-play drive with a 46-yard kick to put Tennessee up 3-0.

Worley was back at it soon after, as the Volunteers defense thwarted the early efforts of Georgia quarterback Hutson Mason and forced a punt. The Tennessee signal-caller completed big passes to Ethan Wolf and Johnathan Johnson to move deep into Georgia territory, and running back Jalen Hurd finished off the nine-play, 72-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown plunge.

All of a sudden, Tennessee found itself up 10-0. SportsCenter tweeted the early score:

The Bulldogs wouldn't be denied for long, though. After Georgia's defense forced a three-and-out, a Matt Darr punt was returned 29 yards to the Tennessee 32 by Isaiah McKenzie. That return sparked the offense, as Todd Gurley began the drive with a 16-yard run and Mason finished it off with a three-yard scoring scamper.

ESPN College Football tweeted the result of the drive:

The second quarter started with Mason throwing an interception, leading Georgia to smartly lean on its running game on the ensuing drive. That turned out to be a brilliant idea, as Gurley and Nick Chubb pounded the Tennessee offense, combining to carry seven times on the drive. Gurley's one-yard touchdown leap gave Georgia its first lead of the day.

Eye on College Football noted just how close the running back's scoring plunge was:

After another Tennessee punt, the Bulldogs offense picked right up where it left off. Sony Michel entered the mix at running back and Mason relied on several short, high-percentage passes to move the ball down the field. A screen pass from Mason to Chubb capped off the drive, as the running back burned the defense for a 20-yard score.

Rivals.com noted how high the freshman was ranked heading to Georgia:

With the Bulldogs up 21-10, the Volunteers needed to answer before the half. Hurd answered the call. He rushed for 18 and 19 yards to kick off the drive. One 18-yard reception later, the running back put his offense in position to strike. A picture-perfect 23-yard pass from Worley to Jason Croom in the corner of the end zone got the Volunteers within four at the break.

Wes Rucker of 247Sports was certainly impressed:

The start of the third quarter began in ominous fashion for the Bulldogs, as Mason tossed his second interception of the day. However, Georgia's defense held strong and forced a punt on Tennessee's ensuing drive.

Tennessee appeared ready to take the lead late in the quarter, driving down to Georgia's 21-yard line; although, a fumble by Marlin Lane saw the Volunteers' drive come to a swift halt. The end result was a quarter that produced zero points.

That would all change in the game's final quarter.

After a few early punts, Gurley showed up in a big way for the Bulldogs. He was steady throughout the game, but appeared to only get stronger as the game went on. A five-play drive—featuring four Gurley runs—was finished with a blazing 51-yard touchdown scamper by the Heisman-contending running back.

SportsCenter tweeted its reaction to the run:

Not to be outdone, Worley stepped up in a big way for Tennessee on the ensuing drive. He tossed a 31-yard strike to Pig Howard for a touchdown, and followed that up with a scrambling, two-point conversion, via a floating pass to Daniel Helm.

Rivals.com enthusiastically tweeted the game's late drama:

The Volunteers forced a punt on Georgia's next drive; however, a brilliant kick from Collin Barber was downed at the 1-yard line. This led to disaster for Tennessee. Hurd was given the handoff from his own end zone, but he lost control of the ball and saw Georgia recover for a score.

ESPN College Football noted Hurd's great game, but that fumble sure hurt:

The Volunteers gained possession down by 10, and Worley continued his impressive play immediately. Big completions to Wolf and Croom allowed the offense to march deep inside Georgia territory, and facing a 3rd-and-goal, Worley found Marquez North in the back of the end zone for another touchdown.

Former NFL veteran Donte' Stallworth tweeted his impression on the Tennessee quarterback:

Suddenly, the Volunteers had new life, trailing by three points with two minutes remaining.

After a failed onside kick, Georgia attempted to keep the ball on the ground and kill the clock. The team was able to do just that with Gurley in the backfield. He carried six consecutive times, earned two first downs and finished off the Volunteers.

The running back finished with a career-best 208 rushing yards against Tennessee, via Seth Emerson of The Macon Telegraph:

Despite losing the game, Tennessee proved it can hang with the best the SEC has to offer. Worley appears to be the real deal under center, and the emergence of Hurd at the running back position was a breath of fresh air for the Volunteers.

Tennessee's remaining schedule isn't easy, with Ole Miss, Alabama and South Carolina comprising three ranked teams looming in the future. However, this is a young Volunteers team that certainly appears to have a very bright future ahead.

Georgia's win secures its position near the top of the nation's standings for another week. This team has bounced back nicely since a devastating loss to South Carolina, and Gurley continues to look like this year's Heisman favorite.

While only one ranked team remains on the Bulldogs' schedule—No. 5 Auburn—Georgia doesn't have it easy, as road games against Missouri and Arkansas could prove to be tricky. However, after the performance we was on Saturday, this team looks to have what it takes to win out from here.

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