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Michigan vs. Michigan State: Score and Twitter Reaction

The little brother is all grown up now. And boy, does he keep beating up on the big brother.

For the sixth time in the past seven years, Michigan State defeated Michigan, hammering the Wolverines in the 2014 edition of the rivalry, 35-11. The Wolverines finally ended a streak of 11 quarters without a touchdown against the Spartans in garbage time, but the damage was long done by then. 

ESPN Stats and Information passes along a stat that will be beloved in East Lansing and loathed in Ann Arbor:

Behind a brilliant defensive effort (Michigan State forced three turnovers and held Michigan to 186 total yards), running back Jeremy Langford's huge afternoon (35 carries for 177 rushing yards and three touchdowns) and a steady performance from Connor Cook (12-of-22 with 227 passing yards, a passing touchdown and no turnovers), the Spartans dominated from the start and never looked back.

Michigan State set the tone early, receiving the opening kickoff and marching down the field. Langford capped off the eight-play, 75-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown plunge to give Sparty the lead. 

Much of the first half was a defensive struggle, but things heated up late. Michigan was finally able to get on the board with just over four minutes remaining in the half, as Jarrod Wilson forced a Josiah Price fumble at Michigan State's 31-yard line. Michigan couldn't gain a single yard on the subsequent drive, but Matt Wile bailed out the Wolverines, hitting a 48-yard field goal.

Michigan State wasn't about to offer Michigan a sliver of momentum, however. The Spartans promptly ripped off a nine-play, 73-yard drive capped by another Langford touchdown to take a 14-3 lead into the half. 

Suffice to say, the first 30 minutes were a Sparty-dominated affair. Just consider this stat from Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports:

Michigan's sputtering offense didn't provide a very entertaining product for the neutral fan, as Andrew Siciliano of NFL Network noted:

Michigan State's defense would continue its dominance in the third quarter. RJ Williamson would return a Devin Gardner interception 279 yards for a score, and the Spartans would shut down Michigan on its next drive.

That would set up Cook and the Spartans offense to deal the finishing blow. On the first play of Michigan State's drive, the quarterback connected with Tony Lippett on a 70-yard touchdown strike, giving the Spartans a 28-3 lead.

Game, set and match. 

Or was it? Michigan finally awoke on offense after that, putting together a seven-play, 69-yard drive that put the Wolverines in scoring range. But the Spartans tightened, and Gardner was stuffed a yard short on fourth down from Michigan State's 10-yard line, which killed another drive.

It was a rough afternoon for Gardner. He finished 13-of-28 with 121 passing yards and two interceptions, and the low point came when he threw the following interception to Taiwan Jones at the Michigan State 35-yard line. Teddy Mitrosilis of Fox Sports passes along the play that very well might define this Michigan squad:

De'Veon Smith's one-yard touchdown run would end Michigan's touchdown drought against Michigan State, but Sparty couldn't even let the Wolverines have that moment, as they promptly drove down the field and scored again, with Langford reaching the end zone for a third time. The rout was complete.

SportsCenter on Twitter passed along the score:

Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports thinks Michigan fans upset by the late touchdown might just be missing the point:

Not surprisingly, one of the themes in the aftermath of this loss will be Brady Hoke's job security or, perhaps more accurately, lack thereof. Albert Breer of NFL.com is among those who think the coach's time is up:

It's hard to see Hoke surviving this season. It might be a bit jarring on the team to cut him loose now, but it's become pretty clear that the program needs a change. 

But hey, misery loves company, and as Bleacher Report's Matt Miller noted, the Wolverines are far from the only prominent program to have fallen on hard times:

For Michigan State, meanwhile, a November 8 meeting against Ohio State now looms large. The winner of that game not only all but buys its ticket to the Big Ten Championship Game but also keeps its playoff hopes alive.

The Michigan vs. Ohio State game once was the highlight of the Big Ten season. These days, it's the Spartans and Buckeyes who are doing battle for all the marbles. It's just another reminder that the balance of power in the state of Michigan has started to trend toward the green side. 

Perhaps KC Joyner of ESPN put it best:

More than a few folks would argue that such a transformation has already occurred. 

 

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Mississippi State vs. Kentucky: Score and Twitter Reaction

Kentucky gave No. 1 Mississippi State all it could handle, but running back Josh Robinson had a huge day to help the Bulldogs survive with a 45-31 win on the road.

Robinson led the way for Mississippi State with 198 rushing yards and two touchdowns in a dominant showing for the junior. Heisman candidate Dak Prescott had a big day as well with 216 passing yards and 88 rushing yards, including three scores.

Quarterback Patrick Towles had a great effort for Kentucky with four total touchdowns, 390 passing yards, 76 rushing yards and even 11 receiving yards. Unfortunately, he didn't get enough help as the Wildcats fell to 5-3 on the season.

Both teams topped 500 total yards of offense in the game, but the Bulldogs had more balance to come away with the win and remain undefeated.

Mississippi State started the game exactly the way it wanted to with a defensive stop and an easy first drive that went 82 yards and ended with a touchdown. However, Kentucky answered quickly with a huge play by wide receiver Demarco Robinson, who went 67 yards for his own touchdown:

Kyle Tucker of The Courier-Journal noted the impact of this play:

The Bulldogs kept moving the ball, though, scoring a field goal and then a touchdown to take a 17-7 lead. The score came on a Prescott rushing touchdown, which Sports Illustrated noted is not fun for the defense:

Jon Solomon of CBS Sports provided his overall analysis of the elite offense:

Still, Kentucky hung around and went into halftime only down 17-10. Matt Jones of Kentucky Radio was impressed despite the team not playing extremely well:

Meanwhile, head coach Mark Stoops believed his team had an upset bid at halftime, via Mark Story of Kentucky.com:

The second half continued with the back-and-forth style. Prescott scored an impressive rushing touchdown to put MSU up 24-10. That was followed by a great drive by Towles, who capped it off with his own 10-yard run into the end zone to bring the Wildcats back within one touchdown, at 24-17.

Tim Brando of Fox Sports discussed the excitement in the close game:

The problem was Kentucky's defense simply could not stop the Bulldogs from putting points on the board. Mississippi State went up 31-17 on a three-play, 81-yard drive that included an incredible 22-yard run by Robinson:

Once again, Kentucky answered with a 58-yard touchdown pass from Towles to Javess Blue.

After a few defensive stops, it was Robinson again who came through for Mississippi State. On a big 3rd-and-1, the running back got the ball up the middle and took it to the house for a 73-yard touchdown run to put his team up 38-24. 

ESPN's Travis Haney was impressed with the play:

The Wildcats did eventually cut the lead in half with another Towles rushing touchdown with 2:31 remaining in regulation. With a successful onside kick, Kentucky would have had the ball with a chance to tie. Unfortunately, Mississippi State's Christian Holmes returned the onside kick attempt all the way for a touchdown to extend the lead to 45-31. 

Gary Parrish of CBS Sports gave his opinion on Kentucky's final chance:

The game was a lot closer than the final score would indicate, but Mississippi State survived and moved to 7-0 on the season. 

Kentucky will now try to remain competitive in the SEC East with consecutive battles at Missouri and then against Georgia at home. Even after a couple of slip-ups this year, the Wildcats have a chance to play their way into the conference title game with a little help.

Playing the Bulldogs close didn't really seem possible after a 41-3 loss last week to LSU, but this squad can surprise people if it plays as well as it did Saturday. 

Mississippi State will return home next week to face Arkansas, which knows how to keep games close but still has not won a conference game in 16 tries. Despite this stat, Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins create a rushing attack the Bulldogs shouldn't overlook.

As the No. 1 team in the country, the Bulldogs have their sights on a national championship and will have to do whatever it takes to stay undefeated. They did that successfully against Kentucky.

 

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

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UCLA's Double OT Scare vs. Colorado Raises Serious Questions About Bruins

Missed opportunities and self-inflicted errors nearly cost No. 25 UCLA in its 40-37, double-overtime win at Colorado Saturday, and the Bruins head into a critical four-game stretch left with more questions than answers...

Read the full article on Bleacher Report...

Mississippi State's Christian Holmes Returns Onside Kick for TD vs. Kentucky

The unranked Kentucky Wildcats were down just seven against the Mississippi State Bulldogs with a chance to recover an onside kick.

Any hope of upsetting the No. 1 team in the nation quickly faded away, though, with just under three minutes left in the game.

The Wildcats' onside kick attempt went right at Christian Holmes, who then returned the ball 61 yards for a touchdown to give the Bulldogs a 45-31 lead.


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Ohio State vs. Penn State: Live Score and Highlights

Ohio State 17, Penn State 0 — Late 2nd quarter

Game action is now underway between No. 13 Ohio State (5-1) and Penn State (4-2). ABC is televising the matchup nationally from Beaver Stadium.

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

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Davis Webb Injury: Updates on Texas Tech QB's Leg and Return

Texas Tech quarterback Davis Webb exited a matchup against TCU in the third quarter with a leg injury.

Max Olson of ESPN.com passed along news of the injury for the signal-caller:

Webb has gone through an up-and-down season for the Red Raiders, but has been a catalyst for the offense. The sophomore has 2,525 passing yards, 24 touchdowns and 13 interceptions this season after leaving the game.

Olson also noted that Patrick Mahomes would assume Webb's role:

The contest was already lopsided prior to Webb's exit, so the focus now will be on the health of the quarterback. Mahomes was a 3-star quarterback, per 247Sports, but doesn't offer the same experience of Webb.

Even with the criticism that comes along with being a quarterback for the Red Raiders, Webb has found success, via Associate Director Scott Lacefield:

If Webb is forced to miss time, it will be up to Mahomes to step up and lead the offense against a tough upcoming slate. Facing the likes of Texas, Oklahoma and Baylor in the last four games, not having Webb on the field might be crippling for Texas Tech.

 

Follow @RCorySmith on Twitter.

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Michigan's Devin Gardner Throws Shovel Pass Directly to Michigan State Player

It's been a season to forget for the Michigan Wolverines, and plays like this are a big reason why.

Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner tried to improvise with a shovel pass on Saturday against the Michigan State Spartans.

The only problem was that there wasn't a Wolverines receiver in sight. Instead, the pass went straight to Michigan State's Taiwan Jones for the interception.

[Vine]

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Mississippi State's Josh Robinson Refuses to Go Down During Video Game Style Run

Mississippi State Bulldogs running back Josh Robinson knows jst how important it is to keep his legs moving during plays, as it goes a long way in breaking tackles.

In the third quarter of Saturday's game against the Kentucky Wildcats, Robinson broke multiple tackles and reversed field to pick up a big gain. 

Robinson's effort was a big reason the Bulldogs were able to drive down the field, eventually capping off the drive with a touchdown to go up 31-17.

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Alabama vs. Tennessee: Live Score and Highlights

Alabama 27, Tennessee 10—Halftime

The No. 4 Alabama Crimson Tide are looking to continue their hot streak against the Tennessee Volunteers.

ESPN2 is carrying the conference meeting. Bleacher Report is providing live scoring updates and in-game analysis. Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Ole Miss vs. LSU: Live Score and Highlights

Ole Miss 7, LSU 3—Early 3rd Quarter

LSU may not have had the start to the 2014 season Tigers fans hoped to see, but Les Miles has his program on the upswing as the No. 24 Tigers host the No. 3-ranked Rebels from Ole Miss.  The last time these two teams met in such a pivotal game was that epic December 5, 1970 contest in which Archie Manning led the No. 16 Rebels to a 61-17 victory over the No. 8 Tigers.

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Lane Kiffin Is Escorted by 6 Cops in Return to Tennessee's Neyland Stadium

Alabama Crimson Tide offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin made sure to have plenty of security around him when returning to Knoxville on Saturday.

The former Tennessee Volunteers head coach exited the bus at Neyland Stadium on Saturday and was escorted by six police officers to ensure that nothing bad would happen.

Considering how unpopular Kiffin is in Knoxville, it was probably a good idea to bring some extra security.

[YouTube]

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Heisman Candidate Ameer Abdullah Makes Nebraska a Potential Playoff Crasher

Think Nebraska doesn't have a shot at the playoffs? As Lee Corso would say, "Not so fast, my friend." With Heisman candidate Ameer Abdullah leading the way, the Huskers can't be counted out just yet. As Bleacher Report's own Adam Kramer pointed out, Nebraska's chances are intriguing:

Abdullah only adds to it.

Against Rutgers, Abdullah had an impressive 225 rushing yards. Those yards increased his season rushing total to 1,249 yards. Abdullah has excelled against more opponents then just Rutgers, though. He hasn't just excelled at running the ball, either.

"He is very good. Very good," Rutgers senior defensive end David Milewski said. "All around, he did everything, caught the ball, ran the ball and returned the ball. I think he is good as advertised."

That's what Abdullah does. He's an all-purpose back who's not afraid to do what he needs to do to help the Huskers win. If that means he's blocking on one play, that means he's blocking. It simply doesn't matter to the senior.

"It's about being as good as I can in every area and not being good in certain areas and not so good in other areas," Abdullah said. "I want to maximize my potential as much as I can in everything I do."

That mindset has paid off for the senior. He had 341 all-purpose yards against Rutgers, which set a school record. He surpassed Roy Helu's 321 all-purpose yards against Missouri in 2010. Making it even better, this was also his second 300-yard all-purpose game this season. He's the only player in the nation to accomplish that this season so far. Big Ten Network shared the play that placed Abdullah in the history books as the Huskers' all-time leading receiver:

Does that mean Abdullah can lead this team to the College Football Playoff? It won't be easy, but he's making a strong case.

While it may seem unlikely, as Kramer noted, the Huskers are still in the hunt for the playoff. According to CBSSports.com, Nebraska is one of 12 teams with an outside chance to make it. But can it really be done?

First, the Huskers will need to win out. In order to do so, Nebraska will have to play at the highest level possible, something it didn't do against Rutgers, according to head coach Bo Pelini.

"Sloppy. Bad communication. Missed assignments. Dropping coverage when the quarterback scrambles. Things that will get you beaten down the line. It didn't get us beaten today, but it will get you beaten down the line. We've got to get some things fixed. We need to have some discipline on the defensive side of the ball. We were undisciplined."

The coach then put it on himself and his staff to make sure the errors are corrected. As he said, those types of errors (like turnovers and Josh Mitchell's lateral pass attempt) could cost Nebraska wins down the road. Teams such as Wisconsin and Iowa will be looking for Nebraska to make mistakes.

Speaking of upcoming opponents, the Huskers also need the remainder of their opponents to keep winning. Unfortunately, Minnesota didn't help that by losing 28-24 to Illinois on Saturday. However, Wisconsin won big over Maryland, and as long as the Badgers keep that up, it will only help Nebraska.

Ultimately, if the Huskers do win out, it's going to be about winning the Big Ten Championship. Whether the opponent is Michigan State or Ohio State, Nebraska will need a victory in Indianapolis to keep the playoff dream alive.

But is that dream actually worth having? The answer is absolutely. Nebraska is not down for the count just yet, and with Abdullah leading the way, the potential is still there. However, Abdullah knows the performance against Rutgers isn't going to be enough.

"I know personally we have so much more out there for us. We won by 18, and I know we could have played so much better. We should have played much better. So this sounds good, but we've got to be much better. We can't keep talking like, 'What could have been.' We've got to do it, and it starts with preparation."

November is going to be a big month for Nebraska. How the Huskers come away from it will determine a lot about the team's playoff potential. The one aspect Nebraska can count on is Abdullah, who is determined to lead the team to more victories.

As the I-back said, there's more out there for the Huskers. It's now about making it happen.

 

All quotes and statistics were obtained firsthand via the Huskers' postgame press conference, unless otherwise noted.

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Jameis Winston Crab Leg Incident Turns into Great Couple Halloween Costume Idea

As Halloween approaches, sports fans are coming up with all kinds of great costume ideas.

In honor of the crab leg incident involving Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, this clever couple costume idea was created. 

Winston probably wouldn't be a fan of the costumes, but he's likely in the minority here.

[Instagram, h/t Black Sports Online]

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UNLV's Kendal Keys Makes Diving TD Grab After Deflection vs. Utah State

That's one way for a true freshman to make a name for himself.

During the second quarter of Saturday's game against Utah State, UNLV freshman wide receiver Kendal Keys made this incredible diving touchdown grab after the ball was deflected up in the air.

The touchdown helped the Rebels cut the Aggies' lead down to just 10-7.

[Vine]

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Wisconsin Football: Are Badgers True Threats in Race for Big Ten Title?

It hasn’t been the easiest first half of the season for Wisconsin.

The Badgers’ College Football Playoff hopes went on life support after blowing a 17-point second-half lead in the opener against LSU and flatlined following an ugly 20-14 loss to Northwestern. However, the Badgers still have hope for the second half of 2014, and Saturday’s 52-7 rout of Maryland serves as Exhibit A.

The Terrapins entered Madison with a quality 5-2 record but didn’t put up anything resembling a fight. In the process, Wisconsin showed why it can still be a Big Ten title contender.

The Badgers have one of the nation’s best running games and a defense that is showing improvement: Stefon Diggs’ touchdown with less than a minute to play was the only thing that kept Wisconsin from its first FBS shutout since the 2013 season opener against UMass.

And few, if any teams, can match the backfield firepower that Wisconsin has with junior tailback Melvin Gordon. Wisconsin entered Saturday as the nation’s No. 2 rushing offense, averaging an astounding 343 rushing yards per game. Gordon entered as the nation’s second-leading rusher, and he backed it up with a 122-yard, three-touchdown effort against the Terrapins.

Gordon has surpassed 100 yards and scored at least one touchdown in all but one game this season (a 17-carry, 38-yard effort against FCS Western Illinois). He is a legit Heisman Trophy candidate whose campaign could be enhanced by his team’s overall success.

The Badgers play three of their final five games away from Camp Randall Stadium, traveling to Rutgers, Purdue and Iowa. Of those three, only the trip to Kinnick Stadium could be considered dangerous. And keep this in mind: Maryland beat Iowa 38-31 last week in College Park.

Wisconsin’s biggest game is at home: No. 16 Nebraska visits Nov. 15 with two of the nation’s top tailbacks (Gordon and Nebraska senior Ameer Abdullah) facing off. Playing in raucous Camp Randall is a major edge for the Badgers, especially with potentially dicey November weather conditions in play.

Win that game, and Wisconsin would likely be the Big Ten West Division champion, with a shot at facing either Michigan State or Ohio State in the Big Ten title game.

The Badgers would be an underdog in that game, but given the struggles of the season’s first half, it would be a victory just to get that far. And the way Gary Andersen’s team is playing right now, there’s no reason to count Wisconsin out of the league race.

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Kentucky's Blake McClain Blasts Mississippi State's Joe Morrow

The Mississippi State Bulldogs are playing their first game in school history ranked as the No. 1 team in the nation, but the Kentucky Wildcats are trying their best to pull off the major upset.

During the first quarter of Saturday's game, Bulldogs quarterback Dak Prescott threw a soft pass to wide receiver Joe Morrow, who got blasted by Kentucky defensive back Blake McClain.

The pass fell incomplete.

[Vine]

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Ameer Abdullah vs. Rutgers: Stat Line, Heisman Impact and Reaction

Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah put on a record-setting, all-purpose show in the Cornhuskers' 42-24 win over Rutgers on Saturday. His dominant display will almost surely put his name back in contention for the Heisman Trophy.

Abdullah's 341 all-purpose yards set a school record and are the second-most in the history of the Big Ten, per ESPN Stats & Info:

He ripped off touchdown runs of 53 and 48 yards in the second quarter, setting the tone for what would be an extraordinary day on the ground. Mike Welch of 93.7 The Ticket had this to say about Abdullah's moves:

As if ripping off insanely long gains from scrimmage wasn't enough, Abdullah electrified the crowd with a 76-yard kickoff return during the contest. Sports Illustrated's Zac Ellis was in awe of the performance:

This fan, Tunnel Walk of Shame, could hardly fathom Abdullah's video game-style runs:

ESPN provided a look at his third touchdown of the day, which came on a 23-yard burner in the fourth quarter:

The senior halfback seemed deeply appreciative of the opportunity to put on a show in a Cornhuskers jersey.

"Every time I step on the field, whether practice or games, I'm always creating memories here," Abdullah said after the game, via The Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com). "These are always things I'm going to remember, coming here and playing football for this great university."

Abdullah's name has been conspicuously absent from the Heisman discussion as of late, through no fault of his own. Nebraska has underwhelmed at times this season, and the Big Ten has lost its luster in recent years. 

Georgia running back Todd Gurley's suspension opens the door for Abdullah to make his case as the premier tailback in the nation.

He does face stiff competition from Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon and Indiana's Tevin Coleman, but Abdullah's electric style and ability to hurt teams in every facet of the game give him the edge over these two.

It's quite likely that the trophy goes to a quarterback like Oregon's Marcus Mariota or Mississippi State's Dak Prescott. However, don't be surprised if the words "Abdullah" and "Heisman" appear together in headlines across the nation as the season comes to a close.

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Kansas State's November Schedule Will Make or Break Wildcats in Playoff Race

If you had told people this summer that Kansas State would be the Big 12’s top College Football Playoff contender in late October, they’d probably have looked at you kind of funny.

What about Baylor? Or Oklahoma?

Yet, as we head toward November, that appears to be the case. Following Saturday’s 23-0 whipping of the Texas Longhorns, the Wildcats are in perfect position to make a playoff run. At 6-1 and the only team, they should be the league’s highest-ranked team when the first College Football Playoff Top 25 poll is released Tuesday evening. ESPN's Adam Rittenberg and Jake Trotter shared their thoughts about Kansas State and the College Football Playoff:

Can they become one of the nation’s top four teams when the playoff bracket is finalized in early December? Yes, but it won’t be easy. Not anywhere close.

The Wildcats’ remaining schedule is brutal, and K-State must improve an offense that has sputtered at times this season.

Following next week’s home date with a dangerous Oklahoma State team, Bill Snyder and Co. must travel to No. 10 TCU. After a bye, K-State will have a treacherous Thursday night trip to No. 22 West Virginia. An in-state rivalry date against hapless Kansas appears to be a gimme, but the Wildcats end the regular season with a Dec. 6 contest at No. 12 Baylor.

For those scoring at home, that's three conference road games against ranked opponents, along with a home meeting versus an Oklahoma State team that was ranked No. 15 in the nation last week. None of those games will be easy, and Kansas State must win out to have any shot at the playoff.

If Kansas State wants to make it through that tough slate of games, its offense will need to be a lot more lethal.

Senior quarterback Jake Waters is a dual-threat and a solid but not spectacular quarterback—especially when compared with the likes of TCU’s Trevone Boykin and Baylor’s Bryce Petty. Saturday, Waters completed 19 of 30 passes for 224 yards with zero interceptions, but he also threw zero touchdowns. The Wildcats also had more field goals (three) than touchdowns (two). ESPN Insider Travis Haney provided historical insight about K-State's shutout of Texas:

Penalties ruined a pair of K-State drives that could have led to more, as a holding penalty wiped out a long Waters pass to Tyler Lockett that would’ve set the ‘Cats up inside the Texas 10.

“I’m not too happy with the offensive execution we had,” Snyder told ESPN's television broadcast afterward. “I’m awfully proud of the guys maintaining possession of the ball, not making mistakes. But we got penalties, and a couple of penalties cost us with gargantuan plays. We took 14 points off the board with penalties.”

K-State’s defense is impressive: Saturday marked the program’s first shutout of a Big 12 foe since 2003, and it was the first time Texas had been shut out in league play since 2004. David Ubben of Fox Sports Southwest is impressed with K-State's defense: 

That defense will keep the Wildcats competitive on the road, but they'll need more firepower to survive that incredibly tough stretch and make their unlikely College Football Playoff run a reality.

Should K-State win out, it could have a compelling playoff case. Slip up once and the dream is over. The Wildcats are on the right path, but they have no margin for error.

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Stanford's Christian McCaffrey Spins Free for 42-Yard TD vs. Oregon State

The Stanford Cardinal got on the board early on Saturday against the Oregon State Beavers thanks to a creative move downfield.

After catching a pass from Kevin Hogan, Stanford's Christian McCaffrey spun out an Oregon State defender and ran 42 yards for the opening touchdown. 

Christian is the son of former NFL wide receiver Ed McCaffrey, who spent 13 seasons in the league, so it's safe to say he made his dad proud with that spin move.

[Vine]

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Rutgers vs. Nebraska: Game Grades, Analysis for the Cornhuskers

After nearly a month away from home, Bo Pelini and No. 16 University of Nebraska (7-1) returned to Memorial Stadium and treated their fans to a 42-24 demolition of Rutgers University (5-3) Saturday afternoon.

The Cornhuskers backfield of Tommy Armstrong and Ameer Abdullah fueled an offense that piled up 455 total yards against a solid Rutgers defense. Pelini's squad is surging after the Michigan State University loss and has re-established itself as a contender in the West Division.

How did the Cornhuskers grade out from their impressive 18-point victory?

Nebraska Cornhuskers Grade Analysis

Pass Offense: Armstrong got off to a slow start, connecting on just six of his first 14 passes for 76 yards and an interception in the first half. He rebounded in the third quarter, through, throwing perfectly placed touchdown passes to Sam Cotton and Jordan Westerkamp on back-to-back drives. He finished with 163 passing yards and those two touchdown passes, completing 63.6 percent of his passes on the day. 

Run Offense: Abdullah paced Nebraska’s offense once again, running for 225 yards on 19 carries, averaging 11.8 yards per carry. He added three touchdowns on the ground, bringing his season total to 17. The Cornhuskers rushed for 292 yards total, completely overwhelming a solid Rutgers defensive front.

Pass Defense: It was a shaky start for Nebraska’s secondary as Gary Nova threw for 129 yards in the first quarter, highlighted by a 71-yard touchdown pass to Leonte Carroo. But the Cornhuskers settled in, allowing just 27 passing yards in the second quarter before Nova was knocked out of the game with a knee injury. Backup quarterback Chris Laviano didn’t have much success through the air, and Rutgers finished with just 205 passing yards Saturday afternoon.

Run Defense: Rutgers running back Desmon Peoples had a big game against Ohio State University last week, rushing for 83 yards and two touchdowns on just 15 carries. But the sophomore struggled against Nebraska, gaining just 32 yards on 12 carries. Laviano provided a spark in the second half, running for 54 yards on five carries. But the Scarlet Knights were largely held in check. 

Special Teams: Nebraska dominated all three phases of the game, including a big edge in special teams. While Drew Brown misfired on a 42-yard field-goal attempt, the Cornhuskers came away with a blocked field-goal kick in the second quarter, and Abdullah busted an impressive 76-yard kickoff return in the second half.

Coaching: Pelini's staff called a good game on both sides of the ball. The defense adjusted nicely to Nova's fast start in the first half by completely shutting him down in the second quarter. The coaches also did a good job of tweaking the defense to limit Laviano's running ability in the fourth quarter. The offense maintained its identity throughout the game, which wisely highlighted Abdullah. 

This team is getting better every week, and that's a credit to the coaching staff.

 

All stats via NCAA.com.

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