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College Football 2012: Week 8 Recap
Sunday, 2012 October 21 - 12:11 pm
Well, that was quite a heart-attack inducing day. Michigan and N.C. State both pull off last-minute field goals to win their respective games 12-10 and 20-18.

Michigan 12, Michigan State 10.
On a day that was dominated by the two defenses, Michigan made just enough plays to win. Denard Robinson was bottled up most of the day, but did break one long run and made a number of crucial completions when we needed it (thanks largely to a heroic receiving effort from Drew Dileo). Michigan State's offense had its ups and downs; Leveon Bell was shut down but Andrew Maxwell frequently managed to find freshman receiver Aaron Burbridge to keep drives alive. Really, the two teams looked similar on both sides of the ball; I think Michigan's defense was just slightly better overall.

I'm still a bit concerned with Al Borges' play calling, but I can see that perhaps he was reluctant to have Denard throw downfield in the face of constant blitzing... the Notre Dame game probably weighed heavily in his mind. It's fortunate that Michigan's defense is playing so spectacularly.

Grades: Offense C, Defense A.

Heroes: Drew Dileo, Brendan Gibbons, Jake Ryan.

Goats: Al Borges, Clock Management, Offensive Line.

It's a win. It breaks the Spartans' 4-game winning streak in the series. I'll take it.

Michigan plays at Nebraska next week; that'll be another tough game.

N.C. State 20, Maryland 18.
N.C. State struggled to get its offense going, with the ground game once again going south. The defense held up well in the first half, staking the Wolfpack to a 10-3 lead, but in the second half Maryland started rushing the ball well, leading to a touchdown and three field goals. But a couple of key things kept State's hopes alive: a 68-yard completion to Bryan Underwood, and a missed extra point by Maryland. Thanks to that, N.C. State found itself down by just two with 2:17 remaining. I was watching this game just as the Michigan game ended, so the parallels were eerily similar.

Glennon managed to drive down to the Maryland 26 and Niklas Sade kicked a 43-yarder to take the lead. The problem was that Maryland still had 32 seconds to work with, and on the ensuing drive they got all the way down to the N.C. State 15 yard line. But Brad Craddock hit the upright on his 33-yard attempt and State escaped with the win. Wow.

N.C. State plays UNC next week in what will be a huge game.

Around the Big Ten
Ohio State got lucky, plain and simple, beating Purdue in overtime 29-22. The Buckeyes tied the game on the last second of regulation even without Braxton Miller, who was taken off in an ambulance with concussion-like symptoms. This was really a game Purdue should have won; they'll be kicking themselves over this one. Meanwhile Ohio State continues to show weakness, and they'll have a tough match against a resurgent Penn State team next week.

Speaking Penn State, they've been looking strong lately; they beat Iowa 38-14. Now I'm kind of glad Michigan won't face them this year. Coach Bill O'Brien is doing quite a job with an undermanned squad.

Nebraska scored a late touchdown to squeeze out a win against Northwestern.

Indiana lost to Navy 31-30. Indiana, ugh.

Other Notable Games
UNC lost to Duke 33-30. Duke is improbably at the top of the ACC Coastal Division standings; however, with Florida State, Clemson, Georgia Tech, and Miami left on the schedule, a big reality check is coming.

#1 Alabama stomped Tennessee 44-13. Tennessee is a good team but is sitting at 0-4 in the SEC, which should tell you something about the SEC.

#2 Florida ripped #7 South Carolina 44-11. Florida has undergone a complete transformation since the Urban Meyer days and now they're starting to look dominant. They'll likely face Alabama in the SEC championship, and the winner of that game will probably play Oregon. We're in for an entertaining post-season.

#4 Kansas State isn't out of the title picture, either. They routed #13 West Virginia 55-14.

#5 Notre Dame scored a fourth-quarter touchdown to get by BYU 17-14. Like Ohio State, Notre Dame's reckoning day is coming... this is not a top-5 team.

#6 LSU managed to beat Texas A&M 24-19 in a pretty good game. A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel threw three interceptions and that was the difference in the game.

#11 Georgia didn't look great in beating 1-7 Kentucky 29-24. Georgia is over-ranked; I'm predicting that they will get absolutely crushed by Florida next week.

#14 Florida State beat Miami 33-20, and remind me again how N.C. State managed to beat those guys? FSU will likely be 10-1 when they face Florida at the end of the year.

#17 Texas Tech beat #23 TCU 56-53 in triple-overtime.

#19 Clemson stomped Virginia Tech 38-17. VT's having a rough year, and they have Miami and Florida State in the next two weeks.

Toledo upset #21 Cincinnati 29-23.

#24 Iowa State lost badly to Oklahoma State, 31-10.

#25 Texas beat Baylor 56-50. Is there any defense in the state of Texas this year?

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