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Hey Dan, thanks for being my only subscriber! Yeah I'll be rooting for Penn State (Memphis is a weir...
On College Football 2019: Final
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Thanks for the great articles this year Ken! I hope the Big 19 kicks ass in the bowl games. See you...
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College Football Recap
Tuesday, 2007 November 6 - 6:53 pm
Michigan 28, Michigan State 24. N.C. State 19, Miami 16.

Michigan 28, Michigan State 24. Wow. Wow. Michigan blew a 14-3 first half lead to go down 24-14 in the third quarter, but Chad Henne orchestrated an unbelievable comeback to lead the Wolverines to their sixth straight victory over the Spartans.

Michigan's offense was sluggish early in the game. In the first half, they had a big run from Mike Hart, and took advantage of a Brian Hoyer interception, to score their two touchdowns. But they also had five drives end in a punt (and one fourth-down interception).

The defense gave up a long drive for a field goal to start the game, but otherwise held up pretty well. (A crushing hit from Chris Graham on Javon Ringer made all the ESPN highlight reels.) We can thank Hoyer for missing several open receivers along the way, and for being generally ineffective.

In the second half, Michigan State started to dominate the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. In a drive featuring 13 rushing plays and just one pass, State closed the gap to 14-10 while chewing up 6:49 on the clock. Javon Ringer had a 71-yard run after Shawn Crable missed a tackle and Ringer reversed his field. (To Crable's credit, he did run down Ringer to save the touchdown, but State still scored on the next play.) And in the fourth quarter, State had a drive of eight rushing plays and two pass plays for another touchdown to go up 24-14. Michigan's defensive line was getting blown off the ball at this point; they looked very tired. The offense was doing nothing: their first four second-half possessions had ended in punts. Henne tried to hit Manningham on deep fly routes several times, but missed him; perhaps it was the gusty winds, perhaps it was his injured shoulder.

But then an amazing thing happened. Chad Henne came alive, finding receivers open on out routes. He was 5-6 for 39 yards on the next drive, capping it with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Greg Mathews. With Michigan behind 24-21 now, the defense stiffened, stopping runs by Ringer and Jehuu Caulcrick for a three-and-out. On the next drive, Henne was 5-7 for 76 yards, and put up the winning touchdown with a breathtaking 31-yard pass to Mario Manningham.

And when State turned the ball over on downs with 1:10 left to play, the game was over.

After the game, Michigan players held a "moment of silence" on the field... that was in response to Mark Dantonio's comment about having a moment of silence to mark Michigan's loss to Appalachian State. And Mike Hart, in an interview, said that while Michigan was down by ten, he was laughing: "Sometimes, you get your little brother excited when you're playing basketball; let them get the lead, and then you come back."

The Spartans didn't like Michigan's post game antics too much, but remember, this was the team than planted a flag on Notre Dame's field. And Dantonio deserved to be paid back for his moment of silence crack.

Satisfying. Immensely satisfying.

N.C. State 19, Miami 16. Ordinarily, this might be treated as a win of historic proportions for the Wolfpack, but this year's Miami team is an oddly schizophrenic one, beating teams like Texas A&M and Florida State, but also losing to UNC. And on Saturday, Miami was without quarterback Kyle Wright, and used inexperienced backup quarterback Kirby Freeman.

Freeman completed one pass all day, on 14 attempts... unless you want to count the three passes he completed to N.C. State defenders.

And so while NCSU was outgained 398-317, and though they committed eight penalties for 50 yards, Miami's complete ineptitude in the passing game was enough to determine the outcome of the game. So with that, NCSU gets its fourth win of the year, and now a bowl game isn't entirely out of the realm of possibility. Go figure that one.

Other News

#1 Ohio State beat #21 Wisconsin 38-17, in perhaps its most impressive win to date. Wisconsin plays Michigan next week; Ohio State plays Illinois. Both are tough matches; neither will have any consequence in determining the Big Ten title, which is now down to Michigan and OSU.

#2 Boston College lost to Florida State 27-17, finally exposing BC and their cupcake schedule.

#3 LSU took advantage of a late turnover to beat #17 Alabama 41-34. It must have been pretty sweet for LSU to beat their former coach, Nick Saban.

#5 Oregon looked mighty impressive downing formerly-unbeated #4 Arizona State 35-23.

#8 Kansas hung 76 points on Nebraska, eventually winning 76-39. Kansas remains undefeated; if they beat Missouri and then win the Big 12 championship, they'll have a legitimate claim to a spot in the BCS championship game.

#6 Oklahoma and #9 Missouri also had big conference wins; they're pretty much in the same boat as Kansas, despite each having one loss.

#13 Connecticut beat Rutgers 38-19 to improve to 8-1. But it's hard to believe in any team from the Big East.

#18 South Florida lost their third straight game, falling to Cincinnati 38-33. See above comment about the Big East. Remember when South Florida was ranked #2? Me neither.

#19 USC beat Oregon State 24-3. USC is a dangerous team with Booty back at quarterback.

Western Michigan plays Central Michigan tonight at 7:30 PM ET, in an odd Tuesday night game.

BCS Race

Looking at the remaining BCS title contenders:

Ohio State. If they finish with wins against Illinois and Michigan to end up 12-0, they're almost certain to be ranked #1... and it seems impossible that they'd drop any further than #2. But if they lose either game, then they'll surely be out of the title game. And given the relative weakness of their schedule thus far, they seem vulnerable to a loss to Michigan. (Knock on wood.)

LSU. They might have the most impressive resumé of any of the contenders, having walloped Virginia Tech out of conference, and having beaten South Carolina, Florida, Auburn, and Alabama in the SEC. They still have a potentially tough game against 6-3 Arkansas, and then the SEC title game. If they continue to win, they'll have a claim to a spot in the title game. But it's not a lock.

Oregon. Oregon may be as impressive a team I've watched all year. They soundly beat Michigan, and they've now beaten USC and Arizona State in back-to-back weeks. But the rest of their schedule has 4-6 Arizona, 5-4 UCLA, and 5-4 Oregon State. They'll have to win convincingly to impress the pollsters enough to put them ahead of LSU; but if either OSU or LSU lose, they have a high probability of making it.

Kansas/Oklahoma/Missouri. If any of these teams win out, they'll have a strong claim too. Kansas and Missouri play each other, and it's likely the winner of that game would play Oklahoma for the title. (Oklahoma has already beaten Missouri during the regular season.) An impressive win might be enough to jump them up one spot over LSU or Oregon, but more realistically, they need a loss from one of the other teams.

West Virginia. They have a chance to move up a little if they beat #13 UConn on November 24, but the chances of them landing in the title game are pretty remote.

Everyone else. Virtually no chance, barring a heroic series of upsets among the top teams. But hey, given the way the season has gone so far, who knows?
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