Keeping track of how the 10 programs vying for this year's Lambert-Meadowlands trophy fared last week, and a look ahead to next weekend's action.
|1. Rutgers Scarlet Knights||5-2||1-2||@ Nebraska|
|2t. Temple Owls||4-2||2-1||@ UCF|
|2t. Penn State Nittany Lions||4-2||1-2||Ohio State|
|4t. Pittsburgh Panthers||4-3||2-1||Georgia Tech|
|4t. Boston College Eagles||4-3||1-2||@ Wake Forest|
|6t. Buffalo Bulls||3-4||1-2||Central Michigan|
|7t. Syracuse Orange||3-4||1-2||@ Clemson|
|8. Army Black Knights||2-5||--||Idle|
|9. Massachusetts Minutemen||2-6||2-2||@ Toledo|
|10. Connecticut Huskies||1-5||0-3||@ ECU (Thurs.)|
Week 8 Results
Ohio State 56, Rutgers 17
Houston 31, Temple 10
Pittsburgh 21, Virginia Tech 16
Clemson 17, Boston College 13
Syracuse 30, Wake Forest 7
Kent State 39, Army 17
Massachusetts 36, Eastern Michigan 14
Oh, Northeast college football how you entertain us with your futility! Lambert Meadowlands trophy eligible teams went 3-4 in week 8, with the two programs at the top of the table last week falling flat this week.
Let's start in Piscataway, where the Ohio State Buckeyes dished out a rude Big Ten welcome to the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.
Sometimes, you have one of those games where it's simply brutal to have to sit through, and then write about it after. This is one of those games. Ohio State completely dominated Rutgers on Saturday, piling up 585 yards of total offense in the game. Buckeye QB J.T. Barrett was magic once again, throwing three touchdowns on 19 of 31 passing for 261 yards. Barrett was OSU's leading rusher as well, running for 107 yards and two scores.
Rutgers likes to build its defense on speed rather than size, but that speed was negated by OSU's talent. That's what four straight top-B1G recruiting classes looks like. They not only had speed, but size as well. Their offensive line, which had only one returning starter, held up fine against the Rutgers pass rush, as the Dragon was nowhere to be found. That was the biggest factor here. It remains to be seen whether the recruiting plan will affect long term success for Rutgers, as the speed can compete against good teams, but not elite teams.
It will be interesting to follow Rutgers' progression in the Big Ten and if they are able to recruit at a level that can compete with the big four programs in their own division (Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State), while keeping enough in-state kids, well, in state.
For now, a pretty brutal loss for last week's Lambert Meadowlands trophy leader in the clubhouse.
Moving right along, last week's second place team, Temple, fell flat in a 31-10 loss to Houston. It was looking like the Owls might be a contender in the American Athletic after their hot start, but turnovers ultimately doomed Temple in this one.
Turnovers remained a problem for the Owls. P.J. Walker overthrew a receiver in the middle of the field and the pass was intercepted by Howard Wilson, setting Houston up on the Temple 26 yard line. Two plays later, Ward completed a screen to Ryan Jackson, who took it 30 yards for a touchdown. Houston led Temple 31-10 with 51 seconds remaining in the third. That score would hold through the fourth quarter, and the Cougars would coast to victory over the Owls.
It wasn't all bad for the gridiron boys of the Northeast, as the Lambert Meadowlands ACC contenders not named BC both knocked victories in week 8. Pittsburgh ground out a 21-16 victory over Virginia Tech on Thursday night to stop a 3-game skid. It wasn't all good news for Pitt though, as the Cardiac Hill boys feel there's still a lot of work left to be done.
To say that the team's season is now all of a sudden back on track, however, would be foolish. A win tonight doesn't suddenly erase the second half collapse against Iowa or the shocking loss to Akron. In fact, it's pretty easy to be disgruntled by the fact that Pitt could very easily be 6-1. In addition, there are still problems - too many penalties (seven for 70 yards) and a lackluster passing game among them. But as I started off saying, the team is at least headed back in the right direction after losing their past three games. Now it's up to them to build some momentum.
Feeling disgruntled thinking their team could easily be 6-1 ... sounds familiar.
Meanwhile, down in Winston-Salem, Syracuse stopped its own multi-game losing streak with a convincing 30-7 victory over Wake Forest. The Orange D turned over the young Wake Forest offense to the tune of 14 points, and the Orange snapped a four-game losing streak in the process.
The highlights of the day belonged to the defense, who scored not one but two turnover touchdowns. First was Rob Welsh, who snagged an interception and returned it 42 yards for a touchdown in the 2nd quarter. Then, in the third quarter, Micah Robinson scooped up a Brandon Reddish-caused fumble and rumbled all the way to the endzone for a 51-yard touchdown scamper. And beyond the highlight scores, the defense basically locked down on the Wake offense after their lone touchdown and never let up.
With five regular season games to go, Syracuse draws within a game of BC / Pittsburgh and within striking distance of Rutgers, Temple and Penn State. Though the road the rest of the way doesn't get any easier with remaining games at #21 Clemson, Pittsburgh and BC, and a home game against Duke.
Elsewhere, Kent State rolled Army 39-17. The Black Knights fall to 2-5 on the year. UMass has put together its first ever FBS consecutive game winning streak, beating a bad Eastern Michigan team 36-14 in front of 12,030 Gillette Stadium seatbacks.
Week 9 Schedule
Rutgers (+17) at #16 Nebraska
Temple (+10.5) at UCF
#13 Ohio State at Penn State (+13)
Georgia Tech at Pittsburgh (-3.5)
Boston College (-11) at Wake Forest
Central Michigan at Buffalo (+3.5)
Syracuse (+15.5) at #21 Clemson
Massachusetts (+14.5) at Toledo
Connecticut (+26) at #18 East Carolina (Thurs.)
Nine of 10 teams are in action with only Army idle this week. Four programs play ranked opponents this week and seven start the week as significant underdogs. Only Pitt (-3.5 vs. Georgia Tech) and Boston College (-11 at Wake Forest) are favored to win this week.
This is seriously going to be the year that Northeast college football breaks the Lambert Meadowlands Trophy.