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.
|1t. Boston College Eagles||5-3||2-2||@ Virginia Tech|
|1t. Rutgers Scarlet Knights||5-3||1-3||Wisconsin|
|3t. Penn State Nittany Lions||4-3||1-3||Maryland|
|3t. Temple Owls||4-3||2-2||East Carolina|
|5. Pittsburgh Panthers||4-4||2-2||Duke|
|6t. Buffalo Bulls||3-5||1-3||Idle|
|7t. Syracuse Orange||3-5||1-3||N.C. State|
|8. Army Black Knights||2-5||--||Air Force|
|9. Massachusetts Minutemen||2-7||2-3||Idle|
|10. Connecticut Huskies||1-6||0-4||UCF|
Week 9 Results
Boston College 23, Wake Forest 17
Nebraska 42, Rutgers 24
Ohio State 31, Penn State 24 (OT)
UCF 34, Temple 14
Georgia Tech 56, Pittsburgh 28
Central Michigan 20, Buffalo 14
Clemson 16, Syracuse 6
Toledo 42, Massachusetts 35
East Carolina 31, Connecticut 21
Northeast college football continues its downward spiral into a morass of mediocry. Lambert Meadowlands trophy eligible teams went 1-8 in week 9 with the lone win notched by your Boston College Eagles. Some of these other results are just downright comical at this point.
Let's start in Lincoln, where Nebraska RB Ameer Abdullah rolled up 341 all-purpose yards to steamroll the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, 42-24, in a Big Ten cross-divisional game.
Fear Ameer indeed. Mr. Abdullah proved to be as good as advertised and then some. The Nebraska running back went off for 225 rushing yards and 3 TDs. He also added 26 receiving yards and 90 yards on kickoff returns, good for 341 all purpose yards on the day. The lightning quick Abdullah was a weapon the Knights simply could not stop. Like last week's game against Ohio State, Rutgers had a serious size disadvantage on the lines, and the defense looked overmatched way more than they should. Abdullah aside, the talent differential did not seem as exaggerated as it did against OSU.
Unlike the game against the Buckeyes, there were some positives the Knights can take from this game. The offense looked competent overall, putting up 205 passing yards and 143 rushing yards on a Nebraska defense that just this week received their vaunted "blackshirts" back from Coach Pelini. For perspective, Michigan State put up 188 rushing and 234 passing on the Huskers three weeks ago, so offense was respectable.
Rutgers Big Ten initiation continues with a home game against Wisconsin; a team that absolutely bludgeoned fellow Big Ten newcomers Maryland in Madison last weekend.
Meanwhile in State College, the Fighting James Franklin's gave 13th ranked Ohio State all they could handle, but came up short in a 31-23 overtime loss to the Buckeyes. Despite the loss, positives abound:
It wasn't pretty, and it wasn't even that much fun, for most of the night, but it was a football game that Penn State had a chance to win, despite the sanctions, despite the officiating, despite the injuries, despite the offensive line, despite John Donovan--despite everything, and that's almost magical in and of itself. And even in a loss, it reaffirmed our pride in this team more than any other game this season has. We all expected a blowout. We got a heartbreaker. And somehow, it was worse and better all at the same time.
Cross state, Pittsburgh tied an FBS record with 5 fumbles in a quarter as the Panthers got smoked by Georgia Tech, 56-28. You could say the game didn't go according to script for Pitt:
The hype was through the roof for this one. It was already a big game - Pitt was playing a decent opponent. It was Homecoming. There was a lot of talk about Pitt not only being in the race for the Coastal, but maybe even one of the favorites. And as if that weren't enough, script Friday happened.
Things got real.
This loss just killed the enthusiasm that was built up by Friday's announcement. Suddenly, script doesn't matter. At all. And for something that fans have demanded, begged, and pleaded for, that's saying something. In the end, it's the on-field product that matters, and that wasn't real good on Saturday. No one will buy script merchandise if the team can't get out of it's own way on the field.
And in Death Valley, Syracuse and Clemson were locked in a tight, field goal-filled ballgame before the Tigers pulled away late in the second half. As one would expect in a matchup of a true freshman quarterback vs. the stout Clemson defensive front, the Tigers defense won:
Syracuse's offense was lifeless in Death Valley.
And a star-studded defense backed up the hype with a shutdown performance at home in Memorial Stadium. The Clemson Tigers only allowed two Cole Murphy field goals and blocked another, en route to a 16-6 victory over the Syracuse Orange on Saturday night.
Syracuse played well enough to lead Clemson deep into the third quarter. But the mismatch between a sputtering passing game and a loaded Tigers defense was too costly for the Orange. Ashton Broyld and Brisly Estime returned from injuries, but Syracuse's offense couldn't score in the second half. Now, it's lost five of the past six games.
In his second career start, AJ Long went 12-27 for 82 yards, including two interceptions. Syracuse finished the game with 170 yards, its lowest output since 2008. A big reason why was Long's ineffectiveness in third-down situations. As a team, Syracuse went just 3-16 on third down.
Syracuse hosts ACC Atlantic Division foe N.C. State in a near must-win for bowl eligibility this weekend.
Elsewhere, UCF made quick work of Temple, winning 34-14 ... Central Michigan got past Buffalo, 20-14 ... UConn acquitted itself well on Thursday night but came up short in a 31-21 loss to East Carolina ... and Massachusetts continues to find new and creative ways to lose ballgames, falling to Toledo 42-35.
Week 10 Schedule
Boston College at Virginia Tech
Wisconsin at Rutgers
Maryland at Penn State
East Carolina at Temple
Duke at Pittsburgh
N.C. State at Syracuse
Air Force at Army
UCF at UConn
The good news, if there is any, is that seven of the eight Lambert Meadowlands eligible teams are at home this week, with only BC hitting the road to face Virginia Tech in Blacksburg.
With only one-third of the season to go, Boston College is in really good shape to win this thing ... despite a tough closing stretch of games against Virginia Tech, Louisville, Florida State and Syracuse. Two more regular season wins of the final four games is probably enough to put BC in the driver's seat going into the bowl games. That might just be enough to hold off Penn State, Pitt and Rutgers -- all three of which look like they are headed 7-5 / 6-6-ish finishes.