For past two seasons, the once-mighty Michigan-Notre Dame rivalry has been mighty crappy. There was ND’s 35-17 wipeout of the Wolverines in South Bend last season, and then there was UM’s 38-0 a$$-whooping of the Irish in Ann Arbor the season before that. So you’d figure that today’s matchup in the Big House would be a big bore.
Big mistake to assume that. Like two aging heavyweights whose glory days appeared to have been behind them, Michigan & Notre Dame traded punches all afternoon (figurative, not literal) as the score see-sawed back & forth. But it was the Maize & Blue who managed the final knockout blow, as Tate Forcier tossed a 5-yard TD pass to Greg Matthews with 11 seconds left. So Hail to the Victors in a 38-34 thriller.
(Time to get those Charlie Weis-bashing billboards back up.)
Speaking of knockouts, another top-5 team from the Sooner state took another tumble on the field in an upset loss.
5th-ranked Oklahoma State was still flying high over obliterating Georgia last weekend, and today looked to keep the home winning streak alive against Houston. But the Cougars from the C-USA turned out to be rude guests. After taking a 24-7 halftime lead, Houston out-hustled the Cowboys and slid out of Stillwater with a 45-35 shocker - the backbreaker coming courtesy of the Coogs’ Jamal Robinson intercepting a tipped pass & racing 26 yards for the capper TD.
Another big-name team trying to make another strong statement at home was Tennessee. Lane Kiffin made a successful debut last week as his Vols vanquished Western Kentucky 63-7. This week, the former USC assistant was hoping to do it again against visiting UCLA. But Rick Neuheisel was tired of hearing how his squad & the rest of the Pac-10 was “soft”, and his Bruins laid a bruising on UT with a hard-fought 19-15 triumph.
So Lane gets tagged with his first loss. On the plus side, he doesn’t have to answer to Al Davis, just to Tennessee boosters. And they’re certainly not as insane as ol’ Al, right?
Speaking of former USC assistants, congrats to Steve Sarkisian for leading the Washington Huskies to a 42-23 win over Idaho, putting an end to a 15-game losing streak. Granted it was against Idaho, but when you haven’t tasted victory since 2007, you take what you can get.