Few Alarms and No Surprises In Afternoon Games

For two top five teams, their afternoon games were a little closer than intended–for a while. But wins are wins, and everyone who was supposed to win, did.

Rich Rod Sad

(Rich Rod watches a particularly gruesome meltdown in Happy Valley.)

The Penn State-Michigan game was the most notable of the upset watches that went nowhere; Michigan led No. 3 Penn State by 10 twice in the first half and took a 17-14 lead into the locker room at the half. But then Nick Sheridan showed up and everything crumbled. The possessions of the critical stretch, in order:

PSU: FG, 17-17
UM: Safety, 19-17
PSU: TD, 26-17
UM: Partially blocked punt
PSU: FG, 29-17
UM: Sacked, fumbled
PSU: TD, 36-17

And that was that.

Elsewhere:

In Norman, No. 4 Oklahoma outpaced a feisty No. 16 Kansas team 45-31. The two teams combined for nearly 1200 yards, but KU threw an interception at the goal line in the first half, then sputtered in the second as Oklahoma never trailed. Todd Reesing, who might be the first quarterback in NCAA history under 4′10″, threw for 343 yards in a losing effort.

No. 2 Alabama took an easy early 24-3 lead against Mississippi, then made things uncomfortable for the partisan Tuscaloosa crowd in the second half by allowing the Rebs to storm back to a 24-20 deficit. But Alabama held on fourth down in the final minute, and Colonel Reb is cryin’ in his confederate handkerchief once again.

Then there’s sixth-ranked USC. The last time they were favored by anything like the 42.5 point spread they had against the Washington State Cougars, Stanford beat them straight up. Would plucky Wazzu have similar success against the overconfident Trojans? Erm, no. Mark Sanchez threw for five touchdowns–in the first half–while Washington State managed four first downs in the entire game. Your final score is 69-0, and really, it wasn’t even that close.