Snaps III: When the best move is not to play
Snap Judgments from the Week 9 late shift. For swing shift Snaps, click here. For early shift Snaps, click here. For Stewart Mandel’s take on Joe Paterno’s historic 409th win, click here. For a recap of the Top 25 action, click here. And for highlights from SI.com, click here.
• Georgia Tech 31, No. 6 Clemson 17: You can spell “Global Thermonuclear War” without “BCS,” but why would you want to? In Week 9, the best winning move was not to play. Time to amend our list of seven undefeateds from earlier this afternoon. Still standing: LSU, Alabama and Boise, all on well-timed byes, Oklahoma State and Houston, beneficiaries of laughably lopsided blowouts and Stanford, which survived in a three-overtime nailbiter. Falling in the evening flight: The second team of Tigers in the BCS top five.
After two weeks of lackluster performances in the Jackets’ back-to-back losses to Miami and UVA, Tevin Washington has his hive legs back. And fear not: Tech largely eschewed that unseemly passing game that unnerved so many longtime viewers early in the season. Washington threw only in times of dire necessity, completing four of nine attempts for 60 yards and an interception. On the ground, he rolled up 176 rushing yards in solo attempts, including a breakaway dash of 56 yards, a personal best. The Tigers put up gaudy numbers of their own, with Tajh Boyd recording 294 aerial yards and Sammy Watkins 153, but four turnovers wasted considerable offensive gas.
There are readily imaginable scenarios in which every remaining undefeated team can lose, of course. But for this week, for the next few days of rewritten narrative, it’s safe to presume there will be no ACC representative in the national title game. [BOX | RECAP]
• No. 4 Stanford 56, No. 20 USC 48 (3OT): True story: A couple weeks ago, Andy Staples lamented he hadn’t seen a really stellar game of football this year. He’s since been assigned to Michigan State-Wisconsin and tonight’s tilt in L.A. More from him on the Cardinal’s narrow escape from the clutches of a rankings-killing upset in just a few minutes, over on SI.com proper. [BOX | RECAP | HIGHLIGHTS]
• Ohio State 33, No. 12 Wisconsin 29: The Badgers find themselves on the business end of a two-game losing streak, unable to pull away from first a presumed conference championship opponent and now a presumed division steppingstone. From Friday: “Wisconsin has proved fallible, falling in jaw-dropping fashion to Michigan State in last week’s marquee clash, and Ohio State’s defense isn’t all that much softer than the Spartans’. The Buckeyes may not be able to score, but they’re a damn sight better at preventing their opponents from doing so.”
While Russell Wilson ran on a relatively long leash, throwing for 253 yards and three touchdowns, Montee Ball and the rest of Wisconsin’s merry stable of rushers were contained to just 104 ground yards. Flip the field to find Wisconsin’s real problem: Boom Herron, mauling the Badgers for 160 yards rushing on 33 carries. Player of the game: Delightfully-named OSU linebacker Andrew Sweat, who walloped Wilson from behind just as he released the final pass of the game. [BOX | RECAP]
• Iowa State 41, No. 19 Texas Tech 7: Coming off last week’s 441-yard, four-touchdown, pick-free performance against Oklahoma, Seth Doege faltered with a 16/32, 171-yard outing, throwing zero touchdowns and two picks, good for a QB rating of 82.4 if you’re scoring at home. Even giant-killers have their soft places, and how mad was Paul Rhoads after riding a four-game skid? Mad enough to kick a field goal up 38-7 with just over six minutes remaining in the game, consarnit! (Can only assume this was a loving tribute to his worthy opponent, Tommy Tuberville.) [BOX | RECAP]
• No. 14 South Carolina 14, Tennessee 3: Remember like a month ago, when this game was gonna be a personality-heavy quarterbacking chaos duel between Stephen Garcia and Tyler Bray? Is there anybody out there who would not rather have seen that than this slow-zombie show? The bangs! The improvised touchdowns! The hilariously ill-advised scrambles! What might have been, y’all. What might have been. [BOX | RECAP | HIGHLIGHTS]
• No. 23 Arizona State 48, Colorado 14: It might not come as a very great shock that a top-25 team had no issues dispatching a 1-7 squad, but any game in which Vontaze Burfict makes three goal-line stand plays to stymie an opposing touchdown, then draws a 15-yard penalty for removing his helmet on the field, is worthy of remembrance. Never change, big guy. [BOX | RECAP | HIGHLIGHTS]
• Texas 43, Kansas 0: Let’s go to the videotape: Jayhawks 7/16 passing for 48 yards and an interception, negative two rushing yards, for a total of 46 net yards gained on 36 offensive plays. In the game. And one sack, and an interception! Hey hey, silver lining! Texas: 35 first downs, 590 total yards, one punt. [BOX | RECAP]
• Southern Miss 31, UTEP 13: [cues up weekly joke] Can’t let the mighty Miners hang around like that, Fedora! This game was a 17-13 affair into the fourth quarter. UTEP continues to alarm in brief but highly entertaining windows. [BOX | RECAP]
• Hawaii 16, Idaho 14: I am told we had an honest-to-football-Jesus Fat Guy Touchdown in Moscow tonight, with Idaho’s 311-pound lineman Matt Cleveland recovering an end zone fumble for a score. Who has footage of the alleged Fat Guy Touchdown? Share with the rest of us, would you? [BOX | RECAP]
Still to come: Nightcap games this evening include Wyoming-San Diego State and Arizona-Washington, still in progress. Don’t sleep!