Swing Shift Snaps: Bright light! Bright light!
Snap Judgments from the Week 12 swing shift. For early shift Snaps, click here. For late Snaps, click here. For Stewart Mandel’s take on the BCS chaos, click here. For Andy Staples’ Nebraska-Michigan wrap, click here. To see how Top 25 teams fared, click here. For highlights from SI.com, click here.
• North Carolina State 37, No. 7 Clemson 13: Upon examining this result, there can be no conclusion other than that the Wolfpack and Tigers have conspired to erect some magnificent, nationally televised piece of performance art. What other explanation can there be for NC State losing to a Boston College team with one FBS win in Week 11 and knocking off a top 10 outfit seven days later? The Tigers have scored fewer than 35 points four times this season, and three of those games have been their last three, but a faceplant of this magnitude was … not predicted. The ‘Pack has managed a higher score than this only twice in 2011 (against Liberty and Central Michigan) and came into this game with a measly 23 points in their last three outings. Clemson’s Tajh Boyd hadn’t been held scoreless all year. Events transpired to alter matters considerably.
Major culprit: The Tigers’ four turnovers and six sacks allowed. State’s defense, coming off a promising couple weeks, came up huge tonight. It also didn’t have to contend with freshman phenom Sammy Watkins, who traveled to Raleigh with the team but remained sidelined with a sprained shoulder joint.
Time to speak of the NC State offense. Mike Glennon’s numbers were not garish (19-of-29, 253 yards, three touchdowns to three receivers), but he looked like some sort of minor god. The Pack had four receivers record at least 35 yards’ worth of catches. Trailing Glennon in scoring was kicker Niklas Sade, with 13 points including three field goals.
What makes this performance art: It ultimately means nothing. Clemson will drop out of the top 10, but it has already clinched the Atlantic title, and will meet either Virginia or Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship Game. [RECAP | BOX]
• No. 11 Houston 37, SMU 7: Without the services of the country’s No. 6 rusher, Zach Line, and down a kicker with mono according to the pregame broadcast, the Mustangs’ scoring opportunities were limited. Their defense stood up better than just about any other all season, holding the Cougars to their second-lowest single-game output. But after two field goals to build a slow 6-0 lead, Michael Hayes broke the game open on the ground with a 36-yard touchdown run and UH never looked back. Tonight’s Case Keenum milestone: passing Graham Harrell’s completion record. [RECAP | BOX]
• No. 6 Arkansas 44, Mississippi State 17: The Hogs keep hope alive for a long-shot chance at a trip to the Georgia Dome with another conference win. That would require beating LSU and having Alabama lose the Iron Bowl, but a chance is a chance. Tyler Wilson finished 32-of-43 for 365 yards and three touchdowns. [RECAP | BOX]
• No. 21 Penn State 20, Ohio State 14: A principal concern heading into this weekend’s Leaders contest was the Nittany Lions’ feeble scoring offense. For the second week in a row, a solution has presented itself in the form of Stephfon Green, who put on a repeat performance of his two-score game against Nebraska. Two long field goals from Anthony Fera made up the margin of victory; the last successful kick, with four seconds remaining in the second quarter, was the last score of the game. [RECAP | BOX | HIGHLIGHTS]
• No. 24 Notre Dame 16, Boston College 14: Man, who fed Boston College after midnight? And is it contagious, given NC State’s antics this evening? Would you have pegged this BC defense to hold Cierre Wood and Michael Floyd to less than 100 yards apiece? (Don’t knock Wood too hard, though — he broke the 1,000-yard mark for the season with tonight’s effort.) And how have we gone all year without knowing the Eagles have a kick returner named Spiffy Evans? [RECAP | BOX]
• Oregon State 38, Washington 21: Oregon State has had UW’s number of late, but this year’s Beavers have been non-factors in the Pac-12. Enter Washington’s late-breaking quarterback problems to make this a game. The very able Keith Price sustained a sprained knee last week against USC, and slotted in the starter’s spot today for the first time was Nick Montana. He lasted three quarters and change, finishing with 11 completions and 79 yards, before Price was thrust back in to spell him. Price managed to mount a touchdown drive with under 10 minutes to play to get the Huskies a two-score game, but threw an interception on his next chance at shaving Oregon State’s lead. From the giveth, taketh department: James Rodgers broke the program’s career receptions record, but sprained his ankle shortly thereafter. [RECAP | BOX]
• No. 3 Alabama 45, Georgia Southern 21: The most points the Crimson Tide have given up since November 2010! Against an FCS team! Do the Tide have what it takes to win the big one? Spoiler alert: yes. Yes, they probably do. They are pretty good at football. You might have heard. Still: The Tide giving up a 95-yard kickoff return will be fun drive-time talk radio tomorrow. [RECAP | BOX | HIGHLIGHTS]