• No. 20 Notre Dame 20, No. 10 Michigan State 3. That Michigan State scored at all in tonight’s contest is something of a minor miracle, particularly taking into account certain other fateful kicks we’ve seen go awry today. Dan Conroy made a successful 50-yard field goal with four minutes remaining in the first half, the Spartans’ lone scoreboard contribution of the evening. Michigan State’s Andrew Maxwell was sacked four times (giving him the unenviable rushing stat of -28 yards), barely completed half his passes, and accounted for 187 of his team’s 237 yards of offense. Le’Veon Bell, he of the 44-carry, 210-yard outing against Boise State, contributed 19 rushes for 77 yards.
Everett Golson’s completion percentage was even poorer, but he made one crucial pass count early, hitting John Goodman in the end zone for a backwards leaping touchdown catch you’ll be seeing frequently on highlight reels this weekend. Cierre Wood, George Atkinson and Thewo Riddick contributed 56-, 43- and 30-yard rushing performances for the Irish.
Points aside, all Irish eyes were focused on star linebacker Manti Te’o, performing admirably just days after the deaths of his girlfriend and grandmother. Te’o recorded 12 tackles (seven solo) and two pass breakups. [BOX | RECAP]
• No. 18 Florida 37, Tennessee 20. Tennessee losing to Florida at this point is very much an unsurprising event, but this game did not progress in a manner we would have expected (except, perhaps, taking into account the number of penalties committed by both squads). Tyler Bray, harried frequently throughout the evening, completed just 22 of his 45 pass attempts. Our favorite Tennessee receiving target? None other than Derek Dooley himself.
The Volunteer defense, still very much in transition under new coordinator Sal Sunseri, was gashed up, down and sideways, by Jeff Driskel through the air and Trey Burton and an injured Mike Gillislee on the ground. Driskel blew past his previous season high with 219 yards passing and 82 rushing. Gillislee and Burton combined for over 200 yards at running back. The Vols become just the latest victims of 2012 Florida football’s second-half Hulk-outs. Let this be forever a lesson to those seeking to welcome Kenny Chesney. [BOX | RECAP]
• No. 21 Stanford 21, No. 2 USC 14. Stewart Mandel’s report from the West Coast is available for your reading pleasure, but we will take this moment to remind you: The Trojans scored fewer points against Stanford, and allowed more points to be scored, than did San Jose State. [BOX | RECAP]
• Ohio 27, Marshall 24. The Bobcats’ undefeated season hopes remain alive after a last-minute interception of Marshall’s Rakeem Cato stifled the Thundering Herd’s final attempt at a scoring drive. [BOX | RECAP]
• Western Kentucky 32, Kentucky 31 (OT). A sunny Sun Belt day it is, after all! We’re going to skip right to the good part, the Hilltoppers’ winning trick-play two-point conversion in overtime. That’s quarterback Kawaun Jakes running it in. Not captured yet on video that we’ve seen, but forever enshrined in our hearts, is the image of Willie Taggart leaping into the stands in the postgame celebration. [BOX | RECAP]
• Wisconsin 16, Utah State 14. Today, in “sentences we never thought we’d be writing”: Bret Bielema iced Utah State’s kicker. This is a real thing that happened. We’re loath to say such strategies “work” or don’t; whether by successful annoyance hexing, skill or luck, Josh Thompson missed what would have been a game-winning kick. Congratulations, Wisconsin? Enjoy your Big Ten schedule? We guess? [BOX | RECAP]
• Fresno State 69, Colorado 14. Much, much more on this game in this week’s Profiles in Profiteroles; all you need to know for now is that the Bulldogs put up a 35-point first quarter on the Buffaloes, and that Robbie Rouse racked up 144 yards (ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY-FOUR YARDS) rushing on nine carries (NINE CARRIES). All of it in the first quarter (ALL OF IT). Robbie Rouse, the Mighty Mouse that roared. [BOX | RECAP]
• Missouri 24, Arizona State 20. James-Franklin-the-player’s injury thrust redshirt freshman Corbin Berkstresser into a start, and the Tigers’ defense took the win, with a 49-yard end-zone interception of Taylor Kelly by Kenronte Walker with less than two minutes to play. [BOX | RECAP]