Snap Judgments from the Week 6 evening slate.
• North Carolina State 17, No. 3 Florida State 16. Find your bliss, they say. Follow it, and don’t give one fig what anybody else thinks of you. Some folks quit their hedge fund jobs to teach middle school. Some hike the Appalachian Trail. The Florida State Seminoles have a secret passion, too, and you can probably guess what that is:
Who could have possibly predicted Florida State would drop a random ACC game on the road for no discernible reason?
— Matt Hinton (@MattRHinton) October 7, 2012
Two weeks removed from The Big One, a 49-37 win over Clemson, Florida State did the most Florida State-y of things: The Seminoles surrendered first a 16-0 third-quarter lead to North Carolina State, and then the game. Heisman hopeful E.J. Manuel and the ‘Noles were shut out in the second half, while quarterback counterpart Mike Glennon led his team to a short field goal followed by two touchdown drives — the second culminating with just 16 seconds left on the clock. It didn’t even look that hard, once the ‘Pack got to the touchdown part; getting that drive going in the first place required a blocked Florida State punt with less than three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and a drive-sustaining defensive penalty against FSU with NC State nearing the end zone. Glennon finished the evening with 31 completed passes on 56 attempts, good for 266 yards and the aforementioned two touchdowns.
We are loath to use the flat-footed “a tale of two halves” here, but it couldn’t be more fitting for both squads. Observe: An impressive 141-yard rushing total for FSU’s Chris Thompson grows simultaneously more impressive upon learning that he put up 115 of those yards in the first half and more bitter as ‘Noles partisans wonder what might have been had Thompson scampered about for two additional quarters.
Florida State presumably surrendered something else along with those 17 second-half points: its national championship hopes. The ‘Noles could get back into the hunt if every remaining unbeaten squad loses a game, and with three top-five teams (FSU, LSU and Georgia) going down today alone, it’s becoming the kind of season where we can’t rule out such a turn. But the fact remains: The only ACC teams with unblemished conference records are now Maryland, Miami and Duke. We could be in for a Terps-Blue Devils ACC Championship Game. Or, the ‘Canes could still win the conference with this record against ranked teams. It’s a ludicrous thought, but it’s one that Florida State’s inability to take care of business in the seemingly easy games has left us with as we head off to dreamland. [BOX | RECAP]
• No. 12 Ohio State 63, No. 21 Nebraska 38: Remember when Nebraska fans thought they were done with total defensive collapses after Bill Callahan got fired? And remember when Ohio State fans were complaining that Jim Tressel’s offense was painfully conservative? Well, as Biggie Smalls put it, things done changed. Meyer’s probation-hamstrung Buckeyes may not be officially eligible for the Big Ten title, but they were bound and determined to prove they’re deserving, blasting the Cornhuskers with a 28-point second quarter on their way to rolling up 495 yards of total offense. Meanwhile, the Good Taylor Martinez who’d given ‘Husker fans hope through the first month of the season disappeared entirely, to be replaced by Bad Circa-2011 Taylor Martinez, who was 15-of-25 passing for a single touchdown and three picks, two of which the Buckeyes turned into quick touchdowns. Regardless of which team ends up representing the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl a few month from now, L.A. residents should prepare for Buckeye fans swarming the metro area to start their own Occupy Pasadena movement. And honestly, they’ve got a point. [BOX | RECAP]
• No. 9 Notre Dame 41, Miami 3: Notre Dame’s nouveau helmets may have been a crime against humanity, but the Irish’s assault against the Hurricanes was as legal as it was ruthless. The game was close at halftime, but the Irish broke it open in the third quarter with three straight rushing touchdowns, two of them from Cierre Wood, who finished with 118 yards on only 18 carries. By the time the final gun went off, Notre Dame had dismantled the visiting ‘Canes with 587 total yards of offense, including an efficient 186 yards on 17-of-22 passing from Everett Golson, who was suspended for the first series for an unspecified violation of team rules. Don’t look now, but the still-undefeated Irish appear to be barging into the national-title discussion. We wonder whether anyone will notice. [BOX | RECAP]
Former Notre Dame player Tim Brown, the 1987 Heisman Trophy winner, discusses the Irish’s upcoming schedule:
• Texas A&M 30, Ole Miss 27: The Aggies’ very first Southeastern Conference game, a hard-fought 20-17 home loss to Florida, showed that A&M is ready to compete in the SEC. In a weird way, Saturday night’s game — a 30-27 win over recently hapless Ole Miss — showed that life in the new conference will still be an uphill climb. Yes, the Ags scored the final 13 points of the game to gut out a win in Oxford, but they also committed a whopping six turnovers against the Rebels after having coughed up only one in their first four games of 2012. Still, A&M put up a total of 290 rushing yards — 129 from quarterback Johnny Manziel, who averaged 6.5 yards per carry — indicating the Aggies aren’t about to go gently into that good night in a competitive SEC West. [BOX | RECAP]
• No. 8 West Virginia 48, No. 11 Texas 45. Wonder of wonders: West Virginia can run the ball on Texas. This is about the score we were expecting, but not the manner of movement. Andrew Buie, pressed into more frequent service with the Week 3 injury to Shawne Alston, carried 31 times for 207 yards and two touchdowns, obliterating the career day he had last week against Baylor of … 82 yards. Pete Thamel was in Austin and has the full account. [BOX | RECAP]
• No. 6 South Carolina 35, No. 5 Georgia 7. We’re just going to throw some quick numbers at you here before turning the floor over to Stewart Mandel, who witnessed the quashing in Columbia. Aaron Murray completed 11-of-31 pass attempts tonight for 109 yards. Murray has not thrown for fewer than 240 yards since last December against LSU in the SEC Championship Game, and has not thrown for fewer than 109 yards ever in a Georgia jersey. Georgia’s freshman tailback twosome of Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley was held to a combined 76 yards on 25 carries, surpassed on an individual basis by Ken Malcome with 45 yards on five carries. All of them were outgained by South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw alone. [BOX | RECAP]