Duke Johnson and Miami outlast Wake Forest; more early Week 9 Snap Judgments
• No. 7 Miami 24, Wake Forest 21: The NCAA finally wrapped up its long and drawn out investigation of the Hurricanes this week. All that stood in the way of a top-10 battle between Miami and Florida State on Nov. 2 was the ‘Canes’ game against Wake Forest on Saturday. Miami had won every meeting with the Demon Deacons since 1944, and it’s possible that coach Al Golden’s Hurricanes may have looked past this game.
Wake stormed out to a 14-3 lead midway through the second quarter. The Demon Deacons stayed in front until late in the fourth thanks to a bend-but-don’t-break defense. But then Miami running back Duke Johnson took over, sprinting four yards around right end into the end zone to put the Hurricanes up 17-14 with just under six minutes remaining in the game.
Wake’s lack of offensive execution in the second half allowed Miami to stay close, and it always seemed that the more talented Hurricanes would eventually take control of the game. The Demon Deacons regained the lead with four minutes left when quarterback Tanner Price (25-of-45, 301 passing yards, two touchdowns, one interception) connected with tailback Dominique Gibson for a 44-yard scoring pass, but it wasn’t enough. Johnson led Miami on a 10-play, 73-yard drive — he ran for 42 himself — and barreled in for a one-yard touchdown with 53 seconds to go. On the day he carried the ball 30 times for 168 yards and two touchdowns.
“[It was] a little too uncomfortable for me,” Hurricanes coach Al Golden said of the 24-21 victory in a postgame interview on ESPNU.
This was the third straight game that Miami has won by fewer than seven points, and the ‘Canes can’t hope to suddenly flip the switch against the Seminoles next weekend. Meanwhile, the Wake Forest is now 1-53 all-time against top-10 opponents. Their last victory over a top-10 team came against fourth-ranked Tennessee in 1946. [RECAP l BOX]
• No. 16 Texas A&M 56, Vanderbilt 24: It looks like Johnny Manziel’s shoulder was OK, after all. The sophomore quarterback helped the Aggies overcome a bevy of turnovers to beat the Commodores on Saturday at Kyle Field. Manziel started the game with 10 consecutive completions, and connected on 25-of-35 passes for 304 yards and four touchdowns. Vanderbilt, trailing 28-0 early in the second quarter, used some trick plays and a successful onside kick to cut the deficit to 28-17 at the half. But Commodores quarterback Patton Robinette threw a pick-six to open the third quarter, and Texas A&M never looked back. [RECAP l BOX]
• No. 19 Oklahoma State 58, Iowa State 27: The Cyclones temporarily made things interesting after falling behind 21-0 in the first quarter, cutting the Cowboys’ lead to 28-20 at halftime. But Oklahoma State squashed all hopes of an upset with a dominant third quarter. Cowboys running back Desmond Roland rushed for 215 yards and four touchdowns, allowing coach Mike Gundy to think about something other than his quarterback situation for a week. Oklahoma State will visit Texas Tech in Lubbock next Saturday. Iowa State dropped to 1-6 and has now given up 129 points in its last two games. [RECAP l BOX]
• No. 23 UCF 62, Connecticut 17: #BortlesBall is alive and well. Knights quarterback Blake Bortles was spectacular once again, completing 19-of-23 passes for 278 yards and four touchdowns. (He also score on a 10-yard run.) UCF, which improved its record to 6-1, controls its destiny in the American Athletic Conference. The Knights now have a bye week before their critical home game against Houston on Nov. 9. On the other sideline, the Huskies dropped to 0-7, and a win could be hard to come by from here on out. UConn plays Louisville, SMU, Temple, Rutgers and Memphis to close out the season. It’s hard to believe that the Huskies were just a play away from beating Michigan on Sept. 21. [RECAP l BOX]
• No. 20 Louisville 34, USF 3: The Cardinals may still be smarting from last Friday’s loss to UCF, but they didn’t look like it during their blowout victory over the Bulls. Louisville’s defense held USF to just 133 total yards, and Cardinals quarterback Teddy Bridgewater completed 25-of-29 pass attempts for 344 yards and three touchdowns. Louisville needs a lot to go right to have a shot at a BCS berth, but the Cardinals certainly took care of business on Saturday. [RECAP l BOX]
• Minnesota 34, No. 24 Nebraska 23: Cornhuskers coach Bo Pelini’s seat may have cooled a bit in recent weeks, but after Nebraska’s uninspired performance on Saturday, it should get nice and toasty again soon. The Golden Gophers battered the the Cornhuskers’ defense for 271 rushing yards. It was pretty clear that Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez (16-of-30, 139 passing yards, one touchdown, one interception), who made his first start since Sept. 14, wasn’t completely healthy. Minnesota, meanwhile, has shown a lot of heart this season. Despite coach Jerry Kill taking a leave of absence to deal with his epilepsy, the Golden Gophers are bowl eligible. [RECAP l BOX]
• Houston 49, Rutgers 14: The Scarlet Knights turned the ball over six times (quarterback Gary Nova threw three interceptions), and the Cougars capitalized to the tune of 609 total yards. Houston quarterback John O’Korn, a leading candidate for the best Halloween name in college football, completed 24-of-30 passes for 364 yards and five touchdowns. The Cougars lost their first game of the season to BYU last week, but they are still in the thick of the AAC race. Their Nov. 9 game against UCF should be momentous. [RECAP l BOX]
• Iowa 17, Northwestern 10 (OT): From 4-0 to 4-4 in the blink of an eye — it’s all come crashing down for the Wildcats. The Hawkeyes followed up a hard-fought loss to Ohio State last week with an overtime win this Saturday, moving Iowa to 5-3 . This game took less than three hours to play, including the overtime period, and the Hawkeyes held Northwestern to just 104 passing yards. [RECAP l BOX]