Alabama wears down LSU to remain unbeaten; more late Week 11 Snap Judgments
• No. 1 Alabama 38, No. 10 LSU 17: For about a half, this year’s edition of LSU-Alabama seemed like it was headed to a weird and classic place. But that’s when the Crimson Tide’s physicality took over, and ‘Bama ground LSU into the dust with its size, speed and technique.
College football fans get caught up trying to predict which team can slay Alabama, but until someone finally does it, speculating seems like a fruitless exercise. Nick Saban’s team is precise and calculative. It plays with its prey like a deft cat, pawing and shifting until it finally decides to kill and move on.
At this point in the season, it seems almost comical to consider how nonchalant and dismissive Saban was of his team earlier this year. The Tide are loaded at every position. They’re singularly focused and play with the discipline of a robot army. Watching Alabama is like watching an episode of CSI; the who, what, when, where and why change, but the end result is always the same.
In this week’s episode, the Tigers were undone by early mistakes – LSU fullback J.C. Copeland fumbled a would-be first-quarter touchdown at the goal line, and quarterback Zach Mettenberger mixed some signals leading to a botched snap – and a team like Alabama pounces on missed opportunities. The second half featured a heavy dose of running back T.J. Yeldon (25 carries, 133 rushing yards, two touchdowns), and the Tide defense cracked down, taking away running back Jeremy Hill and receiver Odell Beckham Jr. The clock began to tick away, and everything wrapped up neat and tidy on CBS, the home to conveniently packaged doses of expected results.
• Virginia Tech 42, No. 14 Miami 24: The Hokies entered Saturday’s game at Miami having just endured back-to-back losses to Duke and Boston College. But with its ACC Coastal chances hanging in the balance, Virginia Tech came through in a big way. Thanks to four rushing touchdowns from freshman tailback Trey Edmunds, the Hokies improved to 7-3 (4-2) and handed the Hurricanes their second consecutive conference defeat.
The ‘Canes, who lost running back Duke Johnson to a broken ankle last week against Florida State, relied more heavily on quarterback Stephen Morris, and the senior went 16-of-29 for 324 yards with two touchdowns. But Miami had trouble sustaining long drives and keeping its offense on the field, and the ‘Canes defense eventually wore down in the second half.
• Texas 47, West Virginia 40 (OT): The Longhorns improved to 6-0 in Big 12 play after edging the Mountaineers in overtime. In a year in which Mack Brown was on the hot seat for doing less with more, Texas continues to respond in the face of adversity. For a slightly longer recap of this game, take a stroll over here. [RECAP l BOX]
• No. 19 UCF 19, Houston 14: The Knights didn’t get the type of high-scoring production they’re used to receiving this season, but they were still able to manufacture enough offense to beat Houston and remain in control of the American Athletic Conference. UCF got a combined 201 rushing yards and two touchdowns from backs Storm Johnson and William Stanback, and it overcame arguably quarterback Blake Bortles’ worst performance of the year (17-of-24, 210 passing yards, one interception).
The Knights remain unbeaten in league play, while Houston, which was held to its lowest point total of the season, dropped to 7-2 (4-1). UCF will play Temple (Nov. 16), Rutgers (Nov. 21), South Florida (Nov. 29) and SMU (Dec. 7) as it looks to lock up a BCS bowl berth. [RECAP l BOX]
• Pittsburgh 28, No. 24 Notre Dame 21: The Fighting Irish had been able to dodge, dip, duck, dive and dodge their way through a few close calls this season. But after steadily creeping up the rankings, they got pelted in by the Panthers on Saturday. Campus Union’s Zac Ellis has more over here. [RECAP l BOX]
• No. 16 UCLA 31, Arizona 26: After Arizona State’s come-from-behind victory over Utah on Saturday, it was doubly important that UCLA win to keep pace in Pac-12 South. With running back Jordon James out, Steven Manfro injured and the bulk of the carries falling to Paul Perkins, coach Jim Mora opted to open things up a bit, working freshman linebacker Myles Jack into the ground game. Jack finished with 120 rushing yards and a touchdown, proving he’s a modern day renaissance man capable of just about anything. [RECAP l BOX]
• No. 17 Fresno State 48, Wyoming 10: The Bulldogs stayed unbeaten in another late-night special, and they used the formula that’s fueled much of their 9-0 start: Let Derek Carr throw a lot. The senior quarterback went 31-of-44 for 347 yards with four touchdowns. With Northern Illinois entering the make-or-break portion of its schedule, each team will continue to jockey for BCS position. Let’s get their fans together for an ice cream social and do some trust falls soon. [RECAP l BOX]