College Football Final Extra - Week 5
Geno Smith has thrown for 20 touchdowns and no interceptions in four games.
© Rob Christy/US Presswire
By Mark Schlabach
The last weekend of September was supposed to be uneventful, with only two games on Saturday featuring matchups of ranked teams and the rest of the Top 25 largely facing perceived cupcakes.
Defenses, for the most part, took the weekend off.
And while only two ranked teams fell (to higher-ranked teams), plenty of highly ranked teams had potential deficiencies exposed.
From coast to coast, scoreboard operators worked overtime to keep up with record-setting quarterbacks and offenses.
No. 9 West Virginia and No. 25 Baylor combined for 133 points in the Mountaineers' first Big 12 game.
No. 5 Georgia and Tennessee combined for 95 points, the highest-scoring game between the SEC rivals.
No. 12 Texas and Oklahoma State combined for 77 points and more than 1,000 yards of offense.
And Northwestern set a school record with 704 yards of offense to remain the Big Ten's only bowl-eligible team with an unblemished record.
Lack of defense left several highly ranked teams on the edge of disaster on Saturday.
"The bottom line is finding a way to win a ballgame," said Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo after the Bulldogs piled up 560 yards of offense and scored at least 40 points for the fifth consecutive game in a 51-44 victory over the Volunteers at Sanford Stadium. "It gave me a heart attack, but I love facing adversity and seeing how your guys respond. It shows you what you're made of. They aren't going to be easy all the time, and the final story isn't written until the last game."
But there were plenty of records rewritten on Saturday, including:
• West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith cranked up his Heisman Trophy campaign into high gear, completing 45 of 51 passes for 656 yards with eight touchdowns in the Mountaineers' 70-63 victory over Baylor, the highest-scoring game in Big 12 history. Smith tied a Big 12 record for touchdown passes in a game and has completed 83.4 percent of his passes for 1,728 yards with 20 touchdowns and no interceptions through four games.
"I could care less about a Heisman Trophy," Smith said. "The big thing for us was that we won the game today. We're on a mission, and we want to win them all."
The Mountaineers (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) might have to play better defense if they're going to contend for a Big 12 championship and BCS national title. The teams combined for 67 first downs and 1,507 yards of offense. Their 19 combined touchdowns set an FBS record, last set when Navy beat North Texas 74-62 in 2007. Baylor quarterback Nick Florence threw for 581 yards, breaking Robert Griffin III's single-game school record, and six wide receivers had more than 100 yards receiving.
"Not every Big 12 game is like this," Mountaineers coach Dana Holgorsen said, "and not every game is going to be like this."
West Virginia's co-defensive coordinators sure hope not.
• Miami's Stephen Morris set an ACC single-game record with 566 passing yards in the Hurricanes' 44-37 victory over NC State on Saturday, including a 62-yard touchdown pass to Phillip Dorsett with 19 seconds left. The Hurricanes and Wolfpack combined for 1,315 yards of offense, including 1,006 passing, and 56 first downs. Miami has won three games in a row for the first time since 2009.
• Texas A&M freshman Johnny Manziel broke a single-game school record with 435 passing yards, and the Aggies piled up 716 yards of offense in a 58-10 rout of reeling Arkansas. The Aggies, who won their first SEC game, scored their most points against the Razorbacks in the 69-game history of the series.
• Texas' David Ash completed 30 of 37 passes for 304 yards with three touchdowns, leading the Longhorns to a 41-36 victory over Oklahoma State. The Longhorns won the game on Joe Bergeron's 2-yard run with 29 seconds to play, after the Pokes took a 36-34 lead on a field goal with 2:34 to go. The Longhorns and Cowboys combined for 49 first downs and 1,016 yards of offense.
• Georgia freshman tailbacks Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall -- dubbed "Gurshall" by UGA fans in reference to 1982 Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker -- combined to run for 294 yards and five touchdowns in the Bulldogs' closer-than-expected victory over the Volunteers. The teams combined for 1,038 yards of offense and 46 first downs in the fifth-highest-scoring game for a non-overtime contest in SEC history.
• No. 22 Nebraska rallied from a 17-point deficit in the first half for a 30-27 victory over Wisconsin at Memorial Stadium. Cornhuskers quarterback Taylor Martinez guided the Cornhuskers to four straight scoring drives in the second half, running for 107 yards with one touchdown and passing for 181 with two scores.
• Northwestern produced a record-setting day of offense in jumping out to a 27-0 lead over Indiana before holding on for a 44-29 victory over the Hoosiers at Ryan Field. Junior Kain Colter, who opened the season as the Wildcats' quarterback, ran 14 times for 161 yards with four touchdowns and caught nine passes for 131 yards. The Wildcats and Ohio State are the last unbeaten Big Ten teams (the Buckeyes are ineligible for a Big Ten championship or bowl game because of NCAA sanctions) after Minnesota lost 31-13 at Iowa.
• Virginia Tech and Cincinnati combined for 897 yards of offense but struggled to find the end zone until the fourth quarter. After the Hokies went ahead 24-20 on Logan Thomas' 56-yard touchdown pass to Corey Fuller with less than minutes to play, Bearcats quarterback Munchie Legaux saved his best for last. He guided the Bearcats on an 85-yard touchdown drive to end the game, throwing a 39-yard touchdown to Damon Julian with 13 seconds left in a 27-24 victory at FedEx Field.
At least one team played defense and offense on Saturday. North Carolina, which is ineligible for a bowl game because of NCAA sanctions, set a school scoring record and held Idaho to only nine first downs and 189 yards in a 66-0 rout in Chapel Hill, N.C.