Stanford and A&M won, while the Badgers fell in Columbus to favored Ohio State. Overlapping game times meant that I didn’t watch all of any game. In fact, I confess that I missed parts of the Ags opening drive to stick with the end of Georgia’s win over LSU.
LSU at Georgia was clearly the game of the day, with the outcome in doubt all the way to the end. Between them, the two teams had 3 turnovers and 4 punts over the whole game. By the second half, it seemed that neither defense could stop the other offense. When LSU scored to take a 41-37 lead with 4:14 to do, it was clear that they’d left too much time on the clock. That score came when Georgia mysteriously decided to rush only 3 on a 3rd and 22, allowing LSU to keep the drive alive with a 25 yard completions. When Georgia scored to go back on top 44-41, I thought perhaps they’d left too much time for LSU to answer.
LSU had the most effective defense against A&M last year, and it will be interesting to see how the teams stack up when the Ags go into Death Valley on Nov 23. The inability of the LSU D to sack Aaron Murray should bolster the hopes of A&M fans that Johnny Manziel’s second game against the Bayou Bengals will be more effective than last year’s performance in Kyle Field. It also might have been not so close without the SEC refs decision to ignore some pretty clear pass interference calls against both defenses. In my view, LSU benefited from these more than Georgia. The Dawgs also played most of the game without Todd Gurley, who got hurt in the first half.
The Ags took the opening kickoff in Fayetteville while the Tigers and Bulldogs were finishing up in Athens. A&M prevailed 45-33, but Arkansas stayed close enough to force Manziel to play the whole game and to cause Aggie fans to continue to bemoan the state of our defense, which gave up big plays on the ground and through the air to the Razorbacks. The Ags did get a pick 6 early in the second half and another INT at the end. Arkansas was not able to wrest the lead from the Ags despite having the ball down 4 to start the second half, and on several other possessions. But Arkansas put up 483 yards on the Ags and were 5/12 on 3rd down. On offense, the Ags were almost perfectly balanced, gaining 261 and 262 passing and rushing, respectively. This statistical balance came on a mix of very unbalanced possessions, however, as A&M took what the defense was giving them.
The closeness of the TAMU game meant that I only watched bits of the first half of Wisconsin at Ohio State. By the time the Ags had sealed the win, Stanford vs. Washington State had started. I watched the end of the Badgers vs. the Buckeyes. The loss had the feeling of a game where Ohio State was hanging on for dear life but the Badgers ran out of time. Wisconsin’s offensive limitations let down a Badger D that played pretty well at times. For example, after the Buckeyes were stuffed on 4th and 1 from the 38 in the middle of the 3rd quarter, it seemed like an opportunity to get back in the game. But the Badgers followed that defensive stand with : sack, INT. By this time the Buckeyes had shown that the vaunted Wisconsin run game was not going to work. Ohio State took the ball from the Badger 32 to the end zone for their final score.
The Badgers Jarred Abbrederis had a remarkable 10 catches for 207 yards and a TD in the loss. This might have been even more remarkable than Mike Evans performance against Alabama, because Evans has a better QB and A&M has better receivers to spread the coverage. By contrast, Wisconsin’s other receivers are not that good, and there were several key drops that killed comeback drives.
Stanford handled Mike Leach’s rebuilding Washington State Cougars pretty easily. Final score 55-17.
Other notable results