NCAA Football Report (Week 9)

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The NCAA is in the heart of their season as every game becomes that much more important and schedules get even tougher. As every game gets much more important the pressure is amped up as a loss can mean the end to any hopes of a BCS bowl. For some teams the pressure is welcomed as they only step up in the times where they need a win. For other teams though the pressure is too much and they crumble for their first loss on the season. Week 9 in the NCAA season saw both sides of the coin as teams stepped up under pressure while other crumbled. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish were in the midst of their best season in a decade and they would take on the Oklahoma Sooners in a tough test while the Kansas State Wildcats were looking like a true threat as they took on the strong Texas Tech Red Raiders. Both teams would step up under the pressure of a big game and took the win to continue their strong seasons. On the other side the Oregon State Beavers, Florida Gators, and the USC Trojans all had big games as they looked to stay in the top 10 with a chance at the BCS. All three teams faltered though as they all lost their game and ended their hopes of making the BCS Championship. It was a week where there were plenty of teams in position to make some moves and some took the opportunity while others squandered it.  All of this though seemed a bit trivial when you think of one of the worst injuries of the year in South Carolina. The Gamecocks are a good team with plenty of talent but their unquestioned leader was their running back Marcus Lattimore. A candidate for the Heisman last year Lattimore was one of the best running backs in the NCAA and was a major part of the Gamecocks’ offence. Then came the game against the Tennessee Volunteers in week 9. Lattimore would take a hand off and bound to the outside where he was tackled by two Tennessee players. As Lattimore was being taken down by one Tennessee player another came in to make sure he would be taken down. The second player to come in on the tackle looked to take Lattimore legs out, not looking to hurt just looking to stop the run, and went low hitting Lattimore in the knee with his helmet. The hit would prove to be the end of Lattimore’s day or even worse. Lattimore’s knee would give in one of the most horrific injuries that many had ever seen. The severity of the injury would match it’s horrifying look as the day after the injury it was revealed that Lattimore had broken his femur, patella and tore his MCL, ACL, PCL, and LCL. Essentially Lattimore’s knee was destroyed with all ligaments tearing and bones in his leg breaking. It was a sharp reminder of the reality of a sport that is the most physical sport in the world. Things like this can happen and unfortunately it can happen to the best players with some of the brightest futures. South Carolina will need to look ahead and play for Lattimore rather than dwell on the fact that there best player is no longer with them. For Lattimore moving on will be a much longer and more difficult task. He will be out for the rest of the year and likely for the first part of his senior season. He will need surgery to repair everything that is wrong with the leg and then will need to go through a rough rehab to get his knee back. He may never be the same type of player though which could be the toughest thing for a player who would have been taken in the first round of the NFL Draft this year. It will be a tough road back for a young man who seemed to have a bright future in the NFL and will now look to recover while focusing on an education that can help him in life after football if he no longer has the ability to play. As upsets took hold on the day all fans, players, analysts, coaches, Ads, and family members got a sharp reminder of just how un-important wins and losses can be as Marcus Lattimore represented the dangers of playing the sport that he loves.


Heisman Watch:

1. Collin Klein, QB (Kansas State)
Klein was at it again this week only one week after taking over the lead in the Heisman race as he once again showcased his ability. He would take on the Texas Tech Red Raiders in what should have been the biggest test for the Wildcats this year. At first the game started out with the Wildcats not able to get their offence in check with Klein unable to get out of the pocket in the first half. Then Klein and his offence broke through and put on a clinic in the second half. Klein finished the game with 233 yards throwing and two passing TDs along with 83 yards rushing and two rushing TDs. Klein is a special talent and with his team moving up the BCS rankings he could be the Heisman winner if he can continue to win. Next week he looks to keep rolling against the powerful offence of Oklahoma State.
Stats (8 Games):
70.9% cmp (122 rsh att)
1,630 yds (634 rsh yds)
12 TD (16 rsh TD)
175.5 rtg


2. Manti Te’o, LB (Notre Dame)
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are one of the oldest teams in the NCAA and for that they can sometimes get special treatment. This year is their first successful year in a long time and for that they are ranked among the top teams in the league. The ranking may be a bit of a gift for the Irish after a long time in the basement but they are a good team. At the centre of this team is the defence led by Manti Te’o. Te’o is also the benefit of the Irish favours as he looks to be a legitimate threat to the Heisman trophy despite being a defensive player. Defence never win the Heisman, Charles Woodson was the only one and he returned kicks as well, but Te’o could be the first. Despite getting some help from the Irish lore Te’o is a great player and against Oklahoma he proved it ending the game with an interception. Next week Te’o looks to prove again he is worth a look in the Heisman hunt when the Irish take on Pitt.
Stats (8 Games):
80 tkl
1.0  sck
2 FR


3. Braxton Miller, QB (Ohio State)
Last week Miller took a bit of a hit in his Heisman hopes as he did not play a full game after getting injured. Not playing a full game will hurt any hopes even if it is an injury as you will be forgotten among the great performances of the week. Miller was looking to get back into the talk though as he came back from injury to take on the Penn State Nittany Lions. He did just that too as he looked like he had never been hurt against PSU throwing for 143 yards and a TD, plus one INT. Miller is not the best QB in the Heisman race but his consistency will help him against the other guys in the race. Miller will try to continue his consistency and get better as he is looking like a solid runner-up but there are others coming out of the shadows to challenge his spot. Next week he will take on Illinois in a game that he will need to have a better performance against if he hopes to stay in the Heisman picture.
Stats (9 Games):
56.6% cmp (166 rsh)
1,527 yds (1,093 rsh yds)
12 TD (12 rsh TD)
135.3 rtg


4. AJ McCarron, QB (Alabama)
Stats (8 Games):
68.9% cmp
1,684 yds
18 TD
182.4 rtg


5. Kenjon Barner, RB (Oregon)
Stats (8 Games):
141 rsh
974 yds
6.9 avg
14 TD


BCS Rankings:
1. Alabama Crimson Tide (1)
2. Kansas State Wildcats (3)
3. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (5)
4. Oregon Ducks (4)
5. LSU Tigers (6)
6. Georgia Bulldogs (10)
7. Florida Gators (2)
8. South Carolina Gamecocks (13)
9. Florida State Seminoles (12)
10. Louisville Cardinals (16)
11. Oregon State Beavers (7)
12. Oklahoma Sooners (8)
13. Clemson Tigers (18)
14. Stanford Cardinal (17)
15. Mississippi State Bulldogs (11)
16. Texas A&M Aggies (20)
17. USC Trojans (9)
18. Texas Tech Red Raiders (14)
19. Boise State Broncos (21)
20. Nebraska Cornhuskers (–)
21. West Virginia Mountaineers (19)
22. Arizona Wildcats (–)
23. Texas Longhorns (23)
24. Oklahoma State Cowboys (–)
25. Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (–)


Key Scores:
#10 Georgia Bulldogs 17 – 9 Florida Gators #2
– The Gators were on a roll sitting in second place in the BCS and in first place in the SEC East but the Bulldogs came to their rivalry game looking to end all of that as they handed the Gators their first loss on the season and took over the top spot in the SEC East


Arizona Wildcats 39 – 36 USC Trojans #9
– The Trojans were the second best team in the country at the start of the year but have failed in some key situations and this week was another one as the Trojans could not overcome the Wildcats as their National Championship hopes were destroyed


#5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 30 – 13 Oklahoma Sooners #8
– The Irish have had a great year for the first time in a long time but they would face their toughest challenge in Landry Jones and the Sooners and proved that they were the real deal as the defence stepped up keeping the Irish at the top of the rankings


Washington Huskies 20 – 17 Oregon State Beavers #7
– The Beavers were looking like a team that could actually make a dent this year out of nowhere but they showed their weaknesses against the Huskies losing the game and losing any ground they had made throughout the season towards the BCS


Next Week:
#23 Texas Longhorns vs. #18 Texas Tech Red Raiders (November 3rd; 3:30 pm EDT)
– It is not one of the most storied rivalries in the football crazy state of Texas but this young game is beginning to mean more as the Red Raiders are looking better than ever and trying to break a three-year losing streak for the Chancellor’s Spurs


#4 Oregon Ducks vs. #17 USC Trojans (November 3rd; 7:00 pm EDT)
– It is one of the biggest games in the Pac-12 this year as the Ducks are looking to continue their run through the league and the conference on their way to the National Championship while the Trojans look to spoil the party


#24 Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. #2 Kansas State Wildcats (November 3rd; 8:00 pm EDT)
– Collin Klein is on fire right now and is proving to be the best player in the NCAA as he takes on another challenge against a good offensive team in the Cowboys who could make this a shootout where Klein can pad his stats and hopefully win


#1 Alabama Crimson Tide vs. #5 LSU Tigers (November 3rd; 8:00 pm EDT)
– It has been the premier matchup on the NCAA schedule for the last two years as the Tigers and Crimson Tide has become a great rivalry and this year with the Tigers will try to unseat their conference rivals and put themselves back into the championship conversation

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