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Week 10 Football Rewind: Spotlight on runners, Navy a selfish winner

AP Photo/Gregory Bull

The argument can be made that the glory position in college football has been the running back. The Heisman Trophy, after all, is a bronze image of a player carrying the ball with a stiff-arm pose.

Alabama’s Derrick Henry won the Heisman last season, but prior to that quarterbacks captured 11 of the last 13 Heismans. This season it appears that domination will extend to 12 of 14 — Louisville’s Lamar Jackson is the odds-on favorite with a month to go before the votes are cast.

Running the football has lost its place with the proliferation of “air” raid offenses where the huddle doesn’t exist, plays are run every 20 seconds, and the fastest way to the end zone is via the pass.

However, there were a number of instances in Week 10 where the mundane ground pounders gained yards and attention. The Rewind is all about handing out deserving shout-outs (and in some cases, calling out some less than worthy performances).

  • Texas junior D’Onta Foreman has supplanted San Diego State’s Donnel Pumphrey as the leading rusher in the Football Bowl Subdivision. Foreman has 1,446 yards in eight games, an average of 180.8 per game. Ricky Williams set the Texas single-season record of 2,124 in 1998, his Heisman-winning season. Foreman has 541 yards in the last two games; the FBS record for most yards in consecutive games is 668 by Williams in 1998.
  • Speaking of San Diego State’s Pumphrey, he gained 112 yards on 21 carries as the Aztecs rolled Hawaii, 55-0. The light workload and below-average production in the blowout leaves Pumphrey with 5,862 yards in his career. He’s 535 yards behind Ron Dayne’s career record of 6,397. San Diego State clinched the Mountain West Conference West Division and will play in the league title game plus a bowl. With five games remaining, Pumphrey needs to average 107 yards to pass Wisconsin’s Dayne.
  • In its 26-15 victory over Oregon State, Stanford ran the football on its final 26 offensive plays (not counting three kneel-downs in victory formation). The Cardinal gained 365 yards and averaged 6.3 yards per carry. “It was a very conscious decision. We’re running the ball for six yards a clip,” David Shaw said.
  • Texas State gained just 14 yards on 28 attempts in a 35-10 loss to Appalachian State. That was good news for UCLA, which is no longer the worst running team in the FBS. Texas State is averaging just 78.5 yards per game; the Bruins are No. 127 with 78.8 yards a game after galloping for 25 yards on 30 attempts in a 20-10 loss at Colorado.
  • Two weeks ago, Auburn ran over, around and through Arkansas, gaining 543 yards. The Razorbacks, known for their own punishing ground game, beat Florida 31-10 Saturday thanks in large part to allowing the Gators just 12 yards rushing. “I just said, ‘I don’t care what we do, we’re going to stop the run on defense,’” Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said. “If we have to play with 12, I’ll take the penalty. We ain’t going to have somebody run the ball on us … so that message was delivered and sent and accepted, and I think that was really good.”

When do we get to play?

Notre Dame scored on all but one of its possessions Saturday against Navy.

Bad News, Part One: The Irish had only five possessions, just two in the second half.

Bad News, Part Two: The Midshipmen are as good at playing keep-away as they are football. Their ball control led to their 28-27 victory.

Navy rolled a seven in each quarter and took a 28-24 lead with 11:51 remaining. When Notre Dame made a 31-yard field goal with 7:28 left, the Irish never expected it would be their last offensive play. Navy’s final touchdown drive took 16 plays, and the Midshipmen nearly matched that with a 14-play drive that ended the game with the ball in their possession.

Navy gained 320 yards on the ground and converted two fourth down plays on the final drive – the second a 15-yard completion on fourth and six from the Irish 30 with 1:19 remaining. The Midshipmen’s last two possessions consumed 16:28.

It’s media, but it’s not always social

Illinois’ game-winning, 16-yard touchdown pass to beat Michigan State was briefly ruled a touchback. The official near the end zone where the ball was caught apparently thought it was an interception. That’s not gonna look good on the grading film.

Unless you’re in hiding until after Tuesday’s presidential election, you’ve probably heard of the latest craze sweeping the nation. After its 40-point victory at Baylor, TCU took the Mannequin Challenge. The Rewind says the video equals the victory margin.

Quarterback Adventures, Take One: Colorado quarterback Sefo Liufau multi-tasked during Thursday’s game with UCLA. He not only avoided the pass rush to complete a difficult pass, but he made sure during the play the officials were aware that his face mask had been grabbed. Yes, they did assess the penalty.

Quarterback Adventures, Take Two. Boise State quarterback Brett Rypien avoided this San Jose State rusher but then was sacked … by the offensive lineman who had missed the block in the first place.

It’s never good when your athletic director (Mike Bohn of Cincinnati, in this case) has to issue a statement about the coach yelling at a fan after the game. Bearcats coach Tommy Tuberville reacted to a fan yelling, “You’re stealing from the university” after Cincinnati lost to BYU, 20-3.

Quick kicks

  • With a 31-12 victory at Army, Air Force clinched the Commander-and-Chief trophy for a series-record 2oth time. The Falcons have defeated the Black Knights four consecutive seasons and improved their record to 6-3 this season.
  • Washington’s Jake Browning had six touchdown passes in the Huskies’ victory at Cal. He’s the only FBS quarterback this season with multiple games of six TD passes. Browning has 34 touchdown passes and just three interceptions.
  • Browning is one of three quarterbacks on pace to break Russell Wilson’s single-season record for passing efficiency. Browning’s efficiency rating is 202.79, Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield is at 194.80 and Toledo’s Logan Woodside is at 191.80. Playing for Wisconsin in 2011, Wilson set the record at 191.78.
  • Temple quarterback Phillip Walker had 215 passing yards Friday against Connecticut and he has 2,205 yards this season. He’s the first QB in school history to throw for more than 2,000 yards in four consecutive seasons.
  • Michigan State ran 37 more plays, had twice as many first downs, and possessed the ball for 41:36. The Spartans couldn’t take advantage of those advantages and lost at Illinois, 31-27.
  • Notre Dame lost three games last season to teams that finished second, third and fourth in the final Associated Press poll. This season the Irish have lost six games to unranked teams… by a total of 29 points.
  • The Southeastern Conference West Division has clinched the season series with the SEC East. The West has a 9-1 record against the East and since 2009 has a 91-36 edge.
  • The following teams in Power Five conferences have been eliminated from bowl consideration: Michigan State (2-7, 0-6 Big Ten), Rutgers (2-7, 0-6 Big Ten), Virginia (2-7, 1-4 ACC), Kansas (1-7, 0-5 Big 12), Iowa State (1-8, 0-6 Big 12). Arizona (2-7, 0-6 Pac-12), Oregon State (2-7, 1-5 Pac-12), Missouri (2-7, 0-5 SEC).

You don’t say

Michigan defensive back Delano Hill on his two interceptions against Maryland:

“The quarterback just threw them up to me, like little gifts.”

Georgia walk on Rodrigo Blankenship on his 25-yard rodrigoblankenshipgame-winning field goal at Kentucky:

“Kickers are a lot like pitchers in a lot of ways, and one of those ways is when they’re having a really good day everybody just kind of leaves them alone. Clayton Kershaw is throwing a perfect game, everybody just kind of leaves him alone to do his own thing. That was really was it was at the end of the game, everybody giving me my space.”

Alabama coach Nick Saban on his defense stifling LSU in the Crimson Tide’s 10-0 victory:

“We didn’t score for three quarters, but they didn’t score for four. We have some pretty hateful guys that play defense around here that are pretty good competitors, and when they get challenged they usually respond and I thought they responded really well tonight.”

Louisville coach Bobby Petrino on the College Football Playoff committee’s rankings and the apparent need to pile up lopsided victories:

“It’s sad. There’s something called sportsmanship. Maybe I made a mistake. Maybe we should have kept all the starters in against Florida State and scored 80 points.”

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