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Week 8 Rewind: A world of possibilities, Mike Leach madness and more

Kevin French/Icon Sportswire

The fourth of five Rocktober weekends proved that college football provides the widest spectrum in terms of what is possible.

The nation’s second-ranked team (Ohio State) can suffer a loss to a team (Penn State) that completes eight passes and has 276 total yards.

Two teams (Oklahoma and Texas Tech) can combine for 125 points and 1,708 yards on the same day that two teams (Colorado and Stanford) combine for 15 points, one touchdown and 622 yards in total offense.

A team (Auburn) that might have saved its coach’s job by winning a game without scoring a touchdown (18-13 over LSU on Sept. 24) has scored 21 touchdowns in its last three games and is suddenly on the rise in the SEC West.

A coach (BYU’s Kalani Sitake) called for a fake punt on 4th and 19 … from his own 5-yard line. Not surprisingly, it failed. “Well, on film we thought we had it,” Sitake said. “We wanted to be aggressive. We came to win the game and it just didn’t work out.”

The Weekend Rewind is eternally thankful and grateful for the all-you-can-write/report buffet that is college football.

Coaches behaving poorly

  • Washington State coach Mike Leach accused Arizona State coach Todd Graham and his staff of stealing signals. Leach was reprimanded and fined for his comments. After the Cougars’ 37-32 victory over the Sun Devils in Tempe, the postgame handshake between the two coaches was NFSW. Repeat, this is NSFW.

  • Leach declined to address questions regarding the controversy.

  • UCLA coach Jim Mora’s team lost to Utah, 52-45, and Mora got a little testy and more than a little wacky when asked if he has “lost the locker room.”

  • Apparently this is the kind of coaching strategy that will keep you forever employed if you work for Iowa as its head football coach:

Players behaving badly

Old Dominion trailed visiting Western Kentucky 52-34 in the third quarter when a bench-clearing brawl erupted near the Monarchs’ sideline. ODU reserve safety Jamshyer McUmber was the only player ejected, but stay tuned in case Conference USA officials decide to administer suspensions.

Syracuse quarterback Eric Dungey threw an interception and then incited an altercation on the Boston College bench.

Pro tip: If you’re going to get into a shoving contest/slap fight with an opposing player, refrain from doing so on that player’s bench. It’s called the General Custer strategy.

Player treating opponent roughly

Leonard Fournette is healthy, and he went Nook LaLoosh — and announced his return with authority — by trucking Ole Miss freshman defensive back Deontay Anderson. Shades of Herschel Walker bowling over Bill Bates.

We see you, running backs

What used to be the position of glory has become more of an afterthought. In the age of spread offenses and scoring points in bunches, gaining yardage through the air has turned the running back into a supporting player. The weekend, though, proved that there can be some sexy stats posted by the guys who carry the rock.

  • Wyoming junior running back Brian Hill had a career high 289 yards and three touchdowns in the Cowboys’ 42-34 victory at Nevada. He had seven carries that gained 15 or more yards on the way to his second 200-yard day of the season and seventh of his career. Hill is 10th in the FBS with 120 rushing yards per game.
  • Utah running back Joe Williams gained 332 yards against UCLA, the most ever allowed by the Bruins and the most ever gained in the historic Rose Bowl. Williams added more layers to one of the more interesting stories of this season. He gained 75 total yards in the first two games and then quit because he didn’t enjoy playing. When the Utes’ running back corps was decimated by injuries, he asked to return to the team.
  • LSU junior Leonard Fournette, a preseason Heisman Trophy hopeful, has played in just four games because of an ankle injury. He returned against Ole miss and gained a career-high 284 yards on just 16 carries. He had touchdown runs of 59, 76 and 78 yards. For the season, Fournette has 683 yards. That’s more rushing yards than seven teams.
  • Auburn’s running backs get a catch-all shout-out. The Tigers’ 56-3 dismantling of Arkansas was fueled by 543 rushing yards, the most ever allowed by the Razorbacks and the most ever in a Southeastern Conference regular-season game. Kamryn Pettway led the way with 192 yards on 27 carries. His longest run was 27 yards but four other players – Eli Stove (78 on Auburn’s first play), Kam Martin (51), Stanton Truitt (31) and Sean White (41) – had longer runs. The Tigers attempted 12 passes.

Did not play; court’s decision

Minnesota edged Rutgers, 34-32, Saturday in Minneapolis. Five Gophers missed the game because of restraining orders served last week.

Cornerbacks KiAnte Hardin and Ray Buford, safety Dior Johnson, running back Carlton Djam and defensive lineman Tamarion Johnson weren’t present for the game. A woman who works in the team’s gameday operations at TCF Bank Stadium sought the rulings stemming from a September sexual assault allegation.

Hardin, Buford, Johnson and Djam each were suspended for three games while the Minneapolis Police Department investigated the allegations. The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office decided not to pursue charges earlier this month because of insufficient evidence to prove an assault occurred. Djam wasn’t suspended or named in the investigation.

Notable nutty numbers, Lubbock office

If you were otherwise occupied (Ohio State at Penn State … Cubs win, Cubs win … Saturday Night Live) Oklahoma and Texas Tech proved that offense rules and defense is broke. The Sooners outlasted the Red Raiders, 66-59, in a game in which seven FBS records (none for defense) were tied or broken. Mike Leach might have been coaching up a storm in the desert, but his spirit was felt in this game between two of his former employers.

Here are three FBS records that surfaced from the rubble of two destroyed defensive units.

  • Oklahoma is the first team in FBS history with a 500-yard passer (Baker Mayfield, 545), 200-yard rusher (Joe Mixon, 263) and 200-yard receiver (Dede Westbrook, 202).
  • Mayfield and Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes (1,345 yards passing) set a record for most combined passing yardage.
  • Mahomes had a record 800 yards in total offense and combined with Mixon (377), those two set a record for combined total offense (1,177) by two players.

While not FBS records, the Sooners-Red Raiders track meet produced these statistical oddities:

  • The teams combined for 862 yards in the first half. That’s more than the combined total yardage in the TCU-West Virginia (689) and Texas-Kansas State (749) games.
  • Texas Tech converted 20 of 25 third-down opportunities. Penn State and Arkansas State have converted 20 third downs in six games.

Bullet points

  • Penn State’s upset of Ohio State was its first as an unranked team over an opponent ranked No. 2 or higher since 1964, when the Nittany Lions knocked off … Ohio State.
  • Boston College has lost eight consecutive Atlantic Coast Conference games following Saturday’s 28-20 loss to Syracuse. The “good” news for the Eagles is that it was the first time during the streak that they scored more than 17 points.
  • Northwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson had seven touchdown passes last season, but he has nine over the Wildcats’ last three games. He’s the first Northwestern player in 20 seasons with at least three consecutive games with three or more touchdown passes.
  • Interim coach Ed Oregon is the first coach in LSU modern-day history to win his first three games by double digits. The Tigers are off this week before hosting top-ranked Alabama on Nov. 5.
  • North Carolina State was the third Power Five team with negative first-quarter yards in its loss to Louisville. The others (who also lost) were Georgia Tech versus Clemson and Rutgers versus Michigan.
  • Temple is 5-3 following its victory over South Florida. The Owls need one more victory to become bowl-eligible for consecutive seasons … for the first time in school history. Temple has been playing football for 120 years.
  • Dot-dot-dot: Michigan State’s five-game losing streak is its first since starting the 1991 season 0-5 … Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson has 10 consecutive games with a rushing and passing touchdown and is the only FBS player with 15 or more passing TDs and 10 or more rushing TDs … Washington State is 4-0 in conference play for the first time since 2003. … Wyoming is 5-2 overall and its 3-0 start in Mountain West Conference play for the first time in school history … Since the third week of the season, Alabama defensive lineman Jonathan Allen and Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey have each scored the same number of touchdowns: two.

End quote

Cal won a double-overtime game with Oregon Friday night that set an FBS record with 203 plays and faces USC Thursday. Bears coach Sonny Dykes is not pleased at the scheduling:

“I think everyone in the locker room was tired. I know I certainly am. We’ll be back at it tomorrow. We have a game in six days, which is crazy, absolutely nuts.”

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