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October 10, 2011
Here's a quickie look at the weekend's action in a conference-by-conference manner.
Think of it as one final chance to look back at the weekend that was. We will have this conference call every Monday.
BIGGEST SURPRISE, TEAM: Wake Forest. Picked to finish last in the ACC Atlantic Division, the Demon Deacons instead are off to a 3-0 start in league play for the first time in their 59 years as an ACC member. The Deacons beat Florida State 35-30 as a double-digit underdog by forcing five turnovers and moving the ball consistently on offense. Tanner Price threw three touchdown passes without an interception, WR Michael Campanaro also tossed a touchdown pass on a trick play and Josh Harris rushed for 136 yards. Wake Forest (4-1 overall, 3-0 in the ACC) already has exceeded its win total from last season.
BIGGEST SURPRISE, TEAM: Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights' defense has returned to form with a nation-leading 22 takeaways this season, tied with South Carolina. The offense is showing signs of improvement, too. Greg Schiano shuffled his offensive line and had new starters at right guard (Antwan Lowery) and center (Caleb Ruch). The former starting center, David Osei, spent time at left tackle. The biggest move was at quarterback, where freshman Gary Nova replaced Chas Dodd. Nova was shaky early, but was 7-of-13 for 117 yards and two touchdowns in the second half. The offense still can't win a game on its own for Rutgers, but it did enough to defeat Pittsburgh.
BIGGEST SURPRISE, TEAM: Purdue. Most thought the Boilermakers would beat Minnesota. But few, if any, envisioned a 45-17 romp. A maligned defense limited the Golden Gophers to 211 yards in what was Purdue's largest margin of victory in a league game since a 62-10 whipping of Indiana in 2008. But the Boilermakers, whose offense was fueled by 217 rushing yards, better savor the victory because three of the next four are on the road, beginning with a trip to Penn State.
BIGGEST SURPRISE, TEAM: Oklahoma's defense. The Sooners' high-scoring offense usually gets most of the attention, but OU's defense was exceptional in a 55-17 annihilation of Texas. OU's defense limited the Longhorns to just 36 rushing yards and posted three touchdowns - one on an interception return and two on fumble returns.
BIGGEST SURPRISE, TEAM: TCU's defense. Even after his team fell 40-33 in overtime to SMU last week, TCU coach Gary Patterson insisted his defense was getting better. Maybe he was right. TCU rebounded from that disappointing performance against SMU by forcing four turnovers in a 27-14 victory at San Diego State. TCU picked off three passes Saturday after recording a total of two interceptions in its first five games. The victory gave TCU its 19th consecutive Mountain West victory to break the conference record formerly held by BYU, which won 18 in a row from 2006-08.
BIGGEST SURPRISE, TEAM: Oregon State. The Beavers were 0-4, which included a season-opening loss to FCS member Sacramento State. But QB Sean Mannion passed for two touchdowns and the Beavers returned a blocked punt for a touchdown for a 37-27 victory over Arizona.
BIGGEST SURPRISE, TEAM: Georgia. It's not necessarily a surprise that Georgia beat Tennessee, but the 14-point margin was impressive - especially considering the Bulldogs hadn't played well of late in Knoxville. Georgia held the Vols to minus-20 rushing yards and 270 yards total.
BIGGEST SURPRISE, TEAM: Buffalo. The Bulls were 1-4, with the only victory over a FCS team, headed into Saturday's game with Ohio, which was 4-1. But Buffalo got a big game from sophomore TB Branden Oliver, who ran for 179 yards and three TDs, to shock the Bobcats 38-37. Buffalo's point total against Ohio matched the point total from the Bulls' previous three games.
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