Texas thumps Oklahoma State, 41-14


Many expected this game to be closer, but the Longhorns easily handled the Cowboys.

Curtis Brown and Earl Thomas each returned interceptions for touchdowns, and Cody Johnson had two short TD runs as the No. 3 Longhorns routed No. 13 Oklahoma State 41-14 on Saturday night to establish themselves as the clear frontrunner in the Big 12 South.

McCoy had an efficient 171-yard performance and threw his 100th career touchdown pass, and the Longhorns avoided the kind of letdown on Halloween weekend that cost them a chance to play for the Big 12 and national championships a year ago.

Texas (8-0, 5-0) came in with the nation’s toughest defense against the run, then played havoc with Zac Robinson and the Oklahoma State (6-2, 3-1) passing attack. Robinson came in as the conference’s top-rated passer after breaking the Cowboys’ record for accuracy in a game last week, but threw a career-high four picks against the Longhorns.

Texas scored 28 points off of Oklahoma State’s five turnovers, with Brown and Thomas cashing in immediately and Johnson scoring on runs of 2 and 1 yards after two other takeaways.

Let’s see. Texas cruises by a talented opponent. In the meantime, USC is upset by Oregon, college football’s dark horse. The Longhorns are looking better by the game, while USC is at a standstill. The Longhorns are obviously one of the best teams in the nation, but do they deserve to make the National Championship Game?

Maybe. As for USC, this day couldn’t get any worse.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Oregon stuns USC, gains control of Pac-10


“There’s a new king in the Pac-10.”

That’s what many pundits will be saying after Oregon’s daunting victory over USC. A couple games remain on the schedule, but Oregon is clearly the best team in the Pac-10 at this point. Oregon is still only undefeated Pac-10 team in conference play, while USC now has two losses. You can’t argue with that.

The Ducks came fully prepared to play this assumed Pac-10 championship game at the Autzen Zoo. Chip Kelly did something magical to this squad after their loss to Boise State, because the Ducks have been on a tear ever since. The Trojans, on the other hand, have recently looked shaky against Notre Dame and Oregon State. Strangely, their offense has been clicking while their defense has surrendered at least 27 points in their last two contests.

Many have ignored these performances but continued to criticize Oregon’s defense. Fact is, the Ducks have gotten it together on both ends of the field. Facing their toughest opponent yet in USC, the Trojans could only muster 109 yards rushing 160 receiving. Their quarterback Matt Barkley did throw two touchdown passes, but USC couldn’t convert third downs, as they finished 3-12 for the night.

Oregon quarterback Jermiah Masoli has taken a fair amount of criticism for his passing game. Like Tim Tebow, he likes to run the ball, but is often ineffective at involving his entire offense, unlike the Heisman winner. While four of Oregon’s five touchdowns came off rushing, Masoli did throw for 220 yards, including a nice touchdown pass to Jamere Holland. Most importantly, he looked confident out there, going great lengths to utilize his teammates.

Take a look at this: Oregon had over 600 yards of total offense. So much for USC’s impenetrable defense. We’ll see where Oregon ends up, but they truly should be proud of this win.

LSU narrowly defeats Mississippi State


If one were to only watch this game’s first quarter, their views on both teams would be drastically shaken. No. 7 LSU went into this game 3-0 and had won nine straight against their opponents from Mississippi State. At the end of the first quarter, the Bulldogs somehow held a 14-13 lead. It seemed as though fans could sense an upset as they suddenly piled into the stadium well after the opening whistle. Quickly, however, that ornate offense helmed by Mississippi State quarterback Tyson Lee gradually dismantled. By the end of the first half, Lee had thrown three interceptions and his team had committed a total of four turnovers. Luckily for them, LSU didn’t look any sharper — on either end of the field. Their skimpy defense was obvious to anyone watching. We knew that could be a problem coming in, but what was up with their rushing? With a total of seven yards rushing at the half, LSU coach Les Miles was left dumbfounded. Both teams had multiple opportunities to score, but sloppy play prevented either from increasing a lead. At the end of the half, No. 7 LSU was on top 16-14.

In their first possession of the third quarter, LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson connected with Brandon LaFell for a 58-yard touchdown pass. Despite their embarrassing first half performance, LSU suddenly looked like a real team. Still, Mississippi State would respond with a touchdown of their own. But Chad Johnson’s beautiful 93-yard punt return for a touchdown again rejuvenated the Tigers. Come the fourth quarter, Mississippi State completely depended on star running back Anthony Dixon to carry their team. This proved to be a wise decision, as he would finish the game with two touchdowns on 106 yards.

With 1:20 left in the game, Mississippi State came within four inches of scoring, thanks again to Anthony Dixon. However, they couldn’t convert their momentum into a touchdown as LSU’s defense finally made an impact when it mattered most. In what was a surprisingly close game, LSU defeated Mississippi State 30-26.

Lastly, hats off to Mississippi State’s new coach, Dan Mullen, who kept his team in the game against one of the strongest programs in college football.

Shocker: USC loses to an inferior opponent

To use a tried, true and albeit, tired phrase, there are three things we can count on in life: Death, taxes and Pete Carroll’s USC Trojans will be knocked off by an inferior opponent at some point during the season.

In 2006, the Oregon State Beavers were the unranked team to knock off USC. In 2007, it was Jim Harbaugh’s Stanford Tree Logos. Last year, it was Oregon State again who provided the upset and on Saturday, it was Steve Sarkisian’s Washington Huskies (a team that didn’t win a game last year, mind you) that shocked the college football world by beating USC 16-13 in Seattle.

For the second year in a row, USC beat Ohio State and then lost to its very next opponent. The Trojans jumped out to a 10-0 lead against the Huskies, but Washington answered with 10 of their own before halftime before eventually pulling the upset off thanks to Erik Folk’s game-winning 22-yard field goal with only three seconds remaining.

The Trojans were playing without starting freshman quarterback Matt Barkley, who sat out the entire week of practice with an injured shoulder. Redshirt sophomore Aaron Corp made his first career start and while he wasn’t bad (he completed 13 of 22 passes for 110 yards and a pick), he couldn’t come up with the big play throughout the game. Joe McKnight rushed for 100 yards on 11 carries as USC racked up 250 rushing yards, but the Trojans lost two fumbles and when you combine those with Corp’s second half interception, turnovers killed Carroll’s team today.

But let’s give credit where credit is due. Sarkisian has completely turned around the mindset of the Washington program and now has the Huskies believing that they can win on any given Saturday. Junior quarterback Jake Locker is a fine player and can make things happen with both his arm and his legs.

Sarkisian has made Washington relevant again, while Carroll is left scratching his head for the fourth year in a row. It’ll be interesting to see whether or not Carroll sticks with Corp or goes with former Arkansas transfer Mitch Mustain assuming Barkley can’t go next week against Washington State.

USC has never been more primed for the taking in the Pac-10. The big matchup in the conference will be October 3 when the Trojans travel to Berkley to face Cal.

Weis, Notre Dame fortunate to escape with win over MSU

Michigan State sophomore quarterback Kirk Cousins played as fine a game as a coach could ask for on Saturday. He completed 23 of 35 passes for 302 yards and thanks to his 17-yard touchdown pass to Blair White with nine and a half minutes remaining in the game, he gave the Spartans an opportunity to once again beat Notre Dame in South Bend for the seventh consecutive time.

But in the span of two plays, Cousins went from potential hero to unfortunate goat. With his team trailing 33-30 with less than two minutes remaining, Cousins and the MSU offense faced a 1st and 10 at Notre Dame’s 18-yard line. On first down, freshman running back Larry Caper got free in the Irish secondary and was alone (seriously, there wasn’t an Irish defender within seven area codes of him) in the end zone, but Cousins lofted the ball too far and it fell incomplete.

On second down, Cousins was flushed from the pocket and he threw a desperation pass over the middle that was intercepted by Kyle McCarthy at the ND 4-yard line. All Sparty needed was a field goal to tie the game but the Irish snatched victory out of the jaws of defeat, hanging on to a 33-30 win.

Not to take anything away from Notre Dame, because Charlie Weis’s offense was great again on Saturday. But if Cousins doesn’t airmail the pass to Caper and the Irish wound up losing, I don’t see how Weis retains his job at the end of the year. I know that MSU has given ND fits at South Bend for over a decade, but this was the same Spartans team that was defeated last week on their home turf by Central Michigan. It would have been hard for Weis to justify losing to Michigan and Michigan State in back to back weeks.

But nevertheless, Weis and the Irish live to see another day. Notre Dame has to do something about its defense though, because Jimmy Clausen (22 of 31, 300 yards, 2 TDs), Golden Tate (7 rec., 127 yards, 1 TD, 1 airborne dive into the MSU band) and the rest of the Irish offense is too good to waste on poor defensive efforts.

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