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October 24, 2011
Rivals.com Week 8 Conference Call
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: Miami defense. After giving up 38 points in a loss to Virginia Tech two weeks ago and nearly blowing a 24-point lead against North Carolina last week, Miami delivered a dominant performance Saturday in a 24-7 victory over Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech had been averaging 517 yards per game, but the Yellow Jackets managed just 211 yards against Miami. That represented Tech's lowest output since its Orange Bowl loss to Iowa that ended the 2009 season. Then again, perhaps this shouldn't be considered a surprise at all. Miami has beaten Georgia Tech three consecutive seasons and has outscored the Yellow Jackets 92-34 during that stretch.
BIGGEST SURPRISE, TEAM: Syracuse's defense. The Orange's defense has been ravaged by injuries for most of the season. We finally got a good look at what it could do when it's healthy, At full strength, Syracuse exposed West Virginia's shaky offensive line, recording four sacks and two interceptions in the 49-23 upset. DE Chandler Jones was the most important returnee. He had missed the past five games with a "lower body injury," but he returned at full strength against West Virginia. He had six tackles and two sacks, lifting the entire Syracuse defense.
BIGGEST SURPRISE, TEAM: Purdue. The Boilermakers had beaten no one of note before Saturday (Middle Tennessee, Minnesota and FCS member Southeast Missouri), but played well last week in a loss to Penn State. That close loss had a positive carryover affect Saturday, as the Boilermakers upset Illinois, which was the Illini's second loss in a row. Purdue led 21-0 at halftime, and while the Boilermakers (4-3) did nothing offensively in the second half, they were able to hold the Illini for a 21-14 win that gives them hope they can snag a bowl bid.
BIGGEST SURPRISE, TEAM: Texas Tech. The Red Raiders were 29-point underdogs to the Sooners, who had lost just twice in Norman under coach Bob Stoops and not since 2005. Texas Tech had lost two games in a row, but QB Seth Doege passed for four touchdowns and 452 yards in a stunning 41-38 upset of Oklahoma.
BIGGEST SURPRISE, TEAM: Air Force. No, the Falcons didn't win. But the 30-point underdogs did give unbeaten Boise State its toughest test of the season before falling 37-26. Boise State had its hands full against Air Force's option attack and allowed the Falcons to gain 408 total yards. Boise State's 35th consecutive home victory wasn't secure until Dan Goodale kicked a 25-yard field goal with 2:49 left. Air Force's third consecutive loss dropped its record to 3-4, but its next five opponents have a combined record of 10-23. If the Falcons keep playing as well as they did Saturday, they should finish 8-4.
BIGGEST SURPRISE, TEAM: Arizona's run offense. The Wildcats had been ranked 119th in rushing offense with a paltry average of 71.8 yards per game. But Thursday night, RB Keola Antolin bettered that by himself. Antolin accounted for 77 of the Wildcats' 254 rushing yards in a 48-12 drubbing of UCLA. That total almost doubled Arizona's previous season-high rushing output -- 129 yards against USC.
BIGGEST SURPRISE, TEAM: Kentucky's offense. Granted, UK was going against a FBS team, but Jacksonville State was eighth in that classification. The Wildcats ran for a season-high 340 yards in winning 38-14. They also rushed for two TDs, which increases their season total in that category to five. Junior CoShik Williams entered the game with 62 rushing yards this season and 248 in his career, but he ran for 148 on 22 carries.
BIGGEST SURPRISE, TEAM: Eastern Michigan. The Eagles got their fifth victory of the season with an upset of Western Michigan. EMU hadn't won more than four games in a season since 1995, and the victory kept them in the hunt for the MAC West title.
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