Tag Archives: Big 12

Hlas Column: Big Ten Basketball is Defense and, uh, Defense

The Michigan men’s basketball team plays Iowa today, giving us hope.

Maybe one or both of the teams will crack 50, 55, or — dare I say it? — 60 points in the game.

The Wolverines did tally 74 in their 12-point home win over Minnesota Thursday. Perhaps the momentum of that effort will send Carver-Hawkeye Arena back in time, when teams sometimes traded scores on consecutive possessions.

Living here, we think offense appearing to be played in quicksand is a Hawkeye thing. Yes, Iowa does rank 304th of the 330 Division I teams in scoring with 60.6 points per game. That’s 31 less than North Carolina averages.

But the Hawkeyes reside in a conference that plays different ball than most other American leagues.

“The Big Ten puts a huge emphasis on defense,” said Big Ten Network studio analyst Tim Doyle. “The ACC and the Big East, they’re more willing to give up a hoop thinking they’ll get a hoop on the next possession.”

OK, Doyle’s a Big Ten Network guy and a former Big Ten player. He played very well for three seasons at Northwestern after transferring from St. John’s, near his hometown on Long Island.

But he doesn’t sound like a Big Ten puppet on the air, or off it.

“I don’t know if it’s in the water,” he said, “but it does seem like guys on the East Coast and maybe the SEC are more athletic. I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s what the farmers are feeding us here.”

Through Thursday’s games, these were the points per team in conference games of the six BCS leagues: 1. ACC 73.1, 2. SEC 72.0, 3. (tie) Big 12 and Big East 71.0, 5. Pac-10 67.1, 6. Big Ten 63.4.

“But look at the defensive production,” Doyle said. “Look at points-per-game allowed, field goal percentage defense. Look at the assist-to-turnover ratio. They aren’t gaudy or sexy categories, but the Big Ten dominates them.”

If you like that kind of ball, it’s great. But take the names off the uniforms and which do you think would get more of a following, the Big 12 or Big East with seven teams apiece averaging over 76 points per game, or the Big Ten, with only Michigan State (79th at 73.8 ppg) among the nation’s top 145 teams in scoring?

Seven Big Ten teams are among the country’s top 45 in scoring defense. Iowa is 12th at 58.9 points allowed per game. Even as short-handed as they’ve been lately, the Hawkeyes play good defense.

But the only time defense-dominated ball captures the public’s fancy is when it leads to lots of wins.

Nothing makes Penn State’s 38-33 win at Illinois last Wednesday satisfying. Had that score been posted in a Big East or ACC gym, America would have howled in disgust. But since it occurred in Big Ten play, it’s more amusing than shocking.

Ultimately, though, can Big Ten teams cut through the NCAA tournament? Doyle says yes, and he has history on his side.

Since Michigan State was the last Big Ten team to win it all, in 2000, five more conference teams have been to the Final Four. Illinois and MSU went in the same year, 2005.

In those same eight seasons only the ACC (seven) and Big 12 (six) had as many Final Four representatives.

“I know this is hard to believe,” Doyle said, “but I think the Big Ten is poised to have a nice NCAA tourney.

“Look at the non-conference season. Purdue lost to Oklahoma in overtime, Oklahoma is No. 2 in the country, and Purdue gave that game away. I think Oklahoma shot 50 free throws (46, actually) and Purdue had five.

“Illinois beat the crap out of Missouri (75-59), for lack of a better word, in St. Louis.

“Nationally, the league doesn’t have the sexy rankings or five teams in the Top 25. But it has the strengths-of-schedules, the RPIs that the tournament committee looks at.”

None of which changes the facts the ACC and Big 12 and Big East tournaments will be more enjoyable to watch than the Big Ten tourney.

Nor does it change the fact Michigan-Iowa isn’t likely to be as entertaining as today’s Syracuse-Villanova or Wake Forest-Duke games.

But Doyle says better days are coming for the Hawkeyes. He calls himself a big fan of Iowa Coach Todd Lickliter, and likes Lickliter’s nucleus of young players.

“Jeff Peterson’s improved his game,” said Doyle. “If he and (Cyrus) Tate are healthy, and if (Anthony) Tucker was there, they’d have seven or eight wins in the conference.

“Jake Kelly and (Matt) Gatens, I really like them. Gatens is going to be one of those guys who are rock-solid, and Peterson will be a rock-solid point guard.”

But we live in the present, and Doyle doesn’t pretend the Hawkeyes will wow their Big Ten Network audience with offensive artistry today.

“They would put a glass eye to sleep,” he said.

Missouri, Nebraska Grab Prime-Time Football Slot

As Iowa found out a few years ago when Missouri ditched a home-and-away football series with the Hawkeyes, Mizzou will do what it deems is best for Mizzou.

By the way, much as you Hawkeye fans surely enjoyed your team’s dominance of South Carolina in the Outback Bowl, a Missouri-Iowa Alamo Bowl would still have been a better and more-meaningful matchup.

Anyway, Missouri is going to host Big 12 rival Nebraska on a Thursday night this year. It’s the conference-opener for both. ESPN will air it, and it will be a big deal.

The HuskerExtra.com story: http://www.huskerextra.com/articles/2009/02/13/football/doc4994cecf95ae9266018125.txt?orss=1

As part of the bargain, apparently, the Tigers will also get their game at Nevada moved to a Friday night for ESPN packaging, and the Mizzou-Illinois annual tussle in St. Louis is also set for an ESPN slotting.

Nebraska won’t mind the national audience for its trip to Columbia, either.
It’s a progressive move by both programs. I’m not sure I’d want to have the Thursday night game, especially if it meant a road trip. But at the same time, you know it will attract a lot of television eyeballs who normally don’t see these two teams.

Hlas Column on New Iowa State Football Coach Paul Rhoads

Paul Rhoads, when he had facial hair and a job at Auburn

Paul Rhoads, when he had facial hair and a job at Auburn

In December 1967, new Iowa State head football coach Johnny Majors didn’t make enough money to feel comfortable buying a house in Ames, so he rented one for his first year in town.

In December 2008, new Iowa State football coach Paul Rhoads has a contract guaranteeing him $1,150,000 per year for five years.

But envy was the furthest thing from Majors’ mind Saturday afternoon. For one thing, he made pretty good coin before finishing a 29-year career as a head coach that began with five seasons and two bowl trips at ISU, and included a national title at Pittsburgh and seven bowl wins at Tennessee.

For another, Rhoads is a good friend of his. No one from Iowa State called Majors to get his thoughts on candidate Rhoads, but they would have gotten an earful of encouragement had they done so.

Majors retired after coaching at the University of Pittsburgh in 1996, but lived in Pittsburgh almost the whole time Rhoads was the defensive coordinator at Pitt from 2000 through 2007.

“I saw many of their practices when he was defensive coordinator,” Majors said. “I watched film and talked a lot of football with him. He called me today to tell me he got the Iowa State job. It was a complete surprise to me. After I hung up, I was very enthused and very excited, like a little kid.”

At his introductory news conference in Ames later in the day, Rhoads said, “Coach Majors was a little excited. I think if I’d tossed him the ball, he would have carried it all the way across the goal line.”

We can list all sorts of statistics of how Rhoads’ defenses ranked at Pitt and in the season that just ended at Auburn. The numbers look good, but nothing an assistant has done tells us how he’ll produce once he runs his own program. Anyone who says they know is deluded.

But a learned football man like Majors kept using the phrase “time and place” Saturday, saying he thinks Rhoads is the right coach at this time for Iowa State.

“In my opinion, he’s extremely well-prepared,” Majors said. “Only time will tell what the end result will be. But this, I think, is an ideal fit. They could have spent a year researching and had all sorts of search committees, but for time and place, school and man, I don’t think they could have done better.

“I’m not trying to paint a dream world. I just think here’s a young man who I think has excellent character, is very sociable, and is someone I think is a great connector. He knows Iowa and the Iowa people, he speaks their language, and he’s also worked at Iowa State, which I think is very beneficial.”

Ames isn’t some distant memory to Majors. He said he has returned to Iowa State yearly since he left the school to become coach at Pittsburgh after the 1982 season.

“Iowa State people are resilient and loyal,” he said. “They respect competitive spirit and intense play. With the right type of coaching and recruiting, you’ll be able to win at Iowa State even though it’s very challenging as a job.”

Majors knows what it’s like to win at ISU, and so does Northern Iowa assistant football coach Atif Austin. Rhoads helped recruit Austin to Iowa State from Tampa, Fla. Rhoads was Dan McCarney’s secondary coach from 1995 through 1999 before becoming defensive coordinator at Pittsburgh in 2000.

“I think Jamie Pollard made a great decision hiring Paul Rhoads,” Austin said. “I have no doubt he’ll put his heart and soul into it as Dan McCarney did. I know Iowa State fans are looking for a turnaround, and I think Paul Rhoads will be the guy who can get that done.”

Austin described Rhoads the coach as demanding, but fair.

“Every player has the opportunity to get on the football field and prove himself,” Austin said. “I liked that about him. He’s a lunch pail, blue-collar kind of coach, a guy who works his butt off. What I remember about Coach Rhoads is he coached 100 miles an hour with passion.”

Granted, close friends and his former players who are in the coaching profession are going to give Rhoads ringing endorsements. But when Majors, who professed his undying love for Iowa State and Iowans repeatedly in a phone interview, was so happy about Rhoads becoming the Cyclones’ coach, it means something.

When Austin, a former player of Rhoads’ who now coaches in UNI’s highly successful program, says ISU got its man, it means something.

Can this 41-year-old lifelong defensive coach hire the right person to orchestrate the Cyclones’ offense? Can he assemble the total organization needed just to compete in the Big 12, let alone win in it?

Can he inject a winning attitude in a program that has gone 3-21 in the Big 12 over the last three years and get ISU football out of the basement and back into bowl games?

Couldn’t tell you. As Rhoads said Saturday, “Words really don’t mean anything at this point.”

Still, in this case it takes a fire to get a spark. Rhoads demonstrated Saturday in his news conference that he comes from the Dan McCarney school of intensity.

His fervor will be fun at Cyclone Club banquets come spring.

“We will hit you coming off the bus,” Rhoads said Saturday.

But what about during the games? We’ll wait to see, just as we waited on Gene Chizik to show us he could win before he skipped out on ISU without leaving behind evidence he could.

Look at it this way: Bob Stoops, Mike Leach and Mark Mangino got their first head coaching jobs at their current Big 12 schools. They’ve done pretty well.

Chizik’s first head coaching opportunity was in the Big 12, too. He’s also made out quite nicely. For himself, anyway.

The Cyclones basically traded their head coach to Auburn for the Tigers’ defensive coordinator. Won’t it be rich if Iowa State gets the better of that deal?

The Hlist: America’s Favorite College Football Collection of Quips, Quotes and Quackery

AP photo

AP photo

Opening kickoff

“We’re all going to be dreaming it for the rest of our lives, but even if it ends right here you’ve got the happiest group of students and alumni and townsfolk in the whole wide world. If we don’t win another game again we can die happy.” — Texas Tech 1972 graduate Bill Windsor on the Red Raiders’ 39-33 win over Texas

First downs

1. High Tech: Who knew it could actually be fun to be in Lubbock, Texas?

If you didn’t find Texas Tech’s win thrilling Saturday night, you must be too numb from watching Big Ten football.

“Play 60 minutes. You may have a second to spare,” Texas Tech Coach Mike Leach said after the game.

Leach was right about that, and everything else so far this season. His unbeaten Red Raiders won the Game of the Year on the Play of the Year, Graham Harrell’s 28-yard touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree.

Crabtree went all-or-nothing on the play with time slipping away. Instead of slipping out of bounds after the catch to set up a chip-shot field goal, he tightrope-walked the sideline after shedding a tackle, then veered into the end zone with: 01 left.

“On the sideline, I dreamed that I would catch a pass and go in the end zone for a game-winning touchdown,” Crabtree said afterward. “But I do that every game.”

For those thinking the win was a fluke, Tech outgained the Longhorns 579 yards to 374, and only trailed for a minute and 28 seconds all night. Harrell vaulted into Heisman Trophy contention after completing 36 of 53 passes for 474 yards. Suddenly, Texas counterpart Colt McCoy isn’t a lock to win the Heisman.

“Colt’s a good quarterback. But I think the best quarterback lives in Lubbock,” said Tech defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill.

Leach took the win, called the biggest in Tech’s history, more in stride more than anyone in Lubbock. His team hosts No. 8 Oklahoma State Saturday.

“Now the biggest game in history is Oklahoma State,” Leach said, “or the history of this year, anyway.”

2. Dawgs Pounded: Florida’s players were ordered to do 42 repetitions at each weight station during summer workouts, one for each point they allowed in their 42-30 loss to Georgia last year.

The Gators also did 188 sit-ups, push-ups and crunches each during those workouts, one for each yard Georgia back Knowshon Moreno rushed for in that game.

After Moreno scored Georgia’s first touchdown against Florida last year, 70 Bulldog players rushed to the end zone to stomp around. In his biography called “Urban’s Way,” Florida Coach Urban Meyer said “That wasn’t right. It was a bad deal. And it will forever be in the mind of Urban Meyer and in the mind of our football team. . . . So we’ll handle it. And it’s going to be a big deal.”

Meyer called timeouts with 44 and 30 seconds left in the game and his team ahead by 39 points.

The Hlist thinks Urban’s Way could use some Urban Refinement.

3. Kafka No Nightmare: Northwestern quarterback Mike Kafka set a Big Ten record for rushing yards by a quarterback with 217 in the Wildcats’ 24-17 win at Minnesota.

Kafka, playing because starter C.J. Bacher was out with an injury, also passed for 143 yards.

“That kid was good,” Minnesota defensive end Willie Van DeSteeg said. “It was like having two running backs out there.”

“And only the Northwestern eggheads could have a quarterback named Kafka, by the way,” wrote Tom Powers of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “His wideouts were Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy.”

The Wildcats, 7-2, were playing to hang on for an overtime. But Brendan Smith returned an interception 48 yards for the winning score with 12 seconds left. The ball bounced off cornerback David Oredugba’s hands and into Smith’s.

“They always make fun of me for my bad hands,” Oredugba said, “so thank you, Lord, for giving me bad hands.”

Fumbles

1. Bo-loney: Nebraska Coach Bo Pelini was a little miffed after his team got crushed at Oklahoma, 62-28. The Sooners had a 28-0 lead six minutes into the game.

Pelini refused to make his players available to the media afterward. Which was kind of a rotten deal for the dozens of traveling reporters from Nebraska, where Cornhusker football is still bigger than life even though the Huskers are a humble 2-3 in the Big 12.

A city named Lincoln shouldn’t have a dictator as a prominent resident.

When asked to explain his decision to muffle his team, Pelini’s voice started rising.

“You know what,” he said, “I will make them not available the whole week, if that’s what you want me to do. Is that what you want me to do? I thought I made it clear where we stand on that.

“The players are not available for comment, OK? If you don’t like it, tough. Ask me the questions you’d ask the players.”

To which a good first question would have been, “How come your head coach didn’t put you in a position to compete tonight?”

2. Michigone: How bad is it for Michigan? Toledo shoved coach Tom Amstutz out of his job Monday even though the Rockets won at Michigan last month. In years past, Toledo would have given a coach a lifetime contract for beating the Wolverines.

Michigan secured its first losing season since 1967 with its 48-42 loss at Purdue. The 2-7 Wolverines won’t go to a bowl for the first time in 34 years.

“We’ve had great tradition and we still have great tradition,” said Michigan Coach Rich Rodriguez.

Well, at least he’s half-right.

3. Bottomed Out: Wisconsin was ranked ninth in the nation in September. Now it’s November, and the Badgers are 1-5 and alone in last place of the Big Ten.

The Badgers only trailed for seven seconds of their game at Michigan State. They were the wrong seven seconds, the last seven seconds. After their 25-24 loss, UW safety Chris Maragos said “Everything is kind of in disarray right now.”

“We are just trying to get to a bowl game,” Badger wide receiver David Gilreath said. “You don’t want the season to go down the drain.

“You want something good to come out of it. I guess a bowl would do that.”

Uh, David, what if the bowl is the Motor City?

Final gun

“I stayed up watching the game again until 2:30 (a.m.). I didn’t erase it and I’m going to watch it a couple of other times.” — Texas Tech Chancellor Kent Hance

The Hlist: America’s Favorite Weekly College Football Roundup

(AP photo)

Opening kickoff

“You’re aware of Rich Rodriguez, the high-priced football coach at Michigan who has been having a rough time adapting to the rigors of the Big Ten?

“Well, don’t feel too sorry for him. Just remember that ‘Fraud-Riguez,’ as the T-shirts proclaimed him last winter, bolted West Virginia, where he had six years remaining on his contract, a mere 17 days before his team faced Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl.

“Rodriguez, who watched the bowl game on TV while an assistant coached the Mountaineers to victory, isn’t even a fellow to face up to his deviousness. He sent a graduate assistant to deliver his resignation letter to West Virginia’s athletic director.” — Rick Telander, Chicago Sun-Times

First downs

1. Penthouse State: Alone atop the Big Ten stands Penn State after its 13-6 win at Ohio State. Finally, the Nittany Lions played someone of repute.

“I thought it was a good football game,” Penn State Coach Joe Paterno said after his 381st win. “I’ve been around a lot of football games.”

Still, there are always critics. Not everyone is convinced Paterno’s squad is worthy of a national title game.

“I don’t know if they’re a better team than Texas, Georgia, Florida, Oklahoma, USC or Alabama,” former Auburn coach Pat Dye told Sportingnews.com.

He neglected to include Texas Tech.

2. One in a Row: Wisconsin, which used to win games with frequency, snapped a four-game losing streak by beating Illinois, 27-17.

“It feels like we just won the national championship,” said Wisconsin’s David Gilreath, who had a 49-yard touchdown reception.

“It’s a game on the schedule that we needed to win,” Badgers Coach Bret Bielema said. “I don’t know if there is any more importance to win at any time.”

“That’s a lie,” UW strong safety Jay Valai said, grinning. “Let’s keep it real. This game was more important than any of the ones we played because we finally (won), thank God.”

3. Spartans Have Hart: Michigan State fans congregated in a corner of Michigan Stadium Saturday, chanting “Lit-tle Sis-ter! Lit-tle Sis-ter!”

Last year, Michigan running back Mike Hart referred to Michigan State as “little brother.” The Wolverines beat MSU last year for their sixth straight triumph over their state rival.

A banner was hung outside Michigan’s stadium after the game. It read: “Little Brother Just Kicked Big Brother’s (Backside)”

What would MSU people do if their team ever won two in a row over the Wolverines?

4. Gophers Golden: Minnesota was 1-11 last year with the defense that was ranked last in the nation.

This year’s Gophers are 7-1 after a 17-6 win at Purdue.

“We just fly around,” said Minnesota safety Kyle Theret, who had nine solo tackles and an interception.

The Gophers fly with an attitude. They had four personal foul penalties at Purdue.

“We were running our mouths and did a little extra activity that we shouldn’t have,” senior defensive end Willie VanDeSteeg said. “But we won.”

Fumbles

1. Joe the Bummer: It’s been a fine 12-year run for Joe Tiller as Purdue’s coach. The first 11 seasons were good, anyway, with 10 bowl trips.

The 2-6 Boilermakers are alone in the Big Ten basement at 0-4 in this, Tiller’s final season. Some way to go out.

“This isn’t how I envisioned it,” Tiller said.

His team managed a paltry 226 yards in its 17-6 loss to Minnesota. The 109 passing yards were the fewest in Tiller’s Purdue tenure.

When asked about a slight shoulder separation that kept Boilermakers quarterback Curtis Painter on the sideline the entire second half, Tiller told a radio reporter “Most guys would play with that. I don’t know why he didn’t. But he didn’t . . .”

Tiller’s frustration carried over from midweek when he reacted to comments made by running back Kory Sheets that questioned Sheets’ confidence in Painter.

“Well, as I said to our own coaches,” Tiller said, “(Sheets) has grown physiologically but not intellectually the last four years. So, if you know him, it’s not a surprise. It’s a disappointment.

“So, if any person thinks that they’re going to carry the team, then perhaps we should just hand him the ball and stand on the sidelines and cheer. I don’t know what type of game plan that would be, but perhaps we could try it.

“One thing about it, I don’t really ever sugarcoat stuff.”

2. Northern Exposure: The Big 12 North is 2-10 against the South. The North’s best team would be the South’s fifth-best. A team from the North will play a team from the South in December for the league title.

The Hlist’s question: Why?

From the Kansas City Star’s Blair Kerkhoff:

“An incredible football game was waged on Kansas soil Saturday.

“Texas Tech took the early lead on Oklahoma, but the Sooners roared back to edge ahead.

“From there, the teams exchanged leads, and late in the proceedings the Red Raiders grabbed a 56-55 lead.

“Finally, Tech prevailed 63-58.

“Sadly for Kansas and Kansas State, the Sooners and Red Raiders played around the same time but not against each other. Instead, they toyed with the Sunflower State institutions of higher learning and lower football prowess.

“Texas Tech blew the doors off Kansas 63-21, and Oklahoma ran away from Kansas State 58-35.”

3. Boo Hoo, LSU: It’s not easy being mortal.

LSU defensive end Rahim Alem pointed the finger at his team’s offense after Georgia ripped the defending national champion Tigers, 52-38.

“There were two touchdowns we couldn’t do anything about,” Alem said, referring to LSU quarterback Jarrett Lee’s two interceptions that Georgia linebacker Darryl Gamble returned for touchdowns.

“Everybody has turnovers, but when you throw two interceptions for touchdowns, those are game-changers,” Alem said.

At least he shouldered half of the blame.

“On defense, we messed up big. On offense, we messed up big.”

Coach Les Miles got a big raise and a contract extension from LSU last December when Michigan wooed him. So someone with the program didn’t mess up big.

4. Ground Yuck: Navy beat SMU 34-7 without attempting a single pass. Using a triple option, the Midshipmen rushed 77 times for 404 yards.

It’s khaki-ugly football, though, and it’s a military thing. Army and Air Force also have won games this year without completing a pass.

Final gun

“If you can do this to LSU in frothing Tiger Stadium, you need have no fear of Florida or anything reptilian.” Mark Bradley, Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Georgia plays the Florida Gators Saturday.

The Hlist: Week 2

Compiled from published sources nationwide and the only three people who find Jerry Seinfeld’s Microsoft commercials with Bill Gates funny.

OPENING KICKOFF

“That was pathetic. It was a pathetic performance. OU should’ve won the game. I don’t know how we came out with it.” — Ohio State wide receiver Brian Hartline after the Buckeyes rallied for a 26-14 win over Ohio, a 33-point underdog.

FIRST DOWNS

1. Big Ten Rolls an 11: The Big Ten went 11-0 Saturday. However, the league met just two teams from BCS conferences, and those were Oregon State and Duke. Also among the vanquished were Eastern Illinois, Northern Colorado and Murray State. And Florida International.

Ohio State struggled with Ohio and Michigan did likewise with Miami (Ohio).

But Minnesota deserves some propers for winning 42-17 at Bowling Green, which won at Pittsburgh the previous week.

“I said we’ve taken the steps necessary to be an improved football team. I think it’s pretty evident that we are,” said Gophers Coach Tim Brewster.

Minnesota was 1-11 last year, so it’s not like the 2-0 Gophers had to take a major leap to be better.

2. Big 12 Rolls a 12: The Big 12 swept its dozen games Saturday for the first time in league history.

Just one of the teams conquered, however, was a BCS conference member. That was Cincinnati, which got doubled over at Oklahoma, 52-26.

Among the other victims: Northwestern State, Southeast Missouri State and Montana State.

Colorado had to come from behind for its 31-24 victory over Eastern Washington.

“I don’t like to talk bad about teams,” said Eastern Washington defensive back Ryan Kelly, “but (the Buffaloes) aren’t going to get that far in the Big 12. They aren’t playing like a Big 12 team. They’re playing like a Big Sky team.”

3. Flavor of the Week: That would be East Carolina, which has the most impressive two-week track record in the nation with wins over Virginia Tech and West Virginia.

“It is so much fun to stand on the sidelines and watch our defense play as good as it is,” said ECU Coach Skip Holtz, the son of Lou Holtz.

The Hlist would rather stand on the sidelines and watch Skip’s team than sit at home and listen to Lou babble on ESPN. The Hlist would rather watch Florida International play Maine than listen to Lou babble on ESPN.

4. Beware, Hawkeyes: What in the name of cream puffs and cupcakes was Iowa thinking when it scheduled a home game against Arkansas State for next season?

The Red Wolves of Jonesboro aren’t Maine or Florida International. They (gasp!) have a true major-college football program. They opened the season with an 18-14 win at Texas A&M, then came home and struck down Texas Southern, 83-10. It was the most points by an FBS program in three years, and it was ASU’s biggest win since a 101-0 savaging of Arkansas State Teacher’s College in 1917.

The Red Wolves’ Corey Leonard finished 9-for-10 passing for 229 yards and four touchdowns. He wanted a pass interference call on his only incompletion.

“It was a tough thing, but 9-for-10 with four touchdowns isn’t a bad night’s work,” Leonard said. “That was pretty good.”

FUMBLES

1. Rule of Dumb: The Play of the Week was Washington quarterback Jake Locker throwing the ball into the air to celebrate a potential tying touchdown run against BYU.

Locker received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, so the subsequent extra-point kick was from 35 yards instead of 20. It got blocked, and the Huskies lost, 28-27.

His flip of the ball wasn’t taunting. It was barely even a flip.

“I guess I’m sorry for celebrating the game of football,” Locker said.

“It wasn’t premeditated. But, in hindsight, it was something I shouldn’t have done. I’ve never done it in the past.”

The officials said they had no choice but to call it. There’s nothing in the NCAA rule book about letting common sense override a technicality.

Steve Kelley in the Seattle Times: “Games are meant to be played with joy. And there never, ever should be anything wrong with doing what Jake Locker did in the final seconds of one memorable Saturday afternoon.”

2. Worst of the West: It was a bad day all around in Washington. California gave Washington State a 66-3 thrashing at Wazzu, the worst defeat the Cougars have endured since they began playing football in 1894.

“They were a lot bigger, a lot stronger and a lot faster,” said WSU Coach Paul Wulff.

And better. A lot better.

USC plays at Washington State on Oct. 18. Try not to look.

3. Mismatch Mania: FBS (I-A) teams won 21 of 22 games against FCS (I-AA) teams Saturday for a two-week total of 52 of 54.

Despite being without a dozen key players who are suspended until Sept. 27 for their roles in an academic cheating scandal last year, Florida State slipped past Western Carolina, 69-0. Had FSU not missed a 43-yard field goal in the second quarter, the game would have been a rout.

Kansas State squeaked past Montana State, 69-10.

“It didn’t feel easy to me,” K-State Coach Ron Prince said. Uh huh.

TCU edged Stephen F. Austin, 67-7.

“I don’t mean this to sound badly,” TCU Coach Gary Patterson said, “but that’s what you want to do when you play a I-AA team.”

4. Unarmed Army: The one FBS team to lose to an FCS club was Army, on the wrong side of a 28-10 score against New Hampshire.

“I’m embarrassed,” Army Coach Stan Brock said. “I’m ashamed — not that we lost to the University of New Hampshire, because they are a good football team, but by the way we did it.

“I apologize to the United States Military, Corps of Cadets, anybody really who watched that game. That’s not the way that these kids need to play this game.”

“I didn’t see anyone quit,” said Army defensive back Lowell Garthwaite. “We’re not quitters. We’re Army football players — we don’t quit.”

FINAL GUN

“Michigan will play Notre Dame next. Maybe the Irish can look a little stronger against a weak opponent like that.” — Mike Downey of the Chicago Tribune after Notre Dame’s 21-13 win over San Diego State.