Notre Dame's opponents combined for a 5-6 week full of blowouts and surprising upsets.
USC coach Lane Kiffin and quarterback Matt Barkley struggled in an upset loss to Stanford Saturday afternoon.
Mistakes and an uncharacteristic lack of discipline cost the Midshipmen again this weekend. They lost 34-7 in Beaver Stadium to hand Penn State its first post-Paterno era win. After a bye week, Navy matched its four-turnover performance against Notre Dame and also allowed the Nittany Lions to score on their first three drives. Slot back Gee Gee Greene ran for 70 yards and broke up a shutout with a 12-yard score in the fourth quarter.
The Boilermakers beat up on Eastern Michigan 54-16 a week after losing a nail-biter to Notre Dame on the road. Purdue quarterback Caleb TerBush threw two touchdown passes and ran for another in the win. Robert Marve did not play. With Wisconsin in a full-fledged nose dive, the Boilermakers are looking like contenders to win the Big Ten Leaders Division.
No. 21 Michigan State (2-1)
Michigan State’s offense ran into a wall Saturday night in a 20-3 loss to No. 11 Notre Dame. For the second straight year, the Spartans couldn’t pick up more than 50 yards on the ground. They ran only one play on the downhill side of midfield during the second half. The loss dropped them 11 spots in the rankings.
No. 18 Michigan (2-1)
It took a little while to get rolling, but Michigan eventually flattened FBS-newcomer UMass 63-13 at the Big House Saturday. Denard Robinson passed for a touchdown and ran for another — two of his four — in a three-minute span in the second quarter to blow the game open. He sat out the fourth quarter and was talking about Saturday’s trip to South Bend by the time he met with reporters following the game.
The Hurricanes took care of business in a 38-10 win over Bethune-Cookman Saturday afternoon. The southern Florida showdown was a coming out party for local freshman Duke Johnson. He scored four touchdowns — two rushing, one receiveing and a 95-yard kickoff return. Miami will return to conference play for two weeks before coming to Chicago to face the Irish.
No. 9 Stanford (3-0)
The Cardinal leaped 12 spots in this week’s AP poll after beating then-No. 2 USC 21-14 in the upset of the week. Senior running back Stepfan Taylor ran for 153 yards and a pair of touchdowns to lead the way. Stanford’s defense held the star-laden Trojans offense to 26 rushing yards, 280 total yards and kept them from scoring in the second half.
The Cougars took a step backward on their climb into the national polls this week, losing to in-state rival Utah 24-21 in a wild finish. Utes fans rushed the field prematurely twice before BYU kicker Riley Stephenson clanged a potential game-tying field goal off the upright and wide. The missed kick ended a fourth-quarter comeback bid that included two unanswered touchdowns.
No. 6 Oklahoma (2-0)
The Sooners were idle this week and will start Big 12 play on the road against Kansas State on Saturday.
Paul Chryst got a much-need first win in Pittsburgh Saturday by shocking No. 13 Virginia Tech 35-17 in the Steel City. Panthers running back Ray Graham returned to form with two rushing touchdowns and one through the air. Highly-touted freshman Rushel Shell added 157 yards on the ground to help hand the Hokies their first road loss in 14 games.
Boston College (1-2)
The Eagles didn’t surrender a touchdown until there were less than two minutes left on the clock, but five field goals and a slow day for the Boston College offense gave Northwestern enough breathing room for a 22-13 win. Chase Rettig complete 24 of 44 passes for 291 yards and a score in a losing effort.
Wake Forest (2-1)
The Demon Deacons ran into a buzzsaw Saturday afternoon in a 52-0 loss to No. 5 Florida State. The revenge-hungry Seminoles outgained Wake Forest 612-126 in total offense and opened up a 38-0 lead heading into halftime. Running back Chris Thompson finished with 197 yards and two touchdowns in his first extended playing time after fracturing his back a year ago.
No. 13 USC (2-1)
Trojan quarterback Matt Barkley looked awfully mortal in his fourth career loss to Stanford Saturday. Barkley completed less than half his passes and threw two interceptions while missing starting Khaled Holmes, who injured his right leg last week. The Cardinal defense sacked Barkley four times on Saturday, leaving him “pretty beat up” according to head coach Lane Kiffin.