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College Football Recap Week Eight
The Notre Dame offensive line showed their strength again yesterday. As is the case most of the time, the line does not get as much recognition as they probably should. We cannot overlook the play though of Braxston Cave, Mike Golic Jr., Chris Watt, Zach Martin, and Nick Martin. The Irish line has become one of the strengths of this team. The identity of this team has been a throwback of running the football and great defense. The offensive line proved its worth yesterday by opening holes that lead to 270 rushing yards and a Notre Dame win over BYU 17-14. That may not seem overly impressive on the surface, but when you look closer to see that the Cougars had a rushing defense rated in the top five nationally in rushing yards given up and rushing average this Irish line had a great day yesterday.
The Indiana State Sycamores won their fourth consecutive game yesterday beating Western Illinois 23-7. There are a few reasons why this win sticks out. The Trees have won three games during this streak on the road, they have taken down two of their biggest competitors in the conference race (North Dakota State and Southern Illinois), and most importantly all four victories came in conference games. ISU now sits atop the Missouri Valley Conference standings at 4-1. With three games remaining, Indiana State has the opportunity to come away with a conference championship and make it to the FCS playoffs. Both of these ideas would have been dreams a few years ago, but with coach Trent Miles at the helm this program has turned the corner. Keep your eye on the Sycamores and especially RB Shakir Bell as they push to reach their goals.
Purdue was leading at Ohio State and looking for their third consecutive win against the Buckeyes until just :03 remaining in the 4th quarter. That was when backup OSU quarterback Kenny Guiton threw a 2 yard touchdown pass to Chris Fields to cut the Boiler lead to 29-27. The Buckeyes then converted the two-point conversion on another Guiton connection this time to TE Jeff Heuerman which sent this game to overtime. Ohio State scored on their first possession of the extra session and followed that up by stopping Purdue on four straight pass attempts to escape with the victory. This is a tough loss for Purdue for a few reasons. It is their third straight loss which puts them at 0-3 in the conference. It is also their fourth loss already this season which means they will now have to win at least three of their final five games just to become bowl eligible.
I know that this post is designed to be a recap, but I can’t help myself here in looking ahead to next week’s match up of Notre Dame vs. Oklahoma at Memorial Stadium in Norman, OK. The Fighting Irish and Sooners worked out a home-and-home series which in this age of scheduling was great news to see. This season ND has started 7-0 for the first time since 2002 and is very much in the national title hunt. Oklahoma is 5-1 and cannot afford another loss if they want to have any chance of sliding back into the championship picture. This game is also intriguing because it is the classic match up of offense versus defense. Oklahoma’s offense is fifth in the country averaging 44.7 points per game including 115 points combined in their last two games both wins. Notre Dame has hung their hat on defense so far this season and rank second nationally in giving up only 9.4 points per game. Prime time Saturday night will be a huge game on the national stage for both teams. Oklahoma trying to prove that they can win a big game and deserve to be one of the top programs in the country. Notre Dame is trying to ride this recent wave of success and continue on with what they believe has the chance to be a magical season.