Snap judgments on Saturday's best.
ROBOTICS • Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech.
Thomas' first ACC start was a colossal misfire, resulting in zero Hokie touchdowns in a 23-3 home loss at the hands of Clemson. With a few minor tweaks, though, he achieved a kind of quarterbacking singularity against Miami, connecting on 23 of 25 passes for 310 yards and three touchdowns — two of them coming from 40 yards and 60 yards out, respectively — en route to a come-from-behind, 38-35 win. Thomas took in the game-winning touchdown himself on a 19-yard, fourth down scramble with a little over a minute to play, capping a 77-yard drive with his second rushing touchdown of the day.
ENTREPRENEURSHIP • Denard Robinson, Michigan.
Literally taking matters into his own hands in an emerging shootout, "Shoelace" personally accounted for 454 of Michigan's 541 total yards — 84 percent — and four touchdowns in a 42-24 win at Northwestern. Of the Wolverines' 14 third down conversions for the game, Robinson had a hand as a runner or passer on 12 of them, eight leading to eventual points.
Honorable Mention: Its regular running game stalled — tailbacks Broderick Green and Dennis Johnson averaged just shy of 3.2 yards on 28 carries — Arkansas turned instead to leading receiver Joe Adams, who broke a close game wide open in the third quarter on the longest run ever recorded against an Auburn defense:
From there, Arkansas added two more scores in the fourth quarter en route to a 38-14 rout.
PHYSICS • Ohio State.
Up three touchdowns behind a surprisingly strong night from Braxton Miller in his first road start at Nebraska, the Buckeyes suffered an equal and opposite reaction after Miller left the game with an ankle injury in the third quarter: The Cornhuskers ripped off 28 unanswered points for a deflating, 34-27 win. With Miller in the game, Ohio State scored 27 points on 305 yards of total offense, averaging 7.4 yards per play. After he was replaced by senior Joe Bauserman, the Buckeyes scored zero points on 51 yards over their last four possessions, good for a little over two yards per play.
EDUCATION • Oklahoma's Defense.
The Sooners converted the Cotton Bowl into a state-of-the-art classroom for Texas' fledgling quarterbacks, Case McCoy and David Ash, presenting "teachable moments" in the form of eight sacks, five turnovers and three defensive touchdowns in a 55-17 humiliation. Individually, most of the lessons were administered by veteran defensive ends Frank Alexander and Ronnell Lewis, who combined for seven tackles for loss, five sacks and two forced fumbles between them.
CRAFTSMANSHIP • Penn State.
Some offenses, they're only in it to score points. Not the Nittany Lions, who lovingly crafted three separate 80-yard drives that yielded a grand total of six points in the first three quarters of an eventual 13-3 win over Iowa. Altogether, those three marches covered 259 yards on 42 plays and took more than 20 minutes off the clock, only to end in a pair of field goals and an interception.
The Lions finally cracked the end zone for the first and only time on a two-yard pass from Matt McGloin to Kevin Haplea in the fourth quarter, but only after embarking on an 11-play, six-minute drive from the Hawkeye forty-nine.
LOGISTICS • Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State.
Facing virtually no resistance from an overmatched Kansas defense, Weeden and backup quarterback Clint Chelf spread the wealth among a dozen different receivers — none of whom went over 100 yards — during the course of a 70-28 massacre in Stillwater. Weeden hit 24 of 28 passes with five touchdowns in the first half alone, presumably while gnawing casually on a piece of straw.
Honorable Mention: Notre Dame scored touchdowns on all six first half possessions on the way to a 59-33 thumping of Air Force, by six different Irish players. … Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck connected with eleven different receivers during the Cardinal's 48-7 rout over Colorado, finishing 26-of-33 passing for 370 yards and three touchdowns.
CULTURAL HISTORY • Jordan Jefferson, Mitch Joseph and Greg Studrawa.
Paying smirking homage to the infamous goal line "jump pass" that helped put then-freshman Tim Tebow on the map during Florida's win over LSU in 2006 — a victory that helped propel the Gators to their first BCS championship — Studrawa called for the same trick with the Tigers already up 27-11 on Florida at the start of the fourth quarter. Jefferson dutifully shot-putted the ball over the line to Joseph, a fellow senior, who hauled in his first career touchdown to effectively put the game away at 34-11. LSU added another score with a little over two minutes to play to push the final to 41-11.
HORTICULTURE • Derek Dooley, Tennessee.
Struggling for a grasp on an experienced team on the heels of a 20-12 loss to Georgia that knocked the Vols to 0-2 in SEC play for the second consecutive year, Dooley turned philosophical in his postgame press conference:
"We're water and bamboo. That's about all I can say. Bamboo sits there and you water it, and you water it, and you water it. It sits there and it doesn't grow and it doesn't grow and you water it and you keep watering it and nothing's happening. If you don't understand bamboo, you say it's never going to grow. And then you come out and it goes ZHOOM! That's what's going to happen. I don't know when that is."
I don't know anything about bamboo, either, but I can guess when it's not going to happen: At any point over the next three weeks, when the Vols face LSU, Alabama and South Carolina with starting quarterback Tyler Bray on the sideline with a broken hand.
CHEMISTRY • Geno Smith and Stedman Bailey, Ivan McCartney and Tavon Austin, West Virginia.
The overwhelming majority of the damage left by Smith's 450-yard, four-touchdown barrage against UConn was delivered by his top three receivers, who accounted for 20 of Smith's 27 completions, 383 yards and three touchdowns between them — all three scores coming in the second half of a 43-16 thrashing. Smith's 84-yard hookup with Bailey in the third quarter matched the longest play from scrimmage by a Big East offense this year, running or passing.
FINANCE • Terrance Ganaway and Robert Griffin III, Baylor.
With Griffin's golden arm failing to produce the usual returns through the air, the Bears took advantage of an underexploited market on the ground to rush for 391 yards in a 49-26 blowout over Iowa State. Most of that number came via Ganaway (23 carries for 200 yards, 3 TDs) and Griffin (24 for 107, 1 TD), on top of another 212 yards and a touchdown for Griffin through the air, adding up to another 600-yard afternoon for the offense as a whole despite the best efforts of the Cyclone secondary. That's just how it goes for the little people, I'm afraid.