With quarterback Kellen Clemens out for the season, Oregon gets a week to regroup. The Ducks defeated Arizona 28-21 on Saturday but Clemens...
With quarterback Kellen Clemens out for the season, Oregon gets a week to regroup.
The Ducks defeated Arizona 28-21 on Saturday but Clemens fractured his left ankle and will undergo surgery today. The senior from Burns, Ore., will need three to six months to recover, the university said in a news release yesterday.
With the victory, the Ducks improved to 7-1 overall and 4-1 in the Pacific-10 Conference. They moved a spot up in the polls to No. 14.
The Ducks have a bye Saturday before facing No. 24 California, which defeated Washington State 42-38 on Saturday. Backup quarterback Dennis Dixon, who was also injured Saturday, is expected to be healthy enough to start against the Golden Bears.
Clemens had adjusted quite well to the Ducks’ new spread-option offense and was 50 yards shy of setting a school season record for total offense when he was injured.
“It’s hard to see him go,” Ducks coach Mike Bellotti said. “It’s hard to see one play just take that away.”
Longhorns gain ground
Texas is changing some minds.
The second-ranked Longhorns picked up two more first-place votes in The Associated Press Top 25, gaining on No. 1 USC.
USC is on top of the rankings for a record 27th straight poll. The Trojans received 55 first-place votes and 1,615 points. The Longhorns, coming off a 52-17 victory over previously unbeaten Texas Tech, received the remaining 10 first-place votes and 1,569 points in the media poll.
“I didn’t move USC down as much as I moved Texas up,” said Joe Giglio of The News & Observer of Raleigh, N.C., one of two voters to switch Texas and USC this week. “I feel [the Longhorns] have a more complete résumé and I’m really impressed with how they’ve handled their business.”
After a Saturday with no major upsets, the top nine teams held their positions in the Top 25. Virginia Tech is No. 3, followed by Georgia, Alabama, Miami, LSU, UCLA and Notre Dame.
The top five teams in the USA Today coaches’ poll and the Harris Interactive poll were identical to the AP rankings with USC, Texas, Virginia Tech, Georgia and Alabama.
Texas Tech was the only top-10 team to fall. The Red Raiders dropped seven spots to No. 17 after their first loss of the season. That leaves six unbeaten teams — USC, Texas, Virginia Tech, Georgia, Alabama and UCLA.
With USC and UCLA set to finish the season against each other and a Georgia-Alabama matchup in the Southeastern Conference title game possible, the regular season could end with four unbeaten teams.
Northwestern moved into the rankings this week for the first time since 2001. The Wildcats (5-2) defeated Michigan State 49-14 on Saturday and are now 21st in the country. The Spartans fell out of the rankings along with Virginia. The Cavaliers followed up a win over Florida State with a 7-5 loss at North Carolina on Saturday.
Now, one month and three straight Big Ten victories later, the Wildcats (5-2, 3-1) find themselves in the thick of the conference title race and back in the Top 25 for the first time since 2001, at No. 21 after a convincing 49-14 win over Michigan State on Saturday.
“Football is about confidence,” Northwestern coach Randy Walker said after the game. “Three or four weeks ago, we had none … [but] it’s started coming the right way. Now we are playing decisively.”
There’s plenty of time for momentum to swing again, and Northwestern offers a textbook example of how quickly confidence can come and go.
The Wildcats were deflated after a 52-21 loss at Arizona State on Sept. 17, a game that saw the Sun Devils gain 773 yards of total offense.
One week later, Northwestern played well in a 34-29 loss to then-unbeaten Penn State. Since then, the Wildcats have rattled off impressive wins against Wisconsin, Purdue and Michigan State.
They are one of four Big Ten teams with one conference loss. Penn State and Wisconsin are 4-1 in the league, while Northwestern and Ohio State are 3-1. But Northwestern has a difficult schedule remaining with games against Michigan, Iowa, Ohio State and Illinois.
“I reminded them in the locker room, there’s still a lot of football left in the season,” Walker said. “This thing is going to be a wild race to the end, and hopefully we can keep getting better as a football team.”
Quarterback Brett Basanez has blossomed in his senior season, throwing 12 touchdown passes and one interception.
But it’s his leadership that has most impressed Walker.
“The most important thing a quarterback can do is walk in the huddle and make 10 guys better,” Walker said. “He makes more than 10 guys better.”
Georgia QB will miss Florida game
Georgia coach Mark Richt announced that D.J. Shockley, a fifth-year senior, would miss Saturday’s game with Florida because of an MCL sprain in his left knee. Shockley had been excellent in his first season as the starter for the Bulldogs (7-0). He has thrown for 1,538 yards, with 12 touchdowns and four interceptions, and had 215 rushing yards. He had given the Bulldogs an athletic presence and was a more polished passer than most thought.
“This week will be tough on him,” Richt said of Shockley, who was injured in the second quarter of Georgia’s 23-20 win over Arkansas. “One of reasons you come to Georgia is to play in this game.”