video

After playing three top five teams close, Heather Dinich and Cary Chow look at whether or not the Big 12 conference is getting enough respect.

Snyder: Auburn had our signals

September, 19, 2014
Sep 19
9:53
AM ET
video

Kansas State switched up its offensive signals Thursday night because coach Bill Snyder believed Auburn was stealing signs.

"They're getting our signals," Snyder told ESPN sideline reporter Samantha Ponder, adding that the Wildcats changed up some of their signals during halftime.

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn denied any first-half advantage after the game, which the Tigers won 20-14.

"No, no," he said when asked if Auburn knew the signals.

Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher made the same claims against Auburn after January's BCS National Championship Game win, as the Seminoles reportedly used towels to block some of their signals.


(Read full post)


Latest Dish: Five things I learned

September, 19, 2014
Sep 19
9:00
AM ET
Here are five things I learned in college football this week:

1. Sure, No. 5 Auburn greatly benefited from No. 20 Kansas State’s red zone miscues and three missed field goals in Thursday night's 20-14 victory at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. But give the Tigers some credit for making plays when it mattered most, especially on defense.

Auburn limited the Wildcats to only 40 rushing yards on 30 carries (1.3 yards per carry) and surrendered only one run longer than 10 yards to KSU tailback Charles Jones, who came into the game averaging 6 yards per attempt. Also, Auburn only allowed two passes of more than 15 yards, and held quarterback Jake Waters to minus-7 rushing yards on 11 attempts.

Auburn might not yet have a championship-caliber defense, but it is certainly making strides under second-year coordinator Ellis Johnson.

[+] EnlargeJameis Winston
Tim Heitman/USA TODAY SportsThe Seminoles are used to getting off to a fast start in games when Jameis Winston is under center.
2. No. 1 FSU is used to starting fast with quarterback Jameis Winston on the field. According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Seminoles had a halftime lead of at least seven points in 15 of the previous 16 games Winston started at FSU. The only team that stayed within six points of the Seminoles in the first half was Auburn, which had an 11-point halftime lead in last season’s BCS National Championship. FSU rallied for a 34-31 victory in the second half to claim the school’s third national title.

We’ll see if No. 22 Clemson can keep it close in Saturday night’s ACC showdown at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Florida. Winston is suspended from playing in the first half after making vulgar comments in the FSU student union Tuesday, and redshirt sophomore Sean Maguire is expected to make his first career start. Maguire hasn't started a game since November 2011, when he was a senior at Seton Hall Prep in New Jersey.

3. Although hindsight is 20/20, Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo accepted blame for not having tailback Todd Gurley more involved in the offense when the Bulldogs faced first-and-goal at South Carolina’s 4-yard line in the closing minutes of last week’s 38-35 loss. UGA attempted a play-action pass on first-and-goal, and quarterback Hutson Mason was penalized for intentional grounding. After two more plays, the Bulldogs missed a chip-shot field goal that would have tied the score, and the Gamecocks were able to run out the clock.

Bobo's first-down call was an aggressive one, and it can certainly be argued that he should have put the ball in the hands of Gurley, who might be the country's best running back. But if the play-action pass had worked, we'd be talking about how brilliant Bobo's call was. And, of course, if Bobo had called for Mason to hand the ball to Gurley on four straight plays and the Bulldogs didn't score, we'd be talking about how vanilla and uncreative his play calling was.

4. West Virginia's defense surrendered 447 yards of offense in last week’s 40-37 win at Maryland, but Mountaineers defensive coordinator Tony Gibson said 188 yards came on three plays. Quarterback C.J. Brown threw a 77-yard touchdown to Stefon Diggs and had a 75-yard scoring run of his own. The Mountaineers didn't give up a touchdown after Brown’s long run on the first play from scrimmage in the second half (the Terps kicked a field goal and scored on a long punt return in the fourth quarter).

West Virginia will need a similar defensive effort if it’s going to upset No. 4 Oklahoma in Morgantown on Saturday night. Last season, the Sooners defeated the Mountaineers 16-7, their fewest points total during the previous two seasons.

5. Oregon’s recent dominance over Washington State is making it one of the most lopsided conference series in the country. The No. 2 Ducks have won seven straight games over the Cougars heading into Saturday night’s game in Pullman, averaging 52.4 points per game with an average margin of victory of 32.1 points. Ouch.

Auburn finds a way to earn win

September, 19, 2014
Sep 19
1:27
AM ET
video

MANHATTAN, Kan. -- As the ball floated in the air down the sideline, Gus Malzahn began to jog along with it. And as the pass safely landed in the arms of D'haquille Williams, Malzahn's jog turned into a sprint, full of fist pumps of relief.

"I knew this was gonna be a tough one," Auburn's head coach said.

On a Thursday night before a rowdy Bill Snyder Family Stadium crowd, as Kansas State hung around despite squandering chance after chance, Malzahn didn't want to give the Wildcats a final opportunity to finally deliver.

So in the last two minutes facing third-and-9 at Auburn's 37-yard line, Malzahn shoved the run-and-punt aside, and dialed up the slant-and-go. And quarterback Nick Marshall, as he did all last year, came through at the end, lofting a spiral over the top to Williams that sealed the Tigers' 20-14, grind-it-out win on the road.

"Our guys found a way to win," Malzahn said. "I told them after the game, I feel like this is one of those games that can really help us in the future. Because we faced some major adversity tonight. And our guys responded."

With a daunting SEC schedule still ahead, the fifth-ranked Tigers will have to play better than they did in Manhattan to slide into the inaugural College Football Playoff.

LSU and Texas A&M and Georgia and Alabama aren't likely to repeat the miscues that doomed the Wildcats and helped the Tigers escape with the win.

Auburn's running game slogged through a paltry average of 2.8 yards per carry, as the Tigers produced just 55 yards in the first half, the fewest of the Malzahn era.


(Read full post)


Plays that changed the game: Auburn

September, 18, 2014
Sep 18
11:24
PM ET
It might not have been pretty. It might not have been what everybody expected. But all that matters to Auburn is the final score, and the Tigers left Bill Snyder Family Stadium with a 20-14 win over No. 20 Kansas State. It was the program's first road win against a ranked nonconference opponent since 1984.

A little luck

video

Kansas State had a chance early in the game to take a lead and grab the momentum, but that chance bounced right off the chest of Tyler Lockett as the star wide receiver tried to make a catch at the goal line, but the ball deflected off his hands into the air. To make matters worse, Auburn cornerback Jonathan Jones was there to haul it in for the interception. It turned out to be a theme for the Wildcats, who missed three field-goal attempts, lost a fumble and threw another critical interception later in the game. Meanwhile, Auburn turned the ball over only once and was a perfect 3-for-3 in the red zone.

A little skill

video

Auburn wide receiver D'haquille "Duke" Williams had to be kicking himself after dropping a potential touchdown in the first half, but the junior college transfer, playing in his first road game, more than made up for it with a spectacular touchdown grab at the beginning of the fourth quarter. The score capped off a 15-play, 80-yard drive and gave Auburn a 17-7 lead. Williams, who later had a clutch 39-yard catch to seal the win, finished with eight catches for 110 yards and the lone touchdown.

Auburn 20, Kansas State 14

September, 18, 2014
Sep 18
11:15
PM ET
video
Auburn fended off Kansas State 20-14 to improve to 3-0 on the season.
video

MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Nick Marshall threw two touchdown passes, Auburn forced three turnovers and the fifth-ranked Tigers held on to beat mistake-prone No. 20 Kansas State 20-14 on Thursday night.

Marshall finished with 231 yards passing for the Tigers (3-0), who were forced to the air by a Wildcats defense that was bent on stopping the run. The nation's sixth-ranked rushing attack had only 130 yards on the ground, 200 less than its season average.

Not that it mattered the way Kansas State (2-1) squandered its chances.

Jake Waters threw for 245 yards, but he also tossed two interceptions -- one in the Auburn end zone. The Wildcats also fumbled the ball away, and Jack Cantele missed three field-goal attempts.


(Read full post)


video

Nick Marshall pass complete to D'haquille Williams for 41 yds to the KanSt 22 for a 1ST down
video

Charles Jones run for 1 yd for a TD
video

Jake Waters pass complete to Curry Sexton for 13 yds to the Aub 14 for a 1ST down
video

Jake Waters pass complete to Curry Sexton for 13 yds to the Aub 44 for a 1ST down

4Q AUB D. Carlson 25 yd FG GOOD

September, 18, 2014
Sep 18
10:25
PM ET


video

Daniel Carlson 25 yd FG GOOD
video

Jake Waters pass intercepted Trovon Reed return for no gain to the KanSt 47

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Drive Through: Is The Big 12 Underrated?
After playing three top five teams close, Heather Dinich and Cary Chow look at whether or not the Big 12 conference is getting enough respect.
VIDEO PLAYLIST video

SEC SCOREBOARD

Saturday, 9/20
Thursday, 9/18