College GameDay Bristol Blog: Week 5

College GameDay Bristol Blog

Originally Published: September 29, 2007
ESPN.com

Every Saturday during the 2007 season, the ESPN.com college football team will be blogging live from Bristol, bringing you inside information and commentary from our writers and analysts who are at the top games at stadiums across the country. Refresh this page often to keep track of all the entries throughout the afternoon.

Have a question or comment on today's action? E-mail us and let us know what you're thinking.

Noon: From ESPN Research:
Next week holds the potential for four games between undefeated teams, so you could look at this weekend as the calm before the storm. Or you could just call this "Don't Do It Again Weekend." Several ranked teams are hoping to avoid a repeat of things that derailed their seasons a year ago.

USC Trojans
Last year: The Trojans lost two Pac-10 road games to unranked teams.
Today: No. 1 USC travels to Washington (ABC, 8 p.m. ET).

Florida Gators
Last year: The Gators' only loss was to Auburn.
Today: No. 4 Florida hosts the Tigers (ESPN, 8 p.m. ET).

Texas Longhorns
Last year: The Horns were 6-0 in the Big 12 before losing at Kansas State.
Today: No. 7 Texas hosts the Wildcats (ABC, 3:30 p.m. ET).

Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Last year: The Scarlet Knights lost their first game after breaking into the AP top 10.
Today: No. 10 Rutgers hosts Maryland (ABC, 3:30 p.m. ET).

Oregon Ducks
Last year: The Ducks were 4-0 before losing at Cal.
Today: No. 11 Oregon is 4-0 and hosting the Bears (ABC, 3:30 p.m. ET).

12:14 p.m.: ESPN.com's David Albright
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- It's a picture-perfect postcard day in northwestern Indiana. The sun is shining brightly against a cloudless sky, and temperatures should reach the mid-70s by early afternoon. So weather won't be an issue as Notre Dame (0-4) tries to become the last of the 66 BCS teams (six major conferences plus ND) to pick up a win in 2007, while Purdue tries for its first 5-0 start since 2004 (ESPN).

The key matchup -- at least on paper -- is Purdue QB Curtis Painter against the Irish secondary. For all of the gallows humor currently surrounding Charlie Weis' program, the Notre Dame pass defense actually has been a bright spot in the first month of play. The Irish come into the game ranked fourth nationally in pass defense, having given up only 119.25 yards per game. Of course, it might simply be a byproduct of the ND rush defense, which finds itself ranked 111th in the country with 232.75 yards per game. In other words, why throw when there's a clear running path most of the time?

The Boilermakers offense will provide the toughest test to date for Notre Dame. Purdue comes in ranked eighth nationally, putting up 527 yards a game. But it should be noted that Purdue's competition has been Toledo, Eastern Illinois, Central Michigan and Minnesota, which aren't exactly LSU when it comes to stopping opponents. Then again, Michigan State is the top-ranked offense (No. 50 nationally) that the Irish have faced so far. Painter, who comes in averaging more than 322 yards per game through the air, directs a Purdue offense that is averaging 48.5 points per game and has scored more points in each quarter (31 in the third quarter is the lowest total) than ND has scored all season (27). The 6-foot-4, 223-pound senior has thrown 16 TDs (only Texas Tech QB Graham Harrell has more, with 19) to only one interception. In last season's 35-21 Notre Dame win in South Bend, Painter threw for 398 yards and two TDs.

Purdue comes in a 22-point favorite. Maybe that's why I just saw an Irish fan wearing a Notre Dame blue jersey and a paper bag over his head. Could be the first of many such sightings in the weeks and months ahead.

12:20 p.m.: From early scores from around the nation:
Miami 7, Duke 0
Purdue 3, Notre Dame 0
Northwestern 3, Michigan 0
Illinois 7, Penn State 3

12:30 p.m.: Another long day for the Irish?

Purdue scored again to increase its lead to 10-0 in the first quarter. Among the 66 BCS teams, Notre Dame is the only one still looking for its first win of the season.

12:31 p.m.: ESPN.com's David Albright
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Notre Dame had a chance to keep Purdue off the scoreboard on the opening drive of the game. Purdue QB Curtis Painter was stuffed on a 3rd-and-2 on the third play from scrimmage. But an offsides penalty against Kerry Neal gave the Boilers a first down and kept the drive alive. Later in the drive, Painter found TE Dustin Keller on a 10-yard TD that was called back because of an illegal shift. The drive stalled two plays later, and Purdue had to settle for a 27-yard FG by Chris Summers for an early 3-0 lead.

After the scoring drive, Purdue recognized former QB Drew Brees, who's in attendance during the New Orleans Saints' bye week. Brees and his wife just donated $2 million to Purdue for a new academic center for athletes.

The Irish punted after four plays (one first down). It's very early, but it feels like another long afternoon for Notre Dame.

12:40 p.m.: Illinois and Indiana haven't made much noise in the Big Ten in awhile. That could be changing. James Hardy just made a TD grab to give the Hoosiers a 7-0 lead over Iowa.

Things are even better for the Illini, who have jumped to a 14-3 over No. 21 Penn State. A win over the Nittany Lions would give Illinois its first 2-0 conference start since 1991.

12:46 p.m.: ESPN.com's David Albright
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- At the end of the first quarter, Purdue leads Notre Dame 10-0. Here are some stats from the opening 15 minutes of play:

Notre Dame
Offensive plays: 11
First downs: 2
Rush yards: 13
Passing yards: 28 (Clausen: 4-of-5)
Time of Possession: 4:53

Purdue
Offensive plays: 22
First downs: 9
Rush yards: 51
Passing yards: 110 (Painter: 7-9)
Time of Possession: 10:07

Some highlights included ND getting stuffed for no gain on a 4th-and-1 at the Purdue 35, and the Boilers converting a 3rd-and-29 with a 40-yard pass play from Painter to Greg Orton.

12:55 p.m.: More scores from across the nation:
LSU 7, Tulane 0
Virginia Tech 7, UNC 0
Purdue 13, Notre Dame 0
Illinois 14, Penn State 10
South Carolina 7, Mississippi State 0 Miami 10, Duke 0
Northwestern 10, Michigan 7

1 p.m.: From Jay in Plano:
Which team on ND's schedule is going to be the first laughing stock team to lose to ND this year?

From ESPN Research: The next three opponents for the Irish are a combined 10-1. UCLA is 3-1. BC is 4-0. USC is 3-0. The final four games against Navy (2-2), Air Force (3-1), Duke (1-3) and Stanford (1-2) don't look as easy as they did earlier in the season.

1:05 p.m.: How good is Illinois freshman Arrelious Benn? Very. The wide receiver just broke multiple tackles on a 29-yard TD catch to put the Illini up 21-10 over Penn State.

1:18 p.m.: Saturday surprises:
Tulane is hanging in there with LSU (ESPN Live), trailing the second-ranked Tigers 7-0 with 6:33 left in the second quarter.

Baylor is tied 3-3 with Texas A&M at the start of the second quarter.

1:22 p.m.: ESPN.com's David Albright
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- The Purdue lead now is 20-0 with 4:46 left in the first half. Curtis Painter just found Dorien Bryant in the left corner of the end zone to cap an 11-play, 81-yard drive. On the 4:46 drive, Painter was a precise 6-of-7 for 72 yards. Updating total yards, Purdue is up to 261 (180 passing, 81 rushing), and Notre Dame is at 77 (62 passing, 15 rushing).

The goal for the Irish now is to keep the deficit at 20 heading into halftime. But Notre Dame just fumbled and it was recovered by Purdue at the ND 14, meaning the prospect of maintaining the deficit doesn't look good. The Irish challenged the call on the field and lost -- also losing their one challenge for the game and a timeout.

1:25 p.m.: From ESPN Research:
Indiana already has scored three TDs at Iowa, which is more than the Hawkeyes gave up in their first four games combined (two).

1:27 p.m.: ESPN.com's Mark Schlabach
Nice coaching job by new Indiana coach Bill Lynch. After the Hoosiers were beaten last week at home by Illinois, Lynch rallied his team and had it prepared to play today at Iowa. Hoosiers quarterback Kellen Lewis already has three touchdown passes, and Indiana has taken a 21-0 lead late in the first half. Lewis really is one of the more underrated quarterbacks in the country, and, with a victory today, he will have the Hoosiers in line for their first bowl game since 1993 with a 4-1 record. A loss will drop the Hawkeyes to 2-3, after earlier losses to Iowa State and Wisconsin. What in the world happened to Kirk Ferentz's program?

1:32 p.m.: ESPN.com's Mark Schlabach
Is is time for LSU fans to start panicking about their team's offense? Late in the second quarter against Tulane, the Tigers have less than 100 yards of offense. This is the same Green Wave defense that allowed 38 points to Mississippi State, 34 to Houston and 27 to Southeast Louisiana. LSU was penalized for holding in the end zone, giving the Green Wave a safety that cut the Tigers' lead to 7-2. LSU has run for only 12 yards. LSU coach Les Miles hired Oregon's Gary Crowton to replace offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher, who left for FSU. Without Crowton, Ducks quarterback Dennis Dixon has flourished, with 10 touchdowns and no interceptions in four games. He had 14 interceptions and only 12 touchdowns last season.

1:35 p.m.: The Green Wave just marched down the field to take a 9-7 lead over the Tigers in a stunned Superdome.

1:40 p.m.: ESPN.com's David Albright
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- A minor victory for Notre Dame as it held Purdue to a field goal, making it 23-0 in favor of the Boilermakers. And the Irish looked like they were going to get on the scoreboard when they drove all the way down to the Purdue 18-yard line. But three plays and zero yards later, it was time for a 35-yard field goal attempt. Based on how this season has gone to date, of course ND didn't convert. Purdue's Alex Magee was credited with the block.

So it's 23-0 at the half. Feels like ND should be facing a bigger deficit. Best sign in the Purdue student section: "Rudy Could Start This Year." It wouldn't be any worse if he did.

1:45 p.m.: From ESPN Research:
• Tulane was a 40-point underdog, having lost by 21 to Mississippi State and 24 to Houston, with an eight-point win over SE Louisiana.

• LSU has won 17 straight games in the state of Louisiana (and 28 of its previous 29).

• Tulane has lost 31 straight against ranked opponents, having not won since beating LSU in 1982. That also was the last time the Green Wave beat the Tigers, having lost 15 straight since then.

• LSU beat Tulane 49-7 last year.

• Tulane just put together a 58-yard drive to take the lead. LSU had given up only one first-half drive of 35 yards or more all season.

• LSU had outscored opponents 85-7 in the first half this year.

1:50 p.m.: Scores from around the nation:

LSU 10, Tulane 9 at halftime
Baylor 3, Texas A&M 3 (2Q)
South Carolina 14, Mississippi State 7 (2Q)
Northwestern 16, Michigan 7 at halftime
Illinois 21, Penn State 17 at halftime
Ole Miss 7, Georgia 0 (1Q)
Kentucky 7, FAU 3 (1Q)

1:57 p.m.: ESPN.com's Bruce Feldman
ATHENS, Ga. -- Ole Miss was driving for a second TD and would have gone up 13-0 as Marshay Green dove toward the pilon. However, he was ruled out inside the one. Replay showed he might have been in. Ole Miss ran the next play on first-and-goal, and there was a botched exchange between QB Seth Adams and center Thomas Eckers, who is starting today in place of Corey Actis, who was benched for disciplinary reasons. Still Ole Miss 7-0 at the start of the second quarter.

2:03 p.m.: ESPN.com's Mark Schlabach
EUGENE, Ore. -- They've just opened the gates to Autzen Stadium for the Oregon students, many of whom are sprinting down the bleachers and aisles for choice seating for the game against Cal (ABC, 3:30 p.m. ET). Pac-10 Commissioner Tom Hansen is standing next to me, laughing at the scene. The really smart ones are lying on the bleachers, saving additional seats for their buddies. It's a crisp, partly cloudy day out here. The temperature probably fell about 30 degrees from Thursday to Friday. Got a pretty good downpour yesterday, but today looks like a good day for football.

2:07 p.m.: ESPN.com's David Albright
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- At the end of the first half, Purdue leads Notre Dame 23-0. Here are some interesting stats from the opening 30 minutes of play:

Notre Dame
Rushes-Yards: 14-26
Total offense: 132 yards
Third-down conversions: 2-of-7
Red-zone chances: 0-1

Purdue
Rushes-Yards: 21-74
Total offense: 263 yards
Third-down conversions: 4-of-8
Red-zone chances: 5-5

Jimmy Clausen is 11-of-17 for 106 yards with one interception. Curtis Painter is 15-of-23 for 189 yards with one TD and one INT.

Here's the bottom line: The Irish can't run the ball, so they put entirely too much pressure on Clausen and the questionable offensive line to convert. It also is striking to see in person how slow ND looks in every phase of the game and how long it takes for anything/everything to develop -- other than this new-found culture of losing.

2:16 p.m.: From ESPN Research:
LSU: First Half -- 2007 Season

First Four Games
Opp PPG: 1.8
Opp Total YPG: 69.3
Opp First Downs PG: 4.8

Today
Opp PPG: 9
Opp Total YPG: 127
Opp First Downs PG: 8

2:23 p.m.: ESPN.com's David Albright
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Some life from the Irish. Safety Tom Zbikowski picked off Curtis Painter at the Purdue 37. Jimmy Clausen then drove Notre Dame down to the 10 for first-and-goal. Three plays later, it was fourth-and-goal at the 5. With entirely nothing to lose, Clausen found TE John Carlson in the back right corner of the end zone for the TD. The pass was late and it wasn't a thing of beauty, but it still counted for six. The PAT was worse, as it went wide right, so now it's Purdue 23, Notre Dame 6 about halfway through the third quarter. Clausen now is 17-of-24 for 154 yards with one TD and one INT.

Purdue already has punted, and ND will take over again at its own 21. Another TD-scoring drive on this possession, and this could turn into a game.

2:33 p.m.: Scores from around the nation:
LSU 20, Tulane 9 (3Q)
Northwestern 16, Michigan 14 (3Q)
Oklahoma 7, Colorado 7 (2Q)
Georgia 14, Ole Miss 10 (2Q)
Texas A&M 10, Baylor 3 (3Q)
BC 17, UMass 0 (2Q)
Kentucky 28, FAU 10 (2Q)
Illinois 24, Penn State 20 (3Q)
Iowa State 3, Nebraska 0 (1Q)

2:37 p.m.: ESPN.com's Mark Schlabach
EUGENE, Ore. -- If you like offense, you will love today's game between No. 6 California and No. 11 Oregon at Autzen Stadium (ABC, 3:30 p.m. ET). Both teams are averaging more than 40 points per game and allowing more than 20. Cal is pretty banged up on defense. Linebacker Zack Follett (neck) and defensive end Rulon Davis (foot) aren't expected to play. The Bears have to find a way to pressure Ducks quarterback Dennis Dixon, who is coming off the best game of his career. In last week's 55-31 win at Stanford, Dixon had career-high totals with five touchdowns (four passing, one running), 367 passing yards and 27 completions. This is a chance for redemption for Dixon, an Oakland native who didn't play well at Cal last season. In a 45-24 loss to the Bears, Dixon was intercepted three times and never seemed comfortable. The Ducks definitely have the long ball going this season, with Dixon throwing seven touchdowns of 30 yards or more.

2:52 p.m.: ESPN.com's David Albright
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- We've reached the end of the third quarter, and it's Purdue 26, Notre Dame 6.

A couple of observations:

• Purdue has two touchdowns and four FGs. That won't cut it one week from tonight when Ohio State comes to town. The Buckeyes are the No. 2 team in the nation in total defense coming into this weekend, so the yards and points likely will be hard to come by for Purdue -- at least harder than this week. If the Boilers get six red-zone chances next Saturday night, they better convert more TDs than FGs.

• The mix of Jimmy Clausen and Evan Sharpley at QB for Notre Dame in the third quarter has been mildly effective. The Irish have found some success throwing the ball, even though Purdue knows the pass is coming. And Golden Tate has made some nice catches for ND.

2:58 p.m.: From ESPN Research:
The TD pass by Notre Dame in the third quarter was the first TD pass for the Irish offense this season. They were the last team in the nation to register a passing TD.

3:03 p.m.: ESPN.com's David Albright
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Notre Dame is hanging around. The Irish drove 81 yards in 11 plays for their second TD of the game. Another failed PAT has it Purdue 26, Notre Dame 12. The key play on the 2:39 drive was a 43-yard completion from Evan Sharpley to Golden Tate on a fourth-and-5 play. Then Sharpley found Duval Kamara on a 7-yard pass for the TD. The Irish defense put Purdue's offense back on the sideline after three plays, and now ND has the ball at its own 21 with 11:38 to play.

3:10 p.m.: Scores from around the nation:
Michigan 21, Northwestern 16 (4Q)
Purdue 26, Notre Dame 19 (4Q)
LSU 34, Tulane 9 (4Q)
Illinois 27, Penn State 20 (4Q)
South Carolina 24, Mississippi State (3Q)
Texas A&M 20, Baylor 3 (4Q)
Ole Miss 17, Georgia 17 (3Q)

3:15 p.m.: ESPN.com's David Albright
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- And we've officially got a game. Evan Sharpley found Golden Tate in the corner of the right end zone for a 25-yard TD to cut the Purdue lead to 26-19 with 7:58 to play. Sharpley went 6-of-11 for 80 yards on the 14-play drive, which used up 3:40 of clock time.

Time to see if Purdue has anything left and the Boilers left their game in the locker room at the half. And time to see how many more times Sharpley can find Tate in what is now a TD game.

3:25 p.m.: ESPN.com's David Albright
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- That didn't take long. A quick, five-play, 59-yard drive by Purdue ended with a 14-yard TD pass from Curtis Painter to Dustin Keller. It's now Purdue 33, Notre Dame 19 with 5:33 left. Even with that drive by the Boilers, ND has outgained them 423 to 375 in total yards.

Do the Irish have any more Golden (Tate) plays in them? They need to find some to stay in the game. And the answer for now is no, as Purdue safety Terrell Vinson intercepted an Evan Sharpley offering in the end zone to stop a promising ND drive.

3:30 p.m.: Big win for Illinois and the Zooker. The Illini held off Penn State for a 27-20 win.

3:35 p.m.: From ESPN Research:
Here are a few Illinois quickies in the wake of its win over Penn State:

• Illinois is 2-0 in the Big Ten for the first time since 1991.

• The last time Illinois won its Big Ten home opener was 2001 -- the year it won the Big Ten.

• Prior to Saturday, Illinois had lost 30 of its previous 33 Big Ten games.

• Penn State is 0-2 in the Big Ten for the fourth time in the past seven years.

3:35 p.m.: Ready for some more football? K-State and Texas have kicked off in Austin. Cal and Oregon are going after it in Eugene. Michigan State and Wisconsin are locking up in Madison. Maryland and Rutgers have kicked off. So have Clemson and Georgia Tech. You can catch them all on ABC.

3:50 p.m.: Scoring didn't take long in Austin and Madison. Both Kansas State and Wisconsin converted on their first drives. The Wildcats lead Texas 7-0. The Badgers lead Michigan State by the same score.

4:05 p.m.: Here are some early finals from around the country:

ACC
Miami 24, Duke 14
Virginia Tech 17, UNC 10

Big 12
Texas A&M 34, Baylor 10

Big Ten
Michigan 28, Northwestern 16
Purdue 33, Notre Dame 19
Illinois 27, Penn State 20
Indiana 38, Iowa 20

4:05 p.m.: And some more early finals from around the country:

SEC
LSU 34, Tulane 9
South Carolina 38, Mississippi State 21

4:12 p.m.: From ESPN Research:
Andre' Woodson had not thrown an interception in 325 pass attempts leading up to the pick by Florida Atlantic cornerback Tavious Polo, who happens to lead the nation in interceptions with seven and has picked off six passes in his past three games.

4:20 p.m.: Don't look now, but Dan Hawkins and the Buffs are hanging in there against No. 3 Oklahoma. Cody Hawkins just threw a TD pass to close the gap to 24-17 in the fourth quarter.

4:25 p.m.: Michigan State has rallied to take a 14-7 lead over Wisconsin. Ten of the past 11 meetings in the series have been decided by more than 14 points.

4:30 p.m.: The expected shootout in Eugene hasn't heated up yet. The Ducks lead 3-0 in the second quarter.

4:31 p.m.: Maryland has a 7-3 lead at Rutgers, which has won 10 straight home games.

4:40 p.m.: From Brent in Chicago:
Why isn't Illinois getting more respect for its upset today? Michigan, Purdue and even Notre Dame make it on the highlight reels instead. Michigan barely beat Northwestern. Plus, Illinois only has lost to a good Missouri team that it almost beat. Let's give some recognition to Rashard Mendenhall, who is looking better than Mike Hart. Sure, Mendenhall didn't have a spectacular game versus Penn State, but his run average is much better than Mike Hart's.

4:43 p.m.: ESPN.com's Mark Schlabach
EUGENE, Ore. -- If I'd wanted to watch a defensive struggle, I would have stayed closer to home this weekend and attended an SEC game. I'm pretty impressed with Oregon's speed on defense (although the Ducks are pretty undersized at key spots). Cornerback Walter Thurmond has done a fantastic job covering DeSean Jackson, who has caught four passes for 41 yards. Likewise, other than a long run by tailback Jeremiah Johnson, the Ducks haven't been able to generate much on offense, either. Oregon quarterback Dennis Dixon missed a golden opportunity early in the game when he overthrew Jaison Williams, who was wide open running down the left sideline. Both teams have kicked a field goal, and the score is tied at 3.

4:46 p.m.: From ESPN Research:
Georgia's 328 rushing yards today against Ole Miss were the most in the seven-year Mark Richt era. RB Thomas Brown ran for three TDs and 180 yards, the most rushing yards by a UGA player in six years.

5 p.m.: Big shocker in Boulder! The Buffs have tied OU at 24-24 and have reached the OU 27-yard line with :35 seconds left.

5:01 p.m.: It's over in Boulder. The Buffs knocked off No. 3 Oklahoma. Kevin Eberhart connected on a 45-yard field goal on the final play to win it. Guess the Dan Hawkins era officially is on at Colorado.

5:10 p.m.: Is the Big 12 North rising? In addition to the stunner in Boulder, Kansas State has surged to a 24-14 lead over Texas late in the second half.

5:12 p.m.: From ESPN researcher Brett Edgerton:
Colorado coach Dan Hawkins must have been jealous watching that Fiesta Bowl last season. Remember, those were his Boise State players who shocked Oklahoma. I guess he wanted a monumental upset of his own.

5:23 p.m.: The offensive fireworks were expected in Eugene, but the scoreboard is firing in Madison. Wisconsin leads Michigan State 24-21 just before halftime. Out on the West Coast, Oregon leads Cal 10-3 in the third quarter.

5:35 p.m.: The skies have opened in Austin -- and we're not just talking about the Wildcats. K-State leads Texas 24-14 in a downpour.

5:45 p.m.: Some scores from around the nation:
Rutgers 17, Maryland 14 (3Q)
Georgia Tech 7, Clemson 3 (3Q)
Wisconsin 27, Michigan State 21 (halftime)
Hawaii 14, Idaho 7 (1Q)
Alabama 0, Florida State (1Q)

5:46 p.m.: How's this for some offense? Michigan State (325) and Wisconsin (381) have combined for 706 total yards in the first half.

5:50 p.m.: From ESPN Research:
Oklahoma lost, and Texas is losing at the half.

The last time both lost on the same day? Oct. 2, 1999 (this weekend eight years ago -- a week before the Red River Classic).

Texas: lost 35-17 to Kansas State
Oklahoma: lost 34-30 to Notre Dame

6 p.m.: Thanks for joining us this afternoon, and we'll see you next week. Enjoy the rest of your college football Saturday -- including tonight's three games at 8 ET: No. 1 USC at Washington (ABC), Auburn at No. 4 Florida (ESPN) and No. 8 Ohio State at Minnesota (ESPN2). And follow the fortunes (or lack thereof) of your favorite team here.