College Football Scores 2012: Analyzing Saturday's Most Exciting Early Results

Matt FitzgeraldCorrespondent IIINovember 10, 2012

GAINESVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 10: Linebacker Jelani Jenkins #3 of the Florida Gators celebrates with linebacker Antonio Morrison #12 after returning a blocked punt for a game-winning touchdown against the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns November 10, 2012 in Gainesville, Florida. Florida won 27 - 20. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

College football was already in for a shakeup in Saturday's early results, and the BCS picture may be even more muddied by the end of the evening. But some of the scores from the beginning of the day were unfathomable, which is precisely what makes this sport so special.

Here is a breakdown of the most exciting outcomes that played out to start off the Week 11 slate.


No. 6 Florida 27, Louisiana-Lafayette 20

How bad have the Gators looked the past two weeks? First, a seven-point victory over a perceptibly hapless Mizzou team, and then an even greater scare against the Ragin' Cajuns.

Will Muschamp's team had no business being beaten in any phase of the game against their inferior Sun Belt Conference opponent besides perhaps in mascot name.

But Jeff Driskel continues to lead an extremely suspect Florida offense that can't seem to get any traction no matter who it's playing. Senior running back Mike Gillislee has struggled since his 134-yard effort in the signature win over LSU.

It took two touchdowns in the final 1:41 of the game for the Gators to escape.

The game-winner occurred on a blocked punt that Jelani Jenkins scooped and scored from 35 yards away. In the third quarter, the Gators fell behind in an eerily similar scenario—their own punt was blocked and run in by the Cajuns' Blake Comminie.

Such embarrassing back-to-back performances at home, though, have to be discouraging for the Gators.

Whether Saturday's outcome will cause them to slide in the BCS standings remains to be seen.

It probably should.


Syracuse 45, No. 9 Louisville 26

After leading the Cardinals program to an unprecedented 9-0 start in just his second year under center, sophomore sensation Teddy Bridgewater couldn't overcome a horrific effort from his teammates on defense to keep his team undefeated.

Bridgewater threw for 436 yards and three touchdowns while completing 36-of-49 passes. His final throw was a desperation pass off his back foot that was intercepted in an otherwise spectacular effort.

Ryan Nassib had a stellar game opposite Bridgewater in his own right. The junior threw for 246 yards and three touchdowns for the Orange. The biggest difference was Syracuse's ability to run the ball with the powerful duo of Jerome Smith and Prince-Tyson Gulley.

All of those forces combined to produce 524 yards of total offense for the Orange, who sent their seniors off on a high note in the home finale at the Carrier Dome.

The Cardinals will need to win out to maintain control of their Big East championship destiny, and that includes a trip to Rutgers for the season finale. Before then, Charlie Strong and his staff will have to shore up the defense significantly.


No. 22 Texas Tech 41, Kansas 34 (2OT)

Charlie Weis hasn't quite managed to turn around the Jayhawks' program just yet, posting a record of just 1-9 in 2012.

However, after a horrific and generally noncompetitive start, Kansas has shown massive improvement in its past two games. The Jayhawks lost in the last minute at home to the Texas Longhorns, and took their latest ranked opponent to task on Saturday.

Thankfully for the Red Raiders, senior quarterback Seth Doege is one of the best in the country at his position, and he proved it once again.

Doege threw for 476 yards and three touchdowns, yet it was senior RB Eric Stephens Jr. who ultimately tossed the deciding, three-yard TD in the second overtime to secure the hard-fought home victory for Texas Tech.

The fact that Kansas rolled up nearly 400 yards on the ground continues to feed the notion that the Red Raider defense has been reeling since the team's first loss to Oklahoma in early October.

In order to continue hanging onto the edge of the Top 25, Texas Tech will either have to find a way to get more stops or continue to lean on Doege to carry them down the stretch.


Michigan 38, No. 24 Northwestern 31 (OT)

No Denard Robinson, no problem for the Wolverines. Devin Gardner—who has played receiver for most of 2012—proved his victorious performance against Minnesota was no fluke last week.

Gardner threw for 286 yards and two TDs and plunged in for the final score from one yard out to notch his second consecutive Big Ten win. Only this time, he was facing a ranked opponent in the Wildcats.

Maybe the Wolverines won't have a down season when Robinson graduates after all.

Considering Michigan was lurking just outside the most recent AP poll, it may have worked its way back inside the Top 25.

In such a strange year for the conference with Ohio State and Penn State both banned from postseason play, this was a game with huge ramifications. The Wolverines now are one half-game up on the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Legends Division—and may get some help from the Nittany Lions if they can beat the Huskers.

Obviously, Michigan still has to negotiate its annual late-season clash with the Buckeyes, who will no doubt look to play spoiler to their bitter rival's postseason aspirations.

Pat Fitzgerald's Northwestern bunch now has three losses in the Big Ten, but can still salvage a respectable bowl appearance to cap off a relatively successful year.