Midway

It’s roughly the midway point in the college football campaign, and many of the traditional powerhouses are pushing and shoving for the two spots that will determine the national champion.

The bully on the block is the Southeastern Conference, which has three teams in the Top 10 and six in the Top 25.

Top-ranked LSU toyed with No. 17 Florida, 41-11, last Saturday, and No. 2 Alabama, the national champ in 2009, disposed of Vanderbilt by the count of 34-0.

Oklahoma blitzed formerly undefeated No. 11 Texas, 55-17, in the Red River Shoot-Out. That the No. 3 Sooners won wasn’t unexpected, but the margin of victory was.

Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones had three second-quarter touchdown throws that covered 19, five and 14 yards.

Jones finished with 367 yards through the air, hit 31 of 50 attempts, and wasn’t intercepted.

No. 4 Wisconsin was idle, No. 5 Boise State trampled Fresno State 57-7, and No. 6 Oklahoma State blasted Kansas by the tune of 70-28.

No. 7 Stanford smashed Colorado 48-7, while No. 8 Clemson remained undefeated with a 36-14 pasting of Boston College.

Stanford’s Andrew Luck should be the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft, and his stock continues to rise as he tossed three touchdowns. Two of his scores came in the second half as the Cardinal tallied 21 points.

No. 9 Oregon pushed around California 43-15, and No. 10 Arkansas, which is in the SEC defeated defending champion No. 15 Auburn, also in the SEC by the score of 38-14.

Some may take issue with LSU (6-0) being No. 1, but there are no weaknesses on either side of the ball.

Employing a quick-strike formula, the Tigers raced to a 24-0 lead with 6:50 left in the second quarter before Florida’s Caleb Sturgis booted a 34-yard field goal just before the half.

LSU signal-caller Jarrett Lee (seven of 10 for 154 yards and no picks) hit wide receiver Rueben Randle (127 yards and four receptions) with a 46-yard rocket as 11:55 was left in the first quarter. Slightly more than five minutes later running back Spencer Ware scored on a two-yard run to make it 14-0.

Drew Alleman’s 35-yard field goal early in the second quarter gave LSU a 17-0 edge, and the Tigers padded their lead to 24-0 when Ware (career-best 109 yards on 24 carries) scored on an eight-yard romp.

One of the best defenses in the nation, LSU limited Florida to nine first downs, 113 rushing yards and 100 passing yards. But Florida was hampered because its two best quarterbacks were sidelined with injuries.

True freshman Jacoby Brissett (eight of 14 for 94 yards with two interceptions) took most of the snaps, and unloaded a 65-yard toss to Andre Debose late in the third quarter, and Chris Rainey’s two-point conversion run made it 27-11.

LSU responded with two fourth-quarter touchdowns. The first was a two-yard jump-pass from Jordan Jefferson, who was recently reinstated after an off-campus fight, to tight end Mitch Joseph early in the stanza, and the second was Alfred Blue’s two-yard gallop with 1:27 left on the clock.

Rick Assad has been a sportswriter for more than two decades. He has a political science degree from UCLA, a journalism degree from CSUN, and is a staff writer for diamondboxing.com, and is a columnist for socalboxing.wordpress.com. You may e-mail him at richsports5@sbcglobal.net.

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