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West Virginia quarterback Will Grier (7) scores the game-winning two-point conversion during an NCAA college football game against Texas in Austin, Texas, on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018. West Virginia defeated Texas 42-41. (Nick Wagner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

West Virginia quarterback Will Grier (7) scores the game-winning two-point conversion during an NCAA college football game against Texas in Austin, Texas, on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018. West Virginia defeated Texas 42-41. (Nick Wagner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)


Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (13) rushes on a 44 yard touchdown carry in the second half of an NCAA college football game in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018. Alabama won 29-0. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)


AP Top 25: West Virginia up to 7 after 10 ranked teams lose

By RALPH D. RUSSO

AP College Football Writer

Monday, November 5

No. 7 West Virginia re-entered the top 10 of The Associated Press college football poll after another weekend in which the number of ranked teams losing reached double digits.

Unanimous No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Clemson and No. 3 Notre Dame remained unchanged, and No. 4 Michigan, No. 5 Georgia and No. 6 Oklahoma each moved up a spot. The Mountaineers surged from No. 12 after beating Texas on a go-ahead 2-point conversion in final minute.

Ten ranked teams lost this weekend, four in games against other ranked teams. Over the last two weeks, 21 ranked teams have lost, the most over a two-week span since the AP poll expanded to 25 in 1989.

Iowa State was ranked for the first time this season, one of five teams to move into the ranking this week.

POLL POINTS

There are seven teams in the ranking after Week 10 of the regular season that already have lost three times. If that seems like a lot, it is. Last season after Week 10, there were three teams in the Top 25 that had lost three games. In the previous five years, from 2012-16, there were a total of five teams ranked in the Week 10 AP poll that already had lost three times.

What’s going on?

A few logistical changes to the college football season are at least a part of the increase. The Big Ten went to a nine-game conference schedule in 2016, joining the Big 12 and Pac-12, meaning more opportunities for those teams to pick each other off.

The Big 12 restarted its conference championship game last year after six-year hiatus. That condensed the conference’s regular season, which from 2011-16 ran through the first weekend of December. Also, there has been an increase in September conference games in recent years.

Still, the only scheduling change throughout the Football Bowl Subdivision this season is in the Sun Belt, which became the final conference to add a championship game.

In conclusion: There are more opportunities for teams to lose, so the new normal is likely somewhere between this season’s seven ranked three-loss teams by Week 10 to last season’s three.

THIS WEEK IN ‘BAMA

Alabama has been ranked in the top 5 for 49 straight weeks, the second longest streak to Miami’s 55 weeks from Oct. 8, 2000-Oct. 26, 2003. There have been three other streaks of 48 straight top-five appearances:

Alabama, preseason 2011-Dec. 8, 2013.

Ohio State, preseason 1973-Sept. 20, 1976.

Oklahoma, Nov. 16, 1953-Nov. 11, 1957.

UP

All those ranked teams losing propelled a few teams to new heights in the Top 25.

— No. 13 Syracuse moved up nine spots to its best ranking since 1998, when the Orange got to No. 11.

— No. 14 Utah State is up four spots and has its best ranking since finishing 10th in 1961.

— No. 16 Fresno State moved up four spots. The Bulldogs were last ranked this high in 2015, when they reached 15 with Derek Carr at quarterback.

— No. 17 Boston College jumped seven spots and has its best ranking since 2007, when the Eagles last played in the ACC championship game and spent much of the season in the top 10.

DOWN

— Unbeaten No. 11 Central Florida fell two spots after beating Temple 52-40. The Knights ran their winning streak to a nation’s best 21 straight games.

— No. 9 LSU slipped five spots after being shut out by Alabama.

— No. 19 Florida dropped six spots after losing for the second straight week.

— No. 21 Penn State fell seven places after being blown out by Michigan.

IN

There is a lot of recycling going on in the Top 25 this season. While Iowa State is in for the first time since last season, No. 20 Washington, No. 22 North Carolina State, No. 24 Michigan State and No. 25 Cincinnati all reappeared in the poll.

OUT

Utah fell out, leaving the Pac-12 with only two ranked teams, No. 10 Washington State and No. 20 Washington. The last time the Pac-12 had only two ranked teams was Oct. 16, 2016.

— Houston and Virginia had one-week stays in the Top 25 after making their debuts last week.

— Iowa and Texas A&M fell out after losing for the second straight week.

CONFERENCE CALL

SEC — 6 teams (1, 5, 9, 12, 18, 19).

ACC — 4 (2, 13, 17, 22).

Big Ten — 4 (4, 8, 21, 24).

Big 12 — 4 (6, 7, 15, 23).

American — 2 (11, 25).

Mountain West — 2 (14, 16).

Pac-12 — 2 (10, 20).

Independent — 1 (3).

RANKED vs. RANKED

No. 18 Mississippi State at No. 1 Alabama. A second straight ranked opponent for the Tide — if that even matters.

No. 2 Clemson at No. 17 Boston College. The biggest game left on Clemson’s schedule. BC could shut the Tigers out of the ACC championship game with a victory.

No. 8 Ohio State at No. 24 Michigan State. The Buckeyes have become college football’s biggest soap opera.

Follow Ralph D. Russo at https://twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP and listen at https://www.podcastone.com/AP-Top-25-College-Football-Podcast

More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Michigan St stuffs Maryland after tumultuous week for Terps

By DAVID GINSBURG

AP Sports Writer

Sunday, November 4

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — A tumultuous week for Maryland ended with a sobering defeat.

Michigan State capped a rough stretch for the unsettled Terrapins football program, using a stout defensive performance to secure a 24-3 victory on Saturday.

The Terrapins (5-4, 3-3 Big Ten) managed only 100 yards and nine first downs for interim coach and offensive coordinator Matt Canada.

Connor Heyward ran for 157 yards and two touchdowns to help the Spartans (6-3, 4-2 Big Ten) become a bowl eligible for the 11th time in 12 years, the only exception a 3-9 stumble in 2016.

The loss followed the reinstatement, then dismissal, of Maryland head coach DJ Durkin over the span of two days.

“This week was a challenging week. That’s a fact. You guys all know that,” Canada said. “But we came in and worked every day. Our kids played hard. We lost today because we just didn’t play well enough. We played a really good football team and I didn’t coach well enough.”

Canada spoke alone, opting not to make the players available to the media.

“Our players are more than capable of speaking and they will,” Canada said. “They’ve had a big week, a challenging week.”

On Tuesday, Durkin was reinstated by the University System board of regents following a probe into the culture of the football program. The investigation was launched soon after school president Wallace Loh acknowledged in August that “mistakes were made” in the treatment of Maryland offensive lineman Jordan McNair, who collapsed during an offseason workout and died two weeks later of heatstroke.

The decision to bring Durkin back from paid administrative leave created such a furor among students and politicians that Loh fired Durkin on Wednesday.

On Thursday, the board of regents chairman resigned from his post.

Several outlets reported that three players walked out of a meeting with Durkin on Tuesday. After practice that day, the backup punter, who had spoken out about the coaching staff, was reportedly assaulted by a teammate who supported Durkin.

Coming off all those distractions, the Terrapins were looking to become bowl eligible with their third win in four games. Instead, they fell behind early and never got the offense working.

The Spartans scored on their first possession, added a first-quarter field goal and went up 17-3 in the third quarter when Max Rosenthal recovered a Heyward fumble in the end zone.

“Huge win for us,” Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said. “We stayed focused on the task at hand, which was to win No. 6.”

Dantonio fully understood Maryland’s unique situation.

“I’m sure there were a lot of distractions. They have faced a very emotional tragedy earlier in the year,” Dantonio said. “For that, we are all very sorry. Everything else that’s going on is difficult for us to comprehend, being on the outside looking in. But our thoughts and our prayers go with the McNair family and also our thoughts are with the entire Maryland football program as they move through challenging times.”

Maryland’s effort to come back was thwarted by two fourth-quarter turnovers. Javon Leake lost a fumble on the MSU 26 and Byron Cowart fumbled on an interception return with the Spartans recovering in the end zone for a touchback.

“We make that score, it’s 17-10 with 11 minutes to go, we’re right in the game,” Canada said.

On the next play, Heyward ran for an 80-yard touchdown for a 24-3 lead with 11 minutes left.

“I don’t know how to describe it,” Heyward said. “You’re just smiling and then looking at the Jumbo screen hoping you don’t get caught.”

Maryland’s strong running game was limited to 26 yards (on 29 carries) by the nation’s top-ranked rushing defense. Kasim Hill went 8 for 21 for 74 yards for the Terps on a very windy day.

THE TAKEAWAY

Michigan State: After putting off a decision on his starting quarterback until late in the week, Dantonio settled on senior Brian Lewerke, who returned from a shoulder injury to go 11 for 20 for 87 yards and an interception before being replaced by redshirt freshman Rocky Lombardi.

“I know there were a lot of distractions this week over here (at Maryland), but same for us, not knowing exactly what’s going on as well,” Dantonio said.

The Spartans have some work to do in the passing game, but the defense is good enough to make up for that and keep them competitive against any foe.

Maryland: When the Terps are bad, they’re bad. Maryland’s one-dimensional offense sputtered again, and those two turnovers in the fourth quarter didn’t help. Maryland’s four losses this season have come by a combined 86 points.

EJECTED

Terrapins defensive tackle Mbi Tanyi was ejected in the second quarter for throwing a punch at a Michigan State player.

UP NEXT

Michigan State: The Spartans host No. 8 Ohio State.

Maryland: The Terrapins travel to Indiana.

More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Hall runs wild and Pitt beats No. 23 Virginia, 23-13

By HANK KURZ Jr.

AP Sports Writer

Saturday, November 3

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Darrin Hall had already had a big night against a team that game-planned to stop him when he put a dazzling cap on it.

Hall ran for 229 yards and three touchdowns, the last a 75-yard burst one play after Virginia had awakened it fans by closing to within 14-13, and Pittsburgh beat No. 23 Virginia for the fourth year in a row, 23-13 on Friday night.

Hall also had a 41-yard scoring run in the first half and a two-yard run in the third quarter, capping a drive that ended with an injury-depleted Cavaliers defense looking incapable of stopping the bruising 225-pound tailback.

“That’s all we do. We just continue to fight, continue to wear down the defense,” said Hall, who carried just 19 times.

The two-yard run capped a 15-play, 84-yard march and gave the Panthers a 14-10 lead and seemed to wear Virginia down.

“Even on short yardage, I was getting 4 yards before I was even touched,” he said.

The Panthers (5-4, 4-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) moved into first place in the Coastal Division.

“That’s great. That’s awesome,” left guard Connor Dintino said. “But next week we’ve got (Virginia Tech). We’ve got to go 1-0. That’s it. We’re not thinking ahead.”

With 738 rushing yards in the last two games, they seem to be hitting their stride.

“We did it the old fashioned way, running the football for 250 yards,” coach Pat Narduzzi said. “Darrin Hall was a beast.”

Bryce Perkins threw for 205 yards and a touchdown for Virginia (6-3, 4-2, No. 23 CFP), but Pittsburgh never allowed him to get untracked in the running game and sacked him five times for 46 yards in losses. The Cavaliers’ three-game winning streak was snapped.

“We got him a couple times in the backfield. That’s the first thing,” Narduzzi said of Perkins, who has three 100-plus-yard games this season but finished with minus 7 yards. “Put pressure on him and force him to have to make some throws or make some decisions.”

Pittsburgh trailed 10-7 at halftime, but used the drive that lasted 8:40 to go ahead. The Panthers converted four third downs on the march and Hall finished it with runs of 18 and 2 yards as the Virginia defense, which lost three starters during the game, began to wear down.

After being limited to 24 plays in the first half, the Panthers ran 21 in the third quarter alone, mostly grinding on the ground.

“I don’t think anything changed” from the first half to the second half, Virginia linebacker Jordan Mack said. “They were just executing at a high level and lack of execution from us.”

The Cavaliers drove for Brian Delaney’s second field goal, bringing the crowd alive, but Hall quieted them with his long scoring burst.

FOOT LOOSE

The Panthers special teams botched a pair of extra point tries, but converted one when a penalty gave them a do-ver.

Narduzzi said placekicker Alex Kessman was not to blame, and he clinched the victory with a 53-yard field goal, his fourth from 50 or more yards this season and the sixth of his career.

“That was a gigantic kick,” Narduzzi said.

THE TAKEAWAY

Pittsburgh: The Panthers are very much a power running team, but Darrin Hall especially has break-away speed, too, as he showed on his long scoring runs. With tailbacks Hall and Qadree Ollison each weighing in at 225 pounds, their bruising style wore Virginia down during two long possessions to begin the second half.

Virginia: The Cavaliers to find more offensive weapons to employ when teams focus great attention on Perkins, Olamide Zaccheaus and Jordan Ellis. Terrell Jana’s 42-yard touchdown catch more than doubled his receiving yardage for the season (29), and he caught two more passes before halftime. And tight end Tanner Cowley had just three catches for 28 yards in the first eight games before taking a pass from Perkins 40 yards down the Virginia sideline in the first half.

UP NEXT

Pittsburgh returns home to face long-time rival Virginia Tech in its final home game.

Virginia wraps up a three-game homestand with its final home game, and last out-of-conference game, against Liberty.

Follow Hank on Twitter: www.twitter.com/hankkurzjr

More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

West Virginia quarterback Will Grier (7) scores the game-winning two-point conversion during an NCAA college football game against Texas in Austin, Texas, on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018. West Virginia defeated Texas 42-41. (Nick Wagner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)
https://www.sunburynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2018/11/web1_121711898-8d40c69aba5642c99de6d35bb6c2307c.jpgWest Virginia quarterback Will Grier (7) scores the game-winning two-point conversion during an NCAA college football game against Texas in Austin, Texas, on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018. West Virginia defeated Texas 42-41. (Nick Wagner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (13) rushes on a 44 yard touchdown carry in the second half of an NCAA college football game in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018. Alabama won 29-0. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
https://www.sunburynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2018/11/web1_121711898-e87296a95de045b0b4a9024ef92ae7d1.jpgAlabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (13) rushes on a 44 yard touchdown carry in the second half of an NCAA college football game in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018. Alabama won 29-0. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
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