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Samaje Perine Runs Into the Record Books and Other Big Stories from Week 13 in College Football

There weren’t a lot of big-time games this week, but that didn’t mean we couldn’t have one big upset and another record-breaking performance.

Melvin Gordon, We Hardly Knew Ye

LaDanian Tomlinson’s single-game rushing record stood for 15 years before being broken a week ago by Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon. But Gordon’s hold on the record didn’t last long, as Oklahoma’s Samaje Perine rushed for a new record 427 yards in the Sooners’ win this week over Kansas. And this was more than a flash in the pan—since taking over as OU’s primary runner in late September, the freshman has recorded three 200+ yard games and scored eighteen touchdowns.

So the bigger question is how did the Sooners’ coaching staff not see this potential earlier? In the preseason, he was third on the depth chart and would have been lower had star freshman Joe Mixon not been suspended for the season. Now, less than a full year into his career, he’s already carved his name in the record books.

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Ditto for Ole Miss

What a difference a month can make. Just a few short weeks ago, Ole Miss was sitting at No. 3 in the polls and holding out legitimate national championship hopes. But after dropping three of their last four, the Rebels are now just playing for pride and possibly playing spoiler to archrival Mississippi State’s title hopes. The first two losses—on the road at LSU and against No. 3 Auburn—were close affairs (a combined seven points) and understandable. But this week’s 30-0 shutout loss at Arkansas was simply headscratching.

Ole Miss turned the ball over six times (four by quarterback Bo Wallace) and, aside from a second quarter drive that ended in an interception in the end zone, the offense never really threatened to score. Arkansas, meanwhile, took advantage with a pick six and short fields (the Razorbacks five scoring drives had an average starting field position of the Ole Miss 37). The Rebels were once title contenders. Now they’re fourth in the SEC West and just hoping to stay alive for a New Year’s Day bowl game.

I don’t have data on this, but I have a hunch that teams who throw 100-yard pick sixes don’t win many games in the SEC.

The PAC-12 South is Getting Interesting

While Oregon obviously remains the favorite to win the PAC-12 this year, the South is strong this year and the division winner could challenge the Ducks. We’re just not completely sure who that will be. Arizona State, UCLA and Arizona are all sitting at 6-2 in conference and 9-2 overall. UCLA holds the tiebreaker over the other two and can advance to the title game with a win over Stanford next weekend. But if the Cardinal can pull off the upset, the winner of the Sun Devil/Wildcat showdown would advance.

The South has never won the conference title game, but this year’s division winner—whoever that might be—will certainly have a fighting chance. And if UCLA advances, a Marcus Mariota/Brett Hundley matchup will certainly be fun to watch.

Notre Dame’s Not-So-Special Teams

For the second straight week, a missed field goal cost Notre Dame a potential win. Facing No. 23 Louisville, Fighting Irish kicker Kyle Brindza missed a 32-yard field goal with 51 seconds left that would have tied the game at 31. The miss comes just a week after he missed a field goal in overtime in a 43-40 loss to Northwestern. In both cases, a bad hold was partially to blame, leading to some heated sideline exchanges.

 This is the first time since 2010 that the Irish have lost three in a row and a loss next week to USC would give Notre Dame five losses in its final six games. Not exactly what the Irish faithful envisioned after a 6-0 start.

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