By Blair Kerkhoff, The Kansas City Star –
Conference call in college football:
RISING: K-State’s Collin Klein took the lead in the weekly Heisman watch with a seven touchdown performance — three passing and four rushing — in the Wildcats’ 55-14 victory at West Virginia. He threw for a career-best 323 yards and was named the Walter Camp National Player of the Week.
FALLING: Texas’ 56-50 victory over Baylor continues the trend of horrid defenses by both. The Bears have surrendered 25 touchdowns in three league games. Texas has given up 50, 63 and 45 in its last three. The Longhorns needed all five of Joe Bergeron’s rushing touchdowns.
RISING: LSU is growing stronger. Texas A&M jumped ahead 12-0 (uh, oh, another double-digit lead for the Aggies) only to have the Tigers roar back for 24-19 victory at Kyle Field. After a shaky beginning, the Bayou Bengals’ defense buckled down and quarterback Zach Mettenberger took command.
FALLING: Steve Spurrier doesn’t like unproductive quarterbacks, and he got on Conner Shaw after the 44-11 loss at Florida. Spurrier didn’t like that Shaw “was running all over the place.” Dylan Thompson played the second half, and Spurrier didn’t name a starter going forward.
RISING: Penn State’s Bill O’Brien is getting buzz as a top national coach of the year candidate, and the Nittany Lions are getting better by the week. They walloped Iowa 38-14 at Iowa City, setting up this week’s showdown with Ohio State at Happy Valley.
FALLING: Northwestern coughed up a 12-point fourth quarter lead and fell at home to Nebraska 29-28 as the Cornhuskers avenged one of their most disappointing losses of 2011. The Wildcats surrendered two touchdowns in the final six minutes.
RISING: Has Matt Barkley moved into second in the Heisman chase? He completed 20 of 21 passes for 298 yards and six touchdowns against lowly Colorado. Barkley now owns the Pac-12 record for scoring passes at 102. Top target Robert Woods caught eight passes for 132 yards.
FALLING: California’s fade continues. The Golden Bears lost the Big Game to Stanford and need to win three of their final four games to become bowl eligible.
RISING: Duke is eligible for a bowl game for the first time since 1994 with a dramatic 33-30 victory over rival North Carolina. It was the Blue Devils’ first victory over the Tar Heels in Wallace Wade Stadium since 1998.
FALLING: Virginia Tech has won at least 10 games in each of the past eight seasons. But this isn’t a vintage Frank Beamer team. The Hokies made all kinds of mistakes in a 38-17 smackdown at Clemson.
RISING: Louisville’s 27-25 victory over South Florida was closer than expected, but quarterback Teddy Bridgewater came up big. He completed his first 11 passes and finished 21 of 25 for 256 yards.
FALLING: The undefeated three are down to Rutgers and Louisville after Cincinnati was stung by Toledo 29-23. The good news for the Bearcats is they remain unbeaten in league play at 1-0.
RISING: Louisiana Tech got back on the horse after last week’s loss to Texas A&M and pounded Idaho 70-24. The offense was balanced, 431 yards through the air, 408 on the ground. The 839 total yards were most in a Division I game this season.
FALLING: Is anybody playing defense in Texas? SMU beat Houston 72-42 on Thursday as Mustangs quarterback Garrett Gilbert, the former Longhorn, threw for four touchdown passes. Houston committed nine turnovers.