College GameDay Final Extra


By Brad Edwards, Special to ESPN.com

Halloween came early for a couple of college football's unbeaten teams, as both Texas and UCLA survived major scares on Saturday.

For the second straight year, the Longhorns stumbled around like zombies in the first half of their game against Oklahoma State before putting together a frighteningly impressive second half en route to a comfortable win. Last season, the halftime deficit was 35-14. This time it was 28-12. Last season, UT outscored OSU 42-0 in the second half. This time it was 35-0.

Even in the 2003 meeting, Texas trailed 16-14 at the half before scoring 41 unanswered after halftime. Most teams wouldn't make the same mistake twice, or even three times, but it appears the only lesson the Longhorns have learned is that no deficit is too large to overcome -- at least against Oklahoma State. The combined second-half score in the last three years is 118-0 in favor of the Horns.

UCLA fans wish their team would reserve such antics for just one opponent, but the Bruins decided to make an entire month out of tricking and treating. In four of its five October games, UCLA trailed by double digits in the fourth quarter before rebounding to win in the final minutes or in overtime. During the month, the Bruins outscored their opponents 93-26 after the third quarter.

Saturday's comeback against Stanford, however, was nothing like the previous brushes with defeat. UCLA trailed 24-3 with just over seven minutes remaining! It's hard enough to believe a team could score three touchdowns in the final half quarter of the game after scoring none in the first three-and-a-half quarters. But it's even more amazing when you consider that the biggest comeback in major-college history (Maryland over Miami in 1984) was by a team that trailed by 31 with 12:35 remaining in the third quarter.

Which is more difficult? To come back from 31 down with 27:35 left to play, or from 21 down with 7:35 left to play?

Somehow, the Bruins did it. Including overtime, they scored four touchdowns in their final 14 offensive plays to make it happen.

"My heart hurts right now. I'm emotionally drained," said tight end Marcedes Lewis after the game.

Just think how the Stanford players must feel. Or even the Georgia players, who just suffered their first loss of the season.

No matter how you get there, a win is a win. And for UCLA and Texas, it's good to be one of just five teams left with a shot at perfection.

If you're doing bowl projections in the next few weeks, don't forget to include Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights of the Big East may have the longest current bowl drought among major conference teams, but they are now bowl eligible after picking up win number six against Navy on Saturday.

Why stop at six, though? It's time for the State University of New Jersey -- affectionately known by many of us at ESPN as "SUNJ" (rhymes with grunge) -- to set its sights even higher. The BCS may be a longshot, but Rutgers has a legitimate chance to go 8-3 this season and could even be playing in the Gator Bowl on New Year's Day if it could somehow win at Louisville and finish 9-2.

Led by 39-year-old coach Greg Schiano, the Scarlet Knights are one of the feel-good stories in college football, leading a group of recently futile programs that have made great strides this season.

*Must win 2 of last 3 games to become bowl eligible

Other news and notes from Saturday's action:

For every team like Rutgers that is able to reach its goals for the season, there is a team like Tennessee that falls way short. Although their schedule suggested otherwise, the Vols expected to contend for a national title. Now, they just hope to finish with a winning record.

Tennessee is one of nine preseason Top 25 teams that enters November still seeking to become bowl eligible. Some, obviously, are in better shape than others.

Purdue was ranked 15th to start the season, but the Boilermakers are now 2-6 after six straight losses and already eliminated from bowl contention.

Texas A&M started 17th but now sits at 5-3 and must win one of its remaining three games. It doesn't sound so difficult until you look at the schedule -- at Texas Tech, at Oklahoma and then back home to face Texas.

Even Arizona State, which came close to knocking off both LSU and USC, has a 4-4 record. The Sun Devils must win two of their last three, and one of those is at UCLA, which makes this week's trip to Washington State huge.

And then there's Tennessee. If the Vols lose to Notre Dame this Saturday, they will fall to 3-5. The final three games on the schedule (Memphis, Vanderbilt and at Kentucky) are all ones they should win, but so was the last game against South Carolina.

Vandy may be coming to Knoxville on Nov. 19 at 5-5, needing a win for bowl eligibility. Before the season, we might have thought that to be possible. What we never would have imagined is that Tennessee could need to win the game for the same reason.

Key Stat
115Consecutive conference road games without a shutout for Texas Tech before its 28-0 win at Baylor on Saturday. The previous time was a 34-0 win at TCU in 1975, when both teams were in the Southwest Conference.