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College Football

Can Wisconsin's James White play? Axed and answered

Backup James White outshines teammate (and Heisman hopeful) Montee Ball for once, rushing for 175 yards as Badgers beat Minnesota, 38-13, in battle for Paul Bunyan's Axe.

October 21, 2012|By Baxter Holmes, Los Angeles Times
  • Wisconsin running back James White stiff arms Minnesota's Troy Stoudermire on his way to a first-half touchdown.
Wisconsin running back James White stiff arms Minnesota's Troy Stoudermire… (Marlin Levison / MCT )

James White's situation is less than ideal, you might say.

The Wisconsin running back has the misfortune of being stuck behind a Heisman Trophy candidate, Montee Ball, on the depth chart.

And when Ball announced he'd return for his senior season, it meant White, a junior, would get just one season as a starter, if that.

But White didn't transfer. He stuck around, and on Saturday against Minnesota in the battle for Paul Bunyan's Axe, White stole the spotlight usually reserved for Ball by rushing for 175 yards and three touchdowns in 15 carries in Wisconsin's 38-13 victory.

"We try to outdo each other," White said of he and Ball, "and it's a healthy competition trying to get the most yards possible."

White won that battle against the Gophers, but not by much: Ball rushed for 166 yards and two touchdowns in 24 carries.

Fish out of water

U.S. Olympic gold-medal swimmer Ryan Lochte visited ESPN's College GameDay set as its "guest picker" and proceeded to make a fool of himself.

When asked who would win between No. 6 Louisiana State and No. 20 Texas A&M, Lochte picked . . . Auburn.

Lochte went to the University of Florida, a football power and a member of the Southeastern Conference, so that he made such a gaffe is a real head-scratcher.

Of course, Lochte is known for head-scratching comments, so much so that "Saturday Night Live" parodied him in the show's season opener in September.

(LSU won, 24-19, by the way.)

Answering the bell

The State University of New Jersey — also known as Rutgers — and its undefeated record trailed Temple by 10 at halftime on the road in Philadelphia.

Then, No. 19 Rutgers woke up, scored 35 straight and won, 35-10, to move to 7-0.

"It was more technical coaching" than motivational, first-year Coach Kyle Flood told reporters when trying to explain Rutgers' second-half surge.

Sure it was. Either way, Rutgers is 7-0 for the second time since 2006 and the fifth time in school history.

Wearing it well

And in this week's college football fashion report . . .

• Oklahoma State, an emerging player on the stylish-uniform ensembles front in recent seasons, debuted an all-orange helmet with Cowboys mascot Pistol Pete's glaring mug on the side.

The grade: Fashionable, especially because the Cowboys manhandled Iowa State, 31-10, to improve to 4-2 overall and 2-1 in the Big 12 Conference.

• Boise State donned new matte black helmets against Nevada Las Vegas and those domes looked quite intimidating, with the outline of a furious-looking bronco staring through a fire-red eye emblazoned on one side.

The grade: Quite fashionable, and not just because the No. 24 Broncos rolled UNLV, 32-7.

• Northwestern opted for a black helmet with a growling Wildcat on the side against Nebraska rather than its normal purple crown with a "N" on the side.

The grade: Fashionable, but not enough as the 'Cats lost to Nebraska, 29-28.

• Michigan State sported green "HydroChrome" helmets against No. 23 Michigan, and those hats were polished to a mirror shine with a silver stripe over the top.

The grade: Thumbs . . . down. The Spartans did this act last season, wearing new helmets against rival Michigan, but these helmets were just a tad too shiny. And whether under the lights of a night game or the sun during the day, "too shiny" can be trouble.

Plus, Sparty lost, 12-10.

baxter.holmes@latimes.com

twitter.com/BaxterHolmes

Times wire services contributed to this report.

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