College Football Week Eight: Winners and Losers
With the first college football playoff standings to be released next week, some teams stepped up to the challenge while others took a step back. Also if you were a running back, you had a very good week. Here are my winners and losers:
- Alabama Crimson Tide: Quarterback Jalen Hurts threw for two touchdowns. He also rushed for a touchdown. Defensive end Jonathan Allen’s fumble returned for a touchdown helped the Tide defeat the Texas A&M Aggies 33-14. What else can we say about Alabama at this point?
- Penn State Nittany Lions: Cornerback Grant Haley’s blocked 60-yard field goal for a touchdown capped off a 17-0 run in the fourth quarter for the Lions as they upset the Ohio State Buckeyes 24-21. It’s the Lions’ first win over a top two team while unranked since 1964. It’s also their first win over the Buckeyes since 2011. Definitely the Lions’ best win in a while.
- LSU running back Leonard Fournette: After being off for three weeks due to injury, Fournette rushed for 284 yards and three touchdowns as the Tigers pulled away from the Ole Miss Rebels 38-23. Welcome back Mr. Fournette.
- Utah running back Joe Williams: Williams rushed for 332 yards and four touchdowns helping his Utah Utes defeat the UCLA Bruins 52-45. Remember earlier this season, he retired from football but came back to help his team, suffice to say head coach Kyle Whittingham and Utah fans are happy he did.
- West Virginia Mountaineers: Quarterback Skyler Howard throw for four touchdowns. Running back Rushel Shell rushed for 117 yards. The defense had three turnovers as they held off the TCU Horned Frogs 34-10. Mountaineers are a very quiet 6-0.
- Auburn Tigers: The Tigers rushed for 543 yards (yes, you read that right) and seven touchdowns as the Tigers stunned the Arkansas Razorbacks 56-3. Don’t look now but the Tigers have won three straight.
A couple of shout outs, first to the Oklahoma Sooners and Texas Tech Red Raiders for giving us the occasional (albeit entertaining) defense is optional game as the two teams combined for an NCAA record 1,708 total yards of offense. The Sooners outlasted the Red Raiders 66-59.
Another one to San Diego State running back and the nation’s leading rusher Donnel Pumphrey Jr. who rushed for 135 yards and two touchdowns (breaking two school records that were held by Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk) as the Aztecs easily defeated the San Jose State Spartans 42-3.
Last one to Wyoming running back Brian Hill who rushed for 289 yards and three touchdowns as the Cowboys defeated the Nevada Wolfpack 42-34.
- Ohio State Buckeyes: A blocked punt, a blocked field goal that led to the go-ahead touchdown and quarterback J.T. Barrett being sacked twice late doomed the Buckeyes in their loss to Penn State.
- Texas A&M Aggies: The Aggies weren’t able to get their offense going nor could they stopped Bama’s in their loss to the Tide.
- Houston Cougars: For some quarterbacks passing for 241 yards would be a great day, but if you’re Greg Ward Jr., it was 100 below his average as he and the Cougars were slowed down by the SMU Mustangs 38-16. For the Mustangs, this is their first win over a ranked team in five years, also the highest ranked team they’ve defeated since the Pony Express days of the early ‘80s. As for the Cougars, it’s now official, no college football playoff and also likely no conference title for them.
- BYU Cougars: The Cougars caught five turnovers, but couldn’t capitalize as they lost a heart breaker to the Boise State Broncos 28-27. This is the second time this season the Cougars defense forced five turnovers, they lose that game, too.
- Arkansas Razorbacks: The Hogs couldn’t slow down Auburn’s rushing attack, and they couldn’t get theirs going as they only had 25 rushing yards.
- Texas Longhorns: Missed opportunities and even more mistakes were the Longhorns’ undoing in their loss to the Kansas State Wildcats 24-21. It’s their fourth straight road loss, I don’t think Longhorns fans know what to say at this point.
Storylines Going Into Week Nine:
Virginia Tech goes to Pittsburgh. South Florida hosts Navy.
Texas Tech against TCU, first to 60, wins. West Virginia travels to Stillwater to face Oklahoma State.
Florida and Georgia have their annual meeting in Jacksonville.
Michigan will try to get revenge against struggling state rival Michigan State. Nebraska takes on Wisconsin.
Washington faces a tough road test at Utah. Boise State goes to Laramie to battle Wyoming.
Though both teams are struggling, you always throw the records out when rivals Miami and Notre Dame play.
Clemson fresh off a bye go to Tallahassee to face-off against Florida State.