What We're Seeing: First impressions from Week 6

By Eye on College Football staff

Braxton Miller and the Buckeyes escaped Evanston with a narrow 40-30 win
Braxton Miller and the Buckeyes escaped Evanston with a narrow 40-30 win. (USATSI)

Every game day Saturday, the three-man Eye on College Football crew watches football ... alot of football. Here's their knee-jerk impressions of what they've seen during Week 6. This post will update throughout the day.


Don't let that 10-point margin fool you, as Ohio State recovered a fumble in the end zone on the last play of the game to make this one look a bit more comfortable for Ohio State. Before that final play this was a back-and-forth affair that saw both teams managing to leave points on the field.

If you're Northwestern you're no doubt upset because you had a 23-13 lead with 20 minutes left to play and couldn't hold on to it. You had a few drives into the red zone that resulted in field goals instead of touchdowns.

Of course, if you're Ohio State, you could say the same thing. Ohio State stalled in the red zone a few times as well, settling for field goals instead of touchdowns that could have put this one away. There was also a Braxton Miller inside the Northwestern five-yard line that ended a long drive.

In the end, though, it was Ohio State that prevailed just like it has in every game of the Urban Meyer Era. Some will say that this close victory proves that Ohio State is overrated. I tend to think that the only thing this game proved is that Northwestern might be underrated, as the Wildcats gave Ohio State about all it could handle before just falling short at the end. -- Tom Fornelli


No wonder LSU and Florida want to stop playing each other; they're afraid some intrepid reporter will discover the two programs have magically switched identities, Freaky Friday style. How else do you explain how we've arrived here, with LSU giving up points and yards by the bunches to a low-fi Mississippi State offense and only pulling away thanks to 56 points and the unbridled might of its should-be-Heisman candidate quarterback (of all things) and the best pair of receivers in the country? And on the other side of the body swap, how has the school of the Fun'-n'-Gun, Tebow-to-Harvin, and even Kerwin Bell come to ride its terrifying secondary -- which held Brandon Allen to exactly 4 yards an attempt, picked him off for a quick six, and held him and the rest of the Hogs out of the end zone for the game's final 47 minutes -- and just kinda-sorta hoping for the best on offense?

One of these team's quarterbacks has drawn widespread praise for his calm, simple, no-frills approach and efficient game management. The other plays for LSU and went 25-of-29 for 340 yards and two TDs. If there's not some sort of weird science mind-exchange thing going on here, we don't have an explanation. -- Jerry Hinnen


Colorado turned heads with their 10-8 lead in the first quarter, but once the Ducks offense got rolling the upset alert sirens were put back in the closet. Oregon scored three touchdowns in the final 5:23 of the first quarter to finish the period with a 29-10 lead, and by the game was done the offense totaled 757 yards of offense on a season-high 96 plays.

With De'Anthony Thomas out due to an ankle injury, the stage was set for sophomoreByron Marshall (23 carries, 121 yards) and freshman Thomas Tyner (10 carries, 31 yards, one touchdown) to see more work in the backfield with quarterback Marcus Mariota . The Ducks quarterback finished with 355 yards passing (13.1 yards per attempt) and seven total touchdowns, using the vertical pass attack to push the offense when Colorado sold out to stop the run. The toughest test of the season thus far awaits the Ducks next week: a road trip to No. 15 Washington. -- Chip Patterson


As losses go, does it get any more brutal than being Tennessee -- the fallen former national power that's come within touching distance of a ginormous victory half-a-dozen times since Phil Fulmer departed -- and losing after 1. giving up a 75-yard touchdown drive that scored with just 5 seconds left in the game 2. having a player fumble through the end zone on a dive to the pylon in the first overtime? Just think about some of Tennessee's losses the past few years: missing out on beating No. 1 Alabama on Terrence Cody's field goal block ... losing to LSU with 13 players on the field ... North Carolina winning the Music City Bowl thanks to its own false start penalty, a loss so egregiously unfair the NCAA changed its rulebook ... and now this.

There's good news, namely that the Vols played their best game since that close call against LSU back in 2010, that Justin Worley continues to develop as a starting quarterback, that Butch Jones' players continue to play exceptionally hard for him even after a rough start to the season (and Jones' ever-more-baffling decision to start Nathan Peterman at Florida). But I doubt seriously there's any fleck of good news that makes things feel any better in Knoxville tonight. -- Jerry Hinnen


Coming into this game Notre Dame was 4-12 under Brian Kelly whenever it allowed its opponent to score 21 points or more. Well, on Saturday night the Notre Dame offense was able to keep up with Arizona State.

This was a huge win for Notre Dame coming off its loss at home to Oklahoma last week, as the Irish were in serious danger of falling to 2-3 after finishing the 2012 regular season undefeated. And while its defense gave up 34 points, the Arizona State offense managed only 415 yards and 5.8 yards per play a week after torching USC for 612 yards and 8.7 yards per play. It's strange to say in a game in which it allowed 34 points, but this may have been the best game the Irish defense has played this season.

As for Arizona State, it would have been nice to follow up last week's win with a victory over Notre Dame, but the Sun Devils defense just couldn't make plays when it needed them, and the three turnovers didn't help matters much either. -- Tom Fornelli


This game was a tale of two halves. In the first half Michigan looked a lot like the team we saw against Akron and UConn. The Wolverines had a 14-7 lead, but managed only 133 yards of offense in the first half.

And then the second half started.

The Wolverines would outscore the Gophers 28-6 over the final 30 minutes thanks to Minnesota turnovers and success on third downs. Of course, what may have been the most important aspect of Michigan's day was that the Wolverines didn't turn the ball over a single time. If this team can just take care of the ball there aren't many teams in the Big Ten with more talent, and that difference in class was made apparent in the second half of today's game. -- Tom Fornelli


Miami overcame a 10-point first quarter deficit and pulled away with three late touchdowns to earn a crucial ACC Coastal Division win against Georgia Tech. Quarterback Stephen Morris has been nagged by an ankle injury, and it appeared to limit his mobility and cause some frustration against Georgia Tech's pass rush. But even with the injury, Morris completed 17 of 22 passes for 324 yards and three touchdowns. The only issue was that two of his five incompletions were completions (to the Yellow Jackets' defense) and that paired with two lost fumbles to make for a sloppy start.

Miami's ability to battle back is an encouraging sign as the schedule gets tougher. Miami did not trail for one minute in 2013 until Georgia Tech's first quarter lead -- per Miami's sports information department, Miami was the 122nd team of 126 FBS to trail in a game -- and their previous competition played a role in that accomplishment. As conference play continues, there will be more minutes spent trying to overcome a deficit. Saturday's win shows they're up to that challenge.

The win was huge for Miami's pursuit of a program-first ACC championship. The Hurricanes finished tied with Georgia Tech and North Carolina atop the Coastal Division standings in 2012, but a self-imposed postseason ban allowed the Yellow Jackets to earn the trip to Charlotte to face Florida State. The Yellow Jackets now have losses to Virginia Tech and Miami this season, making those two teams the apparent frontrunners in the division. -- Chip Patterson


The play that won it for Indiana -- "it" in this case being the Hoosiers' first win ever against Penn State, on "just" their 17th try -- came with just under 11 minutes to play and the surprisingly feisty Hoosier defense having just stopped Penn State on a 4th-and-2. From the Nittany Lion 36, Nate Sudfeld rolled right and hit a streaking Kofi Hughes, who hauled it in over his shoulder for the touchdown. That put the Hoosiers up 35-17, but it also drove a stake through the idea that the Hoosiers are the same old Big Ten doormats -- doormats don't start quarterbacks like Sudfeld that can throw passes pretty enough to be hung at the Louvre (while on the run!), don't take 18-point leads on Penn State, don't have an array of weapons like Hughes, Cody Latimer, Tre Roberson and more.

Thanks to a brutal upcoming schedule (and a run defense that let them lose to Navy at home), the Hoosiers still have an uphill climb to a bowl berth. But thanks to Kevin Wilson's good work, it's a climb the Hoosiers look capable of completing nonetheless. -- Jerry Hinnen


Jameis Winston added his name to the Heisman Trophy discussion while the Seminoles' defense pitched a shutout in their final contest against Maryland as ACC opponents. Winston was phenomenal; putting up career highs for yards (393) and touchdowns (5) while completing more than 70 percent of his passes. The redshirt freshman quarterback is surrounded by great weapons and a strong running game, but every now and then Winston has one of those moments. (GIF via SB Nation)

The Seminoles defense knocked Maryland quarterback C.J. Brown out of the game in the second quarter, leaving Caleb Rowe the difficult task of overcoming an early 21-point deficit. Rowe never found a rhythm, and Florida State's offense scored touchdowns on six straight possessions to pull away. Maryland falls from the Top 25 just a week after their debut, and the Seminoles are off until the much-awaited showdown with Clemson in Death Valley on Oct. 19. -- Chip Patterson


Well, it wasn't as ugly as last year's matchup between these two teams, I'll say that. In fact, if you're Michigan State, you're pretty happy with what you saw on Saturday. The Spartans settled for more field goals than they probably wanted to, but their 412 yards of offense was the highest total they've had in any game outside of Youngstown State this season.

Michigan State also broke out a couple of big plays with a 46-yard touchdown pass to Macgarrett Kings in the second quarter and a 37-yard touchdown pass to Bennie Fowler in the third. And when you think about how good Michigan State's defense is -- another great performance today, forcing eight punts and holding Iowa to 4.3 yards per play -- all the Spartans offense needs to do is sprinkle in a big play here and there and it'll be enough to win most weeks. -- Tom Fornelli


Maybe a bye week was all Nebraska needed to get its act together? Nebraska ran all over the Illinois defense to the tune of 329 yards and 6.6 yards per carry. Ameer Abdullah led the way with 225 yards and two touchdowns, as the Cornhuskers did not miss or need Taylor Martinez.

But what most Huskers fans will take notice of was a defense that allowed only 367 yards and 4.6 yards per play against an Illinois offense that came into this game averaging 40.3 points, 478.5 yards and 6.81 yards per play this season. We already knew that Nebraska could put points on the board, but if its defense keeps playing like it did on Saturday then a Legends Division title is certainly still in play. -- Tom Fornelli


The biggest story from this game is the status of Red Raider starting quarterback Baker Mayfield, who threw for 368 yards before leaving the game after a hit to his knee and was later spotted on crutches. But it's also worth taking a moment to marvel at the offensive ineptitude of Charlie Weis's offense. After the Jayhawks' first two drives surprisingly netted 99 yards on 14 plays, Kansas ran 66 more plays ... and gained just 174 yards, good for a miserable 2.6 yards per play. Between the hot start and a garbage-time touchdown, Kansas went scoreless -- they didn't even come close to scoring -- for 44 minutes and 35 seconds. Oh, and in that timespan, Texas Tech scored 54 points of their own. It was ugly as the numbers suggest.

With Jake Heaps under center and last year's transition year behind them, the Jayhawks were supposed to take some sort of forward step on offense in 2013. So far, not so much. -- Jerry Hinnen

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