Texas being "back" -- college football in Week 6. But by no means did the Longhorns hog the spotlight all to themselves.-- was the biggest result from around
Florida notched a major win at home against a top-five team in LSU, showing that it could at least be a contender in the SEC East race. Notre Dame also went on the road to one of the toughest places to play (Lane Stadium) and handled Virginia Tech.
From these games and many more across the country this weekend, here's everything you need to get caught up on a busy Saturday around college football.
Florida coach Dan Mullen: Besides an early-season loss to Kentucky, Mullen's return to Gainesville has been a huge success. And though the Wildcats beat the Gators straight up in Gainesville, one could argue Florida is playing better football at the moment following a 27-19 win against LSU. (Kentucky, meanwhile, couldn't even get a snap off in plus territory in a.) A road trip to Vanderbilt is all that stands in the way between a Florida-Georgia game that could decide the SEC East race. Yes, the Bulldogs are still the class of that division, but if you polled Florida fans asking them whether they'd be happy with even being in that conversation in Year 1 under Mullen, the answer would be a unanimous "yes."
Notre Dame: This was a classic letdown spot after a big win over Stanford in Week 5. And, at first, it looked like the Fighting Irish might struggle against Virginia Tech. But the offense opened things up in the second half as the Irish went on a 28-7 run to win 45-23. With that test passed, the hardest remaining game on the schedule is likely the season-ending road game at USC.
San Diego State: It didn't receive a ton of press, but the Aztecs went on the road without star running back Juwan Washington (and quarterback Christian Chapman, who's been out for a month with a knee injury ) to beat Boise State, 19-13. San Diego State leaned on its defense and held the Broncos to under 3 yards per play. Rocky Long's team is 7-1 straight up in its last eight games as an underdog and it continues to feel like Long doesn't get enough credit for what he does annually. This could be another 10-win team that's at least in the discussion for a New Year's Six bowl berth, though UCF remains the favorite.
Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy: In addition to being an All-Name team selection, Brock played purdy well in his first real action off the bench, a 48-42 win over Oklahoma State. Purdy, a freshman, tallied 402 yards of offense and five touchdowns. The Cyclones entered the game ranked last in the Big 12 in scoring offense (17.5 points per game) and total offense (299.5 yards per game). It just goes to show that the Cyclones grow backup quarterbacks on trees. Up next for Iowa State: a night home game against No. 9 West Virginia. And we know nothing big has ever happened in a Big 12 night game in Ames, right?
Auburn: It's hard to imagine a team that took it more on the chin in Week 6 than Auburn. The Tigers'marked their fourth straight game of less than 350 yards on offense. And while sometimes it's possible for teams to simply be unlucky, it turns out Auburn was a little bit of both:
So, tonight...— Justin Ferguson (@JFergusonAU) October 7, 2018
- Auburn overthrows a surefire touchdown
- Auburn seemingly comes close to a 4th down goal line stand, MSU touchdown
- Auburn fumbles the ball on a possible touchdown, tough review upheld
The big talking point -- again -- is the buyout for coach Gus Malzahn, which is north of $32 million. There are multiple examples of contractual malpractice by college athletics departments around the country, but this one ranks near the top. Remember, too, that Malzahn's future at Auburn was cloudy before taking his team to the SEC Championship Game and agreeing to a seven-year, $49 million deal. Would Auburn drum up 32 large to get rid of Malzahn? That seems absurd, but college football is not for the reasonable and stable-minded, and it hasn't been that way for a long, long time.
Washington: Speaking of Auburn, the other big loser from the Tigers' loss to Mississippi State was Washington. Mind you, the Huskies beat UCLA 31-24 on the road, and a conference road win is always a positive. However, the Huskies were already considered a fringe playoff team and the Week 1 loss to Auburn in Atlanta looks worse by the week. All Washington can do is continue to win out -- a road trip to Oregon followed by games against Colorado and Stanford will be a tough stretch over the next month -- but Auburn's recent struggles aren't helping.
Oklahoma defensive coordinator Mike Stoops: Sooners fans have had a longtime, well-documented, love-hate relationship with Stoops with a tendency to lean on the "hate" part. Themight've been the last straw. The Longhorns have been nothing if not streaky on offense, and yet they put up 500 yards in the Cotton Bowl with a predictable attack. "Predictable" is not an insult, by the way; Texas kept attacking with plays that worked and Oklahoma was unable to stop it. The mismatch itself wasn't Stoops' fault, but the failure to get players in position to make plays was. And if that's the difference between Oklahoma being a playoff team or not, it might also be the difference in whether Stoops keeps his job.
Florida State: It's hard to get too down on the Seminoles for losing to Miami. They were a 13.5-point dog and led 27-7 in the third quarter, playing as well as they have all year. Coach Willie Taggart and his staff did pretty much everything possible to put Florida State in a position to win, but when your offensive line is this bad, there's only so much you can do. In any case, giving up 21 unanswered to your rival is a tough way to go down, even if you didn't expect to be there in the first place. And, for the record, it was a historically big come-from-behind win in the series for the Hurricanes.
Biggest Miami comeback against FSU. Ever.— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) October 7, 2018
Best of the rest
Elon: You're darn right we're kicking off the best of the rest with with a FCS program. Elon beat No. 2 James Madison 27-24 on Saturday as a four-touchdown underdog (and a 40-point underdog at one point in some books). It won't register on many radars, but that qualifies it as one of the biggest upsets in the history of college football from a Vegas perspective.
Ohio State: The Buckeyes tend to have a post-Penn State hangover, and that was partially true against Indiana on Saturday -- at least for the first half. But that's nothing that six passing touchdowns from quarterback Dwayne Haskins can't fix. Ohio State won easily 49-26.
Colorado wide receiver Laviska Shenault: Shenault is starting to gain some national recognition and the Buffs' 28-21 win over Arizona State was another reason why. Shenault had four touchdowns -- two receiving and two rushing -- with 127 yards coming through the air. He now has 10 touchdowns through five games.
Your weekly Scott Frost and Chip Kelly record tracker: Yep, these two first-year coaches (and former Oregon coaches) are still winless on the season and a combined 0-10. Granted, both Nebraska and UCLA are winless against tough schedules, but this streak is something else.
Your double-take box score of the day: It's courtesy of top-ranked Alabama, which continues to swiftly dispatch whatever unfortunate team has to play it that week. In a 65-31 win over Arkansas (it wasn't that close), quarterbacks Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts combined to average 21.8 yards per attempt.
West Virginia quarterback Will Grier: West Virginia's 38-22 win over Kansas was an odd game, to say the least. Perhaps the oddest part were the -- count 'em -- three red-zone interceptions by Grier. Nothing that happened on Saturday was going to launch Grier to the top of the Heisman race, but that's a surefire way to lose a lot of ground. The saving grace was that all eyeballs were on Oklahoma-Texas in the noon slot.
Ole Miss: No one's throwing the Rebels a parade for beating Louisiana-Monroe 70-21, but they still compiled more than 800 yards of offense and had their top three wideouts -- DaMarkus Lodge, D.K. Metcalf and A.J. Brown -- go over 100 yards. That's "NCAA Football" on beginner difficulty in dynasty mode if there ever was an example of it.
Oregon State: #Pac12AfterDark takes many forms, but the Beavers going backwards to achieve the rare third-and-54 in a 56-37 loss to Washington State is among their best manifestations. Take a look at this series below. Yes, the down-and-distance is absurd, but Oregon State actually converts the first down (or nearly converts) twice before the plays are brought back by penalties. That's just impressive.
Twitter Savagery: Louisville was powerless to stop Georgia Tech's triple option in a 66-31 loss on Friday night. And when you're powerless to stop the triple option -- and/or when coach Paul Johnson is feeling himself -- the Yellow Jackets embarrass you by rushing for 542 yards at 8.3 yards per clip and eight touchdowns. Add in a pick-six and this ruthless tweet, and this was a complete takedown.
Illinois: The Illini beat Rutgers 38-17. That's Illinois' first Big Ten win since November 2016. That's a streak of 13 games and some 700 days. Thank goodness for the Scarlet Knights, eh?