by Patrick Gustavson
The outlook for last weekend in college football was not a promising one, with only two match-ups between ranked opponents. Despite this, fans were not disappointed, with upsets and exciting games.
The slate of games kicked off on Thursday with a showdown between ranked ACC opponents. No. 24 North Carolina State took down Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson and No. 17 Louisville. Despite Jackson accounting for three touchdowns, the Cardinals were unable to keep pace with the Wolfpack, who now improve to 3-0 in conference play.
The only other matchup between ranked opponents took place on Saturday when Texas Christian University took on West Virginia. TCU led 7-3 at home, a slow start for both offenses. Both teams showed signs of life in the second half, with TCU taking the game by a score of 31-24. This puts the Horned Frogs in a great position in a hotly contested Big 12 conference, where there is no championship game.
If a victory wasn’t enough, TCU’s outlook improved more when No. 3 Oklahoma was stunned by Iowa State at home, snapping a 14-game winning streak, the longest in the nation. Once down 14 points, the Cyclones stormed back, outscoring the Sooners 25-11 in the second half. To add insult to injury, Iowa State defensive back Evrett Edwards planted an Iowa State flag at midfield, taking a jab at Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, who did the same following their win at Ohio State.
Oklahoma’s loss not only puts TCU in the driver’s seat, but also opens the door for another team to enter the College Football Playoff picture. That team could be the Georgia Bulldogs, who continued their impressive season by downing Vanderbilt 45-14. Under second-year coach Kirby Smart, the team has excelled on defense, holding all opponents to under 20 points thus far.
However, Oklahoma was not the only undefeated, perennial championship contender to fall. Michigan fell to in-state rivals Michigan State, in what could be called a sloppy game. The Wolverines uncharacteristically turned the ball over five times. Despite this, Michigan State failed to capitalize, with the game coming down to the wire. However, due to poor field conditions, neither team could muster a score late, giving the Spartans the much-needed victory.
Top ranked teams Alabama, Clemson, Penn State and Washington all rolled over their competition, maintaining their undefeated records and status as championship contenders.
Following an embarrassing homecoming loss against Troy, LSU returned to form, marching into Gainesville and squeaking out a victory against a ranked Florida team.
Another team looking for redemption following a treacherous start was Florida State, taking on No. 13 Miami at home. It appeared the Seminoles had pulled off the upset when freshman quarterback James Blackmon connected with Auden Tate for a 20-yard touchdown, going ahead by a score of 20-17. However, Malik Rosier marched the Hurricanes down the field and hit Darrell Langham for the touchdown with just six seconds remaining, once again dooming the Seminoles, who now fall to a disappointing 1-3 in the season.
Perhaps the most exciting game of the week was out of the Mid-American Conference. It was unlikely that any highlights would come out of the matchup between Western Michigan and Buffalo. The two were deadlocked at 31 following regulation, and mayhem ensued in the whopping seven overtime periods, with 67 points scored. Western Michigan went on to win by a jaw-dropping score of 71-68, the most points scored in a game in NCAA history. Buffalo quarterback Drew Anderson threw for an incredible 597 yards and seven touchdowns, and doesn’t even have the win to show for it.
Looking ahead to Week Seven, there is only one matchup of ranked teams, when Utah and USC will meet in a Pac-12 showdown. Despite the lack of quality match-ups, there is always the chance that a top team could get tripped up by an unlikely opponent, and every win matters when trying for a coveted spot in the College Football Playoff.