Unforeseen circumstances and upsets are starting to happen more and more often in college football. This part of the season starts to become like March Madness. Teams that shouldn’t win are winning, and the polls are revealing themselves. The SEC is starting to formulate itself in the west, but the east is still far behind. The Big Ten also showed itself this week with Ohio State and Michigan winning big against conference foes.
Games of the Week
Nebraska at Ohio State
This game was the definition of a blowout. No. 19 Nebraska traveled to No. 5 Ohio State and took a beating, 62-3. Nebraska quarterback Tommy Armstrong was lost in the crossfire after being knocked unconscious and later being diagnosed with a concussion. Armstrong’s status is listed as day-to-day.
OSU (8-1 overall, 5-1 Big Ten) lost to Penn State two weeks ago and then squeaked by Northwestern. Saturday was a proving ground for the Buckeyes. Nebraska (7-2, 4-2) went into the game No. 10 in the first College Football Playoff Rankings with a lot of questions surrounding it. OSU also had a lot of questions surrounding it, considering the sloppy wins and losses. The critics were silenced and louder than ever as a personifying oxymoron from this game. OSU held the Cornhuskers to only 204 yards of total offense. The Huskers were also held to only nine total first downs in the rout. OSU quarterback J.T. Barrett reinstated his case as a Heisman finalist with 290 yards passing, 39 yards rushing and four touchdowns. The dominating performance places the Buckeyes in a commanding position with only Michigan standing in the way in the Big Ten. The Huskers still retain their title as Big Ten West leaders.
OSU travels to College Park, Maryland to take on the Terrapins and Nebraska hosts Minnesota on Saturday.
Texas A&M at Mississippi State
A game that didn’t look like much on paper turned out to seal the Aggies’ fate as a playoff team. Mississippi State pulled off a huge upset with a 35-28 win against No. 8 Texas A&M. The Aggies (7-2, 4-2) came in as a controversial top four team in the first College Football Playoff Rankings. The Bulldogs (4-5, 4-2) ended the hype in their preliminary matchup against Texas A&M. The Aggies were unable to stop the run, as they let two players rush for over 100 yards. Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald was one of those allowed to run everywhere. Fitzgerald also threw for 209 yards and two touchdowns while adding 182 rushing yards with two touchdowns. Mississippi State dominated possession while keeping the turnover margin at bay. The Bulldogs outgained Texas A&M by nearly 200 yards. Aggies defensive end Myles Garrett, a top NFL prospect, had a nagging ankle injury and was ineffective in this game. Texas A&M quarterback Trevor Knight left the game with a shoulder injury. The Aggies’ loss nearly seals Alabama’s fate as the top team out of the SEC West. Mississippi State now has to travel to Tuscaloosa to take on another SEC power in the Crimson Tide on Saturday. Texas A&M hosts Ole Miss, who’s without star quarterback Chad Kelly.
Alabama at LSU
The primetime game of the week, and one that never seems to disappoint, took place in Death Valley this year. The top-ranked Crimson Tide halted the No. 24 LSU Tiger’s season with a 10-0 win. LSU (5-3, 3-2) hasn’t missed a beat since Les Miles was fired. The Tigers have actually played better. Interim coach Ed Orgeron has this team firing on all cylinders, and who better to test that out against than Alabama?
Alabama (9-0, 6-0) proved why its still the best team in the country. Freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts stole the show. Nobody else was able to do anything against either of these elite defenses but Hurts. He rushed for 114 yards and one clinching touchdown. Bama lost the turnover battle 2-1, but held LSU to only 125 total yards. LSU star running back Leonard Fournette was held to only 35 yards on 17 carries. Alabama was missing its top safety Eddie Jackson, but one could argue that punter J.K. Scott was the player of the game. Yes, the punter was the player of the game. Scott punted five times, averaging 51.6 yards with a long of 66 yards. He pinned LSU inside the 20 multiple times, halting any attack the Tigers thought they had. Along with the crippling defense, Bama shows no sign of letting up. Alabama hosts upset-happy Mississippi State, and LSU has to travel to Arkansas on Saturday.
Players of the Week
D’Onta Foreman, running back, Texas: 33 carries, 341 yards, three touchdowns
Foreman hasn’t had a game under 100 rushing yards this year, but this week proved to be his best. Texas took on a bad Texas Tech defense that Foreman ran through and over. He averaged over 10 yards a carry and pushed his team to a 45-37 win. Foreman is continuing a solid season, approaching 1,500 yards. He looks more and more like an NFL-caliber running back with his mix of speed and power.
Mason Rudolph, quarterback, Oklahoma State: 29/38, 457 yards, five touchdowns
Rudolph furthered his stellar season with another solid performance. Unfortunately, he threw two interceptions, his first since Week 4. Taking on a really solid Kansas State defense, Rudolph torched the Wildcats with a 76 completion percentage. OSU is still searching for an identity after a loss to Central Michigan, but one thing is constant, and that is Rudolph’s play. The junior has an option to leave after this season to try out the NFL draft, which will be a tough decision at the end of this season.
Lamar Jackson, quarterback, Louisville: 12/17, 231 yards passing, 185 yards rushing, seven touchdowns
Jackson continued his Heisman campaign, putting up gaudy numbers against ACC opponents. Saturday, Boston College was Jackson’s victim. He led his team to a 52-7 win, and the one-man show continued to increase his touchdown tally. Former Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan holds the record right now for a single season with 63 touchdowns. Jackson has 45 with at least three games left, putting him in contention to break the record. Jackson is the Heisman frontrunner, and winner, barring some unpredictable circumstances.