Highlights of the Week – The Big 12 is Wide Open
Upsets, teams dropping out of the Top 25 and the top four solidify their positions. The Big 12 is wide open, the SEC looks strong and for the second straight year, the road to the national championship looks like it will run through Death Valley, albeit the one in Clemson, not Baton Rouge. Here’s the highlights of the week…
Didn’t see that coming…
No.18 Oklahoma 30-37 Iowa State
A tough start to the season for the Sooners, who suffered their first away loss to Iowa State in 60 years, the last time Oklahoma walked out of Ames, Iowa with a loss was 1960. It was also the first time they have suffered back to back losses since 1999 and so drop out of the AP Top 25 this week.
Spencer Rattler’s pass to Charleston Rambo was intercepted late in the game and the Cyclones won a famous victory to improve to 2-1 for the season. Oklahoma’s defense couldn’t stop Iowa State. RB Breece Hall had a big game, rushing for 154 yards and highly touted QB Brock Purdy threw for 254 yards and ran for a touchdown.
Purdy famously turned down scholarships to bigger schools, believing in the vision coach Matt Campbell had set out to build something rather than be another cog in a big program. Interviewed on ESPN after the game, he said: “We’ve got 16 seniors who came here on a dream that we someday could turn Iowa State football around. They came here at 3-9 and believed in us and believed in our vision.”
TCU 33-31 No.9 Texas
Next up for Oklahoma is The Red River Rivalry against Texas at The Cotton Bowl in Dallas, which suddenly becomes a must-win for both teams. The Longhorns struggled against TCU, trailing 23-14 in the third quarter. Horned Frogs sophomore QB Max Duggan rushed for two touchdowns and threw for 231 yards. With TCU up 33-29 with 2:32 left in the game, Texas were camped on the Horned Frogs’ goal line, before RB Keaontay Ingram fumbled the ball at the 1 yard-line.
Longhorns QB Sam Ehlinger threw for four touchdowns, despite entering the game with a quad injury and now has 14 TD passes for the season, the most after three games for a Texas QB. He will be more interested in the win column and this loss puts Texas at 2-1 and severely dents their hopes of winning the Big 12, let alone making the College Football Playoff.
Arkansas 21-14 No.16 Mississippi State
A week after his 600 yard record passing game against LSU, KJ Costello was picked off three times against an Arkansas team who won their first SEC game in twenty. Florida transfer QB Feleipe Franks threw two touchdown passes as the Razorbacks shocked Mississippi State, knocking them out of the Top 25.
In contention and looking good…
No.17 Oklahoma State 47-7 Kansas
Creeping up under radar is a very good Oklahoma State team who are now 3-0. The Cowboys announced their arrival as Big 12 contender with a thrashing of Kansas, racking up 593 total yards of offense. RB Chuba Hubbard found his form and rushed for 145 yards and two touchdowns, and backup QB Shane Illingworth threw for three scores. Their defense is impressive too, having allowed an average of 9 points in their opening three games. They have a week off before travelling to Baylor on October 17th. The Bears will be licking their wounds after losing in overtime 21-27 to West Virginia.
No.7 Auburn 6-27 No.4 Georgia
In the 125th meeting of “The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry”, Auburn were in trouble once DB Smoke Murphy was ejected for targeting. Georgia’s defense stifled the Tigers, sacking sophomore QB Bo Nix three times and holding Auburn to just 216 yards of offense. Georgia QB Stetson Bennett, third on the depth chart in preseason, threw for 240 yards and might settle into the role long term for the Bulldogs.
Virginia 23-41 No.1 Clemson
Trevor Lawrence has now thrown 314 passes without an interception. His classy display will have been noted by several NFL teams in contention for the consensus no.1 draft pick. Amari Rodgers is becoming his favourite receiver and Travis Etienne ran for 114 yards in a dominant display. Andrew Booth made a stunning Odell Beckham like interception that will be on highlight reels for years.
No.13 Texas A&M 24-52 No.2 Alabama
In a showdown of two future NFL quarterbacks, Aggies QB Kellen Mond threw for 3 TDs and 318 yards, but was outclassed by a career-best showing from Alabama QB Mac Jones. Jones threw for 4TDs and 435 yards, targeting Jalen Waddle and John Metchie III for 142 and 181 yards respectively. If Jones has “the keys to a Ferrari” in the Tide offense as quoted by ESPN’s Jessie Palmer, then he is a Rolls-Royce of a quarterback, polished and understated with impressive drive.
South Carolina 24-38 No.3 Florida
The Kyles are leading Florida to a potential playoff place, arrival of the Big Ten pending. QB Kyle Trask has thrown for 10 TDs in two games, adding four in a comfortable win over South Carolina. Kyle Pitts, a giant tight end at 6’6” and 240lbs added two touchdown catches to take his total for the season to 6.
Lane Kiffin secured his first win as Ole Miss beat Kentucky 42-41 in an overtime nailbiter. Kiffin’s decision to name QB Matt Corral as the season starter looks inspired. He threw for 4 TDs and 320 yards. Kentucky kicker Matt Ruffolo missed a field goal and then an extra point at 41-35 that could have sealed the win, Ole Miss securing victory with an extra point. “Send a Christmas present to their kicker” a happy Kiffin commented afterwards.
No.11 UCF slipped up 26-34 vs Tulsa and LSU bounced back with a 41-7 beating of Vanderbilt, QB Myles Brennan looking a lot more composed in his 4TD, 337 yard display. Shane Buechele is putting up some impressive numbers this year. He led SMU (4-0) to an upset 30-27 win over Memphis, throwing for 474 yards and 3TDs.
Look out for…
BT Sport/ESPN is showing three intriguing matchups - Florida at Texas A&M and Tennessee at Georgia in the SEC and ACC showdown between Miami and Clemson this weekend.
Here’s this week’s AP Top 25 to finish:
5 Notre Dame
6 Ohio State
8 North Carolina
9 Penn State
10 Oklahoma State
19 Virginia Tech
21 Texas A&M
24 Iowa State