Alabama look near unbeatable, Ohio State look a little more beatable and there were a few changes at quarterback across college football. Starting with a strong win for Oklahoma, here are my highlights of the week...
No.14 Oklahoma State 13-41 No.18 Oklahoma
The Sooner Schooner is a great tradition in college football. It is the traditional wagon pulled by two white ponies on to the Oklahoma field in Norman, before the game and every time the home team scores a touchdown. Nine minutes in to this latest in-state showdown, Oklahoma were 21-0 up and the ponies were breathing heavily.
The annual battle for supremacy had been dominated in recent years by the Sooners, but Oklahoma State was coming into the game with the higher ranking. After two losses early in the season. Oklahoma are finding their rhythm with some great young talent at the helm. Spencer Rattler passed for four touchdowns and 301 yards and is forming a partnership with fellow freshmen, receiver Marvin Mims and tight end Mikey Henderson. Rattler had passed two seven different receivers in the first half alone.
Kansas State 0-45 No.17 Iowa State
The Cyclones are the only one-loss team in the Big 12 and Oklahoma will need to exact revenge in order to lift the conference title. Iowa State was simply too strong for Kansas State, holding them scoreless. Brock Purdy threw for three touchdown passes and running back Breece Hall continues to impress, rushing for two touchdowns and 135 rushing yards. He leads the nation in rushing yards, with 1,169, averaging an impressive 6.5 yards per carry. They face Texas this weekend.
In the Big Ten...
No.9 Indiana 35-42 No.3 Ohio State
A battling performance from the Hoosiers put Ohio State under pressure in Columbus. Indiana leads the Big Ten in sacks and duly sacked Justin Fields five times. The Buckeyes quarterback looked less assured than in recent weeks, being intercepted three times. He still managed to pass for 300 yards and two touchdowns, 169 of his passing yards going to Garrett Wilson. Ohio State has a balanced offense so in the event Fields rarely struggles, they have a strong ground game to fall back on. The Buckeyes racked up 307 rushing yards, 169 by Master Teague III.
On initial impression, they look a little short of challenging Alabama, Notre Dame and Clemson when they return and their defense could be the reason why. Indiana amassed 491 passing yards against the nation’s No.3 ranked team. Ty Fryfogle had 218 receiving yards, his second 200-yard receiving game in a row as the Hoosiers battled back from a 28-7 deficit but just came up short.
No.10 Wisconsin 7-17 No.19 Northwestern
The path to the Big Ten West looks clearer after Northwestern outmuscled the undermanned Badgers in Evanston, Illinois. Wisconsin were missing a couple of key receivers and as such, quarterback Graham Mertz struggled, turning the ball over five times. Northwestern’s mean defense is well balanced with a pass-heavy offense marshalled by Indiana transfer Peyton Ramsey, who passed for two touchdowns and 244 yards. They move to 5-0 and their route to the Big Ten Championship game, presumably against Ohio State, is in their own hands.
Michigan 48-42 Rutgers (3 OT)
The Wolverines stopped the rot with a much-needed triple overtime win over Rutgers. At 17-0 down, under-pressure coach Jim Harbaugh benched Joe Milton in favour of Cade McNamara and Michigan found momentum and a new starting quarterback. McNamara passed for four touchdowns and rushed for another as Michigan held on against the Scarlet Knights.
Iowa 41-21 Penn State
Penn State slip to 0-5, the worst start in school history after this demoralising loss at home to Iowa. The solution Michigan have found at quarterback hasn’t materialised in Pennsylvania. Will Levis stepped in ahead of Sean Clifford and turned the ball over four times. Clifford came back in and did little better. A big rebuild lies ahead for the Nittany Lions as Iowa moved to 3-2.
In the SEC…
Kentucky 3-63 No.1 Alabama
This was a bloodbath in crimson red. The Crimson Tide eased to 7-0 with an impressive rout of Kentucky in Tuscaloosa. Heisman favourite Mac Jones passed for 230 yards and two touchdowns before being rested so that Bryce Young could get a run out. DeVonta Smith broke the SEC receiving record with catches from Jones and Young. He has 33 career touchdown receptions. Najee Harris also added to his impressive tally, moving to 16 touchdowns for the season.
No.6 Florida 38-17 Vanderbilt
Florida’s momentum continues as they won a comfortable game against Vanderbilt. Kyle Trask continues to stake his claim for the Heisman. He became the first player in SEC history to throw 30 touchdowns in the first seven games of the season. Dan Mullen was able to introduce sophomore backup Emory Jones in the third quarter and rest Trask for next week vs. Kentucky.
Mississippi State 24-31 No.13 Georgia
The big news in Athens was the long-awaited debut of USC quarterback transfer JT Daniels. After the disappointment of losing opt-out Jamie Newman and the indifferent form of Stetson Bennett, Daniels gives Georgia a significant upgrade under center. He became the first Bulldogs quarterback to throw four touchdowns on their debut, passing for 401 yards. Whilst their defense is strong and Daniels gives cause for optimism, Georgia may need a little more on offense. They rushed for just eight yards in this game.
Elsewhere in the SEC, LSU freshman quarterback TJ Finley came in for the injured Myles Brennan and passed for 271 yards, leading the Tigers to a 27-24 win over Arkansas in the Battle for the Golden Boot. No.23 Auburn beat 30-17 in a game that saw Bo Nix back on form, while Missouri beat South Carolina 17-10.
No.7 Cincinnati 36-33 UCF
In a matchup between two highly rated quarterbacks, Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder came out on top, accounting for four total touchdowns for the fifth straight game. UCF’s Dillon Gabriel was sub-par by comparison, throwing for 243 yards.
North Alabama 14-66 No.8 BYU
Brigham Young recorded their seventh win by a 30-point margin this season. Sadly, it looks like their schedule will hamper their chances of getting into the College Football Playoff. They will need to maintain huge wins against mediocre opposition to have any hope of getting in. It would be fun to see them up against the likes of Ohio State and Clemson though. Zach Wilson is a first round pick. His headband, reminiscent of BYU alum and Chicago Bears QB Jim McMahon in the 80s, suggests they’ll take on anyone.
UCLA 35-38 No.11 Oregon
In a game where Chase Griffin made his first start for the Trojans, USC kept Pac-12 favourites Oregon honest. Leading 21-17 going into half time, Griffin was picked off and Oregon ran it back for a touchdown. UCLA running back Demetric Felton Jr. had a big game, rushing for a career-high 167 yards and two touchdowns. Ducks quarterback Tyler Shough continued his confident start, passing for three touchdowns and 334 yards, leading Oregon to a vital win.
No.21 Liberty were finally beaten. Their ten-game winning streak was snapped by North Carolina State, who won 15-14. Coastal Carolina remain unbeaten as they moved to 8-0 with a 34-23 win over Appalachian State. No.20 USC looked a little sluggish in a 33-17 defeat of a Utah team playing its first game of the season. Washington moved to 2-0 with a 44-27 win over Arizona.
Look out for:
It’s Rivalry Week. Well, a watered down version of Rivalry Week where in-state rivalries are traditionally fought out in Thanksgiving Week.
· The Iron Bowl - Alabama takes on Auburn this weekend having lost two of their last three against the War Eagles.
· The Egg Bowl – Mississippi State travels to Oxford to face Mississippi with Mike Leach and Lane Kiffin in their debut seasons at the helm of the Deep South rivals.
· Civil War – Oregon at Oregon State.
· Paul Bunyan’s Axe – Minnesota at Wisconsin. Read about the history of this famous tradition here.
· The Big Game – Stanford at California. One team will record their first win as both have started 0-2.
· The War on I-4 – UCF at South Florida.
Here’s this week’s AP Top 25:
Rank Team Record
1 (1) Alabama 7-0
2 (2) Notre Dame 8-0
3 (3) Ohio State 4-0
4 (4) Clemson 7-1
5 (5) Texas A&M 5-1
6 (6) Florida 6-1
7 (7) Cincinnati 8-0
8 (8) BYU 9-0
9 (11) Oregon 3-0
10 (12) Miami 7-1
11 (19) Northwestern 5-0
12 (9) Indiana 4-1
13 (12) Georgia 5-2
14 (18) Oklahoma 6-2
15 (17) Iowa State 6-2
16 (15) Coastal Carolina 8-0
17 (15) Marshall 7-0
18 (10) Wisconsin2-1
19 (20) USC 3-0
20 (22) Texas 5-2
21 (14) Oklahoma State 5-2
22 (23) Auburn 5-2
23 (24) Louisiana 7-1
24 (25) Tulsa 5-1
25 (-) North Carolina 6-2