Week 10 - Oklahoma State wins Bedlam, Washington wins a Pac-12 thriller and Clemson salvage pride...
Cowboys see off No.9 Sooners to win Bedlam, 27-24.
The 117th and potentially last Bedlam for a while didn't disappoint. This, one of college football's oldest and most storied rivalries, saw two AP Top 25 ranked teams face off in Stillwater.
Ollie Gordon II showcased his emerging talent, rushing for an impressive 137 yards and scoring two touchdowns. Week by week, he is laying down his credentials for a Heisman challenge. No. 22 Oklahoma State emerged victorious with a 27-24 win over No. 9 Oklahoma. Gordon, the nation's leading rusher, carried the ball a career-high 33 times, extending his streak of six consecutive games with over 100 rushing yards. He has already amassed 1,087 yards this season and scored ten touchdowns.
This high-stakes match had more than just bragging rights on the line, with both teams entering the day in a five-way tie for the Big 12 conference lead. Cowboys quarterback Alan Bowman, whose journeyman college football career has taken him to Oklahoma State via Texas Tech and Michigan, produced a stellar performance, passing for 334 yards. Rashod Owens had 10 receptions for 136 yards.
Dillon Gabriel impressed in defeat, throwing for 344 yards on 70% pass completion rate, Drake Stoops set career highs with 12 catches for 134 yards, and Gavin Sawchuk ran for a career-best 111 yards with a touchdown for the Sooners.
The game's momentum swung back and forth. Despite Oklahoma taking a brief lead in the third quarter, Gordon redeemed himself with a crucial 1-yard touchdown run in the fourth, securing a 27-24 victory for Oklahoma State. Sadly, with neither team seeming to have the appetite to continue this fixture, the rivalry's future hangs in the balance with Oklahoma's impending departure to the SEC.
"Oklahoma State - long cast as the little brother - sent big brother off with a swift kick in the rear." - ESPN writer David Hale.
No.5 Washington outlasts USC, 52-42, in thriller.
In a thrilling Pac-12 matchup at the Coliseum, Huskies running back Dillon Johnson stole the spotlight, propelling No. 5 Washington to a 52-42 victory over No. 20 USC. While quarterback Michael Penix, Jr. continued his extraordinary season, Johnson, a transfer from Mississippi State, emerged as the star of the show, rushing for an astounding 256 yards and notching four touchdowns. Penix Jr. completed 22 of 30 passes for 256 yards and accounted for three touchdowns. Washington, now 9-0, showcased their offensive prowess with 572 total yards, strategically relying on Johnson and their offensive line against the Trojans' vulnerable defense. USC's defensive coordinator Alex Grinch would be fired over the weekend. Despite another remarkable performance from Caleb Williams, who completed 27 of 35 passes for 312 yards and four total touchdowns, the Trojans fell short as Washington's defense secured a crucial stop in the final minutes, preserving their undefeated record. Austin Jones ran for 127 yards for USC.
For USC, ranked No.6 at the start of the season, dreams of a Pac-12 title and College Football Playoff berth have fizzled out after a promising start. Having escaped against Colorado and Arizona, they have been found wanting against Notre Dame and two of the best Pac-12 teams in Utah and Washington. No.6 Oregon lie in wait this weekend. Meanwhile, Washington could force their way into the College Football Playoff with wins over No. 18 Utah and No. 16 Oregon State before the highly anticipated Apple Cup against rival Washington State in the coming weeks.
Clemson upsets No.15 Notre Dame, 31-23.
Clemson secured a crucial victory to deliver some pride to their faltering season, with a strong first-half performance to establish a 24-9 lead against No. 15 Notre Dame. The Tigers managed to stifle the Irish offense in the second half, sealing a 31-23 win. Despite a late interception that gave Notre Dame a chance to equalize, Clemson's defense stood firm, and the Irish fell short on a crucial drive. The Tigers' reliance on their run game proved effective, with running back Phil Mafah stepping up with an impressive 186-yard, two-touchdown performance on 36 carries. Quarterback Cade Klubnik threw a touchdown pass, completing 13 of 26 attempts for just 109 yards, breaking a two-game losing streak for Clemson. Clemson linebacker Jeremiah Trotter was outstanding, registering two sacks and two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown.
Notre Dame fell to 7-3 overall and may struggle to secure a spot in the prestigious bowl series due to a lack of signature victories. Sam Hartman, having impressed at points throughout the season, was off form, completing just 13 of 30 passes for 140 yards and was intercepted twice. Notre Dame's defeats to Clemson, Ohio State, and Louisville, despite wins over USC and Duke, might not be enough to propel them into the New Year's Six picture. With two games remaining against Wake Forest and Stanford, the Fighting Irish face an uphill battle to make up ground in the College Football Playoff rankings.
"I know we're down and everybody's throwing dirt on us but if Clemson's a stock, you better buy all you freakin' can right now." - Tigers coach Dabo Swinney.
Jalen Milroe impresses as Alabama sees off LSU, 42-28.
In this clash of SEC titans, Jalen Milroe propelled No. 8 Alabama to a hard-fought 42-28 victory over No.13 LSU on Saturday night. The rapidly improving Crimson Tide quarterback showcased his dual-threat prowess, rushing for an impressive 155 yards and securing four touchdowns while adding 219 passing yards to a stunning performance. Milroe and his counterpart, LSU's Heisman Trophy contender, Jayden Daniels, are two of college football's array of promising quarterbacks impressing this season, and put on a show. Daniels ran for 163 yards, passed for a further 219 yards and two touchdowns. A late hit from Tide linebacker Dallas Turner brought his game to a needlessly early conclusion with 12:56 left in the fourth quarter.
Alabama's seventh consecutive win moves them closer to an SEC West title and they are advancing on the College Football Playoff places. As Alabama continues its ascent in the rankings, LSU faces uncertainty, particularly if Daniels is sidelined for a prolonged period of time. Looking ahead, Alabama gears up for a clash with Kentucky this weekend, aiming to maintain their momentum in the quest for postseason success.
“Probably as close to a complete game as we’ve played all year and we needed to play a game like that." - Alabama coach Nick Saban.
In the Top 10...
Interestingly, the first set of College Football Playoff rankings came out this week. This is important because this will determine the highly sought-after places for the national championship semi-finals. The CFP rankings, oddly, had Ohio State at No.1, Georgia at No.2 with Michigan and Florida State taking the last two places. You could argue that Ohio State's level of competition has been higher in the season so far, but to unseat Georgia, who are on a 26-game winning streak, and a Michigan team who have racked up big wins and have won their last two against the Buckeyes, seems something of a reach.
No.1 Ohio State struggled to get going but then eased past Rutgers, 35-16. Buckeyes running back TreVeyon Henderson racked up 208 total yards on offense and a score, while Marvin Harrison, Jr. had a quieter afternoon with just 25 receiving yards but scored two touchdowns.
No.2 Georgia moved to 9-0 with a 30-21 win over No.12 Missouri. Carson Beck passed for 254 yards, while the Tigers registered three sacks but fall to 7-2.
No.3 Michigan put on a display of running power in the Big House, with all their five touchdowns scored on the ground in a dominant 41-13 win over Purdue. Blake Corum scored three touchdowns. J.J. McCarthy passed for 335 yards, 143 of these to receiver Roman Wilson. No.4 Florida State also moved to 9-0, beating ACC rival Pitt 24-7. Seminoles quarterback Jordan Travis had 360 passing yards and two total touchdowns.
Continuing their terrific momentum, No.6 Oregon steamrollered Cal 63-19 with another hugely impressive performance from their quarterback. Bo Nix completed 29 of 38 passes for 386 yards and 6 total touchdowns. He will feature highly in the Heisman conversation. Wide receiver Tez Johnson scored two touchdowns on 180 receiving yards.
No.7 Texas will be breathing a sigh of relief after they dropped a big lead to let No.23 Kansas State take their game to overtime. The Longhorns held on for a 33-30 victory with big contributions from Adonai Mitchell, who had 149 receiving yards and a touchdown, and Jonathon Brooks, who ran for 112 yards and a score. Kansas State missed two critical kicks and Texas is still in the running for the Big 12 title game.
No.9 Penn State crushed Maryland 51-15 on 37 minutes of possession, with Drew Allar passing for four touchdowns.
No.10 Ole Miss warmed up for Georgia with a nail-biting 38-35 win over Texas A&M in Oxford. Jaxson Dart completed 73% of his passes for 387 yards and two touchdowns. Tre Harris, continuing his stunning form, has 11 receptions for 213 yards and a touchdown.
AP Top 25
A pretty stagnant week for the top nine teams in this week's AP Top 25. Georgia, Michigan, Ohio State and Florida State make up the top four.
Ole Miss moved up to No.10, while Oklahoma State entered the Top 25 at No.15, having started the season 2-2 and since winning five straight games. Joining the Cowboys in the rankings were No.23 Arizona and No.25 Liberty, while No.24 North Carolina returned.
The big losers were USC, who have plummeted out of the rankings with a third loss of the season and UCLA who have similarly lost three games. Also dropping out of the Top 25 were Kansas State, beaten by Texas, and Air Force, who suffered an upset loss to Army.
College football games to watch in Week 11
No.10 Ole Miss @ No.1 Georgia - Lane Kiffin's Rebels travel to Athens looking to shake up the SEC and score a shock win over the Bulldogs.
No.2 Michigan @ No.9 Penn State - the first big test of the Wolverines' season, sign-stealing allegations aside. The Nittany Lions will be waiting with their famous "White Out" in a huge game for Big Ten contention.
No.13 Utah @ No.5 Washington - two leading Pac-12 contenders face off in Seattle. Washington could cement their spot in the conference title game with a win here.
USC @ No.6 Oregon - Bo Nix and the Ducks host a wounded USC team who will be battling for pride. Expect lots of points.
No.8 Alabama @ Kentucky - an intriguing SEC match up. Can the Crimson Tide keep up their impressive momentum?
No.7 Texas @ TCU - Quinn Ewers makes his return as the Longhorns travel to Fort Worth in this all-state showdown.
Duke @ No.24 North Carolina - this game normally makes the headlines in college basketball, but these Carolina rivals boast two good football teams and will be fun to watch.
Across The Pond College Football Podcast
Rebecca and I discuss the first edition of the College Football Playoff rankings, the shake-up of the AP top 25, a devastating USC loss, and an upset for Clemson. Please have a listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.