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Week 8 - Ohio State edges Penn State, Michigan wins Paul Bunyan Trophy, USC comes up short again.



No.3 Buckeyes power past No.6 Penn State, 20-12.

Marvin Harrison Jr. had a career-best performance against Penn State (AP/Jay LaPrete)

No.6 Penn State hadn't won in Columbus since 2011 and Ohio State were in no mood to let the Nittany Lions break that streak. Missing TreVeyon Henderson and Emeka Egbuka from the starting line up, the Buckeyes turned to the outstanding Marvin Harrison, Jr. The 6'3", 205lb receiver had a career-high 11 receptions for 162 yards and a touchdown. This was his fifth game with over a hundred receiving yards, out of seven played, a superb return. If he can continue this form, he could be a contender to win the Heisman Trophy.


Tight end Cade Stover added 70 yards from four receptions while Ohio State quarterback Kyle McCord completed 22 of 35 passes for 286 yards and a touchdown.


Opposite number Drew Allar completed just 43% of his passes and was sacked four times by a swarming Buckeyes defense. Penn State's rushing game also struggled. The Nittany Lions converted just one of sixteen third downs and ran for just 49 total yards.


Ohio State travels to Wisconsin in Week 9, while Penn State faces Rutgers.


"Our defense won the game. They kept playing and they kept grinding. They did an unbelievable job." Ohio State coach Ryan Day.


No.2 Michigan shuts out Spartans, 49-0.


Last season, an ugly tunnel brawl made the headlines in the previous edition of this storied in-state rivalry. No.2 Michigan exacted revenge for the beatings their players received in the tunnel from Spartans players by administering one on the field to Michigan State in front of their fans at East Lansing. It was especially fitting that one of the players attacked, Ja'Den McBurrows completed his first career interception late in the fourth quarter, putting the icing on a cathartic victory.


Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy passes the ball with the precision of a surgeon. He completed 21 of 27 passes for 287 yards and four touchdowns against the Spartans, continuing to improve his draft stock and shortening his Heisman odds. Michigan's signal caller is now the favourite to lift the trophy, according to bookmakers. Michigan had 477 total yards of offense and gained incredible value from their tight ends A.J. Barner and Colston Loveland, who combined for 178 receiving yards and three touchdowns.


Michigan State must already be looking forward to next season, as they slumped to 2-5. Spartans quarterback Katin Houser made his first start, passing for 105 yards and throwing an interception.


Michigan State travels to Minnesota in Week 9, while Michigan has a bye week.


"Some of the best tight end play, I think, anybody's ever seen in college football." Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh on A.J. Barner and Colston Loveland.


No.16 USC loses four in a row to No.14 Utah, 34-32.


The wheels seem to be falling off quarterback Caleb Williams and No.16 USC's seasons very quickly. A triple overtime win over unfancied Arizona followed by a humbling by Notre Dame in recent weeks had left considerable doubts over the Trojans' ability to challenge for a Playoff place. Not the best time, then, to be facing back to back Pac-12 champions No.14 Utah who seem to be turning into something of a nemesis for USC.



Williams was reported to be considering asking for part ownership of the team that drafts him into the NFL in April. Given his recent form, he would do better to concentrate on ensuring his performance remains consistently high week to week to ensure he is worthy of a high pick. On current performances, it is not inconceivable that he might not be the first quarterback picked, let alone the first player.


Bryson Barnes led Utah to a last-gasp win over USC (Image credit: Yahoo News)

Utah quarterback Bryson Barnes, who will now keep the starting job for the Utes after the unfortunate news Cam Rising is out for the season, stepped up in the spotlight. Barnes threw for 235 yards, a career high, passed for three touchdowns and ran for another. Late in the game, USC's sensational freshman Zachariah Branch returned a 61-yard punt to set Williams up for a game-leading 11-yard touchdown run. Trailing 32-31, Barnes drove Utah 56 yards down the field with the clock winding down to give the Utes the opportunity to kick a game-winning field goal. Up stepped Cole Becker to kick a 39-yard field goal and secure Utah's fourth consecutive win against the Trojans,


"As gut-wrenching a defeat as I can remember in my career." USC coach Lincoln Riley.

No.8 Alabama exacts revenge on Tennessee, 34-20.

Jalen Milroe led Alabama to an impressive second half comeback win over Tennessee (Image credit: AP/Vasha Hunt)

Look out Top Four. Alabama are building a head of steam after their early season loss to Texas. The Crimson Tide, with the memory of last season's dramatic 52-49 loss in Knoxville still smarting, gained sweet revenge in Tuscaloosa. Trailing 20-7 at the half, Alabama's defense stepped up and shut Tennessee out in the second half to secure an important 34-20 win.


Tide running back Jase McClellan ran for 115 yards and a touchdown as Alabama move to 7-1 having knocked off SEC rivals Arkansas, Texas A&M, Ole Miss and Mississippi State in addition to Tennessee in recent weeks. At No.8, they are neatly poised to take advantage of any teams above them who slip up.


In the Top 10...


While No.1 Georgia had a bye week, it was an eventful Week 9 for the remainder of the top ten teams ranked after Week 8.


No.4 Florida State strengthened their grip on the ACC, beating No.17 Duke 38-20. Seminoles quarterback Jordan Travis passed for 268 yards, ran for 62 and had three total touchdowns as the Blue Devils were reduced to just 76 yards rushing. No.5 Washington won their fourteenth game in a row, a winning streak second only to Georgia, as they struggled to a 15-7 win over Arizona in a rare off night for Michael Penix, Jr., who threw two interceptions.


Sooners' quarterback Dillon Gabriel led Oklahoma to a win over UCF (Image credit: Heartland College Sports)

No.7 Oklahoma had a scare against quarterback Dillon Gabriel's alma mater UCF, eking out a 31-29 victory to move to 7-0. Gabriel completed 25 of 38 passes for 253 yards and three touchdowns. Knights passer John Rhys Plumlee threw for 248 yards and three touchdowns in an entertaining game. The Sooners' Big 12 rivals No.8 Texas moved to 6-1 with a 31-24 win over Houston. Quinn Ewers was on point, completing 79% of his passes and two touchdowns before leaving the game with a shoulder sprain late in the third quarter. The Longhorns quarterback is listed as "week to week" but could miss two to three weeks. Houston reeled Texas in from a 21-0 deficit before a 16-yard touchdown run from C.J. Baxter won the game for the Longhorns.


No.10 North Carolina were in the headlines for the wrong reasons, succumbing to a shock 31-27 defeat to lowly Virginia, who had managed just one win all season. The Tar Heels managed to convert just four of thirteen third downs and led 24-14 in the third quarter but couldn't hold on. Drake Maye passed for 347 yards and receiver Tez Walker had another outstanding game, hauling in 11 catches for 146 yards and a touchdown but the Cavaliers were too strong, amassing 436 total yards on offense. Malik Washington scored the game winning touchdown in the fourth quarter, one of his 12 catches for 115 yards,


Elsewhere...


Bo Nix recorded an NCAA record 54th start as No.11 Oregon rebounded after their loss to Washington with a 38-24 win over Washington State. No.12 Ole Miss beat SEC rival Auburn 28-21 and No.19 LSU thrashed Army 62-0. No.20 Missouri seems to be under the radar in the SEC but improved to an impressive 7-1 with a 34-12 victory over faltering South Carolina.


AP Top 25

No.1 Georgia retains top spot after their bye week, but Michigan, at No.2, is closing the gap. Penn State drops three positions to No.10 after their defeat to Ohio State, meaning Texas, Oregon and Alabama all moved up. North Carolina fell seven spots to No.17 after their surprising loss to Virginia.


USC tumbled down, stopping at No.24, while Duke and Tennessee slipped to No.20 and No.21 respectively after losing to higher-ranked conference opponents in Florida State and Alabama. James Madison rose into the Top 25 after their win over Marshall.


College football games to watch in Week 9


No.1 Georgia vs. Florida - Jacksonville hosts this annual SEC classic known as "The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party". The Gators need a win to launch themselves back into the Top 25 and SEC contention.


No.8 Oregon @ No.13 Utah - a game with potentially huge ramifications for the Pac-12 title race as the Ducks attempt to claw back ground on Washington with a win over the Utes.


Colorado @ No.23 UCLA - out of the headines for a week or two, the Buffaloes travel to L.A. to take on a young UCLA team growing in confidence.


No.20 Duke @ No.18 Louisville - two dark horse teams in the ACC go head-to-head in Kentucky as they attempt to gain ground on Florida State and North Carolina.


No.21 Tennessee @ Kentucky - a win for the Volunteers could propel them up the rankings and back into the race for the SEC.



Across The Pond College Football Podcast


After a two week break, Rebecca and I went back to Week 6 to discuss the Red River Rivalry and key games since. We also talked about USC's struggles, Ohio State's victory over Penn State, and an improving Alabama. Please have a listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.



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