Despite fifteen games cancelled due to COVID-19, there were some great performances on display and games that could still have a big impact on the College Football Playoff.
Could Notre Dame keep momentum going after their win over Clemson, who are the contenders in the PAC-12 and what’s going on in the Big Ten? Here are the highlights of the week…
What’s going on in the Big Ten?
No.13 Wisconsin 49-11 Michigan
Wisconsin eased to a comfortable win over their Big Ten rivals, dominating the run on both sides of the ball. The Badgers rushed for 342 yards and five touchdowns on the ground, whilst restricting Michigan to just 42. The Wolverines season is going from bad to worse, slipping to a 1-3 record and Jim Harbaugh’s long-term future in Ann Arbor might start to be in question.
No.10 Indiana 24-0 Michigan State
Since their win over state rival Michigan, the Spartans have spluttered and were shut out by Indiana, with QB Ricky Lombardi being benched. Hoosiers receiver Ty Fryfogle had a huge game, catching 11 passes for 200 yards and two touchdowns. Indiana heads to Columbus next week for a potential title game preview vs. Ohio State.
No.23 Northwestern 27-20 Purdue
Indiana QB transfer Peyton Ramsey led Northwestern to a 4-0 record against the Boilermakers. They have a big game next week against in-form Wisconsin.
Penn State 23-30 Nebraska
The Big Ten is throwing up some surprises this season. In addition to Michigan slipping to
1-3, Penn State are 0-4. In this battle of winless teams, freshman QB Luke McCaffrey led Nebraska to their first in his first start. Penn State are having an awful season. QB Sean Clifford was benched and the loss of star running back Journey Brown for the season has had a big impact.
Illinois 23-20 Rutgers
Rutgers’ promising season stuttered with a loss against the Fighting Illini. QB Isaiah Williams ran for 192 yards in his first start and passed for an additional 109.
Chasing a place in the Playoff…
No.2 Notre Dame 45-31 Boston College
The Fighting Irish put on a professional display to keep momentum going after their big win over Clemson last week. Notre Dame have scored 45 points in back to back weeks and their balanced offense is finding its groove. Ian Book threw for three touchdowns and 283 yards. He is now 28-3 as a starter. Head Coach Brian Kelly racked up his 100th win at Notre Dame, who head into their bye week looking in good position for the Playoff.
Arkansas 35-63 No.6 Florida
Arkansas QB Feleipe Franks’ return to Florida was spoiled by a few boos from his old fans and a sensational performance from opposite number Kyle Trask. The Gators’ quarterback threw for 356 yards and six touchdowns, taking his tally for the season to 28. Florida’s wide receiver Trevon Grimes had a big game, catching two of Trask’s touchdown passes for 109 yards.
No.7 Cincinnati 55-17 East Carolina
Cincinnati continue to be a dark horse for the Playoff. They are the highest ranked FCS team in the AP Top 25 with an unbeaten 17 game winning streak at home. Dual threat QB Desmond Ridder had another big game, passing for 327 yards and three touchdowns, rushing for another. They head into a showdown with UCF and their high-octane offense led by QB Dillon Gabriel.
In the PAC-12
No.11 Oregon 43-29 Washington State
Oregon and USC look like the pick of the PAC-12 so far this season. The challenge ahead for them is that they effectively have four games to convince the selection committee of their place in the College Football Playoff. Oregon have a new offensive co-ordinator in Joe Moorhead who moved from a head coaching position at Mississippi State to run the Ducks’ attack. In Tyler Shough, he seems to have a confident young quarterback to spearhead his attack. Shough threw for four touchdowns and 312 yards with another 81 rushing.
Cougars QB Jayden de Laura is a big prospect and follows Marcus Mariota and Tua Tagovailoa out of St. Louis High School in Honolulu. The freshman threw for 321 yards and two touchdowns, but it wasn’t enough to beat Oregon.
No.20 USC 34-30 Arizona
USC had a pass tipped in their favour when they were up against it last week. A tipped pass on 4th and 13 got them out of trouble against Arizona State. Here, it helped them get over the line against Arizona. With Kedon Slovis looking inaccurate at times, the Bruins won for the second week in a row when trailing with under two minutes left in the game.
In the ACC…
With Clemson not playing and Notre Dame the clear front runners, there was an opportunity for contenders to step up.
No.9 Miami 25-24 Virginia Tech
Hokies QB Hendon Hooker opened with a 53-yard touchdown run to take Virginia Tech to a 14-3 lead. D’Eriq King brings a different dimension to the Miami offense and led the Hurricanes to a narrow victory. King has had no interceptions in three games where he has thrown seven touchdown passes.
Wake Forest 53-59 UNC
The battle for supremacy in North Carolina was a thriller. UNC quarterback Sam Howell threw for a massive 550 yards and six touchdowns, both Tar Heels records. North Carolina heads to South Bend for a tough game vs. Notre Dame.
Ole Miss QB Matt Corral threw for 513 yards and four touchdowns as Mississippi beat South Carolina 59-42, Lane Kiffin launching his clipboard into the crowd in celebration. WR Elijah Moore has two touchdown catches and 225 yards receiving.
In a poignant 50th anniversary of the terrible crash that killed their 1970 football team, No.16 Marshall’s team wore black jerseys as they thrashed Middle Tennessee State 42-14. QB Grant Wells threw five touchdown passes as the Thundering Herd move to 7-0.
Look out for:
Some games! A number have been postponed or cancelled, but there are still some mouth watering matchups to look forward to.
Two effective Big Ten semi finals take place as arguably the best four teams in the conference this year square off this weekend. No.9 Indiana travels to No.3 Ohio State, who will be looking for a convincing win to close the gap on Alabama and Notre Dame. No.19 Northwestern are 4-0 and travel to No.10 Wisconsin who fresh from their 49-11 thrashing of Michigan.
In a battle for Group 5 supremacy, No.7 Cincinnati play UCF and the Bedlam Rivalry sees No.18 Oklahoma host No.14 Oklahoma State in Norman for the battle of QB Spencers (Sanders vs. Rattler) and a leg up in the wide-open Big 12 title race.
Here’s this week’s AP Top 25:
Rank Team Record
1 (1) Alabama 6-0
2 (2) Notre Dame 8-0
3 (3) Ohio State 3-0
4 (4) Clemson 7-1
5 (5) Texas A&M 5-1
6 (6) Florida 5-1
7 (7) Cincinnati 7-0
8 (8) BYU 8-0
9 (10) Indiana 4-0
10 (13) Wisconsin 2-0
11 (11) Oregon 2-0
12 (9) Miami 7-1
13 (12) Georgia 4-2
14 (14) Oklahoma State 5-1
15 (15) Coastal Carolina 7-0
15 (16) Marshall 7-0
17 (17) Iowa State 5-2
18 (18) Oklahoma 5-2
19 (23) Northwestern 4-0
20 (20) USC 2-0
21 (22) Liberty 8-0
22 (21) Texas 5-2
23 (24) Auburn 4-2
24 (25) Louisiana 7-1
25 (-) Tulsa 4-1