What was billed as the defining weekend in college football fell short. There were some close calls but no upsets. There was a new entry into the Top Ten (welcome, Washington State Cougars). The top four teams all control their own destinies but there is still a lot of season left. Here’s the updated Top Ten:
1) Alabama Crimson Tide (9-0) defeated #3 LSU Tigers 29-0
The Crimson Tide soundly beat the Tigers in Death Valley. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is human after all, throwing his first interception of the season. Otherwise, he went 25-42 for 295 yards with two touchdowns and had a 44 yard touchdown run. Running back Damien Harris had over 100 yards rushing and a touchdown. The defense was tired of hearing how good LSU’s defense was a pitched a shutout. It was an outstanding performance.
Next game- Mississippi State Bulldogs
2) Clemson Tigers (9-0) defeated Louisville Cardinals 77-16
The Tigers routed the Cardinals in a laugher. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence played sparingly, going 8-12 for 59 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Back up Chase Brice was impressive, going 6-7 for 110 yards with three touchdowns. A trio of running backs, Travis Etienne, Lyn-J Dixon and Taviem Feaster, each had over 100 yards rushing and collectively scored four touchdowns. The defense had little trouble smothering Louisville’s stagnant offense.
Next game- at #18 Boston College Eagles
3) Notre Dame Fighting Irish (9-0) defeated Northwestern Wildcats 31-21
The Fighting Irish scored late to secure the win over the Wildcats. Quarterback Ian Book had a very good game, going 22-34 for 343 yards with two touchdowns. Wide receiver Chase Claypool had 130 yards receiving. The defense held up long enough to get the victory against a pesky Northwestern offense.
Next game- FSU Seminoles
4) Michigan Wolverines (8-1) defeated Penn State Nittany Lions 42-7
The Wolverines put on a clinic, pounding the Nittany Lions into submission. Quarterback Shea Patterson was efficient, going 11-17 for 145 yards with two touchdowns. Running back Kavan Higdon had 132 yards rushing and a touchdown. The defense was ferocious in dominating Penn State’s offense. Michigan proved they belong in the top four.
Next game- Rutgers Scarlet Knights
5) Georgia Bulldogs (8-1) defeated #11 Kentucky Wildcats 34-17
The Bulldogs literally ran away from the Wildcatsto get the win and secure a trip to the SEC title game. Quarterback Jake Fromm did a good job, going 14-20 for 113 yards with a touchdown. Running backs D’Andre Swift (two touchdowns) and Elijah Holyfield (one touchdown) each had over 100 yards rushing. The defense was aggressive containing Kentucky’s read option offense.
Next game- Auburn Tigers
6) Oklahoma Sooners (8-1) defeated Texas Tech Red Raiders 51-46
The Sooners won a shootout against the Red Raiders in Lubbock, Texas. Quarterback Kyler Murray was shaky early (two first quarter interceptions) but rebounded, going 20-35 for 360 yards with three touchdowns and added another 100 yards rushing and a touchdown. Running back Trey Sermon had a monster game with 206 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Wide receiver Lee Morris had over 100 receiving yards and two touchdowns. The defense held on for dear life late to help beat Texas Tech’s ‘Air Raid’ offense.
Next game- Oklahoma State Cowboys
7) UCF Knights (8-0) defeated Temple Owls 52-40
The Knights used a big second half to beat the Owls. Quarterback McKenzie Milton did enough good things, going 17-33 for 312 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. Running back Greg McCrae had 188 rushing yards and one touchdown. After getting gashed in the first half, the defense shut down Temple’s offense in the second half. What a difference a half makes.
Next game- Navy Midshipmen
8) West Virginia Mountaineers (7-1) defeated #18 Texas Longhorns 42-41
The Mountaineers used a late game winning drive and an unexpected two point conversion to stun the Longhorns. Quarterback Will Grier was outstanding, going 28-42 for 346 yards with three touchdowns. Running back Martell Pettaway has 121 rushing yards and two touchdowns. The defense stopped a last second desperation drive by Texas’ offense to preserve the win.
Next game- TCU Horned Frogs
9) Ohio State Buckeyes (8-1) defeated Nebraska Cornhuskers 36-31
The Buckeyes had a difficult time beating an underperforming Cornhusker team at home. Quarterback Dwayne Haskins did not have his best game, going 18-32 for 252 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Running back JK Dobbins was a workhorse with 163 rushing yards and three touchdowns. The defense had issues containing Nebraska’s offense. Luckily, the offense was able to run out the clock.
Next game- at Michigan State Spartans
10) Washington State Cougars (8-1) defeated California Golden Bears 19-13
The Cougars, a Top Ten newcomer, slipped by the Golden Bears on a late touchdown pass. Quarterback Gardner Minshew did not have his usual numbers but was good, going 35-51 for 334 yards with a touchdown and an interception. They actually play defense in Pullman, WA these days. A strong performance by this unit has fans dreaming of a playoff berth.
Next game- at Colorado Buffaloes