College Football Recap, September 18



College Football Recap, September 5

Here’s a brief look at the latest rankings, recaps and previews of top games and bowl projections, as well as the eight Manning Award Stars of the Week. This year’s Allstate Sugar Bowl will double as a College Football Playoff Semifinal and will be played on January 1, 2018.


No. 3 Clemson 47, No. 14 Louisville 21: The defending national champion Tigers continued to flex their muscles as they sacked Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson (381 total yards) four times and returned an interception for a touchdown to build a 26-7 third-quarter lead. Clemson finished with 613 yards (quarterback Kelly Bryant passed for 316 yards and a TD while also running for two scores) and held Louisville to 433 yards.

Mississippi State 37, No. 12 LSU 7: Nick Fitzgerald tallied four touchdowns (two passing and two rushing) and Aeris Williams ran for 146 yards as the Bulldogs defeated LSU for just the second time in 18 meetings. The Tigers, who record just 270 total yards, had two touchdowns negated by penalties and committed nine penalties for 112 yards.


No. 24 Florida 26, No. 23 Tennessee 20: The Gator offense continued to struggle, but still held a 20-10 advantage with 5:13 to go, but the Volunteers manufactured yet another rally, knotting the game on a 27-yard field goal with 50 seconds to go. However, on the final play of the game Feleipe Franks broke free and launched a 63-yard prayer to the end zone where Tyrie Cleveland hauled it in for the thrilling victory.


No. 4 USC 27, Texas 24: The Trojans remain very much in the mix for a College Football Playoff bid, but they needed a field goal from freshman walk-on Chase McGrath (his first collegiate field goal) to force overtime and then another to win the game in the second overtime as Texas nearly managed a shocking upset in Los Angeles.

San Diego State 20, No. 19 Stanford 17: Rashaad Penny, the nation’s rushing leader, tallied 175 yards on 32 carries and Christian Chapman connected with tight end David Wells with 54 seconds to go as the Aztecs overcame an impressive performance by Cardinal running back Bryce Love (184 yards on 13 carries, including TD runs of 53 and 51 yards) for their first win over a nationally-ranked non-conference opponent since 1981.

Memphis 48, No. 25 UCLA 45: Riley Ferguson registered 398 passing yards and six touchdowns, Anthony Miller caught nine passes for 185 yards and Jacobi Francis broke up a pass in the final minute to preserve the lead as the Tigers held on for a victory over a ranked foe for the third straight year (despite giving up 633 yards of offense).


No. 1 Alabama 41, Colorado State 23: Jalen Hurts accounted for 351 yards of offense, including two long touchdown passes and the Crimson Tide defense held the Rams to just 11 first-quarter yards while picking off two passes, including one that was returned for a score by Hootie Jones.

No. 2 Oklahoma 56, Tulane 14: The Sooners rolled to 631 yards of offense, including 331 passing yards from Baker Mayfield (with four TDs) while the defense held Tulane (291 total yards) scoreless after its first two possessions.

No. 5 Penn State 56, Georgia State 0: Trace McSorley threw for 258 first-half yards, including a stadium-record 85-yard connection with Saquon Barkley, while the Nittany Lion defense forced five turnovers while posting its second shutout of the season.

No. 6 Washington 48, Fresno State 16: Dante Pettis collected three touchdown receptions and also returned his eighth career punt for a touchdown to match the NCAA record, Jake Browning completed 19-of-22 passes with four TDs and Miles Gastin ran for a pair of scores for the Huskies.

No. 13 Georgia 42, Samford 14: Nick Chubbs ran for 131 yards and two touchdowns, freshman Jake Fromm tossed three TD passes and the Bulldog defense held Samford without a first down through the opening quarter.

No. 16 Virginia Tech 64, East Carolina 17: After trailing 17-7 after the first quarter, the Hokies erupted for 64 unanswered points as redshirt freshman Josh Jackson threw for 372 yards and five touchdowns and Cam Phillips had a school-record 14 catches for 189 yards and three scores.


Vanderbilt 14, No. 19 Kansas State 7: The Commodores had allowed six points in two games entering Saturday while the Wildcats had scored 110 points in their two games. It was the Vandy defense which prevailed as it allowed just 277 yards while forcing two turnovers while Kyle Shurmur passed for one score and ran for another to lift Vanderbilt to its first victory over a ranked, non-conference opponent since 1946.

No. 7 Michigan 29, Air Force 13: The Wolverines allowed just 232 yards of offense, including just one pass completion and Donovan Peoples-Jones scored on a 79-yard punt return to help overcome a struggling offense which had to settle for five field goals by Quinn Nordin.


No. 9 Oklahoma State 59, Pittsburgh 21: Mason Rudolph completed 23-of-32 passes for 497 yards and five touchdowns before pulled in the middle of the third quarter. He set up four different receivers for 100-yard games, including a seven-catch, 162-yard performance from Covington product Jalen McCleskey.

No. 10 Wisconsin 40, BYU 6: Alex Hornibrook completed 18-of-19 pass attempts to set a school record for completion percentage (.947) while also registering his personal bests in yards (256), touchdowns (4) and completions as BYU managed just 179 yards of offense.

No. 20 TCU 56, SMU 36: Kenny Hill completed 24 of 30 passes for 365 yards and four touchdowns as the Horned Frogs overcame an early deficit to cruise to victory against their local rival.

No. 21 Washington State 52, Oregon State 23: Luke Falk, the FBS active leader with 98 touchdown passes, threw for 396 yards and his six touchdown passes tied the school record that he already shared as he directed the Cougars to their fourth straight win over the Beavers.

No. 22 USF 47, Illinois 23: Quinton Flowers threw for 280 yards and four touchdowns and was one of three 100-yard rushers for the Bulls who defeated a Big Ten program for the first time in program history.


No. 8 Ohio State 38, Army 7: True freshman J.K. Dobbins ran for 172 yards and two touchdowns, J.T. Barrett threw for 270 yards and two scores and the Buckeye defense allowed just 278 yards of offense as Ohio State recovers from its previous-week loss to Oklahoma.

No. 15 Auburn 24, Mercer 10: After being held to just six points by Clemson last weekend, the Tigers used 128 rushing yards and three touchdowns from Kamryn Pettway and a 32-of-37, 364-yard passing performance from Jarrett Stidham to overcome five turnovers against FCS Bears.

Bowl Projections:

The All-American (Stewart Mandel): Alabama vs. Oklahoma State (no change)

ESPN (Kyle Bonagura): Clemson vs. Oklahoma (Clemson replaces USC)

ESPN (David Hale): Alabama vs. Oklahoma (no change)

Sporting News (Bill Bender): Penn State vs. Alabama (Penn State replaces USC)

CBS Sports (Jerry Palm): Alabama vs. Oklahoma (no change)

College Football News (Pete Fiutak): Alabama vs. Michigan (no change)

SB Nation (Jason Kirk): Alabama vs. Wisconsin (Wisconsin replaces Clemson)

Orlando Sentinel (Brant Parsons): Alabama vs. USC

Sports Illustrated (Eric Single): Alabama vs. Oklahoma (no change)

USA Today (Erick Smith): Alabama vs. USC (USC replaces Oklahoma)

Random Stats of the Week

156 – Wins for Boise State in the last 15 years, more than any other school in the FBS ranks.

8 – Consecutive games without a rushing touchdown for Florida, the longest current streak in the FBS.

312.6 – Total yards averaged by Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald since losing to LSU last season. He tallied 266 yards and four total touchdowns in Saturday’s win over the Tigers.

4.3 – Points per game allowed by the Vanderbilt defense through three games. The Commodores host Alabama this weekend – the Tide comes in averaging 35.3 points per game.

8 – Career punt return touchdowns, an NCAA record, for Washington’s Dante Pettis as he had another (to go with three receiving scores) in a win over Fresno State.

107 – Career touchdowns responsible for (passing and rushing) for Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett to break the Big Ten record previously held by former Purdue star Drew Brees.

63 – Yards on the last-second touchdown pass from Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks to receiver Tyrie Cleveland to clinch a trilling 26-20 win over Tennessee on Saturday. It is the same number of yards as Will Grier’s pass to Antonio Callaway with 1:26 remaining to lift the Gators to a 28-27 win over the Volunteers on September 27, 2015.

160.1 – Yards per game for San Diego State’s top rusher over the last 17 games. Last year, Donnel Pumphrey tallied 11 100-yard games and four 200-yard games as he became the NCAA’s all-time leading rusher. Despite his graduation, the Aztecs haven’t missed a beat as Rashaad Penny is averaging a NCAA-best 196.0 yards per game – he has been the Mountain West Offensive Player of the Week in all three weeks this season as SDSU owns wins over Arizona State, Stanford and UC Davis.

9-1 – Clemson’s record over the last three years against teams ranked in the top-15. The Tigers are 12-1 in their last 13 games against teams ranked in the Top-25.

21 – Combined passing touchdowns for Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph (11) and Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield (10). The next best duo from the same state is Nic Shimonek (9) from Texas Tech and Kenny Hill (8) from TCU who have combined for 17 for the state of Texas. The Big 12 does not have the best conference duo as far as TD passes, however. That distinction belongs to the Pac-12 with Josh Rosen (nation’s best 13) and Washington State’s Luke Falk (9).

Manning Award Stars of the Week

While 30 quarterbacks are on the Manning Award Watch List, every quarterback in the country remains eligible for the honor. Below are our selections for the top eight quarterback performances of the past week. Click here to be redirected to Facebook for voting.

Luke Falk, Washington State (37-of-49, 396 yards, 6 TDs, 0 INT, QBR: 78.1)
Falk matches the school-record for touchdown passes as he leads the Cougars to a 52-23 blowout of Pac-12 rival Oregon State.

Riley Ferguson, Memphis (23-of-38, 398 yards, 6 TDs, 1 INT, QBR: 87.8)
Ferguson matches his career-high for touchdown passes and leads the Tigers to a 48-45 win over No. 25 UCLA, the third straight season Memphis has upset a ranked opponent.

Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi State (15-of-23, 180 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INT, QBR: 89.6)
Fitzgerald also rushes for 88 yards and two touchdowns as he helps the Bulldogs to a 37-7 win over SEC rival LSU, their biggest margin of victory in the 111 years of the series.

Kenny Hill, TCU (24-of-30, 365 yards, 4 TDs, 0 INT, QBR: 96.8)
Trailing 19-7 in the second quarter, Hill connects on three TD passes in the final seven-and-a-half minutes of the half as he leads the Horned Frogs to a 56-36 win over rival SMU.

Josh Jackson, Virginia Tech (24-of-31, 372 yards, 5 TDs, 0 INT, QBR: 90.4)
After trailing 17-7, Jackson, who tallies career-highs in yards (setting a school record for passing yards by a freshman) and touchdowns, leads a Hokie eruption of 64 unanswered points in a 64-17 win over East Carolina.

Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State (23-of-32, 497 yards, 5 TDs, 1 INT, QBR: 96.6)
Rudolph, who only plays two-and-a-half quarters, sets up four different receivers with 100-yard games as he leads the Cowboys to a school record 516 total yards in the first half of a 59-21 road blowout of Pittsburgh.

Nic Shimonek, Texas Tech (37-of-50, 543 yards, 6 TDs, 0 INT, QBR: 93.1)
Making his second career start, Shimonek sets career-highs in nearly all categories and sets up the Red Raiders for the game-winning score with 1:55 to go in a 52-45 win over Arizona State.

Logan Woodside, Toledo (22-of-33, 458 yards, 6 TDs, 1 INT, QBR: 85.2)
Woodside matches the school record for touchdown passes, including connecting for fourth-quarter scores of 49 yards and 74 yards, as the Rockets come from behind for a 54-51 win over Tulsa.

Top Upcoming Games

N.C. State at No. 12 Florida State (11 a.m., ABC/ESPN2): After losing quarterback Deondre Francois to a knee injury in their opener against Alabama, the Seminoles will have had 21 days (the ULM games was cancelled and the Miami game was postponed, though five days of practice were also lost due to hurricanes) to get true freshman James Blackman ready to take over as the starter. N.C. State’s offense, behind experienced quarterback Ryan Finley has been strong, averaging 38.0 points per game, though they haven’t faced a defense with the talent of Florida State.

No. 5 USC at California (2:30 p.m., ABC): The Trojans have had two games that were closer than expected (Western Michigan and Texas) but remain in prime position to challenge for a CFP bid. Cal hasn’t received much attention but the Bears are 3-0 with a solid road win over North Carolina and a home defeat of Ole Miss on their résumé.

No. 1 Alabama at Vanderbilt (2:30 p.m., CBS): Alabama has rolled through its non-conference slate, outscoring opponents by 22.0 points per game, however, Vanderbilt is undefeated as well and has allowed just 13 points in those three wins.

No. 16 TCU at No. 6 Oklahoma State (2:30 p.m., ESPN): Oklahoma State was expected to be highly-ranked at this point, but the Horned Frogs have been climbing fast. TCU is ranked in the top 25 in both points for (seventh) and points against (21st); it will need its defense to be at its best against Mason Rudolph and the potent Cowboys (tied for fourth in the nation with 54.0 points per game).

No. 8 Michigan at Purdue (3 p.m., TV TBA): The Michigan defense has been quite stout this year but the Wolverine offense is still looking for its groove. The Boilermakers, meanwhile, have had an excellent start with convincing wins over Ohio and Missouri following a close loss to Louisville in their opener.

No. 17 Mississippi State at No. 11 Georgia (6 p.m., ESPN): Mississippi State jumped into the rankings with an impressive romp over LSU and now dual-threat quarterback Nick Fitzgerald (a Georgia native) will look to offset the impressive running attack of Georgia – a team which is only allowing 14.3 points per game so far this season.

No. 4 Penn State at Iowa (6:30 p.m., ABC): The Nittany Lions have a legitimate Heisman candidate in running back Saquon Barkley, a star quarterback in Trace McSorley and a defense which has allowed a total of 14 points in three games. However, Iowa has been solid in a 3-0 start behind new quarterback Nathan Stanley (655 yards, 10 TDs, 1 INT). Interestingly, under Kirk Ferentz, unranked Iowa squads have defeated ranked Penn State teams three times (2002, 2008 and 2009).