College Football Recap, September 25
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.
FATEFUL FINAL PLAYS
No. 4 Penn State 21, Iowa 19: After a monster game from Saquon Barkley (211 rushing yards, 94 receiving yards), quarterback Trace McSorley hooked up with Juwan Johnson for a seven-yard score on the final play of the game as the Nittany Lions shocked the Hawkeyes by erasing a four-point deficit with a 65-yard drive in the final 1:42 of the game.
No. 20 Florida 28, Kentucky 27: Trailing 27-14 midway through the fourth quarter, the Gators mounted a furious comeback: Brandon Powell scored on a six-yard run and then Luke Del Rio found Freddie Swain for a five-yard scoring pass with 43 seconds to go to take the lead. The 31st straight win for Florida over Kentucky is clinched when Austin MacGinnis’ 57-yard field-goal attempt fell short.
No. 16 TCU 44, No. 6 Oklahoma State 31: A career-high 160 rushing yards and three touchdowns from running back Darius Anderson, 228 passing yards from Kenny Hill and four forced turnovers by the Horned Frog defense helped TCU hold off the Cowboys on the road.
N.C. State 27, No. 12 Florida State 21: Ryan Finley threw for 230 yards and two touchdowns as the Wolfpack jumped to a 17-7 advantage and then held on to send the Seminoles, who were starting a true freshman quarterback for the first time since 1985, to their first 0-2 start in 28 years.
Arizona State 37, No. 24 Oregon 35: After building a 17-point lead early in the second half, the Sun Devils fell behind 35-34 after three Justin Herbert touchdowns (two passing, one rushing), but a 41-yard field goal from Brandon Ruiz snapped a 10-game losing streak to the Ducks.
No. 2 Clemson 34, Boston College 7: The defending national champion Tigers found themselves in a 7-7 tie entering the fourth quarter, but in the final stanza, they outgain the Eagles, 213-37, scoring four rushing touchdowns including a pair from Travis Etienne.
No. 5 USC 30, California 20: The Trojans found themselves in a tough battle with previously undefeated Cal, but a 17-7 fourth-quarter rally breaks open a game that was knotted at 13 entering the final period.
No. 8 Michigan 28, Purdue 10: The Boilermakers held a 10-7 lead late in the third quarter, but Chris Evans puts the Wolverines on top with a 10-yard run, then, in the fourth quarter, Michigan adds two more scores to remain undefeated.
No. 14 Miami 52, Toledo 30: A pair of third-quarter touchdowns put the Hurricanes on top 24-16 and then both teams went on a fourth-quarter surge, combining for 42 points – including two passing touchdowns and a rushing score from Miami quarterback Malik Rosier.
No. 1 Alabama 59, Vanderbilt 0: Damian Harris ran for 151 yards and three scores, Bo Scarbrough added two rushing scores and the Crimson Tide outgained the Commodores (who had allowed just 13 points in their first three games), 677-78, including a school-record 38 first downs, for their 19th straight win over an SEC East team.
No. 7 Washington 37, Colorado 10: Myles Gaskin rushed for 202 yards and a pair of scores and the Huskies snared three interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown, as they outscored the Buffaloes 27-3 in the second half of the rematch of last year’s Pac-12 Championship game (also won handily by Washington).
No. 11 Georgia 31, No. 17 Mississippi State 3: Georgia held its SEC rival to just 280 total yards (103 passing yards) while a 59-yard Jake Fromm touchdown pass on its first drive provided all the needed offense – though Nick Chubb would add two rushing scores and Fromm would toss another long scoring pass.
No. 15 Auburn 51, Missouri 14: Kerryon Johnson rushed for a career-best five touchdowns while Jarrett Stidham passed for 218 yards and another score and the Auburn defense forced four turnovers as the Tigers settled into a groove after some early-season hiccups.
No. 21 USF 43, Temple 7: The Bulls held the Owls to just 85 total yards while forcing six turnovers and their offense tallied 30 points for a nation-leading 21st consecutive game as they avenged one of just two losses from 2016.
CLOSE IN CONFERENCE
No. 3 Oklahoma 49, Baylor 41: The Sooners found themselves in a surprising battle with the winless Bears but after falling behind 31-28 late in the third quarter, Baker Mayfield (282 yards, 3 TDs) connected on a 48-yard TD pass and freshman Trey Sermon (148 rushing yards – all in the fourth quarter) ran for a pair of scores to build an 18-point lead.
No. 22 San Diego State 28, Air Force 24: Rashaad Penny, the nation’s leading rusher was “held” to 128 yards but still scored three touchdowns including a 53-yard scoring dash with 5:39 to go to keep the Aztecs perfect as they continue their hunt for a third straight Mountain West title.
No. 23 Utah 30, Arizona 24: Despite losing quarterback Tyler Huntley to injury, the Utes held the lead throughout though they still needed a late-game fumble recovery to preserve the victory and their perfect record.
No. 10 Ohio State 54, UNLV 21: J.T. Barrett passed for 228 yards and five touchdowns in less than one half of action as the Buckeyes built a 44-7 advantage against the out-matched Rebels.
No. 13 Virginia Tech 38, Old Dominion 0: The Hokies posted their second shutout in four games this year and Josh Jackson passed for 298 yards and three scores as they pick up a convincing win headed into their showdown with No. 2 Clemson on Saturday.
No. 18 Washington State 45, Nevada 7: Another five-touchdown day from quarterback Luke Falk (the ninth of his career) keyed the Cougars improvement to 4-0, their best start since the 2001 WSU team that opened 7-0.
No. 19 Louisville 42, Kent State 3: Lamar Jackson passed for 299 yards and two touchdowns as he became Louisville’s all-time leader in touchdowns (passing and rushing) with 88 and the Cardinal bounced back from last week’s loss to Clemson.
No. 25 LSU 35, Syracuse 26: Danny Etling connected on scoring passes of 87 yards and 43 yards, John Ehret grad Darrel Williams ran for 92 yards and a score and D.J. Chard iced the victory with a 20-yard scoring dash with 1:52 to go.
Allstate Sugar Bowl Projections:
The All-American (Stewart Mandel): Alabama vs. Penn State (Penn State replaces Oklahoma State)
ESPN (Kyle Bonagura): Alabama vs. Oklahoma (replaces Clemson vs. Oklahoma)
ESPN (David Hale): Alabama vs. USC (USC replaces Oklahoma)
CBS Sports (Jerry Palm): Alabama vs. Oklahoma (no change)
SB Nation (Jason Kirk): Alabama vs. Wisconsin (no change)
College Football News (Pete Fiutak): Alabama vs. Michigan (no change)
Sporting News (Bill Bender): Penn State vs. Alabama (no change)
Sports Illustrated (Eric Single): Alabama vs. Oklahoma (no change)
USA Today (Erick Smith): Alabama vs. Washington (Washington replaces USC)
The Score (Brett McMurphy): Clemson vs. Washington (no change)
Random Stats of the Week
291 – Rushing yards by Kansas running back Khalil Herbert, the third-most in Jayhawk history. It was the most rushing yards for a Jayhawk since Tony Sand ran for 396 against Missouri in 1991.
31 – Consecutive wins by Florida in the series with Kentucky, the longest streak in the nation (FBS). The last Gator loss to the Wildcats came in 1986.
358 – School record all-purpose yards (211 rushing, 94 receiving, 53 kick return) by Penn State star running back Saquon Barkley in the Nittany Lions thrilling road win over Iowa.
0-12 – Purdue’s third-down efficiency against Michigan in Saturday’s loss. The Wolverines have allowed just 11 third-down conversions (on 57 attempts) this season.
135-131 – The scoring margin for the last four years of the Tennessee-Georgia series (with the Volunteers on top after winning the past two match-ups. The two play on Saturday.
7 – Different Ohio State receivers to catch touchdown passes, a school record, in Saturday’s win over UNLV.
6 – Straight games with a 50-yard run for Stanford running back Bryce Love – no other player in the last 20 years has matched that (courtesy of Stewart Mandel’s The All-American).
4 – Interceptions returned for touchdowns by Duke defensive back Bryon Fields, matching the ACC record and setting the school record. His fourth (a 61-yard return) came with the Blue Devils clinging to a three-point lead against rival North Carolina on Saturday.
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.
Kurt Benkert, Virginia (19-of-29, 273 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INT, QBR: 91.3)
Benkert helps lift the Cavaliers to their third win of the season, surpassing last year’s total, as they go on the road for a 42-23 victory, the worst home loss for Boise State since 2001.
Caleb Evans, UL Monroe (28-of-34, 343 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, QBR: 92.5)
Evans, who sets career-highs in completions and passing yards, also runs for 129 yards while tying the school-record with five touchdowns as he leads the Warhawks to a 56-50 double overtime win on the road in Sun Belt action against Louisiana.
Luke Falk, Washington State (36-of-47, 478 yards, 5 TDs, 0 INT, QBR: 75.6)
Falk tallies his ninth career five-touchdown game as he leads the Cougars to a 45-7 win over winless Nevada to give them their best start (4-0) since 2001.
Ryan Finley, N.C. State (22-of-32, 230 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INT, QBR: 92.5)
Finley, who connected on a 71-yard touchdown pass late in the first half, leads the Wolfpack to a 27-21 win over No. 12 Florida State, its first win over a ranked team since 2008.
Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma (13-of-19, 283 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INT, QBR: 86.5)
Mayfield helps Sooners top Baylor, 49-41, in a Big 12 road game as Oklahoma matches a school record with its 17th straight Big 12 victory.
Kellen Mond, Texas A&M (14-of-27, 216 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, QBR: 84.3)
Mond, who also adds 109 rushing yards, sets up a game-tying field goal with four seconds to go in regulation and then connects on a 10-yard touchdown pass in overtime as the Aggies upend Arkansas, 50-43 on the road.
Nathan Rourke, Ohio (19-of-32, 197 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INT, QBR: 64.6)
Rourke connects on both of his touchdown passes in the overtime periods as the Bobcats pick up a key MAC road win over Eastern Michigan, 27-20, in double overtime.
Zach Smith, Baylor (33-of-50, 463 yards, 4 TDs, 0 INT, QBR: 83.3)
Smith notches career-highs in nearly all categories while connecting on a pair of 70-plus yard touchdown passes as he helps the underdog Bears give a major scare to No. 3 Oklahoma in a 49-41 loss.
Top Upcoming Games
(Rankings are this week’s AP Rankings; All Times Central, please check local listings)
No. 5 USC at No. 16 Washington State (Friday, 9:30 p.m., ESPN): Playing a challenging schedule, USC and quarterback Sam Darnold (1,225 yards, 9 TDs, 7 INTs) have struggled at times to open 2017, while the Cougars and quarterback Luke Falk (1,378 yards, 14 TDs, 1 INT) have dominated their less impressive competition.
No. 7 Georgia at Tennessee (2:30 p.m., CBS): Georgia’s impressive victory over Mississippi State strengthened the Bulldogs’ hold on the favorite-position in the SEC East, but the 3-1 Volunteers have won two straight in the series and will have homefield advantage.
Indiana at No. 4 Penn State (2:30 p.m., Big Ten Network): The Nittany Lions had their hands full against a tenacious Iowa squad on Saturday; now they need to put their thrilling last-second win behind them as an improving Indiana squad comes in after a 52-17 win over Georgia Southern behind a 186-yard rushing performance by freshman Morgan Ellison.
No. 24 Mississippi State at No. 13 Auburn (5 p.m., ESPN): Auburn’s performance in a blowout of Missouri could be an indicator that the Tiger offense is getting on track, but despite Mississippi State’s loss to Georgia, the Bulldogs’ win over LSU is the most impressive win between these two SEC opponents.
No. 2 Clemson at No. 12 Virginia Tech (7 p.m., ABC): A challenging road game in Blacksburg continues what can arguably be called the toughest schedule so far this year (Clemson already has wins over No. 13 Auburn and No. 14 Louisville) as the Tigers look to solidify their position near the top of the polls.
Ole Miss at No. 1 Alabama (8 p.m., ESPN): As the top-ranked team in the country, every game becomes critical for the Crimson Tide. Ole Miss is coming off its bye week and has been Alabama’s toughest league foe in recent years – the Rebels won the match-up in 2014 and 2015 and dropped a 48-43 decision last year.