By Joel Silverberg / @JoelSilverberg
It was a wild night on Saturday across the country. Notre Dame held off a valiant effort from USC. Florida and LSU lit up the scoreboard in a matchup that lived up to the billing. Penn State survived a tough road trip to Iowa, and it was pure madness in Winston-Salem as Louisville held off a furious rally from Wake Forest to spoil the Demon Deacons’ perfect season.
And that was just in the evening. Texas showed some mettle in the Red River Rivalry despite a loss, Baylor survived a scare against Texas Tech, and Arizona State outlasted Washington State in a tight one. Eight ranked teams lost on the weekend with half of those coming against unranked opponents.
Chaos in college football is great. There was certainly a lot of that over the weekend. Time for this week’s good, bad and ugly.
The Good: Oklahoma. Jalen Hurts is always the main headline with this team, but the Sooners defense was big in the Red River Rivalry on Saturday. Sam Ehlinger was sacked nine times and Oklahoma had 15 tackles for loss. Plus Texas was held to a season-low 27 points on offense. Hurts was still impressive despite two turnovers with 366 yards of total offense and four total touchdowns. CeeDee Lamb was outstanding with ten receptions for 171 yards and three scores. Oklahoma may not be tested again until the Big 12 Championship game.
Honorable Mention: Penn State. The Nittany Lions went on the road and fought off a gritty Iowa team to start 6-0. Sean Clifford and Noah Cain made big runs for the offense, but the defense continues to be the story in Happy Valley. Penn State hasn’t allowed more than 13 points in a game this season. A home game against a ranked Michigan squad is a big one and road trips to Michigan State and Minnesota aren’t gimmes, either. A trip to Columbus in late November could be a lot of fun, especially if both teams are in the top ten.
The Bad: Florida. The Gators had chances, but the decision making in the second half hurt the Gators in a big way. The defense needed to do more on a big stage. Florida’s defense stepped up big against Auburn. It didn’t get the same help against Joe Burrow and the Tigers, getting gashed for 42 points, over 500 yards of total offense and not forcing a turnover. Florida’s final four drives after taking a 28-21 lead to start the second half: three and out, three and out, interception in the red zone, turnover on downs at the two-yard line. Ouch.
Honorable Mention: Iowa. Losses to Michigan and Penn State aren’t the end of the world, but when your defense allows 27 combined points in back-to-back games against top 20 opponents you need to win at least one of those. The offense isn’t getting much out of Nate Stanley and Co. and scored only one touchdown in those two games. With Wisconsin and Minnesota rolling Iowa is now on the outside looking in for the Big Ten West.
The Ugly: Georgia. Rodrigoh-no! Rodrigo Blankenship wasn’t given an opportunity to win the game for Georgia in regulation and missed the game-tying 42-yarder in double overtime as the Bulldogs fell 20-17 to South Carolina in overtime. Georgia was in range for a 55-yard kick at the end of the fourth quarter, but a penalty set the offense back five yards and Kirby Smart elected not to send Blankenship out for a 60-yard kick. Jake Fromm was also picked off three times in the loss, including one returned for a touchdown. Georgia lost to a 2-3 South Carolina team. With its third string quarterback in the game. As a 20.5-point favorite. In Athens. Not good.
Honorable Mention: Virginia. Miami was coming off a loss to Virginia Tech after giving up 42 points. N’Kosi Perry was starting in place of Jarren Williams and the Cavaliers couldn’t take advantage. After a 4-0 start Virginia has dropped two straight after Friday’s 17-9 loss. The offense needs to be better in those winnable ACC road games. The Coastal is still wide open, but Virginia needs to regroup before its meeting with Duke.