Week 7 was the week of the underdog.
With an incredible 7 upsets, the top 25 will see a major makeover going into week 8, and possibly seeing some new faces break into the mix.
The upsets started early Friday with #2 Clemson and #8 Washington State both traveling to unranked opponents looking to boost their chances towards the playoff race, and both coming back home with huge losses. #2 Clemson took on Syracuse, who obviously came out ready to play. Syracuse would strike first, with a 23 yard touchdown pass on their first drive from junior quarterback Eric Dungey to junior running back Dontae Strickland. Although Clemson would tie on their following possession off a 37 yard run from sophomore Tavien Feaster, they would never take the lead from the Orange. Syracuse would score again in the quarter, making their lead 14-7. Catastrophe for Clemson would strike in the second quarter. After scoring a game-tying touchdown and holding Syracuse to a field goal, the Tiger’s junior quarterback Kelly Bryant would be knocked to the ground and lay completely motionless. He would be helped off the field and diagnosed with a concussion. Clemson would tie the game in the third quarter after a field goal, but Dungey would throw a 30 yard pass to senior wide receiver Steve Ishmael to lead 24-17. A 52 yard touchdown run from Clemson’s Travis Etienne would once again tie the game at 24 to go into the fourth quarter, but a 30 yard field goal from Syracuse would be the only offensive production uttered in the half to give Cuse the 27-24 victory. Clemson will have the weekend off, and will undoubtedly slip out of the top 5 before facing Georgia Tech at home. Syracuse will visit undefeated Miami in attempts to snatch another ACC victory from a ranked team.
#8 Washington State dominated possession time and kept up to California in total yardage, but somehow managed to cough up the ball 7 times in their 37-3 loss. Senior quarterback Luke Falk was intercepted 5 times and sacked 9 times against a Cal defense that knew exactly how to stop the Cougars right when it mattered most. On Washington State’s third play, Falk was intercepted for the first time by freshman corner Camryn Bynum, who would have two picks on the night. With as impressive as Cal’s defense looked, even more impressive was sophomore quarterback Ross Bowers. Bowers threw for 259 yards and a touchdown on 21 completions with 38 attempts, and added a SportsCenter Top 10-worthy touchdown run in the third quarter in which he front flipped over a defender to get in the end zone. Overall, Washington State was entirely outplayed by a talented Cal team who showed that they could hang with a top 10 ranked team. Washington State will have many problems to fix on both sides of the ball before hosting Colorado, while California will host Arizona.
On Saturday, #1 Alabama would score just 15 seconds into the ball game after a 75 yard rush from junior running back Damien Harris against Arkansas, and assert their offensive dominance throughout the rest of the game for a 41-9 victory. The Crimson Tide would almost double Arkansas’ offensive production, generating 496 yards to the Razorbacks’ 227 yards. Harris would score another touchdown in the first quarter, and be responsible for 125 rushing yards along with his two touchdowns on just 9 carries. Arkansas would slow the bleeding, only allowing Alabama to score one touchdown in the second quarter before going into halftime down 24-0. Arkansas played without senior quarterback Austin Allen, and it definitely showed. In the third quarter, Arkansas would gain enough yardage to kick a field goal, although it would be immediately answered by an Alabama touchdown from sophomore quarterback Jalen Hurts to freshman receiver Henry Ruggs III. Arkansas would score a touchdown at the end of the game, but fail to convert the point after. Hurts was 12 for 19 on the day with 155 passing yards, a touchdown, and an interception. Alabama’s defense held Arkansas to just 27 rushing yards. Both teams will continue SEC play, with Arkansas hosting Auburn and Alabama hosting Tennessee.
#5 Washington had a difficult time scoring on a strong Arizona State defense that would only surrender a touchdown at the end of the game. Washington throughout the first half could not string together a series of more than 6 plays before having to punt the ball on all of their possessions. In the second half, Washington would be able to sustain longer drives, but would not be able to convert on 2 missed field goals. In the fourth quarter, the Huskies would score their only points on a 1 yard touchdown run from junior quarterback Jake Browning to make the score 13-7. Arizona State would convert a risky 4th down to prevent Washington from getting the ball again, and would win the game. The Huskies would only generate 230 yards of total offense, and the loss would also knock them out of the talk for the playoff race. The Huskies have a bye week before trying to get back on track against Utah.
#6 TCU persevered through a 3 hour weather delay to beat Kansas State 26-6 and remain undefeated. Senior Kenny Hill would throw for 297 yards with 27 completions on 37 attempts. The quarterback would not throw for a touchdown, but would run for the first one of the game. Sophomore running back Sewo Olonilua would also run for 2 touchdowns of his own, with just 8 rushing yards on the day. The Horned Frogs would keep Kansas State from scoring a touchdown, and force them to kick long field goals in order to get their only points. TCU’s stingy offense will host Kansas, who is struggling to put points on the board this season.
#7 Wisconsin would also only surrender field goals while hosting Big Ten foe Purdue to win 17-9. Scoring for the Badgers would not be as easy, however. Freshman running back Jonathan Taylor would account for most of the offense, rushing for 219 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries, adding 17 receiving yards, but also a fumble as well. Senior quarterback Alex Hornibrook passed for 199 yards with 13 completions on 18 attempts, but would be intercepted twice. Wisconsin’s defense held stout though despite their offensive struggles, and eventually the offense did their part to finish out the game with a win. Both teams will continue Big Ten play as Wisconsin will host Maryland next weekend, while Purdue will travel to Rutgers.
#9 Ohio State would have no problem putting away Nebraska, winning 56-14. Ohio State would hold Nebraska scoreless for the entire first half, and score on 8 out of their 9 possessions, and their only failed possession would be the very last possession that still managed to burn over 6 minutes off the clock in the 4th quarter. Senior quarterback JT Barrett completed an astonishing 27 out of 33 passes for 325 yards and 5 touchdowns, while also rushing for 48 yards and 2 touchdowns. Freshman running back JK Dobbins was the leading rushing with a touchdown and 106 yards, while sophomore receiver KJ Hill led the Buckeyes with 2 touchdowns of his own with 80 yards on 7 receptions. Nebraska had their flashes of brilliance, with junior quarterback Tanner Lee completing 23 out of 38 passes for 303 yards and 2 touchdowns, one of which went to freshman receiver JD Spielman for 77 yards. Spielman had a phenomenal game himself, with 200 yards on just 11 receptions. The Cornhuskers just could not convert the offensive production into points throughout the game. Both teams will have a bye week, and Ohio State will begin preparations for hosting Penn State while Nebraska will get ready to travel to Purdue.
#10 Auburn would dominate the first quarter against LSU, but LSU would have the last laugh. Up 17-0 at the end of the first quarter, LSU would get on the board in the second quarter, holding Auburn to 2 field goals and scoring 2 touchdowns of their own with a 1 yard run from sophomore receiver Stephen Sullivan and a 14 yard pass from senior quarterback Danny Etling to senior receiver Russell Gage for a score of 23-14. After a scoreless third quarter, LSU would dominate the fourth quarter starting with a 75 yard punt return from senior receiver DJ Chark to make the score 23-21. LSU’s defense would hold Auburn to a total of 64 yards total in the second half and force 2 straight punts, which they would turn around and convert into 2 field goals to win the game 27-23. Auburn’s sophomore quarterback Jarrett Stidham would only complete 9 out of his 23 attempts, but the completions would give him 165 passing yards and a touchdown. Etling would complete 13 out of his 24 passes for 206 yards and a touchdown. LSU will try to make some sense of their up and down season, attempting to gain another victory on the road against Ole Miss, while Auburn has to travel to Arkansas, an SEC opponent who crushed the Tigers last season.
#12 Oklahoma was dangerously close to being another part of the upset filled weekend, beating Texas 29-24. At one point, the Sooners had been up 20-0, but an interception and lack of offensive conversions allowed the Longhorns to stay in the game. Senior quarterback for the Sooners Baker Mayfield completed 17 passes in 27 attempts for 302 yards and a touchdown, which was just enough for the Sooners to march to a close victory. Oklahoma will face Kansas State on the road while Texas hosts Oklahoma State.
Also coming close to being another upset was #13 Southern California. USC hosted Utah, who struck first in the contest on an 18 yard fumble return. Sophomore quarterback Sam Darnold, responsible for 2 fumbled in the first quarter including the fumble return, would quickly bounce back and throw a 52 yard touchdown pass to junior tight end Tyler Petite to tie the game at 7. Utah would score 2 straight touchdowns in the second quarter and leave USC scoreless until the third quarter with another pass from Darnold to Petite, this one for 17 yards. USC would score 2 more in the fourth quarter, making the score 28-21. Senior quarterback Troy Williams would run for a 1 yard touchdown, and instead of tying the game went for 2 points and could not convert. USC will travel to Notre Dame in a game that could have serious playoff implications.
#14 Oklahoma State let Baylor score their only touchdown of the game on their first possession in a Cowboy victory, 59-16. Oklahoma State set a new school record for yardage, a whopping 747 yards which senior quarterback Mason Rudolph threw for 459 of them and 3 touchdowns. Senior receiver James Washington had 6 receptions for 235 yards and a touchdown, while sophomore running back Justice Hill would rush for 117 yards and a touchdown of his own. The Cowboys truly spread the scoring amongst themselves, with no receiver or running back scoring more than a touchdown. The Cowboys will play at Texas.
#17 Michigan held on in a tight victory at Indiana. Junior running back Karan Higdon accounted for most of Michigan’s offense, gaining 200 yards on 25 carries with 3 touchdowns, including the game winner in overtime. Indiana came out strong, holding Michigan to only a field goal in the first quarter and the beginning of the second. Higdon would finally score the first one of the game in the second quarter, but would only score a field goal, with the score being 13-3. They would score the only touchdown in the third quarter, decreasing Michigan’s lead to 13-10. Higdon would again break Indiana’s defense for a 59 yard run, which Indiana would answer late in the quarter with a touchdown of their own, and a field goal to send the game to overtime. Higdon would save the day with a 25 yard touchdown run on the first play of the overtime period. Indiana would be intercepted on their possession on 4th down. Michigan will play at Penn State while Indiana will play at Michigan State.
#18 South Florida put Cincinnati away easily, beating them 33-3 although they had a bit of difficulty scoring with their first couple possessions. #19 San Diego State was not as lucky with Boise State. Boise had little difficulty with San Diego State, and held senior running back Reshaad Penny to only 53 yards on 21 carries. SDSU’s junior quarterback Christian Chapman would pass for 240 yards on 12 completions, but it would not be enough to stop the upset. Boise State would go up 21-0 at halftime, and although SDSU would score 2 touchdowns, Boise would continue to produce on offense, winning 31-14. San Diego State faces Fresno at home in an attempt to get back on track.
#20 NC State knocked off ACC foe Pittsburgh 35-17, while #21 Michigan State struggled to put Minnesota away. Minnesota would score first on a 25 yard field goal, and Michigan State would answer with a field goal of their own. A Minnesota fumble would pave the way for a 3 yard touchdown run from junior running back Madre London. Minnesota would score another field goal in the first quarter. The second and third quarter would be dominated by the Spartans with a touchdown in the second quarter and 2 field goals in the third. Minnesota would rally with 3 touchdowns from sophomore quarterback Demry Croft to sophomore receiver Tyler Johnson, but it would not be enough and the Golden Gophers would fall 30-27. Michigan State will host Indiana next.
#22 Central Florida surrendered just 3 touchdowns to American Athletic Conference foe Eastern Carolina, winning at home 63-21. #23 Stanford would also have a great defensive game against Oregon, allowing just one touchdown to win 49-7. Junior running back Bryce Love would further his case for the Heisman with 147 yards and 2 touchdowns on just 17 touches.
#24 Texas Tech and #25 Navy were also victims of upsets that plagued the top 25 this week. Texas Tech took part in a slugfest at West Virginia in the first three quarters, leading 35-24. The fourth quarter saw West Virginia kick into another gear, and score 3 touchdowns, 2 of them being from junior quarterback Will Grier to senior wide receiver Ka’Raun White for a final score of 46-35. Navy also participated in a heavyweight bout with Memphis, with Memphis ultimately winning 30-27. Navy ultimately could not recover after Memphis took the lead in the third quarter.
#4 Georgia had a tough start against Missouri. After a 35 yard touchdown run from sophomore wide receiver Mecole Hardman, Missouri would be unable to answer. On UGA’s next possession, freshman quarterback Jake Eason would be intercepted, adn Missouri would strike back with a 4 yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Drew Lock to freshman tight end Albert Okwuegbunam. This would start a series of consecutive touchdowns from each team, with a 19 yard throw from Fromm to sophomore receiver Riley Ridley. Lock would throw a 63 yard touchdown to junior receiver Emanuel Hall, and UGA would answer with a 36 yard touchdown run by senior running back Sony Michel. In deja vu fashion, Lock would throw another 63 yard touchdown to Hall, then hold UGA to a field goal, but UGA would lead 24-21. Fromm would rush for a 4 yard touchdown, followed by another field goal to end the first half 34-21. UGA would dominate the game from that point on, with two back to back field goals after a Mizzou fumble. Michel would rush for a 16 yard touchdown increasing their lead to 47-21. In the fourth quarter, Lock would find senior tight end Jason Reese for a 16 yard touchdown reception, but Fromm would complete a 59 yard pass for a score to Hardman to put the game away at 53-21. The Dawgs would gain 696 total yards that night, the second-most in school history. The running game would be a pivotal role in the win, with freshman D’Andre Swift rushing for 94 yards on 6 carries, Michel rushing for 86 yards on 9 carries, senior Nick Chubb with 70 yards on 16 carries, and sophomores Elijah Holyfield, Brian Herrien and Hardman combining for 114 yards on 13 touches. Defensively, the Dawgs would bend but not break, after allowing only 10 points per game prior to this matchup. Georgia will take the week off before playing Florida at their neutral site in Jacksonville, while Missouri will travel to Idaho.
Georgia Tech almost completed another upset at #11 Miami. Tech would lead Miami for most of the game after a 5 yard touchdown run from senior running back JJ Green would be followed by a 3 yard pass from junior quarterback TaQuon Marshall to Green. Miami would counter with another field goal, followed by a 17 touchdown pass from junior quarterback Malik Rosier to sophomore running back Travis Homer, with the score now at 14-13 giving Tech a point advantage. GT would come out guns blazing, with junior DB Lamont Simmons returning the kickoff 42 yards to score. Another Tech field goal would increase the Tech lead to 24-13. Miami would step up both offensively and defensively, following Tech’s field goal with one of their own. After forcing Tech to punt, Miami would score again with a 27 yard run from Homer at the beginning of the fourth quarter, but the Hurricanes would fail on the 2-point conversion. With the score 24-22 Georgia Tech, in the last 4 seconds Miami would kick a field goal to win the game. Miami limited Marshall to only 55 passing yards, though their running game would hold strong. Both teams will continue ACC play, with Tech hosting Wake Forest and Miami hosting Syracuse in attempts to avoid another possible upset.