We continue with another week of football with no big shake ups in the top 10. They didn’t even give us much to talk about Saturday night. Eight of the top ten teams were in action and those games ended with an average margin of victory of 30.5 points. Clemson looked like they were going to play in a tight one but rattled off 28 unanswered in the second half to cruise to victory.
Texas A&M was the team that was closest to the upset. Long drives by both teams made the first half fly by. With only four possessions, Texas A&M scored two touchdowns in the first half and got all the way inside the five but missed a field goal on their other chance. They went into the half up 14-10. The second half opened up with the defense not able slow down Bo Nix. He led the Tigers on a 75 yard touchdown drive where he had 24 passing yards and 29 rushing yards capped off with a 3 yard touchdown run. A 72 yard drive on the next possession that ended with a field goal gave the Tigers a 20-14 lead. That is where the luck ran out for the 5-3 Tigers. Kellen Mond took over and led the Aggies to three straight scoring possessions to cap off a 31-20 victory. Mond ended 18/23 for 196 yards and two touchdowns.
Outside of the top 10, we saw a different story. Six top 25 teams lost including two of the favorites in the Pac-12. My preseason pick to win the conference was Oregon and they have all but eliminated themselves with a second straight loss. They lost too many pieces from last year’s team and don’t look anywhere close to the same. Stanford handed Washington their first loss of the season with a final score of 31-26. The Huskies did not come ready to play, falling behind 24-3 at halftime. The second half was a different story, scoring on all four possessions to make it a 5 point game. Stanford was able to close the door though. They ended the game on a 14 play, 79 yard drive that took off the last 7:54 of game clock. The Huskies still lead the Pac-12 North but USC has taken the lead in the conference as the only remaining ranked team.
I think the verdict is out. Indiana is a good football team. Without Michael Penix Jr, I was not sure what to expect this week. They didn’t put up the same number of points with Jake Tuttle at QB, but they still pulled out the victory over #16 ranked Wisconsin. Graham Mertz looked great in his opening season win against Illinois but that is looking more and more like an indictment on who Illinois is instead of who Mertz is.
The last true upset of the day came from TCU taking down the Oklahoma State Cowboys 29-22. Big 12 defenses were the story early on in the season led by the impressive OSU team that was allowing 12 points per game throughout the first four weeks of the season. They have followed that up with 41 points to Texas, 41 points to Oklahoma, 44 points to Texas Tech, and 29 points to TCU on Saturday. With the loss, Iowa State clinched a spot in the Big 12 championship game before routing a good West Virginia defense 42-6. Oklahoma was also able to pull out a victory against Baylor to leave them in a good spot to once again make the championship game.
Let’s go to the game of the week in Myrtle Beach to finish things off. A lot was talked about with BYU turning down a chance to play Washington a few weeks ago. They stepped up this time on short notice and traveled to South Carolina to take on the Chanticleers. We were gifted with a great game between two 9-0 teams. Zach Wilson has been talked about as a high NFL QB prospect all year long and he continued to shine. Wilson finished the game 19/30 for 240 yards and one touchdown. He had one interception but it came on a Hail Mary attempt at the end of the first half. This game was as back and forth as you can get but the two teams stepped up in the fourth quarter with a defensive battle. Coastal Carolina scored the game’s last touchdown with 11:35 to play. This capped off a 13 play, 85 yard drive. The Chanticleers pounded the rock in the running game, getting 53 on that drive. CJ Marable led the team with 132 yards on the ground and two touchdowns, including the two yard run to take the lead. Marable has really stepped up in Coastal’s last two games, accounting for 5 touchdowns and 299 yards.
As exciting as the game was, I don’t know if anyone could’ve predicted just how crazy the ending was going to be. Zach Wilson hit Dax Milne for three straight passes totaling 45 yards. The problem was that they started those three plays on the 46. The Coastal defense swarmed to Milne and was able to keep him out of the endzone to pull out the victory.