5 Takeaways From College Football Week 10
Word must have gotten out just days after the first College Football Playoff poll: style points will be awarded for blowouts. Week 10 saw huge disparities in scoring and sprinkled in a couple of upsets. Texas running back D’Onta Foreman claimed the week’s best performance, rushing for 341 yards and three touchdowns, while former powerhouses Notre Dame and Oregon continued their losing ways.
- The Big 10’s Big 3 The Big Ten East is a three-headed monster consisting of third-ranked Michigan, sixth-ranked Ohio State, and twelfth-ranked Penn State. All three teams were on the right side of huge blowouts this weekend. Michigan started the day by dominating Maryland 59-3. Quarterback Wilton Speight led the Wolverines with 362 yards passing and accounted for three touchdowns. Michigan scored on all five of its first-half possessions. Meanwhile, Penn State continued its recent dominance in beating a good Iowa team 41-14 behind running back Saquon Barkley’s 211 total yards and two touchdowns. Penn State’s taut defense held the Hawkeyes to 30 yards rushing on 26 carries. Ohio State capped the night off by destroying the tenth-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers 62-3. After three straight weeks of sub-par performances, the Buckeyes were able to beat up on the Cornhuskers, tired from their first loss the week before in Wisconsin, thanks to nearly 300 yards passing and 4 touchdowns from quarterback JT Barrett. Michigan and Ohio State await a November 26 matchup against each other to determine the representative in the Big Ten championship and likely bid in the playoff.
- Just Your Average Lamar In the seemingly weekly Lamar Jackson “ridiculousness” update, Jackson led his seventh-ranked Louisville Cardinals to a 52-7 victory over the Boston College Eagles behind seven total touchdowns from Jackson. Jackson passed for 4 scores and 231 yards while adding 185 yards on the ground with three more touchdowns. And he didn’t even play three full quarters. The Heisman Trophy all but has his name engraved on it as Jackson has now accounted for seven or more touchdowns in three different games this year on his way to 26 passing touchdowns and 19 rushing scores. The Cardinals are poised to move up in this week’s rankings but will most likely still find themselves on the outside of the playoff discussion
- Coach O, Where’s the O? The game of the week lived up to the hype in the Battle at the Bayou. The top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide edged out Coach Ed Orgeron’s thirteenth-ranked LSU Tigers 10-0 in an epic defensive battle. In a performance all too similar to last year’s game, Alabama’s key to the victory was stopping LSU running back Leonard Fournette. Just a game removed from rushing for 284 yards over an Ole Miss defense, Fournette was held to 35 yards on 17 carries. The Alabama defense also held LSU quarterback Danny Etling in check, allowing him to only throw for 92 yards and one interception all while sacking him five times. LSU failed to run a single play inside the Alabama 30. After being stopped on a fourth-and-goal earlier in the game, the Tide scored the game’s first points early in the fourth quarter on a 21-yard touchdown scamper from quarterback Jalen Hurts. Hurts finished the day with 107 passing yards and 114 rushing yards. Alabama has one major obstacle remaining on their schedule, an Iron Bowl matchup with Auburn, before a likely appearance in the SEC Championship.
- See Ya Later Alligator: Aggie-onizing Defeats Both the eleventh-ranked Florida Gators and the fourth-ranked Texas A&M Aggies suffered stunning upsets Saturday, likely spelling the end of any playoff hopes. The Gators, losers of a 31-10 game to the Arkansas Razorbacks, could have further cemented their lead in the SEC East. Although still in control of their own fate, they must win out to reach the SEC Championship. Arkansas beat Florida for the first time since 1982 thanks to great run defense. The Razorbacks held the Gators to 12 yards on 14 carries, two weeks after allowing 543 rushing yards to Auburn. Arkansas running back Rawleigh Williams III rushed for 148 yards and two scores. Texas A&M lost to the 4-5 Mississippi State Bulldogs 35-28. Just days after finding themselves ranked 4th in the college playoff standings, the Aggies did little to quiet their nay-sayers. A&M lost their star quarterback Trevor Knight to a shoulder injury in the second quarter, but not before Mississippi State had jumped out to a 28-7 lead. The Bulldogs rushed for a season-high 365 yards, led by quarterback Nick Fitzgerald’s 182. Trevor Knight’s replacement Jake Hubenak finished with 222 yards and two touchdowns.
- Washing Them Out It was a good day to be a school from Washington. The fifth-ranked Washington Huskies hammered the Cal Golden Bears 66-27. Washington entered the game feeling as though they had been snubbed in the first playoff poll, and quarterback Jake Browning led his Huskies to an inspired performance. Browning, a Heisman candidate, threw for 6 touchdowns and 348 yards. His favorite target was wide receiver John Ross, who caught six passes for 208 yards and three scores. Washington will likely move into playoff position now, if they are able to prevent being leap-frogged by sixth-ranked Ohio State. The twenty-fifth-ranked Washington State Cougars stomped all over the Arizona Wildcats in a 69-7 blowout victory. The leader of the 7-2 Cougars’ 614-yard offensive showcase was quarterback Luke Falk. Falk threw for 311 yards and four touchdowns. The wins by the Huskies and Cougars set up an epic Apple Cup showdown at the end of the month. If the Huskies win, they will find themselves in the playoff and Pac-12 championship game. If the Cougars win, the Huskies will have to watch the Pac-12 championship from their living room and likely miss out on the playoff.
Week 11 lacks any real marquee matchups as we inch closer to the playoffs, although as demonstrated every week, a top team will likely lose to a conference opponent. Top-ranked Alabama hosts Mississippi State, but the best game will most likely be between the Washington Huskies and the resurgent USC Trojans, a team channeling newly-found momentum after handing the reigns to redshirt freshman quarterback Sam Darnold. Meanwhile, top-ranked teams will continue to pad their stats and blow out their opponents in an effort to gain the attention of the Playoff Committee.