5 Takeaways From College Football Week 8

A week in which we bore witness to a BYU punter faking a fourth-and-19 punt from his own end zone, West Virginia staying unbeaten, Houston virtually eliminating itself from a New Year’s Six bowl game, and Oregon and Michigan State falling to an abysmal 2-5, the playoff picture became a little fuzzier as we inch closer to the playoff committee’s first poll of the year.

  1. Your Offense is Offensive Both the sixteenth-ranked Oklahoma Sooners and the Texas Tech Red Raiders forget to bring their D as they clashed in Lubbock, Texas. Oklahoma edged out Tech 66-57 in a game where the teams combined for 1,708 yards of offense, an NCAA record. Sooner quarterback Baker Mayfield paved the way to the victory, passing for 545 yards and seven touchdowns, a school record. Mayfield was assisted by his running back Joe Mixon who rushed for 263 yards and two touchdowns. Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes II, who leads the nation in passing, threw for 734 yards, an NCAA record, while rushing for an additional 85. The 125 points are the second most in a game consisting of a ranked opponent.
  2. Tide Sinks Aggies The top team in the country, the Alabama Crimson Tide, had no problem in defeating the undefeated, sixth-ranked Texas A&M Aggies en route to their twentieth consecutive victory. After finding themselves trailing by a point early in the third quarter, the Tide went on to score the game’s final twenty points in the 33-14 victory. As to be expected, the Tide continued their streak of ten consecutive games with a non-offensive touchdown when defensive end Jonathan Allen returned a fumble 30 yards for the score, the team’s twelfth non-offensive score this season. The Alabama defense was able to get revenge on A&M quarterback Trevor Knight, the quarterback of the Oklahoma Sooners who lit up the Alabama secondary two years ago when Oklahoma upset Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, by holding Knight to only 164 yards passing and sacking him five times. The win did come with a setback, however, for they Tide as they lost All-American kick returner and safety Eddie Jackson for the season with a broken leg. The Tide are already short-handed in the secondary, and the injury may present future problems.
  3. Tigers Eat Hogs and Rebels The Auburn and LSU Tigers both rolled to impressive victories Saturday night; wins that could reignite any small hopes left of making the playoff. Twenty-first-ranked Auburn destroyed the seventeenth-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks 56-3. From the very first play, a 78-yard touchdown run by Auburn running back Eli Stove, the Tigers dominated the game with their rushing attack. Auburn ran for 543 yards all while former Auburn great Bo Jackson watched from the sideline. Auburn’s Kamryn Pettway led all players with two touchdowns and 192 yards. The twenty-fifth-ranked LSU Tigers were 38-21 victors over the twenty-third-ranked Ole Miss Rebels thanks in large part to use of the same game plan as Auburn: running the ball. The Tigers were led by the return of a man among boys, once Heisman-front-runner Leonard Fournette, who has been sidelined with an ankle injury since September 24th. Fournette rushed for 284 yards on only 16 carries (that’s a 17.8 yards per carry average!) and three scores. Fournette’s touchdowns came by way of 78, 76, and 59-yard runs. The Tigers are 3-0 since firing head coach Les Miles and promoting Ed Orgeron. Rebels’ star Chad Kelly was held in check with only 217 yards and two interceptions in his team’s loss to the Tigers.
  4. Louisville’s Ludacris Lamar Lamar Jackson and the Cardinals were back at it again. Louisville walloped NC State 54-13 behind yet another spectacular performance from its quarterback and shoe-in for Heisman, Lamar Jackson. Just a week after a lackluster performance against Duke, Jackson led his seventh-ranked Cardinals with four touchdowns on the day. Three came by way of the air to go with his 355 yards passing, while the fourth accompanied his 76 yards on the ground. Jackson’s 34 touchdowns this year are as many touchdowns as the entire Clemson team has and more than 88% of FBS teams have scored this season. Unfortunately for his Cardinals, they remain on the outside looking in on the current playoff picture.
  5. Bummed Buckeyes in a Very Happy Valley The upset of the week occurred in State college, Pennsylvania, as the 5-2 Nittany Lions upset the previously undefeated and second-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes 24-21 in front of a gigantic white-out crowd. The Buckeyes, leading for the entire game, trotted out kicker Tyler Durbin to ice the game with a 45-yard field goal and 4:27 remaining. The ensuing kick, however, was blocked and returned 60 yards by Penn State’s Grant Haley for a go-ahead touchdown that would give the Lions their eventual three-point win. The key to the game was the non-stop pressure that Penn State’s defensive line was able to put Buckeye quarterback JT Barrett under. All game Barrett was never able to get comfortable and was sacked six times while only throwing for 245 yards on 43 attempts. The Penn State defense was led by the return of injured linebackers Brandon Bell, who had 19 tackles, and Jason Cabinda, who recorded 12. The win marks the first time James Franklin has beaten a ranked opponent while head coach of the Lions and puts the Lions in the top-25 for the first time since 2011. Ohio State’s loss snaps its streak of twenty straight road victories.

As Week 9 rolls around, perhaps the game with the biggest playoff implications will be number three Clemson at twelfth-ranked Florida State. Undefeated seventh-ranked Nebraska travels to eleventh-ranked Wisconsin, and the now-sixth-ranked Buckeyes will look to get back on track with a game against Northwestern. Alabama has the week off before their next big battle with the LSU Tigers in Death Valley.

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