Football

Week Eight College Football Final Word

College Football Week Eight - Illinois upsets Penn State
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

What a weekend in College Football! We had 9 OT games, top 10 upsets, amazing plays, blowouts, and more!

Here are my final words on College Football week eight.

Down Goes The Nittany Lions

In a game seemingly nobody wanted to win, Illinois finally came out on top in a grueling 9 OT game.

Illinois outlasted No. 7 Penn State, 20-18, in the first nine-overtime game in FBS history. After both teams struggled to put points on the board during regulation, the game went to overtime tied 10-10. They traded field goals in the first two overtime periods before going to a third overtime where the new overtime rules took over.

The Illini and Nittany Lions were forced to trade two-point conversion attempts starting in the third overtime. They went five straight periods without either team finding the end zone before both scored in the eighth overtime. Illinois converted to open the ninth overtime, and Penn State was unable to match the visitors on its final attempt.

By the time the game came to an end, Illinois was down to its No. 2 quarterback Brandon Peters, as Art Sitkowski was injured in overtime. It was also without its top two running backs. So props to the Illini for gutting this one out against the more talented Penn State team.

The win improves Illinois to 3-5 and drops Penn State to 5-2. The Nittany Lions are now on the outside of the College Football Playoff conversation, suffering a difficult loss to an unranked opponent just one week before Penn State visits No. 5 Ohio State for a rivalry showdown.

21 Observations From College Football Week Seven

Wake Forest Scored A Lot In Just A Little Bit of Time

  • Wake Forest had six touchdowns of at least 40 yards in a 70-56 win at Army. Those touchdowns included a 41-yard pass, a 54-yard pass, a 75-yard pass, an 83-yard interception return, a 75-yard pass and a 46-yard run. Wake Forest finished with 638 yards on just 52 plays for averages of 12.2 yards per play and 1.3 points per play. The Demon Deacons had just 17:17 of possession, meaning they averaged a point every 14.8 seconds. 

Oregon’s Running Back Travis Dye Scored A Bunch

  • Dye scored a rushing touchdown on four consecutive carries, an FBS record. Dye had just 35 yards on 14 carries and a long of 6 yards, but he found the end zone four times on runs of 1, 4, 1 and 5 yards in a 34-31 win at UCLA.

Nevada’s Carson Strong Threw, ALOT!

  • Strong became the first FBS player since 2000 to throw at least 60 passes and complete 80 percent of them. He went 49 of 61 for 476 yards, four touchdowns and one INT in a 34-32 loss at Fresno State.

Alabama Continues it’s Scoring Streak

  • Alabama is 27-for-36 on third down over the past two weeks. That includes 15-for-20 against Tennessee on Saturday and 12-for-16 against Mississippi State last week. The Tide have scored at least 30 points in 34 consecutive games, extending their FBS record in their 52-24 victory at Tennessee.

Oklahoma Was Shut Down In The First Half

  • Oklahoma ran just 17 plays in the first half against Kansas. The Sooners trailed Kansas for most of the game but came back for a 35-23 win. Oklahoma had just three possessions and 78 yards with zero points in the first half, then had 320 yards in the second half.

Clemson Suffered Its Worst ACC Loss Since 2014

  • Pitt beat the Tigers 27-17, Clemson’s largest margin of defeat in an ACC game since Georgia Tech won 28-6 in 2014. Pitt QB Kenny Picket’s 879 completions for his career are a school record, and he’s one touchdown away from Dan Marino’s school record.

The Cowboys Suffered Their First Loss

  • Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell has now defeated every Big 12 team at home and on the road. He’s the first coach in Iowa State history to do that. The latest was a 24-21 win against No. 8 Oklahoma State. Campbell now has 10 wins against ranked teams at Iowa State. The program had 17 before he arrived. He’s 4-4 against top-10 opponents.

The Boilermakers Came Back To Earth

  • Wisconsin held Purdue to minus-13 rushing yards (including sacks) in a 30-13 win. The Badgers sacked Purdue quarterbacks six times, and Aidan O’Connell had minus 35 yards rushing.

Arkansas State Is Giving Up The Big Plays

  • There has been a 99-yard touchdown in three consecutive weeks, and Arkansas State gave up two of them. Two weeks ago, Coastal Carolina had a 99-yard TD pass against Arkansas State. Last week, Ohio had a 99-yard QB run against Buffalo. On Thursday night, Louisiana had a 99-yard TD run against the Red Wolves. The Arkansas State defense has allowed eight plays of at least 70 yards this year. No other team had allowed more than three entering Saturday.

58 Starts Is A Record

  • Appalachian State wide receiver Thomas Hennigan broke an FBS record with his 58th career start. Hennigan is in his fifth season as a starter thanks to the NCAA COVID-19 waiver, so perhaps there should be an asterisk on this record. Hennigan has also tied the school record for catches (208).

UAB Finally Loses A Home Conference Game

  • UAB lost a home conference game for the first time since 2014, falling 30-24 against Rice. The Blazers had been 15-0 at home in Conference USA games since returning to play in 2017.

Favorites Want No Part of ULM

  • ULM became the second team to win two games in a season as an underdog by at least 23 points. The Warhawks were a 33-point underdog to Liberty on Saturday but won 31-28. They were also a 23.5-point underdog against Troy. ULM is now 3-3 in Terry Bowden’s first season. The Warhawks were 0-10 last year and didn’t lead in a single game.

San Diego State Punter Is Kicking It Deep

  • San Diego State punter Matt Araiza had his second 80-yard punt in as many weeks. Araiza had an 86-yard punt against San Jose State last week and an 81-yarder in a win against Air Force on Saturday. Araiza averages 54 yards per punt, which would break the NCAA record.

USF Dismantles Temple

  • USF ran 60 more plays than Temple in 34-14 win, including the most rush attempts by a non-option team. The Bulls ran 94 plays, including 73 runs, while Temple had just 34 plays. USF ran for a school-record 421 yards, and those 73 rush attempts were the most by a non-option team since USF had 74 rushes against San Jose State in 2017.

Sterns Is Catching Everything

  • Western Kentucky receiver Jerreth Sterns has 60 catches in the past four games. He had 14 catches in a win against FIU on Saturday, following games with 13, 16 and 17 in the previous three weeks, totaling 717 yards and six touchdowns in that span.

Also Catching Everything – Drake London

  • London had 15 catches for 171 yards against Notre Dame. That gives him 79 catches for 1,003 yards — in seven games.

UCF Shutdown Memphis

  • UCF held Memphis to 3.69 yards per play in a 24-7 win, Memphis’ fewest in a game since 2015. A year ago, these teams totaled 1,501 yards in a shootout and Memphis averaged 7.4 per play. On Saturday, they combined for 587 yards.

The Ducks Found Themselves Again, Maybe

  • The Ducks snapped out of a recent offensive funk to win 34-31 at UCLA (5-3, 3-2 Pac-12) on Saturday. Ducks QB Anthony Brown Jr. still makes too many mistakes (his late interception gave UCLA a chance to drive for the tie or win), but star defensive end Thibodeaux (9 tackles, 4.5 TFLs, 2 sacks and a forced fumble) is finally back to full strength and was unblockable for much of the day.

Michigan Looks Ready For the Spartans

  • Michigan’s 33-7 rout of Northwestern sets up a great matchup next week with the Spartans. It will be the first time since 1964 the rivals have met as top-10 teams. 

Kenny Pickett Continues to Rise

  • There were Heisman signs galore in the crowd as the fifth-year senior led the Panthers to their 27-17 “statement” win over Clemson and now has a 23-to-1 TD-to-INT ratio on the season. Pitt (6-1, 3-0 ACC) is already running away with the ACC Coastal.

Notre Dame Finally Put Together A Complete Performance

  • The Irish took their bye week to get their team to play like they wanted to play. The offense looked crisp, the defense, playing most of the game without their star Kyle Hamilton looked dominant, and they were able to route their rival in the Trojans 31-16.

My Prediction Record After College Football Week Eight

  • Last week: 13-5
  • Overall: 107-42
  • Upset Picks Overall:3-5

I rebounded from a terrible week seven. But I did miss my upset pick in Clemson over Pitt. I just expected more from Clemson than I should have this year.

Here is to next week.

My Personal College Football Top 10 (And Playoff Predictions)

After the Eight week, here is who I have in my College Football top 10:

  1. Georgia
  2. Cincinnati
  3. Ohio State
  4. Alabama
  5. Oklahoma
  6. Michigan State
  7. Michigan
  8. Notre Dame
  9. Pittsburgh
  10. Wake Forest

Here are my predictions for the College Football playoffs:

  1. Georgia
  2. Cincinnati
  3. Oklahoma
  4. Ohio State

My Heisman Predictions After Week Eight

  1. Bryce Young
  2. Kenneth Walker
  3. CJ Stroud
  4. Kenny Pickett
  5. Sam Hartman

Looking Ahead To College Football Week Nine

Here are your biggest games for week Six.

  • Michigan at Michigan State
  • Ole Miss at Auburn
  • Georgia at Florida
  • Penn State at Ohio State
  • UNC at Notre Dame

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