Photo courtesy of Texas athletics
Another weekend of college football has come and gone.
It was a fun one for sure, as Halloween featured a lot of scary results for ranked teams. Five teams in last week’s AP top 25 took losses.
You’ll get a look at a lot of those games here, as we take a look at this week’s five top performing teams:
The Bearcats have finally cracked our list. Luke Fickell’s playoff hopeful team has looked outstanding so far this season. This Saturday was no exception.
Cincinnati walloped a solid Memphis football team, 49-10 in Cincy. This shouldn’t be taken lightly either; the Tigers beat the Bearcats twice in 2019, including in the American Athletic Conference Championship.
Star quarterback Desmond Ridder went 21-for-26 with 271 yards and three touchdowns in the victory for the Bearcats. Jerome Ford ran all over the Tigers, totaling 116 yards and two touchdowns on just nine carries.
Cincinnati now sits in prime position for a conference championship, and maybe even a chance at a College Football Playoff appearance. After putting up a combined 13 touchdowns in wins over SMU and now Memphis, Ridder and the Bearcat offense continue to produce at an elite level. Power 5 teams beware, because the Bearcats continue to play at a level so high that no one in college football should be able to ignore.
4. West Virginia
The West Virginia Mountaineers put the 16th-ranked Kansas State Wildcats on a long flight home over the country roads. Neal Brown’s Mountaineers tamed the Wildcats handily, defeating Kansas State by a final score of 37-10 in Morgantown.
West Virginia used a huge second quarter to control this one. The Mountaineers found the end zone three times in the period, pulling away from the Wildcats and never looking back.
Jarret Doege went 22-for-34 passing with a fantastic 301 yards and two touchdowns in the win. Leddie Brown added 102 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
Doege and the West Virginia offense torched K-State throughout the day, but it was the defense for the Mountaineers that sealed this one. Dylan Tonkery intercepted K-State quarterback Will Howard and took it all the way back to the house to extend West Virginia’s lead to 34-10.
The Mountaineers have looked extremely solid since their surprising loss to Texas Tech earlier this month, and aren’t showing any signs of stopping after dominating the 16th-ranked team in the country. Time will tell, but the win for West Virginia sets up a big one with Texas next week in Austin. The match-up will have huge implications for the Big 12 in 2020.
Virginia Cavaliers, stand up. Bronco Mendenhall’s squad was back at it again this past weekend, downing then 15th-ranked North Carolina, 44-41.
The rivalry sure didn’t disappoint this year. The Tar Heels wasted a masterful performance by star quarterback Sam Howell. Howell went 23-for-28 passing with 443 yards and four touchdowns in the loss.
The defense for the ‘Heels let Mack Brown and company down once again in a shootout to Brennan Armstrong and the Cavalier offense. Armstrong threw for 208 yards and three touchdowns before leaving the game in the fourth quarter with a leg injury.
The Cavaliers then did the unthinkable. Mendenhall rolled the dice on 4th-and-4 in his own territory. Mississippi State transfer quarterback Keytaon Thompson picked up the first down, putting this one on ice for Virginia.
2. Michigan State
What a start to the season for Michigan State. A week removed from losing to Rutgers at home and turning the ball over seven times, the Spartans went into the “Big House” and defeated the rival Michigan Wolverines, 27-24.
This was quite the quarterback display up in Ann Arbor. Neither team turned the ball over, with Spartan quarterback Rocky Lombardi going for 323 yards passing and three touchdowns. Michigan’s Joe Milton did everything he could to match him, going 32-for-51 with 300 yards through the air.
This was a fantastic football game, as Lombardi and the Spartans ended up out-dueling Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines. With the loss, Harbaugh’s record fell to 1-6 at home against Michigan State and Ohio State. Yikes.
Meanwhile in Spartan land, this was quite a first win in for new head coach Mel Tucker. Michigan State will look to continue this momentum in a shortened 8-game season.
Oh, boy. If any team could shake up college football, it’s Tom Herman and the Texas Longhorns. Texas got back on the map this weekend, taking down then sixth-ranked Oklahoma State, 41-34 in an overtime thriller.
Cowboys’ quarterback Spencer Sanders actually outplayed Texas’ Sam Ehlinger in this one. Sanders threw for 400 yards and four touchdowns. However, the four turnovers by Oklahoma State came back costly, as Texas capitalized.
After Oklahoma State tied it at 34 with a field goal at the end of regulation, Ehlinger found Joshua Moore for a 15-yard touchdown to put the Longhorns up 41-34. That lead ended up holding. After a penalty brought the game-tying touchdown back on the ensuing Cowboy drive, the Texas defensive front got to Sanders on fourth down, bringing him down in the backfield and sealing the game for the Longhorns.
This win certainly shakes up the college football world, but may have served as the death knell to the Big 12’s College Football Playoff hopes. It’ll be an interesting final month and a half of the season. Leave it to Texas to create chaos once again.
Maryland (45-44 vs. Minnesota)
Auburn (48-11 vs. LSU)
Coastal Carolina (51-0 vs. Georgia State)