Weekly College Football Recap and Preview (Week 6 & 7)

Weekly College Football Recap and Preview (Week 6 & 7)
Tycen Gray
Week 6 Recap
The current top four teams in the rankings easily took care of business over the weekend, but as always, thrilling contests ensued and fascinated the minds of us all. Let’s get to what had college football fans salivating in front of their televisions of the weekend.
Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida, is constantly one of the toughest venues for the visiting teams to play at, no matter how the hometown Gators of Florida are competing on the season. #5 LSU found this out as the Gators had just returned the rankings at #22, and were searching for a statement win. The matchup proved to be a defensive battle throughout the majority of the night, and the squads went back and forth all night in terms of possession and a few scoring drives. Florida junior Lamical Perine broke through for his second touchdown on the ground to give the Gators a 20-19 lead with 8:48 in the quarter, and then during LSU’s two-minute drill, Tigers quarterback Joe Burrow threw his first interception of the season to Brad Stewart Jr., who took it to the house and put the hay in the barn, as Florida prevailed 27-19.
The second ranked matchup of Saturday took place in Blacksburg, Virginia, as the #6 Notre Dame Fighting Irish came to town to pay a little visit to the #24 Virginia Tech Hokies. The ball was in the air quite a bit this game, as Notre Dame field general Ian Book tossed 271 yards and two touchdowns and Virginia Tech signal caller Ryan Willis totaled 309 yards and a pair of scores on 52 attempts. In terms of defense and special teams, one would point to the ways of Virginia Tech to dominate that area, but it was the Irish Saturday night who changed the pace of game with their defense and special teams play. A defensive touchdown mixed with solid performances late in the game, paced Notre Dame to a 45-23 victory on the road.
TEXAS. IS. BACK (By Texas’s history of being a walking enigma for the better half of the decade, they will more than likely lose next week). The #19 Longhorns met halfway with the #7 Oklahoma Sooners in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas for the Red River Rivalry in the third ranked matchup of the day. Sam Ehlinger had his breakout game, slinging 300+ yards through the air and aggregating a 45-24 lead over the Sooners going into the fourth quarter. Kyler Murray put on a show in the fourth frame to highlight why he is being discussed in the Heisman conversation, as he dazzled with both his arm and legs. He pulled Oklahoma back into a 45-45 knot with Texas after amassing 304 yards on 19 completions, but kicker Cameron Dicker hit a 40-yard field goal as time expired to bring a Red River victory back to Austin, Texas.
The Southeastern Conference continues to be a revolving door of inconsistency (except for Alabama and Georgia) at the highest level of quality football possible. #8 Auburn had to endure the cowbells of Davis-Wade Stadium in Starkville, Mississippi, as Mississippi State played host to the Auburn Tigers. Bulldog quarterback Nick Fitzgerald had an extremely poor showing throwing the football, but he tore the Tiger defense up with his legs. While only grinding out 69 yards on 9 tosses, Fitzgerald ran for 195 yards and two touchdowns. The Bulldog defense only allowed three field goals the entire night en route to a 23-9 win.
Another stadium that is incredibly difficult for opposing team to perform well in is Kyle Field on the Texas A&M campus. #13 Kentucky has finally exceeded all expectations that have fallen upon them since Tim Couch left pre-2000. They have been on a serious hot streak this season and looked to continue it against unranked Texas A&M. It was a lackluster showing for both offenses throughout the night, with the one exception being A&M’s junior running back Trayveon Williams, who rushed for 138 yards and scored the game-winning touchdown in overtime. That score pushed the Aggies over the top to upset the Wildcats 20-14.
The Utah Utes are always prime to upset a team every single year. This year, that victim happened to be the slumping #14 Stanford Cardinal. Stanford quarterback KJ Costello collected 381 yards but only one score in the air, as the vaunted physical Stanford defense was ran all over by Ute junior back Zack Moss who scored twice and sprinted for 160 yards. Add in a defensive touchdown courtesy of the Utes defensive unit and Utah comfortable upends Stanford 40-21.
Florida State held a comfortable 27-7 lead over the #17 Miami Hurricanes on Saturday with 11:52 left to play in the third quarter, but N’Kosi Perry came to life from the pocket. Perry threw three touchdowns in the second half, and with a stronghold second half performance by the Canes defense, Perry efficiently led Miami back to complete the comeback and edge the Seminoles 28-27.
For as much of an enigma Texas has been in years past, currently ranked #19 Michigan State has been just as much of one the past couple years. As they hosted Northwestern, the two quarterbacks found themselves in a passing battle. Senior Clayton Thorson of the Northwestern Wildcats posted a stateline of 31-47 passing, 373 yards, and three touchdowns while junior Brian Lewerke of the Spartans displayed 31-51 passing, 329 yards, and only a single touchdown. A timely fourth down stop in the fourth quarter allowed Northwestern to add another score on the board, and spoil the home crowd’s dreams in Lansing as the Wildcats bring a 29-19 upset win to Chicago.
What would an Oklahoma State football game be without a surplus of offense? The #25 Cowboys found themselves in another pointfest in their hometown against the Iowa State Cyclones. Brock Purdy dominated the game, throwing 318 yards and four touchdowns in the game while also leading the Cyclones in rushing, gaining 84 yards and another touchdown with his legs. Oklahoma State kept their scoring pace enough to make the game interesting, but could never catch up to Iowa State’s pace. The Cyclones knock the Cowboys out of the rankings with a 48-42 win.
Week 7 Predictions
*Running Record: 16-3*
Tuesday Fun Belt Special: Appalachian State @ Arkansas State (7:00 PM CT; ESPN2)
It’s not every week that we are treated to a Tuesday night college football game that pits two of the best teams in the Sun Belt Conference against each other. Appalachian State has been on a tear ever since they gave Penn State an overtime scare in Week 1, and features a balanced offensive attack. Arkansas State prefers the passing game, and has talent and a solid fan base behind them in Jonesboro. Senior quarterback Justice Hansen will get his, and token a few scores through the air. The Mountaineers, however, showcases more talent and experience than the Red Wolves, along with being battle tested at a higher level. Appalachian State will put the long faces on the Red Wolves faithful on Tuesday.
Prediction: Appalachian State 38, Arkansas State 31
Thursday Night Spotlight: Texas Tech @ TCU (6:30 PM CT; ESPN)
Two 3-2 Big 12 teams that received their share of rankings earlier in the season, but have found themselves facing major disappointment depending on who loses this contest. We will see if these circumstances grab the attention of the defensive coordinators and hopefully they will create some semblance of a defense in this Thursday evening affair. However, Alan Bowman will certainly not be making an appearance anytime soon, the star quarterback for the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Gary Patterson has been effective against strictly spread teams in years past, and has the talent to be a Top 25 team at some point again.
Prediction: TCU 45, Texas Tech 17
Friday Night Lights: Arizona @ Utah (9:00 PM CT; ESPN)
Arizona has gained some momentum since starting off rough at the beginning of Kevin Sumlin’s debut season. Utah in comparison has gained even more momentum coming off their previously mentioned victory over Stanford. While somewhat forgotten, Zona’s Khalil Tate is still one of, if not the, most dynamic athlete in all of college football. He will definitely give the Utes problems to deal with, but a lack of talent around him will be the Wildcats’ demise.
Prediction: Utah 34, Arizona 24
Early Saturday Matchup: #14 Florida @ Vanderbilt (11:00 AM CT; ESPN)
Florida is enjoying some Urban Meyer-esque success under an Urban Meyer disciple, and they are riding high coming off a Top 5 win over LSU. After a Week 2 loss to Kentucky, the Gators have rattled off four straight wins, with Dan Mullen keeping the Gators focused. They travel to Nashville to face off with the Vanderbilt Commodores. The Dores have been competitive over the past couple of years, but still cannot get over the hump. Kyle Shurmur leads a strong offensive attack, but an attack not potent enough to stress the Gators defense. Feleipe Franks will continue to show promise Saturday.
Prediction: Florida 24, Vanderbilt 9
Game of the Day: #2 Georgia @ #13 LSU (2:30 PM CT; CBS)
There is nothing more serene to a college football fanatic than flipping on CBS on a cool and crisp October Saturday afternoon to watch an elite level SEC football game. These two teams have been a staple in the defensive department for as long as they have been around, but now they also pose serious offensive threats. Both team are physical and rough, and are going to try to shove the ball down their opponent’s throat for 60 minutes. This game will be won in the trenches, where the big boys on the line will have to create and plug gaps to get their squad over the top. I see Georgia doing that more Saturday afternoon.
Prediction: Georgia 28, LSU 17
Saturday Evening Contest: #15 Wisconsin @ #12 Michigan (6:30 PM CT; ABC)
While there is supreme physicality in the SEC, the Big Ten also displays an old-school smash mouth style of play. Wisconsin sports a starting offensive line that could have all five guys drafted this spring, and Michigan’s defense all around looks to dominate you with their toughness and resilience. However, Wisconsin is looking to prove their worth as their loss to BYU begins to lose value. Alex Hornibrook and Jonathan Taylor will look to control the game from the backfield and edge one out in The Big House.
Prediction: Wisconsin 17, Michigan 13
Late Night Action: Hawai’i @ BYU (9:15 PM CT; ESPN2)
I know that there is a pretty high profile PAC-12 game going on, but we are here for the fun. Hawai’i showcases a FUN offense. The Rainbow Warriors are 6-1 and sophomore quarterback Cole McDonald has tossed 2,100 yards and 24 touchdowns through half of the season. The only reason Hawai’i is not nationally recognized is a) their home games start at 11:00 PM CT and b) they do not have any “quality wins”, with their lones loss at the hands of Army. BYU is starting to slip, after getting two Power 5 wins and close losses to a couple Power 5 teams. Depending on which BYU shows up, this could be a great game or a blowout. BYU stays competitive, but Hawai’i is HUNGRY.
Prediction: Hawai’i 38, BYU 20