The college football schedule had big games on it last week, but a handful of underdogs make the weekend more interesting.
Sitting out Week 9, top-ranked Alabama nearly saw a huge unraveling of playoff contenders behind it in the Top 25.
The seven teams ranked behind the Crimson Tide struggled Saturday, but when the dust settled, No. 7 Nebraska and No. 8 Baylor ended the day with losses. No. 2 Michigan was the only team to win by more than a touchdown (9 points), while Clemson, Washington, Louisville and Ohio State escaped with wins.
Could Week 10 bring similar results?
No. 2 Michigan 32, Michigan State 23
The Spartans finally put some offensive yards in the stat column against the Wolverines this season, but it wasn’t enough. Wilton Speight threw for 244 yards and Michigan ran for another 192 as it improved to 8-0 this season. Jim Harbaugh has his Wolverines cooking.
No. 3 Clemson 37, No. 12 FSU 34
The Tigers built a two-touchdown lead, FSU crept back to take the lead in the third quarter and again late in the fourth quarter on a Dalvin Cook TD run. But Deshaun Watson completed 3-of-4 passes — all to Jordan Leggett for 70 yards — drove Clemson 75 yards in five plays for the go-ahead score. The win keeps Clemson’s playoff hopes intact. And in case you missed it, Jimbo Fisher was not happy with the officiating.
No. 4 Washington 31, No. 17 Utah 24
The Huskies’ College Football Playoff plans were being interrupted by the Utes. With the game tied at 24 and Utah with the ball, Washington’s defense made a key stop and then Dante Pettis made the play of the game. He returned a punt 58 yards for a touchdown with 3:25 left as the Huskies remained undefeated.
No. 5 Louisville 32, Virginia 25
Trailing 25-24 with less than 30 seconds to play, Louisville was in position to attempt the game-winning field goal. But why leave it up to that nail-biting play? Instead, QB Lamar Jackson lofted a pass high and deep to Jaylen Smith for a 29-yard touchdown catch with 13 seconds left in the game. With the win, the Cardinals’ playoff hopes remain intact and Bobby Petrino can take a deep breath.
No. 6 Ohio State 24, Northwestern 20
The Wildcats gave the Buckeyes everything they had and it almost was enough to pull of a stunning upset. One week after Ohio State lost its first game of the season (to Penn State), the Buckeyes mustered just enough — Curtis Samuel scored from 3 yards out with 9:43 left — to escape with a win at home. At this point, it looks like something is off with the Buckeyes.
No. 11 Wisconsin 23, No. 7 Nebraska 17
Dare Ogunbowale scored from 11 yards in overtime and the Badgers picked up the big win after squandering a double-digit lead in the third quarter. After Wisconsin scored first in overtime, Tommy Armstrong’s fourth-and-8 pass fell incomplete, and the game was finished. What does it mean for Nebraska? It means its dream season is no longer.
Texas 35, No. 8 Baylor 34
Trent Domingue’s 39-yard field goal with 46 seconds left administered the double whammy. It gave the Longhorns a much-needed victory and delivered a crushing blow to the Big 12’s playoff chances (West Virginia also lost its first game Saturday). Baylor lost despite rushing for 398 yards and totaling 624. Texas piled up 548 yards of its own.
No. 9 Texas A&M 52, New Mexico State 10
This wasn’t supposed to be much of a game and it wasn’t. Christian Kirk provided the highlights when he returned punts 70 and 73 yards for touchdowns (he had a 3-yard TD catch for good measure). Trevor Knight tossed a pair of TD passes and backup QB Jake Hubenak also had a scoring pass. And don’t count out the Aggies from the College Football Playoff picture just yet.
Oklahoma State 37, No. 10 West Virginia 20
Mike Gundy’s 100th win at Oklahoma State is one he’ll enjoy as the Cowboys handed the Mountaineers their first loss of the season. Coupled with Baylor’s loss to Texas, the WVU loss put a huge dent in the Big 12’s playoff chances.
Wyoming 30, No. 13 Boise State 28
Trailing 28-20 in the fourth quarter, Wyoming scored a touchdown with 6:42 left and made the 2-point conversion to tie it. Then with 1:25 left in the game, defensive tackle Chase Appleby hit Boise State QB Brett Rypien in the end zone and knocked the ball loose. It bounced out of the end zone for a safety and the winning margin.
No. 14 Florida 24, Georgia 10
It wasn’t pretty, but Florida coach Jim McElwain gladly will take the victory. The Gators managed just 231 yards but held the Bulldogs to only 164 (just 21 rushing yards on 19 carries) and hurried Georgia freshman QB Jacob Eason into numerous errant throws.
No. 15 Auburn 40, Ole Miss 29
Rebels QB Chad Kelly had the game of his life — a school-record 465 passing yards and 3 TDs — but Auburn stayed hot with a balanced attack was too much in the end. Kamryn Pettway ran for a career-best 236 yards and a score while QB Sean White threw for 247 yards and a TD as the Tigers outscored Ole Miss 13-0 in the fourth quarter.
No. 16 Oklahoma 56, Kansas 3
Baker Mayfield threw four TD passes and the Sooners scored on a punt return and interception return in dominating the Jayhawks on Saturday. Kansas managed just 170 yards and Oklahoma totaled 538.
South Carolina 27, No. 18 Tennessee 24
A once-promising season has gone off the tracks for the Volunteers. Making only his second start, freshman QB Jake Bentley threw for 167 yards and two scores as the Gamecocks upset Tennessee in Columbia, S.C. Joshua Dobbs struggled, completing just 12-of-26 passes for 161 yards and two interceptions and the Vols missed a 58-yard field goal attempt on the game’s final play. It’s big for South Carolina, too, writes SEC Country’s Alec Shirkey.
South Florida 52, No. 22 Navy 45
On Thursday, QB Quinton Flowers did it all. He threw for 219 yards with TDs of 41 and 16 yards and led a 412-yard rushing attack. Flowers ran for 176 yards with touchdown runs of 63 and 1 yards and the Bulls improved to 7-2.
No. 24 Penn State 62, Purdue 24
Saquon Barkley ran 18 times for 207 yards with TD runs of 3 and 81 yards and the Nittany Lions avoided a letdown after upsetting Ohio State last week. The Nittany Lions improved to 6-2 and have won four consecutive games.
No. 25 Virginia Tech 39, Pittsburgh 36
On Thursday, Jerod Evans threw for 406 yards and two touchdowns for the Hokies. Virginia Tech put up 556 yards of offense and held off Pittsburgh, led by James Conner’s 141 rushing yards and three TDs.