Winners and Losers from Week 8 of College Football
Normally, college football's Week 8 headlines are dominated by the release of the first BCS standings, but this year, the week had one supreme theme: upsets everywhere.
UCF kicked off the wild weekend early with its Friday upset of Louisville.
Several teams followed suit on Saturday's noon slate. Missouri rose to the pinnacle of the SEC East with a win over Florida, while divisional rivals Georgia and South Carolina fell to Vanderbilt and Tennessee, respectively.
The madness continued in the afternoon when Auburn took down Texas A&M in College Station. Ole Miss followed suit, knocking off LSU under the lights in Oxford.
Meanwhile, the day's most promising contest between Florida State and Clemson ended up as the weekend's biggest dud.
Say hello to the new American Athletic Conference favorite.
Central Florida went on the road Friday night and posted a monumental 38-35 win over Louisville, which was originally thought to be a lock for the AAC title.
After falling behind 28-7, UCF scored 24 unanswered points, then added one final touchdown with 23 seconds left on the clock to seal the victory on UL's homecoming.
Now at 2-0 in conference play, the Knights are in control of their own destiny to earn the league's BCS berth.
Led by a dangerous backfield duo of quarterback Blake Bortles and running back Storm Johnson, the Knights are no fluke at the top of the league standings.
So much for Louisville being a national title hopeful.
It seemed like only a weak schedule and poor BCS standing would stop the Cardinals from making the title game. However, UL stopped itself on Friday.
The Cards allowed 446 yards and blew a 21-point third-quarter lead in their 38-35 loss while allowing UCF to reel off 31 points in the second half.
Not all is lost for UL, but after the homecoming loss, it will now need the Knights to lose at least two games to earn the AAC's BCS berth.
Saturday couldn't have gone any better for Missouri.
Not only did the Tigers trounce Florida 36-17, but they took a commanding SEC East Division lead thanks to the losses by Georgia and South Carolina.
The Gators, Bulldogs and Gamecocks were the three biggest threats to Mizzou in the SEC East but now, all three have two SEC losses. Meanwhile, Mizzou sits as the overwhelming favorite to make the SEC title game at 3-0 in league play.
The Tigers outgained the Gators, 500-151, despite starting a second-string redshirt freshman, Maty Mauk, at quarterback. While Mauk threw for 295 yards, running back Henry Josey had an enormous day, tallying 136 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
Mizzou will host South Carolina next week, looking to take the next step toward a trip to Atlanta.
Losers: SEC East Favorites
The SEC East was thought to be a three-team race between Georgia, South Carolina and Florida. Now it's just a one-team race with Missouri a few furlongs ahead of the original pole-sitters.
South Carolina suffered its second loss in league play this week. Tennessee chipped in a 19-yard field goal as time expired to clip the Gamecocks, 23-21.
USC will now face a must-win scenario next week when it heads to Columbia to take on Missouri.
Meanwhile, Georgia went from being a national title hopeful two weeks ago to essentially dead in the water in the East. After losing to Missouri last week, the Bulldogs turned around and surrendered 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to lose to Vanderbilt 31-27.
All UGA can hope for now is a major collapse by Mizzou. The Dawgs will have a much-needed bye before facing Florida in Jacksonville, Fla. on Nov. 2.
To make matters worse, USC lost Connor Shaw in the game with a left knee sprain. Additionally, UGA lost receiver Chris Conley with what is believed to be an ankle sprain and safety Josh Harvey-Clemons to a foot injury.
Winner: Marquez North
In Tennessee's big upset, kicker Michael Palardy knocked in the game-winning field goal, but it was true freshman receiver Marquez North who emerged as the hero.
The former 4-star recruit brought in two incredible receptions, including one of the best catches of the 2013 season on UT's final drive.
The Charlotte, N.C. native pinned a 39-yard pass to his jaw with one hand while South Carolina defensive back Ahmad Christian gave him a bear hug.
That reception set up the game-winning field goal.
Loser: Aaron Brown
Marquez North's big catch might be one of the best plays you'll see this week, while this one from Aaron Brown will be one of the most comical.
With Cincinnati up 34-10 in the third quarter, Connecticut quarterback Tim Boyle threw one of his three interceptions on the day from the Bearcats' 25-yard line, this one caught by Aaron Brown.
The Bearcat defender picked the ball off on the five-yard line and had an outstanding return in the works when he was tackled from behind by Huskies receiver Deshon Foxx.
Foxx's tomahawk chop jarred the ball loose and sent it bouncing out of the back of the end zone. Brown made it 87 yards down the field, only to give the ball back to the Huskies at their own 20.
CBSSports.com's Tom Fornelli (unofficially) declared it the longest touchback in college football history.
UConn still lost 50 yards on the play, but Brown coughed up a chance at an elusive pick-six. His day did improve when Cincy closed out a 41-16 win.
Winner: Georgia Tech
After suffering three straight losses, all of which were ugly in their own way, Georgia Tech made a dramatic comeback this week.
The Ramblin' Wreck blasted Syracuse 56-0, running for 394 yards in the process. Though GT is still likely out of the ACC title race, stopping its skid this week was absolutely vital to its bowl hopes.
Nine Yellow Jacket rushers reached double figures on the ground. Justin Thomas, Zach Laskey, Vad Lee and David Sims led the way, as each eclipsed 50 rushing yards and accounted for six of Tech's eight touchdowns.
GT will take on Virginia and Pitt in the next two weeks in hopes of gaining momentum heading into its Nov. 14 date with Clemson.
While Georgia Tech ended its three-game skid, Northwestern went the other direction, dropping its third straight game.
Once thought to be a Big Ten title contender, the Wildcats will now have to scramble to even make a bowl game after falling 20-17 to Minnesota.
The Gophers forced three turnovers, including a pick-six to give them a 14-7 lead in the third quarter. The third turnover, a fumble, led to the game-deciding field goal with a little more than five minutes remaining in the final frame.
NU still has five league games remaining, all against decent competition in Iowa, Nebraska, Michigan, Michigan State and Illinois.
Winner: Bill Murray
One of the of the greatest moments in College GameDay history happened Saturday morning when guest picker/Ghostbuster Bill Murray threw Lee Corso to the ground on set.
From there, he laid into Corso with some textbook ground-and-pound.
Murray is a Clemson fan and a partial owner of the Charleston (S.C.) RiverDogs Single-A baseball team. When Corso donned a headdress and spear, picking Florida State, Murray tossed him.
Check out more on Murray's takedown from Bleacher Report's Kyle Newport.
Loser: Rajion Neal
As great as Bill Murray's takedown of Lee Corso was, South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney just had to one-up him.
The junior All-American made an emphatic statement, saying "I'm back" after a rough start to the season.
On a second down, Clowney shot into the backfield unblocked and destroyed Tennessee running back Rajion Neal.
Bleacher Report's Kyle Newport has a few angles of Clowney's bone-jarring hit.
The day wasn't all bad for Neal, though. The senior had 77 yards and a touchdown off 24 carries as UT upset USC, 23-21, on a last-second field goal.
Winner: Texas Tech
West Virginia had Texas Tech on the ropes in Morgantown, but collapsed down the stretch.
The Mountaineers led by 11 late in the third quarter, but TTU scored the game's final 21 points to take a 37-27 victory back to Lubbock.
The Red Raiders were guided by a prolific performance from true freshman quarterback Davis Webb, who finished 36-of-50 for 462 yards and two touchdowns.
Both of his scores were hauled in by star tight end Jace Amaro. The junior finished with nine catches for 136 yards. He now has 742 yards and three touchdowns on the year and eight or more receptions in his last six games.
With the win, TTU improved to 7-0 overall and 4-0 in Big 12 play. The Red Raiders will go back on the road next week against Oklahoma.
Two weeks ago, Maryland was 4-0 and looked like a legitimate threat in the ACC.
Then the Terrapins were crushed 63-0 by Florida State and turned around and nearly lost to Virginia. The Terps escaped that near disaster with a 27-26 win.
This week, their poor play continued. They were handily beaten, 34-10, on the road by Wake Forest.
To add insult to injury, they also saw their top two receivers and two best playmakers go down in the loss.
As reported by Jeff Barker of the Baltimore Sun, UMD's top two receivers, Deon Long and Stefon Diggs are both set to have surgery after suffering leg injuries against the Demon Deacons. Long, the team's best deep threat, broke his tibia and fibula, while star speedster Diggs fractured his fibula.
Winners: Miami (FL) and Michigan State
Two division title hopefuls, Michigan State and Miami (FL), both took care of business against soft conference competition.
MSU remained atop the Big Ten Legends Division at 3-0 in conference play after beating Purdue 14-0. The Spartans defense played right to its average, which is better than every other team in the country. Going into the game, they had allowed 228.3 yards per game and held the Boilermakers to 226 this week.
They'll head on the road next week against Illinois. The only other team from the Legends Division still unbeaten in Big Ten play is Nebraska, which was idle this week.
Miami had a bit more trouble with North Carolina, which has yet to win an ACC game. The Hurricanes trailed by 10 points in the fourth quarter but scored two unanswered touchdowns to escape with a 27-23 win Thursday night.
The Canes had to overcome four interceptions thrown by Stephen Morris, but did so thanks to a 137-yard, two-touchdown performance from running back Dallas Crawford.
At 2-0 in ACC play, Miami will still have to fend off Virginia Tech (6-1, 3-0) in the ACC Coastal Division.
Loser: Ohio State
Yes, Ohio State topped Iowa 34-24.
However, the Buckeyes didn't rack up many style points in the process.
The BCS standings probably aren't going to work out in OSU's favor since the remainder of its schedule doesn't feature a single ranked team.
As a result, the Buckeyes will need to start proving that they're one of the nation's strongest teams with convincing victories. They weren't able to do that in a 10-point win over a mediocre Iowa team at home.
OSU did benefit from solid performances from quarterback Braxton Miller and running back Carlos Hyde. Miller connected on 22 of his 27 passes for 222 yards and two touchdowns.
Hyde tallied 149 yards off 24 carries and reached the end zone twice, including an impressive 19-yard score in which he was knocked back five yards before cutting back upfield and diving over the pylon for a touchdown.
The Buckeyes will have an opportunity to impress next week when they take on Penn State in prime time (8 p.m. EDT) on ABC.
After a crushing loss to Utah last week, Stanford bounced back and delivered in a must-win situation.
The Cardinal defense stepped up and shut UCLA down, holding the Bruins to 266 yards—less than half their season average—in a 24-10 win.
UCLA's star quarterback Brett Hundley had by far his worst game of the season, throwing for just 192 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions. The Bruins gained just 74 yards on the ground at a rate of 2.7 yards per rush.
The Stanford offense tallied 419 yards. Running back Tyler Gaffney led the way with 171 yards and two scores on 36 carries. Quarterback Kevin Hogan threw for 227 yards and a touchdown, which was converted by an insane one-handed backhand grab by Kodi Whitfield.
Stanford's next two games are big ones. The Cardinal will take on Oregon State next week and Oregon the following week. OSU and UO are the only teams ahead of them in the Pac-12 North Division standings.
Loser: Texas A&M
Texas A&M teetered on the edge of being upset in each of its last two games thanks to its porous defense.
This week, the Aggies' weak defense finally caught up to them, as they fell to Auburn 45-41.
Johnny Manziel tallied 502 total yards and five total touchdowns, but threw two interceptions and was briefly knocked out of the game with a shoulder injury in the fourth quarter.
Mike Evans was incredible as usual, hauling in 11 receptions for 287 yards and four touchdowns. He broke his own school record of 279 receiving yards, which he set against Alabama earlier this season.
Unfortunately for Evans, both of those performances came in losing efforts.
Now A&M's BCS hopes are officially sunk.
Winner: Gus Malzahn and Auburn
Gus Malzahn was expected to bring Auburn back to prominence, but it wasn't supposed to happen this soon.
Malzahn's Auburn Tigers took down Texas A&M on Saturday to emphatically reintroduce themselves to the SEC and the nation.
AU played its best game of the season, tallying 615 yards and outgaining A&M, which entered the game as the No. 3 offense in the nation and the best in the SEC.
Quarterback Nick Marshall was excellent, accounting for 336 total yards and four touchdowns. He dropped a perfect pass into Marcus Davis' hands on the sideline in the Tigers' final drive that set up the game-winning touchdown.
Tre Mason punched in that deciding score to go along with 178 rushing yards.
Now, Auburn has a realistic shot at the SEC West Division title, sitting at 3-1 in league play.
And at this point, Malzahn looks like a shoo-in for coach of the year in the conference.
Losers: Oklahoma and Oklahoma State
Oklahoma and Oklahoma State both picked up Big 12 wins Saturday, but neither of the Bedlam rivals showed that they can compete for the league title.
OU notched a lackluster win over lowly Kansas. The Sooners fell behind 13-0 before scoring the next 25 points.
The Jayhawks were able to cut the lead down to just one possession in the final frame before the Sooners pulled away late for a 34-19 win. If Oklahoma wants to make it back into the Big 12 title conversation, it will have to show more next week against Texas Tech, one of three teams still undefeated in league play.
OSU was similarly unimpressive against TCU. The Cowboys also saw their lead cut to just one touchdown in the fourth quarter before scoring late to seal the deal, 24-10.
OSU used two quarterbacks, Clint Chelf and J.W. Walsh, but neither was effective. The duo combined for three interceptions and zero touchdowns. Josh Stewart was the lone bright spot for OSU, tallying 141 receiving yards, as well as an electric 95-yard punt return touchdown.
They Cowboys will need heavy doses of Stewart to top Texas Tech in two weeks.
Winners: Aaron Murray, Jeremy Gallon and Jordan Lynch
Three players passed some pretty impressive landmarks Saturday.
Michgan receiver Jeremy Gallon tallied 369 receiving yards to set a new Big Ten record. Meanwhile, quarterback Devin Gardner set UM records with 584 total yards of offense and 503 passing yards.
Finally, Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch had perhaps the most impressive day of them all. The senior set the FBS record for most rushing yards by a quarterback with 316 in NIU’s 38-17 win over Central Michigan.
Washington earned the label as a legitimate contender when it played Stanford to the wire two weeks ago, but it has been all downhill ever since for the Huskies.
This week UW was dominated by Arizona State, 53-24. The Sun Devils outgained the Huskies 585-212.
Bishop Sankey, UW’s star running back, was held to just 22 yards on 13 carries, his worst performance since Week 2 of last season against LSU.
Now, with three straight losses, Washington will have to regroup next week at home against California.
Another week, another Baylor blowout.
Well, the Bears actually struggled last week against Kansas State but they got back to full form this week, obliterating Iowa State 71-7.
Baylor held the Cyclones off the scoreboard until the final minute when they yielded a courtesy touchdown.
Running back Lache Seastrunk regained his groove, tallying 112 yards and two touchdowns. Meanwhile, quarterback Bryce Petty completed 23 of 31 passes for 343 yards and three total touchdowns.
BU remains the team to beat in the Big 12 but won’t truly be tested until its Nov. 7 date with Oklahoma. Next week, a 100-point alert might have to go out as the Bears take on Kansas.
LSU became the fourth Top 15 SEC team to be upset this week.
The Tigers offense stalled in a 27-24 loss to Ole Miss. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger had his worst performance of the year, throwing three interceptions.
Those picks allowed the Rebels to build a 17-0 lead behind a big day from quarterback Bo Wallace. The junior connected on 30 of 39 passes for a season-high 346 yards.
Meanwhile, sophomore running back Jaylen Walton nearly outrushed LSU single-handedly with 106 yards and two scores. The Tigers tallied just 3.3 yards per carry for 114 yards on the ground.
Now at 3-2, LSU is all but out of the SEC West race.
While nearly every other top team in the SEC fell this week, Alabama methodically and mercilessly took care of business.
The Crimson Tide have really hit their stride in the last two games, outscoring Arkansas and Kentucky 100-7, including a 52-0 skunking of the Razorbacks.
AJ McCarron was the picture of efficiency, completing 15 of 21 passes for 180 yards and three touchdowns in three quarters of play.
Alabama had two runners over 100 yards for the second straight week. Last week it was T.J. Yeldon and Kenyan Drake. This week it was Drake and true freshman Derrick Henry. Henry amassed 111 yards off just six carries, Drake had 104 on eight touches and Yeldon added 88 on 12 carries.
The Tide defense held the Hogs to just 91 passing and 256 total yards while forcing three turnovers.
It may be more of the same next week when they host Tennessee.
Loser: Second Half in South Bend
Notre Dame and USC might as well have called the game at halftime.
The Fighting Irish went into the break with a 14-10 lead and when the final buzzer sounded, the Irish were still up 14-10.
The longest drive of the second half was USC’s final drive, which went 34 yards.
The two teams combined to go 6-of-30 on third and fourth down, including 1-of-14 on third down in the second half.
Neither team proved much in the game, as the Trojans and the Irish will carry their share of issues through the rest of the season.
Winners: Jameis Winston and Florida State
If there was any doubt before tonight, it is now clear that Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is the real deal.
The redshirt freshman has the kind of poise and confidence that some redshirt seniors (Tajh Boyd) can only dream about. Winston finished 22-of-34 for 444 yards and three touchdowns in FSU’s 51-14 victory.
He made a major statement in the Heisman Trophy race and will be in the spotlight enough going forward to have an excellent shot at the award.
FSU is now the team to beat in the ACC and is on the short list of legitimate BCS title hopefuls. The 'Noles have two regular season tests remaining—a Nov. 2 date with Miami and a Nov. 30 trip to The Swamp to take on Florida.
Losers: Tajh Boyd and Clemson
The Tigers were ranked at No. 3 and played host to No. 5 Florida State with ACC and BCS title hopes on the line, but tripped on Howard’s Rock and fell face first into Death Valley as the Seminoles trampled them for four quarters.
FSU dominated from wire-to-wire, outgaining Clemson 565-326 in the 51-14 win. Florida State emerged as the better team on both sides of the ball and seemingly at every position on the field.
Tajh Boyd lost miserably in the quarterback battle with Jameis Winston. The CU senior tallied just 156 yards through the air and had two interceptions.
In one loss, CU lost its hopes for the ACC title, a BCS berth and the Heisman Trophy.
Winner: Ka'Deem Carey
It isn’t easy trying to be the nation’s No. 1 rusher. Washington’s Bishop Sankey gave up the crown after a rough game against Arizona State and Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey capitalized.
The junior ripped Utah for 236 yards and a touchdown in UA’s 35-24 win and is now averaging 161 yards per game. He capped the outstanding effort off with a game-sealing 44-yard touchdown run in the final two minutes.
Carey has eclipsed 125 yards in all five of his games this season and is averaging over six yards per carry.
The Wildcats needed the big performance from Carey to bounce back from a 38-31 loss to USC last week. He’ll have another opportunity for a big game next week against Colorado, which ranks 11th in the Pac-12 in rush defense.
Loser: Connor Halliday's Shoulder
Someone get Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday some ice.
The junior threw the ball an NCAA record 89 times, completing 58 passes for 557 yards. In those astronomical 89 attempts, he found the end zone four times but also tossed four interceptions.
This all came in a losing effort, as the Cougars fell 62-38 to Oregon.
Sitting at 4-4 with four tough opponents left on the schedule, Wazzu will have to dig deep to reach bowl eligibility. The Cougars will have a week off before facing Arizona State on Thursday, Oct. 31.
For the first time this season, Oregon faced adversity in the form of turnover issues. The Ducks coughed up three fumbles after turning the ball over just five times in their first six games.
UO’s “off day” was still incredibly impressive, as it resulted in 719 yards and a 62-38 win over Washington State.
The Cougars exposed the Duck defense more than any other team this season, amassing 559 yards, though just two of those came on the ground and the other 557 through the air.
Despite turning the ball over for the first time this year, Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota still had a great day. He threw for 327 yards and two scores while running eight times for 67 yards and a touchdown.
Running back Byron Marshall also put up a huge performance with 192 yards and three touchdowns while De’Anthony Thomas sat out yet again.
Oregon will host UCLA next week.
Winner: Oregon State
Oregon State continued its resurgence in the Week 8 nightcap with a 49-17 win over California.
The Beavers again saw insane production from quarterback Sean Mannion and receiver Brandin Cooks.
Mannion finished 35-of-45 for 481 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions. As a result, his favorite target, Brandin Cooks, amassed 232 receiving yards and a touchdown.
Mannion has now broken 350 yards in all seven games and has eclipsed 400 yards five times. His touchdown-to-interception ratio is 29 to 3. Cooks now has two games over 200 yards receiving and has eclipsed 90 yards in all seven of OSU’s games. He also added his second rushing touchdown of the year.
If the Beavers continue to play their way back into the national spotlight, Cooks and Mannion will play themselves onto the short lists for numerous end-of-the-year awards.
Oregon State has its first true test at home next week against Stanford.