Winners and Losers from Week 9 of College Football
After two upset-filled weeks, some order has been restored in Week 9, as the favorites have rolled.
Johnny Manziel shrugged off his shoulder injury and led Texas A&M to a blowout win over Vanderbilt. Meanwhile, both Alabama and Florida State cruised to easy wins and dominated on both sides of the ball in the process.
Oregon followed suit on Saturday evening, weathering an early storm against UCLA before running away in the second half for a decisive victory.
One of the biggest winners of the day was an unusual one, as Duke pulled the first major upset of the day, knocking off Virginia Tech to lock down bowl eligibility for a second straight season.
Elsewhere, Michigan State and Miami (Fla.) each won to take the next step toward their respective division titles.
Check out all of that and more up ahead.
Winner: Miami (Fla.)
Miami is a winner—for today at least.
The Hurricanes notched another comeback against a team that it should have handled without worry at home. Although they are still undefeated, the performance doesn't leave much hope for their meeting with Florida State next week.
Wake Forest led The U until just inside the final six minutes, when Duke Johnson punched in one of his two touchdowns of the day. Wake answered with a quick-strike touchdown drive to briefly retake the lead.
However, the 'Canes leaned on Johnson yet again to punch in his second score with less than a minute remaining on the clock. An interception by Antonio Crawford on the Demon Deacons' final drive sealed the 24-21 escape.
Miami knows it has some playmakers on defense and a great running game with Johnson and Dallas Crawford, but it will need more than that to beat FSU, which looked incredible in a win over North Carolina State.
Nebraska displayed its share of issues early in the season, though they hadn't taken the Cornhuskers to the loss column yet in Big Ten play.
Against Minnesota, the Huskers' issues on both sides of the ball came back to bite them.
The Gophers gouged the Huskers for 430 yards, including 271 on the ground, in the 34-23 upset. Meanwhile, quarterback Taylor Martinez struggled in his return, completing just 53 percent of his passes for 139 yards.
The poor day from Martinez spoiled another outstanding performance from running back Ameer Abdullah, who slashed his way to 165 rushing yards on 19 carries. Abdullah began the day right behind Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon atop the Big Ten rushing charts, and that's where he'll stay. However, that won't do much to dull the pain of this defeat.
After the loss, head coach Bo Pelini may be back on the hot seat.
Winner: Oklahoma State
A lot was made of Oklahoma State's quarterback situation heading into this game. The Cowboys ended up starting Clint Chelf, but it didn't really matter.
The ground game, paced by Desmond Roland, carried OSU. The junior running back tallied 219 yards and four touchdowns—both career highs—as the Cowboys rolled 58-27 over Iowa State.
They also benefited from two defensive touchdowns: an interception return by Justin Gilbert and a fumble return from Tyler Johnson. The big day from the defense and from Roland was much-needed for an OSU offense that hasn't been quite up to par this season.
The Cowboys still need to figure out their passing game but are very much alive in the Big 12 title race for now.
Loser: Boise State
Boise State has suffered its first three-loss season since 2007 and could be on its way to its first campaign with four losses since 2005.
BYU dominated the Broncos in Provo in the 37-20 defeat.
Quarterback Taysom Hill led the Cougars with another excellent game. The sophomore finished 27-of-41 for 339 passing yards and three scores. He added 69 rushing yards and a touchdown on 18 carries.
The absence of quarterback Joe Southwick, who broke his ankle in last week's win over Nevada, proved to be a major setback for the Broncos. BSU didn't reach the end zone until 3:44 left in the third quarter.
The only good news for Boise is that the nonconference loss won't hurt its bid for the Mountain West title, though beating Fresno State in a potential MWC championship matchup is looking unlikely.
Winners: Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M
Johnny Manziel wasn't quite 100 percent against Vanderbilt. He winced in pain from time to time, favoring his injured shoulder. He carried the ball just four times for 11 yards—both career lows.
However, despite the low rushing numbers, he proved that a Johnny Football at less than 100 percent is still better than just about any other quarterback at full health. The reigning Heisman winner went 10-of-10 passing on his first drive and finished 25-of-35 for 305 yards with four touchdowns and one interception.
Behind Manziel's gritty performance, Texas A&M racked up 558 yards in a 56-24 win.
Mike Evans and Derel Walker each brought in two touchdown receptions in the much-needed A&M victory.
Make it four straight losses for Northwestern.
The frustrating slide continues for the Wildcats, who fell 17-10 in overtime to Iowa.
Quarterback Kain Colter made a solid return, completing 11 of 14 passes for 104 yards and a touchdown without an interception. The dual-threat senior added 60 yards on the ground.
NU was also strong on third down, completing eight of 14 conversion attempts.
However, a pair of fumbles by running back Mike Trumpy trumped the Cats' attempt at their first Big Ten victory.
Iowa quarterback Jake Rudock hooked up with tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz for the go-ahead score in overtime, and Colter was sacked on the final play, sealing the Hawkeyes victory.
After starting 4-0, NU now sits at 4-4 and will need to make a serious turnaround to even attain a bowl berth.
Winner: Michigan State
Michigan State scored a double win thanks to the loss by Nebraska.
The Spartans dominated Illinois 42-3 and became the only team with an unblemished conference record in the Big Ten Legends Division.
Quarterback Connor Cook led the way for MSU, completing 15 of 16 passes for 208 yards and three touchdowns. One of those scores was a nifty catch by Bennie Fowler brought in off a tip by Illinois defensive back Jaylen Dunlap.
Running back Jeremy Langford added 104 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries in what was arguably the Spartans' best overall performance of the season.
They're hitting their stride at just the right time and can essentially lock up a berth in the Big Ten title game with wins over Michigan and Nebraska in the next two games.
Quarterback Tom Savage had one of his best games of the season, but it wasn't quite enough for Pitt to avoid an ugly nonconference loss.
Savage finished 20-of-27 for 203 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions, but the Panthers fell 24-21 to Navy. The Midshipmen won on a last-second 30-yard field goal from Nick Sloan.
Each member of Pitt's prolific wide receiver duo, Tyler Boyd and Devin Street, hauled in a touchdown reception. Street had nine catches overall to become Pitt's all-time receptions leader.
However, the Panthers couldn't do enough to slow the Navy rushing attack, which bruised its way to 220 yards. Quarterback Keenan Reynolds led the way with 93 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries, while adding 105 passing yards and a touchdown.
Pitt fell to 4-3 with the loss and will have to fight for a bowl berth over its final five games.
For the first time in school history, Duke will be going bowling in consecutive years.
The Blue Devils gained just 198 total yards, but it was enough to edge the equally inept Virginia Tech offense in a 13-10 win.
Winners of four straight, the Blue Devils couldn't convert a third down in 11 tries and held the ball nearly 20 minutes less than the Hokies. Quarterback Anthony Boone threw four picks but punched in Duke's only touchdown.
Kicker Ross Martin ended up being the difference for Duke. The sophomore hit two field goals, one from 51 yards and another from 53 yards.
Loser: Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas was on a hot streak and hadn't thrown an interception in three games. But the senior made up for lost time, throwing four picks against Duke.
His fourth interception came in the final five minutes and allowed Duke to salt away the 13-10 victory, even though VT outgained Duke 387-198 and held nearly a 20-minute time-of-possession advantage.
Thomas ran for 101 yards and a touchdown, but it wasn't enough to offset his mistakes.
With the loss, the Hokies fell to second place in the ACC Coastal Division behind Miami. They will face the Hurricanes on the road on Nov. 9.
Winners: Alabama and Florida State
The top two teams in the country played like, well, the top two teams in the country.
Florida State jumped out to a 42-0 lead over North Carolina State, while Alabama scored the first 35 points against Tennessee. FSU cruised to a 49-17 win, while UA rolled 45-10.
Heisman candidate Jameis Winston had another strong day to pace the Seminoles, throwing for 292 yards and three touchdowns. Meanwhile, AJ McCarron led the Crimson Tide with 275 passing yards and two scores.
The 'Noles had Devonta Freeman and Karlos Williams combine for 178 rushing yards and three scores, while Alabama backs T.J. Yeldon and Kenyan Drake amassed 161 yards and three touchdowns.
Both teams were strong defensively as well, holding their opposition under 325 total yards.
The eerily similar performances have both the Tide and the 'Noles looking like national-title-caliber teams.
Loser: Vandy's Pooch Punt
The pooch punt can be pretty effective. If a quarterback can boot a clean punt against an unsuspecting defense, the resulting field position can be great.
However, it didn't work out so well for Vanderbilt and quarterback Patton Robinette. The freshman shanked a dreadful kick from his 45-yard line that bounced backward to the 50, resulting in a net of just five yards for the Commodores.
They went on to lose 56-24.
Bleacher Report's Kyle Newport has multiple shots of the ugly duckling from Robinette.
When a loss would have essentially knocked Oklahoma out of the Big 12 title race, the Sooners came up with an enormous victory.
OU protected its home field, knocking off No. 10 Texas Tech 38-30 behind 526 yards of offense.
Quarterback Blake Bell had an excellent day, finishing 14-of-22 for 249 yards and two touchdowns. Both of his scoring strikes went to Jalen Saunders, who had 153 yards on six receptions.
Running back Damien Williams had his best game of the season, tallying 97 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries.
The Sooners are now locked in a three-way tie for third place in the Big 12 with Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. OU will take on Big 12 favorite Baylor on Nov. 7.
Loser: Texas Tech
Texas Tech faced its first true test of the season against Oklahoma and performed well. However, it wasn't enough for a passing grade.
The Red Raiders fell just short in a 38-30 loss in Norman.
They amassed 460 yards of offense but were hurt by three turnovers, including an interception early in the fourth quarter that led to a touchdown that gave OU an 11-point lead.
TTU fought back but wasn't able to recover from that costly mistake. Now the Red Raiders are tied for third place in the Big 12 with Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
Another key tilt will come next week against the Cowboys.
Winner: Garrett Gilbert
It has been quite the journey for Garrett Gilbert.
He was a 247Sports composite 5-star recruit coming out of high school and committed to Texas. He showed much promise for the Longhorns but never quite panned out and eventually transferred to SMU.
In a 59-49 win over Temple, Gilbert tallied 635 total yards, the seventh-most in a single game in FBS history.
The senior threw for 538 yards and four touchdowns while running for 97 yards and two scores. It was his sixth game with more than 300 passing yards this year and his second game over 450 yards.
The 538 passing yards broke his own school record set earlier this year against Rutgers.
Losers: Brett Hundley and UCLA
Brett Hundley's Heisman Trophy campaign took a major hit with his rough performance in UCLA's 24-10 loss last week to Stanford.
That campaign is officially dead, as he had an even worse game in the Bruins' 42-14 loss to Oregon.
The redshirt sophomore completed 13 of 19 passes but totaled just 64 yards through the air with one touchdown and two interceptions. He ran for 72 yards and a score, but UCLA didn't even manage 300 total yards in the loss.
UCLA still has a shot at the Pac-12 South Division title, but it will need to bring injured running back Jordon James back to the lineup. With James sitting out the last three games, the UCLA offense just hasn't been the same.
UCLA gave Oregon all it had, but the Bruins could only hang with the Ducks for two quarters of play.
After going into the locker room locked in a 14-14 tie, UO took over in the second half, posting four unanswered touchdowns to win 42-14.
The Ducks amassed 555 yards and dominated on the ground once again. De'Anthony Thomas made a decent return, tallying 31 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries, all in the first half. While his role was limited, UO was paced by Byron Marshall and Thomas Tyner, who combined for 210 rushing yards and four touchdowns.
Quarterback Marcus Mariota was solid, though he wasn't quite as lethal as usual. The redshirt sophomore finished 21-of-28 passing for 230 yards and a touchdown.
The Ducks defense was outstanding, forcing two turnovers and holding the Bruins to just 283 total yards, including only 64 passing.
Oregon will have a bye next week before its highly anticipated Thursday night clash with Stanford on Nov. 7.
South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier perfectly summed up his team's win in his postgame interview on ESPN 2. "I don't know how it happened," he said.
Missouri appeared to be in full control as it dominated early on, jumping out to a 17-0 lead in the third quarter. Then the Gamecocks plugged in the injured Connor Shaw at quarterback and scored 17 unanswered points in the final frame.
Then in overtime, Mizzou took control right away, scoring with ease to take a 24-17 lead. The game looked all but decided when South Carolina faced a 4th-and-goal from the 15, but Shaw found wideout Bruce Ellington in the corner of the end zone for a miraculous touchdown pass.
In the second overtime, a tie looked inevitable when the Tigers lined up for a game-tying 24-yard chip-shot field goal, but Andrew Baggett knocked the kick off the left upright, giving the Gamecocks a 27-24 win.
With the loss, Mizzou was knocked out of the BCS title picture and will now have to either win out or hope for another South Carolina loss to seal the SEC East Division. The Tigers still have to go through Tennessee, Kentucky, Ole Miss and Texas A&M. South Carolina, meanwhile, has remaining tilts with Mississippi State, Florida, Coastal Carolina and Clemson.
Winner: Ohio State
Ask and ye shall receive.
Since the release of the first BCS standings, Ohio State heard time and time again about how it needed to post "style points." So the Buckeyes came out and did just that.
OSU flexed its muscle, liquidating Penn State 63-14 behind big nights from quarterback Braxton Miller and running back Carlos Hyde.
Miller finished 19-of-24 passing for 252 yards and three touchdowns, while also adding 68 rushing yards and two touchdowns off 11 carries. Hyde bruised his way to 147 rushing yards, reaching the end zone twice.
The Buckeyes did exactly what they needed to do to boost their BCS resume. They'll also have to hope that Michigan State keeps winning. A win in the Big Ten title game over an 11-1 Michigan State team would be beneficial as well.
Even then, they still might need some help in the BCS, but the Buckeyes did all they could this week.
Losers: Evening Blowouts
Usually games that are destined to be blowouts are slated for 12 p.m. ET kickoffs while people are still out and about for the day, less likely to watch the carnage...but not this week.
While many college football fans yawned through these games, the teams playing them walked away happy.
Baylor annihilated Kansas 59-14, outgaining the Jayhawks 743-308. Quarterback Bryce Petty led the way, throwing for 430 yards and three touchdowns, while running backs Lache Seastrunk and Shock Linwood combined for 215 yards and three scores.
Ole Miss did much of the same to Idaho, clobbering the Vandals 59-14 as well. The Rebels tallied 572 yards to Idaho's 253. Running backs I'Tavius Mathers and Jaylen Walton cumulatively amassed 224 yards and three touchdowns on the ground for the Rebels.
LSU and Auburn both carried on the cupcake blowout trend. The Auburn Tigers outgained Florida Atlantic by 381 yards in a 45-10 win. The LSU Tigers were even more dominant statistically, exploding for 672 yards and holding Furman to just 198 in their 48-16 victory.
The competition will ratchet up for all four teams coming up. Baylor will have a bye before hosting Oklahoma the following Thursday. Ole Miss will also have a week off before hosting Arkansas, while Auburn will take on that same Razorback squad next week. Finally, LSU will have next week off before its pivotal tilt with Alabama on Nov. 9.
Texas had to endure a three-hour rain delay and take on a TCU team with starting quarterback Casey Pachall back at the helm. In the end, the Longhorns powered through those obstacles for a dominant 30-7 win over the Horned Frogs.
UT held TCU to 246 total yards, including 45 on the ground. The Frogs netted 1.9 yards per carry, as their leading rusher, Aaron Green, had 34 yards. The Longhorns controlled possession and leaned on a combined 145 yards and two touchdowns from running backs Johnathan Gray and Malcolm Brown.
With the win, Texas remained alongside Baylor as one of two teams still undefeated in Big 12 play. The Horns have a couple of winnable games coming up against Kansas and West Virginia before finishing with three tough teams in Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Baylor.
A few weeks ago, UT and head coach Mack Brown were dead in the water. Now the Longhorns are swimming their way toward a potential Big 12 title run.
Loser: Oregon State
Oregon State had its chances to beat Stanford at home.
However, the Beavers missed on four fourth-down conversions that took crucial points off the board in their 20-12 loss.
OSU's ultimate fourth-down failure came on 4th-and-goal on the final play of the game. Sean Mannion's last pass fell incomplete, ending his team's comeback attempt.
Both defenses deserve credit for strong games, as neither offense eclipsed 300 total yards. OSU held Stanford's Kevin Hogan to just 88 passing yards. Meanwhile, Mannion notched a season-low 271 passing yards and was sacked eight times, ending with negative-60 rushing yards.
Oregon State still has an outside shot at winning the Pac-12 North Division title. If the Beavers win out and Oregon beats Stanford, they'll win the division.
The Cardinal will have next weekend off before hosting UO on Thursday, Nov. 7.