Winners and Losers of Week 7 in College Football
We're sorry if your favorite program lost in Week 7, but Bleacher Report's preferred squad came to play. Team Chaos made an impression from coast to coast, and it didn't take long.
Friday night, a pair of unbeaten Top 10 teams fell as Syracuse knocked off Clemson, and Cal dismantled Washington State.
Team Chaos wasn't satisfied, though. As the dust settled on Saturday, five more ranked programs—Washington, Auburn, San Diego State, Texas Tech and Navy—had fallen. Others such as Miami, Oklahoma and Michigan narrowly avoided upsets during the entertaining weekend.
We're highlighting the best and worst performances of Week 7.
Note: This piece will be updated Saturday as late games go final.
Winner: Dino Babers, Syracuse
Syracuse upset Virginia Tech last season, but its 27-24 win over the second-ranked team in the country is program-changing.
Most impressively, the Orange always seemed in control of the ACC clash. They never trailed and outgained Clemson 440-317.
"They flat-out out-coached us tonight," said Clemson's Dabo Swinney of Dino Babers and his staff, per David Hale of ESPN. Swinney, as you may recall, has guided Clemson to two straight national championship appearances. He knows what good coaching is.
Now 4-3, Syracuse is in excellent position to secure the program's first bowl berth since 2013. And on the recruiting trail, Babers can tout an impressive win. That's a key for convincing blue-chip prospects to pick Syracuse.
Loser: Washington State Cougars
Cal stuck with USC into the fourth quarter earlier this season, so the Golden Bears proved they're a formidable opponent.
Washington State, undefeated and ranked eighth, played like it wasn't.
Luke Falk threw five interceptions and lost a fumble in the 37-3 loss. Although Cal scored an unspectacular 13 points off those turnovers, three picks ended a Washington State drive that crossed midfield—and two of those had reached the red zone.
Since it was the Cougs' first loss of the campaign, they're still a factor in the College Football Playoff conversation. But with Stanford, Utah and Washington looming in November, Wazzu's margin for error has shrunk from slim to nonexistent.
Winner: Nyheim Hines, North Carolina State
As a result of Clemson's loss, North Carolina State entered the weekend in sole possession of the ACC Atlantic Division lead.
Thanks to Nyheim Hines, the Wolfpack stayed there by moving to 4-0 in the conference.
Pitt opened the scoring, but Hines responded with an 83-yard touchdown run. And the next time he touched the ball, the junior found a crease and returned a punt 92 yards to the house.
Hines finished the contest with 135 rushing yards—his third straight 100-yard game and fifth consecutive of 90-plus—and a total of 249 all-purpose yards during the 35-17 triumph.
Loser: Butch Jones' Survival Effort
If you didn't already know Butch Jones was on a scorching-hot seat, well: He doesn't have much of a future at Tennessee. Entering Week 7, the Vols needed a spark, so Jones benched quarterback Quinten Dormady and turned to prized freshman Jarrett Guarantano.
Although Tennessee jumped ahead early, South Carolina recovered and held off a last-second drive to snag a 15-9 victory.
Guarantano had three chances from the two-yard line, but each pass fell incomplete as time ticked off the clock.
Jones' firing seemed inevitable, and another tight loss to a mid-tier SEC opponent suggests the time for his departure may have arrived. Even if he sticks around for another game, we'll have this same conversation after Tennessee travels to Alabama in Week 8.
Winner: Will Grier, West Virginia
"Well, that was a lot of fun," West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen said following Saturday's game against Texas Tech, per Matt Keller of Blue & Gold News.
You could say that.
West Virginia trailed 35-17 in the third quarter. Will Grier led a touchdown drive, then the defense started to help.
Over the final 21 minutes of the Big 12 contest, the Mountaineers rattled off 29 unanswered points to win 46-35. Grier threw four scores, while the defense—after a missed Texas Tech field goal with 1:52 left in the third—forced a trio of three-and-outs and sealed the victory with an interception.
Grier completed 32 of his 41 attempts for 352 yards and five scores. David Sills caught three TDs, and Ka'Raun White nabbed two.
Loser: Louisville's Defense
Lamar Jackson piled up 512 yards of total offense and accounted for five touchdowns. It wasn't enough for Louisville.
The defense struggled in the worst way, as it surrendered 555 yards in a stunning 45-42 loss to Boston College, which hadn't reached the 500-yard mark on offense since 2014.
AJ Dillon shredded the Cardinals for 272 yards and four touchdowns, including his devastating 75-yard run early in the fourth quarter. Dillon mercilessly stiff-armed Louisville safety Chucky Williams to the ground and sprinted past two defenders for the score.
Colton Lichtenberg's 27-yard field goal as time expired handed the Cardinals their third loss.
Winner: Darrell Langham's Magic for Miami
Darrell Langham is becoming a Miami legend.
That's impressive for someone who entered Week 7 with four career receptions, don't you think?
Langham made the game-winning touchdown grab at Florida State last week, and clutch plays in rivalry games are replayed forever. But he also saved the Hurricanes against Georgia Tech, as he reeled in a tipped pass on 4th-and-10 to extend what would be the game-winning drive.
Malik Rosier underthrew the pass, but Langham stuck with it and completed the 28-yard catch. Three plays later, Michael Badgley knocked home a field goal to give Miami the 25-24 win.
Langham, who totaled career highs of five receptions and 100 yards, helped the 'Canes remain undefeated at 5-0.
Loser: Auburn's Collapse at LSU
Death Valley swallowed up yet another Auburn team, but Gus Malzahn's crew will be particularly disappointed with this shortcoming.
Auburn scored on four straight possessions to begin the SEC showdown and raced out to a 20-0 advantage. After kicking a field goal with 2:16 to go in the first half, however, the visiting Tigers mustered 63 yards of total offense over seven second-half possessions.
It was a complete and utter collapse.
The 27-23 loss meant LSU protected its home field for the ninth straight meeting between the SEC West rivals. In other words, Auburn hasn't won in Baton Rouge during this millennium.
Winner: Shea Patterson-A.J. Brown Connection
The largest takeaway of this matchup is Alabama has broken Vanderbilt's defense, but we're looking at the positives.
Early in the season, Ole Miss quarterback Shea Patterson and receiver A.J. Brown had formed a lethal connection. Following a brief hiccup, the duo returned in impressive fashion.
Brown caught eight passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns, which covered 58 and 29 yards. Five of his other six receptions resulted in a first down during a 57-35 beatdown of Vanderbilt. It was the fourth time Brown has eclipsed 100 yards in 2017.
Patterson recorded his fifth 300-yard output of the season, as he amassed 351 yards and four scores while leading nine scoring drives.
Loser: Houston Falling to 1-Win Tulsa
Houston closed as a 14-point favorite over 1-5 Tulsa, per OddsShark. The Cougars ended up losing by four touchdowns.
It was a disaster of an afternoon for Major Applewhite's squad, which held a 10-7 advantage at halftime but surrendered 38 points after the break—all of which happened in the final 19 minutes.
The Golden Hurricane (2-5, 1-2) rushed for 288 yards, the highest mark Houston has ceded to a non-option opponent since 2014. D'Angelo Brewer rumbled for 140 yards, Shamari Brooks tallied 111 and Chad President scored a pair of touchdowns.
Houston (4-2, 2-1) remains alive in the American Athletic Conference race, but a short week with Memphis on the horizon could change that.
Winner: James Washington, Oklahoma State
Checking in at 6'0" and 205 pounds, James Washington might be the most underrated playmaker in the country. It's not like defenses don't know about the downfield star, yet he continues to torch opposing corners and safeties for big plays.
Baylor was the latest to receive the Washington treatment, as it watched him collect 235 yards on just six catches. The senior caught a 68-yard touchdown and added receptions of 45, 43 and 54 yards.
Sure, Washington fumbled once, but that's not a deal-breaker since Oklahoma State cruised to a 59-16 triumph.
Oh, and Baylor (0-6) still doesn't have a win.
Loser: Navy's Perfect Season
Turnovers crushed Navy in a frustrating loss to Memphis.
The Midshipmen entered the AAC showdown with a respectable six giveaways on the year. They nearly doubled that total during a 30-27 loss by losing three fumbles and tossing two picks.
Memphis turned those five takeaways into 13 points, and the second interception sealed the victory. The Tigers also limited Navy to 334 yards of offense—just the second time in 2017 the Mids haven't reached the 500-yard plateau.
Navy will try to rebound in Week 8, but that'll be an immense challenge against a UCF team on a torrid winning streak.
Winner: Oklahoma's Escape from Texas
Rivalry wins don't have to be pretty.
Oklahoma narrowly avoided a second straight loss when it clipped Texas 29-24 thanks to a blown coverage. Baker Mayfield hit an uncovered Mark Andrews for a 59-yard go-ahead touchdown before the Sooners managed two stops to ice the victory.
Why wasn't it pretty, you ask? Oklahoma held a commanding 20-0 advantage, but the problematic trend of struggling to finish drives hurt the Sooners again. They settled for three red-zone field goals and failed to score on two other possessions that crossed midfield.
But a win is a win. Oklahoma improved to 5-1 and kept its Big 12 championship and College Football Playoff dreams alive.
Loser: Mike Riley, Nebraska
"[Mike] Riley needs to beat the spread, if not the Buckeyes. Things are already ugly. The coach doesn't need uglier."
The Buckeyes cruised to a 35-0 halftime lead and added another touchdown before Nebraska finally scored. A few alternating scores later, Ohio State wrapped up a painless 56-14 win. J.T. Barrett matched a career-best mark with seven total touchdowns.
Heading into a bye week, the Cornhuskers are 3-4. If they don't recover down the final stretch, Riley could be headed out the door.
Winner: USC's Second Half
USC played poorly in the first half Saturday against Utah, as it committed three turnovers while falling behind 21-7 at home.
But the second half belonged to the Trojans.
Ronald Jones II collected 66 of his 111 rushing yards after the break and capped his triple-figure contribution with an 11-yard touchdown where he flipped over the final defender. Plus, the defense forced four straight punts and made a stop on the game-deciding two-point conversion attempt in a thrilling 28-27 victory.
QB Sam Darnold posted 358 yards and three touchdowns during the win. He also avoided an interception for the first time this season.
Loser: UCLA's Attempt to Stop Khalil Tate
Khalil Tate surprised the college football world with a 327-yard, four-touchdown outburst on the ground in Week 6. He also completed 12 of 13 passes for 154 yards and a score.
Although the numbers weren't quite as lofty Saturday night, he provided much of the same in Arizona's 47-30 win over UCLA.
The sophomore sliced through a hapless Bruins defense to the tune of 230 yards on the ground and connected on nine of 13 attempts for 148 yards. Tate accounted for three scores on the night.
A string of three decent defenses—Cal, Washington State and USC—should allay the Tate hype because he can't just run everywhere, but he's riding an entertaining hot streak for now.
Winner: Boise State's Upset Bid
Boise State finally achieved what no other defense before it had accomplished: It contained Rashaad Penny.
The Broncos limited the Heisman Trophy hopeful to 53 yards and one touchdown on 21 carries. Remove his long run of 21, and Boise State conceded a paltry 32 yards on 20 attempts.
During the first three quarters, San Diego State faced 12 third downs—and none required fewer than five yards to convert. Laboring to move the ball on early downs plagued the Aztecs until it was too late.
Boise State registered a 31-14 victory and put a serious dent in SDSU’s hopes of a New Year’s Six bowl berth.
Loser: Washington Huskies
What, uh, was that, Washington?
The Huskies left fans and analysts searching for words following a remarkably poor showing in a 13-7 loss at Arizona State.
Jake Browning averaged a meager 4.6 yards per pass attempt. The offensive line surrendered five sacks and several more hurries—even if they weren't officially logged. Arizona State was in the backfield all night. Washington finished 3-of-14 on third down.
And on special teams, placekicker Van Soderberg missed field goals from 27 and 21 yards.
Washington's defense did its job, ceding 285 yards and 13 points. On any other night, that should be more than enough to win. In Week 7, Team Chaos deemed it unworthy.