Winners and Losers of Week 7 in College Football
Upset Saturday arrived in a massive way, sending more than a handful of ranked teams to losses and trimming the field of College Football Playoff contenders.
Not only did four Top 10 teams fall, but two of them suffered their second loss of the season. Barring a complete national letdown, Penn State and Washington have been eliminated from championship contention. Technically speaking, Miami and Wisconsin exited, too.
LSU, meanwhile, stayed alive in the CFP chase. The Tigers earned the marquee victory of the week, dominating No. 2 Georgia en route to a 20-point win. Michigan also thrived with a convincing win against a ranked Wisconsin team.
We've recapped the biggest stories of an action-packed week. This piece will be updated as Saturday's games go final.
Winner: Tyler Huntley, Utah
Quietly, Tyler Huntley had a legendary night.
During a 42-10 thrashing of Arizona, the Utah quarterback showed off his passing, running and receiving skills. He completed 14 of 19 passes for 201 yards, scampered for 64 and caught a 58-yard pass—accounting for a touchdown in each category.
According to Sports Reference, Huntley became the first player since 2000 to record a 200/50/50 stat line.
Most importantly for Utah, it improved to 2-2 in conference action and will remain a threat in the Pac-12 race. But that's a performance Huntley should remember for a long time.
Loser: Georgia Tech's Ball Security
Late in the third quarter, the ACC Coastal Division clash between Georgia Tech and Duke was locked up at seven points apiece. Then, a game-changing case of fumble-itis enveloped the Yellow Jackets offense and special teams.
Jerry Howard lost a fumble near midfield, and Duke scored four plays later. Tech QB TaQuon Marshall fumbled on first snap of the ensuing possession, and Juanyeh Thomas coughed up the ball on the kickoff that followed Duke's touchdown—and it led to another.
In a matter of 1 minute, 56 seconds, Duke scored 21 points.
There are many ways to lose a football game, but self-inflicted issues are the toughest to handle. The Yellow Jackets fell to 3-4.
Winner: Tennessee? Tennessee!
For the first time since 2016, Tennessee defeated an SEC opponent. Even better for the Vols, it was against a ranked team.
Sophomore quarterback Jarrett Guarantano posted career-high marks of 21 completions and 328 yards in the 30-24 win. He consistently made the right play at the perfect moment since nine of Tennessee's 10 third-down conversions came from his arm.
"I think he did a really good job today of him having an effect on his teammates," head coach Jeremy Pruitt said, according to Nathan King of the Associated Press. "We had some guys today that I think played their best football."
Pruitt, meanwhile, wasted no time in earning a signature win during his debut season with the program. Auburn doesn't deserve a No. 21 ranking, but it's a ranked victory for UT nonetheless.
Loser: Ohio State's Red-Zone Offense
On the bright side for Ohio State, a victory is what matters most. That doesn't mean Saturday's effort was anything close to pretty.
During a 30-14 win over Minnesota, the Buckeyes failed to score a touchdown on three red-zone possessions. They kicked a field goal twice and had a turnover on downs.
Ohio State holds a 7-0 record entering a prime-time matchup with Purdue, but that execution must improve before the schedule gets tougher in November.
Winner: Nate Stanley, Iowa
After tossing only five touchdowns in Iowa's first four games, Nate Stanley is heating up.
Saturday, the junior quarterback shredded Indiana for a season-best 320 yards and career-high six scores. Five players caught a touchdown during the 42-16 road triumph.
"He's a big dude, you know, and my goodness, we bounced off of him like a pinball," Indiana coach Tom Allen told reporters of Stanley. "I have a lot of respect for him."
Since both Iowa and Wisconsin have one Big Ten loss and Penn State remaining on the schedule, the Hawkeyes are officially back in the West Division race. It'll probably take a victory at Penn State to get there, but the path is apparent.
And Stanley is playing his best football.
Loser: Rutgers' Passing Game
This level of atrocious is almost hard to fathom.
During a 34-7 loss at Maryland, Rutgers quarterbacks threw five interceptions. True freshman Artur Sitkowski finished the day 2-of-16 for eight yards, throwing four picks. Giovanni Rescigno found the other team on his only pass attempt.
Raheem Blackshear and Eddie Lewis both tallied one reception for four yards. Maryland safety Darnell Savage Jr. had two interceptions.
"We have to figure out what is our identity," Rutgers coach Chris Ash said, per Keith Sargeant of NJ.com.
"... Because right now it's not working."
Winner: LSU's All-Around Win
Offense, defense, special teams; LSU won them all.
Joe Burrow accounted for 266 yards and two touchdowns, while running backs Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Nick Brossette combined for 209 yards and a score. Georgia, which ranked sixth nationally at 283.2 yards allowed per game, surrendered 475.
Star linebacker Devin White tallied a team-high 13 tackles and recovered a fumble—one of four LSU takeaways on the day. The Tigers held Georgia to a season-low 5.0 yards per play.
To round out the sensational 36-16 win, Cole Tracy hit five field goals, Avery Atkins blasted eight touchbacks and recovered a fumble and Grant Delpit recognized and stopped a fake field goal.
LSU completely deserved the win.
Loser: CFP Dreams for Penn State, Washington
Penn State and Washington both watched their College Football Playoff dreams slip away in heartbreaking fashion.
The Nittany Lions never trailed until the closing 20 seconds of the game. Unfortunately for them, that's when it's most important. Felton Davis III's 25-yard touchdown catch propelled the Spartans to a 21-17 victory and sent Penn State to its second Big Ten loss.
Basically within 60 seconds, CJ Verdell scampered six yards to give Oregon a 30-27 overtime win over Washington. The Huskies had a chance to win as time expired in regulation, but Peyton Henry's 37-yard field goal hooked wide right.
Two losses isn't necessarily the absolute cutoff for potential CFP teams—see Auburn, 2017—but neither Penn State (Ohio State) nor Washington (Oregon) recorded marquee wins when it mattered.
Winner: UCF's Bid for a Perfect Year
As several programs fell out of CFP contention, Central Florida stayed alive with a 31-30 triumph over Memphis and extended its winning streak to 19.
The Knights overcame a 16-point first-half deficit, not allowing a high-powered Memphis to score any points after halftime. McKenzie Milton's seven-yard touchdown run—during which he flipped head-over-heels into the end zone—boosted UCF past its AAC foe.
At the very least, the 6-0 Knights have a CFP chance. Small and unlikely though it may be, they're in the conversation.
They'll need an undefeated regular season and conference championship to remain in the race. UCF is halfway there.
Loser: Mark Richt, Miami's Offense
Mark Richt panicked when he shouldn't have. Then, when the clock was not Miami's friend, the 'Canes had zero urgency.
And that is a reflection of the head coach.
N'Kosi Perry had a miserable start, undoubtedly. The redshirt freshman quarterback tossed two interceptions in his six attempts. Unsurprisingly yet foolishly, Richt turned to senior Malik Rosier for a spark that didn't come until it was too late.
And on that fourth-quarter touchdown drive, Miami routinely snapped the ball with 10-15 seconds on the play clock. The possession lasted nearly five minutes and left a gassed defense with a "three-and-out or it's over" mandate.
That defense couldn't have done anything more Saturday except score a touchdown to save the 'Canes. Instead, Virginia pulled off a 16-13 upset that's on Richt.
Chip Kelly is finally on the board!
Thanks to an efficient offensive performance, UCLA dismantled Pac-12 foe Cal and earned the first victory of Kelly's tenure.
Dorian Thompson-Robinson connected on 13 of his 15 passes for 141 yards, and Joshua Kelley shouldered a heavy burden with 30 carries for 157 yards and three touchdowns. Keisean Lucier-South put an exclamation point on the 37-7 win with a fumble return to the house.
The Bruins still aren't a bowl contender, but it surely feels good to hang a "1" in the win column.
Loser: Will Grier's Heisman Potential
In a matter of two weeks, Will Grier's Heisman Trophy hopes have vanished. Saturday, so did West Virginia's undefeated record.
After committing four turnovers during an uninspiring win over Kansas, the senior quarterback had another ugly showing at Iowa State. Grier tossed an interception, and the Mountaineers managed two first downs through the air in a 30-14 loss.
For good measure, the offensive line surrendered seven sacks as West Virginia trudged to only 152 yards of total offense.
The 5-1 Mountaineers are still easily in the Big 12 picture, but their aspirations of something more—a national title, national awards for Grier—are quickly slipping out of reach.
Winner: Michigan's Offense in a Big Game
The pre-eminent storyline of Jim Harbaugh's tenure is simple: Poor offense is wasting elite defense.
Finally, it seems, the scoring attack held up its end of the bargain. Michigan piled up 444 yards of offense as the defense shut down Wisconsin in a 38-13 rout.
Shea Patterson posted a 14-of-20 line for 124 yards, adding 90 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Karan Higdon scampered for 105 yards, and Dylan McCaffrey wrapped a tidy bow on the victory with a 44-yard touchdown run.
Meanwhile, the defense surrendered only 11 first downs and forced Alex Hornibrook to have a miserable day. The southpaw was just 7-of-20 with two interceptions, one of which Lavert Hill returned for a score.
Michigan still has a challenging schedule, so College Football Playoff hype should be tempered. But finally—finally—the offense looked competent in a pivotal matchup.
Loser: Colorado's Offense
Despite holding a 5-0 record, Colorado entered Week 7 ranked only No. 19 and as a seven-point underdog to USC, per OddsShark.
Well, the Buffs didn't do anything to change their perception as a team that capitalized on a favorable early schedule.
Although superstar receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. ripped off a 49-yard run to open the scoring, USC responded with 28 consecutive points. Trojans freshman JT Daniels tossed three touchdowns during that stretch, and Ajene Harris capped it with a pick-six.
Colorado arrived with the nation's 18th-most prolific offense at 490.6 yards per game, but the Buffs mustered only 265 yards in the 31-20 loss.