B/R's College Football Weekly Awards: Week 8
What a strange and wonderful week of college football.
Appalachian State kicked off the slate with an upset of Coastal Carolina, and Colorado State forgot how to manage the clock. And that happened before a weekend in which Kansas held Oklahoma scoreless for an entire half, Illinois won a nine-overtime affair and Army surrendered 70 points in a regulation game.
Some analysts have the responsibility to make sense of what happened. Here at B/R's Weekly Awards, on the other hand, it's simply a celebration of the ridiculousness.
And upsets. We never forget about upsets.
If you're new here, hello! Every Monday this season, B/R will distribute a handful of awards. Some will review the previous weekend's slate, and others will preview what's coming up. A few topics might be humorous or downright strange.
Team of the Week: Iowa State Cyclones
If the Cyclones can ever figure out how to play September, they're in business. Because over the last few seasons, it hasn't been enjoyable to play Iowa State in October or November.
Although two early losses ushered ISU off the national radar, Matt Campbell's team entered the weekend as the favorite over undefeated Oklahoma State. They didn't beat the touchdown spread, but they clipped the eighth-ranked Cowboys 24-21.
Brock Purdy threw for 307 yards and two touchdowns, while Breece Hall notched his 11th rushing score of the season. The defense held Oklahoma State to a 2-of-11 mark on third and fourth downs.
As a result, Iowa State is officially back in the Big 12 race.
Since each of the three programs—Baylor, Iowa State and Oklahoma State—with a 3-1 record in conference action haven't yet played Oklahoma, the standings are destined to change soon.
After losing to Baylor earlier this season, it was paramount for Iowa State to secure the tiebreaker win over OSU. And in the process, the Cyclones eliminated an undefeated team.
#TeamChaos Win of the Week: Appalachian State Mountaineers
Looking at the remainder of Coastal Carolina's schedule, a loss seemed unlikely. If the Chanticleers could navigate a challenging midweek trip to Appalachian State, they felt destined for 12-0.
But the Mountaineers had other plans.
Chase Brice, the former Clemson and Duke quarterback, propelled Appalachian State to a 30-27 upset of the nation's No. 14 team. He threw for 347 yards and two touchdowns, hitting Malik Williams for 206 yards and Corey Sutton for 113.
As time expired, Chandler Staton buried a 24-yard field goal to hand Coastal its first loss of the campaign. App State fans stormed the field immediately afterward.
Thanks to the upset, the Sun Belt's East division now features four programs with a 2-1 mark in conference games.
Bring on the chaos!
Marathon of the Week: 9 Overtimes in Happy Valley
Illinois quarterback Artur Sitkowski mustered 38 yards on 19 attempts. Averaging two yards per throw is mind-bendingly terrible, yet the Fighting Illini still found a way to upset No. 7 Penn State.
It just took a really, really long time.
After ending regulation tied at 10, Illinois and Penn State embarked on the first-ever nine-overtime game in FBS history.
Yes, that merits an asterisk. Rule changes have effectively turned overtime into a two-point conversion contest when the first two extra possessions don't determine a winner. Though it should be rare, this is destined to happen again.
Hopefully, when it does, it's more entertaining.
Both offenses failed to score on six straight snaps from the opponent's three-yard line, including a failed "Philly Special" from the Nittany Lions. Sitkowski even exited because of an injury in the sixth overtime, leaving the heroics to Brandon Peters, the Illini's usual starter who has been sidelined with his own ailment.
Peters iced the 20-18 victory with a throw to Casey Washington, giving Illinois a celebration to finish the longest FBS game ever.
Track Meet of the Week: 126 Points in West Point
Do you like incredible defense?
Wake Forest improved to 7-0 with a 70-56 victory at Army, outlasting the Black Knights in a dismal defensive day for both teams. Along with the 126 total points, they combined for 1,233 yards.
Most notably, Wake Forest QB Sam Hartman passed for 458 yards, rushed for 22 and accounted for six touchdowns. Jaquarii Roberson and A.T. Perry both eclipsed 140 receiving yards, and Ke'Shawn Williams ended only seven yards shy of the century mark, too.
On the opposite side, Army boasted three 90-yard rushers while QB Jabari Laws threw for 140 yards and three scores. Isaiah Alston brought in six passes for 107 yards, as well.
Army had never previously lost when it scored at least 50 points in a game.
The biggest story is Wake Forest inched closer to the College Football Playoff race. November trips to North Carolina and Clemson will be challenging, but the 13th-ranked Demon Deacons are demanding a place in the national conversation.
Panic Alarm of the Week: Justin Fuente, Virginia Tech
Things aren't so happy elsewhere in the ACC.
Virginia Tech opened 2021 with a massive upset of North Carolina, which simultaneously shattered some preseason expectations and gave Hokies coach Justin Fuente an important win. He entered the season under immense pressure, but the victory cooled that hot-seat talk.
However, it's back. And it's probably not leaving until he does, to put it rather bluntly.
Losing to Syracuse isn't going to make any friends, and squandering a nine-point lead in the last five minutes of regulation further increases the frustration. Damien Alford's 45-yard touchdown catch with 19 seconds to play handed Syracuse a 41-36 lead and sparked a "Fire Fuente" chant in the Lane Stadium crowd.
Virginia Tech is now a disappointing 3-4 and ends the regular season with road games at rivals Miami and Virginia. The noise surrounding Fuente's future will probably only get louder.
Week 8 Rundown
Clock Mismanagement of the Week: Colorado State Rams
There are many reasons to get annoyed when watching a game. For me, scatterbrained clock management is high on the list. And, man, did Colorado State coach Steve Addazio have a meltdown. Trailing 26-24, the Rams completed a key pass to set up a potential game-winning field goal. Instead of spiking the ball to stop the clock and give everyone a chance to calmly set up, the Rams unnecessarily rushed the kicking personnel onto the field. They missed the kick.
Golf Claps of the Week: San Diego State Aztecs and UTSA Roadrunners
Tough matchup on the road for a couple of unbeatens? No problem. As a slight underdog, San Diego State capitalized on Air Force's mistake-filled opening half to build a 13-0 lead and held on for a 20-14 victory. Brady Hoke's squad is now 7-0 and ranked 21st, two spots ahead of UTSA. The Roadrunners leveled Louisiana Tech 45-16 and will carry an 8-0 record into November.
Underdog of the Week: Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks
Last week, Louisiana-Monroe pulled off a stunning 31-28 upset against Liberty as a 32.5-point underdog. And on Saturday, the Warhawks were back for more. They hosted South Alabama as a 13.5-point 'dog and emerged with a 41-31 win. The remaining schedule is challenging, but ULM is two victories from bowl eligibility.
Best Week 9 Storylines
Top-ranked Georgia takes on Florida. No. 10 Ole Miss travels to No. 18 Auburn, No. 21 SMU heads to Houston and No. 11 Notre Dame hosts North Carolina. There are several big games to watch.
However, the focus will primarily be on the Big Ten.
No. 6 Michigan takes on No. 8 Michigan State at noon ET. Both programs hold a 7-0 record, and the winner of the rivalry game will be best positioned to dethrone Ohio State.
Also, in the early window, Wisconsin hosts No. 9 Iowa. Although the Badgers have already lost twice in the conference, a victory over the Hawkeyes would put Wisconsin an advantage within the West division. Meanwhile, Iowa is aiming to remain in the chase for a New Year's Six bowl—and maybe the CFP.
The prime-time matchup pits No. 20 Penn State against No. 5 Ohio State. The Nittany Lions' loss to Illinois stung the intrigue of this contest, but the Buckeyes have been playing like true national contenders lately.
Since the first CFP rankings of the season are coming next Tuesday, it's the perfect time for critical Big Ten games.