B/R's College Football Weekly Awards: Week 11
Once in a while, we have a quietly fantastic day. We might not have been overcome by continual joy, but looking back on a variety of moments brings us great satisfaction.
That was Week 11.
Saturday's action brought a little bit of everything. An upset brought down a College Football Playoff contender, but another CFP threat put together its best game of the season. There was an amazing comeback, dreadful collapse in a rivalry and even a #CollegeKickers moment in a positive light.
Oh, and Texas is not back.
That kind of weekend, a day filled with the reasons we love college football, is why we have B/R's Weekly Awards.
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: Kansas Jayhawks
Thanks to a brilliant two-point conversion in overtime, Kansas captured a stunning 57-56 victory over Texas. While the lasting storyline will be Texas dropping its fifth straight game and falling to 4-6 in Steve Sarkisian's debut season, the Jayhawks deserve a moment in the spotlight for ending a few remarkable skids.
Seriously, these are ridiculous.
Kansas closed as a 30.5-point underdog. Per ESPN Stats & Info (h/t Tom VanHaaren), the Jayhawks were 0-55 as an underdog of 30-plus points in program history. Texas, meanwhile, held a 46-0 record when favored by at least 30 points against FBS opponents.
Kansas had never defeated the Longhorns on the road, dropping all nine contests in Austin before Saturday's victory.
Kansas had lost 56 consecutive Big 12 road games, last winning at Iowa State in 2008. And in the process, the Jayhawks handed Texas a five-game losing streak for the first time since 1956.
Go absolutely wild, Kansas. You earned it.
#TeamChaos Win of the Week: Baylor Ends OU's Unbeaten Year
Despite owning a 9-0 record, Oklahoma entered Week 11 ranked eighth in the latest College Football Playoff poll. It was clear the Sooners needed a hot finish to appease the selection committee and ultimately sneak into the Top Four.
Fortunately for OU, it closed the regular season with Baylor, Iowa State and Oklahoma State. The opportunities were there.
But those CFP dreams are awfully hazy now.
Baylor ran up, around and past the Sooners, collecting 296 yards on the ground. Abram Smith tallied 148, and quarterback Gerry Bohanon—who entered the day with 176 rushing yards all season—scampered for 107 yards and two scores.
On the defensive side, Baylor limited the third-ranked OU attack to only 260 yards—the fewest since Lincoln Riley arrived as the offensive coordinator in 2014.
There is a very small chance 9-1 Oklahoma recovers to reach the CFP, but it'll require three wins and a whole lot of help elsewhere.
Statement of the Week: Ohio State Routs Purdue
Ohio State saw Purdue pull upsets against Iowa and Michigan State. All week long, the college football world wondered if the "Spoilermakers" might have another one in store. Besides, the Buckeyes hadn't played extremely well the last two weeks.
So, yeah, that didn't happen.
C.J. Stroud and the offense left absolutely zero doubt Saturday. Ohio State scored on its first eight possessions, putting up seven touchdowns—including four by star wideout Garrett Wilson—and a field goal to dispel the Boilermakers' hopes of another upset.
Ohio State added a late passing score, Stroud's fifth of the afternoon, for a dominant 59-31 win. The offense piled up 624 yards, crossing the 600-yard mark for the third time in 2021.
The bounce-back performance arrived at a perfect time for the Buckeyes, who host No. 7 Michigan State next weekend before traveling to No. 8 Michigan. Win both games, and Ohio State will be headed to the Big Ten Championship Game for the fifth straight year.
Comeback of the Week: Mississippi State Pulls a Brady
Apologies in advance to fans of both the Auburn Tigers and NFL's Atlanta Falcons. They'd seen this movie before.
To cap off the 2017 season, the Tom Brady-led New England Patriots overcame a 28-3 deficit to stun Atlanta in Super Bowl LI. And on Saturday, Mississippi State silenced Jordan-Hare Stadium with a similar recovery.
Will Rogers tossed his first touchdown late in the second quarter, trimming Auburn's lead to 28-10 at halftime. Mike Leach's team dominated the second half behind a school-record six-touchdown performance from Rogers. He finished the game completing a staggering 44 of 55 passes for 415 yards.
Overall, the Bulldogs scored 40 straight points on the road to turn a potential blowout into a 43-34 victory.
As a result, Mississippi State grabbed its sixth win of the season and is headed to a bowl for the 12th straight year.
Panic Alarm of the Week: Manny Diaz, Miami
Manny Diaz, welcome back to the hot seat.
Recent back-to-back victories over Top 25 opponents quieted the venom directed toward the third-year coach. After needing a comeback to escape Georgia Tech with a win last weekend, the fanbase's festering dissatisfaction stayed in the background, too.
Blowing an eight-point lead opposite 3-6 rival Florida State, however, has reignited the anger. Miami led 28-20 before surrendering 11 points in the last five minutes of the game.
Worst of all, the same old issues appeared. The number of blown coverages—two of which happened on FSU's game-winning drive, including on 4th-and-14—and missed tackles on a weekly basis is simply grotesque. Diaz, who serves as the defensive coordinator, also watched his team commit 14 penalties.
It's unclear if Miami will actually make a coaching change, but a 5-5 season isn't doing Diaz any favors. As head coach of the 'Canes, though, he's now just 19-15.
Week 11 Rundown
#CollegeKickers Moment of the Week: Texas Tech's 62-Yard Walk-Off
Texas Tech's 17-point halftime edge disintegrated in the fourth quarter. Though the defense held Iowa State to a game-tying field goal with a minute remaining in regulation, Tech's final possession only reached the ISU 44-yard line. Overtime seemed likely. However, rocket-legged senior Jonathan Garibay pulverized a 62-yard kick as time expired, giving the Red Raiders an incredible 41-38 win to become bowl-eligible.
Score of the Week: ODU's Double Safety
There is nothing I wanted more than for the Florida Atlantic and Old Dominion offenses to collapse. Late in the second quarter, ODU notched its second safety of the day to take a 4-3 lead. Never in college football history had a game finished 4-3, but this matchup suddenly had a chance. Unfortunately, ODU's offense woke up and ended up propelling a 30-16 victory. Lame.
Pyrrhic Victory of the Week: Florida Escapes Samford
We highlighted Dan Mullen's no-good, very-bad situation last week, so we'll stick to a brief mention here following a win against Samford. But a 70-52 victory over a lower-division program that owned a 42-35 halftime lead and amassed 530 total yards probably did more damage to Mullen's job security than it helped.
Best Week 12 Storylines
Oh, buddy, do we have a couple of gigantic games in Week 12.
In the Big Ten, No. 5 Ohio State hosts No. 7 Michigan State in a battle of 9-1 teams. Although the CFP selection committee very shockingly put MSU behind Michigan in last week's poll, that controversial ranking won't matter by Saturday's end. Either the Buckeyes win and eliminate MSU, or the Spartans will replace Ohio State as the front-runner to reach the conference title game.
The other matchup with major national implications is between No. 4 Oregon and No. 24 Utah. It's the final road contest of the season for Oregon, which is currently in the Top Four of the CFP poll.
While the Big Ten is guaranteed to lose one CFP hopeful this weekend, an Oregon loss would mean two contenders are done.
Bring the chaos, Week 12.