At Alligator Army, we love and cover the Florida Gators - but the Gators are part of a larger national landscape of collegiate gridiron goodness.
Here’s a look at what happened on an eventful Saturday in college football.
Undefeated no more
No. 2 Georgia and No. 6 West Virginia both picked up their first losses of the season. And the Bulldogs and Mountaineers didn’t just get upset, both teams were thoroughly handled on the road by their respective hosts.
Georgia faced their first major test of the season, traveling to Baton Rouge for the first time since 2008 to visit No. 13 LSU - who themselves had something to prove after taking their own lone loss the week before to the Gators. The Tigers held Georgia’s formidable backfield to 113 rushing yards, a week after surrendering over 200 on the ground to Florida. LSU converted four fourth-downs and led the entire game, including by as much as 20 points in the fourth quarter, on their way to a 36-16 victory.
The Bulldogs now have a bye week to rebound and get ready for the Gators in Jacksonville. Georgia’s loss helps Florida in the SEC East race. The Gators could win the division by defeating the Bulldogs and winning their other remaining conference games (Missouri, at South Carolina), provided Kentucky takes another loss during the rest of their SEC slate (Vanderbilt, at Missouri, Georgia, at Tennessee).
I would imagine the desert dwellers will remember that Georgia laid one giant egg last year and it didn’t affect them afterwards, though they were better before that egg last year than this year. https://t.co/YnAT3v7vrd— David Wunderlich (@Year2) October 13, 2018
No. 6 West Virginia also took their first tumble this season, falling to the Iowa State Cyclones. The story of the game was Iowa State’s dominating defense. The Cyclones held the Mountaineers scoreless in the second half and 375 yards below their season average offensive output. Will Grier was limited to just 100 yards through the air and was sacked seven times. Ames has been a sometimes dangerous — and apparently weird — place to play for highly-ranked visiting teams.
Dana Holgorsen was upset with his offense, noting that Iowa State’s defense wasn’t particularly special, and opining that the Mountaineers turned in the worst offensive performance he had witnessed in 30 years of coaching.
Another ranked unbeaten, No. 19 Colorado, also got a 1 in the loss column. The Buffs had never defeated USC going into Saturday’s game, and that record still holds.
Those weren’t the only upsets on Saturday
Some other ranked teams coughed up losses yesterday. No. 7 Washington fell in overtime to No. 17 Oregon - giving the Huskies two losses and effectively ending their playoff hopes. That game result - and Colorado’s stumble - may have irreparably damaged the entire Pac-12’s playoff chances, as one-loss Oregon has no ranked teams remaining on their schedule. The Pac-12 will likely need some chaos to occur in other conferences in order to sneak a team in.
The other top-tenner to go down was No. 8 Penn State. Picking up their second loss, the Nittany Lions can all but kiss their playoff hopes goodbye. Michigan State rallied to knock off PSU, 21-17, causing some serious deja-vu for James Franklin’s squad.
Sound familiar? That’s because last season, Penn State started undefeated and highly ranked ... before dropping back-to-back contests to Ohio State and Michigan State.
Another fun fact (if you aren’t a Nittany Lions fan): Penn State led in the fourth quarter of those losses to the Buckeyes and Spartans — both this year and last.
No. 8 Penn State lost 21-17 against unranked Michigan State. It is Penn State's first loss as a ranked team against an unranked opponent since 2009 against Iowa. The Nittany Lions had won 30 straight such games, which was the 2nd-longest active streak in FBS.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 13, 2018
But Week Seven was unkind to all sorts of ranked teams. The No. 16 Miami Hurricanes were another victim. A week after an emotional rivalry win over FSU, the ‘Canes couldn’t get it done in Charlottesville, falling 16-13 to the Cavaliers.
Another of Saturday’s stunners was struggling Tennessee knocking off No. 21 Auburn. The Volunteers snapped an 11-game SEC losing streak with their toppling of the Tigers, taking down Auburn for the first time since 1999. As the Tigers continue to struggle, the grumbling in Auburn will continue.
Last time Tennessee won an SEC game: Nov. 19, 2016— Josh Ward (@Josh_Ward) October 13, 2018
Last time Tennessee beat an SEC West team: Nov. 13, 2010
Both streaks come to an end today with Tennessee's win over Auburn.
Some favorites did manage to survive
Our beloved No. 14 Gators did not join the ranks of the fallen, of course, despite a slow start at Vanderbilt. Three other ranked teams — No. 5 Notre Dame, No. 9 Texas, and No. 10 UCF — also survived scares.
The Fighting Irish found themselves in a fight against visiting Pittsburgh, with Pitt’s defense holding ND’s offense in check by limiting the Irish to two yards per carry. The Irish managed to grunt out a 19-14 win and stay undefeated.
Texas also struggled after starting quarterback Sam Ehlinger left their game against Baylor early on with an injury. Behind Shane Buchele, though, the Longhorns survived with a 23-17 victory, and will keep their Big 12 title hopes (and potential playoff aspirations) alive.
The nation’s longest active win streak was also in jeopardy Saturday, as UCF tussled with the Memphis Tigers on the road. The Knights trailed at halftime, but managed to escape with a 31-30 win, running their nation-leading win streak up to 19 straight victories with the first victory by fewer than seven points during that span.
The Big Ten’s best
The big contest of the night was No. 12 Michigan hosting No. 15 Wisconsin. The Wolverines easily handled the Badgers, 38-13. It was just the third win over a top-15 team (in nine attempts) in Jim Harbaugh’s tenure in Ann Arbor.
Now that’s a quality sign on GameDay. pic.twitter.com/jgfcikEisw— Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer) October 13, 2018
That, coupled with Penn State’s second conference loss, sets up Ohio State and Michigan as the Big Ten’s playoff hopefuls, should they keep winning on the way to their season-ending showdown. For their part, the No. 3 Buckeyes struggled early with Minnesota before putting the Gophers away late, 30-14.
The good, the bad, and the ugly
UCLA won their first game! That’s good news for Chip Kelly and his squad, who had thus far led a historically terrible winless campaign. The Bruins defeated Cal, 37-7, for their first win of the season.
Things did not go as well for Scott Frost and Nebraska. The Huskers coughed up another bad loss, and this one was particularly tough to swallow given the fact that Nebraska led by 10 at one point and made it to overtime with Northwestern. After falling to the Wildcats, 34-31, the Huskers now sit at 0-6, and have their all-time worst start.
There were a few particularly unpleasant highlights from Rutgers’ 34-7 loss to Maryland making the rounds yesterday. There’s this ridiculous instance of Rutgers kind of forgetting to field a kickoff, essentially giving Maryland a really long onside kick recovery:
And then there’s this hideous stat line from the Scarlet Knights’ quarterbacks.
You have to love a chaotic Saturday of college football. Especially when the Gators win,
The polls will be a-changing today.