Every college football weekend is jam packed with games starting on Thursday night and running through the early morning hours of Sunday. You probably didn’t have a chance to watch all the action, nobody does. So, we’re here every Monday to recap some of the highlights (or lowlights) of the weekend.
We’re officially on the back stretch of the college football season. Right now, there seems to be one dominant team (Alabama, shocker) and then a next tier of teams who are really good, but could end up losing any given weekend. This weekend once again showed us to expect the unexpected as we got some wild results and one triumphant return from one of college footballs most dominant players.
Penn State Upsets #2 Ohio State 24-21
Saturday night’s game seemed like a typical Buckeyes performance. Slow start, rely on the defense making stops, then come out after halftime and roll to a win. Except, it was Penn State that made the big plays late in the game outscoring Ohio State 17-0 in the fourth quarter to win 24-21 with the winning touchdown coming off a blocked Buckeyes field goal. It was the program’s first win against a Top 10 ranked opponent since October 25, 2008 against, you guessed it, the Buckeyes.
This makes the East division of the Big Ten extremely interesting as we come down the stretch because here are the current standings.
Penn State 3-1
Ohio State 3-1
The Wolverines beat Penn State back on September 24th. Now, the Nittany Lions beat Ohio State. The Buckeyes and Wolverines square off in Columbus to end the regular season on November 26th. If the Buckeyes were to beat Michigan and all three teams end the season with one loss, then we’ll have a tie atop the division. The Big Ten tiebreaker scenario?
As I said, this could be real interesting depending on how things shake out over the next month or so. For Penn State head coach James Franklin, this is by far the biggest win of his tenure at the school and it should quiet any rumblings about the job he’s been doing. The Nittany Lions jumped into the AP Top 25 for the first time since the 2011 season and all is right with the world this week in Happy Valley.
Leonard Fournette Announces His With Monster Performance
Poor Ole Miss. The Rebels have been on the receiving end of some of the more brutal losses this season, blowing a big lead against Florida State and Alabama and falling by just four to Arkansas a week ago. This week, the Rebels ran into the buzzsaw that is a fully operational Leonard Fournette and it didn’t go well for them.
That play pretty much sums up the night for the Rebels defense as Fournette carried 16 times for 284 yards and three touchdowns in the Tigers 38-21 romp. Fournette isn’t going to win the Heisman. He’s missed too many games this season. He’s not even fully healthy as he admitted after the game. Yet, with dates against Alabama, Florida and Texas A&M left on the schedule, he’s got plenty of opportunities to have “Heisman moments” that could at least earn him an invite to New York. If nothing else, Saturday night reminded you just how terrifying this man is. Defenders everywhere be warned, there’s a truck coming and its name is Leonard Fournette.
Houston Knocked Off, Navy In Control Of The American West Division
Tom Herman’s Cougars have had a rough few weeks. Three weeks ago, their hopes of getting into the playoff were dashed at the hands of Ken Niumatalolo’s squad in Annapolis as the Midshipmen came away with a 46-40 win. Then, the Big 12 announced they wouldn’t be expanding, meaning the Coogs were left out in the cold when they thought they’d be joining a Power 5 conference. On Saturday, they followed that up with a dud of a performance against SMU, a team that entered the game at 2-4 and 0-2 in the American conference.
This season has quickly gone from playoff contention to now fighting to get a good bowl for the Cougars and unless they get some serious help, they won’t even have a chance to win the conference as they’re now two games behind the Midshipmen in the loss column. Meanwhile, Niutmatalolo and company just keep on rolling along despite losing one of the school’s all-time great players in quarterback Keenan Reynolds to graduation. The Navy program is one of the more underappreciated, consistently good ones in the country and the Midshipmen look primed for a conference title run.
There Are No More Winless Teams
Heading into the weekend, there was just one team in Division I FBS football without a win: the Rice Owls. Rice came close to picking up their first win last week against UTSA, but fell 14-13. This week, the Owls lit up the scoreboard in a game with FCS foe Prairie View A&M 65-44 to notch their first victory of the season. That means there are zero teams that haven’t recorded a win while there are nine teams currently undefeated (Alabama, Washington, Michigan, Nebraska, Baylor, West Virginia, Clemson, Boise State, and Western Michigan). As Tom Fornelli, creator of the “Bottom 25”, at CBSSports.com always says, it might be tougher to go winless in college football than it is to go undefeated.
Amba Etta Tawo, The Best Player You Know Nothing About
Unless you’re an ardent Syracuse football fan, you likely haven’t heard the name Amba Etta Tawo. But, you’re probably familiar with his work. He’s the guy consistently making plays like this.
Etta Tawo is currently second in the country in receiving yards with 1,074 and he’s tied for 13th with seven touchdowns. He and quarterback Eric Dungey are a large part of the reason why the Orange, in Dino Babers first year, are 4-4 and just two wins away from securing a bowl berth. They may not get there as they have games against Clemson, Florida State, NC State and Pitt left, but remember Etta Tawo’s name. The senior is likely to be playing on Sundays next fall.
Ryan Mayer is an Associate Producer for CBS Local Sports. Ryan lives in NY but comes from Philly and life as a Philly sports fan has made him cynical. Anywhere sports are being discussed, that’s where you’ll find him.