“Every story has a start. A middle. And a twist”
This is the story of Week 8 in College Football and boy did it have a twist!
The Battle of Michigan
Saturday kicked off with the Michigan Wolverines visit to Spartan Stadium to take on big rivals Michigan State. Before the on field battle commenced there were ugly scenes. The Spartans were late to their ritual field walk and clashes ensued with the Wolverine players completing their pre game warm up. Accusations of players being clotheslined and having headphones ripped off were followed by Devin Bush raking the Spartan logo on the turf with his cleats.
With the pregame storm behind them the Wolverines set about overturning recent history. The Spartans had won 8 of the last 10 games between the two.
After a scoreless first quarter, Michigan took the lead through a 6 yard Shea Patterson touchdown pass to Nico Collins. It was the first Wolverines passing touchdown in the fixture since 2011! The Spartans took advantage of a Michigan turnover to level things up in the third with a trick play. Wide receiver Darrell Stewart throwing to quarterback Brian Lewerke for a 4 yard touchdown.
An absolute bomb down the right sideline from Patterson found Donovan Peoples-Jones for a 79 yard touchdown to restore the Wolverines lead late in the third. A rushing touchdown in the fourth would give Michigan the 21-7 win and spark wild celebrations in the centre of the field, stamping all over the Spartans logo.
Elsewhere in the early Saturday games, the Cincinnati Bearcats unbeaten run came to an end at the hands of Temple. Cincinnati were just 49 seconds from going 7-0. An Anthony Russo touchdown for the Owls levelled things up and in overtime Temple scored first and interception sealed the win.
Later in the day both UCF and USF would extend their own unbeaten run.
There were wins for ranked Wisconsin, Iowa, and Oklahoma. Kyler Murray threw 4 touchdowns and the Sooners dominated the ground game in 52-27 win over TCU.
Scott Frost has his first win as the Huskers head coach. After a heart breaking loss to Northwestern last week Nebraska opened up a 28-8 lead to take in at the half. A horrible sense of deja vu filled Memorial stadium as the lead shrank to just six points mid way through the third. The Huskers weathered the storm and ran out 53-28 winners over Minnesota.
Clemson Cruise Past NC State
In what promised to be a tight game, both teams came in to the game at Memorial Stadium undefeated. In reality it was never even close.
Clemson took the lead on their opening drive and never gave it back.
Travis Etienne became the first Tiger to record three rushing touchdowns in three straight games. Trevor Lawrence threw for his first ever 300 yard game. Tee Higgins had 100+ yards receiving. It was a complete performance on offence.
The NC State offence went in to the game with the best third down conversion percentage in the nation. They had absolutely no answer to a Clemson defence which is one of the most dominant units in College Football history. Ryan Finley threw two interceptions, and their only score came on a fourth quarter rushing touchdown.
One final score from Lyn-J Dixon gave the Tigers a 41-7 victory.
The Clemson collision course with the College Playoffs continue.
Tua Trounces Tennessee
Tua Tagovailoa is not slowing down for anyone. In Alabama’s 58-22 trouncing of Tennessee the boy wonder again put up phenomenal numbers. He had two touchdowns by the end of the first quarter. By the end of the first half his stat line read 16-26, 256 yards and 3 TDs. By the time he exited the game in the third quarter he had 4 TDs and 306 yards on 29 attempts. All four to different receivers.
His exit came after a heavy hit. Thankfully for Tua and the Tide they will have a bye week to recover and prepare for their toughest test of the year in Baton Rouge.
Speaking of which…
Bulldogs Downed By Dangerous LSU Defence
LSU moved to 7-1 on Saturday night. It was another dominant defensive performance. The Tigers picked off Nick Fitzgerald four times on their way to a 19-3 win over Mississippi State.
The Bulldogs could only muster 59 passing yards all night. They were held to just 260 yards in total.
It was the sort of defensive masterclass that you want to see from your team as they prepare to face the free scoring Alabama Crimson Tide. The Tigers will be missing a crucial cog in that defence for the first half of the game.
Devin White was ejected from the game in the second half on Saturday night for targeting. By rule he will miss the first half of the next game.
Could that be the crucial twist in the Tiger’s tale?
The Final Twist
On Saturday Night Football, number two ranked Ohio State made the journey to Ross Ade Stadium to face 3-3 Purdue. They returned to Columbus on the receiving end of the major shock of the week.
To chants of “OVER RATED” from the Purdue fans, The Buckeyes defence had no answer to the Boilersmakers offence in their first loss of the season.
Purdue took the lead late in the first quarter through a David Blough touchdown pass. Going it to the fourth they held a 21-6 lead after keeping Dwayne Haskins and the Ohio State offence in check.
In a wild fourth quarter the two teams traded scoring blows. DJ Knox had two 40 yard+ touchdown runs for the Boilermakers. Dwayne Haskins launched two 30+ yard touchdown passes for the Buckeyes. David Blough added another passing touchdown pass to his night when Rondale Moore showed strength and elusiveness to find the end zone. Moore’s resilience channeled Purdue super fan Tyler Trent, who defied his battle with cancer to be present in the stadium.
The game was finally and firmly put to bed when Haskins was intercepted which was returned for a pick six and an unbelievable 49-20 win.
As the game clock ticked to zero, the Purdue fans flooded the pitch, fireworks filled the night sky, and another crazy week of College Football was in the books.
photo credit: Sports Illustrated