NCAA Football Report (Week 8)

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The College Football season is always a strange one when at any point in the season a big game can occur. It never seems like the big games are left for the bowl season as great teams face each other on a regular basis in the NCAA. That happened this week when two of the undefeated teams left in the NCAA faced off in the biggest game of the year so far. It was built as the biggest game that either school may have this year when the #2 ranked Florida State Seminoles took on the #5 ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish. For the Seminoles the game came after a week when they fell from the #1 spot in the country. They have remained undefeated and carried a 22-game winning streak, a school record, into Week 8. They had fallen from the top spot after Mississippi State impressed many with another win in Week 7 and after the Seminoles had struggled to get out ahead of other teams at the start of games. Many times the Seminoles had looked overmatched in the first half of games that they should not have even come close to losing. Despite their wins they had only one statement game where they were dominant from start to finish and that was against Wake Forest. Now they had the chance to face a team ranked in the top 5 for the first time this year and had a chance to prove that they do belong as the #1 team in the nation. For the Irish it was a chance to show that they belong in the national title conversation. With one of the toughest schedules in the NCAA the Irish had slowly climbed up the rankings until finally settling just outside the playoffs heading into the Week 8 game against the best team in their schedule this year. With another shot at entering the title conversation the Irish were looking to beat the Seminoles in their first true away game of the season. The matchup would also pit two of the best young quarterbacks against each other in former Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston against Everett Golson. Winston came into the game as a much maligned player after scandals have highlighted his entire season. With a new scandal surrounding his apparent signing of memorabilia Winston got the start again and tried to put everything out of his mind to lead his team. On the other side was Everett Golson who had his own controversy last year when he missed the full season after being kicked out of Notre Dame for cheating on a test. Now back he was looking to guide the Irish to another undefeated season which he had done two years before leading the Irish to the National Championship. The storylines seemed endless in the game but ultimately the biggest picture was that the loser would need some help getting into the playoffs this year while the winner could almost stamp their tickets to the playoffs. With that in mind both teams went at it and initially it seemed like the Seminoles were overmatched. The Irish defence was too much for the Seminoles’ offence with the front four putting tremendous pressure on Winston and not allowing him to get anything going. The Irish offence was different as Golson was on point from the start helping Notre Dame get out to an early lead. AS the game progressed the theme continued and the Irish never fell behind leading from the start of the half to the end. The second half was a different story as the ‘Noles began to adjust to the defensive pressure and Winston began to get into a groove. Still they could not get ahead of the visitors who kept answering every touchdown with their own. In the fourth they went ahead after Florida State forced them to a field goal and that gave Winston the opening he needed. The Seminoles marched down the field and took their first lead of the game leaving Notre Dame to come back for the first time. The Irish were willing as they made their own march down the field with less than two minutes left in the game. They continued to get closer when on fourth down and with under twenty seconds Golson threw a touchdown pass that looked to put the Irish ahead for good. Then the flags were thrown with an offensive pass interference call negating the touchdown and pushing Notre Dame back with one last chance to get the lead and win the game but Golson could not reproduce his touchdown pass the play before and threw an interception to end the game and give the Seminoles the win. The loss for the Irish has put them to the #7 ranking and has not put them out of the running for the playoffs but they will need some help. For the Seminoles the win kept them in the same place as the solidified their #2 position as they look to control their own destiny on their way to the postseason.


Heisman Watch

1. Marcus Mariota, QB (Oregon)
One of the few Heisman hopefuls that were in action this week Mariota only helped his bid to win the trophy. Leading the Ducks to another win this time against Washington Mariota threw for 336 yards and three touchdowns on a typical day for the Hawaiian. If he continues to play like this the Heisman could be him but there are tougher games to come in their schedule.
Stats (7 Games):
70.2% cmp (56 att)
1,957 yds (289 rsh yds)
19 TD (5 rsh TD)
191.0 rtg

2. Melvin Gordon, RB (Wisconsin)
He was off for the week but Gordon remains the best running back in the nation with Todd Gurley out. Under controversy Gurley has been sat for the Georgia Bulldogs and that has pushed him out of the running until he comes back to the team, or if he comes back to the team. In his place is Gordon who is clearly the team leader for a Wisconsin team that loves to run as he gets back at it next week against Maryland.
Stats (6 Games):
132 att
1,046 yds
7.9 avg
13 TD

3. Dak Prescott, QB (Mississippi State)
The quarterback the #1 team in the country will always be in focus when it comes to the Heisman Trophy. Although he was off in Week 8 Prescott is sure to continue rising if he continues to keep the Bulldogs undefeated. Next week he tries to continue the streak against Kentucky next week as the Bulldogs play their first game as #1.
Stats (4 Games):
61.5% cmp (106 att)
1,478 yds (576 rsh yds)
14 TD (8 rsh TD)
165.6 rtg

4. Bo Wallace, QB (Ole Miss)
Stats (7 Games):
65.6% cmp (67 att)
1,899 yds (122 rsh yds)
17 TD (2 rsh TD)
163.0 rtg

5. Everett Golson, QB (Notre Dame)
Stats (7 Games):
61.9% cmp (69 att)
1,996 yds (242 rsh yds)
19 TD (4 rsh TD)
143.4 rtg


AP Top 25:
1. Mississippi State Bulldogs (1)
2. Florida State Seminoles (2)
3. Ole Miss Rebels (3)
4. Alabama Crimson Tide (7)
5. Auburn Tigers (6)
6. Oregon Ducks (9)
7. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (5)
8. Michigan State Spartans (8)
9. Georgia Bulldogs (10)
10. TCU Horned Frogs (12)
11. Kansas State Wildcats (14)
12. Baylor Bears (4)
13. Ohio State Buckeyes (13)
14. Arizona State Sun Devils (17)
15. Arizona Wildcats (16)
16. Nebraska Cornhuskers (19)
17. Oklahoma Sooners (11)
18. East Carolina Pirates (18)
19. Utah Utes (20)
20. USC Trojans (22)
21. Clemson (24)
22. West Virginia Mountaineers (–)
23. Marshall Thundering Herd (25)
24. LSU Tigers (–)
25. UCLA Bruins (–)


Key Scores:
West Virginia Mountaineers 41 – 27 Baylor Bears #4
– The Bears had just got into the playoff race in the last week but now they are sure to fall out after losing to a Mountaineers team that was up to the challenge of the fast-paced Baylor offence

#7 Alabama Crimson Tide 59 – 0 Texas A&M Aggies #21
– The Tide came off of their first loss of the season with a tight win over Arkansas but they put panic at bay in a big win over the Aggies who will find it near impossible to get into the playoff after their second loss of the season

#14 Kansas State Wildcats 31 – 30 Oklahoma Sooners #11
– It was one of the closest games of the week with some of the top teams taking an off week as the Wildcats were able to pull out the win after Oklahoma missed a 19-yard field goal that would have won the game instead giving the Wildcats the win

#2 Florida State Seminoles 31 – 27 Notre Dame Fighting Irish #5
– It was the marquee game of the week and it did not disappoint as both teams went back and forth with the Seminoles taking their first lead in the fourth quarter and the Irish having a game winning touchdown called back at the end of the game


Next Week:
#1 Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. Kentucky Wildcats (Saturday October 25th; 3:30 pm ET)
– The Bulldogs take on their first game as the #1 team in the country as the pressure builds for them to remain undefeated and prove that they are the best team in the NCAA for another week

Michigan Wolverines vs. #8 Michigan State Spartans (Saturday October 25th; 3:30 pm ET)
– The Spartans have quietly found their way up the rankings but they will need to avoid a loss to the Wolverines who may not be the best team they play this year but are their biggest rival and as with any rivalry game anything can happen

#22 West Virginia Mountaineers vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys (Saturday October 25th; 3:30 pm ET)
– The Mountaineers have found their way to the Top 25 after beating the Baylor Bears and now they take on another team with a potent offence in the Cowboys as this could be another shootout in the Big 12

#3 Ole Miss Rebels vs. #24 LSU Tigers (Saturday October 25th; 7:15 pm ET)
– The Rebels seemed like their new ranking got to them in their first week among the top 5 but they settled down and came out on top as they take on a tougher test in LSU as the Tigers try to rise up the rankings

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