College Football Corner: October surprises

WASHINGTON — There’s always that October weekend when the herd of unbeaten teams gets thinned out in the most peculiar ways.

I’m going to say very few people had a Syracuse team that had lost at home to Middle Tennessee last month, beating the defending national champs, especially after Clemson crushed the Orange 54-0 last season. The Pac-12 received a double shot with losses by previously unbeaten Washington and Washington State, making the upcoming Apple Cup a little sour.

Even non-Power Five conference schools feel the mid-October sting with San Diego State slipping, and we won’t get into Navy just yet.

Enjoy the pumpkin spice lattes.

Maryland (3-3, 1-2 Big Ten) couldn’t keep pace with Northwestern in a 37-21 loss to the Wildcats. All of a sudden the road to six wins and a bowl berth appears a little cloudier.

  • Terrapin Triumphs: DJ Moore caught 12 passes for 210 yards and two touchdowns. Antoine Brooks tallies nine tackles and the defense snared a pair of interceptions. Max Bortenschlager threw for three scores and was sacked just twice.
  • Terrapin Troubles: The tailback tandem of Lorenzo Harrison and Ty Johnson gained just 51 yards on 19 carries. The defense was exposed underneath multiple times as the pass rush wasn’t a factor. The offense was also unable to take advantage of either turnover, going three and out after both picks.

Next: Saturday at noon at #6 Wisconsin.

Virginia (5-1, 2-0 ACC) held off a second-half surge by North Carolina to beat the Tar Heels 20-14. Not only does this put U. Va. one step closer to bowl eligibility, but it’s also the school’s first win over North Carolina since 2009.

  • Cavalier Congrats: The thunder and lightning backfield rained again: Jordan Ellis ran for 136 yards while Olamide Zaccheaus added 100 yards receiving. The defense held UNC to 46 passing yards and intercepted Brandon Harris three times.
  • Cavalier Concerns: the offensive line allowed four sacks and Kurt Benkert lost one of his two fumbles. North Carolina was able to run for 211 yards and stayed a lot closer than you’d think a 1-5 team would.

Next: Saturday at 12:30 p.m. against Boston College.

Navy (5-1, 3-1 AAC) finally saw their turnovers come back to haunt them in a 30-27 loss at Memphis. Three fumbles and two interceptions gave the Tigers plenty of extra opportunities — and they turned those short fields into 13 points. The West Division is still winnable, but there’s now no margin for error.

  • Midshipmen Medals: Zach Abey rushed for 146 yards and three touchdowns. DJ Palmore led the defense that held the Tigers to 4-14 on third down with nine tackles and a forced fumble. Owen White averaged 52 yards per punt.
  • Midshipmen Miscues: one can’t say enough about the five turnovers. The passing game (1-for-8 with 2 interceptions) continues to be a weakness. The defense hasn’t shown it can contain foes for four quarters … once again allowing 30 points or more.

Next: Saturday at 3:30 against #20 UCF.

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