0 of 16
Brett Deering/Getty Images
Iowa State stunned No. 3 Oklahoma, and Miami pulled off a thriller against rival Florida State. Week 6 brought the excitement back to the college football landscape.
In addition to the massive upset and the crazy finish between rivals, one matchup featuring two ranked teams and a bunch of conference clashes comprised the entertaining slate.
Plus, a handful of second-tier squads kept up their winning ways. Miami, Navy and North Carolina State aren’t common championship picks, but another victory from each keeps the pressure on national contenders.
Sixteen undefeated teams entered the weekend, but not every one of them emerged unscathed.
Note: This piece will be updated as Saturday games go final.
1 of 16
Do you remember that preseason hype around North Carolina State? Do you also recall how the season-opening loss to South Carolina made that attention appear unmerited?
Well, the Wolfpack have responded wonderfully since then.
After toppling Florida State on the road two weeks ago, Dave Doeren’s team hosted Lamar Jackson and No. 17 Louisville for a Thursday night clash. And punctuated by Germaine Pratt’s 25-yard pick-six, NC State celebrated a 39-25 triumph.
Nyheim Hines scampered for 102 yards, while Kelvin Harmon (133) and Jaylen Samuels (104) both topped the 100-yard mark receiving. Stephen Louis was a single yard from joining the duo.
The Wolfpack, now 3-0 in ACC action and 5-1 overall, moved one step further in their preparation for a season-defining Nov. 4 clash with Clemson.
2 of 16
Memphis’ Riley Ferguson showed no mercy Friday night at Connecticut.
The senior quarterback amassed a season-best 431 yards and career-high seven touchdowns in a 70-31 road victory for Memphis. It was the second time Ferguson has thrown at least six scores this year.
And his favorite target was a familiar one.
Anthony Miller, who is squarely on the NFL’s radar, pulled in 15 receptions for 224 yards and made four trips to the end zone.
Doroland Dorceus rushed for 122 yards—his highest total since October 2015—and scored twice. Tony Pollard, Sean Dykes and Joey Magnifico each caught one touchdown, as well.
3 of 16
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Kamryn Pettway dressed for the matchup, but Auburn didn’t need him. Kerryon Johnson led the offense to a 44-23 win over Ole Miss.
The powerful junior handled a career-high 28 carries and rolled to 204 yards and three touchdowns. He tallied all three scores in the first half, running in from 17, 48 and five yards.
Johnson has now totaled 504 yards and 12 touchdowns in four appearances this year, including consecutive 100-yard outputs.
Auburn needs Johnson and Pettway to keep being a consistent running force to be a real threat to Alabama.
4 of 16
For the first time in 27 years, Oklahoma lost to Iowa State.
What made the upset even more improbable was Cyclones starting quarterback Jacob Park took a leave of absence. Per Tommy Birch of the Des Moines Register, Park is dealing with unspecified medical issues.
Kyle Kempt stepped in and made his first career start for Iowa State. On the road. Against the No. 3 team in the country. And proceeded to amass 343 yards and three touchdowns in a 38-31 win.
Put simply, this was an embarrassing loss for the Sooners. Although their College Football Playoff hopes are still alive, Oklahoma no longer has a margin for error.
5 of 16
Brett Deering/Getty Images
Did you know Joel Lanning was a quarterback last year?
Perhaps that’s not common knowledge, but he shared the backfield with Park in 2016. However, after being outplayed, Lanning shifted to linebacker this year and has been terrific.
He entered Week 6 ranked fifth in the country with 11.5 tackles per game. And on Saturday afternoon, Lanning registered eight stops with one sack and a fumble recovery. The senior added 35 yards on the ground and 25 through the air.
“It was fun,” Lanning said after the game, per Jake Trotter of ESPN.com. “Coming into an atmosphere like this, you can’t ask for anything better, especially playing both ways. … I can’t say enough about my teammates and what they did to help me out. It was a lot of stuff going on for me. I didn’t have my best game defensively, but we got the win.”
6 of 16
Alabama must have destroyed Vanderbilt’s spirit on Sept. 23, because a defense that started in wonderful fashion has collapsed.
Georgia had a pair of 100-yard rushers in a 45-14 beatdown of the Commodores, who surrendered 423 yards on the ground and 549 overall. Sony Michel paced the Bulldogs with 150 yards and a score, while Nick Chubb powered his way to 138 yards and two touchdowns.
After allowing 309 total rushing yards in its first three contests, Vanderbilt has ceded at least 218 in three straight games—losses to Alabama, Florida and Georgia.
The ‘Dores are finished with the brutal part of their schedule, but Derek Mason’s defense must respond positively for the team to reach six wins and earn bowl eligibility.
7 of 16
Iowa State’s upset of Oklahoma left TCU as the Big 12’s lone remaining unbeaten team entering the midafternoon window of games. And the Horned Frogs survived a fight with West Virginia.
They snatched a 31-24 victory, in part, thanks to the trick play seen in the above video. Wide receiver KaVontae Turpin took a jet sweep and threw across the field to quarterback Kenny Hill, who made one defender miss and outran five more for a 48-yard score.
Hill’s touchdown and the ensuing extra point gave TCU a 24-17 edge, and he notched another go-ahead score—this time the game-winner—in the fourth quarter.
At 5-0 overall, the Horned Frogs are alone atop the Big 12. But for now, a Nov. 11 clash with Oklahoma remains a critical game.
8 of 16
John Raoux/Associated Press
For the second straight year, a school from Florida experienced a crushing defeat because of a missed extra point. Last season, it was Miami against Florida State. In Week 6, Florida fell to LSU.
Gators holder Johnny Townsend spun the ball like he has hundreds of—and at this point, maybe a thousand—times. However, he lost the grip, and Eddy Pineiro kicked a spinning ball.
It hooked wide left. LSU eventually won 17-16.
Pineiro had converted on all 46 of his previous extra-point attempts. There’s no question this shortcoming will sting the Gators, though it was only their first SEC loss of 2017. If Florida dispatches Texas A&M next week, an Oct. 28 showdown with Georgia may decide the East.
9 of 16
For three quarters, defenses dominated the annual rivalry tilt between Miami and Florida State. The ‘Canes held a 10-3 advantage heading into the final frame, and then things got weird.
James Blackman, FSU’s freshman quarterback, threaded a needle to hit Ryan Izzo for the game-tying score. Following a three-and-out for Miami, the ‘Noles managed a field goal. But the Hurricanes responded with a go-ahead touchdown pass from Malik Rosier to Braxton Berrios, who caught two scores on the day.
Florida State rolled right back down the field, and a coverage breakdown led to a wide-open touchdown reception for Auden Tate. That put the Seminoles ahead 20-17 with just 1:24 on the clock.
Then, Miami picked up four first downs—including a crucial 3rd-and-10 catch from Berrios—before Rosier lofted a perfectly placed sideline pass to Darrell Langham. He inched across the goal line, and Michael Badgley knocked home the PAT for a 24-20 Hurricanes lead as only six seconds remained.
After a tackle on the ensuing kickoff, the ‘Canes had snapped a seven-game losing streak to their rival. Mark Richt has Miami at 4-0 and threatening to join the national conversation.
10 of 16
Ohio State put a hurting on Maryland—and then some.
Not only did the Buckeyes smash the visitors 62-14, but Urban Meyer‘s squad also held to Terrapins to 66 yards on 55 snaps. Maryland’s touchdowns came on a Ty Johnson kickoff return and a 20-yard scamper from Javon Leake in garbage time after an Ohio State turnover.
On the other side of the ball, J.T. Barrett totaled 320 yards and four touchdowns. Five different Buckeyes scored on the ground, and three players caught one score apiece.
Maryland snatched an impressive win against Minnesota last week, but Ohio State was too much for D.J. Durkin’s team.
11 of 16
Unquestionably the wildest game of the weekend happened in Buffalo.
Western Michigan outlasted the Bulls for a 71-68 triumph in seven overtimes. According to ESPN Stats & Info, the 139 combined points set an FBS record. The teams also posted 1,328 total yards.
On the Western Michigan side, Jon Wassink threw for 256 yards and five touchdowns—and caught one, too. Jarvion Franklin ran for 176 yards and three scores, while LeVante Bellamy added 131 yards on the ground. D’Wayne Eskridge led the Broncos pass-catchers with 97 yards.
For Buffalo, Drew Anderson amassed 597 yards and seven scores through the air. Buffalo didn’t do much on the ground, but three receivers notched at least 138 yards. Anthony Johnson led the Bulls with 11 catches and 195 yards.
If this was a precursor to what midweek MACtion will provide down the stretch, then once again, we’re all in.
12 of 16
Entering Week 6, Michigan’s defense had consistently excelled. As long as the offense was even semi-competent, the Wolverines could keep winning ugly against mid-level competition.
But the scoring attack had a massive letdown.
No, pouring rain didn’t help, but Michigan committed five turnovers in a 14-10 loss to Michigan State. John O’Korn, the replacement for an injured Wilton Speight (cracked vertebrae), tossed three interceptions. Ty Isaac and Sean McKeon lost one fumble apiece.
The Wolverines only surrendered 4.1 yards per play, but inefficient offense wasted that effort. Instead, Michigan dropped to 4-1, will lose its Top 10 ranking and must deal with the outside noise of Jim Harbaugh’s falling to 1-4 against the school’s main rivals, Ohio State and Michigan State.
13 of 16
David Zalubowski/Associated Press
Khalil Tate took efficiency to a ridiculous level Saturday.
In a 45-42 upset of Colorado on the road, the dual-threat sophomore piled up 327 yards and four scores on the ground alone. Tate’s touchdown runs covered 58, 28, 47 and 75 yards, and he added scampers of 37, 28 and 31 yards.
Tate also completed 11 of 12 passes for 142 yards and another score—a 13-yarder to Shun Brown that put Arizona ahead for good late in the second quarter.
Even with Phillip Lindsay’s 281-yard outburst for Colorado, Tate presented a convincing case for the most impressive individual effort of the weekend.
14 of 16
Week 6 offered a perfect chance for Nebraska to shake the uncertainty surrounding the program and make a statement in the Big Ten West. Wisconsin, however, had different plans.
The Cornhuskers hung around for a while, even tying the game with a 14-yard pick-six early in the third quarter. However, the undefeated Badgers (5-0) took over from there and rattled off 21 unanswered points because Nebraska couldn’t stop the run.
Freshman Wisconsin star Jonathan Taylor posted 249 yards rushing and two touchdowns, and Bradrick Shaw chipped in another score. Additionally, seldom-used reserve Rachid Ibrahim helped set up a pair of scores, finishing with 51 yards.
The Badgers wrapped up the conference clash with 353 rushing yards, the most Nebraska has allowed since Melvin Gordon’s record-breaking 408 in 2014.
15 of 16
Other matchups may be more impactful for Navy and Central Florida in terms of AAC tiebreakers, but the Oct. 21 meeting between the schools is becoming more attractive by the week.
Saturday afternoon, Navy squandered a 21-point lead against Air Force but scored a last-minute touchdown to clip the Falcons 48-45. The Midshipmen moved to 5-0 on the season.
Later in the day, UCF put together its fourth straight blowout. The Knights racked up 37 points during the first half and destroyed Cincinnati 51-23 in a rain-shortened game.
If the Mids hold off Ferguson and Memphis in Week 7 and UCF dispatches East Carolina, the showdown in Annapolis will feature a pair of undefeated teams.
16 of 16
George Frey/Getty Images
Stanford’s Bryce Love and San Diego State’s Rashaad Penny ran wild Saturday night. What’s new, right?
Love scampered for a season-worst 152 yards—yeah, soak that in—during a 23-20 victory over Utah. His 68-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter proved to be the difference in the Pac-12 tilt.
Meanwhile, Penny collected 170 yards and two touchdowns to help the Aztecs cruise past UNLV 41-10. The senior extended his streak of 100-plus-yard showings to six and ended the weekend just shy of the 1,000-yard mark for the season.
Good luck trying to contain either one of these entertaining, explosive backs. Oregon and Boise State, you’re up next.