We’re here in Week 8 and making college football history.
Can you ever remember a season when there were so many undefeated teams this late in the year? Simply unprecedented.
That’s some of that classic football humor.
The Big Ten is back! Welcome, friends.
There’s going to be more football to keep track of, so we’re here to find the best of the day, from uniforms to highlights to a parody political attack ad from Montana State highlighting how its coach, Selfish Jeff, has dominated Montana recently. Don’t be selfish. Stick around.
Top 25 takeaways
No. 9 Cincinnati 42, No. 16 SMU 13
Of the four games between ranked opponents on Saturday, the Bearcats’ 42-13 win against SMU was the most lopsided final score. It’s a little deceiving because SMU was within two scores well into the fourth quarter, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that the win solidifies the Bearcats as the favorite among Group of 5 teams to reach the New Year’s Six.
The Mustangs, on the other hand, had been one of the more explosive teams in the country before Cincinnati came to town but struggled to find any sense of rhythm against the Bearcats. Quarterback Shane Buechele completed 23 of 44 attempts for 216 yards, and the Mustangs managed just 75 yards on the ground. — Kyle Bonagura
No. 11 Miami 19, Virginia 14
It wasn’t the most explosive night offensively for the Hurricanes, who managed just 19 points against a Virginia team that allowed 40 points last week against Wake Forest. Still, it was enough to pull out a narrow win to move to 5-1 ahead of next week’s game against NC State. Quarterback D’Eriq King was a bright spot again, throwing for 322 yards while completing 21 of 30 attempts, but the Canes ran for just 122 yards on 48 carries (2.5 yards per carry). — Bonagura
No. 18 Michigan 49, No. 21 Minnesota 24
Michigan’s offense looked confident and under control in quarterback Joe Milton’s debut for the Wolverines. Milton didn’t have eye-popping numbers, but he managed the game well and didn’t make many mistakes. The Michigan run game went for over 250 yards and had five touchdowns on the ground, helping Milton and the offense to a convincing win on the road against Minnesota.
The Gophers, meanwhile, started this game on a high note, blocking a punt and scoring on their first drive, but it went downhill after that. The defense allowed eight straight Michigan drives that led to points after that blocked punt. The offense was missing that downfield threat in the passing game and couldn’t keep up with the points Michigan put up. The team was also hurt by the number of players unavailable for this game, noticeably in the kicking game, and got into a hole early. — Tom VanHaaren
Indiana 36, No. 8 Penn State 35 (OT)
How do you outgain your opponent by 277 yards and lose? By losing the turnovers battle, missing two field goals, committing more than double your opponent’s penalties … and scoring late when you shouldn’t. The Nittany Lions took the lead late and had a chance to run out the clock, but Devyn Ford’s accidental touchdown gave Indiana one last chance, and the Hoosiers took advantage, first forcing overtime and then winning via two-point conversion by an almost literal millimeter. A loss like this will always be tough to swallow, but PSU has to immediately move on and prepare for a visit from Ohio State next Saturday. — Bill Connelly
No. 6 Oklahoma State 24, No. 17 Iowa State 21
Oklahoma State QB Spencer Sanders made his return to the lineup, and while he had his ups and downs, the Cowboys moved the ball well overall, and he spread it around to eight players. The real story for the Pokes continues to be the defense, which was stellar once again, this time holding Iowa State to 3-of-13 on third downs and keeping Brock Purdy (19-of-34 passing, 162 yards) off-balance. Meanwhile, the Cyclones couldn’t quite find a groove against a talented Oklahoma State defense. Purdy was sacked three times and completed only 55 percent of his passes. The Cyclones converted just 23 percent of their third downs. Breece Hall (185 rushing yards) was a bright spot, but it wasn’t enough to get a Big 12 road win.– Sam Khan Jr.
The Irish clearly will live on defense and the run game this season, but they saw how valuable downfield passes can be in a 45-3 win over Pitt. Wide receiver Ben Skowronek’s leaping catch-and-run for a 73-yard touchdown sparked a 21-point second quarter for Notre Dame. Clark Lea’s defense is really hitting its stride, and the Irish also blocked a punt for a touchdown. After a slow start, quarterback Ian Book finished with 312 pass yards and three touchdowns. If Book stretches the field a few times per game, the Irish are even tougher to beat. — Adam Rittenberg
The defense continued to play well and Mac Jones moved forward with his Heisman Trophy campaign, but beating Tennessee came at a high cost for Alabama. On the opening kickoff, Jaylen Waddle, who is one of the most dynamic playmakers in the country, broke his ankle and will now miss the rest of the season. Simply put: There’s no replacing a player of Waddle’s talent. But Alabama will have to try to find a way to make up for his production in the passing game and on special teams. — Alex Scarborough
The Hokies’ offense, aside from running back Khalil Herbert, hasn’t been anything to marvel at this season. Saturday, Herbert was held under 100 yards for the first time this season (98) and didn’t have a touchdown. Quarterback Hendon Hooker had a tough afternoon, too, throwing two interceptions to Wake defensive back Nick Anderson. Virginia Tech also missed two field goals and committed 10 penalties for 112 yards. Wake Forest simply played better than Virginia Tech on both sides of the football. — Harry Lyles Jr.
It was a survive-and-advance Saturday for unbeaten Marshall. Thanks in part to a couple of turnovers, the Herd found themselves trailing 9-7 midway through the third quarter. But a Grant Wells-to-Artie Henry touchdown triggered a 13-0 run, and Marshall moved to 5-0. Wells threw for 251 yards, and the Herd defense remained dominant, generating nine tackles for loss and holding FAU to 3.5 yards per play. Next up: a trip down to play struggling FIU. — Bill Connelly
The K-State offense didn’t have to put in much work in the first half — the Wildcats built a 34-7 halftime lead on two Phillip Brooks punt return scores, a Justin Gardner pick-six, a number of short-field scoring drives and just 150 total yards. But freshman quarterback Will Howard looked great in the third quarter, Deuce Vaughn had 71 rushing yards and 81 receiving yards, and the Wildcats once again trounced their increasingly dire-looking in-state rival. — Bill Connelly
Though the final score shows Clemson as a big winner over Syracuse, its performance this week is one coach Dabo Swinney is sure to pick apart. Clemson went into the game as a 40-plus point favorite, but found itself clinging to a 27-21 lead midway through the third quarter. Clemson was not in sync on offense as the lack of a deep threat at receiver became even more glaring, and Travis Etienne missed several series after going into the locker room for an IV after cramping up. Etienne returned in time for Clemson to reel off three touchdowns, but this is an offense that expects more precision and rhythm than what they showed Saturday. — Andrea Adelson
Quarterback Justin Fields showed why he’s one of the nation’s best players, but Ohio State must clean some things up to become one of the nation’s best teams. Fields, a 2019 Heisman Trophy finalist, entered the race with a near-flawless opening performance (20-of-21 passing, 276 pass yards, 54 rush yards, three total touchdowns). But the Buckeyes struggled to run outside of Fields, and they were too often pushed around at the line of scrimmage against an improved, but not elite Nebraska team. Fields and his extremely talented receivers can win a lot of games, but Ohio State ultimately will need more from its lines. — Adam Rittenberg
North Carolina: The Tar Heels did not encounter the same issues they did a week ago in a loss to Florida State, handily beating rival NC State to get back on the winning track. Once again, it was the running game leading the way, as Javonte Williams and Michael Carter each went over 100 yards rushing once again. Williams had three touchdown runs, the fifth time in his career he had multiple touchdowns in a game. North Carolina ran for over 300 yards and put up over 550 yards of total offense for the third straight game, the first time in over 25 years that has happened. — Andrea Adelson
North Carolina State: With Devin Leary out at quarterback, NC State had no real identity on offense — switching from Bailey Hockman to freshman Ben Finley and back to Hockman to try to get a spark going. It did not help losing Ricky Person Jr. early to a concussion, but the Wolfpack were unable to find the same type of balance on offense that led them to a 4-1 start. Add in several costly turnovers at key times — including an interception in the end zone off a tipped ball while the game was still close — and the Wolfpack didn’t give themselves many opportunities to win. — Andrea Adelson
The Chanticleers were without starting quarterback Grayson McCall, who had what the school called an “upper body injury.” It didn’t matter, because backup Fred Payton did enough to give Coastal a comfortable 28-14 win over Georgia Southern, throwing for 252 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. The 5-0 start is Coastal’s first since 2015, and it’s 3-0 for the first time ever as a member of the Sun Belt. — Harry Lyles Jr.
Before the game, there were questions about quarterback Graham Mertz and if he was ready to be the starter after Jack Coan went out with an injury. Now, there are no questions about Mertz. He completed 17 straight passes, had five total touchdown passes and showed a lot of what people saw from him as one of the top high school recruits in the country. Wisconsin’s run game wasn’t as strong as we’re used to seeing, but Mertz and his arm made up for it and then some in this win over Illinois. — Tom VanHaaren
Indiana’s two-point conversion is GOOD!
Indiana upset No. 8 Penn State on this reach by Michael Penix Jr., but what do you think about it?
GAME OF INCHES 👀
INDIANA UPSETS NO. 8 PENN STATE IN OT. pic.twitter.com/YwhCpMD5Jp
— ESPN (@espn) October 24, 2020
Serious leg power
Texas Tech punter Austin McNamara had a day. He hit a punt 74 yards against West Virginia but that was nothing compared this 87-yarder that actually went over 100 yards total.
End zone to end zone 🤯
— Texas Tech Football (@TexasTechFB) October 25, 2020
How would you celebrate an OT win?
Well, Stephen F. Austin coach Colby Carthel would celebrate it by taking his shirt off.
— Lumberjack Football (@SFA_Football) October 24, 2020
It was Carthel’s first game back after being diagnosed with COVID-19, and he had his dad step in his place.
With a chance to win the game, Collin Riccitelli had maybe the unluckiest string of bounces that resulted in a missed field goal and an eventual loss to Rice in 2OT.
Rice just basically kneeled three straight plays and kicked a 45 yard fg for the win in OT and this happened. pic.twitter.com/EyxpYfrfSS
— Matthew Brune (@MatthewBrune_) October 24, 2020
Penn State missed a few key field goals in its loss to Indiana, but this one in particular stung.
First half summary for Penn State 😬 pic.twitter.com/dHGbP4JGeX
— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) October 24, 2020
Indiana gives Penn State a gift right before halftime.
Penn State: pic.twitter.com/QBAZDACDcC
— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) October 24, 2020
Rutgers got its first conference win in three years!
For the first time since 2017, Rutgers got a win in the Big Ten, a 38-27 victory on the road against Michigan State.
Michigan State fans:
This morning Right now pic.twitter.com/xBWYbnRjJ5
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) October 24, 2020
After fumbling the ball, Javian Hawkins knew he needed to hold himself accountable, so he pumped out a few knuckle push-ups.
He fumbled the ball and immediately punished himself with push-ups on the field 😅 pic.twitter.com/cShcTdYnV6
— ESPN (@espn) October 24, 2020
Trevor Lawrence threw a pick-six?
Yep, the first one of his career, actually. It was definitely a memorable moment for Garrett Williams, as it was his first career interception.
🚨 PICK SIX 🚨
Syracuse picks off Trevor Lawrence and takes it back for the TD 👀 pic.twitter.com/FTtQGvitJL
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) October 24, 2020
Three incredible plays you have to see to believe
Somehow, some way, Jaxon Smith-Njigba manages to get his foot down in the end zone for this wild TD.
HOLY FREAKING COW WHAT A CATCH pic.twitter.com/rwmhcRbSUp
— Land-Grant Holy Land (@Landgrant33) October 24, 2020
With some “power” and “beauty,” Zander Horvath went WAY up for this hurdle.
Zander Horvath finds a hole and hurdles a defender down the sideline for a big 33-yard gain and a Purdue first down.
And Don Chapman shows why you should never give up on a play after he stole this TD away from NC State.
NC State’s Ben Finley throws the ball into the end zone, but it is bobbled and picked off by a diving Don Chapman.
That’s one way to score
Florida State’s Jordan Travis used some basketball skills to get this TD run off.
Jordan Travis loses the ball on a fake handoff, but recovers it and jukes a defender as he runs in for a touchdown.
Who’s a good dog?
Michigan State got creative with its cutouts and filled part of a section with dogs.
If anyone needs me today, I’ll be in the good dogs section of Spartan Stadium. pic.twitter.com/vaQaUWAzc1
— Mike Mulholland (@mulho2mj) October 24, 2020
Wisconsin finds a QB
In his first start, former blue-chip recruit Graham Mertz showed he won’t be relinquishing the job any time soon. The redshirt freshman finished the day 24-of-25 for 248 yards and five touchdowns in a 45-7 rout of Illinois. Wisconsin with a big-time, dynamic quarterback? That could be a scary thought for the rest of the Big Ten. And the Overland Park, Kansas, native impressed his hometown QB, too.
That man @GrahamMertz5 going crazy tonight!
— Patrick Mahomes II (@PatrickMahomes) October 24, 2020
Louisiana’s emotional win
Back in August, the Louisiana program was rocked when beloved 31-year-old assistant coach D.J. Looney died of a heart attack. Looney was the heart of the team, and they’ve been playing for him ever since. Last night, with Looney’s family in attendance and with the players all wearing Looney’s name on the back of their jerseys, the Ragin’ Cajuns snapped UAB’s 21-game home winning streak with a 24-20 win.
— Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns® Football (@RaginCajunsFB) October 24, 2020
The space race
Both UCF and Mississippi State are wearing unis that highlight their history with America’s space programs.
— UCF Football 😷 (@UCF_Football) October 22, 2020
To the Maroon and Back!
— Mississippi State Football (@HailStateFB) October 22, 2020
Meanwhile, back on Earth
Air Force kept it in the atmosphere, but they’re still on up there.
“Uniforms in the wild” has been a CFB social media theme this year and I am here for it. Cleats on this peak make this the peak of this craze. https://t.co/KWN2gi0Icp
— Ryan McGee (@ESPNMcGee) October 22, 2020
Go for the gold
Missouri’s new block M helmet is shining bright like a diamond.
— Mizzou Football (@MizzouFootball) October 23, 2020
Way, way back
Texas is wearing throwback uniforms as part of a “Retro/Throwback celebration” for its 110th meeting with Baylor. It’ll be the first time Texas has worn this combo at home since a 1950 game against Purdue.
— Texas Football (@TexasFootball) October 21, 2020
Montana, meet Selfish Jeff
Montana State released a vicious attack ad aimed at … its own coach who keeps beating rival Montana.
— Bobcat Football (@MSUBobcats_FB) October 23, 2020
A symbol of unity
Our student-athletes have driven an initiative to wear a solid black Block I decal on our helmets for the season opener at Wisconsin.
The helmet is another example of our student-athletes continued advocacy for social change.
— Illinois Football (@IlliniFootball) October 22, 2020
Bird is indeed the word
Tulane is wearing alternate uniforms featuring its old 1920s-era pelican mascot.
It’s the WORD!!
— Tulane University Football (@GreenWaveFB) October 22, 2020
Both the Illinois Fighting Illini and the Wisconsin Badgers had their eyes on the ball … or a shoe.
This shoe had everyone faked out 😅😂 pic.twitter.com/anB8KNnWQZ
— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) October 24, 2020
Fans might not be allowed at games this season in the Big Ten, but traditions still remain.
Badgers, you know what time it is…
No matter where you are
No matter what you’re doing
It’s time to Jump Around‼️ pic.twitter.com/fflF9PLwI1
— Wisconsin Football (@BadgerFootball) October 24, 2020
Bring your (blue) hat!
We’ve all seen the turnover chains and the copycats, but Tulsa has a touchdown hat. Introducing the JUJU hat.
Second touchdown of the night for Corey Taylor!
42-13 lead for the team with the JUJU hat! 👑🌀 pic.twitter.com/5XXzQ8vg97
— Tulsa Football (@TulsaFootball) October 24, 2020