We’re back again with winners and losers, from what was a relatively quiet week of college football. It wasn’t exactly chaotic, but teams we didn’t expect to lose ended up falling on Saturday. It was the Brother Bear of college football weeks: sure it might not seem super great at first, but when we look back on everything that happened this past week, we’ll appreciate the highs and lows that came with this week.
Speaking of bears …
Winner: Alabama’s run game
You know that moment in an anime where the protagonist powers up and it finally looks like he’s going to pull off the victory in the fight, but then the villain hits him with a steel chair and all hope is lost?
I imagine that’s what Arkansas felt like during their Week 5 loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide. Crimson Tide superstar QB Bryce Young went down with a shoulder injury, and Arkansas rode that momentum to closing the margin to five points. Our whompin’ champion was yelling at the top of their lungs, preparing to go Super Saiyan.
Alabama then decided, “eh, who needs the passing game anyway” and proceeded to run the Razorbacks defense clean the hell over, producing three separate runs of 70+ yards after Young got injured in their 49-26 victory in Fayetteville.
Jalen Milroe came in for Bryce Young and then immediately took off on a 77-yard run where he not only outran almost the entire Razorback defense, but the spy who was supposed to tackle him if he broke the pocket. If you’re a spying linebacker and your name is Bumper Pool, I’m not sure you have the facilities for this task.
The scariest thing in the world is when Alabama remembers that they are Alabama. What this means is Nick Saban gets pissed off at [insert offensive coordinator here] and decides that he wants to mash teams in the run game. After Milroe’s 77-yard run, he then threw an incompletion that was a risky tip drill pass, and Saban made it clear what he wanted:
Jahmyr Gibbs is going to make a lot of NFL defenders look silly, so imagine what he would do to Arkansas’ defense. Gibbs scored on 72- and 76-yard touchdown runs, and quite frankly was not touched on either one:
A pissed off ‘Bama is not a fun ‘Bama, and God help the team that’s up next in their war machine’s way.
Loser: Texas A&M
Speaking of teams that are next in Alabama’s way…
Oh man A&M, is everything okay at home? The Aggies lost 42-24 to Mississippi State, and Mike Leach once again pulled off his Air Raid voodoo magic on Jimbo Fisher. Leach is 9-4 against the Aggies all-time, and 2-1 since coming to Starkville, and in this battle, Leach had the Aggies defense in a Genjutsu Itachi Uchiha would be proud of.
You think the Bulldogs are pass happy? How about SIX YARDS PER CARRY and 144 yards on the ground. The Aggies turned the ball over four times, including two fumbles. The craziest thing is: Mississippi State had 13 penalties on the entire game! They were actively beating A&M and themselves!
The Aggie offense is still anemic, being only Devon Achane and if that doesn’t work, prayer. Next week is not the time to have an out of sync offense, because if Saban smells blood in the water, not enough money in the world is going to save Jimbo Fisher from the world of hurt he’ll be in.
Winner: Clemson’s passing offense
What a statement by the Clemson Tigers offense on Saturday. Facing a top -10 opponent in NC State, the Tigers handled business, resulting in a 30-20 victory. On the surface that looks like a close win, but the Tigers dominated this game from the start.
Clemson’s passing offense was impressive, especially considering where they were at to start the season. QB D.J. Uiagalelei is more comfortable behind this offensive line, and the Clemson receiving targets are stepping up in a way that has been noticeable. The Tigers signal caller averaged seven yards per completion and threw a touchdown pass, and layered in some really nice throws on a Wolfpack defense that was the strength of the team.
Uiagalelei has improved considerably from Week 1 to now, and his improvement is solidifying a Tigers’ offense that could be firing on all cylinders when it matters the most: conference championship and a potential College Football Playoff run.
Loser: Will Levis’ fingers
It was a bad day to be one of Will Levis’ digits on Saturday. The Kentucky signal caller fumbled twice in their loss to Ole Miss, but this gruesome photo made its’ way around the internet after Levis fell on it:
YEESH. Good thing he’s right handed!
Levis’ fumble problems in this game don’t seem to be anything more than a trend, but it’s clear that he’s a step behind the top two passers in this years’ NFL Draft. Levis had a rough game when it comes to processing and accuracy, but zipped in two nice touchdown passes.
As long as his fingers don’t get crushed anytime soon, he’ll be fine.
Winner: Liberty WR Jaivian Lofton
Just look at this catch. Look at the nonchalant-ness he makes this grab with. As a defender is grabbing his other hand. He didn’t even like pull it in with his hand—he simply grabbed it out of the sky.
The most disrespectful part of this is staring the DB down after making the catch of the year. All of it was just perfect. 10/10, no notes.
Loser: Oklahoma’s run defense
After the Kansas State loss, the book on Oklahoma was to run the ball on them, and they would break.
Well, TCU ran.
And even when they didn’t run, they were running away from the Sooner defense.
TCU ran for 361 YARDS on Saturday, on a tidy 8.8 yards per attempt. Two runners for the Horned Frogs ran for over ten yards a carry, and three had a run over 25 yards.
It’s not even like the defense is bad schematically. Brent Venables is normally an ace defensive coordinator. However, they just don’t have the dudes to defend the run. They were losing consistently at the line of scrimmage, and don’t get me started on the tackling, which was absolutely horrendous.
The Sooners have the Red River Rivalry vs. Texas next week, and they boast a stable of impressive running backs led by star runner Bijan Robinson. If they tackle like they did last week, it’s going to be a long day in Texas.