Week 7 had its share of late night drama, with 4th ranked Utah prevailing at home against Arizona State. Also, Bill Snyder suffered his worst home loss as Kansas State’s head coach in two decades to the hands’ of the Oklahoma Sooners, 55-0. And yes, there will be much more discussion of what the heck went to down in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
The gods of Sparty denies the Wolverines any chance to ruin Michigan State’s playoff hopes
Somehow, someway, the Michigan Wolverines blew a game in which they had absolute control over. Despite an epic futility on offense, in which Michigan only managed 10 first downs for 230 total yards. Jake Rudock seemed to be lost through the entire game under center. Rudock hardly hit a receiver in stride late and was very inaccurate. It was clear that defensively, Michigan did it’s job in keeping themselves in the game.
In fact, the Wolverines secondary forced Connor Cook to complete only 45% of his passes. Cook rarely found rhythm on offense until late in the second half, where Cook did just enough across the middle of the field to finish the night with 328 yards passing. Even though Michigan State spotted weaknesses in the Wolverines pass defense, LJ Scott and the rest of the Spartans running backs sifted a meager 58 yards on the ground.
Of course the highlight of the game, most notably this week was the muffed punt from Michigan’s punter that was recovered all the way back for a Spartans game-winning touchdown to end the game. Yes, the You Tube video of that improbable play is included down below.
For what it’s worth, it’s a near miracle how Mark Dantonio’s squad finds themselves with a perfect 7-0 record. After all of the mishaps they’ve encountered on offense, especially on third down, where they were 3/14 last night. The doors at a playoff spot keeps opening for Michigan State, as they still are in the drivers’ seat for an undefeated conference record. Their next biggest test will be a primetime match-up at night in Columbus, Ohio during the third week of November. For Michigan, this loss does in fact shatter their playoff hopes after suffering a second loss. However, the Wolverines’ shot at a conference championship is still intact.
With upcoming marquee road tests at Minnesota and Penn State, they can still mangle their way past a top-heavy B1G East division. Although they’ll need help, considering Michigan State now holds the tie-breaker over them.
Iowa Hawkeyes are still perfect, somehow
Out of all the publicity that Michigan State and Ohio State has received. The B1G West leading Iowa Hawkeyes might not be the most prettiest unbeaten in the country, but they’ve done their part in trying to become a potential dark horse playoff threat.
Much of the Hawkeyes’s success has been predicated by a myriad of factors; one being that they’ve been benefitted with the easiest remaining schedule out of all Power 5 programs (Ohio State, Michigan, nor Michigan State are on the schedule). Although this enhances Iowa’s record weekly, the lack of quality opponents they face is damaging their playoff resume.
Iowa relies heavily on it’s running game to bury opponents late in games. And in yesterday’s win over Northwestern, Akrum Wadley filled-in for injured starter Jordan Canzeri and rushed for 204 yards, 4 TDs, on 26 carries. Iowa has been fortunate to have not suffered any injuries this season. It’s helped the Hawkeyes on both sides of the ball, mainly at receiver. Matt VandeBerg and Derrick Mitchell Jr. helped supplement solid receiving options for QB C.J. Beathard to throw to. For a case like Beathard, who has yet to reach his potential as a downfield passer, has been trying to break out of his common “game manager” mantra. However this may be assembled, Beathard still has been held in check this season, as he’s thrown just 9 TDs compared to 3 INTs.
In spite of Iowa’s offense being solely “one-dimensional”, head coach Kirk Ferentz continues to get contributions from his hermetic run defense, that as of ranks 4th in the NCAA. Through 7 games, Iowa and Florida State are the only FBS teams to have allowed just one rushing touchdown this season. Iowa has backed that up even further by allowing a scanty 519 rushing yards all-together (74 per game). In the defensive-minded Big Ten, points sometimes comes at a premium. The chance that Iowa can withstand November and compete with the B1G’s best in the East once December rolls around in Indianapolis all depends on how well their passing attack can be. Right now, it’s nothing to boast about, the Hawkeyes are 56th in the NCAA in passing efficiency. This will have to improve in order for Iowa to gain respect when talked about as one of college football’s elite.
Memphis Tigers upsets Ole Miss. Have they been overlooked?
The contingent possibility that Memphis will be granted a top spot in the polls at the end of the season seems improbable. Even though they’re undefeated, and have a great chance to finish the season that way. Their AAC schedule won’t appeal to voters as well as most Power 5 schools will. Nonetheless, the Tigers should be awarded some respect given that they posses one of the more polarizing passing attacks in college football.
Paxton Lynch is a name that most people don’t know about, but after his performance against a stingy Rebels secondary, in which he passed for 384 yards and 3 TDs on 39/53 passing. Lynch’s name needs to be acknowledged as one of the more prolific quarterbacks in the nation. Overall, Lynch has thrown for 1,919 yards and 13 TD’s this season, not to mention he also shares a 71% completion percentage that puts his Memphis squad 4th in passing efficiency in the NCAA.
Memphis’ offense will continue to rupture holes in opposing defenses, maybe even break a few records. The way the Tigers schedule is looking, a perfect regular season is a very likely scenario. With how well their offense is, Memphis can handle some top-level teams inside the Power 5. Although the chances of them ever reaching a New Year’s Six bowl seems far-fetched. Memphis is one these teams that needs to be watched closely, any ripples at the top of the polls is the only way Memphis can rise up in the standings. Also, style points may come into play of determining which bowl game they end up with in January.
Top performers in Week 7
- QB Nate Sudfield (Indiana)- 32/42, 464 yards, 4 TDs against Rutgers
- QB Trevone Boykin (TCU)- 27/32, 436 yards, 4 TDS against Iowa State
- QB Deshaun Watson (Clemson)- 27/41, 420 yards, 3 TDs against Boston College
- RB Christian McCaffrey (Stanford)- 25 carries, 243 yards, 4 TDs against UCLA
- RB Derrick Henry (Alabama)- 32 carries, 236 yards, 2 TDs against Texas A&M
- RB Jared Baker (Arizona)- 23 carries, 207 yards, 2 TDs against Colorado
- WR Zach Pascal (Old Dominion)- 11 receptions, 231 yards, 3 TDs against Charlotte
- WR Corey Coleman (Baylor)- 10 receptions, 199 yards, 3 TDs against West Virginia
- WR Josh Doctson (TCU)- 10 receptions, 190 yards, 2 TDs against Iowa State