When in doubt, always know that college football will deliver the most thrilling upsets and unexpected finishes. Week 11 saw all of that and more as it involved the No. 1 and No. 3 teams go down on the road, and witnessed the playoff field and unbeatens list get widdled down even more.
Here were the most notable winners and losers from College Football’s Week 11.
*Since this is a weekly segment, the previous week’s winners and losers can be found here.
Wisconsin: The Badgers’ train keeps rolling. Undefeated, and undeterred, Wisconsin overcame an opening drive pick-six from quarterback Alex Hornibrook to roll past Iowa, 38-14. Much of Wisconsin’s offense focused on the nation’s third-leading rusher, Jonathan Taylor, on Saturday. The freshman tailback mowed past the Hawkeyes’ shaky run defense, racking up 157 yards on 29 carries. Taylor’s monstrous day marked the seventh time this season that he’s rushed for the century mark and fifth time that he eclipsed the 150 yard barrier.
Taylor’s dominance wasn’t the only noteworthy moment in the Badgers’ 10th consecutive win, though. Wisconsin’s defense contained an Iowa offense that put up over 500 yards last week to Ohio State, to just 66 total all game. In addition, Iowa was held to only five first downs and a zero-for-13 conversion rate on third down.
With this week’s win, Wisconsin still controls its own destiny for the playoffs. At 10-0, the Badgers face a stiff test at home against Michigan next week, and then its regular-season finale at Minnesota. If the Badgers can win both of those they’ll be perfect heading into the Big Ten Championship game.
Auburn: All week, actually, more like all month, the outside noise in College Football was centered around the hypothetical scenario that Georgia and Alabama would both be unbeaten heading into December’s SEC Championship game.
But like everything else in life, it’s a good thing that sports, or in this case college football, is determined on the field and not on paper.
Case in point, coming into this week, the Bulldogs were 10th in Rushing S&P+ and had rushed for at least 185 yards in every game this season, averaging just under 280 yards and three rushing touchdowns per game. Also, according to CFB Stats, they were tied for fourth in the nation in rushes that went for at least 20 yards, with 30 of them.
On Saturday, Auburn’s defense, which was 4th in Def. Rushing S&P+ beforehand, only bolstered its claim, limiting Georgia to 46 rushing yards all game. Furthermore, the Bulldogs didn’t have a single carry go for more than 10 yards — and even that 10-yard run came late in the fourth quarter on a meaningless drive with the game already out of hand. Take out that possession and Georgia carried the ball 28 times for just 23 yards.
Though I’m not officially calling the Auburn defense the winner here, because the offense was doggone impressive, too. Against what had been one of the best defenses in the nation, Jarrett Stidham threw for 214 yards and three touchdowns. He also added a rushing touchdown early in the third quarter that effectively sealed the game.
As it stands, Auburn, even with two losses, is still in play for a playoff spot if they knock off Alabama in the Iron Bowl and beat Georgia again in Atlanta.
Miami: Is the “U” really back? That statement might be a little premature to say fully since Miami still has to finish their season on a high note. But for one night, Hard Rock Stadium clamored like the old Orange Bowl, and the ‘Canes turnover chain swayed back and forth around Miami players’ necks like Michael Irvin’s and Ed Reed’s did for so many years.
As far as the game goes, Miami played their best week of football all season against the highest-ranked opponent they’ve faced in Notre Dame. Miami’s speed on offense with Travis Homer and Malik Rosier, sprinted past every Irish defender in sight, racking up a whopping 199 rushing yards combined.
On defense, the Hurricanes stonewalled Notre Dame’s dynamic rushing attack led by quarterback Brandon Wimbush and tailback Josh Adams. Together, their speedy, athletic and aggressive unit – capable of disrupting almost any offense – forced four turnovers and suffocated Notre Dame to just 261 total yards of offense.
Yes, it was only one night. But there were glimpses of the “U” old being back to Hurricanes’ fans of yesteryear.
Notre Dame: When things go south for the Fighting Irish, they go south. Notre Dame had just gotten past the thrill of being ranked third in College Football Playoff rankings, a spot pretty much everyone was willing to scrutinize if given the opportunity.
But now, their playoff hopes are shattered after getting thrashed by Miami, 41-8.
Notre Dame’s nightmare of a game was highlighted with inaccurate throws and confusion from the otherwise collected quarterback Brandon Wimbush, who completed just 47 percent of his passes for 119 yards and threw two picks. In addition, Notre Dame’s defense was unable to contain Miami’s Malik Rosier and Travis Homer, ultimately getting gashed for 237 total yards on the ground. If things look bleak for Notre Dame now, it’s warranted considering that they still have to face 6-3 Navy and end the season at 7-2 Stanford just to reach a New Year’s Six bowl.
Florida: If you read this segment on a regular basis you know that I’ve added several jabs here and there to Florida football this season. Whether you loathe or appreciate that is your call of course, so I’ll warn you: Florida football was bad again this week.
We already know Florida is suffering its28-20 loss at South Carolina epitomized how frustrating this year has been in two unfortunate plays. The first was a pick-6 that wasn’t because of a fumble at the goal line that put the ball back in the Gamecocks’ hands.
Again, I recommend Florida fans read and watch this section at their own discretion. I’m sorry.
Saquon Barkley: Remember when Saquon Barkley was running away with the Heisman in September? Good times. Here we are in the middle of November and I think it’s officially time to put Barkley’s Heisman campaign to rest. Over his past three games, he’s averaging 2.9 yards per carry, consisting of rushing totals of 44, 63, and 35 yards, respectively. Barkley still hasn’t registered 1,000 yards rushing this season, which is quite astonishing since he was at 518 yards through Week 4.
- QB Jordan Ta’amu, Ole Miss: 28/36, 418, 3 TDs against Louisiana Lafayette
- QB Charlie Brewer, Baylor: 43/63, 417 yards, 3 TDs against Texas Tech
- QB Nick Starkel, Texas A&M: 21/30, 416 yards, 4 TDs against New Mexico
- RB Malcolm Perry, Navy: 33 carries, 282 yards, 4 TDs against SMU
- RB Alexander Mattison, Boise State: 23 carries, 242 yards, 3 TDs against Colorado State
- RB Matt Colburn, Wake Forest: 31 carries, 237 yards, 2 TDs against Syracuse
- WR A.J. Brown, Ole Miss: 14 receptions, 185 yards, 2 TDs against Louisiana Lafayette
- WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama: 5 receptions, 171 yards against Mississippi State
- WR Ka’Raun White, West Virginia: 8 receptions, 168 yards, 2 TDs against Kansas State