My series previewing the top 2020-21 college football prospects concludes today with a look at the most paramount position in world sports: quarterback.
Another week, a few more big storylines across the college football landscape: upsets, record-breaking comebacks and season-changing injuries lead the way.
At the same time, we’re inching ever closer to Thanksgiving weekend’s rivalries – for mine, the best weekend in college football – and conference title games following that, and the results we saw this week after bringing those conference races into clearer shape, particularly in the Big Ten and SEC.
In case you missed the action across the weekend, read on for a look at who covered themselves in gridiron glory and who didn’t with the Week Twelve edition of winners and losers.
Winner – Jonathan Taylor
The Wisconsin running back passed the mark of 5598 career rushing yards set by the legendary Herschel Walker and now has the most yards through his junior season in college football.
His 204 yards and two scores on Saturday helped the Badgers beat Nebraska 37-21.
Loser – Alabama
Reports swirled late Saturday afternoon that star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is out for the season with a dislocated hip after being carted off the field in the first half of the Tide’s comfortable 38-7 win over Mississippi State.
This, of course, completely changes Alabama’s chances of making the college football playoff. It appears to be Mac Jones’ team now, though you can be sure we’ll hear plenty about whether Nick Saban should’ve kept Tagovailoa in the game as long as he did.
Winner – Michigan
The Wolverines scored early and often, beating in-state rivals Michigan State 44-10 in Ann Arbor. Quarterback Shea Patterson threw for four touchdowns among 384 yards and the defence smothered the Spartan offence, holding them to just 220 total yards.
Loser – James Graham
As part of the dumpster fire that was Georgia Tech’s 45-0 loss to Virginia Tech, their quarterback managed to complete just 7 of 14 passes for 43 yards and two interceptions for a QB Rating of 47.2.
In comparison, VT’s starting quarterback, Hendon Hooker, was 9-13 for 159 yards and a touchdown. His QB Rating was 197.4. Yellow Jackets shut out at home for the first time since 1957.
Winner – North Dakota State
The defending FCS national champion Bison are on track again in 2019, recoding a 49-14 win over South Dakota, to win the Missouri Valley conference and extend their season record to 11-0. They will be tough to stop yet again in the playoffs.
Loser – Texas special teams
The Longhorns committed an offside penalty on a potential game-winning field goal for Iowa State, handing the Cyclones a fresh set of downs. A few plays later, ISU kicker Connor Assalley connected on a 36-yarder for the 23-21 win.
Winner – Rutgers
Scored 21 points against Ohio State to match Florida Atlantic’s season-opening effort for the highest number the Buckeyes have surrendered this year.
Loser – Minnesota
A week after stoning Penn State, the undefeated Gophers went into Iowa City and lost 23-19. In fairness to PJ Fleck’s team, they aren’t the first and surely won’t be the last team to be upset at Kinnick Stadium in November. It’s basically a Big Ten contending team’s rite of passage now.
Winner – Georgia
It was a little dicey at the end, but the Bulldogs beat Auburn 21-14 behind three Jake Fromm touchdowns and in the process clinched their third straight SEC East title. It’s rarely pretty, but they continue to pummel teams into the ground.
Loser – Baylor
The Bears had Oklahoma on the ropes, down 28-3 in the second quarter, then collapsed in spectacular fashion, losing 34-31. A win next week over Texas sets up a rematch with Oklahoma for the Big XII title.
Winner – Iowa
The Hawkeyes beat Minnesota 23-19 in Iowa City to extend their home record against AP Top 7 teams to 7-1 since 2008.
Loser – Arizona State
The Sun Devils started the season 5-1 but have lost four straight (including a 35-34 defeat at the hands of Oregon State) to be a disappointing 5-5. They have work to do if they’re going to make a Bowl game.
Winner – Jaylon Henderson
The Boise State senior became the third quarterback to start for the Broncos in 2019, doing so, fittingly, on Senior Night, where he dominated against New Mexico State, throwing for 292 yards and three touchdowns in the 42-9 romp.
Loser – Stanford
It appears that the Cardinal will miss a Bowl game for the first time since 2008 after a 49-22 loss to Washington State that leaves them needing to win both remaining matches to get to six wins.
They’ll probably beat Cal, but have little to no chance against Notre Dame. A disappointing year for David Shaw’s men, and the first time under Shaw that they won’t have at least eight wins on the season, dating back to 2011.
Winner – Clemson
Although the Tigers haven’t played anyone with a pulse, and won’t until they take the field for a national semi-final, they’re looking ominous, thumping Wake Forest 52-3 to make it three straight games where they’ve scored 52 or more.
Loser – Akron
After Rice and New Mexico State both won for the first time this weekend, the Zips are the only team in the FBS to not have won in season 2019.
Winner – Penn State
The Nittany Lions calmly and coolly executed an 18-play, 75-yard drive for the ages to beat Indiana at the death. The possession lasted for more than nine minutes and ended with quarterback Sean Clifford diving ahead for a 1-yard score to clinch the 34-27 win.
Penn State coach James Franklin called the drive “gusty” and it definitely was.
Loser – LSU’s defence
The Tigers won 58-37 over Ole Miss, but gave up 614 yards of offence to the Rebels. That’s concerning.
Winner – Notre Dame
Managed to diagnose Navy’s always-difficult triple option offence en route to a 52-20 win. On the offensive side, Ian Book threw five touchdowns for the Irish, including four in a dominant first half.
Loser – Michigan State
The Spartans were embarrassed 44-10 by Michigan. After starting out the year 4-1, they’ve now lost five straight and need to win their final two contests to become Bowl-eligible.
Winning the Big Ten and making the playoff four years ago must seem like a long time ago for the Spartan faithful and under-siege head coach Mark Dantonio.
If the school choose not to fire him in the off-season, Dantonio should give serious consideration to walking away because the program clearly isn’t going anywhere at the moment.