The first few weeks of the college football season have been dramatic, but none can match the rowdiness of college football Week 6. Saturday was a joyride, starting with an all-time great rivalry game between Oklahoma and Texas and wrapping up (unofficially) with No. 1 Alabama losing to Texas A&M’s backup quarterback, 41–38.
There’s a lot to sort through. Here’s one attempt, focusing on movers up and movers down coming out of a wild weekend in an unusually wild season. Below are four winners and three losers from college football Week 6.
College Football Week 6 Recap
Winner: Texas A&M
THE AGGIES UPSET NO. 1 ALABAMA. pic.twitter.com/p68Rj1KKwG
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) October 10, 2021
The Aggies got the win of the year by taking down the top-ranked Crimson Tide, a result that elevated Georgia to No. 1 in the rankings. It’s the biggest win in Jimbo Fisher’s four-year tenure in College Station, and it should take the edge off A&M’s previous two losses (which eliminated the team from Playoff contention). Aggie quarterback Zach Calzada—a backup playing because of an injury to starter Haynes King—had struggled badly in those dual losses. But he played the game of his life on Saturday, and after A&M’s offense sputtered for most of the second half, he led tying and winning drives in the closing minutes to make himself an Aggie immortal.
Loser: Penn State
TOUCHDOWN HAWKEYES 🔥
— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) October 9, 2021
Iowa (which was ranked No. 3) beat the Nittany Lions (No. 4), 23–20. Penn State led by 14 in the first half, but an apparent midsection injury to QB Sean Clifford rendered the PSU offense useless for the rest of the evening. Freshman backup Ta’Quan Roberson simply wasn’t ready to face an Iowa defense that creates turnovers out of thin air and has outplayed every non-Georgia unit in the country. Penn State was up 17–10 when Roberson entered, despite Clifford tossing a couple of interceptions and looking mostly ineffective himself.
The Nittany Lions only scored three points the rest of the game, and Iowa’s offense eventually broke through with the touchdown it needed to pull ahead. Now Penn State has an injured QB and a backup situation that looks hopeless in the near term. Clifford’s health will be PSU’s defining story. He needs to be healthy for the program to have any chance of beating a resurgent Ohio State and getting back to the top of the Big Ten. Meanwhile, the Hawkeyes are on a glide path to Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship.
Winner: Michigan schools
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) October 9, 2021
Michigan and Michigan State are both 6–0 after notching wins over Nebraska and Rutgers on Saturday, respectively. The Wolverines have been a bit shaky in two of their last three games, but their defense appears to be very solid. The Spartans have an ascendant, dynamic offense that put on a show on Saturday: They scored four touchdowns of 63-plus yards against Rutgers.
Elsewhere in the state, the MAC’s Central Michigan (over Ohio) and Eastern Michigan (over Miami of Ohio) pulled out dramatic wins by a combined four points. Only a Western Michigan loss to Ball State kept the state’s five FBS teams from an undefeated week.
Loser: Ed Orgeron
Will Levis running through the LSU defense 😳 pic.twitter.com/BstpvZLf6Z
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) October 10, 2021
Orgeron’s LSU Tigers are 3–3, and they’ve lost to the three best teams they’ve played (UCLA, Auburn, and Kentucky), with plenty more pain still on the docket as they wind through an SEC West schedule. It was Kentucky’s turn to beat up on the Tigers on Saturday night, and the game ended in a 42–21 loss—LSU’s worst of the year. Orgeron coached an all-time great national championship team in 2019, but less than two years later, his team is unrecognizable. It now seems inevitable that the school will fire him this season.
Winner: Boise State
How good does this feel right now⁉️ pic.twitter.com/HWRKSkSWkD
— Boise State Football (@BroncoSportsFB) October 10, 2021
The Broncos are perhaps the preeminent non-power-conference program in college football. But they’ve been stuck in neutral the last two seasons and hadn’t yet broken through in the first half of their first year under a new head coach, Andy Avalos. Now they have. BSU beat up on No. 10 BYU on Saturday, 26–17, and held the Cougars to just 4.1 yards per rush. BYU was able to get 24 first downs, but the Broncos’ defense was stiff when it had to be, forcing two turnovers on downs, two fumble recoveries, and an interception from BYU QB Jaren Hall.
Winner: Surprise unbeaten teams
HICKS! Clarence with the interception with 43 seconds left.
— UTSA Football 🏈 (@UTSAFTBL) October 10, 2021
UTSA and Wake Forest are each 6–0 and sitting atop Conference USA and the ACC, respectively. The Roadrunners didn’t have a football program before 2011 and have never won their conference, but second-year coach Jeff Traylor has built them into a finely tuned offensive machine that, so far, has created just enough stops on defense to beat everyone on the slate.
Wake hasn’t won the ACC since 2006 and has won it just twice all-time, but the Demon Deacons have been steady and dependable under coach Dave Clawson. Their overtime win against Syracuse on Saturday, 40–37, was one of the day’s most exciting games.
— Virginia Football (@UVAFootball) October 10, 2021
Two weeks in a row, first at Wake Forest and then against Virginia, Louisville was one big defensive play away from winning (or at least forcing overtime). Both times, the Cardinals couldn’t come up with that play. A home loss to UVA dropped U of L to 3–3 on the year as it moves further into its conference schedule. Head coach Scott Satterfield’s job could be in danger if his defense doesn’t show relatively rapid (and unexpected) improvement.
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