Winners – Andy (@ajmoore21)
We’re at the point in the year where every game has the potential to make or break the season for all those teams in contention for a playoff berth. Oregon potentially have the most to lose at this point, ranked as a top three team with only the might of Alabama and Georgia ahead of them, one loss would knock them out of contention.
It is therefore a good job that the Ducks keep winning. With a 38-24 victory on Saturday night, Mario Cristobal’s men have won five on the bounce and moved one step closer to the Pac-12 North title. They had a strong run game and their defense to thank for the win, with QB Anthony Brown only passing for 135 yards.
Brown was much better on the ground, adding 123 yards and a score on 17 carries. He was joined by Travis Dye and Byron Cardwell who put up 88 and 98 yards respectively as the Ducks ground out the win in Eugene. Oregon ranks in the top ten in rushing offense in 2021, a feat that is all the more impressive following the loss of CJ Verdell to injury.
Equally impressive is the Ducks’ ability to force turnovers, this was the fifth time that they’ve forced three or more takeaways this season and they’ve now got 15 at home on the year. Verone Mckinley III and Bryan Addison both picked off Jayden de Laura on Saturday, and the Oregon defense also forced a fumble.
Utah and Oregon State stand between the Ducks and their playoff berth, both teams have been good this year so Cristobal will need to ensure there’s no let off from his team in their pursuit of the postseason.
Ohio State Buckeyes
Another team in the playoff mix is Ohio State. Since an early season defeat to Oregon the Buckeyes have been on fire, blowing their way by the vast majority of opponents. CJ Stroud silenced any talk of a QB controversy with the help of some of the best weapons in the game and the emergence of a freshman superstar at Running Back.
On Saturday they blew past Purdue, who had been given the nickname, ‘Spoilermakers’ following their defeat of Michigan State in week ten. Stroud threw five touchdown passes, with Garrett Wilson showing why he’s one of the best WRs in the country by catching three of those. Every analyst in the country waxed lyrical about the Buckeyes’ receiver room before the start of the season and they’re now showing why, alongside Wilson, Jaxon Smith-Njigba has become the guy to move the chains with Chris Olave the big play threat.
The one worrying feature for Ohio State fans as we move towards the playoff season is the capability of their team’s defense. The Buckeyes didn’t register a single sack on Saturday, they let Aiden O’Connell complete 40 passes for 390 yards and four scores and they couldn’t prevent Davil Bell from catching 11 of those passes for more than 100 yards receiving. Whilst their offense should help OSU win against most opponents, it feels like the Alabama’s of the world could make them pay if they can’t solidify on the other side of the ball.
Oklahoma State Cowboys
Who is the best team in the Big 12 this year? It could well be Oklahoma State given their pasting of TCU on the same day that Oklahoma came unstuck against Baylor.
The Cowboys are 9-1, with their one defeat coming in a close matchup against Iowa State. On Saturday they utterly obliterated TCU, with five Oklahoma State players rushing for more than 50 yards – Jaylen Warren and Dominic Richardson both made it over 100. Warren is a large part of the success that Mike Gundy’s offense has enjoyed in 2021, through ten games he has rushed for 1041 yards and ten touchdowns, adding another 164 yards in the passing game.
Gundy has been able to rely on his defense all season long, and it was no different on Saturday. Without their starting Running Backs, TCU were unable to produce in the run game and Caleb Morris had nothing to offer through the air either. The Cowboys’ defense limited him to 103 yards on 20 attempts. They’ll have to be at their best next weekend as they come up against a resurgent Texas Tech offense, with a lot on the line ahead of their rivalry matchup against the Sooners to end the regular season.
Losers – Jake (@ACCUKAnalysis1)
Texas – Biggest Shock Ever?
One of the most dramatic games of the weekend, and possibly ever, came in Texas. There are so many words that can be used to describe Kansas’ victory over the Longhorns. Disastrous, exhilarating and refreshing are but a few. What happened in the Texas Memorial Stadium will go down in folklore for years to come.
To start with, there were over 100 points scored over 4 quarters and overtime, there were 6 touchdowns thrown by the Longhorns’ starting QB, and there was a shock that reverberated over the College Football world.
This game couldn’t be any more in Texas’ favor on paper if it had tried. 31.5-point favorites, Jayhawks not winning in 56 road games against teams in the Big-12, and the Jayhawks being 1-8 entering the contest. Although the Longhorns had lost 4 in a row, this result was never expected by anyone, especially the lovers of College Football.
So, we enter the game. The Jayhawks came out like a house on fire, scoring 5 touchdowns in the first half alone, sandwiching Texas’ first half touchdowns. Then the 3rd quarter twisted the game massively, Casey Thompson throwing 2 TDs and running in another to bring Texas within a score before the 4th. Thompson then threw another 2 TDs in the 4th, including one with 28 seconds left to play to take the game to overtime.
This is where it got intense. Thompson yet again did his bit to put his team ahead, before one of the craziest events of the season. Devin Neal ran in his 3rd TD of the game, before running back Jared Casey caught the 2-point attempt to win the game. The significant thing about this was that Casey has yet to make a catch all season. Some way to make your first impression of the year!
There’s always going to be shocks in any sport, but this one for the Longhorns will be tough to take. The 31.5-point spread is the largest spread upset ever in the Big-12, and is also the Longhorns’ first 5 loss streak since 1956. The trip to West Virginia next week can’t come sooner, they will need to bounce back, and do so in style.
The Unbeaten Streak Ended
Okay the No.13 ranked team beating the No.8 team can’t be deemed as a massive shock, they are both very good teams, with outstanding records. But this felt different. Oklahoma was going along nicely at 9-0 for the year. Yes, there has been plenty of eyes on them due to the quarterback situation, and I touched on this recently, but the trip to Baylor should have been more fruitful for them.
They weren’t great at all. They had just 260 yards overall offensive yards, Caleb Williams was intercepted twice, and they gave up over 400 yards. In terms of performance, this is the worst they could have got. They set new lows in terms of points and yards under Lincoln Riley’s command and were dominated by a physical Baylor side.
Nine tackles for loss and five sacks kept Oklahoma to just 4.3 yards a play, albeit before some big plays at the end boosted that number. They just could not stop this Baylor side. Gerry Bohanon was incredible on the ground. He threw just 10 yards more than he ran during the game, as well as scoring more rushing touchdowns than he threw. The Bears’ QB combined with Abram Smith to rush for 255 yards, a phenomenal total.
Does this highlight Oklahoma’s faults and weaknesses? Or does this give them a nudge not to take things for granted? History would say that it is more the latter, having won the Big-12 and going to the CFP all 4 times after losing a Big-12 contest. The question marks over the QB position have really been exposed during this contest, and will need to be resolved before big games against Iowa State and Oklahoma State.
For Baylor, this win is huge. This can give them the boost to potentially go on and win the Big-12, whilst showcasing themselves as a team who can bully the higher ranked teams. The slip-up to TCU was a wake-up call to this Bears side, they have the ability and belief to go on and challenge for the Big-12. And who is going to argue with that?
Again, this isn’t a result all that surprising, but one of significance for the Aggies. Their loss at the hands of Ole Miss not only snapped their 4-game winning streak, but potentially dashed their hopes of making the postseason.
After their win against Alabama a few weeks ago, the Aggies went on an impressive streak that saw them within touching distance of the postseason. Their record now though after losing to Ole Miss means that they are reliant on Ole Miss and Alabama dropping their last 2 games for them to reach Atlanta. Not only that but they dropped 5 places in the rankings as well.
After being 15-0 down at half-time, the Aggies were never in this battle. They mustered 378 yards but were hugely outperformed by Ole Miss both on the ground and in the air. Ole Miss had 524 overall yards, largely helped by Jerrion Ealy’s 161 yards on the ground. Although he didn’t pick up a well-deserved touchdown, he kept the Aggies’ defense on the pitch a lot longer than they would have wanted. This significantly stifled their offense, despite the best efforts from Zach Calzada and Devon Achane.
The Aggies have an uphill battle to try and make the postseason, nothing is impossible but Ole Miss and Alabama both losing their final 2 games seems highly unlikely. This unfortunately puts Aggies on the Losers of the Week list.