Sizing up the winners and losers from the Saturday that was in college football . ..
(This article will be updated.)
Ian Book. The junior quarterback injected some life into Notre Dame’s offense, throwing for 325 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for three more scores in the Fighting Irish’s 56-27 pummeling of Wake Forest.
Coach Brian Kelly changed quarterbacks after Notre Dame slogged its way through one-possession defeats of Michigan, Vanderbilt and Ball State. The decision paid off spectacularly as the Irish had little trouble with a game that looked as if it might be tricky.
Instead, Notre Dame is a third of a way to an undefeated regular season as it heads back to South Bend to meet Stanford next weekend.
Sonny Dykes. The SMU coach played for the win against Navy in overtime and was rewarded for his gumption. After the Midshipmen scored first in the extra session and made the conventional choice to kick the extra point for a 30-23 lead, the Mustangs responded with a touchdown of their own. Rather than prolong the game and risk a fourth loss in a row, Dykes ordered his offense to go for two. Quarterback Ben Hicks found tight end Hunter Thedford on the winning play as SMU (1-3, 1-0 American Athletic Conference) beat Navy at home for the first time since 1966.
West Virginia. Manhandled Kansas State, 35-6, behind Will Grier’s five touchdown passes, three to David Sills V. There’s an increasingly reasonable case to be made that the Mountaineers (3-0, 1-0) are the biggest threat to Oklahoma in the Big 12.
Texas. Ended a four-game losing streak to TCU, defeating the Horned Frogs, 31-16. The Longhorns (3-1, 1-0 Big 12) have won three in a row since their miscue-filled loss to Maryland to begin the season.
Louisville. You’d think offense wouldn’t be a problem for Bobby Petrino’s Cardinals, especially now that he’s into the fifth year of his tenure.
Then again, he’s never actually gotten to the fifth year of his tenure in any of his previous head-coaching stops (his ill-fated motorcycle ride took place in the offseason after his fourth year at Arkansas). And this extended stay isn’t working out so well.
The Cardinals (2-2, 0-1 ACC) managed only 214 total yards in a 27-3 loss at Virginia. Losing Lamar Jackson figured to hurt Louisville, but now the question is just how much the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner propped up Petrino’s offense the last couple years.
* Virginia Tech. It was a double whammy for the Hokies, who were utterly lethargic on defense in a 49-35 defeat at Old Dominion and lost quarterback Josh Jackson to injury in the second half.
Virginia Tech (2-1), coming off an unscheduled open date after its game against East Carolina was canceled by Hurricane Florence, wasn’t expected to have much trouble with a Monarchs team that had dropped games to Liberty, Florida International and Charlotte. Instead, backup quarterback Blake LaRussa threw for 495 yards and four touchdowns as Old Dominion knocked off the Hokies for most likely its best victory since reviving its program in 2009.
Nebraska. Gave up 20 points in the first quarter and 39 in the first half at Michigan. Things didn’t remain at that pace, but the Cornhuskers were still shellacked, 56-10. Early in the fourth quarter, they had gained fewer yards (61) than they had lost through penalties (66). They finished with 132 total yards.
Nebraska is 0-3 for the first time since 1945 and has dropped seven in a row dating from last season.
Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights are a gift that keeps on giving to Mid-American Conference teams. A year after becoming the first Big Ten school to fall victim to Eastern Michigan, Rutgers was humiliated, 42-13, on its own field by Buffalo.
While the Bulls are 4-0 heading into a date with Army, it’s abundantly clear the Scarlet Knights are woefully outmatched. November — which will feature dates with Wisconsin, Michigan, Penn State and Michigan State — is going to be ugly on the banks of the Raritan.
Boston College. So that part about the Eagles being poised to continue a breakout season after cracking the Associated Press top 25? Yeah, that didn’t work out so well. Quarterback Anthony Brown threw four interceptions in BC’s first loss of the season, 30-13 at Purdue.