The Michigan Wolverines dominated the college football headlines in the days leading up to Week 11 of the 2023 season, and despite all of the outside noise, they managed to come out on top against Penn State in their toughest test of the year for a variety of reasons.

That game headlined an early slate that also featured a standout performance from Alabama quarterback Jalen Milroe in a blowout victory over Kentucky, another nail-biter from Group of Five top dog Tulane, and plenty of other exciting action.

The afternoon games brought another matchup of ranked teams with undefeated Washington squaring off against Utah, and the Huskies survived the upset bid to stay in the hunt for a College Football Playoff spot. Lopsided losses by Oklahoma State and Tennessee will no doubt bring a shake-up to the next Top 25 poll.

Ahead we’ve highlighted some of Saturday’s biggest winners and losers across the college football landscape.

Stay tuned for more additions to this article as the evening games wrap up and another exciting weekend of college football comes to a close.

Blake Corum Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Despite their undefeated start and clear spot in the projected CFP field, it’s been easy for detractors to point to the Michigan Wolverines’ lack of quality opponents as a reason for their eventual downfall.

Sprinkle on top of that the Big Ten handing down a three-game suspension to head coach Jim Harbaugh on Friday amid the team’s sign-stealing scandal, and Saturday’s matchup against No. 10 Penn State looked like a recipe for disaster.

However, the Wolverines prevailed, and now Maryland and Ohio State are all that stand in the way of an undefeated regular season.

In a game where quarterback J.J. McCarthy attempted just eight passes and threw for 60 yards, the running attack shouldered the load, with Blake Corum (26 carries, 145 yards, 2 TD) and Donovan Edwards (10 carries, 52 yards, 1 TD) accounting for the team’s three touchdowns.

It was exactly the grind-it-out contest that was to be expected from Michigan (231.4 yards per game) and Penn State (234.4 yards per game), which ranked first and second in the nation in yards allowed per game.

Suffice to say it was an emotional day for the Michigan football program.

Jamie Squire/Getty Images

After 12 straight seasons with three or fewer wins, it finally looked like the Kansas Jayhawks football program had it going last season when they started the year 5-0 and made an appearance in the AP poll for the first time since 2009.

However, they went just 1-7 the rest of the way to finish with a losing record once again.

With a 7-2 start, the Jayhawks have already improved on last year’s win total, and a 38-33 victory over Oklahoma on Oct. 28 to hand the Sooners their first loss of the season once again thrust them into the national picture.

A follow-up victory over Iowa State last weekend moved them up to No. 19 in the latest AP poll, and there was a reasonable path to a 10-win season with a trio of unranked teams in Texas Tech, Kansas State and Cincinnati on the slate to close out the regular season.

That momentum skidded to a halt on Saturday with a 16-13 loss to Texas Tech.

The Red Raiders built a 13-0 lead heading into the fourth quarter, but Kansas stormed back with 13 unanswered points behind a 60-yard rushing touchdown from Devin Neal and a pair of field goals.

That was as far as the comeback made it, though, and Gino Garcia connected on a 30-yard field goal with three seconds remaining to hand the Jayhawks their third loss of the season and almost certainly knock them out of the national rankings.

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Watching Jalen Milroe tally six total touchdowns on Saturday against Kentucky, it’s wild to think back to him being benched in Week 3 following Alabama’s loss to Texas.

The former 4-star recruit and first-year starter got off to a rocky start this year, including the two-interception performance against the Longhorns than landed him on the bench, but he has looked like a different quarterback since throwing for 321 yards and three touchdowns against Texas A&M on the road on Oct. 7.

The numbers don’t lie:

  • Week 6 (Texas A&M): 21-of-33, 321 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT
  • Week 7 (Arkansas): 10-of-21, 238 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
  • Week 8 (Tennessee): 14-of-21, 220 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
  • Week 9 (Bye)
  • Week 10 (LSU): 15-of-23, 219 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT; 155 rush yards, 4 TD
  • Week 11 (Kentucky): 15-of-22, 234 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT; 33 rush yards, 3 TD

That 5-0 stretch kept Alabama perched atop the SEC West and helped it clinch a spot in the conference championship game.

A win over presumptive SEC East leader Georgia would likely be enough to put them back in the College Football Playoff picture, and the emergence of Milroe under center has been a big reason for their improved outlook relative to just a few short weeks ago.

AP Photo/Bryon Houlgrave

No one was expecting a shootout in the Iowa vs. Rutgers game.

Yet somehow, even those rock-bottom expectations didn’t quite do justice to just how bad the two teams were going to be at putting points on the board on Saturday afternoon.

The Hawkeyes entered the game 121st in the nation with 18.4 points per game, yet still 7-2 on the strength of their terrific defense. The Scarlet Knights were a similarly unimpressive 74th in the nation with 26.8 points per game during their 6-3 start, and that number is inflated by a 52-3 victory over FCS opponent Wagner.

It was 0-0 at the end of the first quarter.

It was 3-0 at halftime.

It was 6-0 at the end of the third quarter.

The Hawkeyes finally got things going in the fourth quarter with a pair of touchdowns and a third field goal of the day from Drew Stevens en route to a 22-0 victory, but for most of the afternoon the on-field product was completely unwatchable football.

Rutgers finished the day with seven first downs and 127 total yards of offense, converting just 2-of-11 third-down attempts en route to the shutout.

Chris Graythen/Getty Images

With Air Force suffering its first loss of the season last Saturday, Tulane entered Week 11 as the nation’s top Group of Five team, sitting No. 20 in the latest AP poll with a 9-1 record and their only loss coming against No. 10 Ole Miss back in Week 2.

The Green Wave are still undefeated with standout quarterback Michael Pratt under center, but they have been walking a fine line for several weeks now.

  • Week 8 (North Texas): 35-28
  • Week 9 (Rice): 30-28
  • Week 10 (East Carolina): 13-10
  • Week 11 (Tulsa): 24-22

That’s four victories by a combined 14 points.

The Tulane offense didn’t score a touchdown after the first quarter, with Shedro Louis returning the opening kickoff of the second half 100 yards for a touchdown to make it a 21-10 game, and Valentino Ambrosio kicking a 30-yard field goal that proved to be the game-winner with 9:21 remaining in the fourth quarter.

The Tulane tight-rope act will square off against Florida Atlantic on the road next weekend.

Alika Jenner/Getty Images

The 2016 Washington Huskies are the last Pac-12 team to claim a spot in the College Football Playoff field, and it looked like that trend might continue when this year’s undefeated Washington squad trailed 28-24 at halftime against a good Utah Utes team.

With four straight scoring drives to close out the first half, the Utah offense was firing on all cylinders behind a pair of touchdown passes from Bryson Barnes and a pair of rushing touchdowns from Ja’Quinden Jackson.

The second half looked like a completely different game.

The Utes went punt, punt, safety, punt, interception during the second half, and a six-play, 52-yard touchdown drive by the Huskies capped off by a 33-yard strike from Michael Penix Jr. to Rome Odunze proved to be the game-winning score.

Washington has now weathered tough tests from USC and Utah to remain unscathed, and the Huskies have another ranked opponent next week when they face Oregon State on the road.

Meanwhile, Utah picks up its third loss of the season, with the other two coming against Oregon State and Oregon, and they might just be the best three-loss team in the nation.

Jordan Travis Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

Since beating Clemson in overtime back on Sept. 23, the Florida State Seminoles have been steamrolling the opposition.

Over the past five weeks against Virginia Tech, Syracuse, Duke, Wake Forest and Pittsburgh, they have outscored the opposition by a staggering 183-63 margin, settling into the No. 4 spot in the national picture behind Ohio State, Georgia and Michigan.

Looking for their third straight victory in the annual rivalry game against the Miami Hurricanes, they were met with a much tougher task than they’ve faced in weeks.

It was a 10-10 tie at halftime, and the Hurricanes briefly took the lead coming out of the break when Andres Borregales drilled a 50-yard field goal on Miami’s opening drive of the second half, but the Seminoles answered with a field goal of their own on the ensuing possession.

The Seminoles then went 65 yards on four plays on their next drive following a three-and-out from the Hurricanes, and iced the game with a touchdown pass from Jordan Travis to Keon Coleman early in the fourth quarter.

This Miami team started the season 4-0 and beat Clemson in double overtime, so this easily could have been a letdown game for Florida State, but it stayed unbeaten and is now just two games away from an undefeated regular season.

A nonconference cupcake against North Alabama awaits next weekend before they head to Gainesville to take on a Florida Gators team that will be looking to play spoiler.

John Rhys Plumlee Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

A pair of teams that were inside the Top 15 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings suffered two of the most lopsided losses of the day on Saturday.

The Tennessee Volunteers were up to No. 13 in the latest CFP rankings following a 59-3 blowout against UConn in Week 10, and Saturday’s road game against Missouri was a matchup of two-loss SEC teams looking to pad their resumes.

What looked like one of the more compelling matchups of the day on paper started slow with Missouri carrying a 13-7 lead into halftime after both teams failed to put points on the board in the first quarter. That would be all the scoring the Volunteers would do for the entire game.

The Tigers rattled off 23 unanswered points in the second half and dominated the time of possession (39:42 to 20:04) behind a terrific game on the ground from Cody Schrader (35 carries, 205 yards, 1 TD) to rebound strong from last week’s loss to Georgia.

The bigger surprise was No. 15 Oklahoma State getting absolutely dismantled by UCF in a 45-3 blowout.

The Knights lost five games in a row before last week’s 28-26 victory over Cincinnati for their first official Big 12 conference win, while Oklahoma entered Week 11 working on a five-game winning streak that included last week’s 27-24 win over Oklahoma.

It was all UCF on Saturday as the Knights put up 592 total yards, including a staggering 293 rushing yards on 51 carries. RJ Harvey tallied 206 rushing yards on 24 carries with three touchdowns, while quarterback John Rhys Plumlee added 299 yards and three scores of his own through the air.

It was the best win of the season for UCF by a wide margin, while a 33-7 loss to South Alabama in Week 3 probably still stands as the Cowboys’ worst defeat in 2023.

Expect both teams to plummet in the next round of rankings.

Jeffrey Vest/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Georgia outscored the opposition by an average of 26.8 points per game last season en route to its second consecutive national championship, capping off the season with a 65-7 blowout against TCU.

This year’s team has not been nearly as dominant on the scoreboard, playing close games against South Carolina (24-14), Auburn (27-20) and Vanderbilt (37-20), and outside of last week’s 30-21 victory over No. 12 Missouri, their only other win against a ranked team came against now-unranked Kentucky.

That made Saturday’s domination of No. 9 Ole Miss far and away the most convincing win of the year for the defending champs.

Carson Beck threw for 306 yards and two touchdowns, including one to star tight end Brock Bowers in his return from injury, while Kendall Milton and Daijun Edwards had two rushing touchdowns apiece in the 52-17 onslaught.

All told, the Bulldogs outgained the Rebels by a 628-352 margin in total yardage, averaging 10.1 yards per play while passing and rushing for more than 300 yards in an offensive showcase.

Road games against Tennessee and Georgia Tech are up next before they square off against Alabama in the SEC Championship Game after both teams secured their spot in the Dec. 2 matchup.

Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Few defenses have looked more helpless over the course of a football game than the Florida Gators did on Saturday night against LSU quarterback and Heisman Trophy contender Jayden Daniels.

The stat line speaks for itself:

  • 17-of-26, 372 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT; 12 carries, 234 yards, 2 TD

In the process, he etched his name into both the FBS, SEC and LSU record books.

All of that added up to a 52-35 victory for the Tigers and an embarrassing night for the Gators defense, as they allowed 701 total yards. That was almost exactly double their season average of 350.4 yards allowed per game (45th in FBS) entering Week 11.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here