Unlike the past few weekends, college football Week 10 wasn’t defined by a bunch of wild upsets to high-profile teams. It did, however, provide some fans with plenty to be upset about.
Starting Thursday night and running through Saturday’s action, a lot of disappointing developments unfolded around the nation. These are the 10 that stood out the most as particularly frustrating.
App State’s undefeated season goes up in flames
Heading into college football Week 10, No. 20 Appalachian State was not only undefeated but had also been crushing opponents on a weekly basis. So it wasn’t surprising in the least that the Mountaineers were favored to beat Georgia Southern by more than two touchdowns on Thursday night.
But when it came time to play the game, App State failed to live up to the hype, losing at home to an Eagles team that was 4-3 heading into Week 10.
Georgia Southern controlled the clock thanks to an offense that pounded App State’s defense with a punishing run game from start to finish. Mountaineers quarterback Zac Thomas completed less than half of his 51 passes while averaging just 5.3 yards per attempt. Even the final score (24-21) doesn’t show how lopsided the game was, because the Mountaineers scored just seven points in the first three quarters.
Now one of the nation’s best stories leading up to Week 10 is nothing more than a footnote after App State’s undefeated season went up in flames.
Nebraska upset by Purdue
In our Week 10 preview, we highlighted Nebraska as needing a win in the worst possible way to stop the bleeding and keep its bowl game hopes alive. Those hopes are all but dashed after the Boilermakers pulled off the upset.
Adrian Martinez was back in action after missing a couple of games with a knee injury, but he was not sharp. Nebraska’s defense had to pick up the slack and did so early, as nose tackle Darrion Daniels nearly had a pick-six in the second quarter, which led to three points for the Huskers.
Then, the defense fell apart, allowing two straight touchdown-scoring drives to end the second quarter. Things were no better in the second half. In the end Nebraska’s defense was absolutely scorched by a backup quarterback, who led the Boilermakers on a 12-play drive in which Purdue won the game on a trick play.
Now, with three games left to play (two of them against Wisconsin and Iowa), the four-win Huskers are likely looking at missing a bowl game for the third consecutive season for the first time since 1961.
Syracuse defense didn’t bother to show up
The Orange fell to 0-5 in the ACC on Saturday as Boston College ran down their throats and ran up the score, winning 58-27.
By halftime, the Eagles led 44-20. They had racked up 484 yards on 44 plays, and the running game had piled up 336 yards at a rate of 9.3 yards per carry. In the end, the Eagles fell four yards shy of 500 rushing yards, scored five rushing touchdowns and had 691 total yards of offense.
It’s important to note here that Boston College isn’t some powerhouse. Syracuse simply failed to even offer up even the slightest hint of resistance. In every way, this loss was an embarrassment for Dino Babers, but in particular the defense’s failure to even show up for the game was galling.
Hokies collapse at worst possible time
Virginia Tech had Notre Dame’s number on Saturday. From the moment Divine Deablo scored a 98-yard fumble return touchdown following Jafar Armstrong’s fumble at the goal line, this game looked to be setting up perfectly for a huge upset.
The Hokies went into halftime tied up 14-14, then dominated the second half while going up by the score of 20-14 and frustrating Ian Book to no end.
Then, with just over three minutes left on the clock in the fourth quarter, the Hokies ran out of gas. The Irish marched down the field without any resistance, going 87 yards on 18 plays and capping off the drive with a rushing score from Book, who wasn’t touched en route to the end zone.
This game was Virginia Tech’s for the taking. The Irish were not on the top of their game and ripe for an upset. But when it mattered most, the Hokies fell apart.
Gators offense had no bite
The biggest game of the week turned into a one-sided affair pretty early on. Georgia went up 17-3 in the third quarter, and for all intents and purposes the game was pretty much over despite a late push by the Gators.
Before Kyle Trask woke up late in the third quarter and led two touchdown-scoring drives in the fourth, Florida’s offense was utterly dominated by Georgia. Up until those final two scoring drives, the Gators managed 102 total yards in nearly three full quarters of play. The running game was almost invisible, as Florida averaged 1.1 yards per attempt after accounting for sacks.
Florida’s defense deserves criticism as well. Georgia was almost unstoppable on key third down situations, going 12-of-18, including late in the fourth quarter when Jake Fromm iced it with yet another big throw.
Now with two losses, it seems safe to say Florida is out of the playoff hunt.
Jacob Eason made horrendous mistakes
Washington’s defense gave the Huskies a real chance to pull off an upset over No. 9 Utah. Unfortunately, Jacob Eason made too many mistakes and gave Tyler Huntley and Zack Moss too many extra chances.
Eason made some exceptional throws. He finished with 316 yards and four touchdowns through the air. He also threw two egregious interceptions — the second of which was returned to the house for six points.
Eason also fumbled the ball in the first half, leading to a field goal for Utah. His three turnovers led to nine points for the Utes in a game that was decided by five points. Just a brutal way to lose at home in a game that was there for the Huskies to win.
Jayhawks grounded at home by K-State
We had hoped that Les Miles’ guys could at least give No. 22 Kansas State a hint of a challenge at home after the way Kansas won in thrilling style last weekend. That did not materialize.
Star running back Pooka Williams never got going, carrying the ball just 14 times for 61 yards. Kansas possessed the ball just over 21 minutes as the Wildcats controlled the clock and dominated on both sides of the ball. Quarterback Carter Stanley failed to throw a touchdown and threw two interceptions. The Jayhawks scored just three points until backup Manny Miles punched in a touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
All told, the Jayhawks managed to put up just 241 yards, converted 2-of-10 third downs and were shut down both times on fourth-down attempts, losing 38-10 and falling to K-State for the 11th straight time.
FSU is spiraling
Florida State was a three-point favorite to beat Miami at home. It was a game the Seminoles absolutely had to win in order to keep their hopes alive for a playoff berth. Instead, they embarrassed themselves in a 27-10 loss to the Hurricanes.
Coming off a season-best performance against Syracuse, Florida State’s offensive line was putrid, and so was quarterback Alex Hornibrook. He netted just 84 yards in the game, and FSU netted just 31 yards on the ground.
Now, after losing three of their last four games, the Seminoles have to win two of their last three games to qualify for a bowl berth. With two of those games coming against Boston College and Florida, it seems likely Florida State will be on the outside looking in later this year.
SMU defense exploited by Memphis
Leading up to Week 10, SMU was undefeated but showed chinks in its armor last weekend in its narrow win over Houston. In particular, defense has been a question mark, but to this point in the season the Mustangs have had enough offense to overcome any opponent.
On Saturday, they were without star receiver Reggie Roberson Jr., who has hauled in 43 passes for 806 yards and six touchdowns. Still, Shane Buechele and Co. managed to pile up 553 yards and 48 points. That should be enough to win a game.
Unfortunately for the Mustangs, Memphis was absolutely feasting on SMU’s porous defense. The Tigers met every score with one of their own, and then some. The end result was a 54-48 loss for the Mustangs.
USC set Kedon Slovis up to fail
Coming into Saturday night’s big Pac-12 clash in Los Angeles, Oregon led the nation in interceptions with 14 through eight games. The Ducks feature a dangerous defense that can bring pressure, and a handful of talented defensive backs who love to jump routes.
The Trojans got off to a tremendous start at home in Week 10 against Oregon. They jumped out to a 10-0 lead, thanks in part to a strong defensive effort, and due to a strong start by freshman quarterback Kedon Slovis. But along the way, they never established the run.
As USC continued to abandon the run and force Slovis into passing situations, Oregon did what it does the best and absolutely haunted the true freshman. In the end, Slovis attempted a stunning 57 passes (a new school record) and was picked off three times, including once for a touchdown.
Once the Ducks got momentum, they never let it go and romped to a 56-24 win.
Clay Helton and his coaching staff have a history of poor game planning and failing to adjust in games. That was evident Saturday night as USC took a beating in its own house.