After the mayhem last weekend, the college football Week 8 schedule seemed tame in comparison. But as the saying goes, that’s why they play the games.
The biggest upset of the college football season got Saturday’s Week 8 action started with a roar. That was not the only surprise, though, as the day was full of favorites getting plowed by underdogs in a highly entertaining slate of games.
These are the 10 biggest disappointments from college football Week 8.
No. 6 Wisconsin upset by Illinois
College football is a magnificent sport. Just when you think you’ve got things figured out, the unthinkable happens. That was the case Saturday in Champaign, as the Fighting Illini summoned their best performance in ages to knock off No. 6 Wisconsin.
The Badgers entered Week 8 as one of the undisputed top teams in the nation. They had given up a grand total of 29 points through six games while pitching four shutouts. They also feature one of the nation’s top running backs, Jonathan Taylor, whom we figured would have a field day against an Illinois defense that had previously been awful against the run.
None of our expectations were realized. Taylor went for 132 yards and a touchdown, but he also fumbled midway through the fourth quarter, leading to an Illinois touchdown. One drive later, quarterback Jack Coan threw an awful interception, which led to the game-winning field goal as time expired.
A team that had legitimate national championship aspirations, Wisconsin laid an egg. It was a classic trap game, as the Badgers got caught looking ahead to their Week 9 battle against Ohio State.
Stanford continues its plummet into oblivion
A program that’s been one of the nation’s best since the Jim Harbaugh era, David Shaw’s Stanford Cardinal’s stunning fall from grace hit a new low Thursday night. Playing at home, they were blown out, 34-16, by none other than UCLA, which has been awful this season.
Stanford’s typical stout defense and NFL-caliber offensive line has been nowhere to be found this season. The Cardinal allowed 455 yards and 20 first downs, making Chip Kelly’s offense look awesome in the process. Stanford’s offense gained less than 200 yards and the run game was almost non-existent.
Now at 3-4 on the season, it seems inevitable that Stanford will miss out on a bowl game for the first time since the 2008 season.
Trevor Lawrence continues to regress
Looking at the final stat line put up by Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, it doesn’t look bad. He completed 20-of-29 passes for 233 yards with three touchdowns to go along with two interceptions, and the Tigers blew out Louisville, 45-10.
However, the two interceptions occurred in the first quarter, and both were thrown into the end zone.
The sophomore now has eight picks in seven games, which is twice as many as he had all last season. Additionally, one of his touchdowns was an answered prayer that could have easily been a third interception.
The real problem here is that, had he thrown these interceptions against a good team in a big game, there’s a really good chance Clemson loses. That’s concerning for when the Tigers actually do face tough competition later this year.
Arkansas finds a new way to embarrass itself
The Razorbacks have been nothing short of a disaster most of the year, and nobody expected them to really put up much of a fight Saturday against Auburn.
But Arkansas did find a way to sink to new depths, nevertheless. Already down by 17 points in the second quarter, they attempted a fake punt on fourth down. The idea behind the decision was fine. The Razorbacks had nothing to lose, theoretically.
But in the end, they lost their pride on the worst fake punt we’ve ever seen. Punter Sam Loy attempted an awkward shovel pass that was horribly off the mark and intercepted by Chandler Wooten. You can see the entire play here.
If you’re not an Arkansas fan, this disastrous play was downright funny. If you are, we’re sorry you had to endure it.
TCU’s dynamic offense a no-show against Kansas State
The Horned Frogs are regressing on offense just when they need scoring clout the most. Saturday on the road against Kansas State, Max Duggan and his receivers were stymied in a big way as TCU dropped its second straight game, and three out of its last four.
Duggan was responsible for one of the most electrifying touchdowns of the day on an absurd run. But when it was time to pass the ball, he struggled. The freshman completed just 16-of-29 passes for 132 yards, and TCU was held scoreless through the air for the first time all season.
Miami stunned at home in overtime
Just when it looked like maybe Manny Diaz and the Miami Hurricanes were ready to take some positive steps following a win against No. 20 Virginia, they fell apart. Coming into Week 8, the Hurricanes were favored to beat Georgia Tech (which came into the game with a 1-5 record) by 18 points. In the end, they lost by a touchdown in overtime.
Neither team scored after halftime until the Yellow Jackets won with a touchdown in overtime. Before that touchdown, Miami had a field goal blocked in overtime. That was just the last of many mistakes, which included a fumble recovery for a touchdown by Georgia Tech in the first quarter, and a fake punt touchdown in which Miami’s defense was completely caught by surprise.
Mizzou stinks it up against Vandy
Missouri came into Week 8 ranked atop the SEC East with a perfect 2-0 conference record and just one total loss on record. Vanderbilt came into Saturday’s game with just one win, and unsurprisingly was a three-touchdown underdog at home.
The Commodores were also starting third-string quarterback Mo Hasan, so this seemed like a perfect opportunity for the Tigers to roar into Week 9 with another big win. That didn’t happen. Instead, Mizzou fell into an early hole and never dug out of it. Down 14-7 at halftime, the Tigers tied the game up in the third quarter but then gave up another touchdown in the fourth quarter, which proved to be the dagger.
Quarterback Kelly Bryant had a terrible game, completing just 13-of-26 passes for 140 yards with one touchdown and an interception. The Tigers showed a tremendous lack of discipline, highlighted by a blatant dirty hit on Hasan, racking up 12 penalties for 120 yards. It was quite simply a disheartening showing from a team many figured was on the rise.
Jayden Daniels with nightmare game against Utah
One week after playing hero with a spectacular game-winning touchdown against Washington State, freshman quarterback Jayden Daniels could do nothing right on the road against Utah. The Utes were heavily favored to beat No. 17 Arizona State, and it’s understandable given they were at home and feature a very tough defense.
It’s a defense Daniels likely wouldn’t mind never seeing again in his life. He had a miserable game passing for just 25 yards on 4-of-18 attempts with no touchdowns and one interception.
Not surprisingly, Utah easily won this one by the score of 21-3.
Michigan loses another big game
The Jim Harbaugh-led Michigan Wolverines came into Saturday’s monster road game against Penn State with a brutal record against top teams. If they had any hope of changing the narrative, let alone staying alive for the playoff race, they had to win.
Credit goes to Harbaugh for rallying his players late after going into a 21-7 hole at halftime. Ultimately, they were unable to do enough to beat Penn State, which stuck the dagger in early in the fourth quarter with a long touchdown by KJ Hamler that all but sealed the victory.
It’s not that Harbaugh’s program is weak. The problem is that, under Harbaugh, this team is just pretty good — not elite — and the lofty expectations that came with his hire five years ago will apparently never be realized. Whether this is enough for the university to look for another savior remains to be seen. What we do know for certain is that Harbaugh isn’t it.
Tua suffers another ankle injury
The Alabama Crimson Tide are national championship contenders, not to mention one of the most exciting teams in the nation to watch, with Tua Tagovailoa under center. The Heisman Trophy favorite has been putting together another phenomenal season in 2019, and he routinely wows with pinpoint accuracy on huge passing plays.
On Saturday night at home against Tennessee, Tagovailoa went down in the second quarter after being dragged from behind. His ankle got caught underneath the body of the defender.
At halftime Nick Saban confirmed the star has an ankle injury, and then he was seen leaving the stadium in an ambulance before coming back a while later.
This is disappointing news for all of us who enjoy watching Tagovailoa orchestrate his explosive offense. Of course, it’s disappointing news to Tagovailoa himself, especially considering an ankle injury likely cost him the Heisman Trophy last season.