Feed aggregator

College Football Scores 2014: Week 9 Results and Top Stars for Top 25 Teams

For the second straight week, Heisman Trophy candidate Dak Prescott got a ton of help from his teammates. The No. 1 Mississippi State Bulldogs turned back a game Kentucky Wildcats squad on the road for a 45-31 win. The Bulldogs improved their record to 7-0 this season.

Prescott had a decent game with 216 passing yards, 88 on the ground and three total touchdowns, but his feature back stole the show.

Junior running back Josh Robinson ran for 198 yards on 23 carries and scored two touchdowns to pace the Bulldogs' attack. Kentucky kept it close throughout. Mississippi State held only a 31-24 lead through three quarters, but a 73-yard touchdown run from Robinson broke it open in the fourth quarter.

Kentucky answered with a score with less than two minutes remaining in the game, but Mississippi State's Christian Holmes returned a disastrous onside kick attempt 61 yards to put the game away with a minute remaining.

The Bulldogs will remain No. 1 heading into a Week 10 battle with the Arkansas Razorbacks.

 

Ole Miss Falls

A stifling LSU Tigers defense shut down Bo Wallace and the Ole Miss offense. It wasn't pretty, but LSU pulled off the biggest upset of the day by defeating the No. 3 team in the nation 10-7.

Wallace was absolutely dreadful all night. He completed just 14 of 33 pass attempts for 176 yards, one touchdown and a very bad interception. With an opportunity to gain better field position for a potential game-tying field goal, Wallace fired an errant pass down the sidelines that was picked off.

From the reaction of head coach Hugh Freeze, it seemed obvious Wallace was supposed to throw the ball away or to a place where only his receiver could catch it. To make matters worse, Wallace left the field before the game was over.

Ole Miss will still have an opportunity to earn a spot in the College Football Playoff, but Saturday night was a tough evening. Here's a look at how all of the Top 25 teams did in the final game before the first official College Football Playoff rankings are revealed.

*Final scores will be included as games are completed on Saturday night.

 

Top Stars

Marcus Mariota, Oregon Ducks: 326 passing yards, 5 TDs

A five-touchdown performance is sure to keep Marcus Mariota at the forefront of the Heisman Trophy conversation. A continued rise back up the rankings doesn't hurt either. On Friday, Oregon knocked off the California Golden Bears 59-41 to move to 7-1 overall and 4-1 in the Pac-12.

Without major upsets this week, it's unlikely the Ducks will move up from No. 6, but there's still time for Mariota and Oregon to rise to the top.

Friday night's torching of the California Bears defense wasn't Mariota's most efficient game of the year. He only completed 18 of 30 attempts, but he did eclipse the 300-yard mark to accompany his handful of touchdown strikes.

With a showdown looming against rival Stanford next week, Mariota looks ready to help his team make a statement.

 

Justin Hardy, East Carolina Pirates: 14 receptions, 186 yards, TD

Quarterback Shane Carden did throw for 445 yards and two scores on Thursday night against the Connecticut Huskies, but his primary target was the real star. Hardy's 14 receptions gave him 327 in his career. The senior is just 23 receptions away from becoming the NCAA's all-time leader in catches.

That's a big deal. The Pirates defeated the Huskies 31-21 and continue to solidify their position as a Top 25 team.

The team is getting some deserved respect, but its star wideout is turning heads as well. Look for Hardy to become a hot name as the NFL draft approaches.

 

Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska Cornhuskers: 19 rushes, 225 yards, 3 TD

The Cornhuskers star has already eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark for the third straight season, and he just keeps chugging along. On Saturday, Abdullah lit up the Rutgers Scarlet Knights for his fourth 200-yard rushing game of the season and his third game with at least three touchdowns.

He's had just two games all year without at least 100 yards rushing and only one without at least 150 yards of total offense. He's also found the end zone in every contest.

To go along with his 225 yards rushing, Abdullah also had 26 yards receiving and 90 in the return game. 

Heisman voters must take note of Abdullah's consistency and versatility.

 

Devon Johnson, Marshall Thundering Herd: 24 rushes, 272 yards, 4 TD

Usually quarterback Rakeem Cato gets the attention, but it was Johnson's dominant run performance on Sunday that helped Marshall push its record to 8-0. 

Johnson's 272 yards set a single-game rushing record for the school, and it proved Marshall can lean on its rushing attack to beat teams.

Against a Florida Atlantic defense hell bent on slowing the Thundering Herd's potent passing game, Johnson stepped up and delivered a huge game.

 

Jeremy Langford, Michigan State Spartans: 35 rushes, 177 yards, 3 TD

Talk about a workhorse back...Langford was just that on Saturday against the rival Michigan Wolverines. The 177 yards on the ground were a career high for Langford as the Spartans pounded the reeling Wolverines.

On the strength of the offensive line and Langford's legs, Michigan State outrushed Michigan 219-65 in the 35-11 rout.

 

Trevone Boykin, TCU Horned Frogs: 433 passing yards and 7 TD

It's not every day a kid throws seven touchdown passes in a game. In fact, it had never happened in the history of TCU football before Saturday.

Boykin absolutely torched the Texas Tech Red Raiders defense in a record-breaking performance in the Horned Frogs' 82-27 win. Coming into the game, Boykin had only 14 touchdown passes on the season. 

He grew that total by 50 percent in just one game.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Kentucky Football: Wildcats May Have Found Gem in Patrick Towles

The Mississippi State-Kentucky game was destined to be a good one.  ESPN’s College GameDay traveled to Lexington for its renowned pregame show, and Dak Prescott, arguably the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy, got all the headlines.

However, Kentucky showed on national television that its quarterback is pretty good too.  Patrick Towles made a big statement against the top-ranked team in the country, turning in a very productive outing against the stout MSU defense.

He outplayed Prescott, passing for 390 yards, rushing for 76 yards and accounting for four touchdowns as the Wildcats’ upset bid fell just short.  Playing from behind for most of the game, Towles put on a show.  He threw the ball with nearly pinpoint accuracy and surprisingly made terrific contributions on the ground.  He kept the Wildcats in the game all afternoon, but Mississippi State prevailed 45-21.

Towles averaged only about 18 rushing yards per game in the team’s first seven games of the season, but he took the team on his back in that regard against the Bulldogs.  He carried the ball a career-high 23 times, and the Kentucky running backs combined for only nine carries.

And while Prescott is known for his short-yardage prowess, Towles showed on Saturday that he is not too shabby in that facet of the game.  His two rushing touchdowns both came from inside the 10-yard line, and he displayed tough running on several occasions.

Towles also caught a pass on a trick play for good measure.  He is more athletic than he looks, and he is only a sophomore.  Another year and an offseason to develop and he could blossom into one of the best quarterbacks in the SEC.

Kentucky continues to get better as well.  Mark Stoops has recruited very well in his first two seasons at the helm, and the Wildcats have already showed vast improvement despite being so bad for so long.  The players have grasped offensive coordinator Neal Brown’s schemes well, and Kentucky may be one of the league’s most productive offenses in the very near future.

If they do indeed take the next step, it will be thanks in large part to Towles.  This was his coming-out party, and if he can sustain this success, he has the necessary athletes around him to strike fear into opposing SEC defenses.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Michigan vs. Michigan State: Score and Twitter Reaction

The little brother is all grown up now. And boy, does he keep beating up on the big brother.

For the sixth time in the past seven years, Michigan State defeated Michigan, hammering the Wolverines in the 2014 edition of the rivalry, 35-11. The Wolverines finally ended a streak of 11 quarters without a touchdown against the Spartans in garbage time, but the damage was long done by then. 

ESPN Stats and Information passes along a stat that will be beloved in East Lansing and loathed in Ann Arbor:

Behind a brilliant defensive effort (Michigan State forced three turnovers and held Michigan to 186 total yards), running back Jeremy Langford's huge afternoon (35 carries for 177 rushing yards and three touchdowns) and a steady performance from Connor Cook (12-of-22 with 227 passing yards, a passing touchdown and no turnovers), the Spartans dominated from the start and never looked back.

Michigan State set the tone early, receiving the opening kickoff and marching down the field. Langford capped off the eight-play, 75-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown plunge to give Sparty the lead. 

Much of the first half was a defensive struggle, but things heated up late. Michigan was finally able to get on the board with just over four minutes remaining in the half, as Jarrod Wilson forced a Josiah Price fumble at Michigan State's 31-yard line. Michigan couldn't gain a single yard on the subsequent drive, but Matt Wile bailed out the Wolverines, hitting a 48-yard field goal.

Michigan State wasn't about to offer Michigan a sliver of momentum, however. The Spartans promptly ripped off a nine-play, 73-yard drive capped by another Langford touchdown to take a 14-3 lead into the half. 

Suffice to say, the first 30 minutes were a Sparty-dominated affair. Just consider this stat from Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports:

Michigan's sputtering offense didn't provide a very entertaining product for the neutral fan, as Andrew Siciliano of NFL Network noted:

Michigan State's defense would continue its dominance in the third quarter. RJ Williamson would return a Devin Gardner interception 279 yards for a score, and the Spartans would shut down Michigan on its next drive.

That would set up Cook and the Spartans offense to deal the finishing blow. On the first play of Michigan State's drive, the quarterback connected with Tony Lippett on a 70-yard touchdown strike, giving the Spartans a 28-3 lead.

Game, set and match. 

Or was it? Michigan finally awoke on offense after that, putting together a seven-play, 69-yard drive that put the Wolverines in scoring range. But the Spartans tightened, and Gardner was stuffed a yard short on fourth down from Michigan State's 10-yard line, which killed another drive.

It was a rough afternoon for Gardner. He finished 13-of-28 with 121 passing yards and two interceptions, and the low point came when he threw the following interception to Taiwan Jones at the Michigan State 35-yard line. Teddy Mitrosilis of Fox Sports passes along the play that very well might define this Michigan squad:

De'Veon Smith's one-yard touchdown run would end Michigan's touchdown drought against Michigan State, but Sparty couldn't even let the Wolverines have that moment, as they promptly drove down the field and scored again, with Langford reaching the end zone for a third time. The rout was complete.

SportsCenter on Twitter passed along the score:

Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports thinks Michigan fans upset by the late touchdown might just be missing the point:

Not surprisingly, one of the themes in the aftermath of this loss will be Brady Hoke's job security or, perhaps more accurately, lack thereof. Albert Breer of NFL.com is among those who think the coach's time is up:

It's hard to see Hoke surviving this season. It might be a bit jarring on the team to cut him loose now, but it's become pretty clear that the program needs a change. 

But hey, misery loves company, and as Bleacher Report's Matt Miller noted, the Wolverines are far from the only prominent program to have fallen on hard times:

For Michigan State, meanwhile, a November 8 meeting against Ohio State now looms large. The winner of that game not only all but buys its ticket to the Big Ten Championship Game but also keeps its playoff hopes alive.

The Michigan vs. Ohio State game once was the highlight of the Big Ten season. These days, it's the Spartans and Buckeyes who are doing battle for all the marbles. It's just another reminder that the balance of power in the state of Michigan has started to trend toward the green side. 

Perhaps KC Joyner of ESPN put it best:

More than a few folks would argue that such a transformation has already occurred. 

 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Mississippi State vs. Kentucky: Score and Twitter Reaction

Kentucky gave No. 1 Mississippi State all it could handle, but running back Josh Robinson had a huge day to help the Bulldogs survive with a 45-31 win on the road.

Robinson led the way for Mississippi State with 198 rushing yards and two touchdowns in a dominant showing for the junior. Heisman candidate Dak Prescott had a big day as well with 216 passing yards and 88 rushing yards, including three scores.

Quarterback Patrick Towles had a great effort for Kentucky with four total touchdowns, 390 passing yards, 76 rushing yards and even 11 receiving yards. Unfortunately, he didn't get enough help as the Wildcats fell to 5-3 on the season.

Both teams topped 500 total yards of offense in the game, but the Bulldogs had more balance to come away with the win and remain undefeated.

Mississippi State started the game exactly the way it wanted to with a defensive stop and an easy first drive that went 82 yards and ended with a touchdown. However, Kentucky answered quickly with a huge play by wide receiver Demarco Robinson, who went 67 yards for his own touchdown:

Kyle Tucker of The Courier-Journal noted the impact of this play:

The Bulldogs kept moving the ball, though, scoring a field goal and then a touchdown to take a 17-7 lead. The score came on a Prescott rushing touchdown, which Sports Illustrated noted is not fun for the defense:

Jon Solomon of CBS Sports provided his overall analysis of the elite offense:

Still, Kentucky hung around and went into halftime only down 17-10. Matt Jones of Kentucky Radio was impressed despite the team not playing extremely well:

Meanwhile, head coach Mark Stoops believed his team had an upset bid at halftime, via Mark Story of Kentucky.com:

The second half continued with the back-and-forth style. Prescott scored an impressive rushing touchdown to put MSU up 24-10. That was followed by a great drive by Towles, who capped it off with his own 10-yard run into the end zone to bring the Wildcats back within one touchdown, at 24-17.

Tim Brando of Fox Sports discussed the excitement in the close game:

The problem was Kentucky's defense simply could not stop the Bulldogs from putting points on the board. Mississippi State went up 31-17 on a three-play, 81-yard drive that included an incredible 22-yard run by Robinson:

Once again, Kentucky answered with a 58-yard touchdown pass from Towles to Javess Blue.

After a few defensive stops, it was Robinson again who came through for Mississippi State. On a big 3rd-and-1, the running back got the ball up the middle and took it to the house for a 73-yard touchdown run to put his team up 38-24. 

ESPN's Travis Haney was impressed with the play:

The Wildcats did eventually cut the lead in half with another Towles rushing touchdown with 2:31 remaining in regulation. With a successful onside kick, Kentucky would have had the ball with a chance to tie. Unfortunately, Mississippi State's Christian Holmes returned the onside kick attempt all the way for a touchdown to extend the lead to 45-31. 

Gary Parrish of CBS Sports gave his opinion on Kentucky's final chance:

The game was a lot closer than the final score would indicate, but Mississippi State survived and moved to 7-0 on the season. 

Kentucky will now try to remain competitive in the SEC East with consecutive battles at Missouri and then against Georgia at home. Even after a couple of slip-ups this year, the Wildcats have a chance to play their way into the conference title game with a little help.

Playing the Bulldogs close didn't really seem possible after a 41-3 loss last week to LSU, but this squad can surprise people if it plays as well as it did Saturday. 

Mississippi State will return home next week to face Arkansas, which knows how to keep games close but still has not won a conference game in 16 tries. Despite this stat, Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins create a rushing attack the Bulldogs shouldn't overlook.

As the No. 1 team in the country, the Bulldogs have their sights on a national championship and will have to do whatever it takes to stay undefeated. They did that successfully against Kentucky.

 

Follow Rob Goldberg on Twitter for the latest breaking news and analysis.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

UCLA's Double OT Scare vs. Colorado Raises Serious Questions About Bruins

Missed opportunities and self-inflicted errors nearly cost No. 25 UCLA in its 40-37, double-overtime win at Colorado Saturday, and the Bruins head into a critical four-game stretch left with more questions than answers...

Read the full article on Bleacher Report...

Mississippi State's Christian Holmes Returns Onside Kick for TD vs. Kentucky

The unranked Kentucky Wildcats were down just seven against the Mississippi State Bulldogs with a chance to recover an onside kick.

Any hope of upsetting the No. 1 team in the nation quickly faded away, though, with just under three minutes left in the game.

The Wildcats' onside kick attempt went right at Christian Holmes, who then returned the ball 61 yards for a touchdown to give the Bulldogs a 45-31 lead.


Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Ohio State vs. Penn State: Live Score and Highlights

Ohio State 17, Penn State 0 — Late 2nd quarter

Game action is now underway between No. 13 Ohio State (5-1) and Penn State (4-2). ABC is televising the matchup nationally from Beaver Stadium.

We are watching the game, providing live analysis as the action unfolds:

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Davis Webb Injury: Updates on Texas Tech QB's Leg and Return

Texas Tech quarterback Davis Webb exited a matchup against TCU in the third quarter with a leg injury.

Max Olson of ESPN.com passed along news of the injury for the signal-caller:

Webb has gone through an up-and-down season for the Red Raiders, but has been a catalyst for the offense. The sophomore has 2,525 passing yards, 24 touchdowns and 13 interceptions this season after leaving the game.

Olson also noted that Patrick Mahomes would assume Webb's role:

The contest was already lopsided prior to Webb's exit, so the focus now will be on the health of the quarterback. Mahomes was a 3-star quarterback, per 247Sports, but doesn't offer the same experience of Webb.

Even with the criticism that comes along with being a quarterback for the Red Raiders, Webb has found success, via Associate Director Scott Lacefield:

If Webb is forced to miss time, it will be up to Mahomes to step up and lead the offense against a tough upcoming slate. Facing the likes of Texas, Oklahoma and Baylor in the last four games, not having Webb on the field might be crippling for Texas Tech.

 

Follow @RCorySmith on Twitter.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Michigan's Devin Gardner Throws Shovel Pass Directly to Michigan State Player

It's been a season to forget for the Michigan Wolverines, and plays like this are a big reason why.

Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner tried to improvise with a shovel pass on Saturday against the Michigan State Spartans.

The only problem was that there wasn't a Wolverines receiver in sight. Instead, the pass went straight to Michigan State's Taiwan Jones for the interception.

[Vine]

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Mississippi State's Josh Robinson Refuses to Go Down During Video Game Style Run

Mississippi State Bulldogs running back Josh Robinson knows jst how important it is to keep his legs moving during plays, as it goes a long way in breaking tackles.

In the third quarter of Saturday's game against the Kentucky Wildcats, Robinson broke multiple tackles and reversed field to pick up a big gain. 

Robinson's effort was a big reason the Bulldogs were able to drive down the field, eventually capping off the drive with a touchdown to go up 31-17.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Alabama vs. Tennessee: Live Score and Highlights

Alabama 27, Tennessee 10—Halftime

The No. 4 Alabama Crimson Tide are looking to continue their hot streak against the Tennessee Volunteers.

ESPN2 is carrying the conference meeting. Bleacher Report is providing live scoring updates and in-game analysis. Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Ole Miss vs. LSU: Live Score and Highlights

Ole Miss 7, LSU 3—Early 3rd Quarter

LSU may not have had the start to the 2014 season Tigers fans hoped to see, but Les Miles has his program on the upswing as the No. 24 Tigers host the No. 3-ranked Rebels from Ole Miss.  The last time these two teams met in such a pivotal game was that epic December 5, 1970 contest in which Archie Manning led the No. 16 Rebels to a 61-17 victory over the No. 8 Tigers.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Lane Kiffin Is Escorted by 6 Cops in Return to Tennessee's Neyland Stadium

Alabama Crimson Tide offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin made sure to have plenty of security around him when returning to Knoxville on Saturday.

The former Tennessee Volunteers head coach exited the bus at Neyland Stadium on Saturday and was escorted by six police officers to ensure that nothing bad would happen.

Considering how unpopular Kiffin is in Knoxville, it was probably a good idea to bring some extra security.

[YouTube]

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Heisman Candidate Ameer Abdullah Makes Nebraska a Potential Playoff Crasher

Think Nebraska doesn't have a shot at the playoffs? As Lee Corso would say, "Not so fast, my friend." With Heisman candidate Ameer Abdullah leading the way, the Huskers can't be counted out just yet. As Bleacher Report's own Adam Kramer pointed out, Nebraska's chances are intriguing:

Abdullah only adds to it.

Against Rutgers, Abdullah had an impressive 225 rushing yards. Those yards increased his season rushing total to 1,249 yards. Abdullah has excelled against more opponents then just Rutgers, though. He hasn't just excelled at running the ball, either.

"He is very good. Very good," Rutgers senior defensive end David Milewski said. "All around, he did everything, caught the ball, ran the ball and returned the ball. I think he is good as advertised."

That's what Abdullah does. He's an all-purpose back who's not afraid to do what he needs to do to help the Huskers win. If that means he's blocking on one play, that means he's blocking. It simply doesn't matter to the senior.

"It's about being as good as I can in every area and not being good in certain areas and not so good in other areas," Abdullah said. "I want to maximize my potential as much as I can in everything I do."

That mindset has paid off for the senior. He had 341 all-purpose yards against Rutgers, which set a school record. He surpassed Roy Helu's 321 all-purpose yards against Missouri in 2010. Making it even better, this was also his second 300-yard all-purpose game this season. He's the only player in the nation to accomplish that this season so far. Big Ten Network shared the play that placed Abdullah in the history books as the Huskers' all-time leading receiver:

Does that mean Abdullah can lead this team to the College Football Playoff? It won't be easy, but he's making a strong case.

While it may seem unlikely, as Kramer noted, the Huskers are still in the hunt for the playoff. According to CBSSports.com, Nebraska is one of 12 teams with an outside chance to make it. But can it really be done?

First, the Huskers will need to win out. In order to do so, Nebraska will have to play at the highest level possible, something it didn't do against Rutgers, according to head coach Bo Pelini.

"Sloppy. Bad communication. Missed assignments. Dropping coverage when the quarterback scrambles. Things that will get you beaten down the line. It didn't get us beaten today, but it will get you beaten down the line. We've got to get some things fixed. We need to have some discipline on the defensive side of the ball. We were undisciplined."

The coach then put it on himself and his staff to make sure the errors are corrected. As he said, those types of errors (like turnovers and Josh Mitchell's lateral pass attempt) could cost Nebraska wins down the road. Teams such as Wisconsin and Iowa will be looking for Nebraska to make mistakes.

Speaking of upcoming opponents, the Huskers also need the remainder of their opponents to keep winning. Unfortunately, Minnesota didn't help that by losing 28-24 to Illinois on Saturday. However, Wisconsin won big over Maryland, and as long as the Badgers keep that up, it will only help Nebraska.

Ultimately, if the Huskers do win out, it's going to be about winning the Big Ten Championship. Whether the opponent is Michigan State or Ohio State, Nebraska will need a victory in Indianapolis to keep the playoff dream alive.

But is that dream actually worth having? The answer is absolutely. Nebraska is not down for the count just yet, and with Abdullah leading the way, the potential is still there. However, Abdullah knows the performance against Rutgers isn't going to be enough.

"I know personally we have so much more out there for us. We won by 18, and I know we could have played so much better. We should have played much better. So this sounds good, but we've got to be much better. We can't keep talking like, 'What could have been.' We've got to do it, and it starts with preparation."

November is going to be a big month for Nebraska. How the Huskers come away from it will determine a lot about the team's playoff potential. The one aspect Nebraska can count on is Abdullah, who is determined to lead the team to more victories.

As the I-back said, there's more out there for the Huskers. It's now about making it happen.

 

All quotes and statistics were obtained firsthand via the Huskers' postgame press conference, unless otherwise noted.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Jameis Winston Crab Leg Incident Turns into Great Couple Halloween Costume Idea

As Halloween approaches, sports fans are coming up with all kinds of great costume ideas.

In honor of the crab leg incident involving Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, this clever couple costume idea was created. 

Winston probably wouldn't be a fan of the costumes, but he's likely in the minority here.

[Instagram, h/t Black Sports Online]

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

UNLV's Kendal Keys Makes Diving TD Grab After Deflection vs. Utah State

That's one way for a true freshman to make a name for himself.

During the second quarter of Saturday's game against Utah State, UNLV freshman wide receiver Kendal Keys made this incredible diving touchdown grab after the ball was deflected up in the air.

The touchdown helped the Rebels cut the Aggies' lead down to just 10-7.

[Vine]

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Wisconsin Football: Are Badgers True Threats in Race for Big Ten Title?

It hasn’t been the easiest first half of the season for Wisconsin.

The Badgers’ College Football Playoff hopes went on life support after blowing a 17-point second-half lead in the opener against LSU and flatlined following an ugly 20-14 loss to Northwestern. However, the Badgers still have hope for the second half of 2014, and Saturday’s 52-7 rout of Maryland serves as Exhibit A.

The Terrapins entered Madison with a quality 5-2 record but didn’t put up anything resembling a fight. In the process, Wisconsin showed why it can still be a Big Ten title contender.

The Badgers have one of the nation’s best running games and a defense that is showing improvement: Stefon Diggs’ touchdown with less than a minute to play was the only thing that kept Wisconsin from its first FBS shutout since the 2013 season opener against UMass.

And few, if any teams, can match the backfield firepower that Wisconsin has with junior tailback Melvin Gordon. Wisconsin entered Saturday as the nation’s No. 2 rushing offense, averaging an astounding 343 rushing yards per game. Gordon entered as the nation’s second-leading rusher, and he backed it up with a 122-yard, three-touchdown effort against the Terrapins.

Gordon has surpassed 100 yards and scored at least one touchdown in all but one game this season (a 17-carry, 38-yard effort against FCS Western Illinois). He is a legit Heisman Trophy candidate whose campaign could be enhanced by his team’s overall success.

The Badgers play three of their final five games away from Camp Randall Stadium, traveling to Rutgers, Purdue and Iowa. Of those three, only the trip to Kinnick Stadium could be considered dangerous. And keep this in mind: Maryland beat Iowa 38-31 last week in College Park.

Wisconsin’s biggest game is at home: No. 16 Nebraska visits Nov. 15 with two of the nation’s top tailbacks (Gordon and Nebraska senior Ameer Abdullah) facing off. Playing in raucous Camp Randall is a major edge for the Badgers, especially with potentially dicey November weather conditions in play.

Win that game, and Wisconsin would likely be the Big Ten West Division champion, with a shot at facing either Michigan State or Ohio State in the Big Ten title game.

The Badgers would be an underdog in that game, but given the struggles of the season’s first half, it would be a victory just to get that far. And the way Gary Andersen’s team is playing right now, there’s no reason to count Wisconsin out of the league race.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Kentucky's Blake McClain Blasts Mississippi State's Joe Morrow

The Mississippi State Bulldogs are playing their first game in school history ranked as the No. 1 team in the nation, but the Kentucky Wildcats are trying their best to pull off the major upset.

During the first quarter of Saturday's game, Bulldogs quarterback Dak Prescott threw a soft pass to wide receiver Joe Morrow, who got blasted by Kentucky defensive back Blake McClain.

The pass fell incomplete.

[Vine]

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Ameer Abdullah vs. Rutgers: Stat Line, Heisman Impact and Reaction

Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah put on a record-setting, all-purpose show in the Cornhuskers' 42-24 win over Rutgers on Saturday. His dominant display will almost surely put his name back in contention for the Heisman Trophy.

Abdullah's 341 all-purpose yards set a school record and are the second-most in the history of the Big Ten, per ESPN Stats & Info:

He ripped off touchdown runs of 53 and 48 yards in the second quarter, setting the tone for what would be an extraordinary day on the ground. Mike Welch of 93.7 The Ticket had this to say about Abdullah's moves:

As if ripping off insanely long gains from scrimmage wasn't enough, Abdullah electrified the crowd with a 76-yard kickoff return during the contest. Sports Illustrated's Zac Ellis was in awe of the performance:

This fan, Tunnel Walk of Shame, could hardly fathom Abdullah's video game-style runs:

ESPN provided a look at his third touchdown of the day, which came on a 23-yard burner in the fourth quarter:

The senior halfback seemed deeply appreciative of the opportunity to put on a show in a Cornhuskers jersey.

"Every time I step on the field, whether practice or games, I'm always creating memories here," Abdullah said after the game, via The Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com). "These are always things I'm going to remember, coming here and playing football for this great university."

Abdullah's name has been conspicuously absent from the Heisman discussion as of late, through no fault of his own. Nebraska has underwhelmed at times this season, and the Big Ten has lost its luster in recent years. 

Georgia running back Todd Gurley's suspension opens the door for Abdullah to make his case as the premier tailback in the nation.

He does face stiff competition from Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon and Indiana's Tevin Coleman, but Abdullah's electric style and ability to hurt teams in every facet of the game give him the edge over these two.

It's quite likely that the trophy goes to a quarterback like Oregon's Marcus Mariota or Mississippi State's Dak Prescott. However, don't be surprised if the words "Abdullah" and "Heisman" appear together in headlines across the nation as the season comes to a close.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Kansas State's November Schedule Will Make or Break Wildcats in Playoff Race

If you had told people this summer that Kansas State would be the Big 12’s top College Football Playoff contender in late October, they’d probably have looked at you kind of funny.

What about Baylor? Or Oklahoma?

Yet, as we head toward November, that appears to be the case. Following Saturday’s 23-0 whipping of the Texas Longhorns, the Wildcats are in perfect position to make a playoff run. At 6-1 and the only team, they should be the league’s highest-ranked team when the first College Football Playoff Top 25 poll is released Tuesday evening. ESPN's Adam Rittenberg and Jake Trotter shared their thoughts about Kansas State and the College Football Playoff:

Can they become one of the nation’s top four teams when the playoff bracket is finalized in early December? Yes, but it won’t be easy. Not anywhere close.

The Wildcats’ remaining schedule is brutal, and K-State must improve an offense that has sputtered at times this season.

Following next week’s home date with a dangerous Oklahoma State team, Bill Snyder and Co. must travel to No. 10 TCU. After a bye, K-State will have a treacherous Thursday night trip to No. 22 West Virginia. An in-state rivalry date against hapless Kansas appears to be a gimme, but the Wildcats end the regular season with a Dec. 6 contest at No. 12 Baylor.

For those scoring at home, that's three conference road games against ranked opponents, along with a home meeting versus an Oklahoma State team that was ranked No. 15 in the nation last week. None of those games will be easy, and Kansas State must win out to have any shot at the playoff.

If Kansas State wants to make it through that tough slate of games, its offense will need to be a lot more lethal.

Senior quarterback Jake Waters is a dual-threat and a solid but not spectacular quarterback—especially when compared with the likes of TCU’s Trevone Boykin and Baylor’s Bryce Petty. Saturday, Waters completed 19 of 30 passes for 224 yards with zero interceptions, but he also threw zero touchdowns. The Wildcats also had more field goals (three) than touchdowns (two). ESPN Insider Travis Haney provided historical insight about K-State's shutout of Texas:

Penalties ruined a pair of K-State drives that could have led to more, as a holding penalty wiped out a long Waters pass to Tyler Lockett that would’ve set the ‘Cats up inside the Texas 10.

“I’m not too happy with the offensive execution we had,” Snyder told ESPN's television broadcast afterward. “I’m awfully proud of the guys maintaining possession of the ball, not making mistakes. But we got penalties, and a couple of penalties cost us with gargantuan plays. We took 14 points off the board with penalties.”

K-State’s defense is impressive: Saturday marked the program’s first shutout of a Big 12 foe since 2003, and it was the first time Texas had been shut out in league play since 2004. David Ubben of Fox Sports Southwest is impressed with K-State's defense: 

That defense will keep the Wildcats competitive on the road, but they'll need more firepower to survive that incredibly tough stretch and make their unlikely College Football Playoff run a reality.

Should K-State win out, it could have a compelling playoff case. Slip up once and the dream is over. The Wildcats are on the right path, but they have no margin for error.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Pages