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Melvin Gordon's Heisman-Worthy Play Won't Save Wisconsin's Season

Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon has carried the ball like a man possessed in the first half of the 2014 season, but his sensational output has done little to guarantee coherent play, let alone victories, for the Badgers.  

Gordon's sensational numbers seem to be almost wholly independent of Wisconsin's overall performance thus far in 2014. Of Wisconsin's most visible players this season, Gordon is the one most deserving of immunity from criticism.

Wisconsin's loss to a tough, but perhaps not elite, LSU team and its 14-point effort against Northwestern demonstrate it lacks the all-around skill to complement its star halfback's mighty individual performances.

Fox Sports' Bruce Feldman noted the Badgers' inability to muster a single point in the first half Saturday despite Gordon's heroics:

The Big Ten may have lost some of its luster in recent years, but the Badgers will be hard-pressed to salvage their season after two early losses.

Gordon's averaging 7.8 yards per carry and is one of the best big-play threats in college football despite the fact that nearly all of his yards from scrimmage come on the ground. Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald even compared him to the late, great Walter Payton before the game.

"(Payton) had great vision and great balance — and you see that from Melvin," Fitzgerald said, via Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune. "There are times guys have clear shots at him, and he has an unbelievable ability to make people miss. He can take the first hit and not break stride. And he gets stronger throughout the game."

Some critics may decry Gordon's inability to get involved in the passing game, but he's not the only potential pass-catcher suffering this season.

The Badgers' depressing quarterback situation is the main culprit for the lack of early success. Quarterback Tanner McEvoy, who played safety last season, has performed well below the expectations of a team looking to rule a power NCAA football conference. Indeed, the team ranks 115th in passing, per ESPN.com.

The team turned to quarterback Joel Stave against Northwestern, only to watch him toss three costly interceptions.

Austin Ward of ESPN.com feels the quarterback play takes away the joy of watching Gordon play: 

Outside of wide receiver Alex Erickson, there are no reliable receiving options on the squad. Erickson is the only Badger with double-digit receptions after five games.

It forces the Badgers to become one-dimensional on offense, turning to Gordon, sophomore back Corey Clement and McEvoy himself to move the ball on the ground time and time again. The predictability also prevents them from extending drives; the Badgers have converted just 39.1 percent of third downs through their first four games, per NCAA.com.

Wisconsin's defense has been terrific, giving up just 15.6 points per game thus far. If this unit can be faulted at all, it's that they don't force enough turnovers—seven through five games against largely inferior competition—to give their offense some much-needed extra opportunities with the football.

The team will also run into some formidable defenses in their remaining Big Ten schedule, which could prove to be disastrous if the Badgers want to keep a run at the conference title intact. Nebraska and Minnesota are giving up just 19 points per game, good for 22nd in the nation, while Iowa ranks 18th in the nation.

Iowa could indeed be the toughest matchup, as they are giving up just 2.93 yards per rush, via NCAA.com. If they bottle up Gordon, the Badgers offense has very little in the way of a plan B.

Two losses at this point in the season are a killer for team looking to stay afloat in the top 25, even with the litany of early upsets. The Badgers still have an outside shot to emerge as the top team in the Big Ten West, but they will have to overcome the aforementioned defensive-minded teams in order to escape the remainder of the season unscathed.

The Michigan State Spartans could very well join the Badgers with two marks in the loss column at some point, but their first loss came against No. 1 ranked Florida State and shouldn't reflect poorly on their status by the end of the season, regardless if the Seminoles slip up at any point in 2014.

Wisconsin will have a difficult run to finish out the season, and Gordon could very well be the only player garnering any high-profile hardware when all is said and done.

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Katy Perry Celebrates Ole Miss Win by Partying in Oxford

Katy Perry was in Oxford, Mississippi, as ESPN College GameDay's celebrity picker, and it looks like she's having a great time. 

Not only did she predict Ole Miss' 23-17 upset of Alabama, she gets to partake in the celebration. And like most of the young adults in Oxford, Perry pounded beers and got after it. 

Katy stormed the field. She's all Hotty Toddy! 



It might be safe to say Perry now has a few hundred thousand more fans.

[Twitter]

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Winners and Losers from Week 6 of College Football

Saturday of Week 6 is coming to a close, but the first week of October got off to a wild start long before ESPN's College GameDay went live in Oxford, Mississippi.

On Thursday, Arizona shook up the Pac-12 and national conversation by upsetting Oregon in Autzen Stadium. On Friday night, Utah State derailed BYU's hopes for an undefeated season.

That was just the beginning. 

Alabama fell to Ole Miss and Oklahoma was unable to survive a shootout with TCU. Arizona State beat USC on a Hail Mary and South Carolina lost to Kentucky. 

The college football world is chaos—and we couldn't be happier about it. According to ESPN, this is just the second time in AP Poll history that four of top six teams have lost in same week (h/t Yahoo Dr. Saturday). 

With that, we wish the College Football Playoff selection committee the best of luck in its future decisions. 

In the meantime, which teams and players came out as winners in Week 5? Which ones didn't? The answers are in the following slides.

Begin Slideshow

Florida State Finding Its Rhythm as Other Elite Teams Fall

One by one they lost. No. 2 Oregon fell to Arizona on Thursday. And then, on upset Saturday, No. 3 Alabama, No. 4 Oklahoma and No. 6 Texas A&M were beaten.

Florida State, meanwhile, keeps on winning. It has often looked ugly, but the Seminoles are finding their rhythm and showing plenty of fight as the other elite teams have been knocked off.

"We still have a lot of issues that we have to get better at as a football team," FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said. "But we're plugging along."

FSU saw itself drop to No. 2 in the coaches poll a week ago—behind Alabama—after the Seminoles fell behind North Carolina State 24-7, before rallying for a 56-41 win. The lack of style points was clearly a concern for voters.

A week later, voters have a completely different concern: Who is No. 2 after FSU?

The Seminoles, who were No. 1 in the AP poll last week, have not put together a complete, dominating performance against a Football Bowl Subdivision team, a game in which the offense and defense both played well. But the Seminoles can enjoy being 5-0 after Saturday's 43-3 win over Wake Forest and are again in the national-championship picture.

"Watching those games, them losing, we appreciate what we can do to come out and win the game," Williams said. "Even if we're down, we're going to come back and make some stops for our offense, and our offense steps up for us if we're not doing well.

"We appreciate the fight that we have to win games—even tight games."

Let's take a look at what has gone well, and what hasn't, through five games:

 

FSU's Strengths: The Glass is Half-Full

It depends on how you look at things. The Seminoles had to hold off Oklahoma State to win the opener, they needed overtime to edge Clemson and they rallied from a 24-7 deficit to beat North Carolina State.

The positive is that FSU won all of those games while overcoming a variety of obstacles.

FSU didn't have receiver Jesus "Bobo" Wilson in the opener and was replacing 10 starters. But a Nate Andrews interception return for a touchdown and Williams' forced fumble in the fourth quarter helped seal up a win over Oklahoma State.

Jameis Winston was suspended for the Clemson game, and backup quarterback Sean Maguire rebounded from a sloppy first half to throw for 304 yards and help FSU win in overtime.

FSU missed "30-something" tackles in the win over North Carolina State, safety Tyler Hunter admitted, but the Seminoles held the Wolfpack to 17 points in the last three quarters. And Winston had his best game of the year, throwing for 365 yards and three touchdowns, while Karlos Williams had three TD runs.

While Winston wasn't spectacular against Wake Forest, he completed 23 of 39 passes for 297 yards, a touchdown and an interception. That's not bad at all.

 

FSU's Weaknesses: Inconsistency in Every Game

The Seminoles remain wildly inconsistent, and it's hard to tell whether the offense or defense will carry the team on any given Saturday. The lack of a complete game is an indication that FSU could have a loss in its future.

Missing 30 tackles against N.C. State? FSU can't do that against teams such as Notre Dame or Louisville.

The running game struggles, where FSU had negative yards through four quarters in the win over Clemson? FSU simply can't be one-dimensional and expect to get by. While FSU was better on Saturday with 171 rushing yards against Wake Forest, the line play hasn't been consistent.

The wild card, of course, involves the injuries. A potential long-term injury to center Austin Barron will have an effect on the unit's chemistry. FSU has emerging stars at receiver, but the loss of Rashad Greene for any length of time will hurt the rhythm of the offense.

In 2013, FSU didn't experience a major injury. This year, the Seminoles are already dealing with the loss of defensive tackle Nile-Lawrence Stample for the season. If the list grows, will FSU have the depth to overcome those injuries?

 

The Road Ahead

FSU travels to Syracuse (2-3) next Saturday, a game that shouldn't present much of a challenge to the Seminoles. But then the road gets tougher, with Notre Dame coming to Tallahassee, Florida, on Oct. 18. And a tricky road date with Louisville follows on Oct. 30.

The Notre Dame-FSU game now looks more and more like it could be a Top Five showdown after the Fighting Irish defeated Stanford on Saturday. Against one of the nation's top defenses, Notre Dame struggled but was able to put together two scoring drives in the fourth quarter and win 17-14.

Notre Dame will be FSU's toughest challenge to date, and it remains to be seen if FSU will be shorthanded. 

FSU lost a number of players to injury on Saturday, including star receiver Rashad Greene (concussion) and starting center Austin Barron (arm). Fisher said Greene had a concussion and was throwing up but felt better after the game. Barron's arm may be fractured, Fisher said, and it appears he will miss significant playing time.

It's not clear if Greene, along with other injured players such as tailback Karlos Williams and defensive tackle Derrick Mitchell, will be back on the field.

 

Bob Ferrante is the Florida State Lead Writer for Bleacher Report; all quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Follow Bob on Twitter. All stats are courtesy of Seminoles.com. All recruiting information is courtesy of 247Sports.

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Utah vs. UCLA: Live Scores and Highlights

Utah 30, UCLA 28; FINAL

Led by a herculean effort on the ground by Devontae Booker, the Utah Utes came into the Rose Bowl and stunned the UCLA Bruins by a score of 30-28. 

Booker had a scintillating game, in which he rushed for 156 yards on 33 carries. Kendal Thompson also played the majority of the contest as the signal-caller. He was a very efficient 10-of-13 for 95 yards. He also rushed for 83 yards on 19 carries. 

For UCLA, it's a massive disappointment. The team came out sluggish and simply couldn't protect Brett Hundley. The UCLA signal-caller was sacked 10 times on the night. 

A full box score can be found here, courtesy of NCAA.com

 

Bleacher Report appreciates you hanging with us tonight. Stick around for score updates, analysis, social media and much more! 

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Utah vs. UCLA: Live Scores and Highlights

Utah 30, UCLA 28; FINAL Led by a herculean effort on the ground by Devontae Booker, the Utah Utes came into the Rose Bowl and stunned the UCLA Bruins by a score of 30-28...

Read the full article on Bleacher Report...

College WR Fabian Guerra Hauls in Beautiful 1-Handed TD Catch

Fairmont State University (West Virginia) wide receiver Fabian Guerra just entered the "catch of the year" sweepstakes with this scoring grab vs. Concord University. 

Not only was Guerra double-covered, he reached across his body to nab the ball with his opposite hand. 

Fairmont State went on to lose the game 45-21, but it didn't downplay the impressive display of body control and athleticism by Guerra. 

[Twitter]

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Jameis Winston vs. Wake Forest: Stat Line, Heisman Impact and Reaction

You would never know it to look at the 43-3 final score against Wake Forest, but Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston didn't have a game to remember. He looked sluggish at times, and the concerns about whether or not this year's team is good enough to repeat as champions are valid. 

The 2013 Heisman winner finished Saturday's game 23-of-39 with 297 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Most quarterbacks would be happy with a game like that, but it's not the standard that Winston has set, nor is it one that can lead this year's Seminoles to victory against quality opponents. 

Unlike last year's national title team, this year's Seminoles have shown themselves to be vulnerable on defense. They are 39th in points allowed, gave up 41 points and 520 total yards to NC State and their 104 total points given up through five games is nearly identical to the total they gave up through seven games last year (105). 

Speaking of things that didn't happen until the seventh game last year, ESPN's College Gameday posted on Twitter before the game that Winston's fourth interception this year came four games faster than 2013:

For the record, Winston's interception against Wake Forest was his fifth of the season. He had 10 in 384 attempts last year. 

Even Florida State's 43 points come with a caveat because 15 of them came as the result of field goals from Roberto Aguayo. On a day where Alabama, Oklahoma and Texas A&M lost, not to mention Oregon's defeat on Thursday, Florida State is just happy with the win. 

As far as Winston goes, though, he didn't come to life until late in the game when the outcome was already decided. ESPN's ACC Twitter feed noted that the star quarterback was saved from going without a touchdown pass for the first time in his career thanks to a fourth-quarter hookup with Travis Rudolph:

The feed also noted that Winston appeared to be forcing passes early in the game, which wound up getting him in trouble:

Going back to the subject of repeating, Winston didn't seem like a huge threat to win another Heisman coming into the game. Aside from the obvious voter bias against making anyone a two-time winner, he's got all the off-field stuff that voters will shy away from and some inconsistent performances this season. 

ESPN released its updated Heisman predictions on October 3, the day after Oregon lost to Arizona. The top of the list includes Georgia running back Todd Gurley and Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota. Winston's name is nowhere to be found, including on the experts' poll that runs nine players deep. 

Going back further than that to September 26, Paul Myerberg of USA Today didn't have Winston among the top 10 Heisman contenders, citing the incident that led to a suspension against Clemson and how he was on the sidelines for what could end up as the most important game of the team's year:

All Winston could do was deflect the off-field criticism by playing at a Heisman-caliber level, as he has since ascending to the starting job a season ago. Come Saturday night, however, the suspension left Winston on the sidelines watching, not leading FSU through a season-defining conference matchup.

Dustin Tackett of the Orlando Sentinel noted that Winston declared another Florida State player the best offensive talent in the country in his postgame press conference:

Whether or not Winston was joking, Aguayo may have been Florida State's best offensive player against Wake Forest. That's not a good thing when you have a quarterback who at one time had the potential to be the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft. 

The Seminoles have succeeded this year thanks in large part to a schedule that lacks top-tier opponents. Oklahoma State and Clemson are solid opponents but not the kind that should be challenging a championship team. 

Winston and Florida State can silence all of their doubters in two weeks when Notre Dame comes to Tallahassee. Until that happens, though, the questions about how far this team can go are going to keep coming—even in a game where you win by 40 points. 

 

If you want to talk sports, hit me up on Twitter. 

 @adamwells1985

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Ole Miss vs. Alabama: Game Grades for Rebels, Crimson Tide

In a thrilling finish, the Ole Miss Rebels defeated the Alabama Crimson Tide by a score of 23-17 at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Mississippi. 

Quarterback Bo Wallace led a second-half charge in which the Rebels outscored the Crimson Tide by a score of 20-3. The senior signal-caller threw three touchdowns—including the game-winning 10-yard toss to running back Jaylen Walton. 

Alabama was plagued by extremely poor special teams play all afternoon. In terms of play-calling, the Crimson Tide curiously went away from the ground game after sustaining good success during portions of the game. 

A final box score can be found here, courtesy of NCAA.com. 

Check out first-half grades and final grades for the Rebels and the Crimson Tide. Additional analysis for different positional units will also be addressed. 

 

Ole Miss Rebels Game Grades

Passing Offense

Bo Wallace only threw for 54 yards in the first half. Alabama's front four was putting the signal-caller under siege, and he rarely had time to drop back and throw. The play-calling also was catering to shorter throws. 

In the second half, he was a completely different player. He had beautiful throws down the field to Evan Engram, Vince Sanders and Laquon Treadwell. He demonstrated poise, touch and guile. 

The signal-caller finished an efficient 18-of-31 for 251 yards and three touchdowns. Perhaps most importantly, he didn't turn the ball over once. 

 

Pass Defense

Although Amari Cooper had nine catches for 91 yards, the Ole Miss secondary did a great job of not letting him beat them over the top. The unit as a whole tackled extremely well and limited the talented receiver to just over 10 yards per catch. The secondary also held Blake Sims without a passing touchdown. 

There was one lapse in coverage, when Alabama tight end O.J. Howard galloped alone down the sidelines for a 53-yard gain. Outside of this mistake, it was a great night. Senquez Golson's interception in the waning moments will also likely go down as one of the biggest moments in Ole Miss football history.

 

Rushing Offense

This was not a great day for the rushing attack. Truthfully, Ole Miss doens't have a conventional every-down back. Walton and I'Tavius Mathers are both smaller, situational backs. Without the threat of a consistent ground game, the quarterback draws with Wallace become more difficult to run. 

Mathers' controversial fumble at the end of the first half was a huge blow from a momentum standpoint. As a whole, the unit rushed for 72 yards on 32 yards. This equates to a paltry 2.3 yards-per-carry average.

 

Rush Defense

Early on, the defensive front did a very nice job of bottling up the duo of T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry. Isaac Gross in particular was getting penetration against the interior of Alabama's offensive line. 

Toward the end of the first half and in the early part of the second half, Alabama opted for the stretch play to the left side of its line (behind true freshman tackle Cam Robinson). This is where the Crimson Tide got the majority of its yards. 

On the day, Alabama did finish with 168 yards on 44 carries. While it wasn't a stellar showing by Ole Miss' defensive line, it did hold Alabama to a respectable 3.8 yards-per-carry average.

 

Special Teams

It was a mixed bag on the day for the unit as a whole. The rotation of Gary Wunderlich and Andrew Fletcher was interesting. Fletcher missed a short field goal, and Wunderlich nailed a longer attempt from 46 yards away. A point-after attempt was missed by Wunderlich.

After a penalty allowed for a re-do, Fletcher came in and had the attempt blocked. In general, the kicking game needs to have more consistency. 

The returning duo of Walton and Mark Dodson was very good on the afternoon. Dodson had a 36.5 yards per return average. Punter Will Gleeson also had a perfectly executed coffin-corner punt to pin Alabama back against its 1-yard line late in the second half. 

 

Coaching

Defensively, the unit was strong all afternoon. The scheme worked very well—blitzing Sims at times, and also relying on pressure from the front four. Most impressively, it held Amari Cooper pretty quiet for the majority of the day. Alabama had one long pass play to O.J. Howard on a busted coverage. Outside of that, it was a very good effort by the defense. 

Offensively, the play-calling in the first half was vanilla and conservative. However in the second half, Hugh Freeze did a nice job of opening it up and attacking the Alabama secondary down the field. 

In totality, it was a very effective day for the Ole Miss staff. 

 

Alabama Crimson Tide Game Grades

Passing Offense

Sims managed the game well but wasn't a difference-maker in the contest. He did finish a respectable 19-of-31 for 228 yards. The one interception he threw came in the waning minutes of the contest. 

However, his legs weren't a factor in this game. From an accuracy standpoint, he did miss a few throws down the field. He also wasn't able to find Cooper down the field for a big play.

 

Pass Defense

The secondary performed very well in the first half. Wallace had only 54 yards passing—in large part to the Alabama corners contesting and jostling with the Ole Miss receivers. Cyrus Jones in particular looked impressive. 

In the second half, Ole Miss took more shots down the field. A busted coverage allowed for a big 50-yard pass play to Engram early in the second half. This galvanized Wallace, and it enabled him to get into a rhythm.

Quick-strike throws to Sanders and Treadwell opened things up even further. Elite safety Landon Collins was even beat on the long touchdown to Sanders.

It was a truly a tale of two halves for the secondary. Wallace threw for 251 yards and three touchdowns against the unit. 

 

Rushing Offense

True freshman Cam Robinson galvanized the ground game in the second quarter. The gifted left tackle opened up running lanes for Yeldon with great effectiveness. In fact, one could argue the stretch play to the left side was the most productive play throughout the afternoon for the Crimson Tide. 

The loss of starting center Ryan Kelly in the second half did complicate things. The offense was flagged for multiple procedure and false start penalties. To be fair, redshirt freshman Bradley Bozeman was thrown into a very uncomfortable situation. There was a lack of togetherness with the line—which is completely understandable. 

However, the unit failed to play with the same sort of rhythm and effectiveness as the game progressed into the fourth quarter. As a whole, the unit rushed for 168 yards on 44 carries. Yeldon himself had 123 yards on 20 carries.

 

Rush Defense

The defensive line dominated the line of scrimmage for the majority of the afternoon. It did a great job of closing down running lanes and plugging gaps effectively. The pursuit by linebackers on stretch plays was also impressive. 

Ole Miss managed only 72 yards rushing on 32 plays. Take out the quarterback draws by Wallace, and these numbers are even more minuscule. It was an impressive effort by the Alabama front seven. 

 

Special Teams

It was a day to forget for special teams coach Bobby Williams. 

Poor kickoff coverage gave Ole Miss great field position on multiple possessions. One of these returns led to points for the Rebs. 

Kicker Adam Griffith made only one of his three field-goal attempts. Surely at some point, Nick Saban can recruit a quality placekicker, can't he? The misses came at the end of long, productive drives. 

Lastly, a fumble on a kickoff by Christion Jones led to the game-winning touchdown for the Rebels. 

Need I say more? 

The lone bright spot was punter J.K. Scott. He boomed two punts of over 60 yards. His 51.8 yards per punt average is very impressive. 

 

Coaching

The special teams portion has already been addressed. Coaching in this category failed miserably. 

Offensively, Alabama needs to figure out what type of team it'll be. At some points, offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin utilized spread principles—including a zone-read element. This wasn't overly effective early. Then, he opted for a more run-heavy offense. This did pay dividends—until he went away from it and opted for more throws. 

As the schedule gets progressively harder, he might have to rely upon more of a rushing attack. This makes sense, considering a strong offensive line and a good stable of running backs. 

Defensively, the unit did play very well in the first half. In the second half, Kirby Smart seemingly could not adjust to the wide receiver bunch formation Ole Miss brought out. This same formation led to multiple big plays in the passing game. It was almost as if the Alabama secondary was befuddled each and every time. 

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Notre Dame College Football's Biggest Winner in Insane Week 6

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — On one of the most unpredictable college football Saturdays in recent memory, Notre Dame needed all 60 minutes to escape unharmed.

From the time the Fighting Irish took the field in miserable, rainy and windy conditions, it looked like Keyser Soze from The Usual Suspects worked his way through the rest of the early-season College Football Playoff contenders. 

Alabama? Dead. Oklahoma? Dead. Texas A&M? Dead. With Oregon in the morgue since a Thursday night loss to unranked Arizona, college football lost four bona fide playoff frontrunners, and that was before the evening games even kicked off. 

That Notre Dame finds itself still standing is amazing in and of itself. Even though the Irish outgained Stanford on offense and outplayed the country's No. 1 defense, a collection of dropped passes, missed chances and bungled scoring opportunities almost cost Notre Dame the game.

But on 4th-and-11 with 1:09 remaining, Everett Golson escaped the pocket and pushed the Irish to 5-0 as he rolled left and spotted senior tight end Ben Koyack wide-open in the corner of the end zone. 

"It felt like the whole thing happened in slow motion," Golson said after the game. 

Golson's 43rd passing attempt of the wet afternoon was his best, a perfect spiral that found Koyack standing shockingly alone in a rare coverage bust for Stanford's defense. Koyack waited patiently for the ball to arrive, planting his toes just inside the chalk as the Irish made their great escape. 

The victory allows Notre Dame to inch their way into a likely spot in the Top Five. It also puts them on a crash course to meet Florida State in a battle of unbeatens in Tallahassee, Florida, a national showdown where the winner takes an inside track to college football's first-ever Final Four. Michael Bertsch, Notre Dame's director of football media relations, shared a tweet regarding the Irish's defensive impact on the Cardinal:

But Notre Dame didn't make it easy on itself, especially the Irish's star quarterback. Golson essentially spotted Stanford its first seven points, coughing up a fumble at the Irish's 12-yard line, gifting Kevin Hogan and Stanford's offense a key red-zone appearance.

Golson also threw an interception to Stanford's Jordan Richards minutes later, turning a chip-shot field-goal opportunity into another red-zone mistake, his sixth turnover in as many quarters. 

But Notre Dame overcame those mistakes—and a few more, too. It was mostly thanks to the Irish's dominant defense. 

Brian VanGorder's defense gave the Cardinal one of their toughest Saturdays in years. Stanford was held under 100 yards rushing for the first time since September 2012. The Cardinal averaged just 3.0 yards per play, their lowest tally since the Walt Harris era nearly a decade ago. 

But with Hogan able to march Stanford down the field for a clutch touchdown with just three minutes to go, it looked like David Shaw's Cardinal would escape South Bend with a tight victory after losing a heartbreaker in 2012. Notre Dame Football provided coach Brian Kelly's post-win comments to his team:

But three minutes was two too many for Golson and the Irish offense. And while the undefeated dreams of Alabama, Oklahoma and Oregon fans all ended in the first week of October, Notre Dame's continue, thanks to a play for the ages. 

"I mean, I love moments like that. I really do," Golson said after the game. "I think I see it more as an opportunity rather than pressure. It was a great opportunity for us to really just showcase what we have in the kind of very exciting moment right there."

It wasn't perfect. It wasn't even close. But staying alive on an insane Saturday was quite alright for Kelly. 

"Just a great win for Notre Dame," Kelly said after the game. "Let our kids enjoy it, and we'll nitpick on all the other things we've got to get better at later. We're just going to enjoy the victory."

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Todd Gurley vs. Vanderbilt: Stat Line, Heisman Impact and Reaction

On a day when collegiate juggernauts that were destined for the College Football Playoff took a dive and Heisman favorites crumpled under the pressure, Georgia running back Todd Gurely stood tall amid the chaos.

Gurley was workmanlike in his approach as always, this time victimizing a Vanderbilt defense to the tune of 163 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Also, 24 receiving yards. Also, 50 passing yards.

Call it a routine day at the office for Gurley, no hyperbole included. His numbers this season speak volumes as to his frightening consistency:

Seriously, look at his season-low 73 yards. He carried it six times.

Knox Bardeen of FoxSports.com put it best:

The only thing that usually does not come stock with a Gurley weekend is the passing totals, but Georgia coach Mark Richt decided to get tricky and let his star back have some fun:

Even without the tomfoolery, Gurley's night is impressive and yet another reaffirmation that he is the best player in the nation.

But to review, let's consume a brief summary of how other Heisman favorites fared this week:

  • Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon: 267 yards, two touchdowns and a critical lost fumble late in a loss to an unranked opponent.
  • Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama: Nine receptions, 91 yards in a loss to a ranked opponent.
  • Kenny Hill, QB, Texas A&M: 365 yards, four touchdowns, three interceptions in a loss to a ranked opponent.

Like it or not, wins play a major factor in the outcome of the Heisman race, as does the timeliness of the wins or losses. Heisman underdogs such as Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott will continue to work their way up watch lists, but Gurley is a proven commodity who survived an overall brutal weekend.

It helps that Gurely has had an overall productive tenure and is well on his way to historic marks, as noted by Anthony Amey of WSB-TV Atlanta:

Bleacher Report's Matt Miller is one of many who concur that Gurley is the Heisman front-runner at the moment:

Look, Gurley was already the No. 1 player on ESPN's watch list entering the week.

There is simply something special about watching a player like Gurley do his weekly damage. Defenses know he is getting the ball. Each observer in the stadium and around the globe does, too. There are eight or more defenders in the box because the Bulldogs passing game surely is no threat. Yet, there is Gurley, bruising and weaving his way to the second level and beyond more often than not.

Obviously, the future leaves plenty of room for others to enter the conversation, and team success is certainly a factor in the final reward. Georgia does not figure to be in the CFP conversation, not with a schedule that includes Missouri, Arkansas and Auburn, among others.

It also hurts that Gurley plays a position that has not won the prestigious award since 2009 (Mark Ingram).

Still, Gurley's continued elite production has him in the Heisman hunt for good reason. It would be silly to write him off too. Like the defenses tasked with stopping him, we certainly know he is coming for it.

 

Stats and information via ESPN.com unless otherwise specified.

 

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Nebraska Cornhuskers Offensive Lineman Falls Completely Backward on False Start

Sometimes offensive lineman try a little too hard to explode off the line and know a penalty flag is inevitable. 

That's exactly what happened to Nebraska Cornhuskers senior Jake Cotton, who flinched and dramatically let reality set in. There was no backwards step coming, no stabilizing front step. Cotton teetered over to accept his embarrassing fate.

Best false start ever? Gotta commit to it. https://t.co/77kgdV1MxZ

— Ben Jones (@Ben_Jones88) October 5, 2014

[Twitter]

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Why Alabama Fans Shouldn't Panic About Loss to Ole Miss

This was coming. It was a matter of when, not if.

Alabama was never going to survive its SEC West slate unscathed with the strength of the division combined with several glaring question marks that still remain five games into the season.

Alabama’s 23-17 loss to Ole Miss was stunning for so many reasons—the secondary getting torched again, a turnover at the worst possible time, an inability to move the ball consistently on offense. But it was also somewhat inevitable in this already crazy year for college football.

It definitely shouldn’t be any reason for panic, though, for Alabama fans. Not yet, at least. The Crimson Tide is still very much alive in the division, conference and national title races with a lot of football left to play.

The timing of this loss works in Alabama’s favor. It’s always better to lose early, and this definitely qualifies as such.

This is the Crimson Tide’s earliest loss since the 2007 season, when it fell to Georgia and Florida State in back-to-back weeks to end September. That was Nick Saban’s first season in Tuscaloosa—very much a rebuilding year.

Alabama’s last two national championship season both had losses, but those two were much harder to come back from and shouldn't really be considered sustainable strategies for future success. Alabama lost in early November in 2011 (LSU) and 2012 (Texas A&M) and needed the right dominoes to fall into place in a very short window of time to get back into the title picture.

That should be less of a problem this year.

Already, there is chaos around. The Crimson Tide were not the only top teams to fall this week. Oregon, Oklahoma and Texas A&M join Alabama in the top tier of college football teams that went down over the weekend. The number of teams in that group could rise still before the weekend is over.

Alabama probably doesn't even have to win its division to make the Top Four. It wouldn't be the first time that's happened.

It’s unclear how similar the playoff selection committee will rank teams compared to the old BCS rankings, but if they’re similar, Alabama definitely has a chance even if it doesn't go to Atlanta. The last three seasons, an SEC division runner-up was ranked in the Top Four after conference championship weekend, aided by teams losing ahead of it.

The Crimson Tide was on the receiving end of that in 2011, when it still made the national championship despite finishing second in the SEC West.

And Alabama should really only focus within its own division, where it could still very much earn a trip to Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game, which should be a de facto playoff play-in.

First, the Crimson Tide need the Rebels to lose two league games for Alabama to pass them. That’s very possible with Ole Miss’ schedule and given the strength of teams that this division has.

Then, Alabama needs to win out to have a chance. And that’s easier said than done.

 

Next week, Alabama travels to Arkansas before hosting Texas A&M, a team seemingly built to expose the Crimson Tide’s defensive weaknesses. Then there’s a road trip to LSU and a home game against Auburn to close out the season.

 

So while this Alabama loss certainly hurts and shows that the Crimson Tide still has a long way to go if they want to compete for a championship, hope is not lost.

 

Marc Torrence is the Alabama lead writer for Bleacher Report.

Follow on Twitter @marctorrence.

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Did Oregon, Alabama and Oklahoma Ruin Their Chances at CFB Playoff Berth?

Oregon lost to Arizona; Alabama lost to Ole Miss; Oklahoma lost to TCU. The question now becomes: Do any of the teams have a shot at clawing their way back into the College Football Playoff picture? 

Bleacher Report College Football Analysts Adam Kramer and Michael Felder discuss the odds that any of these top teams can come back and make the playoff.

Who has the best chance to make it there?

Watch the video and let us know!

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Watch TCU's Pick-6 Followed by Oklahoma's Blocked PAT

The TCU Horned Frogs made a huge interception in a tied game and returned it for a touchdown in the fourth quarter against Oklahoma, but the Sooners blocked the extra point and returned it to the house. Watch this crazy sequence of back-to-back plays.

Is this the craziest sequence of plays in a crazy Week 6?

Watch the video and let us know!

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Watch Ole Miss' Nasty Interception to Seal Win vs. Alabama

In a Game of the Year candidate, the No. 11 Ole Miss Rebels capped off a wild 23-17 upset win over the No. 3 Alabama Crimson Tide on Saturday after Senquez Golson came down with a sensational interception late in the fourth quarter.

With the victory, Ole Miss will be sure to rise in the rankings, as the Rebels make their case for a spot in the College Football Playoff.

Was this one of the best interceptions of the season?

Watch the video and let us know!

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Oklahoma vs. TCU: How Horned Frogs' Win Reshapes Playoff Picture

The No. 25 TCU Horned Frogs defeated the No. 4-ranked Oklahoma Sooners 37-33 on an explosive Saturday that saw the demise of several programs previously thought to be the undisputed titans of college football.

In short, the Horned Frogs' win—combined with losses for Alabama, Texas A&M and Oregon—blows the College Football Playoff race wide open.

NCAA Football added the Horned Frogs to the list of upsets on the day:

ESPN college football analyst Desmond Howard thinks the playoff committee will have an exceedingly difficult time picking teams by the end of the season:

The upsets indeed renew hope for the likes of the winner of the crucial Big Ten game between No. 10 Michigan State and No. 19 Nebraska.

A litany of top-tier teams with one loss means that teams hanging around just outside of the Top Five now have the inside track toward a playoff-worthy ranking.

If No. 5 Auburn can survive its incredibly tough schedule, it will almost surely earn a spot in the CFP. Quarterback Nick Marshall will have to improve his accuracy and put up some bigger numbers—548 yards passing through the first four games—to get past the likes of Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Texas A&M in the coming weeks.

Any team coming out of the SEC this season with just one loss deserves to make the playoff.

No. 8 UCLA has a fine chance at a playoff spot should the Bruins handle Utah and then defeat Oregon in Week 7.

They finally put together a complete game against Arizona State, and the likes of defensive back Ishmael Adams and linebacker Myles Jack will certainly help quarterback Brett Hundley maintain control of teams in the coming weeks.

TCU will enjoy a huge boost in the rankings, but the Horned Frogs will have to put up some dominating performances to put themselves in the CFP conversation, considering the caliber of teams in front of them.

Of course, the Sooners aren't out of it. A perfect finish to the season, which would include a victory over current No. 7 and noted offensive juggernaut Baylor, and some losses for top-ranked teams along the way would vault Oklahoma back into the playoff, just as it would for the Crimson Tide or the Ducks.

Conference championship games will take on an even greater significance for these teams if they make it to that point with just one loss.

The strength of schedule and the conference as a whole should go a long way to parsing out the truly elite teams worthy of participating in the inaugural College Football Playoff. 

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Notre Dame Beats Stanford on Late TD on 4th-and-11

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish were one of the ranked teams that was able to survive a scare on Saturday, thanks to a late score.

Down four points and facing a 4th-and-11 from the Stanford 23-yard line with just more than a minute remaining in the fourth quarter, Fighting Irish quarterback Everett Golson found tight end Ben Koyack near the edge of the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown.

Stanford was unable to answer, so Notre Dame escaped with a 17-14 victory.

[XFINITY Sports]

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Oklahoma vs. TCU: Score and Twitter Reaction

First Oregon, then Alabama and now Oklahoma. The No. 4 Sooners became the third top-five team to fall this week after losing to the No. 25 TCU Horned Frogs 37-33 on the road in Amon G. Carter Stadium on Saturday evening.

Oklahoma had a chance to win the game in the fourth quarter inside Horned Frogs territory after a harried sequence of events saw the ball change hands in a little over a minute of game time.

TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin fumbled with less than seven minutes left to play, and Oklahoma recovered the ball. Two plays later, Horned Frogs safety Chris Hackett intercepted a Trevor Knight pass to give TCU another chance. But the home team handed it right back after running back B.J. Catalon fumbled on the next play from scrimmage.

Sports on Earth's Matt Brown believed things weren't looking good for TCU:

Oklahoma started with the ball on the Horned Frogs 46-yard line. The Sooners attempted to run the ball right at the TCU defense, and the strategy backfired. On a 4th-and-1, the Horned Frogs stopped OU running back Samaje Perine short with 3:08 to play.

With no timeouts left, Oklahoma couldn't stop the clock. The Sooners got the ball back with 51 seconds left. Needing to go 71 yards for the touchdown, they got close enough for Knight to attempt one last Hail Mary into the end zone. His pass floated out of bounds, and TCU picked up one of the biggest wins in school history.

The two fumbles aside, Boykin had an otherwise impressive game. TCU head coach Gary Patterson spoke before the game about the junior's progression over the past few weeks, per Carlos Mendez of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, via NCAA.com:

Andy Dalton went through it as a freshman, too. When you first step on a college stage and you're throwing for a lot of yards, you've got to understand that it doesn't matter that you did all that. There's still a lot of people that worked awfully hard that don't get the accolades. Andy really matured, and I think Trevone has stepped forward.

Boykin finished 20-of-38 for 318 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

Knight never really found a groove for the Sooners. He was 14-of-35 with 309 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. What didn't help the OU quarterback was that TCU limited Perine on the ground. The freshman came into the game averaging 6.3 yards per carry, but he could only get 87 yards on 25 carries Saturday.

Almost any upset can be traced back to a hot start, and that's exactly what the Horned Frogs had.

TCU jumped out to an early 14-0 lead in the first quarter. Boykin attempted to run it in from one yard out but fumbled. Luckily for the Horned Frogs, tight end Cliff Murphy pounced on the ball in the end zone to put TCU up 7-0. On TCU's next drive, Catalon recorded a seven-yard touchdown run to make it a 14-0 game with 5:52 left in the first frame.

Pat Doney of NBC 5 in Dallas-Fort Worth felt the Sooners had no answer for the Horned Frogs' option game:

ESPN's Max Bretos wondered if Oklahoma was still reeling after Katy Perry picked it to win on College GameDay:

The Sooners responded quickly with back-to-back scoring drives of their own. Perine cut the deficit to seven points, 14-7, after a one-yard touchdown run. On the first play from scrimmage on Oklahoma's next drive, Knight connected with wideout Sterling Shepard for a 75-yard touchdown, tying the game with 33 seconds left in the quarter, via Fox College Football:

The two teams exchanged scores in the second quarter, with TCU jumping ahead twice before halftime. Oklahoma kicker Michael Hunnicutt tied the game at 24-24 with a 32-yard field goal as the second quarter ended.

Defense wasn't the overarching theme of the first half after the two teams combined for 48 points and nearly 600 yards. Eight of the 14 drives in the half went for scores.

Both Patterson and OU head coach Bob Stoops made adjustments at halftime, because once the third quarter began, yards and points both came at a premium.

Perine opened the second-half scoring with a seven-yard touchdown run, which was his third of the day, giving Oklahoma its first lead of the game, 31-24.

NFL.com's Bryan Fischer noted how Perine's success pushes the injured Keith Ford further into the shadows:

Josh McCuistion of SoonerScoop.com thought that the freshman's running style would play right into Oklahoma's hands as the Sooners looked to slowly sap the energy from the TCU defense:

The Horned Frogs wasted little time with their reply. Boykin tied the game at 31-31 with a 29-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Deante' Gray. ESPN.com's Jake Trotter felt that no matter the result of the game, Boykin's reputation only grew on Saturday:

TCU could have taken a 34-31 lead with a little more than two minutes left in the third quarter, but kicker Jaden Oberkrom missed a 32-yard field goal wide left.

Leaving points on the board didn't come back to haunt the Horned Frogs, as linebacker Paul Dawson intercepted Knight and ran 41 yards to the end zone for the pick-six. Dawson had quite the reversal of fortunes between last week and this week, per Mendez:

Oberkrom's point-after attempt was blocked and returned for two points by OU cornerback Zack Sanchez. With the difference between the two teams still at four points, TCU had a little breathing room. A field goal wouldn't have done anything for the Sooners.

The Horned Frogs almost threw it away late, but the defense stepped up in the fourth quarter to make key defensive stops.

The schedule doesn't get any easier for undefeated TCU. The Horned Frogs hit the road in their next game, playing the No. 7 Baylor Bears in Waco, Texas. After that, they get No. 21 Oklahoma State at home. The game against Baylor will determine who is the class of the Big 12 this year.

Oklahoma's chances of making the four-team playoff at the end of the year aren't completely gone, given Alabama and Oregon's losses. The Sooners will need to run the table the rest of the way in order to impress the selection committee, however.

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Todd Gurley Shows He Can Do It All with 50-Yard Pass

You can add "pocket passer" to Todd Gurley's already impressive resume. The star Georgia Bulldog running back launched a 50-yard pass during the second quarter of Georgia's 44-17 drubbing of Vanderbilt. It was Georgia's longest passing play of the season. 

Is Gurley the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy?

Watch the video and let us know! 

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