This weekend provided us with what looked like weak college football slate. Only two ranked teams went up against each other, and all of the top 10 teams faced unranked opponents.
We were wrong.
There were a number of major upsets and near upsets, as well as statement games and fantastic performances. We're here to break it all down in this week's College Football Final:
#4 Penn State wins 21-19 thriller over Iowa
Road games are never easy in college football. Especially in conference play - and especially at Kinnick Stadium. Iowa had knocked off four straight ranked opponents at home coming into tonight's game, and they looked poised to extend that streak against Penn State with a key touchdown from running back Akrum Wadley in the closing minutes.
That set up a final drive for Penn State, who drove all the way down to the red zone before their offense began to stall. Then, on a 4th & Goal with four seconds left, this happened:
A perfect throw from Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley gave the Nittany Lions the win and preserved their perfect season. Star running back Saquon Barkley had an absolutely outstanding game to lead PSU, and we'll go more in-depth about his performance below.
#16 TCU holds on for 44-31 win over #6 Oklahoma State
Many had picked the Oklahoma State Cowboys to win the Big 12 this year, but TCU dashed those hopes and solidified themselves as a legit contender with a 44-31 win in Stillwater. Running back Darius Anderson led the Horned Frogs with 160 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries, including a 42-yard TD run to ice the game late in the fourth quarter.
Heisman candidate Mason Rudolph did pass for 398 yards and two touchdowns, but also threw two interceptions, fumbled once and completed just 22/41 passes in his worst game of the season. TCU's defense was able to rush the passer effectively and take Oklahoma State's high-powered offense out of rhythm.
#11 Georgia blows out #17 Mississippi State for 31-3 win
The "game of the day" was anything but. Georgia came out on fire and scored a touchdown on their first offensive play of the game, setting the stage for the rest of the night.
Georgia quickly built a 14-0 lead and led 31-3 in the third quarter before cruising to the easy win. Quarterback Jake Fromm only threw 12 passes, but he completed nine of them - two of which went for touchdowns.
Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald, who entered the game as a possible Heisman candidate, had his worst game of the season. He passed for just 83 yards and two interceptions while adding just 47 yards on the ground.
NC State holds on for 27-21 road win over #12 Florida State with 37-7 win
Florida State entered the weekend with plenty of question marks. They hadn't played a game in two weeks due to the effects of Hurricane Irma and true freshman quarterback James Blackman was making his first career start following Deondre Francois' season-ending injury in FSU's opener against Alabama.
Turns out, those were valid reasons to be concerned.
NC State jumped out to a double-digit lead early in the game and held on down the stretch thanks to the play of their defense, as they only gave up one touchdown all game. Quarterback Ryan Finley and wide receiver Jakobi Meyers led the way and really broke the game open when they hooked up on this 71-yard touchdown pass.
Ryan Finley : 22/32, 230 yards & 2 TD's— Lee Harvey (@MusikFan4Life) September 23, 2017
Jakobi Meyers : 5 catches, 112 yards & 1 TD pic.twitter.com/oEA2asFcct
Blackman had a solid performance, passing for 278 yards and a touchdown, but didn't get enough help from his teammates.
Other top 25 results
#1 Alabama 59, Vanderbilt 0
#2 Clemson 34, Boston College 7
#3 Oklahoma 49, Baylor 41
#5 USC 30, Cal 20
#7 Washington 37, Colorado 10
#8 Michigan 28, Purdue 10
#10 Ohio State 54, UNLV 21
#13 Virginia Tech 38, Old Dominion 0
#14 Miami 52, Toledo 30
#15 Auburn 51, Missouri 14
#18 Washington State 45, Nevada 7
#19 Louisville 42, Kent State 3
#20 Florida 28, Kentucky 27
#21 South Florida 43, Temple 7 (Thurs.)
#22 San Diego State 28, Air Force 24
#23 Utah 30, Arizona 24 (Fri.)
Arizona State 37, #24 Oregon 35
#25 LSU 35, Syracuse 26
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Performance of the day
The day was really void of many great performances, but Saquon Barkley stepped up and provided perhaps the best outing of the season for any running back. He set a Penn State record with 358 all-purpose yards, including 211 rush yards and a touchdown on 28 carries. Barkley was also their leading receiver with 12 catches for 94 yards, providing a plenty of highlights along the way.
Barkley started the season as a Heisman contender and played well in the first three weeks with a limited workload, but this performance really makes him a favorite - but not the favorite. That notion still belongs to Baker Mayfield, who cemented himself as the frontrunner with his performance against Ohio State in Week 2 and continued great play since.
At this point, the Heisman has become a two-man race as all of the other contenders have wilted around those two stars. Sam Darnold is probably third, but he had another less-than-impressive performance against Cal. We already talked about the tough games Mason Rudolph and Nick Fitzgerald had.
Right now, these are the only two that matter:
1) Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma - 13/19, 283 pass yards, 3 TD, 30 rush yards
2) Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State - 28 carries, 211 rush yards, TD, 12 catches, 94 rec yards
These are the top plays of the day that were not included in any of the recaps above:
Houston's D'Eriq King is a damn TANK pic.twitter.com/Ot0qETArZ1— Jack McGuire (@JackMacCFB) September 23, 2017
NC STATE BEING THE NEW U CONFIRMED pic.twitter.com/rzVOyAPdAd— Jack McGuire (@JackMacCFB) September 23, 2017
Next week's biggest games
Here are the biggest games we have to look forward to next weekend:
#5 USC at #18 Washington State
#17 Mississippi State at #15 Auburn
#2 Clemson at #13 Virginia Tech