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#Nuggets: On ending streaks, turning points and sleeping in ant beds

Purdue does it again, Arizona ends the nation's longest losing streak, LSU nearly stuns Alabama and a Kentucky runs 99 plays and loses.


I would rather sleep in a bed of fire ants than see my top-5 team play in West Lafayette. Purdue has such a reputation for upsetting top-5 teams that, the thought was, it might backfire. Surely, Michigan State's players would know all of their opponents reputation for giant-slaying and prepare themselves to bring it emotionally a week after defeating Michigan. They saw what these Boilermakers did to Iowa just a few weeks ago, didn't they?

I'm sure they did, but it didn't matter. 

Aidan O'Connell threw for 536 yards on 54 attempts, with three touchdowns against three interceptions, and unranked Purdue knocked off No. 3 Michigan State, 40-29.

Jeff Brohm's team never trailed in the game, forcing a fumble by Heisman frontrunner Kenneth Walker III on the opening drive of the game and turning it into a 62-yard touchdown drive. Walker was the most famous player -- and, fumble aside, he played well: 23 carries, 146 yards and a touchdown -- but the best player on the field was Purdue wideout David Bell. He caught 11 passes for 217 yards and a touchdown.

Purdue has now defeated an AP Top 5 team as an unranked team five times. The remainder of FBS has defeated two AP Top 5 foes as an unranked team three times, ever. Purdue has now done it twice. 

The Tennessee-Kentucky game was completely bonkers. No. 18 Kentucky snapped the ball 99 times, held it more than 46 minutes, gained 612 yards, achieved 35 first downs, scored 42 points, and lost.

How does that happen?

You give up too many big plays and you have too many empty possessions.

Case in point: Tennessee recorded four touchdown drives that a) covered at least 47 yards, and b) lasted no more than three plays. Kentucky also had five drives that lasted a combined 45 plays and resulted in seven points -- for Tennessee. Alontae Taylor's 56-yard pick-six proved to be the difference, as pick-sixes often are.

While it's hard to lose when you run 99 plays, it's also hard to win when the opposing quarterback throws one more incompletion on 20 attempts (five) than touchdowns (four). 

Kentucky fans will be grouchy that the officials missed an obvious face mask on quarterback Will Levis, then added injury to insult for penalizing Mark Stoops 15 yards for missing the obvious face mask, turning a 1st-and-10 into a 4th-and-24. But Levis somehow found Izayah Cummings wide open for 28 yards on the next play, but Tennessee's defense didn't allow another yard from there. 

A strong performance against Alabama showed exactly why LSU is moving on from Ed Orgeron. LSU pushed the No. 2 team in the country for every bit of 60 minutes, as Max Johnson would-be Hail Mary was knocked away and Alabama escaped with a 20-14 win as a 4-touchdown favorite.

"I truly thought we were the better team tonight," Orgeron said. "We came up a couple plays short."

Saturday night's performance was an advertisement to coaching candidates and prospective recruits that, for all its problems, LSU is still among the rare class of program that can run athlete-for-athlete with the big, bad Tide. It's not an accident that Alabama ran for six yards over the course of the entire game or snapped Alabama's FBS-best streak of 34 straight games scoring at least 30 points. 

And yet, this team that outplayed Alabama all night finds itself in last place in the SEC West and sub-.500 on the season. 

A turning point moment for both programs in Columbia. Florida had more than two dozen players diagnosed with the flu, per Dan Mullen, but the end result was the end result. South Carolina 40, Florida 17.

A Top 10 team a month ago, Florida is now 2-8 in its last 10 games against Power 5 competition. Florida is not a program that historically tolerates mediocrity for long, and mediocrity in their eyes is anything other than competing for national championships.

Meanwhile, Shane Beamer earned a Proof of Concept win. Beat Mizzou next week and he'll be bowling in Year 1, while Will Muschamp missed a bowl game in his last two seasons. 

The 23-point margin is South Carolina's largest ever over Florida.

For the first time in the system's eight years, the College Football Playoff will not include the ACC. It was a slim chance anyway, with Wake Forest given a 1 percent chance entering Saturday by ESPN's computers, but 1 dropped to zero by way of a North Carolina rally in Chapel Hill.

The 9th-ranked Demon Deacons led 45-27 when Sam Hartman hit AT Perry for a 66-yard touchdown pass at the 7:38 mark of the third quarter, but North Carolina ripped off a 31-3 run from there. The dagger was a 50-yard Ty Chandler run with 1:12 to play, marking the second straight year the Tar Heels have rallied from down multiple touchdowns in the fourth quarter to beat Wake. 

The nation's longest losing streak is over. We love to say "a win's a win" in sports and, boy, has a win ever been a win more than Arizona 10, Cal 3.

It took a 3-5 opponent being down 23 players, including seven starters, for Arizona to add a check mark to the win column, but they did it. Michael Wiley's 10-yard dash with 2:17 to play was all the pay dirt Arizona needed to taste to secure its first win since Oct. 5, 2019.


Seen and Heard 


Jimmy Lake struck a player's helmeted head during Washington's game Saturday night.

I'm simultaneously amazed that: a) people don't try the "snap between the QB's legs" trick more often, and also b) this worked.

A 60-yard field goal that would've been good from 65 to send Oregon State to overtime with Colorado. The Beavers would lose, 37-34, when Everett Hayes missed a 38-yarder.


Lane Kiffin on Ole Miss' Twitter account dipping into the meme sauce a little too hard following the Rebels' 27-14 win over Hugh Freeze and Liberty: “I’m completely embarrassed that anyone would put something out there like that making it look like it was a part of Ole Miss football. It was extremely disrespectful, bush league and classless, and I apologize, even though I had nothing to do with it, to Liberty and Hugh Freeze.”

Gary Patterson on the first TCU win without him on the sidelines since Nov. 20, 1997:

Washington AD Jen Cohen on the above clip: "We are aware of an interaction between Head Coach Jimmy Lake and a student-athlete during the first half of Saturday’s game. We have high expectations of the conduct of our coaches and we are working to gather more information on this matter.”

The Super 16. This week's FWAA-NFF Super 16 ballot.

1. Georgia
2. Cincinnati
3. Oregon
4. Alabama
5. Ohio State
6. Oklahoma
7. Notre Dame
8. Michigan State
9. Michigan
10. Oklahoma State
11. Texas A&M
12. BYU
13. UTSA
14. Ole Miss
15. Houston
16. Wisconsin

Odds and Ends

a. Houston put itself on upset alert by falling behind 2-win South Florida 21-12. They got themselves off upset alert by scoring 38 points in the second and third quarters to win 54-42.

b. It'll be interesting to see how the committee handles Alabama's struggle with LSU in comparison to Cincinnati's 28-20 win over Tulsa. After fumbling the ball away at their own 3, the Bearcats had to force a fumble of their own at the goal line in order to avoid a possible all-time self own.

c. The committee put three teams in their top 20 that weren't among the AP's Top 25. Two lost: No. 20 Minnesota, 14-6 to Illinois, No. 17 Mississippi State, 31-28 to Arkansas. It's almost as if locking these people in a room for two days breeds overthinking.

d. If the Heisman Trophy went to the actual best player in college football, San Diego State's Matt Araiza would be the runaway winner. He would legitimately be the best punter in the NFL right now.

e. Texas has dropped four games in a row for the first time since 2010, and Saturday night's 27-7 loss to Iowa State was as poor offensively as anything Charlie Strong put on the field. A team with Bijan Robinson and Xavier Worthy mustered all of 207 yards.

f. On the flip side, Texas A&M's defense is coming into its own. The Aggies' D out-scored Auburn's offense, 7-3, and has surrendered 31 points total in their last three games. Oh, and they secured the commitment of the No. 1 defensive lineman in the country, Walter Nolen, on Saturday.

g. Any hope of backdooring their way into the AAC title game died for SMU in their 28-25 loss to Memphis. This is starting to become a pattern for Sonny Dykes, who started 2019 8-0 and finished 10-3, started 2020 7-1 and finished 7-3, and began this season 7-0 but is now 7-2. The TCU speculation now has the potential to subsume a once-promising season.

h. How about Boise State? The Broncos went to Fresno and pummeled the Bulldogs, 40-14. 

i. No. 11 Oklahoma State sacked West Virginia's Jarret Doege eight times and held WVU to 133 yards in a 24-3 win. That's their fewest yards allowed in a game since at least 2000.

j. Last week's 23-20 win over Louisiana Tech was Old Dominion's first win over an FBS team since Nov. 11, 2018. The Monarchs have now won two straight after defeating FIU, 47-24.

k. Marshall went to Boca Raton and took control of the C-USA East with a 28-13 victory.

l. Hats off to UNLV who, like Arizona, put a victory on the board for the first time this season with a 31-17 defeat of New Mexico.

m. Mike Houston has East Carolina a win away from its first bowl in his third year in the program after thumping Temple, 45-3. 

n. No. 4 Oregon beat Washington 26-16, but worse for Jimmy Lake than the loss may be this clip.

o. Miami narrowly avoided disaster with a 33-30 win over Georgia Tech. The momentum of two straight wins over ranked opponents barely carried them to a third straight triumph here.

p. Louisville had a chance to beat Clemson but could not punch it in on a 1st-and-goal from the 2 and lost, 30-24.

q. As if his night wasn't already bad enough, Jimmy Lake's Washington team lost to Oregon, 26-16. 

r. Jaxon Smith-Njigba set an Ohio State record with 15 catches for 240 yards the Buckeyes' 26-17 win at Nebraska. 

s. Uh, what?

t. Unranked (by the committed) and undefeated UTSA took care of business at UTEP, 44-23. 


Hats off to Dawn Davenport and the ESPN crew for highlighting our own John Brice's father during Saturday night's Tennessee-Kentucky game.