CFB week 7 excites

Unbeaten juggernauts like No. 3 Alabama fall in tumultuous week


Courtesy of Tennessee Athletics

After watching their team topple the Crimson Tide, Tenenssee fans stormed the field. Oh, and they ripped out the goalpost for a solid crowd-surf through Knoxville.

Sean Kennedy, Staff Writer

Wake Forest had an off week, but exciting college football never sleeps.

This past weekend, the college football landscape saw a historic slate of individual and team performances that included upsets of multiple top-ten programs and broken records.

The most notable game of the weekend stemmed from one of the largest rivalries in college football between No. 3 Alabama and No. 6 Tennessee. The rivalry, also known as “The Third Saturday in October,” has been dominated by the Crimson Tide in recent years, with Alabama having been on a 15-game win streak heading into Saturday’s matchup in Knoxville.

History doesn’t always repeat itself, though. Led by a surging Heisman trophy candidate in redshirt senior quarterback Hendon Hooker and upstart wide receiver Jalin Hyatt, the Volunteers took down the Crimson Tide 52-49 on a game-winning field goal from Tennessee kicker Chase McGrath. Hooker threw for 385 yards and collaborated on five touchdowns with Hyatt.

Record books were positively shattered by junior Jalin Hyatt’s performance against the Alabama secondary. Hyatt racked up six receptions for 207 yards and five touchdowns while becoming the first player in Division 1 football since 2000 to have five touchdowns on six catches or less. This was against a stout Alabama defense that only let up 12.5 points per game entering Saturday.

Tennessee is now their first top-three AP Poll ranking since the preseason of 2005. They are also in a position to join the College Football Playoffs for the first time in program history, pending the results of a provisional top-3 matchup between them and Georgia on Nov. 5.

Tennessee wasn’t the only orange-clad team to have a successful weekend. In the ACC, the No. 18 Syracuse Orange took down No. 15 NC State 24-9 in a matchup that saw the former squad move to 6-0 for the first time since 1987. 

The Orange took advantage of an injury-riddled Wolfpack squad that was led by backup quarterback Jack Chambers, a transfer from Charleston Southern who was starting his first game with his new team. Chambers had large shoes to fill in replacing preseason ACC player of the year Devin Leary, NC State’s redshirt junior quarterback who tore a pectoral muscle in a close win versus Florida State the week before. Under Chambers, the NC State offense never got rolling, as they were held to single-digit points total for the first time since 2018. 

The same can’t be said for the Syracuse offense, though. Led by running back Sean Tucker and quarterback Garrett Shrader, the Orange outgained their opponents 389-255 in total yardage. The Syracuse defense has been tough to go against all year as well, but that reputation will be tested when they face off against No. 5 Clemson in “Death Valley” this upcoming weekend.

The Big 10 featured another matchup of previously unbeaten top-ten teams, as No. 10 Penn State traveled to Ann Arbor to face the No. 5 Michigan Wolverines.

The game was set up to be an intense contest. Penn State came into the day with quality wins against teams like Auburn and Purdue, and the Nittany Lions were expected to give Michigan a tough battle. 

Yet, a tough battle the game was anything but. as coach Jim Harbaugh led the Wolverines to a convincing 41-17 victory.

The game was highlighted by a pair of Michigan players in running backs Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards. The two would launch a dynamic, balanced rushing attack where both had over 150 yards rushing and a pair of scores. All told, Corum and Edwards combined for 339 yards rushing and four touchdowns. 

In yet another high-ranked matchup between conference title contenders, No. 13 TCU defeated No. 8 Oklahoma State 43-40 to continue their unbeaten season and to stay atop the Big 12 conference standings. 

The game was headlined by the thrilling back-and-forth overtime period after TCU came back from a 17-point deficit in regulation. Oklahoma State got off to a hot start after two consecutive touchdown runs by quarterback Spencer Sanders, who threw for 245 yards and an additional touchdown.

But in the long run, Sanders was out-dueled by TCU quarterback Max Duggan, who ran for a score in addition to throwing for another pair of touchdowns in the air. The majority of Duggan’s 286 passing yards were hauled in by the sure hands of receiver Quentin Johnston, who went for 180 yards and a touchdown. Johnston, who had a spectacular performance against No. 19 Kansas the week before, flaunts a combined 22 receptions for 386 yards receiving and two touchdowns in these back-to-back weeks.

Balancing out the lethal Duggan-Johnston connection was 104 yards of rushing done by TCU running back Kendre Miller, who picked up his sixth straight game with a rushing touchdown. Of the two scores Miller punched in, his most important was his two-yard rush to end double overtime and complete the Horned Frogs’ comeback over the Cowboys.

The wild day of games was finished off by a heated PAC-12 matchup between the No. 8 USC Trojans and the No. 20 Utah Utes. The game had large implications for the PAC-12 title picture, especially with four teams still in contention for the conference title game.

USC, led by quarterback Caleb Williams and head coach Lincoln Riley, paved the way to a productive start, leading Utah by as much as two touchdowns in the second quarter. Williams threw for 381 yards and five touchdowns, while receivers Jordan Addison and Mario Williams combined for 11 catches for 251 yards. 

Despite the stat sheet stuffing by the Trojans’ offense, nothing came close to another historic receiving performance from Utah’s Dalton Kincaid. The senior tight end strung together 16 receptions for 234 yards and a touchdown, leading the team to the comeback along with quarterback Cameron Rising.

Rising proved to be the hero of the day, however, when he led the Utes’ offense on a 15-play, 75-yard drive to bring the game to within a point with 48 seconds remaining. Instead of opting for a field goal, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham bet on his quarterback, allowing Rising to go for the two-point conversion. Rising scrambled out of the pocket on a designed pass play, snuck through his offensive line and secured the game-winning score to put Utah on top at 43-42.

After a wild week of record-setting performances across the nation, next week still features high-stakes matchups like No. 9 UCLA and No. 10 Oregon. No. 13 Wake Forest will also come out of their off week to battle Boston College at home.