Ugly wins highlight college football weekend
The GIST: Nearly everywhere except Chapel Hill, gridiron elites avoided upsets this weekend — but their up-and-coming opponents made ’em work for it. Even the best battle — a gritty 20–12 defensive slugfest that saw No. 3 Ohio State prove their toughness against No. 10 Penn State — showed that, around the country, ugly wins were the name of Saturday’s game.
No. 5 Washington barely escaped Arizona State 15–7: The Huskies’ usually unstoppable attack sputtered in this near-nightmare. Washington cornerback Mishael Powell’s pick-six was the team’s only touchdown (TD), and quarterback (QB) Michael Penix Jr. (literally) fumbled his shot at the Heisman Trophy after committing a brutal four turnovers. Damn.
No. 4 Florida State and No. 9 Alabama erased deficits: FSU’s game against No. 20 Duke was a shootout until Duke QB Riley Leonard went down with a bum ankle in the third quarter. The Seminoles then pulled away, silencing Duke’s second-half offense while racking up 21 fourth-quarter points to seal the 38–20 victory.
- Bama nabbed an eerily similar win, shutting out No. 21 Tennessee in the second half to cruise to a 34–20 comeback dub. As a result, Tennessee and Duke both suffered four-point drops in yesterday’s poll.
No. 24 USC fell to No. 13 Utah…again: If Penix’s Heisman chances are hurt, USC QB Caleb Williams’ are all but dead. The reigning Heisman winner presided over (another) loss to the Utes, who handed USC their second consecutive L on the Trojans’ home turf. Sheesh.
’Hoos nabbed the only shocking upset: A struggling Virginia squad stunned then–No. 10 UNC in the aforementioned Chapel Hill, thanks in large part to three rushing TDs from running back Mike Hollins — the squad’s lone survivor of last year’s campus shooting that stole the lives of three Cavaliers. Beyond bigger than ball.