Last weekend’s slew of college football games held major implications for the season.
Several matches pitted top ranked teams against each other in contests bound to impact the NCAA rankings no matter the result.
West Virginia, Florida, South Carolina, Notre Dame and North Carolina State earned victories that catapulted them up the Associated Press rankings.
Top contenders, including LSU, Texas and Georgia took a major hit to their championship bids after suffering losses over the weekend.
N.C. State 17, #3 Florida State 16
Mike Glennon found Brian Underwood for the game winning two-yard touchdown pass to lead North Carolina State to an unbelievable upset over Florida State on Saturday night. The Wolfpack kept E.J. Manuel and the high-powered Seminoles’ offense off the field. Florida State had not been ranked higher than third since 2003. NC State is 4-3 against FSU in their last seven games played in Raleigh.
#9 Notre Dame 41, Miami 3
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish used a potent rushing attack to dismantle Miami in a game played at Soldier Field. Sierre Wood and George Atkinson each rushed for over 100 yards to pace the Notre Dame offense that amassed 376 rushing yards and 587 total yards. Starting quarterback Everett Golson was benched the night before the game for violating team rules. However, after backup Tommy Rees suffered a rough first series at the helm, head coach Brian Kelly inserted Golson back into the game, and he was the catalyst that sparked the offense.
#6 South Carolina 35, #5 Georgia 7
South Carolina used a strong first quarter to dominate the fifth ranked Georgia Bulldogs in the marquee matchup of the week. The Gamecocks led 21-0 in the blink of an eye after forcing Bulldog Aaron Murray into some bad decisions and scoring on a punt return from speedster Ace Sanders. The Gamecocks’ offense was paced by superstar running back Marcus Lattimore, who rushed for 109 yards and a touchdown. South Carolina is now 6-0 and heads to Baton Rouge to take on LSU next week.
#10 Florida 14, #4 LSU 6
The Florida Gators’ stout defense was the story of this game, as they forced LSU’s offense into three turnovers and sent the fans in Gainesville home smiling. Florida has remained out of the spotlight in the Southeastern Conference for a few years, so they looked hungry to prove that they are a force this year. Speedy running back Mike Gillislee accounted for over 50 percent of the offense for Florida by rushing for 146 yards and two touchdowns. LSU, known for their devastating running attack, was held to just 42 yards on the ground. The defeat marked LSU’s first regular season loss since Nov. 27, 2010.
#8 West Virginia 48, #11 Texas 45
Mountaneers quarterback Geno Smith got himself into an old fashioned Texas shootout on Saturday night in Austin, edging out opposing quarterback David Ash and the Longhorns. Smith threw for four more touchdowns in the win, but the star of the game was Andrew Buie, who rushed for 207 yards and two scores. Ash impressed as well, throwing for 269 yards and playing a turnover-free game. Stedman Bailey caught three touchdowns for West Virginia in a victory that raised their national rank to fifth.