College Football Week Nine Recap

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Heading into week nine of the college football season, chaos was king, as more ranked teams had lost than ever before. There was no reason to believe Saturday would provide any return to normalcy. 

Before we get to the games of the day, you have to see how the SMU vs. Houston game ended. 

Houston’s Marcus Jones had eight career kick returns for touchdowns going into Saturday’s game against No. 19 SMU. But why not give him a chance to end your undefeated season? 

Three more teams in the top-10 went down, and nine ranked teams lost ahead of the first College Football Playoff rankings on Tuesday. Let’s take a look at the best from week nine of the college football season.

Michigan State 37 Michigan 33

Up 23-14 at the half, and 30-14 with 6:47 in the third quarter, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh looked like he was about to shed the narrative around his big-game struggles. 

Nope. 

Harbaugh fell to 2-13 against top-10 opponents since taking over at Michigan in 2015 in a 37-33 loss to in-state rival Michigan State. 

A fourth quarter fumble by freshman quarterback J.J. McCarthy led to the fifth touchdown of the day for Spartans running back Kenneth Walker III, giving Michigan State a four-point lead with 5:07 left in the game. 

Michigan got two more possessions, but were turned over on downs and quarterback Cade McNamara threw an interception with a minute left in the game to seal the win for Sparty. 

Walker made his case for the Heisman, rushing for 197 yards on 23 carries, including a few big runs where he was able to make something out of nothing. 

“I will say, three of his touchdowns today, I wasn’t expecting a huge play. On the first one, we were in the huddle, and I said let’s just forget the red zone, let’s just score right here and he did, so that was good,” Spartans quarterback Payton Thorne said. “The other one was not a home run play, but as you see with him, any play could be a home run. The o-line was doing a good job, I’m sure he’ll give them credit.”

Michigan’s fifth-ranked rushing offense was held in check by the Spartans defense, with running backs Hassan Haskins and Blake Corum combining for just 104 yards on the day. 

No. 1 Georgia 34 Florida 7

It took Florida until 2:49 left in the fourth quarter to put any points on the board, validating Georgia’s rank as the best defense in the country. 

The Bulldogs scored three touchdowns in two minutes and nine seconds to close the half, and Florida never had a chance in a 34-7 romp. 

Florida’s offense had just 214 yards through three quarters, as Georgia enacted revenge following last year’s loss to the Gators. 

“It was real personal,” Georgia linebacker Nolan Smith said.

The Gators have now lost back-to-back games and two of the last three, leaving head coach Dan Mullen to provide answers. 

“In the final third of the season, it’s on me to get this fixed,” Mullen said. “And I certainly plan on doing that, of changing where we’re at right now.”

Wisconsin 27 No. 9 Iowa 7

Two teams headed in opposite directions. 

Wisconsin lost three of their first four to start the season, while Iowa won its first six games and held their highest ranking since 1985. Oh, how things have changed. 

The Badgers dominated Iowa, handing the Hawkeyes their second consecutive loss to an unranked opponent in a 27-7 win. 

In their fourth straight victory, Wisconsin forced three turnovers, and Iowa’s offense showed that they simply don’t have enough firepower. The Hawkeyes managed just 156 total yards. 

“It becomes real big,” Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst said of winning the turnover battle. “Had that feeling it was going to be that type of game where field position — turnovers and takeaways changes field position quite a bit. We were the benefit of that.

“You’ve gotta protect the football and I thought we were better.”

 No. 18 Auburn 31 No. 10 Ole Miss 20

College football’s second-ranked offense was held to just three points in the second half, and Auburn ended any hope of Lane Kiffin getting into the College Football Playoff. 

Auburn quarterback Bo Nix was 22-30 for 276 yards, and running back Tank Bigsby had 140 yards on the ground as the Tigers got their biggest win of the season. 

“That’s a great win,” Auburn coach Bryan Harsin said. “Really proud of our players and proud of our staff. It was a great atmosphere tonight, electric out there. We definitely fed off of that.”

Lane Kiffin’s offense turned it over on downs three times in Auburn territory in the second half, leaving points on the board. 

“We don’t make three fourth downs in the red zone and throw another interception, so that’s four times in the red zone with no points,” Kiffin said. “That’s going to be hard to win. To be in an 11-point game with that says you must be doing something right on the other side of the ball, which we did on defense.”

No. 5 Ohio State 33 No. 20 Penn State 24

The Nittany Lions gave the Buckeyes all they could handle, but Ohio State found a way to win their sixth straight game 33-24. 

“We weren’t trying to get style points against Penn State,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said. “That’s not how it works.”

Quarterback C.J. Stroud threw for 305 yards and Penn State turned the ball over three times in their third straight loss. 

One of those turnovers resulted in a 57-yard touchdown in the second quarter for defensive tackle Jerron Cage. 

“These type of games are definitely needed when you go into this Big Ten play, especially this year, a lot of Big Ten teams are great,” Stroud said.

Other scores: 

No. 2 Cincinnati 31 Tulane 12

No. 4 Oklahoma 52 Texas Tech 21

No. 7 Oregon 52 Colorado 29

No. 11 Notre Dame 44 North Carolina 34

Mississippi State 31 No. 12 Kentucky 17

Miami 38 No. 17 Pittsburgh 34

Fresno State 30 No. 21 San Diego State 20

Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to [email protected].

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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