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Beyond the Fort: Week 7

Another great weekend of college football is in the books. Did Michael Penix Jr. have his Heisman moment?

NCAA Football: Oregon at Washington Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Another fantastic weekend of college football is in the books. Saturday got off to a slow start, but the afternoon and evening slates delivered. Let’s look at some of the biggest moments of week 7.

Washington wins a classic!

The most highly anticipated game of the season so far delivered. As time expired, Oregon missed a field goal, moving the Washington Huskies to 6-0 on the season. The Huskies are in the driver’s seat for the Pac-12 title race, but face an uphill battle to make it happen.

If you didn’t get to watch this one, I highly recommend going back and giving it a view. The game featured 7 lead changes, 956 yards of offense, and came down to the wire. Michael Penix Jr. may have had his Heisman moment as he connected on an 18-yard pass to Rome Odunze with 1:38 left to play that ended up being the game-winner.

Oregon head coach Dan Lanning made some decisions during the game that have been hotly debated, including going for it on fourth down two separate times inside the Washington 10-yard line. Had Lanning opted for field goals then we’re possibly talking about a huge win for the Ducks on the road. Instead, the Ducks missed a potential game-tying field goal as time expired.

North Carolina inserts itself into the playoff conversation.

Many North Carolina fans have been hesitant to buy into the hype surrounding their team this season, but after their dominant performance over Miami, it’s time to reconsider. The Tar Heels were a team that felt so close to being great last season. They got off to a 9-1 start before dropping their final 4 games to end the year 9-5. The defense was a problem, and Mack Brown spent the offseason getting the problem fixed. As of right now, it looks like the problem has been solved, and this Tar Heels defense is much improved. They rank 56th nationally in yards allowed but are 28th against the run. More importantly, the Tar Heels have forced 12 turnovers this year, including 4 against Miami on Saturday.

Tez Walker, who finally had his NCAA suspension reversed, returned and lit up the Hurricanes’ secondary for 132 yards and 3 touchdowns on 6 receptions. Drake Maye didn’t have the best game statistically, but he’s doing an incredible job of protecting the football. All of this is giving North Carolina a chance to win every game they play. It looks like we could be headed for a Florida State-North Carolina ACC Championship game. Sign me up.

USC finally gets exposed.

I left USC out of my top 10 in my power rankings last week because I knew it was only a matter of time until they got exposed. I wasn’t sure that Notre Dame would be able to pull it off, but the Irish absolutely dominated the Trojans on Saturday night. Heisman trophy winner Caleb Williams threw three interceptions in the first half, resulting in a 24-3 deficit going into the locker room. Every time USC made an attempt to get back in the game Notre Dame had an answer.

The funny thing about this game is that it was the USC offense that was the problem. Analysts and media talking heads have spent weeks discussing the issues with the USC defense, but Notre Dame won this game by 28 points with 258 yards of offense. The Trojan’s offense didn’t look great against Arizona for most of the game (they put up 43 points on just 365 yards of offense because of the two overtime touchdowns), and I think they’ve got some serious issues along the offensive line. Caleb Williams has spent a lot of time this year leaving the pocket and just making things happen. Against some of the better defenses in the country that’s not going to happen. The blueprint to beat the Trojans is out now, and I don’t see this USC team finishing better than 9-3.

Colorado loses in embarrassing fashion.

Who else went to bed at halftime and woke up confused? I certainly did. Deion Sanders and his Colorado Buffaloes were up 29-0 on Stanford going into the locker room. I turned off my TV and went to sleep, figuring this one was in the books. The Stanford offense looked atrocious, and I couldn’t figure out what they were trying to accomplish. Whatever changes they made at halftime certainly worked. The Cardinal put up 384 yards of offense in the second half alone to tie the game up and force overtime! Sophomore wide receiver Elic Ayomanor finished the game with 13 catches for 294 yards and 3 touchdowns. That is probably the most ridiculous stat line I’ve ever seen when you consider the fact that he didn’t have a single catch in the first half! He also gifted us with this ridiculous catch over Travis Hunter in overtime...

Speaking of Travis Hunter, I’m not sure Deion Sanders and his staff made a great choice in playing Hunter so much coming off his injury. Hunter played 157 snaps against Stanford and looked gassed in the second half. You have to applaud the kid for his effort, but I don’t see how this is sustainable at the highest level of college football. I also feel like I have to include Hunter’s highlight of the night because it was also filthy.

Two Hail Mary wins in one week???

When Houston pulled off their miracle win over West Virginia it seemed insane! Especially given the fact that it looked like West Virginia had won the game when they scored a go-ahead touchdown with just 12 seconds left on the clock. Dana Holgorsen looked like he was about to cry, but then he was given a gift from West Virginia quarterback Garrett Greene. Greene took his helmet off on the field, receiving a 15-yard penalty on the kickoff. While Greene was blowing kisses to the fans in the stands, Houston was able to return the kick to their own 43-yard line. And then this happened...

Not to be outdone, the Colorado State Rams found a Hail Mary of their own on Saturday night. This one resulted in Colorado State’s first-ever win over Boise State.

The Rams trailed Boise State 30-10 with just 6 minutes remaining in the game. The Rams scored with 4 minutes left to make it 30-17 and then were able to recover the onside kick. Just a few minutes later they scored again to make it 30-24. Somehow, the Rams recovered another onside kick, but this one was called back for a penalty on Colorado State. Boise State recovered the next attempt and thought they had the game won. With 33 seconds left Colorado State had to go 88 yards to score the game-tying touchdown. They did.

Quick Hitters

#1 Georgia handled Vanderbilt 37-20, but Brock Bowers went down with an injury...

#2 Michigan beat the brakes off Indiana 52-7.

#3 Ohio State dominated Purdue 41-7.

#4 Florida State dominated Syracuse 41-3.

#6 Penn State beat the brakes off UMass 63-0.

#11 Alabama survived an upset bid from Arkansas 24-21.

#14 Louisville was upset at Pitt 21-38.

#15 Oregon State handled #18 UCLA 36-24.

#16 Utah handled California 34-14.

#17 Duke dominated NC State in a 24-3 win.

#19 Washington State got throttled by Arizona 44-6.

#19 Tennessee survived against Texas A&M 20-13.

#22 LSU smacked Auburn 48-18.

#23 Kansas lost at Oklahoma State 32-39.

#24 Kentucky got smacked by Missouri 21-38.

Coach Perry’s Power Rankings: Week 7

  1. Washington - The Huskies officially have the best win of the season, and that offense is impressive.
  2. Ohio State - The Buckeyes have a huge test with Penn State this weekend. The winner of that game is likely #1 next week.
  3. Michigan - The Wolverines continue to beat the brakes off everyone they play.
  4. Georgia - The Bulldogs look like a playoff team at this point.
  5. Florida State - The Seminoles seem to get better every week.
  6. Oklahoma - The Sooners probably have to win out and win the Big 12 championship to make the playoffs.
  7. Penn State - Could be #1 if they beat Ohio State this weekend.
  8. North Carolina - The Tar Heels look to be headed towards an ACC Championship game appearance.
  9. Oregon - The Ducks still control their own destiny. It’s a tough road ahead, but if they win out they’re a playoff team.
  10. Texas - The Longhorns still control their own destiny. They must win out to be a playoff team.