Once again, watching college football during Week 7 was an absolute treat for fans. An unbelievable finish in Ann Arbor, an upset in Memphis, and a number of clashes between ranked opponents were just part of the excitement of the college football weekend. Here’s a look at those who won and lost in Week 7 of the 2015 college football season.
If you are a college football fan, you won this weekend. Fans in attendance at the Big House or who viewed it from the comforts of home on national television saw the most incredible finish since the Auburn “Kick Six” field goal return at the Iron Bowl at the end of the 2013 season. Needing to punt the ball away with just 10 seconds remaining and holding on to a 23-21 lead, the Michigan Wolverines gave up an inopportune mistake to the benefit of Mark Dantonio’s Michigan State Spartans. Blake O’Neill stood calmly at his 40-yard line ready to punt the ball to the Spartans who would likely have little time and a lot of ground to cover in an attempt to have any chance at a game-winning field goal. O’Neill misplayed the snap from center and in the ensuing melee, the Spartans Jalen Watts-Jenkins scooped up the ball and returned it for a touchdown with no time remaining on the clock. The play will be talked about the entire season and was an absolute joy to watch.
Stanford lost its opener to Northwestern and appeared headed for a long season. After laying waste to UCLA, 56-35, last Thursday, the Cardinal are now 5-1 and ranked No. 10 in the country. A large part of the win over the Bruins was the play of running back Christian McCaffrey. The 6-1, 200-pound sophomore carried the ball 25 times for 243 yards and four touchdowns. He caught one pass for four yards and returned two kickoffs, one for 96 yards, to total 369 all-purpose yards. McCaffrey is the Cardinal’s leading rusher with 844 yards on the season and a big reason why Stanford appears headed for a Pac-12 Conference Championship game.
It’s been a long time since Memphis has done anything in college football. On Saturday, the Tigers made a huge statement with a 37-24 win over Ole Miss that really wasn’t as close as the score may indicate. Head coach Justin Fuentes team is now 6-0 and primed to win another American Athletic Conference title. This year, they will have the opportunity to play in the first-ever AAC Championship game.
Alabama was led by running back Derrick Henry in its 41-23 win over Texas A&M on Saturday. Henry rushed 32 times for 236 yards and two touchdowns. It was the first time that an A&M defense has given up a 200-yard rusher since 2003. The Crimson Tide defense also rose to the occasion picking off three passes and returning them all for touchdowns. Alabama is now 6-1 and a heavy favorite in the SEC West.
It’s hard to think of Boise State as a loser, but they were just that on Friday night in a dismal 52-26 loss to Utah State. The Broncos turned the ball over eight times – three interceptions and five fumbles. Four of the turnovers occurred in Boise State territory and led directly to points for the Aggies. The first half ended as Utah State picked off Broncos QB Brett Rypien and returned the interception for a touchdown. In their previous six games this year, Boise State had committed just six turnovers.
Indiana is a basketball state, but head coach Kevin Wilson has the football Hoosiers producing some points. Indiana has one of the more prolific offenses in college football and it helped Wilson’s Hoosiers get out to a 52-27 lead in the second half on Saturday against Rutgers. Indiana scored four straight touchdowns in the third quarter to build that lead. Unfortunately, they would not score again. Rutgers would outscore Indiana 22-0 in the fourth quarter and Kyle Federico’s field goal in the final seconds would give the Scarlet Knights a 55-52 win.
After firing head coach Steve Sarkisian, USC had to travel to rival Notre Dame with interim coach Clay Helton. The Trojans would battle the Irish pulling a few trick plays out of the bag but eventually falling 41-31. Prior to the start of the season, many thought that USC might be a College Football Playoff contender. Now, they are 3-3 and will be lucky to get bowl eligible.
The Michigan-Michigan State game on Saturday featured an epic finish and for sophomore Jalen Watts-Jenkins, a moment that he will never forget. Watts-Jenkins was, of course, the Spartan player who returned the fumble for a touchdown on the game’s final play. Watts-Jenkins was tackled hard in the end zone and then most of his Spartan teammates piled on him in celebration. When it was all said and done, Watts-Jenkins had suffered an injured hip which required surgery that was performed Sunday. While it is likely the greatest play of the sophomore’s young career, he may miss the rest of the season.