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Upset Saturday: Eight Top 25 Teams Fall

This was the collective face of a lot of Top 25 teams on Saturday.

This was the collective face of a lot of Top 25 teams on Saturday.

The college football world was rocked on Saturday, with eight teams in the Top 25 upended by lower or non-ranked teams. There were plenty of upsets to go around, but the SEC was particularly rife with them.

Let’s take a look at the week in upsets:

Teddy Bridgewater's undefeated season and Heisman chances were both shot in a single game.

Teddy Bridgewater’s undefeated season and Heisman chances were both shot in a single game.

(8) Louisville 35, UCF 38

Previously undefeated Louisville was the first to go down early on Friday night, losing a heartbreaker to conference rival UCF. Any hope the Cardinals had for a BCS Championship went out the window along with, one would assume, the Heisman chances of quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

The game was about as even as it could be. Each team had 22 first downs, UCF had 446 total offensive yards and 46 penalty yards to Louisville’s 445 total offensive yards and 47 penalty yards. They both committed two turnovers and the difference in time of possession was under a minute.

Louisville had a 28-7 lead midway through the third quarter, but UCF charged back with seven minutes to go in the fourth, taking a 31-28 lead which they refused to surrender. A last minute touchdown with 23 seconds remaining sealed victory for the Knights.

The Gamecocks were the first team in South Carolina to "Clemson" on Saturday.

The Gamecocks were the first team in South Carolina to “Clemson” on Saturday.

(11) South Carolina 21, Tennessee 23

It was a kick to the groin for South Carolina who, after being dominated by Tennessee early, took command of the game in the second half. The Gamecocks looked poised for a win until coach Steve Spurrier literally coached them to defeat in the final minutes.

With just over five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and South Carolina running back Mike Davis averaging 6.5 yards per carry, Spurrier inexplicably called three consecutive pass plays. The second of which quarterback Connor Shaw sustained (what looked to be) a serious knee injury, taking him out of the game.

The Gamecocks forced a Vols three-and-out on the next possession and got the ball back. Failing to capitalize, it seemed a punt was inevitable on fourth and third. Spurrier, it seems, didn’t get the memo.  He called one timeout, then another, before finally deciding to punt.

On the next possession, Tennessee put together their best drive of the day, moving the ball downfield and kicking a game-winning field goal as time expired. It was absolutely brutal.

UGA lost its second consecutive game, the third on the season.

UGA lost its second consecutive game, the third on the season.

(15) Georgia, 27, Vanderbilt 31

Decimated by injuries, a rapidly falling Georgia team lost their second consecutive game on Saturday, after giving up a 13-point lead to Vanderbilt in the fourth quarter. The Commodores dominated the Bulldogs in every phase of the game, including an 11-minute advantage in time of possession.

Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray had one of the worst performances of his career, going 16-of-28 for 114 yards, zero touchdowns and an interception. He averaged just 4.1 yards per attempt.

Vanderbilt wasn’t much better—or worse—at quarterback, the difference being their rushing attack. Six different players combined for 119 yards, which allowed them to dictate the pace of the game and dominate the clock, particularly in the second half.

Next week is a bye for Georgia, giving them a chance to regroup for the final stretch of the season. And with tough contests against Florida and Auburn upcoming, they definitely need to do just that. Vandy won’t have much time to savor this victory—they face Texas A&M next week.

Johnny Manziel nearly brought his Aggies back before Auburn finally took a stand on defense.

Johnny Manziel nearly brought his Aggies back before Auburn finally took a stand on defense.

(7) Texas A&M 41, (24) Auburn 45

It was anything but a defensive battle in College Station, particularly in the fourth quarter in which A&M and Auburn combined for five total scores. The Aggies led nearly every minute through three quarters, before the Tigers battled back and the lead changed four times as time ticked down.

With Auburn unable to stop quarterback Johnny Manziel—aside from a few plays he missed after taking a pretty big hit—and A&M unable to stop the run, it seemed the game would be decided by whoever had the ball last.

Well…it did until the Tigers D finally took a stand on the final possession, stopping Manziel on third and long, then sacking him on fourth with under a minute left.

Auburn was boosted by an obvious non-call on a horse-collar tackle of Manziel on third down, but assuming it would’ve been an automatic win for A&M is a stretch. It was a tough loss for the Aggies and particularly brutal for Johnny Football, who now has no chance of a Heisman repeat.

Auburn, on the other hand, has to be feeling pretty good about themselves at the moment.

Stanford obviously didn't dwell on their upset loss to Utah.

Stanford obviously didn’t dwell on their upset loss to Utah.

(9) UCLA 10, (13) Stanford 24

Stanford bounced back from a surprise loss last week, beating Pac-12 rival UCLA by 14 points. The Cardinal took a 3-0 lead with just over one minute remaining in the first quarter, forcing the Bruins to play from behind the rest of the game.

Though it was not as lopsided as many games this week, Stanford completely dominated the game, nearly doubling the offensive output of UCLA. They also dominating the time of possession by nearly 15 minutes.

Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan was efficient, but it was senior running back Tyler Gaffney who stole the show, rushing 36 times for 171 yards. Gaffney averaged 4.8 yards per carry and scored two of the Cardinal’s three touchdowns.

The win puts Stanford in prime position to potentially dash the BCS hopes of rival Oregon, when the Cardinal and Ducks face off in two weeks. A game that is shaping up to be one of the most important and highly anticipated of the season.

ASU fans had plenty to cheer for against Washington.

ASU fans had plenty to cheer for against Washington.

(20) Washington 24, Arizona State 53

After making a game of it in the first half against Oregon last week, Washington decided to take the week off against Pac-12 opponent Arizona State. The Huskies struck first with a touchdown in the first five minutes, but the Sun Devils scored the next six times and held a 29-7 lead at the half.

It was a bit more competitive in the second half, but in the end ASU had scored enough before half-time to win the game. Washington quarterback Keith Price was solid in that he had two touchdowns and didn’t turn the ball over, but had no help whatsoever on the ground.

Arizona State, on the other hand, had no problem running—they totaled 314 yards rushing on the day. Marion Grice was unstoppable, averaging 7.5 yards on 21 attempts, with 158 total yards and two touchdowns.

Taylor Kelly also had two touchdowns, rushing 13 times for 84 yards and averaging 6.5 per carry. Deantre Lewis and D.J. Foster combined for 13 more carries for 68 yards and averaging 5.2 per carry. Their efforts contributed to the Sun Devils 17 minute edge in time of possession.

Overall, an epic day on offense for ASU and a less-than-lackluster performance from soon-to-be unranked Washington.

Ole Miss stunned LSU, taking an early lead and clinging to it all day.

Ole Miss stunned LSU, taking an early lead and clinging to it all day.

(6) LSU 24, Ole Miss 27

Considering Ole Miss jumped out to a 17-0 lead by the beginning of the second quarter, LSU was actually able to battle back and make a game of it. The Tigers even tied it up with just over three minutes remaining in the fourth, but the Rebels kicked a game-winning field goal that left just two seconds on the clock.

That being said, Ole Miss dominated SEC division rival LSU in every statistical category. They out-passed and out-rushed the Tigers, converted more first and third downs, incurred fewer penalties and committed fewer turnovers, and possessed the ball over five minutes longer.

LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger was not good, completing just over half his 33 passes, with one touchdown and three interceptions. Mettenberger had one more touchdown than Ole Miss’ Bo Wallace, which was negated by having three more picks.

Expect the Rebels win total to keep notching up each week—they only have one more tough game ahead of them, which is against Missouri in four weeks. LSU, on the other hand, has a softy against Furman next week before facing No. 1 ranked Alabama and (current) No. 7 Texas A&M.

This was the last time Clemson coached Dabo Swinney smiled on Saturday.

This was the last time Clemson coached Dabo Swinney smiled on Saturday.

(3) Clemson 14 (5)Florida State 51

If there was any game that didn’t live up to the hype of this season, it was Florida State at Clemson. It was supposed to be the game of the year, instead the Tigers went down 17-0 early and never even came close to regaining their composure against the Seminoles.

There’s no way to sugarcoat it, the evening was an abject disaster for the home team. Clemson came into the game a serious national title contender, while quarterback Tajh Boyd had been generating Heisman buzz since defeating Georgia in the season opener.

Boyd completed under 50 percent of his passes against FSU, going 17-of-37 for 156 yards, averaging just 4.2 yards per attempt, with one touchdown and two interceptions. The Tigers had some success on the ground, much of which came late in the second half, long after the outcome had been decided.

The Noles looked exceptional playing in Death Valley, a place they’ve had little success in the last decade. But the night truly belonged to freshman quarterback sensation Jameis Winston, who looked unflappably confident walking into Memorial Stadium and poised beyond his 19-years on the field.

Winston went 22-of-34 passing for 444 yards, averaging over 13 yards per pass, with three touchdowns to just one interception. This kid isn’t one to rely on his feet either—he doesn’t have to—he scrambled seven times, netting two yards.

Florida State wide receivers also benefitted from the success of their young quarterback. Rashard Greene hauled in two touchdowns, catching eight balls for 146 yards and averaging 18.3 yards per catch. Kenny Shaw added another 64 yards on five catches and averaged 12.8 yards per reception.

Sophomore stud Kelvin Benjamin didn’t put up nearly as many yards, but the three catches he made were quality. Particularly a stunning 22-yard touchdown reception, which put the Noles ahead 7-0 just 90 seconds in.

Although the surprise second star on offense was junior tight end Nick O’Leary, who had by far the best game of his career against Clemson. O’Leary averaged an epic 32.3 yards per reception, catching five balls for 161 total yards.

Overall it was an A+ effort from an FSU team that is going to be right there with Alabama and Oregon in the BCS Championship discussion. It was the exact opposite of that for Clemson.

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