One of the common questions that come up with the College Football Playoff Polls is "does a two-loss team belong in the final four?" Well, the Big Ten Conference will certainly test that out, with two of their playoff favorites falling for a second time this season on Saturday, First, in a game that was never really close, J.T. Barrett threw four interceptions, as Iowa blew past sixth-ranked Ohio State 55-24. Barrett did throw for three touchdowns, but the turnovers gave the Hawkeyes the chance to total 487 yards and hand the Buckeyes their second loss of the year, and first in conference play. Nate Stanley threw for 226 yards and five touchdowns, as the Hawkeyes played spoiler for a second straight year, just one season after ending Michigan's playoff hopes with a close win. Josh Jackson had three of Iowa's interceptions, leading his team to their fourth win over a top-5 opponent in their last five tries at home. Meanwhile, the team OSU took down last week in Columbus fell again on Saturday, as No. 7 Penn State lost on a last-second field goal for a 27-24 defeat to No. 24 Michigan State. Matt Coughlin kicked the game-winning 34-yard field goal as time expired, giving the Spartans hope in the Big Ten East Division. The game did feature a 3 1/2 hour weather delay due to lightning, as the contest that started at noon local time, ended in the 6:00pm hour. In what was a surprising shootout type of game, Brian Lewerke threw for 400 yards and two touchdowns for the Spartans, who pulled into a tie with PSU and OSU in the Big Ten East Division. Trace McSorley countered with 381 yards passing and three touchdowns, but did have three interceptions in the Nittany Lions second straight defeat. L.J. Scott had a receiving and rushing touchdown for MSU, who out-gained Penn State, 474-466. These two results sets up an interesting final few weeks in the Big Ten, including Michigan State visiting Ohio State next week. Penn State will move on to host Rutgers in a winnable contest.
Mayfield, Oklahoma Outlast Oklahoma State
The Oklahoma-Oklahoma State matchup was one of the most anticipated games heading in to Saturday and it did not disappoint in any way. Baker Mayfield threw for 598 yards and five touchdowns, as his fifth-ranked Oklahoma Sooners outlasted No. 11 Oklahoma State for a wild 62-52 victory. After the game was tied at 38 at halftime, Oklahoma shut out the Cowboys 10-0 in the third, making an even fourth quarter play in their favor. The game was fairly even everywhere else, with five turnovers, three of which for the Cowboys, a 785-661 total yard advantage for Oklahoma, and a 32-30 first down advantage for Oklahoma State. Mayfield's 598 yards passing set a school record, including a school-record 387 in the first half alone, as he also ran for a score in what was the highest-scoring game in the rivalry's history. On the other end of the connection, Marquise Brown caught nine passes for a school-record 265 yards and two touchdown catches, as the Sooners' 785 total yards is tied for fourth-most in school history, and is their second-best total since 1988. Mason Rudolph also showed up in a losing effort, throwing for 448 yards and five touchdowns. He did turn the ball over twice, including with 1:56 left, to seal the Cowboys' fate. It was a tough loss for Oklahoma State, who also got a career-high 228 yards on the ground from Justice Hill, while James Washington added seven receptions for 128 yards and a score. The Sooner improved to 8-1 and will host TCU in a top-10 showdown next week. The Cowboys will fall in the rankings ahead of their visit to Iowa State.
Bryant, Clemson Rally Past NC State
The Clemson Tigers were tested in a ranked conference matchup with No. 20 NC State, but the defending national champions found a way to rally to a victory on Saturday. Kelly Bryant led the way with three total touchdowns, including two on the ground, as the fourth-ranked Tigers slipped past the Wolfpack for a 38-31 victory. The Tigers trailed by a score of 21-17 at the half, but Bryant's lone touchdown pass to Deon Cain in the third gave his team the lead for good. Tavien Foster added an 89-yard touchdown run to end the third, while Bryant scrambled into the end zone in the fourth to help Clemson stay ahead. With the game still a touchdown difference late, K'Von Wallace recorded the game-sealing interception in the final seconds for the Tigers, who forced two turnovers. Wallace was able to eat up the clock by returning the interception 55 yards to end the game. Despite the last-second interception, Ryan Finley did have an impressive outing for NC State by throwing for 338 yards and three touchdowns in the loss. The loss for NC State comes one year after they blew a lead on the road last season for an overtime loss to the eventual National Champions. Clemson has now taken six in a row from NC State in the series and 13 of 14 overall. They will play host to the struggling Florida State Seminoles next week, while NC State will hit the road for a matchup with Boston College.