The upsets started coming fast and furious on Saturday as teams didn’t seem all that concerned with rankings, point spreads or home crowds. Instead, a bunch of teams with major aspirations for this college football season saw some of that optimism halted in its tracks.
It all started with a fairly historic victory for the Old Dominion Monarchs out of Conference USA. Old Dominion came in winless — including a 52-10 thumping at the hands of Liberty — but came through with a 49-35 win over No. 13 Virginia Tech. The Hokies held a narrow 28-21 lead going into the fourth quarter, but the traditionally defensive-minded squad gave up 28 points in the final 13 minutes of play.
Virginia Tech was a 28-point favorite and likely looking ahead to next week’s matchup against Duke (4-0), but it goes to show that nothing comes easily in this bizarre world of college sports.
Purdue entered the week 0-3 and a home underdog against No. 23 Boston College, but the Boilermakers absolutely dominated the previously unbeaten Golden Eagles, picking up a 30-13 win. Purdue picked off quarterback Anthony Brown four times in the one-sided upset.
Despite a 3-0 record and a win at Florida, not much credit had been given to Kentucky as they hosted No. 14 Mississippi State. The Wildcats didn’t look much like the 10-point home underdog they were as they routed the Bulldogs, 28-7. Running back Benny Snell Jr. was the story of the game, rushing for 165 yards and four touchdowns to keep Kentucky in a first-place tie with Georgia in the SEC East.
Kentucky will surely be getting some more respect and should enter the Top 25 in the new rankings this week.
The same could be true for the Texas Tech Red Raiders, who headed to No. 15 Oklahoma State as a 14-point underdog. It was tight throughout the first half, but Texas Tech took complete control in the second half to pull away for an impressive 41-17 victory. The Raiders went for over 600 yards of total offense and seem to be doing head coach Kliff Kingsbury proud in terms of the quick strike attack he loves to run.
There was one huge — or yuge, to use a more current pronunciation — “almost” on the day. The Army Knights showed what they can do with ball control and ground and pound during last week’s win over Hawaii, which handed the ‘Bows their first loss of the season. That same strategy almost worked out once again as Army traveled to Norman, Oklahoma, to take on the No. 5 Sooners. Oklahoma has visions of a College Football Playoff berth, but those were almost completely blacked out as Army held the ball for over 44 of the 60 minutes in regulation.
Oklahoma had a chance to win on the game’s final play, but missed a 33-yard field goal, sending the two teams to overtime tied at 21-21. The Sooners survived the extra session, scoring on their first possession and intercepting a fourth-down pass to end the game and escape with a 28-21 win.
Army was a 29-point underdog, so despite there being no moral victories in sports, this was a perfectly executed game plan and almost provided the most consequential result of the season to this point.
A few more results appeared to have upset potential as both Oregon and Iowa held fourth-quarter leads at home and Arizona State took an early advantage at Washington. All finished after deadline, but this was a pretty good day to take the points, sit back and watch some of the big boys tumble.
David Simon can be reached at email@example.com.