Week 8 winners & losers: Clint Trickett, Royce Freeman steal the show
See who stood out and who disappeared this week in college football.
Justin K. Aller
Winner: Clint Trickett, QB, West Virginia
Other QBs put up gaudier stats Saturday, but Trickett orchestrated the biggest upset of Week 8, outdueling counterpart Bryce Petty as the Mountaineers topped No. 4 Baylor, 41-27. Trickett went 23-of-35 passing for 322 yards and three touchdowns (plus one interception). WR Kevin White was his favorite target once again, as the two connected on eight passes for 132 yards and two scores.
Getty ImagesJustin K. Aller
Loser: Texas A&M
The Aggies’ 35-20 loss to Ole Miss looked bad, but it turned out something worse was on the way. After the Aggies produced just 54 yards on the ground in Week 7, Alabama held A&M to 172 total yards of offense (51 in the first half) in an embarrassing shutout loss (59-0). Kevin Sumlin and Co. can kiss that Top 25 ranking goodbye.
Getty ImagesKevin C. Cox
Winner: Rakeem Cato, QB, Marshall
The Thundering Herd entered Week 8’s game with a little extra pressure in the form of an AP ranking (No. 25) -- something they haven’t had since 2002. Cato made sure not to lose that precious number by throwing for 214 yards and four touchdowns in a 45-13 win over FIU. But Cato mostly makes this list because he broke the FBS record for consecutive games with a TD pass when he extended his streak to 39, finding tight end Ryan Yurachek for a score in the first quarter.
Getty ImagesJoel Auerbach
The woes continue for the Gators, who have now dropped three of their last four games. But the worst part is that the defeats seem to be coming in more painful fashion each time. First, they were overmatched vs. Alabama. Then, LSU beat them on a late field goal. This week, Mizzou QB Maty Mauk threw for just 20 yards and the Tigers rushed for just 99 yards total but the Gators allowed scores off a kickoff return, a punt return, a fumble return and an interception return. QBs Jeff Driskel and Treon Harris combined for three interceptions in the 42-13 loss.
Getty ImagesRob Foldy
Winner: Florida State
The second-ranked Seminoles continue to bend but will not break, extending their win streak to 23 thanks to Saturday’s victory over No. 5 Notre Dame. Credit Rashad Greene making big catches under pressure (8 catches for 108 yards, 1 TD), Karlos Williams punching the ball into the end zone twice (2- and 1-yard runs), and, as Stewart Mandel writes in Week 8’s takeaways, Jameis Winston upping his game in the second half.
Getty ImagesStreeter Lecka
After letting a 14-13 finish with Alabama slip through their fingers, the Razorbacks had another solid opportunity to get their first SEC win since 2012 vs. a No. 10 Georgia team playing without star running back Todd Gurley. However, fill-in Nick Chubb lit up the Hogs for 202 yards rushing (two TDs) and Hutson Mason added another pair of scores, pushing Arkansas to 0-4 in SEC play. With Miss State, LSU, Ole Miss, and Missouri left on the schedule, the possibility they go winless in the conference for a second straight year is turning into a serious possibility.
Getty ImagesWesley Hitt
Winner: Cody Kessler, QB, USC
The Trojans ran away from Colorado at the Coliseum in large part because their signal-caller had a seven-touchdown night, a mark that ties a Pac-12 record. He sprinkled the scores out to four different receivers, but found Nelson Agholor most often. The two teamed up for three scores and 128 of Kessler’s 319 total passing yards.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY SportsKirby Lee
Loser: Oklahoma State
This game may have featured two closely ranked teams on paper, but Trevone Boykin and TCU showed there was a big difference between the No. 12 Horned Frogs and the No. 15 Cowboys. QB Daxx Garman threw two interceptions and no touchdowns on 10-of-25 passing in the loss for OK State. He's thrown two picks in three of his last four outings. The defense, meanwhile, allowed 676 yards of offense.
Getty ImagesRonald Martinez
Winner: Royce Freeman, RB, Oregon
Once in a while it’s nice to talk about the Ducks and not mention Marcus Mariota – although with him tossing for 336 yards and 2 TDs, he was still kind of noteworthy in Oregon's 45-20 win over Washington. Wearing a uniform reminiscent of the now-defunct Minnesota North Stars, Freeman ran for four TDs on 169 yards, the most productive game of the freshman’s brief career.
Getty ImagesSteve Dykes
Winner: Jake Waters, QB, Kansas State
Thanks to three touchdowns from Waters, the Wildcats' No. 14 rank is sure to improve after topping No. 11 Oklahoma in Norman, 31-30. K-State is now 3-0 in the Big 12 and in the driver's seat for the title. Is there room for a one-loss Big 12 team in the college football playoff? It may be an outside shot, but there's still plenty of football to be played in 2014.