Top-10 teams struggle in week 4

Jori Epstein

While Texas rested its feet this weekend, underdogs around the country gave top-10 opponents a run for their money. Jameis Winston, the Heisman-winning redshirt sophomore quarterback who was suspended Saturday night after yelling obscenities on campus, helped underdog Clemson stand a chance against No. 1 Florida State. Behind redshirt sophomore quarterback Sean Maguire, the Seminoles barely escaped with a 23-17 overtime win against Clemson. Maguire threw for 305 yards, including a 74-yard game-tying touchdown pass, in his starting debut. Although he threw two interceptions, he was thrilled to get the victory.

“Coach [Jimbo Fisher] always prepares us if one man goes down — it just happened to be our best player this time,” Maguire said. “I can’t thank the coaches and this team enough. It
was awesome.”

The game was just the Seminoles’ fifth overtime appearance in school history and the first since their triple-overtime loss to Penn State in the 2006 Orange Bowl.

Upset in Louisiana 

In the SEC, Mississippi State downed then-No. 8 LSU in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, for the first time since 1991. Junior quarterback Dak Prescott tallied two passing touchdowns and a 56-yard rushing score. The Bulldogs erased a 14-game losing streak against the Tigers, despite being outscored by the Tigers 19-3 in the fourth quarter.

“I just stayed true to myself, trusted my teammates, trusted the coaches, and we got it done,” Prescott said. “Everyone’s happy right now.”

Alhough Prescott’s “everyone” didn’t include any of the Baton Rouge locals, LSU head coach Les Miles did compliment Prescott as a “very quality competitor” who “ran their offense very well.” The Tigers fell nine spots to No. 17 in the AP ranking.

Oregon escapes narrow upset 

No. 2 Oregon nearly succumbed to the same fate as LSU when the Ducks allowed Washington State, a 24-point underdog, to score 31 points. Washington State’s primary threat came via its nationwide top passing attack, which this week took the form of redshirt senior quarterback Connor Halliday’s 68 percent completion rate for 436 yards and four touchdowns. Even so, Oregon’s redshirt junior quarterback Marcus Mariota rivaled the playmaker’s threat, completing 84 percent of his passes for 329 yards and five touchdowns. Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich had only one word to desribe Mariota’s performance: “ridiculous.”

“He did a great job of rattling the defense in the second half,” Helfrich said. “The guy is special.” 

Oregon (4-0) pulled off the 38-31 win to remain undefeated.

Aggies blow out former SWC rival

No. 6 Aggies also maintained their perfect mark, although with much less adversity. Destroying SMU to the tune of a 58-6 blowout in Dallas, the Aggies took advantage of SMU’s instability in its first home game since the resignation of former head coach June Jones. The Mustangs remain winless following the 52-point loss Saturday, in which A&M sophomore quarterback Kenny Hill recorded 322 yards of offense to secure a 38-3 lead at the half. While Hill and freshman quarterback Kyle Allen split playing time, it was sophomore wide receiver Jeremy Tabuyo who starred on offense, scoring two touchdowns for a total of 80 yards.

“Jeremy, he’ll be in my office Monday morning, wanting to start,” A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin said. “Two catches, what did you have, 80 yards and two touchdowns? Kind of hard to argue with him.”

SMU’s only points came from field goals in the second and fourth quarters.

Oklahoma grabs first Big 12 win

Texas rivals, Oklahoma and West Virigina, commenced their Big 12 play this weekend as the Mountaineers hosted the Sooners in Morgantown, West Virginia. The No. 4-ranked Sooners claimed their first win of conference play with a 45-33 victory over West Virginia despite a valiant effort by the Mountaineers. 

Oklahoma freshman running back Samaje Perine ran for 242 yards and four touchdowns to help the Sooners escape from a 24-24 halftime tie. He became the first Sooner to surpass 200 yards in a single game since DeMarco Murray completed the feat in 2010. 

“You know about how powerful and strong he is, but he has great vision,” Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops said. “He has great stamina and is a very conditioned athlete.”