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Courtney Martinez | | December 30, 2015

College football: 9 of the biggest upsets from the 2015 season

There were plenty of surprises in college football this season. Winning streaks were broken, games ended on crazy plays and FCS teams picked up wins over FBS programs. 

Here are some of the biggest upsets in college football this year, ranked in chronological order:

Aug. 29: Montana 38, No. 1 North Dakota St. 35

Opening the season against the four-time champs isn't an easy task. It can be tougher to actually defeat them. But that's exactly what the Montana Grizzlies did with their upset over top-ranked North Dakota St. in the FCS season opener. Montana rallied in the final 1:39 on a 16-play, 80-yard drive as Joey Counts capped off the comeback with a fourth-and-goal touchdown with two seconds left.

Sept. 5: BYU 33, Nebraska 28  

Things weren't looking great for BYU with one second left. The Cougars lost their starting quarterback earlier in the game, had no timeouts and found themselves down one point to Nebraska. But freshman backup quarterback Tanner Mangum heaved a 42-yard pass that connected with wide receiver Mitch Mathews for the game-winning touchdown. Mangum showed off his late-game heroics again the next week with another hail mary pass to defeat Boise State.

RELATED: Best hail mary passes of 2015

Sept. 5: Temple 27, Penn St. 10

It had been nearly 74 years since Temple defeated Penn State. That streak ended on opening weekend with Temple's dominating 27-10 win. The Owls' defense recorded 10 sacks, forced nine punts and allowed only 11 passes to be completed. Penn State had not lost in 39 straight games since 1941 to Temple, which was the fourth longest streak in college football history.

Sept. 5: Portland St. 24, Washington St. 17

Portland State had one of its most successful seasons and it all started with the upset win over Washington State. The Vikings scored 24 points in the second half to record the upset. It was the program's first win over a Pac-12 school in 16 attempts and just its third win overall against a FBS opponent. But the Cougars certainly weren't the last FBS opponent defeated by the Vikings in 2015. Portland State crushed North Texas 66-7 for one of the largest margins ever in a FCS win over a FBS school.

Oct. 10: Texas 24, No. 10 Oklahoma 17    

Even if the season isn’t going according to plan, a win over your biggest rivals can still make a difference. Texas showed that better than any team this season. The Longhorns handed the Sooners their only loss of the year Oct. 10 behind their impressive run game. Texas also knocked off Baylor in the final game of the season on Dec. 5. Texas coach Charlie Strong picked up wins over a pair of top 12 teams in his second season. 

Oct. 17: Memphis 37, No. 13 Ole Miss 24

Ole Miss picked up a resume-defining win with an upset over No. 3 Alabama in Tuscaloosa, where the Rebels had not won since 1988. But Ole Miss found itself on the other side a month later against No. 22 Memphis. The Tigers rallied from 14-point deficit behind the play of Paxton Lynch, who completed 39 of his 53 pass attempts for 383 yards and three touchdowns. Memphis earned its first win over a ranked opponent in 19 years and were the first nonconference opponent to defeat the Rebels since 1978.

Oct. 24: Georgia Tech 22, No. 9 Florida St. 16

The Seminoles hadn't lost a conference game since Oct. 6, 2012. The Yellow Jackets were suffering a five-game skid after starting the season 2-0. Florida State had one of the best kickers in NCAA history with Robert Aguayo. None of that mattered when Patrick Gamble blocked a 56-yard attempt and Lance Austin scooped it up and ran it back 78 yards for game-winning touchdown. Georgia Tech finished the season with only three wins but nothing compared to "the Miracle on Techwood Drive" which became one of the top plays of the college football season.

Nov. 21: The Citadel 23, South Carolina 22

The Citadel ended the regular season in style with its upset on the road against SEC opponent South Carolina. After a 95-yard touchdown pass was called back on a false start penalty, the Citadel forced South Carolina to turn it over on downs to seal the win. The Bulldogs picked up their first win over an FBS opponent since a 15-14 defeat over Army in 1992 and first win over South Carolina since 1990. The Gamecocks hadn't lost a home game to a nonconference opponent since Nov. 24, 2007. The win for the Citadel helped its case for an at-large bid in the FCS playoffs too.

Nov. 21: No. 9 Michigan St. 17, No. 3 Ohio St. 14

The Buckeyes had already set a NCAA record with their 30 straight Big Ten conference wins heading into their game against Michigan State. But that didn't affect Michael Geiger as he drilled a 41-yard field goal attempt in the final seconds to give the Spartans the victory. The win propelled the Spartans to the Big Ten title game and the College Football Playoff semifinals against Alabama. Michigan State is a top-quality opponent so its win wasn't too much of a surprise. But anytime a team knocks off the defending champions, it deserves a spot on the biggest upset list.

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