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Zach Pekale | NCAA.com | October 15, 2019

Here's how Week 7's scores impacted the College Football Playoff race

5 college football games to watch in week 8

Week 7 of the 2019 college football season was highly anticipated with a number of marquee games. From South Carolina's double-overtime win at No. 3 Georgia to a top-10 showdown in Baton Rouge, the results delivered on the hype.

Check out some of the top moments of Week 7 below — and the big games that matter for the College Football Playoff chase.

South Carolina stuns No. 3 Georgia in 2OT

South Carolina ran 27 fewer plays and amassed 171 fewer yards than Georgia on Saturday while needing Dakereon Joyner to play quarterback after a Ryan Hilinski injury. Yet it was the Gamecocks who won in a 20-17 upset of the No. 3 Bulldogs.

RECAP: Re-live South Carolina's upset of Georgia

Jake Fromm drove UGA downfield, connecting with Demetris Robertson for the game-tying score — a touchdown that ultimately forced overtime. It was the brightest moment of Fromm’s day, primarily overshadowed by three interceptions and four total turnovers, the last of which came in the first overtime.

A missed field goal by Parker White at the end of overtime gave Georgia another chance. But White converted in the second extra period before Rodrigo Blankenship’s attempt at an equalizer sailed left.

Saturday marked Georgia’s first loss of the season and South Carolina’s first win over a top-3 team since it beat No. 1 Alabama in Oct. 2010.

The loss arrived before Georgia's schedule really started to heat up. The Bulldogs still have games against Florida, Missouri, Auburn and Texas A&M to go.

LSU bests Florida in top-10 matchup

Joe Burrow shined bright on the national stage, completing 21-of-24 for 293 yards and three touchdowns LSU’s 42-28 win over No. 7 Florida. But Saturday’s win begs the question whether or not the Tigers have a gear they haven’t yet hit.

Tasked with breaking through the Gators’ tenacious defensive line, LSU manufactured 218 yards on the ground. The Tigers’ balanced offense was both fluid and lethal, working methodical drives in some cases while picking up quick-strike scores in others.

But it was Ed Orgeron’s defense that came up huge in the biggest situations. It was a unit that conceded a touchdown and the lead on the opening drive of the second half. Those were Florida’s final points.

Both of Florida’s fourth-quarter drives ended in the red zone. The result? Zero points. Derek Stingley Jr. intercepted Kyle Trask in the endzone before the Tigers slammed the door shut on four plays from their own 2-yard line as LSU scored the game’s final 21 points.

Throughout the season, LSU relied on Burrow. Now the Tigers have a proven ground game and an improving defense — a deadly combination with huge games against Auburn and Alabama to come.

Oklahoma's stifling defense secures Red River victory

Oklahoma made a change at defensive coordinator following the 2018 Red River rivalry — a 48-45 Texas win. The 2019 edition of the rivalry featured an Oklahoma defense that sacked Sam Ehlinger nine times in a 34-27 Sooners win.

No. 6 Oklahoma never trailed as its defensive vice grip was in effect from the get-go. The Sooners kept No. 11 Texas off the board until a field goal on the Longhorns’ final drive of the half.

Texas was admirable defensively when Jalen Hurts remained in the pocket. The senior was 16-of-28 with 235 yards, three touchdowns and two turnovers. 

However, his 131 rushing yards led the Sooners’ ground game and his connection with CeeDee Lamb was difficult to contain. Lamb racked up 171 yards and three touchdowns in the win.

Not only did OU pick up a win against its rival, but the Sooners showed they have a defense that goes with that typically high-powered attack.

Alabama's offense continues to surge against No. 24 Texas A&M 

Alabama’s defense has allowed at least 23 points in its 3 SEC games, an amount that seems unorthodox under Nick Saban. But the Crimson Tide offense is rolling, scoring 40-plus points for a sixth time this season in a 47-28 win over Texas A&M.

Tua Tagovailoa threw four touchdowns to four different receivers. His first strike — a 31-yard dart to Jaylen Waddle— etched the junior’s name in Alabama record books as Tagovailoa became the school’s new leader in career touchdown passes (78).

Keep in mind, Tagovailoa has been the full-time starter in Tuscaloosa for less than two full seasons. The Crimson Tide will look to stay undefeated when they head to Tennessee next week. Oh, and LSU visits on Nov. 9.

Lawrence sits most of second half in Clemson rout of Florida State

Clemson limited possessions one side of the ball and put together methodical drives on the other in its 45-14 win against Florida State.

The No. 2 Tigers improved to 6-0, doing nearly all of its offensive damage before halftime. Trevor Lawrence threw three first-half touchdowns while Travis Etienne’s 127 yards paced a rushing attack that totaled 320 yards and retained possession for close to 40 minutes.

Lawrence checked out mid-way through the third quarter with the Tigers lead intact. 

Defensively, Clemson forced four turnovers as Florida State alternated between quarterbacks Alex Hornibrook and James Blackman, unable to establish a rhythm with either option.

It was a big difference from the Tigers' last game, which was a 21-20 escape at North Carolina. That caused Clemson to drop from No. 1.

UNDEFEATED TRACKER: 12 teams remain perfect through 7 weeks

Wisconsin blanks Michigan State behind program-best fourth shutout

How good is this Badgers defense? Through six games, they’ve scored and allowed the same number of touchdowns (4). 

The defense has been integral in No. 8 Wisconsin’s 6-0 start, pitching its fourth shutout of 2019 in the Badgers’ 38-0 win over Michigan State. The Spartans were held to 149 total yards and nearly doubled up in time of possession.

Jonathan Taylor became the third Badger in program history to eclipse 5,000 career rushing yards. The junior added 82 yards and two touchdowns to his season totals. Under center, Jack Coan effectively managed the game, completing 18-of-21 passes for 180 yards.

Wisconsin plays at Illinois ahead of a highly anticipated game at Ohio State. The Badgers are also joined by Minnesota as Big Ten West undefeated teams.

No. 18 Arizona State edges Washington State on final drive

Arizona State came out of its bye week slow, falling behind Washington State 10-0 after the first quarter. Trailing by a field goal in the waning minutes, true freshman quarterback Jayden Daniels orchestrated his third game-winning drive in six starts to propel the No. 18 Sun Devils to a 38-34 win.

ASU’s downfield march went 75 yards to the tune of 10 plays in under two minutes, capped by a 17-yard scamper by Daniels with 34 seconds to play. The signal-caller finished with 363 passing yards and four total touchdowns on the afternoon.

In the win, wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk recorded career-highs in receptions (7), yards (196) and touchdowns (3) while Eno Benjamin chipped in a season-high 137 rushing yards. The Sun Devils weathered Washington State’s air-raid offense, prevailing despite 466 passing yards from Cougars quarterback Anthony Gordon.

The win also helped Arizona State stand out in the bunched up Pac-12 South standings.

No. 9 Notre Dame holds off Southern Cal rally

Notre Dame recovered an onside kick in the final minute and the Fighting Irish held off Southern California 30-27 in South Bend.

The Irish built a 20-3 lead early in the third quarter before the Trojans began to fight back. USC mustered points on its next two drives to pull within seven. Notre Dame’s lead fluctuated between seven and 10 points as the Irish ground game used up chunks of clock.

Notre Dame finished with 308 yards rushing, utilizing the full extent of its running back depth for one of just a few times this season. Tony Jones Jr. led all backs with 176 yards.

Markese Stepp barreled into the endzone with 1:04 remaining but USC couldn’t recover the ball on the ensuing kick off.

Penn State knocks off Iowa on the road

Offense was a premium in Penn State’s 17-12 win over No. 17 Iowa. The No. 10 Nittany Lions produced fewer than 300 total yards yet still capitalized on opportunities to pick up a Big Ten road win.

Penn State forced two turnovers, recording 10 points off the takeaways which were ultimately the difference. The 17 points matched the fewest Penn State scored in 2019, matching its total from a Sept. 14 win over Pittsburgh. Noah Cain paced the Penn State offense with 102 yards and a touchdown.

Nate Stanley linked up with Brandon Smith for Iowa’s lone touchdown with 2:31 to go. The Hawkeyes never got the ball back, instead dropping their second straight game.

The win means Penn State remained undefeated ahead of getting Michigan in Week 8 — the spot for "College GameDay."

Louisville shocks Wake Forest in high-scoring affair

Louisville earned its first win under Scott Satterfield versus a ranked opponent in the Cardinals 62-59 win over No.19 Wake Forest. The Cardinals have already doubled their 2018 win total and did so with an offensive outburst in Winston-Salem. 

Despite a three-touchdown deficit, the Demon Deacons fought themselves back into the game. Louisville's lead had been trimmed to a single possession twice before putting the game away on Evan Conley's fourth-down touchdown that extended the advantage to 10 with 2:15 remaining.

Louisville will look to sustain this momentum when the Cardinals travel to No. 2 Clemson next week.

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