FT WORTH, Texas — You could say that Kate Dykes is a little superstitious. This is the second week in a row the wife of head coach Sonny Dykes has watched her husband’s team play in a nail biter. Last week in Lawrence, Kansas, she went to the bathroom in the third quarter and heard the Frogs scored on the radio broadcast, so she stayed in there for the rest of the third stanza, even texting a high-profile TCU booster a picture of every new seat.
This week, she was in the stands while the Frogs pulled off a furious second-half comeback, but she says she refused to move from her seat while TCU stormed back to send the game to overtime and become the last undefeated team in the Big 12. , knocking off Oklahoma State from their previously perfect perch.
TCU is 6–0, having beaten three ranked opponents in a row for the first time in school history. There are football bonafides for why they’re winning. The defense didn’t let Oklahoma State score a touchdown for the game’s final 40 minutes of regulation. Quentin Johnston legitimately looks like one of the best receivers in the country, with his coach saying after the game he’ll likely be watching him on Sundays next year. Quarterback Max Duggan has been efficient, and running back Kendre Miller is an absolute load to tackle. But this is largely the same team that Gary Patterson’s coaching staff left at the end of last season and Sonny Dykes inherited. And that leads to some of the more ethereal and unexplainable things around these Frogs, such as a general sense of belief and just the substantially different vibes around the program after the last few years of Patterson’s tenure—which those around the program say were far more slog than celebration.
We started the day with 15 undefeated in FBS. James Madison, Penn State, Alabama, USC, Coastal Carolina and the aforementioned Cowboys exited the unblemished stage.
The Chants had looked shaky so far this season, and the rent came due in a 49–21 drubbing against Old Dominion. The Dukes, however, truly looked like they belonged in FBS after moving up from FCS. It’s an unfortunate irony that the team that beat them was Georgia Southern (45–38), which is one of the recent teams to come up to FBS and enjoy significant success like the Dukes have. As far as USC goes, the Trojans raced out to leads of 14–0 and 21–7 before Utah clawed back thanks in large part to Cam Rising’s 415 yards through the air, much of which went to tight end Dalton Kincaid, who had 15 catches. and 217 yards. You could be forgiven if you forgot about Utah after losing to Florida to start its campaign or losing to UCLA last week, but the Utes haven’t quit this season.
Nine undefeated remain. It sets up college football for an exciting second half of the season with contenders in all five leagues pointing toward big games in November. While they’re certainly partying on this side of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex now, as Sonny Dykes said in the locker room, the Horned Frogs have to turn the page quickly because Kansas State looms next coming off of a bye week. Kate Dykes had better choose where she sits next week wisely.
1. Ohio State (6–0)
Last game: Idle
Next game: Iowa
2. Georgia (7–0)
Last game: Beat Vanderbilt 55–0
Next game: Idle
Georgia got back to doing what Georgia does in a game against the Dores where they never let the SEC East cellar dwellers off the mat. A nice moment came in the fourth quarter, where supremely gifted tight end Arik Gilbert, who has dealt with some “adversity” this season as those around the UGA program put it, scored a TD and had a nice celebration with his teammates.
3. Tennessee (6–0)
last week: Beat Alabama 52–49
next week: UT-Martin
Perhaps it does really, finally, feel like ’98 in Knoxville. Goalposts went on parade and Tennessee finally smoked those cigars they’ve waited 15 years to puff on.
From Ross Dellenger’s piece on the upset:
Despite all the yards (1,136 between them), it took a kick, of all things, to send the Volunteers to their first 6–0 start since 1998. Chase McGrath, a veteran transfer kicker from USC, booted a 40-yard field goal as time expired that had just enough distance to barely hurdle over the crossbar. It didn’t matter that Alabama’s Byron Young burst through the center of the offensive line and got a couple of fingers on the ball. His wobbly duck of a kick elicited one of the wildest field stormings you’ll ever see.
4. Michigan (7–0)
last week: Beat Penn State 41–17
next week: Idle
Don’t let the score fool you, it arguably should have been worse than this. Michigan absolutely whipped Penn State physically in every way shape and form to the tune of 418 rushing yards. The Nittany Lions simply had no answer all day and besides a flukey pick-six and a long Sean Clifford run, generated little to no offense. As defensive lineman PJ Mustipher said: “It’s embarrassing.”
5. Clemson (7–0)
last week: Beat Florida State 34–28
next week: Syracuse
Clemson took its show on the road in a big spot against the Noles and got a huge game from running back Will Shipley to the tune of 121 yards on the ground. Dabo Swinney’s crew continues to play good complementary football, and they keep showing how hard it is to knock the big bad Tigers off the block in the ACC.
6. Ole Miss (7–0)
last week: Beat Auburn 48–34
next week: Idle
It was a wacky one for the Rebels in a game that featured a lightning delay and a 21–0 lead that looked close to being blown and Auburn putting in a backup quarterback (TJ Finley) to find any shred of offense only to see said backup quickly get strip sacked. Auburn is very much a mess, and Ole Miss very much isn’t.
7. TCU (6–0)
last week: Beat Oklahoma 43–40
next week: Kansas State
When asked after the game if he was happy with bowl eligibility, it was clear QB Max Duggan thinks this team has bigger things on the horizon, and if they keep playing complete games like this, then he’s absolutely right. It took a little bit to get the offense going, but once they got WR Quentin Johnston rolling, he was the major focal point the team needed to test Oklahoma State over and over.
8. UCLA (6–0)
last week: Idle
next week: Oregon
9. Syracuse (6–0)
last week: Beat NC State 24–9
next week: Clemson
NC State had a backup QB and one of the most anemic offensive days you’ll ever see, but Cuse got the job done, finally getting just enough from Sean Tucker to shut the door at the end. The Orange will look to their matchup against Clemson next week to really prove they’re for real on the national stage.
10. Alabama (6–1)
last week: Lost to Tennessee 52–49
next week: Mississippi State
This loss still had the things that make Bama Bama, including incredible performances from Jamihyr Gibbs and Bryce Young. There’s no shame in losing that game in that environment, even for the Tide. But they go to the back of the bus behind the unbeatens because they aren’t anymore.
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• Tennessee Ends Bama Heartache With Fittingly Wild Celebration
• Michigan Rout Reinforces Big Ten Pecking Order
• Saban Rips Alabama Defense After Loss to Tennessee