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As the 2023 college football season approaches its midway point, Week 7 provided several marquee matchups that will set the tone for the stretch.
Check back throughout the day for updates from our writers across the country on the Week 7’s biggest stories. Here’s the full schedule for the Top 25 teams (all times ET):
No. 1 Georgia 37, Vanderbilt 20
No. 2 Michigan 52, Indiana 7
No. 3 Ohio State 41, Purdue 7
No. 4 Florida State 41, Syracuse 3
No. 6 Penn State 63, UMass 0
No. 7 Washington 36, No. 8 Oregon 33
No. 10 USC at No. 21 Notre Dame, 7:30 p.m., NBC
No. 11 Alabama 24, Arkansas 21
No. 12 North Carolina vs. No. 25 Miami, 7:30 p.m., ABC
No. 14 Louisville at Pitt, 6:30 p.m., CW
No. 15 Oregon State vs. No. 18 UCLA, 8 p.m., Fox
No. 16, Utah 34, Cal 14
No. 17 Duke vs. NC State, 8 p.m., ACC Network
No. 19 Tennessee 20, Texas A&M 13
No. 19 Washington State vs. Arizona, 7 p.m., Pac-12 Network
No. 22 LSU vs. Auburn, 7 p.m., ESPN
Oklahoma State 39, No. 23, Kansas 32
No. 24 Kentucky vs. Missouri, 7:30 p.m., SEC Network
An instant classic in Oregon-Washington
The best quarterback play in college football this season was found on the West Coast, and the best game of the year so far took place in the far Pacific Northwest, where Michael Penix Jr. and Washington played one more game than Beau. The Knicks and Oregon can muster a 36-33 win from the Huskies. Penix’s 302 yards accounted for nearly three-quarters of the Huskies’ offense and all seven third- and fourth-down conversions. After suffering an apparent injury to his midfield, Penix overcame a tough stretch in the second half by making two 3-pointers and missing a chance at the goal line, when he appeared to be unable to find his touch or playmakers while under pressure. The two-man drive he responded with should make him a solid Heisman Trophy favorite, in Vegas and in the national conversation.
As for Oregon State, the Ducks should leave the game feeling more encouraged than disappointed. The goal was to be the toughest, most physical and accurate team, and this is what the visitors achieved throughout the match. The offense averaged five yards per rush and more than 200 yards overall. Knicks completed 75 percent of his passes. The Ducks had the ball nearly ten minutes longer than UW, going 10 of 16 on third downs and finishing without any giveaways. A botched fourth-down conversion late in the fourth quarter and a missed field goal at the buzzer were the difference today, but head coach Dan Lanning must feel his program is equal to Washington’s. This probably won’t be the last time these two teams see each other. — My religion is mine
Iowa State dominates the Big Ten West
There is no aesthetic beauty in the way Iowa plays football, and that’s especially true when the Hokies play Wisconsin. But results matter more than style points, and now Iowa State (6-1, 3-1 Big Ten) is in the driver’s seat of the Big Ten West Division.
Iowa State has relied on its running game, and it did so in Saturday’s 15-6 win in Madison. The Hawkeyes rushed for 200 yards, the most for the program against Wisconsin since 2008. Leshon Williams broke free for 82 yards in the first half, far from his only big carry. Torrey Taylor punted 10 times for an average of 50.6 yards, with five of them 50-plus yards and six touchdowns inside the 20. The Hokies’ defense shut down Wisconsin, with senior defensive back Sebastian Castro starring. Iowa must now hold serve in four straight home games before the season finale at Nebraska. — Scott Dochterman
What happened to Colorado?
Colorado’s rebuilt roster has plenty of flaws, but two of the biggest three made possible a 29-point lead, the largest collapse in school history, in a 46-43 loss to Stanford in double overtime on Friday night.
The Buffaloes have struggled to run the ball all season and have had to create a running game with quarterback Shedeur Sanders’ legs throwing and passing to the perimeter. Despite the big lead, Colorado’s running backs had just 21 carries for 81 yards, and the offense had two punts and two turnovers on downs on its first four possessions of the second half after scoring touchdowns on its first four possessions of the first half. Colorado ranks 130th nationally in yards per carry.
In addition to the struggles of the running game, Colorado has struggled to cover opposing receivers with a thin array of cornerbacks all season. Colorado ranks 130th nationally in yards allowed per game, 119th in completion percentage allowed and 91st in yards allowed per attempt. The return of dual star Travis Hunter didn’t help; He gave up some of the biggest plays of the night against Stanford wideout Eleke Eumanor, who set school records with 294 yards, three touchdowns and 13 catches, all in the second half. But not being able to run the ball to drain the clock and not being able to cover opposing receivers to thwart a comeback attempt is a bad combination. But that’s what Colorado is now. — David Aubin
Georgia’s Brock Powers appears to be avoiding a serious injury
Georgia didn’t look as sharp on the road against Vanderbilt this week, winning 37-20, as it did in Kentucky’s win at home last week, but the Bulldogs will likely avoid a big blow.
Brock Powers, who fueled Georgia’s rally against Auburn in September with a career-high 157 receiving yards, had three consecutive 100-yard receiving games before suffering an ankle injury in the second quarter on Saturday. Georgia coach Kirby Smart said he expects the tight end to be OK, but Powers had his foot X-rayed to be sure.
At first, Powers tried to get off the field but was forced to stop and kneel as he hit the turf. But he managed to leave the field under his own power, although he did not return.
Georgia is still the most talented team in the country without Bowers and has weapons in the passing game, but when the chips are down, Bowers is the most reliable target for first-year starter Carson Beck at quarterback. The Bulldogs could win the SEC East without Bowers, but if he wasn’t available for the SEC title game or the playoffs, the Bulldogs’ run for the sport’s first three-peat in nearly a century would have gone up in smoke. At the moment, this does not appear to be the case. — open
Alabama is alive
If Alabama wants to legitimately compete for an SEC Championship and a College Football Playoff berth, the Crimson Tide will have to play much cleaner than they did on Saturday. Nick Saban was the first to admit after Alabama’s 24-21 win over Arkansas at home that his team had to “learn how to play 60 minutes and finish the game,” as he told ESPN Radio. But a win is a win, and at midway through the season, the Crimson Tide are still alive in the playoff race. That’s all that matters to Saban’s team.
Alabama looked headed for an easy day when the Crimson Tide led 21-6 at halftime and extended the lead to 24-6 midway through the third quarter. But Arkansas scored late in the third period, largely due to two crucial penalties by Alabama’s defense, both on third downs. A face mask on defensive back Jaylen Key on third-and-8 kept the Razorbacks’ drive alive and gave them a 15-yard and first down on the 42-yard line. Minutes after a pass interference call on defensive back Caleb Downs, the Razorbacks took it from the Alabama 20-yard line to the 5. Arkansas scored one play later, then took that momentum into the fourth quarter and made it a three-point game with nearly 11 minutes to go. To play.
Give credit to Alabama linebacker Dallas Turner for making a big play in prime time, sacking Arkansas quarterback KJ Jefferson for an 11-yard loss on third-and-8 on what became Arkansas’ final drive of the afternoon. Alabama quarterback Jalen Milroe finished the game just 10-of-21 passing but still managed to throw for 238 yards and two touchdowns. This Alabama team has a lot to clean up and a lot to learn. Having a double-digit lead for an Arkansas team that is now 2-5 is concerning. But the Crimson Tide found a way to win in a season without a clear front-runner. Don’t count them out yet. -Grace Raynor
(Photo: Steve Chambers/Getty Images)
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