Week Eight Lowe Down: Nittany Lions, Irish roll on

Matt Lowe

October 20, 2017 at 5:10 pm.

Sep 30, 2017; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish running back Josh Adams (33) runs the ball in the first quarter of the game against the Miami (Oh) Redhawks at Notre Dame Stadium. Photo Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Sep 30, 2017; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish running back Josh Adams (33) runs the ball in the first quarter of the game against the Miami (Oh) Redhawks at Notre Dame Stadium. Photo Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to Week Eight of The Lowe Down.

Last weekend was a wild one in college football to say the least. Four teams (Clemson, Washington, Washington State and Auburn) in the Top 10 went down and Michigan was pushed to overtime by Indiana. Miami rallied to win a nail-biter against Georgia Tech, USC beat Utah by a point and Oklahoma held off a late Texas rally to win the Red River Showdown.

Now will we see a bunch of Top 10 upsets this week? Probably not. But keep an eye on that Syracuse/Miami game. I think if we see an upset among the nation’s elite this week, it has the potential to come in that key ACC matchup.

Last week’s record was 18-5, bringing the yearly record 92-38.


Friday, October 20

Colorado State (5-2) at New Mexico (3-3) 9:15 p.m. CT
New Mexico, which led the country in rushing offense a year ago, is a capable team offensively due to the strength of its triple-option offense, which is led by dynamic quarterback Lamar Jordan and tailbacks Richard McQuarley and Tyrone Owens. But if the Lobos want to upset the high-scoring Rams, they must protect the football and be more successful on third down. In the 38-0 loss to Fresno State last week, Bob Davies’ team committed three turnovers and converted just 2 of 14 third downs. That cannot happen against a Colorado State team that features a talented three-headed monster at quarterback (Nick Stevens), running back (Dalyn Dawkins) and wideout (Michael Gallup). Gallup, a future NFL player, is one of the nation’s best-kept secrets at receiver. In the Rams’ win over Nevada last week, he hauled in 13 catches for 263 yards and three scores.
The Lowe Down: Colorado State 42, New Mexico 30

Saturday, October 21

No. 10 Oklahoma State (5-1) at Texas (3-3) 11:00 a.m. CT
Oklahoma State has been somewhat of an afterthought after losing to TCU earlier in the year, but an impressive road win over Texas, which begins a critical three-game stretch that also includes a road trip to West Virginia and a home date with rival Oklahoma, could continue the Cowboys ascension. Now we all know OSU can score, but Mike Gundy’s team can’t shoot itself in the foot on that side of the ball due to the Pokes so-so defense. It’s obvious that Texas has improved under first-year head coach Tom Herman, but the Longhorns’ D will have its hands full trying to contain the nation’s top-rated offense (610.7 ypg).
The Lowe Down: Oklahoma State 42, Texas 28

Tennessee (3-3) at No. 1 Alabama (7-0) 2:30 p.m. CT
There was a time when this was one of the biggest rivalries in college football. But it’s been 11 years since Tennessee last beat Alabama and the current Crimson Tide winning streak doesn’t appear to be ending any time soon. In fact, with the way the Vols are playing on offense (UT hasn’t scored a TD in 11 quarters) this game could be over by halftime. This is starting to get boring, but, hey, you can’t fault greatness. Bama rolls … again.
The Lowe Down: Alabama 42, Tennessee 3

Syracuse (4-3) at No. 8 Miami (5-0) 2:30 p.m. CT Upset Special*****
Last week I talked about how important it was for backup tailback Travis Homer to step up in place of the injured Mark Walton. In the thrilling win over Georgia Tech, Homer played a major role in the Hurricanes 25-24 come-from-behind win by rushing for 170 yards and a score. Against high-powered Syracuse, it will be critical for Homer to have another productive outing so The U can control the clock and limit the number of touches by the Orange’s offense. Miami doesn’t want to get into a shootout with a Syracuse O that features dynamic quarterback Eric Dungey, a terrific wideout duo of Steve Ishmael and Ervin Phillips and a good all-around tailback in Dontae Strickland. But I think that’ll be what happens.
The Lowe Down: Syracuse 33, Miami 30

No. 24 LSU (5-2) at Ole Miss (3-3) 6:15 p.m. CT
LSU showed a lot of heart in rallying from 20 points down to beat Auburn last week. But the Tigers can ill-afford a letdown against an Ole Miss team that’s looks like it’s breaking out of its offensive funk. When breaking down this game, it will be a test of the strengths of sorts. The Rebels, spearheaded by quarterback Shea Patterson and a talented receiving corps, own the top passing attack in the SEC. LSU, paced by corners Donte Jackson, Kevin Tolliver II and Greedy Williams and safety John Battle, owns one of the nation’s top pass defenses. But LSU has something Ole Miss doesn’t and that’s a running game. And that will be the difference here.
The Lowe Down: LSU 38, Ole Miss 28

No. 21 Auburn (5-2) at Arkansas (2-4) 6:30 p.m. CT
It will be interesting to see how Auburn responds after its stunning loss to LSU last weekend. Once again, the Tigers offense was the story. After opening the first quarter with 17 points, Auburn scored just six the rest of the game. And since this has been the same ol’ song and dance for the last couple of years, there’s no doubt the head coach is the problem. All offseason Gus Malzahn talked about not calling plays. He said OC Chip Lindsey would be the team’s play-caller. But in the team’s two biggest games (at Clemson and at LSU) to date, it’s been pretty obvious that Malzahn still has a hand in the offense. And I really think that he is undermining everything that goes into teamwork by doing what he’s doing. But hey, he’s the head coach and he can do what he wants. Arkansas’ starting quarterback Austin Allen may not play, so Auburn’s defense must prepare for Cole Kelley, a 6-foot-7, 258 pound monster, behind center.
The Lowe Down: Auburn 35, Arkansas 14

No. 11 USC (6-1) at No. 13 Notre Dame (5-1) 6:30 p.m. CT
USC could be in for a big challenge here. The Trojans were really banged up on defense, especially on the D-line, before their win over Utah a week ago, but losing defensive tackle Josh Fatu to a concussion following an automobile accident is a crippling blow squaring off against the nation’s fifth-best rushing attack (308 ypg), which is led by dual-threat quarterback Brandon Wimbush and talented tailbacks Josh Adams and Deon McIntosh, not to mention one of America’s best offensive lines. If USC wants to upset Notre Dame, Sam Darnold will need to play lights out. But Darnold’s offensive line has been suspect all season long and the Irish defense is playing well.
The Lowe Down: Notre Dame 30, USC 17

No. 19 Michigan (5-1) at No. 2 Penn State (6-0) 6:30 p.m. CT
Alright, this is when we will find out how good Penn State is. After the showdown with Michigan, the Nittany Lions will travel to Ohio State and Michigan State over the next two weeks. But first things first, James Franklin’s team has to beat the Wolverines. For that to happen, Penn State just needs to continue the formula that’s worked all season long: run Saquon Barkley, let quarterback Trace McSorley and those talented options in the passing game do their thing and continue to play stellar defense (the Nittany Lions lead the nation in points allowed (9 ppg.)). Right now, Michigan is struggling to find offensive success and that will show up here.
The Lowe Down: Penn State 27, Michigan 13

Colorado (4-3) at No. 15 Washington State (6-1) 9:45 p.m. CT
About this time last week, I thought Washington State was the best team in the Pac-12. But after a 37-3 beat-down at the hands of surging Cal, I really don’t have a clue who the best team on the West Coast is. Before last week’s debacle against the Bears, Wazzu quarterback Luke Falk had thrown just two interceptions through six games. He threw five in the loss to Cal. And a couple of those were in the end zone. That just cannot happen. Look for Falk and his teammates to bounce back against a Colorado team that’s been struggling on defense.
The Lowe Down: Washington State 38, Colorado 17

In other Saturday games:

Louisville 20 at Florida State 27

Maryland 17 at No. 5 Wisconsin 45

Idaho 30 at Missouri 38

Iowa State 37 at Texas Tech 42

Boston College 14 at Virginia 23

Indiana 16 at No. 18 Michigan State 30

North Carolina 16 at No. 14 Virginia Tech 38

No. 20 UCF 38 at Navy 28

Arizona State 20 at Utah 28

Kentucky 23 at Mississippi State 27

No. 9 Oklahoma 34 at Kansas State 17

No. 16 South Florida 38 at Tulane 17

Arizona 23 at Cal 26 Upset Special *****

Kansas 14 at No. 4 TCU 41

No. 23 West Virginia 38 at Baylor 28

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