Week Six Lowe Down: Texas, Miss. State pull upsets

Matt Lowe

October 05, 2018 at 4:51 pm.

Sep 29, 2018; Manhattan, KS, USA; Texas Longhorns running back Tre Watson (5) looks for room to run during the first quarter against the Kansas State Wildcats at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. Photo Credit: Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

Sep 29, 2018; Manhattan, KS, USA; Texas Longhorns running back Tre Watson (5) looks for room to run during the first quarter against the Kansas State Wildcats at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. Photo Credit: Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to Week Six of The Lowe Down.

It’s taken me a while to warm up to UCF as a potential College Football Playoff contender, but after watching the Knights play three times this season I’m officially on board.

Behind terrific dual-threat quarterback McKenzie Milton, UCF has picked up right where it left off last season and is among the nation’s leaders in almost every offensive category.

The Knights rank seventh nationally in points per game (48.8), fifth in rushing (272.8 ypg) and 19th in passing offense (310.0 ypg). UCF’s offensive line, which is often overshadowed by the play of Milton and speedy tailback Adrian Killins, has only allowed two sacks in four games, which ranks fourth nationally, and the defense, which isn’t as good as it was a year ago but makes big plays, is allowing just 16.8 points an outing.

Look, I’m not saying UCF will make the playoff, nor I’m a saying they are the best team in the country. But I do think the Knights have a very good football team that knows how to win. And if they keep moving up in the polls, I think they deserve to be mentioned as one of the nation’s top teams.

The yearly record is 51-15. To the games we go…

Friday, October 5

Utah State 30 at BYU 34

Saturday, October 6

No. 19 Texas (4-1) at No. 7 Oklahoma (5-0) 11:00 a.m. CT

Tom Herman’s team has made strides offensively since its opening-season loss to Maryland, but two major keys to Texas earning a victory over the Sooners will be how well Todd Orlando’s defensive unit plays (allowed less than 20 points the last three games) and how well the ‘Horns can run the ball with tailbacks Tre Watson and Keaontay Ingram and dual-threat quarterback Sam Ehlinger. Despite the loss of tailback Rodney Anderson for the season, OU’s offense hasn’t skipped a beat. Dynamic quarterback Kyler Murray headlines a Sooners O that averages nearly 50 points per game. But Oklahoma also features one of the nation’s best offensive line’s and an array of playmakers at receiver, notably CeeDee Lamb and speedster Marquise Brown, so they’re going to move the ball. Keep in mind that Army nearly upset the Sooners by running for an eye-popping 339 yards and controlling the clock. I think Texas could actually pull the upset if they can use the same blueprint the Black Knights did.

The Lowe Down: Texas 27, Oklahoma 24

No. 1 Alabama (5-0) at Arkansas (1-4) 11:00 a.m. CT

Alabama’s offense is on a record pace and Tua Tagovailoa’s play is a big reason for that. Not only are Tua’s instincts and accuracy off the charts, but the rapport he has with his fellow teammates is a telling sign that he’s revered by the Crimson Tide players. For the season, Tagovailoa has completed 66 of 88 passes for 1,161 yards and 14 touchdowns — with no interceptions. He’s 8 of 12 for 333 yards and four scores on passes 20-plus yards downfield and 10 of 16 for 115 yards and three TDs under pressure. On zero to nine-yard throws, he’s 23 of 26 (88.4 percent) for 355 yards and three scores. Only time will tell if Tagovailoa can lead Alabama to another title, but for now, just sit back and enjoy No. 13’s game. He’s truly a remarkable player.

The Lowe Down: Alabama 52, Arkansas 7

No. 5 LSU (5-0) at No. 22 Florida (4-1) 2:30 p.m. CT

Two words: Joe Burrow. Look, I don’t care what anyone says about the guy, he’s performed (14 TD passes, 0 picks) and performed at a high level. And with a road win at Florida, Burrow will be the only QB in America with wins over three Top 25 teams. For that to happen, LSU must continue to take care of the ball (just three turnovers all season) on offense and rely on its stingy defense to make plays. Don’t forget, Florida gave up 303 yards on the ground to Kentucky four weeks ago. LSU, behind Nick Brossette and a good O-line, is averaging close to 200 yards per game on the ground. The Gators are improving but I don’t think they are on LSU’s level just yet.

The Lowe Down: LSU 24, Florida 13

No. 8 Auburn (4-1) at Mississippi State (3-2) 6:30 p.m. CT

Entering the season, Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham and Mississippi State’s Nick Fitzgerald were two of the SEC’ top quarterbacks. But so far neither has played particularly well. In fairness to Stidham, he is operating behind a new-look offensive line — that may be without its two starting tackles in this game — that hasn’t played with a lot of consistency. But Stidham’s also held onto the ball too long at times and been uncharacteristically inaccurate on short and deep throws. The same could be said for Fitzgerald, who has looked confused at times operating in a new offensive scheme. The one constant for both of these teams has been defense. And with the offenses struggling like they are, the first one to 14 may be the winner.

The Lowe Down: Mississippi State 17, Auburn 13

No. 5 Notre Dame (5-0) at No. 24 Virginia Tech (3-1) 7:00 p.m. CT

Following a big win over Stanford, Notre Dame needs to avoid a letdown if it wants to stay in the conversation for the College Football Playoff. Sure, it’s still early in the season, but the Irish can ill-afford a loss now due to a challenging November schedule. Junior Ian Book has been lights out since taking over at quarterback for Brandon Wimbush. In two starts, he’s completed 52 of 70 passes for 616 yards and seven TDs and added another 90 yards and three scores on the ground. Look for Book to have another big day, but don’t expect the Hokies to go down without a fight. Senior Ryan Willis has played well since taking over for injured starting QB Josh Jackson, and Bud Foster’s defense is always a challenge for any team, especially in Lane Stadium.

The Lowe Down: Notre Dame 23, Virginia Tech 20

In other Saturday games

Northwestern 17 at No. 20 Michigan State 33

Maryland 16 at No. 15 Michigan 37

Missouri 33 at South Carolina 36

Boston College 20 at No. 23 NC State 30

No. 4 Clemson 42 at Wake Forest 23

FSU 17 at No. 17 Miami 34

Arizona State 17 at No. 21 Colorado 24

Indiana 18 at No. 3 Ohio State 48

No. 13 Kentucky 27 at Texas A&M 23 Upset Special****

UAB 20 at La. Tech 24

SMU 20 at No. 12 UCF 52

Vanderbilt 14 at No. 2 Georgia 42

Utah 17 at No. 14 Stanford 27