Rivals.com - The Farrell Awards: Epic clashes set stage for interesting November
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The Farrell Awards: Epic clashes set stage for interesting November

Kenneth Walker III
Kenneth Walker III (USA Today Sports Images)

The 2021 college football season is in full swing! Here are Mike Farrell's biggest takeaways from Week 9.


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THREE-POINT STANCE: Five-year plans, Big Ten, Heisman Trophy

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HEISMAN HOPEFUL 

One of my top five picks on my mid-season Heisman ballot might have had his Heisman moment on Saturday. Kenneth Walker III had five touchdowns on the ground and 208 total yards, He accounted for more than 50 percent of the Spartans yards from scrimmage. Michigan came into the game giving up only 116 yards per game, but Walker was able to get 197 by himself in the Spartans' 37-33 win over the Wolverines.

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CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR

Andrel Anthony played statistically his best game of the season against Michigan State. Despite the loss, Anthony had six catches for 155 yards and two scores, including a school record 93 yarder. The passing game for Michigan in general looked very good, but their defense was just unable to stop Kenneth Walker.

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FRESHMAN PHENOM, PART 1

Caleb Williams bounced back from a tough outing against Kansas last week to put up video game numbers against Texas Tech in the Sooners' 52-21 rout. The true freshman signal caller threw for over 400 yards and six touchdowns on only 30 passing attempts, and had two receivers (Marvin Mims and Mario Williams) over the century mark.


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FRESHMAN PHENOM, PART 2

TreVeyon Henderson, someone who has seen this awards column many times this season, continues to impress and put the Buckeyes' offense on his back in the second half. He finished the game with 152 yards rushing and a touchdown for Ohio State in its crucial victory over Penn State. CJ Stroud played a clean game behind center for the Buckeyes, and now all eyes will be on the Nov. 20 matchup vs. Michigan State.


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Tank Bigsby
Tank Bigsby (USA Today Sports Images)

FILL THE TANK

In Auburn's victory over Ole Miss, Tank Bigsby reminded everyone why he was considered the best back in the SEC coming in to the season. The sophomore had 150 total yards on 25 touches, and was a workhorse for the Tigers, while Bo Nix played one of the cleanest games we've seen from him. Don't look now, but the Tigers are still very much in the thick of it in the SEC West.

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PILE IT ON

After putting up 70 points against Army last week, there wasn't much more that Wake Forest needed to do to prove to the country that the team's offense is for real. But that didn't stop them from putting up another big number, this time against a conference opponent in Duke with their 45-7 win. Sam Hartman again topped the 400 yard mark through the air, and accounted for five total touchdowns.

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COWBELL UP

Mississippi State was always going to be able to put up some numbers on offense with Mike Leach calling plays, but it was its defense that really showed up in its victory over No. 12 Kentucky. They held the Wildcats to 216 total yards and picked off Will Levis three times en route to a 31-17 victory. Will Rogers continues to put up obscene numbers, completing 92 percent of his passes (36-for-39) for 344 yards.

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BOUNCEBACK

After falling to Iowa State, taking on Kansas at home was just what Oklahoma State needed. The score was 38-0 at halftime, and the Cowboys were equally successful in the air as they were on the ground.

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INSTANT CLASSIC

The last minute of SMU vs. Houston was truly epic. Down 37-34 with 30 seconds left, Mustang kicker Blake Mazza absolutely drilled a 45-yard field goal to tie it up. But Houston's Marcus Jones took the ensuing kickoff to the house, putting them back up 44-37. Yet, it still wasn't quite over, as SMU returned next kickoff all the way back to the Houston 35. Tanner Mordecai wasn't able to complete the quasi-Hail Mary, and the Mustang's undefeated season came to an end. It's an ending that few people will forget.

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HELP WANTED 

In North Carolina's 44-34 loss to Notre Dame, Sam Howell had to do everything for the Tar Heels. He accounted for 432 of North Carolina's 544 total yards, but it still wasn't enough. The North Carolina defense had no answer for Kyren Williams, who went over 200 yards for the Irish, and Notre Dame will undoubtedly re-enter the top-10 next week, after losses by both Iowa and Michigan.


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Sean Tucker
Sean Tucker (USA Today Sports Images)

KEEP ON TUCKIN'

Pop quiz: Who's the leading rusher in college football? The answer is Syracuse's Sean Tucker, and he's helping guide the Orange to a potential bowl appearance. Tucker ran for over 200 yards as Syracuse absolutely dominated Boston College, winning 21-6. The Orange now sit at 5-4, and Tucker and Co. may just have saved Dino Babers' job.

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FEELS LIKE DEVIN

After an up and down outing against Miami, NC State QB Devin Leary looked very sharp against Louisville. He went 25-for-36 with 317 yards and four touchdowns in the Wolfpack's 28-13 victory over Louisville, and kept the Wolfpack alive in the ACC Atlantic.

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NEXT MAN UP

Minnesota's running back room has been decimated by the injury bug this season, but it doesn't really seem to matter for the Golden Gophers. They had two more players top the century mark, with Mar'Keise Irving and Ky Thomas both looking good behind their behemoth offensive line. Heck, even third string LB Derik LeCaptain got in on the action, carrying the ball three times for a touchdown. With Iowa's loss, Minnesota is still right in there for the Big Ten West crown.

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TURNOVER PARTY

On paper, Arizona State should have rolled Washington State at home, but - in the words of Chris Berman - that's why they play the game. And the Sun Devils decided that Saturday was the day to play loosey-goosey with the ball. Jayden Daniels threw two picks and, as a team, Arizona State fumbled the ball three times and turned it over on downs once. Washington State scored 24 points off of turnovers as they pulled off the 34-21 upset.

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SUFFOCATING

Despite being unranked, Wisconsin was a home favorite over top-10 Iowa in large part due to the Badgers' defense. That defense showed up in a big way, holding the Hawkeyes to 156 total yards, including only 24 rushing yards on 30 carries. Add in three forced fumbles, and the Badgers defense were able to completely stymie any attack the Hawkeyes could muster.

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SLOPPY DOMINANCE

If you just look at the final score, you might think that Georgia took Florida to the woodshed, but that just wasn't the case. The Gators actually pressed the issue with the Dawgs, outgaining them and forcing three turnovers. But Georgia was able to force three turnovers of their own, and capitalize on all of them, while the Gators couldn't. It's the first real chink in the armor we've seen for UGA all season.

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Brock Purdy
Brock Purdy (USA Today Sports Images)

YEAR FROM HELL

Iowa State had a ton of promise coming into the year - a preseason top-10 ranking, two potential Heisman candidates in Brock Purdy and Breece Hall, and one of the most coveted coaches in the country. But everything that could have gone wrong has this season, culminating with this weekend's loss at West Virginia. With seven minutes left in the game, the Cyclones were at the Mountaineers' two yard line, and handed it off to Hall, who proceeded to fumble the ball, and in the process fumble away their chance at the first 10 win season in school history.

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NOT ENOUGH

Kenny Pickett again put up eye-popping numbers for Pitt - 519 yards, and three touchdowns. But it wasn't enough, as the Panthers' defense wasn't able to slow down Miami at all, and the Hurricanes ended up with the 38-34 victory led by a crucial interception of Pickett late.

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ANOTHER ONE

Once again, Texas had a sizeable second half lead against a ranked opponent, and once again, they gave up a slew of unanswered points. The Longhorns were up 21-10 after the first possession of the second half against Baylor, but then proceeded to give up touchdowns on three consecutive drives to the Bears. Baylor looks like the second best team in the conference right now, and is on a collision course to meet Oklahoma in the title game.

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BIG PLAY CENTRAL

Maryland and Indiana faced off in College Park, and there were plenty of big plays to go around. There were eight passing plays of more than thirty yards between the two teams, as well as a 66 yard run by Indiana tailback Stephen Carr. The Terps won 38-35, lead by Taulia Tagovailoa's 419 yards passing.


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Felix Anudike-Uzomah
Felix Anudike-Uzomah (USA Today Sports Images)

ONE MAN WRECKING CREW

Kansas State walloped TCU 31-12, and that was mostly due to its defense, more specifically due to Felix Anudike-Uzomah. The sophomore defensive end tied the FBS record with six sacks in the game, and added two forced fumbles as well. "King Felix" now leads the nation with 12 sacks, and received a well-deserved standing ovation by the home crowd.

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DUCKS ALIVE

The Oregon Ducks throttled a disappointing Colorado team to remain as the only team in the Pac-12 with a shot at the college football playoff. Now the big question will be where they are ranked compared to an Ohio State they beat early in the season on the road. I’m thinking the Buckeyes end up ranked ahead on Tuesday when the playoff rankings first appear.

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BAD BEAT  

Clemson was favored by 9 or 9.5 points in many places over Florida State. While the game remained close, a last ditch backward lateral situation on the final play of the game led to a defensive Clemson touchdown and a 10-point win. If you had the Seminoles covering, you have probably lost your mind by now.

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