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The Farrell Awards: Reacting to an amazing day in college football

Texas A&M fans rush the field after the Aggies upset No. 1 Alabama.
Texas A&M fans rush the field after the Aggies upset No. 1 Alabama. (USA Today Sports Images)

The 2021 college football season is in full swing! Here are Mike Farrell's biggest takeaways from Week 6.


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KING FALLS TO HIS SUBJECT

Jimbo Fisher became the first of Nick Saban's former assistants to beat him when Texas A&M took down top-ranked Alabama. It looked like Alabama had all the momentum in the second half, and they took the lead with five minutes to go when no one on the Aggies' defense decided to cover Jameson Williams on the goal line. But Zach Calzada rallied and brought Texas A&M down the field on consecutive scoring drives, bringing Alabama's 19-game winning streak to an end. And Fisher makes Saban 24-1 against his former assistant coaches.

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WIDE OPEN

Even in the loss, Jameson Williams was the best player on the field in College Station on Saturday night, as the Ohio State transfer had 10 catches for 146 yards and two touchdowns. He was lightning in a bottle with the ball in his hands. At least the Aggies didn't kick it to him.


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CHOKE CITY

When Texas took a 38-20 lead in to halftime, the Longhorn faithful had to be feeling pretty good about themselves. But their defense turned into a sieve in the fourth quarter, giving up 24 points and letting Kennedy Brooks run amok, including giving up the game-winning score with only one second left.

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SPARKING VICTORY

With Spencer Rattler struggling again, Lincoln Riley took the bold choice to turn to true freshman Caleb Williams midway through the game, and that bet paid off big time. He finished with 300 total yards and was the spark they needed to get things going. The question becomes whether Williams becomes the guy moving forward for a team that has playoff aspirations.

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Spencer Rattler and Lincoln Riley
Spencer Rattler and Lincoln Riley (USA Today Sports Images)

BODY LANGUAGE

A lot will be made of Rattler’s lack of celebration when Williams scored his key touchdown run on 4th and 1 and the talk of his me-first attitude will arise again all week.


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PINBALL

The early window saw a bunch of great games, but Arkansas - Ole Miss might have been the best of them. The teams combined for nearly 1,300 yards, and it ended 52-51 on a failed two point conversion. That was an absolutely wild game and if you took the over you were smart as it was smashed by more than 50 points.

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A TRUE WEAPON

Even in a losing effort, KJ Jefferson was unstoppable. The Razorbacks' quarterback threw for 326 yards and three touchdowns and ran for three more. Treylon Burks, Jefferson's favorite target, had another big game with 136 yards receiving and a score.


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HERE THEY COME

Ohio State has found its stride on offense. CJ Stroud had an easy 400 yards and five touchdowns against a Maryland team that is beginning to fall apart. Freshman sensation TreVeyon Henderson had 169 total yards and three scores. The Buckeyes have shrugged off that loss to Oregon and are getting back into form quickly.


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IDENTITY FOUND?

Tennessee is starting to turn into a high-octane offense with Hendon Hooker behind center. Between Hooker's efficient passing and a rushing attack that is vastly improved, the Vols are starting to click. Tiyon Evans had another impressive outing with 119 yards and a score on the ground, and the Vols ran for nearly 250 yards as a team. Josh Heupel has this offense humming.

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FLIP THE SCRIPT

After starting the game 1-9 for 14 yards with an interception in the first quarter against Penn State, Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras found his groove and helped lead the Hawkeyes to victory in the weekend's biggest game. He went 16 for 22 the rest of the way with two touchdowns, including the game-winning 44-yard strike to Nico Ragiani on a very well designed play action rollout.


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Spencer Petras
Spencer Petras (USA Today Sports Images)

OUR HOUSE

A lot of the credit for the Hawkeyes victory has to go to the fans in Kinnick Stadium who routinely were so loud that they forced Penn State to false start. Once Sean Clifford went down, Ta'Quan Roberson really struggled with the crowd, as he ended the game 7 for 21 with two interceptions and zero touchdowns.


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MORE RESPECT

It is about time that Kentucky quarterback Will Levis, who transferred in from Penn State during the offseason, began to gain more respect nationally. Aside from guiding the Wildcats to an undefeated start to the season, he has guided the offense effortlessly. This continued Saturday during a 42-21 victory over LSU when he completed 14 of 17 passes for 145 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 75 yards and two more touchdowns.

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MORE RESPECT (PART II)

At this point most college football fans are aware of the recent success that Coastal Carolina and quarterback Grayson McCall have experienced. However, tight end Isaiah Likely is someone who is still hovering under the radar for many and should be gaining more attention. This is especially true after Thursday night’s performance when Likely finished with eight receptions for 232 yards and four touchdowns. One of the top tight ends in the country, Likely has now totaled 27 receptions for 513 yards and eight touchdowns as the Chanticleers steamroll towards an undefeated regular season.

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SUFFOCATING

Despite being 1-3, Wisconsin's defense has still been one of the best units in the country, and it was on full display on Saturday, as the Badgers won 24-0, and held Illinois under 100 total yards. The Illini got more first downs via Wisconsin penalties (5) than they did with their offense (4), and were outgained by 398 yards.

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CLEAN POCKET

Stetson Bennett had seemingly all day to throw anytime he dropped back against Auburn, and that helped Ladd McConkey to a career day. The freshman receiver had five catches for 135 yards and two touchdowns, while Bennett was an efficient 14 for 21 with 231 yards and zero picks.

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FIGHTING FOR COACH

Syracuse gave Wake Forest everything they could handle, and were nearly able to pull off the victory in overtime. The Orange rolled up over 350 rushing yards, but couldn't keep Sam Hartman in check enough on the day, and the Demon Deacons moved to 6-0. But this has been a surprising season for Syracuse as they are clearly fighting for head coach Dino Babers.

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FALLING FLAT

While a lot of people may not realize it, Boise State has been having a pretty awful season, especially by their standards, and came into the game against BYU at 2-3 and underdogs to a hot Cougars team. But BYU was unbelievably sloppy, committing four turnovers and not being able to get off the field on third downs on defense. As a top-10 independent this was a loss they couldn’t afford.

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AIR IT OUT

Baylor's Gerry Bohanon has been quietly one of the top passers in the country this season, and that continued on Saturday. He had 336 and four touchdowns with zero interceptions against West Virginia, and linked up with Tyquan Thornton for 187 yards and two of those touchdowns in the Bears' 45-20 drubbing of the Mountaineers. This Baylor team can beat you on the ground or in the air and they are for real.

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Jordan Travis
Jordan Travis (USA Today Sports Images)

SAY WHAT?

North Carolina came into its home game against a struggling Florida State team as 17.5-point favorites, but left the game with a 10-point loss. And it wasn't even that close. The Tar Heels scored a cosmetic touchdown with three minutes left while they were already down 18. Jordan Travis, not Sam Howell, looked like the Heisman hopeful, and it's a sad state of affairs right now in Chapel Hill after such high expectations.

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COMEBACK KIDS

Notre Dame bounced back from its loss to Cincinnati to win a strange game in Blacksburg, needing a last minute 48-yard field goal to beat Virginia Tech 32-29. Jack Coan was the more effective Irish QB on the day, and led the game winning drive after the Irish got the ball with less than two minutes left. This was after Tyler Buchner was given the reigns of the offense so we’ve seen Coan come back again and again.

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TAILSPIN

USC is in the midst of a tailspin, and it continued this week at home to Utah. Cameron Rising threw for over 300 yards with four total touchdowns for the Utes, and at this point the Trojans can't stop a nosebleed. A new coach can't come soon enough on the south side of Los Angeles.


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BAD VS. BAD

In the bizarro matchup of the century, UMass was able to beat UConn 27-13 to officially crown the Huskies the worst team in college football. Ellis Merriweather racked up 171 yards and two scores for the Minutemen, and their defense held UConn to 1-10 on third down. Enjoy it while it lasts, UMass fans.

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Bailey Zappe
Bailey Zappe (USA Today Sports Images)

FIREWORKS

You knew that with two of the most prolific offenses in the country facing off there were bound to be some big numbers, and UTSA vs. Western Kentucky did not disappoint. Bailey Zappe had 523 yards and five touchdowns passing for the Hilltoppers, while Frank Harris had 349 yards and six scores for the Roadrunners in their 52-46 victory. There were so many thrilling games on Saturday that this one got lost in the shuffle.

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NAILED IT

Jalen Nailor came out on Saturday and nearly beat Rutgers all by himself. He had three touchdown catches of over 60 yards in the first half alone, and finished with 221 yards for the now 6-0 Michigan State Spartans. Kenneth Walker added 233 yards on the ground in the 31-13 win.

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GETTING WELL

After a tough loss at Kentucky last week, Florida had a lot of frustrations to take out this week, and Vanderbilt provided the perfect punching bag. The Gators blanked the 'Dores and Emory Jones accounted for 313 total yards in the 42-0 easy victory.


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FRIDAY NIGHT KNOCKOUT

Cincinnati started off a little slow against Temple but the Bearcats came to life in the second half, knowing that they would need to put a big number on the scoreboard to stay in the playoff conversation. They scored 31 unanswered to win 52-3.

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