Week 5 Recap - Penn State Escapes; Oklahoma State and Florida State Did Not

September 24, 2017 by Dave Congrove

Oklahoma State and Florida State got bit by the upset bug, but it could have been an epidemic as Saturday produced some wild finishes.

Penn State, the top-ranked team in the Congrove Computer Rankings (CCR Top 130), needed a 7-yard touchdown pass from Trace McSorly to Juwan Johnson on the last play of the game to steal a 21-19 win on the road at Iowa.

Second-rank Oklahoma got a bigger fight than it wanted from winless Baylor, but held on for a 49-41 win.

3rd-ranked Wisconsin was the only member of the CCR Top 25 that was idle.

4th-ranked Clemson found itself tied at 7 with Boston College after three quarters before putting up 27 unanswered points in the final period for a 34-7 win. The undefeated and defending national champion Tigers head for Blacksburg, Virginia next Saturday to face similarly undefeated Virginia Tech in a Saturday night game. ESPN's College GameDay will be in town for the first time since 2007 when it set up shop to cover the Hokies' season-opener against East Carolina, just a few months after a lone gunman took the lives of 32 Virginia Tech students and faculty members, and wounded 17 others, on April 16 of that year.

6th-ranked Oklahoma State only led once, and for just 2 minutes and 47 seconds, in a 44-31 loss at home to No. 13 TCU.

8th-ranked USC was tied with Cal at 13-apiece at the end of the 3rd, The Golden Bears turned the ball over on each of its next 4 possessions with a fumble and 3 interceptions to help the Trojans take a 30-13 lead and eventual 30-20 win.

No. 12 Florida State scored just 1 touchdown on 8 trips into the red zone in a 27-21 home loss to North Carolina State. The Seminoles are 0-2 for the first time  since 1989 and join Baylor (0-4) as the only Power 5 conference teams to be winless.

Florida State was playing its first game in 21 days after Hurricane Irma forced the cancellation of its home game with Louisiana-Monroe, and postponed a Tallahassee meeting with Miami (Fla.) until October 7.

Miami (Fla.) and UCF also had long layoffs due to Irma, but each emerged victorious from their return to the gridiron.

The Hurricanes trailed Toledo 16-10 at halftime, pulled away for 38-16 lead early in the 4th, then let the Rockets get back to within 38-30 before closing out the game with a 52-30 win. Like the 'Noles, Miami had not played since September 2.

UCF had not taken the field since August 31, but that didn't stop the Knights from having a relatively easy go of it at Maryland, crushing their Big Ten opponent 38-10.

For the second straight week, Florida was involved in a dramatic finish as Kentucky pulled defeat from the jaws of victory by twice leaving Florida receivers completely uncovered on the first play after a timeout. The Gators turned both mistakes into touchdowns, including the game winner with 43 seconds left. Kentucky missed a 57-yard field goal on the final play - a kick which could have been much shorter had it not been for a holding penalty. Florida extended its winning streak over the Wildcats to 31 games with the 28-27 victory in Lexington. That cardiac win comes a week after beating Tennessee on the final play of the game in Gainesville. This week, Florida trailed Kentucky 27-14 with 7:58 to go in the 4th.

Well off the radar, but dramatic nonetheless, was the 46-43 win by North Texas over UAB. The Blazers rallied from a 43-29 deficit with under 6 minutes to play to tie the game at 43 with 27 seconds left. But the Mean Green returned the ensuing kickoff 48 yards, then ripped off a 34-yard run to set up the game-winning 22-yard field goal.

There was also the wild Texas A&M-Arkansas game in Arlington which saw eight lead changes and was decided in overtime when the Aggies picked off a pass in the endzone for a 50-43 win.

South Carolina denied Louisiana Tech a big road win after trailing 13-0 until the 11:06 mark of the 4th quarter. A 31-yard field goal with 4 seconds left gave the Gamecocks the 17-16 victory. That kick came only 51 seconds after the Bulldogs had re-taken the lead on a 25-yard filed goal. A 24-yard run and a 41-yard pass by QB James Bentley set up the game-winner, but no one was feeling very safe or secure that freshman walk-on Parker White would knock it through the uprights. Before that kick, he was 0-for-4 on the season, and 0-for-2 on the day.

Tulane upended Army 21-17 on a 4-yard touchdown run with 23 seconds left, one play after a 4th down conversion kept the Green Wave's chances alive.

Some other shocking scores of the day? Alabama rushed for 496 yards, and had a total of 677 yards, in a 59-0 beat-down of Vanderbilt in Nashville; Nebraska struggled past lowly Rutgers 27-17; Georgia annihilated Mississippi State 31-3; and Tennessee eked past 127th-ranked UMass 17-13.

Late Night

UCLA continues to struggle. A lost fumble midway through the 3rd quarter tilted a close battle in Stanford's favor which went on to win convincingly 58-34. The Bruins have won just one of their last seven conference games, six of their last 18 over-all, and have dropped 10 straight to the Cardinal.

Arizona State, a 15-point Vegas underdog at home, beat Oregon 37-35 to snap a 10-game losing streak to their PAC-12 cross-divisional rival.  The computer only favored the Ducks by 5.48.

Wyoming downed Hawaii 28-21 in overtime, courtesy of a tipped pass and interception by the Cowboys after they scored first on their extra possession.


98 games were scheduled to be played by FBS teams against FCS schools, but the cancellation of Northern Colorado at Florida (due to Hurricane Irma) reduced that number to 97. Then the addition of Charleston Southern at Indiana (to replace the FIU at Indiana game that was canceled due to Hurricane Irma) took us back to 98. And most recently, UCF had to drop Maine to accommodate a rescheduling of its home conference game with Memphis so we're back to 97.

Only 3 games this week had FBS schools taking on FCS teams. One of those resulted in the computer's predicted win by Western Illinois at Coastal Carolina, though the 52-10 rout was unforeseen. The computer had the visiting Leathernecks favored by 7.71.

FBS schools were 2-1 vs. the FCS this weekend. The FBS is now 80-9 (.899) vs. the FCS this season, and 1,210-117 (.912) since 2003.

These are the FCS victories in 2017:
September 23: Western Illinois 52, Coastal Carolina 10
September 16: North Carolina A&T 35, Charlotte 31
September 16: Idaho State 30, Nevada 28
September 9: South Dakota 35. Bowling Green 27
September 9: New Hampshire 22, Georgia Southern 12
September 2: Liberty 48, Baylor 45
September 2: Howard 43, UNLV 40
September 2: James Madison 34, East Carolina 14
August 31: Tennessee State 17, Georgia State 10.

The 97-game total for this season is down substantially from the 110 schools that played 113 games vs. FCS schools last year.


Alabama - Won 39 straight regular season nonconference games (FBS longest). Won 14 straight home games (FBS longest). Won 12 straight road games. Won 18 straight conference games (FBS record). Won 59-0 at Vanderbilt on Saturday.

Oklahoma - Won 14 straight overall (FBS longest). Won 13 straight road games (FBS longest). Won 49-41 at Baylor on Saturday.

Houston - Had a 16-game home winning streak snapped with a 27-24 loss to Texas Tech on Saturday. That had been the longest current FBS streak, but that honor now falls to Alabama with 14 straight home wins.

Fresno State - Lost 15 straight FBS games (FBS longest). Fresno State was Idle this week.

Rutgers - Lost 15 straight conference games (FBS longest). Lost 27-17 at Nebraska on Saturday.

East Carolina - Lost 7 straight overall (now tied with Massachusetts for FBS longest). Visits Connecticut on Sunday.

Massachusetts - Lost 8 straight overall (FBS longest). Lost 17-13 at Tennessee on Saturday.

Kansas - Lost 42 straight road games (FBS longest). Lost 56-34 at home vs. West Virginia on Saturday.