Tue. Apr 16th, 2024

In Week 8, Marvin Harrison Jr. reminded everyone why he’s the best wide receiver in college football while Virginia reminded everyone of how little we actually know. Here are the winners and losers from this weekend in college football.

WINNER

Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr.: Harrison Jr. had the type of game Heisman campaigns are made of on Saturday against Associated Press No. 7 Penn State. He finished with a career-high 11 receptions for 162 yards and a touchdown on a third-and-12 to put the game away with 4:07 remaining.

He has over 100 yards in five of his seven games this season. After No. 3 Ohio State’s 20-12 win on Saturday, he has 42 receptions, 766 yards and six touchdowns.

LOSER

“Maserati Marv”: Harrison Jr. is an excellent wide receiver for the above reasons. Gus Johnson’s nickname for him is not. The longtime broadcaster has a lot of memorable catchphrases over the years, but his “Maserati Marv” nickname for Harrison Jr. is not one of them. 

Does Johnson want a Maserati? That’s the only explanation for his multiple references to Harrison Jr. as “Maserati Marv,” a nickname no one knew Harrison had before Week 8. Johnson should put this car back in the garage. 

WINNER

Virginia’s upset of the year: Chances are we won’t witness another upset as big as Virginia’s over Associated Press No. 10 North Carolina (6-1) this season. The Tar Heels were a 24-point favorite and still have dreams of winning the ACC this season while all the Commodores (2-5) are dreaming for is this season to end. 

It’s been a long season for Virginia and despite a couple of devastating turnovers in the end zone, it was able to hang on for a 31-27 win.

LOSER

Josh Heupel’s fourth-down calls: No. 17 Tennessee blew a 20-7 lead at No. 11 Alabama, leaving head coach Heupel speechless afterward.

Oh, that was his reaction to the officiating. 

However, scapegoating the officials won’t work; Heupel’s poor fourth-and-one call in the third quarter had a much bigger influence on the game’s outcome. 

Already 0-for-1 on fourth down following a poorly designed second-quarter play that called for quarterback Joe Milton to stretch Bama’s defense horizontally, Heupel elected to run a dive up the middle out of the shotgun on the next fourth-and-1 opportunity, an even worse call than the previous one. 

Alabama took its first lead on the next possession. But sure, keep thinking it was the referees at fault.

WINNER

Alabama’s defense: The Tide defense came up big in the second half of their 34-20 win over Tennessee, shutting the Vols out after halftime. It was the third time this season that Alabama came back from a halftime deficit and the defense has come up huge on each occasion. 

Against Texas A&M, No. 13 Ole Miss and Tennessee, Bama’s defense held them to six points during the second half, outscoring them by 55 combined. It hasn’t been pretty in Tuscaloosa this year, but Bama enters its bye 7-1 and controls its own destiny in the SEC thanks to its defense.

LOSER

Penn State head coach James Franklin: Given an opportunity to change the narrative around the Penn State program on Saturday, Franklin instead leaned into its reputation with an underwhelming game against a better opponent.

WINNER

LSU’s offense: Quarterback Jayden Daniels averaged 18.6 yards per attempt and had four total touchdowns against Army in the first half. The Tigers have the most efficient offense in football, and Daniels is a significant reason why. 

Despite No. 19 LSU already having two losses, he’s forced himself into the Heisman conversation with his brilliant play, including during Saturday’s 62-0 rout of the Black Knights. He didn’t even need to play in the second half, ensuring that he’s well-rested for a huge game in two weeks at Alabama. 

LOSER

Iowa: There are excruciating losses, and then there’s how No. 24 Iowa suffered a defeat against Minnesota.

The Hawkeyes appeared to have pulled off a stunning win in the final minutes against the Golden Gophers on a punt return for a touchdown, but referees incorrectly ruled the returner called for a fair catch. 

As much as officials blew the end of the game, Iowa’s offense blew the rest of the second half, gaining a pathetic two yards after halftime. It’s hard to say Iowa got cheated after it did so little to deserve to win up until that point.

WINNER

Blowing kisses to opponents’ sideline: UCF wide receiver Javon Baker could have had his 86-yard touchdown against No. 6 Oklahoma erased after he blew a kiss at the Sooners’ sideline. Referees either missed it or decided it wasn’t a taunt but a friendly gesture.

The taunting rule is the lamest in college football, so it was nice to see referees not be a joy kill for once. Plus, blowing a kiss is something a grandma would do to their grandkid, which should be the threshold for a taunt. Rock your opponent to sleep? Knit them an itchy sweater? That’s not a taunt; that’s just grandmotherly instincts.

LOSER 

Trick plays for two-point conversions: On Saturday, UCF and Penn State rolled out similarly awful two-point conversion attempts in a matter of minutes.

Both teams tossed laterals to their running back, who then failed to convert on pass attempts. It’s hard enough to fit the ball in tight windows close to the goal line, and for both teams to think of trying running back passes was as strange as it was questionable.

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