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College football winners and losers: Bedlam is avoided. Long live Bedlam!

Rodney Anderson and Oklahoma, along with in-state rival Oklahoma State, escaped to stay in playoff contention. (Orlin Wagner/Associated Press)

Breaking down the highlights and lowlights from Saturday’s college football action …

Saturday nearly provided the bedlam to minimize Bedlam.

The afternoon was not filled with season-defining victories. Any chance of those had to wait until the sun went down. But season-saving victories? The Big 12’s Sooner State powers both snagged one of those.

Oklahoma State’s potent offense entered the day averaging 610.7 yards, most in the country. Naturally, the Cowboys (6-1, 3-1 Big 12) mustered only 10 points in regulation and needed a Ramon Richards interception in the end zone in overtime to turn back Texas for a 13-10 triumph.

It was no easier for Oklahoma in its trip to Kansas State. The Sooners’ two turnovers led to a pair of K-State touchdowns, and an early penchant for getting cute on offense — which is basically what Kansas State has wanted its more talented opponents to do since Bill Snyder first took over the program at some point in the Cretaceous Period — backfired a couple times.

But Oklahoma (6-1, 3-1) scored on five of its six possessions after halftime, including on Rodney Anderson’s 22-yard touchdown run with seven seconds to go, to secure a 42-35 victory.

So both Mike Gundy’s Cowboys and Lincoln Riley’s Sooners remain on a collision course for a Nov. 4 Bedlam game that will have significance well beyond the state borders. They’re both still viable playoff contenders — for now, anyway.

Complete college football scoreboard for Week 8


* Penn State. The Nittany Lions took the lead on the second play from scrimmage and never relinquished it, bombing Michigan’s vaunted defense for 506 total yards in a 42-13 rout in Happy Valley.

It was a “check the boxes” sort of night for the 7-0 Nittany Lions. Tailback Saquon Barkley rushed for 108 yards and two scores. Trace McSorley threw for a touchdown and ran for three more. Penn State’s stout defense predictably bottled up Michigan’s meager offense.

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It was the first of three critical stepping stones for Penn State, which must deal with Ohio State and Michigan State over the next two weeks. While there’s still a long way to go to nab a playoff berth, there’s no doubt the Nittany Lions were impressive.

* Derrius Guice. The Louisiana State tailback rolled up 276 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries in a 40-24 defeat of Mississippi. When the Tigers (6-2, 3-1 SEC) can run the ball like that, they create problems for anyone.

Whether they can do so in their next outing — Nov. 4 at Alabama — remains to be seen

* Arizona State. In a span of eight days, the Sun Devils have refashioned themselves as defensive dynamos. Considering Arizona State owned the second-worst defense in the FBS last season and wasn’t on track for anything much better going into last week (118th in total defense), it’s one of 2017’s most stunning developments.

The Sun Devils (4-3, 3-1 Pac-12) took down Washington, 13-7, last week, stifling Jake Browning and the Huskies throughout the night. Then, without the benefit of #Pac12AfterDark magic Saturday, they picked off Utah quarterback Tyler Huntley four times in a 30-10 win.

Much like his in-state competitor Rich Rodriguez, Arizona State Coach Todd Graham did not appear to be on firm footing earlier this season. Now? He and the Sun Devils will play for first place in the Pac-12 South next week when Southern California visits Tempe.

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* Iowa State. In their past 10 quarters (the second half against Oklahoma, then full games against Kansas and Texas Tech), the Cyclones have outscored their opposition 101-20.

Yes, there’s a full game against the hapless Jayhawks in there, but Iowa State (5-2, 3-1 Big 12) seems to have turned the corner in its second year under Matt Campbell. The Cyclones were never seriously threatened in a 31-13 victory at Texas Tech. One more victory, and Iowa State is bowl-eligible for the first time since 2012.

* Rutgers. Break up the Scarlet Knights. Rutgers (3-4, 2-2 Big Ten) has won consecutive conference games for the first time since its American Athletic Association days thanks to a 14-12 defeat of Purdue.

There weren’t style points here: The Scarlet Knights punted 12 times, managed just eight first downs and totaled 217 yards. But Rutgers also didn’t commit a turnover (for the first time all season) and stopped a Boilermakers two-point conversion attempt with 25 seconds remaining. Chris Ash’s rebuilding job is far from finished, but at least there is progress in 2017.

* Army. The Black Knights accepted the first bowl invitation of the season after Jermaine Adams’s 16-yard touchdown reception with a second left in regulation forced overtime. Once there, Jeff Monken’s team secured a 31-28 victory and a place in the Armed Forces Bowl.

Army (6-2) will go to the postseason in back-to-back years for the first time since 1984-85. And with Air Force and Navy still to come, the Black Knights have the potential to add their first Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy since 1996.

* Georgia. No, the Bulldogs didn’t sneak a game in during their bye week. However, their lead in the loss column in the SEC East grew to two games as Kentucky absorbed a 45-7 drubbing at Mississippi State.

Georgia (7-0, 4-0) can’t mathematically claim the division by the end of the month, even if it handles Florida next week. But it’ll feel like the Bulldogs have if they dispatch the Gators.


* Sam Darnold. The redshirt sophomore committed two more turnovers in Southern California’s 49-14 loss at Notre Dame, losing a fumble and tossing an interception in a humbling blowout. The Trojans (6-2) are basically toast in terms of the playoff picture; they’ll face nothing but Pac-12 South competition between now and the end of November.

As for Darnold, he’s up to 10 interceptions on the season and has not stitched together any consistency over the course of the season. It’s been a tougher-than-expected slog for a guy pegged (perhaps unfairly) as a Heisman contender in the preseason.

* Kansas. The Jayhawks’ 43-0 loss at Texas Christian (in the wake of last week’s 45-0 shellacking at Iowa State) did two things that warrant mentioning.

First, Kansas (1-6) has suffered consecutive shutouts for the first time since getting blanked in the last two games of the 1986 season (by Nebraska and Missouri) and then again in its 1987 opener against Auburn.

That’s going back a ways, but not as far as another lamentable trek into the history books. Kansas dropped its 44th consecutive game outside of Lawrence, matching the major college record set by Western (Colo.) State from 1926 to 1936. The Jayhawks haven’t won away from home since September 2009, a span of four head coaches and nearly a decade of misery that doesn’t seem close to ending,

* Florida State. Guess who’s in serious jeopardy of missing the postseason? None other than the Seminoles, who fell to 2-4 with a 31-28 loss at home to Louisville. Florida State (2-3 ACC) is also effectively out of the conference title chase after its latest setback, this one coming after Louisville drove for a Blanton Creque field goal in the closing seconds.

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Because a guarantee game against Louisiana-Monroe was canceled by Hurricane Irma, Florida State will only play 11 games this season. That means the Seminoles can afford only one more loss and still have a chance to extend their bowl streak to 36 years. (There’s a vacated appearance in 2006 that the NCAA no longer recognizes, but the fact is Florida State has participated in a bowl every season since 1982.)

Barring an upset of Clemson on the road, that means Jimbo Fisher’s bunch needs to defeat Boston College, Syracuse, Delaware State and Florida. And given how fragile the Seminoles’ offense has been over the first half-dozen games, sweeping those contests is far from a given.

* Butch Jones. Again. At least he (probably) won’t have to endure any more ugly losses to Alabama. For the record, Tennessee (3-4, 0-4 SEC) was blown out 45-7 in Tuscaloosa and outgained 604-108.

* Georgia Southern. The plight of the Eagles earned a mention earlier in the year, but things have gotten especially ugly. Georgia Southern went to winless Massachusetts … and lost, 55-20.

Demanding fan bases come in all shapes and sizes, and Georgia Southern supporters are not known for their patience. But when you’re a second-year coach such as Tyson Summers and your team is 0-6 and you own a 2-13 record since opening your tenure with three victories, you’ll draw unwanted attention to yourself. When you get bludgeoned against one of the worst teams in FBS, you’ll draw a lot of unwanted attention.

Then again, when you lose by 35 to a winless team, it probably means you are one of the worst FBS teams.

More college football:

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