LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Mississippi State played its first-ever game as a No. 1-ranked team on Saturday and had to do some serious work to keep that status during a 45-31 win at Kentucky. Here’s how it went down.

How the game was won: Kentucky attempted an onside kick with 2:31, trailing by seven points. It was horribly executed, as the ball made a beeline to the Bulldogs’ Christian Holmes. The 230-pound Holmes just had to beat the kicker while running the return in for an unusual, and back-breaking, touchdown.

Gameball goes to: Mississippi State’s Josh Robinson -- not leading Heisman Trophy candidate Dak Prescott -- was the best player on the field. Refusing to be tackled for much of the game, he finished with a career-high 198 rushing yards on 23 carries, along with two scores. Robinson’s 73-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter proved to be the game-winner.
Kentucky’s Patrick Towles (390 passing yards, 76 rushing yards, 11 receiving yards, four TDs) deserves mention, too.

What it means: Mississippi State wasn’t sharp on defense, to put it kindly. That could become more of a problem later on this season. But the Bulldogs escaped with the road victory and remained in first place of the dog-eat-dog SEC West. A 9-0 record going into the Nov. 15 showdown at Alabama is likely.

Playoff implication: It remains to be seen if Mississippi State will be No. 1 in the playoff selection committee’s first Top 25 on Tuesday night. The committee may prefer another team, like Ole Miss (pending tonight’s game at LSU) or even Florida State. But it’s not that important right now, because the Bulldogs would solidly be in the field of four if the playoff were held today.

What's next: Mississippi State returns home to host Arkansas next Saturday. If the Bulldogs keep the Razorbacks winless in the SEC under Bret Bielema, they should cruise to the Alabama game after facing Tennessee-Martin at home Nov. 8. Kentucky has lost two straight since starting 5-1 and goes to Missouri next week still seeking bowl eligibility for the first time since 2010.
Michigan State gets to keep the Paul Bunyan trophy and bragging rights for another season.

The Spartans(7-1) beat in-state rival Michigan 35-11 on Saturday in a performance that looked like an absent-minded bulldozer driver slowly rolling over an injured animal. It wasn't particularly fast or flashy, but the end result -- a flattened Wolverine team -- never seemed to be in doubt.

Connor Cook and the country's third-best scoring offense didn't dazzle. Cook (12-of-22 for 227 yards) connected with Tony Lippett on a 70-yard scoring play on a day that was otherwise relatively slow. His counterpart, Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner, threw two interceptions and fumbled once to kill any real chance his team might have had to hang around.

Michigan drops to 3-5 with the loss and 1-6 against one of its biggest rivals since Lloyd Carr retired seven years ago.

How the game was won: The formula for success in East Lansing didn't change much from Michigan State's win a year ago. The Spartans held Michigan to less than 200 total yards of offense. The Wolverines rushing attack produced zero yards in the first half and continued its steady implosion in the game's final 30 minutes. Michigan State's offense wasn't at its best Saturday, but it didn't need to be.

Gameball goes to: Michigan State running back Jeremy Langford had three rushing touchdowns and 195 all-purpose yards. He trudged his way through most of his 33 carries until breaking loose late in the first half. He contributed 48 of the 73 yards on an efficient scoring drive to help the Spartans close the half with a 14-3 lead. Langford has quietly rushed for at least 100 yards in five straight games.

What it means: Was this the last straw for Brady Hoke’s tenure in Ann Arbor? You could make the argument that it’s just adding to a haystack that engulfed the camel long ago. Michigan will have to win its next three to get bowl eligible before the regular season finale against Ohio State.

Playoff implication: Michigan State remains a contender with a survive-and-advance victory, although it didn’t stack up many style points against the Wolverines. Crazy things can happen in rivalry game, and the Spartans managed to avoid any season-stunting mishaps. Heading into November, they’re still contenders.

videoBest play: Lippett's ninth touchdown reception of the season delivered a knockout punch to Michigan midway through the third quarter. Cook threw a back-shoulder dart to Lippett, which spun Michigan safety Delano Hill in a circle. One quick stop-and-start move gave the senior receiver a clear path down the sideline. The one-play drive gave the Spartans a 28-3 lead.

What's next: The Spartans get a week off to prepare for the Big Ten’s biggest matchup before the championship game. They host Ohio State on Nov. 8 with first place in the East Division likely on the line. Michigan returns home next weekend to take on an Indiana team that is coming off its bye week.
How the game was won: David Shaw and Stanford offensive coordinator Mike Bloomgren made the offensive changes they promised they would make following last week's disastrous performance at Arizona State. The Cardinal radically altered their formula of attack, working from a no-huddle offense at the start of the game. They stretched the perimeter with athletic weapons Ty Montgomery and Christian McCaffrey before gashing the wide open middle of the field with their young tight ends.

The Cardinal's offensive resurgence in the first half (8.2 yards per play during that stretch) made the job easy for Stanford's suffocating defense in the 38-14 win. Stanford held the Beavers' first string offense to just 133 total yards and an anemic efficiency mark: About 2.5 yards per play. Sean Mannion needed 316 passing yards to break the Pac-12 career passing record, but after a 14-for-30, 122-yard performance, he'll have to wait until next time to challenge Matt Barkley's mark.

Game ball goes to: Stanford wide receiver/returner Ty Montgomery. Once again, No. 7 was the best player on the field. He showed excellent hands on a crossing pattern early, and extended another first half Stanford drive on a pretty catch-and-run. Quarterback Kevin Hogan stood in against a ferocious Oregon State blitz on that play. Montgomery then delivered the absolute dagger, a 50-yard punt return for a touchdown early in the second half. He made Beaver defenders look like they were stuck in quicksand along his route to the end zone.

What it means: Entering next week's showdown at Oregon, Stanford is now operating with a drastically different offense. After Arizona State trounced the Cardinal 26-10 last week, it was clear that the Cardinal were not maximizing their abundance of offensive talent. Stanford's chances of winning at Autzen Stadium looked very slim, regardless of how well their nation-leading defense was playing. Suddenly, next week's showdown becomes all the more intriguing, especially given Oregon's defensive struggles against Cal on Friday. Oregon State entered this game second in the Pac-12 in the total defense category, so Stanford is now playing competent offense to go along with its championship-caliber defense. We'll see if they can consistently maintain that balance.

Oregon State, meanwhile, drops to 4-3 overall and 1-3 in Pac-12 play. They're essentially eliminated from Pac-12 North competition and now face a battle to reach bowl eligibility. The Beavers host Cal and Washington State in the next two weeks, so there are definitely two winnable games left for them, but the rest of the schedule is very challenging: versus Arizona State, at Washington, versus Oregon.

What's next: Stanford's showdown at Oregon next Saturday has officially become massive. The Cardinal and the Ducks will battle it out at Autzen Stadium in a game that may well determine the Pac-12 North title. As mentioned above, Oregon State heads back to Reser Stadium licking their wounds ahead of a three-game homestand.

Best play: Stanford also did a much better job putting Hogan in his scrambling comfort zone. Shaw dialed up a designed run for him, and that turned into 37-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter. Hogan's powerful stiff-arm earns our play of the game honors.

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West Virginia has its first Big 12 title within its sights.

The Mountaineers took a step toward winning the Big 12 during its third season in the conference with a 34-10 win over Oklahoma State at Boone Pickens Stadium on Saturday. With a favorable schedule on its side, Dana Holgorsen's squad has become legit contenders for a Big 12 ring.

Here's how it happened:

How the game was won: Defense. No, seriously, WVU won a tough Big 12 road contest largely on the shoulders of a defense that was outstanding on third down as OSU didn’t convert a first down until the fourth quarter (0-for-8 in the first 50 minutes). The offense gave the defense a two-touchdown cushion early in the game and the defense took care of the rest by harassing Daxx Garman and the Cowboys' offense in key moments and consistently winning the third-down battle. It was all capped off by a 52-yard interception return for a touchdown by WVU freshman safety Dravon Henry late in the fourth quarter.

Game ball goes to: WVU running back Wendell Smallwood. The sophomore stepped up with 23 carries for 132 yards, averaging 5.7 yards per carry while helping the Mountaineers to be balanced, win the field position battle and run down the clock in the second half. The entire WVU offensive line deserves at least half a game ball as the Mountaineers finished with 44 carries for 210 yards (4.8 ypc).

What it means: The road to a Big 12 title could go through Morgantown, West Virginia. Already boasting a win over Baylor, the Mountaineers host TCU and Kansas State in their final four games, meaning WVU should be able to decide its own Big 12 title destiny instead of hoping for help from others.

Playoff implication: Things would have to come together perfectly for a two-loss West Virginia squad to get a College Football Playoff look. But the Mountaineers continue to win, earning their fourth straight victory on Saturday.

Best play: This is what people think of when they think of a Dana Holgorsen offense. Explosive plays, plenty of speed and quarterback-receiver duos that make it look easy. Clint Trickett’s 76-yard touchdown pass to Mario Alford had all those components. Watch and enjoy.

video What's next: The Mountaineers' win sets up a big-time game next week as they host TCU in a game that could decide the Big 12 champion. … Meanwhile, Oklahoma State travels to Kansas State with a little bit of hope, thanks to an improved running game, but major questions about how to get things turned around heading into November.

Video: No. 25 UCLA 40, Colorado 37, 2 OT

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ESPN's Heather Dinich talks about a difficult upcoming schedule for No. 25 UCLA, which defeated Colorado 40-37 in double overtime on Saturday.

Video: No. 11 Kansas State 23, Texas 0

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video DeMarcus Robinson and Charles Jones both ran for touchdowns in Kansas State's 23-0 win over Texas.

Video: No. 16 Nebraska 42, Rutgers 24

October, 25, 2014
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video Ameer Abdullah ran for 225 yards and three touchdowns and set a school record with 341 all-purpose yards to power Nebraska to a 42-24 win over Rutgers.

Video: Another huge day for Ameer Abdullah

October, 25, 2014
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Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah discusses his standout performance against Rutgers in which he rushed for 225 yards and three touchdowns.

Video: Bill Snyder proud but not satisfied

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Kansas State coach Bill Snyder discusses his team's 23-0 win against Texas and the room for improvement that still remains.

Video: Chris Fowler shoots down SEC bias

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On "College GameDay," Chris Fowler explains how it's better for the entire country when teams from all over -- not just from the SEC -- are good.
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SEC

MSU fans implore U-M to 'Keep Brady Hoke'

October, 25, 2014
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Embattled Michigan head coach Brady Hoke is on the hottest of seats this season, but he's found some (snarky) support from an unlikely source: Michigan State fans.

Before Saturday's in-state rivalry matchup between Michigan and Michigan State, a banner was spotted in the East Lansing sky.



As students poured in to prepare for the game, it became apparent that #KeepBradyHoke was a coordinated effort. The front row of the student section literally spelled it out for us.

Here's a look, straight from Michigan State football's official Twitter account.


Brash move, "Little Brother." The Spartans are 17-point favorites, the biggest spread they've ever had against the Wolverines.

Video: 'Duck Dynasty' on 'College GameDay'

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Jase and Willie Robertson of "Duck Dynasty" talk beards, corn dogs and which "College GameDay" personality would be the best on a hunting trip.
Clanga Clanga? Not quite. But Penn State fans apparently brought their own disruptive methods with them Friday night, if Ohio State players' Twitter feeds are to be believed.


Who knew Penn Staters had some Red Auerbach in them? Just one problem: Auerbach -- known for late-night tactics like this with the visiting Los Angeles Lakers in the 1980s -- had three NBA titles that decade with the Boston Celtics to show for it.

The Nittany Lions lost to the Buckeyes 63-14 last season. And they are double-digit home underdogs Saturday night.

At least with an 8 p.m. kickoff, Ohio State players can sneak in a few extra naps throughout the day. And they got some inadvertent prep for the Beaver Stadium whiteout.

Badgers pull off fake punt jump pass

October, 25, 2014
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Wisconsin's quarterback troubles this season have been well-documented, so why not give punter Drew Meyer a rep or two?

Meyer found tight end Troy Fumagalli on this slick fake punt midway through the first quarter Saturday against Maryland.

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OK, "slick" might not be the right word, but it was undeniably effective.

Fat-guy touchdown pass! Hogs pull it off

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What a glorious way to start the day in college football.

Already up 21-0 in its game against UAB, Arkansas attempted a fourth-and-goal play in which it lined up Sebastian Tretola under center. Here's the kicker: Tretola is a 6-foot-5, 350-pound offensive lineman. And he threw it to a … wait for it … long snapper.

Didn't matter. It worked!

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Afterward, the Razorbacks' official Twitter feed had some fun with it.

Even the "Hefty Lefty" himself, former Kentucky quarterback Jared Lorenzen, took notice. Before today, it's likely Lorenzen was the heaviest SEC player to ever throw a touchdown pass.
And finally, here is Tretola discussing his TD pass.

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