College football Week 11 Superlatives: Jayden Daniels makes history, Texas WRs come up clutch

Welcome back to Saturday Superlatives, our weekly celebration of college football’s best plays, players, moments and so much more. If you were suspended from coaching your team on Saturday and only watched a game or two from your hotel suite, here’s some of the fun you missed out on.

Game of the Week: No. 5 Washington 35, No. 18 Utah 28. Feel free to disagree with me on this one. There’s no question No. 3 Michigan’s 24-15 win at No. 10 Penn State was the biggest game of the week and an absolute must-watch. All of the drama that surrounded that showdown made it incredibly consequential, even if the Nittany Lions couldn’t find a way to make it more dramatic in the fourth quarter.

But was it actually the most entertaining game of the day? Not quite. The 10-0 Huskies are now on a six-game run of extremely watchable, tight ballgames as they try to stay perfect. Their matchup with Utah did not disappoint. The Utes pretty much went score-for-score with them early and led 28-24 at halftime. Michael Penix Jr. put his squad ahead with a touchdown pass to Rome Odunze late in the third quarter, but it was the Washington defense that ended up winning this one by delivering a second-half shutout and closing with an interception of Bryson Barnes in the final minute to halt one final comeback attempt.

Player of the Week: LSU QB Jayden Daniels. The Heisman contender made history with his performance in a 52-35 win over Florida. Daniels threw for 372 passing yards, added 234 rushing yards and finished with five total touchdowns and no turnovers on the night. He’s the first player in FBS history to achieve 350 passing yards and 200 rushing yards in a single game. The Tigers rolled to 701 total yards, the most Florida has allowed in program history.

Best upset: UCF 45, No. 15 Oklahoma State 3. UCF could not have picked a better week for its annual Space Game. The program’s first-ever Big 12 home win came in a monsoon against a ranked foe that had won five in a row. The Knights’ offense was unstoppable, and their defense held Ollie Gordon II, the nation’s leading rusher, to just 25 rushing yards on 12 carries. The Cowboys’ loss, one week after their massive Bedlam triumph, sets up a four-way tie for second place in the Big 12 between Oklahoma State, Iowa State, Kansas State and Oklahoma which should make for a funky tiebreaker scenario and a fun finish to this conference race.

Best finish: No. 24 North Carolina 47, Duke 45 (2 OT). This year’s battle for the Victory Bell was only a 19-14 game going into the fourth quarter. These two teams combined for 39 points in the final 15 minutes of regulation. North Carolina grabbed the lead with 1:55 left on this big-time catch from Bryson Nesbit. Then Duke scored a touchdown in a minute. Then UNC got a 43-yard field goal from Noah Burnette with time expiring to force overtime. After field goals in the first OT, Drake Maye put the Tar Heels up 8. Duke answered yet again with a touchdown but couldn’t convert its two-point pass. With that dramatic Senior Night triumph, the Tar Heels improved to 8-2 and kept their ACC title game hopes alive.

Best blowout: All those SEC games. Georgia whooped Ole Miss 52-17 in a top-10 showdown. The No. 2 Bulldogs were dominant in every way, racking up 611 total yards and sending in the backups for much of the fourth quarter of what was supposed to be a tough test. Alabama’s road game at Kentucky got ugly quickly thanks to Jalen Milroe playing one of his best games yet (six total TDs) and ended in a 49-21 rout. And how about Missouri? The No. 14 Tigers were a home underdog against No. 13 Tennessee and left no doubt with a 36-7 win powered by 321 total yards from running back Cody Schrader and a stingy day from their defense.

Fun fact: The seven SEC games on Saturday were decided by an average margin of 32.7 points. That’s ridiculous.

Best shootout: Illinois 48, Indiana 45 (OT). You rarely ever get games like this from the Big Ten (more coming next year!) so let’s give credit where it’s due. There was nothing sleepy about this noon game. These teams hit the over before halftime and just kept going. Illinois QB John Paddock threw for 507 yards (second-most by an FBS QB this season) in his first start and hit Isaiah Williams for a 21-yard walk-off score in overtime. These teams combined for 1,113 total yards and 93 points, most in a Big Ten game since the 2018 Ohio State-Michigan game.

Heisman watch: Daniels made a strong case on Saturday as one of the rare players on a three-loss team who deserves serious consideration. Don’t sleep on Ohio State WR Marvin Harrison Jr. making a run for the trophy in these next few weeks. Harrison caught 7 passes for 149 yards and two scores in a 38-3 win over Michigan State and also scored a 19-yard rushing TD. He just became the first receiver in school history to have two 1,000-yard seasons. Could a monster game against Michigan turn him into one of the favorites?

Going bowling: Congratulations to Appalachian State, Auburn, Bowling Green, Clemson, Iowa State, Maryland and Texas A&M for earning their sixth wins on Saturday to become bowl eligible.

Texas A&M got it done with third-string quarterback Jaylen Henderson leading a 51-10 blowout win over Mississippi State. Iowa State, another team that endured a losing season last year, bounced back and secured a bowl bid with an impressive 45-13 late-night win at BYU, another team searching for its sixth win.

Colorado dropped to 4-6 with a 34-31 home loss to No. 21 Arizona, which means the most entertaining team in college football history will have to beat Washington State and Utah in order to go bowling in Deion Sanders’ debut season.

Drive to 325 update: Iowa 22, Rutgers 0. Did you really think we were done with this weekly Iowa update? You were mistaken! The Hawkeyes put together one of their best games of the season, outgaining Rutgers 402-127 and scoring 16 in the fourth quarter to boost their season scoring average up to 18.8 points per game. Congrats to all those who correctly bet the under (27.5) on this game that was a glorious 3-0 at halftime. Iowa is 8-2 with a two-game lead in the Big Ten West race over five teams with 3-4 conference records.

Best catch: Ole Miss WR Dayton Wade has made Saturday Superlatives before for his jaw-dropping catches, and he did it again with this 23-yarder against Georgia.

Clemson WR Tyler Brown was no less impressive with this 3-yard touchdown in a 42-21 win over Georgia Tech.

Texas WR Adonai Mitchell also deserves props for this game-saving catch against TCU on third-and-12 when the Horned Frogs were threatening to put his team on upset alert. Texas put it away from here for a 29-26 road win to improve to 9-1.

Best run: Oregon State RB Deshaun Fenwick ripped off one of the coolest touchdown runs of the season, a 37-yard score made possible by a perfectly executed hurdle during the No. 12 Beavers’ 62-17 rout of Stanford.

Best interception: Here’s a fun one from the FCS ranks. This pass bounced off the hip of a Hampton receiver and right into the hands of William & Mary LB Kevin Jarrell for an easy pick six.

Best takeaway: Texas WR Jordan Whittington. This is a wild one. Texas had the ball at its 39-yard line at the start of this play. Millard Bradford picked off Quinn Ewers and broke free for a 40-yard return before Whittington made the hustle play to strip the ball and help Texas get it back with a first down at its 36-yard line.

Best stop: Holy Cross linebacker Frankie Monte brought the boom on a fourth-down stop at the goal line against Army.

Best tackle: Michigan DL Kenneth Grant. That’s a 6-foot-3, 340-pounder with uncommon wheels.

Worst tush push: Everyone is trying to be the Eagles these days. Not everyone can be the Eagles. Washington State attempted a tush push in the first quarter against Cal and was reminded that strange things can occur in piles. Somehow, the ball squirted out, and Cal linebacker Cade Uluave scooped it up for a 51-yard touchdown return to kick off a 42-39 victory.

Best big fella TD: Utah State defensive tackle Seni Tuiaki took a 63-yard interception return to the house in a 41-24 win over Nevada. What a delight to get to watch the 6-foot-1, 280-pound lineman glide down the field like this.

Worst pick six: Washington LB Alphonzo Tuputala was a little too eager to celebrate the first pick six of his career and didn’t come close to getting this ball across the goal line. Utah O-lineman Michael Mokofisi was wise enough to chase down and fall on this ball to give possession back to the Utes … but then Washington’s defense got a safety on the next play to take right back. Fortunately for the Huskies, this one did not end up hurting them.

Worst call: The ACC officials had some tough moments on Saturday. In this first one, Miami got robbed of a safety at the end of the first half against Florida State. This one seems pretty clear-cut.

This next one from North Carolina-Duke was a tougher call but one that deserved a lot more scrutiny. This was ruled a catch for the Tar Heels instead of a Duke interception and was not reviewed. Did they get it right?

Best Hail Mary: Back to the FCS ranks we go! Central Arkansas quarterback Will McElvain chucked up this 46-yard pass on the final play against Eastern Kentucky, and it deflected to Jarrod Barnes, who just barely got into the end zone for the win.

Worst throw: An official throwing a flag accidentally hit Memphis WR Joseph Scates in a particularly painful spot. This is just as bad as the time that football hit Hans Moleman.

Best trickery: Did Jimbo Fisher and his staff try to fool Mississippi State into thinking their injured starting quarterback Max Johnson was warming up on Saturday afternoon? That’s what it looked like. The imposter here is Blake Bost, their fellow left-handed backup who’s wearing a No. 14 shirt and hat.

Best quote: Vanderbilt coach Clark Lea after a 47-6 loss at South Carolina. Turnovers are worse than punts, so he’s got a point.

Best celebration: Penn State DE Dani Dennis-Sutton had an extremely topical celebration against the Wolverines.

Best use of unapproved technology during a game: This one goes to the Oregon Duck for showing off his Shrinkinator during the win over USC.

Best interview: Michigan interim head coach Sherrone Moore. What a day.

(Photo: Jonathan Bachman / Getty Images)

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