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NCAAF: Rebels and Bulldogs Pull Big Week Six Upsets, Irish Survive

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 (October 3, 2014 - Source: Joe Murphy/Getty Images North America)
(October 3, 2014 – Source: Joe Murphy/Getty Images North America)

Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Notre Dame scored big wins in an otherwise upset-filled Saturday in college football.

No. 6 Texas A&M at No. 12 Mississippi State

Mississippi State (5-0, 2-0) continued its march through the top-10, silencing Texas A&M (4-1, 2-1) 48-31 in Starkville on Saturday. It was the Bulldogs’ second win against an opponent ranked in the top-10 this season, after taking care of LSU in Baton Rouge two weeks ago.

Junior QB Dak Prescott was magnificent for the Bulldogs, moving the ball at will to the tune of 259 passing yards and two touchdowns. His prowess on the ground made him borderline unstoppable, as he ran for another 77 yards and three scores.

QB Kenny Hill was pressured all game, but still managed to throw for 359 yards and four touchdowns. On the other hand, Hill threw a season-high three interceptions – all to LB Richie Brown.  His receivers did him no favors all afternoon, dropping a combined nine passes.

Takeaway: Mississippi State is no fluke. Its offense is tough to stop, and it’s captain, Prescott, is playing like a Heisman candidate. Its two wins against the top-10 this season are a first in school history, and the Bulldogs look like a team ready to contend for a national title. Perhaps the most impressive facet of the win for Mississippi State was the fact that its fans didn’t rush the field despite the “upset.” This school believes in its program, and didn’t see this as an upset – a sign of a seismic attitude shift in the bulldog faithful.

Texas A&M, on the other hand, finally met a team that wouldn’t let them get away with its poor defense. A week after giving up 285 rushing yards to Arkansas, the Aggies surrendered 290 to Mississippi State. A&M’s offense is high-powered, but until its defense shores up, bet that this won’t be its final conference loss.

What’s Next: Both teams are in action on October 11 – Mississippi State hosts No.5 Auburn, while Texas A&M welcomes No. 11 Ole Miss.

No. 3 Alabama at No. 11 Ole Miss

Not to be outdone by its instate rival, No. 11 Ole Miss (5-0, 2-0) broke a 10-game losing streak against No. 3 Alabama (4-1, 1-1) with a 23-17 win over the Tide.

The Rebels were led by much-scrutinized QB Bo Wallace, who took care of the ball (and Alabama’s defense), and shined in this game’s toughest moments. Wallace threw for 251 yard and three scores, including the game-winner to RB Jaylen Walton.

Alabama QB Blake Simms (228 yards, one interception kept his team in control for a majority of the game. The Tide won the time of possession battle, largely thanks to T.J. Yeldon’s 123 yards on the ground. Special Teams hurt Alabama in the end, as senior Christion Jones fumbled during a kick return late in the fourth quarter. Ole Miss recovered, and sealed the game with a touchdown soon after.

Takeaways: Alabama is not invincible. Nor is any team in the SEC West. The Tide, however, endured a few uncharacteristic mental lapses throughout the game, and ultimately succumbed to the energy in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Ole Miss, on the other hand, never looked intimidated by Alabama. The state of Mississippi put the country on notice Saturday. The SEC West is a deathtrap; this win was great for Ole Miss, but the true statement will be made by how well it finishes.

What’s Next: Ole Miss heads to College Station to take on No. 6 Texas A&M on October 11. The Rebels will most likely be the only top-10 team in this matchup

Alabama travels to Fayetteville on October 11 to battle the Razorbacks of Arkansas.

No. 14 Stanford at No. 9 Notre Dame

No. 9 Notre Dame (5-0) stepped up in their first challenge of the season, beating No. 14 Stanford (3-2) in a nailbiter, 17-14.

On 4th and 11, QB Everett Golson found TE Ben Koyack in the corner of the end zone for the game-winning score. Golson wasn’t perfect, finishing with 241 passing yards, two touchdowns and an interception – but when it mattered most he found a way to get the job done.

Stanford’s offense was anemic on Saturday, scraping together a measly 205 total yards. The Cardinal had just under a minute to respond, but QB Kevin Hogan was called for intentional grounded midway through the ensuing drive. The game clock hit :00 during the mandatory time runoff following the penalty, and Stanford was sent home with its second loss of this young season.

Takeaways: Many doubted Notre Dame’s ability to perform against a tough opponent. the Irish quieted those concerns on Saturday night. It was a frigid, rainy game in which both teams turned the ball over twice, but Everett Golson proved once again he is a winner.

As long as he’s taking snaps for Notre Dame, it will always have a shot at a W. Stanford is a two-loss team through five games into the season for the first time since 2008, but there’s a bright side! This game doesn’t count against them in their journey to win the Pac 12.

The North division looks like no team wants to claim the title, so Stanford’s season is far from lost.

What’s Next: Notre Dame hosts North Carolina on October 11, while Stanford gets Washington State in Palo Alto.

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