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Heisman Race Heating Up; Michigan-Penn State Promise Another Big Ten Showdown

Before we get to this week’s menu of college football games, let’s take a quick look at the Heisman race between LSU’s Joe Burrow, Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts and Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa as we near the halfway point of the season. There’s not a ton of daylight between these guys, especially when you consider their teams are all undefeated and ranked in the top 5 in the country. Oklahoma has the easiest remaining schedule with only #18 Baylor posing any real threat. Alabama, meanwhile, takes on LSU on November 9, and also faces #12 Auburn; LSU must also face #12 Auburn and #24 Texas A&M.

West Virginia Mountaineers (3-3) vs #5 Oklahoma Sooners (6-0)
Noon ET on FOX
The Mountaineers lost this past weekend 38-14 to Iowa State as they failed to get anything going on the ground with just 41 yards on 28 carries. They’re now averaging 94.3 rushing yards per game, sixth-lowest in the land. Jalen Hurts’ Heisman quest hit a bump as the senior completed just 16 of 28 passes for 235 yards and 3 TDs, though he also ran for another 131 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries to lead his team to a 34-27 victory over #11 Texas. He got a lot of help from CeeDee Lamb, who had 10 catches for 171 yards and 3 TDs, including a play in which he was surrounded by 5 defenders around the 20-yard line and managed to find daylight and the end zone.

#3 Clemson Tigers (6-0) vs Louisville Cardinals (4-2)
Noon ET on ABC/ESPN3
Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence hit on 17 of 25 passes for 170 yards and 3 touchdowns as his team jumped out to a 42-0 lead on their way to a 45-14 drubbing of Florida State. The Cards overcame the loss of QB Micale Cunningham in the second quarter to squeeze past #19 Wake Forest, 62-59. Cunningham went 5-6 for 99 yards and a pair of touchdowns and rushed 4 times for 59 yards before getting knocked out of the game with a head injury.

#12 Oregon Ducks (5-1) vs #25 Washington Huskies (5-2)
3:30pm ET on ABC/ESPN3
The Ducks reeled off their fifth straight win since losing their opener to then #16 Auburn. This latest victory was a 45-3 beatdown of Colorado in which Ducks RB CJ Verdell rolled up 171 yards on just 14 carries, while his backfield mate Cyrus Habibi-Likio carried the ball 13 times for 47 yards and 3 TDs. The Huskies had their way with an overmatched Arizona defense last week, as Jacob Eason completed 15 of 22 passes for 243 yards and a pair of TDs. On the ground, Salvon Ahmed ran 23 times for 95 yards and 3 touchdowns and Sean McGrew ran 13 times for 106 yards.

#16 Michigan Wolverines (5-1) vs #7 Penn State Nittany Lions (6-0)
7:30pm ET on ABC/ESPN3
Wolverines Zach Charbonnet and Hassan Haskins combined for 241 yards and 2 TDs on 30 carries en route to a 42-25 win over Illinois in a game that saw Michigan race out to a 28-0 lead only to surrender 25 unanswered points. The Nittany Lions ran into an elite defense for the first time this season and nearly paid the price as they salvaged a 17-12 win over Iowa last week. Penn State had been averaging 42 points and 468 yards per game, but gained just 308 against Iowa. Michigan’s D isn’t in Iowa’s class, but it’s only a tick below, while Penn State’s D is among the very best in the Big Ten. Both teams are a little dinged up, as Penn State will likely be without DE Yetur Gross-Matos, whose 5 sacks are 6th in the conference, and RB Journey Brown, whose 322 yards from scrimmage are third on the team. For Michigan, they may be without Zach Charbonnet (79 carries, 376 yards, 5 TDs). Still, this promises to be another bruising Big Ten classic.

Tennessee Volunteers (2-4) vs #1 Alabama Crimson Tide (6-0)
9pm ET on ESPN
After back-to-back defeats at the hands of Florida and Georgia, respectively, the Vols came up for air with a 20-10 win over Mississippi State, thanks to the play of starter-turned back-up Jarrett Guarantano, who took over when Brian Maurer got hurt in the 2nd quarter. Guarantano completed 6 of 7 passes for 106 yards and a TD. The Tide rolled to a 47-28 win over #24 Texas A&M last week, as Tua Tagovailoa had what, for him, was an off day. Tagovailoa hit on 21 of 34 for 293 yards, 4 touchdowns, and an interception, and ran for -10 yards on a single carry. All stats courtesy SRCFB.com and ESPN.com