College football Week 9 scores, Top 25 analysis and must-see moments

ByDave Wilson ESPN logo
Thursday, February 4, 2021

Week 9 had a little bit of everything for us.

An introduction for a Clemson phenom QB. Alabama and Ohio State continuing to roll. And one of the most incredible touchdowns you'll ever see, even if it didn't count due to a forward lateral.

Here's everything you need to know from the weekend.

Jump to: Top 25 schedule and takeaways | Must-see moments

Top 25 takeaways

No. 11 BYU 41, Western Kentucky 10

The Cougars weren't at their best against Western Kentucky and still won by 31 points. That's a sign of a special team.Zach Wilsoncompleted 18 of 32 passes for 224 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. It's not the type of game that will boost his Heisman chances, but Friday's trip to Boise State should provide that kind of stage. -- Kyle Bonagura

No. 3 Ohio State 38, No. 18 Penn State 25

Ohio State enjoyed an almost perfect start on Saturday evening.Garrett Wilsontook the first snap of the game for 62 yards to set up a short touchdown, and barely six minutes in, the Buckeyes were up 14-0. From there, they were able to cruise. PSU's offense eventually found a rhythm. ButJustin Fieldscompleted 28 of 34 passes for 318 yards and four touchdowns, and Ohio State was never uncomfortable. The Buckeyes are now 2-0 and will be heavily favored in every remaining game. For Penn State,Sean Clifford threw for 281 yards and three scores, Jahan Dotsoncaught eight balls for 144 yards and the Nittany Lions found a nice offensive cadence in the second half ... and none of it mattered because Ohio State had taken an almost immediate two-touchdown advantage. They were able to get within 21-13 early in the third quarter, but they couldn't make nearly enough stops to catch up.-- Bill Connelly

No. 24 Oklahoma 62, Texas Tech 28

If Oklahoma's goal was to put the game to bed before halftime, it succeeded. The Sooners opened up a 42-7 lead midway through the second quarter in a tilt that felt even more lopsided than the 62-28 final score indicates. The Sooners' 48 first-half points are the most they have scored in a half since 2008, when they piled up 49 points in the first half of a game against Nebraska. -- Kyle Bonagura

Virginia 44, No. 15 North Carolina 41

Powered bySam Howell's 443 passing yards (Dyami Brownhad 240 receiving yards), UNC outgained Virginia by a 536-418 margin and scored double-digit points in three of four quarters. But the Tar Heels also committed two turnovers, settled for three field goals and blew a scoring chance to end the first half. UVA dominated the line of scrimmage, balanced 208 passing yards with 210 rushing yards and handed the Heels their second loss in three games. -- Bill Connelly

No. 2 Alabama 41, Mississippi State 0

If you were wondering how Alabama's offense would fare without star wideout Jaylen Waddle, you needed look no further than what DeVonta Smith did against Mississippi State. In a blowout win, Smith went off to the tune of more than 200 yards and four touchdowns. With Smith, John Metchie III and Slade Bolden, quarterback Mac Jones still has plenty of options at wideout. And with a running back like Najee Harris and a solid, experienced offensive line, this offense should keep humming.-- Alex Scarborough

No. 8 Texas A&M 42, Arkansas 31

Any chances of Arkansas being a potential landmine for the Aggies was washed away in relatively short order. Behind a sharp Kellen Mond, the Aggies compiled 42 points in just three quarters, and that's all they needed. They threw it well and ran it well; the defense pressured Feleipe Franks (four sacks); and Texas A&M continued what is turning into a really strong season in Year 3 for Jimbo Fisher. -- Sam Khan Jr.

No. 10 Florida 41, Missouri 17

An all-out brawl at the end of the first half obscured what was an otherwise dominant win by Florida over Missouri. There was some initial rust after a week with no football and a handful of players sidelined by COVID-19 protocol, but that was to be expected. The Gators' offense slowly got rolling, and quarterback Kyle Trask looked like his sharp self again, while wideout Kadarius Toney reminded everyone what a playmaker he can be and why he has drawn comparisons to former Florida great Percy Harvin.-- Scarborough

No. 22 SMU 51, Navy 37

The Mustangs bounced back from last week's loss with a superb offensive showing. Shane Buechele was sharp; the running game -- fueled by Ulysses Bentley IV and Tyler Lavine -- was stout; and with the exception of three late Navy touchdowns when the game was out of hand, it was an overall strong performance for the Ponies.-- Sam Khan Jr.

No. 25 Boise State49, Air Force30

Even without starting quarterback Hank Bachmeier, who did not make the trip to Colorado Springs for undisclosed reasons, the Broncos didn't miss a beat offensively in a victory over the Falcons. Junior Jack Sears, a Southern California graduate transfer, tossed a 75-yard pass on the game's first play from scrimmage and went on to finish 17-of-20 passing for 280 yards with three touchdowns. Even when Bachmeier is available, Sears' performance raises questions about who should be the Boise State starter moving forward, which wouldn't be a bad problem to have. -- Kyle Bonagura

Texas41, No. 6 Oklahoma State34

The Cowboys will be kicking themselves for the mistakes they made in this one. Four turnovers, a roughing the kicker penalty that gave the ball back to Texas and allowing a kickoff return for a touchdown. Those all added up to the endgame scenario, which was the Longhorns coming in to deliver a serious blow to Oklahoma State's College Football Playoff hopes. -- Sam Khan Jr.

No. 17 Indiana 37, Rutgers 21

Indiana coach Tom Allen shook his head after the game while walking toward Rutgers coach Greg Schiano. It was almost an interesting game at the end when Rutgers somehow scored after eight laterals on the same play. It was called back, though, and Indiana secured its second win of the season. The Hoosiers' defense came out strong, holding Rutgers to 134 yards passing, posting three interceptions and keeping the Scarlet Knights to 123 yards on the ground. This Indiana team is slowly building some momentum with its defense and behind quarterback Michael Penix Jr.-- Tom VanHaaren

No. 4 Notre Dame 31, Georgia Tech 13

The Fighting Irish defense once again stepped up in the victory over Georgia Tech. Notre Dame held the Yellow Jackets to 150 yards passing and only 88 yards on the ground. The Irish defense has improved each week, and it is peaking at a perfect time with Clemson on deck. The offense had the ground game moving once again, with Kyren Williams scoring twice with 76 yards. Overall, Notre Dame seems to be getting better and better each week. -- Tom VanHaaren

Michigan State 27, No. 13 Michigan 24

Michigan lost in a surprise game against Michigan State and a lot of it had to do with Michigan's secondary. The corners were called for multiple penalties and gave up 323 yards through the air and three touchdowns. Michigan State true freshman Ricky White caught 196 yards and a touchdown in the win over Michigan. The Wolverines' offense didn't fare well either, having trouble running the ball up the middle and creating any big plays. It was a completely different-looking team from the Big Ten's Week 1, and the loss now puts Jim Harbaugh at 1-6 at home against Michigan State and Ohio State as Michigan's head coach. -- Tom VanHaaren

No. 1 Clemson 34, Boston College 28

Playing without quarterback Trevor Lawrence, out with the coronavirus, the Tigers had to stage the largest home comeback in school history to beat Boston College. Freshman D.J. Uiagalelei played well in place of Lawrence, throwing for 342 yards, but once again it was Travis Etienne to the rescue as he had a career-high 264 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns. Clemson trailed by as many as 18 points in the first half but outscored Boston College 24-0 to end the game, while also holding the Eagles scoreless in the second half. It was the closest game yet for the Tigers, who looked completely out of sorts in the first half without Lawrence and three key starters on defense. But the fact that they were able to rally to win their 36th straight regular-season game is all that matters in the end. --Andrea Adelson

West Virginia 37, No. 16 Kansas State 10

The Wildcats survived the loss of Skylar Thompson due in part to the emergence of burgeoning star Deuce Vaughn. But against West Virginia's defense, which came into the game leading the FBS in yards allowed per game, Vaughn had just nine carries for 22 yards and two catches for one yard, while freshman quarterback Will Howard threw three interceptions. West Virginia had a 300-yard passer and a 100-yard rusher and won its fifth straight game against K-State. With Oklahoma State looming, the Wildcats have some work to do this week. -- Dave Wilson

No. 7 Cincinnati 49, Memphis 10

The Bearcats followed up an impressive whooping of SMU with an impressive whooping of Memphis. The Cincinnati defense was stout, holding Memphis to just 3 rushing yards. Desmond Ridder put together a great game on offense, throwing for 271 yards and three touchdowns. He had 41 yards and two touchdowns on the ground as well. If you aren't paying attention to this team, you should be. -- Harry Lyles Jr.

No. 20 Coastal Carolina 51, Georgia Southern 0

Quarterback Grayson McCall returned after missing last week's game with an upper body injury and led an absolutely dominant performance over Georgia State. Coastal Carolina led 34-0 at halftime, its largest halftime lead in four seasons since moving to the FBS. There are plenty of other firsts to keep putting into the record book in this truly special season: 4-0 in Sun Belt play for the first time in program history, first shutout as an FBS member, and the most conference wins since joining the Sun Belt in 2017. At 6-0, Coastal has now won more than five games in a single season for the first time as an FBS member. -- Andrea Adelson

No. 5 Georgia 14, Kentucky 3

It wasn't a particularly exciting win for Georgia, which played its first game since losing to Alabama. It knocked off Kentucky 14-3 with defense and Zamir White's first-career 100-yard rushing game -- he finished with 136 yards and a touchdown. You'd want to see more out of Georgia in a game like this if you're a fan, but with so many players banged up, you're happy to just come away with the win and hope for a healthier squad next week against Florida. -- Harry Lyles Jr.

A lateral unlike any other

Not one, not two, not three ... EIGHT laterals! Rutgers somehow managed to complete this wild play AND score a touchdown, but unfortunately, it was overturned.

Haven't seen this before

Oklahoma State's video presented a bit of an optical illusion for Texas.

No one's stopping Jamison

D'Shawn Jamisontook this back for a 100-yard kick return TD.

You could say Michigan State is hyped

Michigan State's social media team was more than ready to call out all its doubters after beating Michigan for the Paul Bunyan Trophy.

Don't hate on kickers

Trey Palmer looked gone, before Anders Carlsonbrought him down.

A casual stroll to the end zone

Central Arkansas'Tyler Hudsonmade this TD look easy.

An INT, a lateral, a pick-six?!

Yep, exactly! You read that right.Bee Jay Williamson came away with the interception, then foundKhalil Ladler, who capped of this wild play with a TD.

Lawrence shouts outUiagalelei

Trevor Lawrencewas locked in on Clemson's close game and gave props toD.J. Uiagalelei for stepping up big at QB.

'Cause this is thriller, thriller night'

Myjai Sanders had the perfect Halloween celebration after sacking Memphis' Brady White.

Your new ACC all-time rushing leader

Travis Etiennebecame the conference's all-time leader in rushing yards, breaking Ted Brown's 42-year-old record of 4,602 yards.

The coolest playcall and the coolest TD

Well, how about this?Joe Tessitore got to call his son,John Tessitore, drawing Clemson offside. And it led to an incredible TD grab by CJ Lewis.

Safe to say, Joe was one pretty happy dad after the game.

All the way home!

Boston College knows it needs to take advantage of every opportunity against No. 1 Clemson.

Elsewhere,Tahj Washingtonfound a wide-open field for this 92-yard TD.

What happens in Lexington ...

Stays in Lexington?

Halloween's best

Lee Corso never fails to impress.

A special appearance from Captain America on "SEC Nation."

And a throwback no one ever gets tired of.

Taulia Tagovailoa, plus some Terps trash talk

What a difference a week makes. Last Saturday, Maryland was trounced in its season opener 43-3 by Northwestern. But on Friday night, Mike Locksley's squad eked out a one-point win thanks to Minnesota's missed extra point in overtime -- and an incredible performance by Tagovailoa.

And when it was over, Maryland took a little shot at the Gophers, the kind of thing you'd expect from a couple of, uh, sixth-year conference rivals.

Something he'll surely never regret

At least he is a man of his word.

Revisiting a classic

Haunting images

Auburn's design folks put in some work.

Dressing up

The plot of this one is a bit unsettling, frankly.

Missouri is wearing "ghost whites."

Louisville is wearing all-black unis.

Georgia Tech legend Pat Swilling gives a history lesson.

Cincinnati did a little routine of some sort to show off a new red set.

And Fresno State just completely flipped it up from red to blue like it was nothin'.

Indiana is wearing "Salute to Service" uniforms.

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