Studs & Duds: The Weekend Of The Underdog

Photo: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

If you are a fan of a team that entered Week 7 of the college football season as a Top-10 ranked team, there's about a 50-50 chance I owe you condolences here on Studs & Duds.

Georgia, West Virginia, Washington and Penn State all lost, sending the college polls into chaos. The dust has settled with a new poll and boy does it feel like 2002 in here.

Teams in the top 10? Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, Notre Dame, LSU, Michigan (!), Texas (!!!), Georgia, Oklahoma and (...squints...) Central Florida.

It's going to be fun once the CFB Playoff debate enters the fray, but in the meantime how about a little love for the names behind the upsets?

STUD - Oregon QB Justin Herbert ( 18/32 passing, 202 passing yards, 2 touchdowns)

You, good sir, keep doing exactly what you're doing. Herbert and the Ducks kept the Huskies on their heels throughout the game before a little bit of good luck (a missed 37-yard field goal as time expired) sent the game into extra time.

Would you have liked to see Herbert throw a dagger into the heart of the Huskies and throw a touchdown pass at some point in the extra period? Sure. But beggars can't be choosers. Herbert avoided the big mistake that we saw the last time the Ducks took a PAC-12 power to extra time (his game ending interception vs. Stanford).

We talked last week about "resume games". Go ahead and toss this one on the resume, Justin. The Huskies are as physical and pro ready of a defense as you'll find in the PAC-12. You did well. And speaking of resumes, please make sure that thing is up to date...we're hoping you'll be handing it out this January.

DUD - Penn State coach James Franklin (Hates 4th quarter leads)

I'm going to let my good friend Bones McCoy handle this one.

What year is it? Penn State blows a two score lead in the 4th quarter to Ohio State, only to follow it up with a complete stinker against Michigan State. This potent Lions offense isn't humming to the same pace it did for the last few seasons with more elite talent on the field.

And with two more 4th quarter leads blown, Penn State's ability to close tightly contested football games has gone from bad to horrid.

Going back to the 2017 Rose Bowl, Penn State has lost 5 football games. The Lions have held the lead in each of those 5:

  • 2016 season - 2017 Rose Bowl: PSU lost 52-49 to USC despite leading 49-35 entering the 4th quarter (98.1% win probability with 2:16 left, leading 49-42)
  • 2017 @ Ohio State: PSU lost 39-38 after giving up 19 4th quarter points (Penn State had a 97.1% win probability with 5:05 left, leading 38-27)
  • 2017 @ Michigan State: PSU lost 27-24 after leading 24-21 entering the final period (Penn State had a 74.3% win probability with 5:20 left after getting the ball down to the MSU 38 on 1st and 10 in a tied game...the Lions would get called for grounding and then go for it on 4th and 3 from the Spartans' 31...they did not convert)
  • 2018 vs. Ohio State: The Lions gave up 13 unanswered points in the finals minutes to lost 27-26 after scoring a touchdown to go up 26-14 (Penn State held a 96.1% win probability after scoring to take a 12 point lead with just minutes left)
  • 2018 vs. Michigan State: Again at home, the Lions gave up a touchdown to Michigan State on the final possession, losing 21-17 (Penn State led 17-14 with possession of the ball in the waning moments and held a 93.8% win probability with 1:41 left on the game clock)

Put. That. Coffee. Down! Coffee is for closers, Coach.

STUD - Michigan State QB Brian Lewerke (24/52, 259 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception)

Welcome back from the brink, Brian! This isn't the first time you've met him here on Studs & Duds. Lewerke was one of my favorite QB prospects over the summer. He's not played well this season...some of that is attributable to his own struggles and some of that can be credited to poor habits from his supporting cast.

Against Penn State, Lewerke was living on the edge again and he almost got burned...PSU CB Amani Oruwariye let a potential game-ending interception slip through his grasp on the final possession. But watch the play again: Michigan State needs to start coaching their receivers to come back to the football.

Oruwariye undercuts the throw because WR Felton Davis III freezes. Working comeback routes at any level of the sport requires you to come greet the football.

It's a healthy reminder that you need to account for every bit of information when assessing play on the field. Lewerke's late game magic was reminiscent of 2017. Maybe he can string together a few solid performances? Either way, it was good to see the potential I was so high on this summer.

DUD - West Virginia QB Will Grier (11/15, 100 passing yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception, 10 carries, -33 rushing yards)

The hell? Will Grier came into this past weekend a few missed tackles away from averaging 400 passing yards a game. Not anymore.

Go ahead and raise your glasses, friends. This is, in all likelihood, an insurmountable dagger to the heart of the Will Grier for Heisman campaign. An ugly road loss has cost the 'Eers dearly in the polls as well.

But will this game cost Grier even more? You can be sure NFL scouts are going to flock to this tape to see what kryptonite the Cyclones used to break Grier. And more importantly: is it easily replicated at the NFL level?

STUD - LSU CB Kristian Fulton (1 interception vs. Georgia)

What a story Fulton is. A former 5-star recruit from the 2016 class, Fulton is seeing his first game action since being used sparingly in 2016 as a true freshman. Why? Because he's been serving a PED related suspension...without ever testing positive for PEDs.

No, instead, Fulton was caught tampering on a drug test in February of 2017 because he was fearful the test would trigger a positive for marijuana usage. But once the NCAA caught wind of Fulton's influence on the test, they threw the book at him and gave Fulton a two year suspension.

After further review, his suspension was reduced to one year and it's game on for Fulton and the Tigers in 2018.

Game on, indeed.

This is a hell of a play. It helped to break the back of the Bulldogs and ice the win, as the Tigers bounced back from an ugly road loss to the Gators in Week 6.

DUD - Alabama Crimson Tide (They're boring)

Y'all ever going to give us a close contest or are you planning on just boat-racing every team you line up against this season?

Threads Of The Week - Louisville Cardinals

As promised on Twitter last Monday, the Cardinals get recognition for these gorgeous kits.

The textured design of the jersey? I'm a fan. The gold accents thrown into the white? I'm a big fan. The red-chrome helmets? Yeah, count me in. We're big fans of chrome helmets here at Studs & Duds.

My ONLY exception with these uniforms? That they're special edition. Bullcorn. Round up all the other uniforms and have a bonfire. These are the only uniforms you need from now until the end of times, Louisville.

Written By:

Kyle Crabbs

Chief Brand Officer

CBO & Senior NFL Draft Analyst for The Draft Network. Co-host of the Draft Dudes podcast. Former NDT Scouting Overlord.