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College Football Recap: Week 7

Wisconsin is on a historic run. Georgia is flawed. But what else did we learn this weekend of college football?

South Carolina v Georgia
Georgia fans should be somber after the loss to South Carolina, but they would be wise to spread what’s a considerable amount of blame evenly.
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

If you took Mizzou (12.5) to cover last night against Ole Miss, take it easy on Tucker McCann. At least you came out with a push in that LSU/Florida game.

But I digress. What did we learn yesterday in Week 7 that we didn’t know before?

What We Learned

Rodrigo Blankenship Is Not Completely to Blame

No. 3 Georgia’s double-overtime home loss to unranked South Carolina on Saturday seems inexplicable on the surface, and it’d be easy (and lazy) to lay most of the blame at the feet of Bulldog kicker Rodrigo Blankenship, who failed to push the game to a third OT when he snapped a 42-yarder wide left for his second miss of the game— and the season.

In fairness, it was a folly of mistakes and uncharacteristic mental gaffes across the board — including head coach Kirby Smart and his staff — that ultimately may have erased Georgia from the playoff picture.

Georgia outgained the Gamecocks by nearly 200 yards, held the ball for nearly 13 more minutes, converted 30 first downs to South Carolina’s 16. But four turnovers, all of which were committed by quarterback Jake Fromm —including his first three picks of the season — would nullify all of that as the defense failed to capitalize on South Carolina losing its starting quarterback and left tackle to injury.

Despite all this, Georgia still had a chance to win the game in regulation … until the staff decided overtime was the safer bet.

South Carolina v Georgia
Georgia kicker Rodrigo Blankenship (background) missed two field goals during Saturday’s overtime loss to South Carolina, but his mistakes were far from the only ones that ultimately cost the Bulldogs.
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

If the Bulldogs do indeed miss out on the playoff, this game may well be remembered for the questionable game management of Smart in the waning moments of the fourth, passing up what would have been a 60-yard game-winning attempt for Blankenship, who has missed only once in five tries from 50 yards or further in his career.

If there’s a silver lining here for Georgia, it’s that losing at home to an unranked opponent is not uncommon for the nation’s third-ranked team. It’s happened four times previously in the playoff era, dating back to 2014. And of those times, only once has that team failed to miss the playoff (Auburn – 2014).

But to avoid joining Auburn, Georgia will have to prove that Saturday was isolated incident.

What We’d Still Like to Know

How Long Can Wisconsin Keep This Up?

It’s possible Wisconsin really is this good. Maybe the competition really is this inept offensively. Maybe it’s a perfect storm of the two.

Regardless, Wisconsin’s defensive prowess this season has been impressive. And historic.

Saturday’s 38-0 drubbing of a lifeless Michigan State team was the Badgers’ fourth shutout this season, marking the first time since 1967 (Oklahoma) that a team has blanked four of its first six opponents. Leading the nation with 4.8 points allowed per game, Wisconsin has surrendered only 29 points all season, the fewest for an FBS team through six games since Florida State in 1993.

Michigan State v Wisconsin
Linebacker Zack Baun and the rest of the Wisconsin defense joined elite company with its fourth shutout of the season against Michigan State, but the Badgers would be happy to trade some points for a win over No. 4 Ohio State in a couple weeks.
Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Next week, the test gets tougher, but only slightly.

Illinois, ranked 56th nationally in total offense at 30.7 points per game, is the highest rated offense Wisconsin will have played thus far, but shutout or no, the Badgers’ season is not riding on next week.

Head coach Paul Chryst will concede a score or two against the Illini for a win in a matchup of presumed unbeatens the following week at Ohio State, which will likely be the lone team this season to score more than 14 points on Wisconsin.

The Buckeyes may also decide the Badgers’ playoff fate.

What We’d Like to Forget

The Second Half of That John Carroll/Capital Game

I think we can all agree on this one.

If you’ve never heard of either school, shame on you. And if you’re just now finding out about this game, you best check your fandom.

What transpired on Purmort Field at Bernlohr Stadium Saturday afternoon was dominance of either epic or embarrassing proportions, depending upon your perspective. What’s not debatable is the historical significance.

John Carroll University, a nationally ranked Division III powerhouse, beat winless Ohio Athletic Conference rival Capital University, 90-0, matching its own school record and setting a new conference record for points scored in a game.

But the fireworks didn’t start right away.

Leading only 28-0 at the half, the Blue Streaks scored on plays of 35, 38, 45, 52, 59, 62, 69, 76, 83, and 90 yards over the last two quarters and finished the game with 564 yards on the ground — despite possessing the football for all of 19 minutes — against the beleaguered Crusader defense, which allows more than 50 points per game.

“I kind of felt bad,” said John Carroll running back Michael Canganelli, who had 156 yards and three touchdowns on 13 carries. “You can’t really tell the reserves to go in there and not run hard, not do your job. But 90 points is crazy.”

Yes, it certainly is. What’s crazier is the fact that, before Saturday, the Blue Streaks had only scored a total of 80 points in four previous games.

After the embarrassment, JCU threw salt on the wounds.

It was Homecoming weekend for Capital, during which they also played John Carroll in men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball.

The Crusaders lost all three of those games.