A doormat no more.
The state of Mississippi, where SEC powers have traditionally gone to score wins as a matter of routine, sent top-10 powers Alabama and Texas A&M home with their first losses of the season Saturday as Mississippi State thrashed the Aggies 48-31, and Ole Miss upended the Crimson Tide, 23-17.
And now, the two Magnolia State schools are both 5-0, both 2-0 in SEC play, and sharing the view from the top of the standings in the tough-as-ever SEC West.
The Bulldogs got it done with offense (see below), while the Rebels used defense to beat Alabama for the first time in Tide coach Nick Saban's eight seasons at UA. Alabama scored just three points after halftime, and Ole Miss cornerback Senquez Golson intercepted a pass in the back of the end zone in the final minute to seal the victory.
It's been that kind of week in college football, where another top-five team, Oregon, was beaten by Arizona on Thursday, and fourth-ranked Oklahoma fell to Texas Christian. Then there was Arizona State's 38-34 win over Southern Cal on a final-play Hail Mary. And the crazy day of action ended with Utah downing UCLA.
Here are 17 other things you need to know from the day in college football:
- File this under "better late than never." Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson struggled all day in Notre Dame's 17-14 win over Stanford. But on a 4th-and-11 pass in the final minutes, he connected with tight end Ben Koyack for a 23-yard game-winning touchdown pass. It wasn't pretty -- Golson's efficiency rating for the game was a dismal 52.8 -- but on a day that saw more than its share of unbeatens fall, the Fighting Irish will gladly take their 5-0 record into next week's game against North Carolina.
- Chalk up an off-day for a Heisman hopeful. Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty, whose season got off to a rough start from an injury standpoint, had a rough game in the Bears' 28-7 win over Texas. Petty completed just 7 of 22 passes for 111 yards against a Longhorns defense that is normally far more generous. At this point, there is no way Petty will rack up the pinball-like numbers he did as a junior last year. As such, his slimming Heisman hopes will heavily depend on Baylor staying unbeaten.
- Ring your cowbells. Mississippi State rang in its return to college football relevance with an upset win over Texas A&M, moving to 5-0 on the season behind quarterback Dak Prescott. At the same time, the Aggies' new starting quarterback, Kenny Hill, showed for the first time that he's ... well, a new starter.
- Hat tricks are for hockey. But Mississippi State linebacker Richie Brown did his best Wayne Gretzky impression Saturday in collecting three interceptions of Texas A&M quarterback Kenny Hill. Turns out, Dak Prescott didn't win that game by himself.
- Remember the name Lincoln Riley?You should. But if not, you'll be hearing it more soon. The East Carolina offensive coordinator's unstoppable unit had another big afternoon Saturday in a 45-24 win over SMU. And this one turned out to be a record-breaker for Pirates quarterback Shane Carden.
- Like father, like son.Atlanta Falcons assistant coach and former Pro Bowl linebacker Bryan Cox had to have been proud Saturday. His son, Bryan Cox Jr., was as big a reason Florida beat Tennessee, 10-9, as anyone else. He more than doubled his career sack total on a single afternoon.
- You want versatility? How about the best running back in college football launching a 50-yard pass? Georgia's Todd Gurleyobliged in a blowout win over Vanderbilt. For good measure, he chipped in 163 yards on the ground with a couple of touchdowns.
- A 43-3 win is supposed to be cause for all smiles. But that's not quite the case in Florida State's home rout of Wake Forest Saturday because star quarterback Jameis Winston's No. 1 receiving target, Rashad Greene, left the game and didn't return due to a concussion. His status for next week's game against Syracuse is unclear.
- How does this happen? Wisconsin star running back Melvin Gordon rushed for 259 yards in a loss. Northwestern managed to trip Gordon downfield enough to eke out a 20-14 home upset of the Badgers.
- OK, so this example isn't quite as bad as Gordon. But South Carolina's Mike Davis averaged 8.0 yards per carry in ripping the Kentucky defense for 183 yards, and he didn't win, either. Instead, one of college football's 14 most freakish athletes, Bud Dupree, came up with the game-winning points for the Wildcats on an interception return for a late touchdown.
- Add an injury to the insult. Alabama's loss to Ole Miss came at an even bigger price than a drop in the polls. Coach Nick Saban said after the game that running back Kenyan Drake, who suffered a gruesome injury in the first half, has a broken leg. Drake plays more than most third-string running backs, and his absence will be a significant blow to the Crimson Tide offense.
- The Buckeyes' offense is turning a corner. Remember when there was uncertainty about whether quarterback J.T. Barrett could even get Ohio State past Navy in Week 1? Now he's thrown 14 touchdown passes in his last three games, including four more Saturday against Maryland in a 52-24 win. That's a long way from his three-interception loss to Virginia Tech a few weeks back.
- Quick, someone cool off Clint Trickett. In five games this year, the West Virginia quarterback has yet to throw for fewer than 300 yards. He just barely kept that pace Saturday with a 302-yard game in a 33-14 win over Kansas. And nobody is happier about it than receiver Kevin White, a fast-rising NFL prospect who hauled in six passes for 132 yards against the Jayhawks.
- Ameer Abdullah is human, after all. The Nebraska running back finally met his match Saturday in a 27-22 loss to Michigan State. The Spartans' defense shut him down for 45 yards on 24 carries. That's a Herculean effort given the year Abdullah has posted to date. He had rushed for almost 10 times that much -- 437 yards -- over his previous two games against Miami and Illinois. The Spartans' defense can be as salty as any in the country when it is playing well, however, and Saturday certainly qualified.
- Todd Graham, you are fearless, sir. After losing his starting quarterback, Taylor Kelly, to an injury, the Arizona State coach has allowed his backup, Mike Bercovici, to throw 113 passes in two starts. That paid off in the form of Bercovici's first win on Saturday, a 510-yard, five-touchdown performance that culminated in a 46-yard Hail Mary touchdown to beat Southern Cal on the final play of the game.
- Beware, top Pac-12 teams that have to face Utah. Last season it was Stanford who saw its national-title hopes take a hit thanks to a loss to the Utes. This year, it was UCLA, who lost at home to a Utah team leaning on its backup quarterback and a harassing defense that sacked Brett Hundley 10 times.
- Time to insert a new entry under the definition of "Coug'd It." Washington State's Connor Halliday set a Division I record for passing yards (734) and it appeared the Cougars had the game won Saturday night vs. Cal. However, officials didn't review a play in which it appeared Cougars running back Gerald Wicks scored a touchdown to take the lead and instead the Cougars attempted a 19-yard field goal. It was wide right, of course, to give Washington State the most heart-breaking loss imaginable.