Top 25 takeaways: Texas, Florida earn huge wins

Texas’ thrilling, last-second win over rival Oklahoma raises a lot of questions we weren’t expecting to be asking. Are the Longhorns now Big 12 favorites? What does this mean for the conference’s playoff hopes? We don’t know that quite yet, but here’s what we have learned so far today.

Keep checking back all day for updates from your favorite team.

No. 1 Alabama 65, Arkansas 31

The locomotive that is Alabama kept on rolling Saturday. The questions after a 65-31 win at lowly Arkansas are not whether the Crimson Tide cemented their spot as the top team nationally and not whether Tua Tagovailoa increased his lead in the Heisman Trophy race. The questions are whether Bama and Tagovailoa will stay firmly in these positions until early December and whether a more difficult schedule in November will even matter.

Tagovailoa played just six minutes of the second half in Fayetteville and did not complete a pass after a 60-yard touchdown strike to Jerry Jeudy with 1:38 to play in the first half. And still, he finished 10 of 13 for 334 yards and four touchdowns without an interception. The sophomore QB has yet to commit a turnover this season for the top-ranked Crimson Tide, which moved to 6-0 after leading 41-14 at halftime — its second-smallest lead of the season after 30 minutes — and faces Missouri in Tuscaloosa before visiting Tennessee to finish out this month. Next month brings a trip to LSU and the Iron Bowl at home against Auburn. For now, though, Alabama continues to look unstoppable after topping 500 yards for the sixth time this season in its nation-leading 78th consecutive victory against an unranked opponent. — Mitch Sherman

Best of Week 6: A Mountaineers marriage proposal

A West Virginia defensive lineman proposes on the field after homecoming. Arkansas unveils a new Razorback monument (and a sad fan takes in an Alabama beating). And the UCF stare kid is profiled.

No. 4 Clemson 63, Wake Forest 3

Trevor Lawrence started and stayed healthy, which was the big news for Clemson. But the more interesting long-term result was another tremendous performance by the ground game. The Tigers dominated the second half against Syracuse with its ground game, and they picked up right where they left off against Wake, with Travis Etienne, Adam Choice and Lyn-J Dixon totaling four runs of 50-plus yards. Clemson has rushed for at least 248 yards in five of six games this season. — David M. Hale

No. 22 Florida 27, No. 5 LSU 19

Florida fans won’t soon forget the name Lukas Krull, and for good reason. In desperate need of an answer after LSU went ahead early in the fourth quarter, Dan Mullen went into his bag of tricks and tabbed Krull to deliver the magic. Krull, a junior college baseball player, threw a 15-yard pass to Feleipe Franks to set up the go-ahead score. That play itself is a microcosm of what Mullen has done with the offense over the last few weeks. He’s changed things up at the right moments. Last week against Mississippi State it was a quick, short passing game. Against LSU, when nothing was going right in the second half, he went for the unorthodox. It might not look pretty at times, but Mullen has found a way to get the most out of his offense when it matters. That, combined with a salty defense that harassed Joe Burrow all game, has the Gators looking like a markedly improved team. — Andrea Adelson

When the Tigers look back on this game, they will look back on missed opportunities, especially in the second half. Feleipe Franks gifted them an interception in the end zone, but LSU did nothing with the turnover. After seemingly wearing Florida down on the offensive and defensive lines, the Tigers took the lead in the fourth quarter entirely behind the running of Nick Brossette. But the defense couldn’t hold. On the ensuing drive, a stymied Florida offense marched down the field and scored. The offense was inconsistent and didn’t convert enough on third down, and Joe Burrow was pressured and sacked enough to throw him off his game. With an opportunity to get into field-goal range, Burrow threw a pick-6. LSU can’t dwell on this game, though, not with a trip to Georgia coming up next week. — Adelson

No. 19 Texas 48, No. 7 Oklahoma 45

Texas took quite the counterpunch. But after blowing a three-touchdown lead in the fourth quarter, the Longhorns found a way to get into field goal range. Then, true freshman kicker Cameron Dicker became a Red River legend, nailing a 40-yarder in the final seconds to deliver Texas its biggest victory this decade. Sophomore quarterback Sam Ehlinger played a marvelous game, and was never more clutch than on the final drive, passing for 25 yards and rushing for 13. Until an improbable late flurry from Kyler Murray and the Sooners, Texas was in command of the game the entire day. Now, the Longhorns are in control of the Big 12 title race. And in Tom Herman’s second season, on the verge of truly, finally being back. — Jake Trotter

Oklahoma very nearly mounted the biggest comeback in Red River history. Instead, its defense couldn’t mount one final stop after coming alive late, and Texas converted a game-winning 40-yard field goal in the final seconds. In the end, Murray’s electrifying fourth-quarter explosion, which led to three OU touchdowns in just over 3 minutes of game clock, couldn’t make up for the rest of the game, which the Longhorns thoroughly dominated. Despite forcing three punts late, coordinator Mike Stoops’ otherwise pillowy defense couldn’t stand up blocks, tackle in space or force even a single turnover. Ehlinger, meanwhile, outplayed Murray, whose two ill-advised turnovers led to 10 Texas points. With no marquee wins to date, the Sooners’ playoff hopes are now on life support. They could, however, get another shot at the Longhorns in the Big 12 championship game. — Trotter

No. 9 West Virginia 38, Kansas 22

WVU quarterback Will Grier‘s Heisman hopes took a hit with his three red zone interceptions, but he was also good enough to compensate for it with four passing touchdowns to four different receivers, helping the Mountaineers avoid what would have been an embarrassing home loss to Kansas. Both teams combined for seven turnovers (WVU led with four), but the Mountaineers still controlled the clock, racked up over 500 yards of total offense, and held Kansas to under 100 rushing yards. With OU’s loss to Texas, WVU is now the only undefeated team remaining in the Big 12. — Heather Dinich

No. 15 Michigan 42, Maryland 21

The Wolverines defense might just be strong enough and, more specifically, deep enough, to make this year’s team a competitor against the upper crust of the conference. Michigan improved on its nation-leading average yards allowed per game mark in an uneventful win over Maryland. Aside from a 93-yard kickoff return in the first quarter, the Terps never managed to generate any threat at the Big House despite Michigan missing two starters on the defensive line (Rashan Gary and Michael Dwumfour). They will get a better chance to prove their legitimacy next week when Wisconsin comes to town. — Dan Murphy

No. 17 Miami 28, Florida State 27

In what was an improbable comeback and a victory for the entire beleaguered ACC, Miami overcame a 20-point, third-quarter deficit against rival Florida State to remain relevant on the national stage and the league’s top challenger to Clemson. Miami had been winless in 26 straight games in which it faced a 20-point deficit, but the Canes broke out the turnover chain in the second half with an interception of Deondre Francois, and the momentum shifted. Miami quarterback N’Kosi Perry finished with four touchdowns and no interceptions, but he only completed 13 of 32 passes. Miami has won back-to-back games against Florida State for the first time since winning six in row from 2000-04. — Heather Dinich

Northwestern 29, No. 20 Michigan State 19

With its home loss to Northwestern, Michigan State has officially faded out of the national spotlight, and possibly the Top 25, in the first week of October. The two-loss Spartans don’t look capable of challenging Ohio State or Penn State for the Big Ten East title. Michigan State squandered a 19-14 third-quarter lead and was held scoreless in the fourth quarter. While it’s technically still possible for Michigan State to make a run at the conference championship, its role now appears to be that of spoiler. — Dinich

No. 21 Colorado 28, Arizona State 21

The Buffaloes have one of the country’s most accurate quarterbacks and one of the most dynamic playmakers on offense. That’s plenty to make them a real threat to win the Pac-12 South when combined with their 5-0 start to the season. Heading into the weekend, Colorado’s first four opponents had a combined total of one victory. Beating Arizona State provided proof that Steven Montez, Laviska Shenault and their teammates can produce the same kind of efficient and eye-popping performances against a quality opponent. — Murphy

No. 23 NC State 28, Boston College 23

For the first time, NC State has won two straight games against Boston College — but not without a struggle. NC State had four turnovers (two fumbles, two interceptions), and almost blew a 25-point, third-quarter lead. Boston College scored 20 unanswered points in the second half, but was just 1-of-10 on third downs in the game. The Wolfpack is now 5-0 for the first time since 2002 when it won the first nine games of the season. NC State has a bye week to prepare for the Oct. 20 game at Clemson, where the winner will take the lead in the ACC’s Atlantic Division race. — Dinich