National Whiparound Week 11: Pitt Pounces on Clemson

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Week 11 provided yet another eventful weekend in college football — including several big upsets that are sure to cause a major shakeup in the College Football Playoff rankings. Three top-4 teams — No. 2 Clemson, No. 3 Michigan and No. 4 Washington — were all defeated for the first time all season. That will make this week’s CFB Playoff Poll extra interesting with several spots likely to be open.

Here’s a look at four of the biggest takeaways from Week 11.

FIRST DOWN

Pitt upsets Clemson in a shootout

Clemson risked being upset several times in 2016. But few could’ve predicted Saturday’s 43-42 loss against Pittsburgh. Even Deshaun Watson’s 580 yards, three touchdowns and 52 completions weren’t enough to keep the Tigers’ undefeated streak alive.

Granted, Nathan Peterman’s 308 yards and five touchdowns on 22 of 37 passing  and mistake-free football provided the perfect answer to Watson’s three interceptions. Pitt’s final touchdown cut its deficit to 42-40 and Chris Blewitt’s 48-yard field goal with six seconds remaining proved to be the decisive score.

SECOND DOWN

Iowa defeats Michigan at home

Never underestimate home field advantage. Even a four-loss Iowa team could take advantage of playing at home against mighty Michigan.

The Wolverines blew a 10-0 lead as Iowa scored 11 consecutive points to move ahead by one. Michigan converted a 51-yard field goal attempt in the fourth quarter to reclaim the lead before Keith Duncan made a game winning 33-yard attempt as time expired.

It will be interesting to see how Michigan bounces back with several games remaining. Quarterback Wilton Speight will reportedly miss the Wolverines’ next game due to a broken collarbone. That could be crucial with the rivalry week matchup against Ohio State coming up after this week’s game against Indiana.

THIRD DOWN

USC beats Washington on the road

This one was far less predictable. Several media pundits gave USC a chance against No. 4 Washington. After all, this is a much different Trojan team than the one we saw earlier this year.

But who could’ve predicted Southern California would roll as easily as it did? The Trojans held the lead from the second quarter on and  capped off their win with a fourth quarter safety.

Washington Jake Browning to 259 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions on 17 of 36 passing. Of the three teams, the Huskies arguably had the most to lose.

Remember, their undefeated record wasn’t enough to make the top-4 in the initial CFB Playoff rankings. So it shouldn’t be surprising if Washington takes the biggest fall, even if it faced the toughest opponent.

FOURTH DOWN

Texas A&M loses again in Shea Patterson’s debut

Five-star quarterback Shea Patterson was on pace to redshirt during his first collegiate season. But after Chad Kelly’s season-ending injury, head coach Hugh Freeze decided to start the blue chip freshman instead.

His decision paid off as Patterson led the Rebels to a 29-28 upset at College Station, which included setting up a game winning field goal on his team’s final possession.

For Texas A&M, it was yet another disappointing loss that has continued an annual trend for head coach Kevin Sumlin. Once again, the Aggies are on pace to finish with an 8-5 record for the third consecutive season, despite an excellent start through their first six games.