College football winners and losers from Week 11: Penn State drops to 0-4 while Hoosiers stay hot

There was no College Football Playoff impact when Penn State met Nebraska, but don't underestimate the stakes at play: One of these two winless teams had the chance to remake its season.

That team would be Nebraska, which went into halftime up 27-6 and then held on to beat Penn State 30-27 and drop the Nittany Lions to a shocking 0-4.

After being blown out by Ohio State and losing to Northwestern, Nebraska is now 1-2 with the chance to even its record in next Saturday's matchup against Illinois.

Part of Penn State's plummet to the bottom of the Big Ten is due to opt-outs and injuries. Star linebacker Micah Parsons decided this summer to sit out this season and prepare for the upcoming NFL draft. Running back Journey Brown was forced to retire from football entirely after being diagnosed with a heart condition.

Nebraska safety Deontai Williams forces the fumble against Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford in the first half. (Photo: Bruce Thorson, USA TODAY Sports)

Another issue was the inability this offseason to build an offense under new coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca. The lack of timing and comfort in this offensive scheme has been obvious through four games.

Ranked seventh in the preseason Amway Coaches Poll, the Nittany Lions will likely finish no higher than fourth in the East division. There's even the potential to finish as low as sixth or seventh, though that would entail losing to Rutgers and Michigan State — unlikely, you'd think, except nothing about the Nittany Lions' season has gone according to plan.

Here are the rest of Saturday's winners and losers:


Miami (Fla.)

Trailing 24-13 late in the third quarter, Miami rallied to beat Virginia Tech 25-24 and remain in contention for the College Football Playoff. For the Hokies, the meltdown comes one week after a painful loss to Liberty and will only increase the scrutiny on coach Justin Fuente. Now 7-1, the Hurricanes have already exceeded last season's win total under second-year coach Manny Diaz.


The Hoosiers avoided an upset against Michigan State to start 4-0 in Big Ten play for the first time since 1987. The 24-0 win included another good showing from quarterback Michael Penix Jr., who finished with 320 yards and two scores. Indiana's defense held Michigan State to 191 yards of offense and forced four turnovers, giving the Spartans 14 on the season. One issue: With just 113 yards on 39 carries, the Hoosiers' running game continues to sputter.

North Carolina

Miami wasn't the only ACC contender to pull off a second-half comeback. Down 21 points to Wake Forest with five minutes left in the third quarter, the Tar Heels scored the next 35 points and beat the Demon Deacons 59-53. After falling behind 45-24, UNC scored on drives of 75, 74, 89 and 81 yards to take the lead. Sophomore quarterback Sam Howell threw for 550 yards and six touchdowns, while the two offenses combined for 1,348 yards and 60 first downs.



Army has feasted on no-name opponents for two months and been pushed around by legitimate Group of Five competition. Case in point: Tulane forced three turnovers and rode a balanced offense to a 38-12 win against the Black Knights, who will fall out of this week's Amway Coaches Poll. Army's six wins have come against Middle Tennessee State, Louisiana-Monroe, Abilene Christian, The Citadel, Texas-San Antonio and Mercer. The two losses, to unbeaten Cincinnati and the Green Wave, have come by a combined 40 points.

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