College football winners and losers from Week 11: Penn State drops to 0-4, Michigan continues to flounder, 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 30-23 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.

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 Big Ten's 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:


Notre Dame

Led by quarterback Ian Book's 368 yards of total offense and four touchdowns, the Fighting Irish experienced no hangover from last week's thrilling win against Clemson and beat Boston College 45-31. While the Eagles hung around early, Notre Dame scored 21 points in the second quarter to head into halftime ahead 31-16. After an off week, the Irish close with North Carolina, Syracuse and Wake Forest before a projected rematch with Clemson to determine the ACC champion. 

Miami (Fla.)

Trailing 24-13 late in the third quarter, Miami rallied to beat Virginia Tech 25-24 and remain in contention for the 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. 

Kyle Trask's Heisman campaign

Florida's senior quarterback made up ground in the Heisman race by tossing six touchdowns in the Gators' 63-35 win against Arkansas, giving him at least four scores in every game this season. Trask now has 28 touchdowns, the most in the country, and barring injury will break the program's single-season record held by Danny Wuerffel, who threw for 39 scores in winning the Heisman and leading the Gators to the national championship in 1996. 


Purdue did something no team had done to Northwestern this season: score points in the second half. (Ten points, in fact.) It still wasn't enough. The Wildcats beat the Boilermakers 27-20 to join Indiana as the only 4-0 teams in the Big Ten — a strange sentence fit for 2020 — heading into next week's game against Wisconsin, which has the potential to decide the West division. Despite giving up points in the second half for the first time, this defense delivered once again: Northwestern has now allowed three passing touchdowns against eight interceptions and held opponents to 3.6 yards per carry.



You think it can't get any worse for Michigan, and then Saturday comes along. The latest disaster, a 49-11 loss to Wisconsin, saw the Wolverines gain one yard of offense in the first quarter and fall behind 28-0 by halftime. In the end, Michigan allowed 341 yards on the ground and made a change at quarterback, with redshirt freshman Cade McNamara replacing an ineffective Joe Milton. From Wisconsin's perspective, the easy win reinforces the Badgers' reputation as a legitimate contender for the New Year's Six and potentially Ohio State's greatest threat in the Big Ten. For Michigan, it'll be another week spent questioning the program's direction under Jim Harbaugh.


SMU coughed up a significant halftime lead against Tulsa and lost 28-24, dramatically decreasing the Mustangs' odds of reaching the American championship game and competing for a New Year's Six bowl. Ahead 24-7 after 30 minutes, the Mustangs' normally reliable offense disappeared, allowing Tulsa room to make up ground and move ahead with just over two minutes left. With the win, the Golden Hurricane are the favorite to meet Cincinnati for the conference title.


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. 


After breaking through in 2019 under current Carolina Panthers coach Matt Rhule, the Bears have reversed course under Rhule's replacement, Dave Aranda, and seem headed to finish ahead of only Kansas in the Big 12 standings. Baylor allowed the game's final 12 points, including a field goal as time expired, to lose to Texas Tech 24-23. Now 1-5, the Bears' only win came against the Jayhawks. 


After falling behind 35-16, a late charge came up just short against Colorado in a 35-32 loss, dropping Stanford to 0-2. The Cardinal have given up 35 or more points in two straight games against Pac-12 competition for the first time since 2016. On the flip side, Colorado is now 2-0 under Karl Dorrell, erasing many of the misgivings over the school's decision to hire the former UCLA coach in February.