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College Football Week 7 Takeaways: Tennessee Slays Alabama, Michigan Dominates, and Utah Saves Season

Tennessee Volunteers fans

It was an unforgettable scene in Knoxville on Saturday night as Tennessee ended its 15-game losing streak to Alabama with a thrilling 52-49 victory.

An action-packed weekend of college football action is in the books. Six undefeated teams lost, and the top games delivered to provide one of the best Saturdays of games - maybe ever. Tennessee ended a long losing streak to Alabama, Utah rallied to beat USC, TCU won in overtime against Oklahoma State, and Michigan dominated Penn State.

Did you miss anything from Week 7? Here's everything to know, highlighted by the top takeaways, big plays, and under-the-radar tidbits you may have missed:

College Football Week 7 Takeaways: Tennessee Slays Alabama, Michigan Dominates and Utah Saves Season

Tennessee Finally Beats Alabama
The celebration in Knoxville may not end for a few days, but there’s good reason for the party to continue: The 15-year losing streak to Alabama is over. Tennessee’s high-powered offense torched the Crimson Tide for 567 total yards and a whopping 8.1 yards per snap. Quarterback Hendon Hooker was brilliant (21 of 30 for 385 yards), with receiver Jalin Hyatt (six catches for 207 yards and five scores) his main target. Hooker’s performance should put him atop the Heisman polls after Week 7. Although Tennessee’s defense gave up 569 yards, this unit made enough stops to get the ball back to Hooker. Also, with the game on the line, the Volunteers stopped Alabama to force a long field goal, which the Crimson Tide missed with just under 15 seconds left. And while it wasn’t much time, that was just enough to give Hooker a chance to lead Tennessee into range and the win:

Michigan Dominated Penn State
If you missed the first half and saw a 16-14 score in favor of Michigan, you might’ve assumed it was a close back-and-forth matchup. But in reality, the Wolverines dominated Saturday’s game from the first snap. Outside of a fluky defensive touchdown by the Nittany Lions and two successful drives on offense, it was all Michigan. Coach Jim Harbaugh’s team pummeled Penn State with 55 rushing plays, as Blake Corum posted 166 yards and Donovan Edwards ran for 173 to give the team 418 on the ground. Quarterback J.J. McCarthy was solid (17 of 24 for 145 yards), but the dominance in the trenches on both sides of the ball was the story. Although Michigan has to play Illinois on Nov. 19, the path is set for Harbaugh’s team to be 11-0 going into the finale against Ohio State.

TCU Wins Battle of Big 12 Unbeatens
Lost in the mix with Alabama-Tennessee going on at the same time was a thrilling finish in Fort Worth with TCU edging Oklahoma State in double overtime 43-40. The Cowboys jumped out to a 14-0 lead and held a 24-7 edge early in the second quarter. However, the Horned Frogs chipped away, starting with solid play from quarterback Max Duggan (286 yards passing and 57 on the ground), and a ground game that registered 224 yards. TCU's defense gave up two field goals in the third quarter but did not allow a drive to go beyond 26 yards in the rest of the second half, which allowed the offense to fight back on the scoreboard. Considering the depth of the Big 12 and no dominant team, this conference is likely to cannibalize the win totals and prevent a program from challenging for a playoff spot. However, at 6-0 and a win over Oklahoma State, TCU is in the driver's seat to get to the Big 12 title game.

Cameron Rising Lifted Utah Over USC
Pac-12 officials tried to have their one shining moment, but the real storyline on Saturday night was a clutch performance by Utah quarterback Cameron Rising. USC jumped out to a 28-14 lead and held a 35-28 edge going into the fourth quarter. But every time the Utes seemed out of it, Rising methodically worked his team back into the game. Rising connected on 29 of 43 passes for 415 yards and two scores and paced the team with 60 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Utah's defense gave up 8.1 yards per play but made two key stops in the second half to give the offense a chance. The win keeps the Utes in the mix to make the Pac-12 Championship Game and drops USC from the ranks of the unbeaten under new coach Lincoln Riley. Going into Week 8, the race to win the Pac-12 seems down to four teams: USC, Utah, Oregon and UCLA. 

Quick Hits

*Saturday's 24-9 loss to Syracuse wasn't the only bit of bad news for NC State. Quarterback Devin Leary was ruled out for the remainder of the 2022 season due to an injury suffered in the Wolfpack's win over Florida State on Oct. 8.

*Illinois picked up a huge win in the race to win the Big Ten West with a 26-14 victory over Minnesota. The Fighting Illini still have to face Purdue, but coach Bret Bielema's squad should be the favorite to division.

*Syracuse's win over NC State improved the Orange to 6-0 for the first time since 1987.

*Baylor dropped to 0-6 in Morgantown after Thursday night's 43-40 loss to West Virginia.

*Clemson closed out a key stretch of games - Wake Forest, NC State, Boston College and Florida State - with a 34-28 win in Tallahassee on Saturday. The Tigers have five games remaining, with four coming in Death Valley. The only road trip? Notre Dame on Nov. 5.

*Ole Miss and Auburn combined for 749 rushing yards in a wild 48-34 win by the Rebels.

*After scoring 42 points against Texas A&M and 40 against Arkansas, Mississippi State managed only 17 in a 27-17 loss to Kentucky. The Wildcats' victory was a significant rebound after a loss to South Carolina the previous week. Quarterback Will Levis completed 17 of 23 passes for 230 yards and one score in his return from a turf toe injury.

*Coastal Carolina (49-21 to Old Dominion) and James Madison (45-38 to Georgia Southern) were knocked from the ranks of the unbeaten in Week 7.

*Colorado became the last FBS team to get a victory in 2022 thanks to an overtime defeat of California:

*Arkansas ended a three-game losing streak with a 52-35 win at BYU. The Razorbacks were aided by the return of quarterback KJ Jefferson from injury, who made this crazy play:

Other Moments from Week 7