Not the most eye-opening games on the College Football calendar, but Week 9 did offer some thrilling games this Saturday. Let’s get it started and check out the biggest takeaways from this week.
Florida is closing-in on clinching the SEC East, while SEC West remains unclaimed
Florida’s matchup with Georgia was depicted as a de-facto elimination game for the SEC East division, and this time Florida survived. The Gators’ stifling defense held Georgia in check for 223 total yards offensively, including forcing UGA QB Faton Bauta to throw four interceptions. The win for Florida pushes them closer for a division crown that will pin them in the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta. For Georgia, this loss drops them to 3-3 in conference play, and basically out of the SEC race.
Of course, coach Jim McElwain’s program didn’t officially sew up the division on Saturday. They still need to beat either Vanderbilt next week or South Carolina the following week (or have the Commodores lose one conference game) to win the East. But the Gators’ only loss this season has come on the road against a still-unbeaten LSU team. Given the way Florida is playing, it’s safe to assume it can beat one of either the Commodores or Gamecocks.
Meanwhile in the SEC West, Ole Miss, somehow through inconsistent stretches can still control their own destiny. The Rebels are 4-1 in conference play after defeating a struggling Auburn. And while they have the tie-breaker over Alabama, LSU remains as the next critical game on Ole Miss’s schedule. A win over the Tigers will award them the tie-breaker.
So yes, if Ole Miss runs the table, they would win the SEC despite 2 losses. The last two-loss SEC Champion was LSU in 2007. If it just so happens Ole Miss were to win out, this is the SEC’s worst possible nightmare. With the way it is set up now, it’s very near implausible that a two-loss SEC team would get into the playoffs.
Miami’s controversial win keeps Hurricanes bowl hopes afloat
Miami needed something bizarre to happen in order to save their season. And on Halloween night, the Hurricanes saved one last trick in the bag to serve up a major treat for themselves.
First let’s just take gander at the video, and somehow decipher this 8-pass lateral.
After the play conjured, ACC referees confirmed the score on review, but it’s entirely possible poor officiating cost Duke a victory. Once replay got a hold of the play, it appeared that one of Miami’s player’s knee appeared to be down before a lateral. Officials also used review to pick up a flag on a block in the back, but that situation isn’t reviewable. In the end, Miami survived and as it stands the ACC has some severe explaining to do.
Unfortunately the loss is a blow to Duke’s ACC title hopes. Miami’s upset leaves North Carolina (4-0 ACC) as the only team in the Coastal Division without a conference loss. Next week the Tar Heels welcome the Blue Devils to Chapel Hill, a game that would’ve featured two unbeaten teams vying for a spot in Charlotte. Now Duke enters that matchup saddled with an ACC loss it might not deserve.
Oklahoma State remains undefeated and are very much trying to spoil the Big 12’s party
A classic shootout took place in Lubbock, Texas yesterday. For both teams, the combined points scored was 123, which is more than the amount that the Missouri Tigers have scored all season (119).
Not only was the points highly distributed, but the offenses were both humming at an illustrious pace. For the entire game, both the Cowboys and Red Raiders racked up 1,304 yards offensively. Oklahoma State QB Mason Rudolph and Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes torched each other’s defense for all-together 765 yards passing. In a game that pitted the Cowboys down 17 points early in the first half. Mike Gundy decided to put faith in a two-quarterback system, that showcased JW Walsh and Mason Rudolph. This type of situation Gundy has shied away from the last several weeks, but it worked this time around. Rudolph was the main beneficiary on offense, by delivering 285 yards and 2 TDs through the air. Walsh also contributed with 2 TD passes of his own. However, the main reason why Oklahoma State was able to prevail in this southern shootout, was by simply winning the turnover battle. Texas Tech committed three turnovers to OSU’s one, and that proved to be the deciding factor. In addition, the Cowboys play calling wasn’t afraid to be diverse offensively. Gundy used a variety of sweeps and draw plays from his running backs that helped the Cowboys offense going.
Now with a win over Texas Tech, Oklahoma State’s quest for a perfect season is still intact. Although, their final stretch run in November won’t be an easy one. Three out the remaining four Cowboys’ games are at home. However they come against two unbeatens in Baylor and TCU, as well as hosting the regular season finale against Oklahoma. Oklahoma State will have to pull through and win these games as they still haven’t earned a statement building victory for the playoff committee. As of now it’s safe to say that November will either make or break the Cowboys’ season.
Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer pierces a dagger into the hearts of Temple on the big stage
Temple came in 7-0 for the first time in school history, playing as a ranked team against a ranked opponent for the first time ever. This was an unprecedented weekend for college football in Philadelphia. ESPN’s College GameDay drew a big and loud crowd to Independence Mall. The Phillie Phanantic was the guest picker, using Lee Corso as his straight man.
In what probably was the biggest football game in Temple history, it was nearly on the verge of turning into the Owls’ greatest victory. Instead, DeShone Kizer refused to let Temple make history at Notre Dame’s expense. Even amid Temple’s reputable strong linebacker core. None of Temple’s big bodies had an answer for Kizer, who put up 442 yards throwing and passing. Despite winning the turnover battle, Temple’s offense was out sync all night. Failing on third down 10 times, (4/14). Quarterback P.J. Walker was widely inaccurate and only completed 43% of his passes for 148 yards. The entire Notre Dame defense gave the Owls fits all night, especially on the ground where he shut Temple down for only 107 yards rushing.
The eventual game-winning TD pass from Kizer to Will Fuller for 17 yards with 2:09 left in the game, proved to be the decisive dagger. Kei’Varae Russell also picked off a pass to end the last threat Temple had and Notre Dame escaped with a 24-20 victory.
It was the third time this season Kizer has led Notre Dame (7-1) from behind in the fourth quarter, first against Virginia in his memorable debut and then against Southern California.
With the loss, this shatters Temple’s playoff aspirations, but a shot at them making a New Year’s Six bowl isn’t out of the question. For Notre Dame, it is just another week of “survive and advance” as the pressure to run the table continues to pace the Irish.
Week 9 Leaders
- QB Chase Litton (Marshall)- 33/48, 486 yards, 2 TDS against Charlotte
- QB Patrick Mahomes (Texas Tech)- 38/55, 480 yards, 4 TDs against Oklahoma State
- QB Brett Rypien (Boise State)- 33/52, 469 yards, 2 TDs against UNLV
- RB Larry Rose III (New Mexico State)- 25 carries, 212 yards, 4 TDs against Idaho
- RB Matt Breida (Georgia State)- 23 carries, 205 yards, 2 TDs against Texas State
- RB Brian Hill (Wyoming)- 26 carries, 201 yards, 1 TD against Utah State
- WR Davonte Allen (Marshall)- 12 receptions, 232 yards, 1 TD against Charlotte
- WR James Washington (Oklahoma State)- 4 receptions, 200 yards, 2 TDs against Texas Tech
- WR Travis Rudolph (FSU)- 5 receptions, 191 yards, 3 TDs against Syracuse