College Football: Week 9 Recap
By: Morgan Flood
Georgia Tech traveled to Heinz Field as Pitt’s homecoming opponent, and despite the return of the script helmet logo, it was not a welcoming homecoming for the Panthers. Pitt fumbled on each of their first five possessions, tying an FBS record for most fumbles in a quarter. Georgia Tech scored on four of those turnovers, giving them a 28-0 lead just 5 minutes and 16 seconds into the game. By the second quarter the Panthers pulled themselves together a bit, scoring two TDs to halve the Yellow Jackets’ lead. In the second half, Pitt tried, but failed, to contain the Tech triple option offense – GT gained 612 total yards on the game with 465 of those on the ground. Offensively, Pitt showed promise at times, and the statistics (besides the fumbles) actually looked decent. Chad Voytik completed 15 of 20 passes for 193 yards before going out with an injury and being replaced by Trey Anderson (8/15, 135 yards, 1 TD). James Conner ran for 120 yards and 3 TDs, Tyler Boyd had 9 catches for 137 yards, and eight other receivers had at least one catch. Even with this offensive output, the Panthers simply couldn’t come back from the lead they had handed the Yellow Jackets during the first quarter, and the Ramblin’ Wreck rambled right over Pitt, 56-28.
While the casual observer may have expected a game at Kentucky to be an easy win for #1 Mississippi State, it was not so on Saturday. The Wildcats kept within two possessions the entire game – something that is less surprising when one considers that dating back to 2008, all of the games in this series have been decided by 14 or fewer points. Kentucky played hard, with nothing short of a heroic effort from QB Patrick Towles (24/43, 390 yards, 2 TDs and 23 carries, 76 yards, 2 TDs), but they could not quite keep up with the Bulldogs. Heisman hopeful QB Dak Prescott completed 18/33 for 216 yards and a TD, with one interception, and rushed 18 times for 88 yards and 2 more TDs. Mississippi State RB Josh Robinson had 23 carries for 198 yards and 2 TDs. In the end, Mississippi State out-gained Kentucky not only in total yards (542 to 504) but in scores as well, winning it 45-31 to remain undefeated.
A nighttime trip to Death Valley to face #24 LSU is rarely easy, and it certainly was not for #3 Ole Miss. In a defensive struggle, Ole Miss held the lead for the vast majority of the game. LSU, led by RB Leonard Fournette (23 carries, 113 yards) and QB Anthony Jennings (8/16, 142 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs), took their first lead of the game with 5:07 left in the fourth quarter. On the last Ole Miss drive, chaos ensued – QB Bo Wallace (14/33 176 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT and 12 carries, 40 yards) threw an interception, only for it to be called back on a pass interference call. Then, with nine seconds left, the Rebels were called for delay of game on a 42-yard field goal attempt. They lined up for a 47-yarder following the penalty, and LSU head coach called a timeout, after which the Rebels elected to run a play instead, and Wallace was picked off again, this time for good, leading to the Bayou Bengals’ massive upset and the end of Ole Miss’ undefeated season, 10-7.
#13 Ohio State faced Penn State in a whited-out Happy Valley. Like several other games this week, the underdog kept it much closer than the pundits expected. While it looked as if the Buckeyes had the game under control, taking a 17-0 lead into halftime, the Nittany Lions were able to mount a comeback after OSU QB J.T. Barrett (12/19, 74 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT and 20 carries, 75 yards, 2 TDs) was picked off by defensive tackle Sam Zettel, who ran it back for a TD and turned the momentum in Penn State’s favor in the beginning of the third quarter. The Nittany Lions were able to keep Ohio State from scoring in the second half, and a last-second field goal by Sam Ficken knotted the score at 17, thus sending the game to OT. Penn State and Ohio State each scored a TD in the first overtime to tie it again at 24 and move to 2OT, though Penn State was called for a personal foul on Ohio State’s TD, giving the Buckeyes the ball on the 12 in 2OT. In the second overtime, Ohio State scored easily, but Penn State was unable to, with the last play of the game being OSU defensive tackle Joey Bosa (2.5 sacks, 6 tackles) sacking PSU quarterback Christian Hackenburg (31/49, 224 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT) for the fifth time to end it. Ohio State escaped with the win, 31-24.
#20 USC and #19 Utah played an absolutely wild one in classic PAC-12 style – the first score of the game was on a play that nearly everyone thought was a USC incompletion – it turned out to be a fumble due to the pass being a lateral which was never whistled dead. Thanks to heads-up play by Davion Orphey, who ran the ball back 53 yards, the Utes were able to take advantage and go up by 7 on that bizarre chain of events, 30 seconds into the game. The Trojans were not about to let that go, however, and answered within five minutes on a Cody Kessler (24/32, 264 yards, 2, TD, 1 INT) pass to JuJu Smith. In the second quarter, Utah scored a field goal, and USC’s Adoree’ Jackson proceeded to run the kickoff back 100 yards to take the lead for the Trojans going into halftime, 14-10. In the third, Utah fumbled into the endzone, giving USC the ball, but on the following USC possession, Kessler was picked off. On the ensuing Utah possession, RB Devontae Booker (26 carries, 102 yards, 1 TD) ran 24 yards for a TD, to put the Utes up 17-14. With 10:24 left in the fourth, USC responded, making the score 24-21, and on the dramatic final drive, Utah QB Travis Wilson (18/32, 194 yards, 1 TD, and 12 carries, 27 yards), rushed to the one yard line, then passed it to Kaelin Clay with eight seconds left, lifting the Utes over the Trojans, 24-21.
Though Texas Tech scored first, #10 TCU scored last – and often. In one of the three Big 12 games of the weekend, TCU lit up the scoreboard and the Red Raiders. Horned Frogs QB Trevone Boykin completed 22/39 for 433 yards and a school record 7 TDs, and two of TCU’s RBs, Aaron Green and Trevorris Johnson, ran for 105 yards each. Texas Tech’s defense simply could not contain the TCU up-tempo offense, and their air-raid offense could not keep up with it either, leading to the Horned Frogs flattening the Red Raiders (and running their stadium out of post-touchdown fireworks!) with a final score of 82-27.
#22 West Virginia kept rolling after their upset win over Baylor last week, facing Oklahoma State in Stillwater. Thanks to stellar performances by RB Wendell Smallwood, who rushed 23 times for 132 yards, QB Clint Trickett, who completed 21/30 for 238 yards and 2 TDs, and the Mountaineer receiving corps –particularly Mario Alford, who had 7 catches for 136 yards and a TD and Kevin White, who also had a TD – WVU was able to easily outscore the Cowboys. WVU also showed up on defense, aided by true freshman CB Dravon Henry picking off OKSU QB Daxx Garman (21/41, 242 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT) and running it back for a TD during the fourth quarter. Oklahoma State only managed to score twice in the whole game, both times in the second quarter, bringing the score to 14-10 in West Virginia’s favor at the half. After that, the Mountaineers kept the Cowboys in check and staved off any possible comeback attempts to easily win, 34-10.
Virginia came into their game, against North Carolina, expected to handily beat the Tar Heels, and it looked as if those expectations were going to be fulfilled. The Cavaliers scored easily on their first two drives to go up 14-0 by the end of the first quarter thanks largely to the efforts of QB Greyson Lambert (20/40, 261 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT) and RB Kevin Parks (25 carries, 111 yards, 1 TD). The Tar Heels, however, were not about to let this one go, and led by QB Marquise Williams (15/28, 259 yards, 2TD, 1 INT and 17 carries, 49 yards, 1 TD), they trailed by only three at the half. After the break, Virginia’s defense did their best to keep UNC in check and held them scoreless in the third quarter, but after a sack during a UNC drive in which Williams’ helmet came off, alternate QB Mitch Trubisky threw a 16-yard TD pass on 3rd and 15 that gave the Tar Heels the lead with 4:05 left in the game. The Tar Heels then made a bold move and went for the onside kick, which they recovered, and following a UVA penalty for too many men on the field, were able to hang on and shock the Cavaliers, 28-27.
Other Scores: UConn 21, #18 ECU; #4 Alabama 34, Tennessee 20; South Carolina 35, #5 Auburn 42; Michigan 11, #6 Oregon 59, Cal 41; #8 Michigan State 35; Texas 0, #11 Kansas State 23; #14 Arizona State 24, Washington 10; #15 Arizona 59, Washington State 37; #16 Nebraska 42, Rutgers 24; Syracuse 6, #21 Clemson 16;; Florida Atlantic 16, #23 Marshall 35; #25 UCLA 40, Colorado 37 (2OT); Miami (FL) 30, Virginia Tech 6; USF 17, Cincinnati 34; BYU 30, Boise State 55; UAB 17, Arkansas 45; Minnesota 24, Illinois 28; Maryland 7, Wisconsin 52; San Jose State 31, Navy 41; Oregon State 14, Stanford 38; Boston College 23, Wake Forest 17; Vanderbilt 14; Temple 14, UCF 34; Nevada 26, Hawaii 18.
Note: All rankings are from the AP Poll and are correct as of the time the game was played. They have not been updated to reflect the results of the AP Poll released on Sunday, 10/26.