Craziest Finish Ever Highlights Wild Week 9 in College Football
One of the craziest finishes in history highlights another exciting week in college football. Here are some of the big stories and things we’ve learned.
Miami/Duke Gave Us The Wildest Finish Yet
Just when you think this season can’t get any stranger, along comes Miami/Duke . . . and this happens
This was without a doubt one of the craziest finishes in college football history, with eight laterals, 91 yards and 46 seconds needed for the play to transpire. Even then, things weren’t final as a flag for a block in the back was picked up and it took review officials 9 minutes to rule the play a touchdown, seemingly ignoring a couple of obvious blocks in the back and a ball carrier’s knee being down (0:22 mark) before pitching the ball.
(Ed. Note: After this article was originally published, the ACC announced that the officiating and replay crews were being suspended for two games for “a series of errors” in their handling of the final play.)
But despite the officiating miscues and the inevitable discussions of college replay failings, this will go down as arguably the wildest game finish in a season that has already given us more than our fair share.
The Big 12 is About to Get Really Fun
The scheduling gods have been very kind to Big 12 fans, giving them what could be the most exciting final month that any conference has seen in some time. As we come into the final month of the season, the conference boasts three undefeated teams (No. 2 Baylor, No. 4 TCU and No. 12 Oklahoma State) and a one loss No. 14 Oklahoma that will all play each other in a round robin to determine the conference title.
To be sure, no one here is a sure thing—Baylor will be without starting quarterback Seth Russell the rest of the way, TCU’s defense has been suspect, Oklahoma State (the conference’s best defense statistically) just gave up 53 to Texas Tech and the Sooners’ slip-up against 3-5 Texas has to raise some eyebrows. There is a good chance the final month will turn into a circular firing squad, leaving all of those teams with one loss and forcing the conference into the same situation that left it on the outside looking in at last year’s playoff. If, in fact, one these teams can run the table from here out, they will have certainly earned their playoff ticket. Either way, the next month is going to be fun to watch.
Notre Dame Has Big Things On the Horizon
With their Saturday night win over No. 17 Temple, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish are very much in the driver’s seat for a playoff spot. The No. 9 Irish rallied for a fourth-quarter comeback against a stout Owls defense that came into the game giving up less than 15 points per game. This was Deshone Kizer’s third fourth-quarter comeback win since taking over as the Irish quarterback in the second week of the season.
Give Temple credit—they handled the bright lights well. In their first ever matchup between two ranked opponents (and just their seventh game ever as a ranked team), the Owls didn’t cave under pressure. Temple took a 20-17 lead with 4:45 to play before Notre Dame rallied for the go-ahead touchdown with 2:09 left. Even then, the Owls fought to the end with the game not being decided until the Irish sealed it with a late interception.
But with all that said, this was still Notre Dame’s night and it could set the stage for a title run. The Irish have three games against unranked teams coming up before a season-ending tilt with Stanford. If Notre Dame can run through that schedule, it’s difficult to see the committee keeping a 11-1 Irish squad out of the playoffs.
Florida Fans Can Start Making Hotel Reservations
OK, technically the No. 11 Gators didn’t clinch a spot in the SEC title game with their 27-3 win over Georgia. But Florida now holds a two-game lead and the tiebreaker over the Bulldogs, meaning they need just one more conference win over either Vanderbilt or South Carolina to punch their ticket.
Florida once again got it done with defense, holding the Bulldogs to just 223 total yards and forcing five turnovers. With Treon Harris making his first start this season after the suspension of quarterback Will Grier, the Gators relied on a strong ground game, led by Kelvin Taylor’s 121 yards and two touchdowns.
Georgia, meanwhile, is limping into the homestretch of another disappointing season. True, the Bulldogs have been hurt by a variety of injuries. But with the talent level Georgia has recruited and legitimate playoff hopes in the preseason, this most recent blowout loss will have coach Mark Richt squarely back on the coaching hot seat.
Stats of the Week
- Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds scored his 77th career touchdown, tying Montee Ball for the NCAA career record. He was also part of a school record, as the Midshipmen recorded three hundred-yard rushers for the first time in their 29-17 win over South Florida.
- This is the first time since 1903 that the Big Ten boasts three 8-0 teams (Ohio State, Michigan State and Iowa).
- Oklahoma State’s 70 points scored in a 70-53 win at Texas Tech was the third-most ever by a ranked team in a non-overtime game.
- Cincinnati quarterback Gunner Kiel was 15-of-15 for 319 yards and five touchdowns in the Bearcats’ 52-7 win over Central Florida. It was the most completed passes without an incompletion in an FBS game in 20 years.