Ohio State Is Back in the Playoff Hunt — College Football Recap Week 9
Three unbeaten teams lost, and Ohio State jumped back into the national title picture. Here’s a recap of the most interesting college football games of Week 9:
J.T. Barrett Led Ohio State’s Comeback Win over Penn State
J.T. Barrett threw four touchdown passes, including three in the fourth quarter, and No. 6 Ohio State came back to beat No. 2 Penn State, 39-38, in Columbus on Saturday afternoon. Barrett’s 16-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Baugh with 1:48 left in the game gave his Buckeyes revenge on the Nittany Lions, the team that kept them from the Big Ten title game last season.
Penn State (7-1, 4-1 Big Ten) led by 18 points late in the first half — and by 11 with 5:42 left in the game — but their defense choked away their unbeaten record in the final minutes. Nittany Lions running back Saquon Barkley opened the game with a 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, but the Heisman Trophy favorite was held to 44 yards on 21 carries with just one other score for the rest of the contest.
Barrett may have injected himself into the Heisman race, completing 33 of 39 passes for 328 yards for Ohio State (7-1, 5-0). Regardless, his Buckeyes are back in the hunt for the College Football Playoff, moving to No. 3 in the new AP Top 25 poll announced Sunday.
The first College Football Playoff rankings of the season are due out Tuesday.
Iowa State Gave TCU Its First Loss
Kyle Kempt threw for 202 yards and two touchdowns and 25th-ranked Iowa State shocked No. 4 TCU 14-7 on Saturday. The loss was the first for the Horned Frogs, who tumbled to No. 10 in the new AP Top 25 poll announced Sunday.
Iowa State (6-2, 4-1 Big 12) is now tied with TCU (7-1, 4-1 Big 12), Oklahoma (7-1, 4-1) and Oklahoma State (7-1, 4-1) at the top of the Big 12. It’s now very possible that no team from the conference will make it into the College Football Playoff.
Kempt and the Cyclones led 14-0 at halftime and hung on to win thanks to a stout defense that kept Horned Frogs’ quarterback Kenny Hill in check. Hill committed three uncharacteristic turnovers in the second half to help ISU complete the upset.
TCU’s only score came on a 94-yard kickoff return by KaVontae Turpin to start the second half.
South Florida Lost, Too
D’Eriq King scrambled for a 20-yard touchdown run with 11 seconds to play and Houston upset previously unbeaten No. 17 South Florida, 28-24, on Saturday. King’s 30-yard completion on fourth-and-24 kept the Cougars final drive alive long enough for him to win the game with his second touchdown run of the day.
Mulbah Car ran for 137 yards and a score for Houston (5-3, 3-2 American Athletic Conference), which ended the nation’s longest winning streak at 12 games by beating the Bulls in Tampa.
Quinton Flowers passed for 325 yards and ran for two scores for USF (7-1, 4-1). The Bulls likely have no chance to make it into the College Football Playoff rankings in 2017.
Notre Dame Stopped N.C. State’s Run
Josh Adams ran for 202 yards on 27 carries, including a 77-yard touchdown dash, and No. 9 Notre Dame crushed 14th-ranked North Carolina State, 35-14, on Saturday afternoon. Cornerback Julian Love returned an interception 69 yards for a touchdown for the Fighting Irish, who coasted in the second half of the dominant win.
Notre Dame (7-1) stayed in the thick of the College Football Playoff chase with the victory over the Wolfpack, while Adams gained ground in the Heisman Trophy race. He has 1,169 yards on 132 carries this season.
N.C. State (6-2) lost for the first time in six games, but the Wolfpack is still in control in the Atlantic Coast Conference. They’ll need to beat Clemson this coming Saturday to stay in the ACC title hunt.
Georgia Beat Florida So Badly That the Gators Fired Their Coach
Sony Michel ran for 137 yards and two touchdowns on just six carries, and No. 2 Georgia remained unbeaten by routing rival Florida, 42-7, on Saturday. The loss was the Gators’ worst in “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party” series since 1982.
Rumors swirled after the game that Florida (3-4, 3-3 SEC) would fire coach Jim McElwain. They parted ways on Sunday.
The Bulldogs (8-0, 5-0 SEC) started 8-0 for the first time since 2002. They remained in control of the SEC East — and on track for a potential conference title game date with top-ranked Alabama.