I didn’t quite spend all of Saturday watching an unhealthy amount of college football, I spent a bunch of it in the Rentschler Field press box eating Chick-Fil-A and barbecue, mostly ignoring the football game going on 100 or so feet below me.
I did, however, catch most of the primetime games, and sank my teeth deep into the advanced box scores and the highlights to give you, dear reader, an update on the world of college football. Here are the three most notable results from this weekend:
Ohio State 27, Penn State 26
Another year, another thrilling game between these two Big Ten powers, and another heartbreaking loss for Penn State against the Buckeyes.
Trace McSorley and the Nittany Lions had Ohio State on their heels midway through the fourth quarter, as they stopped the Buckeyes on fourth down and drove 52 yards down the field to take a 26-12 lead on the No. 2 team in the nation.
Then, the game turned on a dime. Ohio State’s phenomenal quarterback Dwayne Haskins led two formidable drives down the field – one of three plays and 75 yards and another of eight plays and 96 yards to rip the game away.
Penn State had one last chance, driving for a field goal with two minutes left. On a fourth and five to save the game, head coach James Franklin called… a zone read option? Ohio State’s monster front seven (even missing Nick Bosa) blew it way the hell up, and Penn State will have to wait another year to challenge for the top spot in the Big Ten East.
Syracuse 23, Clemson 27
The underlying theme of this season that has carried over from the offseason is a stark message to incumbent quarterbacks at the nations’ top programs: you better perform, or you’ll be replaced.
Tua Tagovailoa replaced the more experienced Jalen Hurts at Alabama, N’Kosi Perry did the same to Malik Rosier at Miami and Trevor Lawrence did the same to Kelly Bryant at Miami.
That, combined with the new redshirt rule – you can play in up to four games without burning your eligibility for the year – has had unintended consequences, which were on full display in Clemson over these past few weeks.
Lawrence was named the starter before Saturday’s game, and within 24 hours Bryant had announced that he was transferring, stating that he had not received a fair shot at the job in the offseason
Fast forward to Saturday, and Lawrence went down with an injury, unfairly placing a whole lot of vitriol on Bryant’s shoulders. Oh yeah, and Clemson won regardless on the back of a herculean effort from running back Travis Etienne, who muscled the game-winning touchdown in from two yards out.
West Virginia 42, Texas Tech 34
This was the marquee game of the noon slot, and West Virginia quarterback Will Grier seemed to know that more eyes were watching him than usual.
On the opening drive, he came out winging the ball all over the field: 11-yard pass complete, 6-yard pass complete, 43-yard pass complete, 7-yard run and a 13-yard touchdown pass complete. If you didn’t know the Mountaineers’ intentions before this game, you sure do now.
Will Grier ended up with 370 yards and three touchdowns on the day, but the game itself was decided on defense. With Texas Tech driving to score in the late fourth, Keith Washington took an interception to the house, keeping West Virginia undefeated.
Now, for the games worth watching next Saturday:
No. 7 Oklahoma vs. No. 19 Texas, noon on FOX
Why this game is at noon instead of the primetime slot (or even mid-afternoon!) is beyond me. A quick search reveals that apparently the time of the Red River Rivalry has greatly fluctuated over the years, from mid-afternoon through most of the 20th century to morning CST kickoffs in 2007 mostly due to the game coinciding with the Texas State Fair.
That all really shouldn’t matter to you, so just enjoy Kyler Murray facing a salty Texas defense, this picture of professional wrestler “Dr. Death” Steve Williams as a Sooner, the obligatory video of Big Tex burning down, and focus on making breakfast or do some work around the house when the other side of the ball is on.
No. 5 LSU vs. No. 22 Florida
Believe me, I tried and I tried hard to find you a more compelling matchup in the mid-afternoon slot than the weekly CBS five-hour SEC slog.
However, what you will get from this matchup is the helmets on the field, a bizarre cross-division rivalry that at one point involved hurricane cancellations, and LSU’s insanely-talented defense that includes two of the top young defenders in the league: safety Grant Delpit and corner Greedy Williams.
No. 7 Notre Dame vs. No. 24 Virginia Tech
Barring a serious upset, we’re running out of teams that can test the Irish on their way to an undefeated season and a trip to the playoff this year. No matter the state of Virginia Tech’s defense, a trip to Blacksburg to face off against Bud Foster will present at least a speed bump on Notre Dame’s quest to a national championship.
Luke Swanson is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.