Every college football weekend is jam packed with games starting on Thursday night and running through the early morning hours of Sunday. You probably didn’t have a chance to watch all the action, nobody does. So, we’re here every Monday to recap some of the highlights (or lowlights) of the weekend.
The Week 13 slate of college football games largely turned out to be fairly uneventful. Few upsets happened in the Power 5 marquee rivalry games, but, boy did we get a great game in Columbus. The conference title matchups are now set, but the playoff picture is far from it.
Michigan-Ohio State Is Thrilling Again
It’s been awhile since we’ve had truly compelling games in this rivalry. The past two meetings saw the Buckeyes walk away with easy victories of 14 points or more and it was clear that there was a talent gap between the two programs. That talent gap is gone. For much of Saturday, Jim Harbaugh’s squad outplayed the Buckeyes. The defense dominated J.T. Barrett, holding him to just 125 yards through the air and, despite allowing him to rush for 125 yards, it took him 30 attempts to do so. Wilton Speight, despite an injured shoulder, picked apart the Buckeyes secondary, but then turned the ball over three times, including a pick-six to Malik Hooker that gave the Buckeyes their first points of the game.
In the end, there were a few questionable calls and no-calls that didn’t go the Wolverines way and the Buckeyes were able to escape 30-27 in double overtime.
One thing is for sure: These two teams are clearly two of the four best in the country. If that were the sole criteria that the committee were relying on for the playoff, both teams would be in. However, because neither team will play for the conference title, one and maybe both will be left out of the four playoff spots. It’s unlikely that the Buckeyes drop all the way from number two to outside the Top 4, but, you never know what will happen with the committee in charge.
More importantly, this rivalry seems destined for another run of great games as long as Urban Meyer and Harbaugh are in charge of the programs. “The Game” is alive again, and the college football world rejoices.
Pitt 76, Syracuse 61
Yes, that is a college football score. Yes, I’m 100 percent sure. I did not confuse the basketball score with the football one. The Panthers and Orange played a game at Heinz Field Saturday in which the teams combined for 1,312 yards, 137 points and converted on a combined 51 percent of their third down attempts.
Needless to say, defense was apparently optional. There’s really not much else I can say other than to show you this video of the 20, yes 20(!), touchdowns that were scored. Sit back, relax, and soak in the scoring bonanza.
My favorite stat line(s) of the day? Nathan Peterman, Pitt’s QB, completing just nine of his 18 passes for 251 yards and four touchdowns. Oh, and Syracuse receiver Amba Etta Tawo posting the following line: 13 receptions 178 yards and five(!) touchdowns. Yeah, this game was insane, yet, Pitt wasn’t even the highest scoring team on Saturday.
Middle Tennessee State 77 Florida Atlantic 56
That honor belongs to the Blue Raiders of Middle Tennessee State. Again, this is not a basketball score. The Blue Raiders rolled up 495 yards rushing on an 8.7 yards per carry average with two players rushing for over 200 yards. Kudos to I’Tavius Mathers and Richie James who put up 420 yards and six touchdowns by themselves. I don’t have any highlights for you from this one, but, just go ahead and look at this box score.
Lamar Jackson Leaves Heisman Door Slightly Ajar
Jackson seemed to have sewn up the Heisman following his ridiculous early season performances along with big games against Florida State and Clemson. However, he’s been less than stellar in the last two weeks against Houston and Kentucky. In Saturday’s game against the Wildcats, Jackson threw three interceptions and lost the fumble that led to the game winning field goal (albeit on a controversial call).
That’s a bitter taste to leave in the voter’s mouths in the final two games they’ll see from Jackson before voting for the award. Since Louisville won’t be playing in the ACC Championship game, Jackson won’t have another opportunity to show out against top competition before the Heisman is given out on December 10th. That technically leaves the door open for someone to swoop in with a massive performance in their conference title game this weekend.
That said, Jackson’s 4,928 total yards and 51 total touchdowns makes him the far and away favorite to take home the trophy. For reference, both of those numbers are better than what Johnny Manziel and Tim Tebow put up in their respective Heisman campaigns. So, yes, Jackson didn’t make the best last impression on voters. But, there’s not really anyone else in his class at the moment. The Heisman is likely Jackson’s barring some ludicrous performance this weekend.