At Alligator Army, we love and cover the Florida Gators - but the Gators are part of a larger national landscape of collegiate gridiron goodness.
Here’s a look at what happened Saturday in college football.
The Big Games
Ohio State 27, Penn State 26
The marquee match-up this week was between the No. 4 Buckeyes and No. 9 Nittany Lions in a whited-out Beaver Stadium. This one mostly lived up to its game of the week billing, with things coming down to the wire after Ohio State fought back from various deficits.
It was the third straight meeting between these two programs in which one team blew a lead of at least 13 points. Even with a 461-yard career-day from Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley, the Lions could not hang on to their lead and allowed the Buckeyes to escape with a one-point win.
PSU’s play call decision on their final fourth down was not without controversy. Despite McSorley, Penn State’s unquestioned leader and star, having success through the air and on the ground thus far in the game, this is what the Nittany Lions ran on fourth-and-five after a timeout:
Here's what Penn State went with on 4th and 5 with the game on the line. pic.twitter.com/onhYZGP2RH— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) September 30, 2018
Urban Meyer’s crew escaped Pennsylvania with a win and their playoff hopes intact.
Notre Dame 38, Stanford 17
The No. 7 Cardinal hosted the No. 8 Irish on Saturday evening, hoping to secure their first ever four-game win streak over them. Things didn’t quite turn out that way.
For the second year, star Stanford running back (and 2017 Heisman runner-up) Bryce Love suffered an injury and left the game. The Cardinal could not establish an effective run game against the undefeated Irish, who for the second week were sparked by new starter Ian Book at quarterback.
West Virginia 42, Texas Tech 34
I hate to remind Gator fans that Will Grier is pretty dang good at football. I’m going to do it, but I don’t like doing it. Grier and the No. 12 Mountaineers took care of the No. 25 Red Raiders, with Grier further cementing his place in this year’s Heisman Trophy race.
West Virginia had jumped out to an early lead but Texas Tech fought back and was driving late, when this happened...
Keith Washington Pick Six for West Virginia pic.twitter.com/a3QRRVUEIN— NCAAF Nation (@NCAAFNation247) September 29, 2018
Dana Holgorsen’s Mountaineers are well known for their offense - they currently have a sensational receiver corps - but their defense is solid as well, making them one of the teams to watch in the Big-12 race.
Other ranked scores of note:
- Washington, 35, BYU 7: Jake Browning shines as the No. 11 Huskies rout the No. 20 Cougars.
- Oregon 42, California 24: No. 24 Cal drops their first game of the season and the No. 19 Ducks rebound after their loss to Stanford.
Clemson 27, Syracuse 23
The storyline here is Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence leaving the game with “concussion-like symptoms” in his first start. Previous starter Kelly Bryant announced his intention to transfer earlier in the week after being benched last weekend for Lawrence, so the No. 3 Tigers had to turn to another freshman, Chase Brice, to carry them past the Orange.
Clemson's defense STEPPED UP late in the 4th. pic.twitter.com/UglyQwTf4V— ESPN (@espn) September 29, 2018
Clemson was able to survive falling to Syracuse for the second season in a row, as the Tigers locked in on defense and turned to their ground game to wear the Orange’s defense down late.
Purdue 42, Nebraska 28
Scott Frost’s tenure with the Huskers is not off to a good start. Nebraska’s new head coach expressed his exasperation with his winless squad, saying that they look like they “love losing” and that he is “tired of coaching an undisciplined team.”
Love was apparently in the air on Saturday.
Things started off with this pair of Penn State fans getting engaged on College GameDay.
Marriage proposal on College Gameday pic.twitter.com/SPtBYryWlH— Jordan Heck (@JordanHeckFF) September 29, 2018
We’ve all heard the advice about not scheduling weddings on Saturdays in the fall - to avoid the possibility of such life events occurring during college football games. But what if you have your wedding at a college football game?
This halftime show came complete with a WEDDING CEREMONY pic.twitter.com/ATcf6JY1r2— ESPN CollegeFootball (@ESPNCFB) September 29, 2018
Other scores of note:
- Texas 19, Kansas State 14: The No. 18 Longhorns held on to their lead to put away the Wildcats.
- Oklahoma 66, Baylor 33: After serving a suspension of four whole plays, Kyler Murray returned to the field and helped the No. 6 Sooners shred the Bears.
- UCF 45, Pittsburgh 14: If you love offense, do yourself a favor and catch the No. 13 Knights sometime.
- Washington State 28, Utah 24: The Cougars won this game despite having zero rushing yards. Because Mike Leach. (And this isn’t the first time they’ve done that!)
Future Florida Opponents
Georgia 38, Tennessee 12
I present to you a microcosm of the present state of Tennessee football.
The intrepid Volunteers also ran the same illegal punt formation three times in one quarter. And were penalized for it. Three times.
Kentucky 24, South Carolina 10
The No. 17 Wildcats appear to be for real. Undefeated Kentucky extended its win streak over the Gamecocks and picked up another conference win on the road. The Wildcats are 3-0 in SEC play for the first time since 1977.
While the Gators would have obviously preferred to win their contest with the ‘Cats, their loss to Kentucky keeps looking more respectable.
LSU 45, Ole Miss 16
The Rebels were run out of the building by the Bayou Bengals on Saturday night, with Ohio State transfer quarterback Joe Burrow having his best game as a Tiger against the SEC’s worst defense.
Personally, I am okay with the No. 5 Tigers taking care of their business at home before heading to The Swamp this week. LSU has a tendency to cough up a game they shouldn’t each season and I’d much rather them save any opportunity for that bit of circumstance for Gainesville.
Other scores of note:
- Florida State 28, Louisville 24: The Seminoles eked out a win over the Cardinals on the road, in large part due to an ill-advised late interception from Louisville.
- Vanderbilt 31, Tennessee State 27: The Commodores took a good Notre Dame team down to the wire a few weeks ago, but had to escape with a win over the visiting FCS Tigers and leading receiver Treon Harris (yes, that Treon Harris).
Elsewhere In The SEC
Alabama 56, Louisiana 14
There is nothing particularly notable about the Crimson Tide dismantling another team. However, quarterback Jalen Hurts came in after starter Tua Tagovailoa left after the first quarter (not because he had to leave mind you, but because he could). Hurts playing in this fifth game of the season - in addition to each one before it - renders him unable to redshirt this season, as some suspected he may opt to do after Tagovailoa was selected as the starter.
Texas A&M 24, Arkansas 17
The Aggies firmly have the Razorbacks’ number - defeating them in Jerry Jones’ football palace for the seventh straight year. The only notable post-game story in this one was new Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher’s outburst with Tyrel Dodson - who for his part said he was okay with the contact.
Other scores of note:
- Auburn 24, Southern Mississippi 13: After a rain delay, the No. 10 Tigers picked up a homecoming win.
Play of the Week
One-handed catches are all the rage these days.