1. Oklahoma State lost to Central Michigan. They shouldn't have. Excluding the obvious that a nominally top 25 team should never be in a 27-24 game with a MAC team inside their own building, Mike Gundy's Cowboys had the game salted away. Fifty nine minutes and 56 seconds of it, to be exact. Instead of snapping the ball to their fastest man and having him run out the final four ticks, Gundy called for quarterback Mason Rudolph to execute an arm punt. Which he did. ESPN ran a 27-24 final score on its BottomLine. The Chips even declared defeat.
Except, Gundy didn't quite know the rule in that specific situation.
Problem was, neither did the refs. While Rudolph's pass was indeed intentional grounding, it shouldn't have flipped the ball back to Central Michigan. The game should've been over.
(Whether that should be the rule is another question entirely. For today, the rule is the rule.)
Improperly raised from the dead, the Chippewas made the most of their second life.
Gundy accepted blame for putting his team in that situation, even if it never should've been there in the first place.
After the game, the MAC official Tim O'Day admitted his crew's mistake.
Q: On the extension of the game – we’ve always heard that the game can’t end on a defensive penalty. What’s the rule that extends the game on an offensive penalty?
A: There’s a rule that says that the game cannot end on an accepted live ball foul. That’s the rule. There’s an exception to the rule that says if enforcement of the foul involves a loss of down, then that brings the game to an end. So in that situation, we’ve had the opportunity to run it back through our hierarchy, which includes the national rules editor, and he confirmed that should have been a loss of down and the end of the game at that point, so that extension should not have happened.
Q: So what you’re saying is that the game should have ended and it should not have been Central Michigan’s ball, just to be clear.
A: That is the interpretation from the rules editor – the national rules editor, yes.
Though the play shouldn't have happened, the officials acknowledged the play shouldn't have happened... it still happened. And, because the play that shouldn't have happened did happen, the Big 12 and MAC announced they would honor the improper result.
Oklahoma State AD Mike Holder acknowledged the ruling, but he didn't accept it.
Can you blame him? Imagine going to the bank and hearing, "Yes, sir, we did empty your savings account and send it to China. We shouldn't have done that, but there's nothing we can do to get it back."
It's enough to drive you mad if you think about it long enough. Which is why Gundy and company should instead spend their efforts examining how they only built three points of separation from Central Michigan over the previous 60 minutes.
2. Tennessee arrives. Finally. All it took was a fumble.
After 60 sluggish minutes plus an overtime against Appalachian State and an awful first quarter against Virginia Tech, Tennessee found itself trailing 14-0 and an unquestioned status as the year's biggest flop staring them directly in the eyes.
But Virginia Tech fumbled deep inside its own territory, and the Vols scored on the very next play. Tennessee forced a punt on its next defensive possession, then moved 90 yards in four plays to tie the game. Another fumble recovery led to a field goal that gave the Vols a lead they would not relinquish, and Tennessee closed its blitzkrieg second quarter with another touchdown drive. Before the night was over Tennessee had a 45-3 narrative-busting run en route to a 45-24 victory, came one yard shy of posting two 100-yard rushers and, by the way, registered the program's first 8-game winning streak since 1998. Wonder what happened that year?
That may be getting ahead of things just a tad, but not as much as handing out hats and a trophy in Week 2.
3. If you're going to lose, don't lose to your neighbors. In its first trip to the city since 2000, Penn State went to Pittsburgh and promptly found itself in a 28-7 hole. The Lions spent the next two-plus quarters climbing out of that pit, eventually moving to the Panthers' 31-yard line with two minutes to work with. But quarterback Trace McSorley swung for the fences and paid for it, tossing a brutal interception his receiver had no chance of catching. Final score: Pittsburgh 42, Penn State 39.
For James Franklin, it's six straight losses and a 1-8 overall record versus claimed rivals Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State and geographic rivals Pitt and Temple. The Lions host Temple next week and will be underdogs to each of the Big Ten East heavyweights.
Dave Doeren faced a markedly similar situation as James Franklin, and ended with a markedly similar result. NC State actually led East Carolina 30-26 in the fourth quarter and reached ECU territory on a game-saving drive but could not close the deal in a 33-30 loss. The loss was Doeren's second to East Carolina and led to this ugly stat.
And, like Franklin, Doeren plays in his conference's Division of Death: NC State faces Clemson, Florida State and Louisville this season -- two of them on the road, in consecutive weeks.
4. Utah-BYU was brutal, ugly, sloppy and everything college football should be. BYU committed 10 penalties; Utah was flagged nine times. BYU lost three turnovers; Utah doubled them up with six. The Utes opened the scoring with a pick-six just 16 seconds into the game, and the score was within seven points for the entirety of the night.
Trailing by seven with inside of 30 seconds to play, 19th-year senior Taysom Hill scrambled for a 7-yard touchdown to pull his Cougars to within 20-19 with 18 seconds to play. Rather than play for overtime, rookie head coach Kalani Sitake went for two and the win. Unfortunately for him, the do-or-die 2-point play never had a chance; Utah swallowed Hill on a quarterback draw.
These teams have met 91 times now, and have no plans to play beyond 2020. Penn State and Pitt played for the 97th time on Saturday, and have no future meetings scheduled beyond 2019. The folks in Utah and western Pennsylvania need to figure out a way to make these games happen annually, then get on the horn with Texas and Texas A&M and convince them to do the same.
5. If the theory behind Bret Bielema's Arkansas program were to be compared to medieval weaponry, his Razorbacks would be a battering ram. Bielema's Hogs knock and knock and knock and knock until, eventually, the doors bust open and the Almighty himself couldn't stop his band of cardinal warriors from storming the castle.
That's the theory, anyway. It hasn't worked that way in practice. In fact, of Arkansas's last 13 losses under Bielema, nine have come by a touchdown or less. The Hogs can get their battering ram to the door, but they can't quite bust it down.
Saturday night appeared headed down that road again when, faced with the chance to build a 23-7 lead in the fourth quarter at TCU, kicker Cole Hedlund doinked a 22-yard field goal and seemingly four blinks later TCU had a 28-20 lead with two minutes remaining.
But, unlike so many losses before, Arkansas regrouped, and then it rallied. Austin Allen led the club 58 yards in just four plays to move within 28-26, then caught a wide receiver reverse pass to tie the game on the ensuing two-point conversion. TCU moved back into position to re-steal the game until 6-foot-10 offensive lineman Dan Skipper sent the game to overtime with a blocked field goal.
Allen opened overtime with a 19-yard scoring strike on third down, and ended it on a 5-yard run that had no business going beyond three yards, securing a 41-38 double overtime triumph.
Bielema celebrated with a Full Bielema quote.
5c. Gary Patterson had a chance to end the game after TCU's touchdown with 2:05 remaining. The Frogs scored to go up 27-20 and called timeout before the ensuing extra point. Patterson revealed afterward he leaned toward going for two and a shot at a start-the-bus 29-20 lead but decided against it.
Should the opportunity arise again, bet the mortgage on GP going for two. 6. The Super 16. The Nuggets is honored to vote in this year's FWAA-NFF Super 16 poll. Here is this week's ballot.
- Florida State
- Ohio State
- Texas A&M
- Notre Dame
7. Odds and Ends.
a. Army is 2-0. Air Force is 2-0. Navy is 2-0. This is the first time all three have started 2-0 since 1996, per ESPN Stats & Information. God Bless America.
b. Nick Saban might be doing performance art at this point. A week after expressing disappointment at Alabama's 52-6 demolition of USC, Saban had this to say of the Tide's 38-10 win over Western Kentucky:
c. SEC teams aren't supposed to have turning points against FCS opponents. But LSU might have had one on Saturday. Trailing Jacksonville State 3-0 in the second quarter, Les Miles replaced Brandon Harris at quarterback for Purdue transfer Danny Ettling. That LSU felt the need to go to a Purdue transfer in the first place says enough, but the move worked. The Tigers exploded for 27 second-quarter points on their way to a 34-13 win. Ettling didn't light the world on fire -- 6-of-14 for 100 yards with a score and a pick -- but he brought something to LSU's offense it hadn't had in a while: life.
d. With 56 seconds remaining in the first half last week, Jojo Kemp registered a 7-yard touchdown run to give Kentucky a 35-10 lead over Southern Miss. The Wildcats would not score again for another 86 minutes and 29 seconds of game action, until Kemp again rushed in to get UK on the board in a 45-7 rout to Florida.
e. As you'll surely hear plenty this week, the SEC answered last week's dud with a perfect 10-0 record in non-conference play.
f. Included in those 10 wins: Georgia 26, Nicholls 24.
g. There are no Heisman leaders in early September but if there were, Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson would be one of them. His numbers through two games: 37-of-62 passing for 697 yards (11.2 yards per attempt) with seven touchdowns against one pick, plus 32 carries for 318 yards (9.94 yards a pop) and six touchdowns. The Cardinals are averaging 9.99 yards per play and 66 points per game -- both first in the country.
h. Here's how hot Louisville is: College GameDay is snubbing Ohio State at Oklahoma, the Buckeyes' first visit to Norman since 1983 and just the third meeting between two of the five programs to earn perfect scores on ESPN's own blue-blood rankings, to hit Florida State at Louisville. (Yes, FSU-Louisville is on ABC while Ohio State-OU is on FOX, but, still.)
i. It was a great week for FCS teams in the state of Illinois.
j. It was a terrible week for FBS teams in the state of Illinois.
Illinois lost 48-23 to North Carolina, and NIU fell 48-17 at South Florida.
k. Lest you ever take gambling advice from me: I recommended UTEP +28 and the over 59.5 at Texas. Final score: Texas 41, UTEP 7.
l. Congratulations to Mike Jinks (Bowling Green), Barry Odom (Missouri), Seth Littrell (North Texas) and Chris Ash (Rutgers) for earning their first wins as head coaches.
m. No one's talking about it, but Clemson may be suffering from a championship loss hangover. Winning by six at Auburn? Fine. Winning by six over Troy at home? Ehhh. Troy added a score late (but also was on the wrong side of goal line fumble call that hurt), but this was a 13-10 game in the fourth quarter.
n. A week after blowing out Rhode Island and ending the nation's longest losing streak, Kansas fell 37-21 to Ohio at home. The world will not bow down before the victorious Jayhawks after all.
o. Final score: Michigan 51, Central Florida 14.
p. For those of you with better things to do at 2 a.m. ET than watch football, you won't be surprised at all to see Arizona State beat Texas Tech by a final score of 68-55. Sun Devils quarterback Kalen Ballage tied an FBS record with eight total touchdowns.
r. Charleston Southern went to Tallahassee down 10 starters and lost 52-8. That... went better than expected.
8. And, finally...
There is nothing more American than college football. And, more specifically, there is nothing more American than Lee Greenwood playing halftime of a college football game before 156,000 fans at a NASCAR track.