Monday, February 3, 2020

The Top 100 NCAA College Football Games of 2019-2020 (Part Three: #060-#041)

A five-part series taking a fond look back at the absolute best the college football season that was had to offer

By: Jimbo X

If you’re like me, we’re just a couple of weeks removed from the National Championship game but you’re already depressed and jonesing for some hot college pigskin action. While there’s nothing I can do to make August roll around any faster, in the interim I can at least placate your NCAA football D.T.s with our official countdown of the top 100 college football games of the 2019-2020 season, which we’ve broken down into five installments covering 20 games at a time.

Yep that’s right, we managed to review and rank a full hundred of the absolute best Division I games of the college football season  that was, and we even managed to sneak in a few FCS games in there to REALLY give you some stuff to dig up on the DVR. So what are you waiting for? Grab yourself a bowl of Tostitos and your favorite fondue and get ready to reminisce on what was undoubtedly one hell of a year for college football … aye, we’re going to really be missing this shit come the middle of June, so start making that streaming video checklist now, fellas.

Pittsburgh 35, Central Florida 34 (Sept. 21, 2019)

With 56 seconds left in the fourth, Pitt wide receiver Aaron Matthews took hold of the pigskin, lobbed that sumbitch like a loaf of Wonder Bread and tagged QB Kenny Pickett for a three-yard touchdown on fourth down, ultimately giving the Panthers enough wiggle room to allow Alex Kessman to boot the easy-enough PAT for a one-point, come-from-behind, trick-play-facilitated “W.” And if you’re a UCF fan, at least you can take a little bit of solace in Dillon Gabriel’s 338 yard passing day — you know, excluding those two interceptions and all. 

Georgia Tech 28, Miami (FL) 21 (Oct. 19, 2019)

Yet another game where the woeful, woeful Hurricanes found a new and exciting way to piss away a football game. Amazingly, Tech’s Antwan Owens’ managed to block a field goal attempt by Turner Davidson from just 25 yards out in the waning seconds of the fourth, forcing some overtime gridiron action. Eleven plays later, Jordan Mason churned in a one-yard TD gallop, and that was all the Yellow Jackets needed to secure the upset victory.

Virginia 39, Virginia Tech 30 (Nov. 29, 2019)

A fantastic Black Friday finish, as Brian Delaney booted a 48-yard field goal with less than 90 seconds remaining in the fourth to go up three on the highly favored Hokies. Of course, Virginia Tech still had about a minute and some change to do some miracle work — only for VT to fumble the ball away in their own end zone and watch Cavs’ defender Eli Hanback hop on the live ball for the easiest six points of his career.

Minnesota 35, Georgia Southern 32 (Sept. 14, 2019)

A surprisingly competitive contest that saw the Golden Gophers hop out to a quick 21-10 lead to begin the second quarter, only for the Eagles to close the gap and make it a one-point game heading into halftime. From there, it was plenty of madcap, back-and-forth action, with Bryce Williams rattling off a two-yard TD run for the Gophers, only for Georgia Southern’s Monquavion Brinson to return a missed field goal seventy seven yards for a kick-six. From there, the Eagles took the lead on a 44-yard fumble return, only to watch Tanner Morgan tag Tyler Johnson for the game-winner on a two yard end zone zip with just 13 seconds left on the scoreboard.

Oregon 37, Washington State 35 (Oct. 26, 2019)

An absolutely BONKERS Pac-12 hootenanny that saw Washington State take a one-point lead on a five yard TD zip from Anthony Gordon to Brandon Arconado with just one minute left in the fourth. Alas, That Justin Herbert fella (21 for 30, 222 yards) marched his teammates downfield, allowing Camden Lewis to boot the 26-yard, game-winning FG with nothing but zeroes on the game clock. Lost amid the thrilling conclusion, however, was the incredible play from Ducks’ running back CJ Verdell, who wrapped up the contest with 257 yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries.

USC 31, Arizona State 26 (Nov. 09, 2019)

Talk about pulling victory out of the jaws of defeat! By the time the first quarter was done, the Trojans had amassed a very comfortable 28-7 lead over the Sun Devils. Alas, Arizona State would quickly battle back with two three TD passes, ultimately cutting down the lead to 31-26 with about nine minutes left in regulation. And with less than 30 seconds left on the clock, USC defender Christian Rector hauled in an interception, officially icing this near upset for the ages for good. Oh, and just so you know: Trojans’ QB Kedon Slovis wrapped up the game with a mere 432 yards and four passing touchdowns on the day.

Cincinnati 46, East Carolina 43 (Nov. 02, 2019)

A game in which East Carolina amassed more than 600 yards of total offense, with QB Holton Ahlers lobbing the rock for 535 yards and four TD passes — and they STILL lost the game. Heading into the fourth quarter, ECU had a 40-28 lead, and looked to seal the monumental upset over the then 7-1 Bearcats. Of course, Cincy came roaring back with back-to-back scores over a four-minute span in the fourth, with Jake Verity nailing a 27-yard field goal with just 1:10 left int he game to knot things up 43-43. Fast forward 60 seconds later, and Sam Crosa makes good on a 32-yard FG with no time remaining to win the whole kit and caboodle 46-43.

Notre Dame 21, Virginia Tech 20 (Nov. 02, 2019)

Down 20-14, Ian Book made himself a South Bend superhero when he broke off a seven-yard TD run with less than 30 seconds left on the game clock, thus allowing Jonathan Doerer the opportunity to boot the game-winning XP en route to a narrow one-point victory over VT. Speaking of Book, he had a pretty good day, stats-wise, going 29 for 53 for 336 yards and two TD passes — and two interceptions, but hey, who’s counting if he winds up winning the game?

SMU 34, Houston 31 (Oct. 24, 2019)

An instant AAC classic that saw the Mustangs amass a 21-7 lead around the midway point of the second quarter — only for the Cougars to come storming back in the third quarter, cutting the lead down to 28-20 thanks to a stellar 75-yard Clayton Tune to Marquez Stevenson TD pass. Alas, back-to-back field goals from Kevin Robledo ultimately put the game out of reach, with Clayton Tune’s 96-yard pass to Marquez Stevenson with just five minutes left in regulation being too little, too late to kickstart the wild come-from-behind win.

BYU 28, Boise State 25 (Oct. 19, 2019)

One of the bigger upsets of the college football season, the Stormin’ Mormons shocked the Blue Turfers in Provo in a game that saw Baylor Romney (yes, of THAT Romney family) going 15 for 26 for 221 passing yards and two TD passes — both of which landed in the loving arms of Matt Bushman, who wrapped up the outing with 101 yards on just five receptions. Still, give Boise State some credit — with Chase Cord (18 for 30, 185 yards, two interceptions) rattling off two TD passes in the fourth, the Broncos came dangerously close to salvaging this one. 

SMU 59, East Carolina 51 (Nov. 09, 2019)

A shameless, remorseless, unabashed scorefest that saw both teams combine for almost 1,300 total yards of offense. On any other day, Shane Buecehle’s performance (22 for 46 for 414 yards and five touchdowns) would HAVE to be the obvious standout; alas, while his team did get the W, he was outgunned by ECU’s Holton Ahlers, who concluded the outing 32 for 42 for 498 yards and SIX touchdown passes.

BYU 30, USC 27 (Sept. 14, 2019)

The Stormin’ Mormons notch up another upset win, this one an overtime nail-biter against the Trojans. With the ball game knotted up 17-all at halftime, Kedon Slovis tagged Michael Pittman, Jr. for a 30-yard TD pass to give USC a seven-point lead early in the third. BYU, however, would quickly respond with a 16 yard TD run by Zach Wilson and a Jake Oldyroyd field goal to make it 27-24 with about six minutes left in the fourth. While Chase McGrath’s 52-yard FG with less than two minutes left in regulation did promulgate the OT play, it didn’t take long for Oldroyd to eventually boot the 43-yard game-clincher, as Dayan Ghanwoloku intercepted Slovis on a third-down pass on the Trojans’ short-lived overtime offensive possession just a few minutes later.
Texas 50, Kansas 48 (Oct. 19, 2019)

Cameron Dicker played hero of the day for the Longhorns, netting a 33-yard field goal as time expired to stave off the Jayhawks’ unimaginable midseason upset bid. In total, the two teams combined for more than 1,200 yards of total offense, with Sam Ehlinger calling it a contest with 399 yards and four touchdown passes — which was the same number of passing scores posted by Carter Stanley, who concluded the contest with a slightly less impressive 310 yards’ worth of aerial production.

SMU 41, TCU 38 (Sept. 21, 2019)

Really, does it get any better than watching the Protestants and the Methodists beat the tar out of each other on a Saturday afternoon? As evident by this thrilling clash between the Mustangs and the Horned Frogs, no, not really. SMU held a 31-17 led heading into halftime, with TCU ultimately managing to make it a 38-31 contest with about 10 minutes left in the fourth. Alas, Russell Roberts’ 32-yard game-winning field goal pretty much closed this one out, although Max “Hacksaw” Duggan’s 13-yard TD pass to Pro Wells late, late in the fourth sure was purdy. And as an aside, I dare you find a name blacker than “Pro Wells,” at any point in human history

Memphis 42, Tulsa 41 (Oct. 26, 2019)

A wacky, wacky game that ALMOST saw the 2-5 Tulsa Always Singular Golden Hurricane defeat the 6-1 Memphis Tigers. Memphis had a 21-7 lead about halfway through the second, but by the midway point of the third Tulsa managed to cut the lead down to just 28-24. From there, it was tit-for-tat football, with Kenneth Gainwell extended the Tigers’ lead to 35-24 via a HYUGE 62-yard TD run, albeit with Tulsa registering 17 unanswered to make it a 41-35 contest with just five minutes left in regulation. Of course, two plays later Brady White hit Damonte Coxie for a 59-yard gain, which set Gainwell up for an easy one-yard TD run. Still, Tulsa managed to battle back, pushing their way down to the Memphis 12 on the ensuing drive — only for Jacob Rainey to miss a 29-yard, woulda-been-game-winning FG as time expired.

Notre Dame 30, USC 27 (Oct. 12, 2019)

Another USC/Notre Dame thriller, this time with the 3-2 Trojans ALMOST pulling one over on the 4-1 Irish. ND had a 20-3 lead at the 12-minute mark of the third quarter, but USC came roaring back with 10 unanswered to make it 20-13 heading into the fourth. Kedon Slovis tagged Tyler Vaughns for a five-yard TD pass to make it 23-20, Irish, with Ian Book recording an eight yard keeper score to give the Irish a 10-point cushion. Markese Stepp cut the lead down to just three after a two-yard TD run with a minute left in the game, but alas — such heroics proved a little too late to reverse the tide for the Trojans.

Oklahoma 34, Texas 27 (Oct. 12, 2019)

Jalen Hurts had 235 passing yards and three touchdowns in the one-TD win over the Longhorns — plus another 131 yards (and yet another touchdown) as a rusher. Heading into the fourth, Oklahoma possessed a very uncomfortable three-point lead, which was expanded to a double digit differential thanks to CeeDee Lamb’s 27-yard TD reception. Still, Texas hung in there, with Sam Ehlinger recording a four-yard TD run with less than two minutes left in regulation — although, much to Texas’ chagrin, the follow-up onside kick was no bueno.

Georgia 21, Auburn 14 (Nov. 16, 2019)

Bo Nix’s 245 yard passing day wasn’t enough to propel Auburn over the Bulldogs, as Georgia amassed a 21-0 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Alas, Nix tried to make it interesting, hitting Eli Stove for a three yard score and chalking up a two-yard TD run of his own less than three minutes later to cut the lead down to seven. Alas, powered by a steady fun game from DeAndre Swift (17 carries, 106 yards), the Bulldogs played it safe and let the defense step up big time, forcing a turnover on downs at the UGA 34 with just two and a half minutes left in regulation. Amazingly, Auburn would get the ball back after a Georgia three-and-out … culminating with Travon Walker sacking Bo for a five-yard loss on Auburns’ final fourth down of the contest.

Penn State 17, Pittsburgh 10 (Sept. 14, 2019)

An absolute “you’ve gotta’ be shittin’ me” game in which Pittsburgh, down 17-10, had a first and goal with about six minutes remaining in regulation. Amazingly, Kenny Pickett threw two incompletions and got stuffed on a run up the gut, forcing the Panthers to try for a easier than your mama after three Coronas 19-yard field goal, which Alex Kessman promptly missed like a motherfucker. Shockingly, the Pittsburgh defense managed to force another three and out, giving the Panthers two minutes to soldier down field and tie the game. On a fourth and 12 situation, Pickett tagged Taylor Masir for a 28 yard gain, leaving just 20 seconds on the clock. Alas, Pickett concluded the game lobbing five incompletions in a row, allowing the Nittany Diddlers to hold onto the less than commanding seven-point margin of victory.

Arizona State 10, Michigan State 7 (Sept. 14, 2019)

Despite the final score, I assure you, this one was downright bonkers. Elijah Collins got Michigan State the lead with a nine-yard TD run with about eight and a half minutes left in the fourth, making it 7-3, Spartans. Alas, with just 50 seconds remaining in the game, Arizona State’s Eno Benjamin would make good on a one-yard rushing score to make it 10-7, Sun Devils. A pass interference call against ASU put Michigan State at the ASU 24, and with just seconds left on the clock, Matt Coghlin booted the apparent game-winning field goal — which was then overturned because Michigan State had too many men on the field. And with six seconds left in the game, Coghlin had a re-do from 47 yards out — which, of course, he managed to schtoink big time, thus ensuring the Sun Devils’ upset victory.


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