Monday, February 17, 2020

The Top 100 NCAA College Football Games of 2019-2020 (Part Five: #020-#001)

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.

South Carolina 20, Georgia 17 (Oct. 12, 2019)

Quite possibly the most inexplicable loss of the college football season, and maybe the most confounding defeat the Bulldogs have experienced since … well, the last time UGA inexplicably lost to a subpar Gamecocks squad. Somehow, the Bulldogs trailed 17-10 heading into the final two minutes of the fourth, only for Jake Fromm to tag Demitris Robertson on a six-yard TD pass to knot things up 17-all — and thus, facilitating some overtime play. Alas, after neither team could score (complete with the usually automatic Rodrigo Blankenship hunching the pooch on a 42-yarder) South Carolina’s Parker White netted an easy 24-yard FG in 2.O.T. to give the Cocks the shocking upset win IN Athens. Think UGA’s four turnovers had anything to do with the final outcome in this one?

North Dakota State 28, James Madison 20 (Jan. 11, 2019)

OK, so technically, this isn’t a Division I game, but you know what? When A FCS Championship Game is this good, you pretty much have to give it a spot somewhere in the top 20. NDSU eld a 21-10 lead heading into halftime, but the Dukes came roaring back in the third with a 27-yard FG from James Hendricks to cur the lead down to 21-13. Naturally, the Bison only needed 10 seconds of the fourth quarter to extend their lead to 28-13 via Trey Lance’s glorious 44-yard TD run, but give James Madison credit, they hung in there ’til the bitter end, with Ben DiNucci hitting Riley Stapleton for a five yard score with about seven minutes to go in regulation — with a late NDSU interception in their own end zone being the only thing, possibly, that kept this one from heading to O.T., and mayhap even a colossal championship upset. 

Yale 50, Harvard 43 (Nov. 23, 2019)

Alright, so we’re cheating a little bit with this one, too, but come on — how often do we get exciting Ivy League football games these days? While this game will likely forever be remembered for the climate change protest shutting the game down at halftime, the second half of this one was even more bonkers. Harvard quickly jumped out to a 22-3 lead after Aidan Borguet’s 59-yard rushing score, but Yale slightly closed the gap with two third quarter TDs and a field goal to make it 29-19 heading into the fourth. Just minutes into the final quarter, Borguet appeared to put this one WAY out of reach with a 67-yard touchdown run, but holy shit if Yale didn’t go onto score 17 unanswered en route to tying this fucker up 36-36 with a seven yard TD pass from Kurt Rawlings to Jp Shohfi. The two teams traded touchdowns in the first frame of O.T., but Yale made a pivotal defensive stop in the second round of overtime, with Zane Dudek’s four-yard score ultimately giving the Bulldogs the improbably 50-43 come from behind victory. 

Memphis 54, SMU 48 (Nov. 02, 2019)

Pretty much THE defenseless scorefest of the season, and for once, it WASN’T a Big 12 match-up. Both AAC heavyweights combined for 1,067 yards of offense in this back-and-forth thriller, with Memphis just barely edging out the formerly undefeated Mustangs by six points. The Tigers held a 30-17 lead at the beginning of the third quarter thanks to Antonio Gibson’s incredibly 97-yard kickoff return, and by the time the fourth quarter began Memphis wa up 40-24. Still, the Methodists kept this one close, with Shane Buechele hitting Kyle Grandon on a 30-yard pass to make it an eight point game — only for Brady White to tag Damonte Coxie on a 49-yard TD pass and Gibson to break off a 78-yard rushing score to make it 54-32 about halfway through the quarter. Still, SMU kept on a fighting, with Ke’Mon Freeman getting a 68-yard TD run and Buechele hitting James Proches on a two-yard score to cut it down to 54-48. Alas, Memphis recovered the onside kick and elected to run out the clock, providing viewers with the only unexciting two minutes of the entire contest. 

Baylor 33, Texas Tech 30 (Oct. 12, 2019)

Yet another double overtime-thriller, this one a Lone Star heart stopper that saw the underdog Red Raiders come *this close* to bumping off the then-undefeated Baylor Golden Bears. The back and forth slugfest saw Texas Tech take a 20-17 lead on a stellar 30-yard TD run by SaRodorick Thompson with just 1:37 left in regulation — only for Baylor to improbably march down field and set John Mayers up for a game-tying 19-yard field goal. Baylor struck first in O.T. with a one-yard Charlie Brewer run, with T.J. Vasher hauling in a two-yard TD pass from Jett Duffey to reknit the affair 27-all. In the second O.T. frame, Trey Wolff gave TT a momentary 30-27 lea via a 35-yard field goal — only for JaMycal Hasty to put her away for good with a five-yard TD run on Baylor’s next possession

UCLA 67, Washington State 63 (Sept. 21)

No, your eyes are not deceiving you — Washington State had 720 total yards of offense in the contest and 63 points, and they STILL lost the game. Around the midway point of the third quarter, the Cougars had a seemingly insurmountable 49-18 lead — only for the Bruins to score 28 unanswered and make it a 49-46 ballgame with 14 full minutes to play in the fourth quarter. Ultimately, the two teams combined for SIX touchdowns in the final 15 minutes of play, with Dorian Thompson-Robinson hitting Demetric Felton on a 15-yard TD pass with 67 seconds left on the clock to give UCLA the thrilling comeback victory. By the way, DTR finished the game with 507 passing yards and five touchdowns — while the quarterback who lost, Anthony Gordon, called it a day with 570 passing yards and NINE touchdown throws. 

Baylor 29, TCU 23 (Nov. 09, 2019)

Baylor’s improbably 9-0 run continued with this beyond thrilling TRIPLE overtime win over arch rivals TCU. Considering how many high-scoring donnybrooks these two have been involved in over the last few years I reckon NONE of us expected this one to be a field goal-only affair at the end of regulation. Alas, both teams decided to break out touchdowns en masse in O.T., with Baylor’s Denzel Mims hauling in a four-yard TD pass from Charlie Brewer to put this one out to pasture in the third frame of overtime play.

Arizona State 31, Oregon 28 (Nov. 23, 2019)

The game that officially ended Oregon’s playoffs hopes, and one of the most satisfying PAC-12 upsets we’ve had in, well, at least a couple of weeks, I suppose. Shockingly, The Sun Devils amassed an unthinkable 24-7 lead around the midway point of the fourth, only for Oregon to come storming back with two unanswered touchdowns to make it a three point game. Alas, Jayden Daniels soon tagged Brandon Aiyuk for a MAN-SIZED 81-yard TD pass, effectively putting this one well out of reach for the Ducks. Oregon fought valiantly with Justin Herbert tagging Johnny Johnson III on a 17-yard pass with two minutes to go in the game to make it 31-28, but Arizona State’s special teamsters managed to recover the onside kick to officially put the kibosh on the wild comeback putsch, with Eno Benjamin’s first-down run with 1:45 to go in the quarter allowing ASU to assume the victory formation and ride this ‘un out. 

Michigan 24, Army 21 (Sept 07, 2019)

The game where pretty much EVERYBODY who wasn’t a Wolverines nuthugger desperately, direly rooted for Army to pull off the unimaginable — and to their credit, they almost DID. In a back and forth defensive struggle, Michigan and visiting Army headed into overtime deadlocked 14-all. Kelvin Hopkins, Jr. rattled off a 6-yard TD run to make it 21-14, Black Knights, only for Zach Charbonnet to churn up three yards of turf for a retaliatory rushing score four plays later. Jake Moody would boot a 43-yard field goal on Michigan’s ensuing possession, thus making it a 24-21 contest. Alas, Army never had a chance to go for the game-winning TD, let alone the game-tying FG; Hopkins got sacked at the Michigan 26 on third and 11, with Wolverines’ defender Mich Kwity Paye scooping up the loose ball to put this near upset for the ages to bed for all of recorded history

LSU 45, Texas 38 (Sept. 07, 2019)

Amazingly, this was as close as the Tigers got to tasting defeat during Joe Burrows’ all time single season campaign. Both Burrow and Texas’s Sam Ehlinger concluded the game with four TD passes and 400-plus aerial yards a piece, with LSU’s Justin Jefferson calling it a day with 163 yards and three end zone visits on just nine receptions. While LSU had a 20-7 lead heading into halftime, it didn’t take long for the Longhorns to hop back in it, making it a 23-21 contest going into the fourth. Five touchdown exchanges later, Cameron Dicker scooped up Texas’ desperation onside kick attempt with just 22 seconds left in regulation, finally putting this slugfest classic out to pasture. 

Virginia Tech 43, North Carolina 31 (Oct. 19, 2019)

Three words, ya’ll - SEXTUPLE OVERTIME PLAY. Yep, this ACC showdown took no less than SIX rounds of overtime to decide, and to say it was “thrilling” is kinda’ like saying an extra moist blowjob from Taylor Swift is a rather inviting prospect. Ultimately, Hokies’ QB Quincy Patterson II ended the epic match-up when he tagged Damon Hazelton on an 18-yard pass, following suit with a quarterback sneak on the subsequent two-point conversion attempt to give this ultra hard-fought win to VT, 43-41. 

LSU 23, Auburn 20 (Oct. 26, 2019)

An instant SEC classic that saw the Joe-gernaut throw for 321 yards but still have the same number of passing TDs as Auburn wunderkind Bo Nix. The Tigers (from Alabama) actually held a 13-10 lead around the midway point of the third quarter, only for Clyde Edwards-Helaire to make it a three-point game the other way on a six-yard rushing score. Early in the fourth Burrow ran seven yards on a touchdown keeper to make it a 10-point game, although Auburn did close the gap on a Nix to Seth Williams five-yard score with two and a half minutes left in regulation. Naturally, LSU recovered the desperation onside kick, ultimately allowing the Tigers (from Louisiana) to run out the clock en route to a razor thin three-point margin of victory. 

Kansas State 48, Oklahoma 41 (Oct. 26, 2019)

The game that ALMOST knocked Oklahoma out of the four-team playoffs, and in hindsight, probably should’ve. Despite Jalen Hurts (395 passing yards, 96 rushing yards with three TDs on the ground) having the definition of a big dick game, it was instead KSU QB Skylar Thompson who had the even bigger dick performance, ultimately going 18 for 28 passing for 213 yards and recording no less than FOUR touchdowns on 13 rushing attempts. The bonkers contest saw OU possess a 17-7 lead heading into the second, only for Kansas State to leap out to a 27-23 lead in the opening minutes of the third. Up 48-23 in the fourth quarter, Oklahoma scored 18 unanswered in the final 12 minute of play, only for the Wildcats to play pussy ball in the last two minutes and effectively run out the clock — and thus, maintain the shocking 48-41 final score.

Clemson 21, North Carolina 20 (Sept. 28, 2019)

Trevor Lawrence’s closest call of the regular season gave us another down-to-the-wire ACC classic, with the Tar Heels coming *THIS* close to unseating the reigning, defending National Champions. The mighty maned one went 18 for 30 for 206 yards and one TD pass in the performance, inconceivably being outgunned by UNC QB Sam Howell, who finished the game 15 or 27 for 144 yards and TWO touchdown passes. Alas, a T.L. to Tee Higgins 38-yarder around the 10-minute stamp of the fourth was enough to catapult Clemson to a 21-14 lead, but hold your horses, Javonte Williams managed to churn in a one-yard TD run to make it 21-20 with just 77 seconds left in regulation? Rather than go for the game-tying XP, however, UNC inexplicably went for an ill-conceived two point conversion, which Clemson’s D easily dismantled to prevent the unthinkable from transpiring. 

LSU 46, Alabama 41 (Nov. 09, 2019)

The de facto SEC title game eliminator was heavily hyped to the moon and back, and this year at least, the annual Bama/LSU tilt DID NOT disappoint. Tua T. Went 21 for 40 for an amazing 418 yards and four TD passes, although Joe Burrow didn’t look too limp-wristed, either, ultimately going 31 for 39 for 393 yards and three TD passes of his own. Of course, it was the run game that proved to be the big variable here, as Clyde Edwards-Helaire chalked up THREE touchdowns and 103 yards on 20 carries, including the seven-yard jaunt that effectively put this one out of the Tide’s reach with just 1:37 left in the contest — although, to be sure, Tua’s 85-yard desperation BOMB to DeVonta Smith just 16 seconds later was, by all objective measurements, boss as a motherfucker despite its lack of impact on the game’s ultimate outcome. 

Auburn 48, Alabama 45 (Nov. 30, 2019)

I.e., the game that’s guaranteed Bo Nix a blow job in northern Alabama any damn time he wants one. Having already lost to LSU, Alabama’s National Championship Playoffs hopes were getting pretty slim, and arch-rivals Auburn (already WELL out of the playoffs discussion themselves) were just champing at the bit to ruin the Tide’s holidays in the 2019 Iron Bowl. In a contest that saw seven lead changes, backup QB Mac Jones tased Jaylen Waddle on a 28-yard DIME of a touchdown pass to give ‘Bama the 45-40 lead about a minute into the fourth quarter. At the eight minute-mark, Shaun Shivers rattled off an 11-yard TD run to make it 46-45, with Bo Nix tagging Shedrick Jakckson on a beyond-ballsy two-point conversion attempt to make it a three-point ballgame. Eventually, Alabama kicker Joseph Bulovas would make it down to the Auburn 11 for an easy 30-yard field goal — only to miss that motherfucker by a country mile and give the pigskin right back to the Tigers, who ultimately put this one to bed, after Alabama got hit with a substitution infraction, of all things, playing defense on a goddamn FOURTH and FOUR situation.

Clemson 29, Ohio State 2 (Dec, 28, 2019)

Down 16-0 at the midway point of the second half, it seemed like Ohio State was just going to steamroll Clemson en route to a facile, National Championship Game-berth clinching victory. However, Clemson turned on the turbo boosters in the final three minutes of the first half, with Travis Etienne chalking up an eight yard TD run and Trevor Lawrence defying his whiteness with a stellar 67-yard TD run on back-to-back possessions to make it 16-14, OSU, heading into the third quarter. Oh yes, there was some high drama in the fourth, with Justin Field tagging Chris Olive on a 23-yard frozen rope to make it 23-21, Buckeyes. Alas, it was T.L. who had the last (and loudest) laugh, as he beaned Etienne on a 34-yard touchdown pass with 1:49 left in regulation to officially complete the mad comeback attempt — complete with an easy Trevor-to-Tee Higgins two-point conversion pass to put the exclamation point on that fucker.

Oklahoma 30, Baylor 23 (Dec. 07, 2020)
Oklahoma 34, Baylor 31 (Nov. 16, 2019)

I honestly couldn’t decide which of these two BIG 12 donnybrooks for the ages was better, so I cheated a tad and named both of ‘em co-selections for the No. 2 spot in this year’s Top 100 games rankings. The first outing was easily the best regular season game of the year, giving us an incredible comeback win from OU, a team that rallied back from a seemingly insurmountable 28-3 second quarter deficit en route to a thrilling 34-31 victory enabled by 17 unanswered points in the second half. But the Big 12 Championship Game rematch was every bit as exciting, if not even more nail-biting thanks to the oh-so-dramatic variable of overtime play. This time around, it was Baylor that made the made comeback attempt, battling back from a 23-13 deficit 10 minutes into the fourth to make it a tied ball game after John Mayers’ 27-yard field goal. In the first frame of overtime play, Rhamondre Stevenson got the Sooners on the scoreboard first with a five yard TD jaunt; and with all the marbles on the line, Oklahoma’s defense brought the lumber, forcing Jacob Zeno to go four-and-out in the Golden Bears’ lone (and utterly fruitless) overtime possession.

LSU 42, Clemson 25 (Jan. 14, 2020)

Well, what else could we have chosen for the greatest game of the 2019-2020 college football season? Don’t let the seemingly lopsided final score fool you, ‘cause this fucker was competitive until the final whistle. In what seems to portend the next great quarterback rivalry in the NFL, Trevor Lawrence ultimately got outgunned by Joe Burrow, with the latter wrapping up the title-clinching win with five passing scores and 463 aerial yards. Still, Clemson’s run game keep them in this one, with Travis Etienne making it a three-point game following a three-yard TD run in the opening minutes of the third. Alas, Burrow’s four-yard zip to Thaddeus Moss made it a 10-point lead, which was apparently the insurmountable sum for Clemson. Burrow would tag Terrace Marshall, Jr. for one more 24-yard score in the fourth, but from thereon out it was pure defensive play from both teams, with T.L. fumbling the ball away around the four minute mark of the quarter to officially put this one in this history books. 


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