Thursday, January 31, 2019

The Top 100 Games of the 2018-19 NCAA College Football Season (Part 3: #050-#026)

A four-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 2018-2019 season, which we’ve broken down into four installments covering 25 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.

#050 Oklahoma 28, Army 21 (September 22, 2018)

An absolute barnburner that saw the Black Knights push the perennial Big 12 powerhouse to the brink and then some. As the kids say, Kyler Murray’s 10-yard TD pass to CeeDee Lamb in overtime was thrilling “AF” — but watching Parnell Motley intercept Kelvin Hopkins on fourth down on Army’s next possession really made this one an affair to remember.

#049 Maryland 34, Texas 29 (September 01, 2018)

The Terrapins emerged triumphant in a rain-delayed slugfest that saw Maryland squander a 24-7 second quarter lead, with a two-yard Kyle Porter touchdown saunter giving the Longhorns a two-point cushion heading into the final quarter. Alas, Maryland struck back with a 17-yard scrambling score from Tayon Fleet-Davis in the opening seconds of the fourth … and their defense, shockingly, held steady over the next 14 minutes to secure a five-point upset victory.

#048 Iowa State 48, Oklahoma State 42 (October 06, 2018)

It’s not often you see a third-string quarterback bump off a Top 25-ranked team, but apparently somebody forgot to tell that to Brock Purdy. Iowa State’s no-name back-up, back-up passer stunned the Cowboys with his stellar 318-yard, four-passing TD day, as the Cyclones leapt out to a shocking 40-28 lead entering the fourth quarter. Oklahoma State made it interesting with a five-yard Justice Hill touchdown run to cut their lead down to five, but Purdy’s 60-yard scorcher to Tarique Milton in riposte was pretty much the dagger through OK State’s heart that fateful fall day in Stillwater …

#047 Clemson 27, Syracuse 23 (September 29, 2018)

It was pure gut check time for Clemson. With star quarterback Trevor Lawrence bumped out of the game and former starter Kelly Bryant recently jettisoned, the Tigers had to turn to virtual third-stringer Chase Brice to surmount what was possibly their toughest in-conference opponent of the year. Thankfully, the Tigers’ run game managed to bail out the offense, as running back Travis Etienne collected 203 yards and three scores on 27 carries — in turn, erasing Syracuse’s 10-point fourth quarter lead over an 11-minute span, complete with a thrilling, game-winning touchdown run with just 41 seconds remaining in regulation.

#046 Tulane 29, Navy 28 (November 24, 2018)

Tulane led 21-3 heading into the third quarter. Naturally, that meant Navy would score 18 unanswered points over the next 15 minutes — complete with Malcolm Perry reeling in a 73-yard scorcher from Zach Abey — to knot things up at 21-all to begin the fourth quarter. Indeed, Tazh Maloy’s nine yard rushing score with 3:44 to go in regulation seemed like it was enough to give the Midshipmen the epic comeback win. Alas, Tulane broke Navy’s heart on their next possession, as Justin McMillan tagged Jaetavian Toles on a 26-yard touchdown pass to give the Green Wave the last-second, one-point win with about 90 seconds left on the clock.

#045 Virginia Tech 34, Virginia 31 (November 23, 2018)

Two in-state, in-conference rivals, each having a shit season, looking to really rub it in in a relatively meaningless, late season game: you just knew this one was gonna’ be good. The Hokies had a 24-14 lead to begin the fourth, so of course the Cavaliers would score 17 unanswered to take a 31-24 lead with less than three minutes to go in regulation. Virginia Tech, however, bounced back and managed to tie the game via a defensive fumble recovery with less than two minutes to go in the fourth. The Hokies’ Brian Johnson booted a 42-yarder to give VT a three point OT lead … which, as it turns out, was all they needed, since the Hokies defense was able to force a fumble and recover the ball on just Virginia’s second play in overtime.

#044 Michigan State 38, Utah State 31 (August 31, 2018)

At the time, the Spartans were the 11th ranked team in the country, and Utah State … wasn’t. Still, the cagey Aggies made it a nail-biter, as Darwin Thompson’s one-yard TD run with about five to go on the clock gave Utah State and improbable 31-30 lead. Alas, Michigan State would march 75 yard downfield on their next possession, snatching victory from the jaws of defeat via Connor Heyward’s 13-yard touchdown run with about two minutes left in the fourth.

#043 Syracuse 40, North Carolina 37 (October 20, 2018)

An entertaining double-overtime affair that saw backup Syracuse QB Tommy DeVito playing hero of the day, finishing the contest 11 for 19 for 181 yards and three TD strikes.  That includes two touchdowns lobbed in extra innings — a 25-yard frozen rope to Jamal Curtis in the first round of overtime, and the game-clincher, a four-yard plunker to Ravian Pierce, in 2.O.T.

#042 Auburn 28, Texas A&M 24 (November 03, 2018)

Auburn was down 24-14 entering the fourth quarter. They remained down 10 points all the way up until the five minute mark, when Chandler Cox rattled off a one-yard TD run to make it a three-point game. The Aggies’ offense stalled on their next possession, giving the Tigers ample time to march down field and set up the game-winning play — a taut 11-yard touchdown pass from Jarrett Stidham to Seth Williams, with less than two minutes remaining in regulation.

#041 Oklahoma 51, Texas Tech 46 (November 03, 2018)

An absolutely bonkers fourth quarter that kept seeing Texas Tech almost get back into it, only for the Sooners to seemingly score at will in riposte. Around the seven-minute mark the gap was as narrow as 42-40, but Robert Barnes’ ultra-rare defensive two-point PAT conversion and Trey Sermon’s subsequent 30-yard TD run was more than enough to keep Oklahoma in control. Speaking of Sermon, he wrapped up the game with more than 200 yards on the ground — and with it, three touchdowns — on 26 hauls, while Kyler Murray did what Kyler Murray does and recorded 360 yards and three touchdowns in the air.

#040 South Florida 38, UConn 30 (October 20, 2018)

A 6-0 squad taking on a 1-5 conference whipping boy should never have been this entertaining.  The Bulls and the Huskies combined for well over 600 rushing yards in the contest, with UConn QB David Pindell collecting almost 200 yards (and two touchdowns) running the rock. Down 31-14 at the beginning of the fourth quarter, UConn managed to cut down South Florida’s lead to only 8 around the midway point of the quarter. Of course,Johnny Ford’s 43-yard vault on the Bulls’ next possession made the outcome a foregone conclusion, but hey … it was fun while it lasted, wasn’t it?

#039 Kentucky 15, Missouri 14 (October 27, 2018)

Don’t let the low score fool you, this one was a thriller even if neither team was able to find the end zone that often. Indeed, Wildcats QB Terry Wilson had one touchdown pass all day, but he sure as sugar made sure it counted; he lobbed said strike with nothing but zeroes left on the scoreboard in the fourth, as C.J. Conrad reeled in the pigskin for a two-yard saunter into Missouri’s real estate and the theatrical walk-off TD.

#038 California 12, Washington 10 (October 27, 2018)

One of the college football season’s better defensive struggle showcases. The Huskies went into the Pac-12 tiff with the Bruins a 12-point favorite, but Washington couldn’t even muster 10 points as they fell to an overachieving California team that limited Jake Browning to just 148 yards passing. The underdog Bruins managed to collect two turnovers off Washington in the outing, including Evan Weaver’s downright magnificent 37-yard interception return to give Cal half of their total scoreboard integers of the day.

#037 Kansas 27, TCU 26 (October 27, 2018)

Heading into this Big 12 tilt, the Jayhawks had lost a remarkable 38 games in a row during the month of October. Considering TCU went into this one a solid -13.5 favorite, it appeared — on paper, at least — that Kansas was destined for loss No. 39 at Memorial Stadium. Despite being outyarded 504 to 307, Kansas nonetheless managed to upset the Horned Frogs, however, as Peyton Bender hit Pooka Williams Jr. for the game-winning 28-yard TD pass with about six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.

#036 Penn State 30, Iowa 24 (October 27, 2018)

A Big 10 throwdown that saw both teams knock the snot outta’ each other, with the defenses combining for an absurd eight turnovers. Trace McSorely went 11 for 25 for 167 yards in the contest, while his counterpart for Iowa, Nate Stanley, went 18 for 49 for 205 yards, two interceptions and no touchdowns. Geno Stone’s 24-yard interception return made it a three-point game late in the fourth, but it was Penn State that had the final laugh, as Jake Pinegar knocked a 44-yard field goal to give the Nittany Child Rape Cover-Upperers a little more reassurance as the clock ticked down to nothin’.

#035 Boise State 24, Fresno State 17 (November 09, 2018)

Around the 11-minute mark of the third, Fresno State had a comfy 17-3 lead. Which, of course, meant it was time for the Blue-Turfers to stage a mad comeback, complete with back Alexander Mattison scoring back-to-back TD runs and Brett Rypien tagging Khalil Shakir for the 49-yard, game-winning touchdown pass with about nine minutes to go in the fourth. Indeed, Rypien had one of his best showings of the year in the Mountain West Championship game preview, finishing the outing 24 for 29 for 269 passing yards.

#034 Utah State 29, Colorado State 24 (November 17, 2018)

This game had it all: snow and sleet and an insane comeback and an even more insane hail mary and on top of that, an even more insane offensive penalty that wiped out what probably would’ve been the zaniest final play of the college football season. With just 43 seconds left in the fourth, Utah State’s Jordan Love hit Preston Williams for a 17-yard touchdown, giving the Aggies a narrow five-point led. Well, on their ensuing possession, it looked like for all the tea in China that Collin Hill tagged Preston Williams for a 34-yard-TD strike with no time left on the clock … only for the refs to say “LOL, J/K” and calling Williams for an illegal touching penalty that a.) wiped out the score and b.) ended the game right then and there.

#033 Fresno State 19, Boise State 16 (December 01, 2018)

And here’s where the Bulldogs got their win back, exacting revenge against the Blue Turfers barely a month after Boise State bested ‘em in conference play. Alexander Mattison’s 34-yard touchdown stroll with about eight minutes left in the fourth quarter put Boise State in a position to take the lead, but a blocked field goal attempt left the game deadlocked 13-all. Boise State managed to strike first in overtime with Haden Hoggarth’s 23-yard field goal, but Fresno State turned right around and ended it via Ronnie Rivers’ one-yard end zone visitation on their very next possession.

#032 Temple 24, Cincinnati 17 (October 20, 2018)

The Owls upset the then-No. 20th ranked Bearcats in dramatic fashion, with Anthony Russo’s 20-yard zinger to Branden Mack tying the game up with a mere 49 seconds left in regulation. Russo would then tag receiver Isaiah Wright for a 25-yard TD in O.T. to give Temple the lead, with Shaun Bradley’s interception of Desmond Ritter sealing the victory. Outside the exciting finish, the game’s worth going out of your way to see for Russo’s Schrodinger Cat performance — with three passing TDs and three INTs, I’m still not sure if his performance is something to boast about or not.

#031 Tennessee 30, Auburn 24 (October 13, 2018)

Jarrett Guarantano had a career day, going 21 for 32 for 328 yards and two TD passes in the Vols’ upset win over the Tigers. Meanwhile, the other Jarret had a slightly less impressive showing, as Auburn’s QB went 28 for 45 for 322 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Regardless, it was a good ‘un all day long, as Tennessee’s offense put up a second half surge, ultimately jumping out to a 30-17 lead late in the fourth. Auburn made a valiant comeback attempt with roughly nine minutes remaining in regulation, but despite a late Stidham to Seth Williams touchdown pass, it was nonetheless too little and too late for Auburn’s comeback attempt.

#030 Virginia 16, Miami (FL) 13 (October 13, 2018)

Well, we all expected a defensive clinic in this one, but much to our surprise, it was indeed VIRGINIA that was the one looking like a dynamite D, as the Cavaliers held Malik Rosier to just 170 yards and no touchdown passes on 12 completions. Backup QB N’Kosi Perry played even worse, going 3 for 6 passing for a mere 20 yards and two interceptions. Amazingly, Virginia managed to hold onto the narrow three point margin of victory despite quarterback Bryce Perkins’ horrific performance — he concluded the outing with a just plain bad 92 yards on 12 completions … with three interceptions and no touchdown passes, to boot.

#029 Texas 23, Baylor 17 (October 13, 2018)

With Sam Ehlinger getting hurt in the first quarter, it was up to backup QB Shane Buechele to guide the Longhorns to a victory over the upset-eyeing Golden Bears. Going 20 for 34 for 184 yards and a one TD to one INT ratio, I reckon it’s safe to say Shane B. did enough in his replacement role, although it was really Texas’s run game — which outclomped Baylor 170 yards to 88 yards on the ground — that helped them stave off a loss against the Southern Baptists.

#028 South Florida 25, Tulsa 24 (October 12, 2018)

There’s crazy finishes, and then there’s “hey, let’s watch these mofos score 17 unanswered points in just seven minutes to win the game with just two seconds left” crazy finishes … which, obviously, is an apt adjective applicable for this game. Yep, it’s true, the non-power five darlings were indeed down 24-10 at the midway point of the fourth quarter, only for Blake Barnett to explode for two back-to-back rushing TDS before Coby Weiss knocked the game-winning field goal from 22 yards out. And in case you were wondering who the offensive dynamo was that almost led Tulsa to the epic upset? A guy whose name was literally “Seth Boomer,” who subsequently finished the game six for 21 for a meager 79 passing yards.

#027 Arizona State 16, Michigan State 13 (September 08, 2018)

Just one week after almost getting beat by Utah State, the Spartans turned around and officially hunched the pooch against the Sun Devils, who managed to outyard Michigan State 424 yards to 377. It was ALL aerial offense in this one, as the two teams barely combined for 100 yards on the ground but damn near 700 passing. Down 13-3 at the beginning of the fourth, Arizona State would score 13 unanswered, including the game-winner —a 28-yard Brandon Ruiz chipshot with no time left on the clock — to sink the Sparties’ season before Starbucks was even offering Pumpkin Spice Lattes.

#026 Oregon State 41, Colorado 34 (October 27, 2018)

In the opening frame of the third quarter, Colorado found themselves down 31-3 against the Beavers. Miraculously, Buffaloes QB Jake Luton went buck-wild in the remainder of the second half, lobbing no less than three touchdown passes — including a 10-yard laser to Trevon Bradford with just half a minute left in the game. Now, that would’ve been the game winner for Colorado, only the ensuing PAT got blocked so overtime was required. On Oregon State’s first extra-innings possession, Jack Colletto punched the ball in for a one-yard score — and since Colorado would go four-and-out on their next (and only) O.T. possession, that was all the Beavers needed to stave ‘em off.

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