Sunday, January 27, 2019

The Top 100 Games of the 2018-19 NCAA College Football Season (Part 2: #075-#051)

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.

#075 Miami (FL) 28, Florida State 27 (October 06, 2018)

The Hurricanes/Seminoles rivalry ain’t what it used to be, but at least we got a particularly engaging entry in the long-running ACC series in 2018. Florida State held a 27-7 lead in the opening frames of the third quarter, only for Miami QB N’Kosi Perry to lob three consecutive TD passes over a roughly 15-minute span to give the U the come-from-behind victory — indeed, such was the school’s biggest ever comeback win against their much-loathed intra-state arch rivals.

#074 Kentucky 27, Florida 16 (September 08, 2018)

Not only was the Wildcats win over the Gators a pretty substantial upset (Florida entered the game a -13.5 favorite), it also represented Kentucky’s first win over Florida in 31 matchups — which makes Davonte Robinson’s totally needless 30-yard fumble recovery for a TD as the fourth quarter expired one of the past season’s most delectable instances of a team running up the score, without question.

#073 Michigan 20, Northwestern 17 (September 29, 2018)

As soon as Northwestern jumped out to an inconceivable 17-0 lead, you just knew it was only a matter of time until they hunched the hypothetical pooch. Cue the Wolverines scoring 20 unanswered points and more of less shutting down the Wildcats offensively for the next two and a half quarters en route to a much narrower than anticipated three-point win on the road — complete with Karan Higdon notching up back-to-back rushing TDs to finish the outing with 115 yards on 30 carries.

#072 Notre Dame 22, Vanderbilt 17 (September 15, 2018)

With a minute to go in the first half, the Irish had a very comfortable 16-0 lead. But those pesky Commodores wouldn’t roll over and play dead just yet, as overachievers-of-the-year Vanderbilt rallied back to make it 22-17 game favoring the potato-eaters with about seven minutes left in regulation. Alas, Vandy just couldn’t complete the upset effort, as Notre Dame prevented the Commodores from completing the Music City Miracle tribute via Julian Love’s fumble recovery with five seconds left on the clock.

#071 USC 39, Washington State 36 (September 21, 2018)

The 2018 PAC-12 in a nutshell — lots of yardage, lots of TD passes and seemingly neither team wanting to actually win the game. All in all, the Cougars posted 435 total yards in their losing road effort, as Gardner Minshew lobbed three touchdowns and collected 344 yards in the air. Naturally, the Trojans’ JT Daniels would riposte with three touchdown passes of his own … plus a successful two-point conversion pass to Vavae Malepeai to give USC their final three-point margin of victory around the eight-minute mark of the fourth quarter.

#070 Stanford 38, Oregon 31 (September 22, 2018)

The always singular Cardinal rallied from 10 points down in just three minutes, as K.J. Costello connected with JJ Arcega-Whiteside on a 15-yard TD pass to make it a three-point game. Stanford kicker Jet Toner hit a 32-yard field goal as the clock struck all zeroes, thus sending the PAC-12 adversaries to overtime. It only took two plays before Costello tagged Colby Parkinson for a 23-yard TD pass; and the Cardinal defense did their part, as Alameen Murphy intercepted Justin Herbert’s desperation fourth-down pass to officially put this one in the history books.

#069 LSU 40, Central Florida 32 (January 01, 2019)

And just like that, UCF’s 25-game win streak goes out the door. The Knights looked strong early — thanks to Brandon Moore’s 93-yard interception return, they quickly leapt out to a 14-3 lead by the midway point of the first — but it didn’t take long for the Tigers to hop in the driver’s seat. LSU would quickly drop 21 unanswered on Central Florida, ultimately taking a 40-24 lead with about three minutes to go in the fourth. Taj McGowan’s two-yard touchdown run may have closed the gap a little, but from the fourth quarter on, the outcome of the 2019 Fiesta Bowl was never really in question.

#068 Purdue 38, Iowa 36 (November 03, 2018)

Two Big Ten afterthoughts put on a thriller as the Boilermakers managed to stave off a late fourth quarter rally by the Hawkeyes. The back-and-forth affair concluded when Spencer Evans notched a 25-yard field goal with about eight seconds left on the clock, thus giving Purdue the narrow two-point margin of victory in a game that saw QB David Blough wrap things up with 333 passing yards and four touchdowns.

#067 Eastern Michigan 20, Purdue 19 (September 08, 2018)

If you ever wondered what’s a superior college football force — a solid passing game or a solid rushing game — this obscure early season outing gives you a not-so-subtle suggestion. It was a battle of polar opposites as Purdue collected a scant 135 yards of aerial offense — but 341 yards on the ground — while Eastern Michigan went the other way with a mere 69 rushing yards but a stellar 347 total passing yards. So naturally, in this clash of antithetical squads, the end result hinged on — what else? — special teams play, as the Eagles’ Chad Ryland booted an easy 24-yard field goal to give EMU the one point victory margin.

#066 Louisiana Tech 29, North Texas 27 (September 29, 2018)

Down by two with 33 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Cole Hedlund lined up for a 46-yard field goal that, if successful, would’ve given the then-undefeated Mean Green of North Texas the wild and woolly come from behind victory. Louisiana Tech defender Amik Robertson, however, managed to get a hand on the ball, allowing the Bulldogs to preserve the hard-fought W. Additionally, the game gave us one of the year’s best under-the-radar, non-power five quarterback duels, with J’Mar Smith and Mason Fine combining for over 500 passing yards and five aerial touchdowns.

#065 Hawai'i 17, Wyoming 13 (October 06, 2018)

A surprisingly enjoyable, rushing-intensive, low-scoring Mountain West slugfest that saw the Rainbow Warriors pick up the deuce via Chevan Cordeiro’s 38-yard bullet pass to JoJo Ward with less than 90 seconds left in the fourth. The Cowboys made it a ballgame, though, and you have to give their running back corps some props — especially Nico Evans, who had nearly 200 yards on 24 carries (albeit, with no trips to the end zone.)

#064 Georgia Tech 30, Virginia 27 (November 17, 2018)

One of the more entertaining fourth quarters we saw in the ACC this past year. A three-yard Jerry Howard run gave GT a 24-21 lead in the opening frame of the fourth, but Virginia managed to tie the game with a successful 30-yard field goal around the four-and-a-half-minute mark. The two teams would exchange field goals in the last minute of regulation play, thus facilitating the need for overtime action. While Virginia managed to make it to the GT 18 on their first OT possession, Brian Delaney doinked the 35-yard field goal attempt, allowing Wesley Wells to stick the 40-yard field goal on the Yellow Jackets’ ensuing possession and giving Georgia Tech the three-point win.

#063 Ohio State 28, Washington 23 (January 01, 2019)

The 2019 Rose Bowl is noteworthy mostly for being Urban Meyer’s last game and little else. Don’t let that final score fool you, Ohio State had this one in the bag by halftime, possessing a commanding 28-3 lead late in the third. Still, it was fun watching Washington at least attempt the impossible comeback … complete with Myles Gaskin somehow producing more passing touchdowns than Jake Browning.

#062 Texas 28, Georgia 21 (January 01, 2018)

One of the most blatant displays of a football team not giving a damn about a glorified exhibition game you’ll ever witness. The Bulldogs seemingly couldn’t care less about the outcome of the game, as offensive and defensive snafus galore allowed the Longhorns to mount a 28-7 lead at heading into the fourth quarter. That seven-point-differential is quite misleading, because at no point was Georgia even remotely invested in the Sugar Bowl … not even the Longhorns’ mascots efforts to eat Uga before the game seemed to motivate the boys in red and black for this ‘un.

#061 North Dakota State 38, Eastern Washington 24 (January 05, 2019)

In case you forgot, NDSU is the best dynasty in American sports right now, having won seven out of the last eight FCS National Championships. Their concluding vivisection of the Eagles was sort of a microcosm of the entire 2018 run for the Bison, who basically Brock Lesnared 15 teams en route to yet another undefeated season. Just how long until these guys get promoted to division one, anyway?

#060 Florida State 22, Boston College 21 (November 17, 2018)

Heading into the contest, Boston College was ranked 20th in the nation, and since Florida State was already in full dumpster fire mode, pretty much everybody expected this one to be a romper for the Eagles. Alas, FSU managed to keep things more interesting than anticipated, as the Seminoles rallied from 21-13 down in the fourth quarter to upend B.C. via a beautiful 74-yard TD pass from Deondre Francois to Tammorian Terry to facilitate the comeback 22-21 win … and with just two minutes left in regulation, to boot.

#059 SDSU 28, Arizona State 21 (September 15, 2018)

What a wacky ending. Manny Wilkins connected with N’Keal Henry on a seven-yard TD pass with 1:40 left in the fourth quarter to make it a seven point deficit for Arizona State. Naturally, you’d expect San Diego State to play it safe on their next possession, but NOPE! Jay Jay Wilson caused a forced fumble off Chase Jasmin (this, after a 20-yard run) and Langston Frederick recovered the pigskin for the Sun Devils — around their own 30-yard-line — with less than a minute in regulation left. The Sun Devils appeared to have made it to the SDSU two following a HUGE 48-yard pass from Wilkins to Frank Darby, but that was ruled an incompletion — and the Aztecs’ defense held steady, batting down a would’ve been hail mary shot in the end zone in the waning seconds of the contest to preserve the W.

#058 Eastern Michigan 28, Toledo 26 (October 13, 2018)

As the second quarter ended, EMU held a very comfortable 28-3 lead over Toledo. Which, of course, means Toledo would go on to score 23 unanswered points in the second half, including running back Mitchell Guadagni’s 10-yard scamper with just 20 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Alas, the valiant comeback attempt was for naught, however, as the Rockets failed to convert the ensuing two-point try to tie the game.

#057 Arizona State 38, USC 35 (October 27, 2018)

Your usual 800-combined-yard midseason Pac-12 shindig, complete with USC battling back from a 24-7 deficit to establish a 28-24 lead around the 10-minute mark of the third quarter. Well, that didn’t last long, as Arizona State’s N’Keal Henry responded with a thunderous 92-yard punt return for six on the board to conclude the third, with Manny Wilkins breaking off a man-sized 45-yard touchdown run with less than 90 seconds left in the fourth to officially put this one outta’ reach for the Trojans.

#056 Baylor 35, Oklahoma State 31 (November 03, 2018)

Baylor was down 10 points with less than nine minutes left in the fourth. Jalen Hurd managed to cut the Cowboys’ lead down to just three following a 36-yard pass from Charlie Brewer. And rather than just settle for the game-tying field goal, the Golden Bears went for all the marbles, with Brewer tagging Denzel Mims on a six-yard TD pass with only seven seconds left in regulation to solidify the high-speed comeback win.

#055 Georgia Tech 27, Miami (FL) 21 (November 10, 2018)

Oh, the irony. In 2017, the Hurricanes were so deft at forcing fumbles and getting dem interceptions that it gave birth to one of college football’s most beloved modern traditions, the turnover chain. So, naturally, in this intra-conference clash with the Yellow Jackets, Miami would wind up turning over the ball themselves three times as GT jumped out to a 27-14 lead in the latter half of the third quarter. Still, Miami tried to keep it close, with Travis Homer recording a two-yard TD run with about seven minutes left in the fourth. Unfortunately for the Canes, Miami just couldn’t stop GT on their next possession, as the Jackets simply mulched up the field running the ball ‘til time expired.

#054 UAB 27, Middle Tennessee 25 (December 01, 2018)

The Blazers, just four years after getting their football program restarted, won the Conference USA title in a thriller against the Blue Raiders, who did their damnedest to secure the come-from-behind victory. Indeed, a 33-yard Crew Holts field goal gave Middle Tennessee the one-point lead with 10 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter; alas, it was Nick Vogel’s 28-yard FG around the five minute mark that gave UAB the two-point padding they required to seal the win.

#053 UAB 29, North Texas 21 (October 20, 2018)

Hey, what do you know, we’ve got ourselves another UAB contest on the docket. This one was a good, old-fashioned rally that saw the Blazers storm back from a 21-10 deficit at halftime to put 19 unanswered on the board in the second half. It’s worth going out of your way to see Spencer Brown rack up three touchdowns and 100 yards 25 carries, but North Texas QB Mason Fine’s 336-passing- yard, three-touchdown day isn’t too shabby a sight, either.

#052 Oklahoma State 45, West Virginia 41 (November 17, 2018)

One of the highpoints for the Cowboys’ up-and-down season, Oklahoma State managed to outlast the Mountaineers in your typical 1,000-yards-of-offense-plus Big 12 pass-a-thon. The Cowboys battled back from a 31-14 deficit at halftime, as Taylor Cornelius got OK State back in the game with three second-half passing TDs and one nine-yard-scrambling score — he tagged Tylan Wallace on an 11-yard game-winning pass with 42 seconds left in regulation to finalize the upset bid.

#051 Davidson 91, Guilford 61 (September 13, 2018)

What possibly says “Division III college football” more than a team scoring nine touchdowns but STILL losing the game? The Wildcats positively mulched up the field in their 30-point victory, ultimately racking up an absurd 685 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground — leaving the losing Quakers to feel plum pitiful about their comparatively uninspired six-rushing touchdown production for the day.


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