Is the Big 12 already cooked?
We are officially less than three weeks away from Ohio State football. With an open practice taking place just yesterday, it's finally starting to feel like the fall. Elsewhere across the country, the fourth week of Power 5 action featured some nice matchups in what turned out to be a disastrous week for the Big 12's playoff hopes.
No. 3 Florida 38, South Carolina 24
They're only two games into the season, but the Gators may have a pair of early Heisman candidates on Dan Mullen's offense. Tight end Kyle Pitts is up to 12 catches, 227 yards, and six touchdowns in two SEC contests. That's an insane stat line for a receiver and it's off the charts for a tight end. Kyle Trask continues to deliver as well as he hit on 21 of 29 attempts for 268 yards with four touchdowns and one interception. He's approaching 700 yards through the air and now has 10 scores on the season.
How about the Gamecock defense's effort on this 57-yard strike to Kadarius Toney? Pause the clip around the six-second mark and ask yourself how he scored a touchdown.
Kadarius Toney TO THE HOUSE pic.twitter.com/ENIailMTWS— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) October 3, 2020
Collin Hill threw for 212 yards and two scores for South Carolina. Kevin Harris reached the century mark on the ground and added a touchdown rush and another score on a nine-yard reception. Shi Smith was Hill's favorite target as he hauled in 12 passes for 85 yards and a touchdown. The Gator defense gave up 329 yards, and that's a step in the right direction after getting lit up for 600+ against Ole Miss last week.
TCU 33, No. 9 Texas 31
You hate to see it, folks. Tom Herman fell flat on his face at home against an 0-1 TCU squad. My favorite part is the Texas fans who are now clamoring to leave the Big 12 because the officials are out to get them and trying to keep them out of the playoffs (lolz). Some are even talking about suing the conference. Either way, the "Texas is back!" talk didn't even make it through the first week of October this year.
Admittedly, I had to turn this game off at one point because there were already 12 flags by the middle of the first quarter. It was not an easy one to watch, but it was an exciting finish in Austin despite the 26 penalties (14 against TCU, for what it's worth). Trailing 33-29 with four minutes left, Texas drove it down to the TCU one and was looking to take the lead. Tailback Keaontay Ingram tried to stretch the ball over the goal line but ended up fumbling. The Horned Frogs recovered and the Horns never got the ball back.
Sam Ehlinger and Ingram were basically all Texas had on the day. Ehlinger put up 285 yards of offense with four touchdowns and an interception. He completed less than 50 percent of his passes and still doesn't look comfortable in the passing game. Ingram added 115 yards rushing and receiving, but the play most will remember was the fumble that helped to seal the deal. TCU quarterback Max Duggan threw for 231 yards and added another 79 and two scores with his legs. Kicker Griffin Kell connected on all four of his attempts; including a 49-yarder.
No. 12 North Carolina 26, Boston College 22
This is the one I felt could define Jeff Hafley's first season at Boston College. The Eagles got the 12th-ranked Tar Heels at home and came into the contest as more than a two-touchdown underdog. Hafley didn't come out on top, but his team put together a fine showing against a superior opponent. The Eagles were a two-point conversion away from tying it (the attempt resulted in a UNC interception return) and an onside kick recovery from potentially winning.
Phil Jurkovec threw 56 passes for the Eagles as the Notre Dame transfer connected on 37 of his attempts for 313 yards and a pair of scores. Tight end Hunter Long was targeted nearly 20 times and hauled in nine for 96 yards to lead all BC pass-catchers. For the Heels, Sam Howell threw for 225 and two touchdowns. Tailback Michael Carter led the ground attack with 121 yards on 16 attempts.
No. 2 Alabama 52, No. 13 Texas A&M 24
The Crimson Tide passing attack? Lethal. The Aggie pass defense? Horrendous. Mac Jones threw for 435 yards and four scores on just 27 attempts. John Metchie III and Jaylen Waddle both went nuts for the Tide. Each of the duo caught five passes with Metchie going for 181 yards and two scores and Waddle adding 142 and a score of his own. Najee Harris and the ground game didn't get much going, averaging less than four per attempt. Harris scored twice, but his longest run was just six yards on his 12 carries.
Kellen Mond had a decent showing completing 25 of 44 passes for 318 yards with three touchdowns and a pick. Wideout Ainias Smith hauled in six for 123 and a pair of scores. Mond's lone turnover was a big one as Tide safety Daniel Wright took it 47 yards to the house. This one was tied at 14 early in the second quarter before the Tide pulled away with 21 unanswered points.
No. 4 Georgia 27, No. 7 Auburn 6
This was another tough one to watch. Bo Nix and the Tiger offense couldn't get anything going against one of the best defenses in America. Nix completed 21 of 40 passes for just 177 yards and an interception. Auburn managed just 216 yards on the road in Athens and Anders Carlson did all the scoring with a pair of field goals.
Stetson Bennett got the start and didn't have to do all that much for Kirby Smart's offense. Bennett hit on 17 of 28 attempts for 240 yards and a score. Kearis Jackson led all receivers with nine receptions for 147 yards. George Pickens was on the receiving end of Bennett's 21-yard touchdown strike.Zamir White led the ground game with 19 carries for 88 yards and two scores. True freshman Kendall Milton got some action with six for 30.
Iowa State 37, No. 18 Oklahoma 30
Is the Big 12 eliminated from the playoff already? I hate to overreact to yesterday's events and put my foot in my mouth as many did back in 2014, but this is a major blow to the Great Plains. Spencer Rattler and the Sooners went to Iowa State and went home with a 1-2 record after Bryce Purdy and Breece Hall led the Cyclones to a 37-30 victory.
Purdy threw for 254 yards and added a rushing and passing score. Hall was the workhorse with 28 carries for 139 yards and a pair of touchdowns. On the other side, Rattler threw for 300 yards with two scores and an interception. The pick came late in the game was OU was driving down the field with a chance to score. Riley's ground game is feeling the effects of the Trey Sermon transfer and Kennedy Brooks opting out. The team totaled just 114 yards on 33 attempts.
I watched pretty much all of this game. My biggest takeaway is that Oklahoma is one of the worst tackling teams I've ever seen. Do better, Mr. Grinch.
There were a couple of other noteworthy games, but most of them went about as expected. Clemson didn't have any problems at home against Virginia (41-17), LSU bounced back with a win over Vanderbilt (41-7), and No. 15 Cincinnati moved to 3-0 with a 28-7 win over South Florida.
We did get a surprise in Starkville as Mike Leach and the 16th-ranked Bulldogs fell to the Razorbacks by a score of 21-14. Arkansas somehow handled K.J. Costello and the passing game far better than LSU did last week. Other top-25 upsets included No. 11 UCF falling at home against Tulsa and SMU topping No. 25 Memphis.
- Week's Best: Matt Campbell, Bama's passing game, the Florida Kyles, Dawgs' defense, and Clemson cornerback Andrew Booth's ridiculous interception (LINK).
- Week's Worst: Tom Herman, Lincoln Riley, Alex Grinch, Mississippi State, Bo Nix and the Auburn offense.
- Week's Weirdest: SMU's student section was ejected for not following social-distancing and mask-wearing guidelines. Props to the police on that one as there definitely were some shenanigans taking place (LINK). Also, this gentleman who used his dog's cone of shame to fight back against the pandemic.
Sent from my sister-in-law. That mask is not CDC-approved. pic.twitter.com/PkysJes0ng— Barrett Sallee (@BarrettSallee) October 4, 2020
As for next weekend, there are four matchups that I'll be watching most closely. The Gators head to Texas A&M, and that one won't be close if the Aggie pass defense continues to be practically non-existent. Georgia hosts Tennessee in a battle of SEC unbeatens. The Red River Rivalry is set to go down at high noon in Dallas. Finally, Trevor Lawrence and the Tigers may get a bit of a challenge with the Hurricanes coming to town.