College Football Corner: Bama’s defeat turns the world upside down
Alabama No.1’s surprise 41-38 loss to Texas A&M on Saturday gave the often-ho-hum world of college football a big blow in the arm.
When the king falls, the world notices him. And those who were one step behind see their opportunity.
Following the rout of Ohio State to Maryland, Virginia made a return to Louisville, the Navy experienced its disappointment with SMU and Virginia Tech’s heartbreaker against Notre Dame, fans were shocked during centuries.
Alabama’s No.1 surprise 41-38 loss to Texas A&M on Saturday gave the often-ho-hum world of college football a big blow in the arm.
Instead of asking “can anyone beat the Crimson Tide?” (I’ve written this exact article on this page in the past), we’ve got a race for the top spot with perennial underachiever Georgia finally taking care of business, the Iowa Dark Horse (if you’re playing in the Big Ten West, you lose Cred Street), Cinderella Cincinnati (Bearcats is visiting the Navy in two weeks) and Heart Oklahoma, who fantastically survived the Red River rivalry (Texas is back after all du disappointing point of view of his fans).
Meanwhile, Alabama is waiting for others to fall and biding its time. Welcome to the hunting season open for number one.
Maryland (4-2, 1-2 Big Ten) actually led Ohio State 3-0 before the Buckeyes opened the game by reaching the end zone in their first five discs. OSU didn’t score on their sixth possession as it started with less than a minute to go into the half and they opted to put up a knee. Ohio State would then score touchdowns on its first three possessions in the second half to win 66-17.
- Terrapin Triumphs: Taulia Tagovailoa threw for 279 yards and two touchdowns while losing another receiver mid-game (Jeshaun Jones this time). Challen Faamatau rushed for 71 yards. Colton Spangler and Anthony Pecorella combined averaging 51.6 yards per punt. Joseph Petrino has converted a 48-yard field goal throughout his career.
- Terrapin Problems: Tagovailoa was sacked five times and the offense converted just 3 to 12 third downs. The defense allowed 11.4 yards per passing and 5.0 yards per carry, spitting 598 total yards without successfully forcing a Buckeye punt (OSU was 7-11 on third down).
Next: October 23 at 3-3 Minnesota
Virginia (4-2, 2-2 ACC) went from 17 points to Louisville 34-33. Victory was only assured when the Cardinals missed a last-second field goal, but just like that, the Cavaliers are at the heart of the Coastal Division race.
- Congratulations from the rider: Brennan Armstrong threw for 487 yards and three touchdowns, with Rashawn Henry (nine catches for 179 yards) and Keytaon Thompson (9-132) in the lead. Wayne Taulapapa led the team with 42 rushing yards and caught a touchdown pass. Coen King made eight tackles and forced a fumble as the defense kept the Cardinals 3-13 on the third down (and 0-5 in the second half).
- Riders’ concerns: The offensive line allowed five sacks and the running game generated just 72 yards on 20 carries. The defense spat two big plays, allowing for a 52-yard touchdown run and a 92-yard pass.
Next: Saturday at 12:30 p.m. vs. 3-3 Duke
Navy (1-4, 1-2 AAC) took a two touchdown lead in the second quarter against No.24 SMU, then immediately cleared a kickoff return for a score. Head coach Ken Niumatalolo says the comeback killed his team, and even with plenty of time left, the Mids would end up losing to the Mustangs 31-24. And now they have a tight turnaround time with a trip to visit an enemy in the conference just days away.
- Aspirant’s medals: Linebacker Johnny Hodges (recruited to play academy lacrosse) had 14 tackles and one interception in the end zone. Diego Fagot added seven saves and returned a fumble for a touchdown that gave the Mids their biggest lead of the day while driving a defense that held SMU to 2-12 on third down.
- Mistakes of aspirants: The offense struggled after halftime, gaining just 67 yards on 32 scrimmage games. The running game averaged 3.3 yards per carry while full-backs were limited to 40 yards on 17 carries. Special teams allowed this return of 95 kickoffs for a momentum steal score when an upheaval was in the air.
Next: Thursday at 7:30 p.m. vs. 3-3 Memphis
Virginie Tech (3-2) hosted No.14 Notre Dame and scored on his first possession to put the Fighting Irish on their heels. The Hokies took a 29-21 lead with 3:55 left, but gave up a quick touchdown and a last-minute field goal en route to a 32-29 loss. Too bad for a special upset.
- Hokie strengths: Nasir Peoples posted 12 tackles and one interception while Jermaine Waller returned an INT for a touchdown as the defense held the Fighting Irish 3-12 on the third down. Braxton Burmeister led the team with 49 rushing yards and scored the touchdown that qualified Tech late in the fourth quarter. John Parker Romo made all three field goal attempts with a 52-yard yardage while Peter Moore averaged 49 yards per punt.
- Hokie Humblings: Anytime a quarterback leads your team to rush long-term, there are issues. Burmeister also completed just 50% of his passes and his interception led to a Fighting Irish. The defense spat 156 yards in the fourth quarter and couldn’t contain Notre Dame when it mattered most.
Next: Saturday at 3:30 p.m. vs. 4-1 Pitt