Penn State was on its bye week, and what a week it was to be safely at home, watching the weekend’s games from the comfort and safety of your couch.
The festivities started off with a bang, as #12 Oklahoma defeated #3 Texas 34-30 in the Red River Rivalry, in what I can only say was one of the most entertaining games of the 2023 season. The first few drives of the game went as follows:
- Texas intercepted on the second play of the game at its own 17
- Oklahoma TD
- Texas intercepted after driving down to the Oklahoma 13 yard line
- Oklahoma goes three and out, has its punt blocked, recovered by Texas for a TD
And that was just in the first 6 minutes of the game! Later, Oklahoma would get the ball back with 1:17 left in the fourth, trailing 30-27, and with no timeouts. From there, the Sooners would march down the field in six plays to take a 34-30 lead. Texas got the ball back with just enough time to get in range for a hail mary, but the ball was deflected away to complete the upset. Crazy game all around.
That game kicked off a full slate of upsets, including:
- #25 Louisville upend #10 Notre Dame 33-20
- Unranked UCLA take down #13 Wazzu 25-17
- #23 LSU defeat #21 Mizzou 49-39
- Unranked Wyoming beat #24 Fresno State 24-19
- Unranked Georgia Tech beat #17 Miami (FL) 23-20
That last game also warrants mentioning. The Hurricanes were up 20-17 with 33 seconds to go in the game, ball at the GT 30 yard line. With no timeouts left for the Yellow Jackets, a simple kneel down would have ended the game, as Miami had a 3rd and 10 situation. Line up in the victory formation, head to the locker rooms, enjoy your orange slices and Hi-C juice boxes everyone, good game, good game.
But for some reason, Mario Cristobal instead opted to run a play, handing the ball off to running back Donald Chaney, Jr., who rumbled to the GT 26 yard line - where he fumbled the ball. Georgia Tech recovered, and led a four-play drive for the game-winning touchdown, ending in a 44-yard pass for the win.
I’ve seen some bad coaching in my years as a football fan. Questionable play-calling, dubious timeout usage. The occasional banged up player being put back on the field when they very obviously should not be.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a decision as poor as the one to run an actual play with 33 seconds to go. The risk of a turnover is low, but nonzero. The risk of the other team recovering a turnover, and then driving 74 yards in 26 seconds is low, but nonzero. Why risk a win? It boggles the mind.
In any case, with all the tomfoolery of the weekend (including (another) near-upset of USC), it sure was nice not to worry that the same could be in store for the Lions. They’ll get back to it this coming Saturday against UMass before delving into the B1G East portion of their schedule.
Here we go!