Arizona jumps into national college football conversation

With close games, some Ames magic and the first big coach firing, week nine in college football was spooky enough to live up to the Halloween weekend hype. And when the dust settled and polls were released Sunday afternoon, they looked topsy-turvy like it too was recovering from a hangover. Here’s what you goons missed on Halloweekend.

Buckeyes Top Nittany Lions in Back-and-Forth Battle

It wasn’t looking good for then-No. 6 Ohio State early in its matchup against then-No. 2 Penn State. The Buckeyes let Heisman-hopeful take the opening kickoff back for a touchdown, giving the Nittany Lions an early 7-0 lead. Ohio Stadium was near silent, and the Buckeyes’ offense looked flat to start. Penn State had a 28-17 lead at halftime, and it looked like another team would plant its flag in Buckeyes’ hearts.

But after an incredible touchdown catch from Penn State’s DeAndre Thompkins gave Penn State a 35-20 lead going into the fourth quarter, Buckeyes senior quarterback J.T. Barrett and the OSU defense woke up.

Barrett had 328 passing yards and four touchdowns. Three of those touchdowns were in the fourth quarter, where Ohio State scored 19 points to give them just enough after a Penn State field goal for the win. Barrett showed the leadership that comes with being a seventh-year (not really, but it feels like it) senior, and the defense turned into a pack of snarling wolves. Barkley only had 44 yards rushing, and on PSU’s last drive, there was one play when Buckeye lineman Sam Hubbard tackled both Penn State’s quarterback Trace McSorley and Barkley on one read option.

That play summed up how dominant Ohio State’s defense was in the final parts of the game, as it jumped up to No. 3 in the AP Poll, and looks to be the favorite in the Big Ten East. Penn State isn’t out of it yet, but it would need some help (AKA, a Buckeye loss) to get to the Big Ten Championship game.

The Iowa State Cyclones are America’s Team Now

Iowa State has been the feel-good story of the season so far. A team that has traditionally been a bottom-feeder in the Big 12 beat then-No. 3 Oklahoma in Norman, and was 5-2 and in the top-25 heading into this past weekend.

Then the Cyclones went and beat then-No. 4 TCU at home 14-7, getting bowl eligibility and now have the inside track of getting to the Big 12 Championship Game. The Cyclones had two first half touchdowns against the Horned Frogs to give them the lead, and TCU was only able to score after a kickoff return by KaVontae Turpin.

The Cyclones’ defense were the heroes on the day, with three big turnovers when Iowa State needed them the most. A goal line pick, a red zone fumble on a sack and an interception on the final drive to seal the win let the party get started in Ames. So much so that the local Taco Bell ran out of Doritos Locos Tacos! NOT THE TACOS!!

So what does this game mean other than the destruction of toilets all over Ames? Well, the Big 12 might have basically no chance to reach the playoff. But that doesn’t take away from the excitement from the Big 12 race. Four teams are tied at the top of the conference, and most of these games are wild shootouts.

Even though you might’ve screwed yourself over yet again Big 12, you’re our favorite screw-up conference. We still love you.

All Hail the Messiah: Khalil Tate

Arizona??? Yes, the Arizona Wildcat team that looked dead to start the season has come to life. After beating Washington State 58-37, Arizona is ranked No. 23 in the country. And Rich Rodriguez has found his quarterback: sophomore Khalil Tate.

Tate’s numbers are bonkers. After not starting for the first four games, Tate exploded against Colorado getting rushing 327 yards and four touchdowns. Even crazier, he averaged 23.7 yards per carry.

He has been electrifying the Wildcats, a team that many thought would finish bottom of the Pac-12 this season. Now, after his inception as starting quarterback, the Wildcats are undefeated and control their destiny in the Pac-12 South. Tate has 1,710 total yards in just four starts, and if they beat USC this weekend, they’re totally in the driver’s seat. It’s Khalil Tate’s world, we’re all just living in it.

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