Editor’s note: College football is nothing without its fans, and its fans are nothing without their passion. In an attempt to capture that unique intensity and Overreactability, we’ve asked washed-up sports editor and Southerner Bremen Keasey to give us a weekly breakdown of college football happenings around the country like only a true fan could.
Believe it or not, college football still happened despite the fact that the Badgers didn’t play. So while most of my colleagues had lives and did other things, I was on my couch all day watching college football. Let’s recap an odd afternoon!
Counting Still Matters!
I am not a mathematician by any means. Most times when I try and add a tip to a bill, I get the wrong percentages and the sheer thought of doing simple math puts me in a panic.
So I guess I am slightly sympathetic to a few of the teams this weekend where basic math led to bad things. Head coaches up and down the country were shuttering in their shoes, making fans scratch their heads on why they have multi-million dollar contracts.
First we take a trip to East Lansing, where the Michigan State Spartans lost to the Herm Edwards-led Arizona State Sun Devils in a humiliating 10-7 home loss.
While the 10-7 scoreline already sounds like a snoozefest on first glance, the actual box score reads even worse. ASU was winning 3-0 for most of the game until halfway through the fourth quarter — I repeat: the FOURTH QUARTER — then Michigan State finally scored a touchdown thanks to a 9-yard run by Elijah Collins to put Sparty ahead.
But ASU started to get the ball moving after the Spartans punted with a little over three minutes left in the fourth. After a 40-yard catch by Devils wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk put ASU in the red zone, the drive was stopping and starting — literally because Herm Edwards seemed to use five timeouts on one down, and figuratively because they couldn’t get much going. But after a conversion on a QB keeper on 4th and 13, the Devils knocked it in from the one yard line to get it to 10-7.
The Spartan offense somehow woke up and drove down into field goal range. Their kicker Matt Coghlin sunk a clutch 42-yard field goal to tie the game up and force overtime.
And then, the officials looked at a replay, did some counting, and saw 12 players on the field for Michigan State.
For folks keeping score at home, that’s one (1) more than allowed in the game of football.
So, after a five yard penalty for the extra man, Coghlin took another kick, which shanked to the left, leaving the Spartans miserable as former longtime ESPN pundit and washed-up NFL head coach Herm Edwards and his Sun Devils upset the Spartans for the second straight year.
Sparty was not the only team who had some strange arithmetic last week. No, some bad math for the Pitt Panthers also featured a missed field goal with logic that might baffle the minds for years to come.
Pitt was down to hated rival Penn State 10-17 in the fourth quarter, as the Panthers somehow marched the ball down to the Nittany Lions’ one-yard line. This was a rarity for the Panthers, as their running game did next to nothing — 24 yards on 25 rushes is literally less than one yard a carry, and I didn’t even have to use a calculator for that one. Luckily, paradoxically named quarterback Kenny Pickett played pretty well, and his receivers seemed to be catching any ball thrown to them.
So with that in mind, it’s fourth and goal from the one, there’s just under five minutes left in the game and Pitt is down by seven points. Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi then sends out his kicker to try for three points.
Even I know that three points is less than seven points, which would mean that the game wouldn’t even be tied after this chip shot field goal. And considering there is little time left, it might be possible Pitt wouldn’t get the chance to get another score, especially considering the offensive struggles.
So why kick a field goal? Well, in the post game presser, Narduzzi said “You need two scores to win the football game.”
Sure coach, but college football also has this crazy thing called overtime, where you still play more when the score is still tied. Also, his quarterback said afterwards that the team wanted to go for it on fourth. Might as well go down swinging, and then hey, if you can’t score, Penn State starts in the shadow of their own end zone.
But what do I know about football though? I’ve only watched for years as a lunatic fan, and Narduzzi is a highly paid coach. I do believe in fate and signs in life though, and I think that Pat Narduzzi was thunderously laughed at by the football gods as the field goal kick from the one-yard line — literally the closest you can get for a field goal — smacked the post and did not go in.
See, this is why the coaches get paid the big bucks: to screw up simple math.
“Amesday” lives its best life
I don’t know when exactly the phrase “living my best life” was first uttered and brought into the world, but I hear it, or some variation of it, nearly every day. It’s clearly everyone’s goal to live life to the maximum and be the best version of yourself.
Folks, Iowa vs. Iowa State, a game that has been affectionately called ¡El Assico! because of the general nature of the ugly games that have been played by the two schools truly peaked last Saturday.
This game was deemed worthy enough for College Gameday to visit Ames to kick off last Saturday, and then the game had two lightning delays and ended with an incredible scoreline of 18-17 as Iowa escaped with the win. And while the amount of field goals and punts alone would make it another wonderful addition to the Kirk Fernetz canon of special teams love, the end is really what needs to be talked about.
Specifically, the rear end that sealed the win for Iowa.
Yes, after Iowa was forced to punt with about 90 seconds left in the game, Iowa State’s punt returner waved away his teammates to make a fair catch. One of those teammates failed to notice the signal and ran into the returner, causing both to clatter to the turf as the ball bounced off the blocker’s backside and into the loving arms of the Iowa Hawkeyes.
While that might’ve sucked for the Cyclones, at least now we know which version of ¡El Assico! Was truly the most ¡El Assico!