It is conference title week across the land. And we were in for a treat with a number of teams claiming the titles in what is dubbed Championship week. College football never fails to entertain and this week was no different.
We had some surprises, some near misses and some blow outs across all the championship games. Sit back and enjoy as we break down the latest round of fixtures and who found glory at the end of the day. Join Ash in this weeks breakdown of all things college football.
Northwestern 10-22 Ohio State
Northwestern made life difficult for Ohio State & Justin Fields in particular. Because in the first half , it was all Northwestern, who led 10-6 at the break. This was thanks to a fantastic interception in the end zone as time expired by Freshman DB Brandon Joseph. Somehow he brought in a 1 handed interception and made his claim on the defensive play of the year in the process. Because of that, Joseph recorded his sixth interception of the year and leads the whole of college football in this stat.
Fields was suffering with a thumb injury for most the second half and clearly missed Chris Olave. In particular, on his 2nd interception expecting Julian Fleming to cut back on his route but instead found a Northwestern DB.
At the end of this the day belonged to Ohio State RB Trey Sermon who carried the buckeyes to victory with 331 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns, breaking Eddie George’s 1995 school record for rushing yards in a single game. Sermon also broke the Big Ten title record and the most rushing yards in a single Title game across all of College Football.
Also, this victory should be enough to see Ohio State in the top 4 come playoff time but their offence will need to improve to stand any chance of making it past round 1.
Oklahoma 27-21 Iowa State
Oklahoma did most of their damage in the first half to which Iowa State could not quite overcome despite a late rally from running back Breece Hall & Co.
Iowa State Brock Purdy had a stinker throughout and made some silly decisions all across the field resulting in throwing 3 interceptions. Purdy struggled against the dominant Oklahoma defence who have found their form in drastic style after the opening two losses to the year. What could have been if they had turned one of both of those losses into wins.
Spencer Rattler has come into his own in his redshirt freshman year and is a man on a mission and certainly one to continue to watch for as he develops. He made the right decisions all day whether it was escaping the pocket to keep the play alive or getting the ball out of bounds under severe pressure from the Iowa State front line.
Rattler very nearly had an interception when the ball was deflected by Iowa State. It ended up bouncing off a second Iowa State defender and dropping into the arms of his receiver. The very next play, he made Iowa pay for that near miss and throw a bomb for a 44 yard touchdown to Marvin Mims Jr. who himself broke a school record for most touchdowns in a freshman year of 8. Mark Andrews & CeeDee Lamb had the previous record, tied with 7.
Oklahoma ruled supreme in the Big 12 like many predicted even if it looked unlikely early in the year and picked up their sixth straight Big 12 title.
Clemson 34-10 Notre Dame
This was pure domination from Trevor Lawrence and Clemson. Clemson had the game sewn up, with revenge secured by half time leading 24-3 and never looked back. Lawrence had one unfortunate interception that was tipped early on. However, he overcame that set back quickly and once again showed why he is the #1 quarterback in the 2021 class with his elite abilities both with his arm and feet (went 90 for 1 touchdown on the ground).
Notre Dame Ian Book was in trouble all day by the Clemson defence. And despite not having a bad game could not turn it around in this one.
Clemson are a powerful offense with Lawrence under centre. We could see another match up in the playoffs against these two teams and the final decider on the year.
Alabama 52-46 Florida
A shootout between the Heisman trophy favourites Mac Jones & Kyle Trask, and we cannot forget Devonta Smith who is pushing these guys all the way for the trophy.
Florida pushed Alabama all the way and never gave up. Alabama on the other hand needed all their offensive stars to shine and boy did they. Also, Quarterback Mac Jones was on point almost all day with 418 yards for 5 touchdowns and 1 interception.
Running back Najee Harris broke another record with his 5 touchdowns in a SEC championship game. He scored three of those touchdowns through the air and added another bow to his draft cap. Devonta Smith was not one to miss out going for 184 yards and 2 touchdowns through the air. Also Smith may well have saved the day with a fumble recovery after Florida’s Trey Dean picked off Jones. However, he was to be brutally hit and fumbled the ball.
Florida made Alabama fight all the way for this one and Quarterback Kyle Trask once again showed why he is in the hunt for the Heisman. He threw for 408 yards and 3 touchdowns and pulled the Gators back from a 35-17 trail at half time to score two unanswered TD’s in the 3rd quarter and it was a fight till the end.
Alabama are the team to beat in the playoffs. They are averaging nearly 50 points per game. This is something which myself & Tom feel is highly unlikely with this high powered offence. Can anyone stop or outscore them! You shut down one playmaker the other will smack you in the mouth and make you regret it.
Oregon 31-24 USC
Late replacements Oregon made Kedon Slovis and his 3 touchdowns pay. USC could not pull off their 3rd late comeback of the year in the end. Oregon end 2020 with their 2nd straight PAC-12 title.
Tulsa 24-27 Cincinnati
Cincinnati stay unbeaten and may can feel hard done by for missing out on the playoffs. A potential bowl game against Georgia is on the horizon. However this will be the test to show why they deserved a place or why the committee favour the Power 5.
UAB 22-13 Marshall
UAB took the title with an upset win. However Marshall end the year with a whimper after an impressive season.
Ball State 38-28 Buffalo
Ball State pulled off the upset against Buffalo in this one. And Buffalo lost star Jarret Patterson in the 3rd quarter to injury following a gator roll tackle.
Boise State 20-34 San Jose State
San Jose State won their first ever Mountain West title and ended the year unbeaten at 7-0.
- Texas A&M 31-13 Tennessee
- Ole Miss 48-53 LSU
- Missouri 32-51 Miss. State
- Minnesota 17-20 Wisconsin
- Illinois 21-56 Penn State
- Nebraska 28-21 Rutgers
- Air Force 7-10 Army
- Washington St 28-45 Utah
- Stanford 48-47 UCLA
- Arizona State 46-33 Oregon State
And there we have it, Title week is over and we move onto the Bowl Games following a festive break. Teams confirmed their places in the top 4, teams will feel unlucky to miss out. Whilst some will be glad to see the back of 2020.
Enjoy the break everyone, and remember Saturdays are for college football titles, too.
- Ash (@5yardcollege)