Conference play is finally here and this is where the men are separated from the boys. This week we saw an upset in Stillwater, a thriller in Iowa City that went down the literal wire, but we start with a throw down in Jerry World.
Texas A&M and Arkansas faced off on Saturday afternoon in AT&T Stadium in Texas. It’s safe to say, they gave the fans their money’s worth. The SEC foes went at it back and forth for 4 quarters and what resulted was some free football. At the end of 4 quarters the Aggies and Razorbacks were nodded up at 43 and this one was headed to OT. The Aggies started OT with a TD and it was Arkansas’ turn to respond. In the red zone, Arkansas QB Austin Allen, who was having a sensational game, threw a pick in the end zone and the Aggies came away with their first conference win of the season. This neutral site game which is rare for conference play did not disappoint at all.
During the 3:30 slot, the 6th ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys welcomed the 16th ranked TCU Horned Frogs to Stillwater in a matchup of Big 12 rivals. The Cowboys were heavily favored behind their heavily talented and hyped up QB, Mason Rudolph. TCU has a pretty talented QB themselves in Kenny Hill and wanted to show the country how good he is. They did just that. They went on the road, and punched the Cowboys right in the mouth. They took an early 20-7 lead and there was no looking back from there. They continued to score and the Cowboys had no answer for Hill the entire ball game. They also couldn’t stop the run game if it was to save their life. TCU running back Darius Anderson put on an absolute show, racking up 160 rushing yards to go along with 3 TDs. This helped the Horned Frogs to pull of the 44-31 upset. America get ready for this TCU team because they are here to compete and aren’t going anywhere.
The Prime Time game of the week featured a Big 10 matchup in Iowa City between the Iowa Hawkeyes and the 4th ranked Penn State Nittany Lions. Iowa is a hard place to play and they are known to pull of some big time upsets at home, most notably last year when they beat Michigan on a last second FG, ruining their CFP hopes. The game started with defensive dominance for the Nittany Lions. They were swarming to the ball and looked hungry to compete. The game of field position was being won by Penn State but they were failing to put the ball in the end zone. After a FG and a safety, Penn State quickly found themselves up 5 zip. As the first half was coming to a close Iowa capitalized on a turnover and put the ball into the end zone. They took a 7-5 lead into the locker room and looked to add-on to it during the second half. We cannot talk about this game without talking about the absolute show one the best players in the country put on. Saquon Barkley is a magician, whether it is his ability to beat any guy on the field with his quick feet or his ability to leap over the defender on a key third down. The whole night he had you going “Wow”. He finished the night with 211 rushing yards, 1 rushing TD and 94 receiving yards, some will say it was a Heisman esk performance. The Penn State defense did not look as sharp in the second half. They got gashed with two big plays, one that almost cost them the game. Late in the game, Iowa running back Akrum Wadley broke for a 35 yard touchdown run putting Iowa ahead by 4 with 1:42 to play. The Iowa City faithful were in a state of euphoria. Penn State needed to respond and score a touchdown or the number 4 team in the country was going to be stunned. Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley did what Trace McSorley does, he became the clutchest man on the east coast. He took his team down the length of the field and before you knew it, they were in a goal to go situation with time running out. After failing to convert on first, second, and third down, it came down to the final play of the game, 4 seconds to go, 4th and goal. Mcsorley dropped back and delivered an absolute DIME, threading the needle and finding his man, Juwan Johnson for a TD as time expired. The game was over and Penn State won the game with the final score 21-19. Iowa City was silent, you could practically hear a pin drop. Penn State had survived and started their conference schedule with a big road win. It was the game of the week and maybe the game of the year. I also want to point out how amazing it was when all the fans waved upped to the Iowa Children’s Hospital after the first quarter. It gave me goosebumps and their needs to be more traditions in college football like that one because for those kids, this is a place to just get away from all the pain they have been going trough and have a chance to watch the game we all love.