Week 9 is in the books and we are officially in the home stretch of the regular season. On Tuesday, the first college football playoff rankings will come out and we are likely to see the top four teams wearing the color red. This week featured a huge upset in Ames, a instant classic in Columbus and we start in South Bend where the Fighting Irish are flaming hot.
On Saturday afternoon, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, who have been red hot as of late, welcomed a NC State team who was just as hot. I explained on my radio show Friday afternoon that this was a matchup of two freight trains coming at each other at full speed, collide and we will see which one was going faster. Early on, the game was a defensive battle as the only touchdown scored came on a blocked punt by the Wolfpack. Then the Josh Adams show took over. The sensational Notre Dame running back flat out balled on Saturday rushing for 202 yards to go with a rushing touchdown. This guy is a sleeper to be a Heisman finalist and needs to be put on the nations radar. Notre Dame dominated the game and ended up victorious by the score of 35-14. The Irish showed that they were a playoff caliber team and if this team can win out, they will be in the playoff.
Iowa State played on Saturday as a ranked team for the first time since 2005 and had a big test to see if they could keep their ranking. They welcomed the 4th ranked TCU Horned Frogs who came into Ames undefeated and a playoff contender. The Iowa State crowd seemed like they had been waiting to play this game for 50 years. The place was rocking. Early in the game, it was established that it was not going to be easy to score points as both defenses were playing at an extremely high level. Iowa State managed to put the ball in the end zone twice and went into the break with a 14-0 lead. TCU quickly stroked to start the second half to cut the lead down to 7 and the Horned Frogs were on the hunt. The key play of this ball game was midway through the third when TCU was marching down the field looking to tie the game up. Kenny Hill threw a pick at the goal line to Brian Peavy who then returned it 70 yards. The Cyclones failed to convert the turnover into points and the score would remain at 14-7 all the way to late in the fourth quarter. Kenny Hill had one more chance to tie up the ball game but threw a pick to ice the win for the Cyclones. Iowa State had done it, they won the game 14-7 pulling off their second MAJOR upset of the season. Iowa State has been the surprise team of the season and now find themselves in a position to play in the Big 12 championship game. Nobody could of predicted that in the beginning of the season.
The most hyped up game of the entire season took place on Saturday afternoon in the Horseshoe and to say the game lived up to the hype would be an understatement. The Ohio State Buckeyes, ranked 6th in the nation welcomed the 2nd ranked Penn State Nittany Lions to town on a cloudy day in Columbus. The speculation was whoever won this game was most likely going to end up in the CFP so you can see the huge magnitude of this game. Penn State came bursting out of the gates as their Heisman favorited running back Saquon Barkley returned the opening kickoff to the house, absolutely silencing the raucous Buckeye crowd. Penn State’s defense would then force a fumble in Ohio State territory and quickly capitalize with a DaeSean Hamilton TD catch. Before you could even blink, Penn State had gone on the road and punched Ohio State in the mouth, the score was 14-0. Ohio State would respond with a field goal and at the end of the first quarter the score was 14-3 in favor of the Lions. The second quarter would feature a plethora of scoring as each team put the ball in the end zone twice and at the half Penn State was leading 28-17. Penn State continued to keep the foot on the gas pedal to come out of the second half scoring yet another touchdown and it seemed like the Nittany Lions offense was unstoppable, we found out that was far from the case. Penn State held a 35-20 lead with one quarter to play and was 15 minutes away from getting one of the biggest wins in school history. Then it all came crashing down, the Buckeyes started to click, the defense started to dominate and you could see the Nittany Lion lead slowly start to slip away. Penn State hit a huge field goal with 5:42 left in the game to give them an 11 point lead. They needed one more stop to win the ballgame. J.T. Barrett then proceeded to put together two of the most impressive drives I have ever seen at the collegiate level. He absolutely carved up the Penn State defense, scoring in what seemed like 20 seconds and the score became 38-33 still in favor of Penn State. The Buckeye defense got a huge stop and the offense had 3 minutes to score a touchdown and win the game, and they did just that. J.T. Barrett threw an absolute strike to Marcus Baugh to give the Buckeyes a 39-38 lead with less than 2 minutes to play. Ohio State failed to convert the two point conversion so Penn State would just need a FG to win the ball game. On the final drive of the game for Penn State, the Ohio State defensive line did what they did the entire night, flat out dominate. The Nittany Lions turned the ball over on 4 plays, giving Ohio State a huge 39-38 win. This will go down as one of the best, most competitive games in college football history. Ohio State is now well on their way to the playoff if they continue to play at this level. As for Penn State, this will go down as one of the toughest losses in school history and the question becomes “how will they respond?” It was another great week in the college football world and Saturday can’t come soon enough, where we wake up and do the whole thing again.