College Football Championship Saturday Recap By: Peter Snyder

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Championship Saturday is in the books and the college playoff picture is almost set in stone. However there is one spot that is wide open and by the time this is published we will most likely know who that fourth team is (we do, roll tide). This week featured high scoring play, revenge and an exploding turf. We will start in Orlando where the University of Central Florida looked to cap off their perfect regular season in style.

On Saturday afternoon, Memphis and UCF squared off in the AAC Championship game. UCF came in as a heavy favorite due to the fact of when these teams met in late September, the Knights throttled Memphis by the score of 40-13. This time around would be a different story however. Memphis came out of the gate firing and led by their senior QB Riley Ferguson who was off to a red-hot start, it looked like the Tigers were not going to be stopped the entire day. UCF had no need to panic however, as they had the top scoring offense in the country coming into the game and that was evident from the start. The team exchanged blows in the first half and Memphis found themselves with a 31-24 lead going into the break. In the third quarter, it seemed as if UCF found an answer for the Memphis high-powered offense and were going to pull away, but the Tigers would not go down without a fight. Trailing 48-41 late in the fourth quarter, Riley Ferguson did what he had done the entire game and really the entire season for that matter, make a big time play when his team needed him the most. Ferguson constructed a masterful drive that was capped off by a 10 yard TD pass to Anthony Miller with 4 minutes to play in the ball game. The score was now locked up at 48 a piece and this one had OT written all over it. Memphis had other plans however and found themselves in a opportunity to win the ball game with a field goal. With 30 seconds, Memphis kicker Riley Patterson lined up for a game winning FG. The kick was blocked but laundry was on the field. The call was a delay of game on Memphis and since it is technically a dead ball foul, UCF did not have an option to decline the penalty, giving Memphis another chance to win the ball game. Patterson missed poorly on his second chance however, and this game was heading to OT. It was the first time a conference championship had gone to OT since 2012. In OT, both teams scored a TD on their first possession and this one was heading to a second overtime with the score locked up at 55. After UCF scored a TD on their second drive of OT, it was up to Memphis to answer yet again, something they had done all game. Riley Ferguson, who has an tendency to turn the ball over at times, did just that in the Tigers drive, throwing an interception to UCF defensive back, Tre Neal.

The instant classic had ended in elation as UCF is now one win away from a perfect season with a 62-55 win. This is one of the best offensive games you will ever see as the teams combined for 1,479 yards of total offense. For UCF, they now have one more game with their coach Scott Frost who will return to Nebraska next season to become their head coach. It will be interesting to see how UCF will do in their bowl game and if they cap off their perfect season and send their coach off on a high note.

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When Georgia and Auburn met in the regular season, Auburn made Georgia look like a FCS team. They dominated every aspect of the ballgame and due to that win along with a win against rival Alabama, the Auburn Tigers found themselves one game away from clinching a spot in the coveted CFP.  In their way was the Georgia Bulldogs who also could clinch a spot in the CFP with a win so this became essentially a national quarterfinal game. Auburn’s offense began the game with an impressive TD drive and it seemed as if we were going to see a repeat of what happened between the two in the regular season. Georgia’s defense would not allow a repeat of their worse defensive performance of the entire season and they played inspired football. After giving up the touchdown, the Bulldog defense was lights out. They played fast, hungry, and dominant football, shutting Auburn out for the remainder of the game. Georgia’s defense does not deserve all the credit though.  Jake Fromm, the true freshman QB from Georgia was spectacular on Saturday throwing for 183 yards to go along with 2 TD passes. Georgia had got their revenge with a 28-7 win over rival Auburn and revenge is the sweetest when the stakes are the highest. The Bulldogs have now found themselves in the CFP and will look to defeat the Oklahoma Sooners on New Year’s Day.

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The headlining event of the night would feature a matchup between the undefeated Badgers of Wisconsin against the explosive Buckeyes of Ohio State in the Big 10 Championship. Even though Wisconsin had been undefeated on the season they found themselves as an underdog to a two loss Buckeye squad. It was clear from a very early point in the ballgame that Wisconsin’s defense was going to have to keep the Badgers in the game because their offense was not talented enough to keep up with a high-powered Buckeye offense. This point was proven in the first quarter when defensive end, Andrew Van Ginkel intercepted a pass from J.T Barrett and took it back to the house, evening up the score at 7. Ohio State knew they had to limit their turnovers because a defense as good as one of Wisconsin’s will make you pay. The story of the Buckeye offense during the first half of Saturday’s contest was the big play. Both TD’s in the first quarter came by a huge pass play by Buckeye QB JT Barrett. One was a 84 yard pass to Terry McLaurin, and the other a 57 yard pass to Parris Campbell.

Wisconsin had never seen an offense as efficient as Ohio State’s, so they were going to have to make adjustments during the break if they wanted a chance to raise the hardware come night’s end. Ohio State found themselves leading 21-10 at the break and found themselves 30 minutes away from winning a Big Ten Championship. The second half was all about the defense. You have to give credit to the Ohio States front 7 on the defensive side who is arguably the best in the county, for being dominant the entire night. They limited the Badger running game, who had been successful the entire season, to just 60 yards rushing and if Wisconsin would have been able to establish their run game, who knows how this one would have ended up. Due to Wisconsin’s defense forcing some fourth quarter turnovers and their offense converting those turnovers to points, the Badgers found themselves in a position to win the ball game. Late in the fourth quarter, Wisconsin had the ball and would only need a TD to take the lead and hopefully win the game. Ohio State’s defense however made a huge stand and the Buckeyes would go on to win the game 27-21 in what became an instant thriller. Wisconsin is now on the outside looking in, and for the second year in a row they have finished as Big Ten runner-ups. As for Ohio State, it was too little too late as they will also be on the outside looking in to the CFP field and if you are a Buckeye player or fan this result has to be heartbreaking. All they had to do was beat a sub par Iowa team or most likely just not get blown out, and they would have found themselves playing on New Year’s Day.  Championship week is one of the best weekends in college football and this year certainly did not disappoint.

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Video’s Of The Week

The turnover chain is dead.

The most electric part of the weekend was when during the half time’s of the games,  Dr. Pepper had a contest where two kids would throw a football in a large can and the winner would get $100,000 in tuition. The loser would get 25 grand in tuition for their effort however, this kid does not deserve a penny for his performance. I don’t think this guy has ever played a recreational sport in his life.

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