Michigan State Miracle Highlights Wild Week 7 in College Football
One of the wildest endings in college football history was the big story from an exciting weekend in college football. Here are some of the takeaways from Week 7 in college football.
The Michigan State Miracle
Doug Flutie’s Hail Mary. Cal’s kickoff return through the Stanford band. Auburn’s 109-yard return against Alabama. There are certain game-winning plays that will be replayed over and over and everyone who saw it will never forget. We can now add 2015 Michigan State vs. Michigan to that list.
With just ten seconds left on the clock and facing fourth down, Michigan lined up to punt. Wolverine fans were already celebrating, as anything short of a return touchdown likely would have ended the game and allowed Michigan to pull off the upset of the No. 7 Spartans. Then the unthinkable happened.
Michigan punter Blake O’Neill fumbled the snap. Michigan State’s Jalen Watts-Jackson scooped up the ball and was off to the races, scoring the game-winning touchdown as time expired.
The final play was a microcosm of the highs and lows of college football. For Michigan, the mishandled snap is all anyone will remember which, unfortunately, will erase the memory of O’Neill’s 80-yard bomb in the first quarter.
And, in the Spartans’ postgame celebration, Watts-Jackson suffered a dislocated hip and had to be carted off the field.
Will this play be the magic that spurs the Spartans on to a national championship? Maybe. But for now it will have to go down as the most bizarre play in the history of this long rivalry.
Don’t Count Out Oklahoma
Last week’s anemic performance in a loss to archrival Texas was troubling, to be sure. But Oklahoma’s 55-0 blowout of Kansas State showed that the Sooners are still very much in the mix for a Big 12 title and a playoff spot.
Oklahoma rolled up 568 yards of offense and took a 35-0 lead into halftime. But the biggest improvement came on the defensive side of the ball. After giving up 24+ points in each of its last four games, the Sooner defense allowed just 110 total yards (45 yards through the air on just 5-of-22 passing), forced three turnovers and held the Wildcats scoreless for the first time since 1996. All of this came after flight delays caused Oklahoma to not reach Manhattan until after midnight on game day.
The Sooners have three very winnable games coming up and could easily be a Top Ten team before closing the season against No. 2 Baylor, No. 4 TCU and No. 14 Oklahoma State. So Bob Stoops and company will certainly have every opportunity to work themselves back into the playoff mix.
The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth
Don’t look now, but the hottest conference in football is the one that doesn’t even have an automatic BCS bowl bid. After Memphis’ upset of No. 13 Ole Miss, the American Athletic Conference now boasts three undefeated teams, all of which have jumped into the Top 25 (No. 22 Temple, No. 21 Houston and No. 18 Memphis). The conference has had some breakout teams over the years, but this is the first time recently that it could claim this many ranked teams and notable upsets.
The good news for Memphis is that they have been one of the hottest teams in the country and are currently riding a 13-game winning streak. The Tigers beat Ole Miss, 37-24, and the game really wasn’t that close. Memphis spotted the Rebels two early touchdowns before rolling off 31 unanswered points in the next 22 minutes of game time.
The only downside is that the Tigers will have to manage the distractions of coach Justin Fuente being rumored as a candidate for every major conference coaching job that comes open in the next few months.
The Mad Hatter Still Has It
In this era of ultraconservative coaches who are afraid to make a tough call, fearful that it could cost them their job if it goes badly, it’s nice that we still have Les Miles around to entertain us.
With LSU and No. 8 Florida tied at 28 in the fourth quarter, the Tigers sent out the field goal unit for the go-ahead score. But Miles wasn’t content to get three.
A chip shot field goal would have given LSU the lead while a misfire on the fake would have, at best, turned the ball over to Florida with the game still tied. But after the game, Miles said “We had it, and it was an opportunity to get seven. And seven is a whole lot more than three.” It’s hard to argue with—but easy to appreciate—the Mad Hatter’s level of simplicity.
Stats of the Week
- After turning the ball over just six times in its previous six games, Boise State had eight turnovers (seven in the first half) in its 52-26 loss to Utah State. The Broncos’ turnover margin ranking dropped from fifth in the nation to 112th.
- Baylor receiver Corey Coleman set the school single-season touchdown reception record with his nation’s-best 16th score. Yes, it’s mid-October and it’s taken him six games to set the record. In case you're curious, the NCAA Division I record—which Coleman still has at least seven games to break—is currently 27, held by Troy Edwards and Jerry Rice.
- Coming into this week, Boston College led the nation in total defense, giving up just 140 yards per game. But Clemson torched the Golden Eagles for 532 yards, including 420 passing yards and three touchdowns by Tiger quarterback Deshaun Watson.