Well, I have a hard time calling the previous week of college football exciting, really…
When you think about it, what are the 3 key ingredients to a great week of college football? 1. Top 3 teams in action. 2. Upsets that change the landscape of the rankings. 3. Big time performances.
Well, this week had none of the first 2 ingredients as all members of the BCS rankings’ top 3 were inactive this week, there were no upsets in the top 5 and really, the only upset that occurred in the top 10 was #19 Texas A&M over # 8 Nebraska but even that game was a dull 9-6. Yes, it was 3 field goals to 2. And the winning field goal was kicked with 3 minutes remaining in the 4th quarter so no last second kick as time expired. Talk about an instant classic.
The game of the week goes to #23 Utah at San Diego State.
Call me a homer if want for not choosing the Arkansas/Mississippi State game that went to 2OT, but the Utah/San Diego State game had a lot more behind it of significance than the aforementioned game.
For those of you who live under rocks, Utah was ranked #5 in the country just over 2 weeks ago. Sloppy execution and suspect play calling killed the Utes momentum the last 2 weeks and, for that, the Utes plummeted in the rankings to where they stopped at #23, heading into the game at San Diego State.
Now, San Diego State of years past was an auto “W” on the schedule with UNLV, New Mexico, and Wyoming. But this season, under new head coach Brady Hoke, the Aztecs are looking stellar. While Utah was losing 28-3 to Notre Dame, San Diego State was putting up 35 points on the same TCU team that stomped the Utes 47-7 in Salt Lake City the week before.
Everything pointed toward an Aztec win November 20th, if there weren’t significant changes made on both sides of the ball for Utah.
The game started out the way Ute fans had hoped it wouldn’t. San Diego State QB Ryan Lindley was hitting receivers over the top and led the Aztecs to a 27-10 lead in the first half.
Utah, led by sophomore QB Jordan Wynn, was able to creep back and close in on San Diego State, scoring on a last second Hail Mary throw to the end zone that was tipped to awaiting Ute receiver Kendrick Moeai. That score brought the Utes to within 3 points at 27-24.
The Aztecs had a tipped ball for a score of their own as Safety Justin Taplin-Ross couldn’t quite hang on to an interception and ended up tipping the ball to Aztec wide receiver Vincent Brown, who capped off the 90 yard reception in the endzone.
Trailing 34-24, the Utes dug deep and started playing the way they had been games 2-7. The confidence and flow was back. The defensive line started to get to Lindley and get in his face. The Utes capped off a drive early in the 4th quarter on a 1 yard TD run by Matt Asiata.
San Diego State was later held deep in their own zone and was forced to punt. Aztec punter Brian Stahovic fumbled the snap, though, and Utah defensive lineman Christian Cox recovered the ball at the 2 yard line to set up Ute running back Eddie Wide’s go ahead TD run.
On the ensuing San Diego State drive, the Aztecs got to the Utah 30 yard line and Chaz Walker caught the 2nd interception from Ryan Lindley on the day on about the 15 yard line for the Utes.
The Aztecs got another chance to pull ahead but once again Lindley was intercepted. This time it was by Brian Blechen in the endzone with 1:22 remaining. The Utes pulled off their first 4th quarter comeback win since last season at CSU when Robert Johnson’s 3 second half interceptions won the game for Utah.
The reason this game is so big is that for the last 3 weeks, Utah and the team down south have been on a collision course for Nov. 27th and they had apparently switched jerseys. The team down south, or TDS, gained momentum as they entered the easy half of their schedule, while Utah entered the hard half. Had Utah lost their 3rd straight game, they would have either been manhandled by the surging TDS, or the opposite would have been true and Utah would have vented 3 week’s worth of frustration on them.
We’ll never know now, as Utah will enter rivalry week with the losing streak erased and the biggest game of the rivalry to date coming up.