Saturday Football: Auburn's lucky breaks, B1G madness and uniform talk
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Good morning and happy Monday! There were 45 FBS games played over the weekend, and it was great to have such a full college football schedule back in our lives. We said hello to the Big Ten and Mountain West, and will soon welcome the Pac-12 and MAC back into the fray.
Today, we’ll dive into some of that B1G madness that took place on Saturday. We’ll also look into yet another controversial call that benefited Auburn in a big way. Then, we’ll take a look at a busy weekend in terms of great uniforms. Let’s get started with today’s newsletter!
AUBURN’S LUCKY BREAKS
Is there any team that is luckier than Auburn? The Tigers once again escaped with a win thanks to controversy.
We already know that Jordan-Hare Stadium is a magical place. Who could ever forget the “Prayer at Jordan-Hare” against Georgia in 2013. You might remember a play that happened two weeks later in the Iron Bowl. It is commonly known as the “Kick Six.” Yes, the Auburn magic at Jordan-Hare is alive and well. Earlier this season, Auburn QB Bo Nix appeared to spike the ball backwards against Arkansas, but it wasn’t ruled a fumble. The Tigers kicked the game-winning field goal on the next play.
But, now, Auburn’s “luck” seems to be following the Tigers on the road, too. On Saturday afternoon, another Auburn game ended with controversy, as a late kickoff looked like it bounced off a Tiger player’s finger. It could have been ruled a touchdown for Ole Miss, but wasn’t. Let’s dive into this latest bit of controversy surrounding Auburn and SEC officials:
- The play in question involved Auburn return man Shaun Shivers. As you can see here, the ball appeared to glance off of Shivers’ finger. It was then recovered in the end zone by Ole Miss. Look, it’s not like it’s an egregious mistake for the refs to miss that tiny bit of contact in real time. The controversy stems from the fact that replay officials didn’t stop the game to take a longer look at such a crucial play. That’s what Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin was upset about after the game. “I don’t know (why the play wasn’t reviewed),” he said. “These guys stop everything in the world.”
- That wasn’t the last we heard from Kiffin about the play, either. After the game, Kiffin hopped on Twitter (as he often does) and retweeted a tweet blasting the SEC and the officials. He hadn’t deleted the retweet as of Sunday afternoon, so it’s possible he receives a call and/or a fine from the league office this week. It may be worth it to make his frustration known, though. Ole Miss fans were also quite vocal on Twitter blasting the SEC officials. Long day for whoever runs the @SECOfficiating account.
- Auburn is now 3-2, but could very well have a 1-4 record. Much like with the Nix spike play against Arkansas, veteran officials are sharing their thoughts on the non-review against Ole Miss. Terry McAulay said it should have been an Ole Miss touchdown. Meanwhile, AL.com columnist Joseph Goodman wonders what Auburn had to do to get the SEC officials to bail the Tigers out every week. Even Nick Saban’s daughter, Kristen, took to Twitter to share her disbelief at the luck Auburn has.
Ole Miss and Arkansas fans can commiserate in their anger at Auburn and SEC referees, but it won’t give them the wins they feel they should have on their resumes. Auburn hosts LSU on Halloween afternoon. A Halloween game at Jordan-Hare? Who knows what sort of craziness will ensue?
We welcomed back the Big Ten and Mountain West this weekend, but one thing remained the same — offenses continue to be the story of the season. We are seeing record-breaking performances on a seemingly weekly bases, and that certainly continued over the weekend.
It’ll take some conferences time to catch up, but there are some truly eye-popping numbers on the stat leaderboard as we approach the end of October. Here’s a look at who leads the FBS in nine important statistical categories (via CFBStats.com):
- Passing yards: Dillon Gabriel, UCF — 2,178
- Passing TDs: Dillon Gabriel, UCF — 19
- Rushing yards: Sincere McCormick, UTSA — 867
- Rushing TDs: Najee Harris, Alabama — 14
- Receiving yards: Marlon Williams, UCF — 753
- Receiving TDs: Jaelon Darden, North Texas — 10
- Sacks: Patrick Jones II, Pitt — 7.0
- Tackles: Tyler Grubbs, Louisiana Tech — 63
- Interceptions: 13 players tied — 3
Gabriel and the UCF offense continue to dominate through the air this season. Expect the Knights to continue putting up video game numbers on a weekly basis. Hopefully, by next week, someone will have separated himself from the 13-player tie atop the interception leaderboard!
- Another weekend led to more chaos in the SEC standings. LSU bounced back, Alabama rolled, Mizzou ended a 5-year losing streak to Kentucky and Auburn won in controversial fashion again. So, where do things stand in the conference? Saturday Down South’s Joe Cox updated his SEC power rankings following Week 5 action.
- The Big Ten is back, too, and had plenty of its own carnage. A top-10 team (Penn State) lost on the road, Ohio State looked like a Playoff contender and other teams stepped up in big ways. We know Ohio State is No. 1, but how do the other 13 B1G teams stack up against each other? Saturday Tradition’s Jim Tomlin makes sense of the madness in his weekly B1G power rankings.
- With so many games this week, it’s tough to make sense of everything. Fortunately, Bleacher Report’s Kerry Miller is here to break down the winners and losers from the week’s action. It includes Rutgers as a winner (no, seriously).
- LSU QB Myles Brennan was hurt and couldn’t play on Saturday. That led to freshman TJ Finley getting his first college start, and he played really well in a 52-24 win over South Carolina. Saturday Down South’s Les East writes that this wasn’t all about Finley, though. East says Brennan’s injury forced LSU’s coaches to re-evaluate everything on offense, leading to a new and better game plan.
B1G CHAOS STARTS
Indiana upsetting No. 8 Penn State was the highlight of the B1G’s return. What were some other surprises in Week 1?
A game of inches. That’s what it came down to in Bloomington on Saturday evening with No. 8 Penn State battling Indiana. In the past, those have been the games the Hoosiers have lost, getting that one bad bounce that leaves fans pulling out their hair — if they have any left at this point.
There was plenty of hair to be pulled and lots of fingernails to be bitten on Saturday, but as IU quarterback Michael Penix Jr. snuck the football just inside the pylon on a 2-point conversion (did he actually?), 30 years of pain and suffering vanished from the hearts of passionate IU fans. It was a game worth celebrating, and one that resulted in head coach Tom Allen crowd-surfing in the locker room. And if you need to know how exciting it was, Tiger Woods demanded that a media member stream the game on his smartphone while playing in a golf tournament. Seriously.
Yes, the weekend was highlighted by Indiana’s 36-35 upset over Penn State, earning a respectable shoutout from Kirk Herbstreit on Sunday morning. The Hoosiers even received a Top 10 vote from one Associated Press voter — though they’ll still have to wait to climb that high in the polls. But IU wasn’t the only team with a surprising result in the B1G this weekend:
- Welcome to the B1G, Rutgers! Yes, technically speaking, the Scarlet Knights joined the B1G in 2014. But for the past two seasons, the program has essentially served as a doormat to the other 13 teams in the league. That is no longer the case. Greg Schiano led the Scarlet Knights to a 38-27 win over Michigan State on the road. Rutgers snapped a 21-game B1G losing streak on Saturday, in an environment that left defensive back Avery Young speechless.
- How ’bout them Boilermakers? Head coach Jeff Brohm was at home. All-American wide receiver Rondale Moore was out. Starting running back King Doerue was absent. All those obstacles, and Purdue still managed to beat Iowa 24-20 as an underdog. The Boilers got the win thanks in large part to receiver David Bell, who has torn up the Hawkeyes in the last two meetings. Saturday, he finished with 13 catches for 121 yards and 3 TDs in the win. Oh, and that win for Purdue? It was the first Week 1 win for the Boilers in the Brohm era. But it’s Brian who gets the credit.
- Northwestern’s offense has returned (we think). It’s not so much that Northwestern took care of business against Maryland, but it was surprising how it happened. The Wildcats scored just 114 points in nine B1G games last season, but dropped 43 in the win over the Terrapins. Former Indiana quarterback Peyton Ramsey got his first touchdown with his new program early, and Northwestern never looked back. It was one heck of an exclamation point for Pat Fitzgerald’s 100th career win with the ‘Cats.
There is one disappointing thing about the chaos from the weekend. Penn State’s loss to Indiana does put a damper on their B1G East showdown against Ohio State next weekend, a game many thought would decide the conference champion. That still could be the case, but it just doesn’t have quite the hype it did a few weeks ago, even though College GameDay is still making the trip to State College.
JUST FOR FUN
On Saturday afternoon, Rutgers got the second Greg Schiano era off to a good start with an impressive 38-27 win over Michigan State. To say it has been a while since the Scarlet Knights won a Big Ten game would be an understatement. For today’s quiz, can you name the last B1G team to lose to Rutgers? And, as a bonus, Rutgers actually won three conference games that season. Can you name the three teams the Scarlet Knights beat?
Scroll down to see the answers to today’s quiz.
This week was an incredible one for college football uniforms. Who wore it best over the weekend?
You know by now how much we love uniforms here at Saturday Football. Well, this weekend was the best of the year so far in terms of classic and new uniform combinations. Schools across the country brought out there best alternate looks this week, and it was awesome.
So, which teams had the top looks in the uniform world this week? Let’s take a look at some of our favorites from the busy weekend:
- First of all, take a look at that picture above and bask in its glory. That is from the Tulane-UCF game, where UCF sported its annual “Space Day” combination (prompting some back-and-forth with Mississippi State fans). Meanwhile, the Green Wave wore baby blue uniforms, and had a fantastic throwback logo on their helmets. That was one of the top uniform battles of the season.
- Sticking with the blue theme, we’ll head to North Carolina next. The Tar Heels were playing rival NC State, and did so in true Carolina fashion. As you can see here, Mack Brown’s squad came out sporting all-Carolina blue uniforms. We prefer either white pants or white jerseys to break up the blue a bit, but there’s no denying this is a solid look, too.
- Next, we’ll head to Mizzou, where the Tigers wore a fan favorite. Mizzou fans love “Block M” helmets, and that’s what the Tigers wore for Saturday’s 20-10 victory over Kentucky — their first win over the Wildcats in five years. The Tigers are playing well under first-year coach Eli Drinkwitz, and they’re looking good while doing it, too.
- Finally, let’s end the section with a great tribute from Louisiana. The Ragin’ Cajuns honored former assistant coach D.J. Looney, who tragically passed away earlier this year after having a heart attack following a workout with players. Every player on the field for Louisiana on Friday during the win at UAB had “Looney” on the back of their jerseys. Very classy tribute.
This was by far the best week of uniforms in college football. But, there are plenty of interesting combinations coming, as teams are announcing jersey combos well in advance these days. Check back here in next Monday’s newsletter to see what sort of new, exciting looks we get for Saturday’s Halloween games!
The last Big Ten team to lose to Rutgers prior to Saturday was Maryland, back on Nov. 4, 2017. The Terrapins lost 31-24. Rutgers also beat Purdue and Illinois in B1G play that season.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“It’s really a sad time for me, for Jaylen Waddle and his family. He’s got a very similar injury to what Kenyan Drake had. It’s a high ankle sprain but also a fracture, so they’ll probably have to do surgery on him. We’re gonna fly him back privately with doctors and take him right to Birmingham and see what we have to do right away. But that’s the case — and we’re pretty certain that it is — that he would probably be out for the year.
“The guy’s a great player. He’s a great teammate. He’s an exciting player to watch. Hate that people in college football can’t see a great player the rest of this season.”
– Alabama coach Nick Saban was emotional after star WR Jaylen Waddle suffered a season-ending injury on the opening kickoff against Tennessee. A former NFL doctor shared an optimistic view of Waddle’s upcoming rehab, saying he could be even better than before after surgery. That’s a scary thought!
TWEET OF THE DAY
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh looked absolutely ridiculous with his mask getup on Saturday night at Minnesota. Even his son, James Harbaugh Jr. noticed and poked fun at his dad on Twitter. He wasn’t the only one to have fun at his dad’s expense!