by Bob Gaughan, Buffalo Sports Page
Each week, Buffalo Sports Page’s Bob Gaughan looks back at the college football weekend.
Northern Illinois 30 UB 29
This loss will go down as one of the toughest gut-wrenching losses in the school’s history. The Bulls had a 29-10 lead in the third quarter before the Huskies stormed back for the victory. UB started off hot scoring on their first five possessions of the game. Kevin Marks scored from 3 yards out on the Bulls first possession. Anthony Johnson was a beast in the first five possessions. He had two touchdown grabs from Tyree Jackson in the first half. The Bulls got a 9-yard TD run from Jaret Patterson in the first drive of the third quarter to give them the 29-10 lead. The only mistake the Bulls had up to this point in the game was a missed extra point. That would comeback to haunt them. At this point Anthony Johnson left the game with an injury, He would comeback and play but wasn’t 100 percent. The Bulls offense stalled the rest of the way without him at 100 percent. Northern Illinois QB Marcus Childers then got hot. Childers had thrown for over 200 yards only once all year. He threw for 300 yards and four touchdown passes. He fourth and final TD pass to complete the comeback was to DJ Brown with 1:09 to go. The Bulls defense played well the first two and a half quarters but couldn’t hold the lead in the fourth. The offense that was so dominate early couldn’t muster one drive in their last five possessions to bail the defense out. The Bulls fall to 10-3 on the season and wait to find out Sunday night which bowl they will go to.
Big 12 Championship
Oklahoma 39 Texas 27
Oklahoma avenges their only loss of the year by coming back to beat Texas. This improves their resume for the College Football Playoff. Kyler Murray threw for 379 yards and three touchdowns in the win. The dagger was on a third and 10 with two minutes to play when he found Grant Calcaterra for an 18-yard score. If Texas had forced a field goal they would have only trailed by 8 and still had a chance. These two rivals have met 114 times but this was the first in a championship game.
Alabama 35 Georgia 28
Jalen Hurts will be an Alabama legend for life after this game. Hurts was replaced last year in the Championship game by Tua Tagovailoa. 99.9 percent of college players would have transferred to a different school this year. Hurts decided to stay and play back up to Tagovailoa. As fate would have it Tua, the Heisman favorite, was injured in the third quarter of this game with Georgia up 28-21. Hurts led two fourth quarter touchdown drives. He threw one TD pass to Jerry Jeudy to tie the score then he ran in from 15 yards out with 1:04 to go to give the Tide the victory.
Georgia played the Tide brilliantly. No one all year has given Alabama the game Georgia did. The Bulldogs clearly look like one of the four best teams in the country, but with two losses appear to be on the outside looking in.
Big 10 Championship
Ohio State 45 Northwestern 24
Ohio State fought off a game effort from Northwestern to win the Big 10 title. Northwestern is one of the best-coached teams in the country year in and out. They gave Ohio State everything they had but it wasn’t enough as the Buckeyes pulled away in the fourth quarter. Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins looks to me like the best pro prospect in the country after throwing for five touchdown passes in this one. Haskins finished the day 34 of 41 for 499 yards. He might not win the Heisman but more importantly he’s the guy NFL teams will want on their team. Ohio State’s defense came alive late to cause a couple of turnovers to seal the win. The Buckeyes loss to Purdue is the worst loss of any of the teams hoping to make the playoff. They maybe the hottest team right now so that’s the one thing in their favor.
*UCF shows such great heart. In spite of playing without QB McKenzie Milton the Knights comeback from a 17-point halftime deficit to beat Memphis 56-41. UCF has now won 25 straight games.
*Clemson as expected destroyed Pitt in the ACC final 42-10. Clemson piled up 301 yards on the ground in the win.
*In the rain and snow in Boise, Idaho Fresno State outlasts the Broncos 19-16 in OT. Jeff Tedford took over Fresno two years ago after a 1-11 season. He’s done a remarkable job bringing the program back to relevance. This was Fresno’s first win in Boise since 1984. That was two years before the blue turf was installed.
*The best two defenses in the Pac 12 played in the title game. The only touchdown was a defensive interception return. Washington beats Utah 10-3. Kind of ironic for those of us that remembers the Pac 12 for their wide-open offenses.