Week 12’s Plays That Shaped the College Football Landscape

    There were two game-deciding passes to the end zone on the final play of two different games on Saturday and both were incomplete, keeping one playoff

    November 18, 2018

    There were two game-deciding passes to the end zone on the final play of two different games on Saturday and both were incomplete, keeping one playoff contender’s one-loss record intact while another is likely out of the playoff hunt now.

    Here are the plays from Week 12 that shaped the college football landscape.

    West Virginia’s pass to the end zone is broken up on the final play of the game

    In the span of four weeks, Oklahoma State has beaten a pair of College Football Playoff contenders from the Big 12 that were ranked in the top 10 (Texas, West Virginia) and the Cowboys nearly beat a third (Oklahoma) during that stretch.

    The latest was a 45-41 win over the Mountaineers in Week 12 as the Cowboys erased a 17-point halftime deficit to win on Taylor Cornelius’ 11-yard touchdown pass to Tylan Wallce with 48 seconds left.

    West Virginia actually had a chance to win as quarterback Will Grier led a six-play, 61-yard drive in 42 seconds that ended with Grier throwing a pass to David Sills V but it was broken up in the end zone, securing the win for Oklahoma State.

    The Big 12 has nearly cannibalized itself out of the College Football Playoff and it could do so next week if West Virginia beats Oklahoma in Morgantown, which would guarantee that every team in the conference has at least two losses prior to the conference championship game.

    Maryland’s incomplete two-point conversion attempt in overtime

    Like Oklahoma State’s failed two-point conversion against Oklahoma in Week 11, another playoff contender narrowly avoided its second loss of the season, this time in the Big Ten. Ohio State rallied to score in the final minute of regulation for force overtime against Maryland and the Buckeyes scored on the first possession of OT, after converting on a crucial 4th & 1.

    It only took Maryland two plays to score a touchdown but the Terrapins elected to go for two and the win, rather than play it safe. Maryland got the look it wanted – wide receiver Jeshaun Jones was wide open in the end zone – but quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome’s throw was just out of reach.

    A win for Maryland would’ve given Ohio State its second loss in conference play, allowing Michigan to clinch the Big Ten a week before its clash against the Buckeyes in Columbus. But Ohio State was able to hang on and now it gets the chance to host its biggest rival and highest-ranked opponent this season where a win gives the Buckeyes the chance to play for a conference title.

    The Citadel misses a 45-yard field goal to take the lead at Alabama

    Top-ranked Alabama won this game 50-17 so we’re not implying that The Citadel goes on to win in Tuscaloosa if it converts the 45-yard field goal attempt it missed on the first possession of the second half. But it could’ve meant that the potential national champion trailed at home in the second half to The Citadel, which would’ve been a funny footnote if the Crimson Tide go on to win their second national championship in a row.

    The biggest takeaway from the game might be the value of the triple option. The Citadel doesn’t have the 5-star recruits, coaching staff or facilities of Alabama but it was able to limit the Crimson Tide to just four offensive possessions in the first half. The Bulldogs forced a fumble and held Alabama to a three-and-out in two of those four possessions, which is how they were able to enter halftime with the game tied 10-10.

    The triple option is certainly a one-dimensional offensive attack but when run efficiently, it can limit the number of possessions in a game and it’s different from most college offenses, potentially making it a challenging approach to scout on one week’s notice.

    Syracuse QB Eric Dungey leaves game against Notre Dame with injury

    Similar to Texas Tech losing starting quarterback Alan Bowman at halftime of its 51-46 loss to Oklahoma, file this under the “What if?” category of losses suffered by teams playing against College Football Playoff contenders.

    Syracuse was losing 10-0 when Dungey left the game with an upper body injury and the Orange lost 36-3, so maybe it wouldn’t have mattered if he had played the whole game. Or maybe Syracuse missed the offensive spark of its quarterback who has thrown for more than 2,000 yards, rushed for nearly 700 and accounted for 26 total touchdowns prior to Week 12.

    We’ll never know if the football game at Yankee Stadium would’ve played out any differently with four quarters from Dungey but Notre Dame gets credit for beating a top-15 team even though one of the central figures who helped Syracuse earn that ranking barely played.

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