Week 8’s Plays That Shaped the College Football Landscape

    Despite six teams ranked in the AP Top 25 Poll having a bye week in Week 8, there were several notable results that could impact the College Football

    October 21, 2018

    Despite six teams ranked in the AP Top 25 Poll having a bye week in Week 8, there were several notable results that could impact the College Football Playoff picture and the future of some of the premier programs in the sport.

    Here are five plays from Saturday that will resonate beyond Week 8.

    Purdue’s fake field goal against Ohio State

    There were a number of monumental plays in unranked Purdue’s upset of No. 2 Ohio State in West Lafayette.

    To name a few:

    • Isaac Zico’s incredible grab in the corner of the end zone to give the Boilermakers the first score of the game…
    • A roughing the kicker penalty against Ohio State that extended a scoring drive for Purdue…
    • The Boilermakers’ goal-line stand that protected a two-possession lead…
    • Andddd D.J. Knox’s 42-yard touchdown dash up the middle that had the Buckeyes on their heels.

     

    But no play may be remembered more than punter/holder Joe Schopper’s four-yard run (it was probably closer to 11 yards from his holder position) that picked up a crucial first down on a fake field goal on 4th & 3 at Ohio State’s 13-yard line.

    Schopper sacrificed his body – taking a huge hit as soon as he picked up the first down – to set up a Purdue touchdown. Purdue coach Jeff Brohm is no stranger to running trick plays and beating the No. 2 team in the country requires creativity and risk-taking.

    Brohm’s play call and Schopper’s gutsy scramble will be remembered for a long, long time in West Lafayette and maybe Columbus, if the loss keeps Ohio State out of the playoff.

     

    Devin White’s targeting penalty against Mississippi State

    The landscape of one of the biggest games of the entire college football season – Alabama at LSU – changed dramatically on Saturday. LSU All-American linebacker Devin White, who had 133 tackles, 13.5 tackles for a loss and 4.5 sacks a season ago, was ejected from the Tigers’ game against Mississippi State late in the fourth quarter after he was called for targeting against Bulldogs quarterback Nick Fitzgerald.

    With LSU leading 19-3 with less than six minutes to play, White’s ejection didn’t affect the final result of the Tigers’ Week 8 win. But it could have a significant impact on LSU’s next game – two weeks from now against No. 1 Alabama – when White will be suspended for the first half.

    There’s never a good time to lose a player of White’s caliber, but the timing couldn’t be worse. The Crimson Tide have the nation’s highest-scoring offense, fueled by Heisman Trophy candidate Tua Tagovailoa at quarterback, a rotation of four talented running backs and a fleet of dangerous receivers.

    Alabama’s trip to Baton Rouge should be its toughest game of the regular season, and an LSU win could potentially keep the Crimson Tide out of the SEC Championship Game. Bama has averaged more than 38 points in the first half through eight games this season so if Tagovailoa puts together another monster first half, White’s second-half return to the field might be too late.

     

    Shea Patterson’s touchdown pass to Donovan Peoples-Jones

    Prior to Saturday, Michigan hadn’t thrown a touchdown pass against rival Michigan State since 2011.

    Just take that in for a moment.

    Since Denard Robinson’s fourth-quarter touchdown pass to Roy Roundtree seven years ago, six Michigan quarterbacks (Robinson, Devin Gardner, Shane Morris, Jake Rudock, Wilton Speight and John O’Korn, if you’re keeping score at home) have attempted a combined 175 passes against the Spartans without a single one of the throws ending up in the end zone.

    Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson ended that drought with a six-yard touchdown pass to Nico Collins, followed by a 79-yard strike to Donovan Peoples-Jones in the second quarter that broke open a tie game and proved to be the eventual game-winning score in the Wolverines’ 21-7 win.

    After a first half that featured 11 punts and a weather delay, Patterson’s connection to Peoples-Jones was a rare explosive play that gave Michigan the lead for good and its first road win against a ranked team in 12 years.

    Looking ahead, it could also signal a positive development in the Wolverines’ downfield passing game. It was Patterson’s longest completion of the season by 27 yards.

    Running back Karan Higdon, who broke the 100-yard mark for the sixth consecutive game, is arguably in the midst of the most productive stretch by a Michigan running back in a decade. Patterson’s throw was a glimpse at a welcome complement to the team’s rushing attack of a vertical passing threat that the Wolverines have often lacked in recent years.

     

    Michael Divinity’s interception on LSU’s first defensive possession

    It only took three plays from scrimmage for LSU to force a turnover as Michael Divinity Jr. picked off Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald and rumbled 31 yards to the Bulldogs’ three-yard line. Running back Nick Brossette punched it in for a touchdown three plays later.

    Divinity’s interception set the tone for the game.

    On Mississippi State’s next drive, the Tigers stuffed Fitzgerald three times in a row inside their own five-yard line, forcing Mississippi State to settle for a short field goal. The Bulldogs’ next two drives resulted in a three-and-out and another interception.

    LSU entered the week with 15 turnovers forced through seven games, which was tied for the eighth-best mark in the country. Of course, there’s some level of luck and randomness involved in creating turnovers, but the Tigers have been one of the best units in the country at doing so and Saturday was no different.

    They ultimately picked off Fitzgerald four times in the game and prevented Mississippi State from reaching the end zone.

     

    Stanley Morgan Jr.’s touchdown catch and two-point conversion

    Before the start of this season, new Nebraska head coach Scott Frost didn’t know how to lose. He was coming off a 13-0 record at UCF and planned on spearheading a huge rebuild for his alma mater.

    Then came an 0-6 start to the season.

    Luckily for Frost, his Cornhuskers finally got in the win column on Saturday, beating Minnesota 53-28 for their first victory of the season. But Nebraska fans had to suffer before the clock struck zero, as their 28-0 lead quickly dwindled to 28-22 in the span of 10 minutes. The Cornhuskers had already seen that movie this season – the one where they lost a big or late-game lead in heartbreaking fashion.

    The Huskers were previously up 28-20 on Colorado late in the third quarter before falling 33-28 AND led Northwestern 28-14 in the fourth quarter before losing in overtime.

    It didn’t happen this time.

    Within a minute and a half of Minnesota cutting Nebraska’s lead to six, Huskers quarterback Adrian Martinez found Stanley Morgan Jr. for a 35-yard touchdown pass, then again for the ensuing two-point conversion. The two linked up later in the fourth quarter for a 67-yard score as Nebraska scored 25 of the game’s final 31 points.

    If Frost can create a similar turnaround at Nebraska as he did at UCF, Saturday’s victory over Minnesota will be the first of many wins he’ll be responsible for in Lincoln.

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