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College Football 2023: Week 6 Review – Red river, Tiger battles and cool overtime

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Week 6 in College Football. After 5 weeks of wild action, massive upsets, and still a good number of unbeaten teams, it does not stop here. Week 6 is mostly dominated by one game, and that is where we are starting.

The Red River Rivalry

The Red River Rivalry is named after the Red River that splits the states of Texas and Oklahoma. Held each year at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas during the Texas State Fair, located roughly halfway between Norman, Oklahoma, and Austin, Texas. This year, the game had additional significance. Coming into the game, both the number 3 ranked Texas Longhorns and the number 12 ranked Oklahoma Sooners were unbeaten. Two unbeaten teams would enter, and only one would leave. Who would it be? 

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It would be the Longhorns who would have the opening possession of the game, but it would not last long for them. Longhorns quarterback Quinn Ewers would lose two yards on his first throw and would then lose possession on his next throw. Ewers pass was intercepted by Gentry Williams on the edge of the Texas red zone. This gave the Sooners a strong field position to take an early lead. Sooners quarterback Dilon Gabriel would move the ball down to the Longhorns’ 9-yard line. From there, he would run the ball into the endzone, giving Oklahoma the advantage. 

Texas’ next drive was more successful than their first. Running back Jonathon Brooks did most of the work on this drive, with Savion Red throwing a 25-yard pass to put the Longhorns into the Sooners’ red zone. But all good things must come to an end, and from the 13-yard line, Ewers’s pass was intercepted again by the Oklahoma defense. This is not good enough for a number 3 ranked side. Then, things got bizarre. The responding Sooner drive went backward, pushing them to their 7-yard line. They punted on 4th down, as any team would from that location. But, the punt was blocked by Texas, who would dive on the ball in the endzone to score a touchdown to tie the game. We were only 6 minutes into the game, and we had had two interceptions, a touchdown, and a blocked punt touchdown. You don’t get that amount of action in an NFL game! 

The pace would calm down soon after, with both teams having drives that did not anywhere. Oklahoma would be next to have a strong drive. From their 13-yard line, Gabriel and company would slowly move the ball down the field to the Longohorns red zone. This is where the drive would stall, and Sooners kicker Zack Schmit would successfully kick the 27-yard field goal attempt to return the lead to Oklahoma. This lead would not last long. The Longhorns would finally have a drive that did not end with a Quinn Ewers interception. Texas would move the ball down to the Sooners’ 22-yard line, where on 4th down, Ewers would throw the touchdown pass to Gunnar Helm, giving the Longhorns their first lead in the game. 

But, the back and forward nature of this game would continue on the Sooners reply. Oklahoma would reach the Longhorns’ one-yard line and from there, Tawee Walker would run into the endzone to return the lead back to Oklahoma. The half would end with a pair of field goals, one from each team. Interestingly, both field goals were from the 25-yard line. A Nice bit of parity to end a half that started with domination from Oklahoma, but later saw a Texas comeback. At halftime, the Sooners had a 20-17 lead. 

The second half would open with the Sooners in possession. As they have done a few times in the game so far, they would break through the Texas defense and find themselves at the Longhorns’ one-yard line. From there, Tawee Walker would score another one-yard rushing touchdown to increase Oklahoma’s lead. In reply, Texas made more mistakes. The normally impeccable Quinn Ewers would fumble the ball on the 50-yard line. The Sooners would scoop up the ball, but the subsequent drive would go nowhere for them. Texas would close the gap later in the half. Their drive would stall at the Sooners’ 27-yard line and Longhorns; kicker Bert Auburn would kick the 45-yard field goal to reduce the lead to 7 points. A pair of turnovers on downs would follow this, with the Longhorns turning the ball over on the Sooners’ one-yard line. 

Time was slowly running out for the Longhorns’ chances of victory. Oklahoma’s next drive would stall at the Texas 27-yard line. This would give Sooners kicker Zach Schmit a 45-yard field goal attempt. If he would make it, this would give Oklahoma a 10-point lead late in the fourth quarter. Schmit’s kick would miss, keeping the lead a touchdown. A touchdown that Texas would get on the game’s very next drive. Longhorns’ running back Jonathon Brooks would find the endzone, scoring a 29-yard rushing touchdown to tie the game at 27-27. Anyone could still win this. 

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The Oklahoma drive in reply to Brooks’ score would end in a punt. Then, Ewers and company would drive the ball down the field from their 13-yard line. The drive would stall at the Sooners’ 29-yard line, and Longhorns’ kicker Bert Auburn would successfully kick a 47-yard field goal. With 1:17 left on the clock, was this the winning score of the game? 

The Sooners had possession, knowing that a touchdown would be needed for the win. Dilon Gabriel and company would quickly drive into the Longhorns’ territory with some long passes. Then, the Longhorns made a massive mistake. They were penalized for pass interference, moving the Sooners down to the 6-yard line. Soon after, Oklahoma would find the endzone, as Dilon Gabriel would score what was the winning touchdown pass to Nic Anderson. Texas’s last drive ran out of time before anything would happen. This meant, that as time ran out, we had a winner. The number 12 ranked Oklahoma Sooners had defeated the number 3 ranked Texas Longhorns 34-30. 

This game was entertaining. For Oklahoma, they stay unbeaten and are now at 6-0. This will put them into the conversation for the Big-12 championship and potentially the College Football Playoff if they continue to play like this. For the Longhorns, this is their worst performance of the season so far. Their unbeaten record is gone, and this will affect their ranking. Only time will tell if this defeat is the nail in the coffin for their College Football Playoff chances. Next week, both teams are on a bye week. 

The Battle of the Tigers

Last week, the number 23 LSU Tigers played a high-scoring thriller against the Ole Miss Rebels. They were on the losing side last week, and many people were surprised that they were still ranked going into this week’s game against the number 21-ranked Missouri Tigers. Missouri also scored a large number of points last week and are unbeaten so far.  Will this high-scoring form continue in the battle of the Tigers? I should mention for simplicity, that I will be referring to each team by their university name (LSU, Missouri) and not “The Tigers” 

LSU would have the first possession of the game, but would not do anything with it, punting away quickly. In reply, the high-scoring form that we have seen Missouri do this season immediately was seen. Missouri quarterback Brady Cook would move his offense down to the LSU red zone. From the 18-yard line, Cook would find Theo Wease Jr for the opening touchdown of the game. Missouri would then successfully attempt a two-point conversion, to put them 8 points ahead.  Then, the LSU offense would finally wake up. Quarterback Jayden Daniels would take his offense down to the Missouri one-yard line, aided by some penalties against the Missouri defense. From the one-yard line, it would take LSU 4 attempts to score the touchdown. This was mostly due to more penalties against the Missouri defense. Then, on attempt 4, Logan Diggs would run the ball in for the touchdown. 

However, in reply to the LSU touchdown, Missouri would immediately score another touchdown for themselves. Missouri running back Cody Schrade would find the endzone after a 21-yard touchdown run to return the 8-point lead to them. The lead would increase on Missouri’s next drive. Cook and company would drive the ball down to the LSU 9-yard line. From there, Cook would find Brett Norfleet for the touchdown. 

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LSU would break the Missouri scoring streak on their next drive. They would reach the edge of the Missouri red zone when they decided to go for it on 4th and 1. However, there would be an offensive holding penalty against LSU on this play, forcing them back 10 yards. LSU kicker Damian Ramos would successfully kick the 48-yard field goal attempt to very slightly reduce Missouri’s lead. Things would get better for LSU soon after. Brady Cook’s pass would be intercepted by the LSU defense at their 45-yard line. From there, Logan Diggs would run the ball down to the Missouri 3-yard line, and Daniels would then pass to Mason Taylor for the touchdown. Missouri kicker Harrison Mevis would kick a 50-yard field goal as the half ended. All this meant that as the teams returned to the locker rooms, Missouri had a 25-17 lead. 

Missouri ended the first half kicking a field goal. Their first drive in the second half would end with them missing a field goal. Mevis would attempt a 44-yard attempt, only for it to be blocked by LSU. In reply, LSU would be more successful in the field goal department. Damian Ramos would kick a 29-yard field goal after the LSU drive would stall in the Missouri red zone. This meant that Missouri’s lead was 5  points. That lead would be gone after the next LSU drive. Daniel would throw a 42-yard touchdown pass to Brian Thomas Jr to give them their first lead of the game. 

This lead would not last long. Brady Cook would move the Missouri offense down the field to the LSU 2-yard line. From there, Cody Schrader would run the ball into the endzone, returning the lead to Missouri.  LSU would immediately try to gain the lead back from Missouri. Daniels would move the ball down to the Missouri 2-yard line. But, a series of penalties against the LSU offense would force them back to the 21-yard line. Ramos would then attempt a 29-yard field goal attempt. His attempt would be unsuccessful and Missouri would keep their lead. 

However, this little mistake would not stop LSU. From their 7-yard line, Daniels would move his offense down to the Missouri 35-yard line. There, Daniels would run the ball into the endzone. LSU would then be successful in their two-point conversion attempt, giving them a 3 point lead. You can probably guess that this lead did not last long. You’d be right, as Cody Schrader would again find the endzone from a one-yard run, returning the lead to Missouri. 

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But, that lead only lasted a matter of minutes. LSU would quickly drive the ball into Missouri territory. From the Missouri 29-yard line, Daniels would find Malik Nabers for the touchdown to again hand the lead back to LSU. Things would die down soon after, with no lead changes or scores for about a minute. Time was running out for Missouri. They were 3 points down and had to score to keep their unbeaten record alive. From their 5-yard line, Brady Cook began to move the ball up the field. He would throw an interception from the 5-yard line, which LSU would run in for a pick-6 touchdown to finally give them a stable lead. This would be the last main play of the game, meaning that the number 23-ranked LSU Tigers had defeated the number 21-ranked Missouri Tigers 49-39. 

For the second week in a row, LSU scored many points. However, they also concede many, suggesting that their offense is making up for a poor defense. For Missouri, their unbeaten run is over. Next week, LSU faces the Auburn Tigers in another Tiger Bowl while the Missouri Tigers travel to Kentucky. 

The Trojans and the levels of overtime

The number 9 ranked USC Trojans are another unbeaten team looking to stay unbeaten, Led by Heisman-winning quarterback (and if you have been watching NFL media this week, future Chicago Bear/ Oakland Raider/ New York Giant) Caleb Williams, the Trojans have been playing strong football in what is their final year in the PAC-12, before they move to the Big 10, face the likes of Rutgers in New Jersey, on the other side of the country. This week, they faced the Arizona Wildcats. 

USC had the opening possession of the game, but like many teams this week, could not do anything with it and punted the ball to Arizona. In reply, Wildcats quarterback Noah Fifita would move the offense down to the USC 6-yard line. Unfortunately for them, the drive would stall there, forcing Wildcats kicker Tyler Loop to kick a 23-yard field goal to take the early lead. Arizona would increase their lead soon after. From just outside the USC red zone, Fifita would find Jacob Cowing for a 23-yard touchdown pass. Things would get even weirder on the next Arizona drive. From their 6-yard line, they would move down the field with ease reaching the USC red zone. There, Fifita would find Tanner McLachlan for an 18-yard touchdown to put the Arizona Wildcats 17 points up on the unbeaten USC Trojans. What was happening?

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Things would go from bad to worse for USC on their next drive. They would make it into Arizona territory, from Williams’ 53-yard pass to Brenden Rice. But, at the Wildcats 32-yard line, Williams was sacked and fumbled the ball. The ball would then be recovered by Arizona. Could they score and increase their lead? No. The exact opposite happened. Fifita’s pass was intercepted by the USC defense and returned the ball to the Wildcats’ 12 yard-line. From there, aided by a penalty against the Wildcats, the Trojans would finally score. Caleb Williams would find the endzone for a 4-yard rushing touchdown. 

After a few drives that ended in punts, the Trojans would end the half with something to celebrate. The Trojan’s offense would move the ball down to the Wildcats’ 5-yard line, aided by another long  Caleb Williams throw and another penalty against Arizona. From there, Williams would throw the touchdown pass to Kyron Hudson. This meant that at halftime, the Arizona Wildcats would have a 17-14 lead. 

The Wildcats would have the opening drive of the second half and would use it to add to their depleting lead. The Wildcats’ offense would be able to make it down to the Trojans’ 5-yard line before the drive would stall there. Tyler Loop would then successfully kick the 22-yard field goal to give them a 6-point lead. In reply, the Trojans would take the lead from the Wildcats. Williams and company would drive the ball down to the Wildcats’ 9-yard line, again aided by penalties against the Arizona defense. From there, MarShawn Lloyd would run the ball in for the 9-line rushing touchdown. 

The Trojans would add to this lead soon after. The Trojans would again drive deep into the Wildcats red zone before Williams would run the ball in for the one-yard touchdown. This gave the Trojans an 8-point lead. One drive later and the lead would be gone. The Wildcats would return to the form we saw at the beginning of the game, and would easily reach the Trojans redzone. From there, on 4th & goal from the 3-yard line, Fifita would pass to Cowling who would find the endzone. The Wildcats then decided to go for a two-point conversion to tie the game. They were successful and the score was tied at  28-28. 

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The final two drives of the game were similar. First, the Wildcats tried to score the game-winning field goal. Their drive stalled at the Trojan’s 33-yard line, giving Tyler Loop a 50-yard field goal. He would miss and give possession to USC, who had to do exactly the same thing as Arizona just did. But, be successful. The Trojans were far more successful on offense, moving the ball down to the Arizona 6-yard line. With 4 seconds left on the clock, Caleb Williams would fumble the ball. Luckily, he would recover it, setting up Trojan’s kicker Denis Lynch with a 25-yard field goal. He would miss. This meant that we were going to overtime, and you know how much I love the way overtime works in College Football. 

The Trojans would have the opening possession in overtime, and Caleb Williams would score a touchdown from an 18-yard run. This meant the Arizona had to score a touchdown for the game to continue. They did, as Noah Fifita passed to Jacob Cowling, who would find the endzone for a 25-yard touchdown. We’re going to a second overtime period!

The second period of overtime involves a mandatory two-point conversion attempt once a touchdown is scored. Arizona would this time have the first chance to score. They were able to move the ball down to the Trojans’ 7-yard line before Cowling would catch Fifita’s pass for the touchdown. Their two-point conversion however was unsuccessful. This meant that all USC needed to do was score a touchdown and a two-point conversion for victory.  Austin Jones would score an 11-yard rushing touchdown, but the Trojans were also unsuccessful on their two-point conversion, and this meant we were going to a third overtime. 

The third level of College Football overtime involves teams just attempting two-point conversions. USC was successful with theirs, meaning Arizona had to score or the game would be over. They were unsuccessful, meaning that the number 9 ranked USC Trojans had defeated the Arizona Wildcats 43-41. 

Arizona surprised everyone in this game. They had a 17-point lead and lost the game in the third part of overtime. On the subject of those overtime rules, they need to be brought into the NFL. For those who want to know, after the third period of two-point conversions, they just continue with two-point conversion attempts until there is a winner. I was hoping that the 4th period would be a field goal attempt to win, and the 5th period would be a test of strength. Back to this game, USC continues their unbeaten season, going 6-0. Next week, Arizona faces Washington State, while USC faces Notre Dame.

What happened to the other ranked teams?

#20 Kentucky @ #1 Georgia

In the last few weeks, the number 1 ranked Georgia Bulldogs have won games, but they have struggled to do so. This week they faced the number 20-ranked Kentucky Wildcats. The Bulldogs did not look like they struggled at all in this game. Georgia quarterback Carson Beck would score 4 touchdowns and throw for nearly 400 yards as the Bulldogs recorded a convincing 51-13 win.

#2 Michigan @ Minnesota

The number 2 ranked Michigan Wolverines continued their build-up to their season-deciding game with the Ohio State Buckeyes by facing the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Minnesota was no match for the Wolverines, with Michigan scoring 2 pick-6 touchdowns in their 52-10 victory.

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Maryland @ #4 Ohio State

The number 4 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes were looking like they could lose their game with the Maryland Terrapins at halftime. But, the Buckeyes had an incredibly strong second half to record a 37-17 victory. Interesting point of note, the Maryland quarterback is the younger brother of Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, Taulia Tagovailoa.

Virginia Tech @ #5 Florida State

The number 5 ranked Florida State Seminoles returned to action this week to face the Virginia Tech Hokies. Seminoles running back Trey Benson would rush for 200 yards and score two touchdowns in the Seminoles’ 39-17 victory

#10 Notre Dame @ #25 Louisville

After their defeat of Duke in front of the nation last week, the number 10 ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish face an unbeaten number 25 ranked Louisville Cardinals. A massive upset would happen here, as Louisville would defeat Notre Dame 33-20. This puts them in contention for the ACC championship. Could the underdog do it, only time will tell.

#11 Alabama @ Texas A&M

The number 11 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide (it still feels weird to see Bama this low down) faced the Texas A&M Aggies this week. Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Milroe would score 3 touchdowns as Alabama would narrowly defeat the Aggies 26-20.

#13 Washington State @ UCLA

The number 13 ranked Washington State Cougars are another unbeaten team coming into this weekend. They faced the UCLA Bruins. It was a close game throughout, but two touchdowns from Bruins running back Keegan Jones would give UCLA a 25-17 victory, ending the Cougars unbeaten season. At least they’ll always be Pac-2 Champions.

Syracuse @ #14 North Carolina

Quarterback Drake Maye continued his strong streak of performances at the number 14 ranked North Carolina Tar Heels faced the Syracuse Orange. Maye would throw for 442 yards and score 3 touchdowns in the Tar Heels easy 40-7 victory. This keeps North Carolina in the ACC race with fellow unbeaten sides Florida State, and  Louisville.

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#15 Oregon State @ California

The number 15 ranked Oregon State Beavers faced the California Golden Bears this week. Beavers quarterback D.J Uiaalelei threw 5 touchdowns in what would be a high-scoring affair. Oregon State would end up a 52-40 victors.

Arkansas @ #16 Ole Miss

After scoring high against LSU last week, the number 16 ranked Ole Miss Rebels faced the Arkansas Razorbacks. Up to the fourth quarter, Arkansas were looking like they could cause an upset. But, Ole Miss rallied with 10 unbeaten points to defeat the Razorbacks 27-20.

Georgia Tech @ #17 Miami

The number 17 ranked Miami Hurricanes faced the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. It was a close game throughout, but on the last play of the game, Yellow Jackets quarterback Haynes King threw a 44-yard touchdown to give Georiga Tech an unlikely 23-20 victory over Miami. This defeat also ended the Hurricanes’ undefeated season.

#24 Fresno State @ Wyoming

After making their first appearance in the top 25 last week, the number 24-ranked Fresno State Bulldogs faced the Wyoming Cowboys. Wyoming quarterback Andrew Peasley would have a strong 2nd quarter that Fresno State could not respond to. The Cowboys would win the game 24-19, ending Fresno State’s undefeated season and their top 25 appearances.

So. that was Week 6 in College Football. After a week where many unbeaten teams lost for the first time, expect the College Football landscape to change drastically this week, as we get closer to the first prediction for who will be in the College Football Playoff.

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