If you are on the east coast and threw in the towel by falling asleep too soon or if you live out in California and thought the Golden Bears had the game against Arizona well in hand, or worse if you were in attendance at Arizona Stadium Saturday night and left, you missed one of the most improvable 4th quarters ever in college football history. A total of 50 points scored in the 4th quarter topped by a 47 yard last second prayer-pass answered for a touchdown to complete the comeback win for Arizona.
California and Jared Goff look to be in control of the game throughout the first half and midway through the 3rd. Up at the half 28-6, and appearing to be clicking on all cylinders, running and passing on offense and the defense frustrating Amu Solomon and the Arizona spread run game offense. On the one hand, California and their spread pass game weren’t having any trouble for Jared Goff spreading the ball around. Goff was pin point on some of his passes; Daniel Lasco and Khalfani Muhammad were running wild on the Wildcat’s defense.
Then the 4th quarter came and it appeared there was an Arena football game was being played, or the defense for California forgot to come on to the field. Arizona down 31-13 kicked a field goal after not being able to convert on 4th down to continue their drive at the start of the fourth. California on their next possession; 2 plays and Jared Goff was intercepted off a deflection that went off WR Stephen Anderson’s hands and brought down by Arizona corner Tra’Mayne Bondurant and returned to the Cal 17 yard line. 2 plays later, Amu Solomon 9 yard pass to Austin Hill for a touchdown. Back and forth Cal and Arizona went with each team having a drive for a touchdown that didn’t take longer than 3 minutes.
Arizona was fortunate in two areas, special teams and Cal’s inability to get first downs and run out the clock. An on-side kick recovered by the Wildcats to lead to another touchdown after scoring on a 8 play 75 yard drive which took less than two minutes, and then soring again in less than a minute. Cal not converting a first down and missing the ensuing field goal attempt, allowing Arizona who clearly has the momentum on their side enough time and the opportunity to have a chance, you can see how the stars were aligned for Arizona to complete a 47 yard Hail Mary from Solomon to Austin Hill to win 49-45. Not since Boston College against Miami in 1984 with the Doug Flutie to Gerard Phelan have I seen and heard of game this back and forth with this kind of ending.
There wasn’t a surprise that Washington State’s offense could go toe to toe with Oregon’s defense. The concern was whether they could keep up with the Oregon offence, matching scoring drives, or if their defense could contain Marcus Mariota and the Ducks high flying offense. It was a true quarterback battle. Obviously, quarterbacks can’t stop each other, but they are usually the big names when teams meet. Marcus Mariota and Connor Halliday were the two big names on the field Saturday. And they lived up to the hype of the game.
Connor Halliday had his typical statistical passing night. He threw over 60 times; over 400 yards in the air with 4 touchdown passes. Halliday spread the ball around to 9 different receivers with a lot of screen passes and slants, which averaged 6.9 yards a pass. Those stats against some teams would probably be enough to secure a win, but with the run game not a factor; against a team like Oregon 63 yards on the ground isn’t good enough, especially with the offensive fire power of Oregon, whose quarterback shows why he is one of the best in the country. When they needed him the most he provided both in the air (21-25 329 yards 5 TDs) and on the ground (13 rushes 58 yards). In a 38-31 win and one quarterback threw for 5 touchdowns and the other threw for four touchdowns; it’s easy to figure out which team won and which QB came through in the clutch.
High scoring Utah went into the “Big House” looking to prove that they are for real and their undefeated record is no fluke. The Utes were up to the challenge and they did the job. Containing Devin Gardner to 148 yards passing and 2 interceptions forced Brady Hoke to bring in Sophomore QB Shane Morris in the fourth quarter to try and spark some kind of rally and get back in the game, but the Utes defensive pressure took advantage of the inexperienced quarterback making him go 4-13 for only 48 yards with one INT.
Despite Travis Wilson’s failing attempt to try gymnastics causing him to be injured early in the second quarter, Kendall Thompson played admirably where he didn’t make too many mistakes that would give Michigan the short field or switch the momentum that was clearly on the side of the Utes after Kaelin Clay’s 66 yard punt return for a touchdown.
Travis Wilson was able to come back in the second half to throw for a touchdown, and the Utes were able to get a couple of field goals from kicker Andy Phillips to give the Utes a 26-10 victory.
Georgia State and their fans had to beaming with confidence and hope of leaving Seattle with a huge upset over the Washington Huskies. Going into the locker room up 14-0, having contained Cyler Miles and the Huskies’ offense, and QB Nick Arbuckle throwing for 2 touchdowns in the 2nd quarter those hopes were looking really promising. But the reality quickly set in on Washington’s second possession of the 3rd quarter. After Georgia State went three and out; the Huskies took full advantage of Dante Pettis’ 35 yard punt return that put the ball on the Georgia State 18 yard line, by scoring on Jeff Lindquist 9 yard touchdown run. For Georgia State it just seemed to snowball out of control. Cyler Miles threw for 3 touchdowns; Jeff Lindquist ran for another; and Nick Arbuckle threw a pick six that John Timu was the recipient of. Georgia State didn’t see the positive side of the field to get close to scoring in the 2nd half. The Huskies’ finally called off the dogs (no pun intended) win 45-14.