Stanford quarterback K.J. Costello watched as his overtime pass tumble in midair for an agonizing moment after it was tipped by tight end Colby Parkinson.
“I saw the ball go in the air, held my breath, and then for Colby to come down with it was pretty awesome,” said Costello, who threw for 327 yards and three touchdowns.
It was the last scoring pass, the 23-yarder that Parkinson tipped to himself in the end zone, that completed No. 7 Stanford’s 38-31 comeback victory over No. 20 Oregon on Saturday night.
After Costello’s TD pass to Parkinson, Stanford’s Alameen Murphy intercepted Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert’s pass in the end zone for the victory.
Bryce Love returned after sitting out last week against UC Davis to rest minor injuries. He ran for 89 yards and a touchdown as Stanford remained undefeated with another tough test against No. 8 Notre Dame looming next week.
Costello said the turning point for the Cardinal came in the third quarter, when Oregon had a touchdown overturned that would have pushed the Ducks’ lead to 30-7, and Stanford linebacker Joey Alfieri scooped up a fumble that he ran back 80 yards for a touchdown.
“This game was pretty awesome. It was one of the coolest games I’ve been a part of in terms of highs and lows, and really just staying steady throughout the entire night,” Costello said.
Love’s 22-yard scoring run late in the third quarter cut Oregon’s lead to 24-21, but Cyrus Habibi-Likio scored on a 1-yard run for the Ducks with 4:39 left.
In the final minutes of regulation, Stanford answered with Costello’s 15-yard TD pass to JJ Arcega-Whiteside to narrow it again before Sean Barton recovered CJ Verdell’s fumble on the Stanford 40 with 51 seconds left. Jet Toner hit a 32-yard field to tie it and send the game into overtime.
Herbert threw for 346 yards and a touchdown while receiver Dillon Mitchell caught 14 passes for 239 yards in Oregon’s first real challenge of the season after nonconference wins over Bowling Green, Portland State and San Jose State.
“Unfortunately we kind of shot ourselves in the foot a couple of times and we did everything we could to just give Stanford the game,” Herbert said.
Oregon came out with a collective tenacity that it hadn’t really shown this season. The Ducks’ first series was capped by Tony Brooks-James’ 7-yard touchdown run. Herbert got Oregon downfield with a 53-yard pass to Mitchell.
The Ducks went up 14-0 on Herbert’s 7-yard pass to Jacob Breeland to open the second quarter.
Arcega-Whiteside scored on a 13-yard pass from Costello for his sixth TD reception of the season. He was tied at third nationally for touchdown catches going into the game.
Oregon answered on the next drive with Verdell’s 48-yard scoring run to go up 21-7. The Ducks added a 38-yard field goal from Adam Stack and ran off the field for halftime celebrating the dominant performance by dancing and waving towels.
The momentum shifted late in the third quarter on Alfieri’s fumble return after Jaylon Redd’s 16-yard touchdown run for Oregon was overturned. Replays, however, appeared to show that Redd remained inbounds.
“We do this drill every Monday in fundamental rotation, the scoop and score drill,” Alfieri said. “We practice it every week. So I was just putting the drill to the field and it worked out pretty well.”
The Pac-12 North is crowded right now with three ranked teams. Joining Stanford and Oregon is No. 10 Washington. Looking ahead, Oregon has Washington at Autzen on Oct. 13, while the Huskies host the Cardinal on Nov. 3.
Stanford also won the last two meetings with the Ducks, including last year’s 49-7 victory in Palo Alto. Love, who was a Heisman finalist, ran for a pair of touchdowns within the first five minutes of the last meeting and finished with 147 yards. But Oregon was missing Herbert, who had a broken collarbone.
“We had an opportunity against the No. 7 team in the country and had some really, really good moments, we just have to be more consistent,” Oregon coach Mario Cristobal said.
Stanford: Arcega-Whiteside became the fifth Stanford player with 20 career touchdown catches. He’s tied for fourth on Stanford’s career list. … Stanford’s defense went into the game allowing an average of just 7.7 points a game, tops in the nation.
Oregon: It was Dillon Mitchell’s third career game with more than 100 receiving yards. … Former Ducks LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner were among the former players at the game. Former basketball players Dillon Brooks and Jordan Bell were also in the crowd, with current Oregon coach Dana Altman.
BEST EVER? Stanford coach David Shaw was asked if the game was the best of his career.
“It’s hard to say, because my career’s not over, unless you’ve heard something I haven’t heard,” Shaw laughed. “I don’t know. I don’t know. I’m looking forward to next week. I’ll be honest with you: It didn’t surprise me because in the second half we played like we’re capable of playing.”
DECISION: Afterward, Cristobal was asked why Oregon elected to run on second-and-2 in the final minute of regulation rather than taking a knee on consecutive plays. Verdell fumbled, which set up Stanford’s game-tying drive.
“We felt pretty good about the run game,” he said. “We just needed one more to get a first down and close out the game.”
It doesn’t get any easier for Stanford, which visits No, 8 Notre Dame next weekend. The Fighting Irish defeated Wake Forest 56-27 on Saturday
The Ducks play at California next weekend, their first road trip of the season after opening with four straight games at Autzen.
College Football Playoff is Set with LSU Claiming Top Spot
The College Football Playoff committee has made their latest rankings and they are final.
We now know which four teams will be competing for the National Championship and there really aren’t any surprises after the conference championships yesterday.
Ohio State, LSU and Clemson were all slated in the playoff coming into this weekend, as they were the top-three seeds in that order.
Each team won their respective conference championship games, sealing their place in the College Football Playoff.
Meanwhile Oklahoma’s path to the playoff took a variety of circumstances, as they came into the weekend as the No. 6 seed. First, No. 5 Utah lost the Pac-12 Championship Game.
Then after Oklahoma won the Big 12, a spot opened up for the Sooners when No. 4 Georgia lost to LSU in the SEC Championship. Now after helping them get into the dance, Oklahoma will have to face LSU themselves.
On the other side of the bracket, Ohio State will have to face the Clemson Tigers in a battle of the only two teams in this tournament, that have actually won it before.
Clemson and Ohio State actually have some College Football Playoff history, as Deshaun Watson led the Tigers to a convincing victory over the Buckeyes in the semifinals back in 2016.
Of the four teams that have made the tournament, Clemson is by far the most experienced. They have been in the College Football Playoff in each of the last four years and have won it twice (2016 and 2018).
Ohio State has been in it twice, winning the first ever College Football Playoff back in 2014. Meanwhile Oklahoma has made three appearances in the playoff, but has never advanced past the semifinals.
Lastly, the No. 1 ranked LSU Tigers are the only team of the four that have yet to make an appearance in the College Football Playoff.
Unfortunately for LSU and their inexperience with the playoff, they will be playing the most experienced quarterback of all four teams, Jalen Hurts.
While we all would like to see these teams just square off and play right now, the College Football Playoff won’t begin for another three weeks.
Now after a long season of great College Football, there are only four teams left in contention. With the teams that have been selected, we are in for a really exciting finish.
Ohio State Dominates in the Second Half to Avoid Upset in the Big 10 Championship
Ohio State came into the Big 10 Championship as the clear favorites over Wisconsin, as many had the Buckeyes pegged as the best team in the nation.
Then all of that hype was suddenly cast in doubt, after the Wisconsin Badgers thoroughly dominated the first half, setting the stage for a massive upset.
Ohio State then proved that they have the heart of a champion, as the Buckeyes found a way to completely shift the momentum in the second half.
Wisconsin was held off the scoreboard entirely and Ohio State scored 27 points to not only beat the Badgers, but still somehow beat them by 13 points.
Ohio State’s backfield of Justin Fields and J.K. Dobbins finally started to come alive after halftime, showing the nation that same incredible offense we had been watching all year.
Fields was very poised for a sophomore playing in the biggest game of his career, as he completed 19 of his 31 passes for 299 yards and three touchdowns.
Dobbins on the other hand picked up yards all game, finishing with a 172 rushing yards on 33 carries.
While the entire Ohio State team played well to get back into the game, Wisconsin did do them some favors, particularly on special teams.
K.J. Hill was another Ohio State player that made huge contributions to this victory, just like he has throughout his entire career.
In the process of making his seven catches for 83 yards, the senior receiver made some personal history in this game.
Along with setting a school record, Hill caught two touchdown passes, including the one that officially gave Ohio State the lead.
The crazy dichotomy of this game was that everyone spent the entire first half talking about how Ohio State wasn’t as good as we thought. Yet by the end of the game we may have realized they are even better.
You can list off the accomplishments now, as Ohio State wins their third-straight Big 10 Championship and finishes the year a perfect 13-0. But their is still more games to be played.
Ohio State will now definitely be in the College Football Playoff and are now just two victories away from a National Championship.
After watching their latest performance, there is no one that is doubting the Buckeyes in that tournament for all the marbles.
LSU Stays Perfect with Dominant Win Over Georgia in SEC Championship
The LSU Tigers magical season just kept rolling on Saturday afternoon, as they beat the Georgia Bulldogs handily in the SEC Championship Game.
In doing so, LSU completed the 16th conference title in the school’s history and the first since 2011.
The Tigers beat Georgia 37-10, completing what has been a very impressive season thus far. LSU is a perfect 13-0, despite playing their fair share of top-10 ranked teams.
While LSU has plenty of talented players up and down the roster, the presumptive Heisman Trophy-winner has gotten most of the credit for the Tigers success.
Joe Burrow has been a sensation this year, setting SEC records for the most passing yards, touchdowns and the highest completion percentage in a season.
Burrow was naturally the SEC Championship Game MVP, as he threw for 349 passing yards and four touchdowns. He also added 41 rushing yards as he just picked the Bulldogs defense apart.
Burrow was so locked in against Georgia that he even completed a first down pass to himself at one point.
LSU was likely to make it to the College Football Playoff even if they lost this game, but now they are all but assured a spot in the four-team playoff.
The only question is going to be where the Tigers are seeded and who they will be playing, when LSU tries to win their first National Championship since 2007.
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