Weird weekend of Football
Last updated 12/8/2020 at 6:13pm
Here it is December with Christmas less than three weeks away and the football post-season only a month away.
Most of the scheduled college games are between arch-rivals with most of them being meaningless as far as having a bearing on conference championships and bowl games.
But this is 2020, the year of strange happenings both on the field and off. The coronavirus pandemic has been dictating most of what goes on, like avoiding crowds and wearing masks.
As far as football is concerned—both college and the National Football League—it’s been very difficult just making up a season without having too many postponements and cancellations.
The NFL has been rotating games around and playing them on bye weeks just to keep it as normal as possible. Many collegiate contests have been cancelled, with some teams merely playing a non-scheduled team that was available that weekend.
This first weekend in December was certainly a doozy with several upsets both in college and the NFL and also some situations and plays that were completely bizarre.
One game between two undefeated teams was put together 48 hours before it was played. No. 18 Coastal Carolina was originally scheduled to play the big rivalry game Saturday between the 9-0 Chanticleers (yep, that’s their nickname) and No. 25 Liberty but worked out the logistics for No. 8-ranked BYU to fly 2,300 miles from Utah to South Carolina for this match-up.
The Cougars, who had a 50-pound per linemen weight advantage, either didn’t take the Chanticleers seriously or were worn out from the plane ride, but they were matched touchdown-for-touchdown until the fourth period when the home team scored and went ahead 22-17.
The gritty defense once again stopped BYU, despite having NFL-bound Zach Wilson quarterbacking the fourth-highest scoring offense in the country, while the Chanticleer’s offense took most of the remaining four minutes off the clock. BYU had one last chance for the victory and fell one-yard short of the game-winning touchdown as time expired.
The Chanticleers were rewarded by moving up from No. 18 to No. 11 in this week’s AP College Football Poll while BYU dropped from No. 8 to No. 14.
Another shocker occurred much closer to home as the mediocre Rice Owls traveled to Huntington, West Va. to take on the undefeated and No. 21-ranked Marshall Thundering Herd and completely stymied them defensively with five interceptions including a pick-six for a 21-0 shutout victory in a C-USA clash. It was the first win by a Texas team at Marshall in 14 tries.
It marked the first time Rice defeated a ranked team since the 27-14 win over No. 21 BYU on Nov. 11, 1997 (30 games) according to Sunday’s edition of the Houston Chronicle.
It marked the first time the Owls defeated a ranked team on the road since the 20-7 win at No. 8 Baylor on Oct. 12, 1991 (32 games).
It was the first shutout over a ranked team since the 7-0 win over No. 16 Texas on Oct. 22, 1960 and the first shutout on the road since defeating No. 18 Florida 10-0 on Oct. 8, 1960.
This was the first time Marshall had been shut out at Edwards Stadium, was the Owls first shutout since blanking UNLV 38-0 on Sept. 2, 1995 and Rice’s first shutout of a conference opponent since the 27-0 win over Baylor on Dec. 1973. The loss knocked Marshall out of this week’s poll.
The NFL had a couple of strange finishes, too, with our Houston Texans’ bid for an upset over the Indianapolis Colts thwarted with 1:28 left in the game by a bad snap that resulted in a recovery by the Colts who hung on for the 26-20 win.
Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson was brilliant in the entire game and drove his team from their own 20 to the Colts 2-yard line for a first-and-goal. It looked like a sure bet Houston would score until All-Pro center Nick Martin’s shotgun snap was low and to Watson’s left.
“Probably 99 times out of 100 Watson would have reached down, calmly caught the ball and handed it to running back David Johnson for what would have been a touchdown,” Monday’s Chronicle stated. But that’s what happens to a team that had a lousy first half of the season.
The York Jets had a great chance to post their first victory of the season as they led the Las Vegas Raiders 28-24 with five seconds left in the game and quarterback Raiders’ Derek Carr facing a fourth-down situation.
Carr lofted a pass that was snatched by rookie Henry Ruggs III for the game-winning touchdown and leaving the hapless Jets still winless after the gut-wrenching 31-28 loss to the Raiders.
And former Texas Longhorn Colt McCoy, a third-round pick by the Cleveland Browns in the 2010 draft, led the once-hapless New York Giants to a 17-10 upset over the Seahawks in Seattle Sunday.
McCoy, playing on his fourth NFL team, made some key plays and avoided critical mistakes in leading the Giants to their fourth-straight victory. It was McCoy’s first victory since Oct. 27, 2014 when he led Washington past the Dallas Cowboys.
KWICKIES…The top seven places remained intact in this week’s Associated Press College Football Poll with top-ranked Alabama still leading No. 2 Notre Dame by less than 100 points followed by No. 3 Ohio State, No. 4 Clemson, No. 5 Texas A&M, No. 6 Florida and No. 7 Cincinnati. Indiana came up two slots to No. 8. Miami remained at No. 9 and Iowa State jumped two places to No. 10. Once-beaten Louisiana-Lafayette moved up three notches to No. 17 and the Texas Longhorns rejoined the poll at No. 23.
Kansas City Chiefs’ Travis Kelce became the first tight end in NFL history to post five straight 1,000-yard seasons. He hauled in eight passes for 136 yards including a 20-yard pass from Patrick Mahomes in the Chiefs’ 22-16 victory over the Denver Broncos.
All football team activities have been temporarily halted at the University of Texas after three players and two staff members tested positive for the coronavirus Sunday after getting home from a 69-31 win at Kansas State. Those five who tested positive will be retested early this week “at which time a determination and plan for potential return to activities will be made” the statement revealed.
New Orleans Saints Taysom Hill, who’s subbing at quarterback for injured Drew Brees, is the second player in NFL history with two-plus rushing touchdowns in each of his two career starts at quarterback.
The Philadelphia Eagles have trailed by double digits in nine of his team’s 12 games this season. And Sunday marked the 10th straight game quarterback Carson Wentz has been sacked at least three times.
JUST BETWEEN US…The Orange area lost one of its most prominent citizens Sunday when Dan Mohon passed away at his home in Orange. Dan never met a stranger and was involved in many civic organizations including being mayor of both Orange and Pinehurst. He was one of the founders of Trinity Baptist Church and gave much of his time and love to the congregation. He and his wife Manon were good friends of wife Susan and I and will be greatly missed.