Getty Images

No. 22 Texas A&M outlasts No. 7 LSU in record-tying 7 OTs

17 Comments

No. 7 LSU thought it had No. 22 Texas A&M beat in regulation — twice. Instead, Kellen Mond found Quartney Davis for a 19-yard touchdown pass as time expired, extending what would become the longest and highest-scoring game in FBS history, as Mond’s 2-point pass to Kendrick Rogers gave Texas A&M a 74-72 win in seven overtimes.

It was the fifth game in FBS history to reach seven overtimes, and the third such SEC game. Mond passed or threw the ball on 69 plays for Texas A&M, posting seven total touchdowns and no turnovers. But before Texas A&M could win the game in the dawn of morning, the Aggies first had to give it away.

Leading 24-17 with the ball early in the fourth quarter, the Aggies appeared primed to beat the Tigers for the first time as SEC West bunk mates. Texas A&M had a 1st-and-10 at the LSU 40 and tossed it to Trayveon Williams, who’d already scored twice in the game. But Williams was wrapped up by LSU linebacker Devin White, who forced the ball free in the process of bringing Williams to the ground. Michael Divinity, Jr. picked up the loose pigskin and raced it 58 yards untouched for a game-tying touchdown.

Energized by the touchdown, LSU forced a three-and-out and then handed over to its offense. Completely dependent on Joe Burrow to that point, the Tigers’ offense knifed 76 yards in four plays, popping off a 46-yard Lanard Fournette run and two Nick Brosette runs of seven and nine yards, setting up a 14-yard scoring strike to Foster Moreau, handing LSU its first lead with 6:41 left in regulation.

The Aggies reached the LSU 37 on the ensuing possession, but Jimbo Fisher elected to go for a 4th-and-5 rather than try a 54-yard field goal with 2:32 remaining, but Mond was stopped short on a gotta-have-it scramble, turning the ball over on downs.

LSU could not expire the remainder of the clock, and punted the ball back to Texas A&M with 1:29 to go and no timeouts. Mond seemingly threw A&M’s last-gasp drive away with an interception to LSU’s Grant Delpit, but instant replay found Mond’s knee touched the ground when he kneeled down to corral an errant snap, handing the ball back to the Aggies at their own 39 with 26 seconds remaining. Completions to Davis and Rogers pushed the ball to the LSU 19 with one second left — including a 4th-and-18 conversion that appeared short of the line to gain to the naked eye but was not reviewed, and after the clock momentarily hit triple zeroes before a final second was added back — allowing Davis to sky over LSU All-American corner Greedy Willaims to snare the game-tying touchdown grab as time expired, pushing the game, one in which Ed Orgeron had already taken a Gatorade bath and the LSU defensive coaches had already bailed on the press box to join in on the victory celebration, into overtime.

LSU took the ball to open the extra session and lost seven yards on its offensive possession, but Cole Tracy bailed the offense out by a knocking in a 50-yard field goal. Texas A&M had no such problem in the bottom of the first overtime, pushing forward to a 1st-and-goal from the LSU 1. But two straight runs lost yardage and Mond’s third down pass was incomplete, forcing a 25-yard Seth Small field goal to force double overtime.

Williams rushed for 22 yards to open the second overtime, and Mond capitalized this time with a 3-yard keeper, forcing LSU to score a touchdown to extend the game — which LSU got, barely. On a 4th-and-2 from the Texas A&M 3, Brosette secured the first down and the touchdown, pushing the game to triple overtime.

Taking the ball to start the third frame, LSU did not flirt with disaster, instead hitting Dee Anderson for a touchdown on its first play, then connecting with Justin Jefferson on the mandated 2-point play. Texas A&M answered with its own 25-yard scoring heave, hauled in by Rogers despite pass interference, then hit Rogers for the 2-point try to push the game to a fourth overtime.

After achieving a 1st-and-goal in the top of the fourth overtime, Texas A&M again stalled near the goal line, forcing Small’s second field goal of overtime. Knowing a touchdown would win the game, LSU gained a 1st-and-goal on its first play but also stalled as three straight running plays could not reach the goal line, forcing Tracy’s second field goal of overtime, this one from 26 yards.

Texas A&M again pushed forward to a 1st-and-goal but again stalled. Facing a 4th-and-the-game from the LSU 6, Mond scrambled and again hit Rogers for the game-saving touchdown, but fired incomplete on the 2-point try, pushing the game to a sixth overtime at 58-all.

The Aggies wasted no time in the top of the sixth overtime, hitting Jace Sternberger for a 25-yard touchdown. Mond yet again found Rogers for the 2-point try. Burrow hit Jefferson for a 15-yard gain on 3rd-and-6 to put LSU at the 2, then carried in for his fifth touchdown of the night on his 65th rush or pass of the game, then found Anderson for the 2-point try to push the game to an FBS record-tying seventh overtime.

Burrow’s hot streak continued when his fade route drew a pass interference penalty on the first play of the seventh overtime, then rushed in untouched from seven yards out for his sixth touchdown of the game. Anderson caught a deflected 2-point pass but was hauled down short of the goal line.

Mond hit Davis for the tying touchdown, then found — who else? — Rogers for the winning 2-point conversion, concluding the longest and highest-scoring game in FBS history.

The win snapped Texas A&M’s seven-game losing streak to its would-be rivals to the east, including an 0-6 mark in SEC play, and concludes Fisher’s first season at 8-4 overall and in second place in the SEC West.

LSU, with hopes of moving to 10-2 and surpassing No. 5 Georgia to appear in the Sugar Bowl, now falls to 9-3 and will likely fall out of the New Year’s Six altogether.

The Tigers opened the fifth overtime with some creativity they did not show in the fourth, as running back Clyde Edwards-Elaire hit fullback Tory Carter for a 13-yard touchdown pass, but Burrow’s 2-point pass sailed wide of Jefferson.

After the teams combined for three three-and-outs to open the game, the Aggies opened the scoring by rumbling 95 yards in 10 plays, punctuated with a 10-yard Williams run run.

LSU immediately answered with a 12-play, 75-yard touchdown drive capped by a 22-yard Burrow run, but Texas A&M immediately answered that answer with a 12-play, 75-yard touchdown march of its own, this one capped by a 10-yard scoring strike from Mond to Sternberger.

LSU ended the chain when Tracy missed a 49-yard field goal at the 5:30 mark of the second quarter.

Texas A&M closed the half with its third straight scoring drive, this one a 53-yard drive culminating in a 33-yard Small field goal. Tracy redeemed his 49-yard miss with a 47-yard make on the final play of the half.

After forcing a three-and-out to open the second half, LSU pieced together its best drive of the night, a 15-play, 90-yard marathon that consumed more than six minutes and ended in a 7-yard strike to Jefferson.

LSU forced another Texas A&M punt and was poised to take the ball in a tie game for the first time of the night, but Jonathan Giles muffed the punt and handed it right back to the Aggies at the LSU 29. Texas A&M capitalized with Williams’s second touchdown of the game, this one a 1-yard plunge.

 

Interim USC president sidesteps questions about AD Lynn Swann’s job security in wake of scandal

Getty Images
Leave a comment

News that USC was involved in yet another improbable athletics scandal was not a surprise to a lot of folks who had been following the Trojans in recent years but it seems that the school’s efforts to clean things up in the athletic department might mean nobody is safe. Even those at the very top of the org chart.

In a rare interview this week since several school officials were indicted several days ago, USC’s interim president Wanda Austin sidestepped questions about athletic director Lynn Swann’s job security in the wake of several calls for his resignation.

“My comments would be that we certainly are doing a complete investigation around athletics because of the admission scandal and concern,” Austin told Annenberg Media. “After we complete that review and find out the facts of who knew what and/or who should have known what. That obviously will be something that will be reviewed with the board.”

That’s… not exactly a vote of confidence in the AD. In fact, it’s a sidestepping of a question that would impress even the most seasoned of politicians.

While it should be noted that the university is expected to name a new, full-time president at some point in the near future that will ultimately have say in personnel matters like this, Austin definitely didn’t douse any hot seat talk surrounding the Hall of Famer turned administrator. Swann said last week that he would like to remain in his position for a total of 10 years but it seems that having three people in one’s department caught up in FBI investigations the past two years might mean nobody is actually safe in Los Angeles after all.

New Miami QB Tate Martell’s eligibility wavier reportedly received Ohio State support

Getty Images
5 Comments

This normally dreary stretch of the offseason in college football was perked up quite a bit on Tuesday when Miami announced that Ohio State transfer Tate Martell’s waiver with the NCAA to play immediately was granted and that he would suit up for the Hurricanes in 2019. While many though this was a great example of free agency coming to the sport, that’s not truly the case given the byzantine process the NCAA typically goes through in cases like this.

However, there were some unique factors that went into the decision according to the Miami Herald and that included some serious weight given to the fact that the Buckeyes were not standing in the way of Martell leaving nor becoming eligible in South Florida right away.

“I think what you had here is a situation where the request was made in a way that Ohio State did not oppose what we put in our request and they were cooperative with Miami,” attorney Travis Leach told the paper. “That ultimately was helpful to us.”

While Miami sources did describe things as a bit of a divorce between signal-caller and OSU after ex-Georgia QB Justin Fields transferred in, it’s interesting that the story noted that the change from Urban Meyer to Ryan Day at head coach didn’t really play a factor. That was something that a lot of folks seemed to hang their hats on in this case but it seems that the NCAA listened closer to the circumstances surrounding Martell leaving Columbus and what the football program was doing in terms of roster management and not who was doing the managing.

Either way, it seems like everybody — sans perhaps some Michigan and Florida State fans — came out a winner from this whole player shuffle. It’s probably a lot more encouraging for the next high-profile quarterback thinking about transferring out for greener pastures too.

WWE “scout” showed up at Penn State Pro Day for second straight year

Getty Images
2 Comments

‘We are’ is really channelling their ‘Woooo’ now a days.

If you’re too young to get that reference or never did follow wrestling back in the day, don’t worry. Just know that some sort of pipeline is being apparently developed at Penn State by the WWE.

At least it seems that way judging by the organization’s Pro Day attendance.

You will notice that the school separates out the WWE from the WWE-backed XFL spring football league that is being launched next year. That’s a notable distinction given that the wrestling company has shown up to Happy Valley two years in a row now for Pro Day. While one wouldn’t have had a big issue with them turning up to see the Saquon Barkley freak show last year, it seems that this is now becoming a bit of a trend with James Franklin’s program.

While you can bet that this will be a nice recruiting tool for the Nittany Lions to connect with a few recruits down the road, things might get a little strange if the WWE decides to recreate a ‘White Out’ for the next Wrestlemania or plucks a few lineman from the school to form the next tag team at the event.

Mizzou reportedly tore less than 25,000 tickets per game in 2018

Getty Images
16 Comments

The SEC is the home of the most fanatical college football fans in the sport, they tell us. It’s the place where they’d draw 80,000 fans to watch walk-ons practice catching punts. It really does just mean more.

So what does it say about the conference, and the sport as a whole, when one of its members tore less than 25,000 tickets per game?

That’s the case at Missouri, where, according to a report Tuesday from Columbia Missourian, the Tigers scanned an average of 24,377 tickets over the course of the team’s seven-game home schedule.

Now, there are some mitigating factors here. The school says the number is a far cry from the actual paid attendance because the stadium’s electronic ticket scanners did not work on a number of occasions, thereby allowing untold thousands of paying customers to enter the stadium without being counted. And, no doubt, that was a factor — though how big a factor, no one can say.

But it’s still a far cry from the 51,865 fans Missouri says attended each game, which itself is a far cry from Faurot Field’s listed capacity of 71,168.

Another mitigating factor: the home schedule. Tiger fans did get to see Georgia come to Faurot Field. Their other opponents, though: UT-Martin, Wyoming, Memphis, Kentucky, Vanderbilt and Arkansas. Not exactly a murderer’s row of opponents Mizzou fans grew up learning to hate. And as the article says, weather and timing didn’t help the Arkansas gate.

However, it’s not as if a poor attendance number can be blamed on poor performance. Mizzou went 5-2 at home in 2018.

And then there’s this: the 2018 schedule is more or less Mizzou’s home schedule every year. In 2019, Missouri plays host to West Virginia, Southeast Missouri State, South Carolina, Troy, Ole Miss, Florida and Tennessee.

Let’s see if Missouri can tear more than 25,000 tickets per game this time around.