A look back at the college football season that was

From Issue 5

A look back at the college football season that was

This past season of college football was filled with exciting and intriguing moments. Many broken records, close games, and the nation’s top players competing at a high level are just a few reasons why this season has been so special. This year will be one to remember because of the thrilling finish to the season.

One of the most outstanding players during this season was Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson. As a QB, He led the Louisville Cardinals to a 9-4 record and a bowl berth behind his extraordinary 51 touchdowns and 5,114 total yards. He is the first player in FBS history to tally 3,300 passing yards and 1,500 rushing yards in a single season.

USC beat Penn State 52-49 in the Rose Bowl on a last-second field goal. The Trojans were led by QB Sam Darnold who threw for 450 yards and 5 touchdowns. USC intercepted Penn State QB Trace McSorley with 33 seconds left to put the Trojans into field goal range. Look for both of these teams to return stronger next year as they are getting key starters back.

Oklahoma routed Auburn 35-19 in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. Florida State knocked off Michigan 33-32 in the Capital One Orange Bowl. Florida State scored with less than 40 seconds to take the lead, but Michigan blocked the extra point and returned it to bring the score within one point. The Noles sealed the close game with a late interception.

Mississippi state beat Miami OH in the St. Petersburg bowl 17-16 in an exciting ending. State kicked a field goal late in fourth quarter making the score 17-16, thanks to a 2nd quarter blocked field goal. Miami marched down the field late in the fourth and attempted a game-winning field goal with five seconds left. The kick was blocked for a second time in the game, and Mississippi State came out victorious.

Ole Miss did not qualify for a bowl game finishing the season 5-7. Injuries to Chad Kelly, John Youngblood, and Ken Webster played a big role in the late-season struggles for the rebels. Upcoming sophomore QB Shea Patterson and other young talent are the foundation of an exciting future for Ole Miss Football.

Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, and Washington were the four teams selected by the national committee to be in the College Football Playoff. These selections brought controversy as many people thought Penn State should have gotten in because they beat Ohio State and won the Big Ten conference. Alabama vs. Washington and Clemson vs. Ohio State were two huge games that decided who would play for a national championship.

Both Alabama and Clemson blew out their opponents on the way to an easy win and the national championship game. The national championship brought immense hype of the matchup between Deshaun Watson and Alabama’s defense. Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said all year that they had the best player in the country in Deshaun Watson, even though he finished second in Heisman voting.

Alabama’s defense was one of the strongest defenses in the country this past year. The defense scored 11 touchdowns last year, more than some SEC teams could score on offense. This defense was tabbed by many as the best defense that has ever been coached under Nick Saban. They would have the ultimate test of stopping Deshaun Watson and Clemson’s electrifying offense.

Alabama’s defense played very well early in the game as Clemson could not get anything going on offense. Alabama jumped out to an early lead which they kept for much of the game. Inexperience showed as Jalen Hurts struggled throughout the game. Alabama led at halftime 14-7 and went up 24-14 in the third quarter. Both defenses were worn down late in the game and the injury of Bo Scarbrough was a key moment in the third quarter.

Clemson took the lead in the fourth quarter 28 to 24. Alabama responded with a long trick play followed by Jalen Hurts touchdown run to regain the lead 31-28. This gave Deshaun Watson two minutes to march down the field for a touchdown or a field goal.

Watson took over the game at this point and led Clemson to inside the five yard line. Almost everyone expected Clemson to kick a field goal and send the game into overtime, but they went for the touchdown. Watson hit Hunter Renfrow with the game-winning pass with one second remaining on the clock. He finished the game with 420 passing yards and 4 total touchdowns. This game and performance cemented Deshaun Watson’s legacy as one of the greats in college football history.

This was a very exciting year of football, and football fans should be hoping for another great year as Lamar Jackson, Baker Mayfield, and Jake Browning are among many stars who will be returning next year. Next season will be a good one, but I don’t know if it can live up to the ending we’ve had this past year.