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If you're sick of Obama, McCain (politics in general) and the gloomy economy, college football is an excellent diversion! Demonstrating why college football is so fun, last night unranked Oregon State toppled the number one seeded USC in a stunning upset. Find out more and what it means for Penn State and see a preview or their game against Illinois, which will be shown regionally on ABC, Saturday night.
College Football: Oregon State Stuns #1 USC
I just happened to turn on the television last night and noticed there was a Thursday night college football game on (this must be a new thing, aren't college games played on Friday night or Saturday?). Oregon State and USC were playing, but what caught my attention, was the score. It was late in the 2nd quarter and Oregon State was ahead: 14 to nothing!
Hey, wait a minute.
Isn't USC the number one team in the nation? Isn't Oregon state 1-2 on the season? Didn't Penn State play Oregon State in their first-ever meeting, in week 2, running them all over the field, whipping them with a 45-14 win?
Gee, it be sweet if Oregon State could beat USC! It'd be like a double scoop of my favorite ice cream ... USC loses a game and its #1 status (I've never been a fan of that private school) and the team that Penn State played, is the one to do it! Kinda makes Penn State's football light shine that much brighter!
So I grabbed a beer, sat down and convinced my five year old daughter that we were rooting for the guys in the dark-colored jerseys (it was either that or I'd be stuck watching cartoons, while this important upset might happen!)
Fortunately for me, Alex rooted right along side Dad (for a while), then became pre-occupied with toys, until her bedtime. I got to watch college football history in the making!
For more Friday football buzz (and a Penn State -vs- Illinois Game Preview) ... carry on ...
Oregon State Leading at the Half a 21-point shutout!
Oregon State recovered a USC fumble and (hanging by a couple of amazing 3rd-down plays) managed to move the ball deep into USC territory. With only seconds left before the half, the Oregon quarterback threw a pass into the USC end zone that was completely ill-advised. It went right into the hands of a USC defender ... then BOOM ... out again -- and caught by Oregon State for a 3rd and lucky-as-all-get-out touchdown! Extra point was good and blammo, both teams went to half with Oregon State up by 21 points ... in a shut-out game!
I was biting my fingernails at this point, because USC has a much touted offense and 21 points in a shoot-'em out football game (something USC is completely capable of doing) isn't much.
The third quarter started with Oregon State receiving the ball (irony, at the time). Unfortunately, Oregon State went nowhere and after 3 plays, had to boot the ball away.
The next three series of downs (and the 3rd quarter, really) was all characteristic USC. They scored on their next two possessions, cutting the Beaver lead to 7 small points with over 15 minutes to play. Their defense stuffed Oregon State, who couldn't seem to go anywhere.
"Here we go," I thought. The momentum had clearly shifted back to USC and their players looked upbeat, cocky and self-assured.
Then it happened. It wasn't big, but Oregon State squirted out a drive to mid-field, but stalled. More importantly, after a shanked punt with a lucky Oregon-State roll, USC was pinned deep. Oregon State had won field advantage. Momentum shifted, helped along by uncharacteristic mistakes by USC - dropped balls and penalties - the Oregon State defense held USC and for the next series of downs, USC couldn't get anything going.
I watched the clock as much as the game, because I kept thinking it was only going to be a matter of time till USC pulled a rabbit out of the hat, drove down the field and tied things up.
It never happened. Instead, with just over three minutes left in the game, Mark Sanchez threw an interception and Oregon State was giddy, looking at first and goal at the USC three. Blammo ... in for the score and suddenly, Oregon State is ahead by 13 points.
So excited were they, that they missed the extra point. No one seemed to care. Fans were already pouring out onto the field! It looked like Oregon State WAS going to pull off the upset.
"But wait," I thought, "there's still three something minutes left. That's a whack-load of time for a team like USC."
Sure enough. USC fielded Oregon State's kick and ran it back to mid field. Boom. USC got one first down. Then another. And another. Soon, they were in the end-zone. Oregon State's lead was cut to 6. (Would that missed extra point loom large?)
"Here comes the on-side kick," I groaned.
USC muffed the kick and it sailed right into the hands of an Oregon State player!
Game over, man!
Consequences, Ramifications and Speculation
USC was clearly ranked the number one college football team in the nation. They'd polished off Ohio State with nary a hic-up. They were the "dream team" and destined for the BCS title.
But ... now what? The number one spot is wide open (though, I'd imagine that Georgia will slide right into it, if they win their game on Saturday).
There's lots of teams still vying for the number one spot.
What of Penn State, eh? They beat Oregon State (ravaged them, more like). They're still unbeaten (not many of those teams left). Can't argue they have a weak schedule, especially since they're going to be playing the likes of Illinois, Ohio State and Wisconsin.
"One game at a time," I remind myself, "don't jump ahead."
Still, you gotta admit, the prospects for Penn State look very good this year! Strong offense, great defense, well-coached team (special teams, clock management and few penalties).
Don't fumble the ball. Keep your head in the game. Don't get injured.
Who knows, it might be *the year* for PSU! Certainly, the stars are starting to line up! It should be fun to watch #12 Penn State play #22 Illinois tomorrow night in the ABC prime time match-up.
Click here to see the ABC and ESPN PPV coverage maps, streaming internet video and internet radio listening options for the game. (Information valid from 26-Sep-08 through 27-Sep-08).