October’s best in college football

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A recap of a month turned on its head

Brad Curnow | Sports Writer | @jojocornrow

October showed us once again that when we think we have college football’s contenders, pretenders, and spoilers figured out, the entire system could flip on its head. Right after I awarded the UCLA Bruins with the best team in September they proceeded to lose to Arizona State and get blown out by Stanford. Some things just aren’t meant to be. October was a long month with some teams playing a full slate of five games, so we really got to see what teams were made of through the course of the month. Let’s take a look at some players and teams that started to heat up as the weather cooled down. Yes, there are more bad puns.

Best Play

Seminoles get stung by field goal attempt

The Florida State Seminoles started this season 6-0 and boasted a 30-game regular season win streak. The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets started the season 2-0, looking like a high-powered offense, but lost to Notre Dame in Week 3 and the wheels fell off, sputtering the Yellow Jackets to 2-5 going into their matchup against the Seminoles. With six seconds to play in the October 24 game in Tallahassee, Fla., the Seminoles lined up on the left hash at the 39-yard line for a 56-yard game-winning field goal attempt. The snap and hold were good, but Georgia Tech defensive end Rod Rook-Chungong leapt up and tipped the ball as it crossed the line of scrimmage. The ball fell to the turf and bounced to the 21-yard line where defensive back Lance Austin scooped up the ball and sprinted 79-yards to pay dirt with zeroes on the game clock. Georgia Tech won by a final of 22-16.

This play has shades of Auburn’s 109-yard touchdown return of Alabama’s short field goal attempt in 2013, known as the Iron Bowl’s kick six. We can’t forget to include Michigan’s botched punt attempt to ice the game against Michigan State just a few weeks ago. So often-special teams plays seem automatic with only two assumed outcomes. No one plans for the worst-case scenario of the botched snap, blocked kick, or short field goal returned for a touchdown. I wonder if it’s time for coaches to start sending their quarterbacks out on the field to take a knee to send the game into overtime, or trust their defense for a few seconds rather than put the game in the hands of their kickers.

Best Player

Boykin he play

I am still of the belief that LSU running back Leonard Fournette is the best player in college football, but TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin had the best month in college football. TCU went through a 4-0 October on Boykin’s back, improving to 8-0 overall. The Horned Frogs dropped opponents by an average margin of 26 points per game behind their quarterback. Boykin went through October with a touchdown to interception ratio of 14 to 2 while throwing for an average of 364.3 yards per game. All the while, Boykin has shown off his athletic and playmaking abilities, including a highlight play last weekend where he put the entire West Virginia Mountaineers defense through the spin cycle after a broken play in the backfield. Boykin earned a first down for his effort and a high five for himself from Mountaineers head coach Dana Holgerson. Watch Trevone Boykin as he continues to compete with Leonard Fournette in the Heisman Trophy race. I’m sure it will be a two-man race by the end of the season.

Best Team

Clemson has the eye of the Tiger

Through the course of the month the Clemson Tigers have clawed their way from the No. 12 spot in the polls to No. 3 with a record of 8-0. The Tigers played a full five-game schedule during October and showed improvement each week as the month progressed. After a gut check, two-point victory over Notre Dame to start the month, Clemson went on to win by 19, 17, 58, and 15 in conference play. The Tigers’ have put together a balanced attack by scoring early and often, while a bend-but-don’t-break defense has shown tremendous stopping power late in games. If Clemson can get by Florida State this weekend, they should have smooth sailing to the ACC Championship Game.