We’re educated to root for the hero in tales as a result of all of us wish to consider we are the good man, too. But when we’re being trustworthy, the villains make a narrative enjoyable. Superman has the powers, however Lex Luthor has the persona.
And so it’s with Nick Saban and Lane Kiffin, the stoic hero (Saban) pitted towards his former protégé turned diabolical usurper (Kiffin). Marvel has nothing on this story.
In a 12 months by which film theaters went darkish, Alabama and Ole Miss gave us our blockbuster. The Tide won 63-48 on Saturday, and the 2 groups piled up an SEC-record for yardage. A nation on the sting of its seat questioned if Kiffin had in some way accrued a fistful of infinity stones this offseason.
There have been different tales Saturday, in fact, with their very own heroes and villains. At Clemson, a ferocious protection reminded Miami that being again on prime additionally requires having no less than one receiver who can get open. Miami’s Keontra Smith additionally delivered a nasty hit on Trevor Lawrence that resulted in a focusing on flag and compelled the Clemson QB to the sideline. With the restricted attendance, it made it simple to listen to what the socially-distanced Clemson followers considered the play, too. Lawrence returned and teamed with Travis Etienne to put waste to yet one more would-be ACC contender in a 42-17 win.
Clemson’s win — as messy because it was at occasions — together with Dabo Swinney’s unlucky resolution to attempt to kick a 61-yard subject objective on the finish of the primary half — supplied a way of normalcy on a day that had loads of different drama.
At LSU, Bo Pelini’s protection imploded once more, with Ed Orgeron livid a few efficiency so embarrassing that Nebraska referred to as to ask if it might fireplace Pelini once more. In School Station, Jimbo Fisher lastly received his signature win, $75 million properly spent. At Georgia, there was Stetson Bennett — positively the identify of a superhero alter ego — main the Bulldogs to a different large win over Tennessee and assuming agency command of the SEC East. Mike Leach’s Air Raid amounted to two points, and after the sport he mentioned some gamers may have to stroll the plank.
However these had been all sideshows.
In Oxford, Mississippi on Saturday, we watched one of the best form of drama.
Apart from Saban and Kiffin, there have been loads of different plot factors price following. Mac Jones continued to show he’s a worthy successor to Tua Tagovailoa. The Alabama protection confirmed indicators it’s a good distance from its glory days. Ole Miss appeared, once more, like a staff that is going to hit the over in Las Vegas on a weekly foundation. However the backdrop for all of it was an Xs and Os battle — and maybe a little subterfuge, too — between two coaches with a shared historical past and a totally divergent strategy to the job.
Earlier this week, Kiffin in contrast his relationship along with his former boss as “like a divorce.”
In that sense, this was a revenge story. Saban, in any case, rescued Kiffin from the scrap heap. When USC left Kiffin on an airport tarmac, Saban invited him on board Alabama’s rocket ship as an alternative, a pairing that was destined to finish badly however assured loads of attention-grabbing twists and turns alongside the best way. Kiffin left beneath less-than-ideal circumstances, pushed apart in a mid-playoff run after he took the pinnacle teaching job at Florida Atlantic, and he is taken nice pleasure in needling Saban ever since. It is like Kylo Ren turning towards Luke, however on Twitter.
Kiffin is the right foil to Saban, an outspoken, unabashed, unrepentant gadfly. So when Ole Miss responded with a landing after seemingly each Alabama rating, it was inconceivable to not begin rooting for the dangerous man just a bit. In any case, who did not wish to see Kiffin crack jokes within the post-game press convention whereas Saban silently seethed? Simply think about what would undergo Saban’s head when he picked up his cellphone Sunday morning to search out 20 more and more misspelled textual content messages from Kiffin that simply learn “Scoreboard.”
Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. In fact Alabama received. The hero is meant to win, and prefer it or not, Saban stays the hero of this story. Let’s simply hope we get just a few sequels, too.
Powerful occasions in Texas
In a Purple River Showdown recreation for the ages, Oklahoma delivers the ultimate punch and knocks off Texas in 4 overtimes 53-45.
Or, no less than each two years they are not.
The Sooners closed out a 53-45, 4 OT win within the Purple River … what are they calling it now? Rivalry? Showdown? Fracas? Let’s go together with “fracas.” It was essentially the most factors scored within the rivalry recreation’s historical past, topping the report that was set in 2018, which topped the earlier report set in 2016. So, look out for the 2022 model.
Will Tom Herman nonetheless be on the sideline for Texas in that one? It’s attending to be an attention-grabbing query given the Longhorns’ 2-2 begin.
QB Sam Ehlinger supplied postgame frustration for the second straight week, lamenting the self-inflicted wounds which have saved Texas from successful. However actually, it has been a little bit of luck the Longhorns have even been shut. Texas trailed by 14 with 4 minutes to play earlier than rallying to tie — the second time in three video games they’ve executed that.
Credit score to Ehlinger, who has posted 10 touchdowns and 684 yards up to now two video games — each losses.
Whereas Herman has two large bowl wins to his credit score — vs. Utah final 12 months and Georgia in 2018 — the remainder of the résumé is trying awfully skinny. Within the final calendar 12 months, Texas is simply 6-5, together with a two-point win vs. Kansas, a three-point win over Ok-State and its miraculous comeback final month towards Texas Tech. Herman is simply 9-10 in his final 19 regular-season video games and has misplaced 4 of 5 vs. the Sooners.
It simply means extra … offense
Kyle Trask and Kellen Mond battled forwards and backwards all afternoon, nevertheless it was Texas A&M kicker Seth Small who received the day with a game-winning 26-yard subject objective as time expired.
And when you’re a bit stunned by these scores, there may be good motive.
Florida‘s protection has now allowed 100 factors via three video games, its worst three-game stretch since 1917, in accordance with ESPN Stats & Data.
LSU has allowed 96 factors via three video games as Bo Pelini takes over the protection, its most to start out a season in program historical past.
Missouri QB Connor Bazelak throws for 406 yards and 4 touchdowns whereas Myles Brennan passes for 430 yards and 4 TDs in LSU’s 45-41 loss.
When it was over, Ed Orgeron called the Tigers’ D “embarrassing,” which is a phrase he normally reserves for individuals who faucet out after three refills of all-you-can-eat crawfish. The place do the solutions come for LSU? It is laborious to think about a fast repair. Missouri hadn’t scored greater than 24 in a recreation in a 12 months.
In the meantime, Dan Mullen chalked up his staff’s loss to the group at Kyle Area. (And in case you are preserving monitor, that places the Gators’ “Kyle Energy Rankings” at Area adopted by Pitts adopted by Trask.) Mullen added that he wants a packed house at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium subsequent week for the Gators recreation towards LSU, assuming — we guess — that almost all of these followers may also are available in and play protection.
When enjoying a contact sport like soccer, it is extremely vital to remain hydrated. We’ll assume that is what George Pickens was considering when he used his water bottle to squirt Jarrett Guarantano because the Tennessee QB went out of bounds on a play alongside the UGA sideline.
Tennessee quarterback Jarrett Guarantano falls out of bounds after scrambling, whereas on the bottom Georgia’s George Pickens squirts water on him.
Relatively than applauding Pickens’ helpfulness, officers flagged him for an unsportsmanlike penalty, and even head coach Kirby Good recommended that maybe the motivation might need been a bit more childish.
“When any individual comes out of bounds and also you squirt water at them, what are we? Are we 7 and eight years outdated?” Good mentioned. “I imply come on, let’s play soccer. Let’s [not] be foolish.”
One thing within the water?
UNC quarterback Sam Howell throws three landing passes, and the Tar Heels prime the Hokies 56-45.
It is a famously brief 21-mile jaunt from the campus at North Carolina to Duke. Their respective backfields appeared intent on protecting that a lot floor on Saturday alone.
The Tar Heels ran for 399 yards and 5 touchdowns in a wild win over No. 19 Virginia Tech, with Michael Carter and Javonte Williams every topping 160 yards. Carter had two scores on 17 carries, speeding for 214, together with a 64-yard scamper. Williams completed with 169 and two touchdowns, too.
In the meantime Duke leaned on its tailback tandem to choose up win No. 1 of the season in Syracuse. Deon Jackson ran for 169 yards, whereas Mataeo Durant added 161 and two touchdowns. For the sport, Duke completed with 363 yards speeding — simply 31 lower than it totaled in its first 4 contests of the 12 months.
How uncommon was that? It was the primary time Duke has ever had a number of gamers rush for 160 yards, in accordance with ESPN Stats and Data. North Carolina hadn’t had it occur since 1931.
For the Blue Devils, it was a much-needed reprieve amid a dismal begin to the 2020 season. For the Heels, it was an enormous step up in credibility.
North Carolina’s 56 factors had been its most ever towards an AP-ranked opponent, and the Heels are actually 3-0 for the primary time since 2011.
All of it had head coach Mack Brown eager about actual property.
“We have to purchase a home on this neighborhood,” Brown mentioned of UNC’s ascendance into the realm of playoff contender. “We have been visiting the primary couple weeks within the prime 10. It is who we wish to be however have we earned it but? Taking part in a prime 20 staff in Virginia Tech that was dominating their first two video games once we weren’t gave us an opportunity to show we might be good.”
Overreaction of the week
Did all of us overrate BYU a bit after its early dominance? It appeared that manner because the Cougars struggled to get past UTSA in a recreation they had been favored to win by 35. As a substitute, BYU needed to maintain off a late rally to flee 27-20. So, issues for the Cougs?
BYU clearly did not play its greatest recreation, however with 470 yards of offense and one other spectacular efficiency from QB Zach Wilson (22-of-30 for 292 and two touchdowns) there’s not a lot want to fret. As a substitute, it’s most likely a credit score to a UTSA staff that is much better than it was in previous years. At 3-2, the Roadrunners are inside a win of final 12 months’s season complete already, and each losses are by a mixed 15 factors.
Beneath-reaction of the week
Positive, it would be simple sufficient to shrug off South Carolina’s dominant win over Vanderbilt with the plain chorus: It was solely Vandy. However that will undervalue simply how anemic the Gamecocks’ offense has been for the previous — properly, just about your entire Will Muschamp period.
South Carolina hung 41 on Vandy on Saturday, marking the primary time they’ve hit 40 in an SEC recreation since November 2018 towards Ole Miss, and simply the third time since Muschamp took over this system in 2016.
Beneath-the-radar recreation of the week
Life comes at you quick. Nobody is aware of that higher than Pittsburgh kicker Alex Kessman. With Pitt trailing Boston School by 3 with 40 seconds to play, Kessman booted a 58-yard subject objective to ship the sport to additional time. Free Primanti Brothers for all times! However, very like consuming a sandwich by which french fries are a condiment, the enjoyment did not final lengthy. After BC scored on the primary possession of OT, Pitt responded with a landing of its personal — solely Kessman botched the additional level, sending the Panthers to a second straight one-point loss.
Beneath-the-radar play of the week
Maybe the worst a part of this abridged faculty soccer season thus far is the dearth of big-man TDs we have seen. So it’s with nice pleasure that we applaud 320-pound Alim McNeill, who pulled off one of the athletic big-man scores you will ever see. The NC State defensive sort out batted a go within the air, fielded it like a pop fly, then rumbled 18 yards for a landing. And he did not cease when he received to the top zone, springing alongside the again line in celebration. Who says linemen hate doing further cardio?
NC State defensive lineman Alim McNeill suggestions the interception to himself and is ready to return it for a landing.
Bear in mind final month, when the Large 12 opened its season with some embarrassing out-of-conference losses? Kansas State fell to Arkansas State, and Iowa State received thumped by Louisiana, and all of us had a superb snort about Bob Bowlsby’s resolution to play non-conference video games in any respect. These had been the times.
Yeah, humorous factor about that. Kansas State beat TCU on Saturday, and Iowa State stomped Texas Tech, and each are actually 3-0 in Large 12 play and atop the league’s standings.
Does this imply the Solar Belt champ will get the Large 12’s New 12 months’s Six bids? It could solely be truthful.
A few of the prime contenders took a loss this week, and we’re nonetheless one other two weeks from including the Large Ten’s stars to the combination. That places our prime two properly forward of the remainder of the pack.
Trevor Lawrence throws for 292 yards and three touchdowns and Travis Etienne rushes for 149 yards and two touchdowns as Clemson goes on to defeat Miami 42-17.
1. Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence
One other recreation, one other 4 touchdowns for Lawrence, who needed to share the highlight with a game-changing tailback and a dominant protection however nonetheless stays atop our Heisman rankings.
2. Alabama QB Mac Jones
Jones’ first three video games of the season: 79.5% completions, 1,101 passing yards, eight TDs. Evaluate that to Tua Tagovailoa’s first three of 2019: 76.9% completions, 1,007 passing yards and 12 TDs.
3. Florida QB Kyle Trask
It is laborious in charge the QB for the loss Saturday. Trask was distinctive once more, and he now has 14 TD passes, together with 4 in three straight video games. The one SEC QBs to do it in 4 straight up to now decade are Tua Tagovailoa and Johnny Manziel.
4. BYU QB Zach Wilson
He was 22-of-30 for 292 yards and two touchdowns towards UTSA and that was thought of a foul recreation. Wilson is the true deal, and he’s simply beginning to get the nationwide consideration he deserves.
5. Clemson RB Travis Etienne
There may be not a extra dynamic operating again in faculty soccer than Etienne, who had 149 yards and two touchdowns on the bottom to go together with eight catches for 73 yards via the air.
Large Bets and Unhealthy Beats
Down 10 with 5 minutes left in its recreation towards NC State, Virginia went for it on fourth-and-10 at its personal 23 — and went nowhere. That handed the ball over to the Wolfpack, intent on operating out the clock. 4 straight runs adopted, however earlier than Zonovan Knight might attain the top of the sport, he reached the top zone, scoring on a 2-yard run with 1:49 to play. That put the rating at 38-21 — cashing the over by half some extent.
Bettors may wish to costume up as Brock Purdy for Halloween, as a result of he makes the month of October awfully enjoyable for Iowa State backers. With Purdy helming the offense, the Cyclones are 8-1 towards the unfold in October, in accordance with ESPN Stats and Info, together with protecting a 10-point unfold in a 31-15 win over Texas Tech on Saturday. How a lot does Purdy love all of the Halloween hijinks of October? His completion proportion in October is … 66.6%. Spooky.
For causes that even Dabo Swinney most likely cannot fairly clarify, Clemson determined to wrap a primary half of what was shaping up as a blowout of Miami with a 61-yard subject objective try. It did not go properly. Sporting a 21-3 lead, with the Hurricanes’ offense unable to do something towards the Tigers’ stout D, Swinney wished to run it up only a tick extra with a protracted kick because the clock expired. As a substitute, the kick was blocked, and Miami’s DJ Ivey picked it up and returned it 48 yards for a landing. It was an embarrassing second for Swinney and the Tigers, nevertheless it was a present for anybody who guess the over for the half, which was set at 30 factors. The landing introduced the mixed rating to 31.
Alabama wanted each rating it might get to maintain tempo with Ole Miss on Saturday, however the remaining landing was a little bit of a nail within the coffin. With 1:09 to play and the sport in hand, Najee Harris broke off a 39 yard run for a landing, bringing the ultimate rating to 63-48 and guaranteeing the Tide lined the second half unfold of -10. Or maybe Nick Saban simply wished so as to add just a little salt – or rat poison – to Lane Kiffin’s wounds.
The ready recreation
We’re used to touting the ball management capacity of Navy‘s possibility offense, however Saturday’s remaining drive to shut out a win against Temple was one thing way more astonishing than we thought attainable. Credit score Navy’s sports activities info director Scott Strasemeier for the information.
Navy’s remaining offensive drive that arrange the Nichols subject objective is statistically unimaginable: Took 9:06 off the clock, ran 15 performs, and gained 26 yards.
— Scott Strasemeier (@ScottStras) October 11, 2020
It might sound inconceivable to take greater than 9 minutes off the clock and solely achieve 26 yards, however Navy’s method was foolproof. No play gained greater than six yards. The Midshipmen transformed a fourth down. Each play was a run. They even used two timeouts for good measure.