College Football’s Top 10 Fails of September
10. Onside Gone Wrongside
The first month of the 2013 college football season has provided us with some spectacular moments ... as well as some not-so-spectacular ones. Here are our picks for the Top 10 CFB Fails of September.
Trailing TCU, 34-17, with three minutes remaining in the third quarter last Saturday, SMU attempted an onside kick - their rationale clearly being, “Let’s try to recover and score again ASAP to make this game closer.”
Instead, they gave the seven points they had just scored right back to the Horned Frogs. Chase Hover’s kick bounced perfectly to TCU’s LaDarius Brown, who fielded the ball and raced right by SMU’s special teamers en route to a backbreaking score in the Horned Frogs’ 48-17 win.
9. Something in the Berkeley Air
To say that referee Jay Stricherz struggled with a first quarter call during the Ohio State-Cal game on September 14th would be letting him off lightly.
After the Golden Bears recovered a Buckeyes fumble, Stricherz and his crew ruled that following the play, there was a personal foul on OSU and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Cal. The only problem was that Stricherz seemed utterly confused while making the call, pointing the wrong way when indicating both penalties as well as the direction the ball was subsequently headed in.
At the very least, Stricherz and his crew got the call correct. Nor did Stricherz utter a naughty word amid his confusion a la Tom McCreesh during the Syracuse-Northwestern game the week before.
8. Hellishly Bad Pooch Punt
Arizona State is grateful that Taylor Kelly is a better quarterback than he is a punter.
Which isn’t to say the Sun Devils junior is a bad punter. In fact, as FOX Sports’ Charles Davis pointed out during ASU’s September 21st game against Stanford, eight of Kelly’s first nine pooch punts in college landed inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. The tenth time, however, the ball ended up inside his own 20.
Kelly’s kick was so low it went straight into one of his own linemen and was taken the other way to the Sun Devils 16-yard line. Stanford would score on the ensuing play to take an insurmountable 39-7 lead en route to a 42-28 win.
7. Murphy Muffs It
Before QB Tyler Murphy could lead Florida to victory over Tennessee on September 21st in relief of an injured Jeff Driskel, he had to be humbled first.
During the second quarter, Murphy was not on the same page as Gators center Jonotthan Harrison. While Murphy - lined up in the shotgun - was going through his pre-snap reads, Harrison fired a bullet smack into Murphy’s facemask, with the Vols recovering the subsequent fumble.
Fortunately for Florida, Murphy would recover from the mishap to account for 222 total yards and two TDs in the 31-17 victory.
6. Bullish Shank
South Florida’s ugly 0-4 start to the season was best summed up by a not-so-special teams play during the second quarter of its 49-21 blowout loss to Miami (FL).
Pinned at its 11-yard line with 1:22 remaining in the half, USF sent out punter Mattias Ciabatti with the hopes that the sophomore could flip the field on the Hurricanes. Alas, that wasn’t the case; Ciabatti sent his kick straight up and toward the sidelines, traveling all of two yards from the line of scrimmage.
He hasn’t had time to feel sorry for himself. The Bulls’ offense has been so ... well, offensive up to this point (121st in FBS in scoring at 14.5 PPG) that Ciabatti has already punted 26 times through four games.
5. D’oh! by Dunbar
The only thing stopping Florida RB Matt Jones from a tie-breaking, 79-yard touchdown run in the second quarter of last Saturday’s game at Kentucky was ... his own teammate, WR Quinton Dunbar.
Jones appeared to have outraced the entire Wildcats defense en route to the end zone when, from out of nowhere, Dunbar came into the picture. All he wanted to do was provide a block or two for Jones. Instead, he knocked Jones over inside the 20.
Dunbar was no doubt grateful that his tackle was rendered moot by the Gators scoring two plays later.
4. Butler Did It
Marshall RB Steward Butler would rather imagine that the September 14th game at Ohio never happened.
After losing a fumble in Thundering Herd territory in the first quarter, Butler went back to retrieve a kickoff in the second with his team trailing the Bobcats, 10-7. Butler tried to field the ball on a bounce - the operative word being tried. The pigskin slipped through his grasp 4-5 times and was eventually knocked back into the end zone, where Ohio would recover it for a touchdown and a 17-7 lead.
Perhaps wisely, Butler did not touch the ball the rest of the game, which ended in a 34-31 loss for Marshall.
3. Hoosier Pride
After demolishing FCS Indiana State, 73–35, in its season opener, Indiana likely spent a lot of time during the following week’s practices working on kickoff returns.
With the Hoosiers leading, 45–14, right before halftime, the Sycamores squibbed the kickoff. The ball bounded by two Indiana players before finally being fielded by Laray Smith, who ran eight yards backwards before turning back in the right direction — only to fumble after being hit by a wave of ISU special-teamers.
Indiana State scooped up the ball near the end zone and ran it in for a touchdown. Cue “Yakety Sax”...
2. From Hilltop to Rock Bottom
Five turnovers in a game is a dreadful display of ball security. Western Kentucky turned the ball over against Tennessee that many times in the first quarter alone. On six plays.
Starting at the 4:33 mark of the quarter, the Hilltoppers’ play chart looked like this: Brandon Doughty pass intercepted, returned 23 yards for a touchdown; Keshawn Simpson rush for 3 yards; Brandon Doughty pass intercepted, returned 36 yards for a touchdown; Keshawn Simpson rush for -2 yards, fumbled, recovered by Tennessee; Antonio Andrews rush, fumbled, recovered by Tennessee; Brandon Doughty pass intercepted.
By the time the quarter had closed, Western Kentucky - which had entertained thoughts of an upset entering the game - was down 24-3 en route to a 52-20 blowout loss. Oh, and they turned it over two more times for “good measure.”
1. Popcorn Bath
The end result of last Saturday’s Stanford-Washington State game was determined far before the final whistle, with the Cardinal building a commanding 38-3 lead through three quarters before winning 55-17.
It left one fan at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field with all the time in the world to take a bath in his bag of popcorn. “That guy’s awesome,” Cougars head coach Mike Leach said when watching video of the fan at his Monday press conference. “I kind of felt the same way at the end of that game.”
This video isn’t just the biggest College Football Fail of September - it might also be the biggest fail in the history of eating popcorn.