2019’s rivalry week was full of big-time thrillers and major scandals that should give fans plenty to discuss heading into Conference Championship Saturday. Here are the top studs and duds from the final week of the 2019 regular season.
Stud: Bryce Perkins
It was an up and down season for the Virginia Cavaliers, but they will finish as the champions of the ACC Coastal. More importantly, though, they finally beat rival Virginia Tech for the first time in 15 years. They will face Clemson in the ACC Championship.
Quarterback Bryce Perkins was criticized all year for being nothing other than a running quarterback, but he locked up the team’s win with both his legs and his arm. He was responsible for three of the team’s touchdowns, ran for 164 yards on the ground, and tossed 311 passing yards.
Stud: Washington’s Defense
The Apple Cup had significantly lower stakes than the rivalry has showcased in recent years, but Washington’s defense came to play against their cross-state rivals.
The Cougars’ offense has been on a tear in recent weeks, but the Huskies put constant pressure on Anthony Gordon all day long, sacking him often and intercepting him twice. They also forced two fumbles and held the Cougars to 13 points.
Stud: Lynn Bowden and Kentyucky’s Rushing Attack
Kentucky and Louisville are a rivalry much more prominent in the world of college basketball, but the two teams had a major matchup this week. The Wildcats steamrolled the cardinals with a dominant offensive performance.
What’s most impressive about Kentucky’s win is the fact that they only threw three passes. Instead, quarterback Lynn Bowden, Jr. and a trio of running backs racked up 517 yards on the ground and ran in all six of the team’s touchdowns. Bowden alone ran for 284 yards and four touchdowns.
Stud: JK Dobbins
Everyone wants to criticize Jim Harbaugh for yet another failure against the Ohio State Buckeyes, but the reality is that Michigan never stood a chance. The Wolverines took an early 6-0 lead and Shea Patterson has a surprisingly strong performance, but Ohio State’s firepower was too much for Michigan to handle.
Another stellar offensive performance led by running back JK Dobbins (211 yards and four touchdowns) lead resulting in a 56-27 blowout.
Stud: Wisconsin’s Defense
Remember the Wisconsin Badgers? Everyone forgot about them after their upset loss to Illinois and their blowout loss to Ohio State, but they have clinched the Big Ten West after a dominant win over rival Minnesota.
The Golden Gophers have boasted an electric offense all season, but the Badgers shut them down when the division was on the line. Wisconsin’s defense sacked Tanner Morgan five times and held Minnesota to 17 points.
Dud: Elijah Moore
There were some great NFL games on Thursday, but it was the Egg Bowl that brought fans the best football on Thanksgiving. Mississippi State prevailed over Ole Miss in one of the weirdest endings this rivalry has ever produced (and there have been some weird ones).
Down seven during the game’s final drive, Ole Miss converted a fourth and 24 deep in their own territory, got creative to squeak into the red zone, and Elijah Moore caught what should have been the game-tying touchdown with seconds to go. But then, disaster struck.
Moore decided to celebrate his clutch touchdown by pretending to be a dog and proceeded to pee on an imaginary fire hydrant. He was obviously flagged for this obscene celebration, pushing the extra point back 15 yards. The kicker missed the extra point and Ole Miss went home with a gut-wrenching loss.
Dud: The Officials in Iowa @ Nebraska
For the second straight year, Iowa beat Nebraska with a clutch walk-off field goal, but the Big Ten referees officiating the game sure looked like they were doing everything they could to help Nebraska out.
A blatant facemask on Nebraska somehow ended up as a 15-yard penalty on Iowa that allowed Nebraska to come back and tie the game. Late in the fourth quarter, they overturned a clear-cut catch that would’ve set up Iowa deep in Nebraska territory. An extremely late timeout nearly nullified Iowa’s game-winning field goal, but Duncan nailed the ensuing try anyway.
Dud: The TCU Horned Frogs
TCU needed a win in order to become bowl eligible, but they were upset by a very bad West Virginia team. Max Duggan tossed two ugly interceptions and the offense couldn’t muster up much of anything to keep the team’s postseason hopes alive.
Dud: Alabama’s Critical Mistakes
The 2019 Iron Bowl gave us arguably the greatest matchup between Alabama and Auburn of all-time (and there have been some great matchups between the two). The Tigers used offense, defense, and special teams to grind out a thrilling 48-45 win over the Crimson Tide. This loss for Alabama represents the exact opposite of what has worked for the team in the Nick Saban era.
The defense struggled all day and failed to make key stops in the fourth quarter, and they were penalized 13 times, which is rare for a Nick Saban-coached team. The final of those 13 penalties came on an Auburn punt with a minute left in the game. Alabama had too many men on the field which resulted in Auburn being able to kneel down until the clock ran out.
It is fitting however that Alabama lost on a missed kick at Jordan-Hare Stadium.