A pair of Big Ten games, concluding within minutes of each other, featured two of the wildest finishes of this or any recent season.
If you somehow missed the conclusion to Michigan-Michigan State, here it is. This ending may never be replicated.
— Stephen Nelson (@Stephen__Nelson) October 17, 2015
Aussie Blake O’Neill’s Blunder from Down Under likely knocks the surprising Wolverines out of contention for the College Football Playoff, while Michigan State’s hopes remain very much alive.
Jalen Watts-Jackson immediately wrote his name in the annals of Spartan football history. And, in a game in which a statue of Paul Bunyan is on the line, only added his own lore by scoring with a broken freakin’ hip.
Jalen Watts-Jackson suffered a broken hip but he'll never pay for a drink in East Lansing ever again.
— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) October 17, 2015
Unfortunately, O’Neill’s afternoon would have been remembered so much more favorably without his error.
How about this 80-yard punt? Yes, 80 yards. http://t.co/oYovO4DY55
— Brent Yarina (@BTNBrentYarina) October 17, 2015
Blake O'Neill's 80-yard punt for Michigan was the longest punt by any player in the FBS this season. #MSUvsMICH
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 17, 2015
O’Neill’s fumble also overshadowed one of the most remarkable rallies all of the 2015 season. While the Big House was going from elation to devastation, a similar scene played out in Bloomington, Indiana — albeit much more gradually.
The Hoosiers scored 28 third-quarter points to pull ahead of visiting Rutgers by 25 points late in the period.
Indiana was blanked in the fourth quarter, as Rutgers chopped away at the lead: a 43-yard Leonte Carroo touchdown reception to close the third quarter; a Kemoko Turay fumble return to open the fourth.
As Rutgers whittled away at the Indiana lead, two missed PAT attempts loomed large — particularly the second, which would have broken a 52-52 tie in the final six minutes.
No matter. Indiana’s inability to stop Rutgers on third down doomed the Hoosiers Saturday, and poked a massive hole in their bowl hopes.
As for Rutgers, it’s been a tumultuous few months in the football program to say the least. Head coach Kyle Flood just recently returned from suspension for violating NCAA regulations on contact with academic staff.
Flood’s future — and, by extension, the future of Rutgers football — is murky at best. The Scarlet Knights will live in the moment for the remainder of the 2015 season.
Right now, the moment is pure joy.
— EJ Barthel (@CoachEJbarthel) October 17, 2015
In Ann Arbor, the moment is…well…
— ESPN CollegeFootball (@ESPNCFB) October 17, 2015