College football is rarely lacking in excitement and the beginning of the 2017 season has been no different. Just when fans think they’ve seen it all, players like Josh Rosen, Mason Rudolph and Trace McSorley produce jaw-dropping moments that dramatically alter the outcome of a game and — in some cases — an entire season.
Here’s a look at the good (Sam Darnold’s jump pass), the bad (Kansas’ blocking) and the ugly (Louisiana Tech’s 3rd-and-93) from the first four weeks of play:
10. The Catch-and-Run
Week 2: Iowa 44, Iowa State 41 (OT)
Hawkeye tailback Akrum Wadley was not going to be denied in crunch time against rival Iowa State. The speedy senior outran two would-be tacklers, slammed on the brakes to avoid another defender and then powered his way into the end zone for a 46-yard score to tie the game with just 1:09 remaining.
9. The Elusive Quarterback
Week 3: Oklahoma State 59, Pittsburgh 21
The Cowboys have since lost to TCU, but Mason Rudolph remains in the Heisman Trophy running, thanks to spectacular plays like this. Rudolph’s ability to escape Pittsburgh’s pass rush gave Marcell Ateman all the time he needed to get open, and the senior wideout did the rest.
8. The Swiss cheese O-Line
Week 3: Ohio 42, Kansas 30
Poor Peyton Bender. Quarterbacking the listless Kansas Jayhawks can be a rough life. In the GIF below, all five Kansas offensive lineman go for a group cut block and it completely backfires. Kansas’ road losing streak now stands at 42 games — it’s safe to say that the folks in Lawrence are ready for basketball season.
7. The Jump Pass
Week 3: USC 27, Texas 24 (Double OT)
Just when it appeared Tom Herman would get his first signature victory at Texas, USC QB Sam Darnold channeled his inner Tim Tebow with a perfectly-timed jump pass. The play fueled USC’s late comeback and eventual overtime victory.
6. The Catch
Week 1: Arizona State 37, New Mexico State 31
New Mexico State wide receiver Jaleel Scott made a case for “Catch of the Year” in Week 1 with this unbelievable grab. The athleticism Scott used to stretch his 6-foot-6 frame combined with his awareness to get at least one foot in bounds made for an Odell-Beckham-like snag.
5. The Game-Winner
Week 4: Penn State 21, Iowa 19
QB Trace McSorley and the Nittany Lions avoided a disastrous upset with a last-second touchdown to beat the Hawkeyes in a hostile road environment. McSorley threw a bullet — off his back foot no less — into a tight window, where JuWuan Johnson made the game-winning grab. Penn State’s playoff hopes remain alive.
4. The Defensive Breakdown(s)
Week 4: Florida 28, Kentucky 27
It’s rare to see a receiver left so uncovered that he begins calling for the ball prior to the snap. That’s exactly what Kentucky allowed to happen on two separate occasions against the Gators, who beat the Wildcats for the 31st consecutive time. Florida's Tyrie Cleveland and Freddie Swain were left as wide-open as the SEC East title race, and Kentucky paid heavily for both mistakes.
3. The Hail Mary
Week 3: Florida 26, Tennessee 20
Just weeks away from the one-year anniversary of JaJuan Jennings’ hail-mary grab against Georgia, Tennessee found itself on the opposite side of a stunner in Gainesville. Florida QB Felipe Franks hit Cleveland with a 63-yard bomb in stride to steal the victory, further prompting questions about Butch Jones’ future with the Vols.
2. The Fake Spike
Week 1: UCLA 45, Texas A&M 44
Several plays from Josh Rosen’s performance against the Aggies probably could have filled this article. However, Rosen's fake spike to win the game was the stuff of legend, bringing back visions of Dan Marino’s “Clock Play".
1. The 3rd and…93?
Week 2: Mississippi State 57, Louisiana Tech 21
There really aren’t any words to describe this play, but the memory of it will certainly live on for seasons to come. The 87-yard loss was the longest negative play in an FBS game since 2004.