NCAAF Week 4: Penn State Nittany Lions' Magic Continues - Def Pen
Penn State Nittany Lions
Saquon Barkley finished with 305 all-purpose yards Saturday against Iowa. (Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports)

The Penn State Nittany Lions capped off a great college football Saturday when quarterback Trace McSorley found junior receiver Juwan Johnson for a walk-off touchdown to defeat the Iowa Hawkeyes, 21-19, as time expired.

The Hawkeyes crowd was stunned along with the majority of the nation watching at home.

The play was a perfect exclamation point to a “Survival Saturday” in which multiple Top 25 teams were challenged by unranked opponents but were able to find a way to win.

Conference play began to heat up this weekend and here are five things we noticed that are especially shaping the college football landscape.

1) Penn State Nittany Lions’ Black Magic is Running Out

Penn State pulled off one of the most shocking comeback victories Saturday night in Kinnick Stadium, silencing a raucous Iowa crowd and sending the Hawkeyes home with their first loss of the season.

McSorley’s seven-yard touchdown pass barely floated over the outstretched hands of Iowa defensive back Amani Hooker on what looked like an impossible completion.

The Nittany Lions have pulled off some of the most improbable victories since getting demolished on the road at Michigan on Sept. 24, 2016. At that time, no one would have believed Penn State would eventually fight its way back and win the Big Ten.

At that time, no one would have believed Penn State would eventually find its way back to win the Big Ten title.

Penn State pulled off a hard-fought overtime victory against Minnesota the following week and shocked the world when it defeated then-second-ranked Ohio State in a late October slugfest in State College, Pa.

The Buckeyes struggled to score all game long and Penn State finally pounced at the perfect time, blocking a late field goal and returning it for the deciding touchdown.

Nothing sums up the Nittany Lions’ stroke of good luck quite like the 2016 Big Ten Championship against a powerful Wisconsin rushing attack. Penn State rallied from down 28-7 to pull off a miraculous 38-31 victory and snatched the Big Ten title from the jaws of defeat.

Penn State rallied from down 28-7 to pull off a miraculous 38-31 victory and snatched the Big Ten title from the jaws of defeat.

Penn State’s 2017 schedule says it’s in for a rude awakening when it faces Michigan and Ohio State on back-to-back weekends in October. Superhero running back Saquon Barkley leapt and hurdled his way to 305 all-purpose yards against Iowa, but the true test will come against the first class of the Big Ten.

Superhero running back Saquon Barkley leapt and hurdled his way to 305 all-purpose yards against Iowa, but the true test will come against the first class of the Big Ten.

The magical run has been awe-inspiring but it could be time for the Nittany Lions to come back down to earth.

 2) Oklahoma State Cowboys Laid an Egg

Oklahoma State hosted TCU on Saturday in one of two matchups all weekend where ranked teams squared off against one another.

There was just one issue. Oklahoma State didn’t show up until it was too late.

The Horned Frogs pulled off the road upset, 44-31, in a game that wasn’t even that close.

Cowboys quarterback Mason Rudolph came into the game with 11 touchdown passes on the season against just one interception. The senior signal-caller threw two interceptions against TCU and Oklahoma State turned the ball over four times in total.

Oklahoma State made a late rally in garbage time after falling behind by 20 points in the fourth quarter, but Gary Patterson’s Horned Frogs remained poised and held off the Cowboys.

The most disappointing part of Oklahoma State’s poor performance is the 10-year anniversary of coach Mike Gundy’s “I’m a Man, I’m 40” speech deserved so much better.

3) Baker Mayfield’s Trash Talk Reached Heisman Level

We’ve come to the point in Baker Mayfield’s career where his trash talk has far surpassed his abilities on the field.

Mayfield led the Oklahoma Sooners to one of the most impressive victories of the season in Columbus, Ohio, against Ohio State.

And the Sooners are sitting pretty with a 4-0 record and the No. 3 ranking in the AP Poll.

Mayfield infamously planted the Sooners’ flag on Ohio Stadium’s midfield logo. Saturday his confidence meter was through the roof before a showdown against border rival Baylor.

Saturday his confidence meter was through the roof before a showdown against border rival Baylor.

The disrespect almost got Mayfield caught up as Baylor made a furious comeback to tie Oklahoma at 28 late in the third quarter. But Oklahoma’s young running back duo of Abdul Adams and Trey Sermon were way too much to handle as the Sooners won 49-41.

But Oklahoma’s young running back duo of Abdul Adams and Trey Sermon were too much to handle as the Sooners won 49-41.

Mayfield’s mouth hasn’t gotten him into trouble yet and I’m all for good trash talk if you can back it up on the field.

4) USC Trojans are not a Top-5 Team

USC’s conference clash with the California Golden Bears ended the way you may have expected. USC pulled away for a relatively easy 30-20 victory, but it was apparent the Trojans have a lot of work to do in the coming weeks.

USC pulled away for a relatively easy 30-20 victory, but it was apparent the Trojans have a lot of work to do in the coming weeks.

Something continues to appear off with sophomore quarterback Sam Darnold.

He tossed his seventh interception of the season against Cal on an ill-advised throw in the red zone and could have thrown two more if Cal defenders hung onto the football.

Darnold threw for a season-low 223 yards and USC mostly took advantage of great field position following four interceptions of Cal quarterback Ross Bowers.

USC’s strength right now is its stingy defense and a powerful running game, but its All-American quarterback has to play a much higher level throughout the final two-thirds of the season.

The Trojans’ next matchup is Friday night in Pullman, Wash., against Washington State and their star tailback Ronald Jones remains questionable with a thigh contusion and a sprained ankle.

Jones’ presence in the lineup could help USC avoid an early trap game and get to 5-0 on the season.

5) Kentucky Wildcats May Never Beat Florida Gators

There’s one team everyone in the country should feel bad for after Saturday’s action.

The Kentucky Wildcats found yet another way to lose to the Florida Gators.

Kentucky’s 31st consecutive loss to Florida came in excruciating fashion as Austin MacGinnis’s 57-yard field goal attempt fell just short.

The most difficult part of the loss wasn’t the dangerously close field goal, however. It was the critical mistakes Kentucky made on defense, allowing two receivers to run uncovered for touchdowns.

Florida receiver Tyree Cleveland scored on a 45-yard touchdown pass from Feleipe Franks with 3:16 remaining in the first half to pull the Gators into a 14-14 tie with Kentucky.

Cleveland lined up completely uncovered and ran up the sidelines untouched until he reached paydirt.

Then — with 49 seconds left in the game — Florida lined up inside the 10-yard line trailing 27-21.

Franks fired the easiest touchdown pass of his life to Freddie Swain, giving Florida a one-point lead. Swain was seen waving his arms while in formation because Kentucky forgot to cover him.

Swain was seen waving his arms while lined up because Kentucky forgot to cover him.

It was Kentucky’s best chance to beat Florida in the last three decades and it failed miserably.

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