Louisiana-Monroe 7, Baylor 70
It sure was an up and down season for the Warhawks in their last year with Kolton Browning under center, and the road matchup with Baylor was most definitely the downest of downs. Browning had a respectable year as a senior, as his yardage was way down (2,179 - his lowest in his four years as a starter) but he still managed to throw 21 touchdowns to only 8 interceptions. That said, I think the following sentence will tell you everything you need to know about this game.
In the first quarter, Browning was 10-for-24 for 128 yards and 2 INTs, both of which were returned for touchdowns, while Baylor QB Bryce Petty was 7-for-10 for 177 yards and 2 TDs, plus a rushing touchdown.
If you saw one Baylor game last season, you saw them all. A fun-to-watch, warp speed offense in the vein of Oregon, they knew how to score and score fast. Every week there was a new statistic about the insane percentage of the Bears' scoring drives that took less than two minutes. In this contest, they had eight scoring drives that lasted a total of 7 minutes and 25 seconds. That offense obviously has no trouble scoring points in bunches, but someone should have told Louisiana-Monroe that the way to keep their offense off the board is definitely not to allow their defense to score on turnovers instead.
The penultimate moment in that first quarter action came in a span of about 30 seconds late in the first half. Browning had his second interception returned for a touchdown. On the ensuing kickoff, Cortney Davis fumbled, and Baylor punched it in two plays later. The Warhawks had seen their deficit increase from 21-0 to 35-0 in less than a minute without any offensive or defensive player ever touching the ball. ULM eventually wound up at least putting some points on the board, but this was one of those games where it stopped getting uglier because their opponent pulled the plug.
Need further proof? Then consider that ULM wound up losing by a final score of 70-7 despite not a single point being scored in the last 23 minutes. That takes... whatever the opposite of talent is.
Florida International 0, Louisville 72
The Panthers were another squad who provided a laundry list of options for inclusion in this countdown. Would I choose one of their two games prior to this, where they crossed midfield all of two times in getting shut out by UCF? Or the very next week when they got even fewer first downs in a loss at home against Bethune Cookman? Given the way those two games turned out, it was pretty much a given that going on the road to face #7 ranked Louisville wasn't going to go well, but I'm not sure this performance was expected.
In the first half, the Panthers could do absolutely nothing on offense, as a 13-yard pass completion with about 12 minutes left in the half represented both a) the first time all half their total yardage was in the black and b) almost all of their 18 first-half yards from scrimmage. The Cardinals, in the meantime, had four individual plays of 25+ yards in the half, on their way to staking a 38-0 halftime lead. Surely there was nowhere to go but up, right?
Au contraire, mon frer. The Panthers would go on to accumulate a whopping -13 yards of offense in the second half. Including sacks, by the time the game was over, the Panthers had rushed the ball 34 times for a total of 0 yards. You read it right. Zero. Big fat goose egg. They did manage to knock off the equally hapless Southern Mississippi Eagles the following week by one point, followed by unsuccessfully doing the same to UAB the week after that.
I actually briefly considered just lumping all of the FIU, USM and UAB games into one big mess, but didn't want to dump on one conference too hard during my reminiscing.