No. 3 Michigan tops No. 2 Ohio State 45-23, eyes CFP berth
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — J.J. McCarthy threw three touchdown passes and ran for a score, Donovan Edwards busted the game…
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — J.J. McCarthy threw three touchdown passes and ran for a score, Donovan Edwards busted the game open with two long fourth-quarter TD runs and No. 3 Michigan beat No. 2 Ohio State 45-23 Saturday, taking down the Buckeyes with stunning ease for the second straight season.
Playing almost the whole game without injured star running back Blake Corum, Michigan (12-0, 9-0, No. 3 CFP) was still able to beat Ohio State (11-1, 8-1, No. 2 CFP) in Columbus for the first time since 2000.
The Wolverines advance to face Purdue in Saturday’s Big Ten championship game, with hopes for a second straight playoff appearance firmly in their control. The Buckeyes will have to hope they can back into the CFP after crumbling in their biggest game of the season.
Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines snapped an eight-game losing streak against their fiercest rivals last year. Now, they have a two-game winning streak in The Game for the first time in 22 years.
McCarthy, the second-year quarterback who won the starting job from incumbent Cade McNamara, played the game of his career when Michigan needed it most. His previous longest pass completion was 42 yards, but against the Buckeyes he threw three touchdown passes of at least 45 yards, the most scoring passes of 45 or more in the history of the rivalry game. He finished 31 of 48 for 349 yards with two interceptions.
Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud was 31 for 48 for 349 yards and two interceptions, but Ohio State never got a running game going and settled for field goals in the red zone.
NO. 1 GEORGIA 37, GEORGIA TECH 14
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Stetson Bennett threw two touchdown passes and Georgia completed back-to-back undefeated regular seasons for the first time in school history by overcoming a slow start against Georgia Tech.
Georgia (12-0, No. 1 CFP) was down 7-0 early and led Georgia Tech only 10-7 at halftime. Then the Bulldogs overpowered the Yellow Jackets (5-7) with their running game to score 37 unanswered points and notch their fifth consecutive win in the state rivalry.
Kenny McIntosh and Kendall Milton ran for touchdowns. Georgia outrushed Georgia Tech 251-40. Bennett finished 10 of 18 for 140 yards.
The defending national champions are in good position to retain their No. 1 College Football Playoff ranking entering next week’s Southeastern Conference championship game against No. 6 LSU.
NO. 4 TCU 62, IOWA STATE 14
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Kendre Miller ran for two touchdowns and TCU completed the first undefeated regular season by a Big 12 team since 2009 with a win over Iowa State that moved the Horned Frogs closer to making the four-team College Football Playoff.
Max Duggan threw TDs to three receivers for the Frogs (12-0, 9-0 Big 12, No. 4 CFP), who still have the Big 12 championship game to play next Saturday in coach Sonny Dykes’ first season. But they will go into that as one of only three undefeated teams remaining.
Iowa State (4-8, 1-8) had given up 16.5 points a game, the most being 31 and with only two teams scoring more than 24.
TCU led 17-0 with scores on each of its three drives against the Big 12′s top defense and was ahead 24-0 at the end of the first quarter. Defensively, Millard Bradford returned an interception 36 yards for a TD, and Josh Newton added another one with his 57-yard pick.
The last time the Frogs got this deep into a season undefeated was 2010, then in Mountain West, when they finished 13-0 and with a No. 2 national ranking after winning the Rose Bowl.
SOUTH CAROLINA 31, NO. 7 CLEMSON 30
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — Spencer Rattler threw for 360 yards and two touchdowns, Mitch Jeter hit the go-ahead field goal with 11 minutes left and South Carolina crushed the playoff hopes of a second straight top-10 team in Clemson.
The Gamecocks (8-4) last week dismantled then-No. 5 Tennessee 63-38, ending the Vols’ hopes of a CFP berth.
South Carolina and Rattler, who threw for 438 yards and six touchdowns against Tennessee, ended any chance Clemson (10-2, CFP No. 8) had of reaching the CFP. The Gamecocks rallied from 14-0 down 10 minutes in to end Clemson’s seven-game series winning streak and 40-game home streak that dated to 2016.
NO. 8 ALABAMA 42, AUBURN 27
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Bryce Young passed for 343 yards and three touchdowns and ran for another score in perhaps his final home game for Alabama in its Iron Bowl win over Auburn.
Alabama (10-2, 6-2 Southeastern Conference, No. 7 CFP) reached double digits in wins for a 15th consecutive season despite being unable to fulfill its national title aspirations.
The Tigers (5-7, 2-6) were trying to ensure bowl eligibility and salvage a disappointing campaign that included the firing of coach Bryan Harsin.
Young, a junior, completed 20 of 30 passes with an interception and ran for 48 yards. The 2021 Heisman Trophy winner is projected as a high NFL draft pick if he leaves early.
Auburn ran for 318 yards, its most against Alabama since gaining 355 in 1983. Quarterback Robby Ashford became the first Auburn player to run for two touchdowns in the Iron Bowl since Carnell Williams — now the Tigers’ interim coach — in 2003. He gained 121 yards on the ground but passed for just 77. Jarquez Hunter ran 11 times for 134 yards but also lost a fumble.
For Auburn, the week was dominated by speculation about who athletic director John Cohen would hire to replace Harsin. Liberty’s Hugh Freeze said after his team’s regular-season finale Saturday he hadn’t been offered the job but confirmed his interest.
NO. 22 OREGON STATE 38, NO. 10 OREGON 34
CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) — Isaiah Newell ran for the go-ahead touchdown with 8:11 remaining, and Oregon State took advantage of critical mistakes in the fourth quarter to beat Oregon to rally for a 38-34 victory on Saturday.
The Beavers (9-3, 6-3 Pac-12, No 21 CFP) trailed 31-10 late in the third quarter and 34-17 early in the fourth, but the Ducks (9-3, 7-2, No. 9 CFP) gave their rivals a short field on three consecutive possessions, leading to touchdowns.
First, after a 48-yard kickoff return and a facemask penalty set up Oregon State at the Ducks 36, Newell ran for a 15-yard TD to make it 34-24. Next, Oregon’s punter dropped the snap and fell on the ball at his own 2. Two plays later, Ben Gulbranson pounded it in from 1 yard to get Oregon State within 34-31. Oregon then went for it on fourth-and-1 at its own 29, and quarterback Bo Nix (327 yards passing, two TDs) was stopped for a 1-yard loss. Newell scored four plays later, with a convoy of blockers helping to push him into the end zone from 6 yards out.
The Ducks can still make the Pac-12 championship game but needed Washington State to beat rival Washington later Saturday. If Washington wins, No. 14 Utah would advance to the title game against No. 5 Southern California.
Oregon State ran for 268 yards and five touchdowns, overcoming its lack of a passing game. Damien Martinez led the way with 103 yards on 15 carries. Ben Gulbanson was just 6 of 13 for 60 yard with two interceptions, but he ran for two scores. Newell scored on his only two carries of the game.
NO. 11 PENN STATE 35, MICHIGAN STATE 16
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — Sean Clifford threw four touchdown passes and Penn State’s defense tightened up late to beat Michigan State in the regular-season finale for both teams.
Tight end Theo Johnson caught two TD passes, Tyler Warren and running back Nick Singleton each caught one, and KeAndre Lambert-Smith threw a touchdown pass and caught another for the Nittany Lions (10-2, 6-2 Big Ten, No. 11 CFP).
Penn State evened the all-time series with the Spartans at 18-18-1, but needed a fourth-quarter push to do so.
The Spartans (5-7, 3-6) were down a handful of players due to injuries and suspensions; seven of those suspended in the melee after the Michigan game on Oct. 29 were charged Wednesday.
NO. 14 UTAH 63, COLORADO 21
BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — Cameron Rising threw three touchdown passes before taking a seat for the second half, Ja’Quinden Jackson ran for three scores and Utah routed Colorado to remain in the chase for the last spot into the Pac-12 title game.
The Utes (9-3, 7-2 Pac-12, No. 14 CFP) entered the weekend with an outside shot at defending their league title, and things started to fall into place. UCLA did its part for Utah by knocking off Cal on Friday. Then, the big assist — No. 22 Oregon State surprising 10th-ranked Oregon. All that remains is No. 12 Washington beating Washington State late Saturday, and the Utes would earn a spot based on a tiebreaker. USC already has a spot for next Friday’s game in Las Vegas.
The Utes built a 42-0 halftime lead and steadily started sprinkling in their backups. It didn’t slow the Utes, who had 662 total yards of offense. Jackson scored on runs of 10, 2 and 66 yards.
The Buffaloes (1-11, 1-8) brought to a close a dreary season that saw head coach Karl Dorrell fired in October and interim coach Mike Sanford go 1-6 in his place. The team lost seven games by 30 or more points. Maddox Kopp finished with 123 yards passing and a late 1-yard touchdown to offensive lineman turned tight end Frank Fillip.
JAMES MADISON 47, NO. 23 COASTAL CAROLINA 7
HARRISONBURG, Va. (AP) — Todd Centeio threw for four touchdowns and ran for one score as James Madison romped against Coastal Carolina in what the Dukes viewed as their postseason game.
JMU (8-3, 6-2 Sun Belt) earned a technical share of the league’s East Division title with the same conference record as the Chanticleers, but the Dukes are not eligible for a title under terms of their transition to the Bowl Subdivision.
The Chanticleers (9-2, 6-2) were the first visitor in the AP Top 25 to ever play at Bridgeforth Stadium, but did so without starting quarterback Grayson McCall. Their only score came on their second drive on Jarrett Guest’s 34-yard pass to Tyson Mobley.
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