COLUMBUS, Ohio - Curtis Samuel swept in for a 15-yard touchdown after Ohio State barely converted a fourth-and-1 and the second-ranked Buckeyes beat No. 3 Michigan 30-27 in double overtime Saturday.
CBSSports.com’s Ben Kercheval writes: “No play will be more closely examined and scrutinized than Ohio State’s one-yard fourth-down run by quarterback J.T. Barrett in the second overtime that netted the Buckeyes a first down.”
With Ohio State (11-1, 8-1 Big Ten, No. 2 CFP) facing fourth-and-1 from the 16, coach Urban Meyer decided not to kick a potential tying field goal with a kicker who had already missed two short ones in regulation.
J.T. Barrett kept it on fourth down and slammed into the back of his blocker, A.J. Alexander, right at the line to gain. The first-down call stood up to video review. On the next play, Samuel, who had made a swerving, change-of-direction run to set up the fourth-and-1, raced into the end zone to win it.
Here’s the play in question.
The call on the field was a first down and referees determined there wasn’t enough evidence to overturn the call.
Kercheval writes: “This isn’t about Ohio State getting a break or Michigan getting jobbed as much as it is getting the call right on the field. Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh was infuriated at the officials’ call, and he was probably standing right at the line of scrimmage watching the play develop. Nevertheless, this is a huge win for Ohio State and its playoff hopes. The question of whether the Buckeyes should have won is something that will be debated heavily for a long time.”
The first matchup to go to overtime in the 113-game history of the rivalry likely eliminated Michigan (10-2, 7-2, No. 3 CFP) from the playoff race and could have locked up a spot for the Buckeyes. The Buckeyes missed out on a spot in the Big Ten title game, with Penn State heading to Indianapolis instead to face Wisconsin.
Michigan could end up in the Rose Bowl, but the biggest prizes are still eluding the Wolverines in their second year under coach Jim Harbaugh. He’s 0-2 against Meyer and the Buckeyes.
Ohio State wiped out a 10-point third-quarter deficit and dominated the fourth quarter, but Tyler Durbin missed a 20-yard field goal that would have tied it with 7:01 remaining. Barrett and the Buckeyes gave him another chance, this time from 23 yards with a second left in regulation and Durbin nailed it.
Barrett scored on a quarterback draw and Ohio State’s first possession of OT to give the Buckeyes the lead, but Michigan tied it on a 5-yard touchdown pass on fourth down from Wilton Speight to Amara Darboh.
NO. 1 ALABAMA 30, NO. 16 AUBURN 12
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Jalen Hurts rebounded from two early interceptions to pass for 286 yards and Alabama’s defense did the rest asgainst Auburn.
The Crimson Tide (12-0, 8-0 Southeastern Conference, No. 1 CFP) led 13-9 at halftime, dominating the stat sheet but only taking over the scoreboard in the second half. The defense pushed its string of quarters without allowing a touchdown to 14-plus.
Auburn (8-4, 5-3, No. 15) failed to muster much offense for the second straight SEC game, this time playing without injured quarterback Sean White.
Hurts displayed the same poise in overcoming two first-half interceptions that have helped him lead the Tide into the SEC championship game. He completed 27 of 36 mostly short and mid-range passes and threw for two touchdowns. Alabama has won three straight Iron Bowls for the first time since 1990-92.
Hurts also ran for 37 yards and a touchdown, leading two straight touchdown drives in the third quarter to all but put the game away after a mistake-filled first half.
NO. 4 CLEMSON 56, SOUTH CAROLINA 7
CLEMSON, S.C. - Deshaun Watson tied his career high with six touchdown passes, three to Mike Williams, and Clemson took another, strong step to the College Football Playoff.
If the Tigers (11-1, No. 4 CFP) don’t stumble against Virginia Tech next week in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship, they’ll be off to college football’s final four for a second straight season.
The Gamecocks (6-6) were little more than speed bump on that road that Clemson got past quickly, jumping out to a 21-0 lead in the opening quarter and cruising to a third straight win in the Palmetto State’s biggest sporting event.
Watson finished with 347 yards and matched the six TDs he threw in his first college start against North Carolina in 2014. He also likely crept a bit closer in the Heisman Trophy race to Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson, whose team lost for a second straight week.
Watson and the Tigers also wiped out memories of their last Death Valley game, a stunning, 43-42 loss to underdog Pitt - Clemson’s first home loss in more than three years.
NO. 5 WISCONSIN 31, MINNESOTA 17
MADISON, Wis. - Corey Clement ran for two fourth-quarter touchdowns, a big-play defense pitched a second-half shutout, and Wisconsin beat Minnesota for its 13th straight win in the annual border rivalry.
The Badgers triumphantly lifted Paul Bunyan’s Axe again, the trophy that goes to the victor in the most-played rivalry in major college football.
Wisconsin (10-3, 7-2 Big Ten, No. 6 CFP) turned in a stalwart defensive effort in the second half after getting outplayed in the first and falling behind by 10 points at halftime.
The comeback served as an exclamation point for an already momentous weekend. Wisconsin had wrapped up the Big Ten West and a spit in the league title game after Nebraska lost to Iowa on Friday night.
Mitch Leidner threw four interceptions in the second half for Minnesota (8-4, 5-4).
NO. 8 PENN STATE 45, MICHIGAN STATE 12
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Trace McSorley completed 17 of 23 passes for 376 yards and four touchdowns and Penn State beat Michigan State to win the Big Ten East on Saturday.
Penn State (10-2, 8-1 Big Ten, No. 7 CFP) edged No. 2 Ohio State for the East title, setting up a conference championship game against West winner Wisconsin next week in Indianapolis. The Nittany Lions beat Ohio State 24-20 at home Oct. 22.
McSorley set single-season school record for total offense and sparked the Nittany Lions with multiple deep passes in the second half when Penn State outscored Michigan State 35-0.
He threw a 34-yard touchdown pass to Chris Godwin down the sideline on Penn State’s first second-half possession and followed it with a 45-yarder to Mike Gesicki on the next drive. Godwin got loose down the middle minutes later and McSorley hit him in stride for 59 yards to give Penn State a 31-12 lead.
Andre Robinson added a 14-yard touchdown run and caught a 40-yard pass from McSorley to complete the scoring in the fourth quarter, and Barkley scored on a 1-yard run in the second. Barkley left in the third quarter with an apparent right leg injury and did not return.
Michael Geiger kicked four field goals for the Spartans (3-9, 1-8).
NO. 9 COLORADO 27, NO. 21 UTAH 22
BOULDER, Colo. - Ninth-ranked Colorado won the Pac-12 South title with a victory over Utah thanks to a senior-laden defense that forced two huge fumbles by Utes star running back Joe Williams.
Cornerback Chidobe Awuzie also had a touchdown-saving tackle after a 93-yard kickoff return. The Buffaloes (11-2, 8-1, No. 9 CFP) will face No. 6 Washington in the conference championship next weekend.
The Utes (8-4, 5-4) pulled to 27-22 on Demari Simpkins’ 7-yard TD catch with 1:34 remaining
The 2-point conversion toss by Troy Williams was incomplete, and the Utes’ onside kick failed when Kabion Ento recovered for Colorado.
Linebacker Kenneth Olugbode scooped up Joe Williams’ second fumble and returned it 10 yards for a TD that made it 27-16 early in the fourth quarter. In the third quarter, Awuzie recovered when Joe Williams fumbled at the Colorado 2.
KENTUCKY 41, NO. 11 LOUISVILLE 38
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Austin MacGinnis made a 47-yard field goal with 12 seconds left to give Kentucky the upset victory over Louisville and Heisman Trophy favorite Lamar Jackson.
Louisville (9-3, CFP No. 11) appeared headed for a late go-ahead score when Jackson’s fumble at Kentucky’s 10 was recovered by the Wildcats’ Courtney Love with 1:45 left. Stephen Johnson led Kentucky (7-5) into position for MacGinnis’ winning kick.
Jackson’s desperation heave from deep in Louisville territory was intercepted by Mike Edwards, his second of the game. The Wildcats ended a five-game losing streak in the series.
Jackson likely could have wrapped up the Heisman with his record-setting day, but a second consecutive loss might impact the race. The sophomore struck a Heisman pose after a tying touchdown in the fourth quarter. He had his school-record eighth 100-yard rushing game and broke the Louisville mark for rushing yards. He scored four times to break the Atlantic Coast Conference single-season record with 51.
No. 12 SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA 45, NOTRE DAME 27
LOS ANGELES - Adoree Jackson returned a punt and a kickoff for touchdowns and also caught a scoring pass to help lift Southern California to its eighth consecutive victory, a romp ovre Notre Dame on in the 88th edition of their famed intersectional rivalry.
Jackson, the Trojans’ do-everything cornerback, put on a dazzling athletic display in perhaps his final home game while USC (9-3, No. 12 CFP) persevered through rain at the Coliseum to claim the Jeweled Shillelagh for the 11th time in 15 years.
Sam Darnold passed for 205 yards and two TDs, and Ronald Jones II rushed for 134 yards and an early score to keep the surging Trojans in line for a New Year’s Day bowl berth. Josh Adams ran for 180 yards and DeShone Kizer passed for 220 yards and two scores for the Fighting Irish (4-8).
NO. 15 FLORIDA STATE 31, NO. 13 FLORIDA 13
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Dalvin Cook rushed for 153 yards and a touchdown and Florida State beat Florida for the fourth straight year.
Cook’s 17-yard score in the first quarter was his 45th career rushing touchdown, which broke Greg Allen’s 32-year-old school mark. The junior also is the first Seminoles running back since Sammie Smith (1986-88) with three straight 100-yard games against Florida (8-3, No. 15 CFP).
The Seminoles (9-3, No. 14 CFP) rushed for 249 yards and averaged 6.2 yards per carry against the nation’s fifth-ranked run defense. Freddie Stevenson had a 27-yard touchdown run on his lone carry during the fourth quarter to make it 24-6 and put the game out of reach.
The victory ties the Seminoles’ longest winning streak in the Sunshine State Showdown series. They also won four straight from 1977-80 and 1987-90.
NO. 19 WEST VIRGINIA 49, IOWA STATE 19
AMES, Iowa - Skyler Howard threw for 330 yards and tied a career high with five touchdowns and West Virginia rolled past Iowa State.
Freshman Martell Pettaway burned his redshirt and ran for 181 yards in his debut for the Mountaineers (9-2, 6-2 Big 12). They outscored Iowa State 28-3 in the second half.
Howard’s 71-yard TD toss to Shelton Gibson and Pettaway’s 4-yard touchdown run, the first of his career, made it 35-19 late in the third quarter. Gibson followed with a 40-yard TD catch to make it a 23-point cushion. Justin Crawford, who ran for 331 yards against Oklahoma last week, was replaced by Pettaway after two series.
Kene Nwangwu had a 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and Cole Netten kicked four field goals to lead Iowa State (3-9, 2-7).
VANDERBILT 45, NO. 24 TENNESSEE 34
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Kyle Shurmur threw for a career-high 416 yards, and Vanderbilt scored the final 21 points in an upset victory over Tennessee.
The Commodores (6-6, 3-5 Southeastern Conference) earned a bowl berth for the first time since 2013 thanks to their Academic Progress Rate (APR) score before kickoff. Then they went out and turned in the best offensive performance yet in picking up their sixth win this year and improving coach Derek Mason’s best record in his third season.
Vanderbilt scored its most points against an SEC opponent since scoring 49 against Mississippi State on Sept. 25, 1971. The Commodores outgained Tennessee 608-516 in beating the Vols (8-4, 4-4) for the third time in five seasons.