MINNEAPOLIS - On the job as Minnesota's head coach for less than a week, Tracy Claeys faced a crucial decision in the closing moments against No. 15 Michigan.
Even though it backfired, Claeys says he'd make the exact same call if he had to do it over again.
Wilton Speight came off the bench and threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Jehu Chesson with under 5 minutes to play and Michigan stopped Mitch Leidner on a sneak as time expired to escape with a 29-26 victory over Minnesota on Saturday night.
In his first game as interim head coach since Jerry Kill's surprising retirement for health reasons, Claeys elected to go for the win over a potential tying field goal with the ball inside the 1 and 2 seconds left. But Leidner's plunge was stuffed by Ryan Glasgow and Joe Bolden, allowing Michigan (6-2, 3-1 Big Ten) to take back the Little Brown Jug after losing it in Ann Arbor last year.
"I'd call a timeout and do it again," Claeys said. "I just think in those situations you've got to be able to get half a yard. If it's outside the one yard line, hey, we'll kick it and move on. But in that situation I felt like we could get it. I'd do it all over again and do the same thing. That's what it's about."
Leidner was 16 for 33 for a career-high 317 yards and a touchdown for the Golden Gophers (4-4, 1-3). He was clutch on the final possession, converting a fourth-and-5 with a 12-yard strike to K.J. Maye and hitting Drew Wolitarsky on a 22-yard fade to put the ball inside the 1 with 19 seconds to play.
Wolitarsky's catch initially was ruled a touchdown, but replays showed his knee was down inside the 1. The clock started again as soon as the ball was placed and, after Leidner's pass to the flat was incomplete, only 2 seconds remained.
Claeys said he was aware the clock was running. Leidner wasn't so sure.
"I don't think we were expecting it to be going. I mean, I wasn't at least," Leidner said.
Gophers kicker Ryan Santoso had already made four field goals, but Claeys decided to roll the dice.
The offensive line got no push against Michigan's stout front and Glasgow and Bolden made sure Leidner made it nowhere near the goal line. After the review confirmed the play, the Wolverines stormed the Minnesota sideline to take back the oldest rivalry trophy in college football.
It was a crushing loss for the Gophers, who came into TCF Bank Stadium overflowing with emotions following Kill's abrupt retirement. The coaching lifer gave a tear-filled press conference Wednesday to announce that his epilepsy would no longer allow him to keep up the grueling work load of a major college coach.
"It's just been an emotional rollercoaster all the way to the end of the game," Gophers defensive lineman Steven Richardson said. "This week has had its ups and downs all the way through."
Just before kickoff, Leidner grabbed a maroon and gold flag with the word "Jerrysota" on it and took it to the student section, emphatically waving it to charge up the crowd. As Minnesota lined up for the final play, fans were chanting "Jerry! Jerry!"
Then Leidner was stopped short.
"Overall the whole game was just emotional when you think about it," Leidner said. "You think about coach the entire time and when you think you're winning, when you think you take the lead. For all the work, every single person on that field, on that sideline put in to play for him, it's an overwhelming feeling."
MIAMI 30, NO. 22 DUKE 27
DURHAM, N.C. - Corn Elder took the eighth lateral on a wild, mind-boggling final kickoff return and brought it back 75 yards for a touchdown to give Miami a 30-27 victory over No. 22 Duke on Saturday night.
Thomas Sirk seemingly had given the Blue Devils the win by scoring on a sneak with 6 seconds left.
But in a final sequence reminiscent of California's run through the Stanford band, Elder caught the last of eight laterals, and zigged and zagged through the Duke coverage team for the score.
One problem: A penalty flag thrown on teammate Mark Walton for an illegal block in the back on Breon Borders at the Duke 25. But after a lengthy review, the officials determined the block was to Borders' side - not his back - and the touchdown stood.
The "did-you-see-that" finale capped a tumultuous week for the Hurricanes (5-3, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference). Coach Al Golden was fired after the program suffered its worst loss in school history - a 58-0 embarrassment against Clemson.
Duke dropped to 6-2 overall and 3-1 in the conference.
NO. 3 CLEMSON 56, N.C. STATE 41
RALEIGH, N.C. - Deshaun Watson threw five touchdown passes and ran for another score in Clemson's victory over North Carolina State.
Watson threw for 383 yards and ran for 54 yards for the Tigers (8-0, 5-0 Atlantic Coast Conference). They are closing in on the ACC championship game and chasing a College Football Playoff berth.
The Tigers host No. 17 Florida State next week with a chance to wrap up the Atlantic Division title.
Wayne Gallman ran for 172 yards and a touchdown for Clemson.
The Tigers led by 20 after halftime and finished with 623 total yards, spending the final quarter answering desperate scoring drives from the Wolfpack (5-3, 1-3) to remain in firm control.
NO. 9 NOTRE DAME 24, NO. 21 TEMPLE 20
PHILADELPHIA - DeShone Kizer hit Will Fuller with a 17-yard touchdown pass with 2:09 left, KeiVarae Russell picked off a pass to end the last threat, and Notre Dame escaped with a victory.
The Owls (7-1) pushed the Fighting Irish (7-1) to the brink and took the lead with 4:45 left on Austin Jones' 36-yard field goal. But Kizer came right back with a long scoring drive.
Kizer finished with 299 yards passing and a 79-yard touchdown run.
NO. 10 IOWA 31, MARYLAND 15
IOWA CITY, Iowa - Desmond King had an 88-yard interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter and Iowa beat Maryland to improve to 8-0 overall and 4-0 in the Big Ten.
Akrum Wadley, LeShun Daniels and Derrick Mitchell had touchdown runs for the Hawkeyes.
Will Likely had a 100-yard kickoff return for the Terrapins (2-6, 0-4).
NO. 11 FLORIDA 27, GEORGIA 3
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Kelvin Taylor ran for 121 yards and two touchdowns, Antonio Callaway delivered another huge play and Florida beat rival Georgia to move a step closer to the Southeastern Conference championship game.
The Gators also were downright dominant defensively, shutting down Sony Michel, pressuring Faton Bauta and holding the Bulldogs to 223 total yards.
It was Florida's second straight win in the storied series and 20th in the last 26 years.
The Gators (7-1, 5-1) are one victory from clinching the Eastern Division. They can wrap up the East by beating Vanderbilt next week. If that happens, Florida would earn its first trip to Atlanta since Tim Tebow's senior year in 2009. Georgia (5-3, 3-3) has few, if any, mathematical chances of winning the East.
NO. 12 OKLAHOMA STATE 70, TEXAS TECH 53
LUBBOCK, Texas - Mason Rudolph and J.W. Walsh each threw two touchdown passes, Raymond Taylor ran for two scores and Oklahoma State rallied to beat Texas Tech.
The combined points are the third-most involving a ranked team without playing overtime.
Walsh found James Washington twice in the fourth quarter, one for 75 yards and then for 73 yards for the Cowboys (8-0, 5-0). Ramon Richards returned an interception 59 yards for a score with 6 seconds left.
Texas Tech's Jakeem Grant returned a kickoff 100 yards and had a 90-yard catch. Patrick Mahomes completed 38 of 55 passes for 480 yards and four touchdowns for the Red Raiders (5-4, 2-4).
NO. 13 UTAH 27, OREGON STATE 12
SALT LAKE CITY - Devontae Booker ran for 121 yards and a touchdown for Utah.
The Utes (7-1, 4-1) hold a one-game lead in the Pac-12 South over UCLA with four games remaining, including the Bruins on Nov. 21.
Travis Wilson completed 14 of 17 passes for 198 yards and a touchdown and ran for 56 yards and a score.
Freshman Nick Mitchell started for Oregon State (2-6, 0-5) in place of the injured Seth Collins, and passed for 204 yards and a touchdown.
NO. 14 OKLAHOMA 62, KANSAS 7
LAWRENCE, Kan. - Baker Mayfield completed 27 of 32 passes for 383 yards and four touchdowns and Oklahoma beat Kansas.
Sterling Shepard had 11 catches for 183 yards and a touchdown, and Samaje Perine added 90 yards rushing yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries for the Sooners (7-1, 4-1 Big 12).
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops is 11-0 against the Jayhawks.
Kansas (0-8, 0-5) has lost 11 consecutive games.
NO. 16 MEMPHIS 41, TULANE 13
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Paxton Lynch threw for 343 yards and a touchdown and ran for 43 more yards to help Memphis rout Tulane for its 15th straight victory.
The Tigers (8-0, 4-0 American Athletic) trailed 13-0 before answering with 41 straight points. This is the fifth game Memphis has trailed by at least 10 points this season. Doroland Dorceus, Anthony Miller and Jarvis Cooper each ran for a TD, and Jake Elliott kicked three field goals.
Tulane (2-6, 1-4) lost its fourth straight overall and ninth in the series.
NO. 17 FLORIDA STATE 45, SYRACUSE 21
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Sean Maguire completed 23 of 35 passes for 348 yards and three touchdowns in Florida State's victory over Syracuse.
Maguire started in place of Everett Golson, sidelined by a concussion. Star running back Dalvin Cook also sat out because of an ankle injury.
Travis Rudolph had five receptions for 191 yards and three scores for the Seminoles (7-1, 5-1 Atlantic Coast Conference). Jacques Patrick, starting in place of Cook, ran for 162 yards and three touchdowns.
Eric Dungey had two touchdowns for Syracuse (3-5, 1-3). The Orange have lost five straight.
NO. 18 HOUSTON 34, VANDERBILT 0
HOUSTON - Greg Ward Jr. threw a touchdown pass and ran for a score to help Houston reach 8-0 for the fourth time in school history and first time since 2011.
Houston forced four turnovers in its first shutout since a 34-0 victory over SMU on Nov. 29, 2013.
Ward finished 15 of 23 for 221 yards. He had a 5-yard scoring run in the first quarter, and threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Demarcus Ayers in the second.
The Commodores dropped to 3-5.
NO. 19 MISSISSIPPI 27, AUBURN 19
AUBURN, Ala. - Laquon Treadwell caught a 21-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter and Mississippi beat Auburn to kept its Southeastern Conference title hopes alive.
Chad Kelly hit Treadwell in the end zone with just over 10 minutes left for the Rebels (7-2, 4-1). Kelly completed 33 of 51 passes for 381 yards with two touchdowns and a pair of interceptions.
Auburn (4-4, 1-4) dropped its second straight after losing to Arkansas in four overtimes.
NO. 24 UCLA 35, COLORADO 31
PASADENA, Calif. - Soso Jamabo rushed for the go-ahead touchdown with 8:28 to play, and UCLA blew an 18-point lead before escaping the Rose Bowl with a victory over Colorado.
Josh Rosen passed for 262 yards and a touchdown for the Bruins (6-2, 3-2 Pac-12), who avoided an embarrassing loss despite giving up 18 consecutive points in the second half and yielding 554 total yards to the Buffaloes (4-5, 1-4).
Patrick Carr rushed for 110 yards, and his TD run put Colorado ahead with 12:04 to play. The Bruins answered with Jamabo's score before stopping the Buffaloes twice in UCLA territory.
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