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 on 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 will face No. 15 Kansas State in the Big 12 championship game 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.
NO. 5 SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA 38, NO. 13 NOTRE DAME 27
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Caleb Willams polished his Heisman Trophy credentials with 232 yards passing and four total touchdowns, and Southern California capped its outstanding regular season under coach Lincoln Riley by staying firmly in the College Football Playoff race.
Tahj Washington caught an early TD pass from Williams while USC (11-1, No. 6 CFP) snapped its four-game losing streak in its famed intersectional rivalry with the Fighting Irish (8-4, No. 15 CFP).
Although USC is headed to Pac-12 title game against Utah in Las Vegas on Friday, the revitalized Trojans first kept their CFP hopes intact with this victory — and even got a boost from LSU’s loss to Texas A&M during this game. USC became the first team to gain 400 yards and to score more than 32 points this season against the Irish while completing its first 11-win regular season since 2008.
Drew Pyne passed for 318 yards and hit Michael Mayer for two of his three TDs for the Irish, whose five-game winning streak ended in their regular-season finale under new coach Marcus Freeman.
TEXAS A&M 38, NO. 6 LSU 23
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) — Devon Achane had a career-best 215 yards rushing with two touchdowns, and Texas A&M stunned LSU, all but certainly knocking the Tigers out of contention for the College Football Playoff.
Conner Weigman threw two TD passes for the Aggies (5-7, 2-6 Southeastern Conference) and Demani Richardson returned a fumble for a score. The game was tied at 17-all in the third quarter before A&M scored 21 straight points.
LSU (9-3, 6-2, No. 5 CFP) had already secured a spot in next week’s SEC title game against unbeaten No. 1 Georgia, and a win there could have put the Tigers in the playoff. But with three losses, even beating the Bulldogs likely won’t be enough.
Achane ran for 119 yards and a score before halftime to help A&M to a 17-10 lead.
Jayden Daniels threw for 189 yards and ran for 84 more and John Emery had three touchdowns for the Tigers, who lost their first game since falling 40-13 at home to Tennessee on Oct. 8.
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. 9 TENNESSEE 56, VANDERBILT 0
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Jaylen Wright ran for 160 yards and two touchdowns on five carries, with Jabari Small running for two more scores as Tennessee ran for six TDs and routed in-state rival Vanderbilt.
The Volunteers (10-2, 6-2 Southeastern Conference ) rebounded from losing two of their last three games to clinch their first 10-win regular season since 2003, and first overall since 2007. The losses had dropped the Vols from first in the inaugural College Football Playoff ranking to 10th.
Tennessee won its fourth straight. Wright scored on runs of 50 and 83 yards, while Small ran for a 48-yarder. Dylan Sampson added an 80-yarder in the fourth. The Vols ran for more yards (362) than Vanderbilt managed in total offense (254).
Vanderbilt (5-7, 2-6) missed becoming bowl eligible in coach Clark Lea’s second season. The Commodores’ had their a two-game SEC winning streak snapped. That streak ended a 26-game league skid that started in 2019. They also more than doubled their two-win total of last year.
Joe Milton got his first start of the season and third since transferring from Michigan last year. He finished with 147 yards passing for his most at Tennessee with his only TD a 7-yarder to Walker Merrill in the third.
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.
Oregon (9-3, 7-2 Pac-12, No. 9 CFP) missed out on a spot in the Pac-12 championship game when No. 12 Washington beat Washington State later Saturday. No. 14 Utah won a tiebreaker and will face No. 5 Southern California on Friday for the league title.
The Beavers (9-3, 6-3, No 21 CFP) trailed 31-10 late in the third quarter and 34-17 early in the fourth, but the Ducks 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.
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. Gulbranson was just 6 of 13 for 60 yards 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. 12 WASHINGTON 55, WASHINGTON STATE 33
PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) — Michael Penix Jr. threw for 485 yards and had five total touchdowns and Washington reclaimed the Apple Cup with a wild victory over Washington State.
A year after the Huskies watched the Cougars celebrate snapping a seven-game losing streak on the turf of Husky Stadium, Washington kept alive its hopes for a New Year’s Six bowl game thanks to its standout quarterback and a handful of defensive stops in the second half.
Washington (10-2, 7-2 Pac-12, No. 13 CFP) outscored the Cougars (7-5, 4-5) 23-6 in the second half after a dizzying first half that featured 55 combined points, 630 combined yards of offense and a 28-27 lead for the Huskies at the break.
Rome Odunze had a 5-yard touchdown run in the opening moments of the fourth quarter. Peyton Henry kicked a 20-yard field goal with 5:02 left, and Wayne Taulapapa provided the capper with a 40-yard TD run with 1:28 left.
The Huskies finished with 703 yards of offense against a Washington State defense that led the Pac-12 in scoring defense at under 20 points per game. The 84 combined points were the most in the 114 matchups between the rivals.
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 and got a spot in 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 storming back to beat 10th-ranked Oregon.
The last component to go their way happened when No. 12 Washington won at Washington State. That created a three-way tie between the Utes, Ducks and Huskies. Utah’s league opponents had the highest combined winning percentage in conference games and gave the Utes the final spot. They will play No. 5 USC next Friday 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.
NO. 15 KANSAS STATE 47, KANSAS 27
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Will Howard threw for 213 yards and two touchdowns, Deuce Vaughn ran for 147 yards and a score, and Kansas State beat Kansas to earn a shot at payback against TCU in the Big 12 championship game.
Malik Knowles added a pair of touchdown runs, and Philip Brooks and Sammy Wheeler also reached the end zone, as the Wildcats (9-3, 7-2, No. 12 CFP) beat their biggest rival for the 14th straight time in a game they needed to win.
Kansas State blew a 28-10 lead and lost 38-28 to the Horned Frogs during the regular season. Now, they’ll face each other again on Dec. 3 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, with a College Football Playoff spot likely on the line for TCU.
Jalon Daniels threw for 168 yards while running for a touchdown, and Devin Neal also had two TD runs, as the Jayhawks — bowl-bound for the first time since 2008 — finished the regular season by losing six of their final seven games.
Kansas (6-6, 3-6) made enough mistakes in the first quarter alone Saturday night to fill an entire game.
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.
NO. 25 UCF 46, SOUTH FLORIDA 39
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Alec Holler made a leaping, one-handed catch for a touchdown on a 14-yard pass from Mikey Keene with 20 seconds remaining to lead UCF past South Florida for a spot in the American Athletic Conference championship game.
Keene completed a 41-yard pass to Javon Baker for a first down at the South Florida 29. Keene added a 10-yard run on a keeper to get the ball to the Bulls’ 15 and set up Holler’s leaping, twisting game-winning grab for UCF (9-3, 6-2 AAC).
South Florida (1-11, 0-8) got the ball to the UCF 32, but the Bulls’ last-ditch attempt went out of the end zone.
UCF will play at No. 19 Tulane (10-2, 7-1) in the AAC title game on Saturday.
UCF starting quarterback John Rhys Plumlee had eight carries for 133 yards and a touchdown before he left the game with a pulled hamstring. He was also 9-for-9 passing for 73 yards and a touchdown.
Bynum Brown threw for 140 yards and rushed for 109 and a touchdown. Brian Battie rushed for 144 yards and two touchdowns for the Bulls.
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