Published on 27 Nov 2022 7:11 pm (UK Time)
The final week of the regular season in College Football is rivalry week, whereas the name states, teams face their rivals. There was a lot up for grabs with potential bowl game eligibility and conference championships on the line. So, what happened?
#3 Michigan @ #2 Ohio State
The Game. The Michigan Wolverines against the Ohio State Buckeyes. One of the biggest rivalries in college sports. This year, the game was even more significant. Both teams came into this game with unbeaten 11-0 records. Both teams are currently in the College Football Playoffs, with Michigan ranked number 3, and Ohio State ranked number 2. Everything was on the line.
The opening score of the game came from the Buckeyes on the game’s opening drive. A 4-yard pass from Ohio State quarterback C.J Stroud, caught by Emeka Egbuka found the endzone. The Wolverines would quickly respond with a decent drive of their own. However, this stalled at the Buckeyes’ 31-yard line, resulting in a 49-yard field goal. The Buckeyes would hit a 32-yard field goal of their own in response. 3 drives, and 3 scores so far.
Then, the scoring stopped. Michigan struggled to move the ball, and while Ohio State could, their drives stalled. In the middle of the second quarter, it would be the Wolverines who broke the streak of non-scoring. Michigan quarterback J.J McCarthy threw a 69-yard touchdown pass to Cornelius Johnson to tie the scores at 10-10. The tie would only exist for about 2 minutes, as on their next drive, Ohio State would score a 47-yard field goal to retake the lead.
The lead lasted one play. Another long touchdown pass (75 yards) from McCarthy to Johnson gave Michigan a 4-point lead. Which did not last long, as a 42-yard pass from C.J Stroud to Marvin Harrison Jr went for a touchdown, to give Ohio State a 3-point lead. The rest of the drives before halftime all ended in punts, meaning that the Ohio State Buckeyes lead the Michigan Wolverines by 20-17 at halftime.
The Wolverines had a flying start to the second half. On their opening possession, J.J McCarthy paired up with Colston Loveland for a 45-yard touchdown. A few drives later, McCarthy would score a rushing touchdown for himself, to give Michigan a 31-20 lead.
Ohio State would finally score in the second half during the fourth quarter through a 27-yard field goal to bring the difference to 8 points. However, on the next play, Wolverines running back Donovan Edwards would rush for a 75-yard touchdown. C.J. Stroud would be intercepted by the Michigan defense in the Wolverines’ red zone. The resulting possession would result in another long rushing touchdown from Donovan Edwards. To add further insult, Stroud would be intercepted again, killing all hope for Ohio State.
The Michigan Wolverines had beaten the Ohio State Buckeyes 45-23. With this win, Michigan go undefeated on the season with a 12-0 record and will play Purdue in the Big 10 Championship game next week. As for Ohio State, they end their season 11-1, and will have to wait until Selection Sunday to see if their College Football Playoff bid is successful.
#15 Notre Dame @ #6 USC
The number 6 ranked USC Trojans are very close to the College Football Playoffs. I do think that it is unlikely that they will make the playoffs, but they can still win the PAC-12. Their opponent for this game was the number 15 Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
USC would have the opening possession and would have the opening score of the game. An 11-yard pass from Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams to Tahj Washington gave them the lead. The lead would be increased on their next drive, as the Trojans scored a 31-yard field goal.
The Fighting Irish would finally create some offense near the end of the second quarter. A good drive ended in a 22-yard touchdown pass from Drew Payne which was caught by Michael Mayer. USC quickly responded with a score of its own. A 5-yard rushing touchdown from Caleb Williams gave the Trojans a 17-10 lead at halftime.
Notre Dame would open the second half with a fumble, that was recovered by the Trojans. USC took full advantage of this and scored another rushing touchdown to increase their lead. Notre Dame struck back on their next drive. Pyne threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Deion Colzie. But, as we have seen in this game before, USC struck back quickly, through another rushing touchdown from Caleb Williams, to give the Trojans a 17-point lead.
The 17-point lead was reduced to 10 points on the next Notre Dame dive. A 5-yard rushing touchdown by Logan Diggs kept the fighting Irish in contention for the win. This did not last, as quarterback Drew Pyne was intercepted in his own territory. The subsequent drive ended in another Caleb Williams rushing touchdown. While Notre Dame did score another touchdown before time ran out, it was not enough as the USC Trojans had beaten the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 28-27.
With this win, USC improves to 11-1, and books their place in the PAC-12 Championship game next week against Utah.
#9 Oregon @ #22 Oregon State
The number 9 ranked Oregon Ducks have been fairly consistent all season. If they were not a 2 loss team, I would put them in contention for the College Football Playoffs. In their last game of the regular season, they faced intra-state rivals in the number 22 ranked Oregon State Beavers.
The Beavers had the opening possession. It was not a great drive but gave them the lead through a 50-yard field goal. The Beavers were lucky to lead. The lead did not last long. On their opening drive, Ducks quarterback Bo Nix threw a 44-yard pass that was caught by Chase Cota and found the endzone. Then, the Beavers’ next drive took them right up to the 1-yard line of the Ducks. On 4th and goal, Beavers quarterback Ben Gulbranson scored a 1-yard rushing touchdown to return the lead to the Beavers.
We would then see both teams struggle on offense. In the next 6 drives, 3 of them would end in a turnover on downs, and Ben Gulbranson would be intercepted. It would be the Ducks who would end this period just before halftime, as Nix would again find Cota for a 7-yard touchdown to give the Oregon Ducks a 14-10 lead at halftime.
The Ducks would add to this lead early in the second half. Taking advantage of an extremely generous field position caused by another Beavers intercepted, Jordan James ran the ball in for a two-yard touchdown. The Ducks would score again on their next drive through a 5-yard run from Noah Whittington. Oregon State would fumble and lose their next possession, resulting in a 42-yard Ducks field goal to give them a 31-10 lead.
Then, everything changed. Deshaun Fenwick scored a 4-yard touchdown for the Beavers to reduce the gap. Another Ducks field goal would follow. Then, the Beavers would score 3 rushing touchdowns on their next 3 drives to not only give them the lead but complete an unlikely comeback against their rivals. As time ran out, the Oregon State Beavers had beaten the Oregon Ducks 38-34. This result gives both teams a 9-3 record on the season, which means they are very likely to make a bowl game this year.
What happened to the other ranked teams?
Georgia Tech @ #1 Georgia
The number 1 ranked Georgia Bulldogs are favorites to be national champions this year. Having an undefeated season helps. After a very slow start where the Bulldogs were behind for most of the first quarter against Georgi Tech, the bulldogs dominated the rest of the game, to give them a 37-14 win, an undefeated season, and a place in the SEC Championship game next week against the LSU Tigers
Iowa State @ #4 TCU
The number 4 ranked TCU Horned Frogs is another undefeated team going into the final week. They dominated against the Iowa Stare Hurricanes, with quarterback Max Duggan scoring 3 touchdowns in their 62-14 win. With this win and Ohio State’s loss, TCU should be number 3 in the College Football Playoffs.
#5 LSU @ Texas A&M
In a couple of years’ time, due to the Texas Longhorns’ move to the SEC, Texas A&M will finally play their rivals. For now, they’ll have to play the number 5 ranked LSU Tigers. It was a close game up until the fourth quarter, where the Aggies dominated, to record a surprise 38-23 victory. The silver lining for LSU is that they will play in the SEC Championship next week
Auburn @ #7 Alabama
It has not been a great year for the number 7 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide. They will not win the SEC this year, they will not even make the College Football Playoffs. What they did do was win against Auburn. Bama quarterback Bryce Young scored 3 touchdowns and threw for 343 yards in their 49-27 victory.
South Carolina #8 Clemson
A couple of weeks ago, the number 8 ranked Clemson Tigers were controversially in the top 4. They did not deserve it then, and definitely do not deserve the top 10 now. Their game against the South Carolina Gamecocks was very close. In a game like this, the Tigers should win. But a 35-yard field goal from Gamecocks kicker Mitch Jeter gave them a 31-30 victory over the Clemson Tigers. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
#10 Tennessee @ Vanderbilt
The Tennesse Volunteers. Only a few weeks ago, the best team in the country, and my pick for the national champion. I’d like to apologize for my deludedness, as Tennesse is now ranked number 10, and are completely out of contention. They faced Vanderbilt, who can leave this season saying that they have beaten another SEC team in a game of football for the first time since 2019. Surprisingly nobody, Tennessee won, and Vanderbilt did not even put a point on the board. 56-0.
Michigan State @ #11 Penn State
Penn State quarterback Sam Clifford had another great day, scoring 4 touchdowns as the number 11 ranked Nittany Lions beat the Michigan State Spartans 35-16
Kansas @ #12 Kansas State
In terms of the Big 12 championship game, this game was important. As Texas beat Baylor the day before this game, Kansas State knew that if they lost against Kansas, it would be the Longhorns facing TCU for the Big 12 title. The Bearcats dominated against the Jayhawks, giving the number 12 ranked Kansas State a 47-27 victory, and a place in the Big 12 championship game.
#13 Washington @ Washington State
The number 13 ranked Wahington Huskies faced their rivals in the Washington Stae Wildcats. Huskies quarterback Michael Fenix jr scored 3 touchdowns and threw for 485 yards, as the Huskies won 51-33, and record a 10-win season.
#14 Utah @ Colorado
The number 14 ranked Utah Utes had an easy game this week against one-win Colorado. Surprising no one, Utah beat them 63-21, booking their place in the PAC-12 championship game against USC next week
Florida @ #16 Florida State
The Battle of Florida. The Gators against the number 16 ranked Florida State Seminoles. It was a back-and-forth game between these two teams, but it would be Flordia State who would have a dominant third quarter, giving them a 45-38 win.
NC State @ #17 North Carolina
For the majority of this game, the number 17 ranked North Carolina Tar Heels and NC State Wolfpack were matching each other’s performance. If one team did something, a few minutes later, the other would do the same thing. It took 2 periods of overtime field goals to spilt these two, the NC State being victorious, recording a 30-27 win over ranked opposition.
#18 UCLA @ California
The number 18 ranked UCLA Bruins began the season strongly, being 6-0, and recently had an 8-1 record. Then, they lost their last two games, and here we are. While California quarterback Jack Plummer scored 4 touchdowns and threw for 294 yards, as UCLA held on to win 35-28.
#19 Tulane @ #24 Cincinnati
The number 19 ranked Tulane Green Wave had to win against the number 24 ranked Cincinnati Bearcats for them to host the AAC Championship. In a close game, the Green Wave edged the Bearcats 27-24, to set up the AAC Championship game against UCF in New Orleans.
Mississippi State @ #20 Ole Miss
What has gone wrong for the number 20 ranked Ole Miss Rebels? Even since they lost against LSU all those weeks ago, they have struggled. The struggle continued this week against the Mississippi State Bulldogs, who had a fourth-quarter surge to beat Ole Miss 24-20.
#22 UCF @ South Florida
In another battle of Florida, the number 22 ranked UCF Trojans played the one-win South Florida Bulls. For a moment, it was looking like South Florida would record a massive upset. But the upset never happened, as UCF won 46-39, to make the AAC Championship game against Tulane.
Baylor @ #23 Texas
While not the traditional rival of the Texas Longhorns, the Baylor Bears faced the Longhorns in Austin. For a while, an upset may have been on the cards for the Waco-based team, who lead 19-17 at halftime. But, two touchdowns from Roschon Johnson and Bijan Robinson gave the Longhorns a 28-27 win.
#25 Louisville @ Kentucky
The number 25 ranked Louisville Cardinals played the Kentucky Wildcats in their last game of the regular season. Kentucky scored first, and never lost the lead, as the Wildcats recorded a 26-13 win over Louisville.