Curtis Samuel swept in for a 15-yard touchdown after Ohio State barely converted a fourth-and-one play, and the second-ranked Buckeyes beat No. 3 Michigan, 30-27, in double overtime Saturday in Columbus, Ohio, to win one of the greatest games in the history of one of college football’s greatest rivalries.
Facing fourth and one from the 16, Ohio State Coach Urban Meyer decided not to kick a potential game-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.
“That was not a first down,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said. “I’m bitterly disappointed with the officiating today.”
On the next play, Samuel, who had made a swerving, change-of-direction run to set up the fourth-and-one play, found a lane and raced into the end zone to win it.
The scarlet-clad crowd soon covered the field. The first game to go to overtime in the 113-game history of the rivalry likely eliminated Michigan from the playoff race and could have locked up a spot for the Buckeyes.
The Buckeyes (11-1, 8-1 in Big Ten Conference), though, will not play for the Big Ten title after Penn State clinched the East title with a win Saturday. Still, Ohio State added to a resume that already was impressing the College Football Playoff selection committee.
Michigan (10-2, 7-2) could end up in the Rose Bowl, but the biggest prizes are still eluding the Wolverines in their second year under Coach Jim Harbaugh, who dropped to 0-2 against Meyer and the Buckeyes. Michigan has not won the Big Ten since 2004.
at No. 1 Alabama 30, No. 15 Auburn 12
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) 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) 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.
at No. 4 Clemson 56, South Carolina 7: 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) 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.
at No. 6 Wisconsin 31, Minnesota 17
Corey Clement ran for two fourth-quarter touchdowns, a big-play defense pitched a second-half shutout, and the Badgers earned their 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 Te) 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).
at No. 7 Penn State 45, Michigan State 12
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.
Penn State (10-2, 8-1 Big Ten) edged No. 2 Ohio State for the division 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.
Michael Geiger kicked four field goals for the Spartans (3-9, 1-8).
Kentucky 41, No. 11 Louisville 38: Austin MacGinnis’ 47-yard field goal with 12 seconds gave the Wildcats the upset as they won the Governor’s Cup for the first time since 2010.
Jackson’s desperation heave from deep in Louisville territory was intercepted by Mike Edwards, his second of the game, to spark a wild celebration among the Wildcats and their fans. Jackson likely could have wrapped up the Heisman with his record-setting day, but a second-consecutive loss might impact the race.
Jackson tallied his school-record eighth 100-yard rushing game and broke the Louisville mark for rushing yards. His four touchdowns also broke the Atlantic Coast Conference single-season record (51), but the Cardinals (9-3) were left with their second consecutive loss.
at No. 15 Florida State 31, No. 14 Florida 13
Dalvin Cook rushed for 153 yards and a touchdown and the Seminoles beat the Gators 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).
The Seminoles (9-3) 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, at Iowa State 19
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 four-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).
No. 25 Navy 75, at Southern Methodist 31: Will Worth accounted for four touchdowns while becoming the first Midshipman quarterback with more than 100 yards rushing and 100 yards passing in three consecutive games.
Worth ran 15 times for 107 yards and three touchdowns, increasing his FBS-leading total to 25 rushing scores while playing only three quarters. The senior was five-of-seven passing for 104 yards and the go-ahead TD just before halftime.
The Midshipmen (9-2, 7-1 AAC), who had already clinched the West Division title, had a season-high 496 yards rushing and their most points since scoring 76 against East Carolina in 2010. They have consecutive 60-point games for the first time since 1917. They will play USF or Temple next Saturday in the American Athletic Conference championship game.
SMU (5-7, 3-5) missed a chance to become bowl eligible in its regular-season finale amid rumors coach Chad Morris is a candidate to become Baylor’s new coach. The Mustangs are 7-17 in two seasons under Morris, who took over after a 1-11 season.
at Pittsburgh 76, Syracuse 61: Nate Peterman threw for 251 yards and four touchdowns and ran for another to lead the Panthers to a wild win over the Orange.
James Conner ran for 115 yards and two touchdowns and caught a 35-yard pass for a score to extend his ACC career touchdown record to 56. Pittsburgh needed just about every one of them on a day when defenses for both teams put up little resistance.
Eight different Panthers reached the end zone as Pitt (8-4, 5-3 ACC) posted its highest point total since putting up 76 against Temple in 1978. Quadree Henderson rushed for a career-high 103 yards and a touchdown. Jester Weah hauled in a pair of scores and Dontez Ford added a 79-yard catch and run of his own in what amounted to a basketball game in cleats and shoulder pads.
Pitt’s point total was higher than any the Panthers’ hoops team scored in three meetings with the Orange last season, all Pitt victories. It also marked the most ever given up in a game by Syracuse (4-8, 2-6), which has been playing football since 1899.
Georgia Tech 28, at Georgia 27: Qua Searcy leaped into the end zone for a six-yard touchdown with 30 seconds left on what appeared to be a busted play to cap a fourth-quarter comeback.
The Bulldogs built a 27-14 lead and appeared to be in total control after stopping Georgia Tech (8-4) on a fourth-down play near midfield early in the final quarter.
But the Yellow Jackets put together a 94-yard scoring drive to make a game of it, and then came up with a huge turnover when it looked like Georgia (7-5) was prepared to ice the victory. Jacob Eason’s threw an errant pass in the flats that deflected off Terry Godwin and was intercepted by Lance Austin at the Bulldogs 46 with 3:39 remaining.