College football roundup: Minnesota upsets Penn State in battle of unbeatens
Minnesota’s Jordan Howden picked off Sean Clifford in the end zone with 1:01 left, the third interception thrown by Penn State’s quarterback, and the 13th-ranked Gophers held on for a 31-26 victory on Saturday afternoon over the fifth-ranked Nittany Lions for their first win over a top-five team in 20 years.
Tanner Morgan passed for 339 yards and three touchdowns to direct a dismantling of Penn State’s staunch defense, as Minnesota (9-0, 6-0, No. 17 CFP) not only remained undefeated but stayed on track for its first trip to the Big Ten championship game.
The first sellout crowd for the Gophers at home in four years swarmed the field after the clock ran out, reveling in the biggest step forward yet under coach P.J. Fleck in his third season. The Gophers scrambled the College Football Playoff picture, too, after Penn State (8-1, 5-1, No. 4 CFP) emerged with a top-four spot in the first edition of the rankings.
Rashod Bateman got the Gophers going with a 66-yard score on their first possession and finished with seven catches for 203 yards, the second-most in program history. Tyler Johnson had seven receptions for 104 yards and a touchdown, too, as Minnesota made enough early gains to hold up during the late rally by Penn State.
Journey Brown’s second rushing touchdown of the game with 3:49 to go cut the lead to five points, and the Gophers promptly went three and out. K.J. Hamler muffed the punt when a teammate backed into him, and though the Nittany Lions recovered, they were pushed back to their 28-yard line.
Joe Burrow passed for 393 yards and three touchdowns and No. 2 LSU snapped an eight-game losing streak to No. 3 Alabama with a 46-41 victory on Saturday.
Clifford, who went 23 for 43 for 340 yards and one score, connected with Jahan Dotson for 49 yards to get Penn State to the 11. Two plays later, however, came the drive killer for Penn State. Daniel George was called for offensive pass interference during an over-the-middle catch by Brown that reached the 2. Clifford, who was off target for most of the day, overthrew George on the next play before the game-sealing pick by Howden. Clifford, who came into the game leading the Big Ten in total offense, had only three interceptions over the first eight games.
Antoine Winfield Jr. had the first two picks in the first half, matching the FBS lead and setting the all-time Minnesota record with seven on the season. Both were inside the 10-yard line.
JORDAN HOWDEN FOR THE WIN 🙌🙌🙌🙌 pic.twitter.com/S4Ur9ymhT2— Minnesota Football (@GopherFootball) November 9, 2019
No. 12 Baylor 29, Texas Christian 23 (overtime)
Denzel Mims made a leaping 4-yard touchdown catch in the third overtime for Baylor, capping another comeback win for the Bears and keeping them undefeated with a win over TCU at Fort Worth, Texas.
Charlie Brewer also threw a 20-yard TD pass to Mims on fourth down in the second overtime to extend the game. Brewer had a 3-yard TD run in the first overtime.
The Bears (9-0, 6-0 Big 12) finally had the win on Grayland Arnold’s game-ending interception of Max Duggan’s fourth-down pass in the end zone. That came six plays, and a facemask penalty that put the ball at the 1, after Duggan’s scramble and spinning move along the sideline on what was initially ruled a 20-yard touchdown before replay review showed he stepped out at the 3.
Baylor forced overtime when John Mayers kicked a 51-yard field goal with 36 seconds left in regulation. The ball just cleared the crossbar to tie the game at 9-9.
This is the seventh time in two seasons that Baylor has won after a fourth-quarter comeback. This was the fourth this season — all in Big 12 games. They Bears have won 11 games in a row since losing to TCU last November.
All the scoring in regulation came on six field goals. The teams combined for five touchdowns in overtime.
TCU (4-5, 2-4) led 9-0 after Jonathan Song had field goals at the end of the first half. He kicked a 37-yarder with 29 seconds in the first half left before TCU squib kicked and the ball bounced off Baylor freshman linebacker Trystan Slinker. Derius Davis recovered at the Baylor 24, setting up Song’s 31-yard kick on the last play.
No. 9 Oklahoma 42, Iowa State 41
Parnell Motley intercepted Brock Purdy’s two-point conversion pass with 24 seconds left to help the Sooners hold off the upset-minded Cyclones.
Iowa State coach Matt Campbell went for the victory on the two-point try after Charlie Kolar caught a 13-yard touchdown pass to pull Iowa State — down 42-21 in the second half — to within one.
Jalen Hurts passed for 273 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 68 yards and two more scores for the Sooners (8-1, 5-1 Big 12). CeeDee Lamb had 167 yards and two touchdowns receiving and Kennedy Brooks ran for a season-high 132 yards to help Oklahoma bounce back from a loss to Kansas State two weeks ago.
Oklahoma extended its November winning streak to 18 games and set up a showdown at league-leading Baylor next week.
Purdy passed for 282 yards and five touchdowns and Breece Hall rushed for 110 yards for the Cyclones (5-4, 3-3)
No. 1 Ohio State 73, Maryland 14
Justin Fields threw for three touchdowns and ran for another in the first half Saturday, and Ohio State hardly missed suspended defensive star Chase Young in a romp over Maryland at Columbus, Ohio.
A team that gave the Buckeyes (9-0, 6-0 Big Ten, CFP No. 1) headaches last season was no trouble this time, even without the fierce pass rushing of Young. The preseason All-American was suspended Friday while Ohio State investigates a possible NCAA violation involving a loan.
J.K. Dobbins rushed for 90 yards and two touchdowns as the Buckeyes built a 42-0 halftime lead and the backups added to it in the second half.
Fields tossed touchdown passes to Binjimen Victor, K.J. Hill and Chris Olave before taking a seat in the second half. His backup, Chris Chugunov threw another one in the third quarter. Ohio State piled up 705 yards of offense and 40 first downs.
No. 5 Clemson 55, North Carolina State 10
Trevor Lawrence threw for two scores and ran for another in a dominating first quarter and Clemson routed North Carolina State to wrap a trip to Atlantic Coast Conference title game.
The reigning national champion Tigers learned this week that they were on the outside looking in for the first rankings for the four-team College Football Playoff. Yet coach Dabo Swinney had said the Tigers (10-0, 7-0, No. 5 CFP) were in a “good spot” and needed to focus instead on finishing strong.
Starting that way was enough against the Wolfpack (4-5, 1-4) as Clemson extended its school-record winning streak to 25 games. By halftime, Clemson led 42-0.
That first half was highlighted by 6-foot-4, 330-pound left guard John Simpson taking a goal-line handoff and plowing in for a 1-yard touchdown. Near the end of the game, Clemson added a 1-yard scoring run with 11 seconds left before letting linebacker James Skalski unsuccessfully kick the extra point.
No. 6 Georgia 27, Missouri 0
Jake Fromm threw two touchdown passes to George Pickens and No. 6 Georgia posted its third shutout, dominating a Missouri offense missing two of its biggest playmakers in a 27-0 victory Saturday night.
Georgia (8-1, 5-1 Southeastern Conference, No. 6 College Football Playoff) moved closer to its third straight berth in the SEC championship game. The Bulldogs can clinch the SEC East by beating No. 12 Auburn next week.
Missouri (5-4, 2-3) fell to 0-4 in road games with its third straight loss. Quarterback Kelly Bryant and leading receiver Johnathon Johnson did not play.
Fromm capped Georgia’s opening drive with a 25-yard scoring pass to Pickens. The freshman also made a leaping grab for an 18-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter.
The Bulldogs bolstered their claim as the league’s top defense. Georgia leads the SEC in total defense and scoring defense.
No. 10 Florida 56, Vanderbilt 0
Kyle Trask threw for a career-high 363 yards and three touchdowns — the best passing performance by a Florida quarterback since Tim Tebow’s college finale — and the 10th-ranked Gators overcame a lackluster start to thump visiting Vanderbilt.
Florida (8-2, 5-2 Southeastern Conference) was sluggish early, failing to convert a fourth down on the opening possession against the league’s worst defense, missing a field goal and throwing two interceptions. It looked like another version of the ''Cocktail Party Hangover,’' which seems to happen every year after losing to rival Georgia in the game dubbed the ''World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.’'
But the Gators responded with their most dominant quarter of the season, turning a 14-0 lead into a laugher in the Swamp. It ended with a sixth consecutive victory against the Commodores (2-7, 1-5) and 28th in the last 29 years.
Trask completed 25 of 37 passes and ran for a score before giving way to Emory Jones. Trask’s yardage was the most by a Florida quarterback since Tebow threw for 482 yards in the 2010 Sugar Bowl against Cincinnati.
No. 13 Wisconsin 24, No. 18 Iowa 22
Jonathan Taylor rushed for a season-high 250 yards and Danny Davis ran for a touchdown and caught another as No. 13 Wisconsin outlasted No. 18 Iowa 24-22 on Saturday.
Taylor became the first running back this season to rush for more than 100 yards against Iowa, as Wisconsin (7-2, 4-2 Big Ten, No. 13 College Football Playoff) held on to the Heartland Trophy, given each year to the winner of this game. The Badgers have beaten Iowa four straight times.
Taylor’s 250 yards on 31 carries are the most ever by a Wisconsin player against Iowa, surpassing the previous high of 216 by Ron Dayne in 1999.
Quintez Cephus caught five passes for 94 yards and his fourth touchdown of the season to help Wisconsin stay in contention for the Big Ten West crown.
Davis’ two scores - a 17-yard run and a 4-yard reception - helped the Badgers take a 14-6 lead at halftime.
After a 27-yard touchdown to Cephus from Jack Coan made it 21-6 at the end of the third quarter, the Hawkeyes (6-3, 3-3, No. 18 CFP) outscored the Badgers 16-3 in the fourth but couldn’t come all the way back. Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley was stopped short of the goal line on a potential game-tying two-point conversion attempt with 3:12 remaining.
No. 15 Notre Dame 38, Duke 7
Ian Book rushed for a career-best 139 yards and threw four touchdown passes and No. 15 Notre Dame routed Duke 38-7 on Saturday night.
Book finished 18 of 32 for 181 yards passing, Chris Finke caught touchdown passes of 18 and 6 yards, and Chase Claypool and George Takacs also had short scoring catches.
C’Bo Flemister rushed 2 yards for a TD for the Fighting Irish (7-2, No. 15 CFP). In winning their second straight and fifth in six games, they rolled up 469 total yards, led 21-0 before the Blue Devils picked up their second first down and kept them at bay the rest of the way.
Book became the first Notre Dame quarterback with 100 yards both rushing and passing since Brandon Wimbush did it two years ago against Wake Forest.
Quentin Harris was 16 of 28 for 102 yards for Duke (4-5) with a 29-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Young late in the second quarter. The Blue Devils have lost three straight and four of five since starting 3-1.
No. 20 Cincinnati 48, Connecticut 3
Desmond Ridder threw for a pair of touchdowns and Michael Warren II ran for two more scores during a dominant opening half, and host Cincinnati remained the only unbeaten team in American Athletic play.
The Bearcats (8-1, 5-0) retained the inside track for the conference title by ending their recent trend of slow starts. They led 38-0 at halftime against the conference’s lowliest team.
UConn (2-8, 0-6) had two players ejected while losing its 17th straight conference game. The Huskies have dropped 24 of their last 25 against FBS teams. They fell to 0-9 at Nippert Stadium.
Texas 27, No. 16 Kansas State 24
Cameron Dicker kicked a 26-yard field goal as time expired to lift host Texas past Kansas State as the Longhorns maintained their hopes of returning to the Big 12 championship game.
Dicker has won games on the final play twice this season. His 33-yarder to beat Kansas on Oct. 19 capped a wild 50-48 finish.
Texas (6-3, 4-2) had lost two of its previous three games. The victory over the Wildcats (6-3, 3-3, No. 16 College Football Playoff) made the Longhorns bowl-eligible and kept them in the hunt for a berth in the league championship with three games left.
USC jumped out to a massive lead before penalties and mistakes opened the door for Arizona State, but the Trojans held on for a 31-26 victory.
Keaontay Ingram rushed for 139 yards and two second-half touchdowns for the Longhorns. Kansas State rallied to tie it on Joshua Youngblood’s 98-yard kickoff return and Blake Lynch’s 45-yard field goal.
Virginia Tech 36, No. 19 Wake Forest 17
Hendon Hooker accounted for 311 yards of total offense and ran for a touchdown to help host Virginia Tech beat Wake Forest.
The Hokies (6-3, 3-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) overcame a 0-6 halftime deficit, scoring 30 second-half points to beat a ranked team for the first time since last year at then-No. 22 Duke.
Deshawn McClease scored touchdowns on back-to-back possessions in the third quarter. His 6-yard touchdown run with 7:02 remaining in the quarter gave the Hokies a 20-17 lead. He had 59 of the Hokies’ 228 yards rushing. Hooker completed 15 of 23 for 242 yards and rushed for 69 yards.
Jamie Newman completed 16 of 35 passes for 238 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions for Wake Forest (7-2, 3-2). Kendall Hinton caught eight passes for 162 yards.
No. 25 Southern Methodist 59, East Carolina 51
Shane Buechele threw five touchdown passes, Xavier Jones broke one of Eric Dickerson’s school records and SMU bounced back from a first loss that dramatically changed the course of its season, outscoring East Carolina in Dallas.
The Mustangs (9-1, 5-1 American Athletic) played from ahead and kept it that way in a second straight game with more than 1,000 combined yards. SMU had fallen behind and failed to close the gap last week in a 54-48 loss to No. 19 Memphis.
Kylen Granson caught three touchdowns, including a 31-yarder on fourth-and-20 with SMU leading 45-44 midway through the fourth quarter. Granson had 138 yards on seven receptions, while James Proche finished with 14 catches for 167 yards.
On the ensuing kickoff, East Carolina’s Jsi Hatfield couldn’t pick up the loose ball around his 15-yard line and SMU recovered. That led to Proche’s second touchdown catch.
Go beyond the scoreboard
Get the latest on L.A.'s teams in the daily Sports Report newsletter.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.