College football: No. 2 Ohio State beats No. 9 Penn State; No. 1 LSU clinches SEC title game berth
J.K. Dobbins rushed for 157 yards and two touchdowns, and No. 2 Ohio State locked up the Big Ten East Division title Saturday in Columbus, Ohio, surviving its first real test of the season with a 28-17 victory over No. 9 Penn State.
The Buckeyes held on after the Nittany Lions (9-2, 7-2) took advantage of two second-half turnovers to climb back into the game in the third quarter after going down 21-0. This was a far different scenario for Ohio State, which blew out its first 10 opponents.
The Buckeyes (10-0, 8-0 Big Ten), who are also No. 2 in the College Football Playoff rankings, were clinging to a 21-17 lead early in the fourth quarter when Justin Fields threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Chris Olave to create some breathing room.
“We talked about going into a big heavyweight match, and you have to take shots,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said. “One of the things about playing in a game like this is you have to be willing to take punches and you have to not flinch when it happens.”
Ohio State’s defense, with defensive end Chase Young back from a suspension, then shut down two late Penn State drives on fourth down. The last drive included back-to-back sacks of backup quarterback Will Levis by Young and linebacker Baron Browning. The Nittany Lions are No. 8 in the CFP rankings.
Young was back in action after sitting out two games as a penalty for breaking rules by accepting a personal loan. And he was a force, picking up nine tackles, including three sacks. He has 16½ for the season, the most ever by a Buckeye.
Kedon Slovis, the former three-star recruit Helton helped unearth at quarterback, set a school passing record with 515 yards and four touchdowns in a 52-35 win.
Fields fumbled away the ball twice, once as he was crossing the goal line for an apparent touchdown. But he got critical yards on the ground, rushing for 68 yards in 21 carries, and threw beautiful second-half touchdown passes to wide receiver K.J. Hill and Olave.
Dobbins was responsible for both first-half touchdowns, a four-yard plunge in the first quarter and a two-yard plunge on fourth and goal with two minutes left in the half.
Levis, a freshman, finished up Penn State’s first scoring drive in the third quarter — capped by an 18-yard touchdown run by Journey Brown — after Sean Clifford left the game with an injury. Coach James Franklin said Clifford was available to come back in but wasn’t 100%, so he stayed with Levis, who scored on a one-yard run in the third quarter.
“I was a little nervous the first couple plays, but then it all went away and I started having fun and doing my thing,” Levis said.
at No. 1 Louisiana State 56, Arkansas 20: Joe Burrow passed for 327 yards and three touchdowns, Clyde Edwards-Helaire rushed for a career-high 188 yards and three touchdowns, and the Tigers clinched their first trip to the Southeastern Conference championship game since 2011 with a victory over the reeling Razorbacks in Baton Rouge, La.
LSU (11-0, 7-0, No. 1 CFP) can finish no worse than a tie for first with Alabama (10-1, 6-1) and owns the tiebreaker by virtue of the Tigers’ 46-41 triumph in Tuscaloosa on Nov. 9.
Burrow’s first touchdown was a 37-yarder on the game’s first possession to wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, and the two connected on a 50-yarder in the third quarter on which Burrow eclipsed 4,000 yards for the season and Chase increased his single-season LSU record for touchdown catches to 15.
Burrow’s other touchdown toss came on a short crossing route to wide receiver Justin Jefferson, who ran the last few yards of the 10-yard scoring play.
at No. 4 Georgia 19, No. 24 Texas A&M 13: George Pickens scored the Bulldogs’ only touchdown, Rodrigo Blankenship booted four field goals and the defense stymied the Aggies, leading Georgia (10-1, 7-1 SEC, No. 4 CFP) to a lackluster victory in Athens, Ga.
The Bulldogs wrapped up their conference schedule and stayed on course to make a run at the College Football Playoff.
While Georgia struggled offensively, its defense turned in another dominating performance. The Aggies (7-4, 4-3) were held to minus-one yard rushing and 274 yards overall, one week after piling up 319 yards on the ground in a rout of South Carolina.
at No. 5 Alabama 66, Western Carolina 3: Mac Jones passed for 275 yards and three touchdowns in little more than a half, and the Crimson Tide (10-1) began life without Tua Tagovailoa with a romp over the Catamounts (3-9) in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
With Tagovailoa watching much of the game from a cart behind the bench, Alabama treated its injured quarterback to a one-sided show. The Crimson Tide are fifth in the CFP rankings and hoping to somehow make the field despite failing to win the SEC West Division.
This one was about taking care of business five days after Tagovailoa underwent surgery on his right hip.
Alabama forced five turnovers, including safety Xavier McKinney’s 81-yard interception return for a touchdown, and got big plays from Jones and wide receivers DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle. Jones completed 10 of 12 passes with only one attempt after halftime in his second career start.
at No. 8 Oklahoma 28, Texas Christian 24: Jalen Hurts passed for two touchdowns and ran for two more in Norman, Okla., and the Sooners held off the Horned Frogs to clinch a spot in the Big 12 Conference championship game.
Hurts ran for 173 yards and passed for 145. He became the third Oklahoma quarterback to rush for at least 1,000 yards in a season.
Kennedy Brooks added 149 yards rushing for the Sooners (10-1, 7-1, No. 9 CFP), who kept their College Football Playoff hopes alive. Oklahoma won its 20th consecutive November game dating to 2014. The Sooners outgained the Horned Frogs 511 yards to 204 but turned the ball over three times.
Max Duggan rushed for 92 and a touchdown for TCU (5-6, 3-5), which missed a chance to become bowl eligible after a furious comeback to make things interesting late.
Chapman’s playoff victory — a 68-65 triple-overtime triumph over Linfield — was a perfect antidote to the sour aspects of big-time college football.
No. 11 Minnesota 38, at Northwestern 22: Tanner Morgan led the Gophers to scores on their first three possessions and finished with four touchdown passes, and Minnesota (10-1, 7-1 Big Ten, No. 10 CFP) bounced back from its first loss of the season by defeating the Wildcats (2-9, 0-8) in Evanston, Ill.
The Gophers, who lost at Iowa last week, strengthened their grip on first place in the West Division.
Morgan, the Big Ten’s leading passer, came out firing following a week in the concussion protocol after absorbing back-to-back sacks by the Hawkeyes. The redshirt sophomore, listed as questionable until Saturday morning, has thrown 26 touchdown passes this season to set a school record. Morgan threw three touchdown passes to wide receiver Rashod Bateman and one to wideout Tyler Johnson against Northwestern.
No. 12 Michigan 39, at Indiana 14: Shea Patterson threw five touchdown passes and wide receiver Nico Collins scored a career-high three times to lead the Wolverines (9-2, 6-2 Big Ten, No. 13 CFP) to a blowout of the Hoosiers (7-4, 4-4) in Bloomington, Ind.
Michigan has won four straight overall and 24 straight in the series since 1987.
Peyton Ramsey and Stevie Scott III each had a one-yard scoring run for Indiana, but the offense stalled as Patterson started heating up. The Hoosiers have lost two in a row since clinching their first winning season in 12 years.
Patterson finished 20 of 32 for 366 yards with one interception, tied a single-game career high with his scoring passes and now has nine touchdown passes over the last two weeks.
at No. 13 Baylor 24, Texas 10: In Waco, Texas, quarterback Charlie Brewer accounted for 296 yards and two touchdowns as the Bears wrapped up a spot in the Big 12 championship game with a victory over the Longhorns, a week after Baylor missed a chance to do so with its first loss of the season.
The Bears (10-1, 7-1, No. 14 CFP) have their sixth 10-win season and fifth since 2011. This one comes just two years after the school’s only 11-loss season in coach Matt Rhule’s debut when he took over in the aftermath of a sprawling sexual assault scandal that led to two-time Big 12 champion coach Art Briles getting fired 3½ years ago.
Texas (6-5, 4-4) lost for the third time in four games, ending its longshot bid to get back to the Big 12 title game.
At halftime of the Harvard-Yale game, hundreds of students, alumni and faculty from both schools took the field to protest climate change, demanding that the universities divest from fossil fuels.
at No. 14 Wisconsin 45, Purdue 24: Jonathan Taylor rushed for 222 yards — the 12th time he has reached at least 200 in his career — and a touchdown as the Badgers beat the Boilermakers in Madison, Wis.
Wisconsin (9-2, 6-2 Big Ten, No. 12 CFP) extended its winning streak over Purdue to 14 games. Jack Coan completed 15 of 19 passes for 203 yards and two touchdowns against one interception.
The Boilermakers (4-7, 3-5) dropped their seventh straight at Camp Randall Stadium and failed to qualify for a bowl game. Aidan O’Connell finished with a career-high 289 yards passing with two scores.
at No. 15 Notre Dame 40, Boston College 7: Ian Book threw three touchdown passes in South Bend, Ind., and the Fighting Irish (9-2, No. 15 CFP) corralled star running back AJ Dillon of the Eagles (5-6).
The fourth straight victory by Notre Dame completed its second straight unbeaten season (7-0) at Notre Dame Stadium, where the Irish have won 18 in a row. But for the second straight week, the stadium was not filled after a streak of 273 sellouts since 1973. The announced crowd of 71,827 was 5,795 short of capacity.
Dillon, a 250-pound junior who had 1,451 yards entering the game, was held to 56 yards in 14 carries.
at No. 16 Auburn 52, Samford 0: The Tigers held the Bulldogs to 114 yards and forced four turnovers, running back JaTarvious Whitlow scored twice, and Auburn tuned up for the Iron Bowl against Alabama with a rain-drenched rout in Auburn, Ala.
The Tigers (8-3, No. 15 CFP) forced and recovered a fumble on a fourth-and-four play on Samford’s opening drive, had 13 tackles for loss and held the Bulldogs to two for 13 on third down. Samford (5-7) had scored in 213 straight games.
After completing 15 of 23 passes for 150 yards and a score, Auburn quarterback Bo Nix was done for the day early in the third quarter.
at No. 17 Cincinnati 15, Temple 13: Michael Warren II ran 13 yards for a touchdown on a cold, raw night in Cincinnati, Coby Bryant went 98 yards with a blocked extra-point attempt, and the Bearcats clinched a spot in the American Athletic Conference title game with a win over the Owls.
The Bearcats (10-1, 7-0, No. 19 CFP) secured the AAC East Division title and remained the only unbeaten team in league play. They would host the title game if they win next week at No. 18 Memphis, which shares the AAC West lead.
Temple (7-4, 4-3) had won four straight against Cincinnati with its dominant defense, but it couldn’t get enough out of its offense until too late on a windy, rainy night with temperatures in the 30s and snow falling in the closing minutes.
Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder played despite a sore passing shoulder and was only nine for 25 for 62 yards. Warren finished with 106 yards rushing.
No. 18 Memphis 49, at South Florida 10: Brady White threw for 222 yards and two touchdowns, and the Tigers shrugged off two early turnovers to beat the Bulls in Tampa and retain a share of first place in the American Athletic West Division.
Memphis (10-1, 6-1, No. 18 CFP) has won five straight since its only loss, at Temple, and the Tigers can clinch a third straight appearance in the AAC championship game with a home win over Cincinnati next week.
USF fell to 4-7 overall and 2-5 in the AAC.
at No. 19 Iowa 19, Illinois 10: Nate Stanley threw for 308 yards and Keith Duncan kicked four field goals to set a Big Ten season mark as the Hawkeyes (8-3, 5-3 Big Ten, No. 17 CFP) defeated the Illini (6-5, 4-4) in Iowa City, Iowa.
Iowa also forced three turnovers against the team that came into the game leading the nation in turnover margin. Illinois quarterback Brandon Peters threw two interceptions and a lost a fourth-quarter fumble.
Duncan had field goals of 23, 45, 24 and 29 yards to make it 27 this season for the conference record.
at Navy 35, No. 21 Southern Methodist 28: Quarterback Malcolm Perry generated 357 yards of total offense and scored the game-winning touchdown as the Midshipmen (8-2, 6-1 American Athletic Conference) defeated the Mustangs (9-2, 5-2, No. 25 CFP) in Annapolis, Md.
Perry found a seam and scampered 70 yards with just more than six minutes remaining to break a tie. He finished with 195 yards in 38 carries with two touchdowns on the ground and completed nine of 15 passes for 162 yards and another score.
Navy still has a shot at the West Division crown of the AAC should Memphis falter down the stretch. The Tigers own the tiebreaker by virtue of their 35-23 victory over the Mids on Sept. 26.
CJ Sanders had a 100-yard kickoff return for SMU.
No. 22 Oklahoma State 20, at West Virginia 13: Dru Brown threw two touchdown passes in his first start, Chuba Hubbard surpassed 100 yards rushing for the ninth consecutive game, and the Cowboys (8-3, 5-3 Big 12, No. 21 CFP) beat the Mountaineers (4-7, 2-6) in Morgantown, W.Va.
Brown and national rushing leader Hubbard generated just enough offense to help Oklahoma State win its fourth straight game. Hubbard ran 26 times for 106 yards, far below his 173-yard average, but showed off his receiving skills. He finished with seven catches for 88 yards, both career highs.
Clay Helton needs to be fired, but the coach’s departure isn’t imminent after a 52-35 victory over rival UCLA kept USC’s Rose Bowl hopes alive.
at No. 23 Appalachian State 35, Texas State 13: In Boone, N.C., Darrynton Evans ran for 154 yards and three second-half touchdowns as the Mountaineers (10-1, 6-1 Sun Belt, No. 24 CFP) defeated the Bobcats (3-8, 2-5).
Zac Thomas threw for 174 yards and two touchdowns as Appalachian State improved to 30-6 at home since becoming a Football Bowl Subdivision team in 2014. Tyler Vitt threw for 154 yards and a touchdown for Texas State.
at No. 25 Virginia Tech 28, Pittsburgh 0: Hendon Hooker threw for 153 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Hokies to a win over the Panthers in Blacksburg, Va.
Hooker threw touchdown passes to wide receivers Tre Turner and Damon Hazelton and Virginia Tech’s defense scored on a fumble return as the Hokies (8-3, 5-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) notched their sixth win in their last seven games.
The Virginia Tech win sets up a showdown next weekend with rival Virginia, with the victor claiming the ACC’s Coastal Division and an ACC championship game berth Dec. 7.
Pittsburgh (7-4, 4-3) finished with a season-low 177 yards.
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