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College football roundup: Utah ends Colorado’s Pac-12 title aspirations

Utah running back Ty Jordan avoids being tackled by Colorado safety Derrion Rakestraw.
Utah running back Ty Jordan avoids being tackled by Colorado safety Derrion Rakestraw for a big gain during the Utes’ 38-21 victory over No. 21 Colorado on Saturday.
(David Zalubowski / Associated Press)

BOULDER, Colo. — Ty Jordan scored twice, including a game-sealing 66-yard touchdown burst, and Utah’s revamped defense forced three turnovers to help the Utes rally past Colorado 38-21 on a snowy Saturday to thwart the Buffaloes’ Pac-12 title hopes.

The unseated Pac-12 South champion Utes (2-2, 2-2 Pac-12) found their footing on the frozen field in the second half, turning around a 21-10 deficit by scoring 28 unanswered points.

“They hung in there and fought their way out of a tough spot,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. “They never flinched.”

Colorado freshman wide receiver/returner Brenden Rice, the son of Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice, showed off his speed by scoring twice — on an 81-yard punt return and on a 61-yard catch off a bubble screen. But it wasn’t enough as the Buffaloes (4-1, 3-1), No. 21 in the College Football Playoff rankings, suffered their first loss under new coach Karl Dorrell during the earliest kickoff (10:05 a.m. local time) in Folsom Field history.

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“It was a disappointing game,” Dorrell said. “Not quite the performance we were looking for.”

The loss ends Colorado’s Pac-12 title aspirations. The Buffaloes needed a win along with UCLA beating No. 15 USC later Saturday to capture the South. USC rallied for a 43-38 win.

There could have been a modification by the league given the cancellation of Washington (3-1, 3-1) and Oregon (3-2, 3-2) because of COVID-19 cases in the Huskies’ program. That game was set to determine the North champion. But Saturday night, the Pac-12 decided USC will face Washington on Friday to decide the champion of the Pac-12’s unusual, shortened season.

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Colorado’s last appearance in the Pac-12 title game was 2016, when the team beat Utah in the regular-season finale to wrap up a spot.

Trailing 21-10 moments into the third quarter, Utah began to take over. The Utes — who were penalty-free — had an 18-yard touchdown run from Jordan and a 20-yard touchdown catch from Britain Covey to take a 24-21 lead.

Jordan sealed the game with his long run with less than five minutes remaining. Just before that run, Utah’s defense came up big by deflecting Sam Noyer’s pass on fourth and five at the Utes’ 34-yard line.

Louisiana State 37, No. 6 Florida 34

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Max Johnson threw three touchdown passes in his first college start, Cade York kicked a 57-yard field goal with 23 seconds remaining, and reigning national champion Louisiana State stunned Florida on a cool and foggy night in the Swamp.

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York drilled his kick through the dense fog and the uprights, leaving Florida with a final shot. Trask got the Gators (8-2, 8-2 Southeastern Conference) in position to tie it, but Evan McPherson was wide left from 51 yards on the final play. LSU (4-5, 4-5) celebrated wildly all over the field.

Johnson had a lot to do with the outcome.

The son of former Super Bowl champion Brad Johnson repeatedly torched Florida’s beleaguered defense. He threw for 239 yards, nearly half of them (108) to Kayshon Boutte, and ran for 52 more.

LSU and Ed Orgeron have struggled to replicate anything close to what they accomplished last season when they won the national championship.

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No. 1 Alabama 52, Arkansas 3

Alabama's DeVonta Smith returns a punt for a touchdown against Arkansas.
(Michael Woods / Associated Press)

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — DeVonta Smith returned a punt 84 yards for a touchdown as Alabama scored 28 points in a span of 11 minutes in the first half and rolled past Arkansas.

After the teams traded field goals, Smith started the barrage by the Crimson Tide (10-0, 10-0 SEC). Najee Harris scored consecutive touchdowns just 14 seconds apart, and a final plunge from one yard by Brian Robinson Jr. had Alabama cruising toward the SEC championship game next week against No. 6 Florida.

It was an otherwise quiet day for Smith, with three catches for 22 yards, but the receiver bolstered his surging case for Heisman Trophy consideration on one play.

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Vanderbilt’s Sarah Fuller became the first woman to score in a Power Five conference football game when she kicked an extra point against Tennessee.

Crimson Tide defenders racked up eight sacks, the fifth of which resulted in a fumble by Arkansas quarterback Feleipe Franks that was recovered by DJ Dale at the Razorbacks’ four-yard line. Harris scored on the next play.

Alabama allowed just 188 yards and kept Arkansas (3-7, 3-7) from registering a first down during a streak of seven straight possessions from the first quarter to the third.

No. 9 Georgia 49, No. 25 Missouri 14

Georgia quarterback JT Daniels throws against Missouri on Saturday.
(L.G. Patterson / Associated Press)
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COLUMBIA, Mo. — JT Daniels threw three touchdown passes, two of them to George Pickens, as Georgia broke away in a blowout over Missouri.

Zamir White ran for 126 yards and a score, and the Bulldogs (7-2, 7-2 SEC) dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. The Tigers (5-4, 5-4) managed just 200 yards of offense after topping the 600-yard mark each of the last two weeks.

Daniels, a transfer from USC, completed 16 of 27 passes for 299 yards. Pickens caught five passes for 126 yards, and James Cook caught a touchdown pass and ran for a score.

No. 17 North Carolina 62, No. 10 Miami 26

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Michael Carter and Javonte Williams set an NCAA record by combining for 544 yards rushing, and North Carolina embarrassed Miami in the regular-season finale for both teams.

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Carter ran for 308 yards and two touchdowns and Williams had 236 yards and three touchdowns for the Tar Heels (8-3, 7-3 Atlantic Coast Conference). Per the NCAA, it was the seventh time teammates each ran for at least 200 yards, the first since 2016 and the first such instance in ACC history.

And the numbers only got worse for Miami (8-2, 7-2). Carter and Williams’s combined total topped the NCAA’s listed Football Bowl Subdivision record for teammates, set Nov. 30 when Jaret Patterson (409) and Kevin Marks (97) rushed for 506 for Buffalo against Kent State.

North Carolina finished with 778 yards — the most ever yielded by Miami and a Tar Heels record — and 554 yards rushing, also the most allowed in Hurricanes history. Sam Howell threw for a score, ran for a score and caught a touchdown pass for the Tar Heels.

It was the third-most points allowed in Miami history, the most since 66 for Syracuse in 1998. The record is 70 by Texas A&M in 1944.

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No. 13 Coastal Carolina 42, Troy 38

Coastal Carolina wide receiver Jaivon Heiligh (6) celebrates a touchdown Dec. 12, 2020.
Coastal Carolina wide receiver Jaivon Heiligh (6) is pumped up after scoring a touchdown.
(Vasha Hunt / Associated Press)

TROY, Ala. — Jaivon Heiligh caught a 23-yard touchdown pass from Grayson McCall with 45 seconds left, and Coastal Carolina preserved its first perfect regular season with a win over Troy.

McCall needed just 45 seconds to move the Chanticleers (11-0, 8-0 Sun Belt Conference), who didn’t have any timeouts, 75 yards for the winning score. He completed all four of his passes on the drive, three to Heiligh.

Coastal Carolina survived a sandwich game between an upset of then-No. 13 Brigham Young and the league title game against No. 19 Louisiana-Lafayette.

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The Trojans (5-6, 3-4) didn’t make it easy for the highest-ranked team to visit Veterans Memorial Stadium.

Backup quarterback Jacob Free, who replaced an injured Gunnar Watson in the fourth quarter, hit Tray Eafford for a six-yard touchdown pass with 1:20 left. The play was set up with an interception by linebacker Carlton Martial, who also had 21 tackles.

No. 14 Northwestern 28, Illinois 10

EVANSTON, Ill. — Cam Porter ran for a career-high 142 yards and two touchdowns, Evan Hull added a season-best 149 yards on the ground, and Northwestern tuned up for the Big Ten championship game by beating Illinois.

Porter came in with just 32 yards and one touchdown. But the freshman broke out in a big way, leading the Wildcats (6-1, 6-1) to an easy victory over the Illini (2-5, 2-5).

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Northwestern’s focus now shifts to the Big Ten championship game against No. 4 Ohio State next week. It’s the second title matchup in three years between the teams.

Northwestern won the Big Ten West after finishing last in the division in 2019.

No. 16 Iowa 28, Wisconsin 7

Iowa's Tyler Goodson heads up the field during an 80-yard touchdown run Dec. 12, 2020, in Iowa City, Iowa.
Iowa’s Tyler Goodson heads up the field on an 80-yard touchdown run.
(Charlie Neibergall / Associated Press)

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Spencer Petras threw for 211 yards and two touchdowns to Ihmir Smith-Marsette to lead Iowa past Wisconsin for the Hawkeyes’ sixth win in a row.

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Iowa (6-2, 6-2 Big Ten) beat the Badgers (2-3, 2-3) for the first time since 2015 to reclaim the Heartland Trophy. Hawkeyes players celebrated by making snow angels after flurries picked up in the second half and blanketed the field in white.

Iowa’s offense came alive in the second half after both teams struggled in the first. Petras found Smith-Marsette for 19-yard touchdown in the third quarter to give the Hawkeyes a 14-0 lead.

Smith-Marsette finished with seven catches for 140 yards, and Tyler Goodson had 106 yards rushing.

The Badgers gained just 225 total yards, 56 on the ground.

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No. 18 Brigham Young 28, San Diego State 14

PROVO, Utah — Zach Wilson threw for 303 yards and three touchdowns to lead Brigham Young to a victory over San Diego State.

Lopini Katoa added 136 all-purpose yards for the Cougars. BYU shut out the Aztecs over the final three quarters.

Jordon Brookshire threw for 231 yards and a touchdown to lead San Diego State. Kaegun Williams added 91 yards and a touchdown on the ground. The Aztecs (4-4, 4-2 Mountain West) gave up 21 unanswered points after taking a first-quarter lead.

No. 22 Oklahoma State 42, Baylor 3

WACO, Texas — Dillon Stoner had eight catches for 247 yards with three first-half touchdowns, freshman running back Dominic Richardson ran for 169 yards with three scores, and Oklahoma State won its regular-season finale against undermanned Baylor.

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The Bears (2-7, 2-7 Big 12) played two days after their football facility was temporarily closed because of COVID-19 issues. Because of injuries and COVID-19, either positive tests or contact tracing, the Bears had 47 people — players, coaches and support personnel — who were unavailable for the game. This was the makeup of a game postponed Oct. 17 because of a virus outbreak in the Baylor program.

With Big 12 leading receiver Tylan Wallace out because of an injury, Stoner starred for the Cowboys (7-3, 6-3).

Before the game, Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy announced that running back Chuba Hubbard has opted out of the rest of the season and will prepare for the NFL draft.

Hubbard, a redshirt junior, finishes his college career having rushed for 3,459 yards and 33 touchdowns. He missed the previous two games with a right ankle injury.

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No. 24 Buffalo 56, Akron 7

AMHERST, N.Y. — Jaret Patterson ran for 105 yards and matched a major college football record by reaching 1,000 yards for the season in five games, helping Buffalo rout Akron in a tune-up for the Mid-American Conference championship against Ball State.

Patterson scored two touchdowns before halftime, bringing his season totals to 1,025 yards and 18 rushing TDs for the Bulls (5-0). He is the 12th player in FBS history to surpass 1,000 yards in five games. Kevin Marks Jr. led the Bulls with a career-high 175 yards and two touchdowns.

Akron (1-5) has lost 12 consecutive road games.

Army 15, Navy 0

Army quarterback Tyhier Tyler (2) celebrates his fourth-quarter, four-yard touchdown run.
(Adam Hunger / Associated Press)
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WEST POINT, N.Y. — Tyhier Tyler scored on a four-yard run early in the fourth quarter, the Army defense stoned Navy with a goal-line stand in the third, and the Black Knights beat the archrival Midshipmen at fog-shrouded Michie Stadium.

It was the first meeting between the teams at West Point since 1943. The game was moved to Michie Stadium from its customary site in Philadelphia because COVID-19 regulations in Pennsylvania would not have allowed the Corps of Cadets and Brigade of Midshipmen to attend.

“It’s a pretty big event to shut somebody out in this game. This has such a great history to it,” Army coach Jeff Monken said. “It was a slugfest, just back and forth. The fog rolled in. It almost seemed appropriate for the battle that was taking place out there. It’s a lot of fun to be able to celebrate like this.”

The Black Knights (8-2) posted their first shutout in the series since a 27-0 victory in 1969 and have won four of five against Navy (3-7). They had lost all three games played previously at West Point to the Midshipmen, including 13-0 in 1943 during World War II.

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Navy still leads the series 61-53-7.

No fans were allowed, so there wasn’t much of a home-field advantage for the Black Knights. When the game began, the Mids and Cadets were seated in groups on different sides and behind both goal posts, and the stadium literally shook after President Trump conducted the coin toss and the Mids won.

Stanford 27, Oregon State 24

CORVALLIS, Ore. — Davis Mills passed for 292 yards and a touchdown and ran for a score to lead Stanford to a victory over Oregon State.

Mills completed 21 of 29 passes and did not commit a turnover. Austin Jones added 126 yards rushing for the Cardinal (3-2, 3-2 Pac-12), who have been in road-warrior mentality the last three weeks.

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Jet Toner’s 39-yard field goal with 1:48 remaining broke a 24-24 tie, and the Cardinal defense forced a turnover to seal the victory.

The Beavers (2-4, 2-4) were in position to tie or win the game on their final possession, but quarterback Chance Nolan fumbled after an 11-yard run and Stanford linebacker Curtis Robinson recovered at the Cardinal’s 16-yard line to seal the win.

The play was reviewed and confirmed.

It was a tough ending for Nolan, who performed well in his second career start in place of injured starter Tristan Gebbia, who had season-ending surgery on his hamstring this week. Nolan completed 17 of 30 for 221 yards and three touchdowns.

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Arizona fires Sumlin

Arizona coach Kevin Sumlin looks on from the sideline during a game against Texas Tech.
Kevin Sumlin looks on against Texas Tech in September 2019. Arizona fired him as coach Saturday.
(Ralph Freso / Associated Press)

TUCSON, Ariz. — Arizona fired football coach Kevin Sumlin following a blowout loss to rival Arizona State that extended a record losing streak.

Sumlin was fired Saturday, less than 24 hours after a 70-7 loss to Arizona State that stretched the Wildcats’ losing streak to 12 games spanning two seasons.

“When we hired Kevin three years ago, we had very high hopes for our football program,” Arizona athletic director Dave Heeke said in a statement. “Unfortunately, we simply have not seen the results and upward trajectory in our program that we needed to, and I believe now is the time for a change in leadership. I thank Kevin for his service to the University of Arizona and wish him the very best in the future.”

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Heeke said the school will honor the terms of Sumlin’s existing contract, including a $7.5-million buyout.

Sumlin entered this year on the hot seat after the Wildcats closed the 2019 season with seven straight losses.

Arizona went 9-20 — 6-17 in the Pac-12 — with no bowl appearances under Sumlin and lost all three games to Arizona State. The lopsided Territorial Cup defeat comes two years after the Wildcats blew a 19-point fourth-quarter lead in a 41-40 loss.

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Cal at Washington State, canceled

PULLMAN, Wash. — California’s game at Washington State was canceled less than two hours before kickoff Saturday because of a case of COVID-19 on the Cal team, the Pac-12 said.

It’s the third Washington State game that has been postponed or canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cal was not able to field enough scholarship players to meet the minimum threshold in order to play the game, the Pac-12 said. The Golden Bears had one player test positive, and then additional players were sidelined because of contact tracing.

The case was confirmed via a PCR test Saturday, the league said. The game was declared a no contest.

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Cal (1-3, 1-3) and Washington State (1-2, 1-2) are struggling to qualify for postseason play. Neither team has an opponent set for next weekend.

Tom Herman staying at Texas

Texas ended widespread speculation about coach Tom Herman’s future, announcing he will return in 2021 for his fifth season with the No. 20 Longhorns.

“With the close of the regular season, I want to reiterate that Tom Herman is our coach,“ athletic director Chris Del Conte said in a statement released by the school just four days before the early signing period for high school recruits begins.

Eyes around college football have been on Texas for weeks. There were rumors and speculation about the Longhorns trying to gauge former Ohio State and Florida coach Urban Meyer’s interest in coming to Austin, but nothing came of it.


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