College Football Recap, December 1 park
Here's a brief look at the results of the Top 25 from this past weekend. The rankings used in this recap are the College Football Playoff (CFP) standings entering the games. The updated rankings will be announced by the College Football Playoff Selection Committee tomorrow evening at 6 p.m. (Central). The top four teams in the final rankings will meet in the first-ever College Football Playoff with No. 1 playing No. 4 and No. 2 playing No. 3. The two semifinal games for this year will be the Allstate Sugar Bowl and the Rose Bowl.
While the top four teams in the final rankings from the College Football Playoff Selection Committee will play in the first College Football Playoff Semifinals, there are many important games still remaining, including the conference championships. The following teams clinched berths in their respective conference title games this past weekend.
#11 Arizona 42, #13 Arizona State 35: Nick Wilson runs for 178 yards and three touchdowns as the Wildcats double their pleasure by not only defeating the archrival Sun Devils, but they also clinch a spot in the Pac-12 title game opposite Oregon. Arizona's defense was also critical when it counted, scoring on a fumble return, stopping ASU on a goal-line stand and then forcing a turnover on downs on the Devils' final possession.
#14 Wisconsin 34, #18 Minnesota 24: The Badgers rally from a two-touchdown deficit to not only keep possession of Paul Bunyan's Axe (the prize for the winner of the annual rivalry game with the Gophers), but they also lock down a slot in next week's Big Ten Championship game against Ohio State. Despite injuring an ankle, star running back Melvin Gordon piles up another 150 rushing yards, passing Ron Dayne for the Big Ten single-season rushing record – he now ranks fourth in FBS history in that category.
#17 Missouri 21, Arkansas 14: It took the Tigers three quarters, but they finally solved the stonewall defense of the Razorbacks, who had shut out back-to-back ranked foes. After tallying just 57 rushing yards through much of the game, Mizzou gets 90 rushing yards on its final drive, including Marcus Murphy's 12-yard TD dash which put it on top to stay, clinching the SEC East title for the second straight year.
#23 Boise State 50, Utah State 19: No matter what changes for the Broncos, coaches, quarterbacks, etc., the blue turf remains the same and they keep on winning. Jay Ajayi rushes for a career-high 229 yards and five touchdowns against the top defense in the Mountain West as Boise State advances to the Mountain West title game against Fresno State.
WHO'S A RIVALRY CHAMP?
This past weekend featured the excitement of a host of rivalry games. The following teams and their fan bases get to enjoy bragging rights over their archrivals for the next year.
#1 Alabama 55, #15 Auburn 44: The historic Iron Bowl rivalry game has rarely been an offensive showcase, but Alabama and Auburn blast past the series' record for points (75). While quarterbacks Blake Sims (312 yards, 4 TDs) and Nick Marshall (456 yards, 3 TDs) are standouts, the key stars are Tide receiver Amari Cooper (13 catches for 224 yards and three TDs) and Tiger receiver Sammy Coates (5 catches for 206 yards and two TDs). After Auburn jumps out early, the Crimson Tide pulls away with a 28-point blitz starting late in the third quarter.
#19 Ole Miss 31, #4 Mississippi State 17: The Rebels came in with a struggling offense, injury issues and a three-game losing streak while the Bulldogs were looking for their first 11-win season in history and a potential bid to the first College Football Playoff; and in typical rivalry fashion, the underdog played one of its best games of the year. Ole Miss piled up 532 yards, including a 91-yard TD run by Jaylen Walton, an 83-yard hook-up between Bo Wallace and Evan Engram and a halfback option pass from Jordan Wilkins to Cody Core for the final touchdown of the game.
#16 Georgia Tech 30, #9 Georgia 24: In a weekend filled with thrilling performances, it's tough to top the finish of this Peach State rivalry. The Bulldogs go up 24-21 with 18 seconds to go after Hutson Mason finds Malcolm Mitchell for a touchdown on fourth-and-goal, but the Yellow Jackets take advantage of a squib kick and a 21-yard run by quarterback Justin Thomas to set up a 53-yard field goal by Harrison Butler to force overtime. In OT, Tech forges ahead on Zach Laskey's third TD run of the day but a blocked extra point appears to give Georgia an opening. Instead, a D.J. White interception wrapped up the huge win for the Yellow Jackets.
#12 Kansas State 51, Kansas 13: This rivalry game goes exactly as pundits expect. The struggling Jayhawks offer little resistance as Jake Waters throws for 294 yards and tallies five touchdowns (one rushing) while Tyler Lockett snags nine passes for 199 yards and two scores to set the Kansas State mark for career catches while tying the school record for TD catches – held by his father Kevin Lockett.
#21 Clemson 35, South Carolina 17: A disappointing season for the Gamecocks continues as Clemson snaps a five-game losing streak in the Palmetto Bowl behind a 191-yard performance from tailback Wayne Gallman and another excellent effort from its top-ranked defense which allowed just 339 yards and two touchdowns.
#22 Louisville 44, Kentucky 40: This year's Governor's Cup showdown was an old-fashioned slugfest as the Cardinals come from behind four different times finally clinching the victory when sensational safety Gerod Holliman snags his NCAA record-tying 14th interception of the year with 35 seconds left. DeVante Parker catches six passes for 180 yards and three touchdowns as he ties the school record for career touchdown receptions (33), including a 14-yard TD grab in the 2013 Allstate Sugar Bowl.
WHO'S AN ESCAPE ARTIST?
The following teams came into their games as heavy favorites but the teams and their fan bases had to sweat out tight battles, many against their fiercest rivals.
#3 Florida State 24, Florida 19: While the Seminoles manage not to trail late in this game (they have been tied or behind in six of their games this year), they still have all they can handle from the Gators, but the win makes them the 16th team since 1950 to put together back-to-back perfect regular seasons – the first Florida State club to accomplish the feat. Dalvin Cook keys the ‘Noles with a career-high 144 rushing yards and the Gators miss two second-half field goals while failing to complete a pass on four tries on their final drive to offset a career-high four interceptions by Jameis Winston.
#6 Ohio State 42, Michigan 28: With the score tied at 21 midway through the third quarter, the playoff-hopeful Buckeyes score three straight touchdowns to finally put away the reeling Wolverines in their annual rivalry. While the victory is critical, any excitement is tempered by the loss of star quarterback J.T. Barrett to a broken ankle on the first play of the fourth quarter – Barrett stepped into a starring role when he replaced star Braxton Miller, who went out for the season just before the opening game.
#7 Baylor 48, Texas Tech 46: The Bears appeared to be on their way to a routine victory, as well as some playoff style points, forging ahead 45-20 late in the third quarter, but Pat Mahomes, who finishes with a Big 12 freshman record 598 passing yards, connects on scores of 48 yards, 40 yards and 49 yards to make it a five-point game with 8:13 to go. Baylor, playing without quarterback Bryce Petty, who went out with a third-quarter concussion, manages a 36-yard field goal to go up, which is just enough as Mahomes is sacked on a two-point conversion effort after he throws for another 40-yard TD with 1:42 to go.
#25 Utah 38, Colorado 34: The Utes find themselves in a back-and-forth battle with the Buffaloes, winless in Pac-12 action this year, as the lead changes seven times before Dominique Hatfield snags an interception and returns it for a touchdown for the final lead change of the day with 10 minutes remaining.
WHO'S ON THE MOVE?
While teams above them in the standings lost, these teams turned in solid performances which could help them climb in the standings.
#5 TCU 48, Texas 10: The Horned Frogs celebrate Thanksgiving by going for extra helpings of turnovers, collecting six total, as they rout the Longhorns to remain in the hunt for a Big 12 title as well as a bid to the College Football Playoff.
#10 Michigan State 34, Penn State 10: Despite only getting 298 yards of their own, the Spartans hold the Nittany Lions to just 233 yards, letting Jeremy Langford grind the game out with 30 carries for 118 yards and two touchdowns as Michigan State hits double-digit wins for the fourth time in five years under head coach Mark Dantonio.
WHO'S AN UPSET VICTIM?
While many top 25 teams were defeated this week, only two went down to unranked opponents.
Stanford 31, #8 UCLA 10: The Bruins had their sights set on a Pac-12 Championship game appearance, but the Cardinal has other ideas as Kevin Hogan has a near-flawless first half (14 for 15 for 189 yards and two touchdowns) and then the Stanford defense shuts out their opponent in the second half for the upset victory.
Western Kentucky 67, #24 Marshall 66: Western Kentucky head coach Jeff Brohm makes the first call that actually halts scoring in this wild affair; after the Thundering Herd notched a touchdown and an extra point in the first overtime, the Hilltoppers come back with a touchdown of their own – the eighth passing TD of the day by Brandon Doughty – but instead of kicking the extra point, Brohm goes for two and Doughty finds Willie McNeal for the victory. The 133 combined points tied for the third highest total in an FBS game over the last 10 games while the 15 total touchdown passes set an FBS record.
SUGAR BOWL SPOTLIGHT EVENT
In addition to the Allstate Sugar Bowl Football Classic, the bowl is involved with nearly 50 other events throughout the year. Each week, we will spotlight one event in the weekly recap. This week's spotlight event is the Allstate Sugar Bowl CYO High School Basketball Tournament. The 2014 event will run from Wednesday, Dec. 3 through Saturday, Dec. 6 and will be played at four local high schools. The semifinals will be played on Friday evening at 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The finals will take place on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Brother Martin. This year marks the 61st year of the tournament. Schools scheduled to participate are Brother Martin, Covington, De La Salle, East St. John, Hahnville, Hannan, Holy Cross, Jesuit, John Curtis, Newman, Rummel, St. Augustine, St. Paul's, St. Stanislaus, St. Thomas Aquinas and Shaw.
Each week the Allstate Sugar Bowl will make its YouTube Picks of the Week, including impressive off-field performances, great games, illuminating features and top highlights. This week's clips include a pair of rivalry-game trick plays: Auburn's double-lateral touchdown pass in the Iron Bowl and Jordan Wilkins 31-yard pass for Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl .
Allstate Sugar Bowl, January 1, 2015
Sporting News (Bill Bender): Baylor vs. Alabama (Baylor replaces Ohio State)
FoxSports.com (Stewart Mandel): Alabama vs. Baylor (no change)
Bleacher Report: Alabama vs. Ohio State (Ohio State replaces Baylor)
SB Nation (Jason Kirk): Alabama vs. TCU (TCU replaces Baylor)
Orlando Sentinel (Brant Parsons): Alabama vs. TCU (no change)
Phil Steele: Alabama vs. TCU (TCU replaces Baylor)
Yahoo! Sports (Pat Forde): Alabama vs. Baylor (Baylor replaces Florida State)
CBS Sports (Jerry Palm): Alabama vs. Baylor (no change)
Sports Illustrated (Zac Ellis): Alabama vs. Baylor – not updated
WIN TWO TICKETS!
The Allstate Sugar Bowl will be giving away two free tickets to the 2015 Allstate Sugar Bowl, which will also serve as one of the first College Football Playoff Semifinals in history, in early December. Fans can sign up at the official website of the Allstate Sugar Bowl. One lucky winner will be chosen to receive two free tickets to the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Allstate Sugar Bowl to be played on Thursday, Jan. 1, 2015 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Prize includes two tickets to the game only. Parking, accommodations and any other expenses related to the game are the responsibility of the winner. Contest will continue until Thursday, Dec. 11 when a winner will be selected and contacted by an Allstate Sugar Bowl representative.
VOTE FOR MANNING STARS
College football fans, be sure to "like" the official Allstate Sugar Bowl Facebook page (linked above) and vote each week for the Manning Award Quarterback of the Week. The top quarterback performances from each week will be posted giving you the chance to vote for what you think was the best effort each week of the college football season.
MANNING AWARD STARS OF THE WEEK
While 30 quarterbacks are on the Manning Award Watch List, every quarterback in the country remains eligible for the honor. Here's a look at some of this week's top quarterback performances (follow the Facebook link above to vote):
Jacoby Brissett, North Carolina State
Brandon Doughty, Western Kentucky
Pat Mahomes, Texas Tech
Ozzie Mann, Ball State
Marcus Mariota, Oregon
Gary Nova, Rutgers
Cody Sokol, Louisiana Tech
Logan Woodside, Toledo
TOP UPCOMING GAMES
(Rankings are from this week's AP Poll, all times Central)
Bowling Green vs. Northern Illinois (MAC Championship, Detroit, Friday, 6 p.m., ESPN2): The Mid-American Conference will have a rematch in its title game as Northern Illinois looks to avenge last year's loss to the Falcons. The Huskies will be appearing in their fifth straight conference championship game.
#8 Arizona vs. #3 Oregon (Pac-12 Championship, Santa Clara, Friday, 8 p.m., FOX): The Pac-12 Championship affords Oregon the opportunity to avenge its only loss of the season as they take on the Wildcats, winners of four straight games. The Ducks, meanwhile, have been piling up outlandish statistics since suffering that loss on Oct. 2; in the seven games since the loss, Oregon is averaging 47.8 points per game and beating teams by an average of 20.9 points per game.
Louisiana Tech at Marshall (C-USA Championship, Saturday, 11 a.m., ESPN2): Despite taking its first loss of the year on Friday, the Thundering Herd will still host the C-USA title game at their home field, taking on a Louisiana Tech squad which thumped Rice, 76-31, to capture the West Division title on Saturday.
Iowa State at #4 TCU (Saturday, 11 a.m., ABC): Of the top teams battling for a spot in the inaugural College Football Playoff, the Horned Frogs are the only one not playing a ranked opponent; instead they host the Cyclones, who are winless in Big 12 play this season.
#1 Alabama vs. #14 Missouri (SEC Championship, Atlanta, Saturday, 3 p.m., CBS): For a team that some considered unworthy of SEC membership, Missouri has only impressed as it advances to its second straight SEC Championship game. After losing 59-42 to Auburn last year, the Tigers once again face a powerhouse in the Crimson Tide, which has won 23 conference titles.
#9 Kansas State at #5 Baylor (Saturday, 6:45 p.m., ESPN): The winner of this game is guaranteed at least a share of the Big 12 title, but the stakes could be even higher for Baylor. Many think that if the Bears can win this game, the CFP Selection Committee will bump them ahead of TCU and into the top four. A major question mark is the status of Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty, who left in the second half of Saturday's game against Texas Tech due to a concussion.
#2 Florida State vs. #12 Georgia Tech (ACC Championship, Charlotte, Saturday, 7 p.m., ABC): The Seminoles have been living on the edge for much of the season; despite being undefeated (for the second straight year), they have trailed in the first half of nine games this year, including the last six in a row. The Yellow Jackets come in with a five-game winning streak and their unique triple-option offense is producing 334 yards per game, third in the nation – not the type of team to fall into a hole against.
#6 Ohio State vs. #11 Wisconsin (Big Ten Championship, Indianapolis, Saturday, 7:17 p.m., FOX): Unfortunately, this match-up of top-tier teams is sure to be significantly affected by injuries. Ohio State lost star quarterback J.T. Barrett to a broken ankle – Barrett had surprised many by developing into a Heisman Trophy contender after taking over the starting role just before the season opener when original starter Braxton Miller was injured. Now the Buckeyes turn to third-string quarterback Cardale Jones, who has attempted just 17 passes this season. Meanwhile, Wisconsin may not be 100-percent either as its own Heisman Trophy contender, Melvin Gordon, has been bothered by a sore ankle – though it's hard to see the results of that as he has run for a Big Ten record 2,260 yards this year.
Fresno State at #22 Boise State (Mountain West Championship, Saturday, 9 p.m., CBS): Boise State looks to add to its impressive haul of conference championships – the Broncos have won nine titles since 2002. Though after tallying eight championships in the Western Athletic Conference, they moved to the Mountain West in 2011 and have only captured a share of the title in 2012. On the other side, Fresno State looks for its second straight league title after they held off Utah State last year in the league's first conference championship game.