College Football Recap, November 20
Here’s a brief look at the latest rankings, recaps and previews of top games and bowl projections, as well as the eight Manning Award Stars of the Week. This year’s Allstate Sugar Bowl will double as a College Football Playoff Semifinal and will be played on January 1, 2018.
Top 25 Recaps
(CFP Rankings entering the week)
TOP FOUR TRIUMPH
No. 1 Alabama 56, Mercer 0: Jalen Hurts (7-of-7, 180 yards) played four series and passed for three touchdowns and then freshman backup Tua Tagovailoa threw for three more scores as the Crimson Tide shut down its FCS opponent.
No. 2 Clemson 61, The Citadel 3: Kelly Bryant saw less than half of action, throwing for 230 yards and three touchdowns, fifteen different Tigers caught passes and nine different players had at least one carry as Clemson cruised over an FCS foe.
No. 3 Miami 44, Virginia 28: The Hurricanes may have suffered from a bit of a hangover from their big win over Notre Dame, but after trailing 28-14 early in the second half, they roared to life, scoring 30 unanswered points, including a 30-yard pick-six for Jaquan Johnson, one of three turnovers forced by Miami.
No. 4 Oklahoma 41, Kansas 3: Baker Mayfield connected on three touchdown passes and the Sooner defense allowed just 155 total yards while forcing a pair of turnovers as the first-place Big 12 team rolled over the last-place Jayhawks.
PEEKING AT THE PLAYOFF
No. 5 Wisconsin 24, No. 24 Michigan 10: The Badgers continued their perfect season with a dominant defensive performance, holding the Wolverines to 234 yards, including just 58 rushing yards, while freshman Jonathan Taylor ran for 132 yards – his eighth 100-yard game of the season.
No. 6 Auburn 42, UL Monroe 14: The Tigers started slow, but then rattled off 28 unanswered points, including a pair of touchdowns from Kam Martin (one rushing and one receiving) and a 45-yard interception return touchdown by Nick Ruffin.
No. 7 Georgia 42, Kentucky 13: After having their run game stymied by Auburn last week, the Bulldogs recovered with 381 yards on the ground, including a combined 238 yards and five touchdowns from Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, while holding the Wildcats to 262 yards.
No. 8 Notre Dame 24, Navy 17: Playing in challenging weather conditions, Brandon Wimbush threw for 164 yards and two touchdowns – both in the final 17:33 of the game – while also running for an early score as the Fighting Irish come from behind to upend the Midshipmen.
No. 9 Ohio State 52, Illinois 14: The Buckeyes wasted no time piling up points, scoring on their first six possessions, and J.T. Barrett threw his 100th career touchdown pass while the defense allowed just 105 yards as the Illini suffered their ninth straight loss.
QUEST FOR CHAOS
No. 10 Penn State 56, Nebraska 44: Saquon Barkley (158 rushing yards) tallied three touchdown runs to break the Penn State career record for touchdowns, Trace McSorley threw for 325 yards and three more scores and the Nittany Lions hold off a late Cornhusker rally, including a pair of Tanner Lee touchdown passes.
No. 11 USC 28, UCLA 23: A two-yard run by Ronald Jones II (122 rushing yards, two TDs) with 5:19 to go put the game out of reach after Sam Darnold passed for 264 yards while running for a score in the Trojans third straight win over their archrival – despite a 421-yard passing game from UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen.
No. 12 TCU 27, Texas Tech 3: Despite missing starting quarterback Kenny Hill due to injury, the Horned Frogs had a solid performance from true freshman Shawn Robinson (85 passing yards, 84 rushing yards, no turnovers) and another impressive outing from their defense, which held the Red Raiders out of the end zone for the first time since 2011 it was also the Frogs’ sixth time holding a team to single digits this year.
UNDERDOG WITH THE UPSET
Kansas State 45, No. 13 Oklahoma State 40: Freshman Skylar Thompson, making his second career start, threw for 204 yards and three touchdowns, while running for 93 yards and another score, and Byron Pringle caught all three of those TD passes while also adding an 89-yard kickoff return score, as the Wildcats reached bowl eligibility for the eighth straight year.
Wake Forest 30, No. 19 N.C State 24: John Wolford threw his third touchdown of the game with 8:03 to go to break the fourth tie of the game and then Demetrius Kemp forced a fumble at the goal line in the final minutes to preserve the Demon Deacons’ upset victory.
STILL ON A STREAK
No. 15 UCF 45, Temple 19: McKenzie Milton threw four touchdown passes and ran for another score while the Knight defense turned three Temple turnovers into 17 first-half points as they kept their perfect record heading into next weekend’s showdown with USF.
No. 23 Northwestern 39, Minnesota 0: The Wildcats won their sixth straight game as Clayton Thorson connected on three touchdown passes, Justin Jackson ran for 166 yards and the defense forced five turnovers while posting their first shutout since 2015.
No. 25 Boise State 44, Air Force 19: Brett Rypien registers a 300-yard game with three touchdowns against the top-ranked pass defense in the country as the Broncos lock down a slot in the Mountain West Championship game – interestingly, they will play Fresno State for the league title, but the Broncos and the Bulldogs will also play next weekend to close the regular season.
CAPPING A COMEBACK
No. 16 Mississippi State 28, Arkansas 21: Nick Fitzgerald passed for 153 yards and ran for 101 yards while connecting on both of his touchdown passes in the final four minutes as the Bulldogs come from behind to upend the Razorbacks on the road
No. 18 Washington 33, Utah 30: Myles Gaskin scored his second touchdown on a two-yard run with 58 seconds to go to knot the game and then Jake Browning (26-of-35, 354 yards, 2 TDs) made a handful of huge passes to set up the game-winning 38-yard field goal by Tristan Vizcaino as time expired.
RUNNING TO REWARDS
No. 17 Michigan State 17, Maryland 7: With a rainy, snowy mix limiting the Spartan passing game to just two completions, Michigan State ran for 271 yards behind LJ Scott’s 147 yards while holding the Terrapins to just 204 total yards.
No. 20 LSU 30, Tennessee 10: Derrius Guice and Darrell Williams combined to run for 165 yards and three touchdowns, quarterback Danny Etling added a rushing score of his own and the Tiger defense forced two key turnovers in a water-logged Knoxville showdown.
No. 21 Memphis 66, SMU 45: Memphis quarterback Riley Ferguson posted his fifth 300-yard game of the year, but it was the Tiger ground game which put the points on the board as they ran for seven touchdowns (three from Ferguson and two each from Patrick Taylor and Darrell Henderson) as they clinched the AAC West title.
No. 22 Stanford 17, California 14: Despite star running back Bryce Love continuing to battle a nagging ankle injury, the Cardinal held on for victory in the annual Big Game – and Love scored on a 57-yard dash, his 11th run of 50 or more yards this season.
Allstate Sugar Bowl Projections:
ESPN (Kyle Bonagura): Alabama vs. Wisconsin (no change)
ESPN (David Hale): Alabama vs. Wisconsin (no change)
CBS Sports (Jerry Palm): Alabama vs. Wisconsin (no change)
SB Nation (Jason Kirk): Miami vs. Alabama (Alabama replaces Ohio State)
College Football News (Pete Fiutak): Alabama vs. Oklahoma (no change)
Sports Illustrated (Eric Single): Alabama vs. Wisconsin (no change)
Sporting News (Bill Bender): Alabama vs. Wisconsin (no change)
The All-American (Stewart Mandel): Alabama vs. Ohio State (no change)
Random Stats of the Week
6 – Teams from the latest CFP Rankings that played opponents with winning records this week.
1 – Number of weeks that every team ranked in the top-10 of the College Football Playoff Rankings (since 2014) has won after it happened this past weekend.
140 – Scoring margin for No. 5 Wisconsin in the second half of games this year. The Badgers have outscored their 10 opponents, 195-55, in the second half.
30 – Unanswered points scored by No. 3 Miami after falling behind 28-14 to Virginia. The Hurricanes won their 15th straight game, 44-28.
37 – Straight games with a touchdown pass for Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, the fourth-longest streak in history (Marshall’s Rakeem Cato threw TDs in 46 straight games from 2011-14). The senior star, who won the Miller-Digby Award as the Most Outstanding Player of the Allstate Sugar Bowl last year, connected on three touchdowns in Saturday’s game against Kansas.
100 – Completion percentage for Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts in Saturday’s win over Mercer. Hurts connected on all seven of his passes (three for touchdowns) in limited action during the blowout. Another Alabama quarterback, Harry Gilmer, connected on all eight of his passes in the 1945 Sugar Bowl – a 29-26 loss to Duke.
7 – Consecutive 10-win seasons for Clemson after its win over The Citadel on Saturday. Head coach Dabo Swinney has led the Tigers to half of their 10-win seasons in their 121 years of football. Clemson also improved to 32-0 all-time against FCS opponents.
429 – All-purpose yards for San Diego State star Rashaad Penny, breaking the school single-game record held by Marshall Faulk. Penny rushed for 222 yards and also scored on a kickoff and a punt return in a 42-23 win over Nevada.
8 – Consecutive bowl games for Kansas State, which gained bowl eligibility with its upset of No. 13 Oklahoma State on Saturday. The Wildcats will play in their 19th bowl game under the direction of head coach Bill Snyder. Other Kansas State head coaches in the program’s 120-year history directed K-State to a total of two bowls.
18 – Consecutive seasons with eight or more wins for LSU, the longest streak in SEC history. The streak is also tied with Oklahoma for the longest active streak in the Power 5.
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. Below are our selections for the top eight quarterback performances of the past week. Click here to be redirected to Facebook for voting.
Riley Ferguson, Memphis (21-of-27, 320 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, QBR: 94.2)
Ferguson also runs for three touchdowns as the Tigers score 21 points in the fourth quarter to clinch the AAC West Division title with a 66-45 win over SMU.
Mason Fine, North Texas (24-of-36, 386 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT, QBR: 85.0)
Fine, who tallies his fifth 300-yard game of the year, leads the Mean Green 46 yards while converting a pair of third downs to set up the game-winning field goal with five seconds to go in a 52-49 win over Army.
Lamar Jackson, Louisville (14-of-26, 270 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INT, QBR: 92.8)
Jackson, who also rushes for 111 yards and two touchdowns, becomes Louisville’s all-time leader in yardage (12,474) as he leads the Cardinals to a 56-10 ACC victory over Syracuse.
McKenzie Milton, UCF (16-of-23, 208 yards, 4 TDs, 0 INT, QBR: 91.5)
Milton, who adds a rushing touchdown to give him a career-best five overall TDs, helps the undefeated Knights to their seventh game of 40 or more points in a 45-19 AAC road win over Temple.
Gardner Minshew, East Carolina (31-of-45, 444 yards, 4 TDs, 0 INT, QBR: 85.7)
Minshew, making his fourth start of the year, tallies his second 400-yard game while recording a career-best in TD passes, including a school-record 95-yarder, as the Pirates roll over AAC rival Cincinnati, 48-20.
Armani Rogers, UNLV (13-of-25, 211 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, QBR: 65.5)
Rogers, who also runs for a career-best 193 yards and a touchdown, connects on a 14-yard TD with 25 seconds to go as the Rebels pick up a 38-35 MW road win over New Mexico.
Brett Rypien, Boise State (16-of-22, 300 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INT, QBR: 91.3)
Rypien has his second straight 300-yard game as he carves up the nation’s top-ranked passing defense in a 44-19 MW win over Air Force.
Skylar Thompson, Kansas State (10-of-13, 204 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INT, QBR: 92.7)
Thompson, making his second career start, records career-bests in passing yards, rushing yards (93 with a TD) and touchdowns as he leads the Wildcats to a 45-40 upset of No. 13 Oklahoma State in a Big 12 road game.
Top Upcoming Games
(Rankings are this week’s AP Rankings; All Times Central, please check local listings)
Baylor at No. 10 TCU (Friday, 11 a.m., FS1): A victory against the last-place Bears will secure a spot in the Big 12 Championship game for the Horned Frogs. Oklahoma has already clinched the other slot in the league’s title game.
No. 2 Miami at Pittsburgh (Friday, 11 a.m., ABC): The Hurricanes, who have the longest winning streak in the nation at 15 games, can clinch their first undefeated regular season since 2002 with a win at Pitt. The Panthers are 4-7 and have dropped two of their last three games while battling injuries.
No. 22 USF at No. 13 UCF (Friday, 2:30 p.m.): In the preseason, there were few predicting the Sunshine State showdown of the year to be between USF and UCF, but with Florida (preseason No. 17) and Florida State (preseason No. 3) a combined 8-14, this match-up between teams with a combined record of 19-1 slips into the marquee position. The winner will not gain bragging rights, but it will lock down a position in the American Athletic Championship game against Memphis.
No. 7 Georgia at Georgia Tech (Saturday, 11 a.m., ABC): The Bulldogs are heavily favored against the 5-5 Yellow Jackets, but they can’t afford a letdown as a loss could eliminate them from the College Football Playoff race – despite the fact they have already clinched a berth in the SEC Championship game against the winner of this weekend’s Iron Bowl.
No. 8 Ohio State at Michigan (Saturday, 11 a.m., FOX): Another fierce rivalry game with national championship implications, Michigan can spoil the Buckeyes’ title hopes with an upset (which would be a third loss) – though Ohio State has already locked down a spot in the Big Ten Championship against Wisconsin. The Wolverine offense has struggled mightily with injuries and ineffectiveness at the quarterback position while the Buckeyes have one of the most accomplished signal-callers in Big Ten history in J.T. Barrett.
No. 1 Alabama at No. 6 Auburn (Saturday, 2:30 p.m., CBS): The Iron Bowl will once again be a critical game in the SEC race – and also in the national championship race. For the first time since the memorable Kick-Six game in 2003, the winner will represent the SEC West in the league’s championship game. The winner of that SEC title game is likely to advance to the College Football Playoff as well – though Alabama would still have an outside chance at a CFP bid with an 11-1 record.
No. 5 Wisconsin at Minnesota (Saturday, 2:30 p.m., ABC): The Badgers have already wrapped up a position in the Big Ten title game (they will play Ohio State), but an upset loss to the heavy-underdog Gophers would most likely end any national championship hopes for Wisconsin.
West Virginia at No. 3 Oklahoma (Saturday, 2:45 p.m., ESPN): The Mountaineers have been reduced to the role of spoiler since losing two of their last four games and they will be taking on the powerful Sooners without star quarterback Will Grier, who is injured. Oklahoma, meanwhile, will look to remain sharp while Baker Mayfield has an opportunity to solidify his Heisman campaign with another standout effort.
No. 4 Clemson at South Carolina (Saturday, 6:30 p.m., ESPN): The defending national champion Tigers are angling to make their third straight College Football Playoff appearance, but they likely need to defeat Miami in the ACC Championship to qualify…but the overlooked team in the Palmetto State, South Carolina, could also make an impact on the CFP. The Gamecocks are a much-improved team with an 8-3 record, including wins in five of their last six games (the only loss was 24-10 to then-No. 1 Georgia).
No. 9 Notre Dame at No. 20 Stanford (Saturday, 7 p.m., ABC): A win for the Fighting Irish would give them a fourth victory over a ranked foe, though their two losses mean they need to root for chaos above them in the standings to have a shot at the CFP. Stanford, meanwhile, hopes star running back Bryce Love can get fully healthy to give him the opportunity to showcase his impressive skills to the Heisman voters.
No. 15 Washington at No. 14 Washington State (Saturday, TBD): The annual Apple Cup rivalry game will be critical to the Pac-12 race; if the Cougars win, they will capture the North Division title and will play USC in the league title game. If the Huskies win, Stanford will represent the North. The Cardinal have clinched a share of the title already and it has defeated Washington, but lost to Washington State.