5 Takeaways from College Football Week 13
Week 13 brought us Rivalry Week. Intra-state battles and historic matchups provided meaningful games all over the country, regardless of the school’s record. Huge days were turned in from Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes, who threw for over 500 yards for the fourth time this year, and USC’s utility man Adoree Jackson, a scorer of three touchdowns on a punt return, a kickoff return, and a receiving score. Let the debate continue on who should qualify for the playoffs.
- Har-bawling Like a Baby In perhaps the greatest game ever played between third-ranked Michigan and second-ranked Ohio State, the Buckeyes pulled out a double overtime, 30-27, victory over the Wolverines in their 113th all-time meeting. The loss eliminated Michigan from Big Ten East title contention while Ohio State needed a loss from Penn State to have their ticket punched to the Big Ten title game. Trailing by three in the second overtime, the Buckeyes went for a fourth-and-one when quarterback J.T. Barrett kept the ball and was stopped right at the first-down line. The play was reviewed and the first-down given to Ohio State. The Buckeyes would score the game-winning touchdown just a few plays later. Referring to the call after the game, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh said, “I’m bitterly disappointed with the officiating today.” Michigan’s Wilton Speight passed for 219 yards and two touchdowns, while his Ohio State counterpart J.T. Barrett threw for 124 yards and added 132 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Despite not qualifying for the Big Ten championship game, Ohio State still stands a great chance of making the playoff.
- Easy As Apple Pie The fifth-ranked Washington Huskies needed a victory over the 23rd-ranked Washington State Cougars in the Apple Cup rivalry to lock up the Pac-12 North division and better their odds at the College Football Playoff. The Huskies did just that in a dominating 45-17 performance Friday night in Pullman, Washington. Washington rode a 28-point first quarter with three touchdowns from Heisman-hopeful quarterback Jake Browning, who became just the third quarterback in Pac-12 history to throw 40 touchdowns in a season, to jump out to an early lead. The Cougars were able to pull within 35-17 in the third quarter, and had an opportunity to cut into Washington’s lead even more. However, a goal-line stand on fourth down helped the Huskies pull away for good. Browning finished the day with 292 yards, and running back Lavon Coleman rushed for 82 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Next week, Washington will play Colorado in the Pac-12 championship.
- Guice is Nice. LSU To Geaux With O The LSU Tigers rode a record-setting performance from running back Derrius Guice en route to a 54-39 victory over the Texas A&M Aggies. Guice rushed for a school-record 285 yards and four touchdowns while filling in for an injured Leonard Fournette, and LSU quarterback Danny Etling finally had a breakout game in throwing for 324 yards, while the Tigers delivered just the type of performance needed to promote interim head coach Ed Orgeron to the full-time gig. The Tigers went 5-2 under Orgeron after firing Les Miles. LSU had been rumored to have been in intense contract negotiation with former Houston head coach Tom Herman, but after reports of Herman demanding too high of a salary, the Tigers decided to settle on the Orgeron promotion. Herman was hired shortly after by the Texas Longhorns. LSU is now reportedly targeting Lane Kiffin, the offensive coordinator of their biggest rival Alabama, to assume the same title in Baton Rouge.
- Lions Line Playoff Resume The seventh-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions had to root for their archrival Ohio State and needed a win over a struggling Michigan State squad in order to lock up the Big Ten East division and keep their playoff hopes alive. The Lions beat the Spartans 45-12 behind a second-half surge and terrific performance from quarterback Trace McSorley. McSorley threw for 376 yards and four touchdowns and at one time completed a stretch of twelve straight passes. The Lions await news on star running back Saquon Barkley, who left the game early with an injury. Penn State will play a Wisconsin Badger team, also vying for playoff position after a victory over Minnesota, in the Big Ten championship game in Indianapolis.
- Defense Takes a Pitt Stop In what was the highest scoring regulation game in FBS history, the Pittsburgh Panthers outscored the Syracuse Orange 76-62. Twenty touchdowns were scored in total. Syracuse quarterback Zack Mahoney passed for 440 yards and five touchdowns, while Pitt quarterback Nathan Peterman threw for 251 yards and four scores. The teams combined for 1,312 yards of total offense. The Syracuse defense allowed more points to Pitt than their basketball team did to South Carolina on Saturday (64). The win likely moves Pitt into an upper-tier bowl game after finishing the season 8-4 with wins over top teams like Clemson and Penn State. In another game lacking defense, the Navy Midshipmen beat the SMU Mustangs 75-31. The 25th-ranked Midshipmen will take on Temple in the AAC championship.
Week 14 is conference championship week and the last opportunity for teams to make a case that they belong in the playoff. Alabama will take on Florida in the SEC championship, Colorado will take on Washington for the Pac-12 title, Penn State challenges Wisconsin for the Big Ten, and Clemson battles Virginia Tech for the ACC. Tenth-ranked Oklahoma State will also take on eighth-ranked Oklahoma in the teams’ final regular season game.