College Football: Week 11 Recap
By: Morgan Flood
#12 Baylor traveled to Norman to face #15 Oklahoma on Saturday. In characteristic fashion, the Baylor offense was explosive – lighting up the Sooner defense to the tune of 544 total yards, 396 of which were through the air. While Oklahoma did have flashes on offense, including an impressive run by QB Trevor Knight (12/27, 146 yards, 2 TDs, INT and 13 carries, 45 yards) in which he hurdled a Baylor defender, the Sooners were shut down after first quarter and simply could not keep up with Bryce Petty (32/42, 387 yards TD) and the Bears’ RB corps. Baylor made a statement and won their first game at Oklahoma in 12 attempts in convincing fashion, 48-14.
Many went into the weekend expecting unranked Texas A&M to be a relatively easy home victory for #3 Auburn after the thriller they played against Ole Miss last weekend, with the Tigers favored by 23 points over the Aggies. However, that was not the case. The Aggies, led by freshman QB Kyle Allen (19/29, 277 yards, 4 TD, INT) in his first SEC start, exploited Auburn’s defensive weaknesses to score quickly and often in the first half. Meanwhile the Tigers were a bit slower and capitalized less effectively than usual on offense to go along with their defensive woes, thus allowing Texas A&M to establish a 35-17 lead at the half, partly thanks to a blocked field goal attempt that Deshazor Everett returned for an Aggie touchdown. After the break, Auburn seemed to have gotten themselves back to their usual form and mounted a comeback attempt led by QB Nick Marshall (15/21, 219 yards, TD and 18 carries, 67 yards, 2 TDs) and RB Cameron Artis-Payne (30 carries, 221 yards, 2 TD) to draw within 3 points with about 7 minutes left in the game. However, on their final two possessions of the game, the Tigers’ luck ran out, with two uncharacteristic fumbles – the first a bad handoff from Marshall to Artis-Payne on the Texas A&M 2 yard line and the second a bad snap on the 28 – allowing the Aggies to hold on and shock Auburn with some late-game magic of their own, 41-38.
#10 Notre Dame visited the Valley of the Sun to play #9 Arizona State in an intriguing matchup. In an unexpected turn of events, the Fighting Irish found themselves down 34-10 at halftime, largely due to QB Everett Golson (22/41, 446 yards, 2 TD, 4 INT) turning the ball over three times in four minutes. Though Notre Dame attempted to make a comeback, drawing within three about six minutes into the fourth quarter, the Sun Devils, led by QB Taylor Kelly (17/28, 224 yards, 3 TD) and RB D.J. Foster (21 carries, 120 yards) fought back, aided by yet another Golson interception – this one returned by Damarious Randall for a touchdown – to stave off the Irish, 55-31.
#23 West Virginia and Texas faced off in Austin. Contrary to expectations, Texas dominated this game from start to finish, despite the fact that West Virginia, led by QB Clint Trickett (36/49, 248 yards, INT), RB Dreamius Smith (10 carries, 100 yards, TD) and star WR Kevin White (16 catches, 132 yards) outgained the Longhorns by nearly 100 yards. Texas RB Johnathan Gray ran wild over the Mountaineers defense, carrying 10 times for 101 yards and 3 TDs to help the Longhorns get one step closer to bowl eligibility in their first year under head coach Charlie Strong by beating WVU, 33-16.
In the most notable ACC game of the week, Virginia visited Tallahassee to play #2 ranked Florida State. While the Seminoles again started out slowly, with QB Jameis Winston (22/35 261 yards, TD, 2 INTs) throwing two picks in the first quarter to allow the Cavaliers to briefly go up 13-7, they roared back in the second quarter – with the help of three Virginia turnovers – to take a 28-13 lead into the half. In the second half, FSU looked more like their usual selves, and Virginia was unable to keep up. The Seminoles kept their win streak and playoff hopes alive, 34-20.
#7 Kansas State played #6 TCU in the biggest Big 12 game of the week – one that also could have playoff implications. Despite the Wildcats’ notoriously disciplined defense, Horned Frog QB Treyvone Boykin set a personal rushing record, carrying 17 times for 123 yards and 3 TDs, as well as completing 23/34 passes for 219 more yards and another TD. TCU RB Aaron Green, stepping up in the place of the injured B.J. Catalon, had a great day as well, carrying 18 times for 171 yards and a TD. Though K-State QB Jake Waters (20/37, 291 yards, 2 TDs, INT) and WR Tyler Lockett (11 catches, 196 yards, 1 TD) made a heroic effort, the Wildcats simply could not stop or keep up with the Horned Frogs. TCU won it solidly, 41-20.
#14 Ohio State and #8 Michigan State played in the biggest game of the night, one that not only had huge implications for the B1G championship game, but also for the conference’s chances of being represented in the inaugural College Football Playoff. Though the Spartans have had one of the nation’s best defenses this season, they did not play well against the Buckeyes, who, led by QB J.T. Barrett (16/26, 300 yards, 3 TDs and 14 carries, 86 yards, 2 TDs) and RB Ezekiel Elliott (23 carries, 154 yards, 2 TD) piled up 568 yards. Michigan State was no slouch on offense either, with QB Connor Cook (25/45, 358 yards, 2 TDs) and RB Jeremy Langford (18 carries, 137 yards, 3 TDs) being key contributors to the Spartans’ total of 536 yards. One of the key plays of this back-and-forth thriller was when, following a Michigan State touchdown to take the lead 21-14 in the second quarter, Ohio State fumbled the kickoff and gave the Spartans a chance to extend their lead. A holding penalty brought back a TD, forcing Michigan State to settle for a field goal attempt, which they missed. In the end, the Buckeyes outlasted the Spartans, 49-37.
#5 Alabama went to Baton Rouge to face #16 LSU in a night game in Death Valley in a game with SEC championship and possibly playoff implications, thanks to Auburn’s loss earlier in the day. Like several of LSU’s previous games this season, it was a low-scoring defensive struggle, with the Tigers holding Alabama to only 15 first downs and a third down conversion rate of only 8/20. With 1:13 left in the game and the score knotted at 10, Alabama fumbled on their own 6 yard line, thus giving LSU a chance to take the lead with a touchdown. Unfortunately, an untimely unsportsmanlike conduct call against offensive guard Vadal Alexander forced them to settle for a field goal. Despite their stellar performance in the rest of the game, the LSU defense was unable to hold back the Tide when it counted most and allowed QB Blake Sims (20/45, 209 yard, 2 TDs) to engineer a late 4th quarter drive to allow kicker Adam Griffith to redeem himself for missing a field goal earlier in the game and tie it up at 13 with 3 seconds left in regulation. In overtime, Alabama held off the Tigers and scored a touchdown to win the thriller and keep their SEC hopes alive, 20 -13.
#4 Oregon traveled to #17 Utah for the weekend’s nightcap and the premier PAC-12 game of the week. Though the Utes scored first and should have went up 14-0 in the second quarter on a long pass from QB Travis Wilson (18/28, 297 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT) to WR Kaelin Clay (5 catches, 152 yards), it turned out that he had actually dropped the ball before crossing the goalline. A heads up play by Ducks LB Joe Walker resulted in the ball being run back 100 yards for an Oregon TD and a huge momentum swing. After this, the Duck offense kicked into high gear, with Heisman hopeful Marcus Mariota (17/29, 239, 3 TD and 18 carries, 114 yards, TD) leading the high-powered Oregon offense to rack up 508 yards and 6 TDs on the Utes to win, 51-27.
Other Scores: #21 Clemson 34, Wake Forest 20; #11 Ole Miss 48, Presbyterian 0; #20 Georgia 63, Kentucky 31; #25 Wisconsin 34, Purdue 16; Penn State 13, Indiana 7; Minnesota 51, Iowa 14; #22 Duke 27, Syracuse 10; #24 Georgia Tech 56, NC State 23; Michigan 10, Northwestern 9; Kansas 34, Iowa State 14; #1 Mississippi State 45, Tennessee-Martin 16; Washington State 39, Oregon State 32; #18 UCLA 44, Washington 30; Louisville 38, Boston College 19; Florida 34, Vanderbilt 10; #19 Arizona 38, Colorado 20; Louisiana Tech 40, UAB 24; Rice 17, UTSA 7, Tulsa 38, SMU 28; Troy 15, Georgia State 21; Arkansas State 45, South Alabama 10; Appalachian State 31, Louisiana-Monroe 29; Army 35, UConn 21; Tulane 31, Houston 24; Old Dominion 38, Florida International 35; Western Kentucky 35, UTEP 27; Air Force 48, UNLV 21; Georgia Southern 28, Texas State 25; SDSU 35, Idaho 21; North Texas 31, Florida Atlantic 10; Marshall 63, Southern Miss 17; Boise State 60, New Mexico 49; Colorado State 49, Hawaii 22; Louisiana-Lafayette 44, New Mexico State 16; Fresno State 38, San Jose State 24.
Note: All rankings are from the College Football Playoff Committee rankings released Tuesday, November 4.