No. 3 Michigan beat No. 2 Ohio State until the Buckeyes collapsed.
For the second consecutive season, rivalry play has portrayed Wolverines as the toughest, strongest, best-trained and most consistent team and program – and if once could be cast as a fluke, two consecutive breakouts strongly suggest that a trend has developed.
Up 31-23 midway through the fourth quarter, Michigan scored on a 75-yard touchdown by Donovan Edwards, who rushed for a career-best 216 yards. After intercepting Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud, the Wolverines added an 85-yard run by Edwards to win 45-23.
For Michigan, another victory in this series and the high possibility of another conference championship and a berth in the college football playoffs means it’s time to redesign the power structure of the Big Ten. Until proven otherwise, the Wolverines are the best in the league.
For the first time in decades, the Buckeyes and every other member of the Big Ten are suing Michigan. Eight seasons into his tenure and just two years after facing a very uncertain future at his alma mater, Jim Harbaugh lived up to the high expectations placed on the program when he arrived in 2015.
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And for Ohio State, the loss opens up serious doubts about the program’s place in the larger Bowl subdivision. While the Wolverines spent most of this season under scrutiny to feast on an unimpressive schedule, the Buckeyes escaped that spotlight and were celebrated as the team most capable of beating Georgia.
The final score is important for the Buckeyes, who might have pushed the playoff selection committee to advance to the semifinals with a loss in competition. The 22-point loss ends those postseason hopes and opens a series of questions about the state of the program, the play of the two lines and, perhaps most importantly, if coach Ryan Day has what it takes to regain control of this rivalry. .
Otherwise, put more of the same from the Buckeyes until Michigan says otherwise. With the win, the Wolverines pose as the biggest threat to the top-ranked Bulldogs and lead the list of winners and losers of the rivalry weekend:
Edwards delivered Michigan’s knockout blow, but not before McCarthy released Ohio State’s defense. Facing heavy criticism after a dreadful game last weekend against Illinois, the second threw for 278 yards and three scores on 11.1 yards per attempt, delivering several explosive plays and avoiding any costly turnovers as the Wolverines racked up 530 yards of attack. McCarthy had three passes for 45 yards or more, including two long touchdowns to Cornelius Johnson, and ran for a touchdown to give Michigan a 31-20 lead in the fourth quarter.
After a regular season full of close calls and slimline wins, the No. 4 TCU was able to stretch and relax in a 62-14 win over Iowa State that caps off a perfect run in the Big 12 Championship Game. How rare is a 48 point win? That spread is the combined winning margin of the Horned Frogs’ last seven wins. Next up is Kansas State No. 13 and the chance to lock in a playoff berth, though the odds have increased dramatically that TCU could lose this game and still reach the semifinals.
Caroline from the south
Ranked among the other SEC middle runners just two weeks ago, South Carolina has spent the last seven days as the Bowl Subdivision’s ultimate giant-killer. Last weekend, the Gamecocks poured 63 points on No. 11 Tennessee eliminate the Volunteers from the playoffs. And against No. 8 Clemson, they emerged from a 14-0 first-quarter disadvantage and three different nine-point deficits – at 16-7, 23-14 and 30-21 – beat the Tigers 31-30 and earn the program’s first victory in this series since 2013. That’s how you win Rivalry Week: not only by beating your hated rival, but by destroying your rival’s season.
While not on the same level as Ohio State and Michigan or with the same national impact as Clemson and South Carolina, Saturday’s slate included a series of meaningful rivalry games beginning with No. 1 Georgia’s 37-13 win over Georgia Tech. And there’s more. Take a deep breath…Kentucky beat Louisville 26-13, No. 7 Alabama rolled Auburn 49-27 in the Iron Bowl, Minnesota beat Wisconsin 23-16 to tie the all-time series at 62- 62-8, Purdue tops Indiana 30-16 to win the Old Oaken Bucket and Big Ten West, No. 10 Penn State edged Michigan State 35-16 to possibly book a New Year’s Bowl Six and the No. 25 Texas-San Antonio snuck in a late field goal to beat Texas-El Paso 34-31.
The program’s most successful 24-hour streak in years began with a Friday afternoon victory over rival Iowa, ending a seven-game losing streak in the series, and continued with the Saturday morning official. Hiring of former Temple and Baylor coach Matt Rhule. Since being fired by the Carolina Panthers in early October, Rhule has been the top coach in the open market and a candidate for several current and planned FBS openings. The hire gives Nebraska a proven rebuilder with the recruiting connections and overall plan to return the program to respectability.
A bad day for Clemson doubles as a bad day for the ACC, which was knocked out of the playoffs with the Tigers’ second loss. What was on display against South Carolina has been hidden for most of this season, including wide receiver inefficiency, quarterback unpredictability and an unstoppable rash of turnovers. Three other giveaways against the Gamecocks have given the Tigers 15 in the last five games, down from just five in the first seven of the year. Worse still was the defensive play: Clemson gave up 414 yards on offense, 360 through the air to Spencer Rattler. The only quarterbacks to throw more yards on Clemson in the last decade are Justin Fields in 2020 (385 yards), Joe Burrow in 2019 (463), former South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley (510) in 2018 , Jameis Winston in 2013 (444), former North Carolina State quarterback Mike Glennon in 2012 (493), and former Florida State quarterback EJ Manuel in 2012 (380) .
Given the chance to get back on the playoff card against No. 22 Oregon State, the No. 9 Ducks blew a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter and fell 38-34 in what ranks easily among the most painful defeats in program history. Oregon outscored the Beavers by 142 yards, had more than three turnovers, held the ball for nearly 35 minutes but was guilty of legendary bad game management: OSU had touchdowns at the fourth quarter covering 36, 2 and 28 yards thanks to the Ducks. failures on special teams and two failed fourth down tries deep in their own territory. Those puzzling decisions not to return the ball will leave a stench on coach Dan Lanning well into the offseason.
This year’s big disappointments
Thankfully, the regular season is over for some of college football’s biggest disappointments. That includes Michigan State, which won’t be eligible to bowl after competing for the Big Ten crown in 2021, and Wisconsin, which has been trying to usher in a new era under interim coach Jim Leonard. , but pulverized in a six-game winning streak. Also worth noting: Oklahoma State was crippled by injuries and went from 5-0 to 7-5, Iowa State finished with a losing record for the first time since 2016 and Arkansas went 6-6 after starting the year ranked 22nd in the standings. USA TODAY Sports AFCA Coaches Poll. And you can’t discuss this year’s disappointments without mentioning Texas A&M, which wrapped up a historically poor season Saturday night against LSU.
After appearing on the national radar with an 8-1 start and wins over Brigham Young and Arkansas, the Flames will limp into the playoffs with losses to Connecticut, Virginia Tech and New Mexico State. Facing the Aggies, Liberty was down 28-7 at halftime and eventually gave up 214 rushing yards in a 49-14 loss. And it’s getting worse: Hugh Freeze is set to become Auburn’s next coach, ending a hugely successful streak that included at least eight wins in each of his four years.