In one of the most eventful weekends of the season thus far, four teams ranked in the College Football Playoff committee’s top 10 fell, eliminating them from playoff consideration.
One of the most stunning games of the weekend happened in Auburn, Alabama, where the No. 3 Tigers fell, 41-38, to Texas A&M. Auburn had several chances to win the game, but two fumbles late in the fourth quarter halted its rally.
The Aggies outscored the Tigers 21-3 in a critical second quarter, which included a field goal block return for a touchdown as the half ended.
No. 6 TCU routed No. 7 Kansas State, 41-20, in Fort Worth. TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin accounted for four touchdowns in the game.
No. 8 Michigan State fell to No. 14 Ohio State, 49-37, in East Lansing, Michigan. Buckeye freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett threw for 300 yards and three touchdowns while adding two more on the ground. Ohio State scored two touchdowns in the final 3:20 of the first half to take a 28-21 lead, which it did not relinquish.
No. 9 Arizona State topped No. 10 Notre Dame, 55-31, in Tempe, Arizona. After the Irish scored a field goal on their first drive, the Sun Devils scored 34 unanswered points. Notre Dame rallied to get within three points, but the Sun Devils eventually put the game out of reach.
14-point swing critical in Utah:
No. 17 Utah appeared to have grabbed a two-touchdown lead on No. 4 Oregon. Senior wide receiver Kaelin Clay had his man beat and the end zone in sight, but, as he approached the goal line, he dropped the ball in celebration. Instead, he technically fumbled the football, and it was scooped up by Oregon junior linebacker Joe Walker, who returned it 100 yards to tie the ball game.
After the fumble return, Oregon scored 24 straight points to seemingly put the game away at 24-7. But the Utes fought valiantly, cutting the difference to 30-27 before a couple of touchdowns by Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota gave the Ducks a comfortable cushion.
Baylor makes a statement:
Entering the weekend, eyes were on No. 12 Baylor, which desperately needed to impress the playoff committee to try to stake its claim as one of the four best teams in the nation.
The Bears trailed, 14-3, at the end of the first quarter but closed with the contest’s final 45 points to blow out the No. 15 Sooners, 48-14. It was
Baylor’s first victory ever on the road against Oklahoma.
Late field goal sets stage for high-stake game in Baton Rouge:
As is often the case when LSU plays Alabama, this year’s contest went down to the wire. The No. 5 Crimson Tide held the No. 16 Tigers to a field goal in the closing minute of regulation after Alabama turned the ball over at its own six.
Trailing, 13-10, with 50 seconds remaining, Crimson Tide quarterback Blake Sims moved the offense 39 yards to set up the game-tying field goal by placekicker Adam Griffith.
Alabama scored a touchdown on its first possession in overtime and forced four straight LSU incompletions to secure the 20-13 victory.
The Crimson Tide host No. 1 Mississippi State this weekend.