College football winners and losers for Week 11 – USA TODAY
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No. 10 Baylor had never won in Norman, Okla. And the Bears’ last defeat of a ranked opponent on the road came in 1991.
Baylor erased both of those blemishes by pounding Oklahoma. After trailing early, the Bears scored the final 45 points in a 48-14 victory.
Three weeks after Bryce Petty struggled on the road at West Virginia, he threw for 387 yards to put the Bears in control of their destiny in the Big 12 with three home games left on the schedule.
FOOTBALL FOUR: Rating and debating college football and the Playoff
Saturday’s other winners in college football:
Ohio State: The Buckeyes came into East Lansing as the underdog. They left as the clear favorite in the Big Ten after their offense thrashed the vaunted Michigan State defense. Led by freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett, Ohio State punted only twice (once came inside the final minute) and scored touchdowns on six consecutive possessions en route to a 49-37 victory. A trip to Minnesota looms next week, but otherwise it should be smooth sailing until the Big Ten title game. The only question is if the Buckeyes can overcome a weak schedule and loss to Virginia Tech with the playoff committee.
Alabama: The Crimson Tide were staring at end of their College Football Playoff dreams with 1:13 left. In a tie game, LSU had recovered a fumble on the Alabama 6-yard line. But the defense held the Tigers to a field goal, and Blake Sims drove his team 55 yards in 47 seconds to set up a game-tying kick by Adam Griffith. A Sims touchdown pass and a defensive stand in overtime got Alabama out of Baton Rouge with just one loss and still with a shot at the final four. The Houdini escape sets the stage for week’s game against No. 1 Mississippi State to be even bigger than this week’s thriller.
Minnesota: The Golden Gophers already won one big trophy game by taking the Little Brown Jug from Michigan last month. They added Floyd of Rosedale with a 51-14 domination of Iowa, giving them possession of both prizes for the first time since 1967. The victory, keyed by three touchdown catches from Maxx Williams, also gives Minnesota a share of the lead in the Big Ten West with games against co-leaders Nebraska and Wisconsin upcoming. Wins in both would give Jerry Kill’s team the division title.
Georgia:Off a loss to rival Florida, the Bulldogs rebounded quickly in a potentially dangerous trip to Kentucky. Isaiah McKenzie returned two kicks for touchdowns, and the offense piled up 305 yards on the ground in a 63-31 victory. While the slip-up against the Gators effectively ended its playoff aspirations, Georgia still has a strong chance to reach the Southeastern Conference title game and will be boosted by the return of running back Todd Gurley this week when Auburn comes to Athens.
Auburn: Facing a wounded Texas A&M team was always going to be tricky for the Tigers seven days after beating Mississippi and with a trip to Georgia next week. Allowing the first 14 points with barely two minutes gone and a 35-17 halftime deficit made things much more difficult. Auburn, of course, rallied, but one week after benefiting from a goal-line fumble by the Rebels, the Tigers fumbled at the goal line with just more than two minutes left and then fumbled again in field goal range in the final minute. The 41-38 loss almost certainly ends any playoff hopes, and there are rivalry games against Georgia and Alabama left.
Notre Dame: It started well enough for the Irish, who scored first with a field goal on their first possession at Arizona State. Fifteen minutes later, with the help of three turnovers by Everett Golson, they trailed 31-3 and their national title hopes were effectively over with 2½ quarters left to play. Despite a big comeback, the 55-31 loss wiped away all the positive feelings that were generated at Florida State. Notre Dame must refocus on getting to a major bowl game by beating Northwestern, Louisville and Southern California.
SMU: Winless in their first seven games with the closest loss by 21 points, the Mustangs had their best opportunity for a victory when they traveled to 1-7 Tulsa. The Mustangs scored more points than they had in any other game this season and held the opponent to its fewest points, but it still resulted in a 38-28 loss. The lone bright spot was SMU quarterback Matt Davis piling up nearly 400 yards from scrimmage. Four opportunities are left for the team to avoid a 0-12 season.
Kaelin Clay: Utah was up seven, Rice-Eccles Stadium was rocking and Kaelin Clay was running free to the end zone. But a funny thing happened before he reached the goal line. He dropped the ball in a premature celebration. Oregon eventually picked it up and returned it for a touchdown. Instead of a 14-point lead, the game was tied. Though Clay didn’t hang his head and had another long catch to help Utah pull within three during the fourth quarter, that swing in the first half had a huge impact on the game. The Ducks eventually put the game away with three late touchdowns to stay in the title hunt. The loss dropped the Utes completely out of the Pac-12 South race.
HOW THE TOP 25 FARED IN WEEK 11