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In a season full of upsets, Week 11 was a return to normalcy as the top 10 only saw one defeat this week — sorry, Oregon.
Georgia kept rolling in its title defense with a comfortable win against Mississippi State to clinch a spot in the SEC title game while LSU beat Arkansas 13-10 to clinch the SEC West and a date with the Bulldogs in early December.
In the Big Ten, Ohio State and Michigan kept perfect seasons alive against inferior conference opponents as it appears the two age-old rivals are set to meet with everything on the line on Nov. 26.
TCU and Tennessee also kept possible College Football Playoff berths alive with comfortable wins and the Pac-12’s playoff hopes took a big hit as Washington beat Oregon late.
With only two weeks left in the regular season, the playoff field is beginning to finalize, which makes it a perfect time to check out this week’s Power Rankings.
The No. 1 Bulldogs clinched the SEC East with a 45-19 victory at Mississippi State on Saturday night, but coach Kirby Smart said he won’t start thinking about playing LSU in the Dec. 3 SEC championship game in Atlanta anytime soon. Instead, Smart said his team will be focused on next week’s SEC finale at Kentucky and a Nov. 26 home game against rival Georgia Tech. The Bulldogs broke open a close game by outscoring Mississippi State 28-7 in the second half. Quarterback Stetson Bennett threw for 289 yards with four touchdowns (one rushing), and Georgia’s defense limited State to just 47 rushing yards. Mississippi State went 3-for-14 on third down and 0-for-3 on fourth down. — Mark Schlabach
Up next: at Kentucky (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS)
Georgia QB Stetson Bennett throws for 289 yards and three touchdowns and runs for a fourth in the 45-19 win over Mississippi State to claim the SEC East title.
The story for these Buckeyes has been injuries and a schedule with very few genuine challenges. Indiana didn’t provide much resistance, as Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud responded from a career-worst passing performance last time out to throw for 297 yards and five touchdowns in a 56-14 win. Starting running back TreVeyon Henderson (foot) missed his second straight game, but Miyan Williams rushed for 147 yards before being carted off with a leg injury. The best news for Ohio State was the play of freshman Dallan Hayden, who logged his first career 100-yard rushing performance. Ohio State became the first Big Ten team since 1903 (Michigan) to score at least 45 points in six straight home games in the same season. — Adam Rittenberg
Up next: at Maryland (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN app)
The Wolverines beat Nebraska 34-3 to go 10-0 on the season. It’s just the third time since 1975 that Michigan has started the season 10-0, along with the 1997 and 2006 teams. Running back Blake Corum has been carrying the load on offense for Michigan and he came through against Nebraska with 162 yards rushing and one touchdown. Corum is the third Big Ten player over the past 15 seasons with at least one rushing touchdown in their team’s first 10 games of the season. Michigan’s defense also showed up, holding Nebraska to 146 total yards and no touchdowns in the win. — Tom VanHaaren
Up next: vs. Illinois (Saturday, noon ET, ABC/ESPN app)
The Horned Frogs went into Texas as 7.5-point underdogs and morphed from an offensive machine to a team capable of grinding Texas’s star-studded offense to a halt. The Longhorns managed just 199 total yards, averaged 3.3 yards per play, and went 1-of-13 on third down en route to scoring 3 offensive points. If the CFP committee is worried about the Frogs‘ defense, as they’d indicated in past weeks, this was quite a statement. TCU is now 10-0 and has clinched a spot in the Big 12 championship game after finishing 5-7 last year, and the Horned Frogs‘ charmed season continues. — Dave Wilson
Up next: at Baylor
Hendon Hooker said adieu to Neyland Stadium in style, and Tennessee came roaring back from its only loss of the season with a 66-24 thrashing of Missouri on Saturday. Hooker, who was sacked six times last week in a 27-13 loss to Georgia, passed for 355 yards and three touchdowns and also ran for a TD on Senior Day. The Vols (9-1) racked up a school-record 724 yards of total offense against a Missouri defense that entered the game ranked 13th nationally (304.1 yards per game). The Tigers had not allowed more than 26 points in their previous seven games, which included a 26-22 loss to Georgia. Missouri pulled to within 28-24 midway through the third quarter, but Tennessee reeled off 38 unanswered points to complete its first unbeaten season at home since 2007. — Chris Low
Up next: at South Carolina (Saturday, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN app)
A week after putting up 32 points in an overtime win against Alabama, LSU leaned on its defense Saturday to beat Arkansas 13-10 on the road and clinched the SEC Western Division championship and a berth in the conference title game. Arkansas was playing shorthanded without starting quarterback KJ Jefferson, and the Tigers took full advantage by holding the Hogs to 249 total yards. LSU freshman linebacker Harold Perkins Jr. was everywhere with a school-record four sacks, two forced fumbles and a pass deflection. The Tigers (8-2) won despite a subpar day from quarterback Jayden Daniels, who had been red hot coming into the game. Daniels was held to 86 passing yards and sacked seven times. — Low
Up next: vs. UAB (Saturday, 9 p.m. ET, ESPN2/ESPN app)
There wasn’t really anything to gain for USC in its game against Colorado. Win big, it’s expected. Anything else, it’s concerning. The Trojans still managed to get a little bit of both. They trailed 3-2 at the end of the first quarter before cruising to a 55-17 win. Beyond that, there’s not much to read into. It would have been hard to watch that game and come away thinking better of the Trojans than previously. — Kyle Bonagura
Up next: at UCLA
It wasn’t a pretty win at Ole Miss and it was a lot closer than anyone on the Alabama sideline wanted it to be, but then again not much about this season has gone according to plan for Nick Saban’s squad. At least this time the Crimson Tide hung on to the lead late on the road and no one ended the night by storming the field in celebration. The defense in particular deserves a tip of the cap, bouncing back after a rough first half to tighten the clamps on the Ole Miss running game and give up only one second-half touchdown. — Alex Scarborough
Up next: vs. Austin Peay (Saturday, noon ET, ESPN+/SECN+)
The Tigers bounced back from their loss to Notre Dame with a 31-16 win over Louisville thanks to a dominant performance on the ground, with 248 yards and three rushing touchdowns — one each from Phil Mafah, Will Shipley and DJ Uiagalelei. Though Clemson turned the ball over three times against the aggressive Louisville defense, the Cards were unable to score points off any of the miscues as the Tigers defense played a much better game than a week ago. Clemson has now won 39 consecutive home games, tied with Oklahoma (2005-11) for the second-longest streak in the FBS since 1990. — Andrea Adelson
Up next: vs. Miami (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN app)
Will Shipley jumps over the Louisville defender for a Clemson touchdown.
The Tar Heels clinched the Coastal Division and a spot in the ACC championship game with a 36-34 win over Wake Forest behind another outstanding performance from quarterback Drake Maye, who went 31-of-49 for a career-high 448 yards passing and three touchdowns. That is the fourth-highest single-game total in school history. He also rushed for 71 yards and a score. North Carolina is 6-0 on the road this season, the highest away win total in school history. Once again the Tar Heels needed a fourth-quarter comeback to win, something that has become a bit of a trademark during this 9-1 start. — Adelson
Up next: vs. Georgia Tech (Saturday, 5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2/ESPN app)
And like that, the Ducks‘ CFP dreams are dead. It’s a result that has the potential to haunt first-year coach Dan Lanning for his decision to go for it on 4th-and-1 with a minute and a half to go. With the game tied at 34, the Ducks went for it from their own 33, only to get stuffed. Four plays later, Washington kicked the game-winning field goal in a thrilling Pac-12 game. — Bonagura
Up next: vs. Utah (Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN app)
A slow start for the Utes gave way to a trouncing of Stanford in Salt Lake City. The Cardinal had a 7-0 lead after one quarter, but by the time the clock hit zero Utah had scored 42 unanswered points. It was a performance fueled by a 180-yard rushing night from Tavion Thomas who also added two touchdowns. Cam Rising threw another pick, but his three touchdowns over the air nullified any mistakes as the Utes continued their march toward defending their Pac-12 title. — Paolo Uggetti
Up next: at Oregon (Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN app)
Quarterback Michael Penix Jr. threw for 408 yards and a pair of touchdowns as the Huskies picked up their most impressive win of the season, taking down No. 6 Oregon 37-34 in Eugene. It’s a win that will hurt the Pac-12’s playoff chances, not that the Huskies will care in the slightest. Oregon moved the ball at will all game (592 yards) but it was the Huskies defense that forced a field goal in the red zone late, then came up with a 4th-and-1 stop to set up the game-winning field goal. — Bonagura
Up next: vs. Colorado
The Nittany Lions defense came up big in the 30-0 win over Maryland. Penn State held Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa to just 74 yards passing and no interceptions. It also held the Terps rushing attack to 60 total yards on the ground. It was a dominating performance and the offense was able to consistently put up points throughout the game to give Penn State the win. Running back Nick Singleton continued his excellent freshman season with 122 yards and two touchdowns rushing. — VanHaaren
Up next: at Rutgers
Lane Kiffin is going to want that one back. In the first half, his team had it all figured out. The defense was stout, the running game was firing on all cylinders and Jaxson Dart was having success pushing the ball down the field through the air. But a 10-0 lead evaporated quickly, the running game regressed ever so slightly and Alabama was able to go on a 23-7 run during the final 30 minutes, 8 seconds of the game. And still Ole Miss had the ball late with a chance to win and couldn’t get the job done. — Scarborough
Up next: at Arkansas (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network/ESPN app)
Senior quarterback John Rhys Plumlee’s triumphant return to the lineup spurred UCF to a 38-31 upset of Tulane on Saturday. Plumlee accounted for 308 total yards (180 rushing) and three total touchdowns as the Knights overwhelmed the Green Wave on the ground to the tune of a season-high 336 yards. The Knights‘ defense held Tulane to 176 total yards in the first half, which allowed them to seize control. — Blake Baumgartner
Up next: vs. Navy (Saturday, 11 a.m. ET, ESPN2/ESPN app)
Chris Klieman’s Wildcats have spent the last few weeks alternating between top-five caliber and mediocrity; on Saturday in Waco, it was far more former than latter. Deuce Vaughn had 156 combined rushing and receiving yards, Will Howard threw for 196 yards and three scores off the bench, and K-State dominated third and fourth down (they won 20 of 30 plays on those downs) to cruise to a 31-3 blowout of Baylor. The Bears had been on a nice run, but the Wildcats won the key plays and moved to 7-3 as a result. At 5-2 in conference play, they’re a game up on Oklahoma State, Baylor and Texas with two weeks to play. — Bill Connelly
Up next: at West Virginia (Saturday, 2 p.m. ET, ESPN+)
The Bruins firepower ran out on Saturday night at the Rose Bowl as Dorian Thompson-Robinson couldn’t complete the comeback on the final drive of the game against Arizona. The offense that had vaulted them to wins over Utah and Washington this season couldn’t dig itself out the whole the defense created from the jump. The Wildcats embraced their underdog status, going up 14-0 in the first quarter and then scoring 13 in the fourth. It was just enough to edge out the Bruins, who are now longshots to get into the conference title game. — Uggetti
Up next: vs. USC
The Irish appeared to avoid a post-Clemson hangover against Navy, surging to a 35-13 halftime lead behind a near-flawless performance by quarterback Drew Pyne (14-of-16 passing, 234 passing yards, 3 touchdowns and a rushing touchdown). But Notre Dame’s strange season took a turn in the second half, as Navy outscored the Irish 19-0 and held the visitors to 2 net yards and only 66 total rushing yards for the game. Pyne had only 35 passing yards in the second half, but Notre Dame held on to win its fourth straight under first-year coach Marcus Freeman. — Rittenberg
Up next: vs. Boston College (Saturday, 2:30 p.m. ET, NBC)
Drew Pyne rushes in for 11-yard touchdown
The Seminoles snuck into the top-25 this past week and did more than prove that they deserve that spot against Syracuse on Saturday. For the third game in a row, Florida State’s offense got off to a roaring start, scoring 24 points in the first half while its defense dominated the Orange, holding them to a whopping three total points on the night. Syracuse could only cough up 160 total yards on offense (only 65 over the air) while the Noles put up 420 yards of their own. It was a dominant affair from start to finish for Mike Norvell’s team, which seems to have found its stride following a three-loss stretch before this winning streak. — Uggetti
Up next: vs. Louisiana (Saturday, noon ET, ESPN3)
Tulane’s five-game winning streak came to a halt Saturday as UCF ran its way to a 38-31 victory. The Green Wave’s defense surrendered a season-high 336 rushing yards, with Knights senior quarterback John Rhys Plumlee accounting for 176 and two scores. Green Wave junior running back Tyjae Spears (130 yards) went over the 100-yard rushing mark for the fourth consecutive week and quarterback Michael Pratt (23-of-38, 236 passing yards) had four total touchdowns (three passing). — Baumgartner
Up next: vs. SMU (Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN app)
Jarrett Guest made some big plays early, and Bryce Carpenter helped save the day late. In their first game after learning that star quarterback Grayson McCall would be out for a few weeks with injury, Coastal Carolina played two different QBs and survived a 26-23 battle with Southern Miss by bolting to a 17-0 lead in the first quarter and holding on for dear life. Reese White’s 2-yard score, following a long run by CJ Beasley, gave the lead back to the Chants with 9:20 left, and Coastal made a pair of fourth-down stops to move to 9-1 overall and clinch the Sun Belt East title. — Connelly
Up next: at Virginia (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN3)
Cincinnati’s AAC title hopes are still alive despite the Bearcats getting considerably outgained (454-310) by East Carolina during the 27-25 victory Friday. The Bearcats staved off a late Pirates push, with junior Ryan Coe’s 21-yard field goal with 9:42 left in regulation providing the winning margin. Junior wide receiver Jadon Thompson’s 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the first quarter helped kick Cincinnati into gear. Senior QB Ben Bryant (14-of-30 passing for 244 yards, 2 TDs, 1 interception) connected with senior Tre Tucker (55 yards) and junior Tyler Scott (76 yards) for long first-half scores. — Baumgartner
Up next: at Temple (Saturday, 4 p.m. ET, ESPNU/ESPN app)
Coming off a three-point loss to a Washington team that beat Oregon this week, the Beavers took out their frustration on a sinking Cal team, beating them handily 38-10 thanks to another strong performance from quarterback Ben Gulbranson. Gulbranson threw for two touchdowns and ran for another in his fifth game since replacing starting quarterback Chance Nolan this season. Apart from a blowout loss at the hands of Utah earlier this season, Oregon State has either won every game or lost by a field goal. The ability to bounce back from a loss and handle a lesser opponent with ease is a glimpse into the kind of program OSU has become under Jonathan Smith. — Uggetti
Up next: at Arizona State (Saturday, 2:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2/ESPN app)
It was tougher than expected, but Troy moved to 8-2 on Saturday afternoon with a 10-9 win over Army. Down 9-0 at halftime, the Trojans inched back into the game, taking the lead on a 3-yard Gunnar Watson-to-Tez Johnson touchdown pass with eight minutes left, then watched as Quinn Maretzki missed a 42-yard field goal with 15 seconds left. (Maretzki had already missed a PAT, which provided the winning margin.) This wasn’t the greatest game in Jon Sumrall’s debut season as Troy head coach, but they can’t all be pretty. — Connelly
Up next: vs. UL Monroe (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+