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February 21, 2024

Wolverines Cement Big Ten East Title Hopes While Crimson Tide Survive Scare

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Nov 25, 2023

Michigan cemented its Big Ten East division title hopes with a thrilling win over archrivals Ohio State. Alabama needed every second on the clock to narrowly avoid a huge upset against Auburn that would have ended their playoff hopes. Washington and Florida State also survived close rivalry games to keep their conference title dreams alive.

Wolverines Beat Buckeyes in Instant Classic to Retain Paul Bunyan Trophy

Michigan retained the Paul Bunyan Trophy for the third straight year after beating Ohio State 45-23 in an instant classic contest in front of the largest crowd ever at Michigan Stadium. The win puts the Wolverines in pole position to clinch the Big Ten East division title and play for a conference championship.

In a back-and-forth affair, Michigan raced out to an early lead before Ohio State rallied to make it a one score game in the fourth quarter. Ultimately, the Wolverines had too much firepower, pulling away late to beat their hated rivals for the third consecutive time under coach Jim Harbaugh.

"This was an epic football game," Harbaugh said. "The players on both teams battled their hearts out and left everything on the field. I’m so proud of our guys for the way they competed and found a way to win against a great Ohio State team."

The key factors in Michigan’s win:

  • Running back Donovan Edwards was unstoppable, rushing for 216 yards and two touchdowns
  • Quarterback J.J. McCarthy made big plays at critical moments, throwing three touchdowns
  • Michigan’s defense forced two key turnovers in Buckeye territory which led to 14 points
  • Kicker Jake Moody was perfect on the day, going 6-for-6 on field goal attempts

"We knew to win this game we had to play a complete four quarter game in all three phases," McCarthy said. "The defense did their part by getting stops and turnovers, Jake was automatic whenever we needed points, and Donovan put the offense on his back. It was a total team effort and I’m just so thrilled we get to bring the Paul Bunyan Trophy back to Ann Arbor."

The win puts Michigan clearly in the driver’s seat to win the Big Ten East division and earn a rematch with Purdue in the Big Ten Championship game in two weeks. Ohio State’s playoff hopes now hang by a thread. They will need help from other contenders losing to have a chance at making the College Football Playoff field.

"This is a really bitter pill to swallow," Ohio State coach Ryan Day said. "We had our chances but just couldn’t get over the hump. Losing to our rivals three straight times is completely unacceptable. We have a lot of evaluating to do about how we can improve and get back on top of not just the rivalry, but the Big Ten."

Team 1 2 3 4 Final
Michigan 14 13 3 15 45
Ohio State 13 0 3 7 23

Crimson Tide Survive Massive Scare from Tigers in the Iron Bowl

Alabama narrowly avoided a devastating upset loss to Auburn in the annual Iron Bowl rivalry, winning 49-27 after some late game heroics. The Crimson Tide struggled mightily for most of the game and trailed entering the fourth quarter. But Bryce Young engineered two lightning quick touchdown drives in the final period to stave off the upset.

"I’m getting too old for these types of games," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "Auburn played extremely well and had a great game plan that gave us fits. Fortunately, Bryce kept his poise and made some unbelievable plays when we needed them most."

Alabama’s trouble started early, with Auburn jumping out to a 10-0 first quarter lead. The Tigers moved the ball with ease against what had been an elite Alabama defense up until today. Running back Tank Bigsby gashed the Tide front seven for 179 rushing yards. Meanwhile, the Crimson Tide offense was out of sync and sputtering for most of the first half.

Things went from bad to worse in the third quarter after Auburn intercepted Bryce Young and returned it for a pick-six touchdown to take a 24-17 lead. But Alabama showed incredible resilience to bounce back. Young led back-to-back touchdown drives of under two minutes to give Alabama the lead entering the fourth quarter.

Auburn retook the lead early in the fourth quarter. But Alabama’s Will Anderson stripped Auburn quarterback Robby Ashford on the goal line and returned the fumble for a game changing touchdown to swing momentum back in the Tide’s favor. Young closed out the comeback with two more touchdown drives to cap off a 21 point fourth quarter explosion.

"This team has tremendous heart," Young said. "We faced a lot of adversity today but when we needed a response, the guys stepped up. That’s what great teams do."

The win keeps Alabama’s slim College Football Playoff hopes alive. They still need some help and will need an impressive showing in the SEC Championship game to have a chance at the final four. But after today’s scare, they are thankful to still be in the hunt.

"We played with fire today and somehow didn’t get completely burned," Saban said. "It wasn’t pretty but we found a way. We’ll take it and move forward."

Team 1 2 3 4 Final
Auburn 10 7 7 3 27
Alabama 0 14 3 32 49

Gaskin’s Late Heroics Keep Huskies Conference Title Hopes Alive

Washington needed a game winning touchdown with less than a minute left to beat rival Washington State 51-33 in the Apple Cup. The win keeps the Huskies in position to potentially play for the Pac-12 championship next week.

It was a back-and-forth shootout throughout between the bitter rivals. Washington State’s Cameron Ward threw for 322 yards and two touchdowns while Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr added 485 yards through the air along with three touchdowns.

But Washington running back Wayne Taulapapa provided the go-ahead score with just over two minutes remaining. And linebacker Bralen Trice came up with a game sealing interception with under a minute left to halt the Cougars’ comeback attempt.

"This is the game every player dreams of being able to make big plays in," Trice said. "Getting that interception to help us win the Apple Cup is something I’ll remember for the rest of my life."

The win completes a dramatic turnaround for Washington in head coach Kalen DeBoer’s first season. They have gone from 5-7 last year to being on the cusp of earning a Pac-12 Championship game appearance in year one under DeBoer.

Washington State still had an outside shot at winning the Pac-12 North entering the game. But the loss gives archrival Oregon the advantage to clinch the division if they are able to beat rival Oregon State next week.

Team 1 2 3 4 Final
Washington 14 10 13 14 51
Washington State 7 13 7 6 33

‘Noles Keep ACC Title Hopes Alive with Last Minute Win Over Gators

Florida State kept their ACC Championship game hopes alive, beating rivals Florida 45-38 in a thriller that came down to the final minute. The win completes a dramatic turnaround season for the Seminoles in coach Mike Norvell’s third year after struggling the past two seasons.

Quarterback Jordan Travis battled through a left leg injury to throw for 270 yards and run for 83 yards to lead the Florida State offensive attack. Running back Trey Benson also had a big day, rushing for 111 yards including a clinching touchdown run in the game’s final minute.

The ‘Noles needed some late game magic after Florida had rallied from down 24 points to tie the game midway through the fourth quarter. But Florida State responded with an impressive drive capped by Benson’s touchdown to retake the lead.

The Florida State defense has struggled at times this year but came up clutch today. Safety Jammie Robinson intercepted Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson with under a minute left to seal the victory.

"I’m so proud of the resolve and determination of this team," coach Mike Norvell said. "We faced a lot of adversity late after giving up the big lead. But our guys responded like champions at the biggest moments."

The win puts Florida State in position to clinch a spot in the ACC title game if they are able to beat Florida next week. It would complete a worst-to-first turnaround for a Seminoles squad that went just 3-6 in the ACC last year.

"We took our lumps the first couple years but stayed committed to the process," Travis said. "Now we’re seeing the results and it’s such an amazing feeling. We’ve set ourselves up to have a chance for more special moments ahead."

Team 1 2 3 4 Final
Florida State 7 14 10 14 45
Florida 7 7 3 21 38

Playoff Picture Still Murky Heading Into Championship Week

The results from a wild rivalry weekend shook up the College Football Playoff rankings picture but left some uncertainty heading into championship week.

Georgia, Michigan and TCU all scored impressive wins and maintained pole position to earn playoff berths if they win their upcoming conference championship games. Those three spots seem set barring massive upsets.

But the fourth spot remains up for grabs. Ohio State’s chances took a massive hit with the loss to Michigan. Alabama, Tennessee, USC, Penn State, Oregon, Washington, and Florida State all still have shots if they win out. But all need some help to realistically have a chance.

The final CFP Top 25 rankings come out next Sunday, December 4th after the conference championships are played. The tension will build all week as teams try to survive one final elimination game to clinch their playoff dreams or be left heartbroken.

"I think championship weekend is going to be complete and utter chaos," ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit said. "Every matchup is must-see TV with the stakes so high. Teams are going to empty the tank to get one of those coveted top four spots. This is what college football is all about."

Stay tuned next Sunday. The final CFP rankings will determine which four teams will battle it out for the national championship. With how wild this college football season has unfolded, expect fireworks and surprises in the last rankings that set the playoff field.

Other Notable Performances from Rivalry Weekend:

  • Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral threw for 247 yards and two touchdowns while adding a rushing score in a 31-16 Egg Bowl win over Mississippi State

  • Oregon running back Bucky Irving ran for 214 yards and two touchdowns to keep pace in the Pac-12 North division race with a 38-34 win over rival Oregon State in a Civil War thriller

  • Kansas State held off Iowa State’s comeback attempt to win the Farmageddon rivalry game 27-17, putting themselves in position to guarantee a rematch with TCU in the Big 12 title game

  • Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker bounced back from recent struggles with 351 yards passing and three touchdowns but the Vols still came up short against South Carolina 63-38

  • Syracuse was no match for former rival Pittsburgh, getting pummeled by the Panthers 42-14 to close a campaign where they fell well short of preseason expectations

  • Tulane clinched the AAC West division with a commanding 27-24 win over Cincinnati behind a terrific 215 yard, two touchdown performance from running back Tyjae Spears

Expect Fireworks in Next Weekend’s Conference Championships

The final weekend before bowl selections features some titanic conference championship matchups across the Power 5.

In the SEC, Georgia will battle LSU who emerged out of the SEC West after Alabama’s loss. The Bulldogs blitzed the Tigers back in the regular season but LSU has played much better down the stretch, knocking off Alabama earlier this month. Still, Georgia remains a sizable favorite to repeat as SEC champs.

Michigan will face off against red hot Purdue in Indianapolis with a Big Ten championship on the line. After upsetting previously unbeaten Ohio State last week, everything seems to breaking right for the Boilermakers. But taking down the Wolverines is a tall order though Purdue quarterback Aidan O’Connell poses an intriguing challenge for Michigan’s elite defense.

TCU clinched a rematch with Kansas State in the Big 12 Championship in Arlington next Saturday night. The Horned Frogs upset the Wildcats earlier this season but Kansas State has been rolling since behind All American running back Deuce Vaughn. With a playoff spot hanging in the balance, expect fireworks between two closely matched teams.

In the ACC, surprise Coastal division winner North Carolina will battle red hot Clemson. Quarterback Drake Maye leads a prolific Tar Heels offense but running into the Clemson defense is a massive hurdle. Still, an upset win could put North Carolina in playoff contention.

Finally, USC and Oregon will play for the Pac-12 crown in Las Vegas Friday night. The winner keeps their slim CFP hopes alive while the loser likely lands in the Rose Bowl. USC’s offense led by Caleb Williams and Jordan Addison remains scary but their defense is vulnerable. Oregon poses a balanced threat with quarterback Bo Nix playing the best football of his career.

After the drama and upsets from rivalry weekend, the conference championships provide one last weekend of high stakes college football before bowl selections. Teams who win will celebrate championships and keep national title dreams going while losers see promising seasons come crashing down. Get your popcorn ready for the fireworks ahead!

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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