Week 13 was rivalry week and some teams did their thing, while others did not. Here are my winners and losers:
- Auburn Tigers: Quarterback Jared Stidham threw for 237 yards and had a touchdown run. Running back Kerryon Johnson rushed for 104 yards and a touchdown. He also had a touchdown pass. Defensive stops helped the Tigers defeat the Alabama Crimson Tide 26-14. The Tigers clinch the SEC West and still have a chance at a playoff spot.
- Central Florida Knights: Quarterback McKenzie Milton threw for 373 yards and four touchdowns. He also rushed for a touchdown. Defensive back Mike Hughes’ go-ahead 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown with less than 90 seconds left helped the Knights hold off rival South Florida Bulls 49-42 in a thriller. The Knights clinched the American Athletic East division title and most importantly keep their New Year’s Six bowl hopes alive. 51 players have experienced a 0-12 record just two years ago, and now they’re experiencing an 11-0 season, talk about a whirlwind.
- Stanford Cardinal: Quarterback K.J. Costello threw for four touchdowns. Running back Bryce Love rushed for 125 yards. The defense had six sacks and two interceptions as the Cardinal defeated the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 38-20.
- Ole Miss Rebels: Quarterback Jordan Ta’amu threw for 247 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Jordan Wilkins rushed for 110 yards and two touchdowns. The defense caused five turnovers as the Rebels upset the Mississippi State Bulldogs 31-28. The Rebels win the Egg Bowl, and finished 6-6. Tough they’re not going to a bowl game because of self-imposed sanctions, now new head coach Matt Luke has brought stability to the program.
- Washington Huskies: Running back Myles Gaskin rushed for 192 yards and four touchdowns. The defense had five sacks and caught three interceptions as the Huskies dominated the Washington State Cougars 41-14. Huskies retain the Apple Cup.
- Texas Tech Red Raiders: A late interception helped the Red Raiders seal their win over the Texas Longhorns 27-24. It’s the Red Raiders’ second straight win over the Longhorns. Between that and the fact that they’re going to a bowl game for the first time in two seasons can only help head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s job security.
- Fresno State Bulldogs: Quarterback Marcus McMaryion threw for 332 yards. Two of those to wide receiver KeeSean Johnson who also had 119 receiving yards as the Bulldogs pulled away from the Boise State Broncos 38-17. Just last season, the Bulldogs were 1-11, now they’re 9-3 and have the Mountain West West Division.
Special shoutout to San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny who surpassed the 2,000 yard career rushing mark (had 203 rushing yards and two touchdowns) in the Aztecs win over the New Mexico Lobos 35-10.
- Alabama Crimson Tide: Incompletions and uncharacteristic mistakes cost Alabama in their loss to Auburn. Some say that Bama should still have a shot at the playoff, I disagree, the last few weeks they haven’t played like a team worthy of a playoff spot, but we’ll see.
- Miami Hurricanes: They were 4 for 14 on third downs and the defense couldn’t slow down Pittsburgh’s offense losing to the Panthers 24-14. For the Panthers, a solid win for them. As for the Canes, they were already treading, and it caught up with them. They’re still in play for a playoff spot.
- Mississippi State Bulldogs: The Dogs couldn’t overcome losing quarterback Nick Fitzgerald to a gruesome ankle injury in their loss to Ole Miss.
- Boise State Broncos: They just couldn’t put together enough scoring drives in their loss to Fresno State.
- Notre Dame Fighting Irish: Ill-timed penalties and not being able to slow down Stanford’s offense.
- Washington State Cougars: Quarterback Luke Falk’s four turnovers and being sacked five times stalled drives in their loss to rival Washington. Also with their loss, Stanford clinches the Pac 12 North.
Storylines Going Into Week 14:
Stanford plays USC for the Pac 12 Championship. Memphis and UCF battle not only for the American Athletic Championship but also a New Year’s Six bowl berth. Akron meets Toledo for the MAC Championship.
Fresno State plays Boise State again, this time for the Mountain West Championship. TCU faces Oklahoma for the Big 12 Championship. There’s much at stake with these conference championships: Georgia meets Auburn again, this time for the SEC Championship, Miami plays Clemson for the ACC Championship, and Ohio State battle Wisconsin for the Big Ten Championship.