The Auburn Tigers have one more win to get in the SEC Championship Game, but they have made a major statement late to make the College Football Playoffs. Jarrett Stidham did not turn the ball over while throwing for 237 yards and running for a touchdown late in the sixth-ranked Tigers' 26-14 Iron Bowl win over top-ranked Alabama. Kerryon Johnson chipped in with 104 yards and a score on the ground for the Tigers, who had lost the previous three matchups in the series since the infamous "kick-six" in 2013. Saturday's win was the largest for Auburn over the Crimson Tide since they beat them 49-26 in 1969. The loss for the Tide was their first of the season, but head coach Nick Saban said after the game that his team still deserves a shot at the National Championship in the playoffs. Jalen Hurts threw for 177 yards and a touchdown, while running 17 times for 80 yards in the Tide's road loss. The Tigers will now face the Georgia Bulldogs in a rematch for the SEC Title after they beat them two weeks ago with the Bulldogs as the No. 1 team. The Tigers did lose Johnson to a right shoulder injury in the fourth quarter on Saturday, and his status for next week's title game is still unknown. With second-ranked Miami falling to Pittsburgh on Friday afternoon, it is the first time the top two teams lost in the same weekend since November 17th, 2012, when Oregon and Kansas State lost as the top two teams. The SEC Championship Game is seemingly a playoff clincher, but it will be interesting to see where Bama falls on Selection Sunday next week.
Ohio State Tops Michigan Without Barrett
The ninth-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes faced plenty of adversity during their rivalry matchup with the Michigan Wolverines on Saturday. That included falling behind 14-0 on the road in the first half, and losing starting quarterback J.T. Barrett to a meniscus injury in the third quarter. Dwayne Haskins took over and completed six of seven passes for 94 yards and ran three times for 24 yards to lead the Buckeyes past the Wolverines, 31-20. The win makes Barrett the first starting quarterback to go 4-0 in "The Game" series, and the first QB to go 4-0 against Michigan in college football history. He left with what has been a recurring meniscus injury, although head coach Urban Meyer blamed the injury on a pregame collision with a cameraman. The coach claimed he was going to undergo an investigation to figure out the possible intent behind the incident. Barrett was just 3-of-8 for 30 yards before exiting the game. He did run 15 times for 67 yards and a score. The win is the Buckeyes' sixth in a row over Michigan, as Jim Harbaugh fell to 0-3 against them as Michigan head coach, while Meyer improved to 5-0 against the maize and blue. John O'Korn struggled to find the open man, overthrowing multiple targets while going 17-of-32 for 195 yards and a touchdown, but was visibly upset while putting the blame on himself for the loss during the postgame press conference. Ohio State has one more chance to make their case for a playoff spot when they battle No. 5 Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game next week.
Stanford, Washington, Clemson Earn Rivalry Wins
As the final week of the regular season is every year, this weekend was rivalry week, which featured plenty of ranked rivalry showdowns. That included No. 21 Stanford taking down eighth-ranked Notre Dame 38-20 for their third straight Legends Trophy win. K.J. Costello threw for a career-high four touchdowns, two of which came in the game-sealing fourth quarter for the 9-3 Cardinals, who improved to 6-0 at home. Costello threw for just 125 yards but did not turn the ball over, while Bryce Love ran the ball 20 times for 125 yards in the victory. Both teams come out of this game 9-3, including Notre Dame falling to just 3-2 on the road, which most likely ends their playoff hopes. Meanwhile, Washington got a big game from Myles Gaskin, who ran for 192 yards and four touchdowns in a 41-14 rout of No. 13 Washington State. The 17th-ranked Huskies forced four turnovers to end the Cougars' Pac-12 North Division hopes, as they fell to 9-3 on the year and 6-3 in conference play. Luke Falk did throw for 369 yards, but his just one touchdown and three interceptions proved to be the difference. And the Clemson Tigers got ready for their Conference Title matchup against Miami next week with a 34-10 win over No. 24 South Carolina. The third-ranked Tigers got 272 yards passing from Kelly Bryant, who also threw two touchdowns to Hunter Renfroe in their 11th win. The Tigers wasted little time to jump all over the Gamecocks, as they led 20-0 at halftime and 34-0 after three quarters. They finished the game with 469 yards total yards, as they look to return to the College Football Palyoffs, where they won it all against Alabama a season ago.