Utah Cruises to Big Upset; Ohio State Crushes Michigan State
The Utah Utes did their best role of spoilers Saturday night, sending the third-ranked Oregon Ducks to their second loss of the season with a 38-7 rout at home. Britain Covey's 78--yard punt return for a touchdown highlighted a red hot first half for the Utes, who led, 28-0, at halftime. Tavion Thomas ran for 94 yards and found the end zone three times, setting a Utah record with 17 scores this season, and helping the Utes clinch a spot in the Pac-12 Title Game with their fourth straight win. Anthony Brown threw for 231 yards and a touchdown, but the Ducks' second loss to an unranked conference foe almost guarantees that the Pac 12 will once again be left out of the College Football Playoffs. And just like that, the fourth-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes ended the College Football Playoff hopes of seventh-ranked Michigan State on Saturday with a 56-7 trouncing on their home field. C.J. Stroud threw six touchdown passes, tying a school record, and doing all of that in the first half to build a 49-0 halftime lead. Stroud was pulled in the third quarter, handing the Spartans their second loss, while cruising to their 10th win. Stroud finished with 432 yards through the air, doing so against a defense that allowed more passing yards than any other team in the country. At one point, he completed 17 straight passes, making him a Heisman favorite with his third 400-yard game this season and fourth game with at least five touchdowns. His favorite target was Chris Olave, who had seven catches for 140 yards and two touchdowns, but now Ohio State has an even bigger task in the form of the Michigan Wolverines next week.
Other key scores saw the second-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide clinch a spot in the SEC Title Game with a 42-35 win over the 21st-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks behind Bryce Young's 559 yards and five touchdowns. The fifth-ranked Cincinnati Bearcats stayed unbeaten at 11-0 with a 48-14 rout of SMU, clinching a spot in the AAC Title Game. The unranked Clemson Tigers won their 34th straight home game, upsetting 10th-ranked Wake Forest, 48-27, thanks to Kobe Pace's career-high 191 rush yards and two touchdowns. The top-ranked Georgia Bulldogs had a cakewalk 56-7 rout of Charleston Southern to move to 11-0. The eighth-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish got their fifth straight 10-win season with a 55-0 shoutout of Georgia Tech. And the 22nd-ranked UTSA Roadrunners hung on for a 34-31 win over UAB, staying unbeaten at 11-0.
Nova, Purdue Earn Quality Wins in Cheez-It Tip Off
The Cheez-It Hall of Fame Tip-Off provided two quality ranked matchups on Saturday afternoon, and two top-10 teams helped their resumes early on in the season. That includes the fifth-ranked Villanova Wildcats taking care of the 17th-ranked Tennessee Volunteers with a 71-53 blowout. Collin Gillespie, Jermaine Samuels, and Brandon Slater came together to lead their team with 14 points apiece, while Justin Moore added 13 for the Wildcats, who led by as many as 20 by halftime. Nova has now won three of four to begin the season, while handing the Vols their first loss after they got blowout wins over Tennessee-Martin and East Tennessee to begin their season. Santiago Vescovic led the Volunteers with 23 points, but Kennedy Chandler struggled in their loss, being held to just six points on 1-of-9 shooting. Meanwhile, the sixth-ranked Purdue Boilermakers pulled away to get past the 18th-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels for a 93-84 victory. Sasha Stefanovic had 23 points, while Jaden Ivey contributed 22 points and 10 rebounds to give Purdue their fourth straight win, while sending UNC to their first defeat. Trevion Williams also got an even 20 points for the Boilersmakers, who have now scored at least 90 points in all four games of their season. The Tar Heels fell short but got 26 points from Dawson Garcia, who shot 10-of-13 on the night before fouling out. R.J. Davis and Caleb Love each had 18 points, but it was a 10-0 second half run for Purdue that pulled them away for good.
Other ranked teams in action on Saturday included the eighth-ranked Texas Longhorns getting their third win with a 79-45 blowout of San Jose State, while ninth-ranked Baylor and 23rd-ranked UConn moved to 4-0 on the year.
Wizards Fend Off Heat; Lillard Powers Blazers Over Sixers
The Washington Wizards bounced back in the home-and-home with the Miami Heat on Saturday night, hanging on for a 103-100 win on their home floor. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Spencer Dinwiddie had 16 points apiece, including two three pointers each down the stretch, helping the Wizards rally to pull in to a tie with the Heat at 11-5. Miami beat the Wizards, 112-97, in Miami on Thursday and led by 10 points with under five minutes left, but a 15-2 run powered the Washington comeback. Kyle Kuzma sealed the win by hitting four of his six free throws, and now both teams sit a half game behind the Brooklyn Nets atop the conference. Meanwhile, Damian Lillard went off for a season-high 39 points as the Portland Trail Blazers got over .500 with a 118-111 victory against the Philadelphia 76ers. Lillard made 10 of his 21 shots from the floor and all of his 14 free throws, this after the six-time All-Star came in to play shooting career low numbers this season. C.J. McCollum added 18 points, Normal Powell had 17, and Jusuf Nurkic had a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds as the Blazers now sit at 8-1 on their home floor, and are over .500 for the first time since October 31st.
Other key scores saw Clint Capela have a powerful night with 20 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Atlanta Hawks to their fourth straight win, 115-105, over the Charlotte Hornets. Giannis Antetokounmpo went in on the Orlando Magic with 32 points and 20 rebounds in the Milwaukee Bucks' 117-108 win. And Jayston Tatum's 33 points and Dennis Schroder's 29 carried the Boston Celtics to a 111-105 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Panthers Stay Perfect at Home; Knights Rally Past Jackets
The Florida Panthers hot start to their season includes a perfect start on their home ice, and that hung on Saturday night with a 5-4 win over the Minnesota Wild, moving to 10-0-0 at the BB&T Center this season. Frank Vatrano scored twice and had an assist, while Sergei Bobrovsky made 34 saves for the first place Panthers, who are now 13-2-3. Owen Tippett, Carter Verhaeghe, and Sam Bennett all scored, helping the Panthers become the fourth team in NHL history to start a season with 10 consecutive home wins, and the first to do so since the Montreal Canadiens in the 2016-2017 season. Meanwhile, the Las Vegas Golden Knights erased a two-goal deficit late to take down the Columbus Blue Jackets, 3-2, at home. Mattias Janmark got the game-winning goal, while Keegn Koelsar and Reilly Smith both scored as the Knights continued to move past a slow start. They have now won 10 of their past 13 games, including five of six games on the homestand, after starting the season 1-4-0. The Jackets saw their three-game road winning streak snapped, while falling to a Western Conference opponent for the first time this season after a 6-0-0 start.
Other key scores saw Alex Ovechkin and Connor Sheary each scored twice as the Washington Capitals blanked the San Jose Sharks, 4-0, out west. The Calgary Flames spoiled the New York Islanders' first home game, as Andrew Mangiapane scored twice in a 5-2 victory. The New Jersey Devils rallied with four goals in the third period for a 5-3 comeback win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. And Derek Forbort's two goal powered the Boston Bruins over the Philadelphia Flyers, 5-2, on the road.
Broncos Sign Tim Patrick to Three-Year Extension
The Denver Broncos know that they need more of an explosive offense to get back to contending in the AFC West, and they know that wide receiver Tim Patrick could very well be a big part of that process. The team locked in Patrick on Saturday with a three-year contract extension worth $30 million, which could get up to $34.5 million with incentives. The deal does include just over $18 million in guaranteed money, giving Patrick his first major contract, this after he started on the practice squad in 2017. He leads the Broncos with four touchdown receptions this season, while sitting at second at 523 receiving yards and third with 37 catches. He went undrafted after dealing with injuries late in his college career, and went through the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers before landing in Denver, where he will stay for the time being.
Seahawks' Carson to Have Season-Ending Surgery
The Seattle Seahawks offense has been hit hard, just see last week's shutout loss to the Green Bay Packers, and they are going to remain shorthanded for the rest of the season. The team announced that running back Chris Carson is undergoing season-ending neck surgery, with the intent to return for the 2022 season. Head coach Pete Carroll made the announcement about the man that led the team in rushing over the past three previous seasons. The 3-6 Seahawks are in a tough NFC West, sitting in last place, and will stick with Alex Collins as a starter, which he has been since Week 5. The 27-year-old Carson hasn't played since exiting with the neck injury during their Week 4 win over the San Francisco 49ers, and then was placed on injured reserve on October 15th. He was set to return to practice this week, and practiced last Wednesday and Thursday before missing on Friday, and he will now sit out the rest of the tough season in Seattle.
Titans Send Bud Dupree to Injured Reserve
The Tennessee Titans have somehow found a way to stay atop the AFC South and a contender in the conference despite all of the key injuries haunting them. That list got a bit longer on Saturday when they sent linebacker Bud Dupree to injured reserve with an abdominal injury. Dupree suffered the injury in their 23-21 win over the New Orleans Saints last Sunday, and it took place in his only snap of the day. He was immediately ruled out the rest of the game and then missed practice Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday to rule him out of Sunday's game against the Houston Texans. Dupree got a five-year, $82.5 million contract last March, this after getting eight sacks in 10 games last season with the Pittsburgh Steelers. This is the second straight season with a serious injury, as he suffered a torn ACL in Week 12 to cut his 2020 short. He has missed three games this season with a knee injury, and has just one sack and one forced fumble in his first season with the Titans.
Eagles Extend CB Avonte Maddox
The Philadelphia Eagles locked in cornerback Avonte Maddox on Saturday, giving him a three-year contract extension through the 2024 season. The deal is worth $22.5 million and includes $13.3 million in guaranteed money after the former fourth-round pick started to give Philly some consistency in the defensive secondary. The 25-year-old has 31 tackles and an interception this season, this after getting selected out of Pittsburgh in 2018. Since entering the league, he has totaled 170 tackles and three interceptions, and he is now the second player the Eagles have signed to an extension this week, joining tight end Dallas Goedert.