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No. 5 Michigan’s revenge tour adds No. 14 Penn State to the list

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The revenge tour for No. 5 Michigan (8-1, 6-0 Big Ten) had quite the second half performance against No. 14 Penn State (6-3, 3-3 Big Ten) on Saturday. The Wolverines dominated the hapless Nittany Lions 42-7 in a loud statement game in the latest game on Michigan’s revenge tour this season. Now with wins nailed down against three of the four teams to beat them last year (Wisconsin, Michigan State, Penn State), the eyes in Ann Arbor are already looking forward to the regular season finale against Ohio State for the grand finale.

Michigan’s defense, led by revenge tour frontman linebacker Chase Winovich set the tone in the first half by allowing just one third-down conversion to the Nittany Lions before halftime. Winovich sacked Trace McSorley and recovered a fumble in the first half as Michigan took a 14-0 lead into halftime with a Shea Patterson touchdown run and a pass to Donovan Peoples-Jones. Michigan continued to wear down Penn State on the line of scrimmage on both sides of the field, with the offense staying on the field for 11 minutes in the third quarter alone and doubling the lead heading to the fourth quarter.

Michigan delivered what felt like the knockout blow at the end of the third quarter when Patterson tossed a touchdown pass to Zach Gentry at the end of a 90-yard drive. Penn State’s defense appeared to be gassed on the drive after spending over 11 minutes on the field in the third quarter. But just moments later, that lopsided 21-0 lead became 28-0 when Tommy Stevens came in to replace McSorley at quarterback and Stevens tossed a pick-six to Brandon Watson.

With memories of Penn State running up the score on them a year ago in Happy Valley, Michigan continued to pour it on in the fourth quarter with more big plays on the ground. Karan Higdon (132 rushing yards) and Chris Evans (57 rushing yards) each scored a short touchdown run to pad the lead as Michigan continued to look like the class of the Big Ten. A late touchdown run by Stevens allowed Penn State to avoid being shutout for the first time since 2001, against Michigan.

The home team in this series has won by a lopsided score in each of the last three meetings, and the winning team has scored at least 42 points in each.

Michigan continues to build a steady place atop the Big Ten East standings. Now at 6-0 in Big Ten play, Michigan owns a one-game lead over Ohio State and a two-game lead over Michigan State with a head-to-head tiebreaker on the Spartans already under their belt. Penn State falls to 3-3 in Big Ten play and is now eliminated from contention for the Big Ten championship game with head-to-head losses to all three teams in front of them (Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State). With just Rutgers and Indiana left to play before ending the year on the road against Ohio State, it sure looks as though the Big Ten East could be decided in the regular season finale in Columbus, but Ohio State has been cracking and the possibility exists Michigan could clinch the East division before having to face Ohio State.

Michigan will be on the road against Rutgers next week. Penn State will look to rebound next week at home against Wisconsin. It will be the toughest game remaining for Penn State.

No. 20 Texas A&M blows 10-point lead in fourth quarter as Auburn stuns Aggies

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No. 20 Texas A&M was not able to close out Auburn on the road on Saturday afternoon. The Aggies failed to protect a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter and lost to Auburn, 28-24, on the road in the SEC West Division matchup.

Texas A&M had some chances to slam the door on Auburn but could not do it. With a 24-14 lead in the fourth quarter, Texas A&M missed a field goal from 36 yards and Kellen Mond was intercepted on Texas A&M’s next offensive series. That set in motion the rally for Auburn that turned a double-digit deficit into a big division win for the Tigers.

After Auburn cut the Texas A&M lead to 24-21 in the fourth quarter, the Aggies moved the ball to midfield when their drive stalled. A 41-yard punt was returned by Christian Tutt for 28 yards and immediately followed by a short pass from Jarrett Stidham to Ryan Davis that turned into a 47-yard gain. With the ball suddenly at the Texas A&M 11-yard line, Stidham connected with Seth Williams for a go-ahead score.

With the ball one last time, the Aggies failed to get into a position to get a better shot at a game-winning touchdown and relied on Mond to toss it deep in the final seconds. His deep Hail Marry pass fell out of bounds as time seemingly ran out, but officials cleared the field to put one second back on the clock for one more play for the Aggies. The one second added merely gave Nick Coe a chance to get a sack on the final play of the game to seal the win for Auburn.

Stidham passed for 239 yards while completing 18-of-29 attempts with two touchdowns. Darious Slayton was Auburn’s leading receiver with eight catches for 107 yards, but Seth Williams led all players with two touchdown receptions in the Auburn win.

Texas A&M let a solid performance by running back Trayveon Williams go to waste. Williams rushed for 107 yards and two touchdowns on 17 rushing attempts and he added five receptions for 74 yards and a score in the game. Williams was the star of the first half but Auburn played him better defensively in the second half.

Texas A&M will finish up the regular season with three home games beginning next week against Ole Miss. The Aggies are 3-1 at home this season, with the only loss coming back in Week 2 against Clemson by just two points. If Texas A&M can clean up the schedule at home, the Aggies will have a chance at their first 9-win season since 2013, the school’s second season in the SEC. The Aggies need to win out and win a bowl game in order for that to happen.

Although the win feels good and can be a confidence boost, it won’t get much easier for Auburn down the stretch. Auburn travels to Georgia next week and ends the regular season on the road against Alabama with a home game against Liberty sandwiched between. Auburn beat both Georgia and Alabama in the regular season last year, but they also got the Bulldogs and Crimson Tide at home. This year could be a different story with both games being played on the road.

Maryland ends tumultuous week with 24-3 loss to Michigan State

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Perhaps it was fitting for Maryland to end this week the way it did. Dressed in all black uniforms at home in the first game since the school fired DJ Durkin as head coach shortly after initially opting to reinstate him, Maryland (5-4, 3-3 Big Ten) lost to Michigan State (6-3, 4-2 Big Ten) by a score of 24-3. Maryland was held to just 100 yards of offense in the entire game.

Michigan State quarterback Brian Lewerke returned to the starting lineup and had a rough day in terms of production by completing 11 of 20 passes for 87 yards with one interception. Lewerke, who sat out last week, also rushed for 45 yards on nine carries. Connor Heyward was the star of the game with 157 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns, including an 80-yard score one play after a crazy sequence that saw Maryland fumble an interception into the end zone, where it was recovered by the Spartans for a touchback. The result of the play ended up being a net-gain of four yards for Michigan State. Backup quarterback Rocky Lombardi got some playing time with the game well in hand for the Spartans.

With Matt Canada continuing his role as interim head coach after a bizarre week for the Maryland football program, the Terps turned in one of their worst performances of the season. It was evident this was a team that had its share of distractions this week as the Terrapins looked sloppy on offense and failed to keep composed on offense or defense at key times. Kasim Hill completed just eight of his 21 pass attempts for 74 yards and the team combined for a total of 26 rushing yards on 29 rushing attempts.

Michigan State will return home next week for a key division game against Ohio State. Second place in the Big Ten East will be on the line as the Spartans and Buckeyes are each chasing Michigan. The Buckeyes have been struggling and could be arriving in East Lansing ripe for a loss in the division, but will the Spartans have enough in the tank to scratch together a third-straight win?

Maryland will be on the road next week for a game against Indiana. The Hoosiers had off this week and last played on Friday, October 26th (a road loss at Minnesota despite a furious fourth-quarter rally). Maryland and Indiana have split their first four meetings as Big Ten division opponents, with Maryland winning last year’s contest by a 42-39 final score in College Park.

LOOK: Boise State fan busts out all-time Colin Kaepernick sign

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Out of all of the things that happened this weekend in college football, this is one that should add a bit of levity to a national hot-button issue but probably won’t for most.

Before Colin Kaepernick became THE lightning rod of all lightning rods in the NFL, he was a quarterback at Nevada.  And, as the starting quarterback at Nevada, he faced Boise State four times.

The first three games resulted in losses for the Wolf Pack; the last, in late-November of 2010, was an overtime win that snapped the No. 3 Broncos’ 24-game winning streak and ruined their Mountain West rival’s BCS title hopes.  It was a crushing and unexpected blow for the Little Program That Could, as well as its fans.

While that loss was nearly seven years ago, it still doesn’t sit well with a Broncos’ fan base that clearly has a very good and extensive memory.

Very well-played, sir.

In doing some digging on the Kaepernick-Boise connection, though, there’s this somewhat ironic quote from a player — who some say is being blackballed for his sitting/kneeling during the national anthem last season being turned into an NFL-wide movement this year — when he was asked how he dealt with the late-game stress in 2010, which included two missed field goals by the Broncos that could’ve potentially won the game.

“To be honest, I was on a knee on the sideline praying, hoping we’d get another shot.”

No. 17 USC takes control of Pac-12 South after holding on for win over No. 22 Arizona

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A few weeks ago, No. 17 USC and No. 22 Arizona were like passing ships in the night, headed in opposite directions as their seasons took wildly different paths. On Saturday night at the Coliseum however, both appeared to get back on the course many thought they would be on.

The Trojans used a solid defensive effort combined with some big plays on offense to power to a 49-35 victory over the Wildcats and all but lock up an eventual berth in the Pac-12 title game as a result.

Clancy Pendergast’s group was swarming at the start of the game, blocking a punt in the first quarter for a touchdown and doing better than anybody in the country at slowing down dynamic quarterback Khalil Tate until the second half rolled around. The Trojans recorded five sacks on the night all told, as many as Arizona had allowed all year coming in.

The home side also got things going offensively too, mostly using their big offensive line to pave the way for tailbacks Ronald Jones (194 yards, three touchdowns) and Aca’Cedric Ware (122 yards rushing, one score). Quarterback Sam Darnold was also pretty sharp outside of a bad interception in the end zone, throwing for 311 yards and a pair of touchdown passes. The signal-caller did appear to injure his hip late in the third quarter but stayed in the game to see out the win.

Thanks to that early special teams gaff, Arizona played most of the night from behind. Tate seemed to be slightly off behind center in his Los Angeles homecoming early on but did help key a second half rally that made the game interesting and saw the team tie it up with a two point conversion in the fourth quarter. All told he finished with 146 yards passing and two touchdowns (two interceptions) while rushing for 161 and a score. Those numbers weren’t bad all told but they were well below his season averages — which says plenty about a player many have started touting for the Heisman Trophy.

Instead, the win by USC will all but secure them the division title they were heavily favored to win prior to the season starting. The Trojans are the only Pac-12 South team with one loss and have head-to-head wins over both of the other two teams behind them (the Arizona schools). With a trip to Colorado and crosstown rival UCLA at home being all that remains in the regular season, it seems like a lock that the cardinal and gold will head to Santa Clara to play for a New Year’s Six bowl bid.

The season hasn’t played out as expected for either of these two teams but at least they’re entertaining going on these rollercoaster rides each and every week.