Week 12 wrap

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Kick Six: Freshman kicker Jake Moody has record-setting performance as No. 4 Michigan tops Indiana

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It wasn’t the prettiest of victories, but No. 4 Michigan (10-1, 8-0 Big Ten) kicked enough field goals to stay ahead of Indiana (5-6, 2-6 Big Ten) for a 31-20 victory that leaves Michigan alone in first place in the Big Ten East Division with one game left to play. Freshman kicker Jake Moody was the star of the game for Michigan after successfully kicking all six field goal attempts he tried, a school record for made kicks without a miss. It just so happened to be his first game for Michigan.

Chase Winovich left the game in the third quarter with an upper-body injury. Winovich was shoved to the ground by Indiana offensive lineman Simon Stepaniak, who then fell on top of Winovich as he was laying on the ground. No call for unsportsmanlike conduct was called on Stepaniak despite appearing to decide to fall on the Wolverine as he was on the ground, although Stepaniak was flagged for a late hit on a Michigan player shortly after the injury. Winovich left for the locker room after coming off the field and his parents were later escorted from the stands to see their son as the game continued.

Michigan also lost Berkley Edwards to a more serious-looking injury in the fourth quarter. Edwards was left laying on the ground on a special teams return by Michigan after being blocked by Cam Jones. Jones was ejected for targeting, which means he will have to sit out the first half of next week’s game. Edwards was tended to for roughly 10 minutes before being taken out on a stretcher. It was reported Edwards did have motion in his extremities moments later.

Devin Bush and David Long were also banged up late in the game as well, leaving Michigan hurting just a little bit on defense.

Michigan will be on the road next week to play at No. 10 Ohio State. Because the Buckeyes survived in overtime earlier in the day at Maryland in a wild one, the winner of next week’s rivalry matchup between historic Big Ten powers will be crowned the East Division champion. A win will send either Michigan or Ohio State to Indianapolis for the Big Ten championship the following week, where they will face West Division champion Northwestern. The winner of next week’s game will also remain in the hunt for a spot in the College Football Playoff.

Indiana will conclude the regular season at home next week against Purdue. The Hoosiers will need to win in order to become bowl-eligible this season. Purdue will also be playing for bowl eligibility after losing a triple-overtime thriller to Wisconsin on Saturday. Winner goes bowling, loser stays home.

No. 3 Notre Dame makes playoff statement with blowout of No. 12 Syracuse

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One win is all that separates No. 3 Notre Dame (11-0) from a perfect regular season after a complete domination of No. 12 Syracuse (8-3) on Saturday in Yankee Stadium. Notre Dame’s 36-3 victory over the Orange was highlighted by strong defense and the return of quarterback Ian Book to the offense.

Syracuse’s chances to upset the Irish faded early in the game when starting quarterback Eric Dungey left the game with an injury. His loss took a lot out of the Orange offense, which was already going to be in a tough spot against the Notre Dame defense. With Tommy DeVito taking over at quarterback off the bench, Syracuse quarterbacks combined for three interceptions and DeVito struggled with accuracy all game long. Syracuse also failed to get much going on the ground with Moe Neal, who picked up 74 yards on 18 carries.

Book passed for 292 yards and two touchdowns after sitting out last week against Florida State. The Irish ran the ball well too, with 171 team yards and a pair of touchdowns in the blowout.

Notre Dame will head to the west coast to take on USC next weekend to wrap up their regular season. A win would move Notre Dame to 12-0 and force them to await the selections from the College Football Playoff selection committee. At 12-0, Notre Dame would almost certainly be one of the four teams in the playoff at the end of the season, but seeding will still be unknown until a few more weeks are played.

Syracuse will hop back into ACC play for their regular season finale at Boston College next week. Second place in the ACC Atlantic Division will be on the line as both teams will finish behind Clemson in the division. Syracuse may have seen a chance to play in a New Years Six bowl dashed with the loss, however.

No. 10 Ohio State survives OT shootout at Maryland, still in Big Ten title hunt

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No. 10 Ohio State (10-1, 7-1 Big Ten) did not hold a lead until overtime, but that’s all that matters for the Buckeyes on this day. A failed two-point conversion attempt by Maryland (5-6, 3-5 Big Ten) gave Ohio State a 52-51 victory to keep a shot at playing for the Big Ten East Division championship next week at home.

Ohio State and Maryland exchanged five straight touchdown drives as the offenses hit another gear in the final 15 minutes of regulation. Maryland had a chance to score last with the ball getting to the Ohio State 38-yard line, but Ohio State’s Chase Young chased down Maryland quarterback Tyrell Pigrome on 2nd & 10 for a loss of 14 yards and Dre’Mont Jones followed that with a sack for a loss of six yards on the final play of regulation as Maryland was out of field goal range in the closing seconds. That sent the game to overtime.

Starting on offense in overtime, Ohio State gambled with the way the offenses were going on a 4th and 1 play. After a timeout, Dwayne Haskins completed an easy pass to his left to Rashod Berry to get the ball to the five-yard line. Shortly after Ohio State was moved back 15 yards for a hands to the face penalty and a pass interference penalty on Maryland moved the ball forward 15 yards one play later, Haskins took care of business himself by running and stretching for the end zone and a touchdown. The call on the field had to be upheld following a video review to certify Ohio State’s first lead of the game.

Maryland wasted no time answering with a big 24-yard run by Anthony McFarland on the first play of Maryland’s overtime possession, and Tayon Fleet-Davis scored on the next play to bring Maryland within one. Rather than kick an extra point to force the second overtime, Maryland head coach Matt Canada opted to end the game one way or the other with a two-point conversion. Pilgrome rolled to his right and fired off a pass but it was unable to be hauled in, and Ohio State breathed a massive sigh of relief.

McFarland rushed for a career-high 298 yards with two long touchdown runs of at least 75 yards and Maryland rushed for a team total of 339 yards and five touchdowns against an Ohio State defense that once again showed plenty of problems. Making this less encouraging for Ohio State was the defense played one of their better games a week ago against Michigan State after some woeful performances leading up to that. Ohio State compensated with their offense, led by Haskins throwing for 405 yards and three touchdowns and rushing for 59 yards and three touchdowns. J.K. Dobbins rushing for 203 yards and a touchdown.

Ohio State running back Mike Weber did not play in the game, although he was on the sidelines in uniform. No explanation for his absence was provided.

Ohio State has plenty of room for improvement next week when the Buckeyes host rival Michigan in the regular season finale. The winner of next week’s game between the Buckeyes and Wolverines will clinch the Big Ten East Division and head to Indianapolis to play Northwestern in the Big Ten championship game in two weeks. The win also helps keep Ohio State on the College Football Playoff radar, although the Buckeyes have a crowded pack in front of them.

Maryland will conclude its regular season next week on the road at Penn State. The Nittany Lions have won the last three meetings in the series since Maryland won the first Big Ten matchup between the two in 2014. Maryland lost at home 66-3 in last season’s regular-season finale. Maryland will have to win next week in order to qualify for a bowl game.

Josh Rosen gets the stats, Sam Darnold the win as No. 11 USC tops crosstown rival UCLA

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UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen grabbed all the gaudy stats, but USC signal-caller Sam Darnold managed the win.

The primetime battle of potential No. 1 overall picks in next year’s NFL Draft didn’t quite live up to the hype for fans or scouts alike, but the No. 11 Trojans completed their regular season on Saturday night with a hard-fought 28-23 win over their crosstown rivals at the L.A. Coliseum in a contest that was far from the shootout that was expected coming in.

Darnold had his moments behind center and flashed several reasons why NFL front office types are so enamored with him, hitting some nice touch passes over the middle and scrambling for numerous big plays outside of the pocket. The numbers weren’t quite up to his season standards with 264 yards through the air and no touchdowns but the redshirt sophomore did find the end zone on a scramble.

That he scored on the ground probably wasn’t too surprising given that UCLA is the worst rushing defense in the country but every yard had to be earned in the chippy rivalry game between the two schools 15 miles from each other. Running back Ronald Jones didn’t see as many carries as you would expect down the stretch but managed 122 yards and two scores to keep the chains moving on a pretty consistent basis.

The best play for the cardinal and gold might have actually come on special teams, as Michael Pittman used a little misdirection on a punt return to scoot 72 yards nearly untouched for a touchdown and the game’s first points.

As good as USC was at times on the night, they didn’t runaway with the win like many expected for a team on the fringes of playoff contention. A lot of that had to do with Rosen, who again kept his side in things with a 421 yard outing with three touchdowns and a pick — numbers that could have been even better if not for a few plays here or there. That aerial attack helped open things up for a normally dormant ground game, with Soso Jamabo rushing for 62 yards and Bolo Olorunfunmi adding another 56.

It wasn’t enough to bring the Victory Bell back to Westwood however, as the annual trophy will remain just south of downtown for the eighth time in the past decade. The Bruins still have a shot at going to a bowl game if they can beat fellow in-state rival Cal next weekend but their margin for error to reach the postseason is still incredibly slim given how improved the Bears are this year.

The Trojans meanwhile, finally get some well deserved rest after capping off an 8-1 campaign in conference play and a perfect record in the division. After a week of rest — the first of the year since they had no bye week — they’ll head to the Pac-12 championship game at Levi’s Stadium for a rematch with either Stanford or Washington State. The team remains way outside looking in with regards to the College Football Playoff chase at the moment but after a third straight win over their crosstown rival, that probably is the furthest thing on their minds as another picture perfect night in Los Angeles comes to a close.

Bryce Love (mostly) quiet as No. 22 Stanford retains control of the Axe

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Baker Mayfield‘s antics in Lawrence provided Stanford’s Bryce Love a sliver of an opportunity to climb back inside the minds of Heisman voters.

Unfortunately for him, Love’s injured ankle didn’t allow him to take advantage of that opportunity.

Love struggled for much of the night, posting a quiet (by his standards) night of 14 carries for 101 yards and a touchdown, as No. 22 Stanford topped California 17-14 in Palo Alto. His final carry of the night came with 14:16 left in the fourth quarter.

That’s not to say Love was totally quiet, though. Love broke free for a 57-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, giving Stanford a 17-6 lead at the time.

With Love hobbled, Stanford handed the keys of the offense over to quarterback K.J. Costello and backup running back Cameron Scarlett. Costello hit 17-of-26 passes for 185 yards with a touchdown and an interception. His touchdown, a 17-yarder to Kaden Smith, broke a 3-3 tie with 8:17 left in the first half and put Stanford up for good.

Scarlett carried 14 times for 61 yards, which doesn’t seem like much until you realize he toted the ball on 11 consecutive plays, which allowed the Cardinal to expire all of Cal’s timeouts and kill the final 7:25 remaining in a 3-point game.

Cal had chances to win the game, though. Matt Anderson had a 47-yard field goal doink off the upright in the second quarter, and Ross Bowers drove Cal into Stanford territory at the midway point of the fourth quarter before he was intercepted by Stanford’s Ben Edwards. Bowers finished the night hitting 20-of-29 passes for 182 yards, and Patrick Laird led all runners with 20 carries for 153 yards and a touchdown.

The win gives Stanford eight straight wins in The Big Game, the longest winning streak by either side in a rivalry that dates back to 1892.

The win means Stanford (8-3, 7-2 Pac-12) can clinch the Pac-12 North if No. 14 Washington State beats No. 18 Washington in the Apple Cup on Saturday on Saturday. (Stanford completed Pac-12 play early in order to host No. 8 Notre Dame.) Cal (5-6, 2-6 Pac-12) must win at UCLA on Friday to reach a bowl game in head coach Justin Wilcox‘s first season.