Alabama football survives in Iron Bowl, plus Michigan’s dominance of Ohio State

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A snow game in Manhattan, Kan., was fun (and ended in an upset), but it was far from the most exciting action yesterday.

Kansas State Gif

Here’s what happened in college football on Saturday (and Friday) …

Iconic Chaos

Alabama survives in Iron Bowl

The fourth quarter of the Iron Bowl was complete chaos. And Auburn’s collapse, which led to a 27-24 Alabama win, came in one of the wildest final sequences ever in a football game. A quick play-by-play:

  • Auburn led 24-20 with less than five minutes left and looked safe until Keionte Scott muffed a punt with 4:54 to play that Alabama recovered at the Auburn 30-yard line. Talk about a swing play in favor of the Crimson Tide.
  • Bama got to first-and-goal but lost 18 yards on an inexcusable bad snap. On the next play, Jalen Milroe scrambled to the left and threw an illegal forward pass that forced Bama into a fourth-and-goal from the … 31.
  • But with the game on the line and 43 seconds left, Milroe tossed this picture-perfect game-winner to Isaiah Bond.

Alabama Gif

Auburn couldn’t get anything going on its final drive: Its first play ended with a sack of quarterback Payton Thorne that was nearly a safety, and on the next play, Thorne threw an interception.

Credit to the Tigers for making this one of the most eventful games of the day, but the Crimson Tide escaped with their fourth Iron Bowl win in a row.

Scores Around The Country

Michigan asserts dominance, upset bids fall short

So much drama Saturday:

  • Michigan-Ohio State had all the attention in the Noon window. A defensive showdown in the first half turned into a shootout late as the Wolverines (12-0) held on for their third victory in a row against the 11-1 Buckeyes, 30-24. Without nemesis Jim Harbaugh on the opposing sideline, Ryan Day was outcoached in the biggest moments even though Ohio State outgained Michigan. Day’s disappointment was obvious, and he should be rethinking that decision he made at quarterback four years ago.
  • Florida State (12-0) pulled away from Florida (5-7) to complete an undefeated regular season. In their first game without star QB Jordan Travis, the Seminoles got another scare when backup QB Tate Rodemaker was hit on a slide in the fourth quarter. The Gators were charged with a targeting penalty, and Rodemaker returned to the game two plays later to orchestrate Trey Benson’s third TD run of the game. The Gators had minus-15 yards in the fourth quarter as Florida State connected the pieces in a 24-15 result.
  • Georgia (12-0) beat 6-6 Georgia Tech 31-23. The Bulldogs rested star tight end Brock Bowers and a few other key offensive players, but Kendall Milton was clutch with 18 carries for 155 yards and two TD runs to lead the Dawgs.
  • Leading 27-24 with 47 seconds remaining, Oklahoma State (9-3) had a 96 percent chance of beating BYU in regulation. Instead, the Cougars, who had the Cowboys on the ropes all day, forced overtime with a 48-yard field goal as time expired. Oklahoma State turned to its most reliable player, Ollie Gordon II, to win 40-34 in double overtime by scoring his (fifth!) touchdown of the game.
  • Washington (12-0) also survived a scare against Washington State (5-7) in the Apple Cup. Wazzu played toe-to-toe with the No. 4 team in the country and had the game tied at 21 in the fourth quarter. The Huskies won on a 42-yard walk-off field goal by Grady Gross that earned him a scholarship in a cool moment postgame.

A couple of Friday highlights:

  • Oregon (11-1) handed Oregon State (8-4) a 31-7 loss in the last edition of the rivalry as we know it. Bo Nix continued his Heisman Trophy campaign by completing 82.5 percent of his passes for 367 yards, two TDs and zero INTs.
  • Texas (11-1) dominated 6-6 Texas Tech 57-7, opening the door for freshman Arch Manning, the No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2023 and nephew of Peyton and Eli, to make his Longhorns debut. Manning went 2-for-5 passing for 30 yards and rushed for 7 yards.

Conference Title Matchups

Nine set, plus one ridiculous case

AAC: SMU at Tulane, 4 p.m. on Saturday (ABC)

ACC: Louisville vs. Florida State, 8 p.m. on Saturday, in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday (ABC)

Big 12: Oklahoma State vs. Texas, Noon on Saturday (ABC)

Big Ten: Iowa vs. Michigan in Indianapolis, 8 p.m. on Saturday (Fox)

C-USA: New Mexico State at Liberty, 7 p.m. on Friday (CBS Sports Network)

MAC: Miami (Ohio) vs. Toledo in Detroit, Noon on Saturday (ESPN)

Mountain West: The MWC standings ended in a three-way tie between Boise State, San Jose State and UNLV. The conference will announce the championship matchup this morning based on computer rankings. Absurdity!

Pac-12: Oregon vs. Washington, 8 p.m. on Friday in Las Vegas (ABC)

SEC: Alabama vs. Georgia, 4 p.m. on Saturday in Atlanta (CBS)

Sun Belt: Appalachian State at Troy, 4 p.m. on Saturday (ESPN)

First Coaching Hire

And rumblings of more …

Michigan State hired Jonathan Smith away from Oregon State. Smith has been the Beavers’ coach since 2018 and played QB for the program.

  • Hiring a coach away from his alma mater? We can think of a few examples (Bill Curry from Georgia Tech to Alabama; Jeff Horton from Nevada to rival UNLV; Rich Rodriguez from West Virginia to Michigan), but nothing quite matches the situation brewing at Oregon State.
  • The Beavers’ uncertain conference future will be a major hurdle as the program searches for Smith’s replacement.

As for the rest of the coaching carousel, Bruce Feldman, Nicole Auerbach and Chris Vannini update what they’ve heard about Texas A&M’s search, which could include a call to Day. Mark Stoops to the Aggies took a turn last night after he was named the top candidate Saturday. Plus, New Mexico fired Danny Gonzales after four seasons with the Lobos program, so what’s next?

Quick Snaps

In his Final Thoughts, Stewart Mandel takes a look at the Iron Bowl drama and more near-miss chaos from 2023.

In Nicole Auerbach’s top 10, has Michigan done enough to take over No. 1?

Listen to the Until Saturday podcast crew react to yesterday’s biggest moments: Ohio State-Michigan, the Iron Bowl and more.

Sacramento State grabbed its first playoff road win since 1988 (when it was still DII) against North Dakota in the first round of the FCS playoffs. Catch up on the rest of the playoff action here.

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