College Football: Oklahoma State’s Slim Playoff Hopes Wither
Byron Pringle caught three touchdown passes and returned a kickoff for a score, helping visiting Kansas State stun No. 10 Oklahoma State, 45-40, on Saturday.
Oklahoma State nearly erased a 29-point deficit in the second half, but Kansas State held on to become bowl eligible for an eighth consecutive season.
Pringle, a junior, caught four passes for a career-high 166 yards. His kickoff return touchdown covered 89 yards. He entered the game with eight career touchdowns, and he had never scored more than two in a game.
The freshman Skylar Thompson threw for 204 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 93 yards and a score in his second start for the injured Jesse Ertz.
Kansas State entered the game as a nearly three-touchdown underdog, something Coach Bill Snyder had discussed with his team.
“I can understand why that number was out there,” he said. “We all knew it wasn’t an accurate number, but I told them, ‘You’re going to have to go out there and prove it.’ And we proved it tonight.”
Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph passed for 425 yards and three touchdowns and ran for a score. James Washington caught eight passes for 159 yards and two touchdowns for the Cowboys, who are No. 13 in the College Football Playoff rankings.
Rudolph threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Dillon Stoner, cutting Kansas State’s lead to 45-40 with just over four minutes to go. The Wildcats went three-and-out, giving Oklahoma State a chance to take the lead, but Rudolph missed four straight passes, and Kansas State ran out the clock.
It was Oklahoma State’s third home loss, and it crushed the Cowboys’ already slim chances of reaching the playoff.
Mike Gundy, the Cowboys’ coach, said, “We all need to look at ourselves and figure out what’s going on, because for whatever reason, we’re not showing up.”
9 Notre Dame 24, Navy 17
Brandon Wimbush threw for 164 yards and two touchdowns and ran for a score as Notre Dame rallied in the rain and wind to beat visiting Navy.
Wearing throwback uniforms with the name Rockne on the back of each player’s jersey and helmets designed to evoke the leather tops from the era of Knute Rockne, one of the Irish’s most famous names, Notre Dame, No. 8 in the playoff rankings, kept its slim national championship hopes alive heading into its regular-season finale next Saturday at Stanford.
Wimbush, who threw two interceptions and lost a fumble in Notre Dame’s 41-8 loss at Miami two Saturdays ago, connected with Kevin Stepherson twice and added his 14th rushing touchdown of the year as the Irish scored on three straight possessions late in the game, part of the longest-running matchup between teams from different regions of the country, dating to 1927.
5 Wisconsin 24, 19 Michigan 10
Alex Hornibrook’s 24-yard touchdown pass to A. J. Taylor in the third quarter broke open a defensive slugfest, Kendric Pryor scored on an end-around, and Wisconsin remained undefeated with a victory at home over Michigan.
The Badgers, No. 5 in the playoff rankings, padded their playoff résumé in a grinding, physical matchup against the Wolverines, who are No. 24 in the playoff rankings.
Hornibrook completed 9 of 19 passes for 143 yards and bounced back from an interception early in the third quarter with some of his best throws of the season. He connected with Taylor through a tight window in the end zone for a 14-10 lead with about three and a half minutes left in the third quarter.
2 Miami 44, Virginia 28
Malik Rosier threw three touchdown passes and ran for a score, and Miami pulled off its biggest comeback in five years, holding off visiting Virginia and extending its winning streak, the longest in the Football Bowl Subdivision, to 15 games.
Jaquan Johnson returned an interception for a touchdown, and Miami went on a 30-0 run in the second half as it remained unbeaten.
The Hurricanes, No. 3 in the playoff rankings, erased two 14-point deficits. They had lost 15 consecutive games in which they trailed at any point by such a margin, but the defense made two fourth-down stops in Virginia territory in the fourth quarter, and the Hurricanes finished 7-0 at home in the regular season for the first time since 1988.
1 Alabama 56, Mercer 0
Jalen Hurts passed for 180 yards and three touchdowns in a little more than a quarter, and Alabama beat visiting Mercer, a Football Championship Subdivision team.
The Crimson Tide, who lead the playoff rankings, raced to a 35-0 halftime lead in what amounted to a tuneup for their biggest game. Alabama heads to Auburn for the Iron Bowl, with the winner facing Georgia in the Southeastern Conference championship game in Atlanta.
3 Oklahoma 41, Kansas 3
Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield threw for 257 yards and three touchdowns after being snubbed by the Kansas captains before kickoff, leading the visiting Sooners, who are fourth in the playoff rankings, to a rout of the Jayhawks.
Mayfield had tried shaking hands with the Jayhawks captains Daniel Wise, Dorance Armstrong Jr. and Joe Dineen Jr. after the coin toss, but they stared stoically back at him. Mayfield quickly pulled his hand away, clapped a couple of times and set about burnishing his Heisman Trophy candidacy.
He threw touchdown passes to Rodney Anderson and Marquise Brown in the first half and then found Mark Andrews late in the third quarter, which prompted more insults between Mayfield and the Jayhawks.
4 Clemson 61, Citadel 3
Kelly Bryant threw for 230 yards and three touchdowns and left the game before halftime as Clemson remained comfortably in the playoff race with a victory at home over the Citadel.
The lower-division Bulldogs were out of the game quickly. After Bryant’s 14-yard touchdown pass to T. J. Chase on the Tigers’ 26th play, Clemson, No. 2 in the playoff rankings, led by 28-0.
Bryant completed 17 of 22 passes before Tigers Coach Dabo Swinney started putting in backups to work on the two-minute drill before the end of the first half.
The freshman receiver Tee Higgins caught six passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns, and Travis Etienne, another freshman, ran eight times for 62 yards and two touchdowns. Clemson scored on nine of its first 10 possessions and ended the game with 662 yards, its third game of more than 600 yards this season.
6 Auburn 42, Louisiana-Monroe 14
Darius Slayton’s 50-yard scoring catch late in the first half gave Auburn the lead, and the Tigers pulled away for a victory at home over Louisiana-Monroe before next week’s visit from Alabama.
Kam Martin scored two touchdowns, one rushing and one receiving, in the third quarter. Nick Ruffin scored on a 45-yard interception return in the fourth.
Auburn, No. 6 in the playoff rankings, can earn a spot in the Southeastern Conference championship game with a victory over Alabama next weekend.
7 Georgia 42, Kentucky 13
Nick Chubb and Sony Michel led a dominant running game, and host Georgia, No. 7 in the playoff rankings, bounced back from its first loss of the season, wearing down Kentucky.
Chubb rushed for 151 yards and two touchdowns, including a 55-yard burst down the sideline to seal the victory early in the fourth quarter. Michel rambled for 87 yards and three scores of his own, most notably a 37-yard touchdown that sent the Bulldogs into the half with a 21-6 lead.
8 Ohio State 52, Illinois 14
Ohio State scored on its first six possessions, including J. T. Barrett’s 100th career touchdown pass, as the Buckeyes routed visiting Illinois and clinched the Big Ten East title.
Barrett, playing in his final game at Ohio Stadium, threw for two touchdowns and ran for one more as the Buckeyes, No. 9 in the playoff rankings, dominated from the opening kick. Barrett became the Ohio State leader in rushing yards among quarterbacks (3,070), eclipsing Braxton Miller. He now holds 35 Big Ten and program records.
13 Penn State 56, Nebraska 44
Saquon Barkley broke Penn State’s career touchdown record with three scores and had 208 of his 224 total yards in the first half, leading the Nittany Lions over visiting Nebraska in the highest-scoring game in Beaver Stadium history.
Barkley passed Lydell Mitchell for the record with his 39th touchdown. Trace McSorley ran for a touchdown and threw for 325 yards on 24-of-36 passing with three scoring passes for Penn State.
11 Texas Christian 27, Texas Tech 3
The true freshman quarterback Shawn Robinson ran for 84 yards and threw a crucial second-half touchdown in his first career start as Texas Christian won at Texas Tech and stayed in contention for a spot in the Big 12 championship game.
While Robinson completed only 6 of 17 passes for 85 yards, he made a 12-yard touchdown throw to Jalen Reagor late in the third quarter, giving the Horned Frogs, No. 12 in the playoff rankings, a 17-3 lead.
14 Central Florida 45, Temple 19
McKenzie Milton threw four touchdown passes and ran for a score as Central Florida comfortably took care of business at Temple, remaining unbeaten as it heads into a showdown with its rival South Florida.
The Knights, No. 15 in the playoff rankings, scored 17 points on three first-half turnovers by Temple inside its 25. They took a 31-10 lead when Gabriel Davis stretched across the goal line for a 5-yard touchdown reception with just over two and a half minutes left in the second quarter.
In Other Games
■ Kurt Rawlings threw for 177 yards and a touchdown to lead host Yale over its rival Harvard, 24-3, securing the Bulldogs’ first outright Ivy League championship in 37 years.
Running backs Melvin Rouse and Zane Dudek combined for 106 yards rushing for Yale, which beat Harvard for a second straight season after previously losing nine in a row in the rivalry known as the Game.
■ Josh Wainwright had a career-high 13 catches for 127 yards and a touchdown, setting Columbia’s single-season record for receiving yards, and the Lions finished at 8-2 in one of the most successful seasons in program history with a 24-6 victory at home over Brown.
■ Richard Lagow threw two touchdown passes, and Morgan Ellison ran for two more scores as host Indiana shut out Rutgers, 41-0.
■ Trevor Moore kicked a 39-yard field goal with five seconds left, giving North Texas a wild 52-49 victory at home over Army, ending the Black Knights’ six-game winning streak.
■ Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson had another big game against visiting Syracuse, accounting for 381 yards and four touchdowns and becoming the Cardinals’ career yardage leader while leading a rain-delayed 56-10 rout.
■ Austin Longi and Chase Edmonds each broke free for long touchdowns late in the game as Fordham rallied past visiting Bucknell, 20-9, in a wet and windy Patriot League season-ender.
■ Ryan Fulse ran for 192 yards and three touchdowns, and Wagner defeated host Sacred Heart, 28-15, in a Northeast Conference season finale.
■ Tre Solomon scored on a 3-yard run with just over two minutes left to play, Jacob Martin broke up a pass on third-and-goal from the 1 on the final play, and Penn capped its season with its fourth win in a row, a 29-22 victory over visiting Cornell.
■ Jared Gerbino ran for a career-high 202 yards and four touchdowns, including the clinching score with no time left, as host Dartmouth beat Princeton, 54-44, in a regular-season closer for both teams.