Ohio State edges Michigan 42-41 to stay perfect; more early Week 14 Snap Judgments
• No. 3 Ohio State 42, Michigan 41: Tempers flared, and the Buckeyes endured one of their toughest tests of 2013. Ultimately, however, Ohio State edged the Wolverines to remain undefeated and keep its BCS title hopes alive. After Michigan wide receiver Devin Funchess reeled in a two-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Devin Gardner with 32 seconds to play, coach Brady Hoke opted to go for a two-point conversion and the win. But Gardner was intercepted by Buckeyes cornerback Tyvis Powell on the conversion attempt.
Things got heated early. In the opening moments of the second quarter, Wolverines wideout Jeremy Gallon made an athletic 17-yard touchdown grab to give Michigan a 21-14 lead. On the ensuing kickoff, the two teams scuffled, leading to the ejection of three players (Ohio State running back Dontre Wilson and guard Marcus Hall, and Wolverines linebacker Royce Jenkins-Stone). After the fight, the Buckeyes woke up, scoring 21 unanswered points behind the running of Carlos Hyde (226 rushing yards, one touchdown) and quarterback Braxton Miller (153 rushing yards, three touchdowns; 133 passing yards, two touchdowns). The tandem became the first Ohio State players since 1967 to run for 100 yards in the same game.
Thanks to some creative play-calling, Michigan’s offense hung with the favored Buckeyes throughout the first half. The unit stalled in the third quarter, when Ohio State scored twice to take a 35-21 lead, but the Wolverines came alive again in the fourth. Gardner (32-of-45, 451 passing yards, four touchdowns) hit receiver Drew Dileo for an 11-yard touchdown early in the quarter. After Hyde coughed up a costly fumble, Michigan drove 41 yards to tie the game at 35-35 on a two-yard touchdown reception by tight end Jake Butt.
Miller and Hyde led the Buckeyes back down the field for a touchdown that gave Ohio State a 42-35 lead — Hyde charged over the goal line from one yard out with 2:20 left to play — but the Wolverines responded before their two-point try fell short.
Following No. 2 Florida State’s easy 37-7 victory over Florida, the Buckeyes were still on the outside looking in at the BCS title game. There will still be one more chance for Ohio State to prove its championship mettle: in the Big Ten title game next Saturday against 11-1 Michigan State. [RECAP | BOX]
• No. 24 Duke 27, North Carolina 25: It happened. It really happened. The Blue Devils have punched their ticket to the ACC championship game. Duke fans should remember where they were when it happened because this is rarer than getting four Cheez-Its stuck together (the elusive Mega Cheez-It). The Blue Devils won their 10th game of the season, a school record, and continued their remarkable turnaround under coach David Cutcliffe.
Even if Duke gets torched by Florida State in the ACC title game, this has still been a dream season for the Blue Devils. Quarterback Anthony Boone completed 23-of-35 passes for 277 yards and two touchdowns, both of which went to wide receiver Jamison Crowder. [RECAP | BOX]
• No. 2 Florida State 37, Florida 7: The Seminoles had already locked up an ACC championship game berth, and no one would have faulted them for taking it easy against a team that just lost to FCS Georgia Southern. Although Florida State started slowly against the Gators, the ‘Noles quickly took control to continue their undefeated season. Quarterback Jameis Winston connected with receiver Kelvin Benjamin nine times for 212 yards and three scores, and Florida State’s defense held Florida to just 193 total yards.
While Gators athletic director Jeremy Foley has continued to stand behind third-year coach Will Muschamp, the offseason won’t be without personnel changes, particularly on offense. These two programs are moving in different directions — and Florida is too prestigious for Foley to let the program’s decline to continue. [RECAP | BOX]
• No. 11 Michigan State 14, Minnesota 3: The Spartans’ defense has been one of the best — if not the best — in the nation all year. The unit turned in another solid performance in Michigan State’s final regular season game on Saturday, holding the Golden Gophers to 243 total yards. Spartans running back Jeremy Langford led the offense with 129 rushing yards and a touchdown. Coach Mark Dantonio’s team will have its hands full against an explosive Ohio State offense in the Big Ten championship game next week, when Michigan State will have an opportunity to play spoiler and earn a trip to the Rose Bowl. [RECAP | BOX]
• Vanderbilt 23, Wake Forest 21: Casey Spear’s 38-yard field goal with 40 seconds to play gave the Commodores the win and kept Demon Deacons coach Jim Grobe tied with former Wake Forest coach Peahead Walker for the most wins in program history (77). The Demon Deacons finished the season with five straight losses; Vanderbilt won eight regular season games for the second straight year under coach James Franklin. [RECAP | BOX]
• Utah State 35, Wyoming 7: Despite the early-season loss of quarterback Chuckie Keeton (knee) to injury, the Aggies secured a spot in the Mountain West championship. Freshman quarterback Darell Garretson threw for three touchdowns, and running back Joey DeMartino rushed for 112 yards and a score as Utah State won its fifth straight to improve to 8-4. It will take on Fresno State next Saturday. [RECAP | BOX]
• Southern Miss 62, UAB 27: Southern Miss won Southern Miss won Southern Miss won Southern Miss won Southern Miss won [FLEX BOMB] [REGGAETON HORN]. Let’s all celebrate with tasty snacks and cold soda pops. The Golden Eagles’ victory snapped a 23-game losing streak. [RECAP | BOX]