NCAA Football News

Maryland Coach Randy Edsall Throws Headset in Celebration After Win vs. Michigan

With the University of Maryland trailing 16-9 to Michigan at the start of the fourth quarter, the Terrapins scored two late touchdowns to cap off a thrilling 23-16 win in The Big House.

Maryland coach Randy Edsall was so thrilled that he chucked his headset into the air in celebration.

Good on you, Randy—you deserved it. 

[USA Today's FTW]

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From CFP Contender to Meltdown: What Happened to Notre Dame?

After their 31-28 loss to the Louisville Cardinals on Saturday, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish have now dropped three games in a row as their late-season meltdown continues. 

Bleacher Report College Football Analysts Michael Felder and Adam Kramer discuss the demise of the Fighting Irish.

What's behind Notre Dame's sudden decline?

Watch the video and let us know!  


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Virginia's Canaan Severin Reels in Filthy 1-Handed Touchdown Catch vs. Miami

The University of Virginia got on the board against the Miami Hurricanes thanks to this incredible 23-yard touchdown catch from Canaan Severin. 

[Vine]

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Ole Miss vs. Arkansas: How Rebels' Loss Reshapes Playoff Picture

The Arkansas Razorbacks ended the Ole Miss Rebels' fledging quest for a spot in the inaugural College Football Playoff on Saturday, cruising to a 30-0 home win over their SEC rivals.   

The loss drops the Rebels to 8-3 on the season (4-3 SEC) while Arkansas improves to 6-5 overall (2-5 SEC). It was a convincing win for coach Bret Bielema's improving squad. The defense absolutely shut down Ole Miss' rushing attack, holding them to just 1.9 yards per carry as a team. They also forced a staggering six turnovers.

The Razorbacks' offense did enough to get by on the defense's heroics, with running backs Josh Williams and Alex Collins combining for 160 yards and a touchdown on 43 carries.

The upset alert was on at halftime, per SportsCenter

The Razorbacks killed off any chance of a Rebels comeback when Rohan Gaines picked off Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace in the third quarter and returned the ball 100 yards for a touchdown that made the score 27-0.

The Rebels entered Saturday's contest ranked eighth in the official College Football Playoff rankings, and yet had only a puncher's chance of making the playoffs.

Ole Miss once looked to be front-runners for the playoffs, but a 35-31 loss to Auburn on Nov. 1 was a huge blow to their chances.

"It was a couple day of gut-wrenching feelings around here,” Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said of the disappointing loss, via The Associated Press (h/t Washington Post). “So, the combination of all that certainly hurt, but if you don’t have the ability to move on past a big win or difficult loss, you won’t be very good for the duration."

According to FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver, Ole Miss had just a 20.3 percent chance of sneaking into the CFP top four by the end of the season. Silver also gave his take on Ole Miss' narrow path to the postseason.

"Ole Miss is a longshot to make the playoff—it will have to beat Mississippi State and perhaps hope that Alabama loses also so that it can get into the SEC Championship—but it’s at the top of the pecking order as far as two-loss teams go," Silver wrote.

That scenario is no longer on the table after Saturday.

Considering the talented teams in front of them—Mississippi State, TCU, Ohio State and Baylor being the immediate impediments to a playoff spot—those slim hopes might have seemed like a non-factor to some. A two-loss SEC team is at least worthy of consideration, but three losses ends the conversation.

The disappointing Rebels loss could have an indirect effect on the playoff chances of Mississippi State, who dropped to fourth in the CFP rankings after their loss to Alabama. The SEC's carousel of upsets and losses muddles the playoff picture, and some, like NFL Network's Albert Breer, question the true depth of the conference:

A win for the Bulldogs in the Egg Bowl on Nov. 29 is necessary for them to stay in the playoff hunt, but if they turn in a sloppy performance against an exposed Rebels squad, the playoff committee could look at that as a sign the Bulldogs ran out of steam at the end of the season.

With TCU and Baylor hot on their heels and with little risk of dropping another game without a Big 12 championship contest to play, the Bulldogs can't have their schedule looking too soft.

They already rolled over weaker teams like South Alabama and Tennessee-Martin to score wins; Ole Miss looking like an also-ran rather than a legitimate top 10 or top 15 squad could hurt them in the exercise in hair splitting that will be deciding the final playoff spots.

Alabama's only loss came against the Rebels. Should the Crimson Tide botch the Iron Bowl against rival Auburn on Nov. 29, the SEC would be a nearly incomprehensible mishmash. That would be good news for the Big 12 hopefuls, as well as the Ohio State Buckeyes, who have scored impressive wins against Michigan State and Minnesota in the past few weeks and clinched a berth in the Big Ten title game.

It's a disappointing end to the season for the Rebels. Wallace wasn't able to put enough solid performances together to keep this team in the running and will likely shoulder much of the blame for what's transpired over the past few weeks.

The Razorbacks, who at one point appeared to specialize in frustrating losses to slightly-more-talented opponents, now have a couple of strong wins to build upon heading into next season.

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Colorado vs. Oregon: Game Grades, Analysis for the Ducks

In what could be the final home game in his University of Oregon career, Marcus Mariota did not disappoint. The signal-caller out of Honolulu accumulated nearly 400 yards of total offense in the 44-10 rout of the University of Colorado Buffaloes. 

Simply put, Mariota was fantastic. With today's totals, Mariota has thrown for over 9,000 yards and has rushed for over 2,000 yards in his career. Only four other players have ever accomplished the feat. Against the Buffaloes, he threw for 323 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 73 yards and a score. 

Colorado provided a valiant effort. In the second half, the team did play Oregon relatively even. However, there was just too great of a talent disparity between the two teams. 

A full box score can be found here, courtesy of NCAA.com. Additional analysis on position units will be provided below, as will game grades for both the first half and the game in its totality.

 

Oregon Ducks Game Analysis

Passing Offense

With the ground game firing on all cylinders, it made life very easy for Mariota. Colorado began stacking the box in order to slow down both Mariota and Royce Freeman when running the football. 

As a result, Oregon attacked the perimeter with quick throws and crossing routes over the middle of the field. It also exploited Colorado's defense with play-action passes. Both of Charles Nelson's touchdowns came off play action. Mariota finished the day 24-of-32 for 323 yards and three touchdowns.

 

Pass Defense

The secondary did a fantastic job of shutting down one of the better receivers in the conference in Nelson Spruce. Oregon held Spruce to only two grabs for 16 yards. 

Due to the fact that Oregon didn't respect Colorado's ability to stretch the field vertically, its corners pressed at the line of scrimmage. The combination of quickness and physicality made life tough for the Colorado pass-catchers. 

The Colorado quarterbacking duo of Sefo Liufau and Jordan Gehrke combined for only 105 yards passing on the afternoon.

 

Rushing Offense

Oregon's offensive line did a tremendous job of getting to the second level and blocking in space. Reserve center Doug Brenner also did a very admirable job filling in for Hroniss Grasu. He was particularly adept at pinning down against Colorado's defensive linemen. 

Freeman was spectacular. The freshman back ran for 105 yards and two touchdowns on only 17 carries. He became the first Oregon freshman to run for 1,000 yards in a season. As a whole, Oregon rushed for 265 yards and three touchdowns on 41 carries.

 

Run Defense

Early in the game, Colorado was getting some success on throws underneath to its running backs. Phillip Lindsay, in particular, was able to accrue some good yardage. 

However, as a whole, the linebacker corps did a fantastic job of supporting in the run game. Joe Walker was particularly adept at crashing down in order to close up any lanes for the Colorado running backs. 

Outside of a 36-yard rumble by Christian Powell, the unit was very sound. The Buffaloes finished the day rushing for 121 yards on 30 carries. 

 

Special Teams

Colorado surprised Oregon on the first play of the game with an onside kick. The coverage unit failed to scoop up the ball, and it was eventually knocked around on the ground until Spruce picked it up for the Buffaloes. 

After the first touchdown, Oregon failed on a two-point conversion attempt when a receiver slipped and fell in hopes of catching the Taylor Alie pass. 

However, Matt Wogan connected on his only field-goal opportunity. The coverage on punts and kickoffs was also strong. Had it not been for a questionable Dior Mathis holding penalty, former basketball star Johnathan Loyd would've returned a punt for a touchdown. 

 

Coaching

It was not a difficult game to call for Mark Helfrich and his staff. Truthfully, his talent took over in all phases of the game. There's only so much criticism to offer up when a team wins by 34 points. 

If I had to nitpick, the defense didn't blitz nearly as much as it could have. Perhaps against better competition, this will be the case. There were times in which both Colorado quarterbacks had considerable time to sit in the pocket and throw the ball. 

Penalties were also an issue. Oregon committed multiple 15-yard, self-inflicted wounds on the afternoon. Both Colorado scoring drives were aided by these errors. The area of discipline is something that should be enforced in practice. Although Oregon got away with it today, it likely will be punished for something similar against a better team in the Pac-12 Championship Game.

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Western Carolina vs. Alabama: Game Grades and Analysis for the Crimson Tide

Pardon the Alabama Crimson Tide players if their minds were wandering a bit toward next week's Iron Bowl showdown and getting a measure of payback against rival Auburn. 

They pretty much sleepwalked through much of the first half against Football Championship Subdivision opponent Western Carolina and still led by 24 at the half on their way to a 48-14 win.

By the second half, they were able to put things on cruise control.

Despite the comfortable win, there were several mental lapses that shouldn't happen this time of year that will give head coach Nick Saban various teaching points heading into a game week that needs no extra motivation.

'Bama proved it was still 'Bama once it woke up, though it's hard to be happy with the performance.

Perhaps the most troublesome thing for the Tide were injuries to receivers Amari Cooper and ArDarius Stewart, left tackle Cameron Robinson, defensive lineman A'Shawn Robinson and running back Jalston Fowler. 

Saban said he didn't think the injuries were serious at first blush.

Regardless of the early difficulty, Bama set another SEC record Saturday; this is the Tide's seventh consecutive 10-win season.

Let's take a look at the game grades.

Pass Offense

Blake Sims and Jake Coker each played a half, and they did fine. Neither made any huge plays, and there were a couple of drops or missed opportunities deep that really could have beefed up the statistics.

While the "splash plays" you like to see weren't there in the passing game, star receiver Amari Cooper barely played after banging up his knee. With the backups going the entire second half, there were some nice flashes shown from freshman Robert Foster and company.

Sims did throw his first interception in 158 attempts, but it took two receivers running into one another for it to happen. That was pretty much the story of the day for the Tide. Their numbers looked nice (337 yards), but there were some frustrating mistakes along the way.

 

Run Offense

Derrick Henry was an absolute monster, sprinting past everybody on a 23-yard touchdown run and catching a pass for another score. And Tyren Jones looked like a future star spelling Henry.

But Henry's costly fumble inside UA's 15-yard line that was immediately turned into a Western Carolina touchdown mars this grade and keeps it from being a great one. Even without T.J. Yeldon who sat because of an injury, 'Bama was strong running the football and looked good doing it throughout the flow of the game.

When the offense was sputtering, offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin leaned on the run. Henry finished with 92 yards on 12 carries, and Jones wound up with 75 yards on 11 carries.

 

Pass Defense

When WCU got yards, it got it through the air as dual-threat quarterback Troy Mitchell utilized star receivers Spearman Robinson and Karnorris Benson to get some big yards downfield.

Robinson especially gave 'Bama problems, scoring two touchdowns, though Benson was the workhorse.

Right after Henry's fumble, Robinson used his big body to fight through cornerback Eddie Jackson to grab a touchdown pass. A couple of pass-interference calls on the Tide on deep balls bailed the Catamounts out on a pair of drives, too.

Alabama didn't play particularly poorly in pass defense, but it just didn't have its normal quality game. Considering the Tide were going against a lesser opponent, this was a mediocre performance.

 

Run Defense

Even without A'Shawn Robinson for most of the game, the Tide smothered WCU's rushing attack to the point where the Catamounts abandoned it quickly.

They finished with minus-eight rushing yards as 'Bama dominated all day. There was simply no daylight for Western Carolina, so when you factor in that the Cats could do absolutely nothing on the ground, the 221 yards allowed through the air aren't all that bad.

Bama will face a much stiffer test next week with Auburn's rushing attack, but Saturday night was easy.

 

Special Teams

Alabama trotted out a special teams kicker, and Gunnar Raborn nailed his first two field-goal attempts, which was good to see as the Tide rested a nicked-up Adam Griffith.

Though UA didn't break anything in the return game, the Tide did have some nice runs, and they were totally ready for a fake field-goal attempt by WCU that Landon Collins tracked down at the line and delivered a crushing blow to the kicker.

This grade would have been an "A," but Raborn missed a 31-yard field goal that was inconsequential.

 

Coaching

Saban faulted himself at halftime for not having the Tide ready to play. But after a lengthy stay in the locker room at halftime, UA came out and took care of business in the second half.

They responded well to coaching, and though they still made plenty of miscues, it was encouraging for 'Bama fans to see their team take care of business and wind up dominating Western Carolina like it was expected to do.

Still, for a team as good as Bama to come out flat, finish with two turnovers and not force a Football Championship Subdivision opponent into any is a subpar day. Bama will have to play much better next week.

 

Brad Shepard covers SEC football for Bleacher Report. Follow Brad on Twitter @Brad_Shepard.

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Melvin Gordon Must Carry Wisconsin to a Big Ten Title to Win Heisman

One week ago, Melvin Gordon vaulted into college football’s national spotlight with a 408-yard rushing effort against Nebraska that set the FBS single-game rushing record (for a week, as it turned out, thanks to Oklahoma’s Samaje Perine’s 427-yard day against Kansas on Saturday).

Gordon made his way to the forefront of the Heisman Trophy race with that record-setting performance, and there’s no question that he’s one of college football’s most outstanding players. ESPN’s Heisman Watch has him as a very close second to Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota in the running for the award.

To get over the top, Gordon will have to keep posting huge numbers and helping his team win to impress voters.

Following Saturday’s 26-24 win at Iowa, he is on track to do just that. Coming off his huge week against Nebraska, the Hawkeyes’ defense was clearly geared to stop Gordon. As a result, he had just 39 rushing yards in the first half.

After halftime, however, he carried the Badgers’ offense. With under 10 minutes to play, Wisconsin held a 19-17 lead and faced a 3rd-and-13 at its own 32. Gordon broke off a 35-yard gain on a screen pass to pick up the first down, then completed the drive with a 23-yard touchdown run. The Gazette's Mike Hlas believes Gordon's performance speaks volumes about his desire to win the Heisman: 

Gordon finished the day with 200 yards and two touchdowns on 31 carries and now has 2,109 rushing yards and 25 rushing touchdowns this season, along with a pair of touchdowns through the air.

Wisconsin's Twitter account noted just how impressive Gordon's rushing totals have been this season:

Saturday marked his fifth 200-yard game of the season and his third consecutive game reaching that mark.

Gordon has clinched his ticket to New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremony on Dec. 13. But to get on stage and hoist the trophy, he’ll need to do more. Team success plays a big part in the Heisman voting, and Gordon will have to lead his team to a Big Ten Championship if he wants to move ahead of Mariota.

Saturday’s win put the Badgers in prime position for the Big Ten West Division title, and Minnesota will come to town for the division title game next Saturday.

"It feels good because everything is on the line next week," Gordon said, via The Associated Press (h/t Fox Sports). "Minnesota is going to give us their all and we're going to give them ours. We have to."

Beat the Gophers at Camp Randall Stadium, and Wisconsin will head to Indianapolis for the Big Ten title game against the Ohio State Buckeyes, who clinched the Big Ten East Saturday afternoon.

That would be a key spotlight for Gordon. Prime time, with the nation watching.

It is the perfect opportunity to impress Heisman Trophy voters, particularly since final ballots are due two days later. That day, Mariota will also be competing in the Pac-12 title game, meaning Gordon must give them something to think about.

It’s not necessarily fair, but would voters give Gordon the Heisman if he can’t push his team to a league championship?

If he rolls up 225 yards and carries Wisconsin to a Big Ten title, then Gordon should find himself in possession of the stiff-arm trophy. If the last three weeks have shown us anything, it’s that he’s perfectly capable of doing just that and beating Mariota for college football’s highest individual honor.

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Ole Miss vs. Arkansas: Game Grades, Analysis for Rebels and Razorbacks

The University of Arkansas Razorbacks dominated from the opening kickoff, shutting out the eighth-ranked University of Mississippi Rebels 30-0 Saturday afternoon.

Arkansas forced six turnovers en route to win No. 6 on the season, which marks the first time the program has qualified for bowl season since 2011.

Pass Offense: Bo Wallace located soft spots in the Razorbacks' zone, but his red zone mistakes were immensely costly. He floated a pair of passes that were intercepted at the goal line, finishing with a 16-of-31, 235-yard line.

Run Offense: Jaylen Walton finally broke off a long run during the second half, but Ole Miss tallied just two carries of 10-plus yards. Wallace was a complete non-factor throughout a handful of zone-read calls.

Pass Defense: The Rebels didn't give up many completions but were gashed when they did, allowing an even 19 yards per reception. They most often lost the intended target following play action.

Run Defense: While Ole Miss managed to shut down the inside run, Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams exploited the Rebels on the outside. Nevertheless, the Landsharks were stout near the end zone and even forced a field goal after a 1st-and-goal from the 1-yard line.

Special Teams: Gary Wunderlich and Will Gleeson both averaged 42 yards per punt. Markell Pack muffed a punt, but Ole Miss jumped on the loose ball inside its own 10-yard line, avoiding a complete disaster.

Coaching: Hugh Freeze's offense sputtered throughout the night and couldn't establish a rhythm because of six turnovers. The defense adjusted following three consecutive scoring drives and tightened up, but Arkansas continued to sustain drives better than the Rebels could.

 

Pass Offense: Though starting quarterback Brandon Allen exited with a hip injury after starting 5-of-10 for 87 yards and one touchdown, Arkansas didn't need much from his brother, Austin Allen. The younger Allen connected on 3 of 5 passes for 65 yards, committing just one turnover on a mishandled snap.

Run Offense: Collins and Williams combined for 160 yards on the ground, while the latter toppled the 1,000-yard mark for the season. Collins is just 35 yards away from achieving the same mark behind a dominant offensive line.

Pass Defense: The Razorbacks surrendered a few long-gainers but capitalized on bad throws in the red zone. Rohan Gaines turned one floated pass into a 100-yard interception return for a touchdown.

Run Defense: Arkansas didn't just limit Ole Miss' ground game—the Hogs completely shut it down. They've allowed fewer than 100 rushing yards during the last two weeks combined.

Special Teams: Adam McFain pushed a 37-yard field goal wide right before halftime but converted from 22, 31 and 18 yards. Sam Irwin-Hill pinned the Rebels at their own 20-yard line or deeper four times.

Coaching: Bret Bielema is once again building a run-focused program that is immensely difficult to contain. Defensive coordinator Robb Smith's unit hasn't allowed points throughout the last 133 game minutes.

 

Follow Bleacher Report college football writer David Kenyon on Twitter: @Kenyon19_BR.

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Ole Miss vs. Arkansas: Score and Twitter Reaction

The Arkansas Razorbacks waited 17 games to return to the win column in SEC play, and now they want to stay awhile.   

Bret Bielema's squad throttled No. 8 Ole Miss 30-0 Saturday at Reynolds Razorback Stadium in a complete 60-minute drubbing. The Razorbacks notched their second straight shutout against a ranked foe, after blanking LSU 17-0 last week to snap a 17-game SEC skid.

Arkansas (6-5) is also now bowl-eligible with the rest of the SEC West. It's the first time ever that an entire division has pulled off that feat, per the SEC's Chuck Dunlap:

After Arkansas starting quarterback Brandon Allen gave his team a 17-0 lead, freshman Austin Allen finished the game in relief when his brother suffered a back injury early in the second quarter. He didn't have to do much, as the Arkansas defense forced six turnovers.

Many of those came at the expense of Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace, who returned from a first-half ankle injury to throw two costly interceptions in the end zone. He finished 16-of-31 with 235 yards, but one of his picks was returned 100 yards for a game-clinching score.

Here's a glance at the quarter-by-quarter scoreboard:

The eighth-ranked Rebels knew they weren't facing a typical last-place team in the division, with Arkansas on a high after the streak-ending win over LSU. Wallace commented entering the game on how important offensive possessions would be.

"It's important for us to get points on every possession," he told The Clarion-Ledger's Hugh Kellenberger. "We trust our defense to give us the ball."

Early on, Wallace's offense didn't follow suit—and his trust of the defense didn't pay off.

Ole Miss started with a three-and-out, and Arkansas took over near midfield intent on taking advantage. The Razorbacks went unconventional, straying from their between-the-tackles style to score in three plays on Brandon Allen's 25-yard strike to Keon Hatcher.

The Rebels' disastrous start only got worse two plays later. Wallace fumbled on a quarterback run, and Arkansas' Trey Flowers fell on it to set his team up at the Ole Miss 29.

Looking to blow it open midway through the first quarter, Arkansas lined up for a crazy trick play on 3rd-and-1 with seven players out left and the center all alone—and eligible for a pass. The Hogs barely picked up the first down after Ole Miss covered it well, but Sports Illustrated's Andy Staples commended Bielema's style:

Ole Miss got a big stop inside the 5-yard line to hold Arkansas to a 22-yard field goal, but the offense couldn't get into a rhythm. The Rebels' first three drives yielded just 12 total yards.

All of a sudden, they were dazed by Arkansas' rushing strength again, as the Razorbacks pushed down the field on a nine-play drive ending on Alex Collins' one-yard rushing score.

A 17-0 hole before the end of the first period wasn't exactly the start Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze had talked about, as ESPN.com's Edward Aschoff noted:

Also not to be overlooked was Arkansas' offensive dominance against one of the nation's best defensive units. Sporting News' Matt Hayes compared the Razorbacks to Alabama, who scored all of 10 points offensively against the Rebels:

After the shocking start, injuries hit both backfields at nearly the same time. 

Wallace was injured on his sack-fumble and shortly left the field for treatment before returning, but Brandon Allen wasn't as fortunate, as ESPN's Brett McMurphy reported:

Ole Miss finally found some resolve defensively after being torched in its first few possessions, holding Arkansas scoreless in the second quarter. But it didn't come without some help, as the Razorbacks executed a great two-minute drill only to miss a 37-yard field goal before the half.

The Rebels had avoided a 20-0 hole before the half, but Jake Thompson of The Oxford Eagle noted the origin of Ole Miss' problems:

With Wallace back and operating well, Ole Miss found some success offensively to start the second half. But it never materialized into points. 

The Rebels' first second-half drive ended on a turnover on downs in Arkansas territory. The next one all but clinched the game, as Rohan Gaines intercepted Wallace on a cross-field throw to the end zone and returned it 100 yards for a score. As a result, Arkansas went up 27-0.

For the second time in the game, Wallace was intercepted after floating one across the field into the end zone, and Aschoff couldn't help but notice:

Ole Miss obviously still had a chance down four scores with more than a quarter to go, but Arkansas' defensive dominance shut the door. The Razorbacks forced another turnover on downs when Wallace slung four incomplete passes at the Arkansas 27 to end the third quarter.

The offensive turnaround for Ole Miss was apparent in the third period. But no points from it and a 27-0 deficit on the road meant this one was over after 45 minutes. It also marked an incredible streak for Arkansas' defense, per Dudley E. Dawson of Scout.com:

If things weren't over then, it ended when DeVante Kincade fumbled and Arkansas returned it to the goal line with 13:35 to go.

Ole Miss held the Razorbacks to a field goal, but as Arkansas News Bureau's Robbie Neiswanger noted, there wasn't much drama left for the Rebels:

The Razorbacks' defensive dominance isn't new, according to Bleacher Report's Barrett Sallee:

Arkansas is now bowl-eligible with the win, something that seemed like an impossibility just three weeks ago. And the best days should be ahead for the Razorbacks, as USA Today's Paul Myerberg analyzed:

A last-place finish in the SEC West for Arkansas is still possible, but after this late-season dominance, closing out with a win over Missouri next week would make the hype around the program unreal entering its bowl game and the 2015 season. 

On the other side, the Rebels are crushed, after their third defeat of the season undoubtedly ends what was already an outside shot at the College Football Playoff. There's still the Egg Bowl against No. 4 Mississippi State next week, but pride is about all that's left for a team that was vying all season for the championship.

One thing is certain: The SEC West is downright scary.

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UCLA Fan Rocks Crazy Mohawk for Game vs. USC

This man is definitely ready for some football.

Before the UCLA Bruins took on the USC Trojans, one UCLA fan was spotted with this impressive mohawk, complete with the team's logo painted into his hair.

That's some serious dedication.

[Twitter]

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Maryland vs. Michigan: Game Grades, Analysis for the Wolverines

Well, the chances of a bowl game are in serious jeopardy now that Michigan has to beat Ohio State in order to qualify. 

It didn't have to be that way. All the Wolverines had to do was beat Maryland. But that didn't happen. Instead, the Terps slid away with a 23-16 victory—their first at The Big House and against Michigan—thanks to Wes Brown's one-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter. 

C.J. Brown, Maryland's quarterback, also contributed with an eight-yard rush earlier in the fourth. 

Michigan (5-6, 3-4 B1G) couldn't get the job done on senior day, which was the final go for players such as Jake Ryan, Devin Gardner, Brennen Beyer, Raymon Taylor and kicker Matt Wile, who made a season-high three field goals. 

Grades are based on factors such as statistics, opportunity, frequency, execution and prior performances. Feel free to discuss them in the comments section. 

 

Pass Offense

Gardner threw for 106 yards, three fewer than he did during the 10-9 win over Northwestern. He completed 13 of 24 attempts and also threw an interception. Needless to say, he didn't produce desired results on senior day. 

The pass offense gets a D-. 

 

Pass Defense

The Wolverines defense didn't allow any Terps receivers to reach the end zone and it held C.J. Brown to a modest 165 yards. Jourdan Lewis stood out as the unit's star of the night. He saved a touchdown with a sideline tackle in the second half. 

 

Run Offense

Believe it or not, the Wolverines rushed for 292 yards. Joe Kerridge rumbled for 52 after a fake-punt attempt in the first half. Gardner scored a 15-yard rushing touchdown in the second half. Drake Johnson had 14 carries for 94 yards. 

But other than Gardner, no one could put six on the board. The run offense gets a C- for lack of meaningful production. 

 

Run Defense

The Wolverines gave up both touchdowns on the ground, so that'll knock down the grade a notch or two. Four Terps combined for 147 yards, or about 45 more than Greg Mattison's defense typically surrenders on any given Saturday. 

Maryland quarterback C.J. Brown rushed for 87 yards, a total aided by a 30-yard burst in the first half. 

For that, the rush D gets a C-.

 

Special Teams

Michigan made three of its four field goals, so Matt Wile deserves mention for keeping his team in the hunt. Without those nine points, well, it would have been a 23-7 loss.

Dennis Norfleet, who's been due for three years, almost had a touchdown, but it was called back due to an illegal block by Michigan. 

The Wolverines get another D. The entire year has been a D, as in "D"-isappointment. 

 

Coaching

This was the one Brady Hoke had to win. He's not going to beat Ohio State, which stands in the way of a bowl game. Hoke gets a D. 

Offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier just doesn't seem to know what to do with his offense. Another lackluster showing by Gardner and his receivers; Devin Funchess had five catches for 30 yards but was a no-show in the second half. 

Nussmeier gets a D. 

Mattison's defense has been the only positive of Team 135's dreadful season. He gets a C-. His defense gave up the touchdowns. Can't change that. 

 

Follow Bleacher Report's Michigan Wolverines football writer Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81

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Arkansas Sends Message to SEC with Back-to-Back Shutout Wins

Do you hear that?

That's not the sound of Arkansas walking through the door. That's the sound of a door being kicked down, chipped and turned into mulch.

After going without SEC wins for more than two calendar years, Arkansas has announced its presence with authority in November. The Razorbacks beat LSU 17-0 in a game that wasn't as close as the score indicated last week and followed it up with a 30-0 win over No. 8 Ole Miss on Saturday in Fayetteville.

Much like last week, this week's stomping wasn't as close as the score indicated.

The Hogs defense throttled the high-octone Rebels offense to the tune of 316 yards, 63 rushing yards and just 4.45 yards per play. Ole Miss, a team that hasn't been able to run between the tackles all season long, was absolutely shut down by an Arkansas front seven that has become one of the most underrated units in the entire conference.

“It’s big time for us defensive players," defensive end Trey Flowers said in quotes emailed by Arkansas. "To put up those type of numbers and stop some pretty good teams from getting in the end zone, it's big time.

As Bo Mattingly of Sports Talk with Bo in Arkansas notes, first-year defensive coordinator Robb Smith deserves a ton of credit for this turnaround:

It was a message to the SEC West, the SEC and the nation that these Hogs have found their groove and will not be a pushover anymore.

This was coming all season long. 

From the moment the Razorbacks went into halftime in their season opener vs. Auburn tied, it was clear that this wasn't the same team that existed under former head coach John L. Smith in 2012 and last season—Bret Bielema's first in Fayetteville.

They were confident.

They were prepared.

They were on the brink of walking through the door during the first two months of the season, and instead they decided to kick it down the last two weeks.

It took longer than Bielema imagined, but Arkansas evolved this year from a pushover to a potential power. Even when the Hogs lost this year, they made the opponent work. They're old-school in every sense of the term and have now learned a valuable lesson during the month of November: how to win.

Moving forward, what does it mean? It means that this team is going to be something to be reckoned with in 2015.

Arkansas' defense is loaded with young talent. Only one defender—Flowers—is a senior on the two-deep up front. The Razorbacks will also return four of five starters on the biggest offensive line in football (college or the NFL), quarterback Brandon Allen and talented running backs Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams.

This year's Hogs have already made a tremendous impact on the SEC West race, locking the door on Ole Miss' chances of representing the division in the SEC Championship Game for the first time ever. That will continue next season, and if the dominoes fall in the Hogs' favor, don't be surprised if they're in the SEC West title discussion in mid-November just like Ole Miss was this year.

 

Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer and video analyst for Bleacher Report as well as a co-host of the CFB Hangover on Bleacher Report Radio (Sundays, 9-11 a.m. ET) on Sirius 93, XM 208.

Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. All stats are courtesy of CFBStats.com, and all recruiting information is courtesy of 247Sports. Follow Barrett on Twitter @BarrettSallee.

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Does Florida State Really Deserve to Be a Playoff Team?

The Florida State Seminoles did it again. They found a way to squeak past another opponent, this time edging the Boston College Eagles 20-17. 

Bleacher Report college football analysts Michael Felder and Barrett Sallee discuss whether Florida State belongs in the Top Four.

Will the Seminoles drop out of the final four?

Watch the video and let us know!  

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Louisville vs. Notre Dame: Score and Twitter Reaction

Notre Dame's senior day didn't exactly go according to plan, as Bobby Petrino and the Louisville Cardinals rolled into South Bend and defeated the Fighting Irish, 31-28. Yet the victory didn't come easy for the visiting team.

A solid kickoff return by Amir Carlisle put Notre Dame in great starting field position at the team's own 47-yard line. Immediately, Everett Golson took to the air, finding William Fuller for a 27-yard gain deep into Cardinals' territory. Three Tarean Folston runs later, the Irish were faced with a 3rd-and-4 at the Louisville 9-yard line. Golson couldn't avoid pressure brought by the Cardinals rush and settled for a 28-yard Kyle Brindza field goal.   

A quick lead forced Louisville to respond, and quarterback Reggie Bonnafon was up for the challenge. He was sacked by Jarron Jones and Romeo Okwara to begin the drive, but running back Michael Dyer's ensuing 21-yard scamper got the offense out of trouble. The signal-caller found the dangerous DeVante Parker two plays later for a 14-yard gain that entered Notre Dame territory.

The remainder of the drive was all on the ground, as Dyer took the team down to the 12-yard line, and Bonnafon capped off the 10-play, 75-yard drive with a 12-yard touchdown run, giving Louisville a 7-3 lead.

Bleacher Report's Dan Hope tweeted his take on the drive:

Notre Dame couldn't get anything going on the following drive, and a great punt by Brindza pinned Louisville at its own 7-yard line. A personal foul on the Irish and an 18-yard completion to Kai De La Cruz quickly got the Cardinals out of the shadow of their own goalpost, and then the game's first big play struck, as Bonnafon connected with De La Cruz on a 52-yard strike.

According to Louisville Football, that completion was the longest of the quarterback's career:

Two plays later, Bonnafon took off for an eight-yard touchdown scamper—his second rushing score of the game.

CBS Sports CFB tweeted the updated score and game time:

Despite a limited amount of time to work with, it appeared the Irish would strike back, as Golson found Fuller for a 48-yard gain, all the way down to the Louisville 24-yard line. Unfortunately, the drive would stall shortly after, and Notre Dame settled for another short Brindza field goal.

The remainder of the second quarter didn't produce many points, but it was eventful. 

Notre Dame's defense finally clamped down on Bonnafon and Co., forcing a punt. However, Golson threw a terrible interception on the ensuing play, giving the ball right back to the Cardinals at the Notre Dame 11-yard line. The Irish defense held strong again, forcing a short John Wallace field goal.

After three consecutive punts to follow, Louisville went on the march again as time was ticking away in the first half. A pair of runs from Dyer and Bonnafon saw the Cardinals approach midfield; however, a poor throw by the quarterback on second down was intercepted by Drue Tranquill.

Mark Ennis of ESPN 680 tweeted an interesting fact about Notre Dame as the game entered halftime:

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly must have delivered a great halftime speech, because his team came out firing on all cylinders in the third quarter. The defense forced a quick Louisville punt and then went 51 yards on three plays to notch its first touchdown of the game.

Folston's six-yard run got the Irish within four points. Here's a look at the scoring drive, via The Fighting Irish:

The Irish defense continued to step up on the following drive, forcing yet another Louisville punt. This time, Greg Bryant found daylight and returned the kick 61 yards to the Louisville 3-yard line. Three plays later, Golson hit Corey Robinson on a seven-yard touchdown strike, giving Notre Dame its first lead since early in the first quarter.

Here's a still-shot of the score, via Notre Dame on NBC:

That score led to a change in the Cardinals' offensive strategy. The team came out featuring running back Brandon Radcliff in an effort to get a spark. It certainly worked, as the ball-carrier rushed five times for 45 yards on the drive. Bonnafon capped it off with a 21-yard touchdown pass to Parker, regaining the lead.

Rotoworld's Josh Norris tweeted how the talented wide receiver was able to get open:

Things continued in Louisville's favor shortly after. The defense forced a Notre Dame punt after applying some nice pressure on Golson, and then Radcliff took over once again. He rattled off a 41-yard run deep into Notre Dame territory, and began the fourth quarter with a 15-yard scoring scamper, putting the Cardinals up by 11.

CBS Sports CFB chimed in with the update:

The Irish would respond.

On the ensuing drive, Folston got things going with a nice 22-yard run, quickly moving the Irish into Louisville territory. Golson followed that up with a 21-yard completion to C.J. Prosise. Three plays later, the quarterback struck again, hitting Fuller on a 28-yard touchdown off a deflected pass.

Notre Dame Football enthusiastically tweeted the score:

Up by three points, Louisville's offense took the field once again. Radcliff continued to torch Notre Dame's defense, rattling off short, clock-killing runs while the team moved down to the 6-yard line. However, a well-timed sack by Greer Martini set the Cardinals back 14 yards, forcing a longer field-goal attempt.

That would prove to be devastating, as Wallace missed the 37-yard attempt.

With five minutes remaining, Notre Dame began to methodically move the ball down the field on some quality Folston runs. The Irish found themselves with a 4th-and-goal at the 15-yard line, setting up a game-tying field-goal attempt.

It just wasn't to be for Notre Dame, as a bad hold resulted in a missed 32-yard field goal for Brindza, ending the game with a devastating three-point loss for the Fighting Irish. Hope tweeted the scenario:

After starting 6-0 on the season, Notre Dame appeared to be one of the nation's top teams. Unfortunately, it was hit by a tough spell which included a decline in defensive production, an increase in turnovers and issues with special teams. The result has been an ensuing 1-4 stretch.

The Irish have one more game on their regular-season slate. At 7-4, they will travel out west to face USC in an effort to end the season on a high note. Despite several talented seniors leaving this team, there's plenty of youth on both sides of the ball, and the future looks bright for Notre Dame.

Louisville snuck into the College Football Playoff selection committee's Top 25 in Week 12, and upon a huge road win against Notre Dame Saturday, the Cardinals certainly proved they deserve to be there. It wasn't a pretty win, but Louisville was under some difficult circumstances in a hostile environment.

With the win, Louisville moves to 8-3 on the season, and following several losses by higher-ranked teams, expect this squad to move up the standings prior to Week 13. A victory against Kentucky on Saturday could propel the Cardinals into a rather prestigious bowl game.

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Keisean Lucier-South to UCLA: Bruins Land 5-Star DE Prospect

Keisean Lucier-South, one of the most sought-after pass-rushers in the country, has committed to the UCLA Bruins.

He announced the news on Twitter:

Rated as the 19th-best overall prospect in the class of 2015, per 247Sports' composite rankings, the 5-star recruit out of Orange County, California, ranks as the second-best weak-side defensive end and fourth-best player out of the state. 

Unsurprisingly, he received offers from nearly every powerhouse, ranging from in-state favorites UCLA and USC to schools like Michigan, Notre Dame and Texas. 

Ultimately, head coach Jim Mora was able to land the commitment of the elite star, though, and it serves as a massive get for this coaching staff.

Where Lucier-South will eventually line up is still a bit of an unknown. He is obviously rated as a defensive end, where he played at Orange Lutheran High School, but when asked about his position at the next level during an interview with 247Sports, he suggested otherwise.   

"Probably a 3-4 outside linebacker," he said. "Both hands down and up, two-point stance, all that."

Really, though, it won't matter where he lines up. His job, at least initially, will be simple: Find the quarterback and take him down. 

Lucier-South is an impressive specimen. At 6'5", he is one of the tallest defensive ends in the class and has a long wingspan that helps him create separation from offensive linemen. While he is still a bit lanky at 225 pounds, he has the frame to grow into an imposing force on the outside while retaining his athleticism.

Speaking of which, he flashed glimpses of a quick first step and good speed during the Nike Football Training Camp in March:

With his special combination of length, agility and explosiveness, Lucier-South could conceivably make an immediate impact as a passing-down edge-rusher. 

But as he continues to build strength, the potential is there for the California native to develop into a dominant player that teams will have to game-plan around. 

There's still a long way until the 2015 national signing day, but Mora's class already looks highly promising, and Lucier-South is a major reason for that. 

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Florida State's Rashad Greene Sets School Record for Most Career Receiving Yards

If Florida State University makes the College Football Playoff, you’ll hear plenty about sophomore quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston (as if you haven’t already). But senior receiver Rashad Greene might be the Seminoles’ most indispensable player.

Greene showed why Saturday in No. 3 FSU’s last-second, 20-17 win over Boston College. He caught eight passes for 106 yards and set a key program record in the process. Greene became FSU’s all-time leading receiver, passing Ron Sellers. Sellers rolled up 3,598 career receiving yards from 1966-69; Greene now has 3,613 yards receiving. Greene is also the Seminoles’ career receptions leader, passing Sellers and Peter Warrick this season.

On Saturday, Greene showed his toughness. In the first half, he suffered a right arm injury that briefly forced him to the locker room, but he returned for the second half.

He was crucial down the stretch, too. With the game tied at 17-17 and 4:37 remaining, Winston repeatedly targeted Greene in the game-winning drive. An 11-yard pass pushed FSU into BC territory with just over two minutes left, and a 15-yard connection got the Seminoles into field-goal range for Roberto Aguayo with 1:26 remaining. Five Dalvin Cook runs later, and Aguayo made a 26-yard field goal with three seconds left on the clock.

With one regular-season game remaining, Greene has 83 receptions for 1,148 yards and five touchdowns, which marks his second consecutive 1,000-yard receiving season. He’ll be a key part of FSU’s offense as the Seminoles push for a College Football Playoff berth. While Winston will get the attention, he'll utilize the steady senior, Greene, as his main target.

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Boston College vs. Florida State: Game Grades, Analysis for the Seminoles

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: No. 3 Florida State University was never able to put away an inferior opponent Saturday night and had to rely on some late-game playmaking to pull off the victory and extend its nation’s-best winning streak.

It's a different week but the same story for this FSU team in a 20-17 victory over Boston College at Doak Campbell Stadium. The Seminoles (11-0, 8-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) once again shook off in-game issues to remain out of the loss column and keep their College Football Playoff hopes intact.

For the Eagles (6-5, 3-4), it’s the case of another FSU opponent that couldn’t take advantage of a multitude of opportunities to knock off the defending college football champions.

 

Pass Offense

Jameis Winston was special Saturday night. The redshirt sophomore made throw after throw that were perfectly timed and placed to his wide receivers. There were many plays against the Eagles that will show up on Winston’s NFL draft highlight reel. He was terrific.

So why weren’t his statistics better? Winston went 22-of-32 for 281 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He probably should have only had three or four incompletions and definitely shouldn’t have had an interception.

But his pass-catchers dropped at least a handful of passes, and one of them even bounced off the most reliable player's hands (Rashad Greene) before being intercepted. Greene shook off that miscue and finished with 106 yards receiving on eight catches.

The passing game should have been more effective against Boston College, so a “C+” grade seems appropriate.

 

Run Offense

FSU appeared to have a nice thing going on the ground to start the game, capping off a long opening drive with a Karlos Williams dash to the end zone for the team’s first score. Freshman sensation Dalvin Cook had some terrific runs, and he was integral in FSU’s march down the field and into field-goal range at the end of the contest.

The issue was everything in between.

The Seminoles handed the ball to Williams and Cook just 15 more times after eight first-possession carries. But Jimbo Fisher elected to rely on the passing game in the rainy weather, and the ‘Noles finished with 110 yards on 29 carries for a per-carry average of 3.8 yards.

FSU is going to have a hard time competing for a national championship if it can’t get more from a terrific pair of tailbacks in Williams and Cook.

 

Pass Defense

FSU’s pass defense was fine Saturday, especially since it didn’t have much to do. Boston College's Tyler Murphy attempted just 10 throws and finished with 73 yards and no touchdowns.

How about a “B” grade for a unit that had to spend most of the night cleaning up tackles missed by the middle of the defensive line and the linebackers.

 

Run Defense

Florida State’s run defense gets a “C“ for its effort against the Eagles. Murphy and the Boston College ground game gashed the Seminoles repeatedly throughout the night and probably should have been the difference.

The Eagles finished with 240 yards on 51 carries. If FSU did anything well against Boston College’s rushing attack, it was keeping it out of the end zone. BC managed just one rushing score.

 

Special Teams

Roberto Aguayo missed a rare field goal early in the second half, but he more than made up for it with the game-winning 26-yard field goal with just three seconds left.

Cason Beatty averaged 49 yards per punt and did a terrific job of setting up a high snap on that game-winning field goal as the team’s holder.

This group gets an “A-“ grade.

 

Coaching

This was one of the rare games where Fisher and his staff were outcoached in the second half. That crew typically makes amazing adjustments at the break, and all of FSU’s second-half comebacks have been predicated on that logic.

Saturday night, Fisher may have overthought some of his second-half game plan. He should have dedicated more effort to the running game and taking some of the pressure off Winston, who was being negatively affected by his receivers all night.

 

Brandon Mellor is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Statistics are courtesy of Seminoles.com. All recruiting information is courtesy of 247Sports.

Follow @BrandonMellor on Twitter.

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Ole Miss' Serderius Bryant Throws Punch vs. Arkansas, Doesn't Get Flagged

Had this punch landed, Ole Miss linebacker Serderius Bryant could have been in big trouble.

On Saturday against the Arkansas Razorbacks, Bryant took a swing at Denver Kirkland after a play had ended. Bryant's punch missed, but it was still a surprise that the referees didn't throw a flag.

It's not hard to figure out why Bryant was so frustrated, as the Razorbacks were dominating the Rebels.

[Vine]

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USC vs. UCLA: Live Score and Highlights

UCLA 17, USC 14 — Late 2nd quarter

Game action is now underway between No. 19 USC (7-3) and No. 9 UCLA (8-2). ABC is televising the matchup nationally from the Rose Bowl.

We are watching the game, providing live analysis as the action unfolds:

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Boston College vs. FSU: Score and Twitter Reaction

Style points haven't been the No. 3 Florida State Seminoles' strong suit this season, but all the defending national champions continue to do is win.      

Enduring rainy conditions and a physical matchup with ACC foe Boston College on Saturday in Tallahassee, Florida State found a way to improve to 11-0 with a 20-17 victory.

An impressive, clock-milking drive culminated in Florida State kicker Roberto Aguayo's game-winning 26-yard field goal with just three seconds left.

ESPN Stats & Info referenced the close-call, cardiac-kid type of games the Seminoles have been involved in several times this year:

ESPN.com's Jared Shanker wrote before the game that the field conditions favored the underdog Eagles:

Boston College had already defeated a Top 10 team earlier in the year in an upset over then-No. 9 USC, but going on the road and winning against the Seminoles would have been even more remarkable. A relentless commitment to the run allowed the Eagles to control time of possession, convert more often than not on third down and remain close throughout.

But as Anish Shroff of ESPN alluded to, the Seminoles dug deep to rally from the precipice of falling out of  college football's elite:

It was a far different story for Florida State's offense in the first half, as it relied almost exclusively on the talents of reigning Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston.

That was evident right away on an opening drive that went 75 yards and spanned 14 plays, capped by a three-yard touchdown jaunt by power back Karlos Williams. Dustin Tackett of the Orlando Sentinel put into context how slow the Seminoles had started prior to Saturday:

Williams' plunge to paydirt was a rare successful running play for FSU in the opening half, too.

The Orlando Sentinel's Brendan Sonnone explains:

One of the 10 pass attempts from dual-threat Eagles quarterback Tyler Murphy resulted in a 49-yard touchdown to Shakim Phillips, allowing the visitors to even the score at 10 with 5:29 to go in the second quarter.

Winston, who wound up 22-of-32, passing for 281 yards, a touchdown and an interception, was playing as well as he had all year, though, even amid the unfavorable circumstances and several drops by his receivers.

The sophomore threw a 30-yard touchdown strike to answer BC's first TD drive, finding decorated tight end Nick O'Leary for a 17-10 lead with 3:02 remaining before halftime.

Tom D'Angelo of The Palm Beach Post highlighted O'Leary's place in conference history:

While Winston's leadership and ability to combat adversity on the field is respectable, Sports Illustrated's Greg A. Bedard was a bit critical of the signal-caller's antics amid Saturday's tight contest:

Murphy scampered for a 21-yard TD to knot the score at 17 approximately midway through the third quarter, setting the stage for a tense fourth-quarter battle. College GameDay highlighted the play:

After Aguayo had missed a critical field goal earlier in the game, BC's Alex Howell blew a potential go-ahead shot wide right from 42 yards out. The play was noted by College GameDay:

ESPN's Andrew Brandt weighed in on the wayward kick:

That came with just 4:37 remaining on the clock, giving Winston and Co. favorable field position to mount a winning drive.

Senior leader Rashad Greene (who had a game-high eight receptions and 106 yards receiving) had multiple key receptions during FSU's triumphant final march of the season in Doak Campbell Stadium. FSU Football noted Greene's amazing accomplishment in that stretch:

Before the game, Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher discussed the new playoff system's relative disregard for Florida State's perfect record, via Rivals.com's Ben Jones:

Those words bear relevance now, and it will be interesting to see how the College Football Playoff selection committee views this latest gritty win.

With yet another difficult hurdle cleared, Fisher's resilient team can focus on the regular-season finale against archrival Florida. While that contest should be a bit easier to manage in theory, the ACC Championship Game against Georgia Tech ought to test the Seminoles in terse fashion.

Georgia Tech uses a run-heavy triple-option offense that is difficult to prepare for since it's so rare in modern college football. If BC's rushing success on Saturday is any indication, the Seminoles are far from a lock to win the ACC title game. 

This is a heartbreaking loss for the Eagles, yet there are plenty of positives to take away for the budding BC program under coach Steve Addazio.

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