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Ezekiel Elliott Criticizes Ohio State Coaching Staff After Michigan State Loss

Ohio State Buckeyes running back Ezekiel Elliott called out the team's coaching staff after carrying the ball only 12 times in Ohio State's 17-14 loss to the Michigan State Spartans on Saturday.

Elliott, who came into the matchup having eclipsed the 100-yard mark in every game this season, was held to a season-low 33 yards and one touchdown in the Buckeyes' first loss since Sept. 6, 2014.

Elliott told reporters after the contest that this had been his last home game in Columbus, Ohio. He said he will declare for the NFL draft, per WSYX, and had some choice words for the Ohio State coaching staff, per Dan Wolken of USA Today:

Elliott said the coaching staff "didn't put us in position to win," and Michigan State was a "team we should beat," per Rick Pizzo of the Big Ten Network.

SportsCenter provided more of Elliott's postgame comments:

Elliott has reason to be upset. Not only did he carry the ball only 12 times, but he also didn't even have the most attempts on his team. Quarterback J.T. Barrett had a team-high 15 carries for only 44 yards.

Compare that to Michigan State running the ball 51 times for 203 yards, which was the difference in the game. The Spartans controlled the line of scrimmage and made sure to keep the ball out of backup quarterback Tyler O'Connor's hands.

O'Connor completed seven of 12 passes for 89 yards and a touchdown in place of starter Connor Cook, who was out after suffering a right shoulder injury

Elliott was a worthy Heisman Trophy contender coming into Saturday, and he could have strengthened his case with a solid showing against Michigan State. But those chances are now all but gone.

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Charleston Southern vs. Alabama: Game Grades, Analysis for the Crimson Tide

The Alabama Crimson Tide defeated the Charleston Southern Buccaneers 56-6 in the penultimate game of the regular season for Alabama. On a day that several SEC teams were the victims of letdowns against mid-major opponents, the Crimson Tide overwhelmed the Buccaneers from start to finish.

Alabama jumped out to a 49-0 lead in the first half and was dominant in all three phases of the game in the opening act. In the first half, the Crimson Tide scored on each offensive possession, notched two touchdowns on special teams and didn't surrender a point.

Ultimately, Alabama accomplished each of its three primary goals in this game: take care of business early, rest the starters and get plenty of reps for the reserves and younger players. 

Here are some game grades for the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Rushing Offense 

Alabama moved the ball consistently on the ground throughout the day, but more importantly the Crimson Tide were able to get a plethora of ball-carriers involved. Heisman Trophy front-runner Derrick Henry took care of business early on, rushing for 68 yards and two touchdowns on just nine carries in the first half. 

Once Henry's day was over, Alabama turned to true freshmen Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough, who will be called upon to fill the void of Kenyan Drake for the remainder of the regular season. Scarbrough and Harris also had success, rushing for 69 and 44 yards, respectively, as both backs scored the first touchdown of their collegiate careers. It was important for Alabama to distribute the carries in this game, and the Crimson Tide accomplished that task. 


Passing Offense 

There weren't many explosive plays through the air against Charleston Southern, but both Jake Coker and Cooper Bateman were efficient while operating the offense. Coker started the game hot, completing 11 of his 13 passing attempts for 155 yards and two touchdowns to Richard Mullaney and Calvin Ridley in the first half.

Bateman received most of his work in mop-up duty once the game was well in hand and connected on seven of his 11 throws. Alec Morris also completed his lone pass attempt of the day. 

Most importantly, the Alabama quarterbacks led the offense without turning the ball over. Alabama didn't need much from the passing game to dominate this one, but the quarterbacks and receivers did a nice job of making plays without committing some of the careless mistakes that have plagued the team this season.


Rushing Defense 

No team in the country has been able to run the ball on Alabama effectively this season, so it comes as no surprise that the the Alabama defensive line shut down the Charleston Southern rushing attack. The Buccaneers ran an option-based attack that Alabama hadn't seen this season, but it didn't faze the Crimson Tide at all.

The Crimson Tide held the Bucs to 85 yards on 36 rushing attempts, and many of those yards came against the second unit. Still, 85 yards by Charleston Southern is still more than Alabama has surrendered on average this season, which is more of a credit to how dominant the defensive front has been this season. 

Charleston Southern found a few running lanes in this game, but it was never enough to pose a serious threat to the Alabama defense. As usual, there was no room to run against the defensive line. 


Passing Defense 

Charleston Southern didn't test Alabama through the air often, attempting only 10 passes in this game. But when the Buccaneers did go to the air, the Alabama secondary consistently made plays. The Tide gave up only 49 yards through the air, the majority of which came on one 35-yard completion from Kyle Copeland to Kelan Fraise in the second half. 

The secondary was also responsible for both of the defense's turnovers: Jabriel Washington intercepted Copeland on the first drive of the second half, and Cyrus Jones made one of several highlight plays by intercepting a pitch late in the second quarter. As an option team, Charleston Southern never had much of chance to give Alabama problems with the passing game. 


Special Teams 

Special teams seemed like a weakness for this Alabama team early in the season but have evolved into a strength in the past few games. The star of the special teams units in this game was undoubtedly Cyrus Jones. In his final game at Bryant-Denny Stadium, he made plays all over the field, including two punt returns for touchdowns. Jones has now returned three punts for touchdowns in the last two games, and he became the first player in Alabama history with multiple touchdown returns in a game. 

Alabama was also 8-of-8 on extra points and never had any problems containing Charleston Southern on kick coverage. The only mistake of the day on special teams was a missed field goal by backup kicker and starting punter J.K. Scott. If Alabama can continue to produce points in the return game, the Crimson Tide will be even more difficult to beat down the stretch of the 2015 season. 



Nick Sabanmade headlines (warning: NSFW language) earlier this week by preaching the importance of staying focused against an FCS opponent. His team clearly heeded his words. There was no hint of a letdown from Alabama against the Buccaneers. The Crimson Tide came out and dominated from the opening kick, allowing the starters to rest up for the Iron Bowl and the backups to get beneficial game experience.  

A lot of the credit has to go to Saban and his coaching staff for keeping the team focused and hungry when it would have been easy for the Crimson Tide to look forward to next week's Iron Bowl and the subsequent SEC Championship Game. Alabama is now prepared to dive head-first into a run at the SEC and national championship. 

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Cardale Jones, Ezekiel Elliott Confirm This Will Be Last Season at Ohio State

Cardale Jones and Ezekiel Elliott were instrumental in the Ohio State Buckeyes' run to the national title last year but are unlikely to get another shot to repeat their College Football Playoff heroics.

The Buckeyes’ title aspirations took a serious blow with Saturday’s 17-14 loss to the No. 9 Michigan State Spartans, and both Jones and Elliott indicated they won’t be back next year.

Jones announced his plans on Twitter, while Elliott revealed his intentions to ESPN.com’s Austin Ward:

The untimely announcements appear to have come out of frustration following the Buckeyes’ first loss since Sept. 6, 2014, which came against Virginia Tech. It’s rare to see underclassmen declare their departures following a contest, even after bowl games.

But Elliott was apparently upset with Ohio State coaches, according to Dan Wolken of USA Today and Rick Pizzo of the Big Ten Network:

Elliott had just 12 attempts for 33 yards against Michigan State—his lowest output since the Buckeyes’ last loss. Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports indicated Elliott’s argument may be warranted:

Elliott is in the midst of another remarkable season. He has 1,458 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns on 232 attempts with one regular-season game remaining. At 6'0" and 225 pounds with an impressive track record, Elliott should thrive at the next level.

Jones, however, remains a mystery. He went from being backup to leading the Buckeyes to last year’s national title and returned instead of entering the NFL draft, hoping to repeat—this time as the full-time starter.

But Jones struggled to find his 2014 form and eventually lost his job to J.T. Barrett, whom he replaced last year when the incumbent went down after suffering a season-ending injury.

Jones didn’t play a snap Saturday—which was perhaps the push he needed to indicate his days in Columbus are numbered.

Angst is expected when a champion goes down, but the Buckeyes weren’t mathematically eliminated from the Big Ten Championship Game. If Penn State upsets Michigan State next week and the Buckeyes beat Michigan, Ohio State could return to controlling its destiny.

But taking internal resentment public in the wake of adversity is alarming, especially for a defending champion.

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Katy Perry Leads 'Hot Toddy' Cheer, Continues to Troll LSU with Corn Dogs

New season, same Katy Perry.

Last year, the singer was a huge hit when she appeared on ESPN's College GameDay. It was during that appearance that she referred to LSU as "LS-pew" and made sure to use a corn dog as a prop to take a shot at the Tigers. 

When her Ole Miss Rebels hosted the Tigers on Saturday, Perry did her part to get the crowd fired up—and once again troll LSU.

Perry led Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in the "Hot Toddy" cheer and finished the video by taking a bite out of a corn dog (h/t OleMissPix):

The Rebels handled the Tigers, 38-17.

[Twitter, h/t College Spun]

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Is Michigan State a True Playoff Threat After Upsetting Ohio State?

The Michigan State Spartans upset the Ohio State Buckeyes on a last-second field goal, but in truth, they should have won by multiple scores.

The Spartans held the Buckeyes to 132 yards of offense, dominated the trenches, overcame a pair of costly turnovers and snapped the nation's longest winning streak (23 games) despite an injury to star quarterback Connor Cook, which forced backup Tyler O'Connor into his first career start and made OSU an even heavier favorite than it had been all week.

In the process, Sparty vaulted to the top of the Big Ten East standings, which means it now controls its conference fate. If it beats Penn State in East Lansing next Saturday, it will face undefeated Iowa in the Big Ten Championship Game with a chance to finish 12-1.

But would that be enough to make the College Football Playoff?

Depending on how the chips fall, it might.

First things first, though. MSU must take care of its own hand before it worries about players at other tables.

The Spartans can make a strong case for playoff inclusion by beating Penn State and Iowa. Both of those games will be difficult, especially if Cook's shoulder remains a problem. But the defense that showed up in Columbus—a healthier, angrier, more inspired unit than MSU had seen all season—raises the ceiling of what this team can be.

Ohio State's two scoring drives went 38 yards combined. Star running back Ezekiel Elliott, who entered the game a Heisman candidate, ran 12 times for 33 yards. Star quarterback J.T. Barrett, who shredded the Spartans in East Lansing last season, created nothing through the air.

A secondary beleaguered for much of the season—and with good reason—looked sound with the return of multiple players, with veterans playing safety instead of lightly recruited true freshmen.

The defense as a whole looked unstoppable.

The offensive line enjoyed a bounce-back game, also. After earning preseason love as one of the best units in the country, Sparty's blockers have been plagued by inconsistency, in part because of injury, and the running game has suffered in turn.

On Saturday, however, the line lived up to August expectations. It plowed through a blue-chip Ohio State front seven that knew—or at least should have known—the Spartans wanted to run.

O'Connor managed the offense and made occasional plays with his arm. But a couple of plays he made with his legs, along with early contributions from Gerald Holmes and late contributions from LJ Scott, were the difference between two struggling offenses.

"First thing we had to do was win up front on both sides of the ball and I thought we did that," head coach Mark Dantonio said after the game, per Justin Dacey of MLive.com. "Second thing we had to do was allow no explosive plays. We gave away two turnovers—big turnovers—but we rallied back and that's just an attitude.

"We rallied back."

So now what does Sparty have to root for?

The short answer: Chaos whenever possible.

The key is getting losses from the group of one-loss teams from power conferences—plus, quite importantly, Notre Dame. It also needs to root against Clemson, the undefeated leader of the ACC, although the Tigers and one-loss North Carolina are zero-sum.

The key teams to root against are Notre Dame, Alabama, and the pack of ranked Big 12 teams (Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Baylor and TCU).

That second point will gain more clarity after Saturday's late games, when it becomes clear which teams are true threats, but Oklahoma and Oklahoma State hold a current advantage. Both are ranked ahead of Michigan State in the Week 11 CFP rankings, and either could hold off Sparty behind Clemson, Notre Dame and Alabama.

But because the Pac-12 is "eliminated" with no more one-loss teams, only one of those above teams needs to falter. One more break would give MSU a great shot at making the playoff. If Stanford, for example, beats Notre Dame next week, Sparty controls its fate.

Not bad for a team that "lost" to Nebraska two weeks ago.

This season might still have a pulse!

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Will Loss to Oregon Ruin Clay Helton's Shot at USC Head Coaching Job?

Southern California has the most attractive job currently open in the Football Bowl Subdivision ranks, a distinction that could be hard to top even if another 15 jobs open this offseason. The Trojans have facilities. They have money. A great recruiting base and amazing tradition. It’s the total package.

So does interim head coach Clay Helton have a chance at the full-time head coaching job, even after Saturday’s 48-28 loss at Oregon? Absolutely. There’s something to be said for stability, and Helton has provided that in a huge way following Steve Sarkisian’s firing for alcohol-related issues.

Helton’s steady hand, and everything that remains on the table for the Trojans, gives him a legit shot at the big chair full time, even though athletic director Pat Haden could attract a much bigger name. The consistency he has brought to an unstable situation speaks volumes, and it’s reflected in Southern California’s recent success.

When Sarkisian was fired in early October, the Trojans were 2-3, including an ugly 17-12 home loss to a young Washington team. Helton lost his first game as interim coach, a hard-fought 41-31 defeat at now-No. 4 Notre Dame, but the Trojans won their next four games, beating then-No. 3 Utah, Cal, Arizona and Colorado, the last three coming by eight points or less. 

This week, Mark Whicker of the Los Angeles Daily News argued that the Trojans already had their head coach. 

Saturday, the Trojans showed some serious fight. Oregon broke away from a 14-14 second-quarter tie with 24 consecutive points, taking a 38-14 lead. On the road, down three scores? This would be the point where some teams would pack it in for the day, but that wasn’t the case with Helton’s group.

The Trojans scored a pair of touchdowns and went into the fourth quarter down 38-28 with the ball. Cody Kessler’s lost fumble turned into an Oregon touchdown, and the Ducks never looked back. But the effort was unquestionably there, and that’s well worth noting.

Despite the defeat, Southern California still has a chance to win the Pac-12 South and the Pac-12 title. UCLA’s 17-9 upset at Utah created a three-way tie atop the South with one week remaining, with all three teams at 5-3 in league play. However, UCLA and USC both own wins over the Utes, making their rivalry meeting next week a de facto division title game.

A win would give the Trojans a trip to the Pac-12 title game, most likely against Stanford, which defeated them 41-31 on Sept. 19. A win there and a victory in a New Year’s Six bowl game would give USC a 10-4 record with a league title, which would be an exceptional accomplishment given the shambles that Sarkisian left behind last month.

Interim coaches earning full-time roles are rare but not unheard of. Dabo Swinney turned his opportunity at Clemson into a full-time gig and has led the Tigers to an 11-0 record and the nation’s No.1 ranking. And just last week, Minnesota promoted Tracy Claeys into the big seat after Jerry Kill retired for health-related reasons.

Helton also has the support of his players, who have embraced his hiring on Twitter, using the #Helton2016 hashtag. More importantly, he has the support of Trojan insiders, as this tweet from Scott Wolf of the Los Angeles Daily News shows.

If Helton can keep winning, his familiarity with the program and the stability he can provide should give him a legit chance at the full-time position, regardless of which big names would jump at the chance to move to Troy.

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Will Loss to Oregon Ruin Clay Helton's Shot at USC Head Coaching Job?

Southern California has the most attractive job currently open in the Football Bowl Subdivision ranks, a distinction that could be hard to top even if another 15 jobs open this offseason...

Read the full article on Bleacher Report...

Michigan State vs. Ohio State: Game Grades, Analysis for Spartans and Buckeyes

"That was a very poor performance."

That's what Urban Meyer could manage, via Ryan Ginn of Buckeye Sports Bulletin, after No. 9 Michigan State (10-1) invaded Ohio Stadium as a 13-point underdog and came away with a stunning 17-14 win over No. 3 Ohio State (10-1).

The Buckeyes were thwarted by Michigan State all evening, gaining a season-low 132 total yards against the inspired Spartans. They managed the win without starting quarterback Connor Cook, who was sidelined with the shoulder injury he suffered against Maryland last week. 

Here are the game grades from Michigan State's stunning three-point win. 


Michigan State Spartans Grade Analysis

Pass Offense

With Cook sidelined for the game, it was evident that Michigan State would go with a conservative game plan against the Buckeyes. The Spartans rotated Tyler O'Connor and Damion Terry at quarterback and got safe, effective play out of them. The two combined for 85 yards and one touchdown on 7-of-12 passing through two quarters, and the Spartans only called four passes in the second half.


Run Offense

Michigan State's rushing attack was the difference in the game.

The Spartans knew they were in a dogfight and looked like the hungrier team, especially in the second half. After rushing for a meager 37 yards in the first half, Michigan State flexed its muscle and bullied its way to 163 yards in the final two quarters. Eight different ball-carriers dashed around, through and over a Buckeyes front seven that knew the run was coming.  


Pass Defense

Michigan State's secondary has been gashed consistently this season, but it completely shut down Ohio State's passing attack. J.T. Barrett completed just five of nine passes for 29 yards in the first half, and it didn't get much better in the second half. He finished with 46 passing yards on 9-of-16 passing with a long of 16 yards.


Run Defense

Ohio State's run offense came into the game ranked 11th nationally with 244.8 yards per game, but Michigan State made it look pedestrian. The Buckeyes gained just 46 yards on 19 carries through two quarters with a long of seven yards.

It was more of the same in the second half as Ohio State finished with a season-low 86 yards on 29 carries. 


Special Teams

Michigan State's special teams almost blew the game but ended up being the difference in the winning effort.

In the first half, Michael Geiger missed a 43-yard field goal that would have given the Spartans an early lead. In the second half, Macgarrett Kings Jr. muffed a punt at Michigan State's 6-yard line that allowed the Buckeyes to take a 14-7 lead. But Geiger came through at the end of the game, drilling a 41-yard field goal as time expired to seal the win. 



Simply put, Mark Dantonio and the Michigan State coaching staff called the perfect game Saturday night.

The Spartans had no business even being competitive in the game as a near two-touchdown underdog, and that was when the oddsmakers thought Cook was in line to play. That Michigan State overcame the injury and a hostile crowd to seal the upset is even more impressive. The Spartans loaded the box defensively and dared Ohio State to beat them over the top, and that gamble paid off huge. 


Ohio State Buckeyes Grade Analysis

Pass Offense

Nothing Ohio State did on offense worked, and that was especially true in the passing game.

Barrett threw just 16 passes (for a total of 46 yards) despite facing an absolutely loaded Michigan State box. There were one-on-one matchups on the perimeter all night long, and Ohio State consistently failed to exploit or even challenge them. Leading receiver Michael Thomas had a couple of bad drops and was held to a season-low eight receiving yards on two receptions. 

This didn't look like the same quarterback and offense that gashed Michigan State for 300 passing yards last season. 


Run Offense

The most surprising element of the game was Ohio State's inability to run the ball and its refusal to feature Ezekiel Elliott.

The Buckeyes came into the game averaging 244.8 yards but managed just 86 yards on three yards per carry against the Spartans. Elliott accounted for just 33 of those yards—snapping the nation's longest streak of consecutive 100-yard rushing performances at 15. After getting nine carries in Ohio State's first three drives of the game, Elliott got just three in the final 40 minutes. 

It was a baffling performance from Ohio State on many levels, but this was the most confusing aspect of the team's losing performance. 


Pass Defense

Michigan State didn't challenge Ohio State's secondary.

The Spartans only dialed up 16 passes against the Buckeyes, 12 of which came in the first half. Eli Apple allowed Aaron Burbridge to get free on a huge 36-yard gain that set up Michigan State's first score, and fullback Trevon Pendleton's 12-yard touchdown catch fooled the secondary later in the drive. 


Run Defense

Ohio State lost the battle in the trenches, and as soon as Michigan State saw that it had the advantage, it rode it to victory. Michigan State's run offense gashed the Buckeyes defense for 200 yards, using eight different ball-carriers to keep the defense off balance. Of those 200 rushing yards, 163 came in the final two quarters as the Spartans imposed their will down the stretch. 


Special Teams

Cameron Johnston has been one of the best and most consistent punters in the country, but he got off to a horrendous start against the Spartans. After the Buckeyes had surrendered a long touchdown drive to the Spartans in the first half, they went three and out, and Johnston shanked a horrendous five-yard punt. 

That punt didn't cost Ohio State any points, but his final effort—a 37-yard boot that dribbled to the 48-yard line—set Michigan State up in scoring position with just over four minutes to play. 



A year after putting together one of the best coaching jobs in college football history, Meyer has managed this team poorly this year, and things completely fell apart against the Spartans. Elliott getting just three carries in the final 40 minutes was a laughable gaffe on the part of the coaching staff, and it cost Ohio State a chance of winning the game and keeping its playoff hopes alive. 


David Regimbal is the Ohio State football Lead Writer for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.

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Ezekiel Elliott Hospitalized Week Prior to Michigan State Game

As questions about the Ohio State Buckeyes' play-calling in Saturday's loss against the Michigan State Spartans continue, at least one answer has emerged. Running back Ezekiel Elliott may have been marginalized in the offense because of a brief hospital stay earlier in the week.

Speaking to Sports Illustrated's Pete Thamel, Elliott's father said his son was hospitalized with some type of infection. According to Tim Moody of Scout.com, Ohio State's star running back said he was in the hospital from Monday through Wednesday and "didn't even think he was going to play."

Ohio State's undefeated season and likely its national title hopes ended in a 17-14 defeat at the Spartans' hands. The Buckeyes ran just 45 plays on offense, with Elliott carrying the ball only 12 times for 33 yards. 

After the game, per Moody, Elliott said the team wasn't "put in the right situations to win." It's unclear how much, if at all, the infection hindered the star. Saturday marked the first time since Nov. 15, 2014, that he failed to break the 100-yard mark. 

Regardless of whether Elliott should have been a bigger part of the offense against Michigan State, his limited availability in practice before the huge conference showdown must have impacted head coach Urban Meyer's game plan.

That doesn't excuse Ohio State's offensive showing, but it does shed light on Elliott's performance.

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LSU vs. Ole Miss: Score, Highlights and Twitter Reaction

Behind quarterback Chad Kelly, the No. 22 Ole Miss Rebels defeated the No. 15 LSU Tigers 38-17 on Saturday in Oxford, Mississippi. The junior quarterback recorded 361 total yards and four touchdowns as the Rebels (8-3, 5-2 SEC) bounced back in convincing fashion after a loss to the Arkansas Razorbacks.

The free fall continues for LSU. Just three weeks ago, it was undefeated and ranked No. 2 in the College Football Playoff rankings before consecutive losses to the Alabama Crimson Tide, Arkansas and Ole Miss. 

The Advocate's Scott Rabalais had some questions for the committee:

LSU running back Leonard Fournette had been slowed down in his last two games, recording a combined 122 yards on the ground, including a 31-yard night against Alabama. Before Week 10, the Heisman Trophy candidate had not recorded fewer than 150 yards in a single game. 

He fared better Saturday than he had in the two weeks before, rushing for 110 yards.

Ole Miss went for the jugular to start, setting the tone. On the first play from scrimmage, Kelly hit Quincy Adeboyejo for 51 yards, though the Rebels could come up with only a field goal on the drive. 

The Tigers offense had a slow start, and a sloppy one at that, committing four penalties on its first drive. Fournette didn't do much on the ground early, but he found a way to make a big play with a one-handed catch on a screen pass that went for 46 yards. 

Fox Sports' Stewart Mandel needed a reminder of Fournette's prowess:

Fournette's catch put LSU in field goal range, but kicker Trent Domingue missed his first field goal of the season from 27 yards out. He was 10-of-10 entering Saturday. 

Photographer Brianna Paciorka wasn't happy with the sequence of events as she watched the CBS broadcast put on a classic jinx:

Ole Miss took advantage of LSU's miscues, punching in the first touchdown of the day on a two-yard run from Jaylen Walton that helped the Rebels go up 10-0. 

Rabalais' description of LSU was grim, to say the least:

After forcing another LSU punt, Ole Miss went up by 17 thanks to a five-yard rush from Kelly. The SEC on CBS showed Kelly's touchdown:

With LSU head coach Les Miles on the hot seat, Mandel questioned how long he'd stick around on the Tigers sideline:

LSU's offense couldn't get anything going. With Ole Miss keying in on Fournette, quarterback Brandon Harris wasn't cutting it in the passing game. An interception with less than four minutes left in the first half gave Ole Miss the ball on the LSU 11-yard line.

Country music superstar Charlie Daniels kept it short and simple while describing Ole Miss' performance through the game's first 25-plus minutes:

On the first play of the drive, Kelly hit wide receiver Laquon Treadwell to help put the Rebels up 24-0. One of the top wide receiver prospects for the 2016 NFL draft, Treadwell showed off his physicality and strength while muscling his way into the end zone, as the SEC on CBS showed:

But LSU, out of nowhere, finally got on the board in big fashion when Harris hit Tyron Johnson for a 39-yard touchdown pass.

Ole Miss fans such as AL.com's Alex McDaniel began to get uneasy, even though the team was still up 24-7 at halftime:

Rebels fans grew more uneasy when the team fumbled the kick return after a Domingue field goal and gave the ball back to LSU to start the third quarter.

Fournette settled into a groove, gaining as many yards in the first four minutes of the second half than he did in the entire first half.

Helping the Tigers drive down to the Rebels' goal line after the fumble, Fournette took a handoff on 3rd-and-goal but fumbled it into the end zone. Offensive lineman William Clapp recovered the fumble, though, to help pull LSU within a score at 24-17.

The SEC on CBS showed the touchdown:

ESPN's Dick Vitale couldn't believe what he was watching:

Once Ole Miss got the ball back in Kelly's hands, the Rebels expanded their lead. After five completions and two rushes, Kelly scrambled for 11 yards, flipping into the end zone for his second touchdown of the game. 

NASCAR driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. loved what he was seeing from the Rebels quarterback:

With three minutes left in the third quarter, the lead was back to 21 points after Evan Engram took a screen pass 36 yards for the touchdown. The SEC on CBS showed the replay:

It also caught a shot of Fournette after the score:

LSU's season is all but over, and the attention might start shifting solely to Miles, who went from possibly coaching for the national championship to perhaps losing his job in the span of three weeks. 

Ole Miss kept its slim chances in the SEC West alive entering the final week of the season. At 5-2, the Rebels sit a game behind Alabama, a team they've beaten this season. If Ole Miss defeats Mississippi State in its final game of the regular season and Alabama loses to Auburn in the Iron Bowl, Ole miss will play Florida for the SEC title.

Post-Game Reaction

It didn't take long for Miles to start receiving questions about his job status, according to the Advocate's Ross Dellenger:

But coaching for a program that demands success year in and year out, three-straight losses is something that LSU doesn't encounter often, as Miles addressed his team's recent form per Dellenger:

For Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze, Saturday night's win meant much more than a tally in the win column, per the Ole Miss Spirit's Ben Garret:

For him, it was the play of the defense that sealed the deal for the Rebels:

Freeze will need that defense and a little bit of luck if the Rebels want a chance to play for the SEC title. They have a stiff test to end the regular season with in-state rival Mississippi State and the always dangerous Dak Prescott. 

But they will be rooting hard for Auburn to take down Alabama. However, if Alabama does lose, it will be difficult for an SEC team to make the college football playoff. Ole Miss would have to jump 18 spots in two weeks and Florida currently sits at No. 8. They would have to leapfrog the likes of Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Michigan State for a shot at the top-four.  

Stats courtesy of ESPN.com.

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College Football Scores 2015: Top 25 Teams' Week 12 Results, Key Stats and Stars

No. 9 Michigan State delivered one of the shock results of the year Saturday, beating No. 3 Ohio State 17-14 on a Michael Geiger field goal as time expired.

ESPN's College GameDay provided a look at the winning kick:

The loss ends Ohio State's win streak at 23 games and deals a near-fatal blow to the Buckeyes' chances at another national championship. The Spartans are very much in the College Football Playoff hunt with the win. The defense put in a monstrous effort, holding Ohio State to just 132 yards of total offense.

CFB on ESPN Radio passed along an optimistic comment from Michigan State quarterback Tyler O'Connor after the win:

The result also opens the door for the likes of No. 5 Iowa, who won big over Purdue, and perhaps even No. 6 Oklahoma State and No. 7 Oklahoma, pending their results later Saturday against No. 10 Baylor and No. 18 TCU, respectively.

Several games involving Top 25 teams came down to the wire, including overtime wins for No. 8 Florida and No. 17 North Carolina.

Here are the scores, key stats and top players from each Top 25 game as of 8 p.m. ET. Rankings are based on the College Football Playoff poll from November 17.

Top Stars from Early Saturday Games

Vernon Adams Jr., QB, Oregon

Senior quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. put together what was easily his best performance of the season Saturday, tossing six touchdown passes in the Ducks' 48-28 win over Pac-12 rival USC. No quarterback has ever been so prolific against USC, per SportsCenter

Adams' accuracy was truly stunning. He threw just five incompletions as he carved up the Trojans secondary. SB Nation's Dan Rubenstein was a particularly big fan of his downfield efforts: 

Check out one of Adams' swoon-worthy touchdown passes, courtesy of the team's official Twitter account: 

Adams has really made his mark in the latter half of the season after recovering from early injuries. He threw four touchdowns apiece against Arizona State and Cal in Weeks 9 and 10. Thanks to his efforts, Oregon is on a five-game win streak and in great shape for yet another Top 25 finish. With performances like these, Ducks fans might be left wondering "what if?" at the end of the season.

Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson

Deshaun Watson burnished his Heisman trophy credentials in Week 12, accounting for four touchdowns in Clemson's somewhat pedestrian but entirely predictable 33-13 win over Wake Forest.

As the team's official Twitter account noted, he picked up a good chunk of his numbers in the first quarter:

Watson cooled off after the first quarter, having already dealt the damage necessary to defeat the Demon Deacons. He did throw two interceptions in the game, but they hardly hurt his side. 

With a few other high-profile Heisman contenders doing little to stand out Saturday, the winning, prolific performance from Watson could prove to be a major bump for the sophomore in the race for the stiff-arming prize. He already has at least one high-profile endorsement, per Steve Reed of the Associated Press: 

Derrick Henry had just 68 yards and two touchdowns as Alabama gave everyone time to breathe in a romping win over Charleston Southern. Heisman voters might forgive this game for Henry as his team hardly needed him against a cupcake opponent, but it will limit his year-end totals.

Ohio State's Ezekiel Elliott managed just 33 yards and one score Saturday, while LSU's Leonard Fournette went scoreless against Ole Miss, although he did pick up 182 all-purpose yards.

The trophy is still very much up in the air. There is hardly a true front-runner in this race. However, Watson's team is undefeated, and he has done most of his best work in the latter half of the season. If recency bias takes hold, Watson could emerge as the Heisman winner when all is said and done.

Chad Kelly, QB, Ole Miss

Let's round this out with another top-drawer display from a quarterback. Chad Kelly trounced the LSU Tigers Saturday, throwing for two touchdowns while picking up two more with his feet in a resounding 38-17 Rebels win. Per the SEC Network, Kelly broke a legendary Rebels single-season record on the day:

Ole Miss Football also noted that Kelly now has the single-season record for total yards with 3,713.

He had little trouble moving the chains against an LSU squad that came into the game ranked 28th in total defense. He did well to spread the ball around, with eight different Rebels catching passes. Evan Engram ranked sixth on Ole Miss in receptions coming into the game, but he led the team with five catches for 58 yards and one touchdown.

Standout wide receiver Laquon Treadwell was a major beneficiary of Kelly's passing excellence (no surprise there), picking up 58 yards and a score of his own to match Engram. Bleacher Report's Matt Miller commented on Kelly's play:

Kelly may not be an NFL talent, but he's almost certainly the best quarterback in the SEC. With their gunner in fine form, the Rebels have to like their chances next week against Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl.

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Will LSU RB Leonard Fournette Be a 2015 Heisman Finalist?

In a crowded Heisman Trophy field, November momentum matters most. 

LSU running back Leonard Fournette is stuck in neutral and could even be going in reverse.

The superstar sophomore, who was not only the front-runner for the most prestigious individual award in the sport but the shoo-in, has suffered a November fade and allowed other contenders to jump into the conversation.

At this point, he's no longer a lock for the Heisman and isn't even necessarily a lock to make the trip to New York as a finalist for the award.

Fournette finished the day with a decent stat line—25 carries for 108 yards, along with 72 receiving yards—but was rendered as an afterthought due to Ole Miss jumping out to a 24-0 lead in the first half, which led to the 38-17 win.

For the third straight week, a defense came in with the specific game plan of slowing Fournette down, doing just enough to force LSU into a shootout, and the Tigers couldn't hang.

As Ben Love of 103.7 The Game in Lafayette, Louisiana, noted on Twitter, Fournette simply can't carry the Tigers on his back for a full season:

That's enough to knock him out of the top spot on the Heisman rankings, and considering the field that's also in the mix, it will make it difficult for the New Orleans native to get an invite as a finalist.

The ability to vote online allows people to wait until the bitter end to cast their votes for the Heisman, and even a stellar outing next weekend against a hit-and-miss Texas A&M defense won't be enough to reignite Fournette's Heisman flame.

Especially not with Alabama's Derrick Henry getting a national stage during the Iron Bowl against Auburn next week—and perhaps an even bigger stage the following week in the SEC Championship Game—and the emergence of Florida State's Dalvin Cook on the Heisman scene.

Cook ran for 106 yards and two touchdowns in Saturday's 52-13 win over Chattanooga, which bumps him up to 1,475 yards and 16 touchdowns on the season. Henry is likely going to get the majority of the running back love from voters down the stretch due to his production and exposure, with Fournette and Cook likely splitting the leftovers.

There's only so much running back love to go around, and that doesn't even factor in the Midwest vote—some of which will go to Ohio State's Ezekiel Elliott, who had his streak of 15 straight 100-yard games snapped in the 17-14 loss to Michigan State.

With Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson a near-lock to go to New York, the resurgence and feel-good story of Oklahoma quarterback and two-time walk-on Baker Mayfield, and the ridiculous season Baylor wide receiver Corey Coleman is putting together, there simply won't be enough room for Fournette. 

The number of people invited to New York as Heisman finalists varies from year to year. Last year, only three people were invited to New York—Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper and Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon. That's half as many as were invited the previous year, when Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston took home the trophy over the other five finalists.

Fournette is now the underdog who's not only going to split running back votes but regional votes with Henry, Cook and Watson.

That's a no-win situation.

At this point, simply getting an invitation to New York would be a surprise for Fournette based on how this year's Heisman race has evolved over the final month of the season.


Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Statistics are courtesy of cfbstats.com.

Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer and national college football video analyst for Bleacher Report, as well as a host on Bleacher Report Radio on SiriusXM 83. Follow Barrett on Twitter @BarrettSallee.

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Michigan State vs. Ohio State: How Buckeyes' Loss Impacts Rankings, CFP Picture

The No. 9 Michigan State Spartans pulled off a stunner and defeated the No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes, 17-14, in Columbus on Saturday afternoon thanks to a game-winning field goal from Michael Geiger, which means a rankings shake-up is on the way.

The loss was Ohio State's first of the season, as the Buckeyes dropped to 10-1. Conversely, the Spartans improved to 10-1 and appear to be in the driver's seat for a College Football Playoff berth if they can string together a win over the Penn State Nittany Lions and another victory in the Big Ten Championship Game. 

As Yahoo Sports' Dan Wetzel noted, Saturday's triumph over the defending national champions should have vaulted Michigan State into the Top Four conversation:

Furthermore, FiveThirtyEight.com's Nate Silver indicated Michigan State's CFP odds increased to 46 percent after the win, while Ohio State's dropped to 29 percent as a result of the loss. 

With that said, Silver provided a rough blueprint for the Buckeyes to sneak into the playoff with a crucial showdown against Michigan on the horizon: 

Beyond win-loss scenarios in the weeks ahead, logic appears to dictate that the Buckeyes are in for a drop in the Associated Press Top 25 and CFP rankings based on the context surrounding Saturday's painful loss. 

Not only did the Buckeyes lose to Michigan State at home, but they also did so against a Spartans team that was without starting quarterback Connor Cook (shoulder). Furthermore, Ohio State managed to pick up only 132 yards in the loss—162 fewer than MSU posted.

According to College GameDay's Chris Fallica, OSU's 132 yards were the 10th-fewest in a game by an FBS team this season and the fifth-fewest among Power Five schools. 

"Oh boy," head coach Urban Meyer said in regard to his team's chances of earning a spot in the playoff, according to Bleacher Report's Ben Axelrod. "We have to get some first downs and find some ways to complete some passes and beat our rivals."

After snapping Ohio State's 23-game winning streak, Michigan State has now defeated the Buckeyes five times when they've been undefeated and ranked in the AP Top Five, per ESPN Stats & Info

Ohio State has myriad problems to correct on the offensive side of the ball if it wants to have any hope of beating Michigan's sixth-ranked scoring defense next weekend. And if the Buckeyes can't, they'll be out of the CFP conversation entirely.

Michigan State, meanwhile, needs to avoid a letdown against a Penn State squad that will be trying to get back on track following two straight losses. But if Cook can return to the lineup and give the Spartans a steady presence under center, head coach Mark Dantonio's team should be one win away from a CFP berth.

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Michigan State vs. Ohio State: Score, Highlights and Twitter Reaction

Playing without their starting quarterback, the Michigan State Spartans ended the Ohio State Buckeyes' 23-game winning streak and undefeated season with a come-from-behind 17-14 victory in Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday.

Michigan State kicker Michael Geiger ended the game with a 41-yard field goal to cap off an eight-play, 25-yard drive that took the final four minutes and seven seconds off the clock.

The big story coming into Saturday's matchup was whether Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook would play. He wound up sitting out while battling right shoulder problems, though ESPN's College GameDay noted the senior star warmed up before the game. 

Despite Cook's absence, Michigan State never looked overmatched against a ferocious Buckeyes defense. Backup Tyler O'Connor wasn't asked to do much through the air, throwing just 12 passes, as head coach Mark Dantonio used 51 running plays to slow things down. 

Sticking with Dantonio, ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg put Michigan State's head football coach on par with another East Lansing legend:

For evidence of that, Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports noted Dantonio has won five of his last six games against teams ranked in the Top 5.

The run-heavy attack worked well when the Spartans tied the game at 14 with a 13-play, 75-yard drive early in the fourth quarter. That march included O'Connor converting a 4th-and-3 from Ohio State's 30-yard line. It would have been a 4th-and-8 attempt, but defensive end Joey Bosa was called for an offsides penalty to give the Spartans a better chance to convert. 

Both teams relied heavily on the running game, attempting 32 combined passes compared to 80 rushes. Michigan State racked up 203 yards on the ground with its 51 carries. 

Ohio State's offense had no rhythm, though quarterback J.T. Barrett was able to improvise at times. This Tim Tebow-esque six-yard touchdown pass to Jalin Marshall gave the Buckeyes a 14-7 lead, per College GameDay:

That was as good as things would get for Barrett. He finished with 43 passing yards and nine completions in the loss.

The biggest surprise of the game was Michigan State's swarming defense, especially against Ohio State star running back Ezekiel Elliott. The potential Heisman Trophy finalist had run for at least 100 yards in every game this season before Saturday, but Michigan State held him to 33 yards on 12 carries. 

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer seemed to lose faith in Elliott, as Sports Illustrated's Pete Thamel noted late in the fourth quarter:

Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports was not impressed by Meyer's approach to the game:

It seemed to be an unusual strategy. ESPN.com's Joe Schad noted before the game that Meyer said Barrett had to "be a playmaker" and not just "a distributor." Ohio State finished the game with 132 yards of total offense. According to ESPN Stats & Info, it was the lowest mark ever for a team coached by Meyer.

Perhaps Dantonio has discovered the right formula against Meyer's Buckeyes, as this stat from CBS Sports' Dane Brugler suggests:

Weather conditions weren't ideal for either side, but Dantonio was making a point to get the ball in the hands of running backs Gerald Holmes and LJ Scott down the stretch to wear down Ohio State's defense.

While Michigan State's defensive effort played a role, Meyer's offense was so vanilla that it limited Barrett and Elliott. He may have overthought things, with the Spartans not having Cook, but it was an uninspired offensive game plan. 

B/R's Ben Axelrod was critical of Meyer's offensive strategy:

This was a dramatic reversal of fortune for the Spartans defense, which has struggled against the pass this season, per Ari Wasserman of the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

Ohio State had been flirting with disaster all season, particularly in its close wins against Northern Illinois and Indiana, but its first real test of 2015 proved to be its downfall. The Buckeyes are likely out of the College Football Playoff mix after the defeat, though a win against Michigan next week and a Michigan State loss to Penn State would give the Buckeyes the Big Ten East title and a glimmer of playoff hope. 

Michigan State, on the other hand, has vaulted back into the playoff conversation two weeks after being upset by Nebraska. The Spartans have wins over Michigan and Ohio State, both on the final play of the game.

A victory over Penn State next week would give the Spartans a berth in the Big Ten Championship Game against a potentially undefeated Iowa team. It would be hard for the selection committee to overlook a resume featuring wins over Michigan, Ohio State and Iowa, especially with one coming as Cook was on the sidelines. 


Post-Game Reaction

In the Ohio State locker room, tensions seemed to spill over for Elliott. The junior was not shy about hiding his displeasure at how things played out, with Tim Moody of Scout.com quoting him as saying the play calling didn't put the Buckeyes "in the right situations to win this game."

Per Rick Pizzo of the Big Ten Network, Elliott also said that Michigan State is "a team we should beat." Following up on that, per Eric Seger of Eleven Warriors, Elliott didn't need to wait until after the season to make his intentions known:

According to Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports, Elliott did lobby Meyer for more touches while on the sidelines to no avail. 

Per Wasserman, Elliott added that the poor play-calling is something that's plagued the Buckeyes all year. 

"It is kind of something we've seen all season, honestly," Elliott said. "We'll have some momentum, we're calling plays that work and then we kind of try to get away from it and try to get cute and run some other stuff."

One possible reason for Elliott's limited use, per Moody, was the running back confirming he spent three days in the hospital earlier this week with an infection.

On the winning side, O'Connor made his case for Michigan State as one of the four playoff teams to Schad, per College Football on ESPN Radio:

Speaking to ABC's Heather Cox after the victory, per Justin Dacey of MLive.com, Dantonio said everything between the ears is where his team shined:

We talked about it -- just be mentally tough -- and we said coming into this year we needed to reach higher and this was the day we had to do that. The one thing that made a difference (is we've) been chased all year long so far in 10 games and this game we got to be the chaser. So we could chase this game. We could play on emotion.

Dantonio also touched on Cook's status in the post-game press conference, included in Dacey's report, saying "we think he'll be back" in time for next week. 

Given the way Michigan State is closing the season, adding a fully-functional Cook will only make the Spartans more dangerous. 

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UCLA vs. Utah: Score Highlights and Twitter Reaction

The UCLA Bruins continue to claw their way toward their first Pac-12 Championship Game appearance in three years, remaining alive in the South Division race following their 17-9 win Saturday over the No. 18 Utah Utes, who were officially eliminated from contention.

The Bruins’ regular-season finale next week against the USC Trojans will serve as the de facto Pac-12 South title game, courtesy of SportsCenter:

No team has faced more injury attrition this year than the Bruins, but the Utes were missing their best player Saturday. Tailback Devontae Booker, third in the Pac-12 with 157.9 all-purpose yards per game, suffered a torn meniscus against the Arizona Wildcats and is out for the season.

Backup Joe Williams was decent, finishing with 121 rushing yards on 26 carries while adding another 31 yards through the air, but showed limitations. He lost a fumble midway through the first quarter and was stopped on a goal-line stand at the UCLA 2-yard line early in the third quarter.

The Bruins defense wasn’t daunting, but it made big plays when it needed to—never allowing a touchdown—as noted by Jack Wang of the Los Angeles Daily News:

UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen threw for 220 yards and completed just 50 percent of his pass attempts—his worst performance since Week 3—but gave enough to help the Bruins secure the win.

The standout freshman hasn’t thrown an interception since Week 7 against Stanford and wasn’t sacked until late in the third quarter Saturday.

Receiver Jordan Payton accounted for nearly half of Rosen’s passing yards, 105, on seven receptions. The senior is already drawing acclaim as an NFL prospect, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter:

The Bruins will head into the regular-season finale against USC riding a three-game winning streak over their crosstown rivals. During that stretch, UCLA has outscored the Trojans 111-62.

If the Bruins reach the Pac-12 Championship Game, they’ll likely meet the No. 11 Stanford Cardinal in a rematch of Week 7’s pummeling 56-35 loss.

And they’ll also have a chance to fulfill Rosen’s bold declaration of redemption following the loss.

"I really wanted to beat this team,” Rosen said after that contest, per Chris Foster of the Los Angeles Times. "I really wanted to make a statement. But, uh, we'll face them again in the Pac-12 Championship Game."

With one more win, they’ll have a second shot—a remarkable feat given the slew of injuries and spotty defense this year.

The Pac-12’s College Football Playoff hopes may have been dashed, with each team blemished by at least two losses, but the Bruins may represent the conference in a high-profile bowl game if they can secure the conference crown.

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TCU vs. Oklahoma: Live Score and Highlights

TCU Horned Frogs - 7

Oklahoma Sooners - 13

5:00 2nd Quarter


The Oklahoma Sooners have turned into a charging dark-horse College Football Playoff contender down the stretch this season, and now they'll look to have their resume bolstered by a victory over the TCU Horned Frogs. 

TCU will be without the services of both Trevone Boykin and Josh Doctson today, so the task at hand for Oklahoma may be less stressful. Nevertheless, in this highly anticipated Big 12 matchup, the Sooners and Horned Frogs are battling for conference title hopes. 


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Texas A&M vs. Vanderbilt: Live Score and Highlights

Texas A&M 6, Vanderbilt 0, Mid-2nd Quarter

The Texas A&M Aggies and Vanderbilt Commodores will square off tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET, and we're here to help you enjoy the game. 

The Aggies are not enjoying the type of success they had in mind with a 7-3 record, but they still have the opportunity to make a good bowl game with two wins to finish the season. Head coach Kevin Sumlin announced this week that the quarterback job was once again open for competition, and a starter will be named before tonight's game. 

The Commodores have shown a ton of improvement from a season ago, and at 4-6, they have a chance to become bowl eligible with two consecutive wins. Vanderbilt's defense has been the biggest reason for the improvements this season. That unit was tied for No. 10 in the country in scoring defense (17.4 points per game allowed) coming into Saturday's games. 

The game can be watched on the SEC Network, but come back here for live updates and analysis. 

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Boston College vs. Notre Dame: Live Score and Highlights

Notre Dame 10, Boston College 0—HALFTIME

Notre Dame's Shamrock Series continues tonight as the Irish "host" the Eagles of Boston College in the Eagles' home city of Boston at historic Fenway Park.

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Baylor vs. Oklahoma State: Live Score and Highlights

Baylor 24, Oklahoma State 14—Halftime

The No. 10 Baylor Bears are attempting to ruin the perfect season of the sixth-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys in Stillwater.

Fox is broadcasting the conference matchup. Bleacher Report is providing scoring updates, highlights and analysis.

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Tennessee vs. Missouri: Live Score and Highlights

It's not quite the Ice Bowl, but Tennessee and Missouri will battle Saturday night in what is expected to be bitter-cold conditions at Faurot Field in Columbia, Missouri.

That may make what was never going to be a beacon of offensive fortitude anyway even more of an ugly, grind-it-out slugfest. That type of game seems to favor the Tigers, who've won three consecutive games against the Volunteers since joining the SEC.

Keep it right here for all your live-blogging action.


Tennessee 19, Missouri 0 3rd Quarter

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