Week 14 in College Football Is Greatest Rivalry Weekend Ever
Does it get any better than the games college football fans were treated to in Week 14.
Substitute Thanksgiving weekend for rivalry weekend. Extra stuffing for extra time. Close family with hated foes.
In a season full of giving, Friday and Saturday’s slate of matchups gave us everything we wanted and more.
National title dreams were realized while others came crashing down. Several matchups came down to the final seconds, as others needed an overtime or two.
All in all, it was easily one of the most memorable weekends in college football history.
Here are five of the best games the weekend offered.
Friday, 2:30 P.M. ET: Arkansas at No. 17 LSU
Result: LSU 31-27
How It Went Down
In a trophy game known as the “Battle for the Golden Boot,” the game came down to the arm of the Tigers quarterback.
Except it wasn’t that of starter Zach Mettenberger. Instead, it was backup Anthony Jennings.
With LSU driving in the fourth quarter, Mettenberger 1as forced to leave the game with an injury. The team settled for a field goal to cut the deficit to 27-24.
Following a three-and-out by the Razorbacks, the Tigers got the ball back with 3:04 remaining at their 1.
Could a freshman really lead LSU the length of the field to tie or win the game?
What happened next was impressive. Jennings completed passes of 16 and 11 yards, then rushed for another 21. Then, on 3rd-and-10, he completed a 49-yard pass to Travin Dural for the go-ahead touchdown.
The Tigers defense forced a fumble on Arkansas’ next possession and that was it.
In danger of suffering an embarrassing defeat to a Razorbacks squad that had lost eight straight, LSU turned to the unlikeliest of heroes.
It was just the start to what would be a memorable weekend.
Friday, 7 P.M. ET: Oregon State at No. 13 Oregon
Result: Oregon 36-35
How It Went Down
Boy, November just hasn’t been Oregon’s month.
If the loss to Stanford on Nov. 9 wasn’t bad enough, the team also dropped a shocker to Arizona last weekend. On Friday, the Ducks avoided suffering another one against the rival Beavers.
At the conclusion of the first quarter, it seemed as if Oregon would roll. The team forced two turnovers and jumped out to a 14-0 lead.
However, two interceptions from Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota helped propel Oregon State on a 20-3 run to take a 20-17 lead midway through the third quarter.
A touchdown grab by Oregon’s Josh Huff helped stop the bleeding and recaptured the lead. But the Beavers answered back with a field goal and touchdown.
Huff hauled in another scoring strike from Mariota but once again, Oregon State found the end zone to retake the lead 35-30 with 1:38 remaining.
Mariota then quickly marched the Ducks into Beavers’ territory. On 2nd-and-10 at the 12, Mariota appeared to overthrow Huff, but the senior made a sensational grab for the game-winning score with 29 seconds remaining.
Huff finished with nine catches for 186 yards and three touchdowns.
Saturday, 12 P.M. ET: No. 3 Ohio State vs. Michigan
Result: Ohio State 42-41
How It Went Down
This one wasn’t supposed to be close.
The Buckeyes came in as 16.5-point favorites. The team had won 23 straight games while the Wolverines had lost four of its last six.
However, as is the case in most heated rivalries, the records were thrown out the window from the opening kick.
During the first half, the two sides traded punches—literally. Two players from Ohio State and another from Michigan were ejected for a brawl early in the first half.
On the scoreboard, it was much of the same. Back and forth it went, with the score knotted up at 21 heading into the half. In the third quarter, the Buckeyes seemingly broke the game open, scoring 14 unanswered points. The team capitalized on two Wolverines’ fumbles and a turnover on downs.
But just when Ohio State was in cruise control, up 35-21, the usually reliable Carlos Hyde coughed up the ball and gave Michigan a chance. The Wolverines responded by scoring back-to-back touchdowns to even the game at 35 with a little over five minutes remaining.
Hyde—who rushed for 226 yards on 27 carries—made up for his earlier gaffe, finding the end zone with 2:20 remaining.
However, Michigan marched right down the field and quarterback Devin Gardner connected with Devin Funchess for a two-yard touchdown with 32 seconds remaining.
Unable to slow down the Buckeyes rushing attack, being gashed for 393 yards on the ground, Wolverines head coach Brady Hoke opted to go for two.
Unfortunately for Michigan, Gardner’s pass was intercepted.
Fortunately for college football fans, it was the conclusion to one of the more memorable Ohio State-Michigan clashes in recent history.
Saturday, 3:30 P.M. ET: Georgia at Georgia Tech
Result: Georgia 41-34 (2OT)
How It Went Down
Nothing has come easy for the Bulldogs this season.
The latest installment of Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate was no different.
Playing without quarterback Aaron Murray, Georgia had to turn to a heavy dose of running back Todd Gurley. The sophomore did his part, rushing for 122 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries while catching four passes for another 36 yards and a score.
But it wasn't the best start for the Bulldogs, as the Yellowjackets jumped out to a 20-0 lead.
However, Georgia responded with 17 unanswered points and another 10 in the fourth quarter to force overtime.
In the overtime sessions, Gurley once again stole the show. Behind his strong running, the Bulldogs needed only four plays to score two touchdowns in the two overtimes.
After being the laughingstock of the SEC for much of the season, Georgia’s secondary stepped up to the plate and forced Georgia Tech into an incompletion on fourth down to seal the victory.
It's a great conclusion to what’s been a trying season for the Bulldogs.
Saturday, 3:30 P.M. ET: No. 1 Alabama at No. 4 Auburn
Result: Auburn 34-28
How It Went Down
Who saw this one coming back in Week 1?
The Tigers entered as the darlings of college football while the Crimson Tide were the two-time undisputed BCS champions. Auburn had a total of just three wins in 2012 while Alabama had a total of three BCS titles in the last four years. In the last two meetings between these two, the Tide won both by a combined score of 91-14.
But on Saturday, the Tigers got the last laugh.
Although outgained 495-393, Auburn managed to hang around long enough. After taking a 7-0 lead, the team withstood a 21-point outburst by Alabama.
However, the Tigers managed to score 27 of the game’s final 34 points.
That includes two touchdowns within the final minute.
Auburn started the charge by blocking a 44-yard field goal by Cade Foster. Following six rushes by running back Tre Mason, quarterback Nick Marshall found Sammie Coates wide open for a 39-yard, game-tying touchdown with 32 seconds remaining.
With one second left, the Tide set up for a 57-yard field goal. However, the kick landed short and the Tigers' Chris Davis returned the kick 100-plus yards for the miraculous touchdown.
It one-upped Auburn’s Hail Mary from its last win.
Not only did it end Alabama’s reign atop the college football world and earn the Tigers a berth in the SEC title game, but it also proved that destiny is on Auburn’s side in 2013.
All stats and rankings used in this article are courtesy of NCAA.com.