Baylor, Kirk Ferentz on top; Gators embarrassed

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Georgia was kind enough to spot Tennessee seven points on the game’s opening possession, delighting the crowd at Neyland Stadium, before outscoring the Volunteers 41-10 the rest of the way.

Ohio State’s offense dropped 59 points on Purdue, quickly extinguishing any chance of the Boilermakers cutting down another Big Ten contenders.

Alabama whipped New Mexico State. Michigan survived against Penn State. Michigan State and star running back Kenneth Walker III had no problem with Maryland.

Saturday went well for every major College Football Playoff contender but one: Baylor smothered star quarterback Caleb Williams and beat Oklahoma 27-14, knocking the Sooners well out of the contention for the national semifinals.

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz earned a $500,000 bonus after his team beat Minnesota on Saturday.

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz earned a $500,000 bonus after his team beat Minnesota on Saturday.

Now owning a loss with another pair of tough games ahead in November, Oklahoma tops this week’s list of the biggest winners and losers in college football:

WINNERS

Baylor

Baylor’s defense rebounded from a humbling letdown in last week’s loss to TCU and held OU to just 260 yards, the Sooners’ worst performance on offense in more than a decade. Meanwhile, Baylor’s offense controlled the tempo with 296 rushing yards, with two players — underrated running back Abram Smith and quarterback Gerry Bohanon — cracking the 100-yard mark. The loss shakes up the Big 12 race and opens a path through a series of convoluted tiebreakers for the Bears to play for the conference championship.

Michigan

In recent history, these are the sort of games Michigan tends to lose: Leading Penn State 14-6 in the fourth quarter, the Wolverines allowed the game-tying touchdown and two-point conversion, fumbled the ball deep in their own territory on the ensuing possession and then fell behind 17-14 with six minutes left. But Michigan responded with a 47-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Cade McNamara to tight end Erick All and will remain in the thick for the playoff with the game against rival Ohio State looming at the end of November.

Ohio State

The Buckeyes dropped 45 points in the first half and sidestepped Purdue’s attempt at a third major upset in conference play, as an offense that scuffled in last week’s win against Nebraska broke through with four scoring plays of 20 or more yards. Quarterback C.J. Stroud completed 31 of 38 attempts for 361 yards and five touchdowns, freshman running back TreVeyon Henderson ran for 98 yards on 13 carries and wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba had a team-best 139 yards and a score. With the offense back in form, the attention now turns to a defense that had rallied from the low point of September but gave up 481 yards on 6.8 yards per play.

Kirk Ferentz

Iowa’s 27-22 win against Minnesota nets coach Kirk Ferentz a $500,000 bonus, an amount he receives when the Hawkeyes win eight games in a season. That gives Ferentz a total of $600,000 in on-field bonuses so far this year, joining a $100,000 bonus for making a bowl game. Racking up bonus money is an annual thing for Iowa’s longtime coach: Ferentz, who is making $5 million in basic compensation, has totaled $4.775 million in bonuses since the start of the 2015 season.

SMU

Tanner Mordecai had three touchdowns without an interception as SMU beat Central Florida 55-28, snapping a two-game losing streak just in time for next weekend’s key American Athletic Conference matchup with unbeaten Cincinnati. The Mustangs’ win is good news for the Bearcats, who need to add wins against strong competition to end up in the top four of the playoff rankings in early December.

LOSERS

Florida

The Gators gave up 530 yards of offense and 52 points to Samford — and that’s Samford, not Stanford of the Pac-12 or even Stamford, the second-largest city by population in Connecticut. That Florida gained 717 yards and won 70-52 doesn’t really matter, to be honest. Getting blitzed by the opponent from the Football Championship Subdivision is the latest red-faced embarrassment for the program and embattled coach Dan Mullen, joining the horrible loss to South Carolina just seven days ago.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma’s playoff odds took a potentially fatal blow with the loss to Baylor, though enough chaos could unfold in the next three weeks to get the Sooners into the top four at 13-1 and atop the Big 12. The conference championship remains in play, though that would demand beating Iowa State, Oklahoma State and possibly the Cowboys again. The team that was flattened by Baylor probably isn’t running the table, unfortunately. The loss represents a major setback for the Sooners and young quarterback Caleb Williams, who looked mortal for the first time in his freshman season.

Auburn

Up 28-3 deep into the first half, Auburn would not score again until under two minutes left and lost 43-34 to Mississippi State. With the loss, the Tigers have essentially ceded the SEC West to Alabama, taking a chunk of the hype away from this year’s Iron Bowl. (Not that the rivalry won’t be must-see TV.) After taking that 25-point lead, Auburn’s defense gave up touchdown drives of 75, 75, 98, 72, 55 and 45 yards. The nation’s most accurate passer heading into Saturday, Mississippi State’s Will Rogers completed 44 of 55 attempts for 415 yards and six scores.

Miami (Fla.)

The good vibes and optimism around this program and coach Manny Diaz in the wake of a three-game winning streak were erased with a 31-28 loss to rival Florida State, which scored the game-winning touchdown with 26 seconds left to cap the Hurricanes’ late-game meltdown. Between the penalties, the turnovers and a clown show of a final drive, this loss exhausts any goodwill developed over the previous three weeks and places Diaz right back on the hot seat.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: College football Week 11 winners and losers



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