What a ride! Up and down went our emotions as some wild stuff took place around the nation in college football Week 12.
Some huge upsets took place around college football on Saturday. One of the biggest games of the week turned out to be a total dud. A top quarterback took a fall and was unable to get back up again.
These are the biggest disappointments from college football Week 12.
Tua Tagovailoa out for season
One of the best quarterbacks in college football may have finished his career with a brutal injury. Tua Tagovailoa, who was limited in practice and not even certain to play Saturday against Mississippi State, did in fact play. He played quite well, too, passing for 256 yards and two touchdowns.
Up by the score of 35-7 late in the second quarter, it looked like his day was done. Mac Jones was warming up on the sideline, and Tagovailoa was getting hand shakes from his teammates. Then, Nick Saban decided to give his star the two-minute warning for practice — a decision that will haunt him.
Tagovailoa rolled to his left to escape pressure, but instead of escaping it he ended up finding trouble. As he threw the ball away, he was hit by two defenders. The result was a hip injury so painful he was screaming, per the ESPN broadcast.
Not long afterward, Tagovailoa was taken by helicopter to a local hospital, and reportedly, he will undergo surgery for a fractured hip similar to the one that ended Bo Jackson’s career. At the least, he’s out for the season with a hip dislocation, the school confirmed Saturday evening.
MSU’s offense stalls against Michigan
The Spartans got off to a tremendous start Saturday in Ann Arbor against their bitter rival, going up 7-0 in the first quarter. Their defense stuffed Michigan’s offense twice in that first quarter, and Brian Lewerke looked great leading Michigan State’s offense.
Then, the wheels fell off the bus.
Lewerke started wilting under pressure and threw two awful interceptions. The first was on the opening drive of the second half when the Spartans were down by just 10 points. Four plays later, Michigan had a 24-7 lead, and the game was effectively over from that point on.
All told, MSU managed 220 yards of offense, converted just 2-of-13 third downs and utterly crumbled on the road once again this year, dropping to 4-6 on the season.
Penn State’s defense suddenly a liability
Prior to last weekend’s stunning loss to Minnesota, the Nittany Lions had featured a defense among the best in the nation. After Saturday’s narrow win over Indiana, it’s clear that this unit is in danger of being shredded by Ohio State next Saturday.
Minnesota’s Tanner Morgan and Indiana’s Peyton Ramsey combined for 710 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions on 49-of-61 passing against Penn State’s defense the past two weeks. Justin Fields and the explosive playmakers he has on his offense have to be licking their chops.
Navy sunk the ship in South Bend
One of the most highly-anticipated games of college football Week 12 was also one of its biggest duds. No. 23 Navy went into South Bend to take on No. 16 Notre Dame and quickly proved no match for the Fighting Irish.
The suddenness of Navy’s demise on Saturday was stunning. Ian Book led an 11-play drive that ended with a touchdown to Chase Claypool on the game’s opening drive. Navy wasted its opening drive with a fumble. Notre Dame followed the turnover up with a touchdown two plays later. Navy fumbled a second time, which also resulted in a touchdown for the Irish, and the game was over with a capital O.
In the end, the Midshipmen hauled their sunken ship back Annapolis under the black cloud of a 52-20 beat down the program won’t soon forget.
K-State collapses down the stretch
Favored to win by two touchdowns Saturday at home against West Virginia, Kansas State instead suffered a complete meltdown and lost, 24-20.
Down by one point at halftime, the Wildcats looked great to open the third quarter. Quarterback Skylar Thompson engineered a 13-play, 70-yard drive that culminated with a touchdown and a six-point lead. That would be the last real positive development for Kansas State.
The Wildcats went punt, punt, turnover on downs, punt, interception on their final offensive drives of the game. Defensively, they allowed West Virginia to score 10 unanswered points in the brutal 24-20 loss that will send them out of the top-25 rankings.
Yellow Jackets hit a new low
Georgia Tech has struggled all year in its first season under head coach Geoff Collins. But on Saturday, at home against Virginia Tech, the program hit a new low.
The Yellow Jackets were hopelessly lost on offense. They logged four straight three-and-outs to open the game, had an interception returned for a touchdown and finished the game with a whimper, turning the ball over on downs on their final two drives. All told, the Georgia Tech offense managed eight first downs.
Defensively, Georgia Tech was shredded. The Hokies ran 61 plays and gained 461 yards, averaging 7.58 yards per play en route to a 45-0 final score. Just an awful game the Yellow Jackets would like to forget ever happened.
Self-inflicted wounds doom Longhorns
Just when it looked like Texas was going to finish strong against Iowa State, the Longhorns once again suffered a rash of self-inflicted wounds that ultimately led to yet another brutal loss for this team.
Down 20-7 after Iowa State scored 10 points to open the third quarter, the Longhorns responded thanks to Sam Ehlinger, who had a spectacular second half. Texas looked to be in excellent shape after Ehlinger engineered a 15-play drive that went 89 yards in nearly seven minutes to take the 21-20 lead with just over five minutes left. Things were even better a few minutes later after Iowa State punted after four plays.
Then, Texas went 3-and-out on offense, and the Longhorns imploded defensively. They were hit with three penalties, including two pass interference penalties on consecutive plays — the third of which was an offsides penalty that turned an Iowa State field-goal attempt into a first down.
As time expired, Connor Assalley drilled in a 36-yard attempt to give the Cyclones a 23-21 victory.
Minnesota’s Playoff dream is dead
Minnesota was bumped up into the No. 8 spot in the College Football Playoff rankings this week after knocking off Penn State. But the message sent by the selection committee with that ranking was clear: Lose a game and you’re out. Period.
And one week after stunning the nation, the Golden Gophers are indeed out of the Playoff picture.
Iowa jumped out to a 20-3 lead. And despite a tremendous late surge by Tanner Morgan and the Minnesota offense, it was too little, too late.
The team’s normally potent run game was stymied at every turn. The offensive line had no answer for A.J. Epenesa, who tallied 2.5 sacks and wrecked Minnesota’s offense all game. Defensively, the Golden Gophers couldn’t get the Hawkeyes to turn it over and were out-physicalled at the line of scrimmage.
A disappointing end to one of the best stories in college football this year.
Far from a championship defense, LSU
LSU’s defense, before Saturday night against Ole Miss, hadn’t allowed an opponent to rush for 150 yards this season. The Rebels piled up an absurd 402 yards rushing and gave the No. 1-ranked Tigers a run for their money in the fourth quarter, too.
LSU allowed the 4-6 Ole Miss Rebels to tally 614 total yards and put 37 points up on Saturday night. Sure, the Tigers won, but that’s hardly surprising. They should have won by 30 points, but the defense — a unit that was roasted regularly last weekend against Alabama — once again looked less than championship caliber.
The Tigers should be able to skate by the rest of their regular-season schedule, and they may even have little trouble with Georgia in the SEC Championship Game. But come the Playoff, this defense could be a huge liability against the likes of Clemson or Ohio State.
Not like that, Baylor
No. 13 Baylor has gotten through lucky on some close calls in recent weeks, but it sure looked like the Bears wouldn’t even need luck on their side early against No. 10 Oklahoma Saturday night.
Early in the second quarter, it was all Baylor. Following an interception of Jalen Hurts, the Bears went up 28-3 when Charlie Brewer hit Denzel Mims for a nine-yard score.
Turns out, that 28-3 lead is cursed, even at the collegiate level. Like Dan Quinn before him, Baylor head coach Matt Rhule watched in horror as his team lost that lead and eventually lost the game, 34-31.
In the final 41 minutes of the game, Oklahoma outscored Baylor 31-3. Jalen Hurts was a warrior and overcame a trio of bad turnovers to lead the Sooners to victory. On the other side, Brewer wilted down the stretch.
The end result is a devastating loss for Baylor that will knock the Bears out of the College Football Playoff for good.