Week 11 in the 2023 college football season and things are starting to heat up. Conference championship game contenders are starting to make their names known. But, even late in the season, one mistake and it could be a ruined season for a team.
Let’s review week 11 in the 2023 College Football season.
Michigan Steal the Signs for Victory
It’s happened again. For the second time this season, the number 3 ranked Michigan Wolverines’ head coach Jim Harbaugh has been suspended for 3 games due to the current investigation into the Wolverines for alleged sign stealing. This means he will miss the rest of the season, including what could be season decider against Ohio State. This week, the Wolverines faced the number 10 ranked Penn State Nittany Lions. So, without their head coach (again), could the Wolverines’ unbeaten season continue against what is their hardest test of the season so far?
The Wolverines had the opening possession of the game but struggled to move the ball far and were forced the punt to Penn State, who would do exactly the same as Michigan in their first drive. This would be how the game would continue, as the Wolverines would do the same on their next drive as well.
Then, the Nittany Lions would be able to break to streak of poor drives. Starting from their 31-yard line, the Penn State offense, led by quarterback Drew Allar made it down into the Wolverines’ red zone, and then down to the 4-yard line. The Nittany Lions would then struggle to move from there. They would have 5 attempts at a touchdown from the 4-yard, then the 3-yard line. None of these attempts were successful. This set up Alex Felkins, the Nittany Lions’ kicker with a 20-yard field goal attempt, which he would successfully make, to give Penn State the early lead.Embed from Getty Images
However, this lead would not last long. In reply to the field goal, the Wolverines immediately struck back. Wolverines’ quarterback J.J McCarthy would lead his offense quickly down into the Nittany Lion’s 6-yard line. They would then half that distance as there was a penalty against the Penn State defense on the next play. Then, from the 3-yard line, Wolverines’ running back Black Corum would find the endzone for a 3-yard rushing touchdown to give Michigan the lead.
The Wolverines would extend their lead on their next drive. From their 22-yard line, the Wolverines would again quickly make their way to the edge of the Nittany Lions’ red zone, mostly due to a 44-yard run from Corum. Then, from the Nittany Lions’ 22-yard line, Donovan Edwards would reach the endzone for the rushing touchdown.
The Nittany Lions would have some success to finish the half. On a drive that started on their 25-yard line, Penn State would be able to make their way down to the Wolverines’ 11-yard line. This was mostly down to the long runs of Nittany Lions running back Kaytron Allen. From the 11-yard line, another run would be made. But this time, it was from quarterback Drew Allar, who would find the endzone for an 11-yard rushing touchdown. The Nittany Lions would then attempt a two-point conversion, but this would fail. This meant that at halftime, the Wolverines had a 14-9 lead over the Nittany Lions.
The Nittany Lions would have the opening possession of the second half, but they would not have the ball for long. The Allar lead offense would make their way to the Penn State 46-yard line, and things were looking like it would be a normal drive. But then, a mistake would be made. From the 46-yard line, Allar ran for a 3-yard gain, enough to earn a first down. But, Allar would then fumble the ball, which would be scooped up by the Wolverines’ defense. This mistake would be costly for the Nittany Lions, as the Wolverines would be able to move the ball down to the Penn State 4-yard line. The drive would stall here, setting up Wolverines’ kicker James Turner with a 22-yard field goal. He would be successful with this, and Michigan’s lead would be extended.
Then, our old friend the “Festival of Kicking” would make its return from its week-long break due to all of the punts in that Giants-Jets game a few weeks ago. The next 6 drives would end in punts. The Nittany Lions would break the streak of punts, but not the streak of poor drives. Their drive would start at their 26-yard line, where the Nittany Lions would advance to the 30-yard line. However, they would not move from there and then decided to attempt a 4th down conversion. This would fail, and possession would be handed to the Wolverines in a dangerous position.
It would take the Michigan offense one play to find the endzone. From the Nittany Lions’ 30-yard line, Corum would be handed the ball and would find the endzone with it, recording a 30-yard rushing touchdown to all but seal the game for the Wolverines.
In the same way in which the first half ended, the Nittany Lions would be able to find the endzone in their final attempt. Their drive started at their 25-yard line, but would immediately move to the 40-yard line as there was an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on a member of the Wolverines’ offense. They would then make their way down to the Wolverines’ 33-yard line, where another penalty against the Michigan defense would move them into the red zone. Then, from the 8-yard line, Allar would throw the touchdown pass to Theo Johnson for what would be a consolation touchdown. The Nittany Lions would attempt a two-point conversion like they did at the end of the first half, but this failed.
But, this would all be academic, as the number 3 ranked Michigan Wolverines had defeated the number 10 ranked Penn State Nittany Lions 24-15.
In both of Penn State’s games with the big two teams in the Big 10 (Ohio State and Michigan), they have been able to stop these two teams from scoring many points. However, they struggled themselves to score points. The victory keeps Michigan undefeated at 10-0 for the season, and are still on track to face fellow unbeaten rivals Ohio State for what should be a definite CFP spot. Could the Wolverines steal Ohio State’s season as they did their opponent’s signs? Penn State fall to 8-2 for the season. Next week, the Wolverines face Maryland, while the Nittany Lions face Rutgers.
The Seminoles stop a Hurricane
Moving to the ACC now, where we will stay for the rest of the long reviews. The number 4 ranked Florida State Seminoles are still unbeaten, and are on track to be the number 4 seed in the College Football Playoff. This week, they faced the Miami Hurricanes. Could we see an upset?
The Seminoles had the opening possession of the game but were unable to move the ball far, and punted to the Hurricanes. However, the Hurricanes drive would have to start from their 2-yard line, due to a strong punt from Seminoles punted Alex Mastromanno. In reply, the Hurricanes were unable to do anything with the ball and punted back to Florida State deep in their own red zone.
The Seminoles would then score the first points of the game. From their 45-yard line, the Seminoles’ offense, led by quarterback Jordan Travis quickly moved into the Hurricanes’ territory and then down to the 5-yard line. From here, Seminoles’ running back Trey Benson would find the endzone for a 5-yard rushing touchdown to give Florida State the early lead.
In reply to this score, the Hurricanes tried to get something on the board for themselves. Unlike their first drive, the offense, led by rookie quarterback Emory Williams was able to make their way into the Seminoles’ territory and would make it to the 33-yard line, where their drive would stall. This set up Hurricanes kicker Andres Borregales with a 51-yard field goal attempt. He would miss this attempt, and hand possession back to Florida State.Embed from Getty Images
While Miami were unable to score a field goal on their last drive, the Seminoles were able to. Their drive started from their 33-yard line, and the Travis lead offense would make their way down to the Hurricanes’ red zone, before stalling at the 15-yard line. This set up Seminoles kicker Ryan Fitzgerald with a 33-yard field goal attempt which he would be successful with.
A few drives later and the Hurricanes would be able to close the gap on Florida State. On a drive that started at their 18-yard line, Williams and company would be able to slowly advance into the Seminoles’ red zone and then down to the 3-yard line. This was mostly due to two 25+ yard runs from Hurricanes running back Donald Chaney Jr. From the 3-yard line, Williams would find Jacolby George for the touchdown pass.
The Hurricanes would have the final drive of the first half, and would quickly find themselves again in the Florida State red zone. Then, as time ran out in the half, Borregales would make a 27-yard field goal. This meant that as the teams returned to the locker rooms, the scores would be tied 10-10.
More kicking would open the second half. Miami would again have possession, and their drive to open the second half would stall at the Florida State 33-yard line. This gave Borregales a chance of redemption, as he missed a field goal from this location early in the game. Redemption would be earned, as he would be successful on this attempt, handing the Hurricanes a slim lead.
This lead did not last long. On the very next drive of the game, Florida State would be able to quickly move deep into the Hurricanes’ red zone due to a 62-yard pass from Travis to Ja’Khi Douglas. However, when in the red zone, the Seminoles’ drive would stall. This set up Fitzgerald with a 22-yard field goal attempt. He would be successful with this, and the scores would again be level.
The Seminoles would then take the lead but would be lucky to have the ball to begin with. Miami’s previous drive did not go anywhere, so they punted. Keon Coleman was the punt returner for the Seminoles, but he would fumble the ball on the return. Luckily for him, he would be able to recover the ball to allow Florida State to start the drive. Travis and company would then drive down to the Hurricanes’ 38-yard line. From there, Trey Benson would find the endzone for a 38-yard rushing touchdown to give Florida State a 7-point lead going into the fourth quarter.
This lead would be extended after 5 drives that ended in punts. On the punt return, Coleman would be able to reach the Hurricanes 10-yard line. This gave Florida State a perfect field position to score. Then, from the 6-yard line, Travis would find Coleman for the touchdown pass.Embed from Getty Images
However, the Hurricanes would quickly strike back. Their drive started at their 20-yard line, but due to a false start penalty against the Hurricanes, they had their first play at the 15-yard line. This would be the first play and the only play of the drive. From the 15-yard line, Williams would pass to Jacolby George, who would find the endzone to record an 85-yard touchdown pass. This made it a one-possession game with 8 minutes left on the clock. The Seminoles would punt on their next drive, meaning that with 4 minutes left on the clock, the Hurricanes would have the ball. Could they cause an upset?
The Hurricanes’ drive started at their 12-yard line, They would struggle to move the ball, setting up a vital 4th down attempt needing 2 yards. A rush for Williams would give them those yards. However, the Hurricanes would lose Williams on this play, due to an arm injury. This meant that Tyler van Dyke, the quarterback who was benched this week for Williams would be in the game, and could score the winning touchdown against a unbeaten team.
Van Dyke would be able to move the offense down to their 49-yard line, where the drive would stall. The Hurricanes would decide to go for another 4th down conversion, this time needing a full 10 yards. This would decide the game. With 40 seconds left on the clock, Van Dyke’s pass was intercepted by Jarrian Jones. The game was lost.
This means that the number 4 ranked Florida State Seminoles had defeated the Miami Hurricanes 27-20.
For the Seminoles, this keeps their unbeaten season alive, and their hopes of a spot in the College Football Playoffs. As for the ACC, they have already qualified for the championship game, but their opponents are still to be decided. The narrow defeat means that the Hurricanes fall to 6-4 for the season. Next week, the Seminoles face non-conference North Alabama, which may be costly for their CFP ranking if they do not dominate the game, while the Hurricanes face Louisville, who seems to be the favorite to face the Seminoles in Charlotte, North Carolina.
And on the subject of North Carolina.
Duke and North Carolina: A Basketball Rivalry on the Football Field
The Duke Blue Devils and the North Carolina Tar Heels. Rivals in basketball. Rivals in football as well, but the rivalry is not as heated, as neither of them has been challenging for national championships. This season, both teams have performed well, but have recently fallen off. Even since their defeat to Notre Dame, Duke has struggled. North Carolina started unbeaten, but then lost 2 in a row, meaning that last week they were unranked. They destroyed their opponents last week and were welcomed back into the Top 25 as the 24th-ranked team. So, how would these two basketball schools that have given us the likes of Lawrence Taylor and the again-injured Daniel Jones fair?
The Tar Heels had the opening possession of the game and wasted no time in making an impact. The Tar Heels’ offense, led by quarterback Drake Maye moved his offense down to the Blue Devils’ one-yard line, mostly aided by a 43-yard pass from Maye to Devontez Walker. From the one-yard line, Maye would run the ball into the endzone to score the opening touchdown of the game. In reply to this, Duke did not do anything.
North Carolina would soon add to their lead. The Tar Heels would again make their way down to Duke’s one-yard line. From here, Maye would pass to Bryson Nesbit for the touchdown pass. However, there was a penalty on this play against the Tar Heels, forcing them to move back 5 yards and removing the touchdown score from the board. This would set up Tar Heels’ kicker Noah Burnette with a 23-yard field goal, which he would be successful with. Burnette would score another field goal on North Carolina’s next drive, this time from 31 yards out.
Duke would finally find the endzone soon after. Led by quarterback Grayson Loftis, the Blue Devils’ offense was able to make their way down to the Tar Heels’ 10-yard line. From there, Loftis threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Jaquez Moore. The luck would soon continue for the Blue Devils. On the very next play, the Tar Heels would fumble the kickoff, meaning that they would have to start the drive from their own one-yard line. Maye would then throw an interception, giving the Blue Devils a strong field position to score again.
Which is what they were able to do. Loftis and company moved down to the Tar Heels’ 3-yard line before Loftis rushed for the touchdown to take the lead.
This lead did not last long. Maye would shake off his interception on the previous drive to lead his offense down to the Blue Devils’ 8-yard line, mostly aided by another long pass to Walker. However, the drive would stall here, setting up a 25-yard field goal for Burnette, which he would be successful with. This meant that at halftime, the Tar Heels had a 16-14 lead over the Blue Devils.
Duke would have the opening possession of the second half and would move the ball a grand total of 0 yards. On the other hand, the Tar Heels were able to not only move and find yards but were able to find enough of them to find points. On a 16-play drive, the Maye-led offense slowly moved the ball down the field and to the Duke 9-yard line. From there, the drive stalled and set up a 27-yard field goal attempt for Burnette. He would be successful with this, widening the Tar Heels lead.
The lead would be widened on the next North Carolina drive. Starting from their 27-yard line, the Tar Heels offense was able to drive down to the Duke 2-yard line, aided by a penalty against the Blue Devils’ defense. From the 2-yard line, Omarion Hampton would find the endzone for a 2-yard rushing touchdown to give the Tar Heels an 11-point lead.
Duke would be able to close the gap soon after. Starting from their 30-yard line, the Loftis lead offense were able to make their way to the Tar Heels 13-yard line. From there, Waters would find the endzone with a 13-yard rushing touchdown. The Blue Devils would then attempt an on-side kick. These are not normally successful. But, on this occasion, it was, and Duke regained possession, and would take full advantage of this. The offense was able to make their way to the Tar Heels’ 23-yard line, before just like the drive before it, Waters would find the endzone for the touchdown to take the lead. The Blue Devils would then attempt a two-point conversion. This would be successful, and with 5 minutes to go, Duke would have a three-point lead.
North Carolina would immediately strike back. Maye and company would advance down to the Duke 5-yard line. From here, Maye would find John Copenhaver for the touchdown pass. However, for the second time in the game, there was a penalty against the Tar Heels on the play, stripping the touchdown from them and forcing them back 10 yards. This made little difference, as now from the 15-yard line, Maye found Nesbit for the touchdown pass. There was a penalty on this play away, but it was against Duke, so the touchdown stood, and the Tar Heels retook the lead.
Duke would not take the loss of their lead lying down. With 2 minutes left on the clock, Loftis would lead his offense down the field to the Tar Heels’ 30-yard line. From there, he would find Moore for a 30-yard touchdown pass to hand the lead back to the Blue Devils with 40 seconds left on the clock. But the lead was only 3 points. What would North Carolina do?
Starting from their 25-yard line, the Tar Heels were immediately moved forward due to a penalty against the Duke defense. North Carolina was then able to make it down to the Duje 25-yard line, setting up Burnette with a 43-yard field goal attempt as time ran out. He was successful with this, meaning that with the scores level, we were going to overtime in Chapel Hill.
The Blue Devils failed to make the touchdown on their possession. In fact, they lost yards on the drive, starting at the 25-yard line, and moving back to the 32-yard line. However, this did set up Todd Pelino with a 49-yard field goal attempt which he would be successful with. In reply, the Tar Heels were able to reach the 6-yard line before the drive stalled. Burnette would be successful with the field goal, and we were going to the second period of overtime.
North Carolina had the first possession this time and was able to score a touchdown. Maye found the endzone after a 5-yard rush. The Tar Heels would then be successful with the mandatory two-point conversion attempt. In reply, Duke found themselves at the 6-yard line, when Loftis would pass to Moore for the touchdown. This set up a vital two-point conversion. Loftis’ pass would be ruled incomplete, and the game would be over.
The number 24 ranked North Carolina Tar Heels had defeated the Duke Blue Devils 47-45.
This was in my eyes, the game of the week. I did not plan to review this game as there were more important clashes on tap. However, as you will find out below, they were not as close as you would think. For the Tar Heels, this victory keeps what is left of their season alive. However, the closeness of the victory may make the selection committee remove the Tar Heels from the Top 25. They move to 8-2. With the narrow defeat, Duke fall to 6-4. Next week, the Tar Heels face the fallen giant of Clemson, while Duke faces Virginia.
What Happened to the Other Ranked Teams
Michigan State @ #1 Ohio State
The number one-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes faced the Michigan State Spartans this week, and the Buckeyes would, like many teams this week, dominate their opponents. Marvin Harrison Jr strengthened his case for the Heisman trophy with a 2 touchdown game as Ohio State recorded a 38-3 victory to keep their undefeated season alive.
#9 Ole Miss @ #2 Georgia
On paper, this game would have been good. The number 9 ranked Ole Miss Rebels facing the number 2 ranked Georgia Bulldogs. In reality, this was one-sided. Brock Bowyers returned for the Bulldogs, in a game in which Ole Miss was humbled. Georgia would win 52-17 and should return to the number 1 spot next week after this performance.
#18 Utah @ #5 Washington
In an important tie in the Pac-12, the number 5 ranked Washington Huskies faced the number 18 ranked Utah Utes. Huskies quarterback and Heisman favorite Michael Penix Jr threw for 332 yards in the Huskies’ 35-28 victory to keep them unbeaten and in contention for a spot in the CFP.
USC @ #6 Oregon
The number 6 ranked Oregon Ducks face the USC Trojans, as Caleb Williams had another semi-decent day. On the other hand, Duck quarterback Bo Nix had an amazing day, throwing for 412 yards and for 4 touchdowns in the Ducks’ 36-27 victory over the now-unranked Trojans.
#7 Texas @ TCU
The number 7 ranked Texas Longhorns faced last year’s national championship runners-up, the TCU Horned Frogs, who are now 4-5 coming into the game. The Longhorns had cause to celebrate as quarterback Quinn Ewers came back from injury and played just like he did before. Ewers would throw for 317 yards, but the Longhorns would rely on their defense to record a 29-26 victory over TCU. This keeps them in contention for the Big 12 championship game and maybe a spot in the CFP.
#8 Alabama @ Kentucky
The number 8 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide have saved their season. They could even make the CFP pending other teams collapsing. This week, they faced the Kentucky Wildcats. Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Milroe would have 6 touchdowns in the Tide’s 49-21 demolition of KentuckyEmbed from Getty Images
Virginia @ #11 Louisville
The number 11 ranked Louisville Cardinals faced the 2-win Virginia Cavaliers. A late 73-yard rushing touchdown from Issac Guerendo gave the Cardinals a 31-24 victory to give them a 9-1 record for the season and put them in prime contention for the ACC championship game.
Stanford @ #12 Oregon State
The number 12 ranked Oregon State Beavers faced the Stanford Cardinals in a game that only had one winner. Beavers running back Damien Martinez scored 4 touchdowns, in the Beavers 62-17 domination of Stanford.
#13 Tennessee @ #14 Missouri
I originally planned to do an in-depth review of this game, as on paper it would have been close. The number 13-ranked Tennessee Volunteers faced the number 14-ranked Missouri Tigers. Both teams had identical records coming into this game. You would not have known that by watching the game. The Tigers would dominate Tennessee, defeating them 36-7.
#15 Oklahoma State @ UCF
The number 15 ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys face Big-12 new boy the UCF Knights. The new boys would dominate this game. Knights quarterback John Rhys Plumlee would throw 3 touchdowns as the Cowboys would turn over the ball 4 times. UCF would win 45-3.
Texas Tech @ #16 Kansas
The number 16 ranked Kansas Jayhawks faced the Texas A&M Aggies. It was a close game throughout, but Aggies kicker Gino Garcia would make a 30-yard field goal at time ran out to record a 16-13 upset victory for the Aggies over the Jayhawks
West Virginia @ #17 Oklahoma
The number 17 ranked Oklahoma Sooners faced the West Virginia Mountaineers. The Sooners were dominant in this game, with quarterback Dilion Gabriel scoring 8 touchdowns in their 59-20 win.
Florida @ #19 LSU
The number 19 ranked LSU Tigers faced the Florida Gators. This would again be another strong performance from Tigers quarterback Jayden Daniels. He would be involved with 606 total yards and 5 touchdowns, as he became the first-ever quarterback to throw for at least 350 yards and rush for 200. The game would be high-scoring, with the Tigers coming out on top 52-35.
#21 Arizona @ Colorado
The number 21 ranked Arizona Wildcats faced the Colorado Buffaloes. This was another close game that went down to the wire. But a 24-yard field goal from Wildcats kicker Tyler Loop gave Arizona a 34-31 victory.
Rutgers @ #22 Iowa
The number 22 ranked Iowa Hawkeyes faced the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in a game where Rutgers took a page out of fellow New Jersey-based sides, the New York Giants, and the New York Jets. They punted a lot. Every drive ended in a punt. Iowa would win the game 22-0Embed from Getty Images
Tulsa @ #23 Tulane
The number 23 ranked Tulane Green Waves faced the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes. A late touchdown from Tulsa nearly gave them the victory, but their two-point conversion attempt would fail, meaning that the Green Waves would hold on for a 24-22 victory.
Baylor @ #25 Kansas State
After their defeat to the Texas Longhorns last week, the number 25 ranked Kansas State Wildcats (another team called Wildcats) faced the Baylor Bears. Baylor quarterback Blake Shapen threw for 4 touchdowns, in a game in which Wildcats quarterback Will Howard became the all-time leader in touchdown passes at Kansas State. The Wildcats would have the last laugh in this game, dominated the Bears 59-25