There are now only 2 weeks left in the regular season for College Football. This means that we are getting closer to finding out who will make the College Football Playoffs. Next week, every team faced their rivals, in a week cleverly termed “Rivalry week”. But, that is next week, we still have this week’s games to play.
So, what happened in week 12 of the 2023 College Football Season?
Georgia Stay Unbeaten
Last year, the number one ranked Georgia Bulldogs and the number 18 ranked Tennessee Volunteers played a thrilling game. The Volunteers came into the game ranked number one and were beaten by the Bulldogs. Tennessee has never been the same since. Could this year’s game be a similar affair, or would the unbeaten Bulldogs continue their strong season?
The Volunteers had the opening play of the game, and extremely quickly took the lead from this. On the opening play of the game, Volunteers running back Jaylen Wright found the endzone, scoring a 75-yard rushing touchdown to give Tennessee the early lead.
In reply to this, the Bulldogs were able to find points. Starting from their 25-yard line, the Bulldogs’ offense, led by quarterback Carson Beck, was able to drive down the field and reach the Volunteers’ 28-yard line. Here, Beck would rush for 8-yard, but would then fumble the ball. Luckily for Georgia, they would be able to recover the ball. But they were unable to recover their drive, which stalled at the 24-yard line. This set up Bulldogs’ kicker, Peyton Woodring with a 42-yard field goal attempt, which he would be successful with.
The Bulldogs would soon take the lead in the game. Starting from their 35-yard line, Beck and company were able to advance down to the Tennessee red zone. Then, from the 18-yard line, Dilon Bell found Marcus Rosemy for the touchdown pass to give the Bulldogs the lead.Embed from Getty Images
Georgia would extend this lead a drive later. On this drive, they would get into the Volunteers’ red zone and down to the 9-yard line. From there, Beck would find Bell for the 9-yard touchdown pass. The lead would become even wider on the next Bulldogs drive. This time they would be able to make it down to the Volunteers’ 3-yard line. Then, Beck would find the reliable target of Brock Bowers for the 3-yard touchdown pass.
The Volunteers were able to score something before halftime. Led by quarterback Joe Milton III, Tennessee was able to drive down the field and reach the Bulldogs’ 19-yard line with 8 seconds left in the half. This set up Volunteers’ kicker Charles Campbell with a 37-yard field goal attempt. Campbell would be successful with this, and as the teams returned to the locker rooms at halftime, the Bulldogs would have a 24-10 lead over the Volunteers.
The Bulldogs had the opening possession of the second half but were unable to do anything with it, and quickly punted away to the Volunteers, who in turn were unable to do anything with the ball as well.
However, on the Bulldogs’ next drive, they were able to move the ball and find points. Starting from their 30-yard line, Carson Beck and company were able to quickly make it down into the Volunteers’ red zone and down to the 8-yard line. From there, Beck would find Romsey-Jacksaint for an 8-yard touchdown pass to extend their lead over Tennessee.
The Bulldogs lead would become even larger on their next drive. On this drive, Georgia was able to reach the Volunteers’ 15-yard line. From there, something that was not a Carson Beck touchdown pass occurred. On this occasion, Bulldogs’ running back Kendall Milton found the endzone for a 15-yard rushing touchdown.
The Volunteers did try to score some points on their next drive. The Milton-led offense was able to reach the Bulldogs’ 37-yard line before their drive stalled. This set up Campbell with a 55-yard field goal attempt, which he would miss.Embed from Getty Images
However, the Volunteers would get the ball back again. On the second play of the Bulldogs’ drive, they would fumble the ball. This would be scooped up by the Volunteers defense at the Bulldogs’ 34-yard line. This gave them a strong field position to score what would be a consolation touchdown. Milton and company were able to drive down to the Bulldogs’ 4-yard line. Here, they would attempt a 4th down conversion, which would be unsuccessful for Tennessee.
This would essentially end the match. This would mean that the number one-ranked Georgia Bulldogs had defeated the number 18-ranked Tennessee Volunteers 38-10.
This victory means nothing in relation to the SEC race. Georgia had already sealed their place in the Championship game. However, the victory keeps the Bulldogs’ unbeaten season alive, keeping them in prime contention for a certain spot in the College Football Playoffs. The defeat means that Tennessee fell to 7-4 for the season. Next week, the Bulldogs face state rivals Georgia Tech with their unbeaten season on the line, while Tennessee faces Vanderbilt.
The Huskies Hold On To Their Record
The number 5 ranked Washington Huskies are one of 6 teams remaining in College Football that are unbeaten this season. It is looking like an unbeaten season is what you will need if you want to get into the College Football Playoff (the only exception to this rule seems to be whoever loses next week’s encounter between Michigan and Ohio State). Could the Huskies continue their push against the number 11-ranked Oregon State Beavers?
The Huskies would have the opening possession of the game and would be able to open the scoring from it. Led by quarterback, and potential Heisman Trophy winner Michael Penix Jr, the Huskies’ offense was able to drive down into the Beavers’ red zone and then down to the 12-yard line. From there, Penix would find Rome Odunze for a 12-yard touchdown pass to give Washington an early lead.
This lead would not last long. On the Beavers’ opening drive of the game, they would be able to quickly make it into the Huskies’ territory. Led by quarterback D.J Uiagalelei, the Beavers were able to reach the Huskies’ 3-yard line, helped by a collection of medium-length passes from Uiagalelei. Then, from the 3-yard line, Beavers’ running back Damien Martinez would find the endzone for a 3-yard rushing touchdown to tie the game early on.
While that drive would show Oregon State at their best, this next drive would be them at their worst. They would start their drive at their 34-yard line and would be able to advance to the 50-yard line. They would then be sent back 10 yards due to a holding penalty on a member of the Beavers’ offense. It would soon be 4th and 17 on the Beavers’ 40-yard line, which set up a punt. However, the kicker would miss the snap, and the ball would roll down into the Beavers endzone before being kicked out of play. This resulted in a safety for the Huskies, which gave them a 2-point lead in the game.
The Huskies would be next to make a mistake. On a drive that started on their 46-yard line, the Huskies were able to move down to the Beavers’ 48-yard line. From here, Huskies running back Dilon Johnson would run for 43 yards down to the Beavers’ 5-yard line. However, at the 5-yard line, Johnson would fumble the ball, and the ball would then be scooped up by the Beavers’ defense.
But, the mistakes would not stop there. On the very next drive, Oregon State would make an error. From their 5-yard line, Uiagalelei would throw a 14-yard pass to Anthony Gould. Gould would then fumble the ball, which would be recovered by the Washington defense to regain the ball for the Huskies.
Washington would be able to take full advantage of this mistake from the Beavers. From the Beavers’ 20-yard line, the Huskies would immediately reach the 5-yard; line due to a defensie pass interference penalty against the Oregon State defense. Then, from the 5-yard line, Penix would find the endzone for a 5-yard rushing touchdown to increase the Huskies lead.
In reply to this, the Beavers were able to shake off their previous mistakes and found some points. The Uiagalelei-led offense was able to drive to the Huskies’ 20-yard line. However, this is where their drive would stall, and set up Oregon State kicker Atticus Sappington with a 38-yard field goal attempt. He would be successful with this, slightly closing the gap to the Huskies.
But, this gap would not be closed for long. On the Huskies’ next drive, Penix and company were able to drive down to the Beavers’ 32-yard line. From here, he would pair up with Odunze again for a 32-yard touchdown to increase their lead. In reply to this, the Beavers would be able to reach the Huskies’ 48-yard line, before on a 4th down conversion attempt, Uiagalelei threw a interception.
This would mean that at halftime, the Huskies would have a 22-10 lead over the Beavers.
The Beavers would have the opening possession of the second half, and it would end in the same way that their final drive in the first half did. From the Beavers’ 20-yard line, Uiagalelei’s pass was intercepted by Jabbar Muhammad. This gave the Huskies a strong field position to score another touchdown to widen their lead. Could they?
The drive started from the Beavers’ 32-yard line, and the Huskies struggled to find a first down. Their drive would stall on the 22-yard line, which set up a 39-yard field goal attempt from Huskies’ kicker Grady Gross. He would miss this attempt and hand possession back to Oregon State.
While the Huskies struggled to find points from a small distance, the Beavers, who had struggled on offense so far in this game, were finally able to put something together. Starting from their 22-yard line, the Beavers offense was able to advance the ball down into the Huskies offense and then down to the 6-yard line. Then, due to a penalty against the Huskies, the Beavers were able to move down to the 2-yard line. But, all good things do not last forever, and on the next play, the Beavers were forced back 10 yards due to a holding penalty. This did not stop them, and Uiagalelei was able to advance the Beavers down to the 5-yard line. Then, Damien Martinez would find the endzone to score a 5-yard rushing touchdown to make it a one-possession game as we went into the final quarter.Embed from Getty Images
Oregon State now had the momentum in this game, and on their next drive, they were able to score more points. Like their previous drive, the Beavers were able to make their way into the Huskies’ red zone. But, on this occasion, the drive would stall on the Huskies’ 17-yard line. This set up a 35-yard field goal attempt from Sappington. He would be successful with this, which meant that the Huskies’ lead would only be 2 points. Could their unbeaten season end here?
The following Washington drive ended in a punt. This handed possession back to the Beavers, who were on the hunt for a score to take the lead. Their drive would start from their 5-yard line. The Beavers would struggle to move the ball far and were able to make it to their 47-yard line when they faced a game-deciding 4th down conversion. They had to make 5 yards on this play, or the game would be over. Uiagalelei’s pass would be ruled incomplete, and the game would all but be over,
The time ran out, the number 5 ranked Washington Huskies had defeated the number 11 ranked Oregon State Beavers 22-20.
In my opinion, the Huskies were lucky to be winners in this game. All their points were scored in the first half, and if the final fourth down conversion attempt from the Beavers had been successful, I do believe that Oregon State would have been able to find the endzone and record the win. But, that did not happen. The victory keeps Washington unbeaten and in contention for a college football playoff spot. The narrow defeat means that the Beavers fall to 8-3 for the season. Next week, the Huskies face Washington State, while Oregon State faces the Oregon Ducks.
Clemson Are Back, But It Is Too Late
This game has no impact on the College Football playoffs but may have an effect on the NFL Draft. We are again talking about Drake Maye and the number 20-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels. Their season is over. They cannot win the ACC and are already bowl-eligible. They faced a Clemson Tigers side that after a poor start to the season, have been on a resurgence. Who would win this game?
The Tar Heels had the opening possession of the game and were able to show a strong offense on this drive. Starting from their 25-yard line, the offense, led by quarterback Drake Maye, was able to make its way down to the Tigers’ 2-yard line. This was aided by a 43-yard pass from Maye to Devontez Walker, something we have seen on many occasions this season. While at the 2-yard line, the Tar Heels were forced back 5 yards due to a false start penalty against their offense. But then, from the 7-yard line, Tar Heels’ running back Omarion Hampton would fumble the ball. This would be scooped up by the Tigers, who gained possession. However, Clemson would be unable to do anything with this possession and quickly punted back to North Carolina.
A few drives later, the Tigers would be able to put some form of offense together. On a drive that started at their 2-yard line, the Tigers’ offense, led by quarterback Cade Klubnik was able to advance down to the Tar Heels’ 48-yard line. But then, the Tigers would make a mistake. Running back Tyler Davis would fumble the ball, which would be scooped up by the Tar Heels defense. North Carolina would then take full advantage of this, moving the ball down to the Tigers’33-yard line. From there, Maye would find J.J Jones for the 33-yard touchdown pass to hand the Tar Heels an early lead.
We would then see a repeat of something we had seen earlier. Omarion Hampton would record a 64-yard rush to put the Tar Heels at the one-yard line. However, on his play, he would fumble the ball but would be able to recover it for a touchdown. The play then was under review (like all scoring plays), and the play was overturned. The ruling on the play now was that a touchback had been recorded, which handed possession to Clemson at their 20-yard line.Embed from Getty Images
The Tigers would be able to drive down the field from this next possession. Klubnik and company moved the Tigers’ offense down to the Tar Heels’ 3-yard line. From here, Klubnik would find Jake Briningstool for a 3-yard touchdown pass to tie the game.
We would then have a period where the majority of drives were unable to go anywhere and ended in punts. This period would end with a Clemson drive. Starting from their 33-yard line, the Tigers were able to reach the North Carolina 5-yard line. This was aided by a large penalty against the Tar Heels’ offense for unnecessary roughness. Then, from the 5-yard line, Will Shipley would run with the ball but would fumble the ball. The ball would then be scooped up by the Tar Heels defense, handing them possession.
Clemson would be more successful on their next drive. Like their previous, the Tigers were able to reach deep into the Tar Heels’ red zone, and then down to the 3-yard line. But this time, there would be no fumbles. Klubnik would run into the endzone to record a 3-yard rushing touchdown to hand the Tigers a 14-7 lead over the Tar Heels at halftime.
The Tigers would have the opening possession of the second half but would be unable to do anything with this. In reply, the Tar Heels would be able to deliver some offense but would turn the ball over on downs just inside the Tigers’ territory.
From this, Clemson would be able to quickly reach the deep ends of the Tar Heels’ red zone, as they have done before. Then, from the 3-yard line for a 4th down attempt, running back Phil Mafah would find the endzone for a 3-yard rushing touchdown to add to their lead.
In reply to this, the Tar Heels were able to quickly reply to this score with a score of their own. The North Carolina offense would be able to quickly move to their 45-yard line. From here, Hampton would again attempt a long run, but this time he would find the endzone for a 55-yard rushing touchdown to make it a one-possession game.
But, this did not last for long. On the next drive of the game, the Tigers were able to reach the Tar Heels’ 33-yard line. From here, Shipley would find the endzone for a 33-yard rushing touchdown to return the lead to two touchdowns. On their next drive, Clemson would add to this lead. The Klubnik-led offense was again able to advance deep inside the Tar Heels’ red zone to the 4-yard line. However, this time, the Tigers drive would stall here, setting up Tigers’ kicker Jonathan Weitz with a 21-yard field goal attempt which he would be successful with.Embed from Getty Images
The Tar Heels were able to find the endzone again on their next drive. From the Tigers’ 3-yard line, Hampton would score the rushing touchdown. North Carolina would then attempt a 2-point conversion attempt, which would be unsuccessful. No other scores would happen in this game, with the Tar Heels struggling on offense, and Drake Maye ending his game throwing an interception.
In the end, the Clemson Tigers defeated the number 20 ranked North Carolina Tar Heels 31-20.
It seemed like the Tar Heels were never in this game. After last week’s double-overtime victory over Duke, it felt like most of these players were still recovering from this game. The defeat means that they fall to 8-3 for the season. For Clemson, it is another return to their old form. They improved to 7-4 for the season, and while they cannot say that they are the best team in the ACC this year, they are at least bowl-eligible and can say that they defeated one of the basketball schools in the conference. Next week, North Carolina ends their season at NC State, while Clemson faces nonconference, but state rivals, South Carolina.
What Happened to the Other Ranked Teams?
Minnesota @ #2 Ohio State
The number 2 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes practiced for their season-deciding game next week with an easy victory over the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Buckeyes running back TreVeyon Henderson would score two touchdowns as the Buckeyes recorded a 37-3 victory. This keeps their unbeaten record and nicely sets up “The Game” next week against Michigan
#3 Michigan @ Maryland
Before facing Ohio State next week, the unbeaten number 3 ranked Michigan Wolverines face a challenge in the Maryland Terrapins. This game would be too close for comfort for the Wolverines. But Michigan was able to hold off Tua Tagovailoa’s younger brother to record a 31-24 victory over Maryland to set up the decider.
North Alabama @ #4 Florida State
The number 4 ranked Florida State Seminoles are unbeaten and are in pole position to be the 4 seed in the College Football playoffs. This week, they faced the North Alabama Lions. The Lions were able to take a 13-point lead at the end of the first quarter. But then, the Seminoles would strike back hard, preventing North Alabama from scoring any points in the rest of the game. In the end, the Seminoles would record a 58-13 victory.
#6 Oregon @ Arizona State
The number 6 ranked Oregon Ducks faced the Arizona State Sun Devils. No surprises about who will win this game. Ducks quarterback Bo Nix would throw 6 touchdowns in the Ducks 49-13 demolition of the Sun Devils
#7 Texas @ Iowa State
The number 7 ranked Texas Longhorns continued their hunt for a place in the CFP with a game against the Iowa State Hurricanes. Longhorns quarterback Quinn Ewers threw two touchdowns in Texas’ 26-16 win over the Hurricanes. This win gives the Longhorns their first 10-win season since 2009 and keeps them in the conversation for a CFP spot if someone makes a mistake.Embed from Getty Images
Chattanooga @ #8 Alabama
The number 8 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide faced an FCS team this week, which may not help their narrow attempt to win a spot in the CFP. They are in the SEC Championship game, however, which will help them a lot. They faced the Chattanooga Mocs and destroyed them. Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Milroe threw 3 touchdowns as Bama recorded a 66-10 victory.
Florida @ #9 Missouri
The number 9 ranked Missouri Tigers faced the Florida Gators, who have not had the best season. The Gators staged a late comeback, to hand them the lead with about 2 minutes to go. But a 30-yard field goal from Tigers kicker Harrison Mevis gave Missouri a 33-31 victory.
#10 Louisville @ Miami
In a game that would decide who would face Florida State in the ACC Championship game, the number 10 ranked Louisville Cardinals faced the Miami Hurricanes. The game would be tight throughout, but a late touchdown pass from Cardinals quarterback Jack Plummer gave Louisville a 38-31 victory to put them into the Championship game.
Rutgers @ #12 Penn State
After last week’s shutout, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights faced the number 12-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions. Penn State quarterback Drew Allar left this game injured, but that did not stop the Nittany Lions offense, who cruised to a 27-6 victory over Rutgers
UL Monroe @ #13 Ole Miss
Like Alabama, the number 13 ranked Ole Miss Rebels faced the significantly weaker UL Monroe Warhawks, who have only won 2 games this season. No surprise what happened in this game. The Rebels would struggle in the first half, but quarterback Jaxson Dart would throw 3 touchdowns in the third quarterback to give Ole Miss a 35-3 victory.
#14 Oklahoma @ BYU
The number 14 ranked Oklahoma Sooners faced another Big-12 new boy for the first and last time, the BYU Cougars. The Sooners’ strong defense would help them to a narrow 31-24 victory.
Georgia State @ #15 LSU
The number 15 ranked LSU Tigers faced the Georgia State Panthers. LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels had a day to remember, throwing 6 touchdowns in the Tigers’ 56-14 victory over Georgia State.
Illnois @ #16 Iowa
The number 16 ranked Iowa Hawkeyes, who shut out Rutgers last week, faced the Illinois Fighting Illini. The game was close throughout, with Illinois close to recording what would be a massive upset over Iowa. But, a late 30-yard rushing touchdown from Kaleb Johnson would give the Hawkeyes a 15-13 victory and advance them to a 9-2 record for the season.
#22 Utah @ #17 Arizona
The number 17 ranked Arizona Wildcats faced the number 22 Utah Utes in a game for the minor places in the PAC-12. The Wildcats would score 3 touchdowns in the first quarter and would continue to score throughout the game. The Wildcats would cruise to a 42-18 victory over the Utes.
Wake Forest @ #19 Notre Dame
The number 19 ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish faced the Wake Forest Demon Deacons in a game that seemed to only have one winner. Notre Dame quarterback Sam Hartman threw 4 touchdowns in their 45-7 victory over Wake Forest
#21 Kansas State @ #25 Kansas
In a battle of Kansas, the number 21-ranked Kansas State Wildcats faced the number 25-ranked Kansas Jayhawks. These teams have had a similar season, and the game was close. But a late touchdown from Wildcats quarterback Will Howard gave Kansas State a 31-27 victory over their state rivals.
#23 Oklahoma State @ Houston
The number 23 ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys faced Big-12 newboys the Houston Cougars in a closer game than people thought it would be. After taking an early lead in the game, the Cougars would struggle to keep up with the Cowboys, who would dominate Houston in the second half. Cowboys running back Ollie Gordon would score 3 touchdowns as the Cowboys recorded a 43-30 victory.
#24 Tulane @ Florida Atlantic
The number 24 ranked Tulane Green Waves faced the Florida Atlantic Owls, who infamously made the final four in basketball last season. But, this is not basketball, and the Owls were demolished. Green Waves’ quarterback Michael Pratt scored 3 touchdowns in Tulane’s 24-8 victoryEmbed from Getty Images
Appalachian State @ James Madison
An honorable mention here. Coming into this week, the James Madison Dukes were unbeaten. This week they faced the Appalachian State Mountaineers. The Dukes are unbeaten no more. An overtime touchdown from Kaedin Robinson gave the Mountaineers a 26-23 victory to end what was an amazing season for James Madison. They need to play in a bowl.
So, that was week 12 in College Football. We have one week to go of the regular season. Next week, we will know which teams will play in their respective conferences’ championship game. We also have the game of the season, where the unbeaten Michigan Wolverines face the unbeaten Ohio State Buckeyes.