We'll keep you up to date on all the games worth noting from across the country throughout Saturday.
Alabama 21, LSU 17. Tiger Stadium was rocking, Alabama couldn't move the ball and LSU couldn't be stopped. And none of it mattered. LSU had marched half the field and had a 2nd-and-7 at the Alabama 29 when the Crimson Tide forced a loss of three yards to set up a 3rd-and-10. Two plays later, LSU missed a field goal and Alabama took over at the 28 with 1:34 still to play. To that point in the second half, Crimson Tide quarterback A.J. McCarron had completed one pass for zero yards in the second half, but four completions for 72 yards later and Alabama had a 21-17 lead it would not relenquish. LSU forced two turnovers and committed none, but the lion's share of costly mistakes belonged to the home team: two missed field goals, a failed fake field goal and a botched onside kick cost the Tigers in the end. Les Miles' team out-executed Alabama for most of the night. The Tigers went 10-for-20 on third down to the Tide's 1-for-9, and Zach Mettenberger's 298 passing yards more than doubled the Alabama defense's season average. And yet it is Alabama celebrating its 13th straight victory.
Kansas State 44, Oklahoma State 30. Kansas State forced five turnovers while committing none of their own, built a 38-17 lead in the third quarter and rode out the final frame to move to 9-0 on the year. A vintage Collin Klein performance (16-of-22 for 245 yards, 17 carries for 64 yards and a touchdown) ended at the 9:48 mark of the third quarter when Klein left due to an apparent wrist injury. Daniel Sams completed 5-of-6 passes for 45 yards and rushed seven times for 20 yards in relief. Speaking of relief, after starter Wes Lunt was knocked from the game, Oklahoma State's third-string quarterback Clint Chelf connected on 16-of-27 passes for 233 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
Oregon 62, USC 51. 113 points, 16 touchdowns, 1,345 yards of total offense, 68 first downs and two punts. This was pretty effective counter-programming to LSU-Alabama. Chip Kelly's team got off to a 21-3 lead and stayed two steps ahead of USC for the rest of the night. The Trojans pulled with 34-31 and 41-38 in the third quarter and both times the Ducks responded with touchdowns. Neither team had an answer for the other's strongsuit. Oregon ran for 426 yards and five touchdowns, while USC threw for 484 yards and five scores. The difference came in the sharp play of Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota (20-of-23 for 304 yards and four touchdowns) and Oregon's 3-1 edge in turnovers.
Notre Dame 29, Pittsburgh 26 (triple overtime). There's surviving and then there's surviving. Notre Dame executed the latter by managing to win a game in which it lost the turnover battle 3-0, including losing two turnovers near the Pittsburgh end zone (one in double overtime) and missed a field goal. Brian Kelly and co.'s chances seemed dead when Fighting Irish running back Cierre Wood lost the ball when diving into the end zone in the first frame of double overtime, but Pittsburgh missed a field goal on the ensuing possession. The Notre Dame defense forced a field goal at the top of the third overtime, and quarterback Everett Golson sneaked into the end zone to move Notre Dame to 9-0. Notre Dame survived, and now they advance.
Nebraska 28, Michigan State 24. Taylor Martinez hit Jamal Turner in the corner of the end zone with eight seconds left to give its second down-to-the-wire win in three weeks. Both teams were determined to pound out the win on the ground, as the Spartans ran for 238 yards and the Cornhuskers responded with 313 yards of their own. Martinez led the way for Nebraska, rushing for 205 yards, including a 35-yard scoring scamper to pull Nebraska within three at 24-21 midway through the fourth quarter. He also threw for 160 yards and two scores, including the aformentioned game-winner. The win keeps the steering wheel firmly in the hands of Bo Pelini and co. in the Big Ten's Legends Division.
TCU 39, West Virginia 38 (double overtime). Yet another thrilling game between the Big 12's middle class. West Virginia had the game in hand when Tavon Austin took a punt 76 yards for a touchdown with 3:19 to play, but Trevone Boykin connected with Josh Boyce for a 94-yard catch-and-run with 1:28 remaining to force overtime. After a stalemate in the first frame, West Virginia scored on the first play of double overtime on a 25-yard strike from Geno Smith to Stedman Bailey. TCU punched right back with a 25-yard score on their first play, and Gary Patterson went for the jugular when Boykin connected with Boyce for two and the win, but only after the play was upheld by video review.
Texas 31, Texas Tech 22. Texas ran the ball early, late and not much in between but it was enough to hold off Texas Tech for Mack Brown's first win over a top 25 foe since 2010. Bryan Harsin dialed up an explosive passing game, connecting on 11 passes for 264 yards and three touchdowns. The much-maligned Texas defense didn't do anything spectacular but did enough to win. They forced three field goals in five Texas Tech red zone trips and didn't allow a play longer than 25 yards.
Georgia 37, Ole Miss 10. Victory didn't always seem certain for Mark Richt's Bulldogs as Hugh Freeze and Ole Miss took a 10-0 lead with 11:45 to play in the second quarter. But Georgia ran off the game's final 37 points, the biggest of which came when Aaron Murray found Tavarres King for a 40-yard score just three seconds before halftime to put the Bulldogs up 14-10. The SEC East will now be locked up at next week's Georgia-Auburn game. A win gives Georgia the East title, while an Auburn win would send Florida to Atlanta.
Florida 14, Missouri 7. It wasn't pretty, but Florida got it done in the way they've become known for so far under Will Muschamp. The Gators ran the ball 33 times and completed only 12 passes, but the biggest play of the day was a screen pass to Florida running back Mike Gillislee for a 45-yard score to put UF up for good. Missouri ran close to 30 plays in Florida territory but managed just seven points. Early in the fourth quarter the Tigers had a 1st-and-10 at the Florida 25 and promptly retreated 20 yards before punting. Missouri threw into the end zone twice to end the game, but quaterback James Franklin threw his fourth pick of the game on fourth down from Florida's 21-yard line.
Oklahoma 35, Iowa State 20. Kirk Herbstreit called this game a potential trap for Oklahoma and things appeared headed that way late in the first half with OU leading just 7-6 after two Landry Jones interceptions. But the Sooners pieced together a four play, 75-yard drive with 14 seconds to go before halftime. Oklahoma filled the box score, achieving 34 first downs 405 passing yards and 188 rushing yards. Oklahoma has now won its last 20 games following a regular season loss.
Texas A&M 38, Mississippi State 13. In all honesty, the final score isn't an accurate picture of what a mismatch this game was. The Aggies did anything they wanted to offensively, outgaining Mississippi State by 299 yards in the first half. For the day Kevin Sumlin's team posted 718 yards of total offense (357 passing/361 rushing) with 36 first downs. In going 9-for-16 on third down, Texas A&M touched the ball 11 times and put together nine drives of nine plays or more. On the flip side, Mississippi State also possessed the ball 11 times and had just two nine-play drives. The Bulldogs had no success in corralling quarterback sensation Johnny Manziel as he connected on 30-of-36 passes for 311 yards and led the Aggies with 21 rushes for 129 yards and two touchdowns.
Louisville 45, Temple 17. The initial meeting of Urban Meyer's former coordinators goes to the defense as Charlie Strong's Cardinals moved to 9-0. Temple opened the game with a 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and played Louisville to a draw over the game's first 20 minutes. But Louisville imposed its will from there, scoring the final 28 points of the game. Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater completed 19-of-28 passes for 324 yards and five touchdowns.