Louisville, Ky. — Lamar Jackson lost the ball, No. 11 Louisville lost the game to rival Kentucky and it remains to be seen how it all will impact the Heisman Trophy race that once belonged to the Cardinals quarterback just a few weeks ago.
The Louisville sophomore had a record-setting day on Saturday, even striking a spontaneous Heisman pose following a game-tying touchdown midway through the fourth quarter before all that jubilation turned to disappointment after a 41-38 loss. Jackson didn’t want to talk about the Heisman after the game, instead focusing on his team that was trying to digest another mistake-filled loss.
“This loss is gonna be hard,” Jackson said. “It’s our rival. Our seniors didn’t go out right.”
Kentucky’s seniors are going out on a high note.
Austin MacGinnis’ 47-yard field goal with 12 seconds remaining gave the Wildcats (7-5) the upset, an unexpected turnaround after Jackson was driving the Cardinals toward a go-ahead score late in the game. Jackson’s fumble at Kentucky’s 10 was recovered by Courtney Love with 1:45 left.
Stephen Johnson then led the Wildcats’ downfield and into position for MacGinnis’ game-winning kick that ended Kentucky’s five-game losing streak in the series.
“I had great confidence in him,” Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said of MacGinnis. “I was numb. I just wanted to finish it.”
Jackson’s desperation heave as time expired from deep in Cardinals territory was intercepted by Mike Edwards, his second pick of the game, and set off a wild celebration among the Wildcats and their fans.
MacGinnis might have been the happiest Wildcat, having earlier saved Kentucky’s season with a 51-yard kick to beat Mississippi State. This one provided the program’s first seven-win season since 2009.
“As soon as we got that fumble I knew my team was going to give me a chance,” said MacGinnis, who also kicked a 35-yarder. “I can’t give enough love to my snapper and holder.”
Jackson likely could have wrapped up the Heisman with his record-setting day, but a second consecutive loss could impact the race. Jackson’s day included three interceptions — one of which was converted into a touchdown — and his late fumble led to the game-winning kick.
Louisville running back Brandon Radcliff, however, said this loss was not Jackson’s fault.
“He got us all these wins,” Radcliff said. “He’s a great player. The competitive spirit he’s got, he’s always going to put it on himself. Nobody in this locker room believes this (loss) is on Lamar.”
Jackson tallied his school-record eighth 100-yard rushing game and broke the Louisville season mark for rushing yards. His four touchdowns also broke the Atlantic Coast Conference single-season record (he has 51), but the Cardinals (9-3) were left wondering what might have been — again.
“Sometimes in this game, you find ways to win and sometimes you find ways to lose games,” Louisville coach Bobby Petrino said. “I certainly feel like we found a way to lose that game. Give Kentucky credit.”
Kentucky outgained Louisville, 581-561.
“I had a missed throw that could’ve sealed the game,” said Johnson, who was named the game’s Most Valuable Player. “I’m really happy with the offense.”
Jackson accounted for four touchdowns and 452 yards (171 rushing, 281 passing) for Louisville and broke Howard Stevens’ 1,429 yards rushing mark in 1971. He also broke the ACC single-season record for TDs accounted for previously held by Clemson’s Deshaun Watson. Turnovers, however, were too costly to overcome as Jackson threw three interceptions.
(At) No. 4 Clemson 56, South Carolina 7: Deshaun Watson tied his career high with six touchdown passes, three to Mike Williams, and the Tigers took another, strong step to the College Football Playoff.
If Clemson (11-1, No. 4 CFP) doesn’t stumble against Virginia Tech next week in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship, it will be off to college football’s final four for a second straight season.
The Gamecocks (6-6) were little more than a speed bump on that road that the Tigers got past quickly, jumping out to a 21-0 lead in the opening quarter and cruising to a third straight win in the Palmetto State’s biggest sporting event.
“We wanted to jump on these boys real quick,” Watson said. “That’s the motto every game, put pressure on them and have them back on their heels.”
Watson finished with 347 yards and matched the six TDs he threw in his first college start against North Carolina in 2014. He also likely crept a bit closer in the Heisman Trophy race to Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson, whose team lost for a second straight week.
Watson and Williams got things going with a 34-yard TD catch. Then Williams’ dragged South Carolina’s Jamarcus King on his back for several yards during a 19-yard scoring catch. By the time Jordan Leggett scored on a wide open 11-yard grab, Clemson was in front to stay and South Carolina defenders were yelling at each other.
Wayne Gallman rushed for 112 yards and a touchdown. Williams caught six passes for 100 yards.
The Tigers defense held the Gamecocks to 62 yards in the first half and posted its biggest margin of victory in the series since a 51-0 win in 1900.
South Carolina avoided the shutout in the third quarter on a 33-yard halfback pass from Deebo Samuel to Bryan Edwards
(At) No. 9 Colorado 27, No. 21 Utah 22: The Buffaloes won the Pac-12 South title thanks to a senior-laden defense that forced two huge fumbles by Utes star running back Joe Williams. Cornerback Chidobe Awuzie also had a touchdown-saving tackle after a 93-yard kickoff return.
Colorado (11-2, 8-1, No. 9 CFP) will face sixth-ranked Washington in the conference championship next weekend.
With the first sellout crowd in Boulder since 2008 itching to storm the field, the Utes (8-4, 5-4) pulled to 27-22 on Demari Simpkins’ 7-yard TD catch with 1:34 remaining. That capped an 80-yard drive that included two fourth-down conversions and was done largely without Williams, who hobbled off for the second time with an apparent shoulder injury.
The 2-point conversion toss by Troy Williams was incomplete, and the Utes’ onside kick failed when Kabion Ento recovered for Colorado, which ran out the clock to complete its worst-to-first revival in one of college football’s biggest comeback stories in recent years.
Linebacker Kenneth Olugbode scooped up Williams’ second fumble and returned it 10 yards for a TD that made it 27-16 early in the fourth quarter.
In the third quarter, Awuzie recovered when Williams fumbled at the Colorado 2 after a 12-yard gain.
Sefo Liufau’s 6-yard TD toss to Shay Fields on the final play of the third quarter was the senior’s 60th, tying Cody Hawkins’ school record and breaking a 13-13 tie.
Kyle Fulks returned the ensuing kickoff 93 yards but a diving Awuzie knocked Fulks out of bounds at the 3, a tackle that proved pivotal when the Utes had to settle for a field goal that made it 20-16.
(At) No. 15 Florida State 31, No. 13 Florida 13: Dalvin Cook rushed for 153 yards and a touchdown as the Seminoles defeated the Gators for the fourth straight year.
Cook’s 17-yard score in the first quarter was his 45th career rushing touchdown, which broke Greg Allen’s 32-year old mark. The junior is also the first Florida State running back since Sammie Smith (1986-88) with three straight 100-yard games against Florida.
The Seminoles (9-3, No. 14 CFP) rushed for 249 yards and averaged 6.2 yards per carry against the nation’s fifth-ranked run defense. Freddie Stevenson had a 27-yard touchdown on his lone carry during the fourth quarter to make it 24-6 and put the game out of reach.
The victory ties the Seminoles’ longest winning streak in the Sunshine State Showdown series. They also won four straight from 1977-80 and 1987-90.
Deondre Francois was 15-of-26 for 138 yards, including a 46-yard touchdown to Travis Rudolph during the third quarter to give the Seminoles a 17-6 lead. Francois also had a 9-yard rushing touchdown late in the fourth quarter for the final score.
Florida (8-3, No. 15 CFP) took the opening kickoff and drove to the FSU 2, but on fourth-and-goal Austin Appleby was pressured by safety Tre Marshall and threw an incomplete pass intended for Brandon Powell in the end zone.
After driving 75 yards on its opening drive, the Gators could muster just 132 yards the rest of the game. Florida was also 0 of 12 on third-down conversions, and it was the first time since 1980 Florida State has shut out an opponent on third down. Appleby was 19 of 35 for 149 yards. Jordan Scarlett, who had three 100-yard games in his past five, was held to 53 yards.
Florida’s lone touchdown came during the fourth quarter as Marcell Harris recovered a fumbled punt by Auden Tate and returned it 12 yards for a score.
No. 19 West Virginia 49, (at) Iowa State 19: Skyler Howard threw for 330 yards and tied a career high with five touchdowns and the Mountaineers rolled.
Freshman Martell Pettaway burned his redshirt and ran for 181 yards in his debut for West Virginia (9-2, 6-2 Big 12), which outscored Iowa State, 28-3, in the second half.
Howard’s 71-yard TD toss to Shelton Gibson and Pettaway’s 4-yard touchdown run, the first of his career, made it 35-19 late in the third quarter. Gibson followed with a 40-yard TD catch to give West Virginia to 23-point cushion.
Justin Crawford, who ran for 331 yards against Oklahoma last week, was replaced by Pettaway after two series.
Kene Nwangwu had a 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and Cole Netten kicked four field goals to lead the Cyclones (3-9, 2-7). But settling for three instead of converting for seven points — and losing the turnover battle 4-0 — killed Iowa State’s chances.
Jacob Park threw for 371 yards and David Montgomery ran for 141 yards for the Cyclones.
(At) Vanderbilt 45, No. 24 Tennessee 34: Kyle Shurmur threw for a career-high 416 yards, and the Commodores scored the final 21 points in the upset.
Vanderbilt (6-6, 3-5 SEC) earned a bowl berth for the first time since 2013 thanks to their Academic Progress Rate (APR) score before kickoff. Then the Commodores went out and turned in the best offensive performance yet in picking up their sixth win this year and improving coach Derek Mason’s best record in his third season.
Vanderbilt scored its most points against an SEC opponent since scoring 49 against Mississippi State on Sept. 25, 1971. The Commodores outgained Tennessee, 608-516, in beating the Volunteers for the third time in five seasons.
Tennessee (8-4, 4-4) led 31-24 at halftime after taking a 21-7 lead to open the game. Then the Commodores held the Vols to a field goal in the second half with Aaron Medley banging a 37-yard field goal off the right upright with 6:46 left.
Khari Blasingame scored on a 12-yard TD run late in the third quarter, then Vanderbilt linebacker Zach Cunningham hit and stripped Joshua Dobbs of the ball at the end of the third quarter, forcing Tennessee’s second turnover of the game. That set up a 3-yard TD run by Darrius Sims with 12:15 left that gave Vanderbilt its first lead of the game at 38-34.
Alvin Kamara scored three touchdowns for Tennessee within the first 17 minutes as the Vols jumped out to a 21-7 lead. Dobbs completed his first 11 passes and finished 31-of-34 for 340 yards passing and two TDs.
Ralph Webb, who became Vandy’s all-time leading scorer in the second quarter, finished off the scoring with a 28-yard TD run with 4:06 left. Webb finished with 116 yards rushing.