Saturday's Top 25 football: No. 5 Georgia holds on, beats No. 13 Auburn 21-14

John Zenor
Associated Press
Georgia wide receiver Dominick Blaylock (8) catches a pass and dives in for a touchdown as Auburn defensive back Christian Tutt (6) defends during the first half.

Auburn, Ala. — Georgia’s defense entered the fourth quarter vying for another shutout. The fifth-ranked Bulldogs ended it with two big stops — and another division title.

In between, things got interesting.

Jake Fromm passed for three touchdowns and Georgia’s defense delivered in the clutch, clinching the Southeastern Conference Eastern Division with a 21-14 victory over No. 13 Auburn on Saturday.

“Our kids were very resilient to come into this place and lose momentum — obviously lose momentum — and be able to go back out and get it,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. “I thought that showed some fortitude and ability to handle some tough, adverse things.”

The Bulldogs (9-1, 6-1 SEC, No. 4 CFP) sailed through three quarters with a 21-0 lead before Auburn (7-3, 4-3) rallied in the fourth.

Georgia held on to become the first team to win three consecutive SEC East titles since Florida won five in a row from 1992-96.

“It’s special and speaks a lot about this football program, our head coach and about our team in the locker room,” Fromm said. “Guys who are willing to come in and do whatever it takes.”

Fromm and De’Andre Swift produced enough to keep the Bulldogs on track for a shot at the College Football Playoffs. Most of the way, though, it was clear the game featured two of the league’s top defenses.

Auburn scored two touchdowns in the fourth, then had a pair of drives stopped on fourth down in the final minutes. Freshman Bo Nix threw three incompletions and was sacked on the Tigers’ final drive starting from their 27.

Fromm was 13-of-28 passing for just 110 yards, but had a 51-yard touchdown pass to Dominick Blaylock and a pair of 5-yarders to Eli Wolf and Brian Herrien. Swift ran for 106 yards on 17 carries.

Nix completed 30 of 50 passes for 245 yards and a touchdown. He also ran 13 times for 42 yards. Seth Williams caught 13 passes for 121 yards.

The Tigers finally scored on Nix’s 3-yard touchdown pass to Eli Stove with 10:04 left, taking advantage of a pass interference call on the previous third-down play. Auburn appeared to recover an onside kick but it was overturned upon review because of an illegal block by Anthony Schwartz.

A Georgia three-and-out and three minutes later, Nix dove into the end zone for a 2-yard score after a play fake.

It was the first rushing touchdown the Bulldogs had allowed all season.

Auburn again drove into Georgia territory with Nix running for 8 yards on a fourth-and-5 play. Harold Joiner couldn’t collect a pass that was slightly behind him on the next fourth-down play.

“It was a sprint out and I threw it behind Harold,” Nix said. “You can’t make mistakes like that.”

Smart didn’t give his defense too much credit for that one.

“The guy just missed the ball, it looked like to me,” the Bulldogs coach said. “He was wide open. I can’t say that we stopped them. We got them to fourth down and they gave us a gift.”

More Top 25

No. 1 LSU 58, (at) Mississippi 37: Joe Burrow threw for 489 yards and five touchdowns and LSU built a big lead and held off Mississippi.

Coming off an emotional 46-41 home win at Alabama last week, the Tigers (10-0, 6-0 Southeastern Conference) scored on four of their first five possessions jump out to a 28-0 lead over the Rebels (4-7, 2-5).

The teams combined for 1,328 yards of total offense, including 714 by the Tigers. Burrow enhanced his Heisman Trophy front-runner status, completing 32 of 42 passes, including touchdown passes of 34, 51 and 61 yards to Ja’Marr Chase (227 yards) and 12 and 7 yards to Justin Jefferson (112 yards).

Burrow completed 17 consecutive passes at one point to set a school record. He threw two interceptions in the second half as Ole Miss climbed closer, but put the game away with a 61-yard touchdown pass to Chase with 5:11 remaining.

Ole Miss freshman quarterback John Rhys Plumlee had 212 yards rushing yards, a school record for a quarterbacks, and three touchdowns and was 9 of 16 passing for 123 yards.

(At) No. 3 Clemson 53, Wake Forest 3: Trevor Lawrence tied his career high with four touchdowns, three to Tee Higgins, and Clemson won its 26th straight game and completed a second-straight perfect Atlantic Coast Conference regular season.

The Tigers (11-0, 8-0, No. 3 CFP) opened quickly and, after an uncomfortable stretch of four series with just a field goal, turned it on again right before halftime to win their 11th in a row over the Demon Deacons (7-3, 3-3).

Lawrence, the 6-foot-6 sophomore, left in the third quarter, finishing 21-of-27 for 272 yards. Travis Etienne ran for 121 yards, his sixth consecutive game with 100 or more yards and his seventh this season.

(At) No. 6 Oregon 34, Arizona 6: Justin Herbert threw for 333 yards and four touchdowns and Oregon won its ninth straight game and secured a spot in the Pac-12 championship game.

Graduate transfer Juwan Johnson caught five passes for 93 yards and a score for the Ducks (9-1, 7-0 Pac-12). Oregon hasn’t won seven straight in conference play to start a season since 2012, and no Pac-12 team has started 7-0 in league play since Stanford in 2015.

The loss slimmed Arizona’s chances of bowl eligibility. At 4-6 overall and 2-5 in conference, the Wildcats face No. 8 Utah (No. 7 CFP rankings) next Saturday before closing out the season at rival Arizona State.

(At) No. 8 Utah 49, UCLA 3: Zack Moss ran for 127 yards and two touchdowns and added 65 receiving yards to help Utah rout UCLA.

Moss moved into second-place for career all-purpose yardage at Utah. Tyler Huntley threw for a season-high 335 yards and two touchdowns on 14-of-18 passing. Brant Kuithe had a career-high 132 yards and a touchdown on five catches.

The Utes (9-1, 6-1 Pac-12, No. 7 CFP) beat the Bruins for the fourth straight season. Utah totaled 536 yards on offense.

UCLA (4-6, 4-3 Pac-12) saw a three-game winning streak snapped after committing five turnovers and averaging just 3.7 yards per play.

No. 10 Oklahoma 34, (at) No. 12 Baylor 31: Gabe Brkic kicked a 31-yard field goal with 1:45 left after Jalen Hurts threw four touchdown passes in a big comeback and Oklahoma kept its playoff hopes alive and ended No. 12 Baylor’s bid for an undefeated season.

While the Sooners (9-1, 6-1 Big 12, No. 10 CFP) were without standout receiver CeeDee Lamb, Hurts was 30-of-42 passing for 297 yards with all of his TDs coming after Baylor took a 28-3 lead early in the second quarter. The quarterback, who had three turnovers, also ran for 114 yards.

Baylor (9-1, 6-1, No. 13 CFP) had won 11 games in a row.

Oklahoma erased a three-touchdown halftime deficit and tied it at 31 on Hurts’ 2-yard TD pass to Brayden Willis with 5:25 left.

No. 11 Florida 23, (at) Missouri 6: Kyle Trask threw two touchdown passes after a sluggish first half for Florida.

Trask completed 23 of 35 passes for 282 yards. That was plenty of offense for Florida (9-2, 6-2 Southeastern Conference), which held Missouri to 204 total yards. Linebacker Jon Greenard had two sacks and five tackles for loss.

The Tigers (5-5, 2-4) have lost four straight games and haven’t scored a touchdown in the last two.

(At) No. 16 Notre Dame 52, No. 21 Navy 20: Chase Claypool caught four touchdown passes to match a school record and No. 16 Notre Dame shut down Navy’s triple-option.

The 17th straight home victory for Brian Kelly’s Fighting Irish did not sell out Notre Dame Stadium. It was the first time since 1973 Thanksgiving Day against Air Force, a string of 273 sold-out games. A crowd of 74,080, 3,542 below capacity, saw Notre Dame win for the 79th time in the 93-game series that has been played continuously since 1927.

Ian Book completed 14 of 20 passes for 284 yards and five touchdowns before exiting midway through the third quarter and the Irish (8-2, No. 16 CFP) up 45-3.

Claypool caught seven passes for 117 yards with scoring receptions of 7, 47 and 3 yards from Book to give the Irish a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter. Book threw a 70-yard touchdown pass to sophomore Braden Lenzy later in the quarter as Notre Dame took a 38-3 halftime lead and then hit Claypool with a 20-yard scoring pass on their final play of the game together.

The Midshipmen (7-2, No. 23 CFP) had won five in a row.

No. 17 Cincinnati 20, South Florida 17: Sam Crosa kicked a 37-yarder field goal as time expired to give Cincinnati at least a share of the American Athletic Conference East division title.

The Bearcats (8-1, 6-0, No. 17 CFP) rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit to win for the eighth straight time, getting touchdown runs from Michael Warren and Gerrid Doaks before Desmond Ridder led an 11-play, 60-yard drive to win the game. USF’s Spencer Shrader missed a 33-yard field goal that would have given the Bulls (4-6, 2-4) the lead with 2:07 remaining.

Ridder was just 9 of 18 passing for 78 yards, but he had a pair of big third-down completions on the winning march – the last a short flip to Warren, who rambled 30 yards to the USF 40. Warren ran for 11 yards on the play and finished with 134 yards rushing on 24 carries.

Jordan McCloud threw for 267 yards and one touchdown for USF, which led 10-0 at halftime. The Bulls clung to a 17-10 advantage entering the fourth quarter, but couldn’t put the Bearcats away.

No. 18 Memphis 45, (at) Houston 27: Brady White threw for 341 yards and five touchdowns and ran for another score and Memphis overcame a 10-point first-quarter deficit to beat Houston,

White completed 22 of 33 passes. Damonte Coxie caught four passes for 93 yards and two touchdowns, Antonio Gibson had four catches for 93 yards and a score, and Calvin Austin caught five passes for 81 yards and a touchdown.

Kenneth Gainwell finished with 99 rushing yards on 17 carries for Memphis, which outgained Houston 531-256. The Tigers (9-1, 5-1 American) have won five in a row. Houston (3-7, 1-5) lost its third straight.

Clayton Tune was 14-of-22 for 157 yards and a touchdown for the Cougars. Tune also had a 68-yard touchdown run, and Marquez Stevenson caught five passes for 89 yards and a touchdown.

(At) No. 21 Boise State 42, New Mexico 9: Jaylon Henderson threw for 292 yards and three touchdowns, and Sonatane Lui had two fumble recoveries, including one for a score, for Boise State.

Boise State (9-1, 5-0, No. 21 CFP), which maintained its one-game lead atop the Mountain Division, raced out to a 28-0 lead in the first quarter and was never seriously challenged.

New Mexico (2-8, 0-6) was playing for the first time since defensive lineman Nahje Flowers died on Nov. 5. The Lobos’ game with Air Force was postponed last weekend to allow the team time to grieve Flowers’ death.

(At) Iowa State 23, No. 22 Texas 21: Connor Assalley kicked a 36-yard field goal as time expired and Iowa State knocked off Texas to snap a two-game losing streak.

Brock Purdy had 354 yards passing and two TDs for the Cyclones (6-4, 4-3 Big 12). They beat the Longhorns (6-4, 4-3) for just the third time in 17 tries despite blowing a 13-point lead.

Brayden Narveson missed an apparent 42-yard field goal with 2:12 to go, but Texas was called for being offside and Iowa State was awarded a first down by inches.

Sam Ehlinger passed for 273 yards and three TDs for Texas, losers of three of its last five.

(At) No. 25 Oklahoma State 31, Kansas 12: Chuba Hubbard ran for 122 yards and two touchdowns and caught two passes for 42 yards for Oklahoma State.

Dillon Stoner caught five passes for a career-high 150 yards and two touchdowns and Spencer Sanders passed for 168 yards and a touchdown for the Cowboys (7-3, 4-3 Big 12, No. 22 CFP). Oklahoma State gained 481 total yards, including 243 rushing.

Kolby Harvell-Peel led Oklahoma State’s defense with two interceptions.

Carter Stanley passed for 226 yards and two touchdowns for Kansas (3-7, 1-6).