Weekly Sports Update

Tennessee is out of the playoff race, Michigan and Ohio State will fight each other for a spot this weekend and the Steelers are fighting to stay out of last place


Jeff Blake, USA Today

South Carolina players and fans celebrate after defeating Tennessee.

This week in College and NFL Football, we saw top teams save their season and struggle to get victories in their matchups.

Ohio State and Michigan both survived on Saturday. The Buckeyes played at Maryland who gave them everything they had. Ohio State was able to pull away late to win 43-30. Michigan had a very close game at home to Illinois, but were able to squeak out a victory 19-17.

Neither team will be pleased with their performance, but they both have their biggest game of the season this Saturday. Michigan will come to Columbus and take on the Buckeyes in what is the biggest game of the season up to this point. Number 2 vs number 3 with the winner going to the Big 10 Championship Game and likely the College Football Playoff. I think Ohio State will get the win at home in a back and forth game in front of a rambunctious crowd at The Shoe.

TCU had one of the wildest games I’d ever seen. They were visiting the Baylor Bears in Waco and were in a dog fight. Down by 2 with a minute remaining, they marched down the field and got into field goal range. On 3rd down, they ran a run play up the middle and gained a few yards. The problem was they didn’t have a timeout. The field goal unit sprinted onto the field, and without being able to line up the kick, Griffin Kell, their senior kicker, drilled a 40 yarder with no time remaining to keep the Horned Frogs undefeated and in the playoff picture.

South Carolina played host to the number 5 ranked Tennessee Volunteers on Saturday night. They came ready to play. Their offense was unstoppable. Literally. They had 5 possessions in the first half, and had 5 TDs. They opened up the second half with a punt, and then resumed their dominance. They scored a TD on their remaining 4 drives on the back of transfer QB Spencer Rattler. He was 30/37 with 438 yards and 6 TDs. Yes, 6 TDs. Tennessee’s offense wasn’t even bad either, scoring 38 points. Their problem was when they attempted the comeback, their QB and Heisman candidate Hendon Hooker went down awkwardly, and ended up with a torn ACL. The Gamecocks ended up winning 63-38 and shocking the college football world.

With the Tennessee loss, there was a gap left for USC to step into. They had a huge game at UCLA in a pivotal Pac 12 battle. It was a close game throughout, but in the end transfer QB Caleb Williams stepped up and made more plays than UCLA QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson did. He threw for 470 yards and 2 TDs to lead USC to a win 48-45. This win should set them up to be either 5 or 6 in the new CFP Rankings, and if they win out, it would be very difficult for the committee to leave out a 1 loss Pac 12 championship team.

Oregon was able to bounce back at home and defeat Utah 20-17. The win was much needed for the Ducks who still have hopes at a New Years’ Six Bowl Game.

Penn State kept their dominance going with a huge 55-10 win at Rutgers. Freshman RB Nick Singleton had a 100 yard kickoff return TD. Fellow freshman RB Kaytron Allen paced the Nittany Lions rushing attack with 117 yards and a TD. This win will keep the Nittany Lions on pace to play in a New Years’ Six Bowl Game.

The new CFP rankings came out, and not much changed. Georgia is still 1, Ohio State is 2, Michigan is 3, and TCU is in the 4 spot. LSU is one spot out at 5, and USC is right there at number 6. These set up for an exciting finish to the season, starting this Saturday with Michigan vs Ohio State.

In the NFL, the 1:00 set of games saw two juggernauts see a little scare in their games. The Buffalo Bills started out slow with the Cleveland Browns in a game that got moved to Detroit because of weather. Even with a slow start, the Bills found their offense and prevailed against the Browns 31-23.

The Philadelphia Eagles almost took their second straight loss to the Indianapolis Colts. A last minute drive that was capped off by a Jalen Hurts rushing touchdown closed the game out for the Eagles. The 17-16 win put the Eagles up two games in their division with a Giants loss.

The highlight of the 1:00 games was a defensive-divisional game that featured the New York Jets and the New England Patriots. The game was tied with under 30 seconds left in regulation until New England returned a punt for a touchdown. The Jets continued to prove that the Patriots still have the edge over them making it their 14th straight loss against them. The Jets need to make a change with their offense because they have yet to put up more than 20 points in their last four games. They averaged 2.77 inches per play in the second half. Not yards, inches.

The Pittsburgh Steelers took a tough loss in a shootout against the Cincinnati Bengals 37-30. The Steelers offense showed promise putting up the most points it has all season and the defense turned the Bengals over multiple times. The game took a swing towards the Bengals when the Steelers could not capitalize in key moments. If your defense gives you the ball at the 20 yard line or you get a big catch, you need to capitalize in those moments. The Steelers have the players that will give them big plays, but if they want to take the next step, they need to make the most of those plays.

The Sunday Night game saw a divisional matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Chargers. The Chiefs were down four with about two minutes left in regulation and needed a touchdown. Two minutes on the clock is like an hour for Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs’ offense as they delivered a touchdown with under a minute left. Travis Kelce continued his tear on the season with three more touchdowns in the win. I believe that Kelce should be considered as the top non-quarter back offensive threat in the NFL. He has been a top receiver in the league for years now and he also blocks. This is why the Chiefs are still the top team in the AFC and if any team wants to go all the way in the AFC, then they have to go through Kansas City.