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Best of College Football: Week 11


Tigers roll over Tide in Tuscaloosa

LSU had the arguably the best resume in the country going into this game, but there shouldn’t be any doubt about it now. The Tigers were up on Alabama 33-13 at the half and ended up with a 46-41 win. The 46 points scored by LSU were the most given up by a Nick Saban coached team since his 1999 Michigan State team gave up 52 to Purdue, and also more points than the Tigers had in their last five games against Alabama combined (39). Their 559 yards of total offense made it just the second time since 2012 they had more than 300 offensive yards on the Tide, as Joe Burrow became just the third quarterback to throw for over 350 yards and no interceptions against a Saban defense, joining Chad Kelly and Deshaun Watson. Burrow seemingly made every important throw he needed to, even making plays with his legs when necessary, and running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire had 180 total yards and four touchdowns.

Perhaps the biggest moment of the game occurred after a Jerry Jeudy touchdown with 5:32 left in the game. Instead of trying to run the clock, LSU put the ball in Burrow’s hands, and it paid off with one final touchdown from Edwards-Helaire to put the game away.

Tua Tagovailoa did everything he could coming off ankle surgery, but his 418 yards and four touchdowns weren’t enough to offset his two turnovers or the LSU offense. The loss is the first regular-season loss of Tua’s college career, and gave LSU their eighth top-10 win of the past two seasons. Even with the loss, Alabama isn’t eliminated from playoff conversation just yet, we’ve seen them sneak in without a division title before, although it will be much harder now.

Illinois, Tennessee turn seasons around

Going into their Week 8 showdown against Wisconsin, Illinois was 2-4, coming off of a four-game losing streak, and appeared to be in the middle of another losing season. But since their upset of the Badgers thanks to a last-second field goal, the Illini ran all over Purdue and Rutgers, only attempting a combined 18 passes in those two games, and scored 27 points in the fourth quarter against Michigan State to complete a comeback from down 31-10 to win 37-34. Their four-game winning streak has made the Illini bowl eligible for the first time since 2014, and a win against either Iowa or Northwestern in their final two games would mark the first time since their 2007 Rose Bowl season that Illinois won seven games in the regular season.

Tennessee didn’t look much better after losing their two opening games against Georgia State and BYU. They got back on track against FCS Chattanooga, but lopsided losses to Florida, Georgia, and Alabama (although sandwiched in between was a win against Mississippi State) had Tennessee fans worried about how the end of the year would play out. But wins over South Carolina and UAB got the Vols back to 4-5; and a 17-13 win over Kentucky this week in a game where the Wildcats out-possessed Tennessee 41:37 to 18:23 has the Volunteers back at .500 and needing a win over Missouri or Vanderbilt to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2016.

Credit coaches Lovie Smith and Jeremy Pruitt, both of who may have been considered to be on the hot seat at points this season, for turning around the seasons of their respective programs. Neither the Illini nor the Volunteers have the toughest non-conference schedule in 2020, although Tennessee does travel to Norman to face Oklahoma, so bowl games for both teams next season isn’t out of the question either.

Top Games of Week 12

AP Poll rankings shown

(10) Oklahoma at (12) Baylor

(24) Indiana at (9) Penn State

(21) Navy at (16) Notre Dame

(5) Georgia at (13) Auburn

Michigan State at (14) Michigan

(7) Minnesota at (23) Iowa

Wake Forest at (3) Clemson

Three Stars of Week 11

1) Joe Burrow, QB, LSU: 31/39, 393 Yds, 3 TD

We mentioned Burrow’s performance earlier, so it shouldn’t be a surprise he gets named the first star of the week. He is the current Heisman favorite, and will look to keep his string of impressive outings going next week against Ole Miss.

Tim Heltman/USA Today Sports

2) Tyler Snead, WR, East Carolina: 19 Rec, 240 Yds, 3 TD

Just one week after teammate CJ Johnson set the FBS season-high in receiving yards, Snead set the season-high in catches with 19. Although the Pirates once again fell short of an upset, falling 59-51 at SMU, Snead set career highs in receptions and yards, at one point catching seven straight passes from QB Holton Ahlers. His touchdown catches of 36, 47, and 57 yards kept ECU alive in the second half, although his special teams miscue did cost them. We’ll see if another Pirates receiver steps up in two weeks when they travel to face UConn.

Jon Johnston/The Daily Gopher

3) Tanner Morgan, QB, Minnesota: 18/20, 339 Yds, 3 TD

The Gophers are 9-0 after defeating Penn State 31-26 and Morgan had himself a historic game. He threw more touchdowns than incompletions, and completed 90 percent of his passes, becoming just the second quarterback in the last 20 years to have multiple games with a 90 percent completion percentage in the same season. Morgan will look to help keep Minnesota on track for their first Big 10 championship game appearance next week against Iowa.

Honorable Mentions

Holton Ahlers, QB, East Carolina: 32/42, 498 Yds, 6 TD

Shane Buechele, QB, SMU: 33/46, 414 Yds, 5 TD, INT

Brock Purdy, QB, Iowa State: 19/30, 282 Yds, 5 TD; 15 Att, 55 Yds, TD

Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson: 20/27, 276 Yds, 3 TD; 8 Att, 59 Yds, TD

Jordan Love, QB, Utah State: 30/39, 388 Yds, 2 TD

Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, LSU: 20 Att, 103 Yds, 3 TD; 9 Rec, 77 Yds, TD

Shakif Seymour, RB, Toledo: 28 Att, 175 Yds, 2 TD

Rakeem Boyd, RB, Arkansas: 8 Att, 185 Yds, 2 TD

Salvon Ahmed, RB, Washington: 25 Att, 174 Yds, 2 TD

Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin: 31 Att, 250 Yds

DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama: 7 Rec, 213 Yds, 2 TD

James Proche, WR, SMU: 14 Rec, 167 Yds, 2 TD

JoJo Ward, WR, Hawai’i: 7 Rec, 170 Yds, 2 TD

Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota: 7 Rec, 203 Yds, TD

Josh Imatorbhebhe, WR, Illinois: 4 Rec, 178 Yds, 2 TD

Antoine Winfield Jr, DB, Minnesota: 11 Tackles, 2 Interceptions

Daniel Bituli, LB, Tennessee: 19 Tackles

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