Rivalry weekend in college football

A weekend packed with entertaining games and notable upsets.


Wikimedia Commons

The LA Coliseum where the game USC-Notre Dame game was played this past weekend.

Andrew Perry, Staff Writer

In week 13 of the college football season, there were many big rivalry games filled with entertainment and implications to the College Football Playoff, coming in another month. The games that were most exciting had to be “The Game” between the No.2 Ohio State Buckeyes and the No.3 Michigan Wolverines, the in-state South Carolina rivalry between the No.8 Clemson Tigers and the unranked South Carolina Gamecocks, and the battle for the Jeweled Shillelagh between the No.6 USC Trojans and the No.15 Notre Dame Fighting Irish. All these games held huge playoff implications, and some teams tried to spoil the others’ promising season. 

“The Game” between Michigan Wolverines and Ohio State Buckeyes is always circled on each team’s calendar because of the hatred between the two teams, but most importantly for a shot at the Big 10 Championship game and College Football Playoff implications. 

The Wolverines traveled to Columbus, Ohio for this edition of “The Game.” The Wolverines ultimately controlled this game with the run game led by sophomore running back Donovan Edwards who rushed for 216 yards on 22 carries, and scored two touchdowns. The run game was also complemented by the pass game with the arm of sophomore quarterback J.J. McCarthy passing for 263 yards and three touchdowns.

The Wolverines did a pretty decent job containing Heisman Trophy-hopeful Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud, who passed for 349 yards, but the ultimate difference-maker was two late interceptions which helped the Wolverines beat the Buckeyes with a score of 45-23, giving the Wolverines their first win in Columbus since 2000. 

“[I’m] so proud of the team,” Jim Harbaugh, Wolverines head coach, said in the postgame press conference with the media. “I knew the team was focused and determined like they have been all season.” The Wolverines now go onto play the Purdue Boilermakers in the Big 10 Championship game and furthering themselves into the College Football Playoff race. 

The game between the No.8 Clemson Tigers and the South Carolina Gamecocks was a highly anticipated one. The Tigers have since won two games since losing to the Fighting Irish two weeks prior in South Bend, and looking to possibly sneak into the playoff with some chaos with teams losing ahead of them. 

On the other hand for the Gamecocks, they just took down the Tenessee Volunteers, crushing their playoff hopes. It is safe to say that the Tigers may be on upset alert again. The Tigers took a commanding lead early after a 35-yard pick six and shortly after an eight-play, 90 yard drive putting the Tigers up 14-0. From then on the game was back and forth with each team scoring, leaving the game 23-14 Tigers leading at the half. 

The Gamecocks scored right after the half to cut the Tigers’ lead to only two points, making the game 23-21. Each team would go on to score another time each, but the difference was a 35-yard field goal from Gamecocks kicker Mitch Jeter. A late-game interception by the Gamecocks sealed the deal, upsetting the Tigers at home.

“It was a total team effort today,” Shane Beamer, Gamecocks head coach, said. “This was a special one. The fight in this team is one I have never coached.” Despite the loss, the Clemson Tigers will still go on to play in the ACC Championship game next week against the North Carolina Tar Heels and stud true freshman quarterback Drake Maye.

In primetime this week, the No.15 Notre Dame Fighting Irish visit the Los Angeles Coliseum to play the No.6 USC Trojans. Each team was playing very well up to this point, winning eight of their last nine games. The Irish seemed like a much better team late in the season after a small mid-season hiccup, losing to Stanford at home. 

On the other hand for Trojans, they are now playing for a spot in the playoff due to many higher ranked teams in front of them losing in prior weeks. So this was the Trojans chance to make the final push to their first College Football Playoff.  The Trojans got the ball first and cruised down the field, striking first to take an early 7-0 lead. The Irish got their first shot on offense, but went three and out and opted to punt. After that, the Trojans stormed down the field again, hitting a 31-yard field goal to extend the lead to 10-0.

In the second quarter, each team would trade scores before the half, making the halftime score 17-7 Trojans. The Irish came out of the half ready to receive the ball and try to get back in the game. They had a very promising drive going, but a fatal miscue caused a fumble for the Irish on the Trojans’ 23 yard line. 

The Trojans once again went down the field and scored to make it 24-7. Both teams would trade scores in the third quarter, sending it into the final frame 24-14 with the Trojans still ahead. Both teams would score twice more,but it was not enough for the Irish to win. The Trojans outlasted the Irish in the 92nd edition of this rivalry, taking back the Jeweled Shillelagh trophy for the first time in five years with the score of 38-27. 

“[It] was a great win,” Lincoln Riley, Trojans head coach, said.. “All three sides of the ball played really well tonight. I’m really proud of how we stopped the run and tackled. Offensively we scored enough points to win and made some tough, gritty plays to beat a very good defense.”

With the regular season coming to a close, it will be interesting which top teams could finish in the closing weeks of the season to put themselves in the best possible positions in the end, hoping they receive a spot in the College Football Playoff.