Saturday’s college football slate didn’t look like it would be too impactful heading into the day, but boy did we learn a lot by the day’s end.
Here are 5 takeaways from Week 12 that will have big impacts in the College Football Playoff picture:
No. 10 Ohio State 52, Maryland 51
Ohio State was just inches from being out of the CFP hunt. On the road against a 5-5 Maryland team Saturday, the Buckeyes had to manufacture a last-minute touchdown drive to force overtime, then barely escaped with a win when the Terrapins went for two in overtime and missed a wide-open receiver.
Ohio State SURVIVES after Maryland fails to connect on a 2-point conversion pic.twitter.com/cWXgVtNEqc— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) November 17, 2018
But the game did not help the Buckeyes’ cause. Maryland has averaged 28.8 points per game this season, while Ohio State's defense is allowing 22. And the Terps put up 51.
Maryland's Anthony McFarland powered the home team, rushing for a career-high 298 yards and two touchdowns a week after dropping 210 yards at Indiana.
Still, the game wasn't without its highlights for Ohio State. Dwayne Haskins put on a show again, going 28-38 for 405 yards, three touchdowns and one interception while rushing for 59 yards and three more touchdowns. But the Buckeyes have some obvious holes in the defense to address before hosting No. 4 Michigan next week in a game that may decide any Playoff hopes for both teams.
No. 3 Notre Dame 36, No. 12 Syracuse 3
Without the opportunity to play in a conference title game, Notre Dame needed a statement win in the waning weeks of the season. They got it at Yankee Stadium against No. 12 Syracuse.
Having quarterback Ian Book back certainly helped. Book was 23-37 for 292 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. On the other side of the ball, Notre Dame's defense allowed just 234 total yards while snagging three interceptions.
And this Syracuse team was no joke. After losing by four to No. 3 Clemson in September, the Orange have beat No. 22 N.C. State 51-41, Wake Forest 41-24, and Louisville 54-23 and were ranked for the first time since 2001. Syracuse was averaging 44.4 points per game, and it took a field goal with 15 seconds left to avoid the shutout against this Notre Dame team.
The Irish finish up the season against a 5-6 USC team that lost 34-27 to 3-8 UCLA Saturday. Barring anything crazy there, Notre Dame has a great chance of being Playoff-bound.
No. 4 Michigan 31, Indiana 20
Michigan survived against a gritty Indiana team that had a 17-15 lead at halftime in the Big House. While Shea Patterson (250 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT), and Karan Higdon (101 rushing yards, 1 TD) had solid nights, it was true freshman kicker Jake Moody who won the game for the Wolverines.
Moody — who had never kicked a field goal for Michigan before Saturday — earned the start over redshirt sophomore Quinn Nordin and then went 6-for-6, an NCAA freshman record. Three of those came in the second half, with two pushing Michigan’s lead to a comfortable two-score margin.
Michigan has now won 10 straight heading into the game with Ohio State — a rivalry matchup that has the most on the line in a long time.
Oklahoma State 45, No. 9 West Virginia 41
West Virginia almost pulled out the magic again, but Will Grier’s go-ahead pass to David Sills was batted down with no time left, and the Mountaineers dropped to 8-2.
With seven minutes left in the fourth, trailing by 10, Taylor Cornelius led Oklahoma State on a three-minute drive that he capped off with a nine-yard touchdown run to bring Oklahoma State within one score, 41-38. Two minutes later, he took over again, throwing a touchdown with just 42 seconds left to take a 45-41 lead that the defense held on to, forcing the incompletion on the game's final play.
The loss was West Virginia’s second to an unranked opponent this year, all but guaranteeing they’ll miss out on the CFP this season.
No. 1 Alabama 50, The Citadel 17
Alabama started November off by holding No. 4 LSU scoreless, then followed that up with a shutout of No. 18 Mississippi State.
And then FCS-opponent The Citadel scored 10 in the second quarter to tie the Crimson Tide at halftime. What?
The third quarter was a bit more in line with what you’d expect out of the No. 1 team in the country, as Tua Tagovailoa threw two of his three total touchdowns and ran for another while the defense showed up, and Alabama led 37-10 heading into the fourth.
And no, this shouldn’t make you think any less of Alabama. If anything, it’ll just help the Tide, serving as a minor wake-up call and giving them fuel to close out the season even stronger. Next up, the Iron Bowl.