College Football
Nov 18, 2023; College Park, Maryland, USA; Michigan Wolverines celebrate the 1000th win in program history after the game against the Maryland Terrapins at SECU Stadium. [Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports]

Around College Football: Week 12

As we get closer to conference championship week, multiple top-25 teams survived a possible upset and looked ahead to rivalry week. Here’s a deeper dive into the 12th week of the college football season.

In the Sun Belt Conference

The Sun Belt Conference was host to ESPN’s College Gameday as James Madison was facing off against Appalachian State. In fact, the James Madison faithful were so rowdy that they drew the largest crowd in College Gameday history.

Appalachian State Mountaineers vs. James Madison Dukes

James Madison had all the momentum coming into this game. They had a perfect record, College Gameday on campus and a chance to continue their winning streak. However, App State has been known to knock off teams they are not supposed to beat.

Midway through the second quarter, it was tough to tell if the scoreboard was following football or baseball. James Madison recorded a safety with 6:56 left in the half and finally broke through on the scoreboard. Trailing 5-3, the Mountaineers quickly responded the following drive when quarterback Joey Aguilar found receiver Kaedin Robinson for a eight-yard touchdown.

After a scoreless third quarter, the Mountaineers were still leading 10-5 but there was an exciting fourth quarter on the way. The first play of the fourth quarter was a bullet from Joey Aguilar to Eli Wilson for a 16-yard touchdown pass to bring the Mountaineers lead to 17-5.

After more fireworks, the Dukes were trailing 20-12 and needed a touchdown as well as a two-point conversion. Quarterback Jordan McCloud found receiver Elijah Sarratt for an 11-yard touchdown. On the two point conversion, the duo hooked up again for the tying two-point conversion, and this game was going to overtime.

James Madison would get the ball first in OT, and they would make a field goal. All App State needed to do was score a touchdown to win the game, and they did just that. Joey Aguilar found Kaedin Robinson again for the win against the Dukes 26-23.

In the PAC-12

The PAC-12 has been the home of some exciting matchups in the past couple of weeks, and this one was no different.

No. 5 Washington Huskies vs. No. 11 Oregon State Beavers

Michael Penix Jr. looked to continue his Heisman ways against ex-Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei, who has led the Beavers to a chance in the conference championship.

Most of the scoring in this game would come in the first half. Michael Penix Jr. and Rome Odunze continued to establish their dynamic connection as they opened the scoring in Corvallis. Penix Jr. found Odunze for a 12-yard touchdown to put the Huskies in front 7-0. The Beavers would respond on the following drive as running back Damien Martinez ran it in from three yards out to tie the game at seven.

Washington would record a safety before the first quarter wrapped up, and they would do more damage in the second quarter. Once again, Penix Jr. showed why his name belonged in the Heisman race. Penix Jr. rushed for a touchdown early in the second to broaden the lead to 16-7. Oregon State would respond with a field goal, but Penix Jr. and Odunze would find each other again with 32 seconds remaining in the half. Leading 22-10, the Huskies needed one more dominant half to stay undefeated.

The second half belonged to the Beavers. Their defense shut out the Huskies offense. The Beavers tallied on a field goal as well as another touchdown from Damien Martinez.

Trailing 22-20, the Beavers needed stops on defense, which they got, but the offense could not find the endzone nor a field goal. The Huskies escaped a upset to kept their name in the College Football Playoff outlook and beat the Beavers 22-20.

In the Big 10

The Big 10 has two teams in the college football playoff outlook, but that will change next week as Michigan and Ohio State faceoff. However, Michigan needed to beat Maryland first, and with Jim Harbaugh out, it could be tough.

No. 3 Michigan Wolverines vs. Maryland Terrapins

The Wolverines got out to an early 16-3 lead after a Blake Corum rushing touchdown as well as a safety and scoop-and-score from the Wolverine defense. The second quarter started much the same as Blake Corum would find the endzone again before halftime. Trailing 23-3, the Terps needed some offense or this game would get out of hand fast. With 1:59 left in the half, the Terps did just that.

Maryland’s backup quarterback Billy Edwards Jr. found the endzone to bring the score to 23-10, Michigan. In the second half, Edwards Jr. found the endzone again with another rushing touchdown. Leading 23-17, the Wolverines needed a score to bring their first half momentum back. Michigan receiver Semaj Morgan didn’t do much in the passing game, but they gave him a designed run and Morgan found the endzone for a 13-yard rushing touchdown.

Michigan was back ahead 29-17. However, Billy Edwards Jr. would rush for his third touchdown of the game and keep the Wolverines on their toes. The fourth quarter was full of defense and no scoring, except when the Michigan defense recorded their second safety of the day with 3:38 left in the game. Michigan would find a way to squeak one against Maryland 31-24 on the road for their 1,000th win in program history and to remain in the playoff conversation.

About Dylan Pierce

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