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Top 25: Alabama slips past Mississippi State, eyes top spot in CFP poll

UPDATED: Sat., Nov. 11, 2017, 11:22 p.m.

Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts helped the Crimson Tide remain undefeated, edging Mississippi State on a touchdown in the final minute. Alabama won 31-24. (Rogelio V. Solis / Associated Press)
Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts helped the Crimson Tide remain undefeated, edging Mississippi State on a touchdown in the final minute. Alabama won 31-24. (Rogelio V. Solis / Associated Press)

Jalen Hurts threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to DeVonta Smith with 25 seconds remaining to give No. 1 Alabama a 31-24 victory over No. 18 Mississippi State on Saturday night in Starkville, Mississippi.

Alabama (10-0, 7-0 SEC, CFP No. 2) won its 10th straight game against Mississippi State, but this one was much more difficult than most of the others.

Mississippi State (7-3, 3-3, CFP No. 16) pushed ahead 24-17 early in the fourth quarter on Jace Christmann’s 25-yard field goal, but Alabama responded to tie it at 24 on Damien Harris’s 14-yard run with 9:49 left. Alabama had a chance to take the lead with about two minutes left, but a 40-yard field goal attempt by Andy Pappanastos banged off the left upright and fell harmlessly to the turf.

Mississippi State went three-and-out on the ensuing drive and Alabama took over with 1:09 remaining. That was more than enough time for the Tide, who drove six plays and 68 yards in 44 seconds for the game-winning score. The game was tight throughout with neither team leading by more than a touchdown.

Alabama’s defense has been dominant for most of the season, but several injuries at linebacker throughout the season finally appeared to take a toll. Mississippi State’s power running game gained 172 yards.

(10) Auburn 40, (2) Georgia 17: Kerryon Johnson ran for 167 yards and caught a 55-yard touchdown pass from Jarrett Stidham and the Tigers (8-2, 6-1 Southeastern Conference) defeated the Bulldogs (9-1, 6-1, No. 1 CFP) in Auburn, Alabama.

Auburn held Nick Chubb, Sony Michel and the SEC’s top ground game to 46 yards, 233 below their season average.

Johnson ran 32 times and caught two passes for 66 yards. Stidham threw for 214 yards and three touchdowns, all of 30-plus yards.

(7) Miami 41, (3) Notre Dame 8: Malik Rosier threw for one touchdown and ran for another, Deejay Dallas ran for a pair of scores and the Hurricanes (9-0, No. 7 CFP) blew past the Fighting Irish (8-2, No. 3 CFP) in Miami Gardens, Florida.

Travis Homer rushed for 146 yards for the Hurricanes They forced four turnovers for the fourth consecutive week, led 27-0 at the half and handed the Irish their second-worst loss in the history of the series. Only the 58-7 Miami romp in 1985 was worse.

Miami’s win came on the same day it clinched its first trip to the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game. The Hurricanes – who extended the nation’s longest current winning streak to 14 games – wrapped up the Coastal Division title when Virginia lost to Louisville, and will play Clemson for the ACC crown on Dec. 2.

(4) Clemson 31, Florida State 14: Travis Etienne ran for 97 yards and two touchdowns, including a 1-yard burst with 3:05 left, and the Tigers (9-1, 7-1, No. 4 CFP) won the ACC Atlantic Division by defeating the Seminoles (3-6, 3-5) in Clemson, South Carolina.

The Tigers and their dominant defense looked to have this one wrapped up when they opened a 17-0 lead with two minutes left in the third quarter. But the Seminoles rallied on Jacques Patrick’s 9-yard scoring run and a double flea-flicker for a 60-yard TD catch by tight end Ryan Izzo.

Florida State then recovered Kelly Bryant’s fumble on the Clemson 40 with 6:46 to go, putting the Seminoles in position to spoil the Tigers’ College Football Playoff hopes. But safety Van Smith intercepted James Blackman’s pass over the middle on the next play, setting up the TD drive that secured the win for the defending national champions.

(5) Oklahoma 38, (8) TCU 20: Baker Mayfield threw three touchdown passes, Rodney Anderson had 290 yards from scrimmage and four touchdowns, and the Sooners (9-1, 6-1 Big 12, No. 5 CFP) rolled past the visiting Horned Frogs (8-2, 5-2, No. 6 CFP) to take sole possession of first place in the Big 12.

Anderson ran for 151 yards and two touchdowns and caught five passes for 139 yards and two scores for the Sooners. They have won five straight.

Mayfield strengthened his Heisman Trophy resume by passing for 333 yards and rushing for 50 against a TCU defense that entered the night ranked sixth in the nation in scoring defense and total defense. He did it in front of a crowd of 88,308, the largest home crowd in school history. The Sooners ran for 200 yards against the nation’s No. 1 rushing defense.

(6) Wisconsin 38, (25) Iowa 14: Receiver Kendric Pryor scored twice, and the Badgers (10-0, 7-0 Big Ten, CFP No. 8) relied on stifling defense to overcome four turnovers and Iowa cornerback Josh Jackson’s two touchdowns, defeating the Hawkeyes (6-4, 3-4, CFP No. 20) at Madison, Wisconsin.

The win allowed the Badgers to clinch a trip to the league conference title game as West champions.

(11) Ohio State 48, (13) Michigan State 3: J.T. Barrett threw two touchdown passes and ran for two more scores, Mike Weber ran for 162 yards and two scores and the Buckeyes (8-2, 6-1 Big Ten, CFP No. 13) routed the Spartans at Columbus, Ohio.

The Buckeyes scored on five of their first six possessions, led 35-3 at the half and cruised the rest of the way to claim sole possession of first place in the Big Ten East.

In a season already marked by radical highs and lows, the Buckeyes took out their frustrations on the Spartans, using a run-heavy attack to dominate them on both sides of the ball.

Ohio State outgained Michigan State 524-195, and a defense that was smoked by unranked Iowa in the 55-24 loss limited Michigan State quarterback Brian Lewerke – who threw for 445 yards last week against Penn State – to 131 yards and forced two interceptions.

(12) Oklahoma State 49, (24) Iowa State 42: Mason Rudolph threw for 376 yards and three touchdowns – including two in the final 5:55 – and the Cowboys (8-2, 5-2 Big 12, No. 15 CFP) rallied past the Cyclones in Ames, Iowa.

Justice Hill had 134 yards and three TD runs for Oklahoma State.

(14) Central Florida 49, Connecticut 24: Otis Anderson ran for 84 yards and two touchdowns, McKenzie Milton passed for 311 yards and the Knights (9-0, 6-0 AAC, CFP, No. 18) pulled away from the Huskies (3-7, 2-5) in Orlando, Florida.

(16) Penn State 35, Rutgers 6: Trace McSorley accounted for 258 total yards and three touchdowns and the Nittany Lions (8-2, 5-2 Big Ten) defeated the Scarlet Knights (4-6, 3-4) in State College, Pennsylvania.

Georgia Tech 28, (17) Virginia Tech 22: TaQuon Marshall got two long touchdown passes out of his only completions, including an 80-yarder to Ricky Jeune with 6 1/2 minutes remaining, and Ajani Kerr swatted away a fourth-pass in the end zone to preserve the Yellow Jackets’ (5-4, 4-3) upset win over the Hokies (7-3, 3-3 ACC) in Atlanta.

(21) Michigan 35, Maryland 10: Brandon Peters threw two touchdown passes, Chris Evans ran for two scores and the Wolverines (8-2, 5-2 Big Ten) defeated the Terrapins (4-6, 2-5) in College Park, Maryland.

The Wolverines have won three straight. The Terrapins have lost five of six.

(23) West Virginia 28, Kansas State 23: Will Grier threw for 372 yards and four touchdowns, Justin Crawford added 113 yards rushing and the Mountaineers (7-3, 5-2) defeated the Wildcats (5-5, 3-4) in Manhattan, Kansas.