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Red River Delivery. Ohio State has interested Maryland, but questions remain. Check back throughout the day for updates from our writers across the country on the Week 6’s biggest stories. Here’s the full schedule for the Top 25 teams (all times ET):
No. 1 Georgia vs. No. 20 Kentucky, 7 p.m., on ESPN
No. 2 Michigan at Minnesota, 7:30 p.m., NBC
No. 12 Oklahoma 34, No. 3 Texas 30
No. 4 Ohio State 37, Maryland 17
No. 5 Florida State 39, Virginia Tech 17
No. 10 Notre Dame at No. 25 Louisville, 7:30 p.m., ABC
No. 11 Alabama 26, Texas A&M 20
UCLA 25, No. 13, Washington State 17
No. 14 North Carolina 40, Syracuse 7
No. 16 Ole Miss vs. Arkansas, 7:30 p.m., SEC Network
No. 17 Miami vs. Georgia Tech, 8 p.m., ACC Network
No. 23 LSU 49, No. 21 Missouri 39
No. 24 Fresno State at Wyoming, 8 p.m., Fox
Texas A&M took a 17-10 lead over No. 11 Alabama at halftime, with the Grim Reaper sticking his narrative machete out on Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide for 2023. The game was full of upsets at Kyle Field, with Jimbo Fisher silencing the hot seat and takeover chatter For another week as A&M takes over first place in the SEC West. Instead, the Aggies went looking for the Pistons to step on, ruining a great opportunity to escalate Alabama’s season. A blocked field goal and safety on back-to-back possessions helped overcome a foul-plagued Bama team that lost the turnover battle, took 99 penalties and was sacked six times.
Fisher made his share of contributions to the cause. There was a penalty on fourth-and-1 in Alabama territory with the game tied at 17. (The penalty went for a fumble, and Alabama scored a touchdown on the next drive.) Then there was some nauseating clock management late in the game. , including burning a timeout with just over two minutes remaining to set up a field goal from the 2-yard line while down by nine, after letting precious seconds tick away during a late drive into the red zone. It’s hard to say Texas A&M should have won this game, but that’s because they did everything they could to make sure they didn’t deserve it.
The result is another underperforming Aggies team sitting at 4-2 and a head coach in Fisher who can’t seem to avoid being the main figure in it all. Overall, there’s no shame in losing six points to Saban, even at home. But Texas A&M made some on Saturday against the most mistake-prone Alabama team in some time, ensuring those all-too-familiar doubts and disappointments in College Station won’t go anywhere. — Justin Williams
Dillon Gabriel had to wait a year, and Brent Venables put his football team through a lot of changes.
Oklahoma certainly thinks it’s worth it now. Gabriel was exceptional with his feet all day, and his final drive — 75 yards in 1:02 — was masterful. On this day, he outlasted the resilient Quinn Ewers to a huge win. The Texans will certainly be thinking about how they handle that final possession, especially on third down — leaving plenty of time for the hot QB.
Ewers had a messy start, which is notable because he showed some of the bad habits he’s shown in the past. However, he’s young, and this was the Red River game – things get heated. His first two interceptions were the result of a rush action – throwing the ball without a full sweep or without positioning his feet properly. However, once he settled down, he displayed more of what we’ve seen this season.
This was an up and down battle for Ewers. It was hardly the best he played. However, the QBs who stay in the fight until the end are the ones who stay the longest. He didn’t wilt or crumble, instead Ewers calmed down and made plays when needed. The Texans and their playmakers showed up when it mattered.
However, Oklahoma’s defense has improved a lot and is more in tune with what Venables wants. He kept Ewers guessing and confused more than a few times early — something that never happened last season. There have been several new additions – from Peyton Bowen to a new-look defensive line that makes the Texans more honest up front. The Horns had injury issues on the offensive line in this game, but to be clear, Oklahoma brought more fight.
Oklahoma’s offensive line back. There’s still growth happening there, as streaming was quick to point out some allowable pressures. But OU had the ball and moved down the field with the ground play to open the second half and take control. Gabriel was amazing with his feet and, more often than not, kept the attack on schedule.
The position on the goal line was an improvement on this defense in short: stuffed down the middle and stuffed wide. Venables’ best defenses at Clemson (and once at Norman) featured energetic defensive backs who weren’t afraid to run downhill and hit. It’s happening again at Oklahoma, and after a rough start, the future looks bright for the Sooners. -Nick Baumgardner
Vannini: Oklahoma is back — and the Sooners may never be gone
Look for UNC at full strength
Is it time we start talking about North Carolina as a legitimate playoff contender? It’s starting to feel that way after the Tar Heels demolished Syracuse 40-7 on Saturday. Quarterback Drake May reminded everyone why he’s a Heisman hopeful and the NFL’s top prospect at his undrafted position, Caleb Williams, as he threw for a team-high 442 yards and three touchdowns. Those numbers were aided by the return of wide receiver Tez Walker, whose immediate eligibility was dramatically reinstated by the NCAA midweek, as he hauled in six catches for 43 yards and opened things up for the rest of UNC’s receiving options.
The Tar Heels have had their first four wins with relatively minimal drama, despite a nerve-wracking double-overtime escape against Appalachian State. It looked like the Tar Heels were skating, and maybe they were, but their story was also the story of the ACC overall. Florida State had a few close calls. Duke will be without quarterback Riley Leonard for the foreseeable future. In a season where everyone seems to be mortal, the ACC and beyond, North Carolina with a rejuvenated Maye and Walker may have enough. There are some tests coming up, starting with Miami next weekend and Duke next month, but the current conference favorite, Florida State, is not on the regular season schedule. If these two end up meeting, there’s a strong chance a trip to the playoff could be on the line. — Williams
Is Ohio State’s playoff standing good?
Ohio State’s 37-17 margin of victory over Maryland looked much better on the box score than it felt while watching it. The Buckeyes outplayed Maryland thanks to premium talent that the Terrapins couldn’t match, but they played in a way that never defined strategic identity or physical dominance on offense. Without TreVeyon Henderson in uniform, Ohio State’s running backs combined for just 84 yards on 26 carries, and it wasn’t entirely the ballcarriers’ fault. This offensive line has lost its talent to the NFL, and the attrition shows in its struggle to move bodies forward or get to the second level of the defense to fend off the running backs. Marvin Harrison Jr. had to bail this offense out, producing more than half of Ohio State’s production in the passing game with 163 yards and a score.
The real silver lining for this program has been the defensive play, especially on the back end. Safeties Josh Proctor and Lathan Ransom had a pair of interceptions, and all-around coverage on Ohio State’s defensive line helped impact the pocket throughout the game. Star defensive lineman JT Tuimoloau had a sack and a TFL, and proved unblockable. This defense is good enough to compete, but there is still uncertainty as to whether Ohio State is good enough for the playoffs. — My religion is mine
(Photo: Tim Warner/Getty Images)
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