We always experience the intensity of rivalry week in college football, but the games during 2023’s edition carved a spot among the all-time greats. Running backs across the country scored multiple touchdowns, multiple games went down to the wire and players celebrated with backflips. Let’s recap week 13.
No. 5 Oregon continued its solid and consistent brand of football against No. 20 Oregon State, winning 31-7. In a game that was close for only moments at the end of the first half, the Ducks never took their foot off the gas. They finished with nearly 500 yards of offense and 28 first downs. As for Oregon State, their season has taken a turn for the worse. The loss snaps their slim playoff chances, head coach Jonathan Smith is moving to East Lansing to coach the Spartans, the Beavers do not know what conference they will reside in next season and Clemson transfer quarterback DJ Uiagalelei has announced that he is entering the transfer portal once again.
Kentucky did their best spoiler impression against ACC title contender No. 14 Louisville in a back-and-forth affair in front of a sold-out Cardinal Stadium. The score was 38-31, and the Wildcats scored 17 of their points in the fourth quarter. Kentucky running back Ray Davis sealed the deal with a 37-yard rushing touchdown, his third of the day.
No. 23 Clemson has somehow shoe-horned their way into the Top 25 after a defensive showcase against South Carolina. Clemson kicker Johnathan Weitz deserves the player of the game for nailing three field goals, providing more than half of the Tigers’ scoring and ending South Carolina’s three-game winning streak.
Coming off a $75 million head coaching fire just a couple weeks ago, Texas A&M made life tough for LSU in a high-scoring contest, 42-30. The Aggies held a 24-21 going into the fourth, but LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels threw for three touchdowns to take the game over. Tight end Max Wright starred for Texas A&M with a tackle-breaking 51-yard score.
Florida could not sustain playing spoiler for No. 4 Florida State as the Seminoles won 24-15. This is FSU’s 18th straight win, even while on thin ice with Heisman contender Jordan Travis suffering a season-ending leg injury. Stepping under center was redshirt junior Tate Rodemaker, who did just enough to keep them alive while running back Trey Benson shouldered the load. Benson rushed for 95 yards and three scores and wide receiver Keon Coleman hit a backflip midfield to celebrate the victory.
No. 3 Washington found a way to stay undefeated, beating Washington State 24-21. Washington has scraped by, winning their last two games by a combined five points. Despite Washington State reverting to their beginning-of-the-season form, the Huskies spoiled quarterback Cameron Ward’s three-touchdown day by kicking a 42-yard field goal to win.
This season’s Iron Bowl will go down as one of the greatest in history, right next to the Kick Six game in 2013, where Auburn’s Chris Davis returned a missed Alabama field goal kick for a touchdown. With less than 40 seconds on the clock, Alabama quarterback Jalen Milroe launched a rocket into the back corner of the endzone on fourth and 31st to Isaiah Bond for the game-clinching touchdown. This was a must-win for Alabama for their playoff hopes, but the Tide found a way to get it done. Maybe in 2033, we will get another game decided on one of the last plays.
The Game lived up to every expectation imaginable. Michigan clinched the Big 10 East with their third consecutive win against Ohio State. The Buckeyes, down 30-24, had a chance to score and were well on their way to replicate their win against Notre Dame earlier in the season, but Michigan’s defensive back Rod Moore had other ideas. Down in Wolverine territory after just a few plays, Kyle McCord was hit as he threw a pass with 28 seconds left that Moore picked off. In victory formation, Roman Wilson turned his excitement into a backflip before the field was stormed by the Michigan faithful. A fitting win No. 1,001 in program history.