College football Week 12 takeaways: Michigan, Louisville survive scares to stay on track

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It’s the penultimate week of the 2023 regular season, and with four Top 25 matchups on the docket plus several more nonconference games that will serve as tune-ups for rivalry week, the end of the season is coming into clearer focus. Who will enter Thanksgiving week in position to lock down their conference crown or a Playoff spot? The Athletic’s writers are breaking down Saturday’s biggest storylines below.

No. 1 Georgia at No. 18 Tennessee, 3:30 p.m., CBS
No. 2 Ohio State vs. Minnesota, 4 p.m., Big Ten Network
No. 3 Michigan 31, Maryland 24
No. 4 Florida State vs. North Alabama, 6:30 p.m., The CW
No. 5 Washington at No. 11 Oregon State, 7:30 p.m., ABC
No. 6 Oregon at Arizona State, 4 p.m., Fox
No. 7 Texas at Iowa State, 8 p.m., Fox
No. 8 Alabama 66, Chattanooga 10
No. 9 Missouri vs. Florida, 7:30 p.m., ESPN
No. 10 Louisville 38, Miami 31
No. 12 Penn State 27, Rutgers 6
No. 13 Ole Miss 35, Louisiana Monroe 3
No. 14 Oklahoma 31, BYU 24
No. 15 LSU vs. Georgia State, 8 p.m., ESPN2
No. 16 Iowa vs. Illinois, 3:30 p.m., FS1
No. 17 Arizona vs. No. 22 Utah, 2:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network
No. 19 Notre Dame vs. Wake Forest, 3:30 p.m., ABC
No. 20 North Carolina at Clemson, 3:30 p.m., ESPN
No. 21 Kansas State at No. 25 Kansas, 7 p.m., FS1
No. 23 Oklahoma State at Houston, 4 p.m., ESPN2
No. 24 Tulane 24, Florida Atlantic 8

Michigan and more fend off scary upset bids

In what is supposed to be the weekend before the weekend in college football, a trio of top-15 teams flirted with disaster during the early slate as No. 3 Michigan, No. 10 Louisville and No. 14 Oklahoma all held on for crucial victories.

The incessantly embattled Wolverines (11-0) pulled out a 31-24 road win over Maryland with head coach John Harbaugh missing the second game of his latest three-game suspension. Michigan let the Terrapins hang around despite a defensive touchdown and a 3-1 victory in the turnover battle, as the offense managed less than 300 total yards. With the rivalry showdown against Ohio State looming next week to decide the Big Ten East, the Wolverines looked vulnerable for the first time this season.

In Miami, Louisville (10-1) needed a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown drives to knock off the Hurricanes 38-31 and clinch the program’s first ACC championship game appearance in its tenth season in the league. Banged up at a few key positions and gashed for much of the day on defense, the Cardinals did just enough on offense, as quarterback Jack Plummer tossed for 308 yards. Louisville, one of college football’s biggest surprises in year one under Jeff Brohm, will face Florida State in Charlotte on Dec. 2 with a chance to end the Seminoles’ Playoff hopes — and maintain a thin chance of their own.

The Sooners (9-2) fought off BYU and an injury to quarterback Dillon Gabriel in a 31-24 win to remain in the Big 12 title race. Oklahoma got a 100-yard pick six from Billy Bowman Jr. in the third quarter, one of three BYU turnovers, and Gavin Sawchuk ran for 107 yards and a score. Oklahoma will need a win over TCU next week and some help elsewhere in the conference to lock up a spot in the championship game (possibly a Red River rematch against Texas?), but the question now is whether Gabriel can return for the regular season finale after a head injury. If not, freshman Jackson Arnold will get the nod.

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(Photo: Greg Fiume / Getty Images)

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