Three top-15 teams survived Week 4’s high-profile games to build upon their undefeated seasons.
Below are five games from this weekend that could shake up Sunday’s AP Top 25 poll and impact the College Football Playoff conversation.
No. 3 Georgia survives No. 7 Notre Dame’s late drive
All attention was on Athens, Georgia, Saturday night. And with the implications the Georgia-Notre Dame game could have on the College Football Playoff, the focus was understandable.
Gameday 📍 ATHENS #GoDawgs #NDvsUGA pic.twitter.com/BHW0cmicG6
— Georgia Football (@GeorgiaFootball) September 21, 2019
Behind the promising leg of Rodrigo Blankenship and Jake Fromm’s resurgence in the fourth quarter, Georgia (4-0) avoided an upset with a 23-17 victory over Notre Dame (2-1). The Bulldogs are now 3-0 all-time against the Fighting Irish.
DAWGS ON TOP: See how Georgia avoided a Notre Dame upset in defense-heavy battle
Both defenses controlled the game into the fourth quarter, with Blankenship giving Georgia a slim 13-10 lead heading into the final frame.
Enter Fromm, who threw a 15-yard touchdown to Lawrence Cager, who tapped one foot in the end zone on an acrobatic play to make it 23-10 with 6:58 remaining.
Ian Book answered with his own 4-yard touchdown pass to Chase Claypool to bring the Irish within six points. Notre Dame earned one more possession and drove to Georgia’s 38-yard line before the Bulldogs’ defense stood tall with a game-clinching fourth down stop.
Both quarterbacks, Fromm and Book, finished with two touchdowns.
This loss does not eliminate the Irish from serious CFP consideration, but winning out from here becomes increasingly important. Two ranked teams remain on their schedule — No. 21 Virginia and at No. 11 Michigan.
No. 8 Auburn holds No. 17 Texas A&M at bay
Playing at College Station has never been an issue for Auburn (4-0, 1-0), who are now a perfect 4-0 at Kyle Field all-time after Saturday’s 28-20 victory over Texas A&M (2-2, 0-1).
Down 21-3 in the fourth quarter — after an Aggie turnover led to another Tiger score — Texas A&M outscored Auburn 17-7 to tighten the gap. Kellen Mond recorded his first touchdown of the game one minute into the fourth and tacked on another with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Ainias Smith with 2:16 remaining to make it an 8-point game. But the Aggies could not recover the ensuing onside kick.
Auburn outgained Texas A&M 193-56 in rushing yards. The passing game told a different story, though. Bo Nix only completed 12-of-20 passes for 100 yards and a touchdown, in comparison to Mond’s 31-of-49 day with 335 yards and two touchdowns.
The SEC opener for both teams kept Auburn undefeated and worthy of a boost in the AP poll after Notre Dame’s loss to Georgia.
No. 13 Wisconsin dominates No. 11 Michigan
Wisconsin (3-0) pulled off its second largest win ever over Michigan (2-1) with a 35-14 statement win in the Big Ten race at Camp Randall Stadium.
Head coach Jim Harbaugh is now 8-11 against ranked opponents since taking over at Michigan.
Two weeks ago, Michigan needed a double-overtime finish to get by Army, 24-21. That near-defeat dropped the Wolverines to No. 10 in the AP poll, and after a bye week they fell just outside the top 10. Now, Wisconsin could be the biggest benefactor and could join the top 10 with Notre Dame, Utah and Michigan all losing in Week 4.
SCOREBOARD: How every top-25 teams fared in Week 4 | We’re tracking every undefeated team here
Jonathan Taylor led the Badger charge, running for 203 yards (143 in the first quarter) and two touchdowns. He became the only Wisconsin player to rush for at least 200 yards against Michigan.
But it was Wisconsin’s defense that made an outright statement, holding Michigan to just two touchdowns.
No. 15 UCF ousted by Pitt on trick-play TD
UCF had won 27 straight regular season contests and had not recorded a loss in the first three games of its season since 2016. That was until the Knights (3-1) traveled to Pitt (2-2) on Saturday and fell 35-34, snapping its program-record road game winning streak at 10 games.
After scoring the first 21 points of the game, UCF answered with 31 unanswered points. The Knights held a 34-28 lead entering the final minute before Pitt scored the game-winner with less than a minute to go on a play called the “Pitt Special.”
Facing a 4th-and-2 at the 3-yard line, Pitt running back A.J. Davis took a direct snap and flipped the ball to crossing Aaron Matthews in the backfield. Matthews then found quarterback Kenny Pickett for the shocking go-ahead score.
UCF’s hopes of making the leap into the CFP were strong in 2019 after falling short the last two years despite undefeated regular seasons. With Saturday’s loss, the Knights’ playoff chances become even more difficult.
Pitt handed handed UCF a 35-34 loss after pulling out the “Pitt Special” 😱(via @CBSSportsHQ) pic.twitter.com/YA1qGGaN8v
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) September 21, 2019
USC shocks No. 10 Utah Friday night
The Week 4 upsets started early, as USC (3-1, 2-0) took down Utah (3-1, 0-1) at home on Friday, 30-23. Trojans starting quarterback Kedon Slovis left the game in the first quarter with a possible concussion but third-string QB Matt Fink posted unpredictable numbers for the top-10 upset.
The junior completed 21-of-30 passes for 351 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. His top target Michael Pittman Jr. had 10 receptions for a career-high 232 yards and a touchdown.
Next man up mentality. 💪 @FinkMattfink steps for @USC_FB and delivers a career-high performance passing for 351 yards and 3️⃣ touchdowns. #Pac12FB pic.twitter.com/Lh6HvDAaTy
— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) September 21, 2019
USC is now 2-0 in-conference already, as Utah drops to 0-1 in Pac-12 play.