Saturday rundown: Takeaways from Week 12's biggest matchups

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The penultimate week of the college football calendar is filled with big-time matchups between teams looking to either cement their College Football Playoff standing or solidify a spot in a prestigious bowl game.

Here's what to take away from the most important contests on Saturday's schedule:

Ohio State-Michigan State needed a mercy rule

Seven possessions, seven touchdowns, and a 49-0 lead by the end of the opening half. The matchup between Ohio State's top-ranked passing attack and a Michigan State defense that allows the most passing yards per game in the nation went exactly how one would expect.

C.J. Stroud tied a school record with six touchdown passes - all in the opening half - as the fourth-ranked Buckeyes embarrassed the seventh-ranked Spartans by a score of 56-7. It was a statement to the rest of the country that nobody can run up the score like Ohio State.

The pass-catching trio of Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson, and Jaxon Smith-Njigba combined for an outrageous 371 yards and five touchdowns on 24 catches. Michigan State's defense may struggle against the pass, but those video-game numbers should terrify any secondary remaining on the Buckeyes' schedule.

With Oregon's loss to Utah, expect the Buckeyes to sit No. 2 or 3 in Tuesday's CFP ranking.

Oregon says goodbye to the CFP

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Oregon's spot at No. 3 always seemed tenuous to say the least, and the weight of the Pac-12 playoff chances finally came crashing down on the Ducks. No. 23 Utah absolutely walloped the visitors to the tune of a 38-7 scoreline.

The setback didn't just end Oregon's chances at the playoff, but it means the Pac-12 will be left on the sidelines for the fifth straight year when the semifinals are announced.

A team led by its defense and rushing attack will always struggle to come from behind, and that's exactly what happened to the Ducks on Saturday. Utah's dominant front was able to severely limit the rushing attack and force Anthony Brown to beat the Utes through the air. He was largely unable to do so, completing just 17 of his 35 attempts for 231 yards.

The Ducks' resume was certainly the weakest among the top teams in the country, but their road win at Ohio State in Week 2 held them in the CFP conversation since the opening rankings. That won't be enough any longer, as you can expect Oregon to drop substantially in Tuesday's release.

Oklahoma State rides defense into Bedlam Game

"The Game" between Michigan and Ohio State next week is certainly the biggest rivalry contest on the national stage, but the Bedlam Game between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State isn't far behind.

Outside of Georgia, there isn't a team in the country playing better on the defensive end than the Cowboys right now. For the third time in the last four games, Oklahoma State's defense held its opponent without a touchdown in a 23-0 win over Texas Tech. Not only did Mike Gundy's outfit pitch a shutout, but it held the Red Raiders to a measly 108 total yards of offense.

Both teams enter next week's contest with a 10-1 record with the winner heading to the Big 12 championship game. Should that be Oklahoma State, the Cowboys would then face No. 11 Baylor provided it wins its finale against Texas Tech. If Oklahoma State is able to knock off the Sooners and the Bears in back-to-back weeks, don't be shocked if that's enough for it to sneak into the CFP semifinals.

Michigan raises stakes for 'The Game'

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The Ohio State-Michigan rivalry is undoubtedly one of the best in the sport, and the Wolverines ensured next week's edition comes with the highest stakes by blowing out Maryland on Saturday.

Following Ohio State's performance earlier in the day, Michigan absolutely ran over the Terrapins on the road, piling up over 500 yards of offense in a 59-18 win. That sets the stage for an epic showdown next Saturday in Ann Arbor, with a trip to the Big Ten title game and potential CFP berth on the line.

Ohio State has won eight straight meetings with the Wolverines, but Jim Harbaugh's outfit could be primed for a home upset this time around. The exploits of the Buckeyes' passing attack have already been mentioned, but Michigan boasts a top-10 defense in yards allowed per passing attempt.

Combine that defense with an improving offensive unit, and next week's matchup could be an all-timer.

Young charging toward Heisman

Despite all the quarterback talent that has come through Alabama in recent years, Bryce Young accomplished something Saturday that nobody else has in school history.

The standout passer torched Arkansas for 561 yards through the air, breaking the Alabama single-game record that stood for 52 years. He ended with five passing scores on the day, bringing his total for the season up to 38.

A defensive player hasn't won the Heisman since 1997, so it'll likely come down to Young or Stroud for the honor.

Young can put one hand on the trophy with two standout performances against Auburn in the Iron Bowl next week and Georgia in the SEC title game the following Saturday.

Hopefully Tucker already signed his deal

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It was reported Wednesday that Michigan State is set to offer head coach Mel Tucker a 10-year, $95-million contract extension. If the 49-year-old didn't already sign the deal, it could mysteriously vanish when the Spartans return to East Lansing.

After racing out to a perfect 8-0 record (including a dramatic comeback win over Michigan), the Spartans are now 1-2 in their last three games - with a combined scoreline of 96-36 in the losses.

Tucker's coaching prowess is on the defensive side of the ball, with his specialty in defensive backs. As mentioned above, the Spartans rank 130th in the country - last among all FBS teams - in passing yards allowed per game. Though the roster certainly isn't stocked with NFL talent, there's absolutely no excuse for Michigan State to be that poor in the secondary.

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Saturday rundown: Takeaways from Week 12's biggest matchups
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