TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Notre Dame ran almost the same play for its first touchdown against No. 2 Florida State.
Three receivers bunched to the right, close to the line. The front two jam into the middle and the back one, Corey Robinson, cuts to the outside. It appeared to work perfectly again when Everett Golson hit Robinson for an apparent go-ahead touchdown with 13 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
As the fifth-ranked Fighting Irish celebrated the 2-yard score, flags flew.
The call: offensive pass interference. The touchdown was gone. Instead it was fourth-and-goal from the 18.
Golson's last pass was intercepted in the back of the end zone, nowhere close to a receiver. After leading for most of the game, the Irish lost 31-27 to the Seminoles on Saturday night, unable to seal the deal on another streak-busting victory.
Golson still looked a little shocked after and refused to complain about the penalty.
"That's something you can't argue with. You just have to play through it," he said. "That last play on fourth-and-18, I probably could have made a play there, so that's what I'm more disappointed in."
Golson was 31 for 52 for 313 yards and three touchdowns, an effort worthy of keeping him in the Heisman Trophy discussion. And Notre Dame will likely stay in contention for the College Football Playoff if it keeps winning. But ultimately Jameis Winston and the Seminoles had just enough to remain unbeaten and run their winning streak to 23.
On its last drive, Notre Dame faced fourth-and-18 from its 43 after a sack by Terrance Smith. Golson bought a little time, rolled right and found Robinson right at that first down marker for a first down, silencing the Florida State crowd for a moment.
Golson did it again with a 17-yard pass to Will Fuller that gave the Irish a first down at the 20. Then a Golson run up the middle made it first-and-goal Irish at the 8 with 45 second left.
Florida State shut down a screen on first down and broke up a slant on second. Golson faced a huge blitz and completed to C.J. Prosise for 6 on third. On fourth-and-ball game, Golson found Robinson all by himself, but the crowd exploded when pass interference was called on Prosise, who locked up Florida State safety Jalen Ramsey in the end zone, helping Robinson get free.
"I didn't see the pass interference," Robinson said. "I thought we got it."
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said he didn't get an explanation from the officials.
"We execute that play every day. And we do it legally and that's the way we coach it," Kelly said. "We don't coach illegal plays. C.J. did exactly what he's supposed to do."
After the game Robinson stopped to talk to his famous father, former NBA star David Robinson. The younger Robinson, at 6-foot-4, about 8 inches shorter than his dad, gestured with his hands, seemingly showing what he did on that final play. David Robinson patted his son on the shoulder and then on the hip. While Corey shook his head and rolled his eyes, his father laughed a little then gave his son a hug.
"We came in with the mindset that we were not going to back down just because they're Florida State," Robinson said. "We attacked them."
Notre Dame has a long history of snapping winning streaks, including Oklahoma's NCAA record 47-game winning streak back in 1957.
Florida State's streak was modest by comparison, but still the best in the nation. As the Irish harassed Winston with defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder's blitzes and the Notre Dame offensive line opened up running lanes in Florida State's defense in the first half, it looked as if 'Noles streak might become seventh of at least 20 games to be halted by the Irish.
Notre Dame led 17-10 at the half.
But the Seminoles had Winston. The Heisman winner showed off his NFL arm, going 15 for 16 in the second half. He finished with 273 yards and two touchdowns.
"That guy is an amazing leader on the field," Florida State guard Tre' Jackson said.
OLE MISS 34, TENNESSEE 3
OXFORD, Miss. — Bo Wallace threw two touchdown passes and No. 3 Mississippi had another dominating defensive performance in a 34-3 victory over Tennessee on Saturday night.
Ole Miss (7-0, 4-0 Southeastern Conference) fell behind 3-0 early in the second quarter, but scored the next 34 points to continue their best start since 1962.
Wallace completed 13 of 28 passes for 199 yards, throwing touchdown passes to Vince Sanders and Evan Engram. Sanders had 108 yards receiving.
Ole Miss came into the game giving up just 11.8 points per game, which ranked first in the SEC and second in the country. The Rebels lived up to those numbers, stuffing Tennessee's running game and harassing quarterback Justin Worley nearly every time he tried to throw. Worley threw three interceptions and the Volunteers (3-4, 0-3) also lost a fumble.
Tennessee's young offensive line, which includes two starting freshmen, had no answer for a relentless Ole Miss pass rush. The Rebel had seven sacks, including 2 1/2 from star freshman Marquis Haynes. Senquez Golson grabbed two interceptions, pushing his conference-leading total to seven.
Ole Miss has allowed only six touchdowns all season. The Volunteers never came particularly close to the end zone on Saturday and finished with 191 total yards, including zero yards rushing.
WEST VIRGINIA 41, NO. 4 BAYLOR 27
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Clint Trickett threw three touchdown passes and West Virginia surprised sloppy Baylor.
The Mountaineers (5-2, 3-1 Big 12) earned their first win over a top-five opponent since beating No. 3 Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl after the 2007 season.
West Virginia sacked Bryce Petty four times and limited the Bears to one touchdown in the second half.
Baylor was penalized 18 times for a Big 12-record 215 yards. The old mark of 183 yards was set by Texas Tech against Rice in 2007.
Trickett went 23 of 35 for 322 yards, his eighth straight 300-yard game going back to last season.
Baylor (6-1, 3-1) couldn't overcome a double-digit deficit as it did in a 61-58 win over TCU last week. Now the Bears will fall into a group of one-loss teams clawing for position the rest of the season for the College Football Playoff.
NO. 7 ALABAMA 59, NO. 21 TEXAS A&M 0
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Blake Sims passed for 268 yards and three touchdowns and scored on a 43-yard run while leading Alabama to 35 second-quarter points.
The Crimson Tide (6-1, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) shut down the nation's No. 4 offense and dominated a game that had produced two straight thrillers.
Led by Sims, T.J. Yeldon and Amari Cooper, Alabama outgained the Aggies 602-172. Texas A&M (5-3, 2-3) has lost its past three games, all to teams now ranked in the top 10.
Alabama set a school record for most points in a quarter and matched the second-most in a half while racing to a 45-0 halftime lead. Yeldon had 114 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries, all in the first half. Cooper had eight catches for 140 yards and two touchdowns.
NO. 8 MICHIGAN ST. 56, INDIANA 17
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Connor Cook threw three touchdown passes, Jeremy Langford ran for three more scores and Michigan State scored the final 35 points.
Cook finished with 332 yards, Langford and Nick Hill each topped 100 yards on the ground and Tony Lippett had 123 yards receiving as coach Mark Dantonio moved into a tie for second on the school's victory list at 70.
The Spartans (6-1, 3-0 Big Ten) have won five straight overall, 13 consecutive games over conference foes and tied the school record with an eighth straight road win in league play.
The Hoosiers (3-4, 0-3) had a scary moment when left tackle Jason Spriggs was carted off the field with 4:54 to play and taken away in an ambulance because of a feared neck injury. Team spokesman Jeff Keag said doctors gave Spriggs a "clean bill of health." Keag did not have any additional information about the injury.
NO. 10 GEORGIA 45, ARKANSAS 32
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Nick Chubb ran for 202 yards and two touchdowns and Georgia dominated on the road for the second straight week.
The Bulldogs (6-1, 4-1 Southeastern Conference), playing their second straight game without suspended running back Toddy Gurley, led 38-6 at halftime. They were sparked by a defense that followed up its shutout of Missouri by forcing three first-half turnovers.
Chubb had a pair of first-half touchdowns, including a 43-yard sprint, and Hutson Mason added 179 yards on 10-of-17 passing. Georgia has won five straight following a loss at South Carolina on Sept. 13.
Jonathan Williams ran for 108 yards for the Razorbacks, (3-4, 0-4). They have lost 16 straight SEC games.
NO. 14 KANSAS STATE 31, NO. 11 OKLAHOMA 30
NORMAN, Okla. — Michael Hunnicutt missed a 19-yard field goal with 3:53 left after Oklahoma drove to the 1, and Kansas State held off the Sooners.
Kansas State (5-1, 3-0 Big 12) took possession and ran out the clock.
Hunnicutt missed two short field goals and had an extra point blocked.
Jake Waters passed for 225 yards and two touchdowns for the Wildcats.
Sterling Shepard tied an Oklahoma record with 15 catches for 197 yards, and Trevor Knight passed for 318 yards and three touchdowns for the Sooners (5-2, 2-2).
NO. 12 TCU 42, NO. 15 OKLAHOMA STATE 9
FORT WORTH, Texas — Trevone Boykin threw for a career-high 410 yards with three touchdowns, two on long plays to Josh Doctson in the first quarter, and TCU bounced back afte a loss to Baylor.
Doctson had seven catches for 225 yards, a yard short of the school record even with the scores of 77 and 84 yards. B.J. Catalon ran for 102 yards and two scores for the Horned Frogs (5-1, 2-1 Big 12).
Oklahoma State (5-2, 3-1), which had won five in a row, was outgained 676 to 258 and held without a touchdown for the first time since a 27-0 loss to Oklahoma in the 2009 regular-season finale.
TCU quickly erased any notion of a hangover effect from its wild 61-58 loss at Baylor, jumping ahead 21-3 on Doctson's early touchdowns.
NO. 13 OHIO ST. 56, RUTGERS 17
COLUMBUS, Ohio — J.T. Barrett completed his first nine passes, ran for 107 yards and two touchdowns and threw for three more scores for Ohio State.
The Buckeyes (5-1, 2-0 Big Ten) have averaged 56 points in a four-game winning streak since losing at home to Virginia Tech. The victory was Ohio State's 18th in a row in the Big Ten, drawing within two of tying the conference mark set by the 2005-07 Buckeyes.
Eli Apple, a New Jersey native, added a fumble return for a score.
It was the worst loss in 12 years for Rutgers (5-2, 1-2), which had a three-game winning streak end. The Scarlet Knights played before their largest crowd ever at 106,795.
NO. 19 NEBRASKA 38, NORTHWESTERN 17
EVANSTON, Ill. — Ameer Abdullah had four 1-yard touchdown runs and quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. scored on a 16-yard reception, leading Nebraska past Northwestern.
Abdullah finished with 146 yards on 23 carries to help the Cornhuskers (6-1, 2-1 Big Ten) bounce back from a 27-22 loss at Michigan State. Abdullah had only 45 yards in the loss to the Spartans on Oct. 4.
Northwestern (3-4, 2-2) wasted another big game for freshman Justin Jackson in its second consecutive loss. Jackson had 128 yards and two touchdowns in his third straight 100-yard game.
NO. 22 SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA 56, COLORADO 28
LOS ANGELES — Cody Kessler set a school game record with seven touchdown passes, throwing five in the first half in Southern California's victory over Colorado.
Nelson Agholor caught three TD passes from Kessler, who broke the mark previously held by Matt Barkley. Kessler passed the record on a 24-yard pass to Steven Mitchell, who made a diving catch in the third quarter of a blowout victory for the Trojans (5-2, 4-1 Pac-12).
Kessler became the first Pac-12 quarterback to throw seven TD passes in the first three quarters, and the junior tied the conference record for TD passes in a non-overtime game. He finished 17 of 24 for 318 yards.
Nelson Spruce and Shay Fields each caught TD passes for Colorado (2-5, 0-4).
NO. 24 CLEMSON 17, BOSTON COLLEGE 13
BOSTON — C.J. Davidson ran 32 yards for a touchdown with 9:35 to play and Clemson stopped a Boston College drive in the final minutes to beat the Eagles.
Cole Stoudt completed 29 of 45 passes for 285 yards, and the Tigers (5-2, 4-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) got help from a missed BC extra point. The Eagles (4-3, 1-2) moved to the Clemson 29, converted a fourth-and-1 and then Tyler Murphy found an open receiver streaking for the end zone.
But Tyler Rouse couldn't hold onto the ball, and Clemson took over on downs and ran out the clock.
Murphy ran for 55 yards on 13 carries and also completed 8 of 19 passes for 108 yards.
NO. 25 MARSHALL 45, FIU 13
MIAMI — Rakeem Cato set an NCAA record for consecutive games with a touchdown pass with 39, finishing with four scoring tosses to help Marshall remain unbeaten.
From Miami, Cato broke a tie with Russell Wilson for the Football Bowl Subdivision mark, connecting with Ryan Yurachek for the record-breaking score with 5 seconds left in the first quarter for Marshall (7-0, 3-0 Conference USA).
Devon Johnson caught two touchdown passes, finishing with 117 yards rushing and 79 more receiving for the Thundering Herd. Corey Tindal ran an interception back for a score and Angelo Jean-Louis had a scoring catch for Marshall, which was playing as a ranked team for the first time since 2002.
Alex McGough had a 1-yard touchdown run for FIU (3-4, 2-3).