College football Week 4 highlights: Ohio State stuns Notre Dame, Top 25 scores, best plays

Week 4 of the 2023 college football season featured seven (!) matchups between teams ranked in the top 25 of the US LBM Coaches Poll, including No. 4 Ohio State vs. No. 9 Notre Dame and No. 3 Florida State vs. No. 23 Clemson. Those games didn't disappoint.

Ohio State coach Ryan Day had some things to say after the Buckeyes defeated the Fighting Irish after scoring with one second to go. Florida State, meanwhile, secured its first win over Clemson since 2014 with an overtime victory in Death Valley.

Check out all the updates, scores, highlights, wild plays, analysis and more Saturday from the USA TODAY Sports staff. Follow along.

College football Week 4 Top 25 scores

College football Week 4 highlights

Florida State defeats Clemson

Oregon defeats Colorado

Alabama defeats Ole Miss

Ohio State defeats Notre Dame

Penn State defeats Iowa

College football winners and losers for Week 4

Easing into the Deion Sanders era against TCU, Nebraska and Colorado State goosed No. 19 Colorado's confidence and helped make the Buffaloes the biggest story in college football, if not all of sports.

Yet lost amid the hoopla was a question few seemed to want to ask: Was Colorado actually good?

The Buffaloes are definitely better than they've been, but that's a low bar to clear given how the program has spent years scraping along the bottom of the Power Five. Whether they deserve a spot in the US LBM AFCA Coaches Poll or warrant continued wall-to-wall coverage is up for debate after a revealing result against one of the best teams in the Bowl Subdivision: No. 11 Oregon 42, Buffaloes 6. It felt much worse than that.

The Buffaloes and Ducks top the winners and losers from a loaded Saturday.

College football Week 5 schedule

Thursday, September 28

Middle Tennessee at Western Kentucky, CBSSN, 7:30 p.m.

Temple at Tulsa, ESPN, 7:30 p.m.

Jacksonville State at Sam Houston, ESPNU, 8 p.m.

Friday, September 29

Louisville at North Carolina State, ESPN, 7 p.m.

Louisiana Tech at Texas-El Paso, CBSSN, 9 p.m.

Utah at Oregon State, FS1, 9 p.m.

Cincinnati at Brigham Young, ESPN, 10:15 p.m.

Saturday, September 30

Alabama-Birmingham at Tulane, ESPN2, noon

Clemson at Syracuse, ABC, noon

Penn State at Northwestern, BTN, noon

South Alabama at James Madison, ESPNU, noon

Southern California at Colorado, Fox, noon

Utah State at Connecticut, CBSSN, noon

Virginia at Boston College, CW, 2 p.m.

Arizona State at California, Pac-12, 3 p.m.

Bowling Green at Georgia Tech, ACC, 3:30 p.m.

Georgia at Auburn, CBS, 3:30 p.m.

Indiana at Maryland, BTN, 3:30 p.m.

Kansas at Texas, ABC, 3:30 p.m.

Michigan at Nebraska, Fox, 3:30 p.m.

Northern Illinois at Toledo, ESPNU, 3:30 p.m.

South Florida at Navy, CBSSN, 3:30 p.m.

Wagner at Rutgers, BTN, 3:30 p.m.

Boise State at Memphis, ESPN2, 4 p.m.

Missouri at Vanderbilt, SEC, 4 p.m.

LSU at Mississippi, ESPN, 6 p.m.

Oregon at Stanford, Pac-12, 6:30 p.m.

Coastal Carolina at Georgia Southern, NFL Network, 7 p.m.

Iowa State at Oklahoma, FS1, 7 p.m.

Charlotte at SMU, ESPNU, 7:30 p.m.

Michigan State at Iowa, NBC, 7:30 p.m.

Notre Dame at Duke, ABC, 7:30 p.m.

South Carolina at Tennessee, SEC, 7:30 p.m.

Pittsburgh at Virginia Tech, ACC, 8 p.m.

San Diego State at Air Force, CBSSN, 8 p.m.

West Virginia at TCU, ESPN2, 8 p.m.

Alabama at Mississippi State, ESPN, 9 p.m.

Washington at Arizona, Pac-12, 10 p.m.

Nevada at Fresno State, FS1, 10:30 p.m.

Notre Dame had 10 men on field on final play vs. Ohio State

Ohio State’s last second touchdown against Notre Dame might not be the most stunning moment of the final seconds.

On the play, Notre Dame only had 10 men on the field, setting a disadvantage for the Fighting Irish on what would end up being the game-winning play. On the play before, there were also only 10 men on defense.

Postgame, Notre Dame head coach Marcus Freeman said the self-inflicted mistake was on the team, as they were trying to get another lineman on the field but didn’t want to be penalized.

"It's on us. We gotta be better,” Freeman said. — Jordan Mendoza

Ryan Day calls out Lou Holtz after Ohio State beats Notre Dame

Ohio State head coach Ryan Day kept the receipts.

Interviewed after his team pulled off a stunning last-second win on the road against Notre Dame, the fifth-year head coach didn't hold back calling out all the people who doubted his team heading into the top 10 showdown in South Bend, including former Fighting Irish head coach Lou Holtz. Holtz, who guided Notre Dame to its last national championship, said on "The Pat McAfee Show" that the Buckeyes were not physical enough, and that's why they've lost high-profile games during Day's tenure. He also said Notre Dame is "a better team."

"I’d like to know where Lou Holtz is right now," a fired-up Day said. "What he said about our team, I cannot believe. This is a tough team right here! We’re proud to be from Ohio! It’s always been Ohio against the world, and it’ll continue to be Ohio against the world!" — Jordan Mendoza

Ohio State beats Notre Dame on last second touchdown

At the buzzer, Ohio State prevails.

At the 1-yard line with three seconds left, Chip Trayanum punched it into end zone to give Ohio State a 17-14 win and stun Notre Dame Stadium in one of the best games of the season. The play went under review to see if Trayanum crossed the goal line before his knee was down, which was confirmed, but one second remained on the clock.

Ohio State kicked the ensuing kickoff out of bounds to give Notre Dame the ball at their own 35-yard line, but the Fighting Irish couldn't pull off the miracle play.

The Buckeyes move to 4-0 with their sixth consecutive win over the Fighting Irish. — Jordan Mendoza

Georgia pulls away from Alabama-Birmingham

Georgia led by two touchdowns against 40 ½ point underdog UAB at the half before coasting to a 49-21 victory.

Things started with a six-play, 75-yard scoring drive. Carson Beck went 5 of 6 for 70 yards and hit Arian Smith on a pass he took for a 12-yard touchdown. -- Marc Weiszer, Athens Banner-Herald

Penn State shuts out Iowa 31-0

Penn State held Iowa to 76 yards of total offense. The Hawkeyes ran 33 plays the entire game and possessed the ball for only 14 minutes, compared with 45 minutes the Nittany Lions had the ball. The disparity in time of possession can be attributed to the Hawkeyes’ four fumbles.

Penn State QB Drew Allar threw 25 completions for 166 yards and four touchdowns, while Iowa starter Cade McNamara threw five completions for 42 yards. — Cydney Henderson

Washington State holds on to beat Oregon State 38-35 

Oregon State scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter to come within three points of Washington State, but the Cougars were able to hold on to win 38-35.

After the Beavers drove the ball 98 yards down the field in two minutes and 46 seconds, Oregon State nearly recovered their onside kick with 1:10 left in the game. Washington State got possession of the ball, however, and their fans soon stormed the field after they kneeled down to run the clock out.

Washington State QB Cameron Ward finished the night with 28 completions for 404-yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. Josh Kelly had three of those touchdowns and 159-yards, while Kyle Williams had one touchdown and 174 yards.

Oregon State QB DJ Uiagalelei had 17 completions for 198 yards, one touchdown and one interception. The Beavers also had 242 rushing yards. — Cydney Henderson

LSU hangs on with game-winning field goal over Arkansas

It was big play after big play in “Death Valley,” but LSU was able to knock in a chip-shot field goal with less than 10 seconds to go to defeat rival Arkansas 34-31.

Each team traded score after score in the second half thanks to long passing plays, and Arkansas was able to tie it up with a little more than five minutes left. But the Bayou Bengals went 72 yards in nine plays while making Arkansas use all of their timeouts to set up the game winning score.

Damian Ramos then kicked a 20 yard field goal to give the lead with four seconds left, and Arkansas was unable to convert a miracle play for the win.

Jayden Daniels was the star for the Tigers as he went 20-for-29 with 320 yards and three touchdown passes, giving LSU two straight wins in the Battle of the Boot. — Jordan Mendoza

Notre Dame makes another fourth down stop

The Fighting Irish defense may have just made the play of the game.

With Ohio State down four and driving in the final minutes of the game, the Buckeyes had a fourth-and-1 from the Notre Dame 11-yard line if they wanted a chance at taking the lead. The Buckeyes went for the jet sweep for Emeka Egbuka, but he wasn’t able to get fully outside and was stopped short of the first down, giving Notre Dame the ball with a chance to run the clock out for a possible home win. — Jordan Mendoza

Notre Dame takes fourth quarter lead

The Fighting Irish now have their first lead of the game, taking a 14-10 lead over Ohio State with more than eight minutes left.

Notre Dame has dominated on the ground in the second half, with 114 rushing yards into the fourth quarter while controlling the tempo of the game. After running into the red zone, Sam Hartman found Rico Flores Jr. in the back of the end zone for a 2-yard touchdown pass for Notre Dame’s first lead of the game.

On its two scoring drives, the Fighting Irish have taken up more than 14 minutes off the clock. — Jordan Mendoza

Drake Maye throws touchdown with left hand to go up 28-17 vs. Pittsburgh

Tar Heels QB Drake Maye was right to use his left hand.

On Pittsburgh’s 7-yard line on 2nd & 4, Maye scrambled out of the pocket threw a blooper pass with his left hand as defenders closed in on him and pulled down he right side of his jersey. The right-handed quarterback connected with Kobe Paysour for a touchdown.

Maye has completed seven passes for 139-yards and one touchdown. — Cydney Henderson

Arkansas ties it up in the fourth quarter 

It’s getting wild in the Bayou.

LSU looked to be asserting its dominance against Arkansas, but the Razorbacks aren’t going away after a huge touchdown throw to tie it up early in the fourth quarter.

Arkansas quarterback KJ Jefferson was able to scramble out of the pocket and found a wide open Luke Hasz for a 59-yard touchdown. Needing two-points to tie it up, the Razorbacks were able to overcome a false start on the conversion in the Battle for the Boot. — Jordan Mendoza

Notre Dame responds with first touchdown

It took over 40 minutes, but Notre Dame is finally on the board after a strong offensive drive.

The Fighting Irish were able to respond to Ohio State’s touchdown with a 13 play, 75-yard drive that took over seven minutes that was heavily dominated on the ground. On first and goal from the one, Gi’Bran Payne took the direct snap and powered through the goal line to make it 10-7. — Jordan Mendoza

LSU takes lead into fourth quarter 

LSU used two touchdowns in the third quarter to take a 24-16 lead over Arkansas heading into the fourth quarter.

It was deja vu for the Tigers to open the third quarter, as Jayden Daniels found Brian Thomas Jr. for their second 49-yard touchdown pass of the night to give themselves the lead. After the Razorbacks got a field goal to make it a one-point game, LSU went right back down the field for another touchdown to make it 24-16. — Jordan Mendoza

Josh Kelly’s one-hand TD catch extends Washington State’s lead over Oregon State 

Have yourself a game, Josh Kelly.

The Washington State receiver caught a 19-yard touchdown pass from QB Cameron Ward with only one hand, his second one-handed snag of the day. It marked Kelly’s third touchdown to extend the Cougars' lead to 35-14. Kelly is up to 159 receiving yards. — Cydney Henderson

Marvin Harrison Jr. hurt on Ohio State touchdown run 

The Buckeyes finally got in the end zone, but it was a scary moment after star receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. was injured on the play.

As TreVeyon Henderson ran 61 yards for a touchdown, Harrison’s ankle got rolled up off a missed tackle and he immediately went down. The training staff helped Harrison off the field and he went into the medical tent.

The star receiver has one catch for 7 yards against Notre Dame.

He came out of the medical tent after about seven minutes and returned to the sideline. — Jordan Mendoza

Ohio State defense stuffs Notre Dame, then gets big touchdown run

The Ohio State defense came to play against Notre Dame, making another fourth down stop to end the Fighting Irish’s chance to score out of halftime before getting in the end zone for the first touchdown.

Notre Dame’s offense looked to be a different squad out of the break, and got it all the way to the Ohio State 40-yard line. The Buckeyes were able to stop a 3rd and 2, and Notre Dame decided to go for it. Sam Hartman was unable to get the yard, giving the Buckeyes the ball.

On the very next play, TreVeyon Henderson broke free for a 61-yard touchdown run to give the Buckeyes a two-score lead in a wild turn of events in favor of Ohio State. — Jordan Mendoza

Ohio State takes field goal advantage into halftime

It’s a defensive battle in South Bend, as Ohio State scored the first points of the game with a field goal just before the half to make it 3-0 heading into the locker room.

Each offense had a chance to score, but each side failed to convert short fourth downs in each other’s territory during the first half. Notre Dame had the ball only four times, with it ending in turnover on downs, missed field goal, punt and end of the second quarter. Ohio State went 66 yards down the field on its final drive of the half, but was unable to get in the end zone. The Buckeyes went for the points, as Jayden Fielding knocked in a  31 yard field goal.

Each quarterback – Kyle McCord of Ohio State and Sam Hartman of Notre Dame – has been limited by tough secondaries. The Buckeyes have 147 total yards, while Notre Dame has 141. — Jordan Mendoza

Penn State fumble recovery leads to touchdown vs. Iowa 

Penn State kicker Riley Thompson’s 37-yard punt hit an Iowa blocker in the back and was recovered by the Nittany Lions’ Curtis Jacobs on Iowa’s 34-yard line for his second fumble recovery of the game. Penn State was able to capitalize on the special teams blunder and converted two fourth downs to score. QB Drew Allar completed a 9-yard touchdown to TE Khalil Dinkins to go up 10-0 over Iowa.

Halftime: Washington State 21, Oregon State 14

After fumbling the ball on back-to-back possessions, Washington State closed the first half on a high note with QB Cameron Ward’s 11-yard touchdown pass to go up 27-14 on Oregon State.

Ward threw 18 completions for 293 yards, three touchdowns and one fumble loss. He only has one incompletion on the day so far. WR Josh Kelly (140 yards, 2 TDs) and Kyle Williams (119 yards, 1 TD) both have 100+ yard games through one half.

Oregon State QB DJ Uiagalelei had six completions for 84 yards and one interception. The Beavers added 135 yards on the ground.

Notre Dame makes a goal line stand

Ohio State’s offense finally picked up, but Notre Dame wouldn’t let the Buckeyes get on the board with a goal line stand at the 1-yard line.

The Buckeyes went 70 yards in 11 plays to set themselves up with a 3rd and goal at the one. After Miyan Williams got nothing, Ryan Day decided to gamble by going for it on fourth down. The Buckeyes went for the play action, but the Fighting Irish didn’t bite on it, deflecting Kyle McCord’s pass to keep the game scoreless with under seven minutes left in the first half. — Jordan Mendoza

Oregon State capitalizes on Washington State fumble

Washington State QB Cameron Ward connected with WR Kyle Williams for a 40-yard bomb down the field to bring the Cougars to Oregon State’s 29-yard line. Ward threw a quick pass to RB Jaylen Jenkins on the next play, but Jenkins fumbled the ball and it was recovered by Oregon State.

The Beavers converted the turnover into seven points, highlighted by QB DJ Uiagalelei’s 46-yard completion to WR Silas Bolden. The drive was capped by a 13-yard touchdown run from RB Deshaun Fenwick, who trotted into the end zone untouched.

Oregon State trails by one possession, 21-14. -- Cydney Henderson

Notre Dame misses field goal opportunity 

Two chances in Ohio State territory and no points yet for Notre Dame.

After failing to convert a fourth down play on its opening drive, Notre Dame kicker Spencer Shrader hooked a 47-yard field goal to the left, keeping it scoreless in South Bend.

The Fighting Irish have controlled the early part of the game, outgaining Ohio State 110-41 while its offense has been on the field for 11 of the first 16 minutes of game.

Notre Dame tight end makes wild one-handed catch

It was an eventful first drive for Notre Dame against Ohio State that included an amazing catch and risky decisions.Sam Hartman was able to find tight end Mitchell Evans in Notre Dame territory and Evans made a spectacular one-handed catch to give Notre Dame a first down. — Jordan Mendoza

However the Fighting Irish weren’t able to convert it into points, turning the ball over on downs inside the Ohio State red zone after Hartman’s scramble fell short.

Florida’s Ricky Pearsall makes ridiculous one-handed catch 

The catch of Week 4 may belong to Florida receiver Ricky Pearsall, who went up and made a spectacular one-handed catch in the first quarter against Charlotte.

The Gators lead the 49ers 10-0. — Jordan Mendoza

Deion Sanders, Colorado see 'Cinderella story' blown over by Oregon

EUGENE, Oregon – Coach Deion Sanders and his “Cinderella story” finally ran out of magic here Saturday. And it wasn’t even close. After three weeks of hype and momentum, Sanders’ Colorado football team missed tackles on defense, got bowled over on offense and lost at Oregon, 42-6.

As it turned out, Oregon coach Dan Lanning almost seemed to know what was coming before the game, when he gave a harsh assessment of Coach Prime and the upstart Buffaloes (3-1) in a pregame speech to his players.

“The Cinderella story is over, man,” Lanning told them before the game. “They’re fighting for clicks. We’re fighting for wins. There’s a difference, right? There’s a difference. This game ain’t gonna be played in Hollywood. It’s gonna be played on the grass.”

Not long after that, Oregon had built a 35-0 lead by halftime. Colorado quarterback Shedeur Sanders had led his team to only 21 yards of total offense at that point as his blockers struggled to stop the Oregon onslaught amid a loud green and yellow crowd of 59,889 at Autzen Stadium.

Sanders, the coach’s son, had entered the game as a Heisman Trophy candidate but was outgunned from the start by another Heisman candidate, Bo Nix, the quarterback for Oregon. Nix led the Ducks (4-0) to touchdowns on their first three possessions and completed 22 of 24 passes for 217 yards and three touchdowns in the first half alone, not including another touchdown by him on an 11-yard run right before halftime.

His favorite target was receiver Troy Franklin, who caught two of those touchdowns before halftime and had 126 yards receiving in the first half.

The Ducks racked up 22 first downs before halftime, compared to four for Colorado, who now face No. 5 Southern California next week at home. — Brent Schrotenboer

Alabama uses second half to power through Ole Miss

The second half looked much more like the Alabama football that we are used to seeing, as the Crimson Tide pulled through for a 24-10 win over Ole Miss.

Nick Saban’s team was a completely different squad coming out of the locker room as they were down 7-6. After taking the lead with another field goal, the defense picked off Jaxson Dart and the offense responded with Jalen Milroe launching a beautiful 33-yard touchdown pass to Jalen Hale.

The Crimson Tide didn’t look back, limiting the Rebels to just a field goal in the second half, capping it by forcing a turnover on downs.

Milroe went 17-for-21 with 225 yards and one touchdown and an interception in his first game back with the Tide after he was benched against South Florida, bringing optimism to Tuscaloosa with a two-game road trip on deck. — Jordan Mendoza

OPINION: Alabama finds pulse with Jalen Milroe at quarterback

Defense leads Utah to win over UCLA

In a defensive battle, the first play of the game proved to be the difference.

Utah’s Karene Reid picked off Dante Moore and returned it for a touchdown to start what would be a dominant performance from the Utes defense en route to a 14-7 win over UCLA.

The defense didn’t give up a score for the first 56 minutes of the game while preventing the UCLA offense from finishing drives in Utah territory. Utah sacked Moore seven times, three of which came on the Bruins’ final chance of the game, and got 11 tackles for loss.

Utah’s lone offensive score came right before the half, and the Utes got the win despite being outgained by the Bruins, 243-219. Utah is now 4-0 for the first time since 2017, all while QB Cam Rising remains out while he recovers from a torn ACL. — Jordan Mendoza

Colorado scores against Oregon, still down 42-6

The Buffaloes are finally on the board.

After being held scoreless for almost the entirety of the game, QB Shedeur Sanders connected with TE Michael Harrison for a 6-yard touchdown pass with 2:51 remaining to avoid a shutout. The PAT, however, was blocked. — Cydney Henderson

UCLA gets on the board late in the fourth quarter

The Bruins are back in it.

After going scoreless for the first 56 minutes, UCLA has made it a one-score game with its first touchdown of the day.

It looked like the game was going to be over, but UCLA was able to convert a fourth down in its territory with a miraculous 45-yard pass from Dante Moore to Carsen Ryan. Three plays later, Moore found Josiah Norwood for a 17-yard touchdown pass to avoid the shutout and give UCLA a chance with more than three minutes left.

Utah could end it by bleeding the clock, but they only have 69 yards in the second half. — Jordan Mendoza

No. 22 Iowa at No. 7 Penn State: Predictions, picks, how to watch

Time/TV: Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, CBS

Why watch: This is actually one of two battles of unbeatens in the Big Ten this week with second-ranked Michigan beating a somewhat surprising Rutgers squad, but White Out night in State College gets the spotlight. Curious things have been known to happen when these far-flung rivals get together – who can forget the Hawkeyes’ win at Penn State in 2004 by the tennis-like score of 6-4? That level of offensive futility is unlikely to be duplicated this time around, but there still might not be many flashy plays. There’s a bit more potential for them from the Nittany Lions, though QB Drew Allar and WR KeAndre Lambert-Smith were largely held in check in last week’s Big Ten opener at Illinois. Even with the addition of Michigan transfer QB Cade McNamara, the Iowa attack is still averaging just 4.9 yards per play and is 119th in total offense.

Why it could disappoint: Did we mention there might not be a lot of points? The defenses figure to be the stronger units on the field no matter who has the ball. A significant lead either way could prove insurmountable.

USA TODAY Sports staff picks:

  • Scooby Axson: Penn State

  • Jace Evans: Penn State

  • Paul Myerberg: Penn State

  • Erick Smith: Penn State

  • Eddie Timanus: Penn State

  • Dan Wolken: Penn State

No. 4 Ohio State at No. 9 Notre Dame: Predictions, picks how to watch

Time/TV: Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, NBC

Why watch: The third top-10 showdown of the season gets top billing, as the Fighting Irish host one of their biggest games in recent memory. The Buckeyes seek a return trip to the playoff, and though this contest is not an eliminator for either team, it would be a huge feather in the cap for the winner. After a somewhat slow start in the season opener at Indiana, Buckeyes QB Kyle McCord has improved his comfort level with the offense. Having a talent like WR Marvin Harrison Jr. helps, of course, and Notre Dame DB Thomas Harper will likely be needed to help contain him. Fighting Irish QB Sam Hartman has been as good as advertised since transferring from Wake Forest, delivering 13 TD passes without a pick through four games. But the Ohio State defense, anchored by LB Tommy Eichenberg, represents his toughest test since arriving in South Bend.

Why it could disappoint: It shouldn’t, though there will likely be momentum swings both ways. If McCord again struggles out of the gate in hostile environs, he might find himself in comeback mode too early. But if the Buckeyes can keep RB Audric Estime under wraps, Hartman might be forced to take the kind of chances he hasn’t needed to yet.

USA TODAY Sports staff picks:

  • Scooby Axson: Notre Dame

  • Jace Evans: Ohio State

  • Paul Myerberg: Ohio State

  • Erick Smith: Notre Dame

  • Eddie Timanus: Notre Dame

  • Dan Wolken: Notre Dame

Bo Nix taken out of game with Oregon up 42-0 over Colorado 

Bo Nix’s day is done.

Nix exited the game with the Ducks comfortably up 42-0 over Colorado entering the fourth quarter. Nix finished with 28 completions for 276 yards, three touchdowns and one interception, plus a touchdown run.

Ty Thompson is now under center for the Ducks. — Cydney Henderson

Utah stops UCLA from getting on the board 

Two straight drives into Utah territory and nothing for UCLA.

The Bruins are still trying to get their first score of the game against a stout Utah defense, as the Utes were able to force a turnover on downs by creating more pressure on the passing game. UCLA was able to force a three-and-out, and the Bruins will get the ball back at their 11-yard line with 11 minutes left. — Jordan Mendoza

Colorado blanked through three quarters vs. Oregon 

Another quarter, another shutout.

Oregon held Colorado scoreless through three quarters. The Buffaloes have recorded 72 total yards of offense, compared to the Ducks’ 481 yards. Colorado has only converted seven first downs so far and are 3-for-10 on third downs.

Colorado QB Shedeur Sanders has been sacked six times through three quarters. — Cydney Henderson

Botched down call potentially costs Alabama touchdown chance

Miscommunication between officials and Alabama caused some confusion — potentially costing the Crimson Tide yet another opportunity to score a touchdown vs. Lane Kiffin and Ole Miss.

The issue arose on the Crimson Tide's first offensive drive out of halftime when officials incorrectly placed the down marker with Alabama nearing the goal line. Nick Saban and Co. thought they had a first down following a 1-yard run by Jalen Milroe at the Ole Miss 11, down to the 10-yard line.

As communicated by rules expert Gene Steratore on the CBS broadcast, officials never communicated to the Crimson Tide what down it was, with Alabama thinking it had gained first down on the sneak by Milroe.

"The down box indicator ... was a mistake," Steratore said on the telecast. "It was actually first (down). And that is what upset Coach Saban, naturally, because he thought he had third-and-inches. But he ran the quarterback sneak and it was actually first-and-10 from the 11 when they ran the sneak. So they missed that down there as far as just a communication as to what down that was."

As such, Milroe's QB sneak on what was presumed to be second-and-inches inside the 10-yard line was actually third-and-five. Had Alabama been aware of the down, it would clearly have chosen another play, effectively costing the Crimson Tide a play (and a touchdown opportunity). — Zac Al-Khateeb, USA TODAY NETWORK

Potent UCLA offense shut out through three quarters vs. Utah

One of the most dynamic offenses in the country has been kept in check by a monstrous performance by the Utah defense, shutting out the Bruins and leading 14-0 heading into the fourth quarter.

It was a scoreless third quarter, but it was another 15 minutes of Utah not letting UCLA generate much offensively. The Bruins appeared to get something going after Dante Moore was able to find J. Micahel Sturdivant for a 41-yard pass into Utah territory. But UCLA was unable to score after getting into the red zone, as Moore fumbled it on a key third down.

Utah has held UCLA to 138 yards, while the offense continues to bleed the clock. — Jordan Mendoza

Oregon's Noah Whittington hurt; Ducks go for it on 4th down, up 42-0

Oregon head coach Dan Lanning said his team “wasn’t satisfied” with a 35-point lead heading into halftime and the Ducks picked up where they left off when the third quarter began. Oregon went for it on 4th down at the goal line and was able to convert with a 1-yard touchdown run from Jordan James.

Ducks RB Noah Whittington was shaken up during the drive. He hobbled off the field, favoring his left foot or ankle, and went down on the sidelines as he was tended to by staff. — Cydney Henderson

Haley Van Voorhis becomes first woman non-kicker to play in NCAA football game

Haley Van Voorhis, a safety for the Division III Shenandoah Hornets, made history Saturday by becoming the first woman non-kicker to appear in a college football game.

Van Voorhuis came in during the first quarter of Shenandoah's home game against Juniata, registering a quarterback hurry on third down.

The 5-foot-6 junior joined the team in 2021 after she was the first female player at Christchurch High School in Virginia, where she was a 2019 All-State Honorable Mention. In 2021, Van Voorhuis told Fox DC it was her dream to play for Shenandoah and from a young age, she always wanted to play football. — Jordan Mendoza

Bo Nix, Oregon shut out Colorado, 35-0, heading into halftime

It was all Oregon in the first half. QB Bo Nix completed 22 passes for 217 yards, three touchdowns and one interception, while Oregon added 161 yards on the ground. The Ducks were firing on both sides of the ball, with the defense holding Colorado to 21 yards of total offense and just four first downs in the first half.

Colorado QB Shedeur Sanders couldn’t get anything cooking. He threw 10 completions for 56 yards, but he was sacked four times for a loss of 47 yards. The Buffaloes have only possessed the ball 9 minutes, 12 seconds, compared to the Ducks having the ball 20:48.

As dominant as the Ducks were in the first half, Oregon head coach Dan Lanning said, “We’re not done yet.”

“We’re not satisfied,” Lanning said heading into the locker rooms. “I hope all those people that have been watching every week are watching this week.” — Cydney Henderson

Utah defense shuts out UCLA in first half

Utah becomes the first offense to generate points, getting in the endzone to extend the lead against UCLA to 14-0 at the half.

After five straight punts between both teams, Utah’s offense was able to go 51 yards down the field in the best offensive drive of the game from either side. Nate Johnson was able to find Landen King for an easy 5-yard touchdown pass.

Meanwhile, the Utes' defense continues to make life a nightmare for Dante Moore. The Bruins have run 29 plays and only have 49 yards to show for it, with their last first down coming in the first quarter. — Jordan Mendoza

Oregon takes advantage of Colorado’s busted coverage, up big

Oregon QB Bo Nix connected with WR Troy Franklin for a 36-yard touchdown to put the Ducks up 28-0 over Colorado. Franklin was wide open across the middle due to the Buffaloes’ busted coverage. The touchdown capped a 5-play, 82-yard drive that took all of 2:10.

Nix got it done with his feet too. On the Ducks’ next possession, Nix legged out a 11-yard touchdown run for the Ducks' second score, in 2:14. The crowd out at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon, was heard over the ABC broadcast chanting “Overrated.”  — Cydney Henderson

Ole Miss’ awful special teams keeping Alabama close

The Alabama offense continues to sputter and the Tide find themselves down 7-6 at halftime to Ole Miss in Tuscaloosa.

Jalen Milroe threw for 93 yards on 14 attempts and was sacked four times. The running game also sputtered, managing 24 yards on 22 carries.

Ole Miss quarterback Jaxson Dart engineered a 56-yard drive, but a 34-yard field goal attempt by Caden Davis went wide left at the end of the half.

After Milroe was intercepted in the end zone in the second quarter, Fraser Masin’s punt was blocked by Ja'Corey Brooks and the ball went out of bounds at the 1.

But Alabama went backwards as the first play led to a high snap and a loss of 13 yards and Milroe was sacked on the final two plays of the drive, leading to boos from the Alabama crowd. — Scooby Axson

Bo Nix throws first interception of the season

Colorado needed its defense to step up and make a play, trailing 21-0 in the second quarter. CB Jahquez Robinson did just that and intercepted a pass from Oregon QB Bo Nix at the Ducks’ 44-yard line, marking Oregon’s first turnover of the season.

But the Buffaloes weren’t able to capitalize. QB Shedeur Sanders was sacked on back-to-back plays for a loss of 23 yards before Colorado punted. — Cydney Henderson

Oregon keeps drive alive with fake punt

Oregon converted a fourth and 4 at its 17-yard line on a fake punt. The long snapper snapped the ball directly to DL Casey Rogers, who ran for 18 yards to pick up the first down and keep its drive alive. Punter Ross James sold the fake perfectly and jumped in the air like he was receiving the snap as Rogers took off.

The Ducks, who are dominating the Buffaloes on offense, defense and now special teams, are up 21-0. — Cydney Henderson

Utah leads defensive battle against UCLA

It’s been all defense in Salt Lake City, as the pick six to open the game is the only score through one quarter with No. 10 Utah leading No. 25 UCLA 7-0.

Utah has made life difficult for freshman quarterback Dante Moor, forcing a fumble and a fourth down stop to prevent the Bruins from getting anything going offensively. But the UCLA defense is keeping them in it, snatching a fumble recovery and fourth down stop in their own territory on back-to-back possessions.

UCLA came into Saturday 10th in the country in yards per game (527), but only had 30 yards in the first 15 minutes, with Utah at 77 yards. — Jordan Mendoza

Oregon up 13-0 over Colorado after faulty punt, costly penalty

After the Buffaloes opening drive netted -1 yards, Colorado kicker Mark Vassett punted the ball 29-yards, setting the Ducks up with good field position on their 47-yard line. Much like the first drive, Oregon charged down the field.  Colorado appeared to make a defensive stand on their 5-yard line by stopping a short pass to TE Terrance Ferguson on third down, but a personal foul was called on Colorado DL Leonard Payne Jr. to set Oregon up with a fresh set of downs. They were able to punch the ball in on a 1-yard pass to Casey Kelly. The Ducks two-point conversion, however, failed. — Cydney Henderson

Ole Miss takes early lead on Alabama in Tuscaloosa

Jaxson Dart went untouched up the middle on a 10-yard touchdown run as Ole Miss took a 7-3 lead over the favored Crimson Tide and looks to end a seven-game losing streak to Alabama.

Alabama quarterback Jalen Milroe returned to the starting lineup after being benched last week, led the Tide to a field goal on their first possession, which ended on a 48-yard field goal by Will Reichard. Alabama went three and out on their second series. — Scooby Axson

Bo Nix, Oregon charge down field on opening drive, lead Colorado 7-0

Oregon Ducks quarterback Bo Nix led his team down the field for an impressive 10-play, 72-yard touchdown drive in less than five minutes.

Gary Bryant Jr. set the Ducks up with good field position following his 24-yard kickoff return. Nix completed 6-of-6 passes for 59 yards on the drive, which was capped by a three-yard touchdown run from Noah Whittington.

The Ducks defense then forced a three-and-out on the Buffaloes’ first possession, giving the ball back to Nix and the offense. — Cydney Henderson

Utah starts game with pick six

What a start for the Utes.

Hosting No. 25 UCLA, No. 10 Utah wasted no time introducing freshman quarterback Dante Moore to Pac-12 play, picking him off on the first play of the game and taking it back to the house to snare a quick 7-0 lead.

Terrell Owens on the sidelines with Colorado in Coach Prime shirt

Deion Sanders’ Colorado Buffaloes have attracted A-listers through three weeks. Saturday’s Week 4 matchup against Oregon was no different.

Pro Football Hall of Fame receiver Terrell Owens arrived to Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon, with the Buffaloes, wearing a shirt adorned with Sanders. He was on the sidelines with the team as they warmed up.

Meanwhile, the Oregon Duck opted for a cowboy hat and sunglasses, mimicking Sanders’ signature style. — Cydney Henderson

Florida State, Keon Coleman outlast Clemson in overtime, 31-24

Keon Coleman caught a 24-yard touchdown on the second play of overtime as Florida State beat Clemson 31-24 to throw a wrench into the ACC race and snap a seven-game losing streak to the Tigers.

In the fourth quarter, Clemson kicker Jonathan Weitz missed a 29-yard field goal with 1:45 left and Florida State’s attempt to win the game in regulation went nowhere.

Cade Klubnik threw for 283 yards and scored two total touchdowns and Will Shipley scored his first rushing touchdown of the season.

Seminoles quarterback Jordan Travis reacts after scoring against the Tigers.
Seminoles quarterback Jordan Travis reacts after scoring against the Tigers.

After Florida State scored 10 unanswered points to tie the score at 17 in the third quarter, Clemson drove 77 yards to take the lead and was driving for another score when linebacker Kalen DeLoach drilled Klubnik and returned his fumble 56 yards to tie the score at 24.

Jordan Travis threw for 289 yards and two touchdowns but the Seminoles couldn’t get the running game going, rushing for only 22 yards on 20 carries.

Travis got the Seminoles going with a 7-yard touchdown pass to Keon Coleman to cap a 13-play, 75-yard drive and got Florida State within three after a one-yard Travis run with 22 seconds remaining in the half. — Scooby Axson

No. 3 Florida State and No. 23 Clemson in tight ACC contest

After Florida State scored 10 unanswered points to tie the score at 17 in the third quarter, Clemson drove 77 yards to take the lead and was driving for another score when linebacker Kalen DeLoach drilled Cade Klubnik and returned his fumble 56 yards to tie the score at 24. — Scooby Axson

Colorado coach Deion Sanders gets rousing welcome in Oregon

EUGENE, Oregon – Nobody in college football makes an entrance like Deion Sanders. More than 90 minutes before today’s game at Oregon, 300 or more fans lined up on the concourses outside Autzen Stadium to get a glimpse of the Colorado head coach. Six police motorcycles, at least nine police officers and six sheriff’s deputies helped clear the way as a crowd of mostly Oregon fans raised the phones to capture a small moment with Sanders and his security detail as they walked from the visiting locker room outside the stadium down the tunnel to the field.

Most cheered in admiration. Some jeered, including one who held up a T-shirt that said, “Pee-On Deion.” It was for sale in the parking lot before the game for $20. After entering the stadium, Sanders walked down the sideline and into the far endzone and back, where Oregon students erupted for him and another Oregon fan yelled, “Where’s the clown make-up?" — Brent Schrotenboer

No. 14 Oklahoma's defense spoils Cincinnati’s Big 12 debut

It wasn’t an explosive day for No. 14 Oklahoma, but its defense was the story of the day as it dominated Cincinnati 20-6 in the Bearcats’ first Big 12 game.

Oklahoma came into the day averaging 55.7 points per game – third in the country – but was only able to get in the end zone twice. Quarterback Dillon Gabriel had another big day in the air with 322 yards, but the running game for the Sooners was virtually nonexistent for a majority of the game before picking up later in the second half with 105 yards.

But Emory Jones and company couldn’t generate any momentum for the Bearcats. Cincinnati only got two field goals on the day and was 0-for-2 in the red zone. Cincinnati also got into Oklahoma territory in each of its five second-half drives, with three ending in turnovers on downs in what was an impressive performance for the Sooners' defense. — Jordan Mendoza

Jim Harbaugh returns, No. 2 Michigan pulls away from Rutgers

Mike Sainristil returned an interception 71 yards for a touchdown and Blake Corum ran for 97 yards and added two touchdown runs as Michigan dominated the second half and beat Rutgers 31-7.

J.J. McCarthy threw for 214 yards and a score for the Wolverines (4-0, 1-0 Big 10), who played their first game with coach Jim Harbaugh following his three-game suspension.

Rutgers (3-1, 1-1) was led by Gavin Wimsatt, who threw for 180 yards and the game’s first score when he found Christian Dremel on a 69-yard touchdown pass on the third play from scrimmage.

The Scarlet Knights entered the game only giving up 70 yards rushing per game. Michigan ran for 201 yards on 40 carries. — Scooby Axson

Colorado shows no logo love in Oregon

Kickoff for No. 10 Oregon vs. No. 19 Colorado is set for 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC. It's one of the biggest games of a stacked Week 4 schedule of college football and will feature the first color-changing cleats for the Ducks' players.

But now there's some controversy around the game thanks to a video of Colorado players arriving at the stadium. The video shows a group of Colorado players walking across the field at Autzen Stadium and some walking around the end zone and taking in the empty stadium.

Some of the players were shown walking over the Oregon logo at midfield. One player even appears to stomp his feet on the yellow logo at midfield.

Two weeks ago, Colorado was on the other side of a logo incident. Nebraska huddled up on the Buffaloes' logo during pregame warmups. Colorado quarterback Shedeur Sanders said that logo incident was "personal" after the Buffaloes' 36-14 win.

"It’s OK if a couple players do it – It’s fine, like just enjoy the scenery," Sanders said after the game. "But when you’ve got the whole team trying to disrespect it, you know I’m not going for that at all.  I went in there and disrupted it.” — Ayrton Ostly

Cincinnati mascot takes out Oklahoma mascot

Nothing like a red shell to take you out.

Cincinnati’s Bearcat and Oklahoma’s Sooner engaged in a fun little version of “Mario Kart” during their Big 12 matchup Saturday. Sooner was minding their business, doing well on their ride until Bearcat delivered a hard hitting red shell right to the face. It knocked off Sooner in another instance of mascot-on-mascot violence. — Jordan Mendoza

LSU, Arkansas honor Greg Brooks with No. 3 decal on helmets

LSU and Arkansas will honor Greg Brooks with helmet stickers during Saturday's college football rivalry game in Baton Rouge.

Both teams will wear No. 3 helmet stickers in honor of the LSU safety, who is out indefinitely after having emergency brain surgery to remove a tumor last week. Brooks began his career at Arkansas before transferring to LSU after the 2021 season.

“Our team has dedicated this season to Greg,” LSU coach Brian Kelly said on ESPN’s College GameDay” on Saturday. — Austin Curtwright, USA TODAY NETWORK

Oklahoma leads Cincinnati in Bearcats’ Big 12 debut

Cincinnati is getting the class of the Big 12 in its conference debut, trailing No. 14 Oklahoma 10-3 at home.

The Bearcats are coming off a disappointing loss to Miami (Ohio) last week, and while the offense hasn’t generated much, it has held the No. 3 scoring offense in the country (55.7 ppg) to 10 points. Cincinnati had a chance to cut the deficit before the half, but kicker Carter Brown missed a 26-yard chip shot just before the break.

Oklahoma quarterback Dillon Gabriel is 15-for-23 with 212 yards and a touchdown pass through the first half. — Jordan Mendoza

Cade Klubnik, Clemson leading Florida State at halftime

The Tigers lead the Seminoles 17-14 in the battle of the ACC heavyweights. Jonathan Weitz’s 30-yard field goal got the Tigers on the board first, and then Cade Klubnik scored on a 1-yard quarterback sneak in the second quarter.

Jordan Travis (11-for-16, 128 yards), who is dealing with a left shoulder injury and a damaged right hand, got the Seminoles going with a 7-yard touchdown pass to Keon Coleman to cap a 13-play, 75-yard drive. He got Florida State within three after a one-yard touchdown run with 22 seconds remaining in the half.

But Clemson scored on its last three possessions of the half, with Klubnik, who is 13-for-18 for 190 yards, hitting Will Shipley on a 10-yard scoring pass. — Scooby Axson

Tigers running back Will Shipley jumps over Seminoles defensive back Kevin Knowles II.
Tigers running back Will Shipley jumps over Seminoles defensive back Kevin Knowles II.

J.J. McCarthy, Michigan back on top of Rutgers at halftime

The Wolverines lead the feisty Scarlet Knights 14-7 at halftime after Semaj Morgan caught an 18-yard touchdown pass from J.J. McCarthy with 1:41 left.  McCarthy has 139 yards passing and added 36 yards on the ground. Blake Corum has the other Michigan score, a 2-yard rushing touchdown.

Rutgers quarterback Gavin Wimsatt has 99 yards passing, including a 69-yard score to Christian Dremel on the third play of the game. — Scooby Axson

Clemson up 10-0 early on Florida State

Clemson has struck first in the battle of the ACC heavyweights. Jonathan Weitz’s 30-yard field goal got the Tigers on the board first, and then Cade Klubnik scored on a 1-yard quarterback sneak.

Klubnik is 9-for-14 for 126 yards, while Jordan Travis has only completed three of his five passes for 19 yards. The Seminoles have only 21 yards of total offense. — Scooby Axson

Michigan responds to Rutgers' quick score

Rutgers, a three-touchdown underdog, struck first in Ann Arbor, scoring on the third play of the game. Gavin Wimsatt hit Christian Dremel in the middle of the field on a third and 4 and he ran untouched on a 69-yard touchdown strike.  The Wolverines got the ball and went three and out. Michigan later tied it up with a 7-play, 94-yard drive that ended with a Blake Corum 2-yard run.  — Scooby Axson

No. 19 Colorado at No. 11 Oregon: Predictions, picks, how to watch

Time/TV: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC

Why watch: Of the three Pac-12 contests matching ranked opponents, this one is highest on the intrigue meter thanks to, if you’ll forgive the mathematical pun, the Prime factor. We’ll learn over the next two weeks if the remade Colorado Buffaloes are immediate league powers or if another season or two is still needed for future Big 12 contention. The first of the pivotal pair of games is this one in Eugene, where the Ducks are flying pretty high themselves. Colorado QB Shedeur Sanders will be without WR/CB Travis Hunter for the next few weeks, but WR Xavier Weaver and RB Dylan Edwards are also dangerous in open space. The Ducks counter with veteran QB Bo Nix, who has been pick free through the first three games with eight scoring throws. His arsenal features WR Troy Franklin and RB Bucky Irving.

Why it could disappoint: While the interest in this contest is undeniable, so is the game’s blowout potential. The defensive side of the ball hasn’t rebuilt quite as quickly for CU. The firepower is there to keep it interesting, but if the Ducks gain an early cushion things could snowball quickly.

USA TODAY Sports staff picks:

  • Scooby Axson: Oregon

  • Jace Evans: Oregon

  • Paul Myerberg: Oregon

  • Erick Smith: Oregon

  • Eddie Timanus: Oregon

  • Dan Wolken: Oregon

College football picks Week 4

Our college football expert prognosticators have a lot to chew on in Week 4, with a historic seven contests between ranked teams in the US LBM Coaches Poll.

The headliner is No. 4 Ohio State at No. 9 Notre Dame, the season’s third top-10 showdown. The schools met in last year's opener with the Buckeyes winning a low-scoring affair. This will be only the sixth regular-season meeting between the geographic rivals.

Elsewhere, the Pac-12 farewell tour begins in earnest with three Top 25 matchups, including a big test for coach Deion Sanders’ 19th-ranked Colorado Buffaloes at No. 11 Oregon. Two-defending conference champion No. 10 Utah plays host to No. 25 UCLA. And the remaining two schools committed to the league - No. 15 Oregon State and No. 24 Washington State - face off in a game both programs will want to win to start conference play.

Here are USA TODAY Sports’ expert picks for all of Saturday’s the ranked games.

What Nick Saban should have learned from Italian vacation

Because of how many times Nick Saban has pivoted, reinvented and rescued seasons that seemed a little bit wobbly, rushing to declare the end of Alabama’s dominance is fraught with risk. Yet there’s enough evidence being laid out by this team to suggest that it’s already happened.  The reality is how Alabama performs Saturday will tell us everything we need to know.  A second loss for Alabama by the end of September would be unprecedented in the Saban era, but if it happens this weekend, would anybody really be surprised?

The entire concept of Alabama’s dynasty ending — an idea that first sprung up in late 2014/early 2015 — was never just about going a couple of years without winning a national championship. It was based more on the aura of this program being so overwhelmingly skilled, well-coached and physically dominant that beating them seemed like something almost superhuman.

You can’t watch Alabama lose decisively to Texas, then struggle to put away South Florida in back-to-back weeks, and not wonder whether that’s already taken place.

Read Dan Wolken’s full story here

No. 3 Florida State at No. 23 Clemson: Predictions, picks, how to watch

TIME/TV: Saturday, noon ET, ABC

Why watch: The top matchup of the early window is this pivotal ACC battle. Both these projected contenders have had this date circled from the outset, but the host Tigers now need this win even more in the wake of their Week 1 loss at Duke. The Seminoles haven’t beaten Clemson since 2014 but appear to have the team in place this year to end that streak. FSU QB Jordan Travis had an injury scare but finished the game at Boston College a week ago. The Eagles’ near comeback was concerning, but LB Kalen DeLoach and the Seminoles’ defense should be more dialed in this week. Clemson QB Cade Klubnik has made good use of WR Beaux Collins over the last couple of outings after a night of red-zone frustration in the Duke loss. LB Jeremiah Trotter will lead the Tigers’ defense in its bid to keep Travis from finding big-play WRs Keon Coleman and Johnny Wilson.

Why it could disappoint: Last week’s near collapse by the Seminoles notwithstanding, it’s difficult to envision Clemson mustering the same sort of comeback given its offensive shortcomings and Klubnik’s tendency to make ill-advised decisions under pressure. If it’s a multi-score difference at halftime, it could be over.

USA TODAY Sports staff picks:

  • Scooby Axson: Clemson

  • Jace Evans: Clemson

  • Paul Myerberg: Clemson

  • Erick Smith: Florida State

  • Eddie Timanus: Florida State

  • Dan Wolken: Florida State

Clemson-Florida State showdown could be ACC’s changing of the guard

All college football rivalries have turning points, and it feels like Clemson-Florida State has arrived at another one of those moments. The question is whether Saturday looks more like 2015 when Clemson finally broke through or 2014 when the wounded incumbent finds just enough to hold on for one more year until the balance of power officially shifts.

“This is Clemson-Florida State at its best right here, for sure,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said this week.

After that night in Tallahassee nine years ago, the two programs went in markedly different directions — Clemson, ultimately, to the top of college football with national titles in 2016 and 2018, while Florida State sunk to mediocrity through the last years of Jimbo Fisher and the mistake of replacing him with Willie Taggart.

For Clemson, that era already seems over. While still a Top 25 program, they were not one of the nation’s elite teams in 2021 or 2022 and began 2023 with a three-touchdown loss at Duke. The decline is evident, and the sample size is no longer small.

Read Dan Wolken’s full story on the Clemson-FSU showdown here.

Notre Dame coach says Deion Sanders has done 'tremendous' job at Colorado

By Marcus Freeman's estimation, the job Deion Sanders has done for Colorado is something to be celebrated and emulated across college football. The Fighting Irish coach said as much in his Saturday appearance on "College GameDay," when former Michigan wideout Desmond Howard asked him what he thought about Sanders' job thus far.

"To be 3-0 with a team that only won one game last year is tremendous," Freeman said. "And I have the utmost respect for him and really the excitement he's bringing to college football. I'm a college football fan and to be able to bring that excitement and the intentions. ... Last Saturday at 10:30 p.m., usually I'm in bed. I said, 'Let me see a little of this Colorado-Colorado State game.'"

Freeman said Sanders has also shown everyone you don't have to fit a cookie-cutter mold to be successful as a leader.

"What I really love about what Coach Deion Sanders is doing is, is that he's showing you don't have to be a certain way to lead," Freeman said. "And that's what I want my players to understand, and my own children to understand, is you can be who you are and be a leader. Be authentic to who you are. You don't have to be Marcus Freeman, Desmond Howard, Deion Sanders. Be who you are, but be true to your heart. And that to me is an example to be set." — Zac Al-Khateeb, USA TODAY NETWORK

College football Week 4 odds

The top college football betting apps favor 12th-ranked Alabama in its SEC showdown with No. 16 Ole Miss. The Crimson Tide are 7-point road favorites over the Rebels, according to the BetMGM college football odds. Looking to wager? Check out the best mobile sports betting apps offering college football betting promos in 2023.

Elsewhere, No. 11 Oregon is favored to win big over Deion Sanders and 19th-ranked Colorado. Can the Buffaloes pull off the upset?

In primetime, oddsmakers expect No. 4 Ohio State to pull out a win over ninth-ranked Notre Dame. The Buckeyes are favored by 3 points on the road. Notre Dame QB Sam Hartman boasts some of the best betting odds to win the 2023 Heisman Trophy in 2023.

Not interested in these games? Our college football betting guide can help you get started. If you’re new to sports betting, don’t worry. We have tips for beginners on how to place bets online. And USA TODAY readers can claim exclusive promos and bonus codes with the online sportsbooks and sports betting sites. — Richard Morin

College football Week 4 predictions

We've reached the point of the college football season where most teams are entering conference play and facing opponents they're more familiar with. That would seem to forecast results that are less surprising. But this is college football after all. There are always going to be surprises on Saturdays.

The hard part is sorting out when and where they're going to come from. Week 4 does offer plenty of opportunities with seven games matching ranked opponents and several other intriguing matchups.

Read USA TODAY Sports' full bold predictions here

Pac-12 having record success in what could be its final football season

Eight teams in the US LBM AFCA Coaches Poll, the most of any conference in the Bowl Subdivision. An overall record of 29-5 in non-conference play. With a 7-3 mark against the Power Five, the only league with a winning record against the best of the best in the FBS.

Home to the biggest story in college football, the best quarterback, perhaps the second-best and third-best quarterbacks, the most explosive offenses and the most top-end depth in college football − the list goes on for the most impressive conference in the country through the first three weeks of the 2023 season.

The SEC? Big Ten? Good guesses, but try again. This would be the Pac-12, which just in time and for the very last time has reemerged as a national player with sights set on reaching the College Football Playoff and playing for the national championship.

Read Paul Myerberg’s full story here

Exclusive: Inside Texas, Oklahoma's early exit from the Big 12

The universities of Texas and Oklahoma, two of the most powerful brands in college sports, will leave the Big 12 Conference for the SEC in nine months but will suffer a much lesser financial impact from the move than the $160 million that was originally expected, the USA TODAY Network has learned.

The Big 12 announced in February that Texas and Oklahoma will forgo $100 million from the conference under an agreement that is allowing the schools to leave a year earlier than initially required. In response to recent questions from the USA TODAY Network, the conference said more than $80 million of that is based on money the schools will not get in 2024-25, the year after the move. The rest is attributed to cuts in full revenue shares for 2023-24 that Texas, Oklahoma and the rest of the Big 12’s continuing members will be taking to finance payments promised to four schools that joined the conference this summer.

In his second year as Big 12 commissioner, Brett Yormark told the USA TODAY Network he couldn’t be more pleased. He said that all parties reached an equitable and amicable decision to part ways and that the Big 12 is now in a position of stability and strength.

“This was a business decision,” Yormark said. “Historically the withdrawal from a conference has resulted in a negotiated settlement, and we believe we landed in a good place. Our future is as bright as it’s ever been.”

Read Steve Berkowitz and Kirk Bohls’ full story here

Gannett may earn revenue from sports betting operators for audience referrals to betting services. Sports betting operators have no influence over nor are any such revenues in any way dependent on or linked to the newsrooms or news coverage. Terms apply, see operator site for Terms and Conditions. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, help is available. Call the National Council on Problem Gambling 24/7 at 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ, OH), 1-800-522-4700 (CO), 1-800-BETS-OFF (IA), 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN). Must be 21 or older to gamble. Sports betting and gambling are not legal in all locations. Be sure to comply with laws applicable where you reside.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: College football scores: Week 4 highlights, analysis