The most important takeaway for each Top 25 team

The first two days of Week 13 had a little bit of everything. The Apple Cup in a snowstorm? Check. A 59-56 Big 12 showdown? Check. An Egg Bowl brawl that featured personal fouls on everyone? Yeah, we’ve had that, too. And the week is just getting started.

Here’s what we’ve learned so far, with a lot more to come all throughout Saturday.


No. 6 Oklahoma 59, No. 13 West Virginia 56

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Oklahoma’s defense was comically bad for the most part in Morgantown. And yet, that same woeful defense came through with a pair of touchdowns to propel the Sooners to the high-scoring win at West Virginia, clinching OU’s spot in the Big 12 championship game against Texas. The backbreaker came early in the fourth quarter, when OU’s Ronnie Perkins wrapped up Will Grier, allowing teammate Kenneth Mann to pop the ball out of the West Virginia QB’s hand. Linebacker Curtis Bolton then scooped up the fumble and raced 48 yards to give OU a 59-49 lead — and the momentum for good. Despite giving up at least 40 points in four straight games, the Sooners remain in the playoff race, with a chance to avenge their only loss of the season against their Red River rivals. OU and Texas have never faced each other twice in the same season in the modern era. — Jake Trotter

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With a chance to go to the Big 12 title game, West Virginia moved the ball at will against Oklahoma. But the Mountaineers were doomed by a pair of turnovers leading to OU touchdowns, and a pair of offensive penalties that essentially wiped out two touchdowns of their own. The latter penalty, called on wide receiver T.J. Simmons in the fourth quarter for blocking an OU defensive back too deep out of bounds, eradicated Kennedy McKoy‘s 73-yard run. Two plays later, OU’s Curtis Bolton recovered a Will Grier fumble for a touchdown, swinging the game in the Sooners’ favor for good. OU remains the only team that West Virginia has failed to defeat since joining the Big 12. — Trotter


No. 16 Washington 28, No. 8 Washington State 15

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After a disappointing three-loss regular season that started with a top-10 ranking, the Huskies will return to the Pac-12 championship game for the second time in three years. Washington went into miserable winterlike conditions in Pullman and spoiled its archrival’s big hopes of a trip to Santa Clara and maybe a shot at the playoff. Myles Gaskin powered the Huskies’ brutally efficient performance, rushing for 171 yards and three touchdowns, including an 80-yarder early in the fourth quarter that effectively put away the game. The run also helped Gaskin finish off an unprecedented accomplishment: He became the first Pac-12 player to rush for 1,000 or more yards in four seasons. Next: The Huskies will have a rematch with Utah next week, almost three months after beating the Utes 21-7 in Salt Lake City. — Joel Anderson

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In the biggest game on the Paloose in about a decade, Minshew Magic — as they’ve been calling the effect quarterback Gardner Minshew has had on Pullman this fall — turned out to be the same old show for Mike Leach and Washington State. The Cougars’ prolific offense, which entered the game ranked in the top 15 nationally in points and yards, came undone in the driving snow against Washington’s defense. A week after Minshew set a school record with seven touchdown passes against Arizona, he was held scoreless and added two interceptions — and almost threw a couple more — in his final game at Martin Stadium. Now Washington State will be denied its first Pac-12 championship berth and it officially puts a close on the league’s very slim hopes of sending a team to the CFP. — Anderson


No. 9 UCF 38, USF 10

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The game details hardly mattered. What mattered was what happened to quarterback McKenzie Milton, who suffered a traumatic right leg injury in the second quarter. Milton had his leg immobilized after taking a hit to his knee on a scramble, and he was carted off the field and transported to a hospital. His shaken teammates knelt beside him in a show of support, then had to find a way to keep going without their leader. Coach Josh Heupel’s message at halftime was simple: find a way to win for Milton. Darriel Mack Jr. came in at quarterback and led the offense admirably, while the running game behind Greg McCrae delivered in a big way. Meanwhile, the UCF defense — the subject of scorn throughout much of the season — put together a solid effort for the second straight game. Indeed, when UCF needed its defense to come through in the clutch, it delivered to help it win its 24th straight game. Now, the biggest question moving forward is whether UCF can beat Memphis next week in the AAC championship game to claim another spot in a New Year’s Six game without their best player and unquestioned leader. — Andrea Adelson


No. 14 Texas 24, Kansas 17

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The Longhorns clinched their first appearance in the Big 12 championship game since 2009 — but they faced some late drama in getting there. Kansas, playing hard for coach David Beaty in his final game, scored a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter and got a field goal with 97 seconds to play before a failed onside kick. For Texas, the slim margin of victory didn’t mean much. Nor did Sam Ehlinger‘s two interceptions after his Big 12-record 304 consecutive throws without a pick. What’s important to the Horns is that they’re back on the big stage. “It means everything,” tight end Andrew Beck said of the upcoming trip to AT&T Stadium. Star linebacker Gary Johnson will return from a one-game suspension next week as the Longhorns aim to validate talk of their return to the elite with a fourth Big 12 title. — Mitch Sherman


No. 18 Mississippi State 35, Ole Miss 3

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The Bulldogs are going to have a shot at nine wins and a decent bowl game after all. And to think: Not that long ago, when Nick Fitzgerald was in a funk and Mississippi State lost three of four games, it looked as if neither one of those benchmarks would be attainable. But Fitzgerald bounced back and, with the exception of a shutout at Alabama, the offense recovered to support what has been one of the most underappreciated defenses in college football. Now, after dominating in-state rival Ole Miss on both sides of the ball to win the Egg Bowl on Thanksgiving night, an 8-4 regular season doesn’t seem all that bad for Joe Moorhead’s first season as head coach. — Alex Scarborough


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