There was no beating LSU's defense with things like power or speed Saturday night, so when Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin needed it most, on the first play of overtime, he turned to trickery.
And while Blake Sims' 24-yard completion to 304-pound Brandon Greene on a tackle-eligible pass didn't result in a touchdown, it certainly helped set up the game-winning points to keep the Crimson Tide's playoff hopes alive in a 20-13 road win in LSU's fabled Death Valley. Starting left tackle Cam Robinson lined up as a slot receiver, but was merely as decoy as Greene, who has some experience as a blocking tight end, lined up at Robinson's left tackle spot and streaked down the middle of the field for an easy completion. Defensive end Danielle Hunter recognized Greene as an eligible receiver too late, and fell behind in coverage:
The game as a whole was anything but Kiffin's finest moment, as Alabama's offense struggled for almost the entire night. But it's just like Kiffin to try something screwy at the most crucial moment of the season. According to Chris Brown, author of the Essential Smart Football, the play's roots come from Boise State. In other words, about the last place one would expect to produce a key play in a classic Alabama-LSU slugfest.
Here are 15 other things you need to know from Week 11 in college football.
- Baylor is on the move. It's been assumed since the College Football Playoff rankings were released two weeks ago that the selection committee has been content to relegate one-loss Baylor outside the top 10 because of a tissue-soft non-conference schedule.
That theory will be put to the test this week, however, as the Bears' 48-14 road win over ranked Oklahoma figures to pave the way for a major move in the standings. Given that Ole Miss has lost twice and played non-FBS Presbyterian, a leap over the Rebels would be of no surprise. Assuming that Notre Dame and Kansas State, both ranked ahead of Baylor but both absorbing their second losses Saturday, fall behind the Bears as well, Art Briles' team figures to be in far better position entering its final three conference games of the season.
Look for Baylor to settle in somewhere in the 6-9 range of next week's playoff ranking.
3. While Baylor stayed in the playoff chase, the Fighting Irish bowed out. Notre Dame made a valiant comeback attempt against Arizona State, but five turnovers by quarterback Everett Golson doomed the Golden Domers, 55-31. That loud cheer you heard came from the Big Ten and Big 12, whose champions stand to look much better to the selection committee with Notre Dame out of the way.
- Speaking of teams poised for a rankings jump ... Ohio State upended Michigan State Saturday, 49-37, to move a step closer to a Big Ten title and perhaps a College Football Playoff berth. The hero? J.T. Barrett, of course, the guy who has made Buckeyes fans temporarily forget about Braxton Miller. Miller accounted for nearly 400 yards of offense.
- Another one bites the dust. Count Kansas State out of the playoff picture following its loss to Texas Christian Saturday, 41-20, its second loss of the year. KSU coach Bill Snyder does more with less across-the-board talent than any coach in the country. But overachieving wasn't enough to stay in the chase in 2014.
- If you leap, leap fearlessly. Oklahoma quarterback Trevor Knight was carted off the field with a fourth-quarter injury after taking a hit from Baylor rising star Shawn Oakman, but not before he made the Sooners' highlight of the day by hurdling a tackler.
- A Ron Dayne record is still in reach for Melvin Gordon. The Wisconsin star rusher posted yet another 200-yard game Saturday (25 for 205) against Purdue. He's now got 1,501 yards. Dayne's school record stands at 2,109.
- Chalk one up for the little guys. The smallest scholarship player on the Georgia roster played as big as any of them Saturday as freshman receiver Isaiah McKenzie (5-8, 165) broke a kickoff return and a punt return for touchdowns in a rout of Kentucky. Don't miss either.
- Don't sleep on Duke. The Blue Devils are now 8-1 after knocking off Syracuse, well on their way to -- stunning, we know -- a second straight trip to the ACC title game. After playing his best game of the season last week, star receiver Jamison Crowder broke a 52-yard punt return for a touchdown to spark the 27-10 win over the Orange.
- Timing can be everything. And Florida defensive lineman Leon Orr learned Saturday that the week after your team's most inspiring victory in more than two years isn't the time to be selfish. The UF official web site published this bizarre story shortly before its game against Vanderbilt, describing how Orr left Nashville after getting angry that he wouldn't start against the Commodores. After the game, UF coach Will Muschamp reportedly said Orr was finished as a Gator. Florida stunned Georgia last week in a win that just might have savedMuschamp's job as coach. Not a good time for a case of the what-about-me's.
- There has been a Cedric Reed sighting. The Texas defensive end who hasn't lived up to expectations any better than his team this season delivered a three-sack performance Saturday against West Virginia.
- FSU quarterback Jameis Winston wasn't great. But he was good enough. That's been the M.O. for the Seminoles for much of the season, and it was no different Saturday in a 34-20 win over the Cavaliers. Winston threw two interceptions, but had a real go-to option in Rashad Greene.
- You didn't expect Washington State to stop throwing without its star quarterback, did you? Wazzu's Luke Falk stepped in for the injured Connor Halliday and just outplayed Oregon State star Sean Mannion, that's all. Falk threw for 471 yards and five touchdown passes as the Cougars knocked off Oregon State, 39-32. Mannion wasn't bad himself: 31 of 41 for 419, but for only one TD pass.
- Georgia Tech punter Ryan Rodwell took the day off. Actually, he was available, but was never needed. The Yellow Jackets never punted in a 56-23 win over North Carolina State. Who needs one when you rush for 479 yards? Paul Johnson has the triple-option in high gear at Bobby Dodd Stadium this year.
- There's a new chairman in the goat department. We give you Utah's Kaelin Clay, who inexplicably dropped a ball before crossing the goal line, only to have Oregon scoop it up and go 100 yards the other way with it. Total all-purpose yards on the play: 178.
- Oregon survived a tricky trip to Utah: QB Marcus Mariota turned in a terrific performance that helped his Heisman chances and locked up the Pac-12 North for the Ducks. It wasn't all good news, however, as the team lost three starters -- TE Pharaoh Brown, CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu and C Hroniss Grasu -- in the game due to injuries -- and some of them could be serious.