College Football: Bama gets revenge; Michigan stops the streak
Alabama got some payback for a brutal loss to its fiercest rival and Michigan snapped an excruciating losing streak to the opponent its fans love to hate.
Trent Richardson and No. 2 Alabama cruised to a 42-14 victory at Auburn, avenging last year’s painful collapse to Cam Newton and the Tigers.
The Crimson Tide led 24-7 at half for the second straight season. This time, though, instead of letting the Tigers rally, Alabama pulled away in the second half.
The Tide goes to the clubhouse in position to reach the BCS championship game, and hoping no other team jumps over it in the BCS standings.
No. 2 ALABAMA 42, AUBURN 14
AUBURN, Ala. – Trent Richardson rushed for a career-high 203 yards and AJ McCarron threw three first-half touchdown passes to lift Alabama.
The Crimson Tide (11-1, 7-1 Southeastern Conference) now must wait and see if its resume is good enough to secure a shot at a second national title in three years. No. 3 Oklahoma State and No. 1 LSU have big games remaining.
Richardson ran 27 times and caught a 5-yard touchdown pass in his final chance to impress Heisman Trophy voters. He had runs of 35 and 57 yards to set up second-half scores.
The Tide didn’t put Auburn (7-5, 4-4) away until Dee Milliner’s 35-yard interception return early in the fourth quarter. Alabama entered the quarter with a 309-44 advantage in total yards but also gave up touchdowns on a fumble recovery and a kick return.
No. 4 Stanford 28,
No. 22 Notre Dame 14
STANFORD, Calif. – Andrew Luck set the school record for the most career touchdown passes and eclipsed his own single-season mark, throwing for 233 yards and four scores to lead fourth-ranked Stanford past No. 22 Notre Dame in his home finale.
Luck topped John Elway’s record of 77 touchdown passes and helped the Cardinal (11-1) build a 21-0 halftime lead. He has thrown for 80 touchdowns in three years and 35 this season.
Tommy Rees threw an interception, lost a fumble and took a bruising blow to the ribs for Notre Dame (8-4) before getting benched. Andrew Hendrix threw for 192 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score in a second-half rally for the Fighting Irish that came up short.
No. 6 Virginia Tech 38,
No. 24 Virginia 0
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Logan Thomas threw for two touchdowns and ran for one and David Wilson scored on two long runs in the second half .
The Hokies (11-1, 7-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) earned the league’s Coastal Division title and a rematch with No. 18 Clemson in next weekend’s ACC championship game in Charlotte.
The Cavaliers (8-4, 5-3) had won four straight and seemed ready to finally challenge their state rival, but quarterback Michael Rocco threw two interceptions and fumbled it away once.
No. 7 BOISE STATE 36,
BOISE, Idaho – Kellen Moore tossed three touchdown passes, including a 46-yarder on the final play of the first half, to lead Boise State.
After getting off to a sluggish start, Moore and the Broncos (10-1, 5-1) rattled off 36 straight points to put the game away and secure a second-place finish in their first year as a member of the Mountain West Conference.
Moore was 24 of 36 for 279 yards and he threw touchdown passes of 17 and 10 yards in the second half.
Wyoming (7-4, 4-2) scored first when linebacker Luke Anderson picked off Moore’s pass early in the first quarter and ran 29 yards for a touchdown. The Cowboys were held to 191 total yards and 78 yards passing.
No. 9 OREGON 49,
OREGON STATE 21
EUGENE, Ore. – LaMichael James ran for 142 yards before leaving with what appeared to be a left elbow injury, and Oregon clinched the Pac-12 North and a spot in the conference’s first championship game.
The Ducks (10-2, 8-1 Pac-12) will host UCLA on Friday night with a chance to win their third straight conference title and a spot in the Rose Bowl.
The Beavers (3-9, 3-6) aren’t going to a bowl game for the second straight season.
James, who went into the 115th Civil War as the nation’s top rusher with an average of 142.78 yards per game, was hurt midway through the third when he was hit by Oregon State linebacker Tony Wilson.
No. 10 USC 50, UCLA 0
LOS ANGELES – Matt Barkley passed for 423 yards and six touchdowns in his possible Coliseum farewell, Robert Woods set the conference’s single-season receptions record while catching 12 passes for 113 yards and two TDs, and No. 10 Southern California finished its resurgent season with a 50-0 demolition of Pac-12 title game-bound UCLA on Saturday night.
Marqise Lee had 13 catches for 224 yards and two TDs during a showcase of offensive brilliance by the Trojans (10-2, 7-2), who are banned from postseason play under heavy NCAA sanctions. USC still went out in style, jumping to a 29-point halftime lead before posting its largest victory in the city championship game since 1930, the rivalry’s second year.
USC won seven of its final eight games capped by this utter obliteration of the crosstown Bruins (6-6, 5-4), who will represent the division at Oregon next week despite finishing two games behind USC in the South standings.
No. 11 MICHIGAN STATE 31, NORTHWESTERN 17
EVANSTON, Ill. – Keshawn Martin returned a punt 57 yards for a touchdown just before halftime and Kirk Cousins threw two TD passes to B.J. Cunningham as No. 11 Michigan State warmed up for next week’s Big Ten championship game.
The Spartans had already wrapped up the Legends Division title and a berth in the league championship game next week. Now they have the best record in the division, as well, and 10 victories overall (10-2, 7-1).
Cousins threw a 33-yarder to Cunningham in the third quarter and hit him again on a juggling 29-yard TD pass with 5:17 left to complete a 93-yard drive. It was the 62nd career touchdown pass for Cousins, breaking the school record held by Jeff Smoker (61).
Northwestern (6-6, 3-5) had its four-game winning streak snapped in the regular-season finale and now hopes for a bowl bid. The Wildcats closed to 24-17 early in the final quarter on Dan Persa’s 12-yard TD pass to Demetrius Fields, set up by a clutch fourth-down pass from Persa to Jeremy Ebert.
No. 12 OKLAHOMA 26,
IOWA STATE 6
NORMAN, Okla. – Landry Jones threw for 256 yards, Blake Bell punched in two short touchdown runs and Oklahoma set up a Bedlam showdown for the Big 12 championship.
Trey Franks finished with 88 yards rushing on two long reverses to set up scores for the Sooners (9-2, 6-2 Big 12), and Michael Hunnicutt matched his career-high with four field goals.
Rebounding after allowing a school-record 616 yards allowed last week in a 45-38 loss at Baylor, Oklahoma held Iowa State (6-5, 3-5) to a season-low 245 yards and only let the Cyclones score after James Winchester’s snap sailed over the head of punter Tress Way in the first quarter.
Oklahoma will visit No. 4 Oklahoma State next week with the winner earning the Big 12 title.
No. 13 GEORGIA 31,
No. 25 GEORGIA TECH 17
ATLANTA – Aaron Murray threw four touchdown passes and Georgia extended its domination over Georgia Tech.
The Bulldogs (10-2) did not get caught looking past their state rival to next week’s return trip to Atlanta, when they will take a 10-game winning streak into the Southeastern Conference championship game against top-ranked LSU.
Murray extended his school record for touchdown passes in a season to 32, hooking up with Michael Bennett and Chris Conley in the first half, and Tavarres King and Aron White in the third quarter as Georgia cruised to its 10th win over the Yellow Jackets in 11 years.
Georgia Tech (8-4) rushed for 243 yards, but just 79 after halftime. Tevin Washington threw a pair of interceptions.
No. 14 SOUTH CAROLINA 34,
No. 18 CLEMSON 13
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Connor Shaw threw for three touchdowns and ran for another to lead South Carolina to a 10-win season for the first time in 27 years and its third straight victory against Clemson.
The Gamecocks (10-2) choked off Clemson’s once-high scoring offense, holding the Tigers (9-3) to 153 yards and Atlantic Coast Conference passing leader Tajh Boyd to 83 yards through the air.
Clemson was part of the BCS title talk a month ago when it opened 8-0 and rose to No. 6 in the country. But it heads to the ACC championship game against Virginia Tech next week a shaky team after losing three of its past four.
South Carolina’s only other 10-victory season in 118 years of football came in 1984.
No. 15 WISCONSIN 45,
No. 20 PENN STATE 7
MADISON, Wis. – Montee Ball scored four more touchdowns in his pursuit of an NCAA record, powering Wisconsin to a spot in next week’s Big Ten championship game.
Ball has scored 34 touchdowns this season for the Badgers (10-2, 6-2 Big Ten), the second-most in a single season in NCAA history. Barry Sanders holds the record, scoring 39 for Oklahoma State in 11 games in the 1988 season.
Wisconsin will play Big Ten Legends division winner Michigan State in Indianapolis next Saturday.
The Nittany Lions (9-3, 6-2) came into the game hoping to salvage something from a season dwarfed by the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. They took an early 7-0 lead but quickly unraveled, falling behind 28-7 by halftime.
No. 17 MICHIGAN 40,
OHIO STATE 34
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Denard Robinson accounted for five touchdowns and Michigan snapped a school-record, seven-game losing streak to its biggest rival.
The Wolverines (10-2, 6-2 Big Ten) were forced to settle for a six-point lead with 1:59 left on Brendan Gibbons’ career-long 43-yard field goal after two apparent TDs were negated by a video review and then penalties.
The Buckeyes (6-6, 3-5) had a chance to win the game on their final drive, but freshman Braxton Miller sailed a pass over Deviser Posey’s head on what could’ve been a 76-yard TD and threw a loss-sealing interception to Courtney Avery.
Robinson was 14 of 17 – completing 11 straight passes during one stretch – for 167 yards with TD passes to Kevin Koger, Junior Hemingway and Martavious Odoms. He ran 26 times for 170 yards and two more scores and lost a fumble.
Miller was 14 of 25 for 235 yards with TD passes to Posey and Corey Brown. He ran 16 times for 100 yards and a score.
No. 21 BAYLOR 66,
Texas Tech 42
ARLINGTON, Texas – Nick Florence threw two long touchdown passes after Robert Griffin was knocked out of the game and Baylor extended its winning streak to four games.
The Bears (8-3, 5-3 Big 12) went on to a record victory without Griffin, whose Heisman Trophy chances were dealt a blow.
Baylor set school mark for most points in a conference game, and was already ahead to stay when Griffin scored on a 3-yard keeper just before halftime. That score came after he was on the sideline for one play after taking an elbow to the helmet while sliding at the end of a run.