College Football Saturday: Night of Upsets; Irish, Tide Rise

By: AP
By: AP

Coming into Saturday, Oregon and Kansas State had the inside track to college football's national championship and the Southeastern Conference's run of six straight BCS titles was in jeopardy.

Then No. 2 K-State got thumped 52-24 by unranked Baylor and top-ranked Oregon fell in overtime to No. 14 Stanford, 17-14.

Now the SEC is alive and well.

And how's this for a possible national title game: Alabama vs. Notre Dame.

A week after Alabama was upset by Texas A&M, the upsets re-opened door for the fourth-ranked Crimson Tide, which shut out lower-division Western Carolina 49-0. Georgia has a title shot, too. And so does Florida.

But the happiest of all about the Ducks and Wildcats going down had to be Notre Dame and its fans.

The Fighting Irish were third in the BCS standings, behind K-State and Oregon entering the weekend. Notre Dame was staring at what must have felt unthinkable for the storied program: Finishing unbeaten and not even getting a chance to play for the BCS championship.

The two teams in the driver's seat for a BCS title match-up might have played themselves right out of consideration. Top-ranked Oregon and No. 2 Kansas State were stunning upset victims roiling the national championship picture.

The high-scoring Ducks offense was stifled by 14th-ranked Stanford 17-14 in overtime. Jordan Williamson hit a 37-yard field goal to win it after Oregon's Alejandro Maldonado hit the upright with his 41-yard overtime field goal attempt.

If both Stanford and Oregon finish with wins in their final games next weekend, both will finish with one conference loss, which means Stanford will win the head-to-head matchup and go to the Pac-12 championship game for a chance to play in the Rose Bowl.

Stanford (9-2, 7-1) will visit Pac-12 South champ UCLA, while 10-1 Oregon will play rival Oregon State.

Glasco Martin ran for three touchdowns to pace Baylor to a 52-24 upset of Kansas State. Lache Seastrunk added 185 yards rushing with an 80-yard score as the Bears again upset the BCS picture with a late-season victory.

The stunning loss came just a week after the 10-1 Wildcats took over the No. 1 spot in the BCS standings. It now looks like it's going to somebody else's turn at the top.

K-State quarterback Collin Klein may be a Heisman Trophy front-runner no more after throwing three interceptions and getting sacked twice while being pressured and harassed all night. He threw for 286 yards, but had only 39 yards on 17 carries.

That leaves Notre Dame as the only remaining eligible unbeaten left in the BCS battle. The Fighting Irish got three touchdown passes from Everett Golson in a 38-0 win over Wake Forest to keep alive Notre Dame's national championship hopes. Cierre Wood scored on a 68-yard run to help the third-ranked Irish improve to 11-0 and finish the season undefeated at home for the first time since 1998.

The Fighting Irish need to beat Southern California to finish a regular season undefeated for the first time since 1988, the last time they won a national championship.

In other Top 25 action:

-- Fourth-ranked Alabama recovered from its first loss of the season to roll past Western Carolina 49-0. Eddie Lacey ran for three touchdowns and AJ McCarron set a school record for passing TDs in a season before sitting out the second half. The fourth-ranked Crimson Tide improve to 10-1.

-- No. 5 Georgia routed Georgia Southern 45-14 to reach 10 wins for the eighth time in 12 years under head coach Mark Richt. Aaron Murray threw four TD passes before sitting out most of the fourth quarter. And Todd Gurley became only the second true freshman in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season.

-- Carlos Hyde scored on a 2-yard run in overtime, giving No. 6 Ohio State a 21-14 victory over Wisconsin and keeping the Buckeyes' hopes of a perfect season alive. Ohio State improved to 11-0 and clinched the Leaders Division title of the Big Ten outright with the win. But they are ineligible for the postseason as part of their punishment for NCAA violations under former coach Jim Tressel.

-- No. 7 Florida improves to 10-1 with a strong defensive effort in a 23-0 win over Jacksonville State of the FCS. The Gators scored their lone offensive touchdown of the day on their first possession when Mike Gillislee plowed into the end zone from seven yards out. Florida also scored on a 7-yard interception return by Jonathan Bostic early in the third quarter. The Gators' defense allowed a 76-yard pass completion on the first play of the game, but held the Gamecocks to 176 total yards the rest of the game.

-- Jeremy Hill scored his third touchdown with 15 seconds left to lift No. 8 LSU to a 41-35 victory over Mississippi. The Tigers Odell Beckham scored on an 89-yard kick return to tie the game in the fourth quarter. Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace passed for 310 yards and two TDs and ran for two scores, but also was intercepted three times.

-- Johnny Manziel threw for 267 yards and three touchdowns, and ran for 100 yards and two more scores as No. 9 Texas A&M beat Sam Houston State 47-28

-- Florida State has earned a berth in the ACC championship game for the second time in three years and will play for its 13th conference championship on Dec. 1. Devonta Freeman ran for 148 yards and two TDs to help the 10th-ranked Seminoles clobber Maryland 41-14. FSU's fifth straight victory ups its record to 10-1, with a 7-1 mark in league play.

-- Tajh Boyd threw for five touchdowns and ran for three more scores to lead No. 11 Clemson to a record-shattering 62-48 win over North Carolina State. The 10-1 Tigers gained 754 yards, two off the school record. The 110 combined points were just seven off the ACC record set by Georgia Tech and North Carolina last week.

-- South Carolina had a harder time with Wofford than expected. The 12th-ranked Gamecocks beat the FCS school 24-7 in Columbia. The Gamecocks scored 17 points in the third quarter to open up a close game. Kenny Miles rushed for 127 yards and coach Steve Spurrier tied Rex Enright for most wins in program history with his 64th in eight seasons at the helm.

-- Landry Jones threw six touchdown passes, including a 5-yarder to Kenny Stills with 24 seconds left, to lift No. 13 Oklahoma to a wild 50-49 win over West Virginia. Jones finished with 554 passing yards to break his own school record.

-- Taylor Martinez threw for 308 yards and two touchdowns to Kenny Bell while becoming No. 16 Nebraska's all-time passing leader in a 38-14 victory over Minnesota. The 9-2 Cornhuskers, scored on four of their first six possessions.

-- Brett Hundley passed for 234 yards and a touchdown and rushed for two more scores as No. 17 UCLA beat No. 21 Southern California 38-28, clinching the Pac-12 South title and emphatically snapping a five-game losing streak in their crosstown rivalry.

-- Chuckie Keeton threw for 340 yards and two touchdowns, rushed for 121 yards and two touchdowns, and Utah State beat No. 19 Louisiana Tech 48-41 in overtime after letting a 24-point lead slip away. Utah State scored the game-winning touchdown on a 4-yard run by Kerwynn Williams.

-- Rutgers' defense turned in another shut-down performance and the 22nd-ranked Scarlet Knights slipped past Cincinnati 10-3. It's the third time this season they've held an opponent to three or fewer points. Reserve running back Savon Huggins had a career-high 179 yards on the ground for the winners. Rutgers remains the only team in the Big East with an unblemished conference record.

-- Devin Gardner threw for three touchdowns and ran for three scores as 23rd-ranked Michigan manhandled Iowa 42-17. The Wolverines improve to 8-3 overall with a 6-1 mark in the Big Ten.

-- Isaiah Anderson had a career-best 174 yards receiving and caught three long touchdown passes from Clint Chelf in his final home game, leading Oklahoma State to a 59-21 win against No. 23 Texas Tech. Zack Craig blocked a pair of punts, returning one for a touchdown, as the 7-3 Cowboys won their fourth straight in the series and the second in a row in decisive fashion.

-- Dri Archer had two long touchdown runs and finished with 241 yards rushing to lead 25th-ranked Kent State to a 31-24 victory over Bowling Green. The Golden Flashes' defense stopped Bowling Green twice within the last five minutes inside Kent State territory to earn the school's first berth in the Mid-American Conference title game.


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