Irish await Alabama-Georgia winner


Associated Press

Notre Dame is heading to the BCS championship game to play an SEC team to be determined.

The Fighting Irish stuffed Southern California 22-13 on Saturday night to finish a perfect season and lock up a spot in the national championship game.

The SEC title game next Saturday in Atlanta will most likely determine Notre Dame’s opponent. No. 2 Alabama and No. 3 Georgia will play in that game, though Florida will make a case that it deserves to be playing the Fighting Irish.

In Tallahassee, Fla., the fourth-ranked Gators scored 24 straight fourth-quarter points behind Mike Gillislee and a hard-hitting defense to beat No. 10 Florida State 37-26.

The Gators (11-1) needed a USC upset of the Irish to work their way into the BCS championship game, because their loss to Georgia shut them out of the SEC title.

Ohio State (12-0) finished its bowl-banned season by beating rival Michigan 26-21. NCAA sanctions will keep the Buckeyes out of the postseason and might have cost Urban Meyer’s first Ohio State team a shot at the national championship.

No. 2 ALABAMA 49

AUBURN 0

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — AJ McCarron passed for four touchdowns and Eddie Lacy rushed for 131 yards and two scores in the most lopsided Iron Bowl in 64 years.

The Crimson Tide (10-1, 7-1 Southeastern Conference) clinched the Western Division title outright and a spot in the conference title game against No. 3 Georgia with the winner likely getting a national championship shot.

None of that will come as easily as this one. Auburn (3-9, 0-8) completed the worst season for any team within two years of winning an Associated Press national title in what might have been the last game for embattled coach Gene Chizik.

The biggest Iron Bowl margin was Alabama’s 55-0 victory in 1948.

No. 3 GEORGIA 42

GEORGIA TECH 10

ATHENS, Ga. — Aaron Murray threw two touchdown passes, Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall each ran for a pair of TDs, and Georgia stayed right in the thick of the national championship race.

The Bulldogs (11-1) extended the domination of the Yellow Jackets, beating their state rival for the 11th time in 12 meetings. This one was a laugher from the start as the home team scored just over a minute into the game, built a 28-3 halftime lead and was up 42-3 before Georgia Tech (6-6) scored its lone TD.

Georgia will face No. 2 Alabama for the Southeastern Conference championship next Saturday. The winner of that contest will likely play in the BCS title game on Jan. 7.

No. 4 OHIO STATE 26

No. 20 MICHIGAN 21

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Carlos Hyde ran for 146 yards and Ohio State’s defense shut out Michigan in the second half to complete a 12-0 season.

It was a sweet win for the Buckeyes, just 6-7 last season with a loss to their archrivals in a transitional year in which they were facing heavy NCAA penalties. After Urban Meyer took the job as head coach a year ago, they were socked with a bowl ban after this season — and still ran the table.

Ohio State (12-0, 8-0 Big Ten) is ineligible for a BCS national title but still has an outside shot at finishing No. 1 in the final Associated Press Top 25 if other contenders lose. Michigan (8-4, 6-2) will now await a minor bowl bid.

Drew Basil matched his season output with four field goals and the defense did the rest, forcing three turnovers in the second half.

No. 5 OREGON 48

No. 16 OREGON STATE 24

CORVALLIS, Ore. — Kenjon Barner ran for 198 yards and two touchdowns despite leaving the game for a time with an injury and the Ducks kept alive their hopes for a spot in the Pac-12 title game and even an outside chance at the national championship.

De’Anthony Thomas, who helped picked up the slack while Barner was on the sidelines, ran for 122 yards and three scores for the Ducks (11-1, 8-1).

After Oregon’s undefeated season was thwarted by a 17-14 overtime loss to Stanford last weekend, the Ducks had to wait for UCLA’s game against the Cardinal later Saturday to see who would be headed to the conference championship game. Both Oregon and Stanford started the day with one conference loss in the league’s northern division.

Sean Mannion threw for 311 yards and a touchdown but was intercepted four times for the Beavers (8-3).

No. 6 FLORIDA 37

No. 10 FLORIDA STATE 26

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Mike Gillislee ran for two touchdowns and the Gators beat their rivals to stay in the national title hunt.

Florida regained the lead 23-20 on Gillislee’s 37-yard run with 11:01 left in the final period on the first play after Florida State’s EJ Manuel fumbled, his fourth turnover of the game. Gillislee finished with 140 yards rushing.

Florida (11-1, 7-1 Southeastern Conference) came into the game fourth in the BCS standings

Florida State (10-2, 7-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) was hurt by five turnovers in the game. The Seminoles will play Georgia Tech next week in the ACC title game.

No. 14 OKLAHOMA 51

No. 22 OKLAHOMA ST. 48

NORMAN, Okla. — Landry Jones threw for 500 yards and three touchdowns, and Brennan Clay scored on an 18-yard run in overtime to lift Oklahoma.

The Sooners (9-2, 7-1 Big 12) never led during regulation, overcoming double-digit deficits in both halves. Backup quarterback Blake Bell tied it with 4 seconds left on a 4-yard keeper on fourth-and-1.

Joseph Randle ran for 113 yards and matched his career-high with four touchdowns for Oklahoma State (7-4, 5-3), which settled for Quinn Sharp’s 26-yard field goal in overtime.

On the Sooners’ second play, Clay got through traffic at the line of scrimmage and then broke through attempted tackles by Daytawion Lowe and Shamiel Gary to score the game winner and set off a celebration on Owen Field.

PITTSBURGH 27

No. 21 RUTGERS 6

PITTSBURGH — Tino Sunseri passed for 227 yards and two touchdowns in his final home game as Pittsburgh overwhelmed No. 21 Rutgers 27-6 on Saturday.

Ray Graham ran for 113 yards and a score for the Panthers (5-6, 2-4 Big East), who kept their hopes for bowl eligibility alive while drumming the Scarlet Knights.

Rutgers (9-2, 5-1) will still play No. 19 Louisville on Thursday with a Bowl Championship Series berth on the line, though the Scarlet Knights head home with little momentum after the Panthers dominated in their last game Heinz Field as a member of the Big East, racing to a 21-0 halftime lead and coasting.

Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova passed for 157 yards with a touchdown and an interception but the Scarlet Knights were never in it on a day the Panthers played like the team with everything on the line.

CONNECTICUT 23

No. 19 LOUISVILLE 20 3OT

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Chad Christen’s 30-yard field goal in the third overtime gave Connecticut a 23-20 upset of No. 19 Louisville on Saturday.

Blidi Wreh-Wilson set up the Huskies’ winning score by intercepting Teddy Bridgewater’s pass intended for DeVante Parker in the end zone. The Huskies ran three plays for 12 yards before Christen’s second OT kick gave Connecticut (5-6, 2-4 Big East Conference) its second straight win.

Louisville (9-2, 4-2) dropped its second straight but still has a chance for a BCS bowl bid by beating first-place Rutgers (9-2, 5-1) on Thursday.

Bridgewater completed 30 of 53 passes for 331 and two touchdowns but was sacked four times and broke his left wrist. He is expected to play against Rutgers.

No. 25 UTAH STATE 45

IDAHO 9

LOGAN, Utah — Chuckie Keeton passed for two touchdowns, Kerwynn Williams rushed for 110 yards and senior Will Davis returned an interception 59 yards for a touchdown as Utah State secured its first outright conference title in 76 years.

The Western Athletic Conference champion Aggies (10-2, 6-0) also earned their first 10-win season.

The Aggies intercepted Taylor Davis three times in the first half and forced him to fumble. Williams’ 52-yard run set up Keeton’s 3-yard TD pass to Kellen Bartlett early in the third quarter for a 28-9 advantage for the Aggies.

Williams added a 14-yard TD run in the fourth after opening the scoring with a 19-yard TD reception. Lou Groza Award finalist Trey Farquhar kicked field goals of 38, 46 yards and 52 yards — his 11th career field goal of 50 yards or more for Idaho (1-11, 1-5).

 

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