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November 30, 2008

Top 25 results & Saturday's Stars

STARS

-Georgia Tech tailback Roddy Jones rushed for a career-best 214 yards on 13 carries and scored two touchdowns, including a 54-yarder in the fourth quarter, as the 18th-ranked Yellow Jackets beat No. 13 Georgia 45-42 in Athens.

-Kansas safety Darrell Stuckey had two interceptions and caused one fumble and recovered another in the Jayhawks' 40-37 victory over No. 12 Missouri.

-Nate Kmic became the Division III leader in career yards rushing after he gained 235 yards in Mount Union's 42-7 win over Hobart in the second round of the playoffs. Kmic, who scored four touchdowns, has 7,449 yards, surpassing the 7,353 set by R.J. Bowers of Grove City College in Pennsylvania from 1997-2000.

-T.J. Yates completed 15 of his first 16 passes and finished 15-for-19 for 190 yards and three touchdowns as North Carolina held off Duke 28-20 to retain the Victory Bell.

-Chase Reynolds rushed for a career-high 233 yards and two second-half touchdowns to lead Montana to a 31-13 win over Texas State in the first round of the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.

GATORS ROLL

A deluge and the loss of star receiver Percy Harvin couldn't slow No. 2 Florida in a 45-15 rout of No. 23 Florida State in Tallahassee. Florida scored 31 points after Harvin left the game with a sprained right ankle. Harvin ran six times for 13 yards, including a 9-yard TD run to cap the game's opening drive. He extended his touchdown-scoring streak to a nation-leading 14 games. The question is whether Harvin, who leads Florida with 35 receptions for 595 yards and seven touchdowns, will be available when the Gators meet top-ranked Alabama in the Southeastern Conference championship game next Saturday.

DAWG-GONNIT

Georgia opened the season No. 1. But the Bulldogs are No. 2 in their own state after a 45-42 loss to Georgia Tech in Athens. Georgia, ranked 13th in The Associated Press poll, was unable to quell 18th-ranked Tech's triple option on another dismal day for its defense. In their three losses, the Bulldogs have allowed 41 points to Alabama, 49 to Florida and 45 to Georgia Tech. "Nobody thought we would be in this position at the beginning of the season," Georgia linebacker Rennie Curran said. "It was all high hopes. But things didn't work out the way we wanted to."

CALL OF THE DAY

With top-rated Alabama leading Auburn 10-0 late in the first half, coach Nick Saban called timeout moments before Tigers placekicker Morgan Hull hit a 40-yard field goal. After the timeout, the Crimson Tide blocked Hull's kick, and it shut out Auburn the rest of the way in a 36-0 rout.

HOKIE DOKEY

Virginia Tech opened the season with a home loss to East Carolina. The Hokies may close it in a Bowl Championship Series game. The Hokies (8-4, 5-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) clinched a berth in the ACC title game with a 17-14 victory over in-state rival Virginia in Blacksburg. As always, the defense led the way, with Virginia Tech's Dorian Porch intercepting Cavaliers quarterback Marc Verica in the end zone with 2:15 to play. "We've battled," Hokies coach Frank Beamer said. "Everything we've done this year has been work." Next week in Tampa, Fla., the Hokies will take on No. 20 Boston College in a rematch of last year's ACC title game, won by Virginia Tech 30-16.

DWINDLING NUMBERS

Sylvester Croom's resignation as Mississippi State's coach leaves only three black coaches at the 119 major college football programs -- Miami's Randy Shannon, Buffalo's Turner Gill and Houston's Kevin Sumlin. Ty Willingham at Washington, who has one game left with the Huskies, and Ron Prince at Kansas State have both already been fired. Croom, who took over the Bulldogs while they were under NCAA sanctions, resigned one season after he was the SEC coach of the year, and in the offseason he received a contract extension that paid him $1.7 million this year. Croom went 21-38 with one winning season.

HEADS OR TAILS? NEVER MIND

With a 29-14 victory over Southern in the Bayou Classic, Grambling State clinched a spot in the Southwestern Athletic Conference title game. If Southern had won, it would have forced a three-way tie between Grambling, Southern and Prairie View atop the SWAC West Division. A coin flip was tentatively scheduled Sunday to help decide the division winner in the case of a three-way tie, but Grambling negated the need for it by winning the division outright and will meet Jackson State in Birmingham Ala., on Dec. 13.

SPEAKING

"We got smacked around our first year in the Big East. I'm at a loss for words. It's just utter bliss." Cincinnati receiver Mardy Gilyard as the 16th-ranked Bearcats celebrated winning the Big East title after beating Syracuse 30-10.

"Our injury list, a roll of toilet paper wouldn't be enough," We've got guys that played today that could barely walk a week ago. It's the guttiest performance I've ever been associated with as a coach." -- Kansas coach Mark Mangino after a 40-37 victory over No. 12 Missouri in the 117th Border Showdown.

No. 3 Oklahoma 61, Oklahoma State 41

STILLWATER, Okla. -- Now it's up to voters and computers.

Sam Bradford threw for 370 yards and four touchdowns, and No. 3 Oklahoma based its case for a BCS bump on its high-powered offense, outscoring No. 11 Oklahoma State 61-41 Saturday night in the highest-scoring Bedlam rivalry game in the century-old series.

Needing to make up a minuscule eight-thousandths of a point to second-place Texas in the Bowl Championship Series standings to earn a spot in next week's Big 12 championship game, the Sooners (11-1, 7-1) relied on the Heisman-caliber arm of Bradford.

He completed 30 of 44 passes and also scored on a 1-yard touchdown run, leading Oklahoma to its fourth straight 60-point game.

The Sooners' defense, which had been improving and made a statement in last week's 65-21 rout of then-No. 2 Texas Tech had few answers for quarterback Zac Robinson and the Cowboys -- but it was enough.

Robinson threw for 254 yards and three touchdowns and ran for another score, but never could guide Cowboys (9-3, 5-3) into the lead after halftime.

The BCS standings will be released Sunday and break a three-way tie between Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech in the Big 12 South standings. The highest rated team gets a trip to Kansas City, Mo., to face North champion Missouri and keep working on making a case to play for the national championship.

No. 1 Alabama 36, Auburn 0

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Glen Coffee rushed for 144 yards and a touchdown and Nick Saban's Crimson Tide snapped a six-year Iron Bowl losing streak with the most lopsided victory in the series in 46 years.

The dominant win set the stage for Alabama (12-0, 8-0 Southeastern Conference) to face No. 2 Florida in the league championship game with a berth in the BCS national title game on the line.

Of more immediate concern for Tide fans, the state belongs to them again. And there was little question of that by the middle of the third quarter when a 10-0 game turned ugly -- or beautiful, depending on the perspective.

The loss left Auburn (5-7, 2-6) shut out of a bowl game for the first time in nine years and cast another shadow on the decade-long tenure of coach Tommy Tuberville. Auburn, which had been 7-2 under Tuberville in the rivalry, has lost six of the last seven games after starting the season ranked in the top 10.

No. 2 Florida 45, No. 23 Florida State 15

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Tim Tebow threw three touchdown passes, and ran for 80 yards and another score.

Florida (11-1) extended its winning streak to eight games, continued its dominance in the intrastate rivalry and set up a 1-2 showdown with Alabama in next week's Southeastern Conference title game.

The Gators have won five in a row against Bobby Bowden's team, and this one was nearly as big a laugher as last season's 45-12 victory in Gainesville.

Florida scored on five of its first seven possessions, held the Seminoles (8-4) without a touchdown for the first 2 quarters and again proved that the gap between the two programs is as wide as ever.

No. 5 USC 38, Notre Dame 3

LOS ANGELES -- Mark Sanchez passed for 267 yards and two touchdowns and USC's hard-hitting defense thoroughly dominated Notre Dame.

Notre Dame didn't get a first down until the last play of the third quarter on a 15-yard run by James Aldridge. The Irish had run 30 plays for 23 yards before Aldridge broke loose, drawing a derisive cheer from the partisan crowd of 90,689 at the Los Angeles Coliseum.

USC finished with 22 first downs and 449 yards of total offense while Notre Dame had four first downs and 91 yards.

With No. 17 Oregon State's 65-38 loss to No. 19 Oregon earlier Saturday, USC (10-1, 7-1 Pac-10) needs only to beat crosstown rival UCLA (4-7, 3-5) next weekend to win its seventh straight conference title.

Notre Dame (6-6) is bowl eligible, but the Irish's 15 losses the past two seasons are the most in any two-year span in school history. Coach Charlie Weis' record has dropped from 19-6 after two years on the job to 28-21.

No. 7 Texas Tech 35, Baylor 28

LUBBOCK, Texas -- Graham Harrell capped a 21-point rally for Texas Tech with a touchdown pass midway through the fourth quarter and the Red Raiders kept their hopes for a Big 12 South title alive.

The Red Raiders would face Missouri in the conference championship next week if No. 3 Oklahoma loses to 11th-ranked Oklahoma State later Saturday.

A win by the Sooners creates a three-way tie for the Big 12 South with Texas and Texas Tech, leaving it to Sunday's BCS standings to determine which team will play the Tigers in Kansas City, Mo. The Red Raiders have little hope of coming out on top in that scenario.

Texas Tech (11-1, 7-1) won 11 games in a season for the third time in the program's 84 years. But if things don't fall right, the Red Raiders reward could be nothing more than a Cotton Bowl bid, left out of the BCS in favor of the Longhorns and Sooners.

Kansas 40, No. 12 Missouri 37

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Todd Reesing threw a touchdown pass to Kerry Meier with 27 seconds left.

The Tigers will still play for the Big 12 title, but they'll do so coming off a hard-fought loss to their border rivals.

The Jayhawks (7-5, 4-4 Big 12) led by 16 early in the third quarter, let Missouri (9-3, 5-3) back in it, then traded touchdowns with the Tigers in the fourth quarter before Reesing hit Meier.

Reesing finished 37-for-51 for 375 yards with two interceptions, throwing two touchdown passes to Meier and one each to Dezmon Briscoe and Dexton Fields.

Missouri's Chase Daniel had 391 total yards and threw for four touchdowns, but also had two interceptions, a fumble and was sacked for a safety in the second quarter. Jermey Maclin had nine catches for 123 yards and a touchdown, and tight end Chase Coffman caught two touchdown passes for the Tigers.

No. 19 Oregon 65, No. 17 Oregon St. 38

CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Jeremiah Masoli threw for 274 yards and three touchdowns and Oregon all but crushed Oregon State's hopes of going to the Rose Bowl.

A win would have sent the No. 17 Beavers (8-4, 7-2 Pacific-10 Conference) to Pasadena on New Year's Day for the first time since after the 1964 season.

Instead, Oregon State will have to wait to see if UCLA can upset No. 5 USC on Dec. 6. Should the Bruins win, the Beavers would share a three-way tie for the conference title with the Trojans and the Ducks, and Oregon State would have the tiebreaker for the Rose Bowl.

The No. 19 Ducks (9-3, 7-2) foiled the Beavers and their six-game overall winning streak as they avenged a Civil War loss last year at Oregon.

The loss snapped Oregon State's eight-game winning streak at Reser Stadium.

Jeremiah Johnson ran for 219 yards and a score for the Ducks.

No. 18 Georgia Tech 45, No. 13 Georgia 42

ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia Tech had not beaten Georgia since 2000, and it wasn't looking good when the Yellow Jackets trailed by 16 points at halftime.

Then Roddy Jones and the triple-option offense went to work.

Jones rushed a career-best 214 yards, including a decisive 54-yard touchdown midway through the fourth quarter, and No. 18 Georgia Tech rallied to snap a seven-game losing streak against its state rival.

The cold, rainy day wasn't a total victory for the visiting team: Virginia Tech denied the Yellow Jackets a spot in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game with a 17-14 victory over Virginia.

But Georgia Tech (9-3) celebrated anyway, gathering in front of its small contingent at Sanford Stadium to sing the school fight song while the red-clad Georgia fans headed to the exits, a season that started at No. 1 winding down far short of expectations.

After building a 28-12 halftime lead, the Bulldogs (9-3) simply had no answer for Georgia Tech's unique offense, which piled up 409 yards on the ground. Jones, a redshirt freshman, averaged 16.5 yards per carry and scored twice, including the long run that gave Georgia Tech a 45-35 lead with 7:13 remaining.

No. 16 Cincinnati 30, Syracuse 10

CINCINNATI -- With the Big East championship already in hand, No. 16 Cincinnati turned its final home game into a ho-hum win that matched a school record.

Tony Pike threw a pair of touchdown passes, and the Bearcats' senior-laden defense had its way Saturday in the Orange's final game under coach Greg Robinson.

The Bearcats (10-2, 6-1) are headed to a BCS bowl -- likely the Orange or Sugar -- for the first time in their history. They clinched the spot when West Virginia lost at Pitt on Friday, taking the drama out of the last home game a day later.

The Bearcats tied the school record with their 10th win, the second straight season they've reached the mark. Cincinnati has a game left in Hawaii before heading to its bowl.

The Orange (3-9, 1-6) are headed for an offseason of change. Syracuse went 10-47 in Robinson's four seasons, including 3-25 in the Big East. He was fired on Nov. 16, effective the end of the season, and the Orange responded by rallying in the fourth quarter to beat Notre Dame 24-23 in South Bend last week.

No. 20 Boston College 28, Maryland 21

BOSTON -- Billy Flutie, the Boston College backup quarterback and nephew of Heisman Trophy winner Doug Flutie, threw for a 9-yard touchdown on a fake field goal Saturday to lead the 20th-ranked Eagles to a spot in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship.

BC (9-3, 5-3 ACC) will play Virginia Tech on Saturday -- the second straight year the former Big East foes will play for the ACC's spot in the Orange Bowl.

Maryland (7-5, 4-4) fell to 4-1 against ranked teams this season and into a logjam of ACC teams seeking a secondary bowl berth -- the conference has 10 teams competing for nine guaranteed spots.

Gators and Tide prepare for SEC Championship

At least one spot in the BCS national championship game is reserved for the Southeastern Conference champion.

A Big 12 South team is probably first in line for the other spot -- but which one?

No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Florida cruised into their league title showdown next week with resounding victories against fierce rivals Saturday.

No. 3 Oklahoma forged a three-way tie atop the Big 12 South with fellow national title contenders Texas and Texas Tech by beating Oklahoma State 61-41 Saturday night.

Coach Nick Saban's Crimson Tide snapped a six-game losing streak against Auburn with a 36-0 victory in the Iron Bowl.

"We don't have to hear about it anymore. We beat them good. We left no doubt. It's a good way to finish them off," Alabama quarterback John Parker Wilson said.

Alabama (12-0) heads to the Georgia Dome for its first appearance in the SEC championship game since 1999.

Tim Tebow and the Gators extended their winning streak against Florida State to five games with a 45-15 victory in Tallahassee.

"That's a really good football team in that locker room," Florida coach Urban Meyer said. "I've done this for quite a while, and that's as proud as I've ever been."

The Gators and Tide will play the first No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup in a conference title game and the winner is virtually assured of advancing to the BCS national title game on Jan. 8 in Miami.

The opponent? That'll also be determined next week, but heading into Sunday it was unclear which teams would be playing for a shot and which teams would be watching with a shot.

No. 7 Texas Tech rallied behind Graham Harrell from a 14-point deficit to beat Baylor 35-28 and keep the Red Raiders in the hunt for a Big 12 South title.

More importantly, though, the Red Raiders kept No. 4 Texas from clinching the South and a berth in the conference title game against Missouri next week.

When Oklahoma capped the day by pulling away from its in-state rival, the decision of which team wins the South was handed over to the BCS poll voters and computer ratings.

The team with the highest ranking when the BCS standings come out Sunday plays in the Big 12 title game. Texas was ahead in the standings last week, but Oklahoma was close and could pass the Longhorns after a winning in Stillwater, Okla.

"Everything we did tonight kind of says why we should be there. It's out of our hands now," Sooners quarterback Sam Bradford said. "We'll see how it ends up."

Texas Tech coach Mike Leach, whose team was way behind the Sooners and Longhorns in the last BCS standings, had a unique idea for breaking a three-way tie.

"I think they should break that three-way tie based on a graduation rate," Leach said.

A NCAA report last month had Texas Tech with the best graduation rate in the Big 12.

Southern California kept its national title hopes alive by humiliating Notre Dame 38-3. USC also saw its hopes for an outright Pac-10 championship and a Rose Bowl bid improve when No. 19 Oregon beat Oregon State 65-38.

The Beavers were a victory away from wrapping up their first Rose Bowl bid since 1965. Now they'll have to hope for UCLA to upset USC next week to get to the BCS.

The Atlantic Coast Conference set its championship game Saturday, after a crazy race in both divisions.

Virginia Tech (8-4) and Boston College (9-3), in a rematch of last season's ACC championship game, will play for a spot in the Orange Bowl next Saturday in Tampa, Fla.

Cincinnati (10-2) had its BCS spot wrapped up before it took the field against Syracuse because West Virginia lost to Pittsburgh on Friday. The Big East champions continued the celebration with a 30-10 victory in Greg Robinson's last game as Orange coach.



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