College Football Top 25 Review
Jeff Maehl caught a 29-yard touchdown pass and Oregon got stellar effort from its defense and a huge break on a missed field goal. Cliff Harris returned a punt 64 yards for the only touchdown in the first half by the Ducks (10-0, 7-0 Pac-10), who wobbled on the road to the BCS title game. Darron Thomas led a final drive that chewed up the last 9:32 after a stellar defensive effort by the Bears, who held the nation's most potent offense to a season-low in yards. Giorgio Tavecchio missed a 29-yard field goal in the fourth quarter for Cal that would have given the Golden Bears a 16-15 lead.
Another week, another win for Auburn, and another outstanding performance from Cam Newton even amid distraction. The star quarterback passed for 148 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 151 yards and two additional scores, leading Auburn to its 11th win of the season and the SEC West title.
A win is a win -- except when it isn't. TCU remains undefeated after outlasting San Diego State, 40-35, but the Horned Frogs could suffer in the polls for failing to pile up style points. TCU had soared up the charts on the strength of its defense, and though the Horned Frogs held the Aztecs to just seven first downs, they allowed three touchdowns in the final 16 minutes. TCU is off in Week 12 before closing out its regular season against New Mexico in Week 13.
LSU's defense did all the scoring the fifth-ranked Tigers needed against overmatched Louisiana-Monroe. Ron Brooks returned an interception for a touchdown, Lavar Edwards (left) brought back a fumble for another, and LSU's defense dominated. Josh Jasper added three field goals, including a 53-yarder, for the Tigers, who can finish its regular season 11-1 and earn an at-large bid to a BCS bowl.
Boise State gave its longtime rival a farewell to remember, getting out to a 38-0 halftime lead on the way to its 12th consecutive win over Idaho. Doug Martin rushed for 117 yards and two touchdowns, Jeremy Avery (pictured) caught a touchdown and rushed for another and Kellen Moore completed 19 passes for 216 yards and three scores in two-and-a-half quarters of play.
Wisconsin was without reigning Big Ten offensive player of the year John Clay on Saturday. Clearly, it didn't matter. Backup tailbacks Montee Ball (pictured) and James White combined for 311 rushing yards and five touchdowns as the Badgers improved to 9-1 and kept their Big Ten title hopes alive. UW put up the most points by an FBS school this season and matched the highest scoring total by a team in a conference game since Ohio State's 83-21 win over Iowa in 1950.
Andrew Luck (No. 12) threw for 292 yards and engineered a long fourth-quarter scoring drive to set up Owen Marecic's second 1-yard touchdown dive, lifting Stanford to a defensive-dominated win. Stanford (9-1, 6-1 Pac-10) labored against Arizona State's gang-tackling most of the night before moving 85 yards in 10 plays to set up Marecic's bulldozing TD run with just over 5 minutes left. The Cardinal won in Tempe for the first time since 1999.
Ohio State trailed 14-3 at halftime, but the Buckeyes outscored the Nittany Lions 35-0 in the second half to seal the win and keep their Big Ten title hopes intact. Terrelle Pryor didn't light up the scoreboard (139 yards, two TDs, one INT), but the Buckeyes turned the tide with two interception returns for touchdowns.
How did Cameron Meredith (right) and Nebraska end the nation's longest continuous series? It got defensive, limiting Kansas to 87 yards and five first downs. NU and KU battled for the 105th straight year, but that will be it as the Huskers move to the Big Ten next season. Rex Burkhead and Roy Helu Jr. ran for touchdowns to power the Husker offense.
Greg McElroy passed for 227 yards, including a 78-yard touchdown to Mark Ingram (No. 22) as Alabama (8-2, 5-2 Southeastern Conference) showed it can still dominate -- even the improved version of the Bulldogs (7-3, 3-3) -- after its title hopes evaporated. The Tide used big plays to punch up the offense after the Bulldogs kept Ingram and the short-handed running game from producing much. Instead, Alabama had scores of 45, 78 and 56 yards on three consecutive offensive plays starting in the second quarter to run away with it.
Brandon Weeden passed for 409 yards and Kendall Hunter (center) rushed for 116 yards and two touchdowns as Oklahoma State ended a 12-year losing streak to Texas in resounding fashion. The win kept surging Oklahoma State (9-1, 5-1) in first place in the Big 12 South with two games to play. The Cowboys have never won the division. Justin Blackmon had 145 yards receiving for the Cowboys, including a 67-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter, his 16th of the season, the most in the nation.
Northwestern's hold over Iowa continues. Last year, the Wildcats ended the Hawkeyes' perfect season. This year, Northwestern ended Iowa's outside shot at a Big Ten title. But it wasn't all good news for the 'Cats: Quarterback Dan Persa, who led Northwestern on two fourth-quarter touchdown drives, ruptured his Achilles tendon after throwing the winning score.
In what could be his final home game at Razorback Stadium, Ryan Mallett tied the school record for touchdown passes for the fourth time in his career. He threw for five touchdowns and ran for a sixth as the Razorbacks (8-2) cruised to a nonconference win. Arkansas sophomore Knile Davis rushed for a career-best 182 yards and a score on 11 carries. Arkansas ran for 326 yards on its way to a season-high 577 total yards.
Notre Dame didn't get many yards with first-time starter Tommy Rees under center, but it didn't need to. The Fighting Irish held the Utes to 265 net yards and no touchdowns, the first time Utah had been kept out of the end zone all year.
Virginia Tech's comeback continues. The Hokies trailed 10-9 at the half, but Tyrod Taylor found Marcus Davis (7) for two third-quarter touchdowns, and the Virginia Tech defense picked off UNC quarterback T.J. Yates four times.
Marc Tyler (center) ran for a career-high 160 yards and Southern California climbed into a tie with Arizona for third in the Pac-10. Matt Barkley passed for one touchdown and sneaked for another as the Trojans (7-3, 4-3 Pac-10) jumped ahead 14-0 and never relinquished the lead. The Wildcats' Nick Foles threw for 353 yards and three touchdowns, the last an 11-yarder to David Douglas with 1:01 to play. But USC recovered the subsequent onside kick to preserve the win. Arizona (7-3, 4-3) lost its second in a row.
Was this really the same Oklahoma team that scored just 19 points in a Week 10 loss to Texas A&M? Quarterback Landry Jones was nearly perfect for the Sooners, completing 22-of-29 passes for 319 yards and five touchdowns. Three of those touchdowns were caught by Ryan Broyles, who broke Mark Clayton's school record for career receptions and scores.
So much for Blaine Gabbert's slump. The Missouri quarterback passed for 208 yards and two scores and ran for 89 yards and another, and the Tigers forced three key fumbles to end their two-game losing streak and finish 6-0 at home on the year.
In a game that featured six lead changes, the Wolf Pack came out on top. Colin Kaepernick rushed for two touchdowns to extend his school record to 55 and Vai Taua scored his third TD of the game on a 24-yard rush with 4:51 left to put Nevada up for good and deliver the come-from-behind-victory.
After years of being the top Gator, Steve Spurrier led South Carolina to its first division crown in the stadium he nicknamed The Swamp. Marcus Lattimore (No. 21) ran 40 times for a career-high 212 yards and three TDs, Stephen Garcia played turnover-free South Carolina clinched the Southeastern Conference's Eastern Division. The Gamecocks won for the second time in 19 tries against Florida, snapped an 0-for-12 streak in Gainesville and earned a spot in the league title game for the first time. South Carolina (7-3, 5-3 SEC) will play second-ranked Auburn on Dec. 4, with the winner advancing to the Bowl Championship Series.
Jay Finley's (top) first-half score helped the Bears built a 16-point lead before the Aggies rallied. Cyrus Gray ran for 137 yards and scored three of his career-high four touchdowns in the second half as Texas A&M posted fourth straight victory and the seventh win of the season, surpassing last year's six-win finish.
Central Florida's time in the Top 25 will be short lived. A week after gaining their first national ranking, the Knights surrendered four touchdowns to Eagles quarterback Austin Davis and managed just 21 points after averaging 41.4 during their previous five-game win streak.