No. 3 Notre Dame stayed undefeated with an uncharacteristically easy victory at home and then had the rest of the night to watch as the teams in front of it in the national championship race lost.
The Fighting Irish hammered Wake Forest 38-0 on senior day in South Bend, Ind., on Saturday.
Then things got really good for the Irish — and Alabama, Georgia, Florida and maybe even Florida State.
No. 1 Oregon, second in the BCS standings, lost 17-14 at home in overtime to Stanford. Down in Texas, Baylor blasted No. 2 Kansas State, which was first in the BCS standings, 52-24 in Waco.
Today, Notre Dame likely will be the No. 1 team in the nation. And Alabama, which lost last week to Texas A&M and shut out FCS doormat Western Carolina on Saturday, could very well be No. 2.
No. 14 STANFORD 17,
No. 1 OREGON 14 (OT)
EUGENE, Ore. — Jordan Williamson hit a 37-yard field goal in overtime, and Stanford upset Oregon, denying the Ducks a chance to clinch the Pac-12 North and derailing their straight shot at the BCS championship game.
If 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 Pac-12) will visit No. 17 UCLA, which defeated No. 21 USC 32-29 earlier in the day to claim the Pac-12 South. Oregon (10-1, 7-1) will play rival Oregon State in the annual Civil War rivalry game in Corvallis.
The loss snapped a 13-game winning streak for the Ducks, which was the longest current streak in the nation. It was Stanford’s fifth straight win.
No. 2 KANSAS STATE 24
WACO, Texas — Glasco Martin ran for three touchdowns, Lache Seastrunk had 185 yards rushing with an 80-yard score, and Baylor again upset the BCS picture with a late-season victory.
Collin Klein may be a Heisman Trophy front-runner no more after throwing three interceptions while being pressured and harassed all night by Baylor (5-5, 2-5). He threw for 286 yards, but he had only 39 yards on 17 carries for Kansas State (10-1, 7-1 Big 12).
Nick Florence, the successor to Heisman winner Robert Griffin III, threw both of his touchdowns in the first half when the Bears jumped out to a 28-7 lead.
On the same November weekend last season, Baylor upset then fifth-ranked Oklahoma after two teams ahead of the Sooners had already lost that day.
No. 3 NOTRE DAME 38,
WAKE FOREST 0
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Everett Golson threw touchdown passes of 50, 34 and 2 yards, Cierre Wood scored on a 68-yard run, and Notre Dame finished the season undefeated at home for the first time since 1998.
The Fighting Irish improved to 11-0 for the first time since 1989 and 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. The Demon Deacons (5-6) fell to 1-33 all-time against top 5 teams, their lone win coming against No. 4 Tennessee in 1946.
No. 4 ALABAMA 49,
WESTERN CAROLINA 0
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Eddie Lacy rushed for three first-half touchdowns, and AJ McCarron set Alabama’s single-season record for passing TDs.
The Crimson Tide (10-1) rebounded from a loss to No. 9 Texas A&M by building a 42-0 halftime lead against the Catamounts (1-10), a Football Championship Subdivision team with two wins in as many seasons. It was Alabama’s third shutout of the season.
No. 5 GEORGIA 45,
GEORGIA SOUTHERN 14
ATHENS, Ga. — Aaron Murray threw four touchdown passes, and Todd Gurley became only the second true freshman in Georgia history to rush for 1,000 yards.
Georgia (10-1) reached 10 wins for the eighth time in Mark Richt’s dozen seasons as coach. Georgia Southern (8-3) had a shot at the halftime lead, only to get scuttled by a penalty, and Murray took control from there.
No. 6 OHIO STATE 21,
WISCONSIN 14 (OT)
MADISON, Wis. — Carlos Hyde scored on a 2-yard run in overtime, and the Buckeyes stayed perfect.
The Buckeyes (11-0, 7-0 Big Ten) clinched the Leaders Division title outright with the win. But they are ineligible for the postseason as part of their punishment for NCAA violations under former coach Jim Tressel, and the best they can hope for is to end the year unbeaten and to maybe capture the AP title.
No. 7 FLORIDA 23,
JACKSONVILLE STATE 0
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — No. 7 Florida used a strong defensive effort to overcome a sluggish offensive performance.
The Gators scored a touchdown on their first possession when Mike Gillislee plowed into the end zone from 7 yards out. But that was the only offensive touchdown all day from Florida.
The Gators (10-1) also scored on a 7-yard interception return by Jonathan Bostic early in the third quarter. Caleb Sturgis added three field goals from 21, 44 and 47 yards out to complete the scoring.
No. 8 LSU 41,
BATON ROUGE, La. — Jeremy Hill scored his third touchdown with 15 seconds left to lift LSU to a victory.
The game included seven turnovers, numerous momentum swings and long touchdowns, perhaps none better than Odell Beckham Jr.’s 89-yard punt return for a score that evoked memories of Billy Cannon’s famous return against the same team, along the same sideline, for the same yardage back in 1959.
Beckham’s return tied the game at 35, but LSU (9-2, 5-2 Southeastern Conference) still needed a pair of clutch sacks by Anthony Johnson and Lavar Edwards to drive Ole Miss (5-6, 2-5) out of routine field goal range later in the fourth quarter, setting up the winning drive.
No. 9 TEXAS A&M 47,
SAM HOUSTON STATE 28
COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Johnny Manziel threw for 267 yards and three touchdowns, and he ran for 100 yards and two more scores in a bit more than a half for Texas A&M.
The redshirt freshman threw an 89-yard touchdown pass to Uzoma Nwachukwu on A&M’s first offensive play of the second half. The dual-threat quarterback then attempted the extra point, but it sailed wide right, ending the Heisman hopeful’s day with A&M (9-2) leading 40-0.
He broke the NCAA freshman quarterback rushing record of 1,029 set by Missouri’s Brad Smith in 2002, and the freshman record for total offense of 3,827 set in 2000 by Jared Lorenzen on A&M’s first drive. He also became the fifth player and first freshman in FBS history to pass for at least 3,000 yards with at least 1,000 yards rushing in a season.
No. 10 FLORIDA STATE 41,
COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Devonta Freeman ran for 148 yards and two touchdowns as Florida State earned a spot in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game.
Florida State (10-1, 7-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) led 27-0 at halftime and cruised to its fifth straight victory. The Seminoles clinched the league’s Atlantic Division title for the second time in three years and will play for its 13th ACC crown on Dec. 1.
EJ Manuel completed 17 of 23 passes for 144 yards and two scores to supplement a running game that gained 237 yards.
No. 11 CLEMSON 62,
NORTH CAROLINA STATE 48
CLEMSON, S.C. — Tajh Boyd threw for five touchdowns and ran for three more scores to lead Clemson to a record-shattering win.
The Tigers (10-1, 7-1 Atlantic Coast) 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.
The Wolfpack (6-5, 3-4) led 24-13 early in the second quarter before Clemson scored 42 straight. Boyd was responsible for every Clemson touchdown. The junior was 30-for-44 for 426 yards and ran for 105 yards — the combined 531 yards set another school record.
No. 12 SOUTH CAROLINA 24,
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Kenny Miles rushed for 127 yards and a touchdown, and South Carolina pulled out a closer-than-expected 24-7 win over an FCS opponent.
The victory gave Steve Spurrier his 64th win in eight seasons with the Gamecocks (9-2), tying him with Rex Enright for most ever in program history. But it wasn’t until a 17-point fourth quarter that Spurrier and South Carolina could rest easy in this one.
No. 13 OKLAHOMA 50,
WEST VIRGINIA 49
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Landry Jones threw six touchdown passes, including a 5-yarder to Kenny Stills with 24 seconds left, to lift Oklahoma to a wild win.
Jones finished with 554 passing yards to break his own school record. He needed a terrific game to offset the performances of West Virginia’s tandem of Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey.
It marked the first time in 16 tries that Oklahoma (8-2, 6-1 Big 12) overcame a fourth-quarter deficit to win dating to 2007.
No. 15 Oregon State 62,
CORVALLIS, Ore. — Sean Mannion passed for 325 yards and four touchdowns, and No. 15 Oregon State routed California in what could be Jeff Tedford’s final game as the Golden Bears’ coach.
Markus Wheaton had seven catches for 99 yards for the Beavers (8-2, 6-2 Pac-12), who improved to 5-0 at Reser Stadium and will face Oregon in the Civil War next weekend. Terron Ward ran for 128 yards and two touchdowns, helping the Beavers rack up 559 yards of offense.
No. 16 NEBRASKA 38,
LINCOLN, Neb. — Taylor Martinez threw for 308 yards and two touchdowns to Kenny Bell while becoming Nebraska’s career passing leader.
The Cornhuskers (9-2, 6-1 Big Ten), who had to come from behind in the second half in four of its first five Big Ten wins, scored on four of their first six possessions against the Gophers (6-5, 2-5).
Nebraska can clinch the Legends Division title — and a berth in the conference championship game against Wisconsin on Dec. 1 — with a win at Iowa on Friday or a Michigan loss at Ohio State Saturday.
No. 17 UCLA 38, No. 21 USC 28
PASADENA, Calif. — Brett Hundley passed for 234 yards and a touchdown and rushed for two more scores as UCLA clinched the Pac-12 South title and snapped a five-game losing streak in the crosstown rivalry.
Eric Kendricks blocked a punt and made a fourth-quarter interception for the Bruins (9-2, 6-2 Pac-12), who overcame intermittent second-half rain and USC’s star-studded lineup for a gutsy victory that put them atop Los Angeles football.
A year after USC obliterated the Bruins 50-0 in a game that led to a coaching change in Westwood, UCLA punctuated its one-year revitalization under Jim Mora with its first win over the Trojans (7-4, 5-4) since 2006 — just their second in 14 years.
Matt Barkley passed for 301 yards and two touchdowns, but he threw two interceptions in the Trojans’ third loss in four games.
UTAH STATE 48,
No. 19 LOUISIANA TECH 41 (OT)
RUSTON, La. — Kerwynn Williams scored on a 4-yard touchdown run to give Utah State a lead in overtime, and the Aggies stopped Louisiana Tech on four plays to win and clinch at least a share of the Western Athletic Conference championship.
Chuckie Keeton threw for 340 yards and two touchdowns, and he rushed for 121 yards and two touchdowns for Utah State (9-2, 5-0 WAC), which let a 24-point, third-quarter lead slip away against one of the nation’s highest scoring teams.
The Aggies scored on their first offensive play — an 86-yard touchdown after a screen pass from Keeton to Williams — and racked up 646 yards of total offense.
No. 22 RUTGERS 10,
CINCINNATI — Savon Huggins ran for a career-high 179 yards, Rutgers’ defense had another shut-down showing, and the Scarlet Knights stayed in control of the Big East.
Rutgers (9-1, 5-0 Big East) remained the only unbeaten team in conference play. The Scarlet Knights finish with games at Pittsburgh and home against No. 20 Louisville, which has one Big East loss.
No. 23 MICHIGAN 42,
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Devin Gardner accounted for six touchdowns to help Michigan rout Iowa.
The Wolverines (8-3, 6-1 Big Ten) weren’t stopped on offense by the hapless Hawkeyes (4-7, 2-5) until Gardner threw an interception early in the fourth quarter.
Gardner threw three touchdowns and ran for three scores. He became the first Michigan quarterback to account for six TDs since 1983 when Steve Smith had as many passing and rushing scores in a game at Minnesota.
OKLAHOMA STATE 59,
No. 23 TEXAS TECH 21
STILLWATER, Okla. — Isaiah Anderson had a career-best 174 yards receiving and caught three long touchdown passes from Clint Chelf in his final home game for Oklahoma State.
Zack Craig blocked a pair of punts, returning one for a touchdown, as the Cowboys (7-3, 5-2 Big 12) won their fourth straight in the series and the second in a row in decisive fashion. The Red Raiders’ 66-6 loss in last season’s game was the most lopsided defeat in the program’s history.
No. 25 KENT STATE 31,
BOWLING GREEN 24
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — Dri Archer had two long touchdown runs and finished with 241 yards rushing, leading Kent State to its first Mid-American Conference title game.