Crimson Tide OT escape preserves perfect standing
Posted: Monday, November 10, 2008 3:59 pm
By: By The Associated Press
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — With a heavy police escort, Nick Saban returned to Tiger Stadium wearing crimson. He barely got out of town with Alabama still unbeaten and No. 1.
After the Crimson Tide missed a chip-shot field goal on the final play of regulation, John Parker Wilson scored on a 1-yard sneak in overtime to give Alabama a 27-21 victory over No. 15 LSU on Saturday, clinching a spot in the Southeastern Conference championship game.
The Tide (10-0, 6-0 SEC) has its eyes on a bigger prize, of course, and stayed on course for its first national title in 16 years. This was its toughest test yet, coming at a school Saban led to a share of the national championship in 2003.
The coach is now reviled by many of the Tigers faithful, who consider him a traitor for turning up at rival Alabama just two years after he traded LSU for the NFL. He was booed loudly when he came on the field, surrounded by a contingent of state troopers that grew to a dozen by the time the game finally ended.
After Charles Scott tied it for LSU on a 1-yard touchdown run with just over 6 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Alabama drove into position to win it. From the 12, Wilson ran to the middle of the field and fell down, then Saban called his final timeout with 3 seconds remaining.
Leigh Tiffin lined up for a 29-yard field goal, but his kick was low and Ricky-Jean Francois swiped it away with his big right hand.
But Jarrett Lee threw his fourth interception in overtime, and Alabama didn’t bother with another field-goal try. Wilson hit Julio Jones along the sideline, and the freshman dragged his defender to the 1. LSU stuffed the Tide on first down, but Wilson powered across on the next play to win it.
LSU (6-3, 3-3), the defending national champion, was eliminated from the conference race and, in all likelihood, any consideration for a spot in the ECS.
Texas Tech 56, Oklahoma St. 20
LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — Proving the No. 2 ranking and win over Texas was no fluke, Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree picked up where they left off and routed Oklahoma State.
After losing a fumble on the game-opening drive, Harrell led the Red Raiders to touchdowns on their next seven drives, capping three of them with TD passes to Crabtree. Harrell finished 40-of-50 for 456 yards and six touchdowns.
Texas Tech (10-0, 6-0 Big 12) won its 12th straight game, the longest streak in the nation and best in school history.
Crabtree, whose touchdown with 1 second left knocked off the Longhorns, caught eight passes for 89 yards and the three scores, upping his national-best total to 18. Nine other Red Raiders caught passes on the way to piling up 629 yards.
Now that Texas Tech has gotten by two straight top-10 foes, one more awaits: No. 6 Oklahoma in Norman in two weeks.
Kendall Hunter ran 17 times for 112 yards and two touchdowns for the Cowboys (8-2, 4-2).
Iowa 24, Penn St. 23
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Penn State is perfect no more, its hopes for giving coach Joe Paterno another national title given a sharp and surprising kick by Iowa.
Daniel Murray hit a 31-yard field goal with a second left and Iowa rallied to stun the Nittany Lions, likely dashing Penn State’s hopes for a spot in the ECS national title game.
Shonn Green rushed for 117 yards and two touchdowns, and Ricky Stanzi bounced back from an interception and a fumble to lead the Hawkeyes (6-4, 3-3 Big Ten) on their winning drive, which came after Daryll Clark threw an interception.
The Nittany Lions (9-1, 5-1) were third behind Alabama and Texas Tech in the most recent Bowl Championship Series standings, in danger of being squeezed out of the national title game even if they stayed unbeaten.
Florida 42, Vanderbilt 14
NASHVILLE (AP) — Tim Tebow threw for three touchdowns and ran for two more, and Florida clinched the SEC Eastern Division title for the second time in three years.
The Gators (8-1, 6-1) answered the question of whether they would have a letdown coming off their emotional 49-10 win over Georgia by scoring on each of their first four possessions, Ahmad Black intercepted a pass and Carlos Dunlap got his hand on two punts in building a 28-0 lead in the first 18 minutes.
These teams played at night for the first time since 1982 largely because Vanderbilt had a chance to force a tie atop the SEC East by beating the Gators. But the Commodores (5-4, 3-3) instead lost their fourth straight in their bid to become bowl eligible for the first time since 1982. They now have lost 18 straight in this series.
Georgia 42, Kentucky 38
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Matthew Stafford threw for 376 yards and the go-ahead touchdown to A.J. Green with 1:54 remaining to lift Georgia over Kentucky.
Knowshon Moreno ran for 123 yards and three scores and wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi atoned for two fumbles by hauling in a career-high eight receptions for 191 yards and a touchdown as the Bulldogs (8-2, 5-2 Southeastern Conference) survived a major scare from the Wildcats (6-4, 2-4).
Freshman quarterback Randall Cobb ran for 82 yards and three scores for the Kentucky, but threw an interception to Georgia’s DeMarcus Dobbs at the Georgia 13 with 46 seconds remaining and the Bulldogs escaped.
Texas 45, Baylor 21
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Colt McCoy passed for 300 yards and five touchdowns, Ryan Palmer returned an interception 22 yards for a tiebreaking score and the Longhorns beat Baylor for a much-needed rebound victory a week after their last-second loss at Texas Tech.
Texas (9-1, 5-1 Big 12) scored on its first two drives before Baylor (3-7, 1-5) tied it by scoring twice in 4 minutes. The Longhorns went ahead to stay when Palmer picked off a deflected pass, pulling it off his shoulder pads, then spinning and running to the end zone.
The loss to the Red Raiders knocked Texas out of the No. 1 spots in the AP poll and the Bowl Championship Series standings (to fourth this week). The Longhorns also dropped out of first place in the Big 12 South.
Oklahoma 66, Texas A&M 28
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) — Sam Bradford threw touchdown passes to four different receivers, Chris Brown ran for three scores and the Sooners started fast again and routed the Aggies.
DeMarco Murray, Matt Clapp, Ryan Broyles and Juaquin Iglesias had TD catches and Bradford had a touchdown run for the Sooners (9-1, 5-1 Big 12), who set a single-game scoring record for an opponent at Kyle Field.
The Sooners have scored 231 points in four games since a 45-35 loss to Texas. Their defense was equally impressive in this one, holding the Aggies (4-6, 2-4) to 26 rushing yards and forcing four turnovers.
USC 17, Cal 3
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Mark Sanchez threw two touchdown passes, and USC’s defense battered No. 21 California to keeping its national championship hopes alive.
The win was the sixth straight for the Trojans (8-1, 6-1 Pac-10), who have outscored the opposition 231-23 since losing 27-21 as 25-point favorites at Oregon State. The Trojans came in averaging 40.25 points and the Bears (6-3, 5-1) were averaging 36.4, with a single-game low of 24.
USC has allowed an NCAA-low 6.7 points per game, giving up just seven touchdowns this season — four by the Beavers and three by the other eight opponents combined. The Trojans have allowed only 13 points in the second half.
Boise St. 49, Utah St. 14
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Kellen Moore threw for 362 yards and two scores, and two Boise State receivers threw touchdown passes and the Broncos stayed unbeaten.
The Broncos (9-0, 5-0 Western Athletic Conference) rolled up 563 total yards and held the Aggies to 44 yards rushing and forced six turnovers.
The offense was sluggish at times in the first half, was just 5-of-12 on third downs and had three turnovers, the first setting up a touchdown that closed the gap to 28-7 and gave the Aggies (2-8, 2-4) momentum heading into halftime.
Ohio St. 45, Northwestern 10
EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) — Terrelle Pryor threw for three scores and Chris “Beanie” Wells ran for two more, leading Ohio State over Northwestern that showed the Buckeyes are definitely over their loss to Penn State two weeks ago.
Pryor was 9-of-14 for 197 yards, and added 33 on the ground. Wells finished with 140 yards on 28 carries.
It was Ohio State’s fourth victory in a row over Northwestern (7-3, 3-3), and it delighted the sellout crowd that appeared to be two-thirds Buckeyes fans.
More importantly, the win keeps the Buckeyes’ chances for a fourth straight Big Ten title alive. Ohio State (8-2, 5-1) needs to win out and get some help from Penn State and Michigan State, who play each other in the season finale.
Missouri 41, Kansas St. 24
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Jeremy Maclin scored three touchdowns and totaled 278 all-purpose yards, helping Missouri shake off a slow start in its home finale and whip Kansas State to grab first place in the Big 12 North.
Missouri (8-2, 4-2 Big 12) took control with 17 points in the final 5:46 of the half, including a pair of touchdown passes from Chase Daniel to Maclin. Maclin had eight receptions for 118 yards and two TDs, four carries for 84 yards and a third TD on a 56-yard jaunt on a direct snap.
Kansas State (4-6, 1-5) has lost five of six under lame-duck coach Ron Prince, the latest setback coming only three days after Prince was fired effective at the end of the season.
BYU 41, San Diego St. 12
PROVO, Utah (AP) — Max Hall threw three touchdown passes and Austin Collie had his eighth straight 100-yard receiving game for BYU, which set a school record with its 18th straight home win.
The Cougars (9-1, 5-1) went unbeaten at home for the third straight season and stayed alive in their quest for a third straight Mountain West Conference title.
BYU scored the first 27 points, then after two field goals by San Diego State, Hall found Collie for two more touchdowns early in the fourth quarter against the injury-plagued Aztecs (1-9, 0-6).
Michigan St. 21, Purdue 7
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Javon Ringer scored two touchdowns and Michigan State used a dominating defense to stay alive in the Big Ten title chase.
The Spartans (9-2, 6-1 Big Ten), who are off next week, will rest up for a Nov. 22 showdown at No. 3 Penn State, with at least a share of the conference title on the line.
The Spartans last won a share of the Big Ten crown in 1990.
Purdue (3-7, 1-5) was officially eliminated from bowl contention in coach Joe Tiller’s final season.
North Carolina 28, Georgia Tech 7
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — Ryan Houston ran for a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to help North Carolina beat Georgia Tech.
Cameron Sexton added two touchdown passes for the Tar Heels (7-2, 3-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), who earned a critical win in the muddled Coastal Division race and ensured their first winning season in seven years.
North Carolina — among the nation’s leaders in turnover margin — also hung in defensively against the Yellow Jackets’ triple-option offense and converted a pair of fumbles into Houston’s touchdowns to break the game open.
Georgia Tech (7-3, 4-3) finished with 326 yards rushing and 423 total yards, but never could sustain a scoring drive nor push deeper than the Tar Heels 23-yard line until Jonathan Dwyer’s 85-yard touchdown run — the longest rush allowed by North Carolina — with 6 minutes left.
Cincinnati 26, No. 20 West Virginia
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — Tony Pike threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Kazeem Alli in overtime to lift Cincinnati to a win over West Virginia, creating a three-way tie atop the Big East.
West Virginia (6-3, 3-1) scored 13 points in the final 1:11 to force overtime, including Pat McAfee’s 52-yard field goal as time ran out. McAfee added a 27-yard field goal on West Virginia’s overtime possession.
Cincinnati (7-2, 3-1) managed just two first downs after halftime after leading 20-7, but answered the field goal with a well-run touchdown drive and created a first-place logjam with West Virginia and No. 25 Pittsburgh.
Florida St. 41, Clemson 27
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Christian Ponder threw for a touchdown and ran for another and Antone Smith ran for two scores and the Seminoles defeated the Tigers on coach Bobby Bowden’s 79th birthday.
Clemson (4-5, 2-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) had won the past three games in the series under Bowden’s son, Tommy Bowden, who was fired last month after a 3-3 start. Interim Clemson coach Dabo Swinney is 1-2 since taking over.
A crowd of nearly 80,000 sang “Happy Birthday” to Bowden in the final moments of the game. The victory was the 380th for Bowden, which is second among major college coaches. He is 5-1 in games coached on his birthday and just one game behind Penn State’s Joe Paterno, whose team lost Saturday at Iowa.
Florida State (7-2, 4-2) overcame an early 10-0 deficit to lead 20-17 at halftime.
Pittsburgh 41, Louisville 7
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Pittsburgh wide receiver Aundre Wright ran 7 yards for his first college touchdown after having a long scoring run called back by a holding penalty and the Panthers turned four turnovers into scores while routing Louisville.
The Panthers (7-2, 3-1 Big East) assured themselves of their first bowl bid and winning season in coach Dave Wannstedt’s four seasons, using Louisville’s numerous mistakes to overcome LeSean McCoy’s career-low 39 yards rushing.
Pitt ended a seven-game losing streak to Louisville (5-4, 1-3).