NCAA FOOTBALL ROUNDUP: Auburn stays in the SEC hunt
A miraculous play has Auburn in the hunt for an SEC championship — maybe even a national title, too.
The seventh-ranked Tigers beat No. 25 Georgia 43-38 on a juggling 73-yard touchdown reception off a tipped pass by Ricardo Louis.
Auburn finishes the season against No. 1 Alabama and a victory in the Iron Bowl would put the Tigers (10-1, 6-1) in the SEC championship game. They have one loss, but an SEC championship might be able to get them to the BCS championship game.
Though the other contenders were dominant as usual on Saturday.
NO. 1 ALABAMA 20, MISSISSIPPI STATE 7: T.J. Yeldon rushed for 160 yards, A.J. McCarron threw two touchdown passes and Alabama overcame four turnovers to beat Mississippi State.
It was a lethargic performance for Alabama (10-0, 7-0 Southeastern Conference), which led 10-7 midway through the third quarter before pulling away. Alabama has won six straight against the Bulldogs.
Mississippi State (4-6, 1-5) kept the game far closer than most anticipated, but couldn’t take advantage of Alabama’s mistakes. Tyler Russell started for the injured Dak Prescott and completed 15 of 24 passes for 144 yards and an interception before leaving with an apparent shoulder injury when the Bulldogs were trying to rally in the fourth quarter.
McCarron tossed two rare interceptions and Yeldon had a costly fumble that led to Mississippi State’s only touchdown, but Alabama survived to set up a much-anticipated Iron Bowl with Auburn.
NO. 2 FLORIDA STATE 59, SYRACUSE 3: Jameis Winston showed no effects from a tumultuous week during No. 2 Florida State’s 59-3 win against Syracuse on Saturday. The redshirt quarterback completed 19 of 21 passes for 277 yards and two touchdowns as the Seminoles rolled during the Atlantic Coast Conference game.
News broke Wednesday that Winston was under investigation for an alleged sexual assault that took place Dec. 7, 2012.
On the field, it was business as usual for the Seminoles (10-0, 8-0) on Saturday. Syracuse (5-5, 3-3) was held scoreless until late in the fourth quarter.
Florida State outgained the Orange 523-427.
NO. 3 OHIO STATE 60, ILLINOIS 35: Carlos Hyde ran for 246 yards and four touchdowns and Braxton Miller had another 184 yards rushing and two scores for Ohio State. The Buckeyes (10-0, 6-0 Big Ten) needed a third-quarter defensive stop and safety to pull away.
After trailing 28-0 in the second quarter, Illinois (3-7, 0-6) closed to 35-21 in the third on two Nathan Scheelhaase touchdown passes.
Buckeyes linebacker Ryan Shazier sacked Reilly O’Toole, who entered the game for a play after Scheelhaase’s helmet came off, in the end zone. The safety gave the Buckeyes a 37-21 edge and the ball. Minutes later, a Hyde touchdown put them up 44-21.
Hyde tacked on late touchdowns runs of 55 and 51 yards. Miller threw for 150 yards and two touchdowns.
NO. 4 BAYLOR 63, TEXAS TECH 34: Bryce Petty threw three touchdowns and ran for two more as Baylor stayed undefeated, overcoming its first double-digit deficit of the season in a victory over Texas Tech.
The Bears (9-0, 6-0), even without several key offensive players, stretched their school-record winning streak to 13 games. They are the outright Big 12 leader after No. 23 Texas suffered its first conference loss earlier in the day, and are one of six undefeated FBS teams.
Shock Linwood, effectively the Bears’ third-string running back, ran 29 times for 187 yards and a touchdown while Devin Chafin, another redshirt freshman, had 11 carries for 100 yards and two TDs. Levi Norwood returned a punt 58 yards for a score.
Texas Tech (7-4, 4-4) lost its fourth straight game since a 7-0 start for first-year coach Kliff Kingsbury.
USC 20, NO. 5 STANFORD 17: Andre Heidari kicked a 47-yard field goal with 19 seconds to play, and Southern California’s stalwart defense repeatedly came up big in a victory over Stanford.
Cody Kessler passed for 288 yards for the revitalized Trojans (8-3, 5-2 Pac-12), who earned their fifth win in six games.
USC’s remarkable defensive performance included two fourth-quarter interceptions against the powerful Cardinal (8-2, 6-2), who followed up last week’s win over Oregon by getting knocked out of the national title chase and maybe the Rose Bowl race as well.
NO. 6 OREGON 44, UTAH 21: Marcus Mariota threw for 288 yards and three touchdowns and the Ducks rebounded from last week’s loss to Stanford.
Mariota went into the game with questions about the health of his left knee, which impacted his mobility in the 26-20 loss to the Cardinal. It didn’t seem to be an issue against the Utes.
De’Anthony Thomas caught a touchdown pass and scored on an 86-yard kickoff return for the Ducks (9-1, 6-1 Pac-12).
Byron Marshall ran for two additional scores but the Ducks were slowed on the ground by Utah’s defense, rushing for 145 yards after averaging nearly 302 yards a game this season.
Utah (4-6, 1-6) was dealt a blow before the game when starting quarterback Travis Wilson didn’t make the trip to Eugene because of a concussion.
NO. 7 AUBURN 43, NO. 25 GEORGIA 38: Ricardo Louis scored on a deflected 73-yard pass on fourth-and-18 with 25 seconds left to lift Auburn.
The Tigers (10-1, 6-1 Southeastern Conference) had blown a 27-7 lead but pulled out one more huge play to continue the biggest turnaround in major college football.
They were 3-9 last year.
Aaron Murray, who had engineered the comeback with three fourth-quarter touchdowns, could only stare helplessly from the bench.
He led Georgia (6-4, 4-3) all the way to Auburn’s 20 but his final two passes fell incomplete as time ran out.
NO. 11 SOUTH CAROLINA 19, FLORIDA 14: Elliott Fry kicked four field goals and South Carolina won its school-record 16th straight at home, sending banged-up Florida to its fifth consecutive loss.
The Gamecocks (8-2, 6-2 Southeastern Conference) struggled to score points against the Gators’ SEC-leading defense until Fry gave them a 16-14 lead with a 22-yard field goal with 6:43 remaining.
This is the longest losing streak for Florida (4-6, 3-5) since dropping nine straight during its 0-10-1 season in 1979.
The Gamecocks’ win kept them in the SEC’s Eastern Division race.
NO. 12 OKLAHOMA STATE 38, NO. 23 TEXAS 13: Clint Chelf ran for two touchdowns and Oklahoma State stayed in the Big 12 championship chase.
Chelf also threw two scoring passes as Oklahoma State (8-1, 6-1 Big 12) won in Austin for the third straight meeting.
This one may reignite pressure on Texas coach Mack Brown, who was dealt his worst home loss in 16 seasons — and at a time when speculation about his job security had just begun quieting down.
A resurgent Texas had won six in a row and this week returned to the Top 25 after a two-month absence.
Now the Longhorns (7-3, 6-1) are almost certain to fall unranked again, but more costly in this blowout was relinquishing control of their destiny in the Big 12.
Texas and Oklahoma State still have yet to face undefeated No. 4 Baylor.
NO. 14 MICHIGAN STATE 41, NEBRASKA 28: Michigan State converted five Nebraska turnovers into 24 points and took a big step toward winning the Big Ten Legends Division.
Jeremy Langford ran 32 times for 151 yards and scored two touchdowns, and Keith Mumphrey caught a 27-yard touchdown from Connor Cook in the fourth quarter after the Cornhuskers pulled within six points.
The Spartans (9-1, 6-0) beat the Huskers (7-3, 4-2) for the first time in eight all-time meetings.
Big Ten leading rusher Ameer Abdullah ran 22 times for 123 yards for Nebraska.
NO. 15 UCF 39, TEMPLE 36: Shawn Moffitt kicked a 23-yard field goal as time expired after Rannell Hall got behind the Temple defense for a 64-yard reception, and No. 15 UCF survived a scare.
UCF’s last possession started at its own 19, with no timeouts. Overtime seemed likely until Blake Bortles found Hall deep to get to the Temple 6.
Bortles managed to get the ball spiked with 2 seconds left and Moffitt booted through the game winner to keep UCF (8-1, 5-0) in control of the American Athletic Conference race.
Freshman P.J. Walker was spectacular for Temple with a season-high 382 yards passing, four TD passes and a touchdown run.
NO. 17 WISCONSIN 51, INDIANA 3: James White rushed for a career-high 205 yards and Melvin Gordon added 146 for Wisconsin.
The Badgers (8-2, 5-1 Big Ten) came in expecting a big game on the ground against the conference’s 10th-ranked rushing defense with the Hoosiers (4-6, 2-4) giving up an average of more than 217 yards a game. Wisconsin topped that just minutes into the second quarter, had 323 yards rushing at the half and finished with 554.
Indiana’s offense, meanwhile, was nowhere to be found. Second in the conference at 527 yards a game, the Hoosiers were held to just 224 yards.
NO. 19 LOUISVILLE 20, HOUSTON 13: Dominique Brown ran for a career-high 137 yards and two touchdowns, including the go-ahead score in the third quarter, and Louisville held on to beat Houston.
Listless on both sides of the ball and trailing 13-10 at halftime, Louisville turned to Brown, who carried 11 times in the third quarter for 50 yards and a touchdown run.
The defense awakened to hold the Cougars (7-3, 4-2 American Athletic Conference) to just 41 second-half yards and help the Cardinals (9-1, 5-1 American Athletic Conference) win their third straight game and stay within reach of first-place Central Florida.
NO. 22 OKLAHOMA 48, IOWA STATE 10: Bob Stoops matched Barry Switzer’s record for most coaching victories at Oklahoma as the Sooners cruised.
Stoops recorded win No. 157 with Oklahoma (8-2, 5-2 Big 12), which closed the game with 45 unanswered points over the final three quarters.
Iowa State (1-9, 0-7) held Oklahoma scoreless in the first quarter and led 10-3 before Jalen Saunders returned a punt 91 yards for a touchdown right before halftime.
DUKE 48, NO. 24 MIAMI 30: Brandon Connette rushed for a career-high four touchdowns and threw for a fifth score, and Duke took sole possession of first place in the ACC’s messy Coastal Division. The Blue Devils’ change-of-pace quarterback had touchdown runs of 1, 2, 3 and 4 yards, and threw a 22-yard TD to Shaq Powell.
Josh Snead rushed for a career-high 138 yards and Powell added a backbreaking 33-yard touchdown run that put the Blue Devils in complete control.
Dallas Crawford rushed for 115 yards and Stephen Morris threw for 379 and two touchdowns but the Hurricanes (7-3, 3-3) lost their third straight.
In a wild game that featured 1,108 total yards and three lead changes, Duke claimed the inside track to a berth opposite No. 2 Florida State in the ACC title game.