Sunday, November 26, 2006

College Football Notes: Week 13

USC strengthened its position as BCS front-runner to meet Ohio State on January 8th after manhandling No. 6 Notre Dame, 44-24.

The Trojans (10-1) should move up to second in the BCS poll because Michigan, the current No. 2, is done with its regular season and can't pick up any points. USC is in great shape thanks to losses over the Thanksgiving weekend by Arkansas and West Virginia.

That pretty much leaves us with the Wolverines, Trojans and Florida Gators battling for the all-important second slot and a date with Buckeyes.

Dwayne Jarrett was the difference maker on Saturday for USC. The Trojan wide receiver caught seven passes for 132 yards and three touchdowns. Brady Quinn ends his career with the Irish (10-2) without ever beating USC. Even more impressive is the fact that the Trojans have now won 33 straight at home and have scored at least 20 points in an NCAA-record 63 straight games.

No. 4 Florida (11-1) kept its national championship hopes alive with a 21-14 win over Florida State (6-6). Chris Leak was 21-of-34 for 282 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Gators, who face Arkansas next week for the SEC Championship.

The fifth-ranked Razorbacks (10-2) saw their national championship dreams go up in smoke after losing to No. 9 LSU (10-2) by a 31-26 score. Despite the loss, Arkansas RB Darren McFadden showed why he's a Heisman candidate, rushing for 182 yards and two scores. The Razorbacks can still earn a BCS bowl berth by beating the Gators next week.

The Mountaineers (9-2) saw their hopes for a BCS bowl dashed after being stunned by South Florida, 24-19. The Bulls defense was the big difference maker in this game, holding RB Steve Slaton to 43 yards on 17 carries and the Mountaineers to just 132 yards rushing in the game. South Florida (8-4) held No. 7 West Virginia scoreless in the first quarter, only the second time that's happened to the Mountaineers all season.

No. 8 Louisville (10-1) kept it's BCS hopes alive with a 48-24 pounding of Pittsburgh (6-6), who have now lost five straight, its longest losing streak since 1998. Cardinals QB Brian Brohm completed 21 of 29 passes for 337 yards and four touchdowns. Lousiville has to win against Connecticut and hope for a Rutgers loss at West Virginia to claim the Big East title.

Meanwhile, the Scarlet Knights improved to 10-1 with a 38-7 thrashing of Syracuse. A win over the Mountaineers would give Rutgers the Big East title and a spot in a BCS bowl. Brian Leonard ran for 106 yards and two scores, becoming the all-time scoring leader in school history with 266 points. Ray Rice added 107 yards and a touchdown as the No. 15 Scarlet Knights won 10 games for the first time since 1976.

No. 13 Boise State capped an unbeaten regular season (12-0) and earned a berth in a BCS bowl game with a 38-7 stomping of Nevada (8-4). Ian Johnson rushed for 147 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Broncos. He also set the school single-season record with 1,613 yards rushing. Boise State is 39-1 in the WAC since 2002 and has won at least a share of the league title five years in a row.

No. 13 Oklahoma (10-2) clinched a berth in the Big 12 championship game with a 27-21 win over Oklahoma State (6-6). The Sooners, who were led by Allen Patrick's 163 yards rushing, will face Nebraska for the Big 12 title on Saturday.

Kenneth Moore ran for 165 yards and a touchdown as No. 20 Wake Forest (10-2) defeated Maryland, 38-24. The Demon Deacons picked up their first win vs. Maryland in eight tries since '98 and will going for its first ACC title since 1970 when they face Georgia Tech this Saturday.

Other scores from the top 25: Texas A&M 12, No. 11 Texas 7; Georgia 15, No. 16 Georgia Tech 12; No. 17 Virginia Tech 17, Virginia 0; Miami 17, No. 18 Boston College 14; No. 19 Tennessee 17, Kentucky 12; No. 21 BYU 33, Utah 31; No. 23 Nebraska 37, Colorado 14; South Carolina 31, No. 24 Clemson 28; and No. 25 Hawaii 42, Purdue 35.

Highlight games for the final week of the regular season include: Conference USA Championship: Southern Miss (8-4) at Houston (9-3); Rutgers (10-1) at West Virginia (9-2); ACC Championship: Wake Forest (10-2) at Georgia Tech (9-3); Army (3-8) at Navy (8-3); USC (10-1) at UCLA (6-5); SEC Championship: Arkansas (10-2) at Florida (11-1); Big 12 Championship: Nebraska (9-3) at Oklahoma (10-2); MAC Championship: Central Michigan (8-4) at Ohio (9-3); and Oregon State (8-4) at Hawaii (10-2).

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