Sunday, December 03, 2006

College Football Notes: Week 14

What a way to end the college football regular season.

The unranked UCLA Bruins pull of the biggest upset of the 2006 season with a shocking 13-9 victory over the No. 2 ranked USC Trojans.

The loss kept the Trojans (10-2) out of the BCS Championship game with Ohio State on January 8th and opened the door for either Florida or Michigan to step inside.

UCLA (7-5) used an aggressive defensive approach that harassed Trojan QB John David Booty all day long and held the USC ground game to only 55 yards on 29 carries. How dominant was the Bruins D?

Well, USC was held to minus-7 yards rushing in the second half and shutout in the final 30 minutes for the first time in 77 games. The Trojans NCAA-record 63-game streak of scoring 20 or more points also came to a crashing halt.

The UCLA offense, led by Patrick Cowan, who passed for 114 yards and rushed for 55, did just enough to eke out the big win, ending a seven-game losing skid to its cross-town rival. The Bruins are headed to the Emerald Bowl where they'll take on Florida State. USC has a date in the Rose Bowl against either LSU or Michigan, depending on what the final BCS Poll spits out.

The No. 4 Gators (12-1) took care of business with a 38-28 victory over Arkansas (11-2) for the SEC championship. The Florida defense forced four Razorback turnovers and heralded receiver Percy Harvin showcased his talents in the victory.

The freshman caught six passes for 105 yards and a score and rushed for 62 yards and another touchdown to lead the Florida attack. Now the Gators must play the waiting game to see if they, or the idle Wolverines, get invited to the big show. Further evidence that proves we need a playoff system instead.

No. 6 Louisville (11-1) captured the Big East championship thanks to a 48-17 whitewashing of Connecticut and a 41-39 overtime loss by Rutgers to West Virginia.

Cardinals QB Brian Brohm completed 20 of 28 passes for 341 yards and four touchdowns to cap the best single-season record in Louisville history. The win gave the Cardinals a BCS berth and a most likely game with Wake Forest in the Orange Bowl.

Steve Slaton carried the ball 23 times for 113 yards and two TDs, including the game winner, to lead the Mountaineers (10-2) to the hard-fought victory over the Scarlet Knights (10-2), who could have won the Big East title with a win. Rutgers is now 0-15 in Morgantown.

Rutgers QB Mike Teel couldn't find Ray Rice in the end zone to complete the two-point conversion and send the game into a fourth overtime. Teel finished the game with 276 yards and a TD on 19-of-26 passing.

Oklahoma, despite the loss of QB Rhett Bhomar and RB Adrian Peterson this season, captured the Big 12 Championship with a 21-7 victory over Nebraska (9-4). The Sooners (11-2) pitched a shutout in the second half and QB Paul Thompson threw for 265 yards and two touchdowns. Oklahoma will most likely face Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl.

No. 16 Wake Forest defeated Georgia Tech 9-6 to win the ACC championship. The Demon Deacons (11-2) won their second league title and first since 1970, adding another chapter to an improbable year in Jim Grobe's sixth season. The finale comes in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 2 - the program's biggest bowl game since the 1946 Gator Bowl.

Jon Abbate, the junior linebacker made life uncomfortable for the Yellowjackets (9-4), tallying 15 tackles and a sack in the process.

Other scores from Saturday: No. 21 California 21, Stanford 17; Oregon State 35, No. 24 Hawaii 32; Navy 26, Army 14; C-USA Championship: Houston 34, Southern Miss 20; and MAC Championship: Central Michigan 31, Ohio 10.

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