Top 25 College Football Roundup: Auburn, TCU rally to stay unbeaten

The unbeatens all took shots from unranked opponents, responded one way or another, and stayed perfect.

Cam Newton and No. 1 Auburn rolled past Georgia 49-31 after being down 21-7 in the first half, while No. 3 TCU spotted San Diego State the first 14 points before going on to win 40-35.

No. 1 Oregon got the biggest scare, needing a big defensive effort and the help of a missed field goal to beat California 15-13.

No. 4 Boise State got to sit back and watch the other national championship contender after staying perfect with a 52-14 victory at Idaho on Friday night.

Newton seemed unaffected by a tumultuous week in which it was reported that his father asked Mississippi State for money for his son to play for the Bulldogs. There was some uncertainty about whether Newton would play, but he started and Georgia was unable to stop him.

TCU erased its early deficit, then allowed San Diego State to score three late touchdowns before holding on.

No. 1 Oregon 15, California 13

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — Jeff Maehl caught a 29-yard touchdown pass and No. 1 Oregon got stellar effort from its defense and a huge break on a missed field goal to stay unbeaten.

Cliff Harris returned a punt 64 yards for the only touchdown in the first half by the Ducks (10-0, 7-0 Pac-10), who wobbled on the road to the BCS title game.

Darron Thomas led a final drive that chewed up the last 9:32 after a stellar defensive effort by the Bears, who held the nation’s most potent offense to a season-low in yards.

Giorgio Tavecchio missed a 29-yard field goal in the fourth quarter for Cal that would have given the Golden Bears a 16-15 lead. The miss came after he was called for a false start that wiped a 24-yard field goal off the board.

Derrick Hill forced a fumble and recovered it in the end zone for the Bears (5-5, 3-4), who lost in Strawberry Canyon for the first time all season — but only after putting a mighty scare into their first top-ranked opponent in five years.

No. 2 Auburn 49, Georgia 31

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Cam Newton responded to allegations of wrongdoing by passing for two touchdowns and running for two more to lead Auburn into the SEC championship game.

The Tigers (11-0, 7-0) will face South Carolina for the conference title Dec. 4 in Atlanta, and have their eyes on a national championship.

Newton carried 30 times for 151 yards and completed 12 of 15 passes for 148 yards. He finished off the Bulldogs in the fourth quarter with a touchdown pass that made it 42-31, then dove over for the final score.

Georgia (5-6, 3-5) had won four straight in the Deep South’s oldest rivalry and jumped ahead 21-7. But the Bulldogs couldn’t hold on, despite A.J. Green’s nine receptions for 160 yards.

No. 3 TCU 40, San Diego State 35

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Andy Dalton threw three touchdown passes to Jeremy Kerley as TCU rallied from an early two-touchdown deficit, then held on to beat San Diego State.

The Horned Frogs (11-0, 7-0 Mountain West) won their 20th consecutive home game and clinched at least a share of the conference title. They also kept alive their chance to reach the BCS national championship game, but it’ll be interesting to see how poll voters react to the Horned Frogs’ closest game of the season.

San Diego State (7-3, 4-2) led 14-0 less than 6 minutes into the game, before TCU scored touchdowns on five of its last six drives before halftime. The Aztecs didn’t have a first down in that stretch, but three TDs in the final 16 minutes of the game made it close.

No. 5 LSU 51, Louisiana-Monroe 0

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Ron Brooks returned an interception for a score, Lavar Edwards brought back a fumble for another, and LSU’s defense dominated.

It was an anticlimactic victory for the Tigers (9-1), who were eliminated from contention in the SEC’s Western Division with Auburn’s victory over Georgia. LSU still can finish its regular season 11-1 and earn an at-large bid to a BCS bowl.

LSU’s defense produced five turnovers in all, leading to 30 points, and LSU built a 44-0 lead by the third quarter.

Stevan Ridley rushed for two touchdowns, the first set up by Patrick Peterson’s 85-yard interception return.

No. 6 Wisconsin 83, Indiana 20

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Montee Ball ran for three touchdowns in his first start, replacing injured running back John Clay, and Scott Tolzien threw for three more scores as Wisconsin matched the highest-scoring game by a Big Ten team in 60 years.

The Badgers (9-1, 5-1) put up the most points by an FBS school this season and matched the highest scoring total by a team in a Big Ten conference game since Ohio State’s 83-21 victory over Iowa in 1950.

Ball ran for 167 yards and freshman James White added 144 yards and two scores in place of Clay, who missed the first game of his career after spraining his right knee last Saturday.

Indiana (4-6, 0-6) kept it close for a quarter, but quarterback Ben Chappell left late in the first half favoring his left knee and hip.

No. 7 Stanford 17, Arizona State 13

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Andrew Luck threw for 292 yards and engineered a long fourth-quarter scoring drive to set up Owen Marecic’s second 1-yard touchdown dive.

Stanford (9-1, 6-1 Pac-10) labored against Arizona State’s gang-tackling most of the night before moving 85 yards in 10 plays to set up Marecic’s bulldozing TD run with just over 5 minutes left.

The Cardinal made up for their offensive struggles with hard-nosed defense, holding the Sun Devils (4-6, 2-5) to 268 total yards to win in Tempe for the first time since 1999.

Arizona State played another good team tough, again failing to come up with big plays down the stretch.

No. 8 Ohio State 38, Penn State 14

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Devon Torrence tipped and snagged an interception and returned it 34 yards for the go-ahead touchdown to turn the tide for the Buckeyes.

Ohio State, which trailed 14-3 at half, added scores when a long pass into double coverage ricocheted off a defender to Dane Sanzenbacher for a 58-yard score and Travis Howard picked off a pass and brought it back 30 yards, also in the fourth quarter.

The two defensive scores were nothing new in the series. Penn State (6-4, 3-3 Big Ten) has had six interceptions returned for TDs in the last seven meetings.

The victory sends the Buckeyes (9-1, 5-1) into a critical showdown at Iowa next week tied for first place with Michigan State and Wisconsin in the conference.

No. 9 Nebraska 20, Kansas 3

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Rex Burkhead and Roy Helu Jr. ran for touchdowns and Nebraska’s defense held Kansas to 87 total yards.

Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez was limited by design after missing all but one play of last week’s game at Iowa State with a right ankle sprain. He clearly wasn’t at his best, but he showed glimpses of his dynamic running ability, gaining 71 yards on 11 carries.

Martinez was 14 of 26 passing for 167 yards, with one interception.

Helu had 85 yards and Burkhead 77 yards.

The Jayhawks, who gained 453 yards and rallied from a 28-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat Colorado last week, generated five first downs and had nine drives that lasted four plays or less.

No. 11 Alabama 30, No. 17 Mississippi State 10

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Greg McElroy passed for 227 yards, including a 78-yard touchdown to Mark Ingram, and Alabama rolled over Mississippi State.

The Crimson Tide (8-2, 5-2 Southeastern Conference) showed it can still dominate even the improved version of the Bulldogs (7-3, 3-3) after its title hopes evaporated.

The Tide used big plays to punch up the offense after the Bulldogs kept Ingram and the short-handed running game from producing much. Instead, Alabama had scores of 45, 78 and 56 yards on three consecutive offensive plays starting in the second quarter to run away with it.

It didn’t matter that the game kicked off around the time rival Auburn was clinching the SEC West championship with a win over Georgia, ending Alabama’s two-year run on top.

No. 12 Oklahoma State 33, Texas 16

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Brandon Weeden passed for 409 yards and Kendall Hunter ran for two touchdowns as Oklahoma State ended a 12-year losing streak to Texas.

The win keeps surging Oklahoma State (9-1, 5-1) in first place in the Big 12 South with two games to play. The Cowboys have never won the division.

Hunter ran for 116 yards. Justin Blackmon had 145 yards receiving for the Cowboys, including a 67-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter, his 16th of the season, the most in the nation.

The loss is just the latest home defeat for the reeling Longhorns (4-6, 2-5) who have lost six of their last seven games — four straight at home — just one season after playing for the national championship.

Texas must win its last two games to avoid its first losing season since 1997 and qualify for a bowl game.

Northwestern 21, No. 13 Iowa 17

EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) — Dan Persa ruptured his Achilles’ tendon after throwing the winning pass, and Northwestern handed No. 13 Iowa another devastating loss.

Persa, who threw for 318 yards, capped an 85-yard TD drive with a 6-yard pass to Jeremy Ebert with 6:21 to go to bring the Wildcats within three. He finished a 91-yard drive with a 20-yard TD pass to Demetrius Fields with 1:22 to play.

As his teammates were celebrating the score, Persa was on the ground, holding his right leg. He was helped to the sideline and several teammates kept the TV cameras away.

Iowa (7-3, 4-2 Big Ten) is now a long shot to win the Big Ten title after losing to Northwestern (7-3, 3-3) for the fifth time in six games. Ricky Stanzi threw for 270 yards but had a critical interception in the second half that started the Wildcats’ rally.

No. 14 Arkansas 58, UTEP 21

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Ryan Mallett threw for a school-record five touchdowns and ran for another as Arkansas defeated Texas-El Paso 58-21 on Saturday.

Knile Davis added a career-best 182 yards rushing on just 11 carries for the No. 14 Razorbacks (8-2, 4-2 Southeastern Conference), including a 70-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Arkansas ran for a season-best 321 yards in the win.

In what could be his final home game at Razorback Stadium, Mallett tied the school record for touchdown passes for the fourth time in his career. The junior has now set or tied 35 school or stadium records at Arkansas in less than two full seasons at the school.

The Miners (6-5, 3-4 Conference USA) took a 14-7 lead early in the first quarter after Marlon McClure’s 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. The Razorbacks then took control, scoring 45 unanswered to take a 52-14 lead.

Notre Dame 28, No. 15 Utah 3

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Freshman Tommy Rees threw three touchdown passes in his first start and Notre Dame used two Utah special teams mistakes to rout the slumping Utes.

Returning from a week off, Notre Dame (5-5) moved within one win of becoming bowl eligible. Utah (8-2), meanwhile, was still reeling from its 47-7 loss to TCU a week earlier. The victory was Notre Dame’s first over a ranked team since 2006, when the Irish defeated Penn State.

Robert Blanton blocked a Utah punt, picked up the ball and ran in for a TD late in the opening period. And a fumble on the second-half kickoff by star Utah returner Shaky Smithson was quickly turned into the first of two Rees-to-Duval Kamara TD passes.

Rees, who replaced injured starter Dayne Crist during a loss to Tulsa two weeks ago, got better as the game progressed and finished 13 of 20 for 129 yards.

No. 16 Virginia Tech 26, North Carolina 10

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — Tyrod Taylor hit Marcus Davis with a pair of third-quarter TD passes to lead Virginia Tech.

Taylor threw for 249 yards while the defense locked down the Tar Heels, helping the Hokies (8-2, 6-0 ACC) improve to 4-0 in Chapel Hill since joining the league in 2004.

Virginia Tech entered Saturday with a chance to wrap up the Coastal Division for the fourth time in six seasons, but Miami’s easy win at Georgia Tech earlier in the day delayed the Hokies’ coronation. Virginia Tech travels to Miami next weekend and needs to win one of its final two games to wrap up a berth in the league championship game in Charlotte on Dec. 4.

As for the Tar Heels (6-4, 3-3), their slim chances of winning the division evaporated in a mash of miscues and missed chances.

USC 24, No. 18 Arizona 21

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Marc Tyler ran for a career-high 160 yards and Southern California climbed into a tie with Arizona for third in the Pac-10 .

Matt Barkley passed for one touchdown and sneaked for another as the Trojans (7-3, 4-3 Pac-10) jumped ahead 14-0 and never relinquished the lead.

The Wildcats’ Nick Foles threw for 353 yards and three touchdowns, the last an 11-yarder to David Douglas with 1:01 to play. But USC recovered the subsequent onside kick to preserve the victory.

Arizona (7-3, 4-3) lost its second in a row. The Wildcats were blown out at Stanford 42-17 last weekend.

No. 19 Oklahoma 45, Texas tech 7

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Ryan Broyles caught three of Landry Jones’ five touchdown passes and broke a few more Oklahoma records.

Broyles caught eight passes for 119 yards and broke Mark Clayton’s career records for receptions and touchdown catches at Oklahoma (8-2, 4-2 Big 12). He also eclipsed his own mark for catches in a season and now holds almost every significant receiving record at the school.

Texas Tech (5-5, 3-5) scored on Detron Lewis’ touchdown pass to fellow receiver Darrin Moore out of the wildcat formation — but then gave up 38 unanswered points.

No. 20 Missouri 38, Kansas State 28

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Blaine Gabbert accounted for three touchdown in a strong effort, while the Missouri defense made just as many big plays against error-prone Kansas State.

The Tigers (8-2, 4-2 Big 12) capitalized on three fumble recoveries, two of them huge swing plays, and scored 17 straight points to put away the Wildcats (6-3, 3-4).

Missouri finished 6-0 at home, beat Kansas State for the fifth straight time and won for the sixth straight time in the Tigers’ home finale, recovering from consecutive losses to Nebraska and Texas Tech that derailed a 7-0 start.

No. 22 South Carolina 36, No. 24 Florida 14

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Marcus Lattimore ran 40 times for a career-high 212 yards and three touchdowns, Stephen Garcia played turnover-free and Steve Spurrier’s Gamecocks upset Florida to clinch the Southeastern Conference’s Eastern Division.

The Gamecocks won for the second time in 19 tries against Florida, snapped an 0-for-12 streak in Gainesville and earned a spot in the league title game for the first time. South Carolina (7-3, 5-3 SEC) will play second-ranked Auburn on Dec. 4, with the winner advancing to the Bowl Championship Series.

The Gators (6-4, 4-4) lost to a division opponent for the first time in 17 games, dropped their third consecutive home game and proved they didn’t deserve to play for a championship. It’s the program’s first three-game losing streak at home since 1989.

No. 23 Texas A&M 42, Baylor 30

WACO, Texas (AP) — Cyrus Gray ran for 137 yards and scored three of his career-high four touchdowns in the second half as Texas A&M rallied from a 16-point first-half deficit .

Texas A&M has won four straight.

The Aggies (7-3, 4-2 Big 12) trailed 30-21 at halftime before Gray scored on runs of 13 and 10 yards in the third quarter to give Texas A&M its first lead at 35-30. Baylor (7-4, 4-3) had been up 30-14 midway through the second quarter after Jay Finley’s third touchdown.

Gray’s fourth score came on a 1-yard run with about 6 minutes remaining that was set up when Baylor turned the ball over on downs. His first score came in the second quarter.

The Bears were foiled by problems in the kicking game. Aaron Jones missed field-goal attempts from 27 and 39 yards in the second half, had a third one blocked just before halftime and missed an extra point.

Southern Miss 31, No. 25 UCF 21

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Austin Davis threw for 264 yards and four touchdowns, helping Southern Mississippi ruin Central Florida’s first game as a ranked team.

The victory keeps the Eagles in the race for Conference USA’s East Division title.

Davis overcame an early two-touchdown deficit with scoring passes of 5 yards to Johdrick Morris and 23 yards to Kelvin Bolden that put Southern Miss (7-3, 4-2) up 17-14 at halftime. Bolden’s second TD reception broke the game open early in the fourth quarter.

Freshman Jeff Godfrey threw for 190 yards and two TDs for UCF (7-3, 5-1), which had averaged 41.4 points during a five-game winning streak that vaulted the Knights into the Top 25 for the first time in the school’s 31-year football history.

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