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College Football 2012 – Week 13 Recap

Kyle Brindza celebrates one of his five field goals for Notre Dame.
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Notre Dame punched its ticket into the national title game. And now the Fighting Irish must wait one more week to find out who their opponent will be. With Alabama and Georgia both recording big wins, it sets up a monster showdown in next week’s SEC title game, with the winner advancing to the BCS national championship.

With this being rivalry week and, for most teams, the end of the regular season, there were a lot of exciting games this week. Here are all the highlights:

#1 NOTRE DAME 22, SOUTHERN CAL 13

Theo Riddick rushed for 146 yards and a touchdown to lead the Notre Dame offense. But, in a season in which the defense has led the way, it was appropriate that the game’s biggest moment belonged to the Fighting Irish defense. With less than three minutes to play and USC sitting at first and goal inside the one yard line, the Fighting Irish defense delivered a goal line stand for the ages, stuffing the Trojans on four straight plays to lock up the win and a shot at Notre Dame’s first national title since 1988. Playing for the injured Matt Barkley, USC quarterback Max Wittek threw for 186 yards and a touchdown, but also threw two interceptions. The Trojans had won nine of the previous ten in this rivalry.

#2 ALABAMA 49, AUBURN 0

Alabama raced out to a 42-0 halftime lead before the starters were pulled early in the third quarter as the Crimson Tide recorded the second-biggest blowout in Iron Bowl history. Bama quarterback A.J. McCarron threw for threw for 216 yards and four touchdowns and running back Eddie Lacy added 131 yards and two scores on the ground in the rout. Auburn’s offensive woes continued as the Tigers managed just 163 total yards, turned the ball over three times and only crossed midfield twice. With the loss, Auburn became the first team in FBS history to go undefeated in conference play and then fall to winless in the conference in just three seasons. Alabama’s defense pitched four shutouts this year, the most by the Crimson Tide since 1979.

#3 GEORGIA 42, GEORGIA TECH 10

If Georgia was looking ahead to next week’s SEC title game, it didn’t show as the Bulldogs scored just a minute to the game and jumped out to a 28-3 halftime lead to put this one away early. Freshman running back Todd Gurley rushed for two touchdowns and quarterback Aaron Murray threw for two more to keep Georgia’s national title hopes alive. The Yellow Jackets actually outgained Georgia 426-379 and ran 88 plays compared with just 50 for the Bulldogs. But six drives of 10 or more plays resulted in just three Georgia Tech points. Georgia has won four in a row and 11 of the last 12 in this in-state rivalry.

#4 OHIO STATE 26, #20 MICHIGAN 21

Ohio State is ineligible for the postseason, but beating Michigan to cap a 12-0 season has to be a nice consolation prize. Carlos Hyde rushed for 146 yards and a touchdown to lead Ohio State to its first undefeated season since winning the national title in 2002. But the big story was the Ohio State defense, which, after giving up 21 points and 219 yards in the first half, held the Wolverines scoreless in the second while allowing just 60 total yards. Michigan’s Denard Robinson, who played at both quarterback and running back in the game, carried the ball 10 times for 122 yards and a touchdown in the first half but was held to minus-two yards after that. Michigan did not run a play in Ohio State territory the entire second half. The Buckeyes have won nine of the last 11—and the last six at home—in this rivalry.

#5 OREGON 48, #16 OREGON STATE 24

Oregon rolled up 430 rushing yards to lead the Ducks to their fifth Civil War victory in a row. Oregon State’s defense came into the game with one of the nation’s best rushing defenses and having given up an average of just 12 points per game at home. But the Beavers had no answers for Oregon running backs Kenjon Barner and DeAnthony Thomas, who rolled up 320 yards and five touchdowns on the ground. Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion threw for 311 yards and a touchdown, but also tossed four costly interceptions, two in Oregon territory. With Stanford’s win over UCLA, the Ducks are knocked out of the Pac-12 title hunt and must now wait to find out their bowl destination.

#6 FLORIDA 37, #10 FLORIDA STATE 26

Florida’s defense once again rose to the challenge, holding Florida State’s high-powered offense to just 300 total yards and forcing five turnovers, including two in the fourth quarter that led to 14 Gators points. Florida running back Mike Gillislee, who had been the lone bright spot for a Florida offense that ranked 107th in total offense, rushed for 140 yards and two touchdowns. The Seminoles actually held a 20-13 lead going into the fourth quarter before the Gators rolled off 24 unanswered points. Seminoles quarterback E.J. Manuel was held to just 182 passing yards, one score and three interceptions. The Gators win snapped a two-game losing streak to the Seminoles.

#7 KANSAS STATE, BYE

The Wildcats’ national title hopes may be gone, but Kansas State still has a lot to play for with a potential Big 12 championship and a BCS bid on the line. Kansas State will close the regular season next week against #18 Texas

#8 LOUISANA STATE 20, ARKANSAS 13

Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson threw for 359 yards to set the school record for career passing yards. But it was not enough to help the Razorbacks bring their disappointing season to a positive end as LSU forced two turnovers on Arkansas’ first two possessions and held the Razorbacks scoreless until early in the third quarter. Arkansas also shot themselves in the foot with two missed field goals and 12 penalties for 111 yards. This is the sixth time in the last eight years that LSU has recorded 10+ wins.

#9 TEXAS A&M 59, MISSOURI 29

Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel may have locked up the Heisman trophy with another monster performance in his final showcase game. The freshman threw for 372 yards and three scores while rushing for 67 yards and two more touchdowns as A&M rolled up 647 total yards in the contest. Missouri was without starting quarterback James Franklin, who suffered a concussion in last week’s game. Backup Corbin Berkstresser had a solid effort with 276 yards and two touchdowns, but he was unable to respond to an Aggies offensive juggernaut that jumped out to a 42-0 lead in the second quarter. The loss gives the Tigers their first losing record in eight years. In the win, Johnny Manziel broke Cam Newton’s SEC record for total offense.

#11 STANFORD 35, #15 UCLA 17

Stanford won this round, but the Bruins will have their chance for a rematch in next week’s Pac-12 title game. Stanford running back Stepfan Taylor rushed for 142 yards and two touchdowns for a Cardinal offense that jumped out to a 21-7 lead midway through the second quarter and added two more scores in the third to seal the victory. After shutting down Oregon’s running game last week, Stanford’s defense had another solid effort, limiting UCLA’s Johnathan Franklin, the nation’s fifth-leading rusher, to just 65 yards and a touchdown. Stanford has won four in a row against UCLA and will have a chance to make it five next week in Palo Alto.

#13 SOUTH CAROLINA 27, #12 CLEMSON 17

With South Carolina starting quarterback Connor Shaw out with a shoulder injury, backup Dylan Thompson showed the team was still in good hands by throwing for 310 yards and three touchdowns. The Gamecocks defense also stepped up big, holding Clemson’s potent offense to more than 200 yards below its season average. Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd, who had thrown for nearly 1,500 yards and 18 touchdowns in his last four games, was held to just 183 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Defensive end Jadaveon Clowney was a terror in the backfield, pressuring Boyd all day and recording 4.5 sacks in the game. With the win, coach Steve Spurrier became South Carolina’s all-time winningest coach. The Gamecocks have won four in a row in this series, the longest such streak since 1951-54.

#14 OKLAHOMA 51, #22 OKLAHOMA STATE 48 (OT)

Bedlam lived up to its name with over 1,100 yards, 99 points and the first overtime game in the 107-year history of this rivalry. Sooners quarterback Landry Jones completed 46 of 71 passes (both school records) for 500 yards and three touchdowns. Receiver Jalen Saunders caught ten of those passes for 162 yards and a touchdown while also adding an 81-yard punt return touchdown. Cowboys running back Joseph Randle did his part to help Oklahoma State try to pull off the road upset, rushing for 113 yards and four touchdowns. The Sooners never led in this game prior to Brennan Clay’s 18-yard touchdown run in overtime that sealed the win. The Sooners have won nine of the last ten in this series.

#17 NEBRASKA 13, IOWA 7

Rex Burkhead rushed for 69 yards and a touchdown—all in the second half—to help Nebraska clinch a spot in its first-ever Big Ten championship game. On a day with wind chills in the teens and a steady 30-mile per hour wind, neither quarterback was able to do much through the air. The Cornhuskers had two turnovers that allowed Iowa to stick around. But Nebraska’s defense was just too much for a struggling Iowa offense, holding the Hawkeyes to just 200 total yards and forcing three-and-outs on six of Iowa’s 12 possessions in the game. Nebraska closed the regular season with six straight wins, its longest winning streak since 2001.

TEXAS CHRISTIAN 20, #18 TEXAS 13

TCU got the biggest win of its first season in the Big 12, pulling off a road upset of Texas in the Horned Frogs’ first Thanksgiving Day game since 1928. The Frogs defense, which ranked seventh nationally in rush defense but had given up 38 points per game in their last four, had a big night, holding the Longhorns to just 86 yards on the ground and forcing four Texas turnovers, including two near the TCU goal line. Texas quarterback David Ash was benched after turning the ball over three times. This is just the second time in school history that Texas has lost its final home game for three straight years.

CONNECTICUT 23, #19 LOUISVILLE 20 (3OT)

Louisville outgained the Huskies 401-241 but needed to rally for 10 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to force overtime. However, after trading scores during the first two overtime periods, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s pass was picked off in the end zone, allowing Connecticut to kick a field goal for the win. Bridgewater finished with 331 yards and two touchdowns to go along with that crushing interception. Without running back Senorise Perry (torn ACL), the Cardinals managed just 27 rushing yards. UConn running back Lyle McCombs rushed for 133 yards to lead the upset win. The win snapped the Huskies’ eight-game losing streak to ranked opponents.

PITTSBURGH 27, #21 RUTGERS 6

Pitt scored 21 unanswered points in the second quarter to jump out to a lead that Rutgers’ offense, already one of the lowest-scoring in the nation, could not overcome. For all the talk coming in about the Scarlet Knights defense (ranked fourth nationally in scoring), it was the Pitt defense that showed up big in this one, limiting Rutgers to just 207 total yards. Panthers running back Ray Graham rushed for 113 yards and a touchdown to help Pitt pull off the upset. However, all is not lost for Rutgers as they host Louisville on Thursday night with the Big East title and a BCS bid on the line.

#23 KENT STATE 28, OHIO 6

Kent State extended its school-record winning streak to 10 games and handed the Bobcats their fourth loss in the last five games. Golden Flashes star running back Dri Archer managed just 53 yards rushing, but the defense more than picked up the slack, recording two defensive touchdowns in the first quarter and sacking Ohio quarterback Tyler Tettleton eight times. Kent State jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter, the most points the Bobcats had given up in the first period since 2004.

#24 NORTHERN ILLINOIS 49, EASTERN MICHIGAN 7

Huskies running back Akeem Daniels rushed for 112 yards and a career-high four touchdowns as Northern Illinois rolled to its fifth win in a row in this series. NIU quarterback Jordan Lynch, the nation’s third-leading rusher, rushed for 107 yards while throwing for 168 more and a touchdown. He extended his NCAA-record of 100+ yard rushing games by a quarterback to 10. EMU fell to 0-7 all-time against ranked opponents.

MISSISSIPPI 41, #25 MISSISSIPPI STATE 24

Ole Miss receiver Donte Moncrief caught seven passes for 173 yards and a school-record three touchdowns as the Rebels routed Mississippi State to win the Egg Bowl for the first time in four years. Ole Miss outgained the Bulldogs 527-333 and opened the second half with 24 unanswered points, making the Rebels bowl eligible and handing Mississippi State its fourth loss in its last five games.

#25 UTAH STATE 45, IDAHO 9

Utah State routed the hapless Vandals to secure its first outright conference championship since 1936. Neither team was able to generate much offense (250 total yards for the Aggies, 210 for Idaho). But the Utah State defense forced four turnovers, which quickly turned into 17 Aggie points. Utah State running Kerwynn Williams finished with 149 total yards and a touchdown. He now needs just 39 more yards to break the WAC record for career all-purpose yards.

 

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