Last Call: Week 14
It was another wild weekend of college football with plenty at stake. Rivalry week lived up to expectations and much more. The top 5 held their ground and took care of business, but there were a couple of BCS shakeups. Notre Dame remains the only team undefeated team and may have wrapped up a chance to play for its first national title since 1988.
No. 1 Notre Dame 22, USC 13
The wait is finally over. No. 1 Notre Dame stuffed Southern California 22-13 on Saturday night to finish with the regular season a perfect 12-0. The Fighting Irish’s solid defense made another critical goal line stand in the final 2:33 of play to keep the Trojans out of the end zone. Theo Riddick ran for 146 yards and a touchdown, Kyle Brindza kicked five goals and Everett Golson passed for 217 yards as Notre Dame finished undefeated for the first time since the 1988 title campaign.
No. 4 Florida 37, No. 10 Florida State 26
It was a hard-hitting game that featured three lead changes and scoring in bunches, but No. 4 Florida had the final say. The Gators scored 24 fourth-quarter points to close out a 37-26 win over in-state rival No. 10 Florida State. Mike Gillislee and Florida dominated the ground game early behind a downhill rushing attack keeping the Seminoles out of rhythm. Down 13-3 at the half, the ‘Noles bounced back scoring 17 unanswered points. However, the Gator defense forced five Florida State turnovers, none more crucial than the sack that led to an E.J. Manuel fumble. The Gators regained the lead 23-20 on Gillislee’s 37-yard TD run with 11:01 left in the fourth quarter. Florida finished the regular season 11-1, its best record since 2009.
No. 12 South Carolina 27, No. 11 Clemson 17
Steve Spurrier became the winningest coach in South Carolina history with 65 wins as the 12th-ranked Gamecocks defeated No. 11 Clemson on Saturday night. The Gamecocks’ victory was the fourth consecutive win in the in-state rivalry, the longest mark in school history. Clemson dropped its first home loss in two years, also a loss to South Carolina in the season finale. Sophomore quarterback Dylan Thompson went 23-for-41 for 310 yards and threw three TD passes, while Jadeveon Clowney’s 4.5 sacks gave him the single-season record at South Carolina with 13 on the year. The Gamecocks finished with 10 wins for a second consecutive season, a first in the program’s history.
No. 13 Oklahoma 51, No. 21 Oklahoma State 48 (OT)
In his final game in Norman, Landry Jones got a little help from his friends against No. 21 Oklahoma State. The 13th-ranked Sooners never led during regulation and had to come back from double-digit deficits in both halves. Backup QB Blake Bell came in on one of the game’s biggest plays. On 4th-and-1 at the four-yard line, Bell willed himself into the endzone after dodging several Cowboy defenders in the backfield in the final seconds of regulation to send the game into overtime. Bell was one of several heroes for Oklahoma in a game that kept the Sooners alive for a BCS Bowl bid. Brennan Clay ran in an 18-yard touchdown in overtime to give Oklahoma a 51-48 win. Jones had a record of a night, passing for 500 yards. He now ranks first in Big 12 history and fourth in NCAA history with 15,756 career passing yards.
And now we wait. The race for the BCS National Championship Game is now fairly straight forward heading into championship weekend. No. 1 Notre Dame looks to play for its first title in 24 years, but that is only half of the title equation.
No. 2 Alabama has fate in its own hands after rolling over Auburn 49-0. The Tide scored on its first seven possessions against the Tigers and will get a shot at repeating as BCS National Champions if it can win the SEC Championship Saturday.
No. 3 Georgia held up against Georgia Tech 42-10. The Dawgs have defeated the Yellow Jackets 11 of the last 12 years, and will take on the Crimson Tide in the SEC Championship in what has turned into a semifinal to the National Championship.
Although No. 4 Florida and No. 5 Oregon stated championship cases in their games of the season, the Notre Dame win all but ensures either Alabama or Georgia will play for the BCS title. One way or another, the SEC will get a shot at its seventh consecutive BCS Championship.