Nebraska is happily back on top in the Big 12 North Division.
The No. 7 Cornhuskers avenged last year's loss to Kansas State by blowing out fifth-ranked and previously undefeated Kansas State, 41-15, yesterday in Lincoln, Neb. Nebraska (9-1 overall, 6-1 Big 12) can clinch the North title by beating Colorado Nov. 26.
"We knew they didn't respect Nebraska like they used to. We knew they didn't fear Nebraska like they used to. We wanted to put that fear back into them," linebacker Carlos Polk said.
Eric Crouch led Nebraska with 158 yards rushing and two touchdowns as the Huskers quickly forgot about last year's 40-30 loss.
Kansas State's win last year snapped a 29-game losing streak against the Huskers. The Wildcats' chances at two straight didn't look good at halftime, when they trailed 24-9, and vanished in the fourth quarter when Nebraska scored 17 points. The loss likely drops the Wildcats (9-1, 6-1) out of contention for the national championship.
"This was definitely a landmark day," Crouch said. "Last year's game did stick with us. It just kind of put together how it was all season."
The Huskers, who kept alive a slim shot at the national title thanks to Tennessee's loss to Arkansas, dominated the battle between two of the top four defenses in the country. Nebraska gained 253 yards by halftime on a defense that ranked No. 2 nationally at 232.3 per game. Nebraska, No. 4 nationally at 234.6 yards, limited the Wildcats to 234, 170 below their average.
ALABAMA 19, MISS ST. 7: Andrew Zow threw a 37-yard touchdown pass to Shamari Buchanan with 6 minutes 4 seconds to play to give the No. 11 Crimson Tide the win against the visiting No. 8 Bulldogs.
The victory gave the Crimson Tide (8-2, 6-1) sole possession of first place in the SEC West and ended a three-game losing streak to the Bulldogs (8-1, 5-1). It ruined Mississippi State's chances at its first undefeated season and probably will prevent the Bulldogs from a second straight trip to the SEC title game.
If Alabama beats Auburn next week, the Tide will earn a rematch with No. 4 Florida. Alabama handed the Gators their only loss of the season, 40-39 in October.
MICHIGAN 31, PENN ST. 27: Tom Brady's 11-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Knight with 1:46 left gave the No. 16 Wolverines, on the road, their third straight victory over the No. 6 Nittany Lions.
Michigan (8-2, 5-2 Big Ten) gave up a 10-point lead, then scored two touchdowns in less than two minutes to hand Penn State--a national title contender two weeks ago--its second straight loss.
"We were down to our last two possessions," Michigan Coach Lloyd Carr said. "That's what it came down to."
Brady said the Wolverines are getting used to these roller coaster rides after up-and-down victories over Notre Dame and Indiana. He said he never gave up hope, even when Michigan fell behind 27-17 with nine minutes left.
"We've done that before," Brady said. "We're just battling and battling until that clock says 0:00. It might not always be pretty. You're going to make a lot of mistakes. You just got to find a way to win."
UCLA 23, WASHINGTON 20: Chris Griffith's third field goal of the game, a 22-yarder in overtime, lifted the Bruins to an upset of the No. 23 Huskies, bouncing them out of the driver's seat in the Pac-10 race.
Washington entered the game needing wins against conference doormats UCLA and Washington State to earn its first berth in the Rose Bowl in seven years.
But the Bruins (4-6, 2-5) didn't cooperate, instead rebounding from a three-game losing streak in which they had been outscored 105-14.
AUBURN 38, GEORGIA 21: Ben Leard and Ronney Daniels put on a stunning offensive display for the Tigers, who raced to a 31-0 halftime lead and went on to shock the No. 14 Bulldogs in Athens, Ga.
Leard set a school record by passing for 416 yards and tied another mark with four touchdown passes--all in the first half. Daniels caught nine passes for 249 yards, the second most in Auburn history, and scored on two long plays.
GA. TECH 45, CLEMSON 42: Joe Hamilton threw for 322 yards, matched a school record with five touchdown passes and ran for 88 yards as the No. 13 Yellow Jackets held off a fourth-quarter charge in Atlanta.
Georgia Tech (7-2, 5-2 ACC) took over second place in the conference from Clemson (5-5, 5-3) and virtually clinched a second straight bid to the Gator Bowl New Year's Day.
Hamilton's five touchdown passes equaled the school record set in 1972 by Eddie McAshan against Rice.
FLORIDA 20, SOUTH CAROLINA 3: If Gators Coach Steve Spurrier was trying to hide his attack from Florida State next week, he did a great job.
For the second straight week, fourth-ranked Florida overcame offensive problems to struggle past a team it was expected to wallop, this time against the winless Gamecocks on the road.
"We're not as mighty as a lot of people think we are," said Spurrier, whose team clinched the SEC East. "But we keep winning somehow. If they want to think we're the mighty Gators, then let them."
TEXAS 58, TEXAS TECH 7: In Austin, Major Applewhite became the school's first 3,000-yard passer, and the No. 10 Longhorns earned a berth in the Big 12 title game.
The victory gives Texas at least a share of the Big 12 South Division title. The Longhorns (9-2, 6-1 Big 12) still could end up tied for the division title with Oklahoma but own the tiebreaker for the championship game based on a 38-28 victory over the Sooners last month.
MINNESOTA 44, INDIANA 20: Coach Glen Mason held up the game program, featuring the team's 18 seniors, and declared it a fitting cover after the group Mason inherited when he replaced coach Jim Wacker three years ago lifted the 20th-ranked Golden Gophers at home.
"You look at the picture, I think it tells it all," Mason said as he held the magazine high. "Because there's what it takes to build a team."
MARSHALL 31, WESTERN MICHIGAN 17: Chad Pennington passed for 339 yards and two touchdowns as the visiting No. 12 Thundering Herd stayed undefeated and won a third straight Mid-American Conference East title.
ILLINOIS 46, OHIO ST. 20: The Illini qualified for its first bowl in five years by topping the No. 25 Buckeyes behind Kurt Kittner's four touchdown passes in Columbus, Ohio.
MICHIGAN ST. 34, NORTHWESTERN 0: Linebacker T.J. Turner returned a fumble for a touchdown, intercepted a pass to set up another score and had a sack for the No. 17 Spartans on the road.
SOUTHERN MISS. 48, LA.-LAFAYETTE 0: Jeff Kelly threw three touchdown passes to Todd Pinkston before halftime as the No. 21 Golden Eagles won at home.
ECU 48, CINCINNATI 34: David Garrard threw three touchdown passes, and Keith Stokes returned a punt for another score for the No. 24 Pirates at home.
WYOMING 31, BYU 17: Jay Stoner passed for 297 yards and three touchdowns in an upset of the No. 15 Cougars in Laramie, Wyo.