Larry Johnson needed just one half to cap his incredible season.
Johnson ran for 279 yards and four touchdowns -- all in the first half -- and became the first Penn State running back to top 2,000 yards rushing as the 15th-ranked Nittany Lions routed Michigan State, 61-7, yesterday in State College, Pa.
The senior finished the game with 2,015 yards for the season, making him just the ninth player in NCAA Division I-A history to run for 2,000 yards. His season average of 8.02 yards per carry broke the NCAA record of 7.8 set by Nebraska's Mike Rozier in 1983.
"I had a great season and a great run. This is the ultimate way to cap off this season," Johnson said. "I didn't think I could be a 1,000-yard back. This was a long season, and I got frustrated at times, but I really kept pushing and kept through all the hard times, and I had success with it."
It was the most points given up by a Michigan State team since a 63-0 loss to Michigan in 1922.
The Nittany Lions now must wait to hear who they will play in their first bowl game since 1999. Ohio State's victory over Michigan virtually guaranteed Penn State a spot in the Capital One Bowl in Orlando.
For Michigan State, the loss ended a season plagued by problems both on and off the field. The Spartans were ranked as high as No. 15, but collapsed midseason. Quarterback Jeff Smoker entered a substance-abuse program, and coach Bobby Williams was fired three weeks ago.
Johnson didn't take long to get started. On Penn State's second possession, he went up the middle, then broke left for 20 yards to the Spartans 11-yard line. He took the next handoff up the middle and was stood up by safety Jason Harmon at the 4, but muscled Harmon into the end zone for a 7-0 lead with 10 minutes 19 seconds left in the first quarter.
* NOTRE DAME 42, RUTGERS 0: Carlyle Holiday tied a school record with four touchdown passes, and Shane Walton returned an interception 45 yards for a score as the eighth-ranked Fighting Irish rolled at home.
The victory gave Notre Dame its first 10-win season since going 11-1 in 1993. It also gave Tyrone Willingham the most wins by a first-year Irish coach, passing the marks of 9-1 posted by Ara Parseghian in 1964 and Terry Brennan in 1954.
A win at No. 7 USC on Saturday all but ensures the Irish a spot in a BCS game, most likely the Orange or Sugar Bowl. BCS selections will not be official until the final standings are released on Dec. 8.
* USC 52, UCLA 21: Carson Palmer threw for 254 yards and four touchdowns, and the No. 7 Trojans scored in the game's first 16 seconds and on their first three possessions in a rout of the 25th-ranked Bruins in Pasadena, Calif.
The 52 points were the most scored by either team in the series since USC defeated UCLA 52-0 in 1930 -- the second meeting between the teams. The year before that, the Trojans beat the Bruins 76-0.
The win was the sixth straight for the Trojans and their fourth in a row over the Bruins after UCLA had won a record eight straight in the rivalry.
* OKLAHOMA 60, TEXAS TECH 15: Quentin Griffin ran for 207 yards and three touchdowns and the host Sooners' defense held Kliff Kingsbury to his lowest passing total of the year as fourth-ranked Oklahoma beat the No. 24 Red Raiders.
The victory gave Oklahoma the Big 12 South Division title. The Sooners finish the regular season next week against Oklahoma State, then play No. 16 Colorado for the conference championship on Dec. 7.
Oklahoma's defense forced two safeties and sacked Kingsbury six times, intercepted him twice and held him to 187 yards passing -- 67 coming on a fourth-quarter touchdown pass.
* AUBURN 17, ALABAMA 7: Freshman Tre Smith ran for 126 yards and Jason Campbell threw a pair of touchdown passes to Robert Johnson as the visiting Tigers upset the ninth-ranked Crimson Tide to win the Iron Bowl.
The Tigers, 101/2-point underdogs, led 17-0 at halftime and shut down the Southeastern Conference's top offense.
The Crimson Tide had won five straight games but couldn't score on three fourth-quarter trips across midfield.
* LSU 14, MISSISSIPPI 13: Marcus Randall came off the bench and threw two touchdown passes as the No. 21 Tigers rallied to beat the Rebels at home.
LSU (8-3, 5-2 SEC) needed the victory to stay on top of the Western Division race. Mississippi (5-6, 2-5) lost its fifth straight this season, but the Rebels had won four of the last five games, including the last three in Baton Rouge.
* KANSAS STATE 38, MISSOURI 0: Darren Sproles ran for 116 yards and a 12-yard touchdown for the 10th-ranked Wildcats.
Missouri quarterback Brad Smith, a redshirt freshman, became the second player in NCAA history to pass for 2,000 yards and rush for 1,000 in a season.
* COLORADO STATE 22, NEW MEXICO 14: The 20th-ranked Rams converted two turnovers into touchdowns, including Rhett Nelson's 54-yard fumble return, and clinched the Mountain West title in Fort Collins, Colo.
* EAST CAROLINA 31, TCU 28: Travis Heath returned a fumble 81 yards for a touchdown as the host Pirates rallied from an 11-point deficit to upset the 22nd-ranked Horned Frogs.
* BOISE STATE 44, NEVADA 7: In Reno, Nev., Brock Forsey ran for 187 yards and four touchdowns as the 23rd-ranked Broncos won their 10th straight game and the Western Athletic Conference title.