Ken Darby ran for a career-high 200 yards to lead Alabama to a 30-14 win over Mississippi State last night, spoiling Bulldogs Coach Sylvester Croom's return to Tuscaloosa, Ala.
The Crimson Tide (6-3, 3-3 Southeastern Conference) became bowl eligible for the first time in three years, avoiding an embarrassing upset led by the man who nearly became the coach in Tuscaloosa.
Croom's Bulldogs (3-6, 2-4), 17-point underdogs, were still flirting with a third straight win midway through the fourth quarter. Instead, they wound up losing their 13th straight SEC West game and 14th division game in a row on the road, unable to overcome mistakes or the nation's top defense.
* NORTHWESTERN 14, PENN STATE 7: Noah Herron rushed for 175 yards, setting up one touchdown and scoring another, to lead Northwestern to its first road win of the season.
After a scoreless third quarter, Herron carried on the first two plays of the fourth, punching it in from the 1-yard line to give the Wildcats (5-4, 4-2 Big Ten) a 14-7 lead. This was the first time Northwestern won at Penn State (2-7, 0-6) in five games.
* AIR FORCE 31, ARMY 22: In West Point, N.Y., quarterback Adam Fitch ran for 115 yards and scored a touchdown to lead the Falcons.
Darnell Stephens added two touchdowns for Air Force (4-5, 2-3 Mountain West Conference), which amassed 345 yards rushing and snapped a two-game losing streak. Fitch finished 7-of-8 passing for 84 yards.
Carlton Jones ran for 213 yards and two touchdowns to lead Army (2-6, 2-4 Conference USA).
* SYRACUSE 38, PITTSBURGH 31: Damien Rhodes scored on a two-yard run in the second overtime, then the Orange's defense stopped Pittsburgh on fourth and one to secure the home victory.
The game was big for both teams. Pitt (5-3, 3-2 Big East) was looking to stay in the hunt for the Big East title and a BCS bowl berth. Instead, Syracuse (5-4, 3-1) moved into second place behind No. 15 West Virginia (8-1, 4-0) and kept alive its hopes of making a bowl game for the first time in three years.
* GEORGIA TECH 24, NORTH CAROLINA STATE 14: Reggie Ball made up for a poor performance by throwing a one-yard touchdown pass to Levon Thomas midway through the fourth quarter for the visiting Yellow Jackets.
Third-string tailback Rashaun Grant ran for 122 yards, and Georgia Tech (5-3, 4-3 ACC) held the Wolfpack (4-5, 3-4) to 131 yards over the final three quarters.
* OHIO STATE 32, MICHIGAN STATE 19: Ted Ginn Jr. had three touchdowns -- on a run, catch and punt return -- and the visiting Buckeyes rallied by scoring the last 15 points.
A.J. Hawk's diving interception at midfield with 45 seconds remaining sealed the outcome for the Buckeyes (6-3, 3-3 Big Ten) and made them bowl eligible. The Spartans fell to 4-5, 3-3.
* FLORIDA 34, VANDERBILT 17: In Nashville, Chris Leak ran for a touchdown and threw for two more as the Gators ended a two-game losing streak.
Florida (5-4, 3-4 SEC) gave Coach Ron Zook his first victory since being fired on Oct. 25. Vanderbilt dropped to 2-7, 1-5.
* IOWA STATE 35, NEBRASKA 27: In Ames, Iowa, Bret Meyer threw for a career-best 345 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Cyclones.
If Iowa State (5-4, 3-3 Big 12) wins its final two games, at Kansas State and home against Missouri, it will be the conference's North champions and play in the Big 12 championship game for the first time.
The Cornhuskers fell to 5-4, 3-3.
* KANSAS STATE 35, MISSOURI 24: Backup quarterback Allen Webb threw two touchdown passes and Darren Sproles ran for two scores, helping the Wildcats rally from a 21-point deficit in Columbia, Mo.
Kansas State (4-5, 2-4 Big 12) scored 21 points in the fourth quarter against the Big 12's best defense to win its 12th straight against the Tigers (4-5, 2-4).
* SOUTH CAROLINA 35, ARKANSAS 32: Syvelle Newton threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Troy Williamson with 1:09 left to make the host Gamecocks bowl eligible for the first time since 2001.
South Carolina (6-3, 4-3 SEC) blew an 11-point lead in the second half and trailed 32-28 with 3:24 to go. Arkansas fell to 3-5, 1-4.
* COLORADO 30, KANSAS 21: In Lawrence, Kan., Stephone Robinson scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 48-yard punt return and Lawrence Vickers added a late score for the Buffaloes.
Colorado (5-4, 2-4 Big 12) trailed 14-0 before it ran its second play. But the Jayhawks (3-6, 1-5) couldn't hold the lead after they were forced into playing their third-team quarterback when backup Jason Swanson was injured in the first quarter.
* ILLINOIS 26, INDIANA 22: Kelvin Hayden's interception set up Jon Beutjer's short touchdown pass with 30 seconds remaining, and the host Illini rallied from a 19-point deficit.
Illinois (3-7, 1-6) snapped a seven-game slide and won a conference game for the first time since the end of the 2002 season. Indiana (3-6, 1-5) lost its 12th straight Big Ten road game.
* TEXAS TECH 42, BAYLOR 17: Sonny Cumbie threw for 397 yards and five touchdowns, leading the Red Raiders at home.
Cumbie, who led the nation in passing entering the game, was 37 of 48 with an interception. He threw two touchdown passes in the third quarter as Tech (6-3, 4-2) broke open a close game. Baylor (3-6, 1-5), has lost 35 straight Big 12 road games.
* WASHINGTON STATE 31, UCLA 29: Jerome Harrison carried a school-record 42 times for 247 yards and three touchdowns, and the underdog Cougars barely held on in Los Angeles.
The Bruins failed on a two-point conversion try with 42 seconds remaining.
Washington State (4-5, 2-4 Pacific-10) rolled up 506 yards to snap a four-game losing streak. UCLA (5-4, 3-3) lost to WSU for the fourth consecutive time.
* IVY LEAGUE: Brian Edwards returned a punt 81 yards for a score to lift host Harvard (8-0, 5-0) to a 38-0 victory over Columbia (1-7, 1-4). . . . Nick Hartigan scored two touchdowns to lead Brown (5-3, 3-2) to a 24-17 win over visiting Yale (4-4, 2-3). . . . In Ithaca, N.Y., Ryan Kuhn threw for 135 yards and a touchdown as Cornell (3-5, 3-2) won, 14-7, over Dartmouth (0-8, 0-5). . . . Freshman Derek Zoch kicked a 27-yard field goal with 2:54 to play as Penn (7-1, 5-0) defeated host Princeton (4-4, 2-3), 16-15, for its 20th straight conference win.