College Football: Top 25 Roundup
The Top 25 roundup …
MADISON, Wis. ó Reeling after back-to-back losses took them out of the national championship picture a month ago, running back Montee Ball and No. 15 Wisconsin have rallied for a spot in the Big Ten title game and a shot at the Rose Bowl.
And as Ball makes a run at the NCAA’s single-season touchdown record, the Badgers just might be grooming a late-blooming Heisman Trophy contender.
Ball scored four more touchdowns and Wisconsin routed No. 20 Penn State 45-7 on Saturday. With the win, Wisconsin will play Big Ten Legends division winner Michigan State in Indianapolis next Saturday.
“We had a group of men in our room that we knew would take one day at a time to get to where we wanted to be,” Badgers coach Bret Bielema said. “They started on a process to get through the last four weeks. Bottom line: We won a trophy today to earn a way to Indianapolis and can’t wait to get there.”
Wisconsin went into the season promoting quarterback Russell Wilson for the Heisman, but recently added a push for Ball. Ball has scored 34 touchdowns this season for the Badgers (10-2, 6-2 Big Ten), the second-most in a single season in NCAA history. Barry Sanders holds the record, scoring 39 for Oklahoma State in 11 games in the 1988 season.
Can Ball break it? He finished with 156 yards on 25 carries.
The Nittany Lions (9-3, 6-2) came into the game hoping to salvage something from a season dwarfed by scandal. They took an early 7-0 lead but quickly unraveled, falling behind 28-7 by halftime.
But after taking an early lead, the Nittany Lions just gave too many chances to the Badgers’ high-octane offense led by Ball and Wilson.
Wilson has thrown a touchdown pass in 36 straight games, tying the NCAA record held by former Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell ó who is now a backup for the Green Bay Packers.
No. 7 BOISE STATE 36, WYOMING 14
BOISE, Idaho ó Kellen Moore tossed three touchdown passes, including a 46-yarder on the final play of the first half, to lead Boise State.
After getting off to a sluggish start, Moore and the Broncos (10-1, 5-1) rattled off 36 straight points to put the game away and secure a second-place finish in their first year as a member of the Mountain West Conference.
Moore was 24 of 36 for 279 yards and he threw touchdown passes of 17 and 10 yards in the second half.
No. 9 OREGON 49, OREGON STATE 21
EUGENE, Ore. ó LaMichael James ran for 142 yards before leaving with what appeared to be a left elbow injury, and Oregon clinched the Pac-12 North and a spot in the conference’s first championship game.
The Ducks (10-2, 8-1 Pac-12) will host UCLA on Friday night with a chance to win their third straight conference title and a spot in the Rose Bowl.
No. 11 MICHIGAN STATE 31, NORTHWESTERN 17
EVANSTON, Ill. ó Keshawn Martin returned a punt 57 yards for a touchdown just before halftime and Kirk Cousins threw two TD passes to B.J. Cunningham as No. 11 Michigan State warmed up for next week’s Big Ten championship game.
The Spartans had already wrapped up the Legends Division title and a berth in the league championship game next week. Now they have the best record in the division, as well, and 10 victories overall (10-2, 7-1).
No. 12 OKLAHOMA 26, IOWA STATE 6
NORMAN, Okla. ó Landry Jones threw for 256 yards, Blake Bell punched in two short touchdown runs and Oklahoma set up a Bedlam showdown for the Big 12 championship.
Trey Franks finished with 88 yards rushing on two long reverses to set up scores for the Sooners (9-2, 6-2 Big 12), and Michael Hunnicutt matched his career-high with four field goals.
Rebounding after allowing a school-record 616 yards allowed last week in a 45-38 loss at Baylor, Oklahoma held Iowa State (6-5, 3-5) to a season-low 245 yards and only let the Cyclones score after James Winchester’s snap sailed over the head of punter Tress Way in the first quarter.
No. 13 GEORGIA 31, No. 25 GEORGIA TECH 17
ATLANTA ó Aaron Murray threw four touchdown passes and Georgia extended its domination over Georgia Tech.
The Bulldogs (10-2) did not get caught looking past their state rival to next week’s return trip to Atlanta, when they will take a 10-game winning streak into the Southeastern Conference championship game against top-ranked LSU.
Murray extended his school record for touchdown passes in a season to 32, hooking up with Michael Bennett and Chris Conley in the first half, and Tavarres King and Aron White in the third quarter as Georgia cruised to its 10th win over the Yellow Jackets in 11 years.
Georgia Tech (8-4) rushed for 243 yards, but just 79 after halftime. Tevin Washington threw a pair of interceptions.
N0. 21 BAYLOR 66, TEXAS TECH 42
ARLINGTON, Texas ó Nick Florence threw two long touchdown passes after Robert Griffin was knocked out of the game and No. 21 Baylor extended its winning streak to four games with a 66-42 victory over Texas Tech on Saturday night.
The Bears (8-3, 5-3 Big 12) went on to a record victory without Griffin, whose Heisman Trophy chances were dealt a blow.
Baylor set school mark for most points in a conference game, and was already ahead to stay when Griffin scored on a 3-yard keeper just before halftime. That score came after he was on the sideline for one play after taking an elbow to the helmet while sliding at the end of a run.
Terrance Ganaway rushed 42 times for 246 yards and two touchdowns, giving him a school-record 14.
Texas Tech (5-7, 2-7) finished with its first losing record since 1992.