Florida rolls to 37-26 victory

BRENT KALLESTAD Associated Press Published:

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Florida coach Will Muschamp doesn't have any doubt where his team's next stop should be: Miami for the BCS championship game on Jan. 7.

And the sixth-ranked Gators made a strong case for consideration Saturday by crushing archrival Florida State.

Mike Gillislee ran for two touchdowns and Florida scored 24 straight points in a span of less than nine minutes in the fourth quarter to keep its national title hopes alive with a convincing win over the 10th-ranked Seminoles.

"We have a really tough football team," Muschamp said he left the field for Florida's locker room. "We should be playing for the national championship."

Florida (11-1, 7-1 Southeastern Conference) came into the game fourth in the BCS standings, and could find itself in position to earn a spot in the national championship game if No. 1 Notre Dame loses to Southern California. The Gators lone loss was in late October to third-ranked Georgia, and it will keep them out of the SEC title game.

"Hopefully we can sneak in," said Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel, who completed 15 of 23 passes for 147 yards and a touchdown. "We're a resilient team."

He's not likely to get any argument from Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher, who hoped a victory over the Gators would not only persuade pollsters that the Seminoles belonged among the elite, but win some positive attention for the Atlantic Coast Conference.

"They controlled the line of scrimmage up front," Fisher said. "They have a very good team. They did a great job."

The game matching two of the nation's best defenses went back and forth with the Seminoles scoring 20 unanswered points to take a 20-13 lead late in the third quarter. They wouldn't score again until the final play of the game and victory out of reach.

"Our guys understand that it's about all 60 minutes," Muschamp said. "We just really needed to be patient and wear them down."

Did they ever.

Florida regained the lead for keeps at 23-20 on Gillislee's 37-yard run with 11:01 left in the final period on the first play after Florida State's EJ Manuel fumbled, his fourth turnover of the game. Gillislee finished with 140 yards rushing, surpassing the 1,000-yard mark for the season early in the game.

Florida State (10-2, 7-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) was hurt by five turnovers in the game. The Seminoles will play Georgia Tech next week in the ACC title game.

Top 25

No. 2 Alabama 49, Auburn 0

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- No. 2 Alabama really owns the state now.

AJ McCarron passed for four touchdowns and Eddie Lacy rushed for 131 yards and two scores to lead the Crimson Tide to a beatdown of rival Auburn in the most lopsided Iron Bowl in 64 years.

The Crimson Tide (10-1, 7-1 Southeastern Conference) clinched the Western Division title outright and a spot in the conference title game against No. 3 Georgia with the winner likely getting a national championship shot.

No. 3 Georgia 42, Georgia Tech 10

ATHENS, Ga. -- Aaron Murray threw two touchdown passes, Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall each ran for a pair of TDs, and No. 3 Georgia stayed right in the thick of the national championship race with a 42-10 rout of Georgia Tech.

The Bulldogs (11-1) extended the domination of the Yellow Jackets, beating their state rival for the 11th time in 12 meetings. This one was a laugher from the start as the home team scored just over a minute into the game, built a 28-3 halftime lead and was up 42-3 before Georgia Tech (6-6) scored its lone TD.

No. 5 Oregon 48, No. 16 Oregon St. 24

CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Kenjon Barner ran for 198 yards and two touchdowns despite leaving the game for a time with an injury and No. 5 Oregon defeated No. 16 Oregon State in the Civil War, keeping alive the Ducks' hopes for a spot in the Pac-12 title game and even an outside chance at the national championship.

De'Anthony Thomas, who helped picked up the slack while Barner was on the sidelines, ran for 122 yards and three scores for the Ducks (11-1, 8-1).

No. 9 Texas A&M 59, Missouri 29

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Johnny Manziel threw for 372 yards and three touchdowns and ran for two more scores as No. 9 Texas A&M beat Missouri.

The Aggies (10-2, 6-2 SEC) scored touchdowns on their first six drives to build a 42-7 halftime lead and coast to their first 10-win season since 1998.

No. 11 Stanford 35, No. 15 UCLA 17

PASADENA, Calif. -- Stepfan Taylor rushed for 142 yards and two touchdowns, Kevin Hogan passed for 160 yards and another score, and No. 11 Stanford beat No. 15 UCLA to win the Pacific-12 Conference North title and a rematch with the Bruins in the conference championship game.

No. 13 S. Carolina 27, No. 12 Clemson 17

CLEMSON, S.C. -- Backup quarterback Dylan Thompson threw for three touchdowns and No. 13 South Carolina won its fourth straight over 12th-ranked Clemson as Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier became the school's victories leader.

No. 14 Okla. 51, No. 22 Okla. St. 48, OT

NORMAN, Okla. -- Landry Jones threw for 500 yards and three touchdowns, and Brennan Clay scored on an 18-yard run in overtime to lift No. 14 Oklahoma to a win against No. 22 Oklahoma State in the Bedlam rivalry.

The Sooners (9-2, 7-1 Big 12) never led during regulation, overcoming double-digit deficits in both halves. Backup quarterback Blake Bell tied it with 4 seconds left on a 4-yard keeper on fourth-and-1.

Joseph Randle ran for 113 yards and matched his career-high with four touchdowns for Oklahoma State (7-4, 5-3), which settled for Quinn Sharp's 26-yard field goal in overtime.

UConn 23, No. 19 Louisville 20, 3OT

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Chad Christen's 30-yard field goal in the third overtime gave Connecticut an upset of No. 19 Louisville.

Blidi Wreh-Wilson set up the Huskies' winning score by intercepting Teddy Bridgewater's pass intended for DeVante Parker in the end zone. The Huskies ran three plays for 12 yards before Christen's second OT kick gave Connecticut (5-6, 2-4 Big East Conference) its second straight win.

Louisville (9-2, 4-2) dropped its second straight but still has a chance for a BCS bowl bid by beating first-place Rutgers (9-2, 5-1) on Thursday.

Pittsburgh 27, No. 21 Rutgers 6

PITTSBURGH -- Tino Sunseri passed for 227 yards and two touchdowns in his final home game as Pittsburgh overwhelmed No. 21 Rutgers.

Ray Graham ran for 113 yards and a score for the Panthers (5-6, 2-4 Big East), who kept their hopes for bowl eligibility alive while drumming the Scarlet Knights.

Rutgers (9-2, 5-1) will still play No. 19 Louisville on Thursday with a Bowl Championship Series berth on the line, though the Scarlet Knights head home with little momentum after the Panthers dominated in their last game Heinz Field as a member of the Big East, racing to a 21-0 halftime lead and coasting.

Mississippi 41, No. 25 Miss. St. 24

OXFORD, Miss. -- Bo Wallace threw for 294 yards and five touchdowns, Donte Moncrief caught three TD passes and Mississippi pulled away in the second half to beat No. 25 Mississippi State 41-24 on Saturday night.

Ole Miss (6-6, 3-5 Southeastern Conference) won the Egg Bowl for the first time since 2008, breaking Mississippi State's three-game winning streak in the series. The Rebels also earned bowl eligibility for the first time since 2009.

No. 25 Utah St. 45, Idaho 9

LOGAN, Utah -- Chuckie Keeton passed for two touchdowns, Kerwynn Williams rushed for 110 yards and senior Will Davis returned an interception 59 yards for a touchdown as No. 25 Utah State beat Idaho to secure its first outright conference title in 76 years.

The Western Athletic Conference champion Aggies (10-2, 6-0) also earned their first 10-win season.

Lou Groza Award finalist Trey Farquhar kicked field goals of 38, 46 yards and 52 yards -- his 11th career field goal of 50 yards or more for Idaho (1-11, 1-5).

Big Ten

Purdue 56, Indiana 35

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Akeem Shavers broke open a close game with three scores during a 41/2-minute span in the fourth quarter, giving Purdue a victory over archrival Indiana.

Robert Marve threw for a career-high 348 yards and four touchdowns in his final home game -- a win that made the Boilermakers (6-6, 3-5 Big Ten) bowl eligible for the second straight year, the first time that has happened since 2006-07. By retaining the Old Oaken Bucket, coach Danny Hope also can make a stronger case to keep his job.

Northwestern 50, Illinois 14

EVANSTON, Ill. -- Venric Mark rushed for 127 yards and a touchdown as Northwestern improved its chances for a berth in a New Year's Day bowl game, beating Illinois.

Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter threw for a career-high three touchdowns and the Wildcats (9-3, 5-3 Big Ten) reached nine victories for the first time since 2008.

Penalties and turnovers hurt Illinois (2-10, 0-8), which has lost nine straight and 14 in a row in Big Ten play. The Illini committed four turnovers -- including three interceptions -- and eight penalties in their season finale.

Penn St. 24, Wisconsin 21, OT

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Sam Ficken hit a 37-yard field goal in overtime, and Wisconsin's Kyle French attempt from 45 yards went wide left to seal Penn State's win in an emotional season finale in Happy Valley.

The Nittany Lions (8-4, 6-2 Big Ten) could have ended it for good a play earlier, but linebacker Glenn Carson dropped a potential interception.

Quarterback Curt Phillips found Jeff Duckworth for a 4-yard touchdown pass with 18 seconds left for Wisconsin (7-5, 4-4) to make it 21-all and send the game into overtime.

Michigan St. 26, Minnesota 10

MINNEAPOLIS -- Le'Veon Bell rumbled for a career-high 266 yards and a fourth-quarter touchdown to put the game away, leading Michigan State to a victory over Minnesota to secure a spot in a bowl game.

Bell carried 35 times on a cold afternoon and Dan Conroy made four of his five field-goal attempts, three of them from 43 yards or longer, to help the Spartans (6-6, 3-5 Big Ten) wear down the Gophers (6-6, 2-6).

Friday's Games

Big Ten

No. 17 Nebraska 13, Iowa 7

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Rex Burkhead scored the go-ahead touchdown in his return from a knee injury and No. 17 Nebraska beat Iowa on Friday to secure a spot in the Big Ten title game.

The Huskers (10-2, 7-1 Big Ten) will face off against Wisconsin next Saturday in Indianapolis. It'll be a rematch of Nebraska's thrilling 30-27 home win over the Badgers in late September.

Burkhead, making his first appearance since spraining the MCL in his left knee on Oct. 20 against Northwestern, broke through with a 3-yard TD run to make it 13-7 late in the third quarter.

Alonzo Whaley's interception with 2:11 left sealed the victory for Nebraska.

The Huskers defense held the Hawkeyes (4-8, 2-6) scoreless in the final three quarters in windy conditions.

MAC

No. 23 Kent St. 28, Ohio 6

KENT -- C.J. Malauulu returned an interception 33 yards for a touchdown -- 12 seconds after another Kent State TD -- and the No. 23 Golden Flashes completed a perfect season in the Mid-American Conference with their 10th straight win, 28-6 over Ohio on Friday.

The regular-season finale was a tuneup for Kent State (11-1, 8-0 MAC), which will meet No. 24 Northern Illinois in next week's MAC championship. The win allowed the Golden Flashes to continue the best season in the program's 90-year history. They are ranked for the first time since 1972, the last time they appeared in a bowl game.

The Bobcats (8-4, 4-4) lost four of its last five after cracking the Top 25.

No. 24 N. Illinois 49, E. Michigan 7

YPSILANTI, Mich. -- Akeem Daniels scored a career-best four touchdowns and No. 24 Northern Illinois ended its regular season with its 11th straight victory, against Eastern Michigan on a cold and snowy Friday.

Daniels finished with a career-best 112 yards on 12 carries as the Huskies (11-1, 8-0) ended a perfect run through the Mid-American Conference and set the stage for next week's title game against No. 23 Kent State. Northern Illinois scored six straight touchdowns after Eagles (2-10, 1-7) tied the game late in the first quarter.

Ball St. 31, Miami (OH) 24

OXFORD -- Jahwan Edwards rushed for three touchdowns as Ball State defeated Miami (Ohio) in their regular-season finale.

The Cardinals (9-3, 6-2 Mid-American Conference) won their sixth straight, their most since winning 12 straight in 2008.

The RedHawks (4-8, 3-5) narrowed the gap in the final quarter on Zac Dysert's 10-yard scoring pass to Jamire Westbrook and a Kaleb Patterson field goal.

Bowling Green 21, Buffalo 7

COLUMBUS -- Matt Schilz threw for one touchdown and ran for another as Bowling Green defeated Buffalo in the Mid-American Conference teams' regular-season finale.

John Pettigrew carried 29 times for 93 yards for the Falcons (8-4, 6-2), including a 1-yard run in the second quarter for the game's first touchdown.

The Bulls (4-8, 3-5) got on the scoreboard with 9:59 remaining after Colby Way's 22-yard interception return set them up at the Bowling Green 19. Two plays later, Alex Dennison ran it in from the 4.

C. Michigan 42, UMass 21

FOXBORO, Mass. -- Zurlon Tipton etched his name into the Central Michigan record books as the Chippewas routed Massachusetts in each team's Mid-American Conference finale.

The win earned the Chippewas (6-6, 4-4) bowl eligibility for the first time since 2009-10. Rob Blanchflower had 10 catches for 100 yards and a touchdown for UMass (1-11, 1-7).

Want to leave your comments?

Sign in or Register to comment.