The winners of this week’s games were pretty much as expected. The margin of victory, however, was sometimes surprising. We had bigger victories and slimmer margins but only one real upset: Oklahoma State beating #20 Oklahoma. The rankings listed are those of the Selection Committee.
The PAC-12 Championship goes to the #2 Oregon Ducks (12-1) who defeated the #7 Arizona Wildcats (10-3) 51-13 on Friday night. Marcus Mariota probably wrapped up the Heisman in this game as well. Mariota threw for 303 yards and two TDs and ran for three more TDs. The Ducks lead 30-0 before the Wildcats got on the board in the third quarter. There was a bit of revenge in this game. The Ducks’ only loss this year was a 42-16 beat down by Arizona in Tucson.
The Mid-American Conference Championship belongs to the Northern Illinois Huskies (11-2) who drubbed the Bowling Green Falcons (7-6) 51-17. It was close in the first half with the Huskies up just 2010, but they exploded for 21 points in the third quarter for a 37-10 lead. Cameron Stingily helped salt the game away with 116 yards rushing and two second half TDs. Northern Illinois amassed 334 yards on the ground and 552 yards total offense while running 100 plays from scrimmage.
The Conference USA Championship game saw Marshall Thundering Herd (12-1) eke out a victory over the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (8-5) 26-23. The Herd trailed the entire game until Rakeem Cato (25 of 46 for 308 yards and two TD) hit Deon-Tay McManus on for a 5-yard TD with 1:50 remaining in the game. Kenneth Dixon ran for 156 yards and three TDs for the Bulldogs who had just 72 yards passing.
The SEC Championship game had the #1 Alabama Crimson Tide (12-1) rolling over the #16 Missouri Tigers (10-3) 42-13. T.J. Yeldon (14 carries for 47 yards) ran for two TDs, Derrick Henry (20 carries for 141 yards) ran for two TDs and Blake Sims (23 of 27 for 262 yards) threw for two TDs. Now if they only had a field goal kicker…. Do they need a field goal kicker?
The ACC Championship belongs to the #4 Florida State Seminoles (13-0) who held off the #11 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (10-3) 37-35. Jameis Winston threw for 309 yards and three TDs and Davin Cook rushed for 177 yards and a TD for the Seminoles. Synjyn Days rushed for three TDs for the Bulldogs.
The Mountain West Championship game saw Fresno State Bulldogs (6-7) beaten by the #22 Boise State Broncos (11-2) 28-14. Grant Hendrick ran for two TDs and Tanner Vallejo returned an interception 63 yards for a score for the Broncos who took a 28-0 lead in the third quarter.
The Big Ten Championship belongs to the #5 Ohio State Buckeyes (12-1) after they routed the #13 Wisconsin Badgers (10-3). 59-0? Are you kidding me? With their
second freshman redshirt sophmore quarterback of the season making his
first start? Amazing! Cardale Jones, who was #3 behind Braxton Miller
and J.T. Barrett, on the depth chart back in August, threw for 257 yards and
three TDs. Ezekiel Elliot carried the ball 20 times for 220 yards and two TDs
and Curtis Samuel rushed for two TDs. Joey Bosa returned a fumble 4 yards for a
And the Big 12 (which has no championship game) has three games scheduled.
The Iowa State Cyclones (2-10) were routed by the #3 TCU Horned Frogs (11-1) 55-3. Trevone Boykin threw for 460 yards and four touchdowns but it was a 55-yard TD reception from David Porter that opened the scoring. Derrick Kindred returned an interception 44 yards for a score.
The #6 Baylor Bears (11-1) beat the #9 Kansas State Wildcats (9-3) 38-27. Bryce Petty completed 34 passes out of 40 attempts for 412 yards and one TD. He also ran for a score. Jake Waters went 22 of 27 for 300 yards and two TDs for KState.
The #20 Oklahoma Sooners (8-4) fell to in-state rival Oklahoma State (6-6) in OT, 38-35. For Oklahoma, Samaje Perine rushed for 151 yards and two TDs before an ankle injury saw him sidelined in the third quarter and Aaron Ripkowski scored two TDs on 1-yard runs and another on a 2-yard pass from Cody Thomas. The Sooners led most of the game but the Cowboys mounted a comeback in the fourth quarter that was capped by a 92-yard punt return by Tyreek Hill that tied the game at 35 with 45 seconds remaining. Oklahoma missed a 44-yard field goal attempt in the first possession in OT. Ben Grogan connected on his 21-yard field goal to win the game for the Cowboys.
In games featuring non-ranked teams, SMU (1-11) avoided a winless season with a 27-20 victory over the Connecticut Huskies (2-10). The Mustangs were penalized—twice—as the lined up in the victory formation to run out the final seconds. SMU fell behind 20-6 at the break, but held UConn to just 98 yards offense and no points in the second half. Quarterback Matt Davis ran for 191 yards and a TD and threw for 145 yards. Prescott Line rushed for 90 yards and two TDs. Congratulations to the Mustangs.