Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith celebrates his 68 yard touchdown pass to Anthony Gonzalez during the first quarter at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, Saturday, Nov. 20, 2004.
AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast
COLUMBUS, Ohio Troy Smith barely got on the field for Ohio State earlier this season. After the Buckeyes' biggest game of the year, he had trouble getting off of it.
With former high school teammates Smith and Ted Ginn Jr. leading the way, the Buckeyes pushed their troubles into the background for at least a day with a stunning 37-21 upset of No. 7 Michigan on Saturday.
''I'm pretty much at a loss for words,'' said Smith, the quarterback who didn't play in three of the first five Ohio State games after being beaten out for the starting job in preseason. ''It's unbelievable. Coming off the field, I nearly got my neck broken by fans.''
Smith was swarmed by thousands of fans who flooded onto the field, dancing and singing and hugging some apparently a little too tightly.
He ran for 145 yards and Ginn set school and Big Ten records with his fourth punt return touchdown. The two left after the game to catch Glenville High School's playoff game. Both starred for the Tarblooders before choosing Ohio State.
The loss kept the Wolverines (9-2, 7-1) from clinching an outright Big Ten title and may have cost them a return visit to the Rose Bowl, pending the outcome of Wisconsin's game at Iowa later Saturday. The Wolverines had won their last 13 conference games. They needed Iowa to beat the Badgers to earn a second straight Rose Bowl berth.
''When you win the championship, you don't have to apologize,'' Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said. ''You don't have to hang your head. Are we disappointed? You're damned right we are.''
Ohio State's fourth season under coach Jim Tressel has been a tough one. The Buckeyes started the Big Ten season with three straight losses and plummeted out of the rankings. Just when things started looking better on the field, problems arose off.
Two weeks ago former Ohio State star Maurice Clarett accused Tressel, his staff and Buckeyes boosters of giving him and other players improper benefits. An NCAA investigation is about to begin.
But it's never a bad day in Columbus when Ohio State beats Michigan.
''This was important because it's Ohio State-Michigan,'' said Tressel, now 3-1 against the Buckeyes' archrivals. ''(Former Ohio State) Coach Earle Bruce always says that if the Ohio State coach wins against Michigan he can walk down the main streets of Columbus. If he loses, he'd better walk the back alleys. It's that important.''
Smith had never run for more than 62 yards nor passed for more 192 since relieving the injured Justin Zwick in midseason. On a day where little went wrong for Ohio State (7-4, 4-4), he carried 18 times and came up just one yard short of tying a school record for yards rushing by a quarterback. He also completed 13 of 23 passes for 241 yards and two touchdowns without an interception or a sack.
''He killed us throwing the ball and especially running the ball,'' Michigan defensive back Marlin Jackson said.
Ginn, the freshman wide-out with the sprinter's gait, gathered a punt at his own 18 midway through the third quarter with the Buckeyes up 20-14. He broke a tackle and went into overdrive for an 82-yard touchdown. His fourth return for a score this year matched the NCAA mark.
''I saw the guy, so I had to make something happen real quick,'' Ginn said. ''Once you see a touchdown, there's no need to make a move. You just use your speed.''
Smith said of Ginn, ''He's been like the sparkplug in our car. He got us going.''
After the Wolverines scored on two impressive second-quarter drives, Ohio State's defense dominated for most of the rest of the day. Chad Henne was intercepted twice, once at the 1 by Ashton Youboty with the Wolverines still in the game.
Michigan, averaging 165 yards rushing a game, was limited to 71. Henne's first-year running mate in the backfield, Big Ten rushing leader Mike Hart, finished with just 61 yards on 18 carries.
Henne completed 27 of 54 passes for 328 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions. Braylon Edwards had 11 catches for 172 yards.
Ohio State led 20-14 at the half and could easily have led by more. They got nothing out of a first down at the 2 and had to settle for the first of Mike Nugent's three field goals after a first down at the 1 on their next possession.
The Buckeyes struck first on the game's fifth play from scrimmage, Smith heaving a long pass that Anthony Gonzalez caught before streaking to the end zone past a fallen Ernest Shazor for 68 yards.
Michigan came right back with Henne connecting with Jason Avant on a 4-yard scoring pass. Hart's 1-yard plunge made it 14-7.
Ohio State then regained the momentum by scoring 13 straight points in the second quarter, with Smith burrowing in on a 2-yard keeper for a touchdown to get the lead for good.
No. 2 Auburn 21, Alabama 13
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. Jason Campbell passed for 224 yards and Ronnie Brown and Carnell Williams ran for second-half touchdowns for the Tigers.
Now the question is whether an impressive final 30 minutes will be enough to cancel out a 6-0 halftime deficit and lackluster start when this game is figured into the Bowl Championship Series standings?
The Tigers (11-0, 8-0 Southeastern Conference) are third in the BCS behind second-place Oklahoma which beat Baylor 35-0 and Southern California.
Even the nation's top scoring defense ran into a little trouble late. Alabama (6-5, 3-5) drove 84 yards on 11 plays in the final minutes, scoring on Spencer Pennington's 18-yard pass to D.J. Hall with 1:26 left.
No. 2 Oklahoma 35, Baylor 0
WACO, Texas Adrian Peterson ran for 240 yards, including three second-half touchdowns, and Oklahoma got the lopsided win it needed for the BCS standings.
After a slow start, the Sooners (11-0, 8-0 Big 12) scored on four straight possessions. Jason White threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Travis Wilson just before halftime to make it 14-0, and Peterson had short TD runs on the first three drives of the second half.
Peterson, who had 32 carries, tied the NCAA record for most 100-yard games by a freshman with his 10th. It came a week after he was held to 58 yards by Nebraska to snap his freshman record of nine straight 100-yard games.
Even after last week's 30-3 win over Nebraska, Oklahoma was caught by Auburn in the latest AP poll. The Sooners remained second behind top-rated Southern California in the BCS standings, but their margin over Auburn was cut in half.
No. 5 Utah 52, BYU 21
SALT LAKE CITY Utah beat rival Brigham Young to complete its first unbeaten season since 1930 and put the Utes one step closer to the first appearance in the Bowl Championship Series for a team from a mid-major conference.
Receiver Steve Savoy ran for two touchdowns and caught a pass for another score to lead the fifth-ranked Utes (11-0, 7-0 Mountain West) and help offset the worst game of the season for Alex Smith. Utah's Heisman hopeful quarterback threw two interceptions doubling his season total.
But Smith had enough help around him to get Utah past the rival Cougars (5-6, 4-3) for the third straight year.
No. 4 California 41, Stanford 6
BERKELEY, Calif. J.J. Arrington ran for 169 yards to set California's season rushing record and the Golden Bears recorded their biggest victory in the Big Game since 1930.
Freshman Marshawn Lynch added 122 yards on just nine carries, including a spectacular 55-yard touchdown run. Lynch also threw a TD pass as the Bears racked up 474 total yards in coach Jeff Tedford's third straight victory over Stanford in the 107th edition of the rivalry.
Aaron Rodgers passed for 120 yards and a score for the Bears (9-1, 6-1 Pac-10), who kept their Bowl Championship Series hopes thriving with their sixth straight victory.
T.C. Ostrander passed for 148 yards for the Cardinal (4-7, 2-6), who finished their third straight losing season under coach Buddy Teevens with just 180 yards of total offense.
No. 8 Louisville 65, Houston 27
HOUSTON Stefan LeFors threw for 317 yards and three touchdowns, and Eric Shelton rushed for three more scores.
The Cardinals (8-1, 6-0 Conference USA) scored the final 30 points of the game in a little more than 10 minutes to turn a close game into a rout. Perhaps trying to impress poll voters and improve its Bowl Championship Series standings grade, Louisville added a final touchdown on Deriontae Taylor's 6-yard run with 1:47 left.
Ranked 10th in this week's BCS standings, Louisville has only a slim chance of getting an invite to one of the four big-money bowls. But as long as the Cardinals keep winning, they can keep dreaming. They have Cincinnati and Tulane remaining on their schedule.
Florida 20, No. 10 Florida State 13
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. Chris Leak threw a touchdown, Ciatrick Fason ran for a score and Florida upset No. 10 Florida State for the Gators first win in Tallahassee since 1986.
It also gave fired coach Ron Zook a victory in his final regular-season game.
Condemned since the day he replaced Steve Spurrier, Zook finally did something Spurrier never did in his 12 glorious seasons with the Gators he won at Florida State.
The Gators (7-4) ended any legitimate chance the Seminoles had of earning a third straight Bowl Championship Series berth. Florida State (8-3) still could finish tied for the Atlantic Coast Conference title but would likely lose all tiebreaker scenarios because of their BCS ranking, which is expected to drop Monday.
No. 14 LSU 27, Mississippi 24
BATON ROUGE, La. Alley Broussard ran for a school-record 250 yards with three touchdowns for No. 14 LSU.
Broussard broke the previous mark of 246 yards that Kevin Faulk set against Houston Sept. 7, 1996. Joseph Addai rushed for 107 yards on 14 carries for LSU.
With LSU trailing 24-20 in the fourth quarter, the Tigers drove 61 yards, with Broussard rushing for 27, Addai adding 19 and a pass interference call netting 15 more. Broussard gave LSU the lead with a 7-yard run with 10:51 left in the game.
No. 17 Iowa 30, No. 9 Wisconsin 7
IOWA CITY, Iowa Drew Tate threw three touchdown passes and Iowa's defense forced four turnovers and earned a share of the Big Ten title.
The Hawkeyes (9-2, 7-1) won their second league title in three years, splitting it this time with Michigan. But the Wolverines claimed the invitation to the Rose Bowl thanks to their 30-17 victory over Iowa earlier this season.
For the Badgers (9-2, 6-2), a promising season crumbled the last two weeks with losses by a combined 79-21.
After a rocky start, Tate settled down and finished 15-of-24 for 186 yards. He threw two TD passes to Clinton Solomon, including a 51-yarder late in the first half, and another to Scott Chandler late in the third quarter.
No. 12 Miami 52, Wake Forest 7
MIAMI Brock Berlin threw for a career-best 361 yards and four touchdowns in just over a half and Miami stayed in contention for the Atlantic Coast Conference title.
Berlin threw scoring passes to four different receivers, completed 13 of 19 passes and continued his push for ACC player of the year honors. In his last seven games, Berlin has completed 55.9 percent of his passes for 1,894 yards with 19 touchdowns and only two interceptions none in his last 153 attempts.
Frank Gore rushed for 83 yards and a touchdown for Miami (8-2, 5-2), and Rashaun Jones recovered a blocked punt in the end zone for another Hurricanes score. Miami outgained Wake Forest 579-193.
No. 13 Boise State 55, Louisiana Tech 14
BOISE, Idaho Jon Helmandollar rushed for a school-record five touchdowns and Boise State clinched at least a share of its third straight Western Athletic Conference title.
Boise State (10-0, 7-0) extended the nation's longest winning streak to 21 games and tied BYU's record for the most consecutive conference wins at 25. The Broncos' last WAC loss was Nov. 3, 2001, a 48-42 setback at Louisiana Tech.
The Broncos can claim the WAC title outright by beating Nevada next week. They are the first WAC team to start 10-0 since Wyoming in 1996.
No. 15 Tennessee 38, Vanderbilt 33
NASHVILLE, Tenn. Cedric Houston ran for three touchdowns and No. 15 Tennessee clinched the Southeastern Conference's Eastern Division title with its 22nd straight victory over Vanderbilt.
Tennessee (8-2, 6-1) will play No. 2 Auburn in the SEC championship game in Atlanta on Dec. 4 regardless of what happens in the Vols' game next week against Kentucky. It will be Tennessee's fourth trip to the title game since 1997.
Jay Cutler was 22-of-33 for 314 yards and three touchdowns for Vanderbilt (2-9, 1-7), which finished with the same record as last year despite returning 21 starters and entering the season with bigger hopes.
No. 18 Virginia 30, Georgia Tech 10
ATLANTA Alvin Pearman scored two touchdowns and Virginia came up with four key turnovers.
Virginia kept alive its hopes of at least sharing the Atlantic Coast Conference title, though the Cavaliers (8-2, 5-2) are still a long shot to claim the league's spot in the Bowl Championship Series.
Pearman scored Virginia's first touchdown on a 6-yard run late in the first quarter, and he finished off the Yellow Jackets (6-4, 4-4) with a 1-yard plunge in the opening minute of the fourth. Pearman set up his second TD by going 45 yards with a short pass, getting knocked out of bounds just shy of the end zone.
No. 19 Boston College 34, Temple 17
PHILADELPHIA L.V. Whitworth ran for 151 yards and two touchdowns, and Boston College took another step closer to its first BCS berth in Temple's final game before being booted from the Big East.
The 19th-ranked Eagles (8-2, 4-1) pulled into a first-place tie in the conference with No. 21 West Virginia (8-2, 4-1). The Eagles are bolting for the Atlantic Coast Conference next year.
The Owls (2-9, 1-5) are getting kicked out of the Big East for failing to meet minimum requirements for membership, most notably in attendance, facilities and fielding a competitive team. Temple finished with its 13th straight losing season and had only 14 Big East wins in 14 conference seasons. The Owls begin life next year as an independent.
No. 24 Texas-El Paso 57, SMU 27
EL PASO, Texas Jordan Palmer threw for 339 yards and five touchdowns and Texas-El Paso clinched a bowl berth in coach Mike Price's first season running the formerly downtrodden program.
UTEP (8-2, 6-1 Western Athletic Conference) secured second place in the conference, which has two guaranteed bowl spots.
The Miners had to rally against SMU (3-8, 3-5), which came in on a three-game winning streak.
Washington State 28, Washington 25
PULLMAN, Wash. The streak was finally over and Washington State coach Bill Doba and his players already were thinking about avoiding another one.
Alex Brink threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score, and Washington State ended a seven-year drought in the Apple Cup by edging Washington 28-25 Saturday in Keith Gilbertson's last game as Huskies coach.
''It's a springboard for the weight program and the offseason program and for spring ball,'' Doba said of the long-awaited victory as the Cougars celebrated with the Apple Cup trophy in the locker room. ''We ended the streak and we are going to try to start a new streak. It wasn't easy. The Huskies are tough.''
Washington State (5-6, 3-5 Pac-10) overcame early turnovers and withstood a late Huskies' rally. Washington (1-10, 0-8) went winless in conference play for the first time since 1973, when they were 2-9 and 0-7 in league.
Gilbertson, who announced his resignation effective at the end of the season three weeks ago, ended his two-year stint as Rick Neuheisel's replacement with a record of 7-16.
Cougars fans celebrated in Martin Stadium after the win, which capped a disappointing season for them. Washington State lost starting quarterback Josh Swogger after the sixth game with a broken foot.
Brink, a redshirt freshman who replaced Swogger, completed 15 of 24 for 240 yards and two touchdowns.
''It was great to get the seniors a win; their one black mark was that they didn't beat the Huskies, and now they did,'' Brink said. ''It was a great group of guys who were able to put together one last win.''
Jerome Harrison rushed for 150 yards on 29 carries for the Cougars, keeping Washington's defense from concentrating on Brink.
Harrison, a junior transfer playing in his first Apple Cup, said he liked the celebration afterward.
''This is my first one. I didn't know it was this exciting,'' he said. I've been taking pictures and I appreciate the fans here. As long as I'm here, we're going to keep winning.''
The Cougars, meanwhile, sacked Washington quarterbacks four times and had three interceptions.
Casey Paus was benched and replaced by Isaiah Stanback after throwing his third interception in the third quarter. Stanback responded with a 1-yard scoring run to cap a 51-yard drive to cut WSU's lead to 28-17, then added a 39-yard TD pass to Craig Chambers in the final quarter to pull within three.
''I felt we had some momentum going,'' Stanback said of the Huskies' late surge. ''I saw it in our defense's eyes that we had a chance to win. I was hoping we would get another chance.''
Paus completed 10 of 24 passes for 74 yards and a touchdown. Stanback finished with five completions and eight attempts for 100 yards and two touchdowns.
Scott Davis sacked Paus, who fumbled on the Washington 19, and WSU linebacker Will Derting fell on the fumble in the end zone, giving the Cougars a 21-10 halftime score.
Washington scored first after Greg Prator fumbled the opening kickoff and C.J. Wallace recovered on the WSU 11. Four plays later, Evan Knudson hit a 19-yard field goal.
Washington State's first score came after Karl Paymah intercepted Paus' pass at the Washington 47. Brink hit Troy Bienemann on a 6-yard scoring strike midway through the first quarter.
Joe Toledo grabbed a 4-yard scoring pass from Paus to put Washington up 10-7 with about 5 minutes remaining in the first quarter.
Brink put the Cougars up for good, 14-10, with a 1-yard scoring sneak after an 82 yard drive.
Washington's top rusher, tailback Kenny James, went down with bruised ribs in the first quarter and didn't return.
Chambers caught four passes for 100 yards for the Huskies.
Washington State's last win over Washington was a 41-35 victory in 1997 that clinched the Pac-10 title for the Cougars.
Gilbertson said he told his players after the game he thought the second half was the best they have played all year.
''I am pleased with our guys, the way they scrapped, and it had been an unbelievable 11 games,'' he said. ''I don't know if I have ever seen a team with as many bad things happen to it as this team.''
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