Alabama 32 Georgia 28 SEC Championship
Alabama won a hard-fought SEC title game for the right to face Notre Dame in the national championship game. Both teams played very well. Georgia took a 21-10 lead when star LB Alec Ogletree recovered a blocked field goal and raced 55 yards for a touchdown. Alabama immediately responded with a vicious ground attack culminated with a T.J. Yeldon 10 yard run. ‘Bama took the lead on the first play of the fourth quarter on an Eddie Lacy one yard run. Georgia couldn’t stop the ‘Bama running game. Lacy ran for 185 yards and Yeldon galloped for 152. Aaron Murray playing in his biggest game of his college career responded with a 75 yard drive. Freshman Todd Gurley capped it off from 10 yards out. Murray had a good night throwing for 267 yards and a touchdown.
AJ McCarron had done nothing at this point in the game. With 3:15 left McCarron hit Amari Cooper from 45 yards out to give the Tide the 32-28 lead. The Bulldogs defense finally stopped the run and gave their offense a chance in the last minute to win. Murray hit Tavarres King for 23 yards and Arthur Lynch for 26 to get the ball to the Tide eight with 15 seconds left. I thought Murray should have spiked the ball and re-grouped. Instead a tipped pass was caught by Chris Conley and the clock ran out because Georgia was out of time-outs. Five first round picks played in the game. For Alabama: G- Chance Warmack and CB Dee Milliner and for Georgia LB- Jarvis Jones, LB Alec Ogletree and DT Jonathan Jenkins. Jones maybe the first pick in the draft and he is a great pass rusher. Jones had two sacks in the game. Alabama did run for 347 yards and many of those yards were right at Jones.
1973 Sugar Bowl Notre Dame 24 Alabama 23
This game was the last time these two teams met for the national championship. This game is considered by most as one of the top five bowl games of all-time. Both teams came into this game undefeated. The game was played in old Tulane stadium under soggy conditions. Notre Dame held the Crimson Tide to negative yards in the first quarter. Notre Dame return man Al Hunter returned a kick-off 95 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter as Notre Dame took a 14-10 lead at halftime. Alabama had just integrated their football team with Wilbur Jackson and John Mitchell just three years earlier. Jackson now a senior was a team captain and scored a touchdown in the third quarter to give Alabama a 17-14 lead. Notre Dame had the lead with about 9 minutes to go when a trick play gave ‘Bama the lead back. Quarterback Richard Todd caught a pass from RB Mike Stock to give Alabama a 23-21 lead (‘Bama missed the extra point). With five minutes left ND kicker Bob Thomas kicked a 19 yard field goal to give the Irish a 24-23 lead. The play of the game happened after a Tide punt gave Notre Dame the ball on the ND two yard-line. With third and 10 from their two Coach Ara Parseghian decided not to play it safe. Tom Clements hit TE Robyn Weber on a 36 yard pass play to give Notre Dame the first down and the victory.
There were four future coaches that played in the game. For Alabama: Mike Riley, Sylvester Croom and Mike Dubose. For Notre Dame: Gerry Dinardo. Alabama would finish the decade as the dominate team winning two titles in ’78 and ’79. Ara Parseghian considered retiring after the game but coached one more year before retiring. Times were a changing. Parseghian left Notre Dame having to make only two in home recruiting trips. Notre Dame won a re-match a year later in Parseghian’s last game 13-11 in the Orange Bowl.
Stanford 27 UCLA 24 Pac 12 Championship
This was the first time two teams had played in consecutive weeks since Pop Warner was actually a coach and not a little league organization. It’s so hard to beat a good team twice in six days. UCLA was better prepared for this contest. The most shocking thing was how UCLA was able to run against a stout Stanford defense. Stanford two weeks ago held Kenyon Barner of Oregon to 66 yards. Last week they held UCLA to 71 yards rushing. In this game Jonathan Franklin ran for 194 yards and two touchdowns. UCLA’s ability to run against Stanford was more shocking than Pat Robertson this week denouncing creationism. UCLA had Stanford on the ropes in the first half up 14-7 and going for more when Ed Reynolds intercepted a Brett Hundley pass and returned it to the one yard line. That would set-up a short Stefan Taylor touchdown to tie the score at 14. UCLA would take a 24-17 lead late in the third quarter on another Franklin touchdown. Kevin Hogan led Stanford back with an impressive throw to Drew Terrell to tie the score early in the fourth quarter. Stanford held UCLA three and out and then drove for a 36 yard Jordan Williamson field goal for the lead with 6:49 to go. UCLA mad a chance to tie but a 52 yard field goal was wide left in the closing seconds of the game.
Northern Illinois 44 Kent State 37 2OT MAC Championship
This was a wild contest with two quality teams for the MAC title. Both teams came in 11-1 and 8-0 in conference. Northern Illinois built a 27-13 lead with about five minutes to go behind the running and throwing of quarterback Jordan Lynch. Lynch threw for 212 yards, ran for another 160 and combined for four touchdowns in the game. Kent State rallied and scored on a 96 yard drive to cut the lead to 27-20. Zach Hitchens then picked up a botched Lynch hand-off and scrambled 22 yards for a touchdown to tie the score and stun the Huskies. Lynch responded with a nine yard touchdown run. The Golden Flashes fought back and forced OT on a 19 yard pass from Spencer Keith to Tim Erjavec with 44 seconds remaining. Both teams exchanged field goals in the first OT. Lynch ran in from two yards out in the second OT to score what turned out to be the winning score. Spencer Keith had desperation fourth down pass picked off in the end-zone to give Northern Illinois their second consecutive MAC title. Northern Illinois needs and unlikely jump into the top 16 of the BCS standing to get a spot in a BCS bowl game. The Huskies currently sit 21st. Kent State was playing for their first MAC title since a 1972 team coached by Don James and with players such as: Jack Lambert, Nick Saban and Gary Pinkel.
Oklahoma 24 TCU 17
The Oklahoma defense had been coming off two horrible performances before this game. The Sooners played extremely well defensively in this one leading them to victory. Landry Jones threw for 244 yards and two touchdowns. Jones is great when given time but makes suspect decisions when pressured. TCU had appeared to tie the game on a Trevone Boykin scrambling touchdown with under a minute to play but a holding penalty negated the play. Sooners safety Tony Jefferson made three big plays in the final series to help preserve the win. Jefferson is considered one of the best safeties in the upcoming draft. Oklahoma has to wait and see if their 10-2 record is good enough for a BCS bowl bid.
Tulsa 33 Central Florida 27 OT Conference USA Championship
Add this to the list of wild Conference championship games this weekend. Thirty mile an hour winds made kicking field goals and extra points an adventure. Central Florida going with the wind in the third quarter built a 27-21 lead. A heads-up play by Tulsa’s Trey Watts turned out to be the play of the day. Central Florida punted, and the ball was batted forward when Watts picked it up and raced 54 yards for a touchdown. Watts is the son of former Oklahoma quarterback and Congressman J.C. Watts. Tulsa missed the extra point which caused the game to eventually go into overtime. Central Florida got the ball first in overtime but missed a field goal. Watts ran 17 yards to set-up an Alex Singleton one yard score to win the game for the Golden Hurricane. Tulsa’s AD Ross Parmley is on leave after being investigated by the FBI for gambling on college and pro football games. If this is a crime everyone I know needs to talk to the FBI.
Baylor 41 Oklahoma State 34
Lache Seastrunk rushed for 179 yards and a touchdown as Baylor jumped on Oklahoma State early and built a 24-3 lead on route to victory. Oklahoma State slow start could be attributed to a hangover from the Bedlam game last week against Oklahoma. Nick Florence threw for 295 yards and rushed for another 71. Florence threw and ran for a score. Clint Chelf tried to lead a furious comeback but it fell short. Chelf threw for 352 yards but he needed 55 attempts to do so. Baylor intercepted Chelf twice one of those they returned for a touchdown in the first quarter. Baylor’s star WR and potential first round pick Terrance Williams had 6 receptions for 71 yards. Both teams finished the regular season at 7-5.
Cincinnati 34 Connecticut 17
The Cincinnati win gives them a share of the Big East title with, Rutgers, Louisville and Syracuse. Louisville will go to the BCS game because of the highest ranking in the BCS.
Brendon Kay hooked up on three touchdowns with his big TE Travis Kelce. Two were the traditional way with Kay throwing to Kelce. In the second quarter the Bearcats ran a trick play where Kay threw behind the line to Kelce, and then Kelce threw back to Kay who ran 39 yards for a touchdown. Bearcats coach Butch Jones is one of the hot prospects for many openings. It will be interesting to see if he takes another job in the next month.
Boise State 27 Nevada 21
You know your fans are spoiled with success when a 10-2 season for Boise seems like a disappointment because they have been out of the national championship picture the whole year. Joe Southwick threw two touchdowns passes and DJ Harper ran for 130 yards in the Broncos win. Harper could be a mid-round pick in April’s draft. Boise has now won 10 or more games seven consecutive years.
Florida State 21 Georgia Tech 15 ACC Championship
FSU looked to rebound after last week’s loss to rival Florida. State came out on fire in the first half and rode two James Wilder touchdowns to a 21-6 halftime lead. The second half was a different story for the Seminoles. Florida State was shut-out in the second half. In the second half the Seminoles had three turnovers and three punts. EJ Manuel was once a decent prospect for the NFL draft. His stock has plummeted. Have to hand it to Tech for giving it their all. The Yellow Jackets were 14 point underdogs coming into the contest. Yet with a minute to go they had the ball and a chance to win. Tevin Washington’s pass was intercepted around mid-field by Karlos Williams and the Seminoles were able to take a knee for the victory. Florida State was without start DE Cornellius Carradine, who tore his ACL in the Gators loss. Carradine was considered a late first round pick. It will be interesting to see what happens to him in the draft.
Kansas State 42 Texas 24
Collin Klein was the only Heisman prospect on display this week. Manti T’eo and Johnny Manziel’s regular season’s are over. Klein had a typical game for himself. He threw for 184 yards and rushed for 103. He combined for three touchdowns. He certainly didn’t hurt his chances with his effort. John Hubert ran for only 66 yards but he did score three touchdowns. Case McCoy got the nod at QB for Texas over David Ash. McCoy started off very hot and finished the game going 26 of 34 for 314 yards.
McCoy threw two touchdowns but was picked off twice as well.
Wisconsin 70 Nebraska 31 Big 10 Championship
Wisconsin avenged blowing a 17 point lead earlier this year in a loss to Nebraska in September. The Badgers gained 390 yards in the first half in building a 42-10 halftime lead. Wisconsin’s offensive line is playing so much better than it did earlier in the year in losses to Oregon State and Nebraska. In their first loss, the Badgers rushed 41 times for only 56 yards. In this game they gained 541 yards on the ground. Melvin Gordon rushed for 217 yards, Montee Ball gained 201 and James White added another 108 yards. The trio combined for eight touchdowns. Wisconsin will play Stanford in the Rose Bowl. Nebraska’s defense looked like defense from the Bill Callahan years. This has been an embarrassing year for the Big 10. Nebraska giving up 70 points in their Championship game added to the embarrassment.