Thinning the Ranks of the Unbeaten

Wisconsin's defense played in a most uncharacteristic fashion on Saturday as Michigan State's unexpected triumph sent ripples of shock waves through the polls and the guest list of the BCS for its postseason extravaganzas. Here's a look at some of the action that transpired and caused others to perspire as the regular season nears its close.

FOLLOW THE LEADER. USC had little trouble in dispatching Arizona as the Trojans dominated play in the second half on their way to a, 49-9, snaring of the Wildcats. SoCal bombarded the 'Cats to the tune of, 35-6, after halftime in posting its twentieth consecutive home win which tied a school record set in the 1920s.

USC won its nineteenth straight game and went to 10-0 in a season for the first time since 1988. QB Matt Leinart passed for 280 yards and three scores in leading the Trojans' 585 yard offensive onslaught. TB LenDale White added 116 yards on the ground and three TDs. The team's defense limited Arizona to ninety yards rushing and 255 in total offense.

REPEAT PERFORMANCE? With freshman RB Adrian Peterson being the topic of so much Heisman Trophy talk this fall, many college football fans seem to have overlooked the fact that the award's reigning winner, OU QB Jason White, is alive, well and playing as though he has every intention of securing his stature by retaining the bronze statuette.

White connected on a school record eighteen consecutive passes on his way to completing 29 of 35 attempts for 383 yards and 3 TD passes. OU buried Big 12 rival Nebraska, 30-3, as the Sooners moved to 10-0 this year. White has thrown 19 TD passes in the team's past five games while being intercepted only once in that time.

Peterson managed just 59 yards on 15 carries, but the Sooners' 413 yards through the air decimated the Cornhuskers. OU has won its past 24 regular season games and 19 in a row in Norman.

NO PAPER TIGERS HERE. In a battle of the leading teams in the SEC, the Auburn Tigers dismissed the Georgia Bulldogs, 24-6. Coach Tommy Tuberville's team scored the game's first 24 points before the Dawgs posted their only points of the contest late in the final quarter.

QB Jason Campbell continued his exceptional play this year with an 18 for 22 passing performance and a pair of TD passes, while RB Cadillac Williams carried the load on the ground for Auburn by gaining 101 yards and finding the end zone once.

The Tigers' defense defused Georgia's ground attack in limiting the Bulldogs to 85 yards rushing and 279 yards overall. Auburn moved to an unblemished 10-0 for the season and awaits its annual regular season finale next week versus Alabama.

AU stretched its winning streak to 12 games by downing Georgia. The Tigers lead the nation in scoring defense allowing just 9.3 points per outing. The Crimson Tide is second in the nation in total defense heading into next week's game with Auburn.

A SPARTAN(S) EXPERIENCE. A Wisconsin defense that entered its contest against Michigan State allowing 9.1 points and 265 yards a game was scorched for 49 points and 551 yards as the Badgers dropped from the ranks of the unbeaten and out of the race for a national title.

Jehuu Caulcrick and Jason Teague combined on thirty carries for 258 yards and a pair of touchdowns to pace MSU's 430 yard ground assault. Michigan State spotted Wisconsin a, 7-0, lead via a 45 yard TD sprint by Anthony Davis, before scoring 49 of the game's final 56 points to bury the Badgers, 49-14, and ruin the team's national title hopes. The Spartans used three scoring plays of thirty yards or more and a punt block recovered for a TD to win the game between Big Ten rivals.

Wisconsin, which had allowed only 9 TDs all season, yielded seven to the Spartans, who improved to 5-5 on the year.

NEARLY HOOKED. Texas scored a pair of touchdowns in the final four minutes and eleven seconds of play to escape with a, 27-23, win over Kansas in Big 12 action. QB Vince Young ran for an 18 yard score and then found Tony Jeffery with a 21 yard TD pass with eleven seconds to play to power the Longhorns to victory.

RB Cedric Benson and Young combined for 275 yards on the ground and a pair of scores that nearly came to naught for Texas until Young's last minute heroics saved the day for Texas. The 'Horns raised their record to 9-1 for the season. Texas is now 24-0 in games when Benson has rushed for 100 or more yards.

POWER OUTAGE. Not even an uncooperative fuse could dim Utah's prospects for a tenth victory on the season. Utah and Wyoming had the start of their Mountain West Conference game delayed by a faulty fuse in a light tower, but once it was replaced, coach Urban Meyer's team wasted little time in establishing a, 14-0, lead over the Cowboys on its way to a, 45-28, conference title clinching victory. The Utes had been averaging 40 points a game over their past thirteen contests and again reached and surpassed that total on the final play of the third quarter.

QB Alex Smith threw 3 TD passes and RB Marty Johnson rambled for 105 yards as the mainstays in the Utes' 488 yard attack. Smith's record improved to 19-1 as a starter and Utah raised its mark to 20-2 under Meyer. Smith has now thrown 27 TD passes this year while suffering just a pair of interceptions.

Utah ran its undefeated streak to games. Losses by Georgia and Wisconsin may now boost Utah into a position of being guaranteed a bid to a BCS sponsored postseason bowl game. The Utes meet rival BYU in Salt Lake City next weekend in the regular season finale for both teams. Utah won a, 3-0, contest last year against the Cougars.

MANY HAPPY RETURNS. DeJuan Tribble and Will Blackmon each returned a punt for a TD to lead the Boston College Eagles to their first win in Morgantown against West Virginia since 1990.

Though outgained by more than 200 yards and holding the ball for nearly ten minutes less than the Mountaineers, the visitors used those special teams' plays and three turnovers to upset West Virginia as the Eagles assumed control of first place in the Big East conference. QB Paul Peterson completed 18 passes--two of which went for TDs to lead the Eagles' offense.

Tenth ranked West Virginia dropped to 8-2, while B.C. rose to 7-2 in advance of games versus Temple and Syracuse.

NO "D"? NO MATTER. The Boise State Broncos ran their nation's best active win streak to 20 games with a, 56-49, double overtime cliffhanger against San Jose State.

The Spartans' Jeff Carr had a 30 yard FG attempt blocked in the final minute of regulation that forced the game into overtime. After the Broncos' Jon Helmandollar scored on a three yard run in the second overtime stanza, the BSU defense prevented SJSU QB Adam Tafralis from scoring on a fourth down play initiated from inside the visitors' five-yard line.

The team's combined for 947 yards of offense and 176 yards in penalties.

HEADLINES AND HEADLINERS.Six foot, seven inch QB Chad Friehauf of division two Colorado School of Mines was responsible for 6 TDs and 559 yards of total offense in leading the Orediggers to a, 52-33, playoff win over Midwestern State in a game played in Golden, Colorado.

QB Tyler Palko of Pittsburgh became the first QB to throw five TD passes against Notre Dame as he led the Panthers to a, 41-38, victory over the Fighting Irish in South Bend. It was just the Panthers' second win in their past thirteen games versus the Irish.

Jamario Thomas of North Texas tied an NCAA record with his fifth consecutive game of 200 or more yards rushing as the Mean Green topped Idaho, 51-29. The team won its fourth straight Sun Belt Conference title and will head to the New Orleans Bowl.

Cal's J. J. Arrington gained 121 yards rushing--his ninth straight game surpassing the one hundred yard mark. He's rushed for more than 100 yards every game this season for the Golden Bears.

SMU's Alvin Nnabuife returned two fumbles--one for 95 yards--in the third quarter, as the Mustangs scored 28 points in that period en route to a, 38-20, win over Nevada.

Mount Union is at it again. The Purple Raiders beat Heidelberg, 59-10, to complete a tenth consecutive unbeaten regular season. Mount Union has won 104 in a row in the regular season.

West Virginia's loss to Boston College was the Mountaineers' first in November, in head coach Rich Rodriguez's four year tenure with the team.

Florida's, 48-14, win against South Carolina was the Gators' fourteenth in a row over the Gamecocks.


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