College Football
NCAAF News Wire
  • Tuesday, November 25, 2014
    Gophers RB Cobb 'very questionable' vs. Badgers
    By The Sports Xchange

    Minnesota could be without its leading rusher for its biggest game in years on Saturday.

    • Coach Jerry Kill said Tuesday that running back David Cobb's hamstring injury makes him "very questionable" for Saturday's game at Wisconsin.

      The game will determine the Big Ten West Division championship. The winner advances to face East Division champion Ohio State in the Big Ten championship game on Dec. 6 in Indianapolis.

      Cobb was injured in the fourth quarter of last week's 28-24 victory at Nebraska.

      The senior is No. 9 nationally in rushing yards with 1,430. If he is unable to play, the Gophers would turn to backup Berkley Edwards, who has run for just 140 yards this season. Quarterback Mitch Leidner is the team's second leading rusher with 407 yards.

      The game was expected to feature two of the nation's backs with Cobb and Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon, who has 2,109 yrads and 25 touchdown this season.

  • Tuesday, November 25, 2014
    College football roundup: UCLA's Hundley eyes draft
    By The Sports Xchange

    It appears that quarterback Brett Hundley won't be sticking around for his senior season at UCLA. The fourth-year junior told radio host Jim Rome this week that he'll most likely enter the 2015 NFL Draft.

    • "The conversation keep coming up. I've got my degree. I've done everything I wanted to do here," Hundley said.

      The 21-year-old still has until January to officially declare his draft intentions. But it's clear that he's planning to leave college. NFLDraftScout.com lists Hundley as the No. 3 quarterback prospect behind Oregon's Marcus Mariota and Florida State's Jameis Winston. In 11 games this season, Hundley has passed for 2,873 yards and 20 touchdowns with five interceptions.

      ---The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference suspended 21 players who took part in a brawl on Saturday in the Norfolk State-South Carolina State game.

      Eleven unnamed players from Norfolk State and 10 from South Carolina State will serve the suspensions by sitting out the 2015 season opener. Seniors with no remaining eligibility who took part in the altercation were not included in the suspensions.

      The benches-clearing fight interrupted the game for 25 minutes in the fourth quarter after a South Carolina State touchdown. Players began shoving each other during the extra-point try and then started throwing punching and kicking. The skirmish apparently was touched off when Norfolk State assistant coach Pete Adrian head-butted a South Carolina State player.

      ---Stanford wide receiver/kick returner Ty Montgomery will sit out the regular-season finale against No. 9 UCLA on Friday because of a shoulder injury.

      Montgomery sprained his right shoulder during last week's 38-17 win over Cal when he was tackled after a 14-yard reception. He had shoulder surgery after last season.

      Montgomery is Stanford's leading receiver this season with 61 catches for 604 yards and three touchdowns and is one of the nation's top special teams players with two punt returns for touchdowns this season. The All-American kick returner ranks third in the Pac-12 with a 25.2-yard kickoff return average and has rushed for an additional 144 yards on 23 carries.

      ---Minnesota could be without its leading rusher for its biggest game in years on Saturday. Coach Jerry Kill said Tuesday that running back David Cobb's hamstring injury makes him "very questionable" for Saturday's Big Ten West Division title game at Wisconsin.

      Cobb was injured in the fourth quarter of last week's 28-24 victory at Nebraska. The senior is No. 9 nationally in rushing yards with 1,430. If he is unable to play, the Gophers would turn to backup Berkley Edwards, who has run for just 140 yards this season. Quarterback Mitch Leidner is the team's second leading rusher with 407 yards.

      The game was expected to feature two of the nation's backs with Cobb and Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon, who has 2,109 yrads and 25 touchdown this season.

  • Tuesday, November 25, 2014
    Stanford's Montgomery to miss game against UCLA
    By The Sports Xchange

    Stanford wide receiver/kick returner Ty Montgomery will sit out the regular-season finale against No. 9 UCLA on Friday because of a shoulder injury.

    • Montgomery sprained his right shoulder during last week's 38-17 win over Cal when he was tackled after a 14-yard reception. He had shoulder surgery after last season.

      Montgomery is the Cardinal's leading receiver this season with 61 catches for 604 yards and three touchdowns and is one of the nation's top special teams players with two punt returns for touchdowns this season.

      The All-American kick returner also ranks third in the Pac-12 with a 25.2-yard kickoff return average and has rushed for an additional 144 yards on 23 carries.

      Backup receivers Michael Rector, Jeff Trojan and Francis Owusu are expected to step in for Montgomery this week against the Bruins.

      Stanford coach David Shaw is hopeful that Montgomery could return for a bowl game.

  • Tuesday, November 25, 2014
    MEAC suspends 21 players after brawl
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference suspended 21 players who took part in a brawl on Saturday in the Norfolk State-South Carolina State game.

    • Eleven unnamed players from Norfolk State and 10 from South Carolina State will serve the suspensions by sitting out the 2015 season opener. Seniors with no remaining eligibility who took part in the altercation were not included in the suspensions.

      The benches-clearing fight interrupted the game for 25 minutes in the fourth quarter after a South Carolina State touchdown.

      Players began shoving each other during the extra-point attempt and then started throwing punching and kicking. The skirmish apparently was touched off when Norfolk State assistant coach Pete Adrian head-butted a South Carolina State player.

      MEAC commissioner Dennis Thomas said "we don't tolerate that kind of behavior."

      "It was just a very unfortunate situation," Norfolk State athletic director Marty Miller said. according to The Virginian-Pilot. "But the idea is we don't need to be engaged in those type of activities on the field."

      South Carolina State won 30-20.

      Adrian retired from his job on Monday after 10 years at Norfolk State, but he had made the decision long before the brawl.

  • Tuesday, November 25, 2014
    UCLA's Hundley leans heavily toward draft
    By The Sports Xchange

    It appears that quarterback Brett Hundley won't be sticking around for his senior season at UCLA.

    • The fourth-year junior told radio host Jim Rome this week that he'll most likely enter the 2015 NFL Draft.

      "There's a really good chance that was my last game against USC," Hundley said. "The conversation keep coming up. I've got my degree. I've done everything I wanted to do here. I've left something really, truly great, and I feel good. That's probably my last one against USC."

      The 6-foot-3, 227-pound Hundley led the Bruins to a 38-20 victory over rival USC on Saturday night in Pasadena, Calif., throwing for 326 yards and three touchdowns.

      The 21-year-old still has until January to officially declare his draft intentions. But it's clear that he leaning heavily toward leaving college.

      NFLDraftScout.com lists Hundley as the No. 3 quarterback prospect on the board behind Oregon's Marcus Mariota and Florida State's Jameis Winston.

      In 11 games this season, Hundley has passed for 2,873 yards and 20 touchdowns with five interceptions.

  • Tuesday, November 25, 2014
    Wolverines keep emotions in check with Ohio St. ahead
    By The Sports Xchange

    ANN ARBOR, Mich. - When it came to discussing the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry, Wolverines center Jack Miller dished from the heart.

    • "I'm not a fan of Ohio State," said Miller, an Ohio native. "I never have been, ever since they beat Miami for the 2002 national championship. I don't like the Horseshoe, and I don't like Carmen, Ohio. That's about how I feel."

      Yet his sentiments toward Ohio State were about the only emotional response in regards to the annual rivalry game between the Buckeyes and the Wolverines on Saturday in Columbus.

      The questions instead focused on the future of Michigan coach Brady Hoke, who nears the close of his fourth year in Ann Arbor.

      Michigan interim athletic director Jim Hackett said Saturday he would evaluate both Hoke and the state of the football program at the conclusion of the season.

      The Wolverines have been under fire this season for various reasons, including last week's arrest of Frank Clark on charges of domestic violence and assault, the program and athletic department's handling of quarterback Shane Morris after he sustained a concussion during a game in September, as well as a subpar season in which Michigan faces the prospect of finishing 5-7 and without a bowl bid for the third time since 2008.

      When asked to make an argument for returning next season, Hoke declined to offer further details or a rebuttal.

      "I appreciate the question, but that's something I'd talk to Jim about," Hoke said, referring to Hackett. "I don't think this is the right venue to do it. This is a venue to talk about the great rivalry that's coming up. There's always an evaluation and I respect those evaluations. I'm sure you have them, and I'll have them."

      Defensive coordinator Greg Mattison offered a passionate defense of Hoke, pointing out player development and the program’s graduation rates as proof of Hoke's progress as a head coach -- even with a cumulative record of 31-19 at Michigan.

      "When it all comes down to it, why should he be here you say?" Mattison asked. "Because he's a winner. He's won everywhere he's been. The guy is a winner."

  • Tuesday, November 25, 2014
    Buckeyes locked in on Michigan
    By The Sports Xchange

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Normally, when a team clinches a championship with games still to play in the regular season, there's a tendency to turn its attention to the postseason.

    • That won’t be a problem this week at Ohio State.

      The Big Ten East Division champion Buckeyes face archenemy Michigan on Saturday (noon ET, ABC) at Ohio Stadium in the 111th edition of the storied rivalry.

      Ohio State (10-1, 7-0) clinched the division title and a trip to the conference championship game for the second straight year with its 42-27 victory over Indiana last week. The Buckeyes will face West Division champion Wisconsin or Minnesota in Indianapolis in Dec. 6.

      "We are very pleased to represent the Big Ten in the championship game, but we put that aside now because this is our rivalry game," Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said.

      The game lacks the national luster usually associated with this matchup because of Michigan's struggles.

      The Wolverines (5-6, 3-4) are nearing the end of another down year, needing a win just to become bowl eligible. Embattled coach Brady Hoke could be on the way out -- win or lose -- after four rocky seasons at the helm.

      The apparent mismatch doesn't diminish the stature of the game for the Buckeyes, who have hopes of not only winning the Big Ten title but being selected as one of four teams for the first College Football Playoff.

      Meyer, who refers to the Wolverines as That School Up North, expects them to hit the Buckeyes with their best shot -- just as underdog Michigan did last year before Ohio State escaped with a 42-41 victory after quarterback Devin Gardner's two-point conversion pass was intercepted by safety Tyvis Powell with 32 seconds left.

      "We just make a huge deal out of rivalry games," Meyer said. "I want the players to take ownership in the program, part ownership in the game. This is not another game. This is The Game."

      The Buckeyes talk about his game throughout the year, And this week, there’s extra emphasis. LL Cool J’s “It’s Time for War” is playing nonstop inside the football facility.

      In last year’s game, a fight broke out during the second quarter and Ohio State guard Marcus Hall and H-back Dontre Wilson were ejected. Hall also was suspended for the Big Ten championship game, which the Buckeyes lost to Michigan State.

      “That's not the way we play the game and I think a lot of lessons were learned,” Meyer said. “We went without one of our key linemen in the championship game the following week and we played a game without two or three good players.”

      Meyer warned his players not to get into any scuffles on the field this year. There’s too much to play for Saturday and down the road.

      "(Meyer) said he wants the game to be very intense, but if anybody throws a punch they're dismissed," Ohio State linebacker Curtis Grant said. "He pretty much put it out there. There's no telling what will happen if we get in a fight this year."

      In spite of the Wolverines' subpar record, Meyer anticipates a hard-fought battle simply because it's Michigan.

      Asked what he expects Saturday in the Horseshoe, Meyer said, "Their best game. There are great players there."

      SERIES HISTORY: Michigan leads 58-46-6, but Ohio State has dominated the rivalry in recent years, winning 11 of the last 13 meetings and the last six games between the teams in Ohio Stadium. Urban Meyer is 2-0 against the Wolverines as Ohio State's coach. The Buckeyes' last Big Ten loss came against Michigan in 2011.

      NOTES: Junior Noah Spence hasn't played all season because of a suspension, but Bucknuts.com reported that the All-Big Ten defensive end would have his appeal heard by the Big Ten this week.

      Coach Urban Meyer told reporters that he didn't have any information on Spence's status.

      "I think there is an appeal. I'm not involved in the appeal. I think there is," Meyer said. "I can't confirm or deny it because I don't really know the specifics of it. I think there is."

      Spence last played in the 2013 Big Ten championship game. He was suspended before the Orange Bowl after testing positive for ecstasy.

      -- Running back Ezekiel Elliott had his fifth 100-yard rushing game of the season against Indiana with 107 yards on 13 carries, highlighted by a 65-yard touchdown run. Elliottt has 1,061 yards -- the 30th 1,000-yard rushing season in Ohio State history. Carlos Hyde and Braxton Miller both ran for more than 1,000 in 2013.

      -- H-back Dontre Wilson's foot injury forced the Buckeyes to rely more on freshman Jalin Marshall and he has responded in a big way. Marshall's four touchdowns rallied Ohio State past Indiana last week.

  • Tuesday, November 25, 2014
    QB questions emerge for Arizona
    By The Sports Xchange

    TUCSON, Ariz. -- Arizona, for the first time since joining the Pac-10 in 1978, heads into the final week of the regular season with a chance to win the conference.

    • The Wildcats are 9-2 overall and 6-2 in the Pac-12, needing two things to happen to win the South division and advance to play Oregon in the league championship game at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.

      First, they have to beat rival Arizona State, also 9-2 and 6-2, on Friday at Arizona Stadium. And, secondly, Stanford has to win at UCLA in a game that kicks off at the same time. The Bruins will take the South with a victory. If they lose, then the Arizona-ASU winner is the champ.

      One potential slight problem for Arizona.

      It might not have its starting quarterback.

      Redshirt freshman Anu Solomon, battling a right ankle injury for about a month, tweaked the injury late in the first half of last week's game at Utah. He couldn't go after halftime, giving way to redshirt senior Jesse Scroggins, a former USC quarterback who spent a year at junior college before joining the Wildcats in the spring of 2013.

      Solomon recently has spent time between games with the foot in a walking boot.

      Coach Rich Rodriguez isn't likely to say much about Solomon's status before kickoff. The school issues a weekly injury report that could provide a semblance of guidance (but do not expect anything definitive).

      Even Solomon basically shrugged his shoulders after Monday's practice.

      "Who knows?" he said. "I don't even know. ... When it's game time and the lights turn on I should be ready."

      It's reasonable to assume he'll at least give it a go. He has been very good in his debut season, completing 264 of 458 passes for 3,216 yards, with 25 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He's not a big running threat like a typical Rodriguez quarterback, but he makes the majority of his throws while on the move, so he needs that ankle to feel good so he can be at mobile against an attacking ASU defense.

      If Solomon can't play, or has to come out of the game, then Scroggins, at the end of his career, will finally take center stage in the biggest Territorial Cup matchup in nearly three decades. Arizona and ASU haven't met as ranked teams since 1986.

      Heck, it could be the biggest game in UA history if it results in a South division title.

      "It's definitely a crazy feeling," Scroggins said. "But you have to keep your head."

      SERIES HISTORY: Arizona leads the series 47-39-1, but the Sun Devils have won both meetings between UA coach Rich Rodriguez and ASU coach Todd Graham. Arizona State won 58-21 in Tempe last season.

      --QB Anu Solomon missed the second half of last week's game at Utah because of a right ankle injury. His availability for Friday's game against Arizona State was not known early in the week.

      --LB DeAndre' Miller has missed seven games because of a shoulder injury.

      --RB Terris Jones-Grigsby, who missed the Washington game because of ankle injury, was able to return last week in backup role to Nick Wilson.

  • Monday, November 24, 2014
    College football roundup: Northwestern loses starting QB
    By The Sports Xchange

    Northwestern will be without starting quarterback Trevor Siemian when it hosts Illinois on Saturday with bowl-eligibility on the line.

    • Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald announced Monday that Siemian tore his ACL in Saturday's game against Purdue and will miss the rest of the season.

      Northwestern's season will extend beyond Saturday if the Wildcats beat the Illini. Both teams are 5-6 and need one more win to become eligible for a bowl.

      Junior Zack Oliver is likely to be Northwestern's quarterback for Saturday's game.

      --Alabama tight end Brian Vogler is questionable for this weekend's Iron Bowl game against Auburn.

      Vogler strained a knee ligament in Saturday's win over Western Carolina.

      Freshman wide receiver ArDarius Stewart also is questionable with a strained nee ligament.

      --University of North Carolina officials have apologized to their Duke counterparts and have promised to pay for damage done by Tar Heels players after Thursday's win over the Blue Devils on the gridiron.

      After beating Duke 45-20 and knocking their rival out of the ACC championship game, Tar Heels players caused "significant" damage to the visiting team locker room as well as an adjacent practice field.

      --Arizona State wide receiver Jaelen Strong is expected to return to the field when the Sun Devils play rival Arizona on Friday.

      The redshirt junior, who leads ASU with 71 catches for 982 yards and nine touchdowns, was held out of the Sun Devils' 52-31 win over Washington State on Saturday because of a concussion suffered in the previous game against Oregon State.

      ---University of Washington linebacker Hau'oli Kikaha heads the list of the five finalists for the Butkus Award, which is given to the top linebacker in college football. The award will be given out Dec. 9.

      UCLA's Eric Kendricks, Miami's Denzel Perryman, Michigan's Jake Ryan and Notre Dame's Jaylon Smith round out the finalists.

  • Monday, November 24, 2014
    Alabama TE Vogler quesitonable for Iron Bowl
    By The Sports Xchange

    Alabama tight end Brian Vogler is questionable for this weekend's Iron Bowl game against Auburn.

    • Vogler strained a knee ligament in Saturday's win over Western Carolina.

      Vogler is not much of a threat to catch the ball but is a physical presence in the run game and a solid pass protector.

      Freshman wide receiver ArDarius Stewart also is questionable with a strained knee ligament.

      "We'll see how they progress throughout the week, but they would be listed as questionable for the game right now, not that everyone will practice today," Saban told Al.com Monday. "As the week progresses, we're hopeful that everybody will respond and be able to get back and contribute in the game."

  • Monday, November 24, 2014
    Northwestern QB Siemian out for season
    By The Sports Xchange

    Northwestern will be without starting quarterback Trevor Siemian when it hosts Illinois on Saturday with bowl-eligibility on the line.

    • Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald announced Monday that Siemian tore his ACL in Saturday's game against Purdue and will miss the rest of the season.

      Northwestern's season will extend beyond Saturday if the Wildcats beat the Illini. Both teams are 5-6 and need one more win to become eligible for a bowl.

      Siemian, a senior, was injured on a quarterback sneak on a fourth-down play on Saturday. He completed 58.2 percent of his passes for 2,214 yards, seven touchdowns and 11 interceptions this season.

      Junior Zack Oliver is likely to be Northwestern's quarterback for Saturday's game. He took over when Siemian was injured against Purdue.

      Oliver played in three games this season, completing seven of 19 pass attempts for 146 yards and one touchdown.

      Freshman Matt Alviti also appeared in three games this season, completing his only pass attempt for 3 yards.

  • Monday, November 24, 2014
    ASU WR Strong expected back vs. Arizona
    By The Sports Xchange

    Arizona State wide receiver Jaelen Strong is expected to return to the field when the Sun Devils play rival Arizona on Friday.

    • The redshirt junior, who leads ASU with 71 catches for 982 yards and nine touchdowns, was held out of the Sun Devils' 52-31 win over Washington State on Saturday because of a concussion suffered in the previous game against Oregon State.

      The Sun Devils (9-2, 6-2 Pac-12) can earn a second straight trip to the Pac-12 championship game if they beat Arizona and UCLA (9-2, 6-2) loses to Stanford on Friday.

  • Monday, November 24, 2014
    North Carolina apologizes to Duke for damage
    By The Sports Xchange

    University of North Carolina officials have apologized to their Duke counterparts and have promised to pay for damage done by Tar Heels players after Thursday's win over the Blue Devils on the gridiron.

    • After beating Duke 45-20 and knocking their rival out of the ACC championship game, Tar Heels players caused "significant" damage to the visiting team locker room as well as an adjacent practice field.

      According to the Herald Sun (Durham, N.C.), damage will exceed $25,000. As is tradition, North Carolina players began spray painting the Victory Bell in their school's color on the field as soon as the game ended.

      The celebration continued as the bell was wheeled across the practice field and into the locker room, causing the damage with paint.

      The paint on the practice field wasn't discovered until the Blue Devils arrived for a scheduled practice on Sunday night.

  • Monday, November 24, 2014
    Washington LB tops Butkus Award list
    By The Sports Xchange

    University of Washington linebacker Hau'oli Kikaha heads the list of the five finalists for the Butkus Award, which is given to the top linebacker in college football. The award will be given out Dec. 9.

    • Kikaha's 17 1/2 sacks is the most in the FBS, as his 23 1/2 tackles for a loss.

      UCLA's Eric Kendricks, Miami's Denzel Perryman, Michigan's Jake Ryan and Notre Dame's Jaylon Smith round out the finalists.

      The top high school linebacker also will be recognized by the Butkus Award. Two Ohio State verbal commits, Jerome Backer and Justin Hilliard top that list.

      Ole Miss verbal Leo Lewis and two uncommitted linebackers, John Houston and Malik Jefferson are the other finalists.

  • Sunday, November 23, 2014
    Fisher: Winston's contact with official harmless
    By The Sports Xchange

    Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher and quarterback Jameis Winston defended the contact the Heisman Trophy winner had with an official during Saturday's game against Boston College on Saturday.

    • The Atlantic Coast Conference later released a statement on Sunday saying the contact was insignifiant and did not warrant a penalty.

      Winston used his left arm to move the official away while trying to get off a quick snap with 5:20 left in the third quarter with the score tied 17-17.

      An official is instructed to stand over the ball to prevent the offense from snapping it until the defense has sufficient time to counter the offense's substitutions. The official stood between Winston and center Cam Erving to prevent the Seminoles from running the play until the Eagles made their defensive substitutions.

      Winston and Fisher said there was nothing malicious about the contact the quarterback made with the official.

      "He was just holding me because he said we had a substitution," Winston said of the official. "It was actually a fast-tempo play, so I was trying to get up under there and let it ride."

      After Winston tried to move the official out of the way, the official retreated to his regular spot on the field.

      Fisher said the play was designed to be run quickly after the following play, but the official tried to delay the play from being run because he ruled the Seminoles were making a substitution at running back.

      "I don't think (Winston) realized it. He was caught up in the excitement of the moment," Fisher said. "Hey, you get emotional. He didn't realize. He thought he could snap the ball. ... He knew that was his job -- get out there and set and snap the ball."

      Fisher said he did not talk to Winston about the contact he made with the official. He defended it as harmless.

      "He doesn't even remember (when he came to the sideline)," Fisher said. "When I yell at players, five minutes later, I don't remember who I yelled at. You move on to the next thing."

      No penalty was called on the play. Florida State later took the lead and won 20-17.

      "(The officials) did a good job on that from that standpoint," he said. "I think they understood what was going on. Those guys handled that part of the game. They managed the game itself and that part, I thought, very good. They did a very nice job."

      Doug Rhoads, the ACC's coordinator of officials, said in a statement Sunday: "The center judge's positioning, which was due to the experimental year of having an eighth official, combined with the late substitution and by rule the need to allow the defense to matchup, led to contact between himself and the player. The official believed the contact was incidental and insignificant and did not rise to the level of unsportsmanlike conduct and automatic disqualification."

  • Sunday, November 23, 2014
    Seminoles, Alabama atop polls
    By The Sports Xchange

    The top four teams in the Associated Press top 25 remained the same this week as Florida State, Alabama, Oregon and Mississippi State continue to lead the poll.

    • It is the first time since late September that the top four went unchanged.

      While Florida State was again No. 1 in the AP media poll, Alabama was ranked No. 1 in this week's USA Today coaches poll. Florida State was No. 2 in that poll, and Oregon and Mississippi State are No. 3 and No. 4 in both polls.

      Florida State received six fewer first-place votes in the AP poll than last week. The Seminoles received 37 votes, while the No. 2 Crimson Tide got 21 and the No. 3 Ducks picked up two.

      Baylor is No. 5 in the AP poll and TCU No. 6. They are reversed in the coaches poll.

  • Sunday, November 23, 2014
    First and 20: Silent Saturday prelude to CFB feast
    By The Sports Xchange

    Not much changed on a sleepy Saturday in college football, which was just an appetizer to Rivalry Week.

    • The top seven teams in the College Football Playoff selection committee's ranking all won -- some more easily than others -- so there wasn't much to talk about other than "game control."

      That was the phrase of the week in college football, an instant flash point among fans, as the committee tried to explain/rationalize how and why it ranked teams as it did. Yeah, we get it. "Game control" is basically another way of saying margin of victory, or a certain team "passes the eye test," but, as always, the only control of the game that really matters is the one that happens when the clock turns from 0:01 of the fourth quarter to 0:00.

      Teams are built to win in different ways. Florida State of 2013 left no meat on the bone as it devoured opponents. Florida State of 2014 toys with its food before leaving the table satisfied.

      The Seminoles did it again Saturday, needing a 26-yard field goal from Roberto Aguayo to escape with a 20-17 win over visiting Boston College. That was FSU's fifth game decided by a touchdown or less; the Seminoles didn't have any of those last year, until beating Auburn in the national championship game.

      "We're undefeated," said coach Jimbo Fisher. "We finish every game. Everybody else in the country has not finished at least one game. We've finished every one of them. Isn't that the object? Isn't that the object?"

      We can't deny that margin of victory has some predictive value, but winning the close ones, having the ability to mount comebacks, is a mighty valuable skill as well. If you want to mark down FSU for its strength of schedule, that's fair, but leave off the demerits for its otherwise lack of "game control" -- a sticky, subjective matter better left to sports talk radio.

      Anyway, the top teams in the selection committee poll are dying for any kind of victory this week against old rivals.

      No. 1 Alabama plays the mother of all Iron Bowl revenge games against Auburn. No. 2 Oregon is at Oregon State. No. 3 Florida State plays host to a Florida team with nothing to lose (having already lost its coach, Will Muschamp, after this game). No. 4 Mississippi State goes to Ole Miss in only the third Egg Bowl to feature ranked teams on both sides.

      Elsewhere, No. 5 TCU is at a surging Texas team on Thanksgiving, and No. 6 Ohio State will try to avoid being a victim of a last gasp from visiting Michigan.

      There are some mismatches here, but the only surprise would be if there are no surprises this week.

      Five things we think we learned in week 13

      1. Can't count out UCLA. The Bruins stomped on rival USC and will be no worse than eighth in the new selection committee poll. Brett Hundley looks like Brett Hundley, the Bruins defensive front has finally come to play, and the Bruins are riding a five-game winning streak into their regular-season finale against Stanford. If that streak gets to seven, which would include a win over Oregon in the Pac-12 title game, UCLA would have a playoff case, especially if the committee values how a team is playing right now.

      2. Jim Hackett has an easy decision to make. Hackett, Michigan's new interim athletic director, will have to make a call on head coach Brady Hoke before a full-time AD is hired. Hackett was non-committal when he met with reporters Saturday ... and then Michigan went out and lost at Maryland. Enough said?

      3. Can't count out Kansas State. The Big 12 debate is which team should be ranked higher -- Baylor or TCU -- but the Wildcats are the third wheel. Each of these teams is 6-1 in the conference, with K-State, coming off a win at West Virginia, finishing the regular-season against Kansas and at Baylor. The Wildcats will be rooting hard for Texas to beat the Horned Frogs on Thanksgiving.

      4. This is the year of the running back. Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon's FBS single-game rushing record lasted one week, broken by Oklahoma freshman Samaje Perine, who went for 427 yards against Kansas. Don't feel too badly for Gordon, who reached 2,000 yards in a season faster than anyone in FBS history -- on his 241st carry. That's a record he'll hold for more than a week.

      5. Virginia Tech remains Ohio State's anchor. The Buckeyes' case for the College Football Playoff is undermined by that early home loss to Virginia Tech, which looks worse all the time. Tech dropped to 5-6 after losing to Wake Forest 6-3 in double overtime. It was the first scoreless regulation game since 2005. The 5-6 Hokies, who have been bowling for 21 consecutive years, need to beat Virginia to make it 22.

      Five top Heisman candidates

      1. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon. He just keeps rolling on, with 323 passing yards and 73 rushing yards against Colorado. He accounted for four touchdowns -- three through the air -- to set the Pac-12 season record with 42 total touchdowns.

      2. Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin. He has 2,109 rushing yards, with potentially three games to play -- vs. Minnesota, Big Ten title game, bowl game. The FBS single-season record is 2,628 yards, held by Oklahoma State's Barry Sanders. This is doable.

      3. Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State. The dual threat is back in the picture, not because the Bulldogs rebounded against overmatched Vanderbilt, but because he can further impress this week against Ole Miss, and, perhaps, in the SEC title game.

      4. J.T Barrett, QB, Ohio State. He's third nationally in passing efficiency (even with 10 interceptions) to go with his 771 rushing yards. Directing the Buckeyes to the Big Ten title certainly will get him to New York City.

      5. Tevin Coleman, RB, Indiana. His numbers are just a tick below Gordon's -- 241 carries, 1,906 yards, 15 touchdowns -- and maybe it's more impressive that, you know, he's doing it at Indiana.

      Five players to watch

      1. Markus Golden, DE, Missouri. He's healthy again, with four sacks in the past two weeks, and just in time as the SEC East is on the line Friday vs. Arkansas, which has defeated LSU and Ole Miss via shutout in each of the past two weeks. With a win, the Tigers advance to the conference title game for the second consecutive season; otherwise, Georgia wins the East.

      2. Nick Wilson, RB, Arizona. He's healthy again, too, rushing for a career-high 218 yards against a tough Utah defense and becoming the first freshman in school history to gain 1,000 yards in a season. He'll be a prime focus Friday against Arizona State.

      3. Jalin Marshall, WR/PR, Ohio State. The speedy redshirt freshman had a 54-yard punt return and three fourth-quarter receiving touchdowns in a difficult win over Indiana, playing the hero after nearly being the goat (two fumbles) a week earlier against Minnesota.

      4. Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech. The true freshman passed for 328 yards and four touchdowns, including one on a late game-winning drive to win at Iowa State. He'll make his fourth start this Saturday at home against Baylor, able to influence the chase for the Big 12 and national titles.

      5. Tyler Lockett, WR/RET, Kansas State. Was brilliant at West Virginia, with 10 catches for 196 yards and a 43-yard punt return for a score. That was his second punt return TD of the season, to go with four career kick return scores.

      Five best week 14 games

      1. Auburn at Alabama, Saturday, 7:45 ET (ESPN). The Tide has waited all year for a chance to pay back the Tigers for the Kick Six, but can Alabama stop QB Nick Marshall? Amazingly, this is the seventh consecutive Iron Bowl that has national championship implications for at least one of the teams.

      2. Florida at Florida State, Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (ESPN). The Gators have the athletes on defense to keep it close. Sure, that's how the 'Noles like it this season, but you know what happens when you play with fire one too many times.

      3. Arizona State at Arizona, Friday, 3:30 p.m. (FOX). There will be plenty of scoreboard watching as Stanford at UCLA kicks off at the same time. If Stanford pulls off the upset, the winner of the Territorial Cup wins the South. This is the first time since 1975 that each team enters the game with at least nine wins -- and that was back when Arizona and ASU were in the WAC.

      4. Mississippi State at Ole Miss, Saturday, 3:30 p.m. (CBS). The Rebels have lost three of their past four games, and really miss their best offensive player, WR Laquon Treadwell. The ending to the season hasn't gone as planned for Ole Miss, but not much would be better than spoiling the Bulldogs' playoff plans.

      5. TCU at Texas, Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET, (FOX Sports 1). The Longhorns have won three in a row and are playing some mean defense for coach Charlie Strong. But it won't be easy to resist TCU QB Trevone Boykin and the Frogs' now-dynamic attack in a key Big 12 game.

      Bonus: Minnesota at Wisconsin, Saturday, 3:30 p.m. (Big Ten Network). Winner takes the Big Ten West and plays Ohio State in the league title game.

      NFLDraftScout.com: Film Room Review

      Analyst Rob Rang's five prospect takeaways for this week. Players listed including position, school, year (Height, weight and current NFLDraftScout.com overall rating and by position).

      1. OT Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame, rSo. (6-6, 318, #5 OT in 2017 class): As he has virtually all season, the left tackle stood out against an athletic Louisville defense, demonstrating the balance, strength and aggression that screams first-round pick.

      2. RB D.J. Foster, Arizona State, Jr. (5-11, 205, #18 RB in 2016 class): Bottled up much of the day by Washington State, Foster showed off his big-play ability, zipping through the defense for a 17-yard touchdown in the first quarter and an 18-yard score in the fourth. He was often targeted as a receiver, as well, demonstrating the versatile skill set that has led scouts to compare him to the Patriots' Shane Vereen.

      3. WR Tyler Lockett, Kansas State, Sr. (5-11, 175, #89/#14): He wins with size, strength and hand-eye coordination, frequently beating defenders this season on jump-balls. He was the big winner in the Wildcats' win at West Virginia, piling up 321 all-purpose yards as a receiver and returner.

      4. DT Marcus Hardison, Arizona State, Sr. (6-4, 298, #299/#25 DT): Sent up the middle and on a variety of stunts, Hardison showed burst, agility (including a spin move) and strength to rip through blocks and pull down ballcarriers.

      5. WR Vince Mayle, Washington State, rSr. (6-3, 219, #160/#22): He frequently beat Arizona State with slants and posts, using his broad shoulders to shield defenders from the ball. Mayle doesn't possess elite speed but he accelerates fluidly, which helps him separate just enough on verticals. Mayle recently accepted an invitation to participate in the East-West Shrine Game.

  • Sunday, November 23, 2014
    Hundley leads UCLA past USC, 38-20
    By The Sports Xchange

    PASADENA, Calif. -- UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley threw for three touchdowns and ran for another as the Bruins defeated crosstown rival USC 38-20 on Saturday at the Rose Bowl.

    • The game was close throughout most of the first half, but UCLA scored a late second-quarter touchdown and two more on its first two possessions of the second half.

      "Those were big," Hundley said. "To come out in the second half and go up 31 and then 38-14 said a lot about us tonight."

      The victory keeps the Bruins' hopes for a spot in the Pac-12 championship game alive. If the Bruins (9-2, 6-2 Pac-12) can defeat Stanford next Friday, they will play Oregon, which beat UCLA 42-30 in October, in the title game.

      "This was a good win that just sets us up to chase our dreams," UCLA coach Jim Mora said. "But Stanford has beat us three times in a row, so we can't gloat."

      As is usually the case with the Bruins, their success depended greatly on the skills of Hundley, who began the year as a Heisman hopeful. Hundley had been particularly effective in three games leading up to Saturday, rushing for more than 100 yards twice. But Saturday he mostly picked apart the Trojan defense from the haven of a clean pocket, completing 22 of 31 passes for 326 yards and touchdowns of 10, 57 and 13 yards.

      "The keys to the ballgame were pretty clear," USC coach Steve Sarkisian said. "Their ability to extend drives, their third-down efficiency, 9-for-16, and then their efficiency in the red zone, 5-for-6. Over time that took a toll on us."

      The game was supposed to be a matchup of two of the Pac-12's most efficient and consistent quarterbacks. Hundley and USC's Cody Kessler entered the game completing better than 70 percent of their passes. But Hundley was clearly better Saturday night, controlling the game throughout, although he did throw an interception for a touchdown and lost a fumble near the USC goal line. By the time the latter turnover occurred, UCLA was comfortably ahead.

      Kessler, who completed 22 of 34 passes for 214 yards and a touchdown, spent most of the evening running from or being swallowed up by the UCLA defensive line. Coming into the game, much had been made of USC's front four on defense, something that UCLA's linemen took a bit personally.

      "I think they saw this game as an opportunity to show who had the better defensive line," UCLA defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich said.

      On Saturday, it was clearly UCLA, which sacked Kessler six times, compared to just two sacks of Hundley by USC.

      Hundley began the game quickly, completing four of his first five passes for 100 yards and two touchdowns. Well, three if you count an interception he threw to USC linebacker Anthony Sarao, who returned the ball 17 yards for the game's first score with 11:53 left in the first quarter.

      Hundley responded with two quick scoring drives, completing a 10-yard scoring pass to wide receiver Devin Lucien after the Bruins recovered a muffed punt.

      The next time Hundley touched the ball, he completed a short pass to sophomore wide receiver Thomas Duarte in the middle of the field. With no defenders around, Duarte ran straight downfield, 57 yards untouched, for the score.

      USC (7-4, 6-3) tied the score with its first offensive touchdown early in the second quarter, on Kessler's 2-yard pass to running back Justin Davis.

      After a field goal put the Bruins ahead 17-14, the Trojans seemed poised to tie the score or go ahead, driving to the Bruins' 30-yard line. But Kessler's pass was tipped and intercepted by senior linebacker Eric Kendricks with little more than five minutes to go in the half.

      Hundley then drove his team down the field and, with 14 seconds left, completed a 13-yard touchdown pass to freshman wide receiver Eldridge Massington. The extra point gave UCLA a 24-14 lead at halftime.

      The Bruins started the second half by driving 84 yards on nine plays to score on running back Paul Perkins' 10-yard run.

      UCLA took a 38-14 lead when Hundley capped another drive with a 15-yard touchdown run.

      "They score right at the end of the half, then they came right back out and got another seven to start the second half," Sarkisian said. "Then we go three and out and they get seven more. That really was the entire ballgame."

      NOTES: At the end of the first quarter, UCLA retired Jackie Robinson's No. 42 in all sports. Robinson was a four-sport athlete for the Bruins from 1939 to 1941. ... This was the 84th meeting between USC and UCLA. The rivalry started in 1929, when USC beat UCLA 73-0.

  • Sunday, November 23, 2014
    Mississippi State mauls Vanderbilt
    By The Sports Xchange

    STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A week after Mississippi State's first loss of the season, the Bulldogs got back to their winning ways with a 51-0 victory over Vanderbilt on Saturday night.

    • "We're 7-0 at home," Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen said. "We talked about it and if you want to compete in the SEC and compete for championships, you have to win home games. We were able to do that this year."

      No. 4 Mississippi State (10-1, 6-1 SEC) got to double-digit wins for the first time since 1999 by gaining 502 yards, with 283 coming on the ground. The defense forced three turnovers to provide the first SEC shutout in 15 years.

      The 51 points were the most scored in an SEC game by the Bulldogs since their 55-31 win over LSU in 1980. It was Mississippi State's first SEC shutout since a 17-0 win over South Carolina in 1999.

      The Commodores (3-7, 0-6) managed just 228 yards -- 49 on the ground. They were also held to 4 of 15 third-down conversions while allowing the Bulldogs to convert 11 of 15.

      "Hats off to a really good Mississippi State football team," Vandy coach Derek Mason said. "I thought they played hard and played physical and they showed why they are a top four team."

      The Bulldogs didn't seem to have any rust from their loss in Tuscaloosa last week. Mississippi State came out in a big way as the Commodores managed just 28 first-quarter yards and minus-5 yards rushing.

      Mississippi State took a 13-0 lead thanks to touchdown passes from quarterback Dak Prescott to senior tight end Malcolm Johnson and junior wide receiver Joe Morrow.

      At the start of the second quarter, Mississippi State senior linebacker Christian Holmes stripped the ball loose on a first-down completion, picked up the ball and ran it back 48 yards for a touchdown and a 20-0 lead.

      The Bulldogs added two more touchdowns from Prescott -- on a 13-yard pass to junior running back Josh Robinson and a 3-yard rush. They ended the half with a 41-yard field goal from Evan Sobiesk and led 37-0 at halftime.

      Mississippi State dominated the half, compiling 280 yards to Vanderbilt's 109.

      The Commodores were plagued by three turnovers as the Bulldogs got interceptions from sophomore linebacker Beniquez Brown and sophomore defensive back Tolando Cleveland in addition to Holmes' fumble recovery.

      "We definitely had our fair share of mistakes and miscues," Mason said. "We didn't do a good enough job for us. It started on defense and we just didn't do a good enough job getting off the field."

      The second half was much of the same, though it took three possessions before Prescott and company could get in the end zone. Sophomore running back Ashton Shumpert capped a nine-play, 72-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown run to push the lead to 44-0.

      In two-and-a-half quarters, Prescott led the Bulldogs with 16-of-21 passing for 192 yards and three touchdowns. He rushed six times for 28 yards and another score.

      With Prescott out the rest of the way, sophomore Damian Williams took over and led Mississippi State into the fourth quarter with a nine-play drive. It ended with Morrow's second touchdown catch of the night, from 9 yards, and Mississippi State took a 51-0 lead. Morrow had a career day with five catches for 79 yards and the two touchdowns.

      Vandy got 156 yards on 15-of-31 passing from freshman quarterback Johnny McCrary, who threw an interception. He also led the team with eight carries and 20 yards.

      Both teams get set for rivalry games this week, with Vandy hosting Tennessee and the Bulldogs traveling to Oxford to play Ole Miss.

      NOTES: Mississippi State's 37-point lead was its largest against an SEC opponent at halftime in school history. ... Vanderbilt's minus-5 yards rushing was the lowest total surrendered in the first quarter by the Bulldogs under defensive coordinator Geoff Collins. ... The 51-point win was the largest victory in SEC play for the Bulldogs since they beat former SEC member Sewanee 68-0 in 1936. ... The Bulldogs have 10 wins for just the third time in school history and the first time in the regular season.

  • Sunday, November 23, 2014
    Mariota leads Ducks to rout of Buffs
    By The Sports Xchange

    EUGENE, Ore. -- It was Senior Day for No. 2 Oregon, but the biggest ovation was reserved for junior quarterback Marcus Mariota.

    • In what was likely his final home game, the Oregon junior quarterback passed for 323 yards and three touchdowns, and ran for 73 yards and another score as the Ducks defeated Colorado 44-10 on Saturday in front of 55,891 at Autzen Stadium.

      "If this was my last game at Autzen, it was truly special," said Mariota, who is projected to be a first-round NFL Draft pick if he leaves school early. "I will hold it close to my heart for all of my life."

      Mariota helped the Ducks improve to 10-1 as they prepare to close out the regular season at Oregon State on Saturday.

      Oregon is 7-1 in the Pac-12 Conference and has clinched the North Division.

      Mariota remains the frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy after completing 24 of 32 passes for 323 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran eight times for 73 yards and a score while improving to 33-4 as Oregon's starting quarterback.

      Mariota has thrown at least one touchdown pass in all 37 games in his career. He has 32 touchdown passes, nine touchdown runs and one touchdown catch to break the Pac-12 record with 42 total touchdowns in one season.

      "I can't do that without all the guys in that locker room," Mariota said. "The guys up front, the receivers making plays. It's funny, to me that is a number. I'm sure some guy will come along and break it in a few years. It is one of those things for the entire offense, not just me."

      Mariota was pulled from the game early in the fourth quarter to a large ovation from the sellout crowd.

      Freshman running back Royce Freeman ran 17 times for 105 yards and two scores for the Ducks, who finished with 597 yards of total offense. Byron Marshall led Oregon with four catches for 65 yards.

      "It was solid," Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said. "We didn't play extremely well in any phase, but that is a good thing. We can definitely improve. We need to play smarter, but I am proud of the effort."

      Colorado made a switch at quarterback and started Jordan Gehrke, who completed 9-of-18 passes for 64 yards in the first half. Sefo Liufau, the usual starter who sustained a concussion in Colorado's last game, replaced Gehrke for the second half and went 7-for-14 for 41 yards and a touchdown.

      "It is obviously different coming in the second half than starting the game, but every time you go out there you want to try and get better," Liufau said. "Obviously, it was a rough day but there are things we can learn from it."

      Christian Powell had 51 yards rushing to lead the Buffaloes while top receiver Nelson Spruce was held to two catches for 16 yards.

      "Oregon is a very good football team," CU coach Mike MacIntyre said. "I thought our kids played hard. I said it and I mean it, I think we're getting better. Last year, this team took a knee and could have beaten us by 70. I thought we battled hard."

      Colorado (2-9, 0-8) opened the game with an onside kick and the Buffaloes recovered it, but went three-and-out and were forced to punt.

      The Ducks responded with a touchdown drive that culminated with a 20-yard scoring run by Freeman, but the two-point conversion failed and Oregon took a 6-0 lead with 10:48 left in the first quarter.

      Colorado drove to the Oregon 23-yard line on its next possession, but kicker Will Oliver missed a 46-yard field goal attempt.

      The Ducks pushed the lead to 13-0 when Mariota ran 46 yards for a touchdown late in the first quarter.

      The Buffaloes got on the scoreboard when Oliver hit a 23-yard field goal midway through the second quarter to cut the lead to 20-3.

      Oregon responded with a scoring drive that lasted less than two minutes before Mariota found wide receiver Charles Nelson for a 31-yard touchdown pass that gave Oregon a 27-3 lead with just over five minutes before halftime.

      Kicker Matt Wogan made a 25-yard field goal in the final minute of the second quarter to put Oregon ahead, 30-3, at halftime.

      Mariota completed 14-for-20 passes for 176 yards and a touchdown in the first half and ran six times for 74 yards and a score.

      Oregon drove to the Colorado 3-yard line on its first drive of the second half, but Mariota threw an incomplete pass in the end zone on fourth down.

      Mariota bounced back to throw a 15-yard touchdown pass to tight end Evan Baylis, his first career touchdown catch, to make it 37-3 in the third quarter.

      Liufau led Colorado on its first scoring drive, culminated by a 5-yard touchdown pass to Donovan Lee, to get the Buffaloes to within 37-10 late in the third quarter.

      Mariota threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Nelson at the end of the third quarter as Oregon went ahead, 44-10.

      NOTES: Oregon all-conference senior C Hroniss Grasu, who started the first 50 games of his career, missed his first game because of an ankle injury. Guard Hamani Stevens moved to center and Doug Brenner got his first career start at guard. ... Evan Baylis made his second career start at tight end for the Ducks in place of Pharaoh Brown, who is out for the season because of a leg injury. ... Oregon QB Marcus Mariota ran for nine yards on his first carry to become the fifth player in NCAA history with more than 9,000 passing yards and 2,000 rushing yards in his career. ... Colorado senior CB Greg Henderson made his 44th career start to set the school record for a defensive back.

  • Sunday, November 23, 2014
    Top 25 roundup: Florida State struggles again, edges BC
    By The Sports Xchange

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- A trying week on the campus of Florida State ended on a positive note Saturday for the Seminoles at Doak Campbell Stadium.

    • But just barely.

      After a shooting on campus early Thursday morning that rocked the Florida State community, the No. 3 Seminoles responded with a gritty 20-17 victory over Boston College on Senior Day, thanks to a 26-yard field goal from sophomore kicker Roberto Aguayo.

      It was the first game-winning kick for the reigning Lou Groza Award winner, who missed for just the second time all season in the third quarter from 40 yards.

      With the score tied 17-17 going into the fourth quarter, Boston College had a chance to take the lead with just over four minutes to play, but kicker Alex Howell pushed a 42-yard field goal attempt wide right, giving the ball back to Florida State and setting up the Seminoles' winning drive.

      Florida State, which extended its school-record and FBS-leading winning streak to 27 games, recognized the three shooting victims -- all of whom survived -- with a special decal for their helmets.

      And every extra bit of motivation was needed Saturday.

      Playing in pouring rain for most of the game, FSU won ugly yet again and will now have to sweat out another few days of wondering where the committee will place them when the new rankings are released Tuesday night.

      But if you ask FSU coach Jimbo Fisher, that argument remains an open and shut case.

      "We're undefeated. We've finished every game," Fisher said. "Everyone else hasn't finished. Isn't that the object?"

      Quarterback Jameis Winston wasn't spectacular, but he was clutch when it counted, going 3-of-3 passing for 33 yards and two first downs on the Seminoles' winning drive. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner finished 22 of 32 for 281 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

      The Eagles (6-5, 3-4) finished with 240 yards on the ground.

      No. 1 Alabama 48, Western Carolina 14

      TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- After a slow start, Alabama cruised over FCS member Western Carolina.

      The Crimson Tide (10-1) recovered from the slow start to lead 38-14 at halftime.

      After winning the toss and electing to receive, Western Carolina (7-5) drove the ball down the field for a touchdown on its opening drive.

      Alabama responded with a score on its first possession as quarterback Blake Sims found freshman wide receiver Cam Sims for the first touchdown of his career. Blake Sims completed 17 of 25 passes for 222 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in the first half. He was relieved by Jake Coker in the second.

      Derrick Henry rushed for two touchdowns and scored a third on a catch for Alabama.

      No. 2 Oregon 44, Colorado 10

      EUGENE, Ore. -- Marcus Mariota passed for 323 yards and three touchdowns, and ran for 73 yards and another score as Oregon routed Colorado.

      Mariota, a redshirt junior, might have made his final appearance at home if he chooses to leave early for the NFL Draft and he helped the Ducks improve to 10-1 as they prepare to close out the regular season at Oregon State on Saturday. Oregon is 7-1 in the Pac-12 Conference and has clinched the North Division.

      Mariota remains the frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy after completing 24 of 32 passes for 323 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran eight times for 73 yards and a score while improving to 33-4 as Oregon's starting quarterback.

      Colorado dropped to 2-9, 0-8.

      No. 4 Mississippi State 51, Vanderbilt 0

      STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A week losing to Alabama, the Mississippi State Bulldogs got back to their winning ways with a rout of Vanderbilt as Dak Prescott threw three touchdown passes and ran for another.

      Mississippi State (10-1, 6-1 SEC) got to double-digit wins for the first time since 1999 by gaining 502 yards, with 283 coming on the ground. The defense forced three turnovers to provide the first SEC shutout in 15 years.

      The 51 points were the most scored in an SEC game by the Bulldogs since their 55-31 win against LSU in 1980. It was the first SEC shutout since 1999, when MSU beat South Carolina 17-0.

      The Commodores (3-7, 0-6) managed just 228 yards -- 49 on the ground. They were also held to just 4 of 15 on third downs while allowing the Bulldogs to convert 11 of 15.

      No. 6 Ohio State 42, Indiana 27

      COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State clinched the Big Ten East Division title and a trip to the conference championship game with a tougher-than-expected victory over Indiana.

      Ohio State's win knocked Michigan State out of the East race. The Buckeyes hold the tiebreaker by virtue of their 49-37 triumph at East Lansing on Nov. 8.

      The Buckeyes (10-1, 7-0) extended their Big Ten regular-season winning streak to 23 games, but they trailed the 34-point underdog Hoosiers 20-14 late in the third quarter before pulling away with four touchdowns from freshman H-back Jalin Marshall.

      Quarterback J.T. Barrett, who thrust himself into the Heisman Trophy race with impressive performances the previous two weeks, set school records for total offense and touchdown passes in a season. Despite throwing two interceptions, the redshirt freshman finished with 302 yards on 25-of-35 passing and four touchdowns, and rushed for 78 yards on 20 carries.

      Indiana running back Tevin Coleman, who entered the game as the nation's second-leading rusher, stunned the Buckeyes with a 90-yard touchdown burst -- the second longest run in school history -- to gave the Hoosiers (3-8, 0-7) a 20-14 lead with 7:17 left in the third quarter. A week after rushing for 307 yards, Coleman ran for 228 yards and three scores.

      No. 7 Baylor 49, Oklahoma State 28

      WACO, Texas -- Baylor, still chasing a Big 12 championship and a possible berth in the playoffs, raced past Oklahoma State.

      Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty, who finished with 262 passing yards, threw a couple of early over-the-top haymakers, then the Bears turned to their running game to wear down the Cowboys.

      Baylor (9-1, 6-1 Big 12) ran for 318 yards. Shock Linwood gained 113 on 21 carries and scored on an 11-yard run, and Devin Chafin added 106 yards and scored three times.

      Oklahoma State starting quarterback Daxx Garman didn't play after concussion-like symptoms kept him out of practice for two days in preparation for the Baylor game. Mason Rudolph started in place of Garman and the Cowboys (5-6, 3-5) employed a conservative game plan.

      Arkansas 30, No. 8 Ole Miss 0

      FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Arkansas rode a 17-0 first-quarter lead into a big-play defensive second half and shut out Ole Miss in front of a rain-soaked crowd.

      The Razorbacks (6-5, 2-5 SEC), who went more than two years without an SEC victory before beating LSU 17-0 last week, is the first unranked team to shut out multiple ranked opponents in the same season since 1942. The Razorbacks are bowl eligible for the first time since 2011.

      The loss eliminates the Rebels (8-3, 4-3) from playoff contention heading into next week's Egg Bowl against Mississippi State in Oxford, Miss.

      A 100-yard interception return for a touchdown by Arkansas junior Rohan Gaines with 3:38 left in the third quarter pushed the Razorbacks' lead to 27-0 and exemplified the kind of day it was for both teams.

      No. 9 UCLA 38, No. 19 Southern Cal 20

      PASADENA, Calif. -- UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley passed for 326 yards and three touchdowns and ran for another as the Bruins defeated crosstown rival USC at the Rose Bowl.

      The game was close throughout most of the first half, but UCLA scored a late second-quarter touchdown and two more on its first two possessions of the second half.

      The victory keeps the Bruins' hopes for a spot in the Pac-12 championship game alive. If the Bruins (9-2, 6-2 Pac-12) can defeat Stanford next Friday, they will play Oregon, which beat UCLA 42-30 in October, in the title game.

      Cody Kessler passed for 214 yards for the Trojans (7-4, 6-3).

      No. 10 Georgia 55, Charleston Southern 9

      ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia scored early and often, getting contributions from a number of different players en route to an easy win over FCS member Charleston Southern

      Georgia starters only made a cameo appearance, including starting quarterback Hutson Mason and running back Nick Chubb who only played the first half of the game. The Bulldogs (9-2) piled up 580 offensive yards.

      Mason completed 10 of 12 passes for 187 yards and three touchdowns -- two going to wide receiver Chris Conley -- while Chubb rushed nine times for 113 yards and two scores.

      Charleston Southern (8-4) was held to 211 total yards.

      No. 11 Michigan State 45, Rutgers 3

      EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Jeremy Langford rushed for 126 yards and two touchdowns and Michigan State cruised over Rutgers.

      Langford, a senior tailback, extended his streak of rushing for more than 100 yards in Big Ten regular-season games to 14 games.

      Junior Connor Cook completed 16 of 24 passes for 254 yards and two touchdowns for the Spartans (9-2, 6-1 Ten).

      Rutgers (6-5, 2-5) was held to 234 total yards.

      No. 13 Arizona State 52, Washington State 31

      TEMPE, Ariz. -- Halfback D.J. Foster rushed for three touchdowns and Taylor Kelly passed for four as Arizona State pulled away from Washington State.

      Washington State redshirt freshman quarterback Luke Falk completed 45 of 74 passes for 601 yards and three touchdowns, but he also had four interceptions and lost a fumble while being sacked.

      The opportunistic Sun Devils (9-2, 6-2 Pac-12) scored touchdowns after all five WSU turnovers and scored the first 31 points of the second half.

      Washington State dropped to 3-8, 2-6.

      No. 14 Auburn 31, Samford 7

      AUBURN, Ala. -- Cameron Artis-Payne ran for 129 yards and a touchdown and Nick Marshall passed for 171 yards and a score as Auburn snapped a two-game skid with a win over FCS member Samford.

      Auburn (8-3) used the game to tune up for next week's showdown at Alabama.

      Samford, coached by former Auburn quarterback and 1971 Heisman Trophy winner Pat Sullivan, dropped to 7-4.

      No. 15 Arizona 42, No. 17 Utah 10

      SALT LAKE CITY -- Freshman running back Nick Wilson ran for a career-high 218 yards and three touchdowns and the Arizona defense scored twice to defeat Utah.

      The Wildcats (9-2, 6-2 Pac-12) forced four turnovers, returning a fumble and interception for scores. They also held Utah to 6 of 19 on third downs and just 4.9 yards per pass.

      Wilson surpassed 1,000 yards with his sixth game of 100 yards or more, and Arizona's 520 yards of total offense was the most given up by the Utes (7-4, 4-4) this season.

      No. 16 Wisconsin 26, Iowa 24

      IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Wisconsin quarterback Joel Stave completed a 35-yard pass to running back Melvin Gordon on third-and-12, leading to the game-deciding touchdown and completing a victory over Iowa.

      With a delayed blitzing safety in his face, Stave lofted a short pass to Gordon, who burst through the Iowa defense and sprinted to the Hawkeyes' 33. Two plays later, Gordon blasted off left tackle for a 23-yard touchdown scamper to give Wisconsin a 26-17 lead.

      Gordon, who finished with 200 yards rushing and 64 yards receiving, became just the second Wisconsin player to eclipse 2,000 yards rushing in a season. He's now tied with former Wisconsin running back Ron Dayne for both the school and Big Ten season record. Dayne had 2,109 yards in 1996, the same as Gordon this year. Gordon rushed for 408 yards last week against Nebraska.

      The Badgers (9-2, 6-1 Big Ten) will play Minnesota for the Big Ten West Division title next Saturday.

      Jake Rudock had 311 yards passing and two TDs for the Hawkeyes (7-4, 4-3).

      No. 20 Missouri 29, Tennessee 21

      KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Missouri quarterback Maty Mauk threw two touchdown passes and Marcus Murphy ran for two scores to beat Tennessee.

      The Tigers (9-2, 6-1 SEC) can clinch the SEC East and earn a second straight trip to the conference championship game by winning at home Friday over Arkansas.

      Tennessee (5-6, 2-5) must win next week at Vanderbilt to become bowl-eligible for the first time since 2010.

      No. 21 Oklahoma 44, Kansas 7

      NORMAN, Okla. -- Freshman Samaje Perine set a major college record by running for 427 yards and scored five touchdowns to lead Oklahoma over Kansas.

      Perine shattered the NCAA single-game rushing mark that was set one week ago by Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon, who rushed for 408 yards against Nebraska.

      Perine set the record on his 34th and final carry, a 42-yard run with 12:16 left in the fourth quarter, rewarding the fans who waited through a nearly two-hour rain delay and heavy rains throughout the game once it started.

      Chants of "Pe-rine" kicked up in the stadium. The game was stopped as the ball Perine used on his record-setting carry was taken out of play and the true freshman running back was mobbed by his teammates near the sideline.

      The Sooners are now 8-3, 5-3 Big 12. The Jayhawks dropped to 3-8, 1-7.

      No. 22 Clemson 28, Georgia State 0

      CLEMSON, S.C. -- Redshirt freshman running back Tyshon Dye rushed for 124 yards and two touchdowns as Clemson tuned up for its season-ending rivalry game against South Carolina by blanking Georgia State.

      Clemson rebounded from a 28-6 loss at Georgia Tech last week by completely dominating the outmanned Panthers from the outset, building a 28-0 halftime lead and turning the game over to its defense.

      Clemson improved to 8-3 overall while Georgia State slipped to 1-10.

      No. 24 Louisville 31, Notre Dame 28

      SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Louisville withstood a late charge on the road to beat Notre Dame.

      Notre Dame nearly erased an 11-point deficit in the fourth quarter to force overtime, but kicker Kyle Brindza missed a 32-yard field goal attempt wide right with 51 seconds to go.

      Louisville (8-3) earned its third win in the past four games and improved to 4-2 on the road. In his third start, Cardinals quarterback Reggie Bonnafon rushed for two touchdowns and passed for one more.

      Notre Dame (7-4) lost its third consecutive game and has dropped four out of five games since starting the season at 6-0. The three-game losing streak marks longest slump for the Fighting Irish since 2010, which was coach Brian Kelly's first year at the helm.

      No. 25 Minnesota 28, No. 23 Nebraska 24

      LINCOLN, Neb. -- Quarterback Mitch Leidner ran 22 times for 110 yards, including the game-winning touchdown with 3:25 remaining, and Minnesota defeated Nebraska.

      Leidner, who completed 8 of 17 passes for 135 yards, engineered a 10-play, 80-yard touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter that gave Minnesota its first lead of the day and kept the Gophers' Big Ten West Division title hopes alive.

      Minnesota (8-3, 5-2 Big Ten) can clinch the division by winning at rival Wisconsin next week.

      Nebraska (8-3, 4-3) squandered a 21-7 halftime lead and lost its second straight game.

  • Sunday, November 23, 2014
    Baylor rolls to 49-28 win over Oklahoma State
    By The Sports Xchange

    WACO, Texas -- Baylor kept its foot on the gas.

    • The seventh-ranked Bears, still chasing a Big 12 championship and a possible berth in the College Football Playoff, raced past Oklahoma State 49-28 on a rainy Saturday night at McLane Stadium.

      Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty, who finished with 262 passing yards, threw a couple of early over-the-top haymakers, then the Bears turned to their running game to wear down the Cowboys.

      Baylor (9-1, 6-1 Big 12) ran for 317 yards, Shock Linwood gained 113 on 21 carries and scored on an 11-yard run, and Devin Chafin added 106 yards and scored three times.

      Linwood said he preferred the rainy-day setting.

      "Growing up as a kid, playing video games, I always played them in the rain," Linwood said. "On a rainy day, give it to me."

      Although there were no lightning delays, rain soaked McLane Stadium most of the night. Baylor took advantage of a dry spell right after the opening kickoff when Petty threw a 65-yard touchdown pass to Jay Lee and a 54-yarder to Corey Coleman.

      "When we got out there and it wasn't raining early in the game, we felt like we had to get it while we could," Baylor coach Art Briles said.

      "We did that. Other than that, we really didn't have a change. We ran the ball a lot more tonight than we would have normally. That had to do with having a lead and trying to get out of the game with a victory."

      Oklahoma State starting quarterback Daxx Garman didn't play after concussion-like symptoms kept him out of practice for two days in preparation for the Baylor game. Mason Rudolph started in place of Garman and the Cowboys (5-6, 3-5) employed a conservative game plan.

      Rudolph attempted just 14 passes through the first three quarters. When Oklahoma State had a chance to cut into Baylor's two-touchdown lead on its first three possessions in the third quarter, the Cowboys rushed eight times and Rudolph was sacked the only time he dropped back to pass.

      Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said he did not look back and regret the conservative approach. The Cowboys rushed for just 17 yards in the third quarter and 63 in the second half, but Gundy applauded that effort.

      "We started to run the ball more aggressively in the middle of the third quarter and the fourth quarter and we need to start the game out that way," Gundy said.

      When Oklahoma State failed to make a dent in Baylor's lead early in the second half, the Bears eventually took firm command.

      Linwood's 11-yard touchdown and Chafin's third score put Baylor ahead 42-14 with 14:21 left in the fourth quarter.

      After a productive fourth quarter, Rudolph finished 13-of-25 for 281 yards and two touchdowns. However, Baylor safety Orion Stewart intercepted a Rudolph pass to end the Cowboys' last chance to swipe the momentum in the fourth quarter.

      "It looks like he played OK," Gundy said. "He made some mistakes. He had a couple of poor throws and obviously he made a mistake there at the end on the interception. But overall I thought he competed."

      Oklahoma State kept Baylor from running away in the first half as Rudolph hit wide receiver David Glidden on a fade route for an 8-yard touchdown with a second left before halftime.

      Rudolph's touchdown pass cut Baylor's lead to 28-14 going to the break.

      The Bears had staked a three-touchdown lead after two Chafin touchdown runs and two Bryce Petty TD passes and finished the first half with 362 total yards.

      Baylor clicked on offense from the beginning as it took the Bears just two plays to score on their game-opening offensive series. Petty hit wide receiver Jay Lee on a flag route for a 65-yard touchdown, putting the Bears in front 36 seconds into the game.

      The Baylor defense forced Oklahoma State to go three-and-out on its first possessions, allowing the Bears offense to go quickly back to work.

      This time, Baylor needed only three plays to go 80 yards as Petty connected with wide receiver Antwan Goodley for 26 yards, then tossed a 54-yard touchdown pass to Corey Coleman, running the same route that Lee scored on two minutes earlier.

      Baylor had a 14-0 lead 2:36 into the first quarter as it threatened to bury the Cowboys.

      But Oklahoma State minimized the damage when cornerback Ramon Richards intercepted Petty at the Bears' 43.

      The Cowboys moved inside the Baylor 10 on Rudolph's 34-yard completion to Glidden, and cashed in on the turnover on running back Desmond Roland's 1-yard run.

      NOTES: Oklahoma State entered the game with a dominating 16-2 advantage in the series in the Big 12 era and the Cowboys were the only Big 12 team to defeat the Bears on their way to a conference title last season. ... Baylor now has a 15-game home winning streak, going back more than two years to Oct. 13, 2012, when the Bears fell 49-21 vs. TCU. ... Baylor is 16-0 at home when ranked in the top 25 under coach Art Briles.

  • Sunday, November 23, 2014
    Virginia knocks off Miami, still has shot at bowl
    By The Sports Xchange

    CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Needing two wins to become bowl eligible with just two games remaining, Virginia knew what they had to do. However, after losing four straight games and limping into their home finale against Miami, the Cavaliers knew nabbing a win against a Hurricane squad that nearly knocked off Florida State last week wouldn't be easy.

    • Using 30 unanswered points and playing inspired in front of 39,112 fans on senior night, Virginia snapped its four-game losing skid and crept one win away from bowl eligibility with a 30-13 win over Miami Saturday night at Scott Stadium.

      "What a great win for this team," Virginia head coach Mike London said. "They never doubted and always believed in themselves. Short lived, but I'm sure they are excited."

      The Cavaliers outgained Miami just 341-327 but owned the time of possession, possessing the ball for 35:56.

      "The mentality was great," London said. "Every game is a new opportunity. You just need to play and let the execution take care of itself."

      Running back Duke Johnson needed 122 rushing yards to become the Hurricanes' all-time leading rusher, but he was held to just 88 by the Cavalier defense.

      Miami's 64 total rushing yards was their lowest output of the season.

      Virginia (5-6, 3-4) quarterback Greyson Lambert finished the night with 146 yards after completing 17 of 25 passes. His opposition, Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya, was 20 of 33 for 263 yards, with a touchdown and an interception.

      Miami (6-5, 3-4) struck first as Kaaya connected with senior wide receiver Phillip Dorsett on a 47-yard touchdown pass that put the Hurricanes up 7-0 with 3:03 left in the first quarter.

      Virginia was not fazed, scoring 13 unanswered points in the first half and 30 in all.

      With Virginia trailing 7-3 with 3:21 left in the second quarter, Lambert found wide receiver Canaan Severin, who reeled in a one-handed touchdown catch to give Virginia a 10-7 advantage.

      Severin led the Cavaliers with 55 yards receiving.

      Just before halftime, a blocked field goal by the Cavaliers set them up deep in Miami territory, where they cashed in with an 18-yard field goal to send them into the locker room ahead 13-7.

      The Cavaliers didn't get back on the scoreboard until late in the third quarter, when a roughing-the-kicker penalty on a field-goal attempt gave Virginia new life.

      Senior receiver Darius Jennings scored on a 1-yard run to give Virginia a 20-7 lead with 1:37 left in the quarter.

      Virginia running back Khalek Shepherd put the nail in the coffin with 8:30 left in the game when his 4-yard touchdown run gave the Cavaliers the definitive 30-7 lead.

      Shepherd ran for 95 yards in the game and recorded 128 all-purpose yards after replacing fellow senior Kevin Parks, who suffered a concussion in the first quarter.

      "Wasn't he outstanding?" London said. "He does his role and was called upon to do big things. We appreciate his leadership."

      NOTES: Miami is 17-3 when running back Duke Johnson rushes for a touchdown. ... Mike London owns a 4-1 record against Miami as the Cavaliers' coach. ... Since the Hurricanes' arrival to the ACC in 2004, Virginia is 6-5 against the Hurricanes. ... Miami wide receiver Herb Waters was carted off the field after suffering an apparent neck injury. ... Virginia closes out its regular season next week at Virginia Tech while Miami hosts Pittsburgh.

  • Saturday, November 22, 2014
    Maryland rallies to upend Michigan
    By The Sports Xchange

    ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Wes Brown's 1-yard touchdown run with six minutes to play was enough to push Maryland to a 23-16 victory over Michigan on Saturday.

    • The Wolverines (5-6, 3-4 Big Ten) had won the three previous meetings against Maryland (7-4, 4-3).

      "I told our guys we needed to come out here and make some memories so that we could have a reunion 30 years from now and reminisce about the good things," Terps coach Randy Edsall said. "To beat Penn State on the road, and beat Michigan on the road, and go 5-1 on the road in our first year in the league is special."

      Not only was it the Terps' first Big Ten victory over the Wolverines, but it also happened to be a record day for kicker Brad Craddock, who hit field goals from 38, 41 and 21 yards in the first half.

      The 41-yarder marked the 10th in a row from 40 yards or better for the Lou Groza Award candidate. The 6-foot, 180-pound junior holds the Maryland record with 23 consecutive field goals.

      Maryland and Michigan had met three times prior to Saturday, with the Wolverines winning each of them, most recently in 1990.

      Edsall's win marked the second for Big Ten newcomers over Michigan coach Brady Hoke, who lost to Rutgers on the road Oct. 4.

      Only 13 seconds into the fourth quarter, quarterback C.J. Brown tied the game with an 8-yard rushing touchdown. The 6-3, 218-pound senior finished with 87 rushing, with a long run of 30, and 165 passing yards. Brown entered the game with 1,723 passing yards, 11 touchdowns, nine interceptions and a team-high 375 rushing yards. He has thrown for more than 240 yards only twice this season -- in a loss to West Virginia on Sept. 13 and in a victory over Syracuse on Sept. 20.

      Despite his struggles with only 39 yards rushing, Wes Brown was satisfied with his offense's debut in Ann Arbor. His late rushing touchdown certainly helped alter the tone, but the Terps were aggressive early -- even if they had to settle for field goals.

      "You feel a little bit better knowing the offense stepped up to the challenge," C.J. Brown said. "To come out today and finish the game was huge for us. The tempo startled them and caught them off guard. We had a couple of drives we moved the ball down the field pretty well."

      Michigan's Matt Wile made three field goals in the first half (22, 33, 26) for the Wolverines, who entered the day with the No. 13-ranked scoring offense (20.7 per game) and No. 14-ranked, or dead-last, total offense (322.6 yards) in the Big Ten. Wile has made at least two field goals in four games this season.

      Devin Gardner's 15-yard touchdown run, his first score since Oct. 4 against Rutgers, helped push Michigan to a 16-9 lead with 10:25 to play in the third quarter. The fifth-year senior quarterback passed for 106 yards, rushed for 82 and ended his career with a 11-5 record at Michigan Stadium.

      Led by Gardner and redshirt junior running back Drake Johnson, the Wolverines put up a season-high 292 yards on the ground. Joe Kerridge, a junior fullback, rushed for a game-long 52 yards in the first half.

      The Wolverines close their season next Saturday at Ohio State, while the Terps host Rutgers.

      "In our locker room, there's a lot of disappointment but also a lot of pride," Hoke said.

      NOTES: Standout WR Stefon Diggs of Maryland again was sidelined and is expected to miss the rest of the regular season because of a lacerated kidney. However, coach Randy Edsall told reporters this week that Diggs could return for the bowl game. ... The Wolverines close their season next Saturday at Ohio State, while the Terps host Rutgers. ... Other than his 11-2 debut in 2011, coach Brandy Hoke has been short on winning streaks at Michigan. He had a five-game run to open 2013 and a pair of three-game runs in 2012. At home by the year, he has been 8-0 in 2011, 6-0 in 2012, 5-2 in 2013, 4-3 in 2014. ... Michigan entered the game with the nation's No. 9-ranked total defense and No. 7-ranked rushing defense.

  • Saturday, November 22, 2014
    Alabama overcomes injuries vs. Western Carolina
    By The Sports Xchange

    TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- After a slow start, No. 1 Alabama cruised to a 48-14 victory over Western Carolina on Saturday in Bryant-Denny Stadium.

    • Alabama started slowly but still took a 38-14 lead into halftime.

      After winning the toss and electing to receive, Western Carolina drove the ball down the field for a touchdown on its opening drive.

      Western Carolina quarterback Troy Mitchell hit wide receiver Spearman Robinson for a 2-yard score and a 7-0 lead.

      "We came in, tried to have fun and we played our game," said Mitchell, who completed 23 of 39 passes for 221 yards and two touchdowns. "We moved the ball and ended up scoring. We just got out there and had fun."

      Alabama responded with a score on its first possession as quarterback Blake Sims found freshman wide receiver Cam Sims for the first touchdown of his career. Blake Sims completed 17 of 25 passes for 222 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in the first half. He was relieved by Jake Coker, who completed 12 of 15 passes for 115 yards and a touchdown in the second half.

      A field goal at the end of the first quarter gave Alabama a 10-7 lead.

      "We just weren't ready to play; we were flat early in the game," Tide coach Nick Saban said at halftime. "We didn't have the energy in the pregame warmups and we didn't play with any energy in the beginning of the game."

      Alabama added four touchdowns in the second quarter to push the margin out of reach.

      Sophomore running back Derrick Henry ran for two touchdowns and caught a TD pass to lead Alabama (10-1). Henry got the start with T.J. Yeldon (ankle) being held out for rest.

      "As the game wore on, I thought our guys played better," Saban said. "I was proud of the way they competed throughout. Their (Western Carolina's) players did a really good job in the game. They had a really good plan and did a really good job of executing it."

      At least four Alabama starters went down with injuries.

      Star receiver Amari Cooper left the game with a bruised knee. Saban said Cooper could have returned if needed.

      Other injuries included defensive lineman A'Shawn Robinson (ankle sprain), left tackle Cam Robinson (ankle sprain), tight end Brian Vogler (knee sprain), wide receiver ArDarius Stewart (knee sprain) and linebacker Reuben Foster (shoulder). Saban said Stewart and Vogler's injuries were the most serious. The other players should be OK, Saban said.

      The two Robinsons and Vogler are regular starters, while Stewart got the start in place of wide receiver DeAndrew White (hamstring), who was held out for rest. Foster is a key contributor on special teams.

      Alabama emptied the bench at the end of the third quarter to get its backups some quality reps. Reserve wide receiver Chris Black made the most of the opportunity, catching six passes for 101 yards.

      "It feels great," Black said. "I haven't done that since high school, so it's definitely something to be proud of and something to build on."

      Running backs Tyren Jones and Altee Tenpenny also showed flashes. Jones played much of the third quarter, totaling 75 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. Tenpenny gained 64 yards on 11 carries.

      "It's a good win for us," Saban said. "A lot of guys got to play, which is a good thing, because we haven't had a lot of games this year where we've been able to play a lot of players."

      NOTES: Alabama RB T.J. Yeldon, WR DeAndrew White, LB Denzel Devall and K Adam Griffith did not start. Yeldon has battled an ankle injury, while White is recovering from a hamstring injury. Devall sprained his ankle in practice this week. Griffith's injury is unknown. Alabama coach Nick Saban said all three could have played if necessary. … Sophomore Derrick Henry replaced Yeldon and redshirt freshman ArDarius Stewart filled in for White. ... Western Carolina intercepted a pass by Blake Sims pass in the first half. It was Sims' first interception in 158 throws. … Western Carolina's 14 points are the most it has scored in any game playing Alabama. The Catamounts' previous high was six.