The Big Ten race won’t officially be decided until Dec. 5 when the final BCS standings come out.
No. 5 Wisconsin, however, left little doubt which of the three teams that tied for first would be going to the Rose Bowl.
The Badgers, No. 8 Ohio State and No. 11 Michigan State all finished 11-1 and 7-1 in conference. The BCS standings will be used to break the tie. Wisconsin held the advantage coming into the weekend and its 70-23 victory against Northwestern should keep the Badgers ahead of their rivals.
Ohio State beat Michigan 37-7, the Buckeyes seventh straight victory in that heated rivalry.
Michigan State beat Penn State 28-22. The Spartans beat Wisconsin this season, but they also had the most lopsided loss of the three teams.
Wisconsin handed Ohio State its only defeat and the Buckeyes and Spartans did not play.
Also decided on Saturday was the ACC’s Atlantic Division. Florida State earned that when Maryland beat North Carolina State 38-31.
No. 4 TCU 66, New Mexico 17
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Andy Dalton threw three touchdown passes before leaving with an elbow injury and TCU capped its second straight undefeated regular season with a second consecutive Mountain West championship.
The next stop for the BCS-busting Horned Frogs could very well be the Rose Bowl.
TCU (12-0, 8-0 Mountain West) has been jockeying with Boise State for a possible BCS appearance and got a major boost from Nevada, which knocked off the previously unbeaten Broncos on Friday night to clear the Frogs an easier path to Pasadena.
If form holds next week across the college football landscape, it could be a purple Rose Bowl.
Fullback Luke Shivers scored twice on short runs and reserve quarterback Casey Pachall passed for one TD and ran for another as TCU, as expected, dominated New Mexico (1-11, 1-7).
No. 5 Wisconsin 70,
MADISON, Wis. — Montee Ball rushed for 178 yards and four touchdowns and the Badgers earned a share of the Big Ten championship.
The Badgers (11-1, 7-1) made it four straight wins by 20 points or more — and it wasn’t even the most lopsided game in that stretch, because Wisconsin beat Indiana 83-20 on Nov. 13. It also was the third time this season the Badgers scored 70 points or more.
Scott Tolzien was 15 of 19 for 230 yards and four touchdowns, including a pair to wide receiver Nick Toon.
It was also a dominant game by standout defensive end J.J. Watt, who forced two fumbles, made a big hit that caused an interception and blocked an extra point try.
Venric Mark returned a kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown for Northwestern (7-5, 3-5 Big Ten).
No. 7 Stanford 38,
Oregon State 0
STANFORD, Calif. — Andrew Luck threw four touchdown passes to set a single-season school record and No. 7 Stanford stated its case for a berth in the Bowl Championship Series by beating Oregon State 38-0 Saturday night.
Stepfan Taylor ran for 115 yards and a touchdown and Doug Baldwin caught two TD passes for the Cardinal (11-1, 8-1 Pac-10), who set a school record for wins with an emphatic close to the regular season.
Now Stanford needs to wait a week to learn its bowl fate, hoping for an at-large berth in the BCS with No. 1 Oregon having already wrapped up the Pac-10’s automatic berth.
The Beavers (5-6, 4-4) need to beat the Ducks at home next Saturday to make it to a bowl game for a school-record fifth consecutive season. Ryan Katz threw three interceptions and lost a fumble as Oregon State failed in its first attempt to become bowl eligible.
No. 8 Ohio State 37, Michigan 7
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Jordan Hall broke the game open with an 85-yard kickoff return and the Buckeyes defense shut down Michigan’s high-powered offense for their seventh straight win in the rivalry.
The Buckeyes (11-1, 7-1) picked up two celebration penalties after touchdowns but had a lot to celebrate: A share of a record-tying sixth Big Ten title and, most likely, a Bowl Championship Series bid.
Terrelle Pryor had two TD passes and Dan “Boom” Herron finished with 175 yards on 22 carries.
It was another stumble for Michigan (7-5, 3-5) under coach Rich Rodriguez, now 0-3 against the Buckeyes and just 15-21 overall with the Wolverines.
No. 11 Michigan State 28,
Penn State 22
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Michigan State claimed at least a share of its first Big Ten title since 1990 after winning at blustery Beaver Stadium.
Edwin Baker ran for 118 yards and a touchdown, and Keshawn Martin’s 35-yard reverse deep in Penn State territory set up another early score for Michigan State (11-1, 7-1 Big Ten).
Kirk Cousins threw for 152 yards and two touchdowns to B.J. Cunnigham, and the defense held off a fourth-quarter charge by penalty-prone Penn State (7-5, 4-4).
Penn State scored 19 fourth-quarter points, and had a chance for a comeback after Matt McGloin found Derek Moye for a 4-yard touchdown pass with 56 seconds left.
Michigan State recovered the ensuing onside kick to finally seal the win.
No. 13 Virginia Tech 37, Virginia 7
BLACKSBURG, Va. — Ryan Williams ran for two touchdowns and No. 13 Virginia Tech won its 10th consecutive game and seventh in a row over Virginia.
Tyrod Taylor threw for 176 yards and a touchdown and became the career passing yardage leader for the Hokies (10-2, 8-0 ACC). Virginia Tech also became the first team to finish the regular season unbeaten in Atlantic Coast Conference play since Florida State in 2000.
The Hokies will meet either the Seminoles or North Carolina State in next weekend’s ACC championship game in Charlotte, N.C. It will be Tech’s fourth appearance in six years.
The game ended a difficult first season under coach Mike London for Virginia (4-8, 1-7). The Cavaliers lost their final four games and have now lost 13 straight games in November.
No. 18 South Carolina 29,
CLEMSON, S.C. — Stephen Garcia threw for two touchdowns, Alshon Jeffery had his seventh 100-yard receiving game and No. 18 South Carolina posted its third nine-win season ever with a 29-7 victory over rival Clemson on Saturday.
In a season of milestones, this was likely one of the sweetest for the Southeastern Conference Eastern Division winners, who beat the Tigers in consecutive games for the first time since 1968-70.
The Gamecocks (9-3) have only won nine games twice before in 117 seasons of football, going 10-2 in 1984 and 9-3 in 2001. And their passing game, led by Garcia and star wideout Jeffery, gave Auburn’s secondary something to worry about with next week’s SEC championship coming up.
Jeffery had four catches for 126 yards by halftime, including a 37-yard touchdown throw from Garcia.
No. 21 North Carolina State 31
COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Danny O’Brien threw for a career-high 417 yards and four touchdowns, all to Torrey Smith, and Maryland denied North Carolina State a spot in the Atlantic Coast Conference title game.
Needing a victory to win the league’s Atlantic Division, North Carolina State (8-4, 5-3) scored touchdowns on its first two possessions to take a 14-0 lead. But the Terrapins (8-4, 5-3) rallied behind O’Brien, whose deft throwing made up for a running game that finished with negative yardage.
North Carolina State ended up in a second-place tie with Maryland behind Florida State, which will face Virginia Tech in the championship game on Dec. 5.
No. 22 Florida State 31, Florida 7
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Seminoles not only put the brakes on a six-year losing streak against archrival Florida , they also slipped into next week’s Atlantic Coast Conference championship game.
Florida State players were already celebrating what turned out to be a relatively easy win over the Gators and the locker room got even noisier when the verdict came in from College Park, Md.
Christian Ponder threw for 221 yards and three touchdowns in his final game at home and Jimbo Fisher finished with a 9-3 regular season record in his first season as a head coach.
The Seminoles (6-2 ACC) put the game away with a 21-point second quarter, getting three touchdowns in just over nine minutes to take a 24-7 halftime lead.
Florida (7-5, 4-4 Southeastern Conference) capped its worst regular season under Urban Meyer with its first loss to FSU since Meyer took over in Gainesville in 2005.
No. 23 Utah 17, BYU 16
SALT LAKE CITY — Brandon Burton blocked a last-second field goal to lift Utah to a wild victory against BYU in their final game as Mountain West Conference rivals.
Mitch Payne had already kicked three field goals for BYU and was lined up for the game-winning 42-yarder. But Burton came up big for the Utes (10-2, 7-1), who likely are headed to the Las Vegas Bowl.
BYU (6-6, 5-2) at one point had a 13-0 lead. But the Utes came back behind sophomore quarterback Jordan Wynn, who had been benched to start the second half.
Reinserted after Terrance Cain tossed two interceptions in two third-quarter possessions, Wynn pulled Utah within 13-10 with a 37-yard touchdown pass to DeVonte Chrisopher with 13:46 to play. He then set Matt Asiata up for a 3-yard TD run with 4:24 remaining that gave Utah it’s first lead.
Minnesota 27, No. 24 Iowa 24
MINNEAPOLIS — Duane Bennett’s touchdown run with 4:31 left lifted Minnesota to its first victory against Iowa in four years.
DeLeon Eskridge had 95 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries for Minnesota (3-9, 2-6 Big Ten), which outmuscled Iowa on both sides of the line of scrimmage.
Freshman Marcus Coker carried 21 times for 90 yards for Iowa (7-5, 4-4), which closed the regular season with three straight losses of four points or fewer.
After the Gophers went ahead, Coker broke free, then started to brake near midfield where he was crushed by Troy Stoudermire, forcing the ball out and giving it to the Gophers at their 45.
No. 25 Mississippi State 31,
OXFORD, Miss. — Chris Relf threw for a career-high 288 yards and three touchdowns as No. 25 Mississippi State beat Mississippi 31-23 on Saturday night in the Egg Bowl.
The Bulldogs dominated for most of the game, with a 498-326 advantage in total yards. But Ole Miss nearly rallied from a 31-9 fourth quarter deficit, scoring two touchdowns to pull within 31-23 with 4:21 remaining.
The Rebels’ comeback ended when Jeremiah Masoli was sacked on fourth-and-24 with 59.4 seconds remaining.
Mississippi State’s LaDarius Perkins caught three passes for 140 yards and two touchdowns. The freshman also rushed for 98 yards on 13 carries.
As usual, the Bulldogs’ were steady on the ground, rushing for 210 yards. But the potent passing game was a pleasant surprise, as Relf completed 13 of 20 passes. He also added 66 rushing yards.