TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Trent Richardson rushed for 175 yards and scored three touchdowns to power Alabama over Georgia Southern 45-21.
The Crimson Tide (10-1) didn’t win many style points in giving up a season-high 21 points, but the team’s biggest national title boost came the previous night when No. 2 Oklahoma State fell 37-31 at Iowa State in two overtimes.
Alabama needed Richardson more than expected against the FCS Eagles (9-2). The Heisman Trophy candidate ran 32 times, caught a 4-yard touchdown pass and broke Shaun Alexander’s school single-season mark of 19 rushing touchdowns.
He was still running well into the fourth quarter in a game that was expected to be a low-stress tuneup for the Iron Bowl at Auburn.
Georgia Southern’s triple option attack burned the nation’s top defense for 302 yards rushing.
No. 6 ARKANSAS 44,
MISSISSIPPI STATE 17
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Tyler Wilson had a school-record 32 completions for Arkansas and threw for 365 yards and three touchdowns.
It was the seventh straight victory for the Razorbacks (10-1, 6-1 Southeastern Conference), who travel to No. 1 LSU next week for a game with conference and national title implications.
It also clinched the first back-to-back 10-win seasons since 1988-89 for Arkansas, which completed its first undefeated season at home since 1999.
Chris Gragg led the Razorbacks with a career-high 119 yards receiving on eight catches. The tight end had a 2-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter that put Arkansas up 31-10, and the Razorbacks outgained the Bulldogs 539-211.
All six losses for Mississippi State (5-6, 1-6) have come against teams currently ranked in the BCS standings.
NORTH CAROLINA STATE 37,
No. 7 CLEMSON 13
RALEIGH, N.C. — Mike Glennon threw three touchdown passes and North Carolina State shut down Clemson’s explosive offense.
Tbais Palmer had a dazzling 43-yard catch-and-run touchdown to highlight a surprisingly dominant performance by N.C. State (6-5, 3-4 Atlantic Coast Conference). The Wolfpack scored 27 points in the second quarter, then increased the lead and never let the Tigers (9-2, 6-2) build any momentum.
It was N.C. State’s first win against a top-10 team in five seasons under Tom O’Brien, and it was a surprising outcome considering the Wolfpack needed to win the final two games just to become bowl eligible. Not to mention that Tigers had already wrapped up the league’s Atlantic Division crown and an appearance in the ACC championship game in Charlotte on Dec. 3.
No. 11 HOUSTON 37, SMU 7
HOUSTON — Case Keenum set the Football Bowl Subdivision career record for completions, threw a touchdown pass and ran for another score as Houston stayed unbeaten.
Keenum completed 30 of 45 passes for 318 yards, a modest day for the nation’s leader in total offense and pass efficiency. He set the completions mark on his seventh throw, breaking the previous mark (1,403) set by Texas Tech’s Graham Harrell (2005-08).
The Cougars’ sixth-year quarterback also joined Hawaii’s Tim Chang as the only quarterbacks to reach 4,000 yards passing in three seasons, and he tied Chang’s FBS record for career 300-yard passing games (36). Chang set his records in 2000-04, when he played for current SMU coach June Jones.
No. 12 MICHIGAN STATE 55, INDIANA 3
EAST LANSING, Mich. — Kirk Cousins threw for 273 yards and three touchdowns in just over a half and Michigan State clinched a spot in the Big Ten championship game.
The Spartans entered with a one-game lead over both Nebraska and Michigan. When the Wolverines beat the Cornhuskers, Michigan State (9-2, 6-1) won the Legends Division.
Cousins hit B.J. Cunningham for a 7-yard touchdown on Michigan State’s first possession of the second half, giving the Spartans a 41-3 lead.
On the next drive, he handed off on the first play, and then was replaced by Andrew Maxwell. Cousins saluted the Spartans logo at midfield before leaving to a large ovation.
No. 13 GEORGIA 19,
ATHENS, Ga. — Aaron Murray threw a touchdown pass to Marlon Brown on the first play of the fourth quarter, Blair Walsh kicked four field goals and Georgia clinched a spot in the SEC championship game.
Georgia struggled on offense after losing top rusher Isaiah Crowell to a left ankle injury after only two carries. Crowell’s top backup, Carlton Thomas, was not at the game for personal reasons.
Georgia was left with Ken Malcome and Brandon Harton, who rushed for 101 yards, at tailback.
The Bulldogs (9-2, 7-1) leaned on Walsh’s four field goals, including three from 39 yards, and strong defense to clinch first place in the SEC’s Eastern Division.
Kentucky (4-7, 1-6) was held to 165 yards and eliminated from bowl consideration.
No. 14 SOUTH CAROLINA 34,
THE CITADEL 20
COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina’s Connor Shaw threw for 217 yards and three touchdowns, including Alshon Jeffery’s first scoring catch in more than a month.
The Gamecocks (9-2) reached nine victories in back-to-back years for the first time in school history.
Jeffery caught a 32-yard scoring pass using just his right arm as Citadel defender Joseph Boateng pinned him near the left sideline of the end zone.
No. 15 WISCONSIN 28,
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Montee Ball rushed for 224 yards and scored three times, and Wisconsin forced four turnovers in a comeback victory.
On a day when stiff winds limited Wisconsin’s passing attack, Ball was dominant. He had 164 yards on the ground as Wisconsin scored 21 unanswered points in the second half.
Donovonn Young rushed for two TDs for Illinois (6-5, 2-5 Big 10), which has lost five straight. He finished with 43 yards on eight carries.
Illinois outgained Wisconsin 301-285, but the turnovers — a fumble and three interceptions — combined with special teams mistakes doomed the Illini.
The Badgers (9-2, 5-2) scored on drives of 44, 39, 30 and 2 yards. Their first 14 points were set up by an Illinois turnover and a badly botched punt.
No. 19 TCU 34,
COLORADO STATE 10
FORT WORTH, Texas — Antoine Hicks, Ed Wesley and Matthew Tucker ran for touchdowns and Tank Carder returned an interception 69 yards for a touchdown, helping TCU win at least a share of the Mountain West title.
Coming off an upset win at Boise State, the Horned Frogs (9-2, 6-0) seemed a bit flat in the first half. They got rolling in the third quarter on their way to handing the Rams (3-7, 1-4) a sixth straight loss.
TCU’s Casey Pachall was 13 of 20 for 117 yards, and Waymon James had 108 yards rushing.
CSU’s Garrett Grayson, a true freshman making his first start, was 14 of 24 for 248 yards and a touchdown plus the interception by Carder.
No. 20 MICHIGAN 45,
No. 17 NEBRASKA 17
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Denard Robinson threw two touchdown passes and ran for two scores to help Michigan keep alive hopes for earning a BCS at-large bid.
The Cornhuskers (8-3, 4-3) lost any hope of playing in the Big Ten’s first title game.
The Wolverines (9-2, 5-2) are home against Ohio State next week, trying to snap a seven-game skid against their rivals. The Wolverines turned a close game against Nebraska into a rout with 21 straight points after it was tied at 10.
Robinson was 11 of 18 for 180 yards with an interception. He ran for 83 yards in three-plus quarters. Devin Gardner finished the game at quarterback after Fitzgerald Toussaint’s second score put Michigan up 45-17. Toussaint had 138 yards rushing and two scores on 29 carries.
No. 21 PENN STATE 20,
OHIO STATE 14
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Penn State won for the first time since coach Joe Paterno was fired, with Stephfon Green running for two touchdowns and the Nittany Lions’ solid defense holding Ohio State scoreless in the second half
Penn State (9-2, 6-1) earned a share of the Big Ten’s Leaders Division title and set up a division title game next week at Wisconsin. The winner will play in the conference’s first championship game on Dec. 3.
In what was expected to be a defensive struggle, the teams did all of their scoring in the opening half before the defenses took over.
Braxton Miller ran for a touchdown and threw a 7-yard scoring pass to Jake Stoneburner for Ohio State (6-5, 3-4), but he had an intentional grounding and three incompletions on the Buckeyes’ final possession.
No. 24 NOTRE DAME 16,
BOSTON COLLEGE 14
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Jonas Gray rushed for a touchdown, David Ruffer kicked three field goals and Notre Dame held off Boston College.
The win was the fourth straight for the Irish (8-3), who matched last year’s victory total. But it was a costly win, with Gray leaving in the third quarter with an apparent knee injury.
The Eagles’ Chase Rettig capped a 72-yard drive with a 7-yard scoring pass to Bobby Swigert with 1:57 to play. But Robby Toma recovered the onside kick, and Boston College didn’t get the ball back until there were eight seconds left. The Eagles (3-8) lateraled several times before Irish linebacker Troy Niklas made the final tackle around the Boston College 14.