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NCAA Week 14 Recap

In Week 14 of NCAA football, it’s “Rivalry Week”.  That means records mean nothing and the strange happens.  We saw a massive shakeup at the top and close games a plenty.  These games had either major national or conference implications.

#4 Auburn 34 #1 Alabama 28 – There is only one word that can describe this game: “Epic”.  Despite outgaining Auburn 495-393, Alabama fell apart in the last minute with a pair of unlikely fluke plays to allow the Tigers to tie and then win the game.  Nick Marshall changed what looked like to be a quarterback keeper and at the last moment, threw it to Sammie Coats for a 39 yard touchdown to tie the game.  Alabama used the last second of regulation to try a 57 yard field goal, which fell short.  Chris Davis caught it and ran it out of the end zone for a 109 yard touchdown return.  Dual threat Nick Marshall led Auburn by going 11-16 for 97 yards with 2 touchdowns as well as 17 carries for 99 yards and a touchdown.  Tre Mason ran 29 times for 164 yards and a touchdown.  AJ McCarron led the Crimson Tide by going 17-29 for 277 yards and 3 touchdowns while TJ Yeldon ran 26 times for 141 yards and a touchdown.  Amari Cooper caught 6 passes for 178 yards, including a 99 yard touchdown pass from McCarron, which is the longest pass in Alabama history.  With this loss, Auburn wins the SEC West Division and is in the national title hunt.  Alabama will not have the opportunity to go for a 3rd straight national championship, but is still a BCS at-large candidate.

#3 Ohio State 42 Michigan 41 – Ohio State might have already punched their ticket to the Big Ten Championship game, but they are still in the thick of a national title chase.  Playing arch-rival Michigan in Ann Arbor and with the Wolverines having ruined 4 previously undefeated seasons for Ohio State, this game was huge.  In a back and forth contest, loaded with big plays and fisticuffs, Ohio State was able to hold on by stopping a 2pt conversion with 32 seconds left.  In the battle of quarterbacks, Michigan’s Devin Gardner out threw Braxton Miller, but the Buckeyes focused on the run game.  Gardner went 32-45 for 451 yards and 4 touchdowns.  Miller finished 6-15 for 133 yards with 2 touchdowns and an interception.  He also ran 16 times for 153 yards and 3 more touchdowns.  Carlos Hyde was a monster, running 27 times for 226 yards and a touchdown, but he also had a key fumble in the 4th quarter that allowed Michigan to get back into the game.  Ohio State will play Michigan State next week in the Big Ten Championship.

#5 Missouri 28 #21 Texas A&M 21 – Missouri won the SEC East by defeating fellow Big XII defector Texas A&M in a close matchup where neither team ever had a lead larger than 7 points.  If Missouri had lost, South Carolina would have won the division due to the head-to-head tiebreaker.  James Franklin led the Tigers by going 18-28 for 233 yards and touchdowns while Johnny Manziel went 24-35 for 195 yards and a touchdown.

#9 Baylor 41 TCU 38 – Baylor was pushed to the brink, but was able to make a late interception to survive against TCU and keep their Big XII hopes alive.  TCU outgained Baylor 410-370, but they lost the turnover battle 4-1.  Baylor’s Bryce Petty went 19-38 for 206 yards with 2 touchdowns and an interception.  Casey Pachall paced the Horned Frogs by going 20-45 for 267 yards with 2 touchdowns and 3 interceptions.  The Bears play conference co-leader Texas next week, but Oklahoma State remains in control of the conference race.

San Jose State 62 #16 Fresno State 52 – The luck finally ran out for Fresno State as they have fallen from the ranks of the unbeaten.  With this loss, their hopes of a BCS at-large are over.  In a passing shootout between Fresno State’s Derek Carr and San Jose State’s David Fales was epic as both quarterbacks combined for over 1050 yards and 12 touchdowns with each eclipsing 500 yards.  Fales went 37-45 for 547 and 6 touchdowns while Carr went 38-50 for 519 yards with 6 touchdowns and an interception.  Neither QB took a sack and both had over a 76% completion percentage.  The Spartans had 3 100 yard receivers as Tyler Winston, Kyle Nunn and Chandler Jones all eclipsed the century mark.  Fresno State’s Davante Adams lead all receivers with 13 catches for 264 yards and 3 touchdowns.

#24 Duke 27 North Carolina 25 – This game had a bunch of firsts.  This is the first time Duke is going to be going to back-to-back bowl games.  This is the first time Duke won 10 games.  This is also the first time that Duke won a division title as the Blue Devils came back to defeat the Tar Heels and lock up the ACC Coastal Division.  Normally a run first team, Duke went to the air as Anthony Boone went 23-34 for 274 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Marquise Williams went 17-36 for 223 yards with a touchdown and 2 interceptions.  Williams also ran 16 times for 104 yards and 2 more touchdowns.  Duke will face Florida State next week in the ACC Championship.

Bowling Green 24 Buffalo 7 – In a battle between the MAC East Division leaders, Bowling Green dominated in the 2nd half to win the division and will play Northern Illinois in the MAC Championship game.  The Falcons dominated the Bulls offensively, outgaining them 490-236.  The majority of that came from QB Matt Johnson and RB Travis Greene.  Johnson went 11-26 for 230 with a touchdown and an interception.  Johnson also added 72 yards and a score on 10 carries. Greene ran 30 times for 129 yards and a score.  Joe Licata went 21-45 for 221 yards and an interception for Buffalo.

Utah State 35 Wyoming 7 – Taking advantage of Boise State’s 2nd loss, Utah State locked up the Mountain West Mountain Division by defeating Wyoming.  The Aggies will meet Fresno State in the championship game.  Utah State was always in control of this game, building up to a 35-0 lead going into the 4th quarter. Darell Garretson led the Aggies by going 20-29 for 156 yards with 3 touchdowns and an interception.  Joey DeMartino also added 112 yards and a score on 20 carries.  Brett Smith led the Cowboys, going 16-29 for 162 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Marshall 59 East Carolina 28 – In a winner-take-all matchup between the Conference USA East heavyweights, Marshall outscored East Carolina in every quarter and helped make sure the 2013 champion is not going to be a team leaving the conference next year.  Rakeem Cato led Marshall by going 17-28 for 272 yards with 2 touchdowns and an interception.  Essray Taliaferro also added 26 carries for 161 yards.  The pass happy Pirates struggled to find a rhythm as Shane Carden went 29-52 for 291 yards and 3 interceptions.

Rice 17 Tulane 13 – One of the surprises this season has been the rise of Rice.  They cemented their status as being a great story by defeating Tulane and wrapping up the Conference USA West Division crown.  Despite outgaining Tulane 304-123, Tulane was able to chip away at a 17-3 halftime deficit, but could not overtake the Owls.  Tulane has been a feel good story as well, finishing 7-5 and bowl eligible for the first time since 2002.  Rice was led by Taylor McHargue, who went 14-28 for 180 yards and a score while Nick Montana paced Tulane, going 14-31 for only 97 yards and a score.  Rice and Marshall will play in the Conference USA Championship next week.

Special Notes – Southern Miss’ losing streak of 23 games finally comes to an end as they outscored UAB in the 2nd half by a margin of 49-6 to win 62-21.  Southern Miss hadn’t won a game since 2011.  Congrats are also in order to Hawaii as they won their first game, defeating Army 49-42.  The remaining winless programs are Miami University and Georgia State, who both finished 0-12.

In other Rivalry Week news, Florida Atlantic became bowl eligible after beating rival Florida International 21-6.  Since firing coach Carl Pelini, FAU has won 4 straight by at least 17 points.  Florida’s nightmare season is over after losing to Florida State 37-7.  Florida State is expected to be the new top ranked team in the BCS.  UCF continued their miracle run by surviving against South Florida 23-20.  UCF has clinched a share of the first American Athletic Conference championship and is on the cusp of locking up a BCS bowl bid for the first time.  Mississippi State defeated Ole Miss in an ugly Egg Bowl 17-10.  Texas remains in the Big XII hunt by defeating Texas Tech 41-16.  Georgia defeated Georgia Tech in a wild double OT thriller 41-34.  Northwestern finally stopped the 7 game losing streak by edging Illinois 37-34 to finish 5-7.  Stanford defeated Notre Dame 27-20, which will keep Stanford in the top 10 heading into the PAC-12 Championship against Arizona State, who defeated Arizona 58-21.  Lastly, top 10 ranked South Carolina keeps their BCS at-large hopes alive by dispatching Clemson 31-17.

Host of the OT with Andrew G for the Sports Chronicles Radio Network

Host of The College Cram, NFL and NCAA writer on the National Gridiron Network

Contributing writer for Pro Player Insiders

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