Before Oregon, Kansas State and Notre Dame took the field, they got some good news.
No. 15 Texas A&M upset No. 1 Alabama 29-24 on Saturday taking one less unbeaten team out of the race for the BCS championship game.
Johnny Manziel and the Aggies shook up the national title race in Tuscaloosa, Ala., jumping out to a quick three-touchdown lead and then holding on at the end to Alabama’s 13-game winning streak.
The Southeastern Conference has won the last six BCS championships, but with Alabama losing and three other teams unbeaten, it will be tough for the SEC to even get in the game without help.
Kansas State made its case for No. 1 — in both the polls and the BCS rankings — with a thorough 23-10 victory at TCU. No. 4 Notre Dame methodically beat Boston College 21-6.
No. 2 Oregon, third in the BCS standings, played California late Saturday night.
Alabama would likely need to win out and have two of those three teams lose to reach the national title game.
No. 15 TEXAS A&M 29, No. 1 ALABAMA 24
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Johnny Manziel and No. 15 Texas A&M shook up the national championship race by beating No. 1 Alabama 29-24 on Saturday.
The Aggies (8-2, 5-2), playing in the Southeastern Conference for the first season, also might have ended the league’s run of BCS titles at six years.
The Crimson Tide (9-1, 6-1) didn’t go quietly.
AJ McCarron nearly pulled off a second straight scintillating comeback. He threw one touchdown pass and motored the ball downfield before Deshazor Everett stepped in front of his fourth-down pass at the goal line with 1:36 left.
Manziel passed for 253 yards and rushed for 92 and led the Aggies to a 20-0 first quarter lead.
No. 2 KANSAS STATE 23, TCU 10
FORT WORTH, Texas — Collin Klein ran for two touchdowns, a week after leaving the game early with an apparent head injury.
The Wildcats improved to 10-0 for only the second time under coach Bill Snyder, and moved within two wins of likely reaching their first BCS championship game.
Only a few minutes after the start of Kansas State’s game, and a rare turnover by Klein, SEC newcomer Texas A&M finished off its 29-24 victory at Alabama, the No. 1 team in the BCS standings and AP poll. The Aggies win gave their old Big 12 rivals at K-State a boost.
TCU (6-4, 3-4 Big 12) didn’t take advantage of Klein’s interception on the fourth play of the game. The Heisman Trophy hopeful then hit Chris Harper for a 62-yard pass, and ended that drive with a 7-yard TD run.
The senior quarterback was sacked a season-high three times while completing 12 of 21 passes for 145 yards. He had 15 carries for 50 yards.
No. 4 NOTRE DAME 21, BOSTON COLLEGE 6
BOSTON — Everett Golson ran for a touchdown and threw for two more on Saturday night to help Notre Dame stay unbeaten.
Taking the field one hour after top-ranked Alabama lost to No. 15 Texas A&M, the Fighting Irish (10-0) remained in the hunt for a spot in the BCS title game. And a week after needing triple overtime — and a lot of luck — to get past unheralded Pittsburgh, Notre Dame eased past a longtime rival that had twice before spoiled its hopes of a No. 1 finish.
Golson completed 16 of 24 passes for 200 yards, connecting with Troy Niklas for a 7-yard touchdown at the end of the first half and with John Goodman from 18 yards out early in the second. Manti Te’o grabbed his sixth interception of the season — a school record for a linebacker — to end BC’s last real chance at a comeback with just under 6 minutes left.
No. 5 GEORGIA 38, AUBURN 0
AUBURN, Ala. — Aaron Murray passed for 208 yards and three touchdowns, freshman tailbacks Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall each ran for more than 100 yards and Georgia clinched a spot in the SEC championship game.
Georgia (9-1, 7-1 Southeastern Conference) was methodical in its dominating win. It scored the first shutout for either team in the series since the Bulldogs’ 28-0 win in 1976.
Auburn (2-8, 0-7 SEC) was held to 238 yards, including 57 yards rushing, as its disappointing season with embattled coach Gene Chizik suffered another embarrassing low.
Georgia, the Eastern Division champion, earned its second straight trip to the Dec. 1 SEC championship game in Atlanta. Top-ranked Alabama, beaten by No. 15 Texas A&M 29-24 on Saturday, can win the Western Division title by beating Auburn on Nov. 24.
No. 7 FLORIDA 27, LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE 20
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Jelani Jenkins returned a blocked punt 36 yards for a touchdown with 2 seconds remaining and Florida rallied in the closing minutes to avoid a huge upset.
Florida (9-1) did little on offense most of the day and looked to be in serious trouble when quarterback Jeff Driskel left the game with an ankle injury.
The Rajin’ Cajuns (5-4) led 20-13 after Alonzo Harris’ 2-yard run and a blocked punt for a touchdown. But Jacoby Brissett rallied the Gators. Brissett found Jordan Reed down the middle for a 39-yard gain and then hit Quinton Dunbar for 3-yard score with 1:42 remaining.
ULL was content to play for overtime.
But Loucheiz Purifoy came off the edge and got his right hand on the punt. Jenkins picked up the deflection and went untouched the other way.
No. 9 LSU 37, No. 23 MISSISSIPPI STATE 17
BATON ROUGE, La. — Zach Mettenberger passed for 273 yards and two touchdowns, and LSU kept alive faint hope of a Southeastern Conference title.
Looking sharp a second straight week, Mettenberger completed 19 of 30 passes without an interception. His top target was Jarvis Landry, who had nine catches for 109 yards — both career highs — including a 19-yard touchdown to help the Tigers (8-2, 4-2 SEC) beat the Bulldogs (7-3, 3-3) for the 13th straight time.
Mettenberger’s other scoring pass went to Spencer Ware, fullback J.C. Copeland scored on a 1-yard plunge and Craig Loston returned an interception 100 yards for a score.
No. 10 CLEMSON 45, MARYLAND 10
CLEMSON, S.C. — Tajh Boyd threw for 261 yards and three touchdowns as Clemson won its sixth straight and record 12th in a row at Death Valley.
Clemson (9-1, 6-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) had little trouble with the banged-up Terps (4-6, 2-4), who again started linebacker Shawn Petty at quarterback because of season-ending injuries to their four scholarship passers.
The Tigers ended things early as Boyd passed for a 13-yard touchdown to Adam Humphries and a 28-yard score to DeAndre Hopkins. In between, Clemson defensive end Corey Crawford brought a Petty fumble 16 yards for a touchdown as part of his team’s 21-point first quarter.
Clemson star receiver Sammy Watkins left the game in the second quarter with a lower leg injury.
SYRACUSE 45, No. 11 LOUISVILLE 26
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Ryan Nassib threw for 246 yards and three touchdowns, Jerome Smith ran for 144 yards and Syracuse handed Louisville its first loss of the season.
Playing in the last home game of his SU career, Nassib directed an offense that gained 524 total yards. Nassib went 15 of 23 and passed Donovan McNabb for second on the school’s career yards passing list.
The Orange (5-5, 4-2 Big East) blew the game open with three touchdowns in the second quarter and Louisville (9-1, 4-1) allowed more points than it had in any game this season.
Teddy Bridgewater completed 36 of 49 passes for 426 and three touchdowns for Louisville.
No. 12 S. CAROLINA 38, ARKANSAS 20
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Connor Shaw threw for two touchdowns and ran for another score for South Carolina.
Shaw was 15 of 23 for 279 yards for the Gamecocks (8-2, 6-2 Southeastern Conference), who finished with six league wins for only the second time in 20 years in the SEC.
Arkansas (4-6, 2-4) will now have to beat both Mississippi State and LSU to make a bowl game after starting the season No. 10 in the country.
It was only the second win over the Razorbacks in the last seven games for the Gamecocks and it broke a three-game losing streak during which the Hogs embarrassed South Carolina by double-digits.
No. 14 OKLAHOMA 42, BAYLOR 34
NORMAN, Okla. — Landry Jones threw for 277 yards and two touchdowns, Damien Williams ran for 99 yards and two scores and Bob Stoops moved into sole possession of second place on the school’s career wins list.
Backup quarterback Blake Bell scored on a 55-yard keeper in the fourth quarter for the longest run by a quarterback in the Stoops era.
Lache Seastrunk ran for 91 yards and three touchdowns for Baylor (4-5-, 1-5 Big 12), the last score getting the Bears within eight with 1:26 to play after quarterback Nick Florence got in on the 2-point conversion.
LaColtan Bester recovered the ensuing onside kick, sealing the win for Oklahoma (7-2, 5-1).
No. 18 NEBRASKA 32, PENN STATE 23
LINCOLN, Neb. — Taylor Martinez threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Jamal Turner for Nebraska’s first lead, and the Cornhuskers overcame a double-digit, second-half deficit for the fourth time this season.
Ameer Abdullah ran for 116 yards on a career-high 31 carries, and Martinez finished with 104 yards as the Huskers pounded away on the ground on a windy afternoon at Memorial Stadium.
The Huskers (8-2, 5-1 Big Ten), down 14 points at half, got TD runs of 1 and 2 yards from Imani Cross to tie it at 20.
Martinez threw 56 yards to Kyler Reed on a third-and-5 and, three plays later, found Turner on a short slant in the end zone for the lead with 10:57 left.
No. 19 TEXAS 33, IOWA STATE 7
AUSTIN, Texas — David Ash passed for 364 yards and two touchdowns and Texas honored former coach Darrell Royal by whipping Iowa State.
Ash had a 61-yard touchdown pass to Mike Davis in the first quarter. Johnathan Gray ran for two touchdowns for the Longhorns (8-2, 5-2 Big 12), who won their fourth in a row.
Texas paid tribute during the game to Royal, who died Wednesday at age 88. Texas lined up in the wishbone, the formation Royal introduced to college football in 1968, on the Longhorn’s first play. Instead of a run, Texas ran a trick play that resulted in a 47-yard pass.
No. 24 RUTGERS 28, ARMY 7
PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Brandon Coleman caught his second touchdown of the game on a 31-yard pass from Gary Nova with 8:49 to play and Rutgers survived a valiant effort by mistake-prone Army.
In bouncing back from its first loss and a two-week layoff that featured Hurricane Sandy and a Nor’easter that dumped a foot of snow in New Jersey, the Scarlet Knights (8-1) scored three times in the final nine minutes. They also got a 2-yard touchdown run from Savon Huggins and a 73-yard fumble return by Duron Harmon in the final minute.
No. 25 TEXAS TECH 41, KANSAS 34
LUBBOCK, Texas — Running back Eric Stephens threw a 3-yard jump pass to Darrin Moore for a touchdown in double overtime to lead Texas Tech past Kansas.
Kansas had a chance to tie but Michael Cummings couldn’t connect with Tre’ Parmalee in the end zone on fourth-and-9.
The Jayhawks (1-9, 0-7 Big 12) came from behind in the fourth quarter and sent the game into overtime on a 32-yard field goal by Nick Prolago with under a minute remaining in regulation.