Tuesday, February 07, 2023

Oregon, Auburn title game bound

| December 5, 2010 8:00 PM

Along with all that flash and dash and those snazzy uniforms, No. 1 Oregon will bring a hefty dose of good old-fashioned grit to the BCS national title game.

Heisman Trophy contender LaMichael James, Kenjon Barner and the fast-paced Ducks negotiated the last speed bump on the way to Glendale, Ariz., grinding out a 37-20 victory at Oregon State in the Civil War on Saturday at Corvallis, Ore.

The matchup becomes official today, but there will be no surprises when the final Bowl Championship Series standings come out: Oregon will play Auburn on Jan. 10 for its first national championship.

"The best part about it is ... we expected this," Ducks defensive tackle Brandon Bair said. "It's the way we prepared, the way we planned, we expected this."

James ran for 134 yards and two touchdowns while Barner had 133 yards and scored twice for the Ducks (12-0, 9-0 Pac-10), who used some stiff defense in the red zone - led by Bair and Casey Matthews - and three interceptions to fend off their feisty rivals.

Not until the fourth quarter did Oregon finally shake free.

Barner's 23-yard touchdown run with 12:16 made it 30-13 and James popped through the middle for a 10-yard score with 4:27 left to seal it.

Jacquizz Rodgers had 87 yards rushing for the Beavers (5-7, 4-5) and scored a touchdown, but they were forced to settle for short field goals twice in the third quarter - and that just won't do against the most prolific offense in the country.

When the game was over, James and his teammates bounded over to a corner of Reser Stadium to celebrate with their band, their famous Donald Duck-clone mascot and their fans.

The Oregon faithful spilled onto the field and the push up-pumping mascot got swallowed up as he crowd surfed. The party was headed south, 40 miles down Interstate 5 to Eugene.

The Ducks, the Pac-10's new power with their high-speed spread offense, rising star coach Chip Kelly and the wildest uniforms Nike and Oregon alumnus Phil Knight can provide, are relative newcomers among college football's elite.

Yet Kelly disdains such big picture talk about a shift in the football landscape. "Win the day," is his motto - and there are 37 between now and the national title game.

"We're not going to play a national championship right now, we're going to prepare for one," he said. "But we got to this point by our preparation and we know we're going to have to go to work for the next month to show up on the 10th."

No. 2 Auburn 56, No. 18 South Carolina 17: At Atlanta, Cam Newton left nothing to chance. He ran and passed the Tigers to a shot at the national championship they were denied six years ago, and he might as well start working on that Heisman pose, too.

Newton passed for a career-high 335 yards and four touchdowns, plus ran for a pair of TDs in an MVP performance that led Auburn (13-0) to the Southeastern Conference championship with a rout of Steve Spurrier and South Carolina (9-4).

The No. 1 Ducks beat Oregon State to assure the unbeaten matchup, which denied another perfect team, TCU, a shot at becoming the first team from a non-BCS conference to play for the title.

Before the national title is decided, Newton will likely be picking up the college game's top individual honor when the Heisman Trophy is awarded next weekend in New York City - especially since he was cleared of wrongdoing by the NCAA in a pay-for-play scandal.

No. 10 Oklahoma 23, No. 13 Nebraska 20: At Arlington, Texas, Travis Lewis had an interception in the end zone and recovered two fumbles as Oklahoma rallied from a 17-point deficit to beat Nebraska in the Big 12 championship, the Cornhuskers' last game in the conference.

Landry Jones threw for 342 yards and a touchdown and also sneaked in for another score from 1 yard out as the Sooners (11-2) made the biggest comeback in Big 12 championship history to earn a spot in the Fiesta Bowl.

The Cornhuskers (10-3) self-destructed in their final game as a Big 12 member, squandering a 17-0 lead with four turnovers and getting shut out in the second half for the first time all season.

No. 12 Virginia Tech 44, No. 20 Florida State 33: At Charlotte, N.C., Tyrod Taylor threw three touchdown passes and scrambled for another and surging Virginia Tech captured its third Atlantic Coast Conference title in four years with a victory over Florida State (9-4).

After the Hokies (11-2) had their national title hopes dashed in a five-day nightmare of consecutive loses to start the season, coach Frank Beamer's squad recovered by dominating the ACC behind the versatile Taylor.

Now Virginia Tech is headed to the Orange Bowl thanks to its 11th straight win.

No. 14 Nevada 35, Louisiana Tech 17: At Ruston, La., Colin Kaepernick tied an NCAA record for touchdowns rushing by a quarterback and Nevada won a share of the Western Athletic Conference title with a victory over Louisiana Tech (5-7, 4-4).

Kaepernick scored three TDs on the ground, giving him 59 for his career, tying the mark held by Nebraska's Eric Crouch. Vai Taua rushed for 162 yards and two scores.

The victory assured the Wolf Pack (12-1, 7-1) its first share of a WAC title since 2005 and its best regular season since moving up to the Football Bowl Subdivision in 1992.

After the game Nevada accepted an invitation to the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl at San Francisco on Jan. 9 where it will face an undedetermined team from the ACC.

No. 23 West Virginia 35, Rutgers 14: At Morgantown, W.Va., Geno Smith threw for a career-high 352 yards, Ryan Clarke had three short touchdown runs and West Virginia (9-3, 5-2) overcame turnover problems to beat Rutgers (4-8, 1-6) and clinch a share of the Big East title.

No. 25 Hawaii vs. UNLV: At Honolulu, late

Connecticut 19, South Florida 16: At Tampa, Fla., Dave Teggart had four field goals, including a career-long 52-yarder with 17 seconds to play, as Connecticut clinched the Big East's automatic Bowl Championship Series berth with a win over South Florida (7-5, 3-4).

Lawrence Wilson had an interception return for a touchdown and Teggart kicked three field goals, including one from 50 yards early in the fourth, to put Connecticut (8-4, 5-2) up 16-6.

Pittsburgh 28, Cincinnati 10: At Cincinnati, Dion Lewis ran for a career-high 261 yards and four touchdowns, leading Pittsburgh to a victory over Cincinnati (4-8, 2-5) and a share of the Big East title that provided some small consolation.

The Panthers (7-5, 5-2) were on track to win the league outright a week earlier, but a home loss to West Virginia essentially scuttled their chances and put Connecticut in control with the tiebreakers. Instead, Pitt wound up playing its final regular-season game for a piece of first place.

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