INDIANAPOLIS– Michigan State shook up the BCS title chase again Saturday night.
The No. 10 Spartans regained the lead on Connor Cook’s 9-yard touchdown pass to Josiah Price with 11:41 left and upset No. 2 Ohio State 34-24 to take the Big Ten title and put Auburn back in the national title hunt.
Ohio State (12-1) had the nation’s longest active winning streak end at 24 as coach Urban Meyer suffered his first loss since taking over in Columbus.
It was a game that almost defied logic.
The Spartans (12-1) led 17-0 after 21 minutes, then gave up the next 24 points before scoring the final 17.
Michigan State sealed the victory, and its probable trip to the Rose Bowl, with Jeremy Langford’s late 26-yard TD run. The Spartans haven’t played in Pasadena since 1988.
For the Spartans, it was a monumental win.
They have won 12 games in a season for the first time, won their ninth straight for the first time since starting 9-0 in 1966 and are likely headed to the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1988 – though coach Mark Dantonio said earlier this week he thought Michigan State could have a claim on the BCS game with a win. The only thing that could keep the Spartans out was a 17-13 loss at Notre Dame on Sept. 21.
But the upset marked a stunning turn of events.
One week after the Buckeyes cheered when Auburn upset No. 1 Alabama, the Tigers were rooting for Michigan State to return the favor.
Did they ever.
Langford ran 24 times for 128 yards, becoming the first player to rush for more than 100 yards against the Buckeyes this season.
Cook finished 24 of 40 for a season-high 304 yards with three TDs and one interception and was selected the game’s MVP.
Even before the final seconds ticked off the clock, Michigan State players were bouncing up and down on the field.
Ohio State’s Braxton Miller did everything he could, going 8 of 21 for 101 yards with one touchdown and running 21 times for 142 yards and two scores against the nation’s stingiest defense. Carlos Hyde ran 18 times for 118 yards. Both joined the school’s exclusive 3,000-yard club Saturday, becoming the seventh and eighth members.
The Buckeyes took their first lead, 24-17, when Miller scored on a 6-yard TD run with 5:36 left in the third.
Michigan State answered when Michael Geiger’s 44-yard field goal barely dropped over the crossbar to make it 24-20, and the Spartans retook the lead, 27-24, when Cook capped an eight-play, 90-yard drive by finding Price wide open in the flat for a 12-yard TD pass with 11:41 left in the game.
Baylor 38, Texas 10: Bryce Petty and ninth-ranked Baylor closed out their old stadium with quite a fiesta.
In what became a de facto Big 12 championship game after Oklahoma State’s lost, Petty threw for 287 yards with touchdown passes on the first drives after halftime and the Bears won the their first title in the league with a 30-10 victory over No. 23 Texas Saturday.
The Bears (8-1 Big 12, 11-1), who never even had a winning record in the Big 12 before coach Art Briles arrived six years ago, have the first 11-win season in school history and are headed to the Fiesta Bowl. That is the reward for their first outright title in any league since winning the Southwest Conference on 1980 when Mike Singletary called Floyd Casey Stadium home.
Antwan Goodley made a nifty one-handed grab on a slant pass for an 11-yard TD, one play after Petty overthrew his wide-open tight end at the goal line. After Texas (7-2, 8-4) went three-and-out, Lache Seastrunk had three consecutive runs for 28 yards and Glasco Martin ran 10 yards to help set up Petty’s 6-yard TD pass to Levi Norwood and a 17-3 lead.
Texas coach Mack Brown made joking references all week about being the only coach in America playing for a conference championship while also shrugging off speculation that he could be replaced.
Well, the intense speculation about Brown’s future is certain to increase now. The regular season is over for the Longhorns without a Big 12 title after losing two of three games – just like the year started before a six-game winning streak that included an unexpected 36-20 win over Oklahoma.
Oklahoma 33, Oklahoma State 24: Blake Bell threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Jalen Saunders with 19 seconds remaining to help No. 18 Oklahoma spoil rival Oklahoma State’s Big 12 championship and BCS bowl game hopes with a 33-24 win.
Bell, playing in place of an injured Trevor Knight, led the Sooners (7-2, 10-2) on the game-winning 66-yard drive – going 5-of-8 for 57 yards on the drive.
Eric Striker ended the game by recovering a fumble for a touchdown for Oklahoma, which has now won at least 10 games in four straight seasons.
Desmond Roland led No. 6 Oklahoma State (7-2, 10-2) with 144 yards rushing and accounted for three touchdowns.
Auburn 59, Missouri 42: If offense was the only requirement, Auburn would be a shoe-in for the BCS championship.
Tre Mason rushed for 304 yards and four touchdowns, leading No. 3 Auburn to a wild 59-42 victory over No. 5 Missouri in a Southeastern Conference title game that looked more like a video game.
Auburn (12-1) kept alive its hopes of playing for the national championship.
Auburn set an SEC championship game record with 677 yards, including 545 on the ground. Mason had scoring runs of 7, 3 and 1 yards before bursting up the middle on a 13-yard TD that clinched the victory with 4:22 remaining. He carried the ball a staggering 46 times, even striking a Heisman pose on a night when his longshot candidacy got a huge boost.
In a game where neither team played a lick of defense, Auburn finally stopped Missouri on fourth-and-1 deep in its own territory, setting up Mason’s final score. Chris Davis broke up the pass, not quite as thrilling as his 109-yard return of a missed field goal to beat Alabama, but another huge play for the nation’s biggest turnaround team.
Florida State 45, Duke 7: Jameis Winston threw three touchdown passes and ran for a score, and No. 1 Florida State stormed into the BCS national championship game with a 45-7 victory over 20th-ranked Duke in the ACC championship game.
The Heisman Trophy favorite was 19 of 32 for 330 yards and set FBS freshman records for TD passes and yards passing in a season two days after prosecutors decided not to press charges against him in a sexual assault case.
Winston threw two touchdown passes to 6-foot-5, 234-pound receiver Kelvin Benjamin and ran for a 17-yard score to overcome two interceptions.
Stanford 38, Arizona State 14: Tyler Gaffney ran for 133 yards and scored three touchdowns in a dominating first half, leading No. 7 Stanford back to the Rose Bowl with a 38-14 victory over No. 11 Arizona State in the Pac-12 title game.
Stanford (11-2) raced out to a big lead in its first game with Arizona State this season and had its way with the Sun Devils again early in the rematch, building a 28-7 lead early in the second quarter. Gaffney did most of the damage, scoring on a 69-yard run on the Cardinal’s second play and a pair of 1-yard runs.
Stanford consistently gouged Arizona State for big plays, racking up 517 yards to earn a shot at repeating as Rose Bowl champion.
Arizona State (10-3) stumbled early for the second straight game against the Cardinal and never really recovered to spoil its Rose Bowl hopes.
Rice 41, Marshall 24: Rice clinched its first outright conference title since 1957, running over visiting Marshall 41-24 in the Conference USA Championship Game.
The Owls (10-3) relied on their bruising ground attack to subdue the Herd (9-4), with running backs Charles Ross and Luke Turner delivering via versatility. Rice gained 250 of its 489 yards on the ground.
Central Florida 17, SMU 13: Blake Bortles threw for 242 yards and ran for two touchdowns as No. 15 UCF celebrated a BCS bid already in hand by rallying to beat SMU 17-13 in front of just a few hundred fans who braved a brutal ice storm in Dallas.
Late Friday result
Bowling Green 47, Northern Illinois 27: Matt Johnson threw four of his career-high five touchdown passes in the first half and Bowling Green routed No. 16 Northern Illinois 47-27 for the Mid-American Conference title, ending the Huskies’ shot at playing in a marquee bowl game.
The Northern Illinois (12-1) loss improves the chances of Baylor or Oregon being an at-large team in a BCS bowl game.
Jordan Lynch ran for 126 yards and two TDs for the Huskies to break his own single-season record for yards rushing by a quarterback in major college football, but he didn’t take advantage of an opportunity to impress Heisman Trophy voters.
The Falcons (10-3) won a MAC title for the first time since 1992.
Bryan Thomas, a Wash High graduate, started at defensive end for Bowling Green and made six tackles, including 1 ½ for losses.
Lynch was 21 of 40 for 219 yards with a TD and two interceptions, including one in the fourth quarter that set up Johnson’s fifth TD that put Bowling Green up 40-20.
After Lynch threw an incomplete pass to turn the ball over on downs on the ensuing drive, he was taunted by Falcons fans: “No more Heisman! No more Heisman!”