Published — Monday 26 November 2012
Last update 26 November 2012 2:46 am
LOS ANGELES: Notre Dame is heading to the Bowl Championship Series championship game to play a South East Conference team to be determined.
The Fighting Irish downed Southern California 22-13 on Saturday to finish a perfect season and lock up a spot in the national championship game.
The SEC title game next Saturday in Atlanta will most likely determine Notre Dame’s opponent. No. 2 Alabama and No. 3 Georgia will play in that game, though Florida will make a case that it deserves to be playing the Fighting Irish.
In Tallahassee, Florida, the fourth-ranked Gators scored 24 straight fourth-quarter points behind Mike Gillislee and a hard-hitting defense to beat No. 10 Florida State 37-26.
The Gators (11-1) needed a USC upset of the Irish to work their way into the BCS championship game, because their loss to Georgia shut them out of the SEC title.
Ohio State (12-0) finished its bowl-banned season by beating rival Michigan 26-21. NCAA college sanctions will keep the Buckeyes out of the postseason and might have cost Urban Meyer’s first Ohio State team a shot at the national championship.
No. 1 Notre Dame 22 USC 13: At Los Angeles, Theo Riddick ran for 146 yards and a touchdown, Kyle Brindza kicked five field goals, and Notre Dame earned a chance to play for its first national title since 1988.
Everett Golson passed for 217 yards as the Fighting Irish (12-0) completed their first perfect regular season since that title campaign.
Although they did little with flash on an electric night at the Coliseum, the Irish woke up more echoes of past Notre Dame greats with a grinding effort in this dynamic intersectional rivalry with USC (7-5), which has lost three of four.
Notre Dame’s hard-nosed defense appropriately made the decisive stand in the final minutes, keeping USC out of the end zone on four plays from the 1 with 2:33 to play.
No. 2 Alabama 49 Auburn 0: In Tuscaloosa, Alabama, AJ McCarron passed for four touchdowns and Eddie Lacy ran for 131 yards and two scores in the most lopsided Iron Bowl in 64 years.
The Crimson Tide (10-1, 7-1 Southeastern Conference) clinched the Western Division title outright and a spot in the conference title game against No. 3 Georgia.
None of that will come as easily as this one. Auburn (3-9, 0-8) completed the worst season for any team within two years of winning an Associated Press national title in what might have been the last game for embattled coach Gene Chizik.
The biggest Iron Bowl margin was Alabama’s 55-0 victory in 1948.
No. 3 Georgia 42 Georgia Tech 10: At Athens, Georgia, Aaron Murray threw two touchdown passes, Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall each ran for a pair of TDs, and Georgia stayed right in the thick of the national championship race.
The Bulldogs (11-1) extended the domination of the Yellow Jackets, beating their state rival for the 11th time in 12 meetings. This one was a laugher from the start as the home team scored just over a minute into the game, built a 28-3 halftime lead and was up 42-3 before Georgia Tech (6-6) scored its lone TD.
No. 4 Ohio State 26, No. 20 Michigan 21: At Columbus, Ohio, Carlos Hyde ran for 146 yards and Ohio State’s defense shut out Michigan in the second half to complete a 12-0 season.
It was a sweet win for the Buckeyes, just 6-7 last season with a loss to their archrivals in a transitional year in which they were facing heavy NCAA penalties. After Urban Meyer took the job as head coach a year ago, they were socked with a bowl ban after this season — and still ran the table.
Ohio State (12-0, 8-0 Big Ten) is ineligible for a BCS national title but still has an outside shot at finishing No. 1 in the final Associated Press Top 25 if other contenders lose. Michigan (8-4, 6-2) will now await a minor bowl bid.
No. 5 Oregon 48 No. 16 Oregon State 24: At Corvallis, Oregon, Kenjon Barner ran for 198 yards and two touchdowns despite leaving the game for a time with an injury and the Ducks kept alive their hopes for a spot in the Pac-12 title game and even an outside chance at the national championship.
De’Anthony Thomas, who helped picked up the slack while Barner was on the sidelines, ran for 122 yards and three scores for the Ducks (11-1, 8-1).
After Oregon’s undefeated season was thwarted by a 17-14 overtime loss to Stanford last weekend, the Ducks had to wait for UCLA’s game against the Cardinal later Saturday to see who would be headed to the conference championship game.
No. 6 Florida 37 No. 10 Florida State 26: At Tallahassee, Florida, Mike Gillislee ran for two touchdowns and the Gators beat their rivals to stay in the national title hunt.
Florida regained the lead 23-20 on Gillislee’s 37-yard run with 11:01 left in the final period on the first play after Florida State’s EJ Manuel fumbled, his fourth turnover of the game. Gillislee finished with 140 yards rushing.
Florida (11-1, 7-1 Southeastern Conference) came into the game fourth in the BCS standings Florida State (10-2, 7-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) was hurt by five turnovers in the game. The Seminoles will play Georgia Tech next week in the ACC title game.
No. 9 Texas A&M 59 Missoui 29: At College Station, Texas, Johnny Manziel threw for 372 yards and three touchdowns and ran for two more scores in his last chance to make a Heisman statement.
The Aggies (10-2, 6-2 SEC) scored touchdowns on their first six drives to build a 42-7 halftime lead and coast to their first 10-win season since 1998.
About the only drama in this one came when Manziel was shaken up on a tackle at the end of a run in the first quarter.
But Johnny Football missed just four plays before returning with a brace on his left knee. And it didn’t seem to slow him down one bit.
Manziel added 67 yards rushing and completed 32 of 44 passes on Saturday. He has thrown for 24 touchdowns and ran for 19 this season.
The win snaps A&M’s three-game losing streak to Missouri (5-7, 2-6 SEC), and kept the Tigers from becoming bowl eligible for the first time since 2004.
No. 11 Stanford 35 No. 15 UCLA17: At Pasadena, California, Stepfan Taylor ran for 142 yards and two touchdowns, Kevin Hogan passed for 160 yards and another score, and Stanford won the Pac-12 North and a rematch with the Bruins in the conference championship game.
The Cardinal (10-2, 8-1 Pac-12) found out about 10 minutes before the opening kickoff that No. 5 Oregon (11-1, 8-1) had beaten No. 16 Oregon State 48-24, meaning they had to win to qualify for another shot at UCLA — a game Stanford will host next Friday.
The Cardinal, who have three straight 10-win seasons for the first time, beat Oregon 17-14 in overtime last weekend.