Published January 13, 2015
Charlotte, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston had plenty of questions to answer during the week leading up to Saturday's ACC Championship Game. Following the freshman phenom's performance, the only question that remains is who the top-ranked Seminoles will face in the BCS National Championship Game. Winston threw three touchdown passes and rushed for another score, as No. 1 Florida State rolled to its 14th ACC championship with a 45-7 rout of 20th-ranked Duke at Bank of America Stadium. On Thursday, Winston was cleared of allegations he sexually assaulted a woman last year, a distraction that had hung over the quarterback's head since reports of the assault initially surfaced in November. Left to focus solely on football, Winston thrived, throwing for 330 yards on 19-of-32 efficiency while adding 59 yards on 10 carries to help the Seminoles finish 13-0 for the first time in school history while setting the conference and school records for wins in a season. The Heisman hopeful set a number of individual records as well for his stellar freshman campaign, with his 38 TD passes and 3,820 passing yards setting FBS freshman records. Kelvin Benjamin caught five passes for 119 yards and two touchdowns, while Devonta Freeman rushed for 91 yards and a score on 17 carries for Florida State, which will be playing in the National Championship for the first time since winning it all during the 1999-2000 campaign. Anthony Boone struggled under center for the Blue Devils (10-3), completing just half of his 40 passes for 138 yards with two interceptions. Josh Snead scored late in the fourth quarter to account for the lone touchdown of the game for Duke, which has never beaten Florida State in 19 all-time meetings.
Final Score: (10) Michigan State 34, (2) Ohio State 24
Indianapolis, IN (SportsNetwork.com) Connor Cook passed for 304 yards and three touchdowns Saturday night and the No. 1 Spartans scored 14 straight points to beat the No. 2 Buckeyes 34-24 in the Big Ten Championship Game. Michigan State's No. 1 defense bent, but didn't break, giving up 24 straight points to Braxton Miller and the Buckeyes before holding them scoreless for almost a quarter and a half to finish the game. The Spartans (12-1) scored the last 14 points on Cook's 9-yard touchdown pass to Josiah Price and Jeremy Langford's 26-yard run after the Buckeyes (12-1) -- pulled out of the quicksand by Miller's legs -- had taken the lead. Michigan State will play in the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day for the first time since 1988 after ending Ohio State's 24-game winning streak and dashing the Buckeyes' hopes for a spot in the BCS Championship Game. The Spartans will play Stanford, which defeated Arizona State on Saturday for the Pac-12 championship. The Buckeyes' first loss under Urban Meyer couldn't have come at a worse time. After moving to No. 2 in the BCS standings this week, they were one win away from playing Florida State for the national championship.
Final Score: (3) Auburn 59, (5) Missouri 42
Atlanta, GA (SportsNetwork.com) - The Southeastern Conference's streak of sending teams to the BCS Championship Game appears to live on, and the Auburn Tigers showed themselves to be plenty worthy of the honor. Riding a 46-carry, 304-yard, four-touchdown effort from Tre Mason, Auburn sewed up the SEC title and likely earned itself a chance to play for a national crown with an emphatic 59-42 victory over Missouri at the Georgia Dome. Auburn (12-1) racked up a whopping 536 yards on the ground in all en route to its third-ever SEC Championship Game victory and first since 2010, when it won the national title later that season behind Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Cam Newton. The Tigers entered Saturday's play behind both Florida State and Ohio State for the all-important top two spots in the BCS standings, but the Buckeyes' 34-24 loss to Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship all but assures Auburn a matchup with the Seminoles in Pasadena on Jan. 6. Auburn didn't win a single game in SEC play a season ago before undergoing the biggest turnaround in league history in Malzahn's first year. Nick Marshall added 101 rushing yards and a touchdown for Auburn, while adding 132 yards and a touchdown through the air while completing a crisp 9-of-11 passes. Fifth-ranked Missouri (11-2) received 301 passing yards and three touchdowns from quarterback James Franklin, who rushed for a score as well, but its usually stingy defense met its match in an Auburn spread attack that ran at will all throughout the afternoon. Dorial Green-Beckham had 143 yards and two touchdowns on six catches for Missouri, with Henry Josey rushing for 123 yards on nine totes in the loss. Franklin completed 21-of-37 attempts and was intercepted once.
Final Score: (18) Oklahoma 33, (6) Oklahoma State 24
Stillwater, OK (SportsNetwork.com) - Beating a rival is a blissful event. Thwarting an adversary's bid at a conference championship makes the triumph even sweeter. The 18th-ranked Oklahoma Sooners played spoiler on Saturday afternoon, topping Oklahoma State by a 33-24 score in the latest edition of the Bedlam Series while also denying the No. 6 Cowboys the Big 12 title and the conference's automatic BCS bid. Blake Bell, subbing for an injured Trevor Knight, threw the go-ahead, 7-yard touchdown pass to Jalen Saunders with 19 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. Oklahoma answered Desmond Roland's 1-yard touchdown run, which had given the Cowboys a 24-20 lead a little over a minute earlier. Bell had 140 yards on 10-of-16 passing in relief of Knight, who injured his non-throwing shoulder late in the opening half. Clay totaled 70 yards on 24 carries for Oklahoma (10-2, 7-2 Big 12), which defeated a Cowboys team that had won seven games in a row and snapped Oklahoma State's home winning streak at nine games. Clint Chelf completed 19-of-35 passes for 200 yards with a touchdown and an interception for the Cowboys (10-2, 7-2), who needed a win to secure their second conference title in three years and earn, in all likelihood, a spot in the Fiesta Bowl. They will instead finish in a three-way tie for second in the league standings, one game behind Baylor, which beat Texas in a de facto title game later Saturday.
Final Score: (7) Stanford 38, (11) Arizona State 14
Tempe, AZ (SportsNetwork.com) - Tyler Gaffney found the end zone three times and Ty Montgomery twice as No. 7 Stanford won its second straight Pac-12 title with a convincing 38-14 win over No. 11 Arizona State. Gaffney carried the ball 22 times for 133 yards while Montgomery had a rushing and receiving touchdown for the Cardinal (11-2), who won their final three games of the season after losing to USC. Kevin Hogan went 12-of-18 for 277 yards and a score as Stanford will be making its 14th appearance in the Rose Bowl On New Year's Day. Stanford's opponent will by Michigan State, which defeated Ohio State in the Big Ten championship on Saturday. Taylor Kelly was 17-of-25 for 173 yards and a score while D.J. Foster had a rushing touchdown and finished with 62 yards on eight carries for the Sun Devils (10-3), who were looking for their first conference championship since sharing it in 2007 with USC.
Final Score: (9) Baylor 30, (23) Texas 10
Waco, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - Bryce Petty threw touchdown passes to Antwan Goodley and Levi Norwood in a decisive third quarter, as No. 9 Baylor earned a trip to the Fiesta Bowl with a 30-10 decision over No. 23 Texas in the regular-season finale for both schools at a windy and frigid Floyd Casey Stadium. Petty ended up 21-of-37 for 287 yards for the Bears (11-1, 8-1 Big 12), who needed some help to gain the conference crown and a BCS berth in the form of Oklahoma topping Oklahoma State earlier in the day and got it when the Sooners shocked the Cowboys in Stillwater. Glasco Martin carried the ball 22 times for 102 yards and a late touchdown, while Goodley led all receivers with 114 yards on eight receptions. Case McCoy was limited to 54 yards on 12-of-34 efficiency for the Longhorns (8-4, 7-2), who are still bowl bound but finished the regular season with losses in two of their last three. Malcolm Brown totaled 131 yards on 25 carries, and recorded Texas' lone TD with a 2-yard catch.
Final Score: (15) UCF 17, SMU 13
Dallas, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - Blake Bortles ran for a pair of second-half touchdowns as 15th-ranked UCF completed an undefeated conference season with a 17-13 victory over SMU on a frigid day at Gerald Ford Stadium. Bortles' 15- yard scoring run in the closing seconds of the third quarter put the Knights ahead for good. He finished with 31 yards on 10 carries and also threw for 242 yards on 24-of-35 passing in the victory. UCF (11-1, 8-0 AAC) had already wrapped up the American Athletic Conference's automatic BCS bowl berth when Louisville beat Cincinnati on Thursday. The Knights completed the regular season with eight straight wins since their lone loss -- a 28-25 setback to South Carolina in late September -- and will await their BCS destination on Sunday night. Neal Burcham, making his second straight start in place of injured SMU quarterback Garrett Gilbert, completed 24-of-34 passes for 222 yards with a touchdown in defeat. He appeared to suffer a head injury early in the fourth quarter. The Mustangs (5-7, 4-4) lost their last two games and will not play in a bowl game for the first time in five years. Only a handful of people were on hand for the contest with temperatures in the low 20s following an ice storm on Friday. The weather forced the cancellation of the Dallas Marathon and the frosty temperature made it the coldest game ever for the Orlando-based Knights.
Final Score: (24) Fresno State 24, Utah State 17
Fresno, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Although it saw its BCS hopes shattered on Black Friday, Fresno State still had plenty to play for on Saturday. A resounding turnaround from their defense has the Bulldogs holding their first outright conference trophy in more than two decades. Derek Carr threw three touchdown passes and the Bulldogs tallied nine sacks as No. 24 Fresno State defeated Utah State 24-17 in the inaugural Mountain West Championship game on Saturday night. After surrendering 736 yards of total offense to San Jose State in their 62-52 loss, the Bulldogs (11-1) allowed just 304 total yards in this one. Trailing 24-17 with less than two minutes remaining, the Aggies (8-5) stuffed Josh Quezada on a 4th-and-4 to get the ball back, but Dalen Jones intercepted Craig Harrison five plays later to seal Fresno State's first outright conference title since 1991. Carr extended his streak of tossing at least one TD pass to 32 games -- the longest active stretch in the country -- and was 36-of-53 for 404 yards with two interceptions for Fresno State, which shared the Mountain West title with Boise State and San Diego State last year. Isaiah Burse had 17 receptions for 132 yards and a touchdown, while Davante Adams hauled in nine passes for 168 yards and a score in the triumph. Ronald Butler caught five balls for 145 yards for Utah State and Darell Garretson completed 12-of-26 passes for 198 yards with an interception before exiting early in the fourth quarter with an apparent left shoulder injury.