Notre Dame's strength of schedule got a little bit stronger this weekend, even though that no longer appears to be relevant for Irish bowl projections. Notre Dame opponents improved to 72-58 on the season with the biggest win on that list being Stanford's 17-14 overtime win over No. 2 Oregon, which helped moved the Irish up to the top spot in the country.
Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan led his team to an overtime upset of No. 2 Oregon.
Sophomore fullback Noah Copeland got loose against a 3-7 Texas State team Saturday afternoon. He ran for 110 yards and two scores in Navy’s 21-10 win over the Bobcats. The Midshipmen gave up more than 400 yards on defense for the second straight week, but managed to keep Texas State out of the end zone until early in the fourth quarter. Navy now has two weeks off before playing Army on Dec. 8.
For the second year in a row, Purdue is on the brink of salvaging a dismal season in November. The Boilermakers beat Illinois 20-17 Saturday on the strength of 207 rushing yards. Akeem Shavers ran for 99 yards. Akeem Hunt scored the winning touchdown on a 63-yard catch and run. Head coach Danny Hope can send his team to a second consecutive bowl game by beating instate rival Indiana next week.
Michigan State (5-6)
Michigan State and Northwestern have both suffered a year of fourth quarter meltdowns. Something had to give Saturday, and it was once again the Spartans. Northwestern kicked a field goal with 7:30 left in the game and held on for a 23-20 win. That makes seven straight Michigan State games decided by four points or less, and Mark Dantonio’s team is 2-5 during that stretch. Andrew Maxwell threw for 297 yars and two touchdowns in the loss.
Denard Robinson made his debut at running back for the Wolverines in a 42-17 beatdown on Iowa. Robinson missed the previous two games with an elbow injury, but carried 13 times for 97 yards while Devin Gardner started under center for the third straight game. Gardner had a hand in all six Michigan touchdowns, throwing for three and running for three more against the Hawkeyes. Gardner and Co. finish their regular season at Ohio State next weekend.
Miami became bowl eligible with a 40-9 blowout win against South Florida this weekend, but then decided to pass. The Hurricanes announced they would self impose a bowl ban on the program this year in hopes of softening the blow of the NCAA’s upcoming sanctions for the massive booster scandal unearthed last August.
The Cardinal played a leading role in getting Notre Dame to the No. 1 spot in the rankings Saturday night by upending then-No. 2 Oregon 17-14 in overtime. Junior Jordan Williamson nailed a 37-yard field goal in the extra time after Alejandro Maldonado clanked Oregon’s attempt off of the left upright. Stanford, defense held the mighty Ducks attack 40 points bellows it normal scoring average and in the process put itself in control of a potential trip to the Rose Bowl.
Brigham Young (6-5)
BYU ran into a hot San Jose State (9-2) team Saturday and ended up losing 20-14. Riley Nelson connected with David Foote for a 20-yard touchdown pass with 2:30 left in the game, but couldn’t pull any closer on its one remaining possession. San Joste State quarterback David Fales threw three touchdown passes and had 305 passing yards against the Cougars.
A Kenny Stills’ touchdown catch with 24 seconds remaining allowed Oklahoma to outlast West Virginia in a Big 12 shootout. Sooners quarterback Landry Jones threw six touchdown passes in the 50-49 win. The Mountaineers never fell behind by more than 14 points, and they took the lead early in the fourth quarter on a pair of Stedman Bailey TD catches. Still answered with two of his four scores in the final four minutes.
Pittsburgh was idle this weekend. They face No. 18 Rutgers next Saturday.
Boston College (2-9)
The Eagles pushed a disappointing Virginia Tech team into overtime Saturday, but came up one score short. Logan Thomas threw a 7-yard touchdown pass, his second of the game, to seal a 30-23 win. Boston College running back Rolandan Finch carried 26 times for 138 yards for the Eagles.
Wake Forest (5-6)
The Demon couldn’t muster any offense against Notre Dame’s top-ranked scoring defense in South Bend. Irish quarterback Everett Golson picked apart an athletically-gifted Wake Forest secondary for a career high 346 passing yards in a 38-0 blowout. After the game head coach Jim Grobe conceded the Irish were too much for his team and said they deserved a shot at the national championship.
Southern California (7-3)
The Trojans suffered two losses this weekend. The first was at the hands of crosstown rival No. 18 UCLA, 38-28. Johnathan Franklin ran for 171 yards against a USC defense that has yet to be a ranked team this season. On Sunday, Lane Kiffin announced his team also lost starting quarterback Matt Barkley to a shoulder sprain for its season finale against No. 1 Notre Dame.