At least nine of Notre Dame’s opponents will finish the regular season at .500 or better. Purdue and Michigan State joined the crew of bowl eligible teams on the Irish schedule this week and Pittsburgh has a chance to join them on Dec. 1 with a win over South Florida. No. 1 Notre Dame will head to the national championship game in Miami with the 14th best strength of schedule in the country.
Michigan State's Le'Veon Bell ran for a career-high 266 yards against Minnesota to help the Spartans get bowl eligible.
The Midshipmen were idle this weekend. They will also sit out next weekend before finishing their season in the traditional Army-Navy game on Dec. 8.
The Boilermakers pulled away from instate rival Indiana in the fourth quarter to sneak into the bowl eligible pool for the second year in a row. Running back Akeem Shavers scored three touchdowns in a five-minute span, including a 73-yard pass reception to break a 35-35 tie early in the fourth quarter. The late win could not save head coach Danny Hope’s job. Purdue will have wide receivers coach Patrick Higgins serve as an interim leader in its bowl game.
Michigan State (6-6)
The Spartans also extended a disappointing season by reaching six wins Saturday. Michigan State beat Minnesota 26-10 in Minneapolis. Le’Veon Bell ended his regular season the way he started it — with a career-high 266 rushing yards against the Gophers. He scored a fourth quarter touchdown and Dan Conroy added four field goals to create the majority of Michigan State’s scoring.
The Wolverines couldn’t cross midfield in the second half Saturday afternoon. Michigan lost a close game to bitter rival Ohio State, 26-21, as the Buckeyes finished their year at 12-0. Senior Denard Robinson had a 67-yard touchdown run at running back, but did not throw a pass. He wasn’t on the field during Michigan’s final drive in the fourth quarter.
Miami ended its season by hanging on for a 52-45 win over Duke on the road. Stephen Morris threw three touchdown passes and freshman running back ran for three more to help the Hurricanes build a big lead in the third quarter. Miami (5-3 in conference) finished the season in a three-way tie atop the ACC Coastal Division but has decided not to play in the postseason.
Stepfan Taylor ran for 142 yards and two touchdowns in a 35-17 win over UCLA Saturday. The Bruins committed 12 penalties (135 yards) and two turnovers while the Cardinal pulled away in the second half. The win gave Stanford a berth in the Pac-12 Championship game, where they will play UCLA for the second straight week for a chance to play in the Rose Bowl.
Brigham Young (7-5)
Using its third starting quarterback this season, BYU blew out New Mexico State 50-14 in its regular season finale. James Lark completed 34 of his 50 passes, six of them for touchdowns, in the win. Cody Hoffman caught five of those touchdowns and finished the game with 12 catches for 182 yards. New Mexico State managed only 29 rushing yards against the stout Cougars’ defense.
Bedlam ended in an overtime thriller with Oklahoma beating the Cowboys in a Big 12 shootout. Brennan Clay ended the game with an 18-yard touchdown run in the firs overtime period, but quarterback Landry Jones provided the majority of the offense for the Sooners. He passed for 500 yards in his last home game. Oklahoma State’s Joseph Randle ran for 113 yards and four touchdown in the loss.
Pittsburgh upset No. 18 Rutgers in its Big East finale 27-6 in its best defensive effort of the year. The Scarlet Knights gained only 50 rushing yards, and Pittsburgh’s Ray Graham ended his career with 113 yards and a touchdown. Tino Sunseri threw for two scores and 227 yards for the Panthers.
Boston College (2-10)
Frank Spaziani’s final game on the Boston College sideline was a 27-10 loss to N.C. State, who also fired their head coach following Saturday’s game. Eagles running backs David Dudeck and Rolandan Finch both averaged more than seven yards per carry against the Wolfpack, but Chase Rettig threw three interceptions to keep Boston College away from the end zone. Mike Glennon threw three touchdowns passes for N.C. State in the win.
Wake Forest (5-7)
The Demon Deacons missed out on bowl season because of a blowout 55-21 loss to Vanderbilt. Senior Zac Stacy ran for two touchdowns for the Commodores in their sixth consecutive win. Tommy Bohanon and Deandre Martin each had one-yard touchdown runs for Wake Forest.
Southern California (7-5)
USC’s defense kept No. 1 Notre Dame out of the end zone for much of its game in Los Angeles, but sophomore Kyle Brindza kicked five field goals for the Irish in a 22-13 win. Redshirt freshman Max Wittek threw one touchdown pass and two interceptions in his starting debut.