No. 2 Auburn storms back from 24-point deficit to shock No. 9 Alabama, 28-27

Newton's four total TDs help Tigers keep national championship hopes alive

November 27, 2010|By From Sun news services

Cam Newton threw for three touchdowns and ran for one, leading No. 2 Auburn back from a 24-point deficit Friday for a stunning 28-27 victory over No. 9 Alabama that kept the Tigers on course for a shot at the national championship.

Auburn (12-0, 8-0 Southeastern Conference) trailed 21-0 before it even picked up a first down, and Alabama (9-3, 5-3) had a 314-2 lead in total yards at one point in the first half.

But Newton, with the signature performance in what has become a season of controversy, rallied the Tigers for a victory that left the Tuscaloosa, Ala., crowd of more than 101,000 in stunned disbelief when it was over.

He threw scoring passes of 36 yards to Emory Blake, 70 yards to Terrell Zachery and, finally, a 7-yarder to Philip Lutzenkirchen with 11:55 remaining that gave Auburn its first lead of the game.

No. 1 Oregon 48, No. 20 Arizona 29: Darron Thomas passed for three touchdowns and ran for another and the host Ducks earned at least a share of a second consecutive Pacific-10 title with a victory over the Wildcats.

LaMichael James shrugged off talk of an injury to run for 126 yards and two scores for the Ducks (11-0, 8-0), who trailed 19-14 at halftime but surged in the second half to stay on course for a trip to the BCS national title game.

It was the third straight loss for Arizona (7-4, 4-4), which ultimately couldn't keep up with the Ducks' speedy spread-option.

With temperatures in the mid-40s and periodic rain showers, there were concerns that the Wildcats would have trouble with their passing game, which had been averaging about 300 yards a game.

But Nick Foles passed for a career-high 448 yards and three touchdowns, including an 85-yard score to Juron Criner.

No. 16 Nebraska 45, Colorado 17: Running back Rex Burkhead passed for two touchdowns and ran for 101 yards and a score, and the host Cornhuskers clinched the Big 12 North with a victory over the Buffaloes in their final meeting before they head to different conferences.

Nebraska coach Bo Pelini was on his best behavior after his sideline berating of officials and quarterback Taylor Martinez last week earned him a public admonishment from the Nebraska chancellor.

Nebraska (10-2, 6-2) will go to Arlington, Texas, next Saturday hoping to win its third Big 12 title, and first since 1999, before going to the Big Ten next year.

Colorado (5-7, 2-6), which played its third game under interim coach Brian Cabral, failed to become bowl-eligible in its last season before joining the Pacific-12.

With Martinez out because of injuries to his right ankle and left foot, the Cornhuskers relied heavily on Burkhead to take pressure off Cody Green.

West Virginia 35, Pittsburgh 10: Brandon Hogan's interception and fumble recovery led to touchdowns in the first half, Geno Smith threw two scoring passes to former Dunbar star Tavon Austin after halftime and the visiting Mountaineers upset the Backyard Brawl-rival Panthers for the second straight season.

Pittsburgh (6-5, 4-2 Big East) had a clear path to the conference title and an automatic BCS bowl bid, only to fumble it away with four turnovers that gave West Virginia's offense excellent field position.

The Mountaineers (8-3, 4-2) were seemingly out of BCS contention after successive losses to Syracuse and Connecticut. Now, they can play in a major bowl — likely, the Fiesta — if they beat Rutgers on Dec. 4 and Connecticut (6-4, 3-2) loses to Cincinnati (4-6, 2-3) on Saturday or South Florida (6-4, 3-3) on Dec. 4.

Louisville 40, Rutgers 13: Running back Bilal Powell caught two touchdowns and ran for one and the Cardinals became bowl-eligible in Charlie Strong's first season as coach with a win over the host Scarlet Knights.

Powell caught touchdown passes of 17 and 11 yards from Justin Burke on Louisville's first two series and he ran for 11 of his 123 yards to cap the third as the Cardinals (6-6, 3-4 Big East) became bowl-eligible for the first time since 2007, when they weren't selected for a postseason game.

The loss was the fifth straight for Rutgers (4-7, 1-5), ending any chance it had of going to a bowl game for the sixth straight year under Greg Schiano. The losing streak has coincided with a spinal cord injury backup defensive tackle Eric LeGrand suffered Oct. 16 against Army, the Scarlet Knights' last win.

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