Fueled by revenge, Trojans trample Stanford
C.J. Gable made sure there wouldn't be a second Stanford stunner.
Gable returned a kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown and ran for another score to help sixth-ranked Southern California overcome an early deficit and avenge last year's shocking loss to the Cardinal with a 45-23 victory last night in Stanford, Calif.
Mark Sanchez added two touchdown passes and Stafon Johnson ran for two scores for the Trojans (9-1, 7-1 Pacific-10), who had their season ruined a year ago when they lost, 24-23, to the Cardinal (5-6, 4-4) as a 41-point home favorite.
The defeat still stung 13 months later and there were plenty of reminders in the first sellout in three seasons at remodeled Stanford Stadium. From the highlights of the game played on the video board during warm-ups, to the "Greatest Upset Ever" T-shirts worn by many fans in the crowd to the Stanford band spelling out the score of last year's game at halftime, the Cardinal did their best to extend the memory.
Stanford dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball early in the game before Gable's long kickoff return late in the second quarter tied the game at 17.
The Trojans controlled the game the rest of the way, getting a consistent running attack from Gable, Johnson, and Joe McKnight. USC ran for 243 yards in the second half, while holding Stanford to just 46.
Johnson finished with 115 yards rushing, scoring on the go-ahead 7-yard TD run late in the third quarter. Gable's 3-yard run early in the fourth extended the lead and the Trojans put the game away on Sanchez's 50-yard touchdown pass to fullback Stanley Havili.
Alabama 32, Mississippi St. 7 - Javier Arenas ran back a punt 80 yards for one TD and set up a score with another long return, helping the top-ranked Crimson Tide (11-0, 7-0 SEC) streak past the visiting Bulldogs (3-7, 1-5).
Kareem Jackson blocked a punt in the end zone for a safety and Leigh Tiffin kicked three field goals to help keep Alabama on track for a perfect regular season leading up to a showdown with No. 3 Florida in the SEC championship game.
Texas 35, Kansas 7 - Colt McCoy burned the Big 12's worst pass defense for 255 yards and two touchdowns and the fourth-ranked Longhorns stayed in the thick of the national championship hunt by cruising in Lawrence, Kan.
The win gave Texas (10-1, 6-1) double-digit wins for the eighth year in a row. If Texas should tie for the Big 12 South title with No. 2 Texas Tech and No. 5 Oklahoma (who play each other next weekend), the tiebreaker to see who advances to the Big 12 championship game could come down to BCS rankings.
McCoy was 24 of 34 and ran for a team-high 78 yards, including a 4-yard touchdown. His second TD pass raised his total for the year to 31, breaking his own school record.
Penn St. 34, Indiana 7 - At State College, Pa., Derrick Williams ran for one score and caught a touchdown pass, Daryll Clark threw for 240 yards and two scores in an uneven outing, and the No. 7 Nittany Lions (10-1, 6-1 Big Ten) held the Hoosiers (3-8, 1-6) to six first downs and 180 total yards.
Utah 63, San Diego St. 14 - At San Diego, Brian Johnson threw a career-high five TD passes, all in the first half, and the No. 8 Utes (11-0, 7-0) clinched at least a share of the Mountain West Conference title.
Boise St. 45, Idaho 10 - Jeremy Avery rushed for a career-high 156 yards and two touchdowns on just 11 carries, the first Bronco back to top 100 this season, and No. 9 Boise State (10-0, 6-0 Mountain West) rushed for 315 yards against the host Vandals to keep alive its hopes of returning to a BCS bowl.
Ohio St. 30, Illinois 20 - Beanie Wells ran for 143 yards and a score and freshman quarterback Terrelle Pryor added 110 yards on the ground for the 10th-ranked Buckeyes (9-2, 6-1 Big Ten) in Champaign, Ill.
Oklahoma St. 30, Colorado 17 - The No. 11 Cowboys (9-2, 5-2 Big 12) shook off their big loss to Texas Tech last weekend by beating up the host Buffaloes (5-6, 2-5), getting a TD pass and rushing score from Zac Robinson.
Missouri 52, Iowa St. 20 - Chase Daniel threw for 328 yards and two touchdowns for the No. 12 Tigers (9-2, 5-2), who clinched the Big 12 North by crushing the host Cyclones (2-9, 0-7).
Georgia 17, Auburn 13 - Knowshon Moreno rushed for 134 yards and caught a pass for a touchdown as the No. 13 Bulldogs (9-2, 6-2 SEC) held off the upset-minded Tigers (5-6, 2-5) in Auburn, Ala.
BYU 38, Air Force 24 - The No. 16 Cougars (10-1, 6-1 Mountain West) beat the host Falcons (8-3, 5-2) for the fifth straight time, getting 354 yards passing and two touchdowns from Max Hall.
LSU 40, Troy 31 - The 19th-ranked Tigers (7-3) roared back from 28 points down to beat the visiting Trojans (6-4), completing the biggest comeback in school history when Charles Scott scored on a 4-yard run with 4:50 left.
Oregon St. 34, California 21 - At Corvallis, Ore., freshman Jacquizz Rodgers and older brother James each ran for touchdowns for the No. 23 Beavers (7-3, 6-1 Pac-10), who won their fifth straight to stay on track for their first Rose Bowl appearance since 1965.
Houston 70, Tulsa 30 - The host Cougars (6-4, 5-1 Conference USA) steamrolled the No. 25 Golden Hurricane (8-2, 5-1) behind six TD passes from Case Keenum, five in the first half.