Utah trounces BYU to clinch BCS berth
Utah is BCS bound once again.
Brian Johnson passed for 303 yards and four touchdowns and the eighth-ranked Utes completed a perfect regular season by beating No. 16 BYU, 48-24, last night in Salt Lake City, winning the heated state rivalry and taking the undisputed Mountain West Conference title away from the two-time defending champion Cougars.
Utah (12-0, 8-0) forced six turnovers by BYU quarterback Max Hall, including a career-high five interceptions, and went unbeaten in the regular season for the third time in school history. The last Utah team to do it was the BCS Busters of 2004, which was 11-0 before winning the Fiesta Bowl.
Utah fans couldn't wait to celebrate and charged the field with 29 seconds left. They were herded off so Johnson could take a knee and run out the clock, then the celebration could really begin. The Utes were swallowed by the sea of red-clad fans who were elated about so many things - the unbeaten season, the BCS, and beating BYU (10-2, 6-2), which hadn't happened for Utah since 2005.
The chant "B-C-S!" rang out through Rice-Eccles Stadium as Johnson received the Mountain West title trophy. Johnson was nearly perfect in his final home game, going 30 of 36 and not turning the ball over once.
Penn St. 49, Michigan St. 18 - The No. 7 Nittany Lions (11-1, 7-1) dominated the No. 17 Spartans (9-3, 6-2) in State College, Pa., to win a share of the Big Ten title and earn their first trip to the Rose Bowl since 1995.
Daryll Clark threw for career highs of 341 yards and four touchdowns and a stingy Penn State defense held Michigan State's Javon Ringer to a season-low 42 yards rushing. Afterward, the Nittany Lions' Joe Paterno said he doesn't intend for his 43d season as head coach to be his last - at least not yet.
"I'm planning on coming back, yeah," said Paterno, 81, who coached again from the press box because of a sore hip. "I never planned otherwise."
Ohio St. 42, Michigan 7 - In the rivalry's most lopsided result in 40 years, the 10th-ranked Buckeyes rolled in Columbus, Ohio, for their fifth straight win over Michigan, ending a dreadful first season for Wolverines coach Rich Rodriguez.
Freshman Terrelle Pryor threw two touchdown passes, Brian Hartline caught two scoring passes, and Dan Herron ran for two more TDs to give the Buckeyes (10-2, 7-1) a share of their fourth straight Big Ten title.
The Wolverines (3-9, 2-6) lost the most games in school history, missed a bowl trip for the first time in 34 years, and had the first losing season in 41 years.
Florida 70, The Citadel 19 - Tim Tebow threw for 201 yards and three touchdowns in just over one quarter of play, Chris Rainey ran for 142 yards and a score, and the third-ranked Gators overwhelmed the Bulldogs of the Football Championship Subdivision in Gainesville, Fla.
Florida (10-1) scored touchdowns on its first seven possessions, racked up 512 yards in the first half alone, and became the first Southeastern Conference team to score at least 42 points in six consecutive games. The Gators finished with 705 yards.
Boise St. 41, Nevada 34 - At Reno, Kellen Moore threw for 414 yards and three touchdowns and the No. 9 Broncos (10-0, 7-0) kept the nation's best rushing offense in check to clinch their sixth WAC title in seven years.
TCU 44, Air Force 10 - Andy Dalton threw two touchdown passes and ran for two more scores, and the No. 15 Horned Frogs (10-2, 7-1 Mountain West) mostly smothered Air Force's usually potent rushing attack to win their regular-season finale in Fort Worth.
Mississippi 31, LSU 13 - Jevan Snead threw two touchdown passes as the visiting Rebels (7-4, 4-3 SEC) snapped a six-game losing streak against the No. 18 Tigers (7-4, 3-4).
Cincinnati 28, Pittsburgh 14 - Tony Pike threw three touchdown passes and the No. 19 Bearcats (9-2, 5-1) took control of the Big East race by beating the No. 20 Panthers in Cincinnati.
Oregon St. 19, Arizona 17 - Justin Kahut kicked a 24-yard field goal as time expired, and the No. 21 Beavers (8-3, 7-1 Pac-10) survived in Tucson to move within one victory of their first Rose Bowl trip since 1965.