College Football 2011: Within Reach
Week 13 Recap
By Cabrone D. Brewer
With one week remaining in what has proved to be one of the wackiest college football seasons in recent memory, it’s almost safe to say that the BCS national championship picture has become a bit more focused.
After building a 14-0 lead in the first half it looked as though No. 3 Arkansas was on a mission to crash the championship party, but a sudden 92-yard punt return by Tyrann Mathieu and a stellar defensive performance in the second half secured the SEC western division title for the Tigers, as No. 1 LSU defeated the Razorbacks 41-17.
LSU had not been down more than three points all season, but the Tigers rallied behind Mathieu’s play on special teams and quarterback Jordan Jefferson’s return as a starter to advance to the SEC championship game next Saturday against No. 13 Georgia in Atlanta.
Arkansas finishes the regular season at 10-2 — with both loses coming at the hands of No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama.
No. 2 Alabama made a clear statement Saturday by beating in-state rival Auburn 42-14 and turning down the volume on this year’s Iron Bowl classic.
Alabama running back Trent Richardson rushed for a dazzling career-high of 203 yards, placing himself in heavy discussion for the Heisman Trophy and his team in the thick of the national championship debate.
Ann Arbor, Michigan was the setting for this year’s installment of one of the greatest rivalries in college football, as No. 17 Michigan beat archrival Ohio State 40-34 to signal the Wolverines’ return to the national spotlight.
Quarterback Denard Robinson finished 14 of 17 for 167 yards passing with three touchdowns — adding 170 yards and two more scores on the ground to snap Michigan’s seven-game losing streak and give the Wolverines their first victory over the Buckeyes since 2003.
Possible Heisman contender Montee Ball ran for four touchdowns to help No. 15 Wisconsin rout No. 20 Penn State 42-14.
The Badgers’ easy victory over a Penn State squad that is still dealing with the fallout of the Jerry Sandusky abuse scandal places Wisconsin in the inaugural Big 10 championship game against Michigan State.
Rounding out the top ten this week: No. 4 Stanford defeats No. 22 Notre Dame 28-14; No. 6 Virginia Tech shuts out rival No. 24 Virginia 38-0; No. 7 Boise State handles Wyoming 36-14; No. 8 Houston remains undefeated, knocking off Tulsa 48-16; No. 9 Oregon defeats Oregon State 49-21 in the Civil War; And No. 10 USC blankets UCLA 50-0.
Make sure to check out Friday’s conference championship preview.
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