Oklahoma, Miami roll; Ohio State upset in college football
JERSEY CITY, New Jersey - The race to college football's national title game saw Oklahoma and Miami move well ahead of the field and defending national champion Ohio State fall back into the pack.
Saturday clearly was the biggest day of the season, chock full of games that would help reveal who are the contenders and who are the pretenders in the national title race.
Top-ranked Oklahoma (6-0) and No. 2 Miami (6-0) rose to the challenge with relative ease and emerged as clear favorites to play in the Sugar Bowl on January 4.
Oklahoma remained an offensive juggernaut, riding four touchdown passes from Jason White and a record-setting day by receiver Mark Clayton to a 65-13 rout of No. 11 Texas in their annual meeting at the Cotton Bowl.
Miami took advantage of five turnovers to defeat fifth-ranked Florida State, 22-14, in a game played in steady rain. Sean Taylor returned one of his two interceptions 50 yards for a touchdown as the Hurricanes recorded their 38th straight regular-season win.
It also was raining in Wisconsin, where backup quarterback Matt Schabert threw a 79-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Lee Evans with 5:20 remaining as the 22nd-ranked Badgers snapped No. 3 Ohio State's 19-game winning streak with a 17-10 Big Ten Conference victory.
The Badgers (6-1) ended the nation's longest winning streak, handing the defending national champions their first loss since the 2002 Gator Bowl against South Carolina.
During its streak, Ohio State (5-1) won 10 games by seven points or fewer. But the Buckeyes were unable to come through in their first road game of the season. "I think as we look at ourselves, we didn't do the things you need to do to win a big game on the road," Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said.
Ohio State was not the only highly ranked team to lose for the first time this season. No. 6 LSU (5-1), No. 7 Nebraska (5-1) and No. 8 Arkansas (4-1) also were beaten Saturday.
The season is not even half over but just five unbeaten teams remain.
No. 4 Virginia Tech (6-0) will host Miami on November 1 and remains in the middle of the title race. But 17th-ranked Texas Christian (6-0) and No. 18 Northern Illinois (6-0) are given almost no chance of playing in the Sugar Bowl since they are not from a conference in the Bowl Championship Series.
No team looked stronger than Oklahoma, which has topped the 50-point plateau in four straight games for the first time in school history and posted its highest point total since a 69-7 rout of Nebraska in 1997.
"We created some very big plays today and the guys really stepped it up," Sooners coach Bob Stoops said.
Texas (4-2) turned over the ball six times and lost to its archrival for the fourth straight time. The game bore a strong resemblance to the 2000 meeting, a 63-14 Oklahoma triumph that proved to be a watershed victory for then-second year coach Stoops as the Sooners went on to the national title.
Miami was expected to have a more difficult time Saturday after struggling to defeat West Virginia last week and losing star running back Frank Gore to a season-ending knee injury.
Jarrett Payton replaced Gore and carried 26 times for 97 yards. He also scored a 14-yard touchdown on a screen pass from Brock Berlin.
"We had taken a lot of criticism after a close win," Miami coach Larry Coker said. "Not a lot of people gave us much of a chance to win this game."
Florida State fell to 5-1.
Virginia Tech had no trouble, coasting to a 51-7 win over Syracuse as DeAngelo Hall returned a pair of punts for touchdowns.
Louisiana State fell short of its first 6-0 start in 30 years when freshman Chris Leak tossed a pair of touchdown passes to lead Florida to a surprising 19-7 victory.
The Gators intercepted Matt Mauck twice and recovered a fumble as they avoided losing to LSU in back-to-back years for the first time since 1986-87.
Brad Smith scored four touchdowns to tie a school record and Santino Ricco threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Victor Sesay off a fake field goal as Missouri snapped a 24-game losing streak against Nebraska with a 41-24 win.
After handing Tennessee its first loss of the season last week, Auburn knocked off another top 10 team with a 10-3 win over No. 8 Arkansas.
The problems for 14th-ranked Tennessee (4-2) continued with a 41-14 loss to No. 10 Georgia (5-1). The Bulldogs' Sean Jones returned a fumble 92 yards for a touchdown on the final play of the first half and Georgia scored 21 unanswered points in the third quarter.
In other games, No. 9 Southern California (5-1) routed Stanford, 44-21; No. 16 Pittsburgh (3-2) lost to Notre Dame, 20-14; 18th-ranked Northern Illinois defeated Central Michigan,40-24; No. 21 Kansas State (4-3) lost to Oklahoma State, 38-34; No. 23 Michigan State (6-1) routed Illinois, 49-14; and No. 24 Virginia (4-2) fell to Clemson, 30-27, in overtime.
Also on Friday, No. 17 TCU was a 13-10 winner at South Florida, which had a 21-game home winning streak stopped.
No. 12 Washington State (5-1), No. 15 Iowa (5-1) and 25th-ranked Oregon State were idle.
This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index
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