Saturday, November 18, 2017

Oregon positioned for title run


One down, one to go for Oregon.

The Ducks moved up a spot and passed Notre Dame in the BCS standings Sunday, moving into third behind Alabama and Kansas State.

Oregon is coming off its biggest victory of the season, 62-51 at Southern California on Saturday night. That result, combined with Notre Dame's overtime victory against a middling Pittsburgh team, helped nudge the Ducks by the Irish this week.

Alabama, No. 1 in the media and coaches polls and the BCS computer ratings, needs only to win out to reach the BCS title game for the third time in four seasons.

Kansas State is third in the polls and in the computers, but second overall. The Ducks are a solid No. 2 in both polls but still fifth in the computers.

But the Ducks have a stronger schedule than Kansas State from this point forward, making Oregon a strong bet to pass the Wildcats if it keeps winning.

The Ducks play at Cal on Saturday before finishing their regular season against two teams in the BCS top 15, Stanford and Oregon State. If they get to the Pac-12 title game, UCLA or USC is the likely opponent.

Kansas State is at TCU and Baylor, then finishes with Texas. It's not clear if the Wildcats will have quarterback Collin Klein this week. He left Saturday's game with an undisclosed injury, and the school said Sunday it had no updates. Yahoo Sports reported there was concern about a concussion.

Notre Dame is in fourth place with only one opponent with a winning record left. The Fighting Irish are at Boston College on Saturday, host Wake Forest, then visit USC.

A hypothetical Alabama-Oregon BCS title game has the Tide favored by four, said RJ Bell of

In the Associated Press poll, No. 23 Toledo is ranked for the first time since the final poll of 2001. The Rockets (8-1) are the second MAC team to be ranked this season, joining Ohio.

McCARRON revels in tide drive: A.J. McCarron had vowed he wouldn't let Alabama lose to LSU. He was true to his word Saturday night.

The quarterback guided the visiting Tide on a lightning-quick 72-yard drive with no timeouts left. He read a blitz and threw a screen to T.J. Yeldon, who went 28 yards for a touchdown with 51 seconds remaining that gave Alabama a 21-17 victory.

"It was like clockwork," McCarron said. "The offense just looked at each other, and you could just tell in everybody's eyes it was like, 'We do this every Thursday, so what's the difference here?' "

LSU took chances that didn't pay off. A fake field goal try was stuffed, an onside kick didn't work, and the Tigers failed on a fourth-down gamble.

"Our football team came in here to win," LSU coach Les Miles said. "We went after it."

During the game, former Saints quarterback Bobby Hebert, whose son T-Bob played at LSU from 2008-11, was kicked out of the press box for excessive cheering. The radio talk-show host was warned twice.

Kentucky fires coach: A day after a 40-0 home loss to Vanderbilt, Kentucky fired coach Joker Phillips. "We didn't get the results we had worked and hoped for, therefore change is needed,'' said Phillips, 49, who is 12-23 in three seasons. "I appreciate the Big Blue Nation and encourage the fans to stay behind their team going forward." Kentucky (1-9, 0-7 SEC) will honor the two years left on Phillips' contract, worth $1.7 million per season.

Notre dame gets break: Officials didn't notice the Irish used two players wearing No. 2 when Pittsburgh missed a 33-yard field goal in the second overtime Saturday, which should have given the Panthers a second chance. Notre Dame won in the third OT. "I've never had a team that's won because it was lucky. But I've had many teams that were fortunate because they were good and they found a way to win," coach Brian Kelly said.

Cal: Quarterback Zach Maynard has no ligament damage in his injured left knee. His status against Oregon this week remains in doubt.

Georgia: Senior receiver Marlon Brown, tied for the team lead in catches, had his career end with a torn ACL in his left knee.

Late Saturday

UCLA 66, ARIZONA 10: The host Bruins (7-2) have a better record than crosstown rival USC (6-3) through nine games for the first time since 2001. Johnathan Franklin rushed for 162 yards to become UCLA's career leader with 3,873, surpassing Gaston Green (3,731 from 1984-87).

SAN DIEGO ST. 21, BOISE ST. 19: The visiting Aztecs returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown and set up another touchdown with a blocked punt in the upset.

OREGON ST. 36, ARIZ. ST. 26: Terron Ward rushed for 146 yards and a touchdown for the host Beavers, getting extra work when starter Storm Woods left early with a sore left knee.

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