Penn State wanted to avoid a letdown. What it got was more like a meltdown.
A week after an emotional victory over Ohio State, Penn State had to score twice in the fourth quarter to beat lowly Minnesota, 16-15, on Saturday and keep alive hopes for a national championship.
"It was a win. You shouldn't apologize for it," Penn State coach Joe Paterno said. "We just couldn't seem to get into a groove. We tried things but they were ready for us. They (the players) were fortunate it was a win. I hope they learn for it."
Chris Snyder's fumble recovery set up Curtis Enis' game-winning, 10-yard touchdown run with 3:59 to play.
"It was like a gift from God," linebacker Jim Nelson said. "You couldn't think of a more perfect time for those things to happen. Sometimes championship teams get lucky. Call it what you will but things went our way."
The Nittany Lions (6-0 overall, 3-0 in the Big Ten Conference) overcame a 15-3 lead that Minnesota (2-5, 0-3) built on field goals of 52, 23, 32, 50 and 33 yards by Adam Bailey.
Minnesota's Crawford Jordan was called for pass interference on a third-down pass to Enis, giving Penn State a first down at the Gophers 6. Enis, who ran for 112 yards, scored on the next play and Penn State trailed only 15-10.
"As much as I didn't want this type of ball game, we needed it. Luckily, knock on wood, we pulled it out," Enis said.
Penn State won its 11th straight despite a subpar day from Mike McQueary, who threw for only 85 yards and had two passes intercepted and lost a fumble.
Florida 24, Auburn 10
AUBURN, Ala. -- With walk-on Noah Brindise passing for one touchdown and wide receiver Jacquez Green scoring three times, No. 7 Florida (6-1, 4-1) kept its title hopes alive with a Southeastern Conference victory over No. 6 Auburn (6-1, 3-1).
The Gators, playing without Doug Johnson -- suspended by coach Steve Spurrier for a team rules violation -- used a "Pass 'N Pray" offense and a smothering defense to shut down Dameyune Craig, who was sacked nine times, fumbled twice and lost one and threw an interception.
"With our quarterback situation muddled, we didn't want to put the game in our quarterback's hands," Spurrier said.
Green's first college pass resulted in a 12-yard score to Jamie Robinson in the first quarter. He also caught a 10-yard TD pass from Brindise in the third quarter and ran 5 yards for a clinching score with 4:27 left.
"I know I didn't light the world on fire," said Brindise, who mainly handed off and watched Fred Taylor run for 140 yards on 34 carries. "But handing off to a guy like Fred made it easier."
Jesse Palmer, the first freshman quarterback to start in Spurrier's eight seasons at Florida, was benched after throwing his second interception early in the third quarter and the score tied at 10-10.
Michigan 28, Iowa 24
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Brian Griese, overcoming his worst start of the season, passed for three touchdowns and ran for another in No. 5 Michigan's comeback victory over No. 15 Iowa (4-2, 1-2) in the Big Ten Conference.
Griese, whose three first-half interceptions put Michigan (6-0, 3-0) in a big hole, hit Jerame Tuman with the winner from 2 yards out with 2:55 remaining.
"The first half was obviously my worst half of football since I've been here," Griese said. "But I never lost confidence in what I was doing. I'm not the kind of person to dwell on the negative things. And we didn't lose confidence as an offense or a team, either."
Michigan's defense went into the game ranked first nationally, having allowed just 5.2 points per game. The Wolverines were second in total defense at 211.8 yards per game.
The Wolverines have yielded just three field goals -- including one to the Hawkeyes -- in the second half. The Wolverines finished with 389 yards, holding Iowa to 187. Michigan had a 21-7 edge in first downs.
Kansas St. 36, Texas A&M 17
MANHATTAN, Kan. -- A limping Michael Bishop led three second-half scoring drives fueled by the running of Mike Lawrence as No. 20 Kansas State (5-1, 1-1) beat No. 14 Texas A&M (5-1, 2-1) in the Big 12.
Bishop, who set a conference record for a quarterback by rushing for 196 yards last week, left the game with an injured left leg late in the second quarter.
He returned at the start of the second half, but the Wildcats turned to a passing attack and the running of Lawrence, who finished with 105 yards on 20 carries.
"Once things started ticking and we started playing as a team, you just felt it," said Wildcats linebacker Jeff Kelly, who had seven tackles and two sacks.
The Aggies lost leading rusher Dante Hall to a knee injury on the first play of the game.
Florida St. 38, Georgia Tech 0
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Thad Busby threw for a career-high 399 yards and three touchdowns and Travis Minor raced 27 yards for a score as third-ranked Florida State (6-0, 4-0) defeated No. 21 Georgia Tech (4-2, 3-1) in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Busby threw scoring passes to Marvin Minnis, Damian Harrell and E.G. Green, who caught six passes for a career-high 166 yards. Florida State ran up 587 yards while its top-ranked defense limited Georgia Tech to 144 yards and eight first downs.
"I had a little trouble hitting my receivers," Busby said. "Kind of like a pitcher when he can't find the plate. I worked my way into it and really started to find my rhythm there."
It was second shutout this season for the Seminoles, who blanked Miami, 47-0, two weeks ago.
"When ol' Buzz hits 'em we move the ball," Florida State coach Bobby Bowden said. "It was a little frustrating (at halftime). I was begging a little more than I usually do: 'Buzz? Buzz, just hit 'em with it. Hit 'em with the ball.' "
Georgia Tech had won four straight games since losing its opener at Notre Dame. The Yellow Jackets' deepest penetration was to the Florida State 39.
Nebraska 29, Texas Tech 0
LINCOLN, Neb. -- Ahman Green ran for 178 yards and a touchdown and the Cornhuskers' defense recorded its first shutout of the season, over Texas Tech (3-3, 2-1) in the Big 12.
Green led a powerful rushing attack for Nebraska (6-0, 3-0) as the Cornhuskers rolled up 400 yards on the day, just below their 401-yard average.
Green, who carried 24 times, has 2,873 yards during his career. His effort moved him from seventh to fourth on Nebraska's career leaders list, passing Derek Brown, Lawrence Phillips and I.M. Hipp.
Mike Rozier, the 1983 Heisman Trophy winner, is the school's top rusher. He gained 4,780 yards from 1981-83.
N. Carolina 20, N.C. State 7
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Brian Schmitz drilled a 51-yard field goal in a driving rainstorm midway through the third quarter to lead No. 4 North Carolina (7-0, 4-0) over North Carolina State (3-4, 1-4) in the ACC.
The Tar Heels matched the program's best start since 1983 and moved within one win of heading undefeated into a Nov. 8 showdown with No. 3 Florida State.
After starting 3-1, the Wolfpack has lost three in a row and has dropped five straight to the Tar Heels.
Schmitz, the team's punter and kickoff man, kicked the first field goal of his career, the longest for the Tar Heels since 1987.
The North Carolina defense, which held its 14th straight opponent under 300 total yards, then sealed the deal, stopping the Wolfpack in the fourth quarter after Na Brown had fumbled a punt to N.C. State at the Tar Heels 33.
Tar Heels running back Jonathan Linton's 177 yards on 34 carries were a career high and tops in the ACC this season.
Mississippi 36, LSU 21
BATON ROUGE, La. -- John Avery ran for two touchdowns and Stewart Patridge passed for two as Mississippi posted an SEC upset of No. 8 LSU, a week after the Tigers' stunning defeat of defending national champion Florida.
"It is the biggest win since I have been here," Ole Miss coach Tommy Tuberville said. "We believed in each other, and we went out and took a few chances and they worked."
LSU (5-2, 3-2) was noticeably flat and Ole Miss (4-2, 2-2) took advantage. The Rebels shut out LSU in the second half and outgained the Tigers, 488-391.
Working against the top scoring defense and pass efficiency defense in the SEC, Patridge completed 27 of 43 for 346 yards and two touchdowns. Avery carried for 128 yards on 26 carries.
Kevin Faulk rushed for 172 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries for LSU.
Tennessee 38, Alabama 21
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Peyton Manning threw for 304 yards and three touchdowns to lead No. 9 Tennessee (5-1, 3-1) to an SEC win over Alabama (3-3, 1-3).
The 80th meeting between the teams produced Tennessee's third straight win in the series and its second consecutive blowout at Legion Field. As was the case in a 41-14 win in 1995, Tennessee put Alabama away early.
During a 15-minute span beginning in the first quarter, Tennessee ran 36 plays and scored three touchdowns, compared to just seven plays, no first downs and an interception for the Crimson Tide.
When that stretch was over, Tennessee led, 21-6.
Washington 58, Arizona 28
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Brock Huard passed for three TDs as No. 10 Washington (5-1, 3-0) rolled to a Pacific-10 Conference win over Arizona (3-4, 1-3).
Rashaan Shehee ran for two scores, including a 62-yard breakaway in the third quarter, Maurice Shaw scored on a 6-yard run and Nick Lentz kicked a 26-yard field goal for the Huskies.
Huard's scoring passes covered 39 yards to Fred Coleman, 6 yards to Jerome Pathon and 3 yards to Jeremy Brigham in the first half.
Ohio State 31, Indiana 0
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Michael Wiley ran for one touchdown and threw for another and Ohio State's defense did not allow Indiana inside the 11th-ranked Buckeyes' 30 in a Big Ten victory.
Clinton Wayne added a 38-yard interception return for a touchdown as Ohio State (6-1, 2-1) bounced back from its loss last week to Penn State. Ohio State, which piled up 432 yards of offense, held Indiana (1-6, 0-4) to 179 total yards, including 35 yards on 32 rushes.
With the victory, Ohio State coach John Cooper moved to 82-30-4 in his 10th season and into second place in career victories at the school. Earle Bruce went 81-26-1 in nine seasons; the late Woody Hayes was 205-61-10 from 1951-78.
Northwestern 19, Michigan St. 17
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Adrian Autry burned the nation's fourth-ranked rushing defense for 175 yards and Northwestern (3-5, 1-3) blocked a 28-yard field goal with five seconds left as the Wildcats dealt No. 12 Michigan State (5-1, 2-1) its first loss in the Big Ten.
Northwestern snapped a four-game losing streak and earned its first conference victory after winning back-to-back titles.
The Spartans entered the game allowing an average of only 64 rushing yards but the Wildcats, ranked 10th in the conference in rushing, almost doubled their average with 208 behind Autry's career-high performance.
Still, the game came down to the last play, when a leaping Gerald Conoway blocked Chris Gardner's kick. The Spartans had almost effortlessly moved the ball from their 24 to Northwestern's 9, but coach Nick Saban decided to play for the field goal by Gardner -- who had missed only once in 26 attempts from 29 yards and in.
Washington St. 63, California 37
PULLMAN, Wash. -- Ryan Leaf threw five touchdown passes and Michael Black scored three times as No. 13 Washington State blasted California (2-4, 0-3) to retain first place in the Pac-10.
Washington State scored touchdowns on its first six possessions, with five coming on drives of five plays or less. The Cougars (6-0, 4-0) scored so fast they built a 42-6 halftime lead while holding the ball for just 8:22, compared to 21:38 for California.
The start matches the best since Washington State's 1992 went 6-0 on the way to a 9-3 finish.
Playing just three quarters, Leaf completed 13 of 21 passes for 332 yards without an interception. His five touchdown passes tied a school record set by Jack Thompson in 1976 and matched by Timm Rosenbach in 1988 and Drew Bledsoe in 1991.
UCLA 34, Oregon St. 10
PASADENA, Calif. -- Quarterback Cade McNown didn't have one of his better days, finishing with 11 for 25 for 210 yards and two touchdowns with one interception in No. 17 UCLA's (5-2, 3-1) Pac-10 win over Oregon State (3-3, 0-3).
McNown, a junior, became UCLA's career leader in total offense in the fourth quarter, surpassing Tom Ramsey, who finished his career 15 years ago with 6,255 yards by rushing and passing.
McNown finished the game with 6,320 yards of total offense in his career.
Fresno St. 20, Air Force 17
AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- Jeff Hanna's career-long 51-yard field goal broke a fourth-quarter tie, lifting Fresno State to an upset of No. 18 Air Force in the Western Athletic Conference.
Michael Pittman ran for 105 yards and Jaime Kimbrough had two touchdowns as Fresno State (3-4, 2-1) handed Air Force (7-1, 5-1) its first loss of the season.
Tim Curry blocked two punts that led to Air Force touchdowns, but the Falcons struggled under sophomore quarterback Cale Bonds, who made his first collegiate start in place of injured Blane Morgan.
Bonds' first and last passes of the game were intercepted and he also fumbled twice. He was replaced by Morgan late in the game, but Morgan left after two plays when he fell hard on his separated right shoulder.
Georgia 34, Vanderbilt 13
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Mike Bobo threw for 267 yards and two touchdowns as No. 19 Georgia (5-1, 3-1) defeated Vanderbilt (3-4, 0-4) in the SEC.
Georgia had 396 yards, including touchdown passes of 27 and 25 yards from Bobo to Michael Greer, against Vanderbilt's league-leading defense. The Commodores came into the game giving up 242 yards a game.
Purdue 45, Wisconsin 20
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Ed Watson ran for three touchdowns and Billy Dicken threw for three as Purdue defeated No. 24 Wisconsin in the Big Ten, extending its longest winning streak since 1980 to five games.
Purdue (5-1, 3-0) took control early while accumulating 353 yards in the first half. Dicken, who threw five touchdown passes last week to tie a school record, completed two scoring strikes in the first half as the Boilermakers built a 28-3 advantage.
Wisconsin (6-2, 3-1) was seeking to win a seventh consecutive game for the first time since 1912. The victory gave Purdue five victories for the first time since 1985. The 1994 team was officially 5-4-2 after a 42-20 loss to Michigan State was reversed by a forfeit.
Arizona St. 31, Stanford 14
STANFORD, Calif. -- Jeff Paulk had a pair of 2-yard scoring runs and the Arizona State defense forced five turnovers as the Sun Devils defeated No. 25 Stanford in the Pac-10.
Marlon Farlow added a 60-yard scoring run and Mike Martin had a 7-yard touchdown run for the Sun Devils (5-2, 3-1).
Anthony Bookman had a 70-yard scoring run and Mike Mitchell had a 2-yard touchdown run for the Cardinal (4-3, 2-2).