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No. 1 Buckeyes survive scare

Top-ranked Ohio State got its first scare of the season.

The Buckeyes built a 17-0 halftime lead against Illinois and overcame a ho-hum performance by their offense to hold off the stubborn Illini, 17-10, yesterday in Champaign, Ill.

The Buckeyes (10-0, 6-0 Big Ten) had won each of their first nine games by at least 17 points, but let this one get close, just as rival Michigan did earlier in the day against Ball State.

Rashard Mendenhall's 3-yard TD run with 1:40 to go brought Illinois within 7 and after Ohio State's Brian Robiskie recovered an onside kick by the Illini, the Buckeyes were forced to punt.

Short TD runs by Chris Wells and Antonio Pittman gave the Buckeyes a halftime lead, but they couldn't add on in the final two quarters.

Michigan 34, Ball St. 26 -- Michigan's tuneup turned into quite a test.

Trailing by 8, Ball State threw an incomplete pass into the end zone with 2:46 left and couldn't connect on a heave from midfield on the final play, allowing the second-ranked Wolverines to escape in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Michigan (10-0) let its guard down and allowed the Cardinals (3-7) to make a late charge.

Mike Hart ran for 154 yards and a TD and teammate Brandon Minor rushed for 108 yards and another score to help the Wolverines avoid a shocking upset.

Ball State's Nate Davis was 18 of 34 for 250 yards with a TD. Dante Love had six receptions for 107 yards and a score.

Texas 36, Oklahoma St. 10 -- Colt McCoy threw three TD passes to break the Texas season record and the No. 4 Longhorns rolled over the visiting Cowboys.

McCoy also had a career-high 346 yards on 23-of-29 passing for Texas (9-1, 6-0). McCoy's 27 touchdown passes broke the school mark of 26 shared by Vince Young (2005) and Chris Simms (2002).

Auburn 27, Arkansas St. 0 -- Brandon Cox passed for 251 yards and two touchdowns and the No. 6 Tigers held the visiting Indians to 177 total yards.

The Tigers (9-1) turned the ball over four times, but got the easy tuneup they hoped for to set up season-ending games with traditional rivals Georgia and Alabama.

Florida 25, Vanderbilt 19 -- Chris Leak ran for two touchdowns and threw for another as the seventh-ranked Gators survived host Vandy's fourth-quarter rally for their 16th straight victory in the series.

With the win, the Gators (8-1, 6-1 Southeastern Conference) clinched the Eastern Division for the first time since 2000. Florida, playing without senior tackle Marcus Thomas, who was dismissed from the team, gave up a season-high 391 yards offense.

USC 42, Stanford 0 -- John David Booty threw three touchdown passes in the second quarter and Terrell Thomas scored on a 71-yard blocked field goal return to help the No. 9 Trojans roll to their most lopsided win of the season.

Booty went 12 for 21 for 203 yards, Dwayne Jarrett caught five passes for 118 yards and a touchdown, and the Trojans (7-1, 5-1 Pac-10) finally had a laugher after sweating it out until the end the last four games.

California 38, UCLA 24 -- Marshawn Lynch caught one of Nate Longshore's three touchdown passes and ran for another score as the No. 10 Golden Bears beat the host Bruins for their eighth straight win.

Robert Jordan had two touchdown catches and DeSean Jackson romped 72 yards on his school-record fourth TD punt return in just 20 games at Cal (8-1, 6-0 Pac-10), which moved closer to its first conference title since 1975.

Notre Dame 45, North Carolina 26 -- Brady Quinn passed for four TDs and a season-high 346 yards to help the No. 11 Fighting Irish (8-1) overcome breakdowns on defense and special teams and beat the visiting Tar Heels.

After going ahead, 24-7, the Irish gave up a 90-yard kickoff return by Brandon Tate and a 72-yard touchdown catch by Hakeem Nicks as the Tar Heels kept it respectable. Jeff Samardzija had six catches for 177 yards and a touchdown. It was his 23d career touchdown catch, breaking the school mark set by Derrick Mayes (1995).

Arkansas 26, S. Carolina 20 -- Darren McFadden ran for a career-high 219 yards and two touchdowns and Marcus Monk had eight catches for a career-best 192 yards as the No. 12 Razorbacks (8-1, 5-0 SEC) downed the host Gamecocks.

Wisconsin 13, Penn State 3 -- Joe Paterno literally couldn't stand to watch as the No. 17 Badgers beat the Nittany Lions in Madison, Wis.

The 79-year-old Nittany Lions coach was forced to leave the sideline after one of his players tumbled into his leg early in the third quarter. Paterno eventually was escorted to the bench before being carted to the locker room near the end of the third quarter.

Wisconsin (9-1, 6-1 Big Ten) scored the first touchdown given up by Penn State's defense in more than two games, and kept the Nittany Lions' offense under control for most of the afternoon.

Oklahoma 17, Texas A&M 16 -- Allen Patrick ran for a career-high 173 yards and the No. 18 Sooners sealed a win over the No. 21 Aggies by converting on fourth and inches from their 29 with 1:29 left in College Station, Texas.

The Sooners (7-2, 4-1 Big 12) won their fourth straight in coach Bob Stoops's 100th game at Oklahoma and broke a four-game win streak by the Aggies (8-2, 4-2).

Oregon 34, Washington 14 -- Jonathan Stewart ran for 159 yards and two touchdowns as the No. 24 Ducks (7-4, 4-2 Pac-10) rolled up 316 yards on the ground and beat the Huskies in Eugene, Ore.

Arizona 27, Washington St. 17 -- Chris Henry ran for 94 yards and two TDs on 35 carries and the visiting Wildcats (4-5, 2-4 Pac-10) limited the No. 25 Cougars (6-4, 4-3) to 45 yards rushing.

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