Connecticut

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Photo Credit: Joe Capraro | Daily Texan Staff

After NCAA Tournament wins against Western Kentucky and California, Texas lost to No. 1 seed Connecticut, 105–54, in the NCAA regional semifinal, ending its long season. 

“It’s frustrating,” junior center Imani McGee-Stafford said. “To be that close is really frustrating. … Every play, every time you didn’t do what you could have done or what you were supposed to do is going to keep replaying until October.”

Texas never led at any point in the game and faced trouble on both ends of the court. 

“Give credit to UConn … but today was just not a good day for us at all,” Texas head coach Karen Aston said.

The Longhorns struggled early to combat the Huskies’ length, shooting 27 percent from the field in the first half. UConn’s height forced Texas to turn over the ball 11 times and resulted in seven blocked shots in the first half. Texas pulled within 6 points midway through the half, but UConn went on a 27–5 run to extend its lead to 28 points at halftime.

UConn junior forward Breanna Stewart scored a season-high 31 points, with 20 coming in the opening half. Texas, as a team, tallied just 24 points in the first 20 minutes.  

In the second half, the Huskies continued their shooting clinic, finishing with 13 3-pointers in the game. Texas’ 18 turnovers helped the Huskies grow their already commanding lead. UConn shot lights out —  56 percent from the field and 42 percent from behind the arc.

“They were hitting on all cylinders today,” said freshman guard Ariel Atkins, who led the team with 11 points. “You have to realize that they’re basketball players just like we’re basketball players, and you have to stand and stick together.”

Despite the defeat, Texas (24–11) had its best season, in terms of wins, since 2003–2004. 

In a season riddled with injuries and other hardships, Texas defied the odds. The Longhorns started 4–8 in conference play but finished the year winning nine of 12 games.

Texas will only lose two players to graduation — Nneka Enemkpali and Krystle Henderson. They will have 13 scholarship players returning along with a strong incoming freshman class.

“I want the players to reflect back on the fact that there was a lot of adversity that they went through — but this was an experience I think they had to have to understand how to get to the next one,” Aston said. “I’m happy that we made another step with the program, and obviously, we need to take another giant one next year.” 

Senior forward Jonathan Holmes and the Longhorns will travel to Lexington, Kentucky, on Friday to face the No. 1 Wildcats.

Photo Credit: Jenna VonHofe | Daily Texan Staff

No. 6 Texas men’s basketball enters Friday’s matchup against No. 1 Kentucky fresh off its worst offensive performance of the season.

The Longhorns shot 30 percent from the field and 18.5 percent from beyond the 3-point arc in their victory over UT-Arlington on Tuesday.

For a chance to beat the Wildcats on Friday, those stats will have to improve.

“We understand if we [play like that] against Kentucky, we’re going to lose,” senior forward Jonathan Holmes said. 

Kentucky’s depth is unmatched, as the Wildcats have 10 players who average at least 15.3 minutes per game and seven players who average at least 8 points.

They’re experienced, too. After advancing to the NCAA tournament championship game to face Connecticut last season, the Wildcats saw most of their 2013-2014 roster return for this season.

The Longhorns and Wildcats match up well, as they are two of the biggest teams in the nation. Two of Kentucky’s better players, junior forward Willie Cauley-Stein and sophomore center Dakari Johnson, each measure in at 7 feet. Texas boasts five players of at least 6 feet 8 inches who see regular playing time.

“We go against some big guys in practice, so it’s not too much different from what we see every day,” Holmes said. “We’ll be fine going against another team that has some of the same size we have.”

Kentucky, however, figures to present some mismatch problems for a Texas team that’s missing its starting point guard. The Wildcats have enjoyed premier guard play this season from sophomore Aaron Harrison, who leads the team in scoring with 10.4 points per game, and standout freshman Devin Booker, who is tied for second on the team with 10.3 points per game.

So far this season, the Longhorns have racked up impressive wins over Iowa, California and Connecticut, but Kentucky presents their toughest test yet by far. The Wildcats beat then-No. 5 Kansas 72-40 on Nov. 18.

“What they did against Kansas was impressive,” Holmes said. “They deserve all the credit they’re getting right now.”

The Longhorns deserve considerable credit, too. They’ve won six of their seven games by double figures this year.

Both teams are 7-0 this season. A strong showing against the nation’s top-ranked team would go a long way in cementing Texas on the short list of the nation’s elite teams.

Junior guard Demarcus Holland shut down UConn senior guard Ryan Boatright at game’s end to help Texas finish with a 55-54 advantage.

Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff

Down 54-52 to No. 24 UConn with 4.4 seconds left, basketball head coach Rick Barnes drew up a familiar play. Coming off a back screen, senior forward Jonathan Holmes found himself wide open in the corner near the Texas bench. Despite leaning too far forward, Holmes swished the corner three, stunning the Huskies 55-54 in Storrs, Connecticut.

“I was kind of off balance and kind of fell forward, but it went in,” said Holmes, whose is now being called ‘Johnny Basketball’ by his teammates.

Up to that point, Holmes was struggling. He was just 3-of-12 from the field after opening the game shooting at a nearly 60 percent clip. But, with the game on the line, Barnes called his number.

The play was nearly a carbon copy of the buzzer-beater that knocked off Kansas State last season. Both plays featured Holmes coming off a back screen for a corner three in front of the Texas bench to win the game. And both times, Holmes sunk the shot.

No. 7 Texas (6-0) found itself down late in the game after struggling offensively in the second half.

The Longhorns took a 6-point lead to the break behind a strong first half from junior guard Demarcus Holland. Holland scored all 10 of his points in the first half, as he sliced and diced his way to the rim and finished early.

The second half, though, was a different story. The UConn defense clamped down, senior guard Ryan Boatright took over and the UConn fans got loud.At the 10:46 mark, a Boatright layup put UConn up 43-42: its first lead since 4-3. The Huskies expanded that lead to 6 before Texas made its move.

A pair of clutch free throws from freshman forward Myles Turner and sophomore guard Kendal Yancy cut the lead to 1. After a pair of Boatright free throws put UConn up by 3, junior point guard Javan Felix hit a high-arching layup with 21 seconds left. Boatright then split a pair from the line — setting the stage for Holmes’ theatrics.

Boatright ended with 24 points to lead all scorers, while Holmes led Texas with 13. Holmes also led all rebounders with eight.

Barnes elected to put Felix on Boatright, who is the Huskies’ go-to man, from the beginning. As Boatright began to get hot and find his stroke halfway through the second half, Barnes switched his lineup so that Holland, his best defender, would match Boatright.

Holland face-guarded Boatright at all times, limiting him to just 2 non-free-throw points and keeping the ball out of his hands in the final minutes. UConn sophomore guard Sam Cassell Jr. found himself taking the shots at the end of the game and missing both.

 

“Today, the big picture is: We found a way,” Barnes said.

Felix recorded 10 points and four assists, as he filled in for the injured sophomore guard Isaiah Taylor as the starting point guard. Turner finished with 7 points, five rebounds and five blocks — coming up with some huge defensive stops late in the game.

Former Texas star Jordan Hamilton’s younger brother, Daniel, notched 13 points for the Huskies (3-2).Texas returns home Tuesday to take on UT-Arlington.

Kaye Mitchell and Terri Gregory protest outside the Texas Capitol in favor of ‘gun sense’ laws on Saturday. The protest included speeches from officials, relatives and survivors of gun violence.

Photo Credit: Shweta Gulati | Daily Texan Staff

In response to shootings in Newtown, Conn. and around the country, protestors rallied outside the Texas Capitol on Saturday in favor of “gun sense” laws.

Speakers including elected officials, relatives of gun violence victims and survivors of gun violence campaigned for universal background checks, bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and against legislation supporting guns in schools. The protest was organized by Moms Demand Action, Texas Gun Sense and the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Hilary Rand, a Moms Demand Action coordinator, said she felt personally affected after the shootings in Newton because she has a daughter in first grade. In December, a 20-year-old gunman killed 26 people — including 20 children — at Sandy Hook Elementary School before killing himself. 

“It’s too easy to imagine my first-grade daughter as one of those students,” Rand said. “We don’t want to take away guns from law abiding citizens. We simply want to make common-sense rules.”

Scott Medlock, a Moms Demand Action volunteer and UT law school alumnus, said he joined the grassroots movement because of a close call with gun violence.

“I grew up next to Columbine High School,” Medlock said. “We moved to Texas the day before I would have started there. My sister would have been there the day of the shooting.”

Medlock said gun sense, as opposed to gun control, is about finding common sense measures everyone can agree on. For instance, he said, 90 percent of Americans support universal background checks. 

State Rep. Elliott Naishtat, D-Austin, said under current law, eight children are killed each day by gun violence, which adds up to almost “three Sandy Hooks per week.”

“The only comfort we can get is that Sandy Hook will be a turning point in how this country handles gun violence,” Naishtat said.

Kristina Morton, economics sophomore and member of University Democrats, said she attended the rally because although many people are in favor of universal background checks, some legislators still fight against them. 

“I think Americans in general are afraid of the words ‘gun control’ because gun control sounds like taking away guns from law-abiding citizens, but gun sense sounds less threatening,” Morton said.

Morton also said she opposes legislation putting guns on campus because it would not make her feel more safe.

“It concerns me because college campuses aren’t regular situations,” Morton said. “Because there are lecture halls full of students under a lot of stress who have had little sleep, I think it’s already a volatile situation.”

Deb Hanley, left, and Frank McGuire dig about three feet of snow from around their car outside their home in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Boston, Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013. The Boston area received about two feet of snow from a winter storm. 

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

BOSTON — A howling storm across the Northeast left the New York-to-Boston corridor shrouded in 1 to 3 feet of snow Saturday, stranding motorists on highways overnight and piling up drifts so high that some homeowners couldn't get their doors open. More than 650,000 homes and businesses were left without electricity.

At least three deaths in the U.S. were blamed on the wind-whipped snowstorm, including that of a New York man killed when the tractor he was using to plow his driveway ran off the edge of the road.

More than 38 inches of snow fell in Milford, Conn., and an 82 mph gust was recorded in nearby Westport. Areas of southeastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire got at least 2 feet of snow, with more falling. Portland, Maine, received 29.3 inches, breaking the record set in 1979.

Roads in many places were impassable. Across much of New England, snowed-over cars looked like white blobs. Streets were mostly deserted save for snowplow crews and a few hardy souls walking dogs or venturing out to take pictures. In Boston's Financial District, the only sound was an army of snowblowers clearing sidewalks.

The digging-out went more smoothly in some places than in others.

A little more than 11 inches fell in New York, but the city "dodged a bullet" and was "in great shape," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, predicting streets would be cleared by the end of the day. The New York region's three major airports — LaGuardia, Kennedy and Newark, N.J. — were up and running again by late morning after shutting down the evening before.

But hundreds of motorists abandoned their vehicles on New York's Long Island, which got 2½ feet of snow, and even snowplows were getting stuck. Emergency workers used snowmobiles to try to reach stranded motorists, some of whom spent the night in their cars.

Richard Ebbrecht, a chiropractor, left his office in Brooklyn at 3 p.m. on Friday and head for his home in Middle Island, N.Y., but got stuck six or seven times on the Long Island Expressway and other roads.

"There was a bunch of us Long Islanders. We were all helping each other, shoveling, pushing," he said. He finally gave up and settled in for the night in his car just two miles from his destination. At 8 a.m., when it was light out, he walked home.

"I could run my car and keep the heat on and listen to the radio a little bit," he said. "It was very icy under my car. That's why my car is still there."

Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut closed roads to all but essential traffic.

The Interstate 95 corridor from the New York metropolitan area to Boston, with a population of roughly 25 million, appeared to take the brunt of the storm. One of hardest-hit places was Connecticut, where even emergency responders found themselves stuck on highways all night. In Fairfield, police and firefighters could not come in to work, so the overnight shift stayed on.

Several state police cars were also stuck in deep snow in Maine, where stranded drivers were warned to expect long waits for tow trucks.

Nearly 22 inches of snow fell in Boston and more was expected, closing in on the 2003 record of 27.6 inches. The archdiocese in the heavily Roman Catholic city reminded parishioners that under church law, the requirement to attend Sunday Mass "does not apply when there is grave difficulty in fulfilling this obligation." Logan Airport was not expected to resume operations until late Saturday night.

Flooding fears along the Massachusetts coast led to the evacuation of two neighborhoods in Quincy, south of Boston, and of 20 to 30 people in oceanfront homes in Salisbury.

But around the New York metropolitan area, many victims of Superstorm Sandy were mercifully spared another round of flooding, property damage and power failures.

"I was very lucky and I never even lost power," said Susan Kelly of Bayville on Long Island. "We were dry as anything. My new roof was fantastic. Other than digging out, this storm was a nice storm." As for the shoveling, "I got two hours of exercise."

The Postal Service closed post offices and suspended mail delivery Saturday in New England.

"This is crazy. I mean it's just nuts," Eileen O'Brien said in blacked-out Sagamore Beach, Mass., as she cleared heavy snow from her deck for fear it might collapse.

As the pirate flag outside her door snapped and popped in gale-force winds Saturday, she said: "My thermostat keeps dropping. Right now it's 54 inside, and I don't have any wood. There's nothing I can do to keep warm except maybe start the grill and make some coffee."

In South Windsor, Conn., Bill Tsoronis used a snowblower to carve paths through huge snowdrifts in his neighborhood.

"I thought we might have 18 or 20 inches, but in some places it's up to my waist. It's more than I expected," he said. Still, he said the storm was not much more than a nuisance, since the neighborhood still had power, and he said he might gather with neighbors for cocktails later in the day.

His neighbor Mike Schroder said as he brushed snow off cars in his driveway that the storm lived up to the hype.

"This is finally one they got right," he said. He said the cleanup will take some time: 

After the recent tragedy in Newtown, CT, in which 20 students and six educators were murdered at a public school, the country has entered a heated debate over how to make schools safer. States such as New York have already passed new laws to decrease the probability of gun violence, and the president has issued an executive order for heightened federal gun control. Texas, a state with some of the most lax gun laws in the country and a governor who most likely has the Second Amendment pinned to his bedroom wall, has plans of its own this legislative session: inject more guns into the public school system. Members of the Texas Senate have wasted no time in churning out a concealed carry on campus bill to be debated for the second legislative session in a row. If the objective of this bill is safety, then the question must be posed: Would campus carry be beneficial or detrimental to campus security?

Cody Wilson, a UT law student currently working on a project that aims to allow anyone to download a file and print a fully operational firearm from a 3D printer, believes the campus carry bill doesn’t fully comply with the constitutionally-enshrined right granted by the Second Amendment. Instead of a concealed handgun — one of the few bars Texas law places on bearing arms — Wilson believes we should be allowed to carry a pistol in plain sight to “better make the point.” The idea is that if everyone is strapped to the teeth with firepower, potential shooters would be far too intimidated to act on their homicidal tendencies. This belief would imply that campus law enforcement doesn’t quite cut it in warding off possible threats. Following that logic, armed students would be a service to the police, giving them the power of thousands of vigilantes on their side.

Travis County Deputy Sheriff Derrick R. Taylor, who stressed that his opinions are his own and by no means reflect those of Travis County or the state of Texas, is unconvinced by that argument. Deputy Taylor would be anything but comforted by campus carry, listing reason after reason with a stern look in his eyes. “Our job is to protect,” he said. “Are you trained and ready to live with the guilt and pain of taking a life?” He also wondered what kind of individuals with what levels of responsibility were wearing guns to school and the myriad consequences that could arise from common carelessness.

The idea of armed matriculation is a terrifying one, and I can’t help but be reminded of the Charles Whitman shootings on campus 47 years ago. If you hear the alarming crack of gunfire and start seeing people around you fall to the ground, what kind of mental fortitude are you going to be able to sustain in order to judiciously operate a firearm? As much as everyone wants to be John Wayne, it takes countless hours of training to act accordingly in this type of situation — training you don’t receive by attaining a concealed handgun license.

I asked over 100 UT students via a poll in the “Class of 2015” Facebook group whether they would feel safer knowing their fellow students are armed. Eighty-nine percent said “no.” Whether you champion the Second Amendment or not is irrelevant when weighing the risks of a campus carry bill. While it may be a constitutional right for me to have a gun, it is also within the rights of my classmates to attend a lecture without worrying about the guy in front of her with a Colt .45 strapped to his waist. The simple fact of the matter is this: Not everyone takes the sight of a gun lightly. UT is composed of an eclectic blend of students, and I can guarantee many of them associate guns with chaos — which is exactly what this bill invites.

Cathey is a journalism sophomore from Dripping Springs.

No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 1 Notre Dame
The Crimson Tide enter the game as winners of two of the past three FBS championships, while the Fighting Irish return to the sport’s biggest stage for the first time since 1988. Offense will be at a premium, as Notre Dame and Alabama had the top two defenses in terms of opponent scoring in the regular season. Alabama is the stronger offensive team, led by the dynamic rushing attack of Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon. Running the ball will be tough for the Crimson Tide against a strong Irish front seven led by Heisman hopeful Manti Te’o. This matchup between two of college football’s prominent teams is likely to command considerable attention, and this should make for one of the most evenly matched national championship games in recent memory.

Game on Jan. 7 at 7:30 CT on ESPN

No. 4 Oregon vs. No. 5 Kansas State
The Tostitos Fiesta Bowl will feature two of the more prolific offensive teams in the nation, as both the Ducks and the Wildcats averaged more than 40 points per game during the regular season. Oregon’s Kenjon Barner was arguably the most impressive running back in college football, as the senior turned 248 carries into 1,624 yards and 21 touchdowns. Marcus Mariota was just as efficient passing the ball, completing 69.9 percent of his passes for 2,511 yards and 30 touchdowns against just six interceptions. The most dynamic player on the field will suit up for the Wildcats, as Heisman finalist Collin Klein threw for 2,490 yards and 15 touchdowns and ran for 890 yards and 22 scores. The game won’t lack for scoring.

Game on Jan. 3 at 7:30 CT on ESPN

No. 9 Texas A&M vs. No. 11 Oklahoma
The Sooners were snubbed for a BCS at-large bid, but their berth in the Cotton Bowl ensured they will face one of the nation’s toughest teams. Texas A&M enjoyed a breakout campaign in its first season in the SEC, going 10-2 behind freshman sensation Johnny Manziel. The Heisman hopeful set the conference mark for total yardage, throwing for 3,419 yards along with 24 touchdowns and rushing for 1,181 yards and 19 scores. His Aggies will be opposed by an equally potent Oklahoma offense led by Landry Jones, who turned in a strong senior season with 3,989 passing yards and 29 touchdowns. Each team will have plenty of supporters at Cowboys Stadium, and they will both be eager to claim victory against a former conference rival.

Game on Jan. 4 at 7:00 CT on FOX

Wisconsin vs. No. 6 Stanford
After its 70-31 drubbing of Nebraska, Wisconsin has become one of the bowl season’s most enticing teams. Montee Ball is in the middle of a tremendous streak of four games with at least 111 yards rushing and a touchdown. Stanford has been playing well of late, winning four consecutive games against ranked opponents and seven straight overall. Freshman quarterback Kevin Hogan has improved the Cardinal’s offense since being inserted into the starting lineup, and running back Stepfan Taylor enjoyed a fine season with 1,442 rushing yards and 12 scores. Of note: Wisconsin coach Brett Bielema left for Arkansas and current Wisconsin AD and former coach Barry Alvarez will man the sidelines for the Badgers.

Game on Dec. 31 at 4:00 CT on ESPN

No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 3 Georgia
No game on Saturday will have more important implications than the SEC title game, as the winner will earn a berth in the BCS Championship. The defending champion Crimson Tide are one win away from their third trip to the Georgia Dome in four years, having been paced by a smothering defense that has allowed an FBS best 9.3 points per game. The Alabama defense will have a tough task, however, as the Bulldogs boast arguably the most dynamic offense in the conference. Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray has thrown for 3,201 yards and 30 touchdowns, but has struggled to step up in high-profile games throughout his career. Murray will have a chance to change that reputation this week in the most important game he’s played in, but Alabama will be just as eager to win and move on to its second consecutive
national championship.
 
Game at 3:00 CT on CBS
 
No. 16 UCLA vs. No. 8 Stanford
The PAC-12 Championship Game will mark the second consecutive week these teams will face each other, with the winner in this one being crowned conference champion. The Cardinal topped the Bruins 35-17 on the road last Saturday thanks in large to a huge effort by star running back Stepfan Taylor, who ran for 142 yards and two touchdowns. The Bruins struggled to move the ball on the ground, as they averaged just 2.2 yards on 33 carries. Running back Johnathan Franklin has rushed for 1,506 yards and 11 touchdowns and UCLA will need a big effort from the senior for a chance to knock off the Cardinal. The Bruins came up small in their first game against Stanford, but a win in the conference championship game will make that loss a distant memory.
 
Game at 7:00 CT on FOX
 
No. 12 Nebraska vs. Wisconsin
Many believe the 7-5 Badgers did not deserve a trip to the Big Ten championship game, but regardless of their record it’s rarely a boring affair when these two take the field against each other. This was the case in week five, when the Cornhuskers came from 17 points down to earn a 30-27 victory. Nebraska has been led by quarterback Taylor Martinez, who has thrown for career highs of 2,483 yards and 21 touchdowns. Conversely, Wisconsin has not had much success passing the ball, but running back Montee Ball is enjoying another record-breaking year. The senior has run for 1,528 yards and 18 touchdowns, and he has scored at least once in nine of his past 10 games. The Cornhuskers enter this matchup as the favorite, but it is impossible to truly predict the outcome when these conference
rivals meet.
 
Game at 7:17 CT on FOX
 
No. 11 Oklahoma vs. TCU
The Sooners will need a win to keep their conference championship hopes alive, but they will have to go through a tough Horned Frogs team that has picked up wins against two of its past three ranked opponents. Oklahoma touts the seventh-highest scoring offense in the nation at 41.7 points per game thanks to a strong season from quarterback Landry Jones coupled with a balanced rushing attack. Jones could prove to be especially important, as TCU’s run defense is arguably the best in the conference. The Horned Frogs have been inconsistent on offense, but they were able to convert on turnovers and score enough to win on Thanksgiving against Texas. Both teams are bowl-eligible already, but the stakes are higher for Oklahoma.

Game at 11:00 CT on ESPN

No. 1 Notre Dame vs. USC
Notre Dame is the No. 1 team in the BCS standings for the first time in school history, and it is now one win away from a chance to compete for its first national championship since 1988. The Fighting Irish is the last major unbeaten team, and a victory over a slumping USC squad that will be without quarterback Matt Barkley will likely earn its a berth in the title game. Notre Dame boasts the nation’s top defense, as it has held opponents to just 10.1 points per game. This Notre Dame defense will be difficult for the Trojans to score against, especially with redshirt freshman Max Wittek making his first career start after throwing for 95 yards and a touchdown in limited playing time this season. USC will be hungry to play spoiler in what has been a disappointing season for the Trojans, but the Irish will be just as interested in clinching a trip to the national championship game.
Game at 7:00 CT on ABC

Georgia Tech vs. No. 3 Georgia
Thanks to Saturday’s losses by Kansas State and Oregon, Georgia likely controls its own destiny for a trip to the national title game.Georgia’s already in the SEC Championship and the winner of that game will likely be given the chance to compete for a national championship, putting a huge emphasis on this one for Georgia — if it loses, it doesn’t matter what happens in the SEC Championship. Aaron Murray has had a big year for the Bulldogs, throwing for 2,986 yards and 28 touchdowns against just seven interceptions. His play, coupled with the outstanding Georgia running game, has made the Bulldogs one of the SEC’s most potent offenses. Georgia Tech has been no slouch offensively either, as the Yellow Jackets are third in the nation in averaging 324.9 rushing yards per game. The Yellow Jackets would love to be able to end their rival’s championship aspirations, but they will likely have to be prepared to win in a shootout to do so.
Game at 11:00 CT on ESPN

No. 4 Florida vs. No. 10 Florida State
The door remains open for the Gators to earn a berth in the national championship game, but they need a lot of things to happen. First and foremost: beat the rival Seminoles. Florida is on a three-game win streak after suffering its only loss of the season against the Bulldogs, and it brings in the nation’s third most stringent defense in allowing just 11.7 points per game. The Gators face a tough task, though, as Florida State is seventh in the nation in scoring and fifth in points allowed. EJ Manuel has thrown for 2,785 yards and 21 touchdowns for the Seminoles, and as a team they are averaging 5.6 yards per carry.At the very least, both teams are competing for a bid to a BCS game, and a win in this matchup would solidify either team’s chances.
Game at 2:30 CT on ABC

No. 5 Oregon vs. No. 15 Oregon State
The Ducks will need some serious help in order to clinch a spot in the national championship game following their overtime loss to Stanford last Saturday. In addition to needing losses by several of the top four teams this weekend, Oregon will need a win against the Beavers to keep its title hopes alive. That is easier said than done, as Oregon State has gone 8-2 this season and has won two games against ranked opponents. The Ducks still possess one of the nation’s most dangerous offenses, averaging 51.1 points per game. The Beavers will be eager to hinder the championship aspirations of their in-state rival while improving their own bowl position, while the Ducks will be desperate to come away with an impressive victory and keep their title hopes alive.
Game at 2:00 CT on Pac 12 Network

No. 15 Texas A&M vs. No. 1 Alabama
The Crimson Tide need to win its last three games to clinch a third BCS Championship berth in four seasons, but this week presents Alabama with its biggest remaining test. The Aggies have continued to surprise throughout their first season in the SEC, with their only two losses coming to Florida and LSU. Johnny Manziel has led the fourth-best offense in the nation in terms of scoring, as the Aggies have averaged 44.7 points in nine games. They are yet to face a defense like Alabama’s, as the Tide lead the nation in limiting opponents to just 9.1 points per game. Alabama is coming off of a huge win over LSU and has already won three games against ranked opponents. The Crimson Tide face West Carolina and Auburn in its final two contests, making this the biggest remaining hurdle on the way to another trip to the title game.
Game at 2:30 CT on CBS

No. 2 Kansas State vs. TCU
The other team in line for a championship will face its toughest remaining road game of the season, as Kansas State travels to Fort Worth to take on the Horned Frogs. TCU has been solid in its first season as a member of the Big 12, as it is 3-3 in conference play and coming off of an electrifying double-overtime win over West Virginia. The TCU defense has not been as effective as it has been in recent history, with the Horned Frogs giving up 24.1 points per game on average. That might not be enough to stop the dynamic Wildcats offense, led by Heisman favorite Collin Klein. The star quarterback is uncertain to play after leaving last Saturday’s game with a concussion, but coach Bill Snyder has indicated that he is optimistic about the senior’s status. A loss in any of its remaining games would be devastating to Kansas State’s title hopes and TCU will be hungry to play spoiler against its conference rival.
Game at 6:00 CT on FOX

No. 11 Oregon State vs. No. 14 Stanford
This matchup pits two of the Pac-12’s top teams against each other, although both teams will be starting a quarterback without much experience. Cody Vaz will take the field for Oregon State after Sean Mannion struggled returning from injury, while Kevin Hogan gets the nod after Josh Nunes started each of the Cardinal’s first nine games. Neither team relies too heavily on its offense to win games, however, as both boast Top 20 defenses in terms of points allowed. The difference in this one will likely come down to the Beavers’ ability to stop Stepfan Taylor. The running back has led the way for Stanford, rushing for 947 yards and eight scores and catching 26 passes for 137 yards and a touchdown. The winner takes sole possession of second place in the conference behind undefeated Oregon.
Game at 2:00 CT on FOX

No. 21 Mississippi State vs. No. 7 LSU
After beginning the year at 7-0, the Bulldogs are on a two-game losing streak and are still looking for their first win against a ranked opponent. Things will not get any easier for Mississippi State this week, however, as it travels to Baton Rouge to face an LSU team eager to right the ship after falling to No. 1 Alabama. LSU is No. 10 nationally in points allowed per game, but on offense the Tigers have struggled against top-flight defenses. Against ranked teams, LSU has averaged just 17.7 points per game. Conference title hopes for both teams diminished after losses to the Crimson Tide, but LSU and Mississippi State could each improve their chances for a berth in a prominent bowl game with a win in this one.
Game at 6:00 CT on ESPN