Blacksburg, Va. Virginia Tech blew the national championship race wide open Saturday night -- and got back its pride -- with the biggest victory in its history, 31-7, over No. 2 Miami.
The No. 10 Hokies (7-1, 3-1 Big East) got two touchdowns from their defense and another on a 10-yard drive set up by the defense to end Miami's 39-game regular-season winning streak, its 27-game winning streak in the Big East and perhaps its hope for a third straight championship appearance.
It was the first victory in Virginia Tech history in 34 games against teams ranked No. 8 or higher and came just 10 days after one of the Hokies' most humbling losses in 111 seasons, 28-7 at West Virginia.
"People were talking about how we were a fluke and all this other stuff," linebacker Michael Crawford said. "We demonstrated toughness tonight."
The Hokies held Miami to 377 yards, many of them coming after Virginia Tech had used its big-play defense to open a 31-0 lead. The Hurricanes' only touchdown didn't come until just 7:53 remained.
Miami (7-1, 3-1) hadn't lost in league play since a 43-10 wipeout here Nov. 13, 1999.
No. 3 USC 43,
No. 6 Washington St. 16
Los Angeles -- Matt Leinart threw three touchdown passes, LenDale White ran for 149 yards on 12 carries, and Southern Cal smothered Washington State.
In what was billed as one of the biggest Pac-10 games in years, USC (8-1, 4-1) used its big-play ability to break open a close game in the second half.
The Trojans, fourth in the BCS standings, must hope the dominant win impressed the poll voters and computers that help determine the top two teams in the country to play for the national championship in the Sugar Bowl.
The Trojans won their 13th straight home game and moved into a tie for first with the Cougars (7-2, 4-1) and UCLA.
No. 23 Florida 16,
No. 4 Georgia 13
Jacksonville, Fla. -- Matt Leach slipped a 33-yard field goal inside the left upright with 33 seconds left to lift Florida. The Gators (6-3, 4-2 Southeastern Conference) kept alive a most improbable run at the SEC title by defeating Georgia (7-2, 4-2) for the 13th time in the last 14 playings of The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.
No. 5 Florida State 37, Notre Dame 0
South Bend, Ind. -- Chris Rix passed for 327 yards and three touchdowns to lead Florida State to a victory over Notre Dame, the second worst home loss in Irish history. Craphonso Thorpe had seven catches for 217 yards, including TD catches of 35 and 38 yards to help the Seminoles (8-1) get revenge for an embarrassing 34-24 loss to the Irish last year. The Irish, held scoreless at home for the first time since 1978, fell to 2-6 for the first time since 1963.
No. 7 LSU 49,
Louisiana Tech 10
Baton Rouge, La. -- Matt Mauck was 14-for-14 for 277 yards and four touchdowns in the first half for LSU. It was the second time this season Mauck, 18-for-20 for 311 yards, has passed for four touchdowns. LSU (8-1) led 49-3 at the half, the most points the Tigers have scored in a half since 1958. The Tigers had 653 total yards of offense to 341 for Tech (4-5).
No. 8 Ohio State 21, Penn State 20
State College, Pa. -- Michael Jenkins caught a five-yard touchdown pass with 1:35 left to lift Ohio State (8-1, 4-1 Big Ten), giving Penn State its first five-game losing streak in the Joe Paterno era. Penn State (2-7, 0-5) had a chance to win, but David Kimball's 60-yard field goal try on the final play of the game was short and wide right.
No. 11 Michigan 27,
No. 9 Michigan State 20
East Lansing, Mich. -- Chris Perry ran for 219 yards on a school-record 51 carries, and John Navarre threw three touchdown passes in Michigan's victory over Michigan State. The Wolverines (8-2, 5-1) moved into first place alone in the Big Ten after earning just the second win on the road in the rivalry in 12 years. The Spartans (7-2, 4-1) had won five straight games this season and were off to their best start since 1966.
No. 13 Iowa 41, Illinois 10
Iowa City, Iowa -- Fred Russell topped 1,000 yards for the season, and Bob Sanders scored on a fumble return for Iowa. Iowa (7-2, 3-2 Big Ten) also got a TD pass from Nathan Chandler, and Nate Kaeding kicked two field goals in putting coach Kirk Ferentz over .500 (29-28) for the first time with the Hawkeyes. Illinois (1-9, 0-6) lost for the eighth straight time.
No. 18 Purdue 34, Northwestern 14
West Lafayette, Ind. -- John Standeford had four catches for 88 yards to break the Big Ten record for career receiving yards as Purdue beat Northwestern. Purdue (7-2, 4-1 Big Ten) took advantage of four Northwestern (4-5, 2-3) fumbles.
No. 19 Tenn. 23, Duke 6
Knoxville, Tenn. -- Chris Hannon caught a four-yard TD pass from Casey Clausen to help Tennessee overcome a lackluster effort. The Volunteers (6-2) hardly looked like the motivated team that beat Alabama last week, 51-43, in five overtimes or ready for next week's trip to No. 2 Miami. The Blue Devils dropped to 2-7.
No. 20 Mississippi 43, South Carolina 40
Oxford, Miss. -- Eli Manning threw for 391 yards and three first-half touchdowns, and Mississippi withstood a late 26-point outburst to beat South Carolina. The Rebels (7-2) remained in first place in the SEC West and improved to 5-0 in the Southeastern Conference for the first time since 1963 -- the last time Ole Miss won the league title.
No. 21 N. Illinois 48, Ball State 23
Dekalb, Ill. -- Michael Turner ran for 126 yards, had 52 yards receiving and scored three touchdowns for Northern Illinois. Northern Illinois (8-1, 4-1 MAC) got a dominant performance from its defense a week after allowing 634 yards in a loss to Bowling Green.
No. 24 Minnesota 55, Indiana 7
Minneapolis -- Laurence Maroney and Marion Barber III each gained more than 100 yards and scored a touchdown for Minnesota. Maroney led the way with 164 yards, while Barber had 107, and fullback Minnesota (8-2, 4-2 Big Ten) totaled 435 yards rushing in sending Indiana (1-8, 0-5) to its 11th straight league loss and 12th overall on the road.
No. 25 Pittsburgh 24, Boston College 13
Boston -- Larry Fitzgerald set an NCAA record with a touchdown catch in his 14th straight game, and tailback Jawan Walker caught a TD pass and threw for another score for Pittsburgh. Fitzgerald caught a 35-yard TD pass from Walker for the clinching score in the fourth period.