NCAA Championship Week Summary

Football

By Sam Hewat –

This weekend saw a majority of the NCAA’s top 25 teams face off in their respective conference championships.

With pressure on each team to polish off a successful season and book a ticket to one of the BCS bowl games, this weekend made for some riveting college Football.

Take a look as we wrap up the NCAA’s Championship Week.

(10) Michigan State Spartans vs (2) Ohio State Buckeyes – Big Ten Championship

The Michigan State Spartans handed Ohio State their first loss in two seasons with a dramatic 34-24 win in the Big Ten Championship.

The Buckeyes, who were undefeated last year, went into the conference championship with an unblemished 2013 regular season record and were looking to book their place in the national title game.

Michigan State had only lost one game all season which came in the fourth week by way of a nail-biting 17-13 loss to last year’s second best team in the country, Notre Dame.

The Spartans jumped out to a 17-0 lead mid-way through the second quarter courtesy of two touchdown passes by quarterback Connor Cook.

Cook finished the game with 302 yards and 3 touchdowns and proved instrumental in tearing apart an Ohio defense that had been largely untested this season.

The Buckeyes crawled back in the third and went ahead 24-17 with a quarter and half to play, however, another touchdown pass from Cook and a 26 yard rushing touchdown by running back Jeremy Langford all but closed the door on Ohio State’s dream season and handed Michigan State their 8th Big Ten Championship.

The loss will see Ohio State drop in the BCS rankings and it is unsure which bowl the previously unbeaten side will contest.

Michigan’s win not only put them at the top of the Big Ten, but also landed them an invitation to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena to be played in January 2014.

(3) Auburn University Tigers vs (5) University of Missouri Tigers – SEC Championship

Saturday’s night’s SEC Championship game proved why the national title hasn’t moved from the southeastern conference for the past 7 years and put to rest any question that an SEC team would not contend the national championship this year.

With two top 5 teams in the Auburn Tigers and the Missouri Tigers, no one would have expected less when the game ended and a total of 101 points were on the board with 12 total touchdowns.

Auburn, who last week upset the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide, showed perhaps one of the season’s most spectacular displays of a running game, gaining 545 rushing yards for 7 touchdowns and handing the Tigers their 8th SEC title with a 59-42 win.

Auburn running back Tre Mason put in the performance of the year with 302 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns, statistics the Tiger’s haven’t seen since the offensive prowess of now NFL quarterback Cam Newton.

Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall only threw the ball 11 times during the entire game leaving all the work to the Tiger’s rushing unit.

Despite a highly successful campaign for Missouri, the loss should see the Tiger’s bumped from the BCS Bowl Games list, with their fate for post-season play unknown.

In contrast, the win all but cements Auburn’s place in the BCS National Championship and allows them to contest their second title in just four years.

(7) Stanford University Cardinals vs (11) Arizona State Sun Devils – Pac-12 Championship

Despite Arizona carrying the home field advantage, it was the Stanford Cardinals who stole the show in the Pac-12 Championship with a comprehensive 38-14 win.

Stanford’s success came off the back of consistent offensive pressure that, more often than not, led to scoring opportunities with the team racking in 5 touchdowns in total.

Cardinal’s running back Tyler Gaffney was the standout with 133 yards and 3 touchdowns while Stanford’s quarterback Kevin Hogan threw for 277 yards and a touchdown.

The Cardinal’s defence never gave Arizona a breath restricting the Sun Devils to 311 yards for the game and just two touchdowns.

The loss marked an unfortunate end to Arizona’s season, however the team was happy to reach the Pac-12 final in just the third season of the conference’s existence.

For Stanford, the win hands them their second championship in two years and should see the Cardinal’s contest the Rose Bowl in January against a tough Michigan State side.

(1) Florida State University Seminoles vs (20) Duke University Blue Devils – ACC Championship

Florida State capped off a dream season to become the only undefeated team in the NCAA by defeating the Duke University Blue Devils 45-7 in the ACC Championship.

Florida State had extreme confidence going into Saturday night’s championship game, however Duke was sensing the possibility of an upset.

Florida quickly put paid to these aspirations as they raced out to a 17-0 lead at the half and a 38-0 lead at the end of the third.

They restricted the Blue Devils to just 1 touchdown in the fourth, setting up an emphatic 45-7 victory.

Florida States’ offensive success came off the back of yet another Heisman worthy performance by quarterback Jameis Winston who threw for 330 yards and 3 touchdowns as well as rushing for 59 yards and a touchdown.

The Seminoles defence also looked dominant, restricting the Blue Devils to just 239 yards total.

The win leaves no doubt about Florida’s place in the BCS National Championship Game and should see the ACC Champions take on the SEC Champions, Auburn, in January to try and obtain their third national title in programme history.

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