Ohio State beats Michigan 42-39 in No. 1-No. 2 clash

Saturday, November 18th 2006, 8:05 pm

By: News On 6

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) Top-ranked Ohio State overwhelmed an inspired Michigan with offense, winning the Big 10 title and streaking into the U.S. college football championship game with a 42-39 victory on Saturday.

The first #1 vs. #2 match-up in this storied rivalry was played a day after feisty former Michigan coach and Ohio State alumnus Bo Schembechler died.

The Wolverines and Buckeyes may have another shot at each other. Depending on how the Bowl Championship Series standings fall, Michigan (11-1, 7-1) can still make it to the title game in Arizona.

Two defenses that came in allowing 20 points per game combined were unable to stop each other's attack. It was the second highest-scoring game in the 103-game series, which dates to 1897; the most points scored were 86 in 1902, the fourth meeting, which Michigan won 86-0.

Troy Smith played a near perfect first half and finished 29-41 for 316 yards, a third straight magical performance against Michigan that might have just locked up the Heisman Trophy for him.

And while Smith and the Buckeyes twice jumped out to 14-point leads, the Wolverines wouldn't stay down, led by Mike Hart's 142 yards and 3 touchdowns.

#3 Florida 62, Western Carolina 0

At Gainesville, Florida, Tim Tebow ran for 2 touchdowns, threw for 2 more and 3rd ranked Florida overwhelmed Western Carolina.

The Gators (10-1) scored touchdowns on 9 of their first 10 possessions while using the Division I-AA opponent to prepare for next week's game at rival Florida State.

They also got a glimpse into the future, with numerous young players making an impact, such as Tebow, who has been primarily a running quarterback this season, and was 10-12 passing for 200 yards; Brandon James, who broke the school record for punt return yardage, returning 6 for 155 and scoring on a 77-yarder; and Riley Cooper, who caught 3 touchdown passes.

#5 Arkansas 28, Mississippi State 14

At Starkville, Mississippi, Darren McFadden ran back a kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown and Chris Houston scored on an 87-yard interception return as Arkansas won the SEC Western Division title and will play Florida in the league championship game on December 2nd.

Mississippi State (3-8, 1-6) shut down McFadden and the high-powered Razorbacks offense at every turn, but defense and special teams carried Arkansas (10-1, 7-0).

Casey Dick threw 2 TD passes to go with the long returns as Arkansas won its 10th straight game and remained in the national championship picture.

#6 Notre Dame 41, Army 9

At South Bend, Indiana, Brady Quinn threw for 3 touchdowns and Darius Walker ran for 162 yards and two scores to keep Notre Dame in national title contention.

Despite being heavy favorites, the Irish (10-1) came out wearing green uniforms for motivation. Notre Dame's last victory wearing green was 37-3 against Southern California in 1985, and it didn't do much at first as it trailed 3-0 late in the 1st quarter.

The Irish close out the regular season next week at #4 USC. A win could put Notre Dame in position to earn a spot in the national title game. The Black Knights (3-8) close out their season against Navy on December 2nd.

In other top-25 games, it was #12 Wisconsin 35, Buffalo 3; #13 Boise St. 49, Utah St. 10; #15 Auburn 22, Alabama 15; #16 Oklahoma 36, Baylor 10; #18 Georgia Tech 49, Duke 21; #20 Boston College 38, #21 Maryland 16; and #22 Tennessee 39, Vanderbilt 10; and #23 BYU 42, New Mexico 17

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