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November 19, 2006

Top performers: Scarlet and gray day

McClellan: No second chances
Scenes from Saturday
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It's only fitting the top two performances on Saturday came from Ohio State and Michigan.

The Buckeyes and Wolverines have been ranked 1-2 in the Associated Press poll for the last five weeks.

Ohio State has sealed a spot in the Bowl Championship Series title game with a 42-39 win over the Wolverines on Saturday. Depending on how things shake out in the next two weeks, the Big Ten foes may meet again for the national title.

With his performance against Michigan, Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith has all but clinched the Heisman Trophy.

Not to be outdone, Mike Hart helped Michigan stay in the national title discussion with three touchdowns against the Buckeyes.

In other rivalries, West Virginia's duo of Pat White and Steve Slaton shredded Pittsburgh's defense in the Backyard Brawl. Auburn's Quentin Groves continued the Tigers' recent dominance over Alabama in the Iron Bowl.

Find out who else stood out and who fell flat in this week's top performers and goats:

Rivals.com Week 12 Top Performers
1. Troy Smith, Ohio State quarterback
The numbers: 29 of 41 passing, 316 yards, four TDs, INT
The result: Ohio State 42, Michigan 39
The senior hasn't lost a game since facing another great big-game quarterback, Texas' Vince Young. Smith put the finishing touches on his résumé with a methodical performance against No. 2 Michigan. Against the Wolverines, he completed touchdown passes to four receivers to give Ohio State its first outright Big Ten title since 1984 and a spot in the national championship game.
2. Mike Hart, Michigan running back
The numbers: 23 carries, 142 yards, three TDs
The result: Ohio State 42, Michigan 39
Hart nearly stole the spotlight from Smith. Saturday marked the first time in Hart's career that he gained more than 100 yards against the Buckeyes. Two of his touchdowns and 86 rushing yards came in the second half after Ohio State took a 28-14 lead. He jump-started Michigan's near comeback on the first series of the third quarter with four consecutive carries for 59 yards, capped by a 2-yard touchdown run.
3. Steve Slaton and Pat White, West Virginia
Slaton's numbers: 23 carries, 215 yards, two TDs; six catches, 130 yards, two TDs
White's numbers: 11 of 16 passing, 204 yards, two TDs; 22 carries, 220 yards, two TDs
The result: West Virginia 45, Pittsburgh 27 on Thursday
The sloppy conditions in Pittsburgh couldn't stop Slaton and White. The duo turned Pittsburgh in a punching bag in the Backyard Brawl. Slaton became the first player in Mountaineers history to have 200 rushing yards and 100 receiving yards despite an arm injury. At the same time, White showed his improvement as a passer with more than 200 yards in the first half on a day West Virginia racked up 641 yards of offense.
4. JoLonn Dunbar, Boston College linebacker
The numbers: Two fumbles returned for touchdowns
The result: Boston College 38, Maryland 16
Boston College remains in the race for the ACC Championship largely because of Dunbar. He worked his magic before the Golden Eagles' offense took the field against Maryland. Dunbar picked up a Sam Hollenbach fumble for a 14-yard touchdown. On Maryland's next drive, Dunbar was in the right place at the right time again to pick up a second Hollenbach fumble for a 38-yard touchdown.
5. Cincinnati defense
The numbers: 50 rushing yards allowed, four interceptions
The result: Cincinnati 30, Rutgers 11
After losing on the road to Ohio State, Virginia Tech, Louisville and West Virginia, Cincinnati was finally able to topple a top opponent at home. The Bearcats' defense has held opponents to less than 100 rushing yards in seven games this season. For the first time this season, one of those games came against a ranked opponent. Cincinnati held Ray Rice to 54 yards and was equally frustrating to Mike Teel, who threw four interceptions.
6. Chris Henry, Arizona running back
The numbers: 29 carries, 191 yards, TD; one catch, 21 yards, TD
The result: Arizona 37, Oregon 10
7. Quentin Groves, Auburn defensive end
The numbers: Seven tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles, one quarterback hurry
The result: Auburn 22, Alabama 15
8. John Beck, BYU quarterback
The numbers: 28 of 42 passing, 464 yards, four TDs, two INTs; rush TD
The result: BYU 42, New Mexico 17
9. Ahmad Bradshaw, Marshall running back
The numbers: 40 carries, 261 yards, five TDs
The result: Marshall 49, UTEP 21
10. Garrett Wolfe, Northern Illinois running back
The numbers: 33 carries, 203 yards, three TDs
The result: Northern Illinois 31, Central Michigan 10 on Friday
Week 12 Goats
1. Indiana and Purdue
An Old Oaken Bucket full of ugly: Four interceptions and a fumble for Purdue. Four fumbles and a punt blocked for Indiana.
2. N.C. State
John Bunting got that elusive win over a Division I-A team with North Carolina's 23-9 win over N.C. State. It won't be an easy Sunday for Chuck Amato.
3. Florida, Wisconsin, Notre Dame
The three one-loss teams beat Western Carolina, Buffalo and Army by a combined score of 138-12. Maybe the 12th game isn't always a good thing.
4. LSU
The Tigers may have wrapped up an 8-0 season at home, but it came at a price against lowly Ole Miss. The Tigers needed a 13-point fourth quarter and a field goal in overtime to beat the Rebels 23-20.
5. Josh Freeman
Kansas State's true freshman quarterback didn't have as much luck against Kansas as he did against Texas last week. Freeman had three interceptions and three lost fumbles in the 39-20 loss to the Jayhawks.

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