Alabama and Oregon pull away, Oklahoma and LSU survive Sort’em Out Saturday

Sunday, October 3, 2010

‘Bama, Oregon dominate on Sort’em out Saturday

Just call it sort’em out Saturday.

With five games matching ranked teams and conference play now in full swing, the first weekend of October was bound to give the national championship race a good shake.

In the day’s two biggest games, the higher ranked teams came away with impressive victories.

No. 1 Alabama dominated No. 7 Florida 31-6, handing the Gators their second-most lopsided loss during coach Urban Meyer’s six seasons.

Meanwhile, out in the Pac-10, Oregon fell behind by 18 in the first half, then ran away from No. 9 Stanford, 52-31 at Autzen Stadium in Eugene.

No. 8 Oklahoma cemented its place among the contenders with a 28-20 victory against No. 21 Texas in the Red River Rivalry.

The second straight loss for the Longhorns, who played in the BCS title game last season, not only eliminates Texas from the national title chase, it likely will knock them out of the rankings for the first since he 2000 season.

No. 12 LSU needed a big dose of good fortune to beat Tennessee 16-14 in Baton Rouge, in one of the wildest finishes of the season.

Earlier at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Landry Jones threw for 236 yards and two touchdowns, while DeMarco Murray ran for two scores on hurry-up plays for Oklahoma (5-0, 1-0 Big 12).

The Sooners (5-0, 1-0 Big 12) jumped out to a two-touchdown lead in the first quarter, then got bailed out by a muffed punt late for a second straight week. The Longhorns had scored 10 straight points and were set to get the ball back in the final 62 seconds when Aaron Williams dropped a punt and James Winchester recovered it to let Oklahoma run out the clock.

Two plays earlier, Jared Norton had a chance to give Texas (3-2, 1-1) the ball inside the Oklahoma 10 but instead knocked Jones’ fumble out of bounds.

The Longhorns lost back-to-back games for the first time since 2007, and following a surprising 34-12 loss at home to UCLA last week, are in danger of falling out of the AP Top 25 for the first time in 10 years.

At Tiger Stadium, LSU squandered what looked like its last chance to pull out a victory, but a Tennessee mistake on the same frantic sequence gave the Tigers one more shot.

LSU (5-0, 3-0 SEC) was confused on third-and-goal from the 1 and allowed the clock to run nearly to zero before a mishandled snap seemingly ended the game and sent Tennessee players streaming onto the field in jubilation.

The celebration was cut short when officials ruled the Volunteers (2-3, 0-2) had 13 defensive players on the field when the ball was snapped. Stevan Ridley then bulled into the end zone from a yard out for the wild win.

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