Snap Judgments from the Week 13 late slate. For more, check out Friday’s Snaps, Saturday’s early Snaps, Saturday’s midday Snaps, our recaps of Michigan-Ohio State, Florida-Florida State and Notre Dame-USC and our complete Top 25 review.
• No. 11 Stanford 35, No. 15 UCLA 17. With tonight’s victory, the Cardinal secured a share of the Pac-12 North division title and set up a rematch for the conference championship six days from now in Palo Alto. The win was all but assured midway through the second quarter, when Stanford jumped out to a 21-7 lead on a 49-yard Stepfan Taylor touchdown run; UCLA didn’t come within a score of catching up again all night. Stanford’s last conference title came in 1999; the Cardinal will be making their first appearance in the Pac-12 championship game.
Johnathan Franklin, he of the 131-yards-per-game rushing average, was held below 100 yards for just the fourth time this season, recording 65 yards on 21 carries and scoring one of the Bruins’ two touchdowns. Taylor more than doubled up Franklin, gaining 147 yards on 21 carries and scoring twice, all before being rested in the fourth quarter. UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley, meanwhile, threw for 259 yards but was sacked seven times — bad even for an offense that ranked 110th nationally in sacks allowed before this game, and above even Stanford’s lofty four-sack average.
Not to take anything away from Stanford, which has done some very neat work this season in the absence of Andrew Luck, among other key figures, but it’s all right to feel the tiniest bit let down about this. If only for the sake of variety, it would’ve been interesting to see UCLA play Oregon for the first time this season and not the Cardinal for a second in a week. But if we got everything we wanted, there’d be no point in writing fanfic about Ron Prince becoming monarch-commissioner of college football, and where’s the fun in that? The battle for a Rose Bowl bid begins next Friday at 8 p.m. ET. [BOX | RECAP]
• No. 1 Notre Dame 22, USC 13. Two unbeaten teams remain in FBS play, and only one is allowed to play in the postseason in 2012. Freezing Indiana faithful, rejoice: You’ve got a really, really good excuse to head to South Florida come January. Stewart Mandel was in Los Angeles for tonight’s rivalry game; click through to SI.com for his report from the Coliseum. [BOX | RECAP]
• No. 9 Texas A&M 59, Missouri 29. A lopsided finish to the nascent SEC Neophytes Rivalry. The Aggies were up 42-0 before the Tigers scored their first touchdown, and Johnny Manziel broke Cam Newton’s single-season conference offense record with a 372-yard passing performance, 67 rushing yards and five total touchdowns. The 2012 campaign is A&M’s first 10-win season since 1998. [BOX | RECAP]
• No. 13 South Carolina 27, No. 12 Clemson 17. Steve Spurrier is now the winningest coach in both South Carolina and Florida history, and began his postgame press conference in a manner befitting a man of his station: “It seems like when we play Clemson, they don’t play very well.” Also achieving an individual high: Jadeveon Clowney, who became South Carolina’s all-time single-season sack leader after registering 4.5 sacks in tonight’s contest. [BOX | RECAP]