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Original Issue

LEADING OFF

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Photograph by Michael Conroy/AP

Under the Golson Dome There were no notable upsets last Saturday, no seismic shifts in the BCS rankings. Yet a day of college football could hardly be more thrilling. No. 4 Notre Dame set the tone: Trailing Pitt 20--6 with the fourth quarter starting and darkness falling in South Bend, the Irish rallied for two touchdowns in 11 minutes, capped by this game-tying two-point conversion by quarterback Everett Golson. Three overtimes later, Golson scored on a QB sneak, and ND had a 29--26 victory.

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Photograph by Robert Beck

Defenses Rested While the South Bend faithful chewed their fingernails, a different sort of tension reigned at the L.A. Coliseum, where stadium staff surely wondered if the scoreboard would short-circuit. No. 2 Oregon beat No. 18 USC 62--51, the third-highest-scoring game ever between teams ranked in the AP poll. USC ran up 615 yards of offense—but the Ducks had 730, including 321 on carries by Kenjon Barner and 125 on receptions by Josh Huff (1), who scored on this 21-yard catch in the first quarter.

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Photograph by Simon Bruty

Escape From Death Valley No. 1 Alabama and No. 5 LSU have two of the country's best defenses, so yards were predictably harder to come by in Baton Rouge than in L.A. The Crimson Tide stayed on track for a spot in the BCS title game—barely. Eric Reid (No. 1, tackling 'Bama wideout Christion Jones) and the Tigers led late, but the Tide scored on a 28-yard TD pass with 51 seconds left to pull out a 21--17 win. In the end the college football landscape looked the way it did when the day began. But the status quo has rarely been so fun to watch.