Oregon passed Florida State and moved into second place behind Alabama in the BCS standings on Sunday.
The Ducks jumping the Seminoles was not a surprise. Florida State had a slim lead on the Ducks in the first standings last week. Oregon’s convincing 42-14 victory against UCLA gave the Ducks the boost they needed.
Oregon moved up to third from fourth in the computer ratings and remained second in both the USA Today coaches’ poll and the Harris poll to give it a .9517 BCS average.
Florida State, after routing North Carolina State, 49-17, has a .9211 BCS average. The Seminoles are third in each poll, though they gained a little ground on the Ducks, and second in the computer ratings.
Two-time defending national champion Alabama is first across the board.
Florida State has a chance to gain on Oregon this week when it plays seventh-ranked Miami on Saturday. The Ducks are off, but Oregon’s next game comes against fifth-ranked Stanford on Nov. 7.
Ohio State is still fourth in the standings after its 63-14 victory against Penn State.
Fresno State, in 16th-place, and Northern Illinois, in 17th, are maneuvering to become the final BCS busters, in this the last year of the Bowl Championship Series.
Fresno State, from the Mountain West Conference, or Northern Illinois, from the Mid-American Conference, can earn an automatic BCS bid by reaching the top 12 in the final BCS standings.
Both will likely need to remain unbeaten to have a shot.
Gaffney powers Stanford
Tyler Gaffney ran for three touchdowns and No. 8 Stanford held off Oregon State’s fourth-quarter comeback bid in a 20-12 win late Saturday night in Corvallis, Ore.
Gaffney ran 22 times for 145 yards and scored on runs of 4, 9, and 32 yards to highlight a slow offensive night for Stanford (7-1, 5-1 Pac-12). The Cardinal totaled 276 yards on offense as quarterback Kevin Hogan completed just 8 of 18 passes for 88 yards.
Stanford held Oregon State to 288 yards, well off the Beavers’ season average of 515 yards. OSU quarterback Sean Mannion, the national leader in yards passing and touchdown passes, was 41 of 57 for 271 yards and one touchdown.
The Beavers (6-2, 4-1) trailed, 20-9, with less than four minutes remaining and nearly forced overtime. Oregon State drove to the Stanford 7 with 30 seconds remaining, but four consecutive incompletions stopped the rally.
Also late Saturday, Marteze Waller’s 1-yard touchdown run on Fresno State’s first possession in overtime lifted the 15th-ranked Bulldogs to a 35-28 victory over host San Diego State.
Fresno State held on for the win when Quinn Kaehler’s fourth-down pass to Dylan Denso was knocked away by Derron Smith.
Derek Carr finished 35 of 57 for 298 yards passing and two touchdowns — both in the second half — for the Bulldogs (7-0, 4-0 Mountain West).
The Aztecs (3-4, 2-1) trailed, 28-14, in the fourth quarter before Aaron Boesch scored on a 1-yard run with 9:37 to go. Tim Vizzi recovered the ensuing onside kick and Chad Young’s 27-yard scoring run tied it at 28-all with seven minutes remaining.
Toe injury slows Martinez
Taylor Martinez wasn’t supposed to return until he was 100-percent healthy. Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said it repeatedly the past month.
But there Martinez was, starting against Minnesota — anything but at full strength. The senior quarterback acknowledged as much Saturday after the Cornhuskers’ 34-23 loss to the Gophers.
Martinez also said the injury to his left foot had been inaccurately described to the media as turf toe, which is a sprain of the ligaments around the big toe joint. The injury actually is to his second and third toes. He declined to comment when asked if either of the toes were sprained or broken.
‘‘It’s been a very rough past month, five weeks or whatever it’s been,’’ Martinez said. ‘‘Pretty much living in that training room and trying to get my foot healthy, as healthy as possible, as much as I can tolerate it.’’
Pelini, during his postgame news conference in Minneapolis, didn’t speak directly to why Martinez started.
‘‘Let’s not go there and act like Taylor Martinez lost this football game for us,’’ Pelini said. ‘‘Our problems today were far beyond who our quarterback was. That was a team loss.’’
Martinez completed 16 of 30 passes for 139 yards and a touchdown. His receivers dropped at least four catchable balls, and he threw a meaningless interception at the end of the game.
Martinez, whose straight-ahead speed is his greatest asset, was sacked four times and netted 16 yards on eight carries. ‘‘Every time I push off, it shocks me,’’ he said, referring to his left foot.
The Minnesota game, which came after a bye, started a six-week stretch of games that will decide if the Cornhuskers (5-2, 2-1) make it back to the Big Ten championship game. Nebraska hosts Northwestern (4-4, 0-4) this week.
Foot injury fells Williams
Washington receiver Kasen Williams might miss the rest of the season after suffering a foot injury in a 41-17 win over Cal. Williams, a junior starter, went up for a jump ball from and landed awkwardly. He had to be carted off the field with his leg in an air cast. Coach Steve Sarkisian confirmed a break and a dislocation in his foot. Williams has 29 catches for 421 yards and a touchdown this season. He was honorable mention all-conference his sophomore year . . . Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee said quarterback Nick Marshall ‘‘should be OK’’ for the Arkansas game. Marshall participated in Sunday’s brief practice but his right, throwing shoulder was sore. Freshman Jeremy Johnson took over after Marshall hurt his shoulder early in Saturday night’s 45-10 victory over Florida Atlantic. He didn’t return to the game. Johnson finished 10-of-16 passing for 192 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.