Quarterfinal Recaps

  #1 USC vs. #4 California FINAL: USC 23-21 (BOX SCORE)

With another phenomenal day out of senior running back JJ Arrington the #4 ranked and second seeded California Golden Bears were able to score four more points, but still fell short in this rematch of a game played October 9th also at the LA Coliseum and won 23-17 by the top ranked USC Trojans. In the second round playoff game, with everything on the line, the Trojans just stayed patient and consistent in plodding their way to the victory. Highly touted Trojan sophomore Mr. Everything, Reggie Bush opened up the scoring with a four-yard run just four minutes into the game. After USC took a 13-0 lead with two Ryan Killeen field goals, Cal got on the board with a TD reception from junior standout quarterback Aaron Rodgers to Arrington. Another Killeen field goal was answered by Arrington’s one yard run to set the margin at two points going into the fourth quarter. The combatants traded touchdowns and the Trojans left the field with another tough victory. USC got just one touchdown pass from junior Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart and only rushed for 81 yards on 32 carries, but somehow still found a way to oust its conference rival. For the day, Leinart ended with 263 yards on 17-33 passing and the score. Freshman wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett, who caught a TD in the first version of this game, had six catches for 105 yards and was the recipient of another touchdown pass. Returning kicks and punts, rushing and receiving, Bush totaled 172 total yards and a game sealing first down conversion late in the fourth quarter. With the win, #1 USC wins the West region and will advance forward to meet #8 Louisville in next week’s final four.
Player of the Game: JJ Arrington (140 yards rushing, 2 TDs)
  #8 Louisville vs. #6 Utah FINAL: Louisville 31-27 (BOX SCORE)

In another instant classic from the CPS tournament, the 8th ranked and third seeded Louisville Cardinals got a late touchdown run from senior quarterback Stefan Lefors to stun the previously unbeaten, top seeded Utah Utes to win the Mountain region and advance on as one of college football’s final four teams. The two high scoring teams were tied with a minute remaining in the first half before Utah junior quarterback Alex Smith led a short, quick drive that resulted in a six yard touchdown run by junior running back Quinton Ganther with just eleven seconds left to play to put the Utes ahead 17-10. Utah carried that momentum with it into the second half, opening up a 27-10 lead by the end of the third quarter. Lefors, the nation’s leading passer, and head coach Bobby Petrino’s high-powered offense were not to be denied though as the Cardinals reeled off 21 unanswered points in a span of 7:04 of the final quarter. Utah’s attempt to control the clock with the rushing game and smart throws worked well until late in the game. Overall, the Utes rushed for 230 yards on 47 carries, including 82 yards and two scores out of Ganther and 60 yards on just four carries from sophomore speedster Steve Savoy. Smith never seemed up to par, completing only 44% of his passes and to a total of two receivers for 185 yards and a touchdown. And, as Smith goes, so go the Utes. Louisville’s big day included 331 total yards and four total touchdowns from Lefors and 139 yards receiving and two scores on 12 catches from senior wideout JR Russell. As Mountain region champion, #8 Louisville will advance on to play #1 USC at the Rose Bowl in this weekend’s first semifinal game.
Player of the Game: Stefan Lefors (21-28, 288, 4 total TDs, 0 INTs)
  #11 LSU vs. #20 Pittsburgh FINAL: LSU 21-10 (BOX SCORE)

Midnight arrived quickly for the 20th ranked Pitt Panthers as they fell handily to #11 LSU in Baton Rouge shortly after knocking off #3 ranked and top seeded Auburn in the biggest upset from the CPS’ first round. Pittsburgh junior quarterback Tyler Palko, the star from the Auburn game and primary reason for the Panthers’ late season surge, was effective on an early drive that put the team up 7-0; but, then he threw an errant ball that was batted and intercepted by sophomore defensive end Kirston Pittman midway through the second quarter that ultimately led to a Tiger’s touchdown and 14-7 lead. LSU added a five yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Marcus Randall to sophomore wide receiver Craig Davis with 53 seconds left in the first half to go up 21-7. Neither team scored in the third quarter, while Pitt was only able to muster a long, inconsequential field goal in the fourth. Tigers’ sophomore running back Alley Broussard shined again with 108 yards and one touchdown on 28 carries. Most important in this victory for the Tigers was a defensive line that accounted for four sacks and the interception. For the game, LSU’s balanced attack out-rushed and out-gained the Panthers 203-51 and 400-290 respectively. With such a disparity in production, LSU could have easily widened the scoring margin, but missed two field goals and ran the ball almost the entire fourth quarter. One of the lone bright spots for the Pitt Panthers, senior running back Raymond Kirkley, playing in his last collegiate game, amassed 127 total yards and scored the team’s lone touchdown. LSU will advance on from the Southeast region to face #2 ranked Oklahoma from the Southwest region in this weekend’s second semifinal match-up.
Player of the Game: Raymond Kirkley (127 total yards, 1 TD)
  #2 Oklahoma vs. #5 Texas FINAL: Oklahoma 31-14 (BOX SCORE)

More points were scored, but the CPS’ rendition of Oklahoma-Texas 2004, had the same result as the first game played on October 9th in the Cotton Bowl as #2 ranked and top seeded Oklahoma dominated the #5 ranked and second seeded Texas Longhorns in Norman. The game seemed close early after Longhorn junior quarterback Vince Young hooked up with junior tight end David Thomas, who had not caught a single ball in the first game, for a 12 yard touchdown that tied the score at 7-7 with two minutes left in the first quarter. Outside of a late 60 yard run by senior running back Cedric Benson, the Thomas TD was the lone bright spot for Mack Brown’s much maligned Longhorn offense. Oklahoma used three first half touchdowns by junior wideout Travis Wilson from senior quarterback and former Heisman Trophy winner Jason White to jump to a 21-7 halftime lead. Fittingly, after Benson’s run cut the Sooner lead to ten heading into the final quarter, it was his running back counterpart, freshman Adrian Peterson, who had stolen the show in October, who scored the final touchdown, effectively icing the victory for Oklahoma. Peterson finished the contest with 129 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries, just one yard less than Benson’s 130 on 15 carries and one score. Oklahoma worked the clock more efficiently, garnering a 37:44-22:16 advantage in time of possession and still passed the ball for 119 more yards than the Longhorns. Oklahoma will advance beyond the Southwest region to meet #11 ranked and #3 seed LSU at the Superdome in the CPS semifinal.
Player of the Game: Travis Wilson (9 receptions, 122 yards, 3 TDs)