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Hail Mary sparks Spartans’ upset

Spartans receiver Keith Nichol bulls through Wisconsin defenders for winning TD. (Associated Press)
Spartans receiver Keith Nichol bulls through Wisconsin defenders for winning TD. (Associated Press)

Keith Nichol caught a 44-yard Hail Mary pass on the game’s final play for a tiebreaking touchdown, giving No. 15 Michigan State a stunning 37-31 win over No. 4 Wisconsin on Saturday night in East Lansing, Mich.

With the game tied and 4 seconds left, Kirk Cousins rolled out to his right and threw one last pass. The ball went into the end zone but caromed off a Michigan State receiver back to Nichol, who caught it just outside the end zone and struggled for the goal line, fighting two Wisconsin defenders.

The former backup quarterback was initially ruled short of the end zone, but officials overturned the call after a review, giving the Spartans (6-1, 3-0 Big Ten) the win and knocking the Badgers (6-1, 2-1) from the ranks of the unbeaten.

Russell Wilson had led the Badgers from 14 points down in the fourth quarter to tie the game with 1:26 left on a to 2-yard touchdown pass to Montee Ball.

(1) LSU 45, (19) Auburn 10: Rueben Randle caught a 42-yard scoring pass from Jordan Jefferson and a 46-yard touchdown pass from Jarrett Lee, and the Tigers (8-0, 5-0 SEC) once again overcame off-the-field distractions in style with a crushing win over Auburn’s Tigers (5-3, 3-2) in Baton Rouge, La.

LSU was without star cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, leading rusher Spencer Ware and defensive back Tharold Simon – all suspended one game for violating the team’s drug policy.

(2) Alabama 37, Tennessee 6: AJ McCarron passed for 284 yards and a TD and ran for another score to lead the Crimson Tide (8-0, 5-0 SEC) past the Volunteers (3-4, 0-4) in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Alabama scored on its first five possessions after halftime.

(6) Oklahoma State 45, Missouri 24: At Columbia, Mo., Joseph Randle scored four TDs, two on runs that capitalized on big defensive plays by Shaun Lewis, as the Cowboys (7-0, 4-0 Big 12) remained unbeaten and ended the 10-game home winning streak of the Tigers (3-4, 1-3).

(8) Clemson 59, North Carolina 38: Tajh Boyd tied a school record with five TD passes, defensive end Kourtnei Brown scored on interception and fumble returns and the Tigers (8-0, 5-0) came away with a victory over the Tar Heels (5-3, 1-3) in Clemson, S.C.

The Tigers again put on an offensive display with 450 yards as Boyd matched Cullen Harper’s 2007 mark on a day the school celebrated the 30th anniversary of its 1981 national champions.

(10) Arkansas 29, Mississippi 24: Tyler Wilson threw for 232 yards and rushed for two TDs and the Razorbacks (6-1, 2-1 SEC) rallied from an early 17-point deficit to beat the Rebels (2-5, 0-4) in Oxford, Miss.

Ole Miss took a surprising 17-0 lead with 6:20 remaining in the second quarter after Randall Mackey’s 3-yard TD run, but the Razorbacks responded with 29 unanswered points to take the lead.

(12) Kansas State 59, Kansas 21: Collin Klein threw for a career-high 195 yards and accounted for five TDs, freshman Tyler Lockett returned a kickoff for a score and caught a TD pass, and the Wildcats (7-0, 4-0 Big 12) tuned up for a big showdown next week with Oklahoma by routing the Jayhawks (2-5, 0-4) in Manhattan, Kan.

(13) Nebraska 41, Minnesota 14: Rex Burkhead rushed for 117 yards and a TD and the Cornhuskers (6-1, 2-1 Big Ten) racked up 346 yards on the ground in a victory over the Golden Gophers (1-6, 0-3) in Minneapolis.

Taylor Martinez threw for 162 yards and a TD and Austin Cassidy returned a fumble for another score in the romp.

(16) Virginia Tech 30, Boston College 14: David Wilson got Virginia Tech’s offense untracked with a long TD run in the third quarter and Logan Thomas threw for a TD and ran for another as the Hokies (7-1, 3-1 ACC) beat the Eagles (1-6, 0-4) in Blacksburg, Va.

(17) Texas A&M 33, Iowa State 17: Ryan Tannehill threw for 263 yards and two TDs and the Aggies (5-2, 3-1 Big 12) held off the Cyclones (3-4, 0-4) in Ames, Iowa.

Miami 24, (20) Georgia Tech 7: JoJo Nicholas recovered a fumbled punt for a TD and added an interception, Lamar Miller ran for 93 yards and a score and the Hurricanes (4-3, 2-2 ACC) dominated the Yellow Jackets (6-2, 3-2) in Miami.

(21) Houston 63, Marshall 28: Case Keenum became the Football Bowl Subdivision’s career leader in total offense, throwing for 376 yards and tying his career high with six TD passes as the Cougars (7-0, 3-0 C-USA) routed the Thudering Herd (3-5, 2-2) in Houston.

The senior quarterback needed 130 yards to eclipse the record (16,910 yards) set by Hawaii’s Tim Chang from 2000-04.

Purdue 23, (23) Illinois 13: Caleb TerBush passed for 178 yards and two TDs to help the Boilermakers (4-3, 2-1 Big Ten) upset the Illini (6-2, 2-2) in West Lafayette, Ind.

East Carolina 38, Navy 35: Dominique Davis set two NCAA records for consecutive completions, connecting on all 26 of his first-half throws to extend his streak to 36 straight over two games, and the Pirates (3-4) edged the Midshipmen (2-5) in Annapolis, Md.

Davis, a 6-foot-3 senior, broke the single-game record of 23 straight completions, set in 1998 by Tee Martin of Tennessee against South Carolina and tied in 2004 by Aaron Rodgers of California versus Southern California.

Davis’ 36 in a row over two games broke the NCAA mark of 26 set by Rodgers in 2004.