A&M shakes up national title race by beating Bama

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 10: Quarterback Johnny Manziel #2 of the Texas A&M Aggies celebrates after a touchdown during the game against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 10, 2012 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

Last Updated 7:19 a.m. ET

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. Before Oregon, Kansas State and Notre Dame took the field, they got some good news.

No. 15 Texas A&M upset No. 1 Alabama 29-24 on Saturday taking one less unbeaten team out of the race for the BCS championship game.

Johnny Manziel and the Aggies shook up the national title race in Tuscaloosa, Ala., jumping out to a quick three-touchdown lead and then holding on at the end to Alabama's 13-game winning streak.

The Southeastern Conference has won the last six BCS championships, but with Alabama losing and three other teams unbeaten, it will be tough for the SEC to even get in the game without help.

Kansas State made its case for No. 1 — in both the polls and the BCS rankings — with a thorough 23-10 victory at TCU. No. 4 Notre Dame methodically beat Boston College 21-6.

No. 2 Oregon, third in the BCS standings, routed California 59-17 late Saturday night.

Alabama would likely need to win out and have two of those three teams lose to reach the national title game.

No. 15 TEXAS A&M 29, No. 1 ALABAMA 24

Johnny Manziel and No. 15 Texas A&M shook up the national championship race by beating No. 1 Alabama 29-24 on Saturday.

The Aggies (8-2, 5-2), playing in the Southeastern Conference for the first season, also might have ended the league's run of BCS titles at six years.

The Crimson Tide (9-1, 6-1) didn't go quietly.

AJ McCarron nearly pulled off a second straight scintillating comeback. He threw one touchdown pass and motored the ball downfield before Deshazor Everett stepped in front of his fourth-down pass at the goal line with 1:36 left.

Manziel passed for 253 yards and rushed for 92 and led the Aggies to a 20-0 first quarter lead.

McCarron completed 21 of 34 passes for 309 yard but also was intercepted twice, ending his streak without getting picked off at 291 passes.

No. 2 OREGON 59, CALIFORNIA 17

BERKELEY, Calif. Marcus Mariota overcame a brief injury to throw for a career-high 377 yards and tie a school record with six touchdown passes as Oregon made a case for the top ranking in the country by beating California.

The Ducks (10-0, 7-0 Pac-12) withstood injuries to its entire starting defensive line and brief absences by Mariota and star running back Kenjon Barner to extend the longest active winning streak in major college football to 13 games.

The win over California (3-8, 2-6) could be enough to move Oregon up to No. 1 after top-ranked Alabama lost earlier in the day 29-23 to No. 15 Texas A&M. Even more importantly, the Crimson Tide loss cleared one potential rival for a spot in the BCS title game, leaving Notre Dame and Kansas State as the only other major undefeated teams eligible for a bowl. The Ducks are currently third in the BCS rankings.

No. 3 KANSAS STATE 23, TCU 10

FORT WORTH, Texas Collin Klein ran for two touchdowns, a week after leaving the game early with an apparent head injury.

The Wildcats improved to 10-0 for only the second time under coach Bill Snyder, and moved within two wins of likely reaching their first BCS championship game.

Only a few minutes after the start of Kansas State's game, and a rare turnover by Klein, SEC newcomer Texas A&M finished off its 29-24 victory at Alabama, the No. 1 team in the BCS standings and AP poll. The Aggies win gave their old Big 12 rivals at K-State a boost.

TCU (6-4, 3-4 Big 12) didn't take advantage of Klein's interception on the fourth play of the game. The Heisman Trophy hopeful then hit Chris Harper for a 62-yard pass, and ended that drive with a 7-yard TD run.

The senior quarterback was sacked a season-high three times while completing 12 of 21 passes for 145 yards. He had 15 carries for 50 yards.

Kansas State (7-0 Big 12), No. 2 in the BCS standings, has games left at Baylor and home against Texas.

No. 4 NOTRE DAME 21, BOSTON COLLEGE 6

BOSTON Everett Golson ran for a touchdown and threw for two more on Saturday night to help Notre Dame stay unbeaten.

Taking the field one hour after top-ranked Alabama lost to No. 15 Texas A&M, the Fighting Irish (10-0) remained in the hunt for a spot in the BCS title game. And a week after needing triple overtime — and a lot of luck — to get past unheralded Pittsburgh, Notre Dame eased past a longtime rival that had twice before spoiled its hopes of a No. 1 finish.

Golson completed 16 of 24 passes for 200 yards, connecting with Troy Niklas for a 7-yard touchdown at the end of the first half and with John Goodman from 18 yards out early in the second. Manti Te'o grabbed his sixth interception of the season — a school record for a linebacker — to end BC's last real chance at a comeback with just under 6 minutes left.

Chase Rettig completed 27 of 34 passes for 247 yards for BC (2-8), which is off to its worst start since 1989. Alex Amidon caught six passes for 84 yards to break the school's single-season record for receiving yards.