STANFORD, Calif. – Notre Dame needed every last yard and every defensive stop to become eligible for its first Bowl Championship Series berth in five years.

Darius Walker ran 6 yards for the winning touchdown with 55 seconds remaining and took a direct snap to run in for the 2-point conversion, and the sixth-ranked Fighting Irish became all but assured of playing in one the four marquee bowl games with a 38-31 victory over Stanford on Saturday night.

Brady Quinn passed for 432 yards and three touchdowns but also threw two interceptions, and Notre Dame survived a wild final few minutes for its fifth straight victory since a 34-31 loss to No. 1 USC on Oct. 15.

The Irish (9-2) won seven of their final eight games under first-year coach Charlie Weis, who made a key decision to switch kickers in the fourth quarter then gave his team a major scare when he switched back to starter D.J. Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick missed a 29-yard field goal wide left with 2:15 to play after his earlier extra point missed off the left upright and then his 42-yard field goal attempt in Notre Dame’s next possession went wide left.

Stanford took advantage.

The Cardinal, who will miss a postseason trip in coach Walt Harris’ first year, went ahead 31-30 with 1:46 left after backup quarterback T.C. Ostrander’s 4-yard touchdown pass to Matt Traverso. Ostrander set up the score with a 76-yard completion to Mark Bradford.

Jeff Samardzija caught two touchdown passes and Travis Thomas ran 8 yards for a score with 9:44 left for the Irish.

(10) Miami 25, Virginia 17

MIAMI – Kyle Wright threw for 248 yards and the go-ahead score, then scampered a career-long 31 yards to set up the final touchdown as No. 10 Miami beat Virginia 25-17.

Charlie Jones ran for 88 yards and two touchdowns for Miami.

Wright completed 23 of 30 passes, including a 17-yard touchdown to Sinorice Moss that put the Hurricanes (9-2, 6-2) ahead for good.

(13) Georgia 14, (20) Georgia Tech 7

ATLANTA – Georgia still rules its own state.

D.J. Shockley threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Bryan McClendon with 3:18 remaining and Tim Jennings clinched the victory with an interception at the goal line, giving the 13th-ranked Bulldogs a 14-7 victory over No. 20 Georgia Tech on Saturday night.

Georgia (9-2) defeated its state rival for the fifth year in a row.

Thomas Flowers, who had two big punt returns in the second half, broke off a 33-yarder that gave the Bulldogs possession on the Georgia Tech 39. Shockley converted a key third down with an 8-yard pass to Mario Raley, then went all the way to the end zone.

On second-and-5 from the 19, Shockley laid the ball out perfectly for McClendon, who hauled in the pass despite tight coverage by Dennis Davis.

Nevada 38, (16) Fresno St. 35

RENO, Nev. – Robert Hubbard ran for 146 yards and three touchdowns and Jeff Rowe hit Nichiren Flowers with a 12-yard scoring pass with 1:29 remaining as Nevada upset No. 16 Fresno State 38-35 to claim at least a share of the Western Athletic Conference title.

Paul Pinegar threw a 3-yard TD pass to Matt Rivera and then a 2-point pass to Joe Fernandez to make it 38-35 with 31 seconds left, but Nevada’s Anthony Pudewell recovered an onside kick.

(17) Louisville 41, Syracuse 17

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Montrell Jones caught six passes for a career-high 118 yards and two touchdowns and linebacker Brandon Johnson’s third-quarter interception helped No. 17 Louisville overcome an uncharacteristically sloppy performance to win a school-record 12th straight home game, 41-17 against Syracuse.

The Cardinals (8-2, 4-2 Big East) held off a late rally by the Orange (1-10, 0-7), who finished with the first 10-loss season in the program’s 110-year history.

(19) Florida 34, (23) Florida State 7

GAINESVILLE, Fla.- Despite three losses and failing to reach the Southeastern Conference title game, Urban Meyer’s first season at Florida can now be called successful.

Or at the very least, a good start.

Chris Leak threw two touchdown passes, the defense created four turnovers and the No. 19 Gators overwhelmed 23rd-ranked Florida State 34-7 Saturday at The Swamp.


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