No. 2 Ohio State beats No. 5 Notre Dame 21-10 in opener

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — C.J. Stroud threw two touchdown passes and Ohio State’s revamped defense gave its vaunted offense time to find its groove as the second-ranked Buckeyes beat No. 5 Notre Dame 21-10 on Saturday night.

The top-five opening matchup was a homecoming for first-year Notre Dame coach Marcus Freeman, the former Buckeyes linebacker who has made a meteoric rise to lead the Fighting Irish at 36 years old.

Freeman is now 0-2 as a head coach after losing a bowl game just weeks after being named Brian Kelly’s successor.

In the first regular-season meeting of the storied programs since 1996, the Irish hung with the high-scoring Buckeyes for most of three quarters, frustrating Heisman Trophy finalist Stroud and putting together a couple of first-half scoring drives.

But Ohio State’s defense, too generous against the run last season, put the clamps on the Irish and new starting quarterback Tyler Buchner in the second half.

NO. 3 GEORGIA 49, NO. 11 OREGON 3

ATLANTA (AP) — Stetson Bennett threw for 368 yards and accounted for three touchdowns, a revamped defense didn’t miss a beat and Georgia looked very much like a team intent on defending its national championship with a rout of Oregon.

Bennett completed 25 of 31 passes with two touchdowns and ran for another score before calling it a day in the third quarter of the season opener, the Bulldogs leading 42-3 and having thoroughly ruined the debut of Oregon coach Dan Lanning.

After spending the last three years as Georgia’s co-defensive coordinator, Lanning got a look at his former team from the opposing sideline in a game played before a predominantly red-clad crowd at the home of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons.

NO. 1 ALABAMA 55, UTAH STATE 0

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Reigning Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young passed for five first-half touchdowns and even ran for 100 yards and a score in Alabama’s opening victory over Utah State.

The Crimson Tide began their quest for national title redemption with a not unexpected start-to-finish domination of the six-touchdown underdog Aggies (1-1). Less anticipated: Young’s runs.

Known primarily as a passer with a penchant for scrambling and buying time, Young flashed his running ability more than he ever did last season, including a 63-yarder down the left sideline. He also spread the ball around to Alabama’s new set of playmakers, with two touchdown passes to both Georgia transfer Jermaine Burton and Traeshon Holden and some handoffs to Jahmyr Gibbs.

Young ran five times for 100 yards after netting zero yards thanks to sacks last season with a previous long run of 16 yards. He also completed 18 of 28 passes for 195 yards before exiting one drive into the second half following his TD run.

NO. 6 TEXAS A&M 31, SAM HOUSTON 0

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) — Haynes King threw for a career-high 364 yards and three long touchdowns to lead Texas A&M past Sam Houston in a game that included an almost three-hour weather delay.

King threw touchdown passes of 66, 63 and 43 yards. He also threw two interceptions in an inconsistent performance in his return after breaking his leg in the second game last season.

Ainias Smith had six receptions for a career-high 164 yards with two touchdowns,

The Bearkats, who won the FCS national title in 2020, are playing their last season in the FCS as they transition to FBS next year.

FLORIDA 29, NO. 7 UTAH 26

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Anthony Richardson ran for three scores in his second career start, including a 2-yard scamper with 1:25 remaining, and Florida beat Utah to get the Billy Napier era off to a rousing start.

Richardson was the best player on the field most of the night. He really showed up down the stretch, although linebacker Amari Burney was the guy who sealed the victory for the Gators.

Burney intercepted Cam Rising’s second-down pass into the end zone with 17 seconds remaining. That set off a wild celebration that surely will last long into the night.

Richardson took a knee from there, and the Gators stormed the field to revel in their 33rd consecutive victory in home season openers. That’s the longest current streak in the nation.

Richardson ran 11 times for 106 yards and was never stopped for a loss. He completed 17 of 24 passes for 168 yards and played turnover-free football. He had an electrifying 2-point conversion early in the fourth quarter that put the Gators up 22-19.

NO. 8 MICHIGAN 51, COLORADO STATE 7

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Cade McNamara had a lackluster performance that was made moot by a dominant defense as Michigan routed Colorado State.

The Big Ten championship-winning quarterback started the opener and is scheduled to sit at the beginning of the Hawaii game next week when J.J. McCarthy gets a shot to take the first snap.

McNamara started 1 of 5 and finished 9 of 18 for 136 yards, a total boosted by a short pass he threw that Roman Wilson turned into a 61-yard touchdown early in the first quarter. McCarthy made the most of his limited opportunity to play, running for a 20-yard score and going 4 of 4 for 30 yards through the air.

NO. 9 OKLAHOMA 45, UTEP 13

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Dillon Gabriel passed for two touchdowns and ran for another and Oklahoma rolled past UTEP for Brent Venables’ first career victory as a head coach.

Venables was a full-time assistant for the previous 26 years in stints at Kansas State, Oklahoma and Clemson. He took over after Lincoln Riley left to take the Southern California job.

Gabriel, a transfer from Central Florida, connected on 15 of 23 passes for 233 yards. Eric Gray rushed for 102 yards, Brayden Willis caught two touchdown passes and Marcus Major rushed for two scores for the Sooners.

NO. 10 BAYLOR 69, ALBANY 10

WACO, Texas (AP) — Blake Shapen completed 17 of 20 passes for 214 yards with two long touchdowns and had a nifty dive into the end zone for another score on the final play of the first half as Baylor routed FCS team Albany.

Gavin Holmes, the sixth-year Bears wideout who missed all of last season because of a foot injury, returned a punt 72 yards for a score. Monaray Baldwin had two touchdowns, on a 47-yard catch for Baylor’s first score before adding a 50-yard reverse run after halftime.

The reigning Big 12 champion Bears have a six-game winning streak, matching fourth-ranked Clemson for the longest active among FBS teams. The Tigers open their season Monday night against Georgia Tech.

NO. 13 N.C. STATE 21, EAST CAROLINA 20

GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina State beat East Carolina after Pirates kicker Owen Daffer missed an extra point with 2:58 left and a 41-yard field goal with five seconds to go.

The Pirates were in position to hand the Wolfpack a surprising loss in the opener when they got the ball back late down 21-20, not to mention offer Daffer a shot at redemption after he pulled the tying extra point wide left after Rahjai Harris’ short touchdown run.

Holton Ahlers’ keeper set Daffer up with a makeable field goal in the final seconds, but he missed this one wide right to stun a once-rowdy crowd and leave many fans putting their hands on their heads in disbelief.

NO. 14 SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA 66, RICE 14

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Caleb Williams passed for 249 yards, rushed for 68 more and hit Jordan Addison for two touchdowns, and coach Lincoln Riley’s tenure at Southern California got off to a roaring start against Rice.

Calen Bullock, Shane Lee and Ralen Goforth returned three of USC’s four interceptions for touchdowns. The Trojans scored more points in Riley’s debut than they did in any game under Clay Helton, who was fired last season before a powerhouse program sank to its worst record in 30 years.

With Williams going 19 for 22 while leading six consecutive scoring drives to open the game, USC had its highest-scoring performance since 2008, when the program still reigned near the top of college football under Pete Carroll.

Riley and Williams left Oklahoma during the offseason and reunited in Los Angeles to rebuild the Trojans, who are hoping for a swift return to regular national title contention.

NO. 16 MIAMI 70, BETHUNE-COOKMAN 13

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Henry Parrish rushed for 108 yards and three touchdowns, Tyler Van Dyke passed for two more scores and Miami beat Bethune-Cookman 70-13 in Mario Cristobal’s debut as coach of the Hurricanes.

Miami finished with seven rushing touchdowns. Thaddeus Franklin rushed for two scores, while Devon Perry and Terrell Walden II also ran for touchdowns for the Hurricanes.

Gilbert Frierson had an interception return for a score, while Xavier Restrepo and Michael Redding III caught the TD passes from Van Dyke — who completed 13 of 16 passes for 193 yards. Jake Garcia completed all eight of his passes for the Hurricanes.

NO. 18 WISCONSIN 38, ILLINOIS STATE 0

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Braelon Allen had a 96-yard touchdown scamper for the longest run from scrimmage in Wisconsin history and John Torchio had a school-record 100-yard interception return as the Badgers opened the season with a rout of Illinois State.

Wisconsin’s longest run from scrimmage before Allen’s was James White’s 93-yard burst in a 51-3 triumph over Indiana in 2013. Torchio broke the record previously held by Joe Ferguson, who scored on a 99-yard interception return in a 59-10 victory over Utah State in 2017.

Allen ended up with 148 yards and two touchdowns — including a 1-yard score on fourth-and-goal in the third quarter — on 14 carries.

NO. 19 ARKANSAS 31, NO. 23 CINCINNATI 24

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — KJ Jefferson threw for 223 yards and three touchdowns and ran for another 62 yards and another score to lead Arkansas past Cincinnati.

Jefferson ran for the first touchdown of the game in the first quarter, threw a jump-pass touchdown to Trey Knox in the second and found Jadon Haselwood for another score in the third.

Cincinnati was held scoreless in the first half despite four of its seven drives reaching Arkansas territory. Bearcats kicker Ryan Coe missed two field goals, from 25 and 48 yards, and Ben Bryant threw an interception at the Arkansas 20 that ultimately turned into the Razorbacks’ TD.

NO. 20 KENTUCKY 37, MIAMI (OHIO) 13

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Barion Brown returned the second-half kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown, Keidron Smith’s fumble return less than a minute later set up another score and Kentucky pulled away to beat Miami (Ohio).

Mark Stoops’ 60th victory tied him with Paul “Bear” Bryant as the Wildcats’ winningest coach in 10 seasons with the program. But Kentucky needed those game-changing plays to make it happen after leading only 13-10 at halftime behind several missed opportunities deep in Miami territory.

The Wildcats quickly snatched momentum after the break as Brown dashed left, found a seam and turned the corner down the sideline for the big score just 13 seconds in.

NO. 21 MISSISSIPPI 29, TROY 10

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — Southern California transfer Jaxson Dart directed three consecutive touchdown drives in the first half to help Mississippi beat Troy.

Ole Miss built a 21-0 lead in the opening 20 minutes on drives of 82, 68 and 83 yards and was never seriously threatened. Dart was 18 of 27 for 154 yards, with a 9-yard touchdown pass to Malik Heath to cap the opening series of the second half.

Transfer Zach Evans rushed for 130 yards on 20 carries as Ole Miss finished with 433 yards of total offense.

Jon Sumrall lost in coaching debut for Troy.

NO. 24 HOUSTON 37, UTSA 35, 3OT

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Houston quarterback Clayton Tune leaped over a defender to score on a 13-yard run and the Cougars beat UTSA in three overtimes.

Houston rallied from a 14-point deficit in the second half at the Alamadome to snap UTSA’s 10-game home winning streak.

NO. 25 BYU 50, SOUTH FLORIDA 21

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — BYU had to wait out a 2 1/2-hour weather delay to get its season started, then took just 11 seconds to score its first touchdown in the blowout victory over South Florida.

Wide receiver Puka Nucua scored on a 75-yard inside run on the first play from scrimmage of the game and added a second rushing touchdown. Christopher Brooks rushed for 135 yards and a touchdown as BYU dominated the line of scrimmage and ran the ball for 314 yards.

Jaren Hall was efficient, completing 25 of 32 passes for 261 yards and two touchdowns.

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