Saturday’s college football top 25 capsules
Published 1:20 am Sunday, September 4, 2016
ARLINGTON, Texas — True freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts threw two touchdown passes to ArDarius Stewart and ran for two more scores, and top-ranked Alabama opened its national championship defense with a 52-6 victory over No. 20 Southern California on Saturday night.
Stewart was wide open in the end zone behind the secondary when Hurts hit him for a 39-yard score midway through the second quarter that made it 7-3.
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Right after halftime, Hurts found Stewart alone near the Alabama 40 and the receiver sprinted up the right sideline untouched for a 71-yard touchdown and a 24-3 lead. USC punter Chris Tilbey bobbled the snap on the ensuing drive to set up Alabama at the Trojans 15 and lead to Hurts’ TD run.
The season-opening win came at AT&T Stadium — the home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys — was also where the Crimson Tide started their 2012 and 2015 national championship seasons with victories.
Alabama is 10-0 in season openers under coach Nick Saban.
No. 15 Houston 33, No. 3 Oklahoma 23
HOUSTON — Brandon Wilson went end line to end zone for a touchdown with an Oklahoma missed field goal and Houston beat the Sooners, looking every bit ready to compete in the Big 12.
Regardless of whether Houston ends up in the Big 12 if the conference expands, coach Tom Herman’s Cougars made an opening statement that could have season-long ramifications.
Wilson provided the key play in the biggest regular-season nonconference game the Cougars have played in 25 years. When Oklahoma kicker Austin Seibert’s 54-yard field goal attempt came up just short, Wilson reached up to catch the ball while barely keeping his feet in bounds. Reminiscent of Auburn’s Kick Six against Alabama in 2013, Wilson came flying out of the end zone, hit the sideline and hurdled a teammate to score what went into the books as a 100-yard return that made it 26-17 with 8:28 left in the third.
Greg Ward Jr. passed for 321 yards and two touchdowns for Houston.
Baker Mayfield threw for 323 yards and two scores for Oklahoma.
Wisconsin 16, No. 5 LSU 14
GREEN BAY, Wis. — Rafael Gaglianone kicked a 47-yard field goal with 3:47 left, and Wisconsin staved off LSU’s desperate last-ditch drive.
LSU’s frustration was on full display at the end of the game, when offensive lineman Josh Boutte was ejected for a flagrant foul after a blind-side hit on Wisconsin’s D’Cota Dixon after the safety sealed the victory with an interception with 57 seconds left.
Heisman Trophy hopeful Leonard Fournette ran for 138 yards on 23 carries, but limped off on his final carry for LSU, a 15-yard run with less than 2 minutes left.
No. 2 Clemson 19, Auburn 13
AUBURN, Ala. — Deshaun Watson passed for 248 yards, including 174 to Mike Williams in his return from an injury, and Clemson escaped with a victory over Auburn.
Clemson struggled to put the away the opener even though Auburn produced little offense for much of the game while swapping three quarterbacks in and out. Finally, Watson hit former walk-on receiver Hunter Renfrow in the back of the end zone on third and goal from the 16 with 9:59 left in the fourth quarter.
Ben Boulware’s subsequent goal line interception only provided a temporary reprieve for a team that made the national championship game last season. Auburn finally got a touchdown with 3:22 left on a 9-yard direct snap run by Kerryon Johnson and Clemson’s failed fourth-down try deep in Auburn territory set up another shot with 40 seconds and 85 yards to go.
Sean White drove the offense to the Clemson 40, but two desperation heaves into the end zone fell incomplete, with the second getting batted around.
No. 6 Ohio State 71, Bowling Green 10
COLUMBUS, Ohio — J.T. Barrett threw six touchdown passes and Ohio State rolled up a school-record 776 yards against Bowling Green.
Eight players scored touchdowns on offense as the Buckeyes overpowered the Falcons in front of a crowd of 107,193 at sunny Ohio Stadium. The 776 yards topped the 718 yards Ohio State put up against Mount Union in 1930.
Barrett also set a school record with seven touchdowns overall — six passing, one running. The junior was 21 for 31 for 349 yards and ran for another 30 in the hurry-up offense before giving way to backup Joe Burrow with 6:30 left in the third quarter.
Tailback Mike Weber, a redshirt freshman playing for the first time, bullied his way for 136 yards on 19 carries. H-back Curtis Samuel ran for two touchdowns and caught a TD pass. Thirty Ohio State players played in their first college game.
No. 7 Michigan 63, Hawaii 3
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Wilton Speight threw three touchdown passes in the first half and Michigan beat Hawaii in its most lopsided victory since 1975.
Speight threw an interception on his first snap in the Wolverines’ opener, then bounced back with TD passes to Grant Perry, Jake Butt and Amara Darboh to put Michigan up 21-0 early in the second quarter. Speight, who beat out Houston transfer John O’Korn for the job, finished 10 of 13 for 145 yards.
The Rainbows (0-2) avoided a shutout with Rigoberto Sanchez’s 55-yard field goal early in the fourth.
No. 13 TCU 59, South Dakota State 41
FORT WORTH, Texas — Kenny Hill accounted for five touchdowns after a shaky start in his TCU debut, KaVontae Turpin returned a punt 81 yards for a score and the Horned Frogs pulled away late in a victory over South Dakota State.
Playing his first game since a 59-0 loss to Alabama that cost Hill the starting job at Texas A&M two years ago, the junior transfer bounced back from interceptions on consecutive passes that led to a 10-point lead for the lower-division Jackrabbits.
Turpin started the recovery from the surprising second-quarter deficit with his return, sparking the Frogs to their 15th straight win in a home opener since losing to Northwestern State in Gary Patterson’s first season as head coach. The 5-foot-9 speedster added a 33-yard run and had 177 all-purpose yards.
Hill was 33 of 49 for 439 yards with two touchdown passes, ran for three scores and converted a critical third down with a 13-yard scramble in the fourth quarter. That drive ended on a 46-yard scoring pass to Taj Williams for a 52-41 lead. Williams had 11 catches for 158 yards.
No. 14 Washington 48, Rutgers 13
SEATTLE — Jake Browning threw for 287 yards and three touchdowns, John Ross caught two scoting passses and returned a kickoff for another score in his first game since the end of the 2014 season to help Washington beat Rutgers.
The Huskies raced to a 24-0 first-quarter lead and were never threatened by the rebuilding Scarlet Knights, in their first game under new coach Chris Ash.
Browning threw for 277 yards and all three scores in the first half as the Huskies built a 34-3 lead. He would have thrown four TDs in the half, but Darrell Daniels dropped a pass in the end zone late in the second quarter.
Texas A&M 31, No. 16 UCLA 24
COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Trevor Knight threw for 239 yards and a touchdown and ran for two more scores, including one in overtime, to lead Texas A&M past UCLA in his debut with the Aggies.
The Aggies had a fourth-and-1 from the 1 in overtime when Knight waltzed into the end zone untouched for the score in the opener for both teams. Texas A&M sealed the victory when Justin Evans knocked down Josh Rosen’s pass at the goal line on fourth down.
Knight is a graduate transfer from Oklahoma. Rosen threw three interceptions while working under heavy pressure from a defense led by Myles Garrett.
The Aggies looked to have this one wrapped up when they led by 15 in the fourth quarter after using two third-quarter touchdowns. But UCLA’s offense finally got going after that, scoring twice in two minutes with the second one coming on a 62-yard pass by Rosen to cut it two 2. A 2-point conversion after that TD tied it with 2:39 left.
No. 17 Iowa 45, Miami (Ohio) 21
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Akrum Wadley ran for 121 yards and two touchdowns, LeShun Daniels added 83 yards rushing and two scores, and Iowa beat Miami (Ohio).
C.J. Beathard was 13-of-20 passing for 192 yards and a touchdown for the Hawkeyes.
Daniels and Wadley each scored twice in the first half, and Jerminic Smith’s 12-yard reception put the Hawkeyes ahead 35-7 early in the third quarter.
Billy Bahl threw for 266 yards and two TDs for Miami.(backslash)
No. 18 Georgia 33, No. 22 North Carolina 24
ATLANTA — Nick Chubb rushed for 222 yards in his return from a gruesome knee injury, including a 55-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter that clinched Georgia’s victory over North Carolina in Kirby Smart’s debut as the Bulldogs’ coach.
Chubb scored a pair of touchdowns for Georgia, sending the largely red-clad crowd at the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game into delirium when he broke loose down the right sideline with 3:34 remaining and the Bulldogs clinging to a two-point lead over the Tar Heels.
Leaving no doubt he was fully recovered from a horrific knee injury that looked like it might be career-threatening, Chubb carried a staggering 32 times and was every bit as dominating as the Heisman-touted back he was before.
No. 21 Oklahoma State 61, Southeastern Louisiana 7
STILLWATER, Okla. — Jhajuan Seales caught two touchdown passes, helping Oklahoma State rout Southeastern Louisiana.
Seales finished with three catches for 61 yards.
Barry J. Sanders had 76 all-purpose yards and scored a touchdown. Sanders, whose father, Barry, won the Heisman Trophy for Oklahoma State in 1988, is a graduate transfer who played for Stanford last season. The younger Sanders scored on a 1-yard run in the first quarter and nearly scored again later in the quarter. He was stopped at the 1-yard line after weaving through the Lions for a 57-yard punt return.
Mason Rudolph completed 18 of 26 passes for 188 yards and two touchdowns.
No. 24 Oregon 53, UC Davis 28
EUGENE, Ore. — Dakota Prukop threw for 271 yards and three touchdowns in his Oregon debut and the Ducks overcame a rocky start to beat UC Davis.
Prukop, a graduate transfer from Montana State, completed 21 of 30 passes for the Ducks, while also scoring on a 1-yard keeper. He follows in the footsteps of Vernon Adams, a graduate transfer out of Eastern Washington who started for the Ducks last season but was dogged by injuries.
Royce Freeman rushed for 87 yards and two scores, and Darren Carrington caught seven passes for 117 yards and a touchdown. Ben Scott was 27 of 47 for 303 yards and had a touchdown run for UC Davis.
No. 25 Florida 24, UMass 7
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Luke Del Rio threw two touchdown passes in his first career start, and Florida beat UMass and extend the nation’s longest winning streak in season openers to 27.
It was far from the offensive resurgence the Gators were hoping for after ending last season with three consecutive losses. Things were so ugly for much of the night that retired coach Steve Spurrier provided most of Florida’s early highlights.
After having Florida Field named after him and then leading 90,000 rain-soaked fans in a pre-game cheer, Spurrier posed like Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt. The 71-year-old Spurrier flashed Bolt’s “To The World” pose to all four sides of the newly renamed Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. It drew a raucous ovation from fans on hand for the opener.
Del Rio completed 29 of 44 passes for 256 yards, with TD passes to Antonio Callaway in the first quarter and Brandon Powell in the fourth.