College football: No. 6 Auburn edges Louisville, 31-24

Reggie Bonnafon

Louisville quarterback Reggie Bonnafon is sacked by Auburn defenders Carl Lawson (center) and Dontavius Russell (right) in the second quarter Saturday.

(Curtis Compton / Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

ATLANTA -- Will Muschamp’s defense made a couple of huge plays early for No. 6 Auburn to offset three interceptions by Jeremy Johnson, and the Tigers held off Louisville and surprise quarterback Lamar Jackson for a 31-24 victory Saturday.

The Tigers’ first touchdown in the opener was set up by an interception. Justin Garrett returned a fumble 82 yards to make it 14-0.

That’s just what Auburn wanted out of Muschamp, who took over as defensive coordinator after being fired as coach at Southeastern Conference rival Florida.

Not that it was smooth sailing for the Tigers, who led 17-0 at halftime and seemed to be up comfortably 31-10 after a touchdown with just over 10 minutes remaining.


Jackson, a freshman who got the bulk of the playing time over three more experienced quarterbacks, led the Cardinals to a couple of late touchdowns that made Auburn sweat it out.

No. 7 Oregon 61, Eastern Washington 42

EUGENE, Ore. -- Vernon Adams threw for two touchdowns but left his much-anticipated debut after a scary fourth-quarter hit, and Oregon beat his former team to open the season.

Royce Freeman ran for a career-high 180 yards and three scores for the Ducks, who didn’t appear to have slipped much offensively without Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota.


Adams, who transferred to the Ducks for his final year of eligibility, was ushered to the locker room after he staggered getting up from a late hit by Eastern Washington’s John Kreifels, who was ejected.

Adams, a repeat Big Sky Conference offensive player of the year, was replaced by Mariota’s backup last season, Jeff Lockie. Adams’ condition was not immediately known.

Jordan West, who took over as Eastern Washington’s quarterback after Adams’ departure, threw for 293 yards and three touchdowns.

No. 9 Georgia 51, Louisiana Monroe 14

ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia earned the win in a game that was called off with less than 10 minutes left because of lightning in the area.

A few minutes after the Bulldogs scored their final touchdown, coach Mark Richt walked over to the officials to discuss game conditions, and the decision was made to end it.

There was a 76-minute lightning delay in the third quarter.

Nick Chubb and Keith Marshall each ran for two touchdowns for the Bulldogs in the opener, and Greyson Lambert started at quarterback.


Georgia led 14-0 about five minutes into the game and 35-0 before ULM scored on Garrett Smith’s touchdown pass to Rashon Ceaser with 20 seconds left in the half.

Chubb had scoring runs of 14 and 23 yards. Marshall had a 3-yard scoring run, his first since the opening game in 2013. Sony Michel caught a 31-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Brice Ramsey.

No. 10 Florida State 59, Texas State 16

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Everett Golson threw four touchdown passes in his Florida State debut.

The graduate transfer from Notre Dame was 19 for 25 for 302 yards. He matched his career high for touchdown passes set last year in Notre Dame’s victory over Syracuse.

Dalvin Cook ran for 156 yards and two touchdowns, and Mario Pender added 92 yards on 14 carries.

Texas State cut it to 14-10 in the second quarter on Chris Nutall’s 4-yard run, but Florida State scored on seven of its next eight drives. The Bobcats didn’t cross into Seminoles’ territory again until the fourth quarter.

The start of the game was delayed 63 minutes because of lightning.


No. 12 Clemson 49, Wofford 10

CLEMSON, S.C. -- Deshaun Watson threw for 194 yards and two touchdowns in less than a half and Clemson moved to 30-0 against FCS opponents with the win.

The Tigers (1-0) opened with a win for the seventh straight season, although all-Atlantic Coast Conference receiver Mike Williams left in the first quarter with a scary neck injury on a 4-yard touchdown catch. Williams struck the goal post support and was taken to a hospital, where the school said he was standing up and had full use of all extremities.

Clemson struggled with Wofford (0-1) when the teams last met four years ago, a 35-27 victory for the Tigers. This time, they powered past the Terriers for a 35-0 lead with five minutes left before halftime.

McNeese State at No. 14 LSU, canceled

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Persistent lightning strikes forced officials to cancel LSU’s season opener with McNeese State following a delay of nearly four hours.

No. 17 Mississippi 76, Tennessee Martin 3

OXFORD, Miss. -- Chad Kelly threw for 211 yards and two touchdowns and also ran for a 20-yard touchdown to lead the Rebels.

Kelly, a junior transfer who is the nephew of NFL Hall of Famer Jim Kelly, looked comfortable and efficient in his first start for the Rebels. He completed 9 of 15 passes.

Jaylen Walton ran for two touchdowns, including a 60-yarder up the middle on his first carry of the game. Robert Nkemdiche — who is usually a defensive lineman — made a cameo on offense and caught a 31-yard touchdown pass as the Rebels built a 41-0 lead by halftime.

It was the most points in a game for Ole Miss since 1935. Ole Miss played the game without starting left tackle Laremy Tunsil. The school said he was held out because of an ongoing NCAA investigation.

No. 18 Arkansas 48, UTEP 13

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Brandon Allen threw for a career-high 308 yards and matched his best with four touchdown passes for Arkansas.

Allen threw for 256 yards and all four touchdowns in the first half — including a pair of scores to Keon Hatcher, who finished with six catches for 106 yards.

Allen’s previous best was 296 yards against Georgia last season, and he also had four touchdowns against Nicholls State a year ago. Alex Collins added 127 yards rushing on 12 carries for Arkansas, including a 70-yard burst to end the first half.

Aaron Jones led the Miners with 70 yards on carries.

No. 19 Oklahoma 41, Akron 3

NORMAN, Okla. -- Baker Mayfield passed for 388 yards and three touchdowns, and Joe Mixon had 142 yards from scrimmage to help the Sooners in the rout.

Mayfield set a school record for yards passing in a season opener, surpassing the previous mark of 363 yards by Sam Bradford in 2007. The walk-on transfer from Texas Tech won the starting job in a preseason battle with last year’s starter, Trevor Knight.

Mixon, a redshirt freshman who was suspended last season after punching a woman in the face at a restaurant, caught a 76-yard touchdown pass from Mayfield early in the third quarter.

It was Oklahoma’s first game featuring its Air Raid offense under new offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley. The Sooners got off to a rough start, scoring just three points in the first quarter, but they finished with 539 total yards.

The Sooners held Akron to 226 total yards.

No. 24 Missouri 34, Southeast Missouri 3

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Kentrell Brothers had a career-best 16 tackles and blocked a punt that was returned for a touchdown for Missouri.

Aarion Penton caught the blocked punt in the air for a 41-yard return late in the third quarter that made it 27-3.

Maty Mauk threw two touchdown passes in the first quarter and freshman backup Drew Lock threw a 78-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Hunt in the fourth for Missouri. Mauk was 12 of 22 for 181 yards with an interception, and Lock was 6 of 8 for 138 yards.

Southeast Missouri quarterback Tay Bender was more effective running than passing. He gained 69 yards on 14 carries and was 12 of 22 for 56 yards.

No. 25 Tennessee 59, Bowling Green 30

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Jalen Hurd had three first-half touchdown runs, Alvin Kamara ran for two more scores, and Tennessee beat Bowling Green in a game delayed 80 minutes by lightning in the third quarter.

The Volunteers came in ranked for the first time since September 2012, and they won their first game while ranked since 2007. Joshua Dobbs threw for 205 yards and two TD passes to Ethan Wolf, and the defense coming up with three sacks.

Hurd finished with 123 yards, Kamara 144 in his Vols’ debut, and Dobbs added a TD and 89 yards. Tennessee outgained the Falcons, 604-557, even with two touchdowns wiped out by penalties.

Bowling Green had Matt Johnson back after hurting his hip in the opener last year, and he threw for 424 yards and two touchdowns.

Temple 27, Penn State 10

PHILADELPHIA -- P.J. Walker scored the go-ahead touchdown late in the third quarter to rally Temple to its first win over the Nittany Lions in 74 years.

Temple hadn’t won in the series since Oct. 18, 1941. Penn State was 38-0-1 since 1941 with a 7-7 tie in 1950 the only time the Owls played without a loss.

Scratch that.

The Owls played in front of a record crowd of 69,176 at Lincoln Financial Field and gave the fans who colored the stands in cherry and white perhaps the biggest win in program history.

Walker made it 17-10 with a 1-yard run late in the third and the Owls cruised from there, no longer serving as Penn State’s intrastate pushover.

The Owls rushed the field and sprinted toward the student section for a postgame party seven decades in the making.