College football: No. 3 Clemson and No. 14 Michigan avoid upsets; No. 12 West Virginia prevails

Clemson's Travis Etienne (9) celebrates his touchdown with Tee Higgins (5) and Gage Cervenka during the second half Saturday.
(Richard Shiro / Associated Press)

With new starting quarterback Trevor Lawrence knocked out of the game, No. 3 Clemson rallied behind Travis Etienne, who ran for 2-yard touchdown with 41 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter to give the Tigers a 27-23 victory over Syracuse on Saturday.

Etienne finished with three TDs and a career-high 203 yards rushing to bail out the quarterback-depleted Tigers (5-0, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), who went from having one too many starting-caliber QBs earlier in the week to not enough by the second half against the Orange (4-1, 1-1).

Lawrence left his first career start late in the second quarter with a possible concussion. Lawrence was promoted to starter earlier in the week by coach Dabo Swinney and that prompted senior Kelly Bryant, who had started the first four games and led the Tigers to the College Football Playoff last year, to leave the team.

That left one-time third-stringer Chase Brice to lead the comeback — and it looked bleak when Syracuse quarterback Eric Dungey bulled his way in for a 1-yard score with 12:58 remaining to make it 23-13.


Etienne’s 26-yard touchdown run with 11:08 to go drew Clemson within a field goal and Brice, a redshirt freshman with just eight career passes, directed a 94-yard scoring drive that included a 20-yard completion on fourth-and-6 to keep things going.

When Etienne went in for the go-ahead score, most of the 80,122 at Memorial Stadium erupted in celebration after fretting most of the contest.

Dungey was sacked twice by freshman Xavier Thomas on Syracuse’s final drive. The Orange were trying for their first 5-0 start since 1987. Dungey finished with two rushing touchdowns. He was 26 of 41 passing for 250 yards and an interception.

No. 14 Michigan 20, at Northwestern 17: Karan Higdon ran for 115 yards and two touchdowns, Shea Patterson threw 196 yards and No. 14 Michigan overcame a 17-point deficit to beat Northwestern 20-17 on Saturday.


Higdon gave the Wolverines (4-1, 2-0 Big Ten) the lead with a 5-yard run with 4:06 remaining. Higdon averaged 3.8 yards on 30 carries, and Patterson completed 15 of 24 passes to help Michigan win its fourth straight.

Michigan held Northwestern to 97 yards of total offense in the final three quarters and had six sacks for the game.

No. 12 West Virginia 42, at No. 25 Texas Tech 34: Will Grier threw for 370 yards with three touchdowns, Keith Washington thwarted a rally with 51-yard interception return for a score and No. 12 West Virginia held on for a 42-34 win over 25th-ranked Texas Tech.

Marcus Simms had nine catches for a career-high 138 yards — all in the first half — for his third straight 100-yard game. The Mountaineers (4-0, 2-0 Big 12) scored 28 first-quarter points.


Texas Tech true freshman Alan Bowman, the nation’s leading passer coming in, didn’t return after getting injured in the first half when he was sandwiched on hits by Ezekiel Rose and Washington as he threw a pass.

Sophomore Jett Duffey had his first career touchdown pass and TD run filling in for Bowman as the Red Raiders (3-2, 1-1) stayed close after trailing 35-10 at halftime.

With Texas Tech driving for a potential tying score late in the fourth quarter, Duffey’s second interception was a leaping grab by Washington , who returned it for a 42-27 lead.

at No. 1 Alabama 56, Lousiana Lafayette 14: Jaylen Waddle returned a punt for a touchdown and caught two scoring passes, including a 94-yarder, to help the Crimson Tide (5-0). Quarterbacks Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts staked Alabama to a 49-0 halftime lead over the Ragin’ Cajuns (1-3) en route to the defending national champions’ latest blowout.


Then third-teamer Mac Jones got into the act with his 94-yarder to the freshman Waddle late in the third quarter. It tied for the second-longest TD catch in Alabama history. Alabama has scored at least 45 points five games in a row for the first time in program history.

at No. 2 Georgia 38, Tennessee 12: D’Andre Swift ran for two touchdowns, including a late 14-yarder to ice the game, and No. 2 Georgia used dominant defense to overcome a sluggish offensive start in a 38-12 win over Tennessee on Saturday.

Freshman quarterback Justin Fields scored on runs of 12 and 15 yards, and Isaac Nauta had a 31-yard touchdown on a fumble return. The Bulldogs led by only 12 points early in the final quarter before pulling away.

at No. 5 Louisiana State 45, Mississippi 16: Joe Burrow passed for 292 yards and three touchdowns, rushed for 96 yards and another score, and No. 5 LSU routed Mississippi 45-16 on Saturday night.


Burrow had his best game by far for LSU (5-0, 2-0 SEC) since arriving this year as a graduate transfer from Ohio State, completing 18 of 25 passes to nine different receivers. His 388 yards of total offense were fourth-most in a single game in LSU history.

Two of his touchdown passes went to Justin Jefferson, the first for 65 yards on a crossing route.

at No. 6 Oklahoma 66, Baylor 33: Kyler Murray sat out the Sooners’ first offensive series then came on to pass for 432 yards and six touchdowns to help No. 6 Oklahoma defeat Baylor 66-33 on Saturday.

Austin Kendall opened the game, but Murray entered on the second possession and played nearly flawless football. His passing touchdown total tied for second-best in school history behind Baker Mayfield’s seven against Texas Tech in 2016. The school would not say why Murray didn’t start.


Murray also ran for 45 yards and a score for the Sooners (5-0, 2-0 Big 12).

No. 10 Auburn 24, Southern Mississippi 13: Jarrett Stidham threw for 245 yards and two touchdowns and No. 10 Auburn beat Southern Miss 24-13 on Saturday night in a game disrupted for nearly three hours by lightning.

Playing behind a shuffled offensive line, Stidham completed 19 of 33 attempts, including touchdowns of 46 yards to Seth Williams and 2 yards to Chandler Cox, while enduring four sacks.

The Tigers (4-1) had built a 14-3 lead in the first half before the game was delayed for two hours, 44 minutes at the 4:27 mark of the second quarter as lightning forced players and fans to take shelter.


at No. 13 Central Florida 45, Pittsburgh 14: McKenzie Milton threw for 328 yards and four touchdowns and No. 13 UCF extended the nation’s longest winning streak to 17 games with a 45-14 rout of Pittsburgh on Saturday.

A week after accounting for six TDs in a lopsided victory over Florida Atlantic, Milton also ran for two scores to give the junior from Kapolei, Hawaii, seven TDs passing and five rushing in his past two games.

UCF (4-0) now moves into the heart of its American Athletic Conference schedule, hoping to go undefeated for the second straight year to play its way into consideration for a spot in the College Football Playoff.

at No. 17 Kentucky 24, South Carolina 10: Benny Snell Jr. ran for 99 yards and one of Kentucky’s three consecutive first-half touchdowns before the No. 17 Wildcats held on for a 24-10 victory over South Carolina on Saturday night.


Kentucky (5-0, 3-0 Southeastern Conference) quashed initial concerns about a letdown following their first Top 25 ranking since November 2007 by scoring on four straight drives to lead 24-3 at halftime. The Wildcats ended up needing that cushion to offset a scoreless second half and Jake Bentley’s 58-yard, third quarter TD pass to Deebo Samuel that kept the Gamecocks (2-2, 1-2) within striking distance.

No. 18 Texas 19, at Kansas State: Sam Ehlinger threw for 207 yards and a touchdown, D’Shawn Jamison returned a punt 90 yards for another score and No. 18 Texas held off Kansas State 19-14 on Saturday to snap a five-game road losing streak to the Wildcats.

Keaontay Ingram churned for a first down with less than three minutes to go, allowing the red-hot Longhorns (4-1, 2-0 Big 12) to run out the clock after blowing much of a 19-0 halftime lead.

at No. 21 Michigan State 31, Central Michigan 20: Brian Lewerke ran for two touchdowns in the first half, and the Spartans overcame a slow start and an underwhelming finish to beat the Chippewas.


The Spartans entered with the nation’s top-ranked run defense and held CMU to 5 yards on the ground in the first two quarters. Michigan State led 31-3 before letting the Chippewas rally a bit in the fourth. Connor Heyward and La’Darius Jefferson also ran for touchdowns for the Spartans.

CMU (1-4) kicked a field goal on the game’s first possession and held that lead at the end of the first quarter. Lewerke threw an interception in the end zone in the first, but the Spartans (3-1) would have plenty of chances in the red zone.

Virginia Tech 31, at No. 22 Duke 14: Ryan Willis threw for 332 yards and a career-best three touchdowns in his first start at Virginia Tech, helping the Hokies upset No. 22 Duke 31-14 on Saturday night.

Willis, a transfer from Kansas taking over for injured starter Josh Jackson, was 17 of 27 with a 27-yard TD pass to Damon Hazelton, a 67-yard catch-and-run score to Dalton Keene and a game-sealing 10-yarder to Phil Patterson.


Humiliated in a 14-point loss at Old Dominion last week, the Hokies (2-2, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) bounced back strong, leading virtually all night to earn another lopsided road victory against a ranked league opponent. They routed then-No. 19 Florida State 24-3 in the opener.

Florida 13, at No. 23 Mississippi State 6: Feleipe Franks threw for 219 yards and Florida’s defense dominated in the Gators’ 13-6 victory over No. 23 Mississippi State on Saturday night.

Coach Dan Mullen won in his return to Starkville, guiding Florida to success in his first appearance at Davis Wade Stadium since leaving Mississippi State in November after nine mostly successful seasons.

Florida wasn’t great offensively, but it didn’t matter. The Gators (4-1, 2-1) broke through in the third quarter when Franks threw a lateral to Kadarius Toney, who then threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Moral Stephens for a 10-6 lead.


In other games:

— Jashaun Corbin had the first 100-yard kickoff return to start a game for Texas A&M since 1994, Trayveon Williams ran for 153 yards with two touchdowns and the Aggies beat Arkansas 24-17 in Arlington for coach Jimbo Fisher’s first Southeastern Conference victory.

— Anthony Brown threw for two touchdowns and caught one, AJ Dillon rushed for 161 yards and two scores before leaving with an apparent ankle injury and Boston College held off visiting Temple 45-35 in a chippy game that saw three players ejected for targeting.

— Freshman Ricky Person ran for a season-high 108 yards while receivers Kelvin Harmon and Emeka Emezie had big days to help North Carolina State beat Virginia 35-21 in Raleigh, N.C., in its Atlantic Coast Conference opener.


— Taylor Cornelius passed for 312 yards and four touchdowns, Justice Hill ran for 189 yards and Oklahoma State cruised to a 48-28 victory over Kansas in Lawrence.

— Peyton Ramsey ran for a touchdown and threw another and Indiana scored on its first four possessions in beating Rutgers 24-17 in Piscataway, N.J., sending the Scarlet Knights to their fourth-straight loss.

— Army mixed in a few big scoring plays with its ground-control offense to defeat previously unbeaten Buffalo 42-13 in Amherst, N.Y.

— Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder kept the Bearcats undefeated, throwing for 270 yards and two touchdowns and running for another score in a 49-7 rout of UConn. Michael Warren II rushed for 106 yards and touchdowns of two and 14 yards for the Bearcats (5-0).


— David Blough threw for 328 yards and accounted for two touchdowns, D.J. Knox scored twice on short runs and Purdue beat Nebraska 42-28 to send the Cornhuskers to their program-record eighth consecutive loss. The Huskers amassed 582 total yards and 30 first downs but couldn’t overcome five personal fouls and a total of 11 penalties for 136 yards.

Other scores:

USC 24, at Arizona 20

at No. 8 Notre Dame 38, No. 7 Stanford 17


at No. 11 Washington 35, No. 20 Brigham Young 7

No. 19 Oregon 42, at No. 24 California 24

at Washington State 28, Utah 24

at Arizona State 52, Oregon State 24


No. 4 Ohio State 27, at No. 9 Penn State 26

at Alabama Birmingham 28, Charlotte 7

at Appalachian State 52, South Alabama 7

at Ball State 52, Kent State 24


Boise State 34, at Wyoming 14

at East Carolina 37, Old Dominion 35

Florida Atlantic 25, at Middle Tennessee

at Florida International 55, Arkansas Pine Bluff 9


Florida State 28, at Louisville 24

at Fresno State 49, Toledo 27

at Georgia Southern 28, Arkansas State 21

at Georgia State 46, Louisiana Monroe 14


at Georgia Tech 56, Bowling Green 17

Hawaii 44, at San Jose State 41, 5OT

Liberty 52, at New Mexico 43

Louisiana Tech 29, at North Texas 27


Marshall 20, at Western Kentucky 17

Nevada 28, at Air Force 25

Northern Illinois 26, at Eastern Michigan 23

at Ohio 58, Massachusetts 42


at Southern Methodist 63, Houston Baptist 27

at Texas Christian 17, Iowa State 14

at Texas San Antonio 30, Texas El Paso 21

at Troy 45, Coastal Carolina 21


at Vanderbilt 31, Tennessee State 27

at Wake Forest 56, Rice 24

Western Michigan 40, at Miami (Ohio) 39