Pittsburgh coach Pat Narduzzi joked before the 100th meeting between the Panthers and 13th-ranked Penn State that the next time the rivals face off, he will either be retired or “in a coffin.”
That’s a long time to live with some curious decision-making that helped the Nittany Lions escape with a 17-10 win in State College, Pa.
Pitt opted to kick a field goal on fourth and goal at the Penn State one-yard line trailing by a touchdown with less than four minutes to go. Alex Kessman’s 19-yard attempt clanked off the upright, and the Nittany Lions’ defense later turned away the Panthers’ last-ditch possession to win their third straight in the series.
“You need two scores to win the football game, unless you guys are playing for overtime,” Narduzzi said. “We’re trying to win the football game.”
Journey Brown ran for 109 yards and a touchdown for Penn State (3-0), and Noah Cain’s 13-yard third-quarter sprint to the end zone gave the Nittany Lions the lead for good. Sean Clifford completed 14 of 30 passes for 222 yards while spending most of the afternoon under heavy duress.
Pitt’s Kenny Pickett threw for a career-high 372 yards, but Penn State held firm when it mattered. The Panthers had first and goal at the Penn State one-yard line midway through the fourth quarter. Two passes and a run went nowhere, and Narduzzi opted to kick, despite trailing by seven.
Kessman’s miss allowed the Nittany Lions to bleed the clock a bit. Pitt drove from its 16 to the Penn State 26 in the final seconds, but Pickett’s 51st and final pass attempt smacked off a sea of hands in the end zone and fell incomplete to let the Nittany Lions improve to 53-43-4 in the series.
A rivalry that dates back to 1893 is going on indefinite hiatus. The uncertain future provided a sense of finality, one Narduzzi didn’t run from. He stressed to his players the outcome will give the winner bragging rights for years and possibly forever. Penn State improved to 3-1 during a four-game renewal that began in 2016.
“We’re happy to be 3-1 in the series. We’re happy to be 1-0 [this week],” Nittany Lions coach James Franklin said.
While Pitt fought gamely — overcoming a slow start following a 30-minute weather delay to take a 10-7 lead — the Panthers allowed Penn State to get into a rhythm late in the first half. Jordan Stout’s school-record 57-yard field goal tied it at 10 going into the break.
Using the no-huddle to help slow the Panthers’ defense, Clifford led Penn State 88 yards in 13 plays, the last Cain’s burst up the middle that put Penn State in front to stay.
“A loss is a loss,” Narduzzi said. “It doesn’t matter who it’s to, when it is. It’s a nonconference game. All our goals are still ahead of us. We’ve got a resilient football team that I love. We’ll be fine. We’ll be just fine.”
No. 9 Florida 29, at Kentucky 21: Kyle Trask relieved an injured Feleipe Franks and rallied the Gators with three fourth-quarter touchdown drives, including his go-ahead four-yard scoring run with 4:11 remaining in a victory over the Wildcats.
Franks, Florida’s third-year starter, was carted off with a right leg injury late in the third quarter with his team trailing 21-10. Stopped for no gain on fourth and one at the Kentucky 38, Franks appeared to bend backward on the play. Medical personnel placed an inflatable cast under his right leg, and he was taken off to applause from the sellout crowd.
Gators coach Dan Mullen had no immediate update on Franks’ condition but said afterward, “It looked like a dislocation and a break, so he would be out for the year.”
Trask entered and led Florida (3-0, 1-0 Southeastern Conference) on a 62-yard drive, ending with Lamical Perine’s eight-yard touchdown run to get the Gators within 21-16. Shawn Davis’s interception with 6:05 to go gave Florida another opportunity, and Trask capitalized with his go-ahead touchdown.
The two-point conversion failed, though, and Kentucky (2-1, 0-1) had a final chance to regain the lead. But Chance Poore’s 35-yard field-goal attempt with 54 seconds left was wide right, and Josh Hammond’s 76-yard touchdown run three plays later helped Florida avenge last year’s loss in Gainesville.
“Still have a long way to go,” Mullen added. “Came on the road and in a very tough environment and got a big win.”
Sawyer Smith accounted for all three Kentucky touchdowns with scoring passes of 26 and 13 yards sandwiched around his two-yard run. Making his first Wildcats start a week after Terry Wilson was lost for the season with a torn left patellar tendon, the junior completed his first nine passes for 119 yards. He finished 23-of-35 passing for 267 yards but also threw three interceptions.
at Temple 20, No. 21 Maryland 17: Kenny Yeboah put Temple ahead on a one-handed touchdown catch late in the fourth quarter, and the Owls used two clutch stops at the goal line to beat the Terrapins in Philadelphia. The Owls (2-0) defeated an unbeaten Maryland team for the second straight season and got coach Rod Carey off to a nice start in his first season on Temple’s sideline.
Yeboah used his outstretched right hand to snag Anthony Russo’s pass with 7:27 left in the game to put Temple ahead 20-15, but Maryland wasn’t going down easy — and the Owls’ defense pushed back.
Temple linebacker Shaun Bradley — the game-program cover player — stuffed Anthony McFarland on fourth and goal with 3:27 left to seemingly seal the win. But the Owls got the ball back and Adam Barry shanked a punt from the end zone to give Maryland first and goal at the 10. Again, Temple held the Terrapins, and a fourth-down pass was incomplete with 2:14 to go to complete the upset. Anthony Russo’s intentional safety finished off the scoring.
Russo threw for 277 yards and three touchdowns for the Owls. McFarland ran for 132 yards and Josh Jackson threw for 183 yards and was sacked four times for the Terrapins (2-1), who had opened with two straight blowout wins.
No. 1 Clemson 41, at Syracuse 6: Trevor Lawrence threw for three touchdowns and ran for another, and the Tigers beat their nemesis, the Orange, in Syracuse, N.Y.
Clemson (3-0, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) has won 18 straight games, a school record and the longest streak in the nation. It’s the second-longest winning streak by an ACC member in conference history, trailing a 29-game run by Florida State from 2012 to 2014.
Syracuse (1-2, 0-1), the last team to defeat Clemson in the regular season, was unbeaten at home last fall. The Orange were coming off a 43-point loss at Maryland that dropped them out of the rankings.
Clemson won its eighth straight true road game and avenged a 27-24 loss to Syracuse two years ago, and the defense stood tall, limiting Syracuse to 187 yards offensively and sacking Orange quarterback Tommy DeVito eight times.
No. 2 Alabama 47, at South Carolina 23: Tua Tagovailoa threw for a career-high 444 yards and tied his personal best with five touchdown passes to help the Crimson Tide open SEC play with a victory over the Gamecocks.
Coach Nick Saban improved to 12-1 at Alabama in SEC openers and wiped away some bad memories of his last visit to Williams-Brice Stadium nine years ago.
Tagovailoa and his receivers quickly got the Crimson Tide (3-0, 1-0) rolling with first-quarter touchdown passes of 24 yards to Najee Harris and 81 yards to Henry Ruggs III. Whenever the Gamecocks (1-2, 0-1) drew within range, Tagovailoa came right back to restore Alabama’s edge.
Harris added a 42-yard catch-and-run score in which he broke two tackles and leaped over defensive back R.J. Roderick on the way to the end zone. DeVonta Smith caught Tagovailoa’s last touchdown pass, also for 42 yards.
Saban reminded his players, who were in middle or elementary school in 2010, of the Tide’s previous game in Columbia, S.C., when the top-ranked Tide were soundly beaten 35-21.
And the Gamecocks tried anything they could to pull off another miracle, but little worked — especially with Tagovailoa in complete control. Ryan Hilinski, a freshman who starred at Orange Lutheran, finished 36 for 57 for 324 yards and two touchdowns with one interception for South Carolina.
at No. 3 Georgia 55, Arkansas State 0: Jake Fromm threw for 279 yards and three touchdowns before taking the rest of the day off while the Bulldogs’ defense turned in a dominating performance. With thousands of Georgia fans wearing pink instead of red to honor Arkansas State coach Blake Anderson’s wife, Wendy, who died last month from breast cancer, the Bulldogs (3-0) took control as soon as they got their hands on the ball. They scored on six of seven possessions in the first half, building a 34-0 lead.
The Georgia defense was equally stout, posting its first shutout since the 2018 opener. The Red Wolves (1-2) went three and out four times in the first half and crossed midfield only once, settling for a 50-yard field-goal try that faded wide right.
at No. 4 Louisiana State 65, Northwestern State 14: Joe Burrow completed 21 of 24 passes for 373 yards and two touchdowns, and the Tigers pulled away from the Demons in the second half. Burrow has played through the third quarter only once in three games because of lopsided scores. He is now 75-for-90 (83.3 percent) passing for 1,122 yards and 11 touchdowns this season, making a case early on for the Heisman Trophy.
Burrow also ran for 30 yards and a touchdown against Northwestern State (0-3), a Football Championship Subdivision team that was surprisingly competitive in the first half before the Tigers (3-0) dominated the third quarter.
No. 6 Ohio State 51, at Indiana 10: J.K. Dobbins ran for 193 yards and scored twice and Justin Fields threw three touchdown passes to pace the Buckeyes in the rout. Ohio State (3-0, 1-0 Big Ten) has won each of its first three games by at least 24 points and extended its winning streak in the series to 24, dating to a tie in 1990. Ohio State hasn’t lost to Indiana since 1988.
With Peyton Ramsey starting at quarterback in place of the injured Michael Penix Jr., the Hoosiers (2-1, 0-1) never had a chance. Ramsey was 20 of 34 for 166 yards with one interception and was sacked four times — the first sacks allowed by the Hoosiers this season.
It was the most lopsided margin in the series since the Buckeyes’ 44-3 victory in 2006.
at No. 7 Notre Dame 66, New Mexico 14: Ian Book threw a career-high five touchdown passes, and the Fighting Irish’s defense came up with three first-half interceptions in a final tuneup before a showdown at Georgia. Book rebounded from a lackluster opening performance in a 35-17 victory at Louisville to complete 15 of 24 passes for 360 yards. Book finished with another 46 yards rushing and a one-yard touchdown.
The Irish (2-0) had their way with the Lobos (1-1), who were without head coach Bob Davie. Saga Tuitele acted as head coach for Davie, the Notre Dame coach from 1997 to 2001 who was hospitalized after New Mexico’s opening victory over Sam Houston State.
at No. 8 Auburn 55, Kent State 16: JaTarvious Whitlow rushed for 135 yards and two touchdowns and Bo Nix ran and passed for scores to lead the Tigers (3-0) to a victory over the Golden Flashes (1-2) in Auburn, Ala. Auburn piled up 467 rushing yards — and three 100-yard rushers — in its final tuneup before SEC play.
No. 12 Texas 48, at Rice 13: Sam Ehlinger threw for 279 yards and three touchdowns, Jake Smith caught six passes for 75 yards and two touchdowns, and the Longhorns (2-1) beat the Owls (0-3) in Houston.
Keaontay Ingraham rushed for 74 yards and had touchdown runs of 26 yards and 14 yards. Cameron Dicker nailed a career-long 57-yard field goal a minute before halftime to push Texas’ lead to 31-0. The Longhorns outgained Rice 509-266 after losing at home last week to LSU.
at No. 16 Texas A&M 62, Lamar 3: Freshman Isaiah Spiller ran for 116 yards and two touchdowns and Kellen Mond threw for 317 yards with a touchdown pass and a run in three quarters to lead the Aggies (2-1) to the victory over the Cardinals (2-1) in College Station, Texas.
Spiller excelled in the first game since Jashaun Corbin sustained a season-ending hamstring injury last week at Clemson, running for touchdowns of one and 34 yards. Mond was 20 for 28 with an interception. Jhamon Ausbon had 109 yards receiving.
No. 19 Iowa 18, at Iowa State 17: Nate Stanley threw for 201 yards and ran for a score, and the Hawkeyes made a big fourth-down stop late in the game in Ames, Iowa, allowing them to earn a fifth straight win over the Cyclones.
Keith Duncan kicked four field goals for Iowa (3-0), which also improved to 4-0 against Iowa State coach Matt Campbell in a game delayed nearly three hours because of lightning.
Trailing 18-17 in the closing minutes, Iowa State drove to the Iowa 34 before a false start, a slip by quarterback Brock Purdy and an incompletion brought up fourth and 13. The Cyclones (1-1) went for it, and, after offsetting penalties led to a do-over, Purdy overthrew Deshaunte Jones near the end zone.
at No. 25 Virginia 31, Florida State 24: Wayne Taulapapa ran for three touchdowns, the second with 2:34 remaining, and the Cavaliers hung on to beat the Seminoles in Charlottesville, Va.
Virginia (3-0, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) trailed for much of the night and looked to have blown its chance when Brian Delaney missed a tying extra point with 6:02 to play. A three and out by the Seminoles and a six-play, 72-yard Cavaliers drive capped by Taulapapa’s two-yard run gave Virginia the lead. The Cavaliers went for two and Bryce Perkins was intent on passing, but when the Seminoles applied pressure in the backfield, he scrambled away and finally slithered through the defense and converted for the points.
The Seminoles (1-2, 0-1) drove to the Virginia four for the final play of the game, helped by four 15-yard penalty calls against the Cavaliers, but with no timeouts remaining and both teams scrambling to line up, a run attempt by Cam Akers that just beat the final gun was stopped when De’Vante Cross slowed him and Bryce Hall finished him off.
In other games Saturday:
— Jacob Godek kicked a 37-yard field goal in overtime, quarterback Brandon Rainey ran for one touchdown and passed for another, and The Citadel of the Football Championship Subdivision stunned Georgia Tech with a 27-24 upset victory in Atlanta. Georgia Tech’s defense allowed 320 yards rushing against the triple-option, a scheme it faced in practice the last 11 years under former coach Paul Johnson, but the Yellow Jackets (1-2) still figured to have an enough talent to overcome The Citadel. Instead, the Bulldogs (1-2) never trailed despite having lost at home to Towson and on the road to Elon.
— Austin Kendall threw three touchdown passes to lead West Virginia to a 44-27 victory over visiting North Carolina State. Kennedy McKoy helped West Virginia’s running game break out of a slump with a pair of scores, and the Mountaineers (2-1) had by far their highest offensive production of the season one week after looking lethargic in a 38-7 loss at Missouri. The Wolfpack (2-1) managed just 97 yards of offense in the second half.
— Skylar Thompson threw for 123 yards and a fourth-quarter touchdown to lead visiting Kansas State 31-24 over Mississippi State. The Wildcats (3-0) led 17-14 at halftime but trailed 24-17 in the fourth quarter. Then a 100-yard Malik Knowles kickoff return tied the game, and a 15-yard touchdown pass from Thompson to Dalton Schoen gave the Wildcats a seven-point lead with 5:37 remaining. The Bulldogs (2-1) drove 55 yards on their final meaningful possession but turned the ball over on downs at the Kansas State 20-yard line, one yard short of the first-down marker.
— Jarrett Guarantano threw three touchdown passes, and host Tennessee rolled to a 45-0 blowout of FCS program Chattanooga as the Volunteers began digging their way out of their slowest start in over three decades. Tennessee (1-2) is trying to bounce back from its first 0-2 start since 1988, when the Vols dropped their first six games before finishing 5-6. The lopsided victory over Chattanooga (1-2) provides Tennessee a momentum boost before the Vols open SEC play next week to begin a grueling monthlong stretch.
— Tre Turner scored second-half touchdowns rushing and receiving, helping Virginia Tech rally to a 24-17 victory over Furman in Blacksburg, Va. The Hokies (2-1) trailed 14-3 at halftime but scored on their first two possessions of the second half to grab the lead. Turner’s 29-yard touchdown run with 5:04 remaining sealed the win. Virginia Tech tailback Keshawn King, making his first collegiate start, rushed for 119 yards. Devin Abrams paced Furman (1-2) with 72 yards rushing.
— Chad Ryland booted a 24-yard field goal as time expired to give Eastern Michigan a 34-31 win over host Illinois. It was the Eagles’ third win over a Big Ten team, following victories against Rutgers in 2017 and Purdue in 2018. Mike Glass was 23 of 36 for 316 yards and three touchdowns to lead EMU (2-1). The Illini fell to 2-1.
— Darius Anderson paced a powerful rushing attack with 179 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries to help TCU beat Purdue 34-13 in West Lafayette, Ind. Sewo Olonilua chipped in with 106 yards rushing and a score for the Horned Frogs (2-0). Purdue finished with 23 rushing yards in 25 carries. Redshirt freshman Jack Plummer completed 13 of 29 passes for 181 yards with two interceptions for the Boilermakers (1-2). Plummer started in place of Elijah Sindelar, who was sidelined with a concussion. Sindelar led the FBS with 932 yards passing after two games.
— In Minneapolis, Tyler Johnson caught three touchdown passes from Tanner Morgan, including the go-ahead two-yard score with 13 seconds left, to give Minnesota a tense 35-32 victory after two long touchdowns by Georgia Southern in the fourth quarter off miscues by the Gophers. Johnson had 10 receptions for 140 yards. The Gophers (3-0) outgained the Eagles (1-2) in total yardage 382-198 and stretched the longest nonconference winning streak in the Football Bowl Subdivision to 18 straight games.
— Adrian Martinez threw for two touchdowns and ran for another, Dedrick Mills rushed for 116 yards and Nebraska beat Northern Illinois 44-8 in Lincoln, Neb. The Cornhuskers (2-1) bounced back from blowing a 17-point lead in an overtime loss at Colorado last week. NIU (1-2) won 21-17 in Lincoln two years ago but was no match this time. Nebraska had 525 yards of total offense, limited the Huskies to 74 yards rushing and posted its largest margin of victory over an FBS opponent since a 39-point win over South Alabama in 2015.
— Malcolm Perry ran for four touchdowns, threw for two scores and accounted for 307 yards in offense to guide Navy to a 42-10 rout of defenseless East Carolina in Annapolis, Md. Navy scored TDs on each of its first four possessions and coasted to the finish. The Midshipmen (2-0, 1-0 American Athletic Conference) have won four straight against the Pirates, averaging 52 points per game. East Carolina (1-2, 0-1) has lost 10 straight on the road and is 1-17 in away games since 2016. Perry carried 24 times for 156 yards and completed five of seven passes for 151 yards.
— Army bounced back from an emotional loss to roll past Texas-San Antonio 31-13 at the Alamodome. The Black Knights’ triple-option offense continued to confound after nearly upsetting then-seventh-ranked Michigan on Sept. 7 before falling 24-21 in double overtime in Ann Arbor, Mich. Army coach Jeff Monken made a last-minute switch at quarterback against UTSA, starting Jabari Laws in place of Kevin Hokins Jr. The Black Knights had their most prolific output of the season. Army (2-1) generated season highs in total yards with 358 and rushing yards with 340 against UTSA (1-2).
— Chuba Hubbard rushed for a career-high 256 yards and three touchdowns, and Oklahoma State defeated host Tulsa 40-21. Hubbard ripped off touchdown runs of 75 and 30 yards in the first four minutes of the game. The Cowboys improved to 3-0. The Golden Hurricane fell to 1-2. It was Oklahoma State’s first game since billionaire booster T. Boone Pickens died Wednesday. He donated more than $650 million to the school, and the football stadium is named for him. The Cowboys wore stickers with “Boone” on the back of their helmets in his honor.
— Jarren Williams threw for 254 yards and three scores, and Miami gave rookie coach Manny Diaz his first victory by beating Bethune-Cookman 63-0 in Miami Gardens, Fla. Williams went 19 for 24 without a turnover or a sack. The Hurricanes (1-2) won their home opener to bounce back from season-opening losses at Florida and North Carolina. With the victory, Miami avoided its worst start since 1975. Diaz, the Hurricanes’ defensive coordinator from 2016 to 2018, replaced Mark Richt after last season as head coach. Bethune-Cookman dropped to 1-1.
— Quentin Harris threw for 237 yards and four touchdowns and also ran for 107 yards as Duke scored 34 straight points in beating Middle Tennessee 41-18 in Murfreesboro, Tenn. The Blue Devils (2-1) scored on four of their first five possessions. Middle Tennessee fell to 1-2.
— Arkansas quarterback Nick Starkel, in his first start in a Razorbacks uniform, led his team on two fourth-quarter touchdown drives, breaking a 34-all tie and sending Arkansas to a 55-34 win over visiting Colorado State. The Razorbacks (2-1) earned their first victory over an FBS opponent this season and only the second in coach Chad Morris’ 15 games dating back to last year. Colorado State dropped to 1-2.
— Matt Corral threw for two touchdowns and the Mississippi defense made a pair of game-saving stops on downs in the final six minutes as the Rebels defeated Southeastern Louisiana 40-29 in Oxford, Miss. Corral finished 21 of 30 for 239 yards and directed a pair of fourth-quarter field goal drives that preserved the Ole Miss (2-1) win over the FCS Lions (1-1).