College football: Kansas State stuns No. 3 Oklahoma; Mississippi State tops No. 6 LSU
Skylar Thompson passed for 334 yards and ran for three touchdowns, and Kansas State rallied from 21 points down to beat No. 3 Oklahoma 38-35 on Saturday in Norman, Okla.
Freshman Deuce Vaughn caught four passes for 129 yards and ran for a touchdown for the Wildcats (1-1, 1-0 Big 12 Conference), who were coming off a season-opening loss to Arkansas State. It was Kansas State’s first road win against a top-three team in the Associated Press poll.
Freshman Spencer Rattler passed for 387 yards and four touchdowns for Oklahoma (1-1, 0-1), but he threw three interceptions.
Kansas State upset Oklahoma 48-41 in Manhattan, Kan., last year.
Kansas State said earlier in the week that it was struggling to have enough players available at all position groups to play the game because of COVID-19.
After the Big Ten made its decision to play this year, USC players and athletic administrators did their part to get the Pac-12 back on the field.
“You find out a lot about a person and about a team from a challenge and adversity, and this team responded,” Thompson said.
In the opening moments of the second quarter, Rattler threw into traffic and found Drake Stoops for a 32-yard touchdown. It was the first career touchdown for the son of former Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, and it gave the Sooners a 14-0 lead.
Thompson’s 39-yard touchdown pass to Chabastin Taylor in the second quarter cut Oklahoma’s lead to 14-7, but the Sooners answered with Marvin Mims’ nine-yard touchdown reception in the final minute of the first half.
Rattler’s 53-yard pass to Stoops led to Seth McGowan’s five-yard touchdown run and a 35-14 late in the third quarter.
Two short rushing touchdowns by Thompson got the Wildcats back in the game. Kansas State’s Nick Allen blocked Reeves Mundschau’s punt, and the Wildcats took over at the Oklahoma 38-yard line. Vaughn’s 38-yard touchdown run on the Wildcats’ second offensive play and the extra point tied it at 35 with 8:17 to play.
Kansas State’s Blake Lynch hit a 50-yard field goal with 4:32 remaining. Kansas State’s Jahron McPherson intercepted Rattler in the final minute to help close out the win.
“We just made critical errors that gave them a chance,” Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley said. “Give [coach] Chris [Klieman] and Kansas State a lot of credit. When we made errors, he made us pay.”
Mississippi State 44, No. 6 Louisiana State 34
BATON ROUGE, La. — K.J. Costello passed for a Southeastern Conference-record 623 yards and five touchdowns in the Mississippi State debut of coach Mike Leach’s “Air Raid” offense, and the Bulldogs knocked off sixth-ranked and defending national champion Louisiana State.
Costello’s passing yardage in his first game since transferring from Stanford to Starkville, Miss., eclipsed the 544 yards Georgia’s Eric Zeier had against Southern Mississippi in 1993 to set the SEC record.
And Costello, who played at Santa Margarita High, needed most of it to make up for his two interceptions and two lost fumbles, which helped LSU rally to tie the score at 34 before he engineered a pair of scoring drives in the final 10 minutes.
LSU became the first defending national champion to lose its opening game since Michigan in 1998 lost at Notre Dame.
It’s been hard to muster a lot of enthusiasm for a college football season during a pandemic, but things picked up on the third Saturday of the season.
LSU quarterback Myles Brennan intermittently showed promise in his debut as starter in place of 2019 Heisman Trophy winner and 2020 top NFL draft choice Joe Burrow. But Brennan’s 345 yards and three touchdowns passing could not make up for the trouble the Tigers’ inexperienced defense had in new coordinator Bo Pelini’s scheme.
Four of Costello’s touchdown passes covered between 24 and 75 yards. The longest came on Kylin Hill’s catch and run in which the running back slipped safety Todd Harris’ tackle along the sideline to break into the clear. Osirus Mitchell caught touchdown passes of 43 and 24 yards, the second putting the Bulldogs back up by two scores with 3:39 left. Tyrell Shavers caught a 31-yard touchdown pass and Austin Williams had a nine-yard touchdown catch.
LSU transfer linebacker Jabril Cox, who played at Football Championship Subdivision power North Dakota State, scored the Tigers’ opening touchdown on an interception and 14-yard return.
Terrace Marshall Jr. had touchdown catches of 37 and 33 yards, while freshman tight end Arik Gilbert leaped in front of a defender to turn Brennan’s desperate throw as he was going down into a two-yard score.
But Brennan often struggled to make quick and decisive reads. He was sacked seven times and the first of his two interceptions came when linebacker Jordan Davis hit the quarterback’s elbow as he threw. The ball went straight to cornerback Esaias Furdge at the Bulldogs’ 24-yard line.
No. 2 Alabama 38, Missouri 19
COLUMBIA, Mo. — Mac Jones threw for 249 yards and two touchdowns in less than three quarters of work, many of his throws landing in the capable hands of Jaylen Waddle, and Alabama began its SEC-only schedule with a romp over rebuilding Missouri.
Waddle finished with eight catches for 134 yards and two touchdowns, and Najee Harris ran for 98 yards and three more scores, helping the Crimson Tide spoil the debut of new Tigers coach Eli Drinkwitz and win their 27th straight over the SEC East before a COVID-19-curtailed crowd of 11,738 fans at Faurot Field.
Texas Christian transfer Shawn Robinson, who started for the Tigers over Connor Bazelak, threw for 185 yards and a score. Bazelak also got a few series and was equally ineffective against Dylan Moses, Patrick Surtain II and the rest of the Crimson Tide defense, which kept Drinkwitz’s creative offense out of the end zone until midway through the fourth quarter.
Bazelak added a touchdown scamper on the final play of the game for the final margin.
Alabama’s long wait to start the season actually began with a thud — a three-and-out on offense. But after forcing a three-and-out of its own, Jones began to find his wide receivers downfield and the Crimson Tide got rolling.
No. 4 Georgia 37, Arkansas 10
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Stetson Bennett threw two touchdown passes in the third quarter, and Georgia rallied to beat Arkansas in the season opener for each school.
Bennett replaced D’Wan Mathis in the second quarter and finished 20 for 29 for 211 yards. Bennett put the Bulldogs ahead to stay when he tossed a 19-yard touchdown pass to George Pickens and ran in the two-point conversion to make it 13-10 with six minutes left in the third.
Feleipe Franks was 19 for 36 for 200 yards and a touchdown in his first start for Arkansas, but the Florida transfer also tossed two interceptions. Zamir White rushed for 71 yards and a touchdown in 13 carries.
No. 5 Florida 51, Mississippi 35
OXFORD, Miss. — Kyle Pitts caught four of Kyle Trask’s six touchdown passes, and Florida spoiled the coaching debut of Mississippi’s Lane Kiffin.
Trask completed 30 of 42 passes for 416 yards, including touchdown passes of one, 16, 71 and 17 yards to Pitts. The star tight end had 170 yards receiving.
Trask directed four consecutive touchdown drives that spanned the second and third quarters to build a 41-14 lead for the Gators (1-0 SEC).
Kiffin, the former Tennessee and USC coach who came to Ole Miss from Florida Atlantic, had the Rebels’ offense humming with Matt Corral at quarterback. Corral completed 22 of 31 passes for 395 yards and three touchdowns, two to Dontario Drummond.
But they couldn’t stop the Gators. Ole Miss (0-1) tied it at 14 midway through the second quarter before yielding to the Trask-led Florida outburst.
The teams combined for 1,255 yards of total offense, including 642 by the Gators.
No. 8 Auburn 29, No. 23 Kentucky 13
AUBURN, Ala. — Bo Nix threw for 233 yards and three second-half touchdowns, including a pair to Seth Williams, and Auburn scored twice in the fourth quarter to pull away from Kentucky in the season opener.
The Tigers turned a three-quarter scare into a comfortable win by capitalizing on a late turnover and Kentucky’s failed fake punt in the only top-25 matchup of the SEC’s opening weekend.
The game was played before a COVID-19-limited crowd of 17,000-plus — mostly Auburn students — and the most electric moment for the sparse in-person audience was a 100-yard interception return called back by targeting just before halftime.
Nix delivered some big plays to start an encore to a promising freshman season, especially to Williams. He completed 16 of 27 passes and also ran for 34 yards.
No. 8 Texas 63, Texas Tech 56 (OT)
LUBBOCK, Texas — Sam Ehlinger threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Joshua Moore in overtime, sending Texas to a wild victory over Texas Tech in which the Longhorns rallied with two touchdowns in the final three minutes of regulation.
Moore’s second touchdown catch came with 40 seconds left, and Ehlinger’s two-point conversion pass to Brennan Eagles tied it to get to overtime. Texas got the ball first and quickly scored when Ehlinger and Moore connected for their third score of the day.
Texas Tech’s possession ended when Alan Bowman was forced to scramble and threw a wild pass that was intercepted by Caden Sterns.
Texas, chasing its first Big 12 title since 2009, had looked done when the Red Raiders went ahead 56-41 late in the fourth quarter on touchdowns from T.J. Vasher and SaRodorick Thompson Jr. But Ehlginer engineered a quick drive for a touchdown pass to Eagles and the Longhorns recovered the onside kick to set up the tying score.
Texas is 2-0 for the first time under fourth-year coach Tom Herman.
Ehlinger finished with 262 yards passing with five touchdowns and also ran for a score for Texas (2-0 1-0) . Bowman passed for 325 yards and five touchdowns for the Red Raiders (1-1, 0-1) but also threw three interceptions.
No. 10 Texas A&M 17, Vanderbilt 12
COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Isaiah Spiller had 117 yards rushing and Ainias Smith ran for a touchdown to help Texas A&M overcome three turnovers in a mistake-filled game to beat Vanderbilt in the season opener for both teams.
Spiller had five five yards rushing in the first half before getting going after halftime. Smith added 51 yards rushing after switching from receiver to running back this season to steady the offense on a night when Kellen Mond fumbled twice, losing one.
The Aggies didn’t trail after the first quarter but were never able to pull away despite entering the game as 30-point favorites because of three fumbles and a penalty that resulted in a safety.
Vanderbilt started Ken Seals at quarterback, making him just the third true freshman quarterback to start a SEC season opener since freshman eligibility was restored in 1972. He threw for 150 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.
No. 12 Miami 52, Florida State 10
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — D’Eriq King threw for 267 yards and two touchdowns in three quarters, and Miami routed Florida State.
Cam’Ron Harris and Don Chaney scored twice and Brevin Jordan and Dee Wiggins each caught touchdown passes for the Hurricanes (3-0, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference).
Miami scored touchdowns on its five possessions and built a 35-point lead at halftime. The margin of victory was the largest for Miami in the series since a 47-0 rout in 1976, the first season of Bobby Bowden’s 34-year coaching career at Florida State.
The Seminoles (0-2, 0-2) were without coach Mike Norvell, who tested positive for coronavirus and remained in Tallahassee under quarantine. Assistant Chris Thomsen served as head coach.
No. 13 Central Florida 51, East Carolina 28
GREENVILLE, N.C. — Dillon Gabriel threw for 408 yards and four touchdowns to help Central Florida open its American Athletic Conference schedule with a win.
Jaylon Robinson and Marlon Williams each had huge games as Gabriel’s top targets for the Knights (2-0, 1-0). Robinson had nine catches for 150 yards and two touchdowns, while Williams had a career-best 13 catches for 136 yards.
Throw in Greg McCrae’s short first-quarter scoring run to lead a productive ground game and UCF finished with 632 yards with its fast-paced offense pushing the tempo to keep the pressure on. The Knights had a penalty-filled start in the first quarter before settling in and blowing the game open with a pair of touchdowns in the final five minutes before halftime.
Holton Ahlers threw for 215 yards and three touchdowns for the Pirates (0-1, 0-1), who were making a delayed start to the season after coronavirus-related scheduling changes.
No. 14 Cincinnati 24, No. 22 Army 10
CINCINNATI — Desmond Ridder passed for 258 yards and two touchdowns as Cincinnati defeated Army in the first matchup of ranked teams at Nippert Stadium since 2008.
Army’s vaunted triple-option offense came in averaging 389.5 rushing yards, but the Bearcats held the Black Knights to 182, including 81 by junior quarterback Christian Anderson, who also passed for 94 yards on nine completions.
Army (2-1) hasn’t defeated a ranked opponent on the road since 1958, but the Black Knights shocked the Bearcats with a defensive touchdown just 51 seconds into the game.
Ridder ran an option to the left, but his pitch to running back Charles McClelland was deflected by Army defensive back Jabari Moore, who recovered the ball and ran 42 yards for a touchdown to put the Black Knights ahead 7-0. Moore also had an interception in the first quarter.
But the Bearcats (2-0) bounced back when Ridder completed a 45-yard pass to Jayshon Jackson and two plays later found Michael Young for a 12-yard touchdown, putting Cincinnati ahead 10-7 in the second quarter. Young had five catches for 60 yards.
No. 15 Oklahoma State 27, West Virginia 13
STILLWATER, Okla. — Chuba Hubbard scored on a 23-yard run with 1:17 remaining to salvage a difficult afternoon and help Oklahoma State beat West Virginia.
Sidelined for a number of key plays after fumbling on consecutive second-half possessions, Hubbard ended up with 101 yards in 22 rushes for his 12th 100-yard performance in his last 13 games. Hubbard’s backup, L.D. Brown, gained 103 yards in 11 carries, including a 66-yard touchdown run, for Oklahoma State (2-0, 1-0 Big 12).
True freshman backup quarterback Shane Illingworth, in his first college start, completed 15 of 21 passes for 139 yards but also had an interception.
Jarret Doege threw for 285 yards and a touchdown for West Virginia (1-1, 0-1).
No. 16 Tennessee 31, South Carolina 27
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Jarrett Guarantano threw a tiebreaking touchdown pass to Josh Palmer with 9:35 left, and Tennessee won its seventh straight game.
The Volunteers (1-0, 1-0 SEC) appeared to have things in hand when they went ahead 21-7 on Eric Gray’s 12-yard scoring run on their opening drive of the third quarter. But South Carolina (0-1, 0-1) rallied behind first-time starter quarterback Collin Hill with two touchdowns and a field goal the next four series to tie the opener at 24 in the fourth quarter.
Guarantano finished 19 for 31 for 259 yards. He also rushed for Tennessee’s first touchdown.
No. 18 Brigham Young 48, Troy 7
PROVO, Utah — Zach Wilson threw for a career-high 392 yards and two touchdowns, leading Brigham Young to a victory over Troy.
Wilson’s previous career high was 317 passing yards against Western Michigan in the 2018 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. Against Troy, he completed 23 of 28 passes and rushed for a pair of touchdowns while helping the Cougars (2-0) pile up 664 total yards on offense.
Dax Milne and Gunner Romney combined for more than 250 receiving yards. Milne led BYU with 140 yards and a touchdown on seven catches. Romney added 138 yards on five receptions.
Troy (1-1) simply could not keep up with BYU after the first quarter. Gunnar Wilson threw for 162 yards but was sacked four times. The Trojans totaled just 181 yards.
No. 19 Louisiana-Lafayette 20, Georgia Southern 18
LAFAYETTE, La. — Nate Snyder hit a 53-yard field goal on the game’s final play, and Louisiana-Lafayette escaped with a victory.
The Ragin’ Cajuns (3-0, 2-0 Sun Belt) looked on the way to their first loss when Georgia Southern quarterback Shai Werts hit Khaleb Hood with a 28-yard touchdown pass and Dalton Anderson with a two-point conversion with 54 seconds left to give the Eagles (1-1, 0-1) an 18-17 lead.
ULL quarterback Levi Lewis, who threw for 290 yards, completed three passes for 47 yards in the final drive, including an 18-yarder to running back Trey Ragas to the Eagle 36. From there, Snyder — who was two for six on the season, including three misses inside 35 yards — split the uprights to give the Cajuns their first 3-0 start since 1988.
Lewis had connected with Errol Rogers on a 27-yard touchdown pass with 10:34 left to give ULL a 17-10 lead after Snyder’s 25-yard field goal late in the third period tied the score.
UCLA says it will report the number of athletes, coaches and staff who have tested positive for COVID-19 on a weekly basis after previously not doing so.
No. 20 Virginia Tech 45, North Carolina State 24
BLACKSBURG, Va. — Quincy Patterson II came off the bench to throw two touchdown passes and run for another score, leading Virginia Tech to a victory over North Carolina State.
Despite playing without 23 players and four coaches because of coronavirus issues and injuries — including starting quarterback Hendon Hooker — the Hokies (1-0, 1-0 ACC) started quickly in a season opener delayed two weeks because of two COVID-related postponements.
Virginia Tech took advantage of an N.C. State defense missing three starters who were out with injuries by speeding to a 17-0 lead.
Patterson, the Hokies’ No. 3 quarterback, entered the game in the second quarter after starter Braxton Burmeister left with a hand injury. Patterson threw touchdown passes of 15 yards to Tayvion Robinson and 16 yards to James Mitchell on the Hokies’ final two possessions of the first half. He also scored on a one-yard run in the fourth quarter.
Khalil Herbert ran for 104 yards and a score for Virginia Tech, which rushed for 315 yards.
Devin Leary threw for 165 yards and a score for the Wolfpack (1-1, 1-1).
No. 21 Pittsburgh 23, No. 24 Louisville 20
PITTSBURGH — Kenny Pickett threw for 220 yards and two touchdowns, and Pittsburgh sacked Louisville quarterback Malik Cunningham seven times in the win.
The Panthers moved to 3-0 for the first time since 2014 behind a relentless defense that kept the 24th-ranked Cardinals (1-2, 0-2 ACC) in check for most of the afternoon. Pitt limited Louisville to 223 total yards and picked off Cunningham three times, including twice in the fourth quarter.
Cunningham completed just nine of 21 passes for 107 yards and a touchdown to go with three picks. He was taken off the field on a stretcher following his fourth-down heave that ended up in the hands of Pitt’s Jason Pinnock with 1:19 to go. Freshman defensive lineman Calijah Kancey had his arms wrapped around Cunnigham’s legs as he let the pass go. There was no immediate word on the nature of Cunnigham’s injury.
Senior defensive end Patrick Jones II collected three sacks for the Panthers, who are threatening to lead the nation in the category for the second straight season. Pitt (3-0, 2-0) has 17 sacks through three games, including 14 since conference play opened last week against Syracuse.
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