College football: Indiana stuns No. 8 Penn State; Alabama’s Jaylen Waddle injured
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Indiana coach Tom Allen had grown weary of close calls in big games.
On Saturday, Allen went for it — and Michael Penix Jr. made those gambles pay off against Penn State in the Big Ten opponents’ first game of the coronavirus-delayed season.
After leading the Hoosiers on a touchdown drive in the final minute of regulation and scoring on a two-point conversion to force overtime, Penix hooked up with Whop Philyor for a nine-yard touchdown pass in overtime and dove into the pylon for the decisive two-point conversion to give Indiana a 36-35 victory over No. 8 Penn State — its first win over a top-10 team in more than 33 years.
“We’d been close so many times, and I was tired of being close,” Allen said. “We liked the call and stayed with the call (after Penn State called a timeout). We felt like we had our three players involved in the play and one of those was going to get the ball or Michael was going to keep it. If felt like the right thing to do.”
Indiana snapped the longest streak of consecutive losses to top-10 foes at 42, a skid that dated to a 31-10 victory at Ohio State on Oct. 10, 1987 — a game the late Earle Bruce dubbed as the darkest day in Buckeyes history.
The Hoosiers ended the second-longest active streak of losses to top-10 opponents in the Football Bowl Subdivision. Only Wake Forest, at 63, had been longer.
With the Pac-12 not playing football games until November, fans have been left wandering a void of bland entertainment options every Saturday night.
Indiana beat its highest-rated opponent since upsetting No. 6 Michigan State in 1967 and won for only the second time in 24 tries against the Nittany Lions.
The Hoosiers did it on a day Penix wasn’t at his best. He finished 19 of 36 for 170 yards and one touchdown; he was sacked three times. But his magical feet worked wonders when Indiana needed him most.
“All I’d seen was an opportunity, an opportunity to go out and show the world what the Indiana Hoosiers are all all about,” Penix said, referring to the final play of the game. “They were playing man [coverage], and we’ve got to score to win the game, so I wasn’t going to let my team down.”
It took a lengthy replay review to confirm the initial call, and when the official made the announcement Penix knew was coming, the wild celebration began inside the mostly empty stadium.
Allen needed to pull out every trick in the book too, especially after Sean Clifford hooked up with Jahan Dotson on a 60-yard touchdown pass to give Penn State its first lead of the second half, 21-20 with 2:30 left in regulation.
The Nittany Lions sacked Penix on the next two plays, forced him to throw the ball away on third and an incompletion on fourth, taking the ball back on downs at the Indiana 14-yard line. This time, Allen called for the defense to give up the touchdown, hoping for one more possession, and Devyn Ford obliged with a touchdown run that gave Penn State a 28-20 lead.
“We went through that situation this week. We went through that situation on the sideline. Obviously, we could have handled it better and I could have handled it better,” Penn State coach James Franklin said. “What we wanted to do is get as much as you can and get down.”
Instead, Penix capitalized on the miscue. He took the Hoosiers 75 yards in seven plays, scoring on a one-yard touchdown run before the tying conversion. And after Clifford made it 35-28 with nine-yard touchdown pass to Parker Washington in overtime, Penix hooked up with Philyor before beating two Nittany Lions defenders to the front pylon.
“What was going through my head was that we’re playing the No. 8 team in the country, and I knew if we scored, we would have had the ball on the three with a chance to win it,“ Allen said. “When you think about all the things that happened and all the plays that had to be made to win this game, it’s just amazing.“
No. 2 Alabama 48, Tennessee 17
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Alabama lost wide receiver Jaylen Waddle to an injury on the opening kickoff.
That was about the only thing that didn’t go the Crimson Tide’s way.
Mac Jones threw for 387 yards and ran for a touchdown and Najee Harris rushed for three more touchdowns as Alabama routed Tennessee for the 14th consecutive win in this rivalry.
The Crimson Tide (5-0, 5-0 Southeastern Conference) outgained the Volunteers 587-302. But playing Tennessee proved costly for Alabama a second straight season. A year ago, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa hurt an ankle in the second quarter and missed the next game against Arkansas.
On Saturday, Waddle rolled his right ankle as he was tackled on the opening kickoff and was taken by cart to the locker room. Waddle came out after catching the ball deep in the end zone, something coaches usually don’t want. But Alabama coach Nick Saban said he trusts the judgment of the talented player.
Saban said Waddle has a similar injury to what former Alabama running back Kenyan Drake had with a high ankle sprain with a fracture that probably will need surgery. Waddle will be flown back privately with doctors and taken to Birmingham to see whether surgery is needed right away.
“If that’s the case, and we’re pretty certain that it is, he would probably be out for the year,” Saban said.
Tennessee (2-3, 2-3) forced Alabama to punt on its opening drive. That was as close as the Volunteers would get in losing their seventh straight in this series in Neyland Stadium.
No. 1 Clemson 47, Syracuse 21
CLEMSON, S.C. — Trevor Lawrence threw two touchdown passes and Travis Etienne ran for three scores as Clemson shook off a sluggish performance to win its 27th straight Atlantic Coast Conference game.
The Tigers opened 6-0 for the sixth straight season, but it took a late burst to get it done — just like usual against Syracuse (1-5, 1-4).
The Orange were the last ACC team to defeat the Tigers (6-0, 5-0) with a 27-24 victory in 2017. A year later at Death Valley, Syracuse again looked primed for the upset as it held a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter before Clemson’s 27-23 escape to keep its national championship season intact.
Starters Olaijah Griffin and Chris Steele hope to thrive in the system installed by new cornerbacks coach Donte Williams.
Despite entering as 45-point underdogs, coach Dino Babers and Syracuse kept the Tigers out of synch much of the game and were down just 27-21 late in the third quarter.
No. 3 Notre Dame 45, Pittsburgh 3
PITTSBURGH — Ian Book passed for 312 yards and three touchdowns — two of them long catch-and-runs to graduate transfer wide receiver Ben Skowronek — and Notre Dame overwhelmed reeling Pittsburgh.
A week after scuffling their way past Louisville, the Fighting Irish (5-0, 4-0 ACC) had no such issues while handling the Panthers (3-4, 2-4) their fourth consecutive loss. Book hit Skowronek for a 34-yard score on Notre Dame’s first possession, and Pitt — playing without injured senior quarterback Kenny Pickett for a second consecutive week — simply could not keep up.
No. 5 Ohio State 52, Nebraska 17
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Justin Fields completed 20 of 21 passes for two touchdowns and ran for another, Master Teague III rushed for a pair of scores, and Ohio State rolled over Nebraska on the opening day of the Big Ten’s pandemic-delayed season.
Fields, a Heisman Trophy finalist last season, completed his first 12 passes and threw for 276 yards. He ran for another 52 — including a stunning 17-yard third-quarter touchdown scramble around the left side that saw him spin past a defender into the end zone.
“You guys saw the arm we saw,” Cornhuskers linebacker Collin Miller said. “He’s making throws guys on Sundays make.”
The Ohio State defense took most of the first half to figure out a way to contain quarterback Adrian Martinez, who marched the Huskers down for a touchdown in the opening two minutes of the game.
Nebraska (0-1, 0-1 Big Ten) tied the score at 14 in the second quarter, but a field goal by Ohio State (1-0, 1-0), a defensive stop and Teague’s second touchdown run gave the Buckeyes a 24-14 lead at the half. Then came Fields’ nifty touchdown run and a 55-yard scoop and score by Buckeyes cornerback Sevyn Banks, and Ohio State had it under control.
“That’s one heck of a run right there,” Buckeyes coach Ryan Day said. “It’s the best way you can end a half and start a half, and I thought it flipped the game.”
No. 6 Oklahoma State 24, No. 17 Iowa State 21
STILLWATER, Okla. — Spencer Sanders passed for 235 yards and ran for 71 and a touchdown in his return from injury, and Oklahoma State defeated Iowa State.
Sanders had been out since injuring his right ankle in the season opener against Tulsa.
Chuba Hubbard rushed for 139 yards and a touchdown for Oklahoma State (4-0, 3-0 Big 12). With the win, the Cowboys joined Kansas State as the only remaining undefeated teams in conference play.
The Cyclones (3-2, 3-1) vaulted onto the national radar by beating Oklahoma earlier in the month and were seeking their first ever 4-0 start in league play. Iowa State’s Breece Hall, who was second nationally in yards rushing per game, ran for a career-high 185 yards.
No. 9 Cincinnati 42, No. 16 Southern Methodist 13
DALLAS — Desmond Ridder ran for 179 yards and three touchdowns and threw for 126 yards and a score to help Cincinnati beat Southern Methodist in a showdown of unbeaten teams.
Cincinnati (4-0, 2-0 American Athletic Conference) played its first game since Oct. 3. The Bearcats had an open date the following weekend and then had their scheduled Oct. 17 home game against Tulsa moved to Dec. 5 because of positive COVID-19 cases at Cincinnati and the quarantining of athletes at the school.
Ridder completed 13 of 21 passes. He had scoring runs of 15, 32 and 91 yards and threw a seven-yard touchdown pass to Josh Whyle to open the scoring.
Gerrid Doaks ran for 105 yards in 20 carries, with touchdown runs of one and 35 yards.
Shane Buechele threw a nine-yard touchdown pass to Rashee Rice, and Chris Naggar kicked field goals of 26 and 22 yards for SMU (5-1, 2-1). The Mustangs fell short of opening with six straight wins for the second straight season.
No. 11 Miami 19, Virginia 14
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — D’Eriq King threw for 322 yards and a touchdown, Mike Harley had career bests of 10 catches for 170 yards, and Miami outlasted Virginia.
Harley’s big night for the Hurricanes (5-1, 4-1 ACC) started with a 43-yard touchdown grab on Miami’s second play from scrimmage. King completed his first nine passes and finished 21 for 30.
Don Chaney had a one-yard rushing touchdown in the fourth for Miami.
Brennan Armstrong, back in the lineup after missing a game with a concussion, completed 16 of 30 passes for 180 yards and two touchdowns for Virginia (1-4, 1-4). It was the fourth straight loss for the Cavaliers, and this marks the first time since 2013 that they’ve played four consecutive games without ever holding a lead.
Armstrong also ran for 91 yards for Virginia.
No. 12 Brigham Young 52, Texas State 14
PROVO, Utah — Zach Wilson threw for 287 yards and four touchdowns to lead Brigham Young over Texas State.
Tyler Allgeier added 77 yards and a touchdown on the ground for the Cougars. BYU (6-0) piled up 579 total yards and 30 first downs on its way to matching the team’s best start since 2008. Fourteen players caught a pass for the Cougars, and 11 had at least one carry.
Brady McBride threw for 150 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions for the Bobcats. Texas State (1-6) fell to 0-9 against Associated Press top 25 teams after being held to 267 yards.
No. 14 North Carolina 48, No. 23 N.C. State 21
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Javonte Williams ran for 160 yards and three touchdowns to help North Carolina beat North Carolina State in a renewal of the longtime state rivalry.
Michael Carter ran for 106 yards and a score of his own for the Tar Heels (4-1, 4-1 ACC), who used a run-through-and-over-tacklers ground game that helped them take control in the third quarter. North Carolina ran for 326 yards and finished with 578 overall, bouncing back from an upset loss at Florida State to beat the Wolfpack (4-2, 4-2) by a lopsided margin for the second straight season.
A one-year eligibility extension approved by the NCAA and a potential transfer rule could leave college football rosters in flux for a few seasons.
Williams had three touchdowns in last year’s 41-10 win, then had a pair of short touchdown runs as UNC ran off 21 straight points after leading just 17-7 at halftime. He punctuated another big rivalry performance by blowing through a huge hole up front and then cutting past multiple defenders to the pylon for a 27-yard score that made it 45-14 with 14:11 left.
Sam Howell threw for 252 yards and a touchdown for the Tar Heels, while Dyami Brown had 105 yards on a career-best seven catches.
No. 18 Michigan 49, No. 21 Minnesota 24
MINNEAPOLIS — Joe Milton accounted for two touchdowns in an unflappable debut at quarterback for Michigan, and the Wolverines trampled Minnesota with 258 rushing yards in a victory to open the virus-delayed season.
Zach Charbonnet had a 70-yard scoring run in the first quarter to set the tone for Michigan’s dominance on offense, one of five rushing touchdowns. Donovan Jeter followed by scoring on a 15-yard scoop of an airborne fumble forced by a blitzing Michael Barrett, one of five sacks by the Wolverines. Minnesota’s Tanner Morgan passed for 188 yards and a touchdown, with two turnovers.
Barrett added a 66-yard kickoff return to set up Milton’s scoring pass to Ben Mason that capped a 21-point first quarter to spur the Wolverines to their 13th win in the last 15 conference openers. They have not lost at Minnesota in the battle for the Little Brown Jug trophy since 1977.
Wake Forest 23, No. 19 Virginia Tech 16
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Walk-on freshman safety Nick Anderson had three interceptions, Christian Beal-Smith ran for 129 yards and Nick Sciba kicked three field goals to help Wake Forest beat Virginia Tech.
Anderson stopped two deep Hokies drives with interceptions, and his third ended their final possession.
Beal-Smith set the tone for the Demon Deacons (3-2, 2-2 ACC) with a 58-yard run on the game’s first series. He later added runs of 26 and 19 yards. Wake Forest quarterback Sam Hartman threw only 17 times, completing 12 for 110 yards. But he scrambled nine yards for the game’s first score.
Hendon Hooker threw for 223 yards and ran for another 98 for the Hokies (3-2, 3-2). They had won six of the previous seven games between the schools.
No. 20 Kansas State 55, Kansas 14
MANHATTAN, Kan. — Kansas State leaned on special teams to extend its winning streak over Kansas to a series-record 12 straight games.
The Wildcats’ didn’t even block a kick either.
Instead, it was Phillip Brooks returning a pair of punts for touchdowns, Blake Lynch making every kick he attempted, and an opportunistic coverage unit that pounced on a muffed punt return that spurred Kansas State to victory on a cold, blustery day at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
“When we were at North Dakota State, we were better than everybody offensively and defense,” Wildcats coach Chris Klieman said, “so why would we waste a chance at roughing a kid on special teams? Here, it’s much more competitive, so you better find an advantage on a week-in, week-out basis. That has to be the edge.”
Colson Yankoff entered UCLA’s camp as a backup to the Pac-12 Conference’s most experienced quarterback. Now, he’s jockeying for playing time as a receiver.
It has been so far. The Wildcats (4-1) had blocked a kick each of their last four games, helping them steadily climb the Associated Press poll, and they are now 4-0 in the Big 12 for the first time since 2014.
Kansas State’s Will Howard threw for 243 yards and two touchdowns, while Justin Gardner returned an interception 25 yards for another score. Deuce Vaughn added 71 yards rushing and another touchdown as the Wildcats kept the Jayhawks (0-5, 0-4) without a win in the series since Nov. 1, 2008, in Lawrence.
No. 22 Marshall 20, Florida Atlantic 9
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Brenden Knox rushed for 101 yards and caught one of redshirt freshman Grant Wells’ two touchdown passes to lead Marshall over pandemic-depleted Florida Atlantic.
Marshall (5-0, 3-0 Conference USA) managed enough offense to hold off the pesky Owls (1-1, 1-1).
FAU brought 57 players on its first trip of the season, just above the mandated minimum of 53 available scholarship players during the pandemic. The Owls even held a third-quarter lead before Marshall scored the final 13 points. With FAU missing both of its starting offensive tackles because of the virus, the Owls were limited to 234 yards of offense.
No. 25 Coastal Carolina 28, Georgia Southern 14
CONWAY, S.C. — Backup quarterback Fred Payton threw three touchdown passes, and Coastal Carolina won its first game as a ranked team.
The Chanticleers (5-0, 3-0 Sun Belt Conference) played without starting passer Grayson McCall, who had an upper-body injury.
But Payton threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to running back C.J. Marable with 8:53 remaining to break a 14-all tie and put Coastal Carolina ahead for good.
Reese White added a 20-yard scoring run to extend the Chants’ margin — and likely guarantee another week in the top 25.
Payton, who started 10 games over the last two seasons, finished 15 of 28 for 252 yards. A turnover on downs by Georgia Southern (3-2, 1-2) and late interception sealed the win.
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