College football: DJ Uiagalelei helps No. 1 Clemson rally past Boston College

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney and quarterback DJ Uiagalelei walk off the field after the Tigers beat Boston College 34-28.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney and quarterback DJ Uiagalelei walk off the field after the No. 1 Tigers rallied to beat Boston College 34-28. Uiagalelei excelled in place of Trevor Lawrence, home with COVID-19.
(Josh Morgan / Associated Press)

CLEMSON, S.C. — Freshman DJ Uiagalelei made Clemson history by leading the biggest Tigers comeback ever at Death Valley. He will get the chance to make even more next week with Trevor Lawrence ruled out for the showdown at No. 4 Notre Dame because of COVID-19.

Uiagalelei stepped in for Lawrence on Saturday and rallied top-ranked Clemson to a 34-28 victory over Boston College after the Tigers fell behind by 18 points. He finished 30-for-41 passing for 342 yards and two touchdowns and also rushed for a 30-yard touchdown.

Rattled at facing the Fighting Irish? The former Bellflower St. John Bosco standout sure doesn’t sound like it.


“It’s the same mindset that I had this week,” Uiagalelei said. “Start watching some film tomorrow to get ready for another game.“

Smooth and calm, Uiagalelei looked ready-made for any challenge after leading Clemson back from a 28-10 deficit, a rally that surpassed a 17-point comeback from 35-18 down at home in a victory over Virginia in 1966.

Quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei played at the highest level of high school football at Bellflower St. John Bosco. On Saturday, the freshman will start for No. 1 Clemson.

Oct. 30, 2020

“I’ve been preparing for this ever since I got to Clemson,” he said.

But he and his teammates probably didn’t anticipate trailing by double digits late in the second quarter.

“Being down 18 is not a lot of points,” Uiagalelei said with his cool, California confidence.

“We all had complete confidence in ourselves that if we could execute, we’d get back in it,” he said.

Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei looks to pass against Boston College on Oct. 31, 2020.
Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei looks to pass in the first half. The former Bellflower St. John Bosco star threw for 342 yards and two touchdowns and also ran for a 30-yard touchdown in the No. 1 Tigers’ comeback win.
(Josh Morgan / Associated Press)

Travis Etienne became the Atlantic Coast Conference’s career rushing leader, and his second touchdown put the Tigers (7-0, 6-0 ACC) ahead for good. A jarring week for Clemson ended with its 28th consecutive win over league competition, 10th straight over the Eagles and 27th in a row at home.

Clemson was missing several key players. Along with Lawrence, starting linebackers James Skalski and Mike Jones Jr. were out with injuries.

The Eagles (4-3, 3-3) pounced quickly, putting the Tigers in a 28-10 hole in the second quarter with the virus-reduced crowd stunned to near silence.

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney told his team at halftime, “Don’t flinch.”

“It’s been a long time since we’ve been down like this,” he said. “We’re fixing to find out what this team’s made of.”

It’s made of highly talented players ready for the moment such as Uiagalelei, who showed why he was a five-star prospect coveted by every college power and the heir apparent once Lawrence leaves for the NFL.

Uiagalelei ran for a 30-yard touchdown on Clemson’s opening third-quarter drive to begin the comeback, then threw an eight-yard scoring strike to Amari Rodgers that drew the Tigers to 28-26.

Etienne, Clemson’s other Heisman Trophy contender along with Lawrence, put the Tigers in front for good with a 17-yard touchdown run with 11:34 to go.

The Eagles got the ball back with 1:24 remaining. But quarterback Phil Jurkovec was called for intentional grounding in the end zone for a safety, a fitting end to a second-half shutout by the Clemson defense.

“LETS GO!!! So happy for this team. Great win. Miss being there more than anything. (at)DJUiagalelei did your thing proud of you,” Lawrence posted on Twitter shortly after the win.

Etienne ran for 84 yards, pushing him to 4,644 in his four seasons and past North Carolina State’s Ted Brown (4,602) as the ACC’s all-time leader.

Etienne also had seven catches for 140 yards. Cornell Powell had a game-high 11 receptions for 105 yards.

And all with Lawrence watching from in isolation. By missing next week, the earliest Lawrence would be back is at Florida State on Nov. 21. Clemson is off Nov. 14.

Trojans receiver Munir McClain said he did nothing wrong in getting unemployment money. The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program has come under scrutiny.

Oct. 31, 2020

Swinney said Lawrence was in good spirits and spoke to the team Friday night via videoconference.

Jurkovec, the Notre Dame transfer, completed 12 of 24 passes for 204 yards.

No. 2 Alabama 41, Mississippi State 0

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Mac Jones threw four touchdown passes to DeVonta Smith, who had 203 receiving yards, and Alabama routed Mississippi State.

The Crimson Tide (6-0, 6-0 Southeastern Conference) had a dominant defensive performance, handing new Bulldogs coach Mike Leach the first shutout loss of his college career. It was Alabama’s first shutout since a 24-0 victory over Mississippi State on Nov. 10, 2018.

Smith caught first-quarter touchdowns passes of 35 and 53 yards to help send the Bulldogs (1-4, 1-4) to their fourth straight loss.

The Trojans ended last season on a whimper, but so many things since have gone right for Clay Helton, who needs to translate that into a big season.

Oct. 31, 2020

Smith took over the starring receiving role in the absence of Jaylen Waddle, lost to a likely season-ending ankle injury. He made 11 catches and moved into a tie with Amari Cooper for the most career receiving touchdowns with No. 31 early in the fourth.

Jones completed 24 of 31 attempts for 291 yards before sitting out most of the fourth. Najee Harris gained 119 yards in 21 carries.

No. 3 Ohio State 38, No. 18 Penn State 25

Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields looks for a receiver against Penn State on Oct. 31, 2020.
Ohio State’s Justin Fields threw for 318 yards and four touchdowns in a win at Penn State.
(Barry Reeger / Associated Press)

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Justin Fields passed for 318 yards and four touchdowns, two to Chris Olave, and Ohio State beat Penn State on an eerily quiet night at what is usually one of the most raucous settings in college football.

Jeremy Ruckert also caught a pair of touchdown passes, Master Teague II ran for another touchdown, and the Buckeyes generated 526 yards of offense in their 15th consecutive Big Ten win and 10th straight on the road against a ranked opponent.

Ohio State (2-0, 2-0) didn’t take long to break the game open and hand Penn State (0-2, 0-2) its first 0-2 start since 2013.

Garrett Wilson took an opening sweep 62 yards to set up Teague’s short touchdown run two plays later.

The Buckeyes only needed five plays on their next drive to take a 14-0 lead when Fields zipped a 26-yard pass over corner Joey Porter Jr.’s shoulder to Olave in the end zone.

A whiteout at Penn State is normally one of the great spectacles in college football, and the recent ones involving the Buckeyes have been classic games. The last three have been decided by a total of 11 points, with Ohio State taking two.

But the Big Ten is playing in mostly empty stadiums because of the pandemic.

No. 4 Notre Dame 31, Georgia Tech 13

ATLANTA — Kyren Williams ran for two touchdowns, Ian Book passed for another, and Notre Dame moved on to its biggest game of the season with a dominant defensive performance, stifling Georgia Tech.

Book completed 18 of 26 passes for 199 yards in another efficient performance for the Fighting Irish (6-0, 5-0 ACC).

Williams shook off a fumble that Georgia Tech returned for a touchdown to score on runs of two and four yards. He finished with 76 yards in 15 carries.

Next up for Notre Dame: a showdown against No. 1 Clemson in South Bend.

Georgia Tech (2-5, 2-4) has lost three in a row by a combined score of 152-47.

No. 5 Georgia 14, Kentucky 3

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Zamir White rushed for 131 yards and a touchdown, Stetson Bennett also ran for a score, and Georgia beat Kentucky for its 11th consecutive win in the series.

Their scores opened both halves as the Bulldogs (4-1, 4-1 SEC) improved to 5-1 after byes under coach Kirby Smart. Georgia’s 215 yards on the ground nearly outgained the Wildcats’ total yardage (229).

Bennett completed nine of 13 passes for 131 yards with two interceptions.

State and county health officials cited rising community spread of COVID-19 as the key factor in their decision not to allow family at UCLA and USC home games.

Oct. 31, 2020

Chris Rodriguez rushed 20 times for 108 yards for Kentucky (2-4, 2-4), which only managed Matt Ruffolo’s 34-yard field goal in dropping its second in a row.

Texas 41, No. 6 Oklahoma State 34 (OT)

STILLWATER, Okla. — Sam Ehlinger threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Joshua Moore in overtime and Joseph Ossai sealed the victory by sacking Oklahoma State quarterback Spencer Sanders as Texas knocked off the previously unbeaten Cowboys.

Oklahoma State (4-1, 3-1 Big 12) outgained Texas 530 yards to 287, but the Cowboys turned the ball over four times and saw their hopes to reach the College Football Playoff take a major blow.

Same goes for the entire Big 12.

After Kansas State’s loss to West Virginia earlier in the day, Oklahoma State entered the game as the only remaining unbeaten team in Big 12 play. Now the race is jumbled and Texas (4-2, 3-2) is back in the picture to possibly play in the championship game.

Sanders passed for career highs of 400 yards and four touchdowns, but he fumbled twice and threw an interception — turnovers that led to 17 points for the Longhorns. Tylan Wallace caught 11 passes for 187 yards and two touchdowns for the Cowboys, while Chuba Hubbard was held to 72 yards in 25 carries.

No. 7 Cincinnati 49, Memphis 10

CINCINNATI — Desmond Ridder threw touchdown passes to three different receivers and ran for two and Jerome Ford also scored twice as Cincinnati remained undefeated with a win over Memphis.

Playing in a Nippert Stadium nearly empty because of COVID-19 protocols, the Bearcats (5-0, 3-0 American Athletic Conference) decisively snapped a five-game skid against Memphis (3-2, 2-2), including two losses by a combined 15 points over a span of eight days last season — the second in the AAC championship game.

Ridder, who set a program record for quarterbacks with 179 yards rushing while throwing three touchdown passes a week earlier at Southern Methodist, finished 21 of 26 for 271 yards with an interception.

The stingy Cincinnati defense, ranked 18th in the nation in total defense going into the game, sacked Memphis quarterback Brady White six times while holding the Tigers to their fewest points since they scored 10 in a loss to Auburn in the Birmingham Bowl on Dec. 30, 2015.

No. 8 Texas A&M 43, Arkansas 31

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Kellen Mond threw for 260 yards and three touchdowns, and Texas A&M built a big lead and held on beat Arkansas for the ninth straight time.

Jalen Wydermyer had a career-high 92 yards receiving with two touchdowns. Ainias Smith ran for a touchdown and caught a touchdown pass in the first half to help the Aggies win their third straight since losing to No. 2 Alabama.

Mond threw touchdown passes of 35, six and 15 yards. The senior added 32 yards rushing to give him 10,015 yards of total offense in his career, passing 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel (9,989), who played just two seasons, for the most in school history.

The Aggies (4-1, 4-1 SEC) led by 14 at halftime and scored two touchdowns in the third quarter while limiting the Razorbacks (2-3, 2-3) to a field goal to make it 42-17 entering the fourth quarter.

No. 10 Florida 41, Missouri 17

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Kadarius Toney scored three times, Kyle Trask became the first player in school history with four touchdown passes in four consecutive games, and Florida returned from a three-week layoff to handle Missouri in the Swamp.

The Gators’ easiest win of the season came after a COVID-19 outbreak forced the SEC to postpone two of their games. It also included a benches-clearing scuffle at halftime that involved both coaches.

Several players threw punches during the melee, but just three were ejected. The conference could hand down more punishments following a review.

It could be costly for Florida (3-1, 3-1), which plays rival and fifth-ranked Georgia next week in nearby Jacksonville, Fla. The game is likely to decide the winner of the East Division.

The fight started when Missouri’s Trajan Jeffcoat delivered what looked like a high, late hit on Trask after he released a Hail Mary at the end of the second quarter. The ball fell incomplete, and Trask landed hard on his back. His linemen came to his defense. So did coach Dan Mullen, who started screaming at the officials and the opposing sideline.

After his father’s death, Paul Grattan Jr. thought he might not be able to afford college. But his father’s advice pushed the offensive lineman toward a scholarship.

Oct. 31, 2020

Players from both teams converged near Missouri’s sideline, and wild punches could be seen flying and connecting.

Mullen had to be pulled away several times and was so irate by the end of the exchange that he came back out of the tunnel for a rousing curtain call.

Officials and coaches eventually regained control. The referee huddled Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz and Mullen near the goal line and then announced the ejections. Missouri defensive lineman Tre Williams, Florida defensive end Zach Carter and Florida linebacker Antwuan Powell were tossed.

The rest of the players received unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, meaning another would get them ejected.

No. 11 Brigham Young 41, Western Kentucky 10

PROVO, Utah — Zach Wilson threw for 224 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 35 yards and another score to help Brigham Young rout Western Kentucky.

BYU (7-0) is off to its best start since 2001, when the Cougars won their first 12 games in Gary Crowton’s debut season.

Tyler Allgeier ran for 95 yards and a touchdown for BYU.

Tyrell Pigrome threw for 106 yards and a touchdown for the Hilltoppers (2-5). Gaej Walker added 75 yards on the ground. Western Kentucky has not scored more than 14 points in each of its last four games.

Michigan State 27, No. 13 Michigan 24

Michigan State coach Mel Tucker talks to his players Oct. 31, 2020, in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Coach Mel Tucker led Michigan State to a 27-24 victory at No. 13 Michigan.
(Carlos Osorio / Associated Press)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Rocky Lombardi threw for 323 yards, including 196 to Ricky White, and three touchdowns to help Michigan State stun Michigan.

The Spartans (1-1, 1-1 Big Ten) appeared to be the better team all afternoon on both sides of the ball in Mel Tucker’s debut as coach in the rivalry.

Tucker became just the second coach to beat Michigan in his first attempt with the Spartans, joining Alabama coach Nick Saban, who did it in 1995. Tucker, a former Colorado coach, started his career as a graduate assistant for Saban and the Spartans.

The Wolverines (1-1, 1-1) were favored to win by more than three touchdowns. Jim Harbaugh’s team, though, never led and didn’t appear to have much energy in front of family and friends in their mostly empty stadium that holds 110,000-plus fans when there isn’t a pandemic.

Running back Hassan Haskins scored on a two-yard run with 37 seconds left to help Michigan pull within three points. The onside kick was recovered by Michigan State running back Connor Heyward, and Lombardi converted a fourth and two from the Wolverines’ 36-yard line with a sneak to seal the victory.

Virginia 44, No. 15 North Carolina 41

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Brennan Armstrong threw for three touchdowns and ran for another, and Virginia scored 28 consecutive points before holding on to beat North Carolina.

Armstrong hit Shane Simpson for 71 yards, Ra’Shaun Henry for 18 and Tony Poljan for 17, the latter giving the Cavaliers (2-4, 2-4 ACC) a 41-20 lead with 5:34 left in the third quarter on their way to their fourth consecutive victory in the series.

The Tar Heels (4-2, 4-2) made it close behind fantastic performances from quarterback Sam Howell and wide receiver Dyami Brown. The pair hooked up for three of Howell’s four touchdown passes. Howell also hit Khafre Brown with a slant pass that he took 76 yards to the end zone.

West Virginia 37, No. 16 Kansas State 10

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Jarret Doege threw two touchdown passes, Dylan Tonkery returned an interception for a score, and West Virginia beat Kansas State.

Leddie Brown rushed for 102 yards and a score as the Mountaineers (4-2, 3-2 Big 12) knocked the Wildcats from their solo perch atop the league standings.

Kansas State freshman Will Howard was intercepted three times, and the Wildcats (4-2, 4-1) went scoreless after halftime to see their four-game winning streak end.

The Big 12’s top defense held Kansas State to 225 total yards, including 73 after halftime.

No. 17 Indiana 37, Rutgers 21

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Michael Penix Jr. threw three touchdown passes and ran for another score to help Indiana beat mistake-prone Rutgers in a game that almost included a crazy touchdown.

Penix had touchdown tosses of 15 yards, two yards and one yard. He also scored on a quarterback sneak as the Hoosiers (2-0, 2-0 Big Ten) followed up their stunning win over then-No. 8 Penn State.

The wacky play came with less than two minutes to go when Rutgers seemed to score on a 55-yard play that involved at least seven laterals. After a review, however, it was ruled that wide receiver Shameen Jones’ pitch was an illegal forward pass, spoiling a wild celebration for the Scarlet Knights (1-1, 1-1).

Penix finished 17 of 26 for 238 yards. Whop Philyor had five catches for 137 yards.

The UCLA football player who initially tested positive for the coronavirus registered a false positive, the university announced Saturday.

Oct. 31, 2020

No. 20 Coastal Carolina 51, Georgia State 0

ATLANTA — Grayson McCall passed for 254 yards and four touchdowns, Jaivon Heiligh scored twice, and Coastal Carolina cruised to victory.

CJ Marable added two rushing touchdowns and 100 all-purpose yards for the Chanticleers (6-0, 4-0 Sun Belt Conference). Coastal Carolina has its most wins in a single season since joining the Football Bowl Subdivision in 2017.

Georgia State (2-3, 1-3) looked nothing like the team that began the day leading the Sun Belt in scoring at 42 points per game. The Panthers’ previous two losses were by a combined 10 points with both coming down to the final possession.

No. 22 Southern Methodist 51, Navy 37

DALLAS — Shane Buechele threw three touchdown passes, Ulysses Bentley IV ran for two scores, and Southern Methodist rebounded from its first loss with a victory over Navy.

The Mustangs (6-1, 3-1 American Athletic Conference) scored 30 consecutive points from late in the second quarter to early in the fourth.

A week after finishing with a passer efficiency rating below 100 for the first time in two seasons at SMU, Buechele was at 207.5 after completing 23 of 28 passes for 300 yards with no interceptions.

Nelson Smith had 55 yards rushing and a touchdown by early in the second quarter but finished with 54 for the Midshipmen (3-4, 3-2) as SMU controlled the triple-option attack in the second half.

No. 23 Iowa State 52, Kansas 22

LAWRENCE, Kan. — Breece Hall matched a career high with 185 yards rushing and two touchdowns, Brock Purdy threw two touchdown passes and had another score on the ground, and Iowa State coasted to victory over winless Kansas.

Purdy finished with 239 yards passing and Kene Nwangwu also hit the end zone for the Cyclones (4-2, 4-1 Big 12), who bounced back from a tough loss to No. 6 Oklahoma State by beating the Jayhawks for the sixth straight time.

The only bright spot for Kansas (0-6, 0-5) came on a 100-yard kickoff return by Kenny Logan in the second half.

Athletic director Mike Bohn apologizes for video posted that showed unmasked players and coaches attending a fake Hollywood premiere and a pool party.

Oct. 30, 2020

No. 24 Oklahoma 62, Texas Tech 28

LUBBOCK, Texas — Rhamondre Stevenson ran for three first-half touchdowns in his return for Oklahoma, Spencer Rattler threw for 288 yards and two scores in about 2½ quarters, and the Sooners beat Texas Tech for their third win in a row.

Stevenson made his season debut, along with defensive end Ronnie Perkins, after they had been suspended since before the Peach Bowl last season. They last played in the Big 12 championship game last year.

At one point, Stevenson revealed a T-shirt reading “I’m back” that he was wearing under his jersey. He ran 13 times for 87 yards, his third touchdown putting the Sooners (4-2, 3-2 Big 12) up 42-7 with 6½ minutes left in the first half. Stevenson had a six-yard score and two one-yard touchdown runs.

Perkins had three tackles, two for losses.

Oklahoma scored touchdowns on six consecutive drives after Texas Tech (2-4, 1-4) opened the game with a 75-yard, seven-play drive.

Safety Tre Norwood had two interceptions for the Sooners.

No. 25 Boise State 49, Air Force 30

Boise State quarterback Jack Sears throws a pass against Air Force on Oct. 31, 2020.
Jack Sears, a transfer from USC, accounted for four touchdowns for Boise State.
(David Zalubowski / Associated Press)

Former USC quarterback Jack Sears threw three touchdown passes and ran for another score while filling in for starter Hank Bachmeier, Avery Williams scored on an 88-yard kickoff return, and Boise State beat Air Force in Colorado Springs, Colo.

CT Thomas hauled in two of Sears’ touchdown passes, including a 75-yarder on the game’s first play. The Broncos have won 11 consecutive Mountain West games. It’s their longest streak since joining the league in 2011.

Boise State (2-0, 2-0) was without Bachmeier after the sophomore quarterback didn’t make the trip for an unspecified reason. Sears, a transfer from USC, made the most of his chance by finishing 17 of 20 for 280 yards with no turnovers.

“Jack’s a cool customer,” Broncos coach Bryan Harsin said. “He’s got it. He’s got that energy about him.”

Air Force (1-2, 0-2) saw its nine-game home winning streak end.