College football: No. 1 Alabama rolls; Trevor Lawrence stars in return for No. 3 Clemson
TUSCLAOOSA, Ala. — Mac Jones passed for 302 yards and five touchdowns, highlighted by two long ones to DeVonta Smith, and Alabama rolled over rival Auburn 42-13 on Saturday without coach Nick Saban.
The Crimson Tide (8-0), who are No. 1 in the College Football Playoff rankings, continued a dominating march through a schedule of all-Southeastern Conference games even minus their six-time national champion coach on the sideline. The No. 22 Tigers fell to 5-3.
Saban tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday and watched the game feed from home, witnessing the usual array of big plays with offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, a former USC head coach, running the show.
Saban said his staff “did a marvelous job.”
“Sark did a nice job of managing things, and I sat here and felt a little helpless,“ Saban said in a postgame videoconference from his home. “I could see things and yell at things and listen to [wife] Miss Terry yell downstairs. It’s a little different. It still feels good to win.”
Demetric Felton Jr. ran for 206 yards and a touchdown and Brittain Brown added 72 yards rushing and accounted for two touchdowns as UCLA beat Arizona 27-10.
The result was much of the same against Auburn, which suffered the second-most lopsided loss of Gus Malzahn’s coaching tenure. The only bigger margin was Alabama’s 52-21 win in the 2018 Iron Bowl.
The Crimson Tide started a string of three consecutive touchdowns with Jones’s 66-yard touchdown to Smith, who was streaking by himself downfield after Tigers defenders bit on a pump fake. He later added a 58-yard catch and run on a quick slant, sprinting away from Auburn.
Smith had seven catches for 171 yards. Najee Smith ran for 96 yards, including a 39-yard touchdown, and John Metchie III caught a pair of scoring passes.
Bo Nix passed for 227 yards and ran for a late touchdown for the Tigers but also threw two interceptions.
No. 3 Clemson 52, Pittsburgh 17
CLEMSON, S.C. — Trevor Lawrence threw for 403 yards and two touchdowns in his first game in five weeks — and likely last one at Death Valley — as Clemson throttled Pittsburgh.
Lawrence hadn’t seen the field on game day since beating Syracuse on Oct. 24. He tested positive for the coronavirus the following week and missed the Tigers’ next two games, including their only loss this season — a 47-40 double-overtime defeat at No. 2 Notre Dame.
A healthy, eager Lawrence expected to play last week, but a positive test from a Clemson offensive lineman on the Friday before the game led to a postponement at Florida State just hours before kickoff.
Ohio State officials say they don’t yet know when the fourth-ranked Buckeyes can get back on the field as they deal with a COVID-19 outbreak.
Lawrence, a 6-foot-6 junior with a powerful arm, deft touch and flowing hair, was as crisp as ever in leading Clemson (8-1, 7-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) a step closer to the league championship game and a likely rematch with the unbeaten Fighting Irish.
Cornell Powell had five catches for 176 yards. Clemson’s 31 first-quarter points set a school record.
The Panthers were the last team to win at Clemson, 43-42 in 2016. But Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett threw four interceptions and the Panthers (5-5, 4-5) could not recover as the Tigers won their 28th straight at home.
Lawrence finished 26 of 37 and improved to 32-1 as a starter. He got a huge cheer from the crowd, limited to 18,819 because of coronavirus restrictions, when he took a solo run down Clemson’s hill for those playing their final games at Memorial Stadium.
He said before the season began his plan was to play the season, graduate in December and head to the NFL, where’s he’s projected to be overall No. 1 pick.
No. 5 Texas A&M 20, Louisiana State 7
COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Isaiah Spiller ran for 141 yards and a touchdown and Buddy Johnson returned an interception for a score in Texas A&M’s victory over Louisiana State.
Texas A&M (6-1, 6-1 SEC) extended its winning streak to five games in its first contest since Nov. 7 after the team couldn’t play the last two weeks because of a coronavirus outbreak.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Chase Griffin earned his first win as a starter for UCLA and got the game ball, but he could return to a reserve role soon.
The Aggies relied on their running game and tough defense on a wet and soggy night where rain fell steadily and made passing difficult. Kellen Mond had a season-low 105 yards passing in his first game this season without a touchdown pass. LSU’s 123rd-ranked pass defense broke up eight of his passes in the first half and finished with 11.
TJ Finley threw for 118 yards and tossed two interceptions for the Tigers (3-4, 3-4).
No. 6 Florida 34, Kentucky 10
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Kyle Trask connected with Kyle Pitts for three touchdowns, including a 56-yarder in which the star tight end ran away from a cornerback, as Florida overcame a sluggish start in the Swamp.
Trask has 34 touchdown passes this season, moving him past 2007 Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow and into a tie for third on the school’s single-season list. Only Danny Wuerffel (39 in 1996, 35 in 1995) is ahead of him. Rex Grossman also threw 34 in 2001.
Vanderbilt kicker Sarah Fuller becomes the first woman to play in a Power 5 college football game when she kicks off to start the second half vs. Missouri.
Trask and the Gators (7-1, 7-1) can clinch the Southeastern Conference’s East Division with a victory at Tennessee next week. The Wildcats (3-6, 3-6) kept Florida’s high-scoring offense in check for the first half, thanks partly to a fumble and a dropped third-down pass.
Michigan State 29, No. 8 Northwestern 20
EAST LANSING, Mich. — Matt Coghlin made a tiebreaking 48-yard field goal with 3:35 left, and Michigan State handed Northwestern its first loss of the season.
The Wildcats (5-1, 5-1) were coming off a 17-7 victory over Wisconsin that put them in contention for a spot in the College Football Playoff. That prospect likely was dashed with the loss to the Spartans, but they remain in control of the Big Ten West.
The Spartans (2-3, 2-3) lost a 17-0 lead but went back ahead by forcing three turnovers in the fourth quarter and making the most of two big kicks by Coghlin.
Northwestern grabbed a 20-17 lead early in the fourth on Cam Porter’s three-yard run. Michigan State rallied on Coghlin’s 44-yard field goal after forcing a turnover one snap following Rocky Lombardi’s interception.
No. 9 Georgia 45, South Carolina 16
COLUMBIA, S.C. — James Cook ran for 104 yards in just six carries and three other Georgia backs had at least 77 yards to help the Bulldogs overpower depleted South Carolina.
After throwing for 401 yards in his first start last week, USC transfer JT Daniels was 10 for 16 for 139 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Daniels overthrew a few open receivers and took two sacks. But Georgia (6-2, 6-2) barley needed Daniels to pass at all. The Bulldogs ran for 332 yards.
Georgia led 21-0 after its first three possessions and before the Gamecocks (2-7, 2-7) got a first down.
No. 12 Indiana 27, Maryland 11
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Stevie Scott III ran for three touchdowns, and Indiana (5-1, 5-1 Big Ten) had three interceptions, three sacks and a game-changing safety in its win over Maryland (2-2, 2-2). Freshman Tim Baldwin Jr. ran for a season-high 106 yards for the Hoosiers, who have won four straight games at home.
No. 20 Coastal Carolina 49, Texas State 14
SAN MARCOS. Texas — C.J. Marable ran for 157 yards and three touchdowns, and Coastal Carolina wrapped up the Sun Belt Conference East Division title with a victory over Texas State.
The Chanticleers (9-0, 7-0) had 572 yards of offense in extending their winning streak to 10 games. They moved up to the Football Bowl Subdivision three seasons ago. The Bobcats (2-10, 2-6) closed their sixth consecutive losing season.
Texas State held a moment of silence for sophomore defensive back Khambrail Winters, who was fatally shot Tuesday what the San Marcos Police Department said was a drug deal gone wrong.
No. 23 Oklahoma State 50, Texas Tech 44
STILLWATER, Okla. — Dezmon Jackson rushed for career highs of 235 yards and three touchdowns, and Oklahoma State bounced back from a disappointing loss to rival Oklahoma to beat Texas Tech.
Jackson had 36 carries in part because the top two backs, Chuba Hubbard and LD Brown, did not play. The Cowboys still ran for a season-high 317 yards.
Hubbard was out with a right ankle injury. The redshirt junior was introduced with the seniors on Senior Day. Brown also has been fighting through injuries.
Oregon State used a late quarterback sneak to defeat No. 15 Oregon, and Stanford beat California on a blocked point-after try in the Big Game.
Spencer Sanders passed for 222 yards and ran for 78 for Oklahoma State (6-2, 5-2 Big 12), which remained in the running for a spot in the Big 12 title game. Alan Bowman passed for 384 yards and three touchdowns for the Red Raiders (3-6, 2-6).
Penn State 27, Michigan 17
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Sean Clifford threw for 163 yards and scored one of Penn State’s three rushing touchdowns, and the Nittany Lions finally broke their winless skid to start the season.
Michigan hired Jim Harbaugh to compete for Big Ten and national titles, but he hasn’t gotten his alma mater anywhere near those goals. It’s time for a change, J. Brady McCollough writes.
Keyvone Lee and Will Levis also ran for touchdowns, and Penn State (1-5, 1-5 Big Ten) never trailed in this matchup of proud programs that have struggled mightily in this pandemic-shortened season.
Hassan Haskins ran for 101 yards and two touchdowns for Michigan, but the Wolverines (2-4, 2-4) never found much of a consistent rhythm offensively.
Washington 24, Utah 21
SEATTLE — Dylan Morris hit Cade Otton on a 16-yard touchdown pass with 36 seconds left, and Washington (3-0, 3-0 Pac-12) rallied from a 21-point halftime deficit to beat Utah (0-2, 0-2).
Morris was brilliant on the Huskies’ final drive, taking them 88 yards in less than four minutes, capping the winning drive by rolling to his left and throwing across his body to find his big tight end. Otton had eight catches for 108 yards and a pair of second-half touchdown receptions.
It was the fifth time in school history Washington rallied from a deficit of 21 or more points to win, and the first since 1989 when the Huskies trailed UCLA 21-0 and rallied for a 28-27 victory.
Morris was 23 for 38 for 272 yards and the two touchdown passes to go along with three interceptions. He was six of nine for 71 yards on Washington’s final possession.
UCLA’s next two scheduled opponents — Arizona State and USC — canceled their games this week because of positive coronavirus tests among players.
The unexpected matchup between the Utes and Huskies came about after both teams had their originally scheduled games canceled because of COVID-19 issues with their opponents. Washington was supposed to play rival Washington State while Utah was scheduled to travel to Arizona State.
Jake Bentley was 16 of 23 for 144 yards and one touchdown in his first start for Utah but also threw two interceptions. Ty Jordan ran for 97 yards but had a costly fumble in the fourth quarter.
Colorado 20, San Diego State 10
BOULDER, Colo. — Sam Noyer ran for a score and threw for another to help Colorado (3-0) hold off San Diego State (3-3) as the Buffaloes remain undefeated under new coach Karl Dorrell.
Jarek Broussard rushed for 124 yards to top the 100-yard mark for a third straight game, while a Colorado defense led by linebacker Nate Landman kept relentless pressure on a banged-up Aztecs offense.
A stingy San Diego State defense kept things close, though, even providing a big first-half spark when Darren Hall picked off a Noyer pass and returned it for a 57-yard score. That was after Colorado grabbed a 14-0 lead behind a one-yard touchdown run by Noyer and a three-yard flip pass to Jaylon Jackson.
The Buffaloes and Aztecs didn’t find out they were meeting on the field until Thanksgiving Day. Colorado was originally scheduled to travel to No. 18 USC for a Pac-12 South showdown, but it was canceled because of COVID-19 issues within the Trojans program.
San Diego State was available for a trip to Boulder when its contest at Fresno State was called off because of contact tracing concerns with the Bulldogs.
Buffalo’s Patterson ties mark with eight TD runs
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Jaret Patterson tied a Football Bowl Subdivision single-game record with eight rushing touchdowns and had the second-biggest rushing total with 409 yards to help Buffalo beat Kent State 70-41.
Patterson reached the touchdown mark set by Illinois running back Howard Griffith on Sept. 22, 1990, against Southern Illinois. He came within 18 yards of Samaje Perine’s single-game rushing record of 427 yards for Oklahoma against Kansas on Nov. 22, 2014. Patterson ran 36 times for an 11.8 yards-per-carry average against the Golden Flashes.
Patterson is the first Division I player to rush for more than 300 yards in consecutive games since Texas star Ricky Williams in 1996. Patterson ran for four touchdowns and 301 yards — a school record until Saturday — in a 42-17 win last week against Bowling Green.
Patterson scored on runs of three, 31, 42, 49, one, seven, 11 and 58 yards against Kent State.
“Congratulations, big fella. Incredible performance by you today. Welcome to the eight touchdown club,” Griffith said in a video posted on Twitter.
A 5-foot-9, 200-pound junior, Patterson set the previous Mid-American Conference record of six rushing touchdowns in a win last year against Bowling Green.
Patterson set up Buffalo (4-0, 4-0) with a 62-yard run on his first carry of the game to the Kent State three-yard line and scored on the next play. The Bulls never trailed. Kent State (3-1, 3-1) was led by Dustin Crum with 343 yards passing and three scores.
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