College football: QB Bryce Young leads No. 1 Alabama to rout of No. 14 Miami
Looking very much like a team capable of making another run at a national title, No. 1 Alabama opened its season with a 44-13 rout of No. 14 Miami in Atlanta behind four touchdown passes from Bryce Young in his first college start.
The sophomore, a former Santa Ana Mater Dei standout, completed 27 of 38 attempts for 344 yards, hooking up with Cameron Latu on a pair of scoring plays and burying the Hurricanes with a 94-yard touchdown pass to Jameson Williams early in the third quarter.
Young became the first Crimson Tide quarterback to throw four touchdown passes in his starting debut. Mac Jones and Joe Namath had shared the school record with three scoring throws to begin their stints as the Tide’s No. 1 QB.
“I thought Bryce did really, really well,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “The poise he played with, the command he had. He kind of took what the defense gave him and really directed the offense in a positive way.”
Williams, a transfer from Ohio State, had four receptions for 126 yards in his Alabama debut.
“There was a lot of anticipation,“ Young said. “It was definitely fun to be out there with my guys.”
The Crimson Tide also turned in a dazzling defensive effort at the home of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, sacking D’Eriq King four times, forcing him into three turnovers and stuffing him on a goal-line stand.
Bryce Young hasn’t started a game for Alabama yet, but coach Nick Saban said the former Mater Dei quarterback was making ‘almost seven figures’ in endorsement deals.
Alabama led 27-0 before Miami crossed midfield. King and the Hurricanes simply made too many mistakes to compete with perhaps the greatest dynasty in college football history.
After romping to Saban’s record seventh national title with a 13-0 record, the Tide came into the season with some big holes to fill.
Alabama had a record-tying six players taken in the first round of the NFL draft, including Heisman Trophy-winning wide receiver DeVonta Smith, star quarterback Jones and defensive stalwart Patrick Surtain II.
Of course, Saban doesn’t rebuild, he simply reloads with another batch of five-star recruits. The quarterback job went to Young, a dual threat who was highest-rated quarterback prospect ever signed by the Alabama coach.
After spending a year learning the ropes behind Jones. Young was clearly ready to take over as the starter.
He made the short throws. He made the long throws. He threw it away when necessary. He used his legs to avoid getting caught very often behind the line.
UCLA provided coach Chip Kelly a key 38-27 victory over No. 16 LSU that could put the Bruins in the national rankings for the first time since 2017.
Young’s only major mistake was losing a fumble on a hit while attempting to scramble with Alabama leading 41-10.
King was 23 for 30 but produced only 173 yards passing, spending much of his time trying to escape the fearsome Alabama rush. He was intercepted twice and also lost a fumble.
The Hurricanes also lost safety Bubba Bolden in the first quarter. He was ejected for targeting after lowering his head for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Alabama’s Brian Robinson Jr.
No. 5 Georgia 10, No. 3 Clemson 3
Christopher Smith returned an interception 74 yards for a touchdown, and the Bulldogs turned in a defensive effort for the ages, toppling the Tigers in Charlotte, N.C.
Georgia held Clemson to two yards rushing and sacked D.J. Uiagalelei seven times to position itself for a run at the College Football Playoff.
UCLA is 2-0 and for-real real after defeating mighty LSU 38-27 on Saturday night at a rocking Rose Bowl, and the season’s promise is limitless.
Uiagalelei, a former Bellflower St. John Bosco star, finished 19 for 37 for 178 yards with one interception. He bobbled snaps, was out of sync with his receivers and spent most of the day under heavy duress against a relentless Bulldogs pass rush.
Clemson didn’t score until 9:08 left in the game when a 44-yard reception by Joseph Ngata and a defensive pass interference penalty set up a 22-yard field goal by B.T. Potter, helping the Tigers avoid their first shutout since 2003.
No. 19 Penn State 16, No. 12 Wisconsin 10
Jaquan Brisker and Ji’Ayir Brown intercepted Graham Mertz deep in Penn State territory in the final 2½ minutes to preserve the Nittany Lions’ victory over the Badgers in Madison, Wis., in both teams’ season opener.
Wisconsin saw its string of 25 consecutive victories in home openers end because of its red-zone failures. The Badgers dominated time of possession but had four scoreless trips inside Penn State’s 25-yard line, including three inside the 10.
“Our kids willed it to happen today,” Penn State coach James Franklin said.
The Badgers had first and goal at the one-yard line in the closing minutes on a drive that included a targeting penalty on Ellis Brooks that knocked the Nittany Lions’ top tackler out of the game.
Greg Johnson’s 37-yard interception return for a touchdown was the key play on a day in which USC’s defense thrived in a 30-7 win over San Jose State.
Then things went awry.
Mertz lost the ball on an apparent handoff attempt on first down, though Wisconsin’s Isaac Guerendo recovered the fumble at the four. Guerendo lost a yard on second down, then Joey Porter Jr. broke up a pass attempt to Jack Dunn.
On fourth down, Mertz attempted a pass across the middle to tight end Jake Ferguson, but Brisker picked it off and delivered a 41-yard return with 2:16 remaining.
“I’m obviously not proud of how it ended,” said Mertz, who went 22 for 37 for 185 yards. “There are definitely a lot if things that fell on my plate that I need to clean up. I will.”
No. 2 Oklahoma 40, Tulane 35
Spencer Rattler passed for 304 yards, and the Sooners held off the Green Wave in both teams’ season opener in a game that was relocated to Norman, Okla., from New Orleans because of Hurricane Ida.
Oklahoma led by five in the fourth quarter and Tulane had possession, but quarterback Michael Pratt ran for 12 yards on a fourth-and-13 play. The Green Wave turned the ball over on downs, and the Sooners ran out the clock.
Oklahoma’s Gabe Brkic tied a Football Bowl Subdivision record with three field goals of 50 or more yards, and Marvin Mims had five catches for 117 yards for the Sooners.
Pratt passed for 296 yards and three touchdowns for the Green Wave. He also ran for another score.?
No. 6 Texas A&M 41, Kent State 10
Leon O’Neal Jr. had two interceptions, returning the second one 85 yards for a touchdown, and Devon Achane added two scores to Texas A&M beat Kent State in College Station, Texas.
It’s the Aggies’ ninth consecutive victory after ending last season with an eight-game winning streak.
O’Neal and Achane’s big performances helped make up for a mistake-riddled night by Haynes King, who threw three interceptions in his first career start. King was 21 for 33 for 292 yards and threw two touchdown passes to Ainias Smith.
No. 7 Iowa State 16, Northern Iowa 10
Datrone Young had a big interception with 2:05 left in the fourth quarter, and the Cyclones staved off the upset-minded Panthers in Ames, Iowa, to avoid becoming the just the second top-10 team to lose to a team from Division I’s second tier.
Iowa State was in danger of joining Michigan as the only top-10 team to lose to a Football Championship Subdivision opponent, a memorable upset by Appalachian State in 2007.
Having survived the opening close call, Iowa State will likely head into its rivalry game next week against No. 18 Iowa ranked for the first time in the history of the series.
After his group’s ordinary showing in a season-opening 30-7 win over San Jose State, USC offensive coordinator Graham Harrell still needs to show why he was worth a big raise.
Brock Purdy completed 21 of 26 passes for 197 yards, but the Cyclones were kept off-balance by a defense that returned all of its starters. Breece Hall, who led the nation with nine 100-yard games last year, was held to 69 yards in 23 carries.
No. 8 Cincinnati 49, Miami (Ohio) 14
Desmond Ridder was 20 for 25 for 295 yards and four touchdowns, and the host Bearcats beat the Redhawks in the opener for both teams.
Cincinnati tied the series that began in 1888 at 59-59-7.
Ridder threw an 81-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Scott on the second play from scrimmage. It was the longest TD toss of his career.
Ridder also ran six times for 31 yards, including a 25-yard touchdown carry. The fifth-year senior threw one interception.
Jerome Ford added 121 yards rushing yards in 12 carries, scoring on a 21-yard run in the second quarter.
No. 11 Oregon 31, Fresno State 24
Anthony Brown scored on a 30-yard quarterback keeper with 2:57 left, and the Ducks beat the Bulldogs in Eugene, Ore.
Oregon jumped to a 21-6 lead, but Fresno State scored three straight touchdowns to tie the score midway through the third quarter, then took the lead early in the fourth on Abraham Montano’s field goal.
A fumble recovery gave Oregon the ball at the Fresno State 32-yard line, but the Ducks settled for Camden Lewis’ 25-yard field goal to tie it before Brown’s go-ahead touchdown.
Brown threw for 172 yards and a touchdown and ran for 62 yards.
Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux injured his left ankle and did not play in the second half.
Thibodeaux, mentioned as a possible Heisman Trophy candidate this season, was injured in the first half. The 6-foot-5, 258-pound third-year sophomore emerged from halftime wearing street clothes and a walking boot on his left leg.
Oregon coach Mario Cristobal said after the game that it appeared to be a sprain and that X-rays were negative.
“We’re very optimistic that it’s nothing too serious,” Cristobal said.
No. 13 Florida 35, Florida Atlantic 14
Emory Jones’ first career start included a touchdown pass and two interceptions in the Gators’ victory over the Owls in Gainesville, Fla.
Jones was far from sharp in the Swamp, but the fourth-year junior had some moments to build on moving forward. He did much of his damage with his legs, finishing with 74 of the team’s 400 yards rushing.
His backup, Anthony Richardson, looked more ready for the spotlight. Richardson ran seven times for 160 yards, including a 73-yard score late in the game and an 11-yarder in which he broke three tackles and hurdled another defender. He was three-for-eight passing for 40 yards.
Malik Davis had 104 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Dameon Pierce ran for two scores.
No. 18 Iowa 34, No. 17 Indiana 6
Riley Moss returned two first-half interceptions for touchdowns, and the Hawkeyes defeated the Hoosiers in Iowa City, Iowa.
Iowa intercepted quarterback Michael Penix, Jr. three times and had a fourth wiped out by a roughing-the-passer call.
Tyler Goodson rushed for 99 yards and a touchdown for the Hawkeyes. Quarterback Spencer Petras had a nine-yard touchdown run but hit 13 of 27 passes for 145 yards.
Penix, coming off a knee injury late last season, had four interceptions in six games last season. He threw for 156 yards.
It was the seventh consecutive win for the Hawkeyes dating to last season. It was only the third loss for Indiana in its last 18 season openers.
Montana 13, No. 20 Washington 7
Montana became the first FCS team to upset a ranked FBS team in five years, shocking Washington in Seattle.
Montana quarterback Cam Humphrey scored on a four-yard run early in the fourth quarter, and the Grizzlies added a short field goal with 2:54 left to take a six-point lead.
Needing a touchdown to avoid the stunning upset, Washington’s Dylan Morris was incomplete on fourth and two with 1:33 left giving the ball back to the Grizzlies.
Montana was able to run off only 21 seconds, and Kevin Macias’ 50-yard field-goal attempt was well short. Given one more chance, the Huskies reached the Montana 43-yard line, but Morris’ pass was intercepted by Marcus Welnel with 31 seconds left and those in maroon and silver started a wild celebration.
Montana is the first FCS team to beat a ranked FBS team since North Dakota State won 23-21 at No. 13 Iowa early in the 2016 season, and it is the fifth time it has happened since Appalachian State’s famous upset of No. 5 Michigan in 2007. It was Montana’s second victory over Washington, the last coming in 1920.
A regular powerhouse from the FCS division, the Grizzlies frustrated Washington all night into one of the most embarrassing losses in program history.
No. 21 Texas 38, No. 23 Louisiana Lafayette 18
Bijan Robinson scored twice and Hudson Card threw two touchdown passes in his first career start, leading the Longhorns to a victory over the Ragin’ Cajuns in Austin, Texas, in coach Steve Sarkisian’s Longhorns debut.
Robinson, who has garnered early attention as a potential All-American this season, scored Texas’ first touchdown on a pass from Card in the first quarter, then punched in another on a seven-yard run on the first possession of the third that put the Longhorns ahead 21-6.
Robinson finished with 176 total yards rushing and receiving in the kind of all-around game Sarkisian had promised to use.
Texas coach Steve Sarkisian rebuilt his life after getting fired from USC because of alcohol issues, but he did so without those who helped launch his career.
Card, a second-year freshman who won the starting job over fourth-year player Casey Thompson, was 14-for-21 passing for 224 yards and no interceptions. He also scrambled out of pressure well and had a three-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
Sarkisian, a former head coach at Washington and USC, was Alabama’s offensive coordinator last season when the Crimson Tide won the national championship. Texas hired him to replace Tom Herman, who was fired after four winning seasons and four bowl wins but no Big 12 championships.
“I love it man,” Sarkisian said. “There’s nothing like winning.”
Levi Lewis passed for 282 yards and a touchdown for Louisiana.
Kansas State 24, Stanford 7
Sixth-year quarterback Skylar Thompson ran for two touchdowns, bulling into the end zone for the first one after missing most of last season with a shoulder injury, and the Wildcats opened the season with a win over the Cardinal in Arlington, Texas.
Deuce Vaughn sprinted 59 yards for a touchdown and finished with 124 yards rushing in 13 carries for Kansas State, which finished last season with a five-game losing streak.
Stanford was down 24-0 before Tanner McKee’s 14-yard touchdown pass to Brycen Tremayne with 3:16 left on its last offensive snap. The Cardinal, who last year won the last four games of their pandemic-shortened 4-2 season, have played 177 games since last being shut out, a 42-0 loss to USC on Nov. 4, 2006.
Brigham Young 24, Arizona 16
Quarterback Jaren Hall accumulated 243 total yards and two touchdowns as the Cougars defeated the Wildcats at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas in the season opener for both teams.
Hall, a redshirt sophomore from Spanish Fork, Utah, made his third career start and first in the post-Zach Wilson era. Hall went 18-for-28 passing for 198 yards and two touchdowns for BYU, which has won have won 12 of its last 13 games.
Neil Pau’u caught eight passes for 126 yards and both of Hall’s touchdown throws.
Arizona, which played its first nonconference game in 721 days, lost its 13th consecutive game dating to 2019. It was also the debut for Wildcats coach Jedd Fisch, a former quarterbacks coach for the New England Patriots. Fisch replaced Kevin Sumlin, who went 0-5 in 2020.
Gunner Cruz was 34-for-45 passing for 336 yards and a touchdown with an interception as the Arizona starter. Cruz split time with Will Plummer, who amassed only nine yards passing on three attempts before Cruz finished the game.
Utah State 26, Washington State 23
Logan Bonner threw a seven-yard touchdown pass to Deven Thompkins with 11 seconds left to lift the Aggies to a victory over the Cougars in Pullman, Wash.
Utah State got the ball back on its own 22-yard line with 3:02 left and Bonner drove the team to the winning score in Blake Anderson’s first game as the Aggies’ head coach. Bonner completed a pass to Derek Wright for a two-point conversion and the final score.
Max Borghi ran for 86 yards and a touchdown for Washington State, which finished 1-3 last year.
Nevada 22, California 17
In Berkeley, Carson Strong threw for 312 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Wolf Pack to a victory over the Bears in the season opener for both teams.
Strong connected on touchdowns to Romeo Doubs and Elijah Cooks for a happy homecoming to Northern California.
Strong grew up about an hour away from Memorial Stadium, attending Cal games and camps. But after a knee injury his senior year in high school in Vacaville, the Bears didn’t recruit him and he has turned into a star at Nevada.
The win capped a whirlwind few weeks for the Wolf Pack, who have been forced to practice at seven venues since the start of training camp because of poor air quality on campus from wildfires.
Cal scored TDs on its first two drives but then stalled, going three and out on the next four drives. While the Bears couldn’t move the ball, Nevada scored 22 straight points.
Purdue 30, Oregon State 21
Jack Plummer threw for 313 yards and two late touchdowns while the revamped defense made sure it was enough to give the Boilermakers a win over the Beavers, capping off the 500th game played at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Ind., since 1924.
Purdue has won 291 games in its home venue, this one coming in prime time and in front of its biggest home crowd in 644 days. And it was largely because the Boilermakers converted two fourth-down stops in the second half into 10 points.
The first led to Mitchell Fineran’s third field goal, which gave Purdue a 16-7 lead late in the third quarter. The second resulted in Plummer’s five-yard touchdown pass to Payne Durham for a 23-14 edge with 4:56 to go. Plummer sealed it with a 50-yard TD pass to Durham with 2:09 to play.
Plummer was 29 for 41, hooking up with David Bell caught eight times for 134 yards and Durham seven times for 120 yards. Zander Horvath ran for 81 yards and one touchdown.
Sam Noyer was under heavy pressure in his Oregon State debut and was pulled late in the third quarter. Chance Nolan led the Beavers to two fourth-quarter scores to get them within two twice. Oregon State lost its fourth in a row despite getting two TD runs from B.J. Baylor.
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