College football: Bryce Young aces road test as No. 1 Alabama edges No. 11 Florida
Bryce Young heard all about the Swamp. He knew it would be deafening at times and difficult, if not impossible, for a visiting quarterback to communicate.
He also understood the key to handling such a raucous environment: a fast start.
Young’s first college road trip was a rousing success, a three-touchdown performance that helped top-ranked Alabama beat No. 11 Florida 31-29 in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams Saturday.
“Crazy atmosphere,” said Young, a sophomore who was a standout at Santa Ana Mater Dei. “Those fans were really loud. We knew it was going to be a hostile environment coming in, and they lived up to it for sure.”
The defending national champion Crimson Tide led 21-3 after the first quarter but failed to sustain their momentum and had to stop a botched two-point conversion try with 3:10 left to extend their winning streak to 17. Alabama has won 32 in a row against teams from the SEC’s Eastern Division
“I think the offense did a great job of answering the bell in the game,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “But our team needs to learn to maintain intensity throughout the game. We’ve got a lot of good players. We’ve just got to get them to play a little better.”
The Gators (2-1, 0-1 SEC) have dropped eight straight in the series, including a wild 52-46 loss in last year’s conference title game, and fell to 0-5 against No. 1-ranked teams at Florida Field.
This one was closer than oddsmakers and just about everyone else expected, with 14½-point underdog Florida having a chance to tie the score in the closing minutes despite playing without dynamic backup quarterback Anthony Richardson.
Coach Dan Mullen held Richardson out as a precaution because of a strained right hamstring and said he would only be available in case of an emergency.
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.
That never became the case even though the Gators trailed 21-3 at the end of the first quarter. Young avoided errors that typically plague young quarterbacks on the road. He built the lead with touchdown passes to Jase McClellan, Jaheel Billingsley and Brian Johnson.
The Gators rallied and were in position to tie late. Dameon Pierce capped a 75-yard drive with a 17-yard run that made it 31-29. But fellow running back Malik Davis failed to get the three yards needed on the two-point conversion attempt.
Florida seemingly got a break when Alabama (3-0, 1-0) was flagged for a false start on fourth and goal at the one. The Tide settled for a field goal and an eight-point lead. That gave the Gators a chance to tie, and play-caller Mullen and quarterback Emory Jones directed a masterful drive.
It ended up not being enough.
The Gators had one final chance to force a punt and get the ball back, but Alabama did enough to milk the clock and leave Florida with little, if any, chance at a comeback. The Gators had one play from deep in their territory and were sacked.
Freshman Jaxson Dart threw for four touchdowns in relief, lifting USC to a 45-14 win at Washington State in interim coach Donte Williams’ first game.
Young completed 22 of 35 passes for 233 yards. Brian Robinson carried 14 times for 75 yards and a score.
Jones was 17-for-27 passing for 181 yards with an interception. He was booed at times, partly because of the slow start and surely because of the home crowd’s disappointment in not seeing Richardson.
“One thing a lot of teams do is play Alabama, they sometimes don’t think they’re going to win the game, maybe,” Mullen said. “Our guys certainly expected to win the game and played that way. We did last year. We did this year. I think that’s maybe a big part of it.”
at No. 2 Georgia 40, South Carolina 13
JT Daniels returned to the lineup with three touchdown passes, Georgia’s fearsome defense nearly made it three straight games without allowing a touchdown, and the Bulldogs (3-0, 1-0 SEC) romped past the Gamecocks (2-1, 0-1).
Daniels, a former USC quarterback, completed 23 of 31 for 303 yards, including scoring throws of 43 yards to Jermaine Burton, 38 yards to freshman Adonai Mitchell and four yards to James Cook.
Georgia finally gave up a touchdown while on defense when Luke Doty, getting the ball on the Bulldogs’ side of the field after a fumble, connected with Josh Vann on a 36-yard touchdown pass with 10:55 remaining.
With Doty playing for the first time this season, South Carolina gave up three sacks and a safety along with two turnovers that led to Georgia touchdowns.
at No. 3 Oklahoma 23, Nebraska 16
Spencer Rattler passed for a touchdown and ran for another, and the Sooners (3-0) held on to beat the Cornhuskers (2-2).
Celebrating the 50-year anniversary of the “Game of the Century” — No. 1 Nebraska’s 35-31 win over No. 2 Oklahoma in 1971 — the teams rewarded their nostalgic fans with a competitive contest.
In the first meeting between the former conference rivals since 2010, Nebraska got the ball trailing by a touchdown with 57 seconds remaining and no timeouts. The Cornhuskers could not manage a first down.
Eric Gray ran for 84 yards in 15 carries and Kennedy Brooks added 75 yards in 14 attempts for the Sooners.
Adrian Martinez passed for 289 yards and a touchdown for Nebraska, which was seeking its first win over a ranked team since 2015.
at No. 4 Oregon 48, Stony Brook 7
Freshman Ty Thompson threw two second-half touchdown passes, and the Ducks (3-0) overcame a sluggish start to defeat the Seawolves (1-2) in a game delayed because of lightning.
Oregon starter Anthony Brown threw for a touchdown and ran for another but left the game at halftime after he was sacked twice to close out the second quarter. It didn’t appear to be serious.
The Ducks, coming off their big win last weekend at Ohio State, stayed unbeaten as they head into Pac-12 play next weekend.
It was Oregon’s 14th straight win at Autzen Stadium.
Filling in for an injured Kedon Slovis, backup quarterback Jaxson Dart made an immediate impact, steering USC to a comeback win over Washington State.
at No. 5 Iowa 30, Kent State 7
Tyler Goodson ran for a career-high 153 yards and three touchdowns, and the Hawkeyes (3-0) beat the Golden Flashes (1-2).
Iowa has won nine straight games. The Hawkeyes have won 14 consecutive nonconference games, the second-longest current streak in the nation.
Iowa’s offense, which averaged 238 yards per game coming in, had 440 yards. Kent State came into the game averaging 360 rushing yards, second best in the nation, but was held to 80. The Golden Flashes’ Dustin Crum was sacked seven times.
at No. 6 Clemson 14, Georgia Tech 8
Will Shipley rushed for two touchdowns, and the Tigers (2-1, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) had a goal-line stand in the final seconds to hold off the Yellow Jackets (1-2, 0-1).
Georgia Tech had a chance to force overtime after recovering an onside kick with 1:19 to play. But the Yellow Jackets were held out of the end zone on four plays from the Clemson two-yard line in the closing seconds — the last when linebacker James Skalski tackled Dylan Deveney a yard short.
The chaos continued, though, when Shipley fumbled in the end zone with the Tigers attempting to run out the clock and was tackled after recovering for a safety with seven seconds left. Clemson kicked the ball away, and Georgia Tech quarterback Jordan Yates’ last-ditch throw with three seconds left was ruled an incomplete forward pass, ending the game.
The game was delayed for nearly two hours just before the half because of the threat of lightning around Memorial Stadium.
at No. 7 Texas A&M 34, New Mexico 0
Zach Calzada threw for 275 yards and three touchdowns in his first career start. The victory over the Lobos (2-1) extends Texas A&M’s winning streak to 11 games and gives the Aggies a 3-0 start for the first time since they opened the 2016 season with six consecutive wins.
Calzada was thrust into the job last weekend against Colorado when Haynes King was injured on Texas A&M’s second possession. King had surgery this week to repair a broken right leg, leaving Calzada to run the offense.
Calzada looked more comfortable, and the Aggies moved the ball much better Saturday than last week while scoring just 10 points in a win over the Buffaloes. Terry Wilson threw for just 33 yards for New Mexico while being hurried all day.
No. 8 Cincinnati 38, at Indiana 24
Desmond Ridder threw the go-ahead touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter, then scored on a seven-yard run to help the Bearcats (3-0) seal a come-from-behind victory over the Hoosiers (1-2).
Kazmeir Allen’s star faded after a sensational debut as a UCLA running back three years ago. A switch to receiver helped unleash his world-class speed.
Jerome Ford ran for two scores and Tre Tucker scored on a 99-yard kickoff return as Cincinnati won its first road game of the season. The Bearcats have won 12 of 13 since the start of 2020.
Indiana lost despite taking a 14-0 lead — and playing in front of its largest crowd for a nonconference game since September 1987.
at No. 9 Ohio State 41, Tulsa 20
TreVeyon Henderson broke Archie Griffin’s 49-year-old freshman rushing record, romping for 277 yards and three touchdowns as the Buckeyes (2-1) pulled away late to beat the Golden Hurricane (0-3).
Henderson ran for scores of five, 48 and 52 yards, which managed to paper over some of the same weaknesses Ohio State showed in the 35-28 upset by Oregon last week that sent the Buckeyes tumbling in the Associated Press top 25 poll.
As a team, Ohio State was not sharp. But Tulsa couldn’t match the Buckeyes blow for blow, and Henderson, who ran for 69 yards in the first two games combined, broke through with some huge plays at critical times. A late interception that Cameron Martinez returned for a 61-yard touchdown made the score look worse than it was for the persistent Golden Hurricane.
The Ohio State defense, while holding Tulsa to 73 yards on the ground, allowed Tulsa quarterback Davis Brin to throw for a career-high 428 yards and the team’s first two touchdown passes this season.
at No. 10 Penn State 28, No. 22 Auburn 20
Jaquan Brisker broke up a desperation pass toward the end zone by Auburn’s Bo Nix as time expired, and the Nittany Lions (3-0) held on to beat the Tigers (2-1).
Sean Clifford completed 28 of 32 passes for 280 yards and two touchdowns as Penn State welcomed back its whiteout crowd to Beaver Stadium for a rare visit from a Southeastern Conference team.
Jahan Dotson added 10 catches for 78 yards and a touchdown, tight end Brenton Strange had a touchdown catch, and Tyler Warren and Noah Cain ran for scores for the Nittany Lions.
Tank Bigsby scored a pair of rushing touchdowns and Anders Carlson added two field goals for the Tigers, who lost their 10th straight road game to a top-10 team since 2014.
at No. 12 Notre Dame 27, Purdue 13
Kyren Williams scored two long touchdowns, the second a 51-yard run with 6:05 remaining, and the Fighting Irish (3-0) held off the Boilermakers (2-1) for their 26th straight victory at home.
The win was the 105th in Brian Kelly’s 12-year career at Notre Dame, tying him with Knute Rockne as the winningest coach in school history.
“It takes a lot of things to be in place for that to happen,” said Kelly, whose first victory at Notre Dame was a 23-12 win over Purdue at Notre Dame during the 2010 season. “Father John (Jenkins, the university president) and (athletic director) Jack (Swarbrick) have been on this journey. Consistency, leadership and alignment — all those things have to come together to get to this point.”
Williams, who scored on a fourth-and-three pass play of 39 yards from Jack Coan early in the second quarter to give the Irish their first lead 7-3, finished with 86 yards in 11 carries and two receptions for 47 yards.
Coan, who was sacked four times and struggled with his accuracy, completed 15 of 31 passes for 223 yards and two touchdowns. Boilermakers quarterback Jack Plummer left the game after being sacked in the second half.
No. 14 Iowa State 48, at Nevada Las Vegas 3
Brock Purdy completed 21 of 24 pass attempts for 288 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Cyclones (2-1) over the Rebels (0-3).
Purdy, who also rushed for 33 yards, finished with a 229.6 quarterback rating, the third-highest of his career.
Iowa State finished with 486 yards of offense and 7.59 yards per play, scoring on eight of its 11 possessions, including six touchdowns.
UNLV was held to 23 yards on 18 plays in the first half and finished with 130 yards for the game.
at West Virginia 27, No. 15 Virginia Tech 21
Jarret Doege threw two touchdown passes, Leddie Brown rushed for 106 yards and a score, and the Mountaineers (2-1) survived a furious rally by the Hokies (2-1) from a 20-point deficit.
West Virginia built a 27-7-point lead midway through the third quarter but saw that mostly evaporate because of Virginia Tech’s Braxton Burmeister.
Burmeister threw for two scores, including a 29-yard toss to Jalen Holston with 3:10 left. The Hokies got the ball back with 2:11 remaining on Jermaine Waller’s interception of Doege at the West Virginia 17-yard line, but Burmeister threw incomplete on fourth and goal from the three and the Mountaineers ran out the clock.
No. 16 Coastal Carolina 28, at Buffalo 25
Grayson McCall threw for three touchdowns and Shermari Jones ran for 149 yards and another score as the Chanticleers (3-0) defeated the Bulls (1-2).
McCall, who entered the day leading the nation in passing efficiency and completion rate, was 13-for-19 passing for 232 yards with his first interception of the season. Jaivon Heiligh caught four passes for 91 yards and a touchdown for Coastal Carolina, becoming the fourth receiver in school history to surpass 2,000 career yards.
Buffalo got within a field goal with 2:41 remaining. Kevin Marks’ seven-yard touchdown run capped a 92-yard drive that started when Logic Hudgens intercepted McCall in the end zone. But the Chanticleers held on.
at No. 17 Mississippi 61, Tulane 21
Matt Corral passed for 335 yards and three touchdowns and also ran for four scores, and the Rebels (3-0) beat the Green Wave (1-2), scoring all their points in the first three quarters.
Ole Miss is off to a 3-0 start for the first time since 2015 and, after an open date next week, visits Alabama on Oct. 2.
Michael Pratt threw two touchdown passes for Tulane, but the Green Wave —- wearing helmets honoring the school’s time in the SEC in the first half of the 1900s — never really had a chance.
at No. 23 Brigham Young 27, No. 19 Arizona State 17
Jaren Hall threw for 214 yards and two touchdowns and added 38 yards in seven carries, leading the Cougars (3-0) to a victory over the Sun Devils (2-1).
Tyler Allgeier added 69 yards and a touchdown on the ground as BYU earned its third consecutive victory over a Pac-12 opponent. The Cougars forced four turnovers and posted their third straight victory over Arizona State.
Jaylen Daniels threw for 265 yards to lead the Sun Devils but also tossed a pair of interceptions. Danyiel Ngata ran for 82 yards and a touchdown for Arizona State.
at No. 20 Arkansas 45, Georgia Southern 10
KJ Jefferson threw for a career-high 366 yards and tied a career high with three touchdown passes to lead the Razorbacks (3-0) past the Eagles (1-2).
Arkansas all but ended it on a 91-yard pass from Jefferson to preseason All-SEC wide receiver Treylon Burks with 11:18 left in the third quarter. It was Jefferson’s final touchdown pass of the game and gave the Razorbacks a 38-10 lead.
at No. 21 North Carolina 59, Virginia 39
Sam Howell threw five touchdown passes and ran for a career-best 112 yards, and the Tar Heels (2-1, 1-1 ACC) took over after halftime to beat the Cavaliers (2-1, 0-1).
North Carolina scored touchdowns on all five of its second-half drives, which helped turn a 28-24 halftime deficit into a 52-31 lead on Howell’s short touchdown throw to Kamari Morales with 12:13 left. And after a first-half shootout with Brennan Armstrong and Virginia, UNC gave up only a field goal in the third quarter while also coming up with Ja’Qurious Conley’s interception.
Tennessee graduate transfer Ty Chandler ran for a career-high 198 yards with two touchdowns, the last coming from seven yards out with 2:57 left to seal it. Josh Downs had eight catches for 203 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Michigan State 38, at No. 24 Miami 17
Payton Thorne passed for 261 yards and four touchdowns, two of those scoring throws going to Jalen Nailor, and the Spartans (3-0) extended their unbeaten start with an upset win over the Hurricanes (1-2).
Kenneth Walker III rushed for 172 yards and caught a touchdown pass for Michigan State, which is off to its best start since 2015.
Jayden Reed also had a scoring catch and a touchdown run for the Spartans, who forced Miami quarterback D’Eriq King into four turnovers. King was 38-for-59 passing — both of them school records — for 388 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions.
Charleston Rambo tied a school record with 12 catches for the Hurricanes, good for 156 yards and both of their touchdowns. Andres Borregales kicked a 55-yard field goal — matching the fourth longest in school history — for Miami midway through the fourth, getting the Hurricanes within a touchdown.
Thorne didn’t need long to end their hopes, coming up big with his legs as well on what became the game-sealing drive.
at No. 25 Michigan 63, Northern Illinois 10
Blake Corum rushed for 123 yards and three touchdowns. The Wolverines (3-0) scored touchdowns on their first nine drives, eight of them on the ground. The 10th drive also included a touchdown run, but it was called back for a holding penalty and Michigan turned the ball over on downs. The Wolverines never punted.
The Huskies (1-2) kicked a field goal on their second possession of the game, but it was already clear they were in major trouble. Michigan scored short rushing touchdowns on its first four possessions, two by Hassan Haskins, to take a 28-3 lead in the second quarter.
The Wolverines changed up a bit on the fifth possession, scoring on an 87-yard pass from Cade McNamara to Cornelius Johnson — the third-longest passing play in school history — to lead 35-3 at the half.
Stanford 41, at Vanderbilt 23
Tanner McKee, a former Corona Centennial standout, ran for a touchdown and threw for two more as the Cardinal (2-1) beat the Commodores (1-2) in the first meeting between the programs best known for their academics.
Stanford finally can head home on a two-game winning streak after playing the first three games on the road, the only Power Five program this season to even play its first two straight games away from home.
Vanderbilt lost its eighth consecutive at home. The Commodores’ last home win was Nov. 23, 2019.
Stanford took control by scoring 13 points in the final 1:53 of the second quarter. McKee finished with 218 yards passing in the second straight start of his career. The sophomore completed at least one pass to nine different receivers. Nathaniel Peat and E.J. Smith ran for a touchdown apiece.
Minnesota 30, at Colorado 0
Trey Potts ran for three touchdowns, the Gophers’ swarming defense held the Buffaloes to 63 total yards, and Minnesota (2-1) won its 21st straight nonconference game by beating Colorado (1-2).
This marked the first time the Buffaloes have been shut out at Folsom Field since Nov. 3, 2012, against Stanford. The last nonconference team to shut out Colorado in Boulder was Louisiana State on Sept. 15, 1979, according to research by the school.
The Gophers sacked Buffaloes quarterback Brendon Lewis four times. Minnesota also forced two turnovers.
The Gophers made it a memorable afternoon for P.J. Fleck, who was coaching in his 100th career game. He’s now 58-42 overall, including 28-20 in five seasons with Minnesota.
at San Diego State 33, Utah 31 (3OT)
Jesse Matthews caught a two-point conversion pass from Lucas Johnson in triple overtime, and the Aztecs (3-0) blew a 14-point lead in the final minutes of regulation before hanging on for a wild victory over the Utes (1-2) at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson.
San Diego State celebrated wildly after officials reversed their call of a two-point conversion catch by Utah’s Connor O’Toole, ruling the ball hit the turf.
Greg Bell rushed for 119 yards and two touchdowns and Jordan Byrd returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown, but the Aztecs nearly gave away their second straight win over a Pac-12 opponent.
Backup quarterback Cameron Rising led the Utes’ improbable comeback, passing for 153 yards and three touchdowns while engineering three strong drives after replacing an ineffective Charlie Brewer late in the third quarter.
at Washington 52, Arkansas State 3
Dylan Morris passed for 367 yards and three touchdowns, Jalen McMillan had 10 catches for 175 yards and a score, and the Huskies (1-2) rebounded from two disappointing losses with a rout of the Red Wolves (1-2).
After losing stunningly to Montana to open the season and getting run over last week at Michigan, Washington needed a convincing performance to stop the season from spiraling away before the beginning of Pac-12 Conference play.
The Huskies got it thanks to an offense that jolted awake after sleepwalking for two games and a defense that shut down Arkansas State’s high-powered unit that scored 50 points in a loss last week.
at California 42, Sacramento State 30
Chase Garbers threw for 288 yards and two touchdowns, Nikko Remiglio returned the second-half kickoff for a score, and the Golden Bears (1-2) beat the Football Championship Subdivision-level Hornets (1-2) for their first win of the season.
Cal had lost its first two games of the season to Nevada and Texas Christian in tight contests but had an easier time against Sacramento State to avoid its first 0-3 start in a full season since 2001. The Golden Bears also lost their first three games in last year’s pandemic-abbreviated four-game slate.
Sacramento State mixed quarterbacks, using Asher O’Hara as a running option. O’Hara scored on two touchdown runs for the Hornets, while Jake Dunniway threw for 370 yards and two touchdowns.
Northern Arizona 21, at Arizona 19
RJ Martinez threw a nine-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter, and the Lumberjacks (1-2) stopped a late two-point conversion attempt, extending the Wildcats’ school-record losing streak to 15 games. Arizona fell to 0-3 this season.
Northern Arizona didn’t play like a winless FCS program, coming to life offensively in the second half after struggling in the first. Kevin Daniels scored on a 12-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, and Martinez found Hendrix Johnson in the back of the end zone for a nine-yard score.
Arizona still had one last chance.
Trailing 21-13, the Wildcats marched quickly down the field and Jordan McCloud hit Boobie Curry on a three-yard touchdown pass with 2:16 left. The Lumberjacks pressured McCloud into an incomplete pass on the two-point conversion try.
Northern Arizona fair caught a pooch kick and wound down the clock, picking up one of the biggest wins in program history while ending a losing streak to Arizona that dated to 1932.
at Oregon State 42, Idaho 0
Chance Nolan passed for three touchdowns and B.J. Baylor ran for two scores for the Beavers (2-1), who amassed 438 total yards and were stout defensively in a rout of the FCS Vandals (1-2).
Oregon State led 28-0 at halftime and was not challenged by Idaho, which has lost 17 of the last 18 matchups against the Beavers dating back to 1953. It was Oregon State’s first shutout since a 3-0 victory over Pittsburgh in the 2008 Sun Bowl.
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