College football: No. 7 Cincinnati tops No. 9 Notre Dame; Stanford stuns No. 3 Oregon
Desmond Ridder threw two touchdown passes and ran for a score late in the fourth quarter as No. 7 Cincinnati capitalized on its big opportunity and beat No. 9 Notre Dame 24-13 on Saturday in South Bend, Ind., in a game the Bearcats hope can be the centerpiece of their College Football Playoff resume.
Cincinnati (4-0) wanted to use its first top-10, regular-season matchup as a statement game heading into its American Athletic Conference schedule. No team from outside the Power Five conferences has ever reached the playoff.
To break that barrier, the Bearcats almost certainly need to go undefeated, and this trip to Notre Dame (4-1) stood as the toughest test on the schedule. Not to mention the biggest stage on which they will appear this season.
The Bearcats were not quite dominant, but they were plenty good enough in their first trip to South Bend since 1900 to end Notre Dame’s 26-game home winning streak.
“We didn’t just beat a top-10 team. We beat a top-five program,” Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell said.
Drake London was spectacular, Kedon Slovis was lethal, Keaontay Ingram was swift, and the Trojans’ defense was stout in a one-sided victory over the Buffaloes.
When told this week how loud the crowd can be at Notre Dame Stadium, Ridder quipped that it wouldn’t be for long.
“I don’t think we let the stage get too big for us,” Ridder said.
The senior delivered, going 19 for 32 for 297 yards. He hooked up with Alec Pierce six times for 144 yards and was at his best after Notre Dame cut the lead to 17-13 with 8:20 left in the fourth quarter.
Ridder went three for three, with a bullet down the middle for 36 yards to Leonard Taylor, on the ensuing drive. He capped it off with a six-yard touchdown run around left end that made it 24-13.
“It’s still midseason, so we got a lot of games left to play, but it obviously is a big win against a top-10 team,” Ridder said. “Hopefully we keep this going.”
Cincinnati took advantage of three turnovers by Notre Dame in the first half to jump out to 17-0 lead. The miscues by the Irish were killers.
Jack Coan’s pass was intercepted in the red zone by Ahmad Gardner on an ill-advised throw under pressure that ended the Irish’s first and best drive of the half.
Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell and USC might not be an obvious match, but if Mike Bohn calls again, Fickell has a rare chance to lead a blue-blood program.
Notre Dame tried freshman Tyler Buchner at quarterback for a coupe of series, hoping his mobility could spark the running game. But Buchner’s pass was picked off by DeShawn Pace while getting hit, and Pace set up the Bearcats in the red zone.
Ridder flipped a one-yard pass to Taylor to make it 7-0 early in the second quarter.
Chris Tyree fumbled the ensuing kickoff back to Cincinnati, and the Bearcats turned that into a 23-yard field goal by Cole Smith.
Ridder and the Bearcats put together their best drive late in the second quarter, going 80 yards for a touchdown. Ridder was three for four on the drive, each completion for more than 20 yards, including a 27-yard touchdown to Tre Tucker that beat Irish All-American safety Kyle Hamilton.
The Bearcats were up 17-0 with 40 seconds left in the first half, and for the third time Cincinnati fans, decked in red in the upper reaches of the south end zone, were chanting “Let’s Go, Bearcats!”
Cincinnati’s defense locked up Notre Dame for most of the game, getting a shut-down game from All-American cornerback Gardner and good pressure from Myjai Sanders and Darrian Beavers.
Notre Dame’s Drew Pyne, who took over last week in the second half against Wisconsin when Coan went out with an ankle injury, came off the bench in the third quarter again for the Irish — this time just to provide a spark.
UCLA matched Arizona State’s offense score for score in the first half, but the Sun Devils pulled away and handed the Bruins a disappointing home loss.
Pyne was OK, showing some Ian Book-ish mobility and getting rid of the ball a little more quickly than Coan. The sophomore was nine for 22 for 143 yards, and his 32-yard touchdown pass to Braden Lenzy with 8:28 left in the fourth quarter cut the deficit to 17-13. Jonathan Doerer missed the point-after attempt.
“Clearly, we can’t continue down this road of who’s the flavor of the week here,” Irish coach Brian Kelly said of is quarterbacks. “We’re going to have to sit down and figure this out.”
at Stanford 31, No. 3 Oregon 24 (OT)
Tanner McKee threw a touchdown pass on an untimed down at the end of regulation to tie the score and another on the opening possession of overtime to lead the Cardinal (3-2, 2-1 Pac-12) to a victory over the Ducks (4-1, 1-1).
McKee, a former Corona Centennial standout, came back after leaving for a play on the final drive of regulation because of an injury to tie it on a two-yard pass to Elijah Higgins after a holding penalty by Oregon in the end zone extended the game one play.
McKee then gave the Cardinal the lead with a 14-yarder to John Humphreys in overtime. Stanford then forced Anthony Brown to throw an incomplete pass on fourth and eight to seal its fourth win against an Oregon team ranked in the top 10 since 2009.
“The key word is resilience,” Stanford coach David Shaw said. “It’s the mark of a successful team. It’s the mark of a successful person. How can you withstand the storms that life gives you? Our guys took it on the chin quite a bit, but we fought back and made some big plays.”
The Ducks appeared poised for their first 5-0 start in eight years when they rallied from 10 points down at halftime to take a 24-17 lead early in the fourth quarter on Brown’s second touchdown run of the game.
But then McKee delivered the big plays late and the Cardinal capitalized on three Oregon penalties on the game-tying 87-yard drive in the final 1:59 of regulation.
McKee left the game for one play on the drive after being hit by Kayvon Thibodeaux on a play ruled targeting. Oregon was then called for another roughing-the-passer penalty and the holding penalty in the end zone on what appeared to be the final play.
The Cardinal got the untimed down, and McKee delivered with the pass to Higgins. Shaw opted for the extra point, and the game went to overtime.
“We had some bright moments, but certainly not enough to overcome some of our own mistakes,“ Ducks coach Mario Cristobal said. “We didn’t play with enough discipline today, and we didn’t coach with enough discipline today. It ends up costing us the game.”
at No. 1 Alabama 42, No. 12 Mississippi 21
Brian Robinson Jr. rushed for career highs of 171 yards and four touchdowns, and the Crimson Tide (5-0, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) mostly throttled the nation’s top offense in a victory over the Rebels (3-1, 0-1).
Bryce Young, a former Santa Ana Mater Dei standout, passed for a couple of touchdowns for Alabama, but the Crimson Tide defense and ground game stole some of the thunder from a matchup of the two leading Heisman Trophy contenders coming into the game.
Alabama turned to Robinson to play keep away from Matt Corral and the offense of Ole Miss, which had breezed through three nonconference games before an open date.
The Tide’s fifth-year senior carried 36 times and picked up the first 100-yard game of his career.
Young completed 21 of 27 passes for 241 yards and was intercepted once for Alabama, which led 28-0 at halftime. Oddsmakers had him as the second-leading Heisman candidate coming into the game, behind only Corral.
The Rebels star ran for a touchdown but was mostly held in check by a team he torched last season. Corral also passed for a touchdown, completing 22 of 32 attempts for 213 yards while losing a fumble. Corral extended his streak of games with a touchdown pass to 16 games with 2:23 left, matching Eli Manning for the second-longest such streak at Ole Miss.
Alabama’s defense, burned by Ole Miss for 48 points and 647 yards a year ago, made the big fourth-down stops and plenty of others.
at No. 2 Georgia 37, No. 8 Arkansas 0
Zamir White rushed for two touchdowns and recovered a blocked punt for another score, and the Bulldogs (5-0, 3-0 SEC) pounded the Razorbacks (4-1, 1-1) in Georgia’s second consecutive shutout.
The Bulldogs raced to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter despite playing without quarterback JT Daniels, who was held out because of a right lat injury. Stetson Bennett filled in for Daniels and passed for only 72 yards as Georgia relied on its running game and defense.
Georgia, leading the nation in total defense and scoring defense following last week’s 62-0 win at Vanderbilt, held the Razorbacks to 10 first downs and 156 yards. The Bulldogs rushed for 273 yards while continuing their committee approach at running back.
at No. 4 Penn State 24, Indiana 0
Sean Clifford threw for 178 yards and three touchdowns to help the Nittany Lions (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten) beat the Hoosiers (2-3, 0-2).
Jahan Dotson caught a pair of touchdown passes, Brenton Strange added one, and Penn State forced eight punts and two turnovers and blocked a field-goal try in its ninth straight victory.
Jordan Stout added a 50-yard field goal in the fourth quarter for the Nittany Lions.
Spencer Petras accounted for five touchdowns for No. 5 Iowa, which took advantage of seven Maryland turnovers in a 51-14 road victory Friday night.
No. 6 Oklahoma 37, at Kansas State 31
Spencer Rattler threw for 243 yards and two touchdowns, the Sooners (5-0, 2-0 Big 12) had two crucial calls overturned in their favor after video reviews, and Oklahoma recovered an onside kick with just more than a minute left to hold off the Wildcats (3-2, 0-2).
Kennedy Brooks added 91 yards rushing and a touchdown and Jeremiah Hall reached the end zone twice as the Sooners overcame a slew of penalties on their offensive line to beat Kansas State for the first time in three tries.
Skylar Thompson returned from a knee injury to throw for 320 yards and three scores for the Wildcats.
at Kentucky 20, No. 10 Florida 13
Trevin Wallace returned a blocked field-goal try 76 yards for the go-ahead touchdown late in the third quarter, Chris Rodriguez Jr. had a nine-yard scoring run early in the fourth, and the Wildcats (5-0, 3-0 SEC) made a final defensive stand to hold off the Gators (3-2, 1-2).
The SEC East Division showdown was more of a slog than a slugfest for much of the night, and Florida was poised to add Jace Christmann’s 48-yard field-goal attempt to its 10-7 lead.
Kentucky defensive end Josh Paschal got a hand on the low kick that sent the ball fluttering to Wallace, who jetted past a tackle attempt on the left sideline and cut back through a small seam to race for the game-changing touchdown.
Fans stormed the field after Kentucky beat Florida at home for the first time since 1986 and took a big step toward challenging Georgia in the East.
No. 11 Ohio State 52, at Rutgers 13
C.J. Stroud threw for 330 yards and a career-high five touchdowns after sitting out a game to rest his shoulder, and the Buckeyes (4-1, 2-0) won their 20th straight Big Ten game, routing the Scarlet Knights (3-2, 0-2).
Stroud connected with Chris Olave on touchdown passes of 56 and 11 yards, found Garrett Wilson on a 32-yard catch and run, and hit tight ends Jeremy Ruckert and Mitch Rossi on scoring passes. The freshman finished 17 for 23 and did not throw an interception.
Ohio State has beaten Rutgers eight times in as many games.
No. 14 Michigan 38, at Wisconsin 17
Cornelius Johnson caught both of Cade McNamara’s touchdown passes, and the Wolverines (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten) remained unbeaten with a win over the Badgers (1-3, 0-2), who lost starting quarterback Graham Mertz to a chest injury.
Wisconsin trailed 13-10 and had the ball to start the third quarter when Mertz was sacked by Daxton Hill on a third-and-nine play. Mertz and tight end Jake Ferguson both went to the locker room because of chest injuries after that play, and neither returned to the game. Badgers coach Paul Chryst said Mertz went to the hospital for evaluation but otherwise had no immediate update on either injury.
Once Mertz and Ferguson departed, Michigan scored 25 straight points to put the game out of reach.
The Wolverines won at Madison for the first time since 2001 by shutting down Wisconsin’s rushing attack, something Michigan had failed to do the last couple of seasons. The Wolverines had lost in each of their last five trips to Camp Randall Stadium.
“Against a tough, physical team, I thought our team played really physical,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said. “We matched it every bit.”
McNamara was 17-for-28 passing for 197 yards. Highly touted freshman quarterback J.J. McCarthy also played and had a one-yard touchdown run plus a 56-yard touchdown pass to Daylen Baldwin.
Mertz completed eight of 15 passes for 115 yards with a touchdown pass to Chimere Dike before getting hurt. Chase Wolf replaced Mertz and went three for eight for 52 yards with an interception and a touchdown pass to Clay Cufiff.
“It didn’t make a difference who was on the other side of the ball,” said Michigan linebacker David Ojabo, who had 2½ of the Wolverines’ six sacks. “It was just a relentless effort.”
Mississippi State 26, at No. 15 Texas A&M 22
Will Rogers threw for 408 yards and three touchdowns and Nathan Pickering sacked Zach Calzada in the end zone late for a safety to help the Bulldogs (3-2, 1-1 SEC) upset the Aggies (3-2, 0-2).
Makai Polk had 13 receptions for 126 yards and two touchdowns to help Mississippi State end a two-game skid.
at No. 16 Coastal Carolina 59, Louisiana Monroe 6
Grayson McCall threw for 212 yards on 13-for-13 passing with two touchdowns to Isaiah Likely as the Chanticleers (5-0, 1-0) rolled to a victory over the Warhawks (2-2, 1-1) to start Sun Belt Conference play.
Coastal Carolina started 5-0 for a second straight season and has won 16 of its last 17 the past two seasons. McCall was already the Football Bowl Subdivision leader in completion percentage and had little trouble keeping that going against Louisiana Monroe.
at No. 17 Michigan State 48, Western Michigan 31
Kenneth Walker and Jayden Reed combined to score five touchdowns in the first half to help the Spartans (5-0) build a 26-point lead in a victory over the Hilltoppers (1-3).
Michigan State has won its first five games for the first time since starting 8-0 in 2015, when it ended up earning a spot in the College Football Playoff.
Western Kentucky moved the ball through the air effectively but settled for three field goals in the first half and struggled to stop Michigan State until the second half, when it was too late.
at Hawaii 27, No. 18 Fresno State 24
Hugh Nelson II intercepted a pass at Hawaii’s two-yard line with nine seconds left after Matthew Shipley kicked a tiebreaking 33-yard field goal with 3:33 remaining, and the Rainbow Warriors (3-3, 1-1 Mountain West) rallied to beat the Bulldogs (4-2, 1-1).
Hawaii forced six turnovers to record its first win over a ranked opponent since beating No. 19 Nevada 27-21 on Oct. 16, 2010.
Fresno State racked up 505 yards of total offense, including 388 passing from Jake Haener, who entered the game as the FBS leader in passing yards. He finished 28 for 50 but was intercepted four times — three times inside Hawaii’s 10-yard line.
at No. 19 Oklahoma State 24, No. 21 Baylor 14
Jaylen Warren ran for 125 yards and two touchdowns, and the Cowboys (5-0, 2-0 Big 12) defeated the Bears (4-1, 2-1).
Spencer Sanders passed for 182 yards and ran for 76, but he helped Baylor stay in the game by throwing three interceptions. Tay Martin caught seven passes for 108 yards for Oklahoma State.
Abram Smith rushed for 97 yards and a touchdown for the Bears, who finished with just 280 total yards. Baylor, which was coming off a win over Iowa State, missed a chance to beat ranked teams in consecutive weeks for the first time since 1974.
No. 22 Auburn 24, at Louisiana State 19
Bo Nix passed for a touchdown and ran for a score and Jarquez Hunter scored on a one-yard run with 3:11 left to give Auburn its first lead and a victory over LSU.
Auburn (4-1, 1-0 SEC), which had not won at LSU’s Tiger Stadium since 1999, secured the victory when Bydarrius Knighten intercepted Max Johnson’s pass on fourth down at the Auburn 39-yard line with 1:09 left.
Nix frustrated LSU with his feet whether he was scrambling or running by design. His five-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter capped a series in which he ran on three of the final four plays for 23 yards.
The touchdown pulled Auburn to within 19-17 early in the fourth quarter, and that score stood until Nix led a 92-yard, 11-play, winning drive highlighted by Hunter’s 44-yard run on a pitch to the left side.
at No. 23 North Carolina State 34, Louisiana Tech 27
Devin Leary threw for two touchdowns, and the Wolfpack (4-1) held off the Bulldogs (2-3).
Louisiana Tech picked up five first downs on its last possession, reaching the N.C. State 22-yard line before Jakeen Harris’ interception in the end zone on the game’s final play.
That allowed the Wolfpack to build on an upset of Clemson a week earlier and improve to 4-1 for the second year in a row. Leary was 22 for 36 for 251 yards. Running backs Ricky Person (90 yards) and Zonovan Knight (85) each ran for a touchdown.
at No. 24 Wake Forest 37, Louisville 34
Nick Sciba kicked a 29-yard field goal with 22 seconds left, and the Demon Deacons (5-0, 3-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) beat the Cardinals (3-2, 1-1) to remain undefeated.
Sam Hartman threw for 324 yards and two touchdowns to lead the offense for Wake Forest, which got a huge boost late from Justice Ellison with several patient and chain-moving runs on the go-ahead drive.
Louisville’s Malik Cunningham passed for 332 yards and two scores and also ran for two touchdowns.
at No. 25 Clemson 19, Boston College 13
B.T. Potter had four field goals, hitting a tiebreaking 35-yarder late in the third quarter, and the Tigers (3-2, 1-1 ACC) held off the Eagles (4-1, 0-1).
Clemson has won 31 straight at home despite its suddenly stagnant offense being held to a first-quarter touchdown. The Tigers have won 11 in a row over Boston College.
The Eagles drove to the Clemson 12-yard line in the final minute, but quarterback Dennis Grosel fumbled away the snap and defensive end K.J. Henry recovered to seal it.
at Oregon State 27, Washington 24
B.J. Baylor had 20 carries for 110 yards and two touchdowns, Everett Hayes kicked a 24-yard field goal as time expired, and the Beavers (4-1, 2-0 Pac-12) beat the Huskies (2-3, 1-1).
It’s still relatively early in the season, but Oregon State’s win combined with Stanford’s upset of No. 3 Oregon in overtime puts the Beavers in first place. Oregon State ended a nine-game losing streak to Washington and is 2-0 in conference play for the first time since 2013.
Washington State 21, at California 6
Jayden de Laura passed for three touchdowns — two to Calvin Jackson Jr., who made a spectacular one-handed grab near the corner of the end zone — and the Cougars (2-3, 1-2 Pac-12) beat the Golden Bears (1-4, 0-2).
Playing for the first time since suffering a leg injury against USC two weeks ago, de Laura matched his career-best of 25 completions on 41 attempts for 219 yards with two interceptions to help Washington State to its first win at Memorial Stadium since 2013.
Jackson finished with six catches for 53 yards. De’Zhaun Stribling added an eight-yard score, and the Cougars’ defense had five sacks and held the Golden Bears to 273 yards of offense.
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