College football: Texas A&M stuns No. 1 Alabama; No. 3 Iowa tops No. 4 Penn State

Texas A&M's Seth Small (47) celebrates with teammates after making a game-winning field goal Oct. 9, 2021.
Texas A&M’s Seth Small (47) celebrates with teammates after making a game-winning 28-yard field goal against No. 1 Alabama on Saturday night. The Aggies prevailed 41-38.
(Sam Craft / Associated Press)

Seth Small made a 28-yard field goal as time expired, and Texas A&M stunned top-ranked Alabama 41-38 on Saturday night in College Station, Texas, to end the Crimson Tide’s winning streak at 19 games.

The Crimson Tide (5-1, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) had scored 21 straight points — capped by a touchdown reception and two-point conversion grab by Jameson Williams — to take a 38-31 lead with five minutes to go.

Texas A&M (4-2, 1-2) tied it at 38 when Zach Calzada connected with Ainias Smith for a 25-yard touchdown strike with three minutes left. Calzada was hit as he threw the strike and had to be helped off the field but returned for the next drive after a visit to the medical tent.


Calzada returned after the Aggies forced a punt to orchestrate the winning drive, highlighted by a 17-yard pass to Isaiah Spiller before Small finished it off to send fans streaming onto the field to celebrate.

“I’m proud of our guys,” Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said. “We made plays at critical times.”

USC was dealt another humiliating loss Saturday night, falling 42-26 to Utah for its third consecutive defeat at the Coliseum this season.

Oct. 9, 2021

Calzada threw for 285 yards and three touchdowns, as the former backup played like a star to take down the reigning national champions. Devon Achane returned a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter, and Texas A&M’s defense got after Bryce Young all night.

“This is a great win,” Achane said. “It shows us that we’re capable of doing great things.”

Alabama hadn’t lost since a 48-45 win by Auburn on Nov. 30, 2019.


“Everyone needs to remember how they feel and not forget it,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said.

It’s the first time Saban has lost to one of his assistants after entering the game a perfect 24-0 in those games. He had beaten Fisher four times, the most of any of his former staffers.

“It doesn’t mean anything to me,” Fisher said about ending the former assistants streak. “Our football team is learning to play against other great football teams and have success. That’s what matters to me.”

Texas A&M also ended Alabama’s streak of 100 wins over unranked teams, dating to a win over Colorado in the 2007 Independence Bowl to cap Saban’s first season.

Young, a former Santa Ana Mater Dei standout, threw for 369 yards and three touchdowns for the Crimson Tide, and Williams had 146 yards receiving. Brian Robinson Jr. added 147 yards rushing.

at No. 3 Iowa 23, No. 4 Penn State 20

Spencer Petras threw a 44-yard touchdown pass to Nico Ragaini to complete Iowa’s comeback from a two-touchdown deficit, Penn State’s offense did next to nothing after quarterback Sean Clifford was knocked out of the game, and the Hawkeyes held on for a bruising victory.

The Hawkeyes (6-0, 3-0) took control of the Big Ten West with their 12th consecutive win and thrust themselves into the College Football Playoff conversation.

The Nittany Lions (5-1, 2-1) lost for the first time in 10 games and headed back to Happy Valley with a list of injuries that could make their path through the rest of the season difficult.

When Petras took a knee in victory formation to end the game, students and other fans poured out of their end-zone seats to celebrate. Bodies were packed together the entire width of the field from the south end zone to the 10-yard line on the other end.

“It’s a pretty special place when the lights go on and the sun goes down,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said.

With Dorian Thompson-Robinson struggling and the defense unable to show consistency, the UCLA running game was operating at full steam in a 34-16 win over Arizona.

Oct. 10, 2021

The Hawkeyes’ grinding offense isn’t built to play from behind, but it managed to come back in the biggest game at Kinnick Stadium since then-No. 1 Iowa beat then-No. 2 Michigan in 1985.

“This was like the biggest of the big time, which was pretty awesome,” Ragaini said. “You don’t get moments like this every day, taking advantage of the opportunity. It was a mentally draining game for sure, and physically draining.”

Iowa wide receiver Nico Ragaini (89) reacts after scoring a touchdown Oct. 9, 2021, in Iowa City, Iowa.
Hawkeyes wide receiver Nico Ragaini reacts after scoring on a 44-yard go-ahead touchdown catch with 6:26 left.
(Matthew Putney / Associated Press)

Iowa won the field-position battle thanks to the work of punter Tory Taylor, who repeatedly pinned Penn State deep in its own end after Clifford went out of the game in the second quarter.

Iowa chipped away with field goals by Caleb Shudak to cut it to 20-16. The winning drive started when the Hawkeyes got the ball at the Penn State 44-yard line with 6:35 left. Petras rolled to his right and found Ragaini alone on the left side. Linebacker Curtis Jacobs knocked him out of bounds but not before he got the ball over the goal line. All-American center Tyler Linderbaum was the first man to greet him in the end zone.

Penn State coach James Franklin didn’t disclose the nature of Clifford’s injury. He was hurt with the Nittany Lions leading 17-3 when he took a big hit from linebacker Jack Campbell, and he was out of uniform on the sideline in the second half.

Iowa defensive back Jack Koerner (28) trips up Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford (14) on Oct. 9, 2021.
Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford is tripped up by Iowa defensive back Jack Koerner. The Nittany Lions struggled after Clifford left because of an undisclosed injury.
(Matthew Putney / Associated Press)

After Ta’Quan Roberson took over for Clifford in the middle of the second quarter, Penn State managed just 50 yards on 46 plays the rest of the way.

“We talk about all of the important statistics all of the time, and we didn’t do a good job on any of them,” Franklin said. “We did not win the field-position battle. We did not win the turnover battle. We did not win the penalty battle. We didn’t win the explosive-play battle.”

Penn State coach James Franklin looked at home Saturday night during the Nittany Lions’ win over Auburn. Could USC lure the coach away from Happy Valley?

Sept. 19, 2021

Five of Roberson’s series started inside the Penn State 10-yard line, and a sixth started at the 11. The sellout crowd of 70,000 had a major impact when the Nittany Lions were in their own end, their roars forcing numerous false starts as Roberson’s claps for the snap went unheard by his linemen.

On the Nittany Lions’ last three possessions, they turned over the ball on downs. Matt Hankins came up with Iowa’s fourth interception of the game, and Penn State turned it over on downs again.

“We weren’t counting on the interceptions, but that was a great job there,” Ferentz said. “We played physical, knocked their quarterback out — hope he’s fine. That’s the team we have.”

˜No. 6 Oklahoma 55, No. 21 Texas 48

Oklahoma running back Kennedy Brooks celebrates after crossing the goal line with the winning touchdown.
(Jeffrey McWhorter / Associated Press)

Kennedy Brooks ran for 217 yards and two go-ahead touchdowns in the fourth quarter, including a 33-yard romp with three seconds left, and the Sooners (6-0, 3-0 Big 12) beat the Longhorns (4-2, 2-1) in the Red River Rivalry at Dallas that will soon move to the Southeastern Conference.

Oklahoma appeared to be trying to set up for a game-ending field goal when Brooks instead broke free for a sprint to the end zone after taking a direct snap.

“I just ran straight and scored,” Brooks said, crediting the offensive line and the receivers blocking downfield. “Just a great call by Lincoln Riley. It’s a great play setup.”

The Sooners hadn’t even led until Brooks had an 18-yard score with 7:10 left that made it 48-41. His rush was the first play from scrimmage after Oklahoma tied the score and kicked off to Xavier Worthy, who had the ball stripped away by Caleb Kelly.

Worthy did have nine catches for 261 yards and two scores, and his 31-yard touchdown catch tied the score with 1:23 left before the winning drive by the Sooners.

USC will be looking for consistency on offense with a balanced attack, which could be difficult against Utah’s stout defense. Kickoff is Saturday at 5 p.m.

Oct. 9, 2021

“I’m trying to think of the moments in my career that I’ve been prouder of a team,” Riley said. “If there’s any, it’s not many. We were poised, and I think we all felt like our confidence didn’t change and it didn’t get rocked by the fact that we didn’t play well early.”

Texas had a 14-0 lead less than two minutes into the game. The Longhorns, who had won three in a row since a loss to future SEC foe Arkansas in Week 2, had never lost when scoring at least 48 points.

The Sooners overcame a 21-point deficit, matching the second-largest comeback in program history. And when it was over, Oklahoma students who were part of the sellout crowd at 92,100-seat Cotton Bowl Stadium streamed onto the field to celebrate with their team.

Caleb Williams completed 15 of 24 passes for 211 yards and two touchdowns after replacing Spencer Rattler, who had two turnovers in the first half that led to Texas touchdowns. Rattler did return to throw the tying two-point conversion after Williams’ 52-yard touchdown pass to Marvin Mims with 7:25 remaining.

Longhorns quarterback Casey Thompson, whose father played for Oklahoma, was 20-for-34 passing for 388 yards and five touchdowns. Bijan Robinson ran 20 times for 137 yards and an early touchdown.

“At the end of the day, when these two teams get together, this is kind of the story, right? The ball is going up and down the field,” first-year Texas coach Steve Sarkisian said. “You’ve got to try to find a way to create turnovers, which we did early. Unfortunately, the one that we had on the kickoff return was a costly one right there in the fourth quarter.”

No. 2 Georgia 34, at No. 18 Auburn 10

Stetson Bennett passed for 231 yards and two touchdowns and guided the Bulldogs (6-0, 4-0 SEC) past the Tigers (3-2, 1-1) for the second consecutive year.

The nation’s top defense gave up only its second touchdown of the year for Georgia, which was still without injured starting quarterback JT Daniels, who formerly played at USC. None of that kept the Bulldogs from another comfortable SEC win and a fifth straight in the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry.

Bennett, who made his first college start in a top-10 matchup with Auburn last season, completed 14 of 21 passes and hit Ladd McConkey in stride for a 60-yard third-quarter score. He also had a 30-yard run.

Daniels was out because of a lat injury for the second consecutive week. Zamir White ran for 79 yards and two touchdowns.

Bo Nix and the Tigers couldn’t solve the Bulldogs’ defensive puzzle despite moving the ball at times. Georgia sacked him four times and gave up just 46 yards in 29 rushes.

Zach Charbonnet and Brittain Brown rushed for more than 100 yards apiece, helping UCLA pull away during a 34-16 road win over Arizona on Saturday night.

Oct. 9, 2021

at No. 7 Ohio State 66, Maryland 17

Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud drops back to pass against Maryland on Oct. 9, 2021.
Ohio State’s CJ Stroud, a former Rancho Cucamonga High standout, passed for five touchdowns.
(Jay LaPrete / Associated Press)

CJ Stroud threw five touchdowns passes, Ohio State scored on nine straight possessions, and the Buckeyes (5-1, 3-0 Big Ten) steamrolled the Terrapins (4-2, 1-2).

Stroud, a former Rancho Cucamonga High standout, and Ohio State had their way with Maryland. The freshman quarterback was 24 for 33 for 406 yards and threw two touchdown passes each to star wide receivers Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson against a depleted Terrapins secondary before taking a seat after three quarters.

Taulia Tagovailoa, who came in the game leading the Big Ten in completion percentage, was 28 for 39 for 279 yards and two touchdowns for Maryland.

No. 9 Michigan 32, at Nebraska 29

Jake Moody hit a 39-yard field goal with 1:24 remaining to lift the Wolverines (6-0, 3-0 Big Ten) over the upset-minded Cornhuskers (3-4, 1-3).

Moody’s fourth field goal came after Michigan defensive back Brad Hawkins forced Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez to fumble, returning it 19 yards to the Cornhuskers’ 18-yard line to set up the game-winner.

Michigan has won its first six games for the first time since starting 9-0 in 2016.

Nebraska has lost three games in four weeks to ranked teams — No. 6 Oklahoma on Sept. 18, No. 11 Michigan State two weeks ago, and Michigan — by a total of 13 points. The Huskers have now lost 14 straight games against ranked opponents, nine of them under coach Scott Frost.

Boise State 26, at No. 10 Brigham Young 17

Hank Bachmeier threw for 172 yards and the Broncos (3-3) forced four turnovers in an upset victory over the Cougars (5-1).

Cyrus Habibi-Likio ran for a season-high 75 yards and a touchdown, and Andrew Van Buren added a season-high 60 yards and a touchdown. Boise State ended a two-game skid in the series.

Jaren Hall, who returned after a two-game absence because of a rib injury, threw for a career-high 302 yards and a touchdown for BYU. Tyler Allgeier ran for 73 yards and a touchdown. The Cougars outgained the Broncos 413-312 in total yards.

No. 11 Michigan State 31, at Rutgers 13

Jalen Nailor caught touchdown passes of 63, 63 and 65 yards from Payton Thorne, and the Spartans (6-0, 3-0) used their big-play offense to remain unbeaten with a victory over the Scarlet Knights (3-3, 0-3).

Kenneth Walker, who came into the game leading all Football Bowl Subdivision players in rushing, ran for 233 yards, including a school-record 94-yard touchdown. It was the longest offensive play in Spartans history.

Michigan State is off to its best start since it won its first eight games in 2015, when it reached the College Football Playoff. Rutgers lost its third straight, all against ranked opponents.

at No. 17 Mississippi 52, No. 13 Arkansas 51

Mississippi coach Lane Kiffin speaks into his headset during the second half Oct. 9, 2021.
Coach Lane Kiffin and Mississippi held on for a wild victory.
(Rogelio V. Solis / Associated Press)

Sam Williams and Tavius Robinson pressured Arkansas quarterback KJ Jefferson on a potential game-winning two-point conversion, and the Rebels (4-1, 1-1 SEC) held on for a wild win over the Razorbacks (4-2, 1-2) after allowing a touchdown on the final play of regulation.

Arkansas scored on a nine-yard touchdown pass from Jefferson to Warren Thompson as time expired to pull within a point and decided to go for the victory. Jefferson rolled right and, under pressure from Williams and Robinson, overthrew Treylon Burks in the end zone.

Ole Miss took the lead with 1:07 remaining as Matt Corral threw a 68-yard touchdown pass to Braylon Sanders, accompanied by a soaring clipboard flip by a trailing coach Lane Kiffin racing down the home sideline.

The Razorbacks answered with a nine-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to set up the decisive two-point play.

No. 14 Notre Dame 32, at Virginia Tech 29

Jonathan Doerer kicked a 48-yard field goal with 17 seconds remaining, capping a dramatic rally to give the Fighting Irish (5-1) a victory over the Hokies (3-2).

Notre Dame tied it at 29 on Jack Coan’s four-yard pass to Avery Davis and a two-point conversion completion to Kevin Austin with 2:26 left. After forcing the Hokies to punt, Coan drove the Irish 45 yards in seven plays, and Doerer split the uprights, sparing Notre Dame a second straight loss.

Virginia Tech had taken command with an interception return for a touchdown by Jermaine Waller and another touchdown drive started by an interception and finished with a 19-yard run by Braxton Burmeister with 3:55 to play, but Coan returned after playing just the first quarter to lead the comeback.

Freshman Tyler Buchner ran for a touchdown and threw for another for Notre Dame after replacing Coan to start the second quarter, but his two second-half interceptions both turned into Virginia Tech touchdowns.

Kyren Williams ran for 81 yards and one touchdown and caught an eight-yard pass from Buchner for another score the Irish.

at No. 16 Kentucky 42, Louisiana State 21

Kentucky quarterback Will Levis (7) celebrates a touchdown during the first half Oct. 9, 2021.
Kentucky quarterback Will Levis (7) celebrates a first-half touchdown.
(Michael Clubb / Associated Press)

Will Levis threw for three touchdowns and ran for two more scores, and the Wildcats (6-0, 4-0 SEC) dominated the Tigers (3-3, 1-2) throughout.

Kentucky earned a second consecutive win over a conference heavyweight ahead of a matchup at No. 2 Georgia next week.

Levis bounced back from a lackluster stretch to account for three second-half scores alone as the Wildcats pulled away to a 35-7 lead early in the fourth quarter. The Penn State transfer sandwiched touchdown passes of 25, 11 and three yards between rushing scores of five and one yards as Kentucky outgained LSU 475-408.

Levis finished 14-for-17 passing for 145 yards. Chris Rodriguez Jr. rushed for 147 yards and a touchdown in 16 carries.

LSU’s Tyrion Davis-Price rushed for 147 yards and two touchdowns in 22 carries. Tigers star wide receiver Kayshon Boutte left the field on a cart after injuring his leg in the fourth quarter.

No. 19 Wake Forest 40, at Syracuse 37 (OT)

Wide receiver A.T. Perry caught a 22-yard pass from Sam Hartman in the left corner of the end zone, Perry’s third touchdown of the game, and the Demon Deacons (6-0, 4-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) rallied to defeat the Orange (3-3, 0-2) in overtime.

A 38-yard field goal by Andre Szmyt gave Syracuse a 37-34 lead on its first possession in overtime, but Wake Forest scored six plays later to start 6-0 for the first time since 1944.

Orange running back Sean Tucker scored on a 28-yard pass from Garrett Shrader with 21 seconds to go in regulation to cap a 94-yard drive and tie the score at 34 after the Demon Deacons had taken a 34-27 lead just three minutes earlier on a 10-yard run by Christian Beal-Smith.

Desmond Ridder helped No. 5 Cincinnati rout Temple 52-3 on Friday night, while No. 22 Arizona State used its running game to defeat Stanford 28-10.

Oct. 9, 2021

at No. 20 Florida 42, Vanderbilt 0

Emory Jones passed for 273 yards and had a career-high four touchdown throws for the Gators (4-2, 2-2 SEC) in a win over the Commodores (2-4, 0-2) to potentially quiet calls for backup Anthony Richardson.

It was a feel-good victory for Florida on homecoming after a gut-wrenching loss at Kentucky essentially knocked coach Dan Mullen’s team out of contention in the SEC’s Eastern Division.

The Gators won their eighth straight in the series and their 30th in the last 31 meetings.

No. 24 Southern Methodist 31, at Navy 24

Tanner Mordecai threw for 324 yards and two touchdowns, and the Mustangs (6-0, 2-0 American Athletic Conference) rallied from a 14-point second-quarter deficit to beat the Midshipmen (1-4, 1-2).

Bryan Massey scored on a 95-yard kickoff return to begin the comeback for unbeaten SMU. The Mustangs had the score tied by halftime and went up 31-24 on a 22-yard touchdown pass from Mordecai to Jordan Kerley with 8:19 left in the final quarter.

at No. 25 San Diego State 31, New Mexico 7

Greg Bell rushed for 111 yards and a touchdown, quarterback Jordon Brookshire added two scoring runs, and the Aztecs (5-0, 1-0 Mountain West Conference) beat the Lobos (2-4, 0-2) in Carson in their first game as a ranked team in two seasons.

Bell had a 40-yard carry on San Diego State’s first play from scrimmage and finished with his fourth 100-yard game of the season, hitting the mark before halftime of the Aztecs’ conference opener.

San Diego State is off to its second 5-0 start in 46 years, also doing it in 2017, and won a game as a ranked team for the first time since Oct. 7, 2017, against Nevada Las Vegas. The Aztecs are one of 13 remaining undefeated teams in the nation.

at Washington State 31, Oregon State 24

Washington State quarterback Jayden de Laura throws a pass during the first half Oct. 9, 2021.
Washington State’s Jayden de Laura passed for 399 yards and three touchdowns.
(Young Kwak / Associated Press)

Jayden de Laura threw for 399 yards and three touchdowns, and the Cougars (3-3, 2-2 Pac-12) beat the Beavers (4-2, 2-1).

Travell Harris caught eight passes for 147 yards for Washington State, which defeated Oregon State for the eighth consecutive time.

B.J. Baylor rushed for 145 yards and Deshaun Fenwick added 127 yards and a pair of touchdowns for the Beavers, whose four-game winning streak ended.