Top 25 roundup: No. 12 Oregon knocks off No. 3 Ohio State

NCAA Football: Oregon at Ohio State
Sep 11, 2021; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Oregon Ducks running back CJ Verdell (7) runs during the third quarter against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

September 12, 2021

CJ Verdell scored three touchdowns and ran for 161 yards as No. 12 Oregon overcame No. 3 Ohio State 35-28 at Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday.

Quarterback Anthony Brown was 17 of 35 for 236 yards and two touchdowns for Oregon (2-0) while also running for 65 yards.

Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud passed for 484 yards and three TDs, but the Buckeyes (1-1) never led in the defeat.

No. 1 Alabama 48, Mercer 14

The Crimson Tide methodically dominated the visiting Bears on the way to an easy victory in Tuscaloosa, Ala., in a tuneup for a showdown against 13th-ranked Florida next week.

Chris Braswell’s blocked punt in the first quarter and Jase McLellan’s 33-yard scoop-and-score got Alabama (2-0) revved up after a pedestrian start. The Tide then produced points on eight of the next nine possessions — overall scoring two first-quarter touchdowns and 17 in the second quarter on the way to a 31-0 halftime cushion.

Meanwhile, the Alabama defense was suffocating. Mercer (1-1) managed only 35 yards in the first 30 minutes and none of the Bears’ eight possessions lasted more than four plays.

No. 2 Georgia 56, UAB 7

Senior quarterback Stetson Bennett tied a school record with five touchdowns passes in place of the injured JT Daniels to lead the Bulldogs over the Blazers in Athens, Ga.

Bennett, who started five games last season for Georgia before suffering a shoulder injury and was replaced by Daniels, threw a 73-yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Burton on Georgia’s second play. He exited midway through the third quarter with the Bulldogs (2-0) leading 42-0. He went 9-for-11 passing for 279 yards.

Tight end Brock Bowers (three catches, 107 yards, 2 TDs) and Burton (three catches, 92 yards, TD) were among nine receivers with at least one catch. The Blazers (1-1) avoided the shutout when Keondre Swoopes returned an interception 61 yards for a touchdown with just over five minutes remaining.

No. 4 Oklahoma 76, Western Carolina 0

Spencer Rattler threw for 243 yards and five touchdowns — all in the first half — as the Sooners blew out the visiting Catamounts in Norman, Okla.

It was the Sooners’ biggest margin of victory since a 77-0 victory against Texas A&M in 2003 and the most points by Oklahoma in a game since a 79-10 victory over North Texas on Sept. 1, 2007.

The Sooners scored on each of their first seven possessions, including six touchdowns. None of the drives lasted longer than 3:28.

No. 5 Texas A&M 10, Colorado 7

Backup quarterback Zach Calzada threw a go-ahead TD pass to Isaiah Spiller with 2:41 left, and the Aggies rallied to beat the Buffaloes in Denver.

Calzada came on for injured starter Haynes King in the first quarter and finished 18-for-38 passing for 183 yards and the score. Spiller had six catches for 56 yards for the Aggies (2-0).

Colorado’s Jarek Broussard rushed for 51 yards and a touchdown and quarterback Brendon Lewis was 13-for-25 passing for 89 yards and an interception. He also rushed for 76 yards for the Buffaloes (1-1).

King was injured at the end of the Aggies’ second drive of the day. He was tackled on a third-and-4 scramble and appeared to have his right leg contorted as he went down. The freshman hobbled off the field and then limped to the locker room.

No. 6 Clemson 49, South Carolina State 3

D.J. Uiagalelei threw for 171 yards and accounted for three touchdowns as the Tigers established a four-touchdown lead in the first quarter on their way to routing the visiting FCS Bulldogs.

Will Shipley added 80 rushing yards and two touchdowns for the Tigers (1-1), who had a predictably easy bounce-back from their season-opening loss to then-No. 5 Georgia last week.

Backup quarterback Taisun Phommachanh added 75 yards passing and a touchdown as Clemson finished with 504 total yards offensively, converting 8 of 13 third downs. Corey Fields Jr. completed 10 of 24 passes for 132 yards with an interception for South Carolina State (0-2).

No. 7 Cincinnati 42, Murray State 7

Desmond Ridder went 14-of-22 passing for 243 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Bearcats to a home win over the FCS Racers.

The game was tied 7-7 at halftime, but the Bearcats scored 35 unanswered points in the second half to improve to 2-0. Jerome Ford rushed for 113 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries for Cincinnati.

Murray State quarterback Preston Rice went 17-of-29 passing for 149 yards and three interceptions for the Racers (1-1), who held the ball for 34:48. But Murray State hurt itself with mistakes, committing five turnovers and 11 penalties for 60 yards.

No. 8 Notre Dame 32, Toledo 29

Jack Coan found Michael Mayer for an 18-yard touchdown with 1:09 remaining as the Fighting Irish survived a wild closing stretch to edge the visiting Rockets in South Bend, Ind.

After a scoreless third quarter, the teams combined for 31 fourth-quarter points with the Fighting Irish (2-0) barely hanging on against the upset-minded Rockets (1-1). Coan finished 21 of 33 for 239 yards with two touchdowns and an interception for Notre Dame.

Toledo’s Dequan Finn scored on a 26-yard touchdown run with 1:35 to play, putting the visitors ahead 29-24. He opted not to slide at the 1, which would have given Toledo an opportunity to run out most of the clock before a last-second, field-goal attempt.

No. 10 Iowa 27, No. 9 Iowa State 17

The Hawkeyes forced four turnovers and downed the Cyclones in Ames, Iowa, to retain the Cy-Hawk Trophy.

Despite gaining only 173 yards of total offense, the Hawkeyes defeated a ranked opponent for the second straight week to open its season. Spencer Petras completed 11 of 21 passes for 106 yards and a touchdown, and Tyler Goodson rushed for 55 yards and a touchdown.

Breece Hall finished with 69 rushing yards and one touchdown for the Cyclones. Senior quarterback Brock Purdy was benched after going 13-for-27 for 138 yards and three interceptions, two of them to Hawkeyes defensive back Matt Hankins.

It was the first time in the Cy-Hawk rivalry that both teams were nationally ranked for the game. Iowa extended its series winning streak to six.

No. 11 Penn St. 44, Ball State 13

Sean Clifford accounted for two touchdowns as the Nittany Lions cruised to a home win over the Cardinals in nonconference action.

Noah Cain contributed 99 total yards and a touchdown for Penn State (2-0), which rode the momentum from last week’s road win against then-No. 12 Wisconsin. The Nittany Lions outgained the Cardinals 240-69 on the ground in their first game with fans at Beaver Stadium since November 2019.

Clifford finished 21 of 29 for 230 yards and a touchdown, and the senior added 66 yards and a score on 11 carries.

No. 13 Florida 42, South Florida 20

The Gators scored touchdowns on five consecutive possessions and coasted to a win over the host Bulls in Tampa, Fla.

The 13th-ranked Gators (2-0) got results out of their two quarterbacks, Emory Jones and Anthony Richardson.

The Gators finished with 666 yards — 363 rushing, 303 passing. Receiver Jacob Copeland caught five passes for 175 yards and two scores.

The Bulls (0-2) couldn’t overcome the 32-point deficit they faced before halftime, and made a quarterback change from starter Cade Fortin (91 yards) to Timmy McClain (83) for the second half. The Bulls gained just 283 yards of total offense, and received two rushing touchdowns from Jaren Mangham.

Stanford 42, No. 14 Southern Cal

Tanner McKee threw for two touchdowns and ran for another, and the Cardinal rolled over the Trojans in the Pac-12 Conference opener for both teams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Stanford was a considerable underdog after sputtering through a 24-7 loss to Kansas State in Arlington, Texas, on Sept. 4. But with McKee given full control of the offense after splitting snaps with Jack West in the opener, the Cardinal moved the ball effectively with a balance of run and pass.

McKee finished 16-of-23 passing for 234 yards, with touchdown throws of three yards to Elijah Higgins and six yards to Brycen Tremayne. Higgins led Stanford with five receptions for 67 yards.

Arkansas 40, No. 15 Texas 21

Quarterback KJ Jefferson had 211 combined yards, four players scored rushing touchdowns, and Cam Little kicked four field goals as the Razorbacks rolled past the Longhorns before a stadium-record crowd of 74,537 fans in Fayetteville, Ark.

Jefferson racked up a workmanlike 138 yards passing and ran for another 73 yards. Trelon Smith (a game-high 75 yards rushing), Dominique Johnson, Raheim Sanders and A.J. Green had TDs on the ground for the Razorbacks (2-0) against their future Southeastern Conference rivals.

The Arkansas defense allowed Texas (1-1) just 163 total yards through the first three quarters. Longhorns quarterback Hudson Card passed for just 61 yards and had a fumble. He was replaced by Casey Thompson late in the third quarter; Thompson ran for scores 5 and 2 yards in mop-up duty.

No. 18 Wisconsin 34, Eastern Michigan 7

Chez Mellusi had 20 carries for 144 yards and a touchdown, and the Badgers rushed to a 34-7 win over the Eagles in Madison, Wis.

Isaac Guerendo had 92 rushing yards and a touchdown, and Jalen Berger contributed 62 rushing yards and a score for the Badgers (1-1), which bounced back from a season-opening loss against Penn State. Braelon Allen added his first career touchdown on the ground for the Badgers.

David Carter had a 98-yard interception return for Eastern Michigan (1-1). The Eagles fell short on the road after winning their season opener 35-15 against St. Francis (Pa.).

No. 19 Virginia Tech 35, Middle Tennessee 14

Raheem Blackshear rushed for two second-half touchdowns as the Hokies broke a close game open and cruised past the Blue Raiders in the nonconference decision in Blacksburg, Va.

Quarterback Braxton Burmeister completed 14 of 24 passes for 142 yards and a touchdown for Virginia Tech. The Hokies finished with 383 total yards, 224 of them on the ground. The Hokies’ defense limited the Blue Raiders (1-1) to just 66 yards on 36 rushes and registered three sacks.

Middle Tennessee starting quarterback Bailey Hockman was good on 19 of 32 passes for 207 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Backup Chase Cunningham completed 7 of 8 for 76 yards and a score in the final minute.

No. 20 Ole Miss 54, Austin Peay 17

In head coach Lane Kiffin’s return to the sideline, Matt Corral fired five touchdowns in the Rebels’ victory over the visiting Governors in Oxford, Miss.

The junior quarterback tossed a touchdown pass for the 14th straight game — the third-longest streak in school history behind Chad Kelly (22) and Eli Manning (16). In a very efficient outing, Corral finished 21 of 33 for 281 yards with no interceptions as the Rebels (2-0) rolled to 630 yards of offense.

An FCS school, the Governors (1-1) entered the contest ranked No. 17 after a win over Chattanooga. Austin Peay quarterback Draylen Ellis connected on 22-of-41 passes for 226 yards passing and one touchdown.

BYU 26, No. 21 Utah 17

Quarterback Jaren Hall threw three touchdown passes and running back Tyler Allgeier rushed for 97 yards as the Cougars earned a rare win over the rival Utes in Provo, Utah.

The Cougars controlled most of the game, striking early and taking a 23-7 lead into the fourth quarter. But the No. 21 Utes scored 10 straight points to pull within six midway through the final stanza. BYU snapped its nine-game losing streak to Utah.

It was also BYU coach Kalani Sitake’s first win over the team he used to coach and his mentor, Utes coach Kyle Whittingham. This was BYU’s second win over a Pac-12 team to start the 2021 season; the Cougars opened with a win over Arizona last Saturday.

No. 22 Miami 25, Appalachian State 23

True freshman Andres Borregales kicked a 43-yard field goal with 2:04 left in the fourth quarter as the Hurricanes defeated the visiting Mountaineers.

The Hurricanes (1-1), favored by eight points, were hurt by their special teams, allowing a 100-yard kickoff return. They also had a field goal blocked.

Appalachian State (1-1) fell short of what would’ve been its biggest upset since winning at Michigan in 2007. The Mountaineers had a chance to drive for a winning field goal in the final two minutes, but they were stopped at their own 47 as Chase Brice threw incomplete on 4th-and-six.

No. 23 Arizona State 37, UNLV 10

Quarterback Jayden Daniels rushed for 122 yards on 13 carries and passed for 175 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Sun Devils over the Rebels at Tempe, Ariz.

Rachaad White, who gained 90 yards on 22 carries, rushed for two touchdowns in the second half and Arizona State’s defense limited UNLV to 19 total yards and one first down after halftime.

Daniels led the Sun Devils in the first half with 80 yards rushing nine carries while also completing 12 of 16 pass attempts for 123 yards. He completed 20 of 29 passes in the game.

No. 24 North Carolina 59, Georgia State 17

Sam Howell threw three touchdown passes and ran for two scores as the Tar Heels won their home opener by defeating the visiting Panthers in Chapel Hill, N.C., helping soothe the disappointment of a loss eight nights earlier.

Howell, a junior who’s the preseason Player of the Year in the Atlantic Coast Conference, popped a career-long 62-yard touchdown run in the waning seconds of the third quarter to become the game’s leading rusher as well passer. He finished with 104 yards on the ground on 11 carries along with going 21-for-29 for 352 yards in the air.

Georgia State quarterback Cornelious Brown IV threw for 68 yards on 12-for-26 passing with an interception.

No. 25 Auburn 62, Alabama State 0

Freshman Jarquez Hunter recorded the longest rush in school history and Georgia transfer Demetris Robertson and sophomore Tank Bigsby had big days as the Tigers overcame some early sloppy play for a shutout victory over the Hornets in Auburn, Ala.

Hunter dashed 94 yards late in the third quarter to replace Ralph Gwynne (92 yards in 1936) at the top of the school record book. Hunter finished with 147 yards on eight carries.

Robertson scored on touchdown catches of six and 28 yards and a 36-yard run and Bigsby ran for 122 yards as the Tigers (2-0, 0-0 SEC) blitzed the Hornets (1-1, 0-0 SWAC) with a school-record 35-point third quarter. Alabama State managed only 176 yards in total offense and had only three drives reach Tigers territory, including one that started at Auburn’s 43-yard line.

–Field Level Media