• BYU 40, No. 15 Texas 21: For most of the preseason, it was suggested by many that maybe, just maybe, Texas was back. Perhaps the Longhorns were poised to emerge from relative mediocrity that had plagued the program in recent years. In the last three seasons of Mack Brown’s lengthy tenure in Austin, Texas had compiled an unflattering 22-16 record. As pressure continued to mount around Brown, now was seemingly the time for the program to return to prominence.
But that narrative took a turn on Saturday against BYU. Instead, it was Cougars’ quarterback Taysom Hill who stole the show with an explosive rushing attack that gutted 15th-ranked Texas in a 40-21 win and exposed the Longhorns’ defensive struggles.
Hill had his way with the Texas defense all night in Provo, registering 259 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns alongside 131 passing yards. But Hill wasn’t the only one; the entire Cougars rushing corps had a field day against the Longhorns. Running backs Jamaal Williams (179 rushing yards on 30 carries) and Paul Lasike (15 rushes for 87 yards and a touchdown) joined in on the fun as the team averaged a whopping 7.6 yards per carry against a Big 12 defense. BYU smashed the program’s single-game rushing record, and it took only three quarters to do so.
In all, Texas allowed 681 total yards of offense to BYU, with an eye-popping 550 yards coming on the ground. While jarring, this shouldn’t be a total surprise given the Longhorns’ defensive issues in 2012. Texas allowed a total of 5,244 yards of offense last season, the most in program history, and they returned nine starters from that unit this season.
But the Longhorns aren’t contending in the Big 12 anytime soon with this defense. This was a BYU team that lost 19-16 on the road to Virginia last week. The Cavaliers held Hill in check in that game, limiting the dual-threat passer to 42 yards on 11 carries on the ground. But on Saturday, Hill spearheaded an attack that registered 32 first downs and converted 10 of 21 third downs. The Texas defense looked a little too much like last year’s model.
The Longhorns may have a developing star in David Ash at quarterback, who finished with 251 yards and two touchdowns on Saturday, but if Brown can’t manage some major improvements on the defensive side of the ball before conference play kicks off, this Texas resurgence will be only a short-lived dream – and Brown’s seat might get a little warmer in Austin. [RECAP | BOX]
• No. 17 Michigan 41, No. 14 Notre Dame 30: Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner picked a good night to honor a Wolverine legend. Gardner accounted for five total touchdowns while wearing No. 98, an ode to former Michigan great Tom Harmon, to lead the Wolverines past the Irish in Ann Arbor. SI.com’s Pete Thamel was at Michigan Stadium for the rivalry. [RECAP | BOX]
• Washington State 10, No. 25 USC 7: The hits just keep coming for Lane Kiffin and the Trojans. One week after stumbling early against Hawaii, USC recorded only 54 passing yards between Cody Kessler and Max Wittek under center, and last season’s Biletnikoff winner, receiver Marqise Lee, had a mere seven catches for 27 yards. The loss came to a Washington State team that went 3-9 in 2012, and it’s becoming clear that the USC program is stuck in neutral.
• NC State 23, Richmond 21: The Itsy Bitsy Spiders of Richmand had all but spoiled NC State’s second game of the season as they held a slim lead late in Saturday’s contest. But Wolfpack kicker Niklas Sade connected on a 48-yard field goal with 33 second left to help the ACC program survive and stay perfect on the season. [RECAP | BOX]
• Colorado 38, Central Arkansas 24: Colorado mustered only 79 rushing yards against Central Arkansas. So how exactly did the Buffaloes get the win? Because wide receiver Paul Richardson is back. The junior, who sat out the 2012 season with a knee injury, exploded for 210 yards and two touchdowns on 11 catches, and Colorado tore through the air for 348 total passing yards in a win against the Bears. [RECAP | BOX]
• No. 9 LSU 56, UAB 17: Perhaps the Cam Cameron effect is taking hold with Zach Mettenberger. The LSU quarterback found the end zone five times through the air against UAB while tallying 227 yards on 16-of-19 passing. Odell Beckham, Mettenberger’s favorite receiver on the night, caught three of those touchdown strikes alongside his 136 receiving yards. But we must fully appreciate Mettenberger’s night by comparing him with another LSU quarterback:
• No. 7 Texas A&M 65, Sam Houston State 28: The first full game of action from Johnny Manziel didn’t disappoint. The reigning Heisman winner reeled off 426 passing yards and three touchdowns while also running in another score in less than three quarters of action. Not a bad tune-up before welcoming No. 1 Alabama to town next week. [RECAP | BOX]
• Vanderbilt 38, Austin Peay 3: Vanderbilt receiver Jordan Matthews registered 111 reception yards on only six catches and a touchdown as the ‘Dores slammed Austin Peay in Nashville. Through two games, Matthews – the SEC’s leading receiver in 2012 -- has hauled in 289 receiving yards. [RECAP | BOX]
• Navy 41, Indiana 35: The Midshipmen scored on their first three possessions and jumped out to a 17-0 lead to deflate the Hoosiers early in Bloomington. Just one game removed from hanging 73 points in its season opener, Indiana couldn’t do its part on defense against Navy, allowing 444 rushing yards in the loss. [RECAP | BOX]
• Cal 37, Portland State 30: It took a fourth-quarter touchdown toss and 485-yard passing night from Cal’s Jared Goff for the Bears to escape the Vikings. At least the freshman is doing his best impression of a Sonny Dykes protégé; through two games Goff has completed 64 percent of his throws and rang up 950 yards. [RECAP | BOX]
• Virginia Tech 35, Western Carolina 3: What a welcome date on the schedule for the Hokies, who were coming off an opening-night beating from No. 1 Alabama. Tech quarterback Logan Thomas bounced back from that outing to complete 17-of-31 passes for 200 yards and a score, but he still managed to toss two picks – both intercepted in the end zone. On the bright side, the Hokies’ defense showed up again, netting three picks and keeping the Catamounts out of the end zone. [RECAP | BOX]
• No. 19 Northwestern 48, Syracuse 27: The Wildcats started the season off 2-0 thanks to both of their quarterbacks. Trevor Siemian and Kain Colter combined to finished 30-of-37 for four touchdowns and no interceptions, and Colter showed no signs of a concussion he suffered in last week’s win over Cal. Northwestern’s defense also picked off Orange quarterback Drew Allen four times. [RECAP | BOX]
• No. 16 Oklahoma 16, West Virginia 7: Redshirt freshman quarterback Trevor Knight put up an eyebrow-raising performance in Oklahoma’s opener last week, but that success didn’t translate to the new starter’s encore. Knight stumbled against the Mountaineers, throwing two third-quarter picks before landing on the bench in place of backup Blake Bell. But senior running back Brennan Clay (22 rushes, 170 yards) did most of the dirty work for the Sooners in the win. [RECAP | BOX]
• No. 22 Nebraska 56, Southern Miss 13: It’s true that Taylor Martinez and Ameer Abdullah combined for five touchdowns within the Huskers’ offense. But Nebraska’s defense stole the show early against Southern Miss, taking two interceptions back for touchdowns in the first quarter alone. The Eagles were hardly much of a threat for the rest of the way, mustering only 62 total yards on the ground. [RECAP | BOX]
• Auburn 38, Arkansas State 9: Gus Malzahn wasn’t very easy on his old team. The new Auburn coach, who returned to the Plains after one season as the headman at Arkansas State, totaled 468 yards of offense as the Tigers subdued the Red Wolves. The win snapped Arkansas State’s nine-game win streak dating back to last season -- a streak that began while Malzahn was head coach. [RECAP | BOX]
• Arkansas 31, Samford 21: The start of Bret Bielema’s first stint in Fayetteville was looking grim in the third quarter of Saturday’s meeting with Samford. The Bulldogs held a 21-17 lead in the third quarter before the Hogs’ running game took over. Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins each ran in fourth-quarter touchdown runs to stave off the upset. [RECAP | BOX]
• No. 5 Stanford 34, San Jose State 13: Running back Tyler Gaffney made a return from playing minor-league baseball last season to run for 104 yards and two touchdowns as the Cardinal cruised in their season opener. Moreover, Stanford kept San Jose State’s productive passer David Fales in check most of the night; he completed only 29-of-43 passes. [RECAP | BOX] • Arizona 58, UNLV 13: Wildcats running back Ka’Deem Carey – the country’s leading rusher last season – impressed in his season debut after sitting out Arizona’s opener last week because of disciplinary issues. Despite only entering the game in the second quarter, Carey found his groove quickly, rushing for 170 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries. [RECAP | BOX]