College Football Top 25 Review
Les Miles was all smiles. The LSU coach demanded that his team take Northwestern State seriously and hoped they'd win impressively enough that he could rest starters who will be playing a tougher opponent in less than a week. Rueben Randle (left) chipped in, hauling in five passes for 121 yards as the Tigers' starters got some rest in advance of their Southeastern Conference opener at Mississippi State on Thursday night.
Alabama and Penn State both entered this contest with unsettled quarterback situations. The Tide seem to have found their man. A.J. McCarron was collected and efficient in the win, throwing for 163 yards and a touchdown. He got some help from Trent Richardson (pictured), who rushed for 111 yards and two scores. Meanwhile, Penn State's Rob Bolden and Matt McGloin combined for 144 yards against Alabama's smothering D.
EJ Manuel threw for a career-best 329 yards and four touchdowns as Florida State (2-0) warmed for next week's showdown with idle and top-ranked Oklahoma by blasting Charleston Southern. The Seminoles, who lost to the Sooners 47-17 last year, had a 371-8 yardage advantage in the first half of a major scheduling mismatch.
Some teams struggle when traveling across the country. Not Stanford. Andrew Luck completed 20-of-28 passes for 290 yards and matched his career high with four touchdowns, connecting twice with Coby Fleener and once each with Chris Owusu (pictured) and Zach Ertz. The Cardinal have won 10 straight.
Despite the incredibly lopsided score, Oregon State actually managed to keep pace with Wisconsin in numerous key offensive areas: 17 first downs to 19, 47 percent third-down efficiency to 50 percent, 284 net yards to 397. The game turned on the Beavers' inability to run the football: OSU managed just 26 rushing yards, while Montee Ball (pictured) and the Badgers managed 208 and two scores as a team.
Oklahoma State doesn't seem to miss departed offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen too much. Brandon Weeden threw for 397 yards, Justin Blackmon caught two touchdown passes and Joseph Randle (pictured) amassed 220 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns in a rout of overmatched Arizona.
Ameer Abdullah returned a kickoff 100 yards after Fresno State made it a two-point game in the fourth quarter, and Taylor Martinez's (with ball) 46-yard touchdown run secured the Cornhuskers' victory. Martinez ran 15 times for 166 yards and two TDs and passed for another as the Huskers turned back an upset bid by the Bulldogs, who were four-touchdown underdogs.
This wouldn't have been as bad as losing to James Madison, but it wouldn't have been good, either. Virginia Tech narrowly escaped upset-minded East Carolina thanks to a go-ahead touchdown run from Josh Oglesby with 7:30 remaining. It was a particularly rough day for quarterback Logan Thomas, who completed 8-of-20 passes for 91 yards and a pick in his second career start.
Welcome to the big leagues, Jadeveon Clowney. The freshman defensive end and nation's No. 1 recruit made his presence felt in a big way on Saturday, sacking Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray and forcing a fumble that the Gamecocks returned for the decisive touchdown. It was a big day for the Georgia offense, but South Carolina scored twice off turnovers. With Georgia starting 0-2, Mark Richt's job security becomes shakier by the day.
Now there's the explosive Oregon offense we know and love. A week after struggling to get in synch in a loss to LSU, the Ducks found their stride against an overmatched Nevada squad. Darron Thomas was particularly impressive, throwing for 295 yards and six touchdowns on a mere 13 completions.
Tyler Wilson threw for 259 yards and a touchdown and Ronnie Wingo Jr. (left) accounted for 88 yards as the Razorbacks (2-0) outgained the Lobos 641-255. The Hogs' Marquel Wade returned a kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown, the team's third special teams' score of the season. Arkansas plays host to Troy next Saturday night before traveling to Tuscaloosa Sept. 24.
Trailing 27-22 with 1:43 remaining, Toledo connected on a fourth-and-14 to keep its upset hopes alive. But the Rockets couldn't pull off the magic twice, failing to complete a pass on fourth-and-five with 0:52 remaining. There was quite a streak on the line, too: Ohio State has not lost to another Ohio team since 1921.
Inches. That's what stood between Mississippi State and victory. But the Auburn defense stopped running back Vick Ballard and quarterback Chris Relf on back-to-back rush attempts to preserve a victory in one of the most thrilling games of the season to date. The defending national champion Tigers own the nation's longest winning streak at 17.
There was no slow start for Michigan State this week. The Spartans got out to a 14-0 first quarter lead and never slowed, with Le'Veon Bell (pictured) and his teammates scoring at will. The Owls had no such luck, managing a measly two first downs and 45 total yards of offense against a suffocating Michigan State defense.
A week after becoming the first player in school history to score touchdowns rushing, receiving and on a return, Chris Rainey (center) was even better. He ran 16 times for 119 yards and a touchdown, caught three passes for 43 yards and added to his growing resume as Florida (2-0) rolled. His best move came on his final run. He turned at full speed and dived across the end zone backward, capping a 19-yard run in style and ending his night with a touchdown. A fifth-year senior trying to overhaul his image after last year's five-game suspension, Rainey gouged the Blazers (0-1) for chunks of yardage nearly every time he touched the ball.
Dana Holgorsen's Air Raid attack was nowhere to be seen in the first half, as West Virginia trailed Norfolk State 12-10 at the midway point. But Geno Smith and the Mountaineers scored on their first seven possessions of the second half to erase that deficit in a hurry. The Spartans helped them out, committing 19 penalties for a whopping 177 yards.
First Arizona State made a statement with its all-black uniforms. Then the Sun Devils made a statement with their play. Brock Osweiler and Co. built a 30-16 lead on Black Out night, but James Franklin (319 yards passing, 84 yards rushing, two TDs) put Missouri on his back and forced overtime. ASU got the ball first, and Osweiler found Jamal Miles (pictured) for an 11-yard score. The Tigers couldn't answer.
B.J. Daniels threw for a career-best 359 yards and one touchdown and Demetris Murray (right) added 48 rushing yards and a score, leading South Florida (2-0). USF coach Skip Holtz was interested to see how his players would react to being ranked for the first time in nearly two years, and the Bulls responded with a focused, dominating performance.
Texas has seen something like this before: A quarterback named McCoy leading a late rally to win, pumping his fists all the way. From 2006-2009 it was Colt McCoy, who won an NCAA record 45 games. On Saturday night, it was his younger brother Case coming off the bench to help spark the Longhorns. Cody Johnson (11) powered through for two rushing touchdowns to power the Texas ground attack.
TCU's BCS hopes took a potentially lethal blow with an opening-week loss to Baylor, but the Horned Frogs aren't going to mail it in. They won their final Mountain West contest against Air Force -- and 18th consecutive league game -- despite playing without star running back Ed Wesley (shoulder) and top tackler Tanner Brock (foot).