TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — AJ McCarron passed for 219 yards and matched his career high with four touchdown passes to lead No. 1 Alabama to a 35-0 win over Western Kentucky on Saturday.
McCarron had two scoring tosses apiece to Christion Jones and Kevin Norwood in a performance that was more about big plays than consistent, muscle-flexing dominance for the top-ranked Crimson Tide (2-0). The Hilltoppers (1-1) were 40-point underdogs and the sandwich opponent between top 10 opponents Michigan and No. 8 Arkansas.
A running game that produced 232 yards against the Wolverines took a back seat to McCarron and the capitalistic defense. McCarron completed 14 of 19 passes and played all but the final series.
Norwood caught three passes for 92 yards.
Kawaun Jakes competed 20 of 31 passes for 178 yards for the Hilltoppers, who also played LSU last season.
NO. 2 USC 42, SYRACUSE 29
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Matt Barkley matched a school record with six touchdown passes, and Robert Woods was spectacular with 200 all-purpose yards and two scores.
The rare trip to the Northeast for the Trojans was choppy at times, and Syracuse's hurry-up offense kept USC working hard for four quarters at MetLife Stadium, the home of the Giants and Jets.
Led by Ryan Nassib, Syracuse kept things close with consecutive touchdowns in the third quarter to make it 21-16 heading into the fourth. Nassib finished with 322 yards passing, two touchdown passes and a touchdown run.
But the Orange simply had no answer for Woods.
The All-American reached over a defender for a 29-yard score in the second quarter and boxed out a defensive back on a 4-yard touchdown in the third. He finished with 10 catches for 93 yards.
NO. 9 SOUTH CAROLINA 48, EAST CAROLINA 10
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Dylan Thompson completed 21 of 37 passes for 330 yards and three touchdowns.
Thompson started the game in place of the injured Connor Shaw, and left little doubt coach Steve Spurrier made the right choice to let Shaw rest.
Thompson’s first completion was a 53-yard pass to Damiere Byrd. He finished the game averaging almost 16 yards a completion and did not throw an interception.
The rejuvenated passing game allowed Spurrier to use star running back Marcus Lattimore sparingly. He gained 40 yards on 13 carries.
East Carolina (1-1) gained 403 yards. But the Pirates turned the ball over five times, including four interceptions and a fumble in just 16 plays.
NO. 11 MICHIGAN STATE 41, CENTRAL MICHIGAN 7
MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. — Andrew Maxwell threw for 275 yards and two touchdowns, and the Spartans (2-0) scored 10 points in the final minute of the first half to take a 24-0 lead.
Michigan State was playing at Central Michigan (1-1) for the first time, part of a decade-long series of games against the Chippewas, Eastern Michigan and Western Michigan.
Le’Veon Bell had 70 yards on 18 carries with two touchdowns, shouldering a lighter load after carrying 44 times for 210 yards in Michigan State's opener against Boise State.
The Spartans haven’t allowed an offensive touchdown this season.
NO. 12 CLEMSON 52,
BALL STATE 27
CLEMSON, S.C. — DeAndre Hopkins caught three touchdown passes, Andre Ellington rushed for two scores and Spencer Benton kicked a 61-yard field goal to set an Atlantic Coast Conference record.
Ellington's two short TD runs helped the Tigers (2-0) get off to a fast start, and Tajh Boyd found Hopkins for touchdown passes of 13, 34 and 15 yards in the second period to help increase the lead to 35-10. Benton finished the Tigers' 45-point half with his record-setting kick as time ran out.
Ball State (1-1) had hoped to use its fast-paced attack to keep up. But Keith Wenning threw two interceptions, both which led to Clemson scores.
The Tigers had 526 yards of offense, surpassing 500 for a second straight week. And they racked up all those yards without record-setting receiver Sammy Watkins, who is set to return after missing the first two games because of a drug arrest.
OREGON STATE 10,
NO. 13 WISCONSIN 7
CORVALLIS, Ore. — Sean Mannion threw for 276 yards and a touchdown, Oregon State’s defense smothered Wisconsin's Montee Ball and the Beavers upset the No. 13 Badgers.
Mannion connected with Brandin Cooks on a 20-yard touchdown on the opening drive of the second half to give the Beavers a 10-0 lead then turned it over to the Oregon State (1-0) defense that forced two turnovers and held Ball to 61 yards rushing.
The win snapped Wisconsin's 33-game non-conference winning streak, the second-longest in the country behind LSU.
Wisconsin finished with 207 yards and only 35 on the ground. It was the lowest total yards for Wisconsin in five years. The previous non-conference loss for Wisconsin (1-1) came early in the 2003 season when the Badgers lost to UNLV.
It took 41 years for a Big Ten team to visit Corvallis after Iowa was handed a 33-19 loss in 1971. With this kind of reception from the Beavers, it might be 41 more.
NO. 14 OHIO STATE 31,
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Braxton Miller became the first Ohio State quarterback to rush for three touchdowns in 34 years, and passed for another score.
A week after setting a school record for quarterbacks with 161 rushing yards in a 56-10 win over Miami (Ohio), Miller finished with 141 yards on 27 carries. His number kept coming up after starting running back Carlos Hyde left with a first-half knee injury.
Miller’s scoring runs covered 37, 6 and 8 yards. He also found Jake Stoneburner on a 12-yard touchdown pass for the Buckeyes (2-0).
Blake Bortles threw two TD passes for UCF (1-1) but he was also intercepted three times.
Bortles completed 25 of 41 passes, including TDs of 1 yard to Justin Tukes and 2 to Billy Giovanetti. Storm Johnson, starting in place of Latavius Murray, out with a shoulder injury, rushed for 75 yards on 12 carries.
NO. 15 VIRGINIA TECH 42,
AUSTIN PEAY 7
BLACKSBURG, Va. — With the offense struggling, Virginia Tech turned to special teams for a pair of big plays.
Kyshoen Jarrett reeled off a 46-yard punt return to set up the No. 15 Hokies' first touchdown, and Tony Gregory's punt block led to their second score before Virginia Tech — playing its second game in six days after a season-opening overtime win over Georgia Tech — finally got untracked.
The Hokies (2-0), long noted for their special teams play, finally put together a 71-yard drive in the closing 1:32 of the first half. That was followed by an 80-yard scoring march on their second possession of the second half for a 28-0 lead, and the rout of an overmatched FCS opponent was finally on.
The Governors (0-2) responded with a six-play, 78-yard drive of their own to extend their string of consecutive games without being shut out to 75. Wes Kitts had a 32-yard run on the drive to go over 100 yards for the second consecutive week, and Terrence Oliver scored on an 8-yard run.
NO. 19 MICHIGAN 31, AIR FORCE 25
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Denard Robinson ran for 218 yards, threw for 208 and scored four touchdowns.
Robinson became the first player in major college football history to have at least 200 yards rushing and 200 passing in three games, according to the NCAA records book.
The Wolverines (1-1) bounced back after a 41-14 loss to Alabama, though they had a tough time beating the Falcons (1-1) in a game they were favored to win by three touchdowns.
Cody Getz ran for 130 yards, with his third rushing TD and a 2-point conversion pulling Air Force within three early in the fourth.
Air Force quarterback Connor Dietz was 10 of 19 for 127 yards and ran for 61 of his team's 290 yards rushing.
NO. 22 NOTRE DAME 20, PURDUE 17
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Tommy Rees relieved starter Everett Golson late in the fourth quarter and led Notre Dame on a winning drive in the final minutes.
Kyle Brindza kicked a 27-yard field goal with seven seconds to go.
Rees, who was suspended for the opener after he was involved in a skirmish with police at a party in May, started 12 games last season.
Purdue (1-1) tied the game at 17-17 when Caleb TerBush threw a 15-yard TD pass to Antavian Edison with 2:12 left, the score set up by Josh Johnson's recovery of a fumble by Golson. He was shaken up on the play and the Irish turned to Rees.
Rees connected on key third down passes of 10 yards to John Goodman and 21 yards to Robby Toma to get Brindza in position for the game-winning kick. Notre Dame is 2-0 for the first time since 2008.
NO. 23 LOUISVILLE 35, MISSOURI STATE 7
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Teddy Bridgewater kept No. 23 Louisville's offense clicking Saturday by passing for a career-high 344 yards and two touchdowns.
Despite a statistical falloff from last week's 19-of-21 effort against Kentucky, Bridgewater still completed 30 of 39 passing attempts. He once again involved others and often, with seven of his 10 targets catching at least three passes.
Eli Rogers led the way with six receptions, while Charles Gaines had a game-high 73 yards. Tight ends Nate Nord and Ryan Hubbell caught TDs as the Cardinals totaled 475 yards, eight more than last week.
Missouri State (0-2) did little against Louisville's defense, gaining just 222 yards with its lone touchdown of the season coming late in the first half. Ashton Glaser was just 14-of-23 passing for 125 yards with a sack and an interception.
NO. 24 FLORIDA 20, TEXAS A&M 17
COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Mike Gillislee ran for 83 yards and two touchdowns and No. 24 Florida shut down Texas A&M's offense in the second half in the Aggies' first Southeastern Conference game after moving from the Big 12.
Florida trailed 17-10 at halftime after a first half where Texas A&M's offense under new coach Kevin Sumlin pretty much did what it wanted. Things changed in the second half as the Gators clamped down and forced punts each of A&M's six possessions after the break.
Caleb Sturgis helped Florida cut A&M's lead to 17-13 with a 25-yard field goal early in the third quarter.
Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel looked indecisive most of the day and was sacked eight times. But he made a play when he had to, finding Omarius Hines on a 39-yard completion to propel a drive early in the fourth quarter.
Texas A&M freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel threw for 173 yards and ran for 60 more, but he couldn't move A&M's offense after halftime.