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College Football Roundup: Gators thrash Gamecocks
No. 3 Florida lived up to its surprising BCS ranking by thrashing a South Carolina team that appeared to be a contender in the SEC.
The Gamecocks gave LSU almost all it could handle in Death Valley last week, and figured to follow up with a good showing in The Swamp.
Instead, Loucheiz Purifoy knocked the ball out of South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw’s hands on the first play, and Florida punched it in to start a 44-11 rout in Gainesville.
Jeff Driskel threw four touchdown passes _ three of them after turnovers _ and the Gators matched their win total from last season.
Florida avenged consecutive losses to the Gamecocks, including one a couple of years ago that ended with Steve Spurrier and his players celebrating a division title on the Gators’ home field.
Florida managed just 29 yards and two first downs in the first half against South Carolina (6-2, 4-2). But the Gators led 21-6 thanks to three turnovers and never looked back.
Florida’s latest whatever-it-takes win kept coach Will Muschamp’s team undefeated and put it on the cusp of the Southeastern Conference’s Eastern Division title. The Gators can clinch a spot in the SEC championship game by beating No. 13 Georgia next week.
The Gators finished 7-6 last season, barely avoiding the program’s first losing season since 1979. The struggles had outsiders questioning whether Muschamp could get them back to national prominence.
Florida’s record says he has, even if the stat sheet leaves doubts.
The Gamecocks actually outgained the Gators, 193-182, in a low-wattage affair everywhere but on the scoreboard. The Gators can use eye-popping result. Oregon is close behind the Gators in the BCS rankings and actually No. 2 in The Associated Press Top 25, which doesn’t count in the BCS, and in the coaches’ poll, which does.
The Ducks already posted a comprehensive victory at Arizona State on Thursday night, in which they reached 43 points in 20 minutes, then coasted to a 43-21 win over the Sun Devils.
No. 1 ALABAMA 44, TENNESSEE 13
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ Alabama may have a championship-caliber offense to go with its best-in-the-nation defense.
A.J. McCarron tossed four touchdown passes and threw for a career-high 306 yards as the top-ranked Crimson Tide trounced Tennessee at Neyland Stadium. Freshman receiver Amari Cooper caught seven passes for 162 yards and two touchdowns, while freshman running back T.J. Yeldon ran for 129 yards and two scored on 15 carries.
Tyler Bray went 13 of 27 for 184 yards with two interceptions and no touchdown passes for Tennessee. The Volunteers had scored at least 31 points in each of their first six games, but they couldn’t muster much offense against an Alabama team that entered leading the country in total defense, scoring defense, run defense and pass efficiency defense.
Tennessee (3-4, 0-4 SEC) has lost 11 of its last 12 SEC games and is 0-14 against the Top 25 since Derek Dooley took over the program in 2010.
More than one-third of the 102,455 fans were cheering for Alabama (7-0, 4-0). By the midway point of the fourth quarter, many of the Tennessee fans already had headed to the parking lot.
No. 4 KANSAS STATE 55, NO. 17 WEST VIRGINIA 14
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) _ Collin Klein ran for four touchdowns and threw three TD passes as Kansas State got little resistance from West Virginia in an easy victory that turned a matchup of Heisman Trophy contenders into a campaign ad for the Wildcats’ quarterback.
Klein was 19 of 21 for a career-high 323 yards and added 41 yards rushing for the Wildcats (7-0, 4-0 Big 12), the only unbeaten team in the conference.
It was no surprise the Mountaineers (5-2, 2-2) were awful on defense _ it’s been that way all season. For the second straight game, though, Geno Smith and the offense did nothing to keep it close.
Smith followed up a clunker at Texas Tech last week with an even worse game, throwing his first two interceptions of the season and finishing 21 of 32 for 143 yards. The senior has gone from Heisman front-runner to long shot in two weeks.
Kansas State scored on its first eight possessions, making it 52-7 with 2:25 left in the third quarter when Klein hit Tyler Lockett over the middle for a 20-yard score.
No. 5 NOTRE DAME 17, BRIGHAM YOUNG 14
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) _ Theo Riddick pounded his way for a career-high 143 yards and Cierre Wood added 114 yards.
Riddick had runs of 55 and 27, the two longest rushes of his career, to pace Notre Dame (7-0), which is off to its best start in a decade and has a big game ahead against No. 10 Oklahoma next week. The Cougars (4-4) fell to 0-3 on the road as they surrendered a season-high 270 yards rushing.
Backup quarterback Tommy Rees, starting in place of injured Everett Golson, completed 6 of 7 passes in the first quarter for 86 yards and a touchdown, throwing four of those to Tyler Eifert. But Rees missed his next seven passes and the Irish attempted only three passes in the second half.
Rees’ only completion of the second half was a 31-yard pass to TJ Jones with a little more than a minute left in the third quarter. Riddick ran the ball up the middle for 19 yards to the BYU 5. Three plays later, George Atkinson III scored on an end around, cutting inside BYU safety Joe Sampson for a touchdown and the final margin.
No. 6 LSU 24, No. 20 TEXAS A&M 19
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) _ Jeremy Hill rushed for a career-high 127 yards and a touchdown, and the sixth-ranked Tigers rallied from an early deficit.
Michael Ford also had a touchdown run and Zach Mettenberger threw a TD pass to Kadron Boone for the Tigers (7-1, 3-1 Southeastern Conference), who scored 21 points off four Texas A&M turnovers.
A&M (5-2, 2-2) outplayed the Tigers for much of the first half and led 12-0, LSU’s largest deficit since the national championship game against Alabama in January. But the Aggies gave away two costly turnovers just before halftime, and Boone’s diving catch in the end zone with 11 seconds left put LSU up 14-12 at the break. Hill finished off A&M with a 47-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
Johnny Manziel, A&M’s dual-threat redshirt freshman quarterback, completed 29 of 56 passes for 276 yards, but threw three interceptions and was sacked three times. He was the SEC’s leading rusher coming into the game and was held to 27 yards on 17 carries.
No. 7 OHIO STATE 29, PURDUE 22, OT
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) _ Backup Kenny Guiton came off the bench in relief of injured Braxton Miller to lead touchdown drives in the final minute of regulation and Carlos Hyde scored on a 1-yard run in in overtime.
Purdue (3-4, 0-3 Big Ten) led 22-14 when Ohio State got the ball with just 47 seconds left in regulation. Guiton, inserted when Miller went out with an undisclosed injury, hit Chris Fields on a 2-yard touchdown pass with 3 seconds remaining. Guiton then found freshman Jeff Heuerman on the conversion pass to tie it at 22.
Hyde scored on a short plunge for Ohio State (8-0, 4-0) before Purdue’s Caleb TerBush, who had two TD passes, misfired on four passes in the overtime.
Purdue had earlier scored on TerBush TD passes of 83 yards to Akeem Shavers _ on the first offensive play of the game _ and 31 yards to Gary Bush in the third quarter, along with Akeem Hunt’s 100-yard kickoff return. The Boilermakers also picked up a safety when Ohio State was called for an illegal block in the end zone in the fourth quarter.
Miller completed 9 of 20 passes for 113 yards with an interception and ran for 47 yards on 12 carries before leaving the game on the next-to-last play of the third quarter.
No. 8 OREGON STATE 21, UTAH 7
CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) _ Oregon State’s defense helped out when quarterback Cody Vaz struggled in the rain, and the undefeated Beavers beat Utah for their best start in more than a century.
Vaz made his debut last weekend as the starter in place of injured Sean Mannion and threw for three touchdowns against BYU to earn Pac-12 player of the week honors. This time, he passed for 174 yards against the Utes. But the Beavers’ defense had an interception and a fumble recovery that led to two first-half touchdown runs by Storm Woods.
Woods had all three TDs for Oregon State (6-0, 4-0 Pac-12), which hadn’t opened 6-0 since 1907, when the school was the Oregon Agricultural College. The victory also meant bowl eligibility for the Beavers, who went 3-9 last season and were picked to finish last in the Pac-12 North this year.
Freshman Travis Wilson threw for 172 yards and a touchdown for Utah (2-5, 0-4), which began conference play with four consecutive losses for the second straight season.
No. 10 OKLAHOMA 52, KANSAS 7
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) _ Landry Jones threw for 291 yards and three touchdowns, and Oklahoma scored on a kickoff return and a punt return in the same game for the first time in school history.
Justin Brown made up for a lost fumble on his previous punt return by running his next chance back 90 yards and diving at the pylon for the score. Roy Finch then opened the second half with a 100-yard runback to stretch the lead to 45-0.
The Brown-Finch combo marked the first time the Sooners (5-1, 3-1 Big 12) have had two plays at least 90 yards long in the same game.
James Sims scored on a shutout-preventing touchdown run in the fourth quarter for Kansas (1-6, 0-4), which never presented much of a challenge while losing its 16th straight conference game and 27th out of the last 28.
The Sooners’ first-team defense hasn’t given up a point in two straight weeks heading into next Saturday night’s showdown against No. 5 Notre Dame on Owen Field.
Jones and the first-team offense scored on their first six possessions.
No. 11 USC 50, COLORADO 6
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Matt Barkley threw for 298 yards and six touchdowns while setting Southern California’s career record for TD passes, and Robert Woods set a pair of school marks himself.
Barkley and Woods climbed atop the Trojans’ record books during the most prolific day of their three-year partnership at USC (6-1, 4-1 Pac-12), connecting on scoring throws of 39, 29, 17 and 3 yards in the first 35 minutes against hapless Colorado (1-6, 1-3).
That gave Woods a school record for TD receptions in a single game.
Barkley hit Woods with his 100th career touchdown pass in the second quarter to surpass Matt Leinart’s USC and conference records. Woods passed Dwayne Jarrett on USC’s career receptions list a few minutes later with his 217th career catch, going 17 yards for another TD.
USC has won four straight since its only loss, at Stanford.
Barkley tied his own single-game USC mark for TD passes while going 19 for 20 to break Rick Neuheisel’s conference record for completion percentage in a game with at least 20 passes. Barkley also hit Marqise Lee and Xavier Grimble for scores, and his only incompletion was a drop by Curtis McNeal.
Woods finished with eight catches for 132 yards. Lee had six catches for 103 yards.
No. 12 FLORIDA STATE 33, MIAMI 20
MIAMI (AP) _ EJ Manuel threw for 229 yards, Devonta Freeman ran for a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns and Florida State overcame a shaky start to beat Miami, the Seminoles’ third straight win over their archrival.
Manuel completed 21 of 31 passes for Florida State (7-1, 4-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), which won despite 12 penalties and five fumbles, two of them lost. Dustin Hopkins kicked four field goals and James Wilder added a touchdown run.
Stephen Morris, playing a week after spraining his left ankle, started and threw for 223 yards and a late touchdown for Miami (4-4, 3-2), which has lost three straight but controls its Coastal Division destiny.
Mike James had a touchdown run for the Hurricanes, who lost freshman Duke Johnson in the second half with an undisclosed injury.
Miami finished with 29 yards rushing on 21 attempts.
The win put the Seminoles a half-game ahead of Clemson in the ACC’s Atlantic Division, which has four teams with one loss in league play.
No. 13 GEORGIA 29, KENTUCKY 24
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) _ Aaron Murray threw four touchdown passes to rally Georgia over stubborn Kentucky.
The junior finished 30 of 38 for 427 yards as the Bulldogs (6-1, 4-1 SEC) stayed within reach of East-leading Florida entering next week’s showdown against the unbeaten Gators in Jacksonville, Fla.
Georgia, coming off a bye following a 35-7 loss at South Carolina, had to work hard to get past Kentucky (1-7, 0-5), which has lost six in a row. Despite outgaining the Wildcats 504-329, the Bulldogs trailed three times and needed Murray’s fourth TD for a cushion.
Two of Murray’s scores were to Tavarres King, who had nine receptions for 188 yards _ included a 66-yard TD. Arthur Lynch and Chris Conley also caught TDs for the Bulldogs.
Kentucky senior Morgan Newton had a hand in all the Wildcats’ scores, running and passing for a touchdown and leading a field-goal drive. He played the entire second half in place of freshman Jalen Whitlow, who left with a migraine.
No. 14 CLEMSON 38, VIRGINIA TECH 17
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) _ Tajh Boyd ran for two touchdowns and passed for another and Jonathan Meeks had a 74-yard interception return score and the Tigers beat the Hokies for the third straight time.
Andre Ellington had a 12-yard touchdown run and 96 yards for the Tigers (6-1, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), who relied on their much-maligned defense to bail them out of this one.
Clemson finished with three interceptions and twice stopped fourth downs to end drives by the Hokies (4-4, 2-2). Logan Thomas passed for 207 yards and ran for 99, accounting for two Virginia Tech touchdowns. He was continually harassed by the Tigers and threw two picks.
Boyd was 12 of 21 for 160 yards, 131 fewer than he averaged coming in.
Clemson tied a school record with its 11th straight home victory, something it had done twice before from 1937-42 and 1989-91. To match the mark this time, the Tigers had to count on their usually unreliable defense as their high-flying offense was largely grounded.
The Hokies put up 406 yards, but that’s still under the 445 a game Clemson had been allowing. Tigers defenders turned the tide early, halting Michael Holmes on third and fourth downs in the opening quarter to end the Hokies’ 15-play drive on Clemson’s 18.
No. 15 MISSISSIPPI STATE 45, MIDDLE TENNESSEE 3
STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) _ Tyler Russell threw for 191 yards and three touchdowns, Johnthan Banks tied a school record with his 16th career interception and Mississippi State pulled away in the second half.
Mississippi State (7-0) led just 10-3 at halftime, but scored three touchdowns in the third quarter to open a comfortable lead in the non-conference game. It was the ninth straight win for the Bulldogs, dating to last season.
LaDarius Perkins shook Mississippi State’s offense out of an extended drought midway through the third quarter, bursting through the middle of the line for a 64-yard touchdown to put the Bulldogs ahead 17-3. He finished with 125 yards rushing on 20 carries.
Mississippi State’s Chris Smith caught a career-high seven passes for 66 yards and two touchdowns.
Middle Tennessee (4-3) was led by Jordan Parker’s 66 yards rushing.
The victory sets up Mississippi State’s undefeated conference showdown at No. 1 Alabama next weekend.
No. 16 LOUISVILLE 27, SOUTH FLORIDA 25
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) _ Louisville’s perfect start appeared to be over before Teddy Bridgewater came up with one more big play.
Bridgewater threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Eli Rogers with 1:35 left, and the 16th-ranked Cardinals were off to their best opening to a season since 2006.
Louisville (7-0, 2-0 Big East) rallied after yielding 15 straight points to South Florida and a season-high 197 yards rushing.
B.J. Daniels threw three TD passes in the second half, the last one putting South Florida ahead 25-21 with 3:09 left. The Bulls had one last chance for the win, but Adrian Bushell intercepted Daniels’ last-gasp throw as time ran out, well short of the end zone.
South Florida (2-5, 0-3) has dropped five straight games. It has just one win in its last 12 conference games dating to last season.
Louisville finished with four sacks and a big goal-line stand late in the third quarter. Bridgewater was 21 of 25 for 256 yards and two TDs, and the sophomore quarterback also led the Cardinals with 74 yards rushing on 10 carries.
No. 18 TEXAS TECH 56, TCU 53, 3OT
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) _ Seth Doege tossed a touchdown pass in each of the three overtime periods, giving him seven for the game and helping Texas Tech beat TCU after blowing a late 10-point lead.
The game-winning pass was an 8-yarder to Alex Torres, which came four plays after freshman Jaden Oberkrom’s Big 12-record sixth field goal had put TCU ahead. Both teams scored touchdowns in the first two overtime periods.
TCU (5-2, 2-2), the Big 12 newcomer, has lost consecutive home games in a single season for the first time since it dropped its final two home games of 1998. Two weeks ago, the Horned Frogs lost their first Big 12 home game to Iowa State.
Doege hit Torres in the middle of the end zone to end the game with the most combined points ever for Texas Tech, and the second-most for TCU. He threw a 6-yard TD pass to Eric Ward in the first overtime, and a 25-yarder to Jakeem Grant on the first play of the second extra period.
Doege completed 30 of 42 passes for 318 yards and Texas Tech (6-1, 3-1) became bowl eligible a year after its first losing season since 1992. The Red Raiders were coming off an impressive 49-14 victory over then-No. 5 West Virginia.
No. 19 RUTGERS 35, TEMPLE 10
PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Gary Nova threw four touchdown passes in the second half to keep Rutgers undefeated.
Jawan Jamison had 114 yards rushing and 81 receiving, Nova threw for 232 yards, and the Scarlet Knights (7-0, 4-0 Big East) rallied from a 10-0 halftime deficit in their first game against Temple (3-3, 2-1) since the Owls were kicked out of the conference in 2004.
Held to just 110 total yards in the first 30 minutes, Rutgers was unstoppable in the second half. The Scarlet Knights scored on their first four possessions and racked up 271 yards.
A crowd of 35,145 was the third-largest for Temple at Lincoln Financial Field, home of the Philadelphia Eagles. There were plenty of red-clad Scarlet Knights’ fans who made the trip down the New Jersey Turnpike.
TOLEDO 29, NO. 21 CINCINNATI 23
TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) _ Bernard Reedy scored on a 91-yard kickoff return and Toledo handed Cincinnati its first loss of the season.
Cincinnati (5-1) led just once, late in the third quarter, but Reedy quickly erased the deficit with his third special teams touchdown in three weeks, putting Toledo up 26-20.
Toledo’s defense stifled Bearcats quarterback Munchie Legaux and his high-powered offense, which had been averaging 37 points per game.
Cincinnati had one last chance, getting the ball with 42 seconds left. But Legaux’s second interception of the game ended any hope for the Bearcats.
Toledo’s Jermaine Robinson returned Legaux’s first interception for a 75-yard touchdown in the first half.
The Rockets (6-1) have won six straight after a season-opening loss at Arizona.
No. 22 STANFORD 21, CALIFORNIA 3
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) _ Stepfan Taylor ran for a career-high 189 yards and one touchdown, and No. 22 Stanford got its third straight Big Game victory.
In the 115th meeting between the Bay Area schools and the first at remodeled Memorial Stadium, the sunny and serene Strawberry Canyon setting might have been Cal’s best highlight. The Cardinal outgained the Golden Bears 475 to 217 yards, outrushed Cal 252 to 3 yards and never lost its grip on the coveted Stanford Axe.
Stanford’s Josh Nunes completed 16 of 31 passes for 214 yards and a touchdown. He also fumbled and threw an interception late in the fourth quarter with the game well out of reach.
Cal (3-5, 2-3) had not scored so few points in the Big Game since losing 10-3 in 1998. The Bears fumbled three times _ losing two of them _ and had another interception of Nunes wiped out by a penalty.
NO. 23 MICHIGAN 12, MICHIGAN STATE 10
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) _ Brendan Gibbons made a 38-yard field goal with 5 seconds left, helping the Wolverines (5-2, 3-0 Big Ten) beat the Spartans (4-4, 1-3) for the first time since 2007 to avoid a school-record, five-game losing streak in the series.
Denard Robinson threw a 20-yard pass to Drew Dileo to set up the game-winning kick.
Michigan State’s Dan Conroy made a go-ahead field goal with 5:48 left after a fake punt kept the drive alive. The Spartans forced the Wolverines to punt from midfield after going ahead, but couldn’t stop them when it mattered most in the final minute.
It was the 900th win for Michigan, college football’s winningest program.
Michigan’s players sprinted toward the student section to celebrate after the win, and the fans in turn, spilled out onto the field, covering so much of it that Michigan State’s marching band walked off the field without playing a note of its planned postgame performance.
Robinson was 14 of 29 for 163 yards with an interception, a harmless turnover on an up-for-grabs pass at the end of the first half, and ran for 96 yards on 20 carries.
No. 24 BOISE STATE 32, UNLV 7
BOISE, Idaho (AP) _ D.J Harper rushed for two touchdowns and a dominating defense added one of their own to help the Broncos to their sixth straight win since an opening loss at Michigan State.
Harper scored on a 10-yard run in the first quarter then again late in the third quarter from 1-yard out to put Boise State (6-1, 3-0 Mountain West) up 32-0 at the time.
Harper rushed for 59 yards on 12 carries and quarterback Joe Southwick was 22 of 30 for 243 yards before heading to the sideline in the third quarter. Matt Miller led Boise State with five catches for 53 yards.
Boise State, in a tie for first place with Nevada, rolled up 394 total yards on offense, but it was another outstanding performance by the defense, one of the best in the nation at forcing turnovers, that helped put the game out of reach for UNLV (1-7, 1-2) early.
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