Top 25 Roundup
Alabama respectfully shut out Western Kentucky and Wisconsin showed that life without Russell Wilson is going to be tougher than expected.
Life without Bobby Petrino in Arkansas is even worse.
The top-ranked Crimson Tide had no trouble with the Hilltoppers, winning 35-0 on Saturday, behind AJ McCarron's four touchdown passes.
Alabama coach Nick Saban scolded the media during the week from praising his team too much and not giving Western Kentucky enough respect. Maybe he had a point. The Hilltoppers did cover the 40-point spread and managed to hold the powerful Tide running game to 103 yards on 31 carries.
But Alabama was never threatened and can focus on its first Southeastern Conference game next week at Arkansas — a team that will be trying to pick itself up after being stunned by Louisiana-Monroe, 34-31 in overtime.
Now under John L. Smith after former coach Petrino was fired for his relationship with a school employee, the eighth-ranked Razorbacks had been regarded as a dark horse pick to win the SEC. Expectations are about to change.
Kolton Browning's 16-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-one won it for the Warhawks, who outgained Arkansas 550-377.
Wisconsin's offense was a near no-show, losing 10-7 at Oregon State.
The Badgers were one of the most potent teams in the country last year with Wilson playing quarterback. They were expected to continue churning out yards, even without the quarterback who will start for Seattle in the NFL on Sunday. It hasn't been the case. After barely beating Northern Iowa last week, the Badgers couldn't get out of Corvallis, Ore., with a win.
Wisconsin star running back Montee Ball ran for only 61 yards and had his touchdown streak stopped at 21 games.
No. 1 ALABAMA 35, W. KENTUCKY 0
TUSCALOSA, Ala. (AP) — AJ McCarron passed for 219 yards and matched his career high with four touchdown passes to lead No. 1 Alabama over Western Kentucky.
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 opportunistic 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 SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA 42, SYRACUSE 29
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — 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 (2-0) working hard for four quarters at MetLife Stadium, the home of the Giants and Jets.
Led by Ryan Nassib, Syracuse (0-2) 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. 3 LSU 41, WASHINGTON 3
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Alfred Blue's explosive runs were tough for Washington to handle.
The rest of LSU's running backs made it a really long night for the overmatched Huskies.
Blue rushed for 101 yards, including a 21-yard score, and No. 3 LSU racked up 242 yards on the ground in a 41-3 victory over Washington on Saturday night.
Kenny Hilliard added a pair of short touchdowns and fullback J.C. Copeland pounded through the pile for another score for LSU (2-0), which basically ran at will while averaging nearly 5 yards per carry.
Tigers quarterback Zach Mettenberger was 12 of 18 for 195 yards, including a 32-yard scoring pass to Kadron Boone. James Wright caught five passes for 75 yards.
Keith Price was 17 of 36 for 157 yards for the Huskies (1-1). Normally a good scrambler, Price had trouble with LSU's speedy defenders, who sacked him four times and intercepted him once.
LSU has won 39 straight against non-conference opponents in the regular season, tying a Football Bowl Subdivision record first set by Kansas State.
No. 4 OREGON 42, FRESNO STATE 25
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Kenjon Barner ran for 201 yards and three touchdowns to lead No. 4 Oregon to a 42-25 victory over Fresno State on Saturday.
De'Anthony Thomas ran for 102 yards and two additional scores for the Ducks (2-0), who sprinted to a 35-6 in the first half before the Bulldogs were able to slow them a bit in the second. Redshirt freshman quarterback Marcus Mariota completed 19 of 27 passes for 166 yards and a touchdown.
Derek Carr, the younger brother of former Bulldogs QB David Carr, completed 29 of 47 passes for 234 yards and a touchdown for Fresno State (1-1), a new member of the Mountain West Conference this season. Quentin Breshears kicked four field goals, including one from 43 yards.
No. 5 FLORIDA STATE 55, SAVANNAH STATE 0
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — EJ Manuel passed for three touchdowns in the opening seven minutes and sixth-ranked Florida State's defense held lower-division Savannah State to 28 yards in a game called in the third quarter because of lightning.
The Seminoles bolted to a 35-0 lead in the first quarter as Manuel completed 11 of 13 passes for 161 yards and five different Seminoles scored touchdowns. Manuel didn't play after the opening quarter.
Florida State (2-0) led 48-0 at halftime and finished with 413 yards. James Wilder Jr. and Kelvin Benjamin each scored two touchdowns.
Savannah State (0-2), a Football Championship Subdivision school, has been outscored by a combined 139-0 in its first two games this season. It was beaten 84-0 at Oklahoma State last week, and came into the Florida State game as 70-1/2 point underdogs.
No. 6 OKLAHOMA 69, FLORIDA A&M 13
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Damien Williams ran for 156 yards and four touchdowns in a record-setting Owen Field debut, Kenny Stills added 120 yards receiving and a score, and No. 5 Oklahoma beat Florida A&M 69-13 on Saturday night.
Williams' rushing total was the most for a player in his first game at the Sooners' home field, and he became only the fourth player at the school to eclipse 100 yards rushing in each of his first two games. Adrian Peterson was the last to do it, in 2004.
Landry Jones threw for 252 yards and two touchdowns with one interception for the Sooners (2-0), who had dropped a spot in the rankings after an unimpressive 24-7 victory in their opener at UTEP.
Travis Harvey caught a 75-yard touchdown pass from Damien Fleming and finished with 118 yards receiving for Florida A&M (0-2) of the Football Championship Subdivision.
Chase Varnadore hit field goals from 41 and 46 yards for the Rattlers, who fell to 0-14 against FBS foes since beating Miami in 1979.
No. 7 GEORGIA 41, MISSOURI 20
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Aaron Murray hit Marlon Brown for two of his three touchdown passes, the second for the go-ahead score as No. 7 Georgia recovered from a shaky start with 32 second-half points that spoiled Missouri's SEC debut in a 41-20 victory on Saturday night.
The Bulldogs (2-0, 1-0) trailed 17-9 early in the third quarter before turning Missouri's SEC debut into an unsatisfying initiation for the Tigers (1-1, 0-1) and a sellout crowd of 71,004 clad in yellow and waving yellow pom-poms.
Up by 21 points with the clock winding down, Georgia's fan contingent, mostly concentrated in one corner of the end zone, chanted "Old Man Football! Old Man Football!" That was in reference to comments by excitable Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, who said he turned off the TV last week during Georgia's opening victory over Buffalo because he was unimpressed with the Bulldogs' no-frills style of play.
Brown had eight catches for 106 yards with an 11-yard score that put Georgia ahead for good at 24-20 late in the third quarter. A pair of big plays by linebacker Jarvis Jones helped put it away.
Jones returned an interception to the 1 midway through the fourth quarter to set up a score by Todd Gurley, then just three plays later he forced a fumble on a sack that gave Georgia possession at the 5 and set up a 6-yard scoring run by Ken Malcome.
LOUISIANA-MONROE 34, No. 8 ARKANSAS 31
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Kolton Browning made the most of his return to Arkansas.
Browning's 16-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-one lifted Louisiana-Monroe to a 34-31 overtime win over the No. 8 Razorbacks on Saturday night.
Browning accounted for 481 yards of total offense and four touchdowns to lead the Warhawks (1-0) to their first win over a Southeastern Conference team since defeating Alabama in 2007.
The junior made his first career start in Little Rock's War Memorial Stadium two years ago as a freshman, a 31-7 loss by the Warhawks. He showed his maturity and then some in his return, helping Louisiana-Monroe outgain Arkansas 550-377 in total yards.
The Razorbacks (1-1) played the second half without quarterback Tyler Wilson, who suffered a head injury after taking several big hits in the first half.
Wilson, who also missed the second half against New Mexico last season with concussion-like symptoms, was 11-of-20 passing for 196 yards and a pair of touchdowns before leaving the game at halftime.
No. 9 SOUTH CAROLINA 48, EAST CAROLINA 10
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP)— 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 for South Carolina (2-0).
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. (AP) — 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.
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