Sept. 6, 2008
East Carolina 24, No. 8 West Virginia 3
Skip Holtz followed his biggest coaching victory at East Carolina with an even more impressive one.
Jonathan Williams had two short touchdown runs, quarterback Patrick Pinkney was nearly perfect and the Pirates routed No. 8 West Virginia 24-3 on Saturday for their third straight win over a ranked team.
Pinkney was 22-of-28 for 236 yards with a touchdown for East Carolina (2-0), which opened the season with a last-minute upset of then-No. 17 Virginia Tech.
This one was decided much earlier. The Pirates never trailed, kept Pat White in check, outgained West Virginia 386-251 and were in control from start to finish.
They cruised to their first upset of a top-10 team since the Steve Logan-led team stunned then-No. 9 Miami 27-23 on Sept. 23, 1999, in a game played 90 miles west in Raleigh because of Hurricane Floyd-related damage.
These Pirates may have done something even more remarkable -- they followed last season's Hawaii Bowl victory over then-No. 22 Boise State by taking care of the two toughest teams on this year's schedule. Those wins could propel them back into the Top 25 for the first time since '99 while keeping them in the conversation for an at-large BCS berth.
White rushed for 97 yards on 20 carries and finished 11-of-18 for 72 yards for the Mountaineers (1-1), who for the second time in four games as a top-10 team were stunned by an unranked team dating back to a loss to Pittsburgh last December that kept them out of the national championship game.
Pat McAfee kicked a 26-yard field goal midway through the second quarter for West Virginia's only points. The Mountaineers were held without a touchdown for the first time since a 45-3 loss at Miami in 2001.
East Carolina entered just 2-17 against West Virginia with seven straight losses in the series, but claimed a surprisingly easy victory by keeping the ball away from WVU's high-powered offense and wearing down an inexperienced defense.
The Pirates had three scoring drives of 11 or more plays and went longer than six minutes, and Williams capped two of them with scoring runs of 5 and 1 yards. His second score came on East Carolina's first possession of the second half, closed a 12-play drive that included three third-down conversions and sent the crowd into delirium.
Williams, one of the committee of running backs Holtz is counting on to replace Tennessee Titans first-round draft pick Chris Johnson, led East Carolina with 69 yards on 17 carries.
He started the scoring with a 5-yard run that capped the Pirates' 11-play opening drive and came two plays after Pinkney's 35-yard completion to Jamar Bryant on third-and-9.
Ben Ryan added a 42-yard field goal midway through the second to make it 10-0, and the Pirates pushed their lead to 14 by turning West Virginia's second turnover into a touchdown. Marcus Hands recovered Jock Sanders' fumble at the Mountaineers' 35, and four plays later Pinkney's lofted a 13-yard pass to Taylor over cornerback Brandon Hogan to make it 17-3 with 47 seconds before halftime.
1. East Carolina is the first Conference USA team to defeat a top 10 opponent since Louisville defeated No. 4 Florida State on Sept. 26, 2002.
2. East Carolina is the first C-USA team to post two wins over a ranked team in the same season since Southern Miss in 2000.
3. The win was C-USA's first-ever in a game against a nationally-ranked Big East school and the first win over a Big East opponent since 2003.
4. The victory was East Carolina's third consecutive over a nationally-ranked team (No. 15 Virginia Tech last Saturday and No. 22 Boise State in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl to conclude the 2007 season.
5. East Carolina is the only team in the country to defeat two nationally-ranked opponents to open the 2008 season.
No. 9 Auburn 27, Southern Miss 13
A defense that went the first 102 minutes of the season without allowing a point gave up two touchdowns in the final 18.
The final 4:59 was eventful. Auburn's Jerraud Powers and Zac Etheridge had interceptions and the Tigers had a had a fourth-down stop and recovered a last-play fumble.
Ben Tate ran for 71 yards and a touchdown and caught three passes for 51 yards for the Tigers. Injury-plagued reserve Tristan Davis had a 13-yard scoring run in his first carry since late in the 2005 season.
Burns, last week's starting quarterback, didn't play in the first half and was 0-for-3 with an interception for the Tigers.
"Kodi got a little lackadaisical," Tuberville said. "You can't come in and do what he did. Every snap in college football is important."
Burns did run for a 1-yard touchdown after being listed as questionable with a cut on his left leg. Todd passed for 59 yards to set up that score.
The Golden Eagles' spread offense starting giving Auburn trouble in the second half.
Austin Davis threw a pair of scoring passes to lead Southern Miss back from a 24-0 deficit. He converted a fourth-and-long pass on both drives.
His 17-yard strike to Shawn Nelson capped a 90-yard march and made it 24-13 with 11:48 remaining - the two-point attempt had failed after the first score - and prompted chants of "USM" from the small contingent of fans hoping an upset was in the making.
"We came out in the third quarter flat and they started making some plays," Powers said.
Todd then led a drive that milked the clock and set up Wes Byrum's second field goal, adding to a career-best 52-yarder in the first half.
After racking up 51 points and a school-record 633 yards in an opening win over Louisiana-Lafayette, the Golden Eagles managed just 305 yards. Damion Fletcher, who gained 220 yards a week earlier, was limited to 29 yards on 13 carries but added six catches for 57 more.
"Holding him to 30 yards obviously is huge," Tuberville said. "It forces them to throw the ball down the field. They made some plays but we also picked a few passes off, and that was the difference in the ball game."
Davis completed 33-of-50 passes for 268 yards, most of that coming in the second half.
Nelson had 12 catches for 118 yards and two touchdowns and freshman DeAndre Brown gained 88 yards on eight receptions.
"You can't make any excuses," Southern Miss coach Larry Fedora said. "They're a good football team. I think if you asked any of our players they were disappointed with the way we executed. We shot ourselves in the foot a lot of times."
Todd showed some ability to improvise after completing an underhanded a pass to Tate for a 26-yard gain while falling forward.
The Tigers' first three possessions ended in Southern Miss territory with fumbles by Lester and Tate and a punt. Robert Dunn's punt returns of 32 and 47 yards set up a touchdown and field goal in the half.
No. 11 Wisconsin 51, Marshall 14
Allan Everidge led a powerful Wisconsin offense, delivering 308 yards and one touchdown through the air on 17-of-26 passing as the No. 11-ranked Badgers scored 51 unanswered points to erase an early 14-0 Marshall lead.
Five Wisconsin players combined for 158 yards and six touchdowns on the ground. Wisconsin tallied 486 yards overall. The Badger defense forced three Marshall turnovers, including two interceptions by cornerback Niles Brinkley.
Marshall was led offensively by wide receiver Darius Passmore who finished the day with 95 yards on seven receptions. Freshman Mark Cann threw for 211 yards but had two costly interceptions. Darius Marshall led the Herd on the ground with 50 yards and, he accounted for both Marshall touchdowns.
The Herd startled a near capacity crowd of 80,386 in historic Camp Randall Stadium by jumping out to a 14-0 lead with 13:34 left in the first half.
Marshall's first score came on a one yard rush from Darius Marshall at 4:08 in the first quarter, just three plays after Cann connected with Passmore for a 36 yard completion to set the Herd up with first-and-goal.
Cann continued to complete crucial third down passes to keep the chains moving on Marshall's next drive, including a 25 yard screen to Lee Smith to the Badgers' one yard line. On the next play, Darius Marshall punched in his second touchdown to put the Herd up 14-0.
The Badgers regained control of the game and took the lead with scores on three of their final four possessions of the half. P.J. Hill and Zach Phillip recorded rushing scores of three and two yards respectively and Philip Welch booted a 45 yard field goal to give Wisconsin a three point lead heading to the locker room.
Marshall dug itself into a deep hole in third quarter, turning the ball over on three consecutive possessions. First, Cann was intercepted by Brinkley to set up Wisconsin deep in Herd territory. Wisconsin capitalized as Hill chalked up his second score of the day.
On his next drive Cann was picked off again, this time by Wisconsin safety Shane Carter. Once again a turnover quickly resulted in a Badger touchdown. Evridge hit tight end Garrett Graham for a 26-yard touchdown strike on the next play.
The third interception came from backup quarterback Brian Anderson whose pass bounced off Passmore's hip and was snatched by Brinkley. The Marshall defense was able to stall out the Wisconsin drive, but on their next possession the Badgers went 76 yards and John Clay became the third UW back to rush for a touchdown.
Bradie Ewing tacked on another touchdown for Wisconsin and Clay bulled his way in for his second score with 4:49 remaining.
Marshall will return to Joan C. Edwards Stadium next week for a 7 p.m. contest with Conference USA foe Memphis that will be televised on CSS.
Florida Atlantic 49, UAB 34
FAU's Rusty Smith threw three touchdown passes and Charles Pierre ran for two touchdowns as Florida Atlantic defeated UAB 49-34 on Saturday afternoon.
Cortez Gent threw a touchdown pass and caught another, and Lester Jean caught two touchdown passes for Florida Atlantic (1-1). Di'Ivory Edgecomb and Chris Bonner also scored touchdowns for Florida Atlantic.
Smith finished 21-for-34 for 325 yards.
Joe Webb threw two touchdown passes for UAB (0-2). He was 26-for-48 for 326 yards. Aaron Johns and Justin Brooks rushed for touchdowns for the Blazers.
Trailing 42-34, the Blazers were on the Owls' 28-yard line with less than a minute to play when a fourth-down pass by Webb went over the head of receiver Mike Jones. On the ensuing play, Florida Atlantic's Pierre ran 73 yards for a touchdown.
Trailing 21-3, UAB got back in the game with a pair of second-quarter touchdowns. Webb hit Zach Lankford with a 20-yard touchdown pass to make it 21-10. A gaffe by Florida Atlantic on the ensuing kickoff gave UAB the ball back. The Owls allowed the kickoff to bounce behind kick returner Jeff Blanchard, and UAB's Ugonna Amarikwa pounced on the loose ball at the 28-yard line. Three plays later, Webb threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Frantrell Forrest to close to 21-17.
Florida Atlantic answered with a 30-yard touchdown pass from Smith to Gent to stretch the lead to 28-17 at the half.
The Owls scored on their opening drive with a little trickery. Wide receiver Gent took the handoff on a reverse and tossed a 33-yard touchdown pass to Bonner in the corner of the end zone to give them a 7-0 lead.
Oklahoma State 56, Houston 37
Dez Bryant had 236 yards receiving and scored four touchdowns and Kendall Hunter rushed for 210 yards and two touchdowns as Oklahoma State held off Houston 56-37 on Saturday night.
Bryant and Hunter helped the Cowboys finish with 699 yards of total offense, the second-best total in school history. The school record of 717 was set against Kansas in 1988.
Oklahoma State trailed 16-14 at halftime, but the Cowboys scored on their first five second-half possessions to break open the game against Houston (1-1), which was seeking its first win over a Bowl Championship Series-conference opponent since beating the Cowboys two years ago.
Houston's Case Keenum completed 35 of 62 passes for 387 yards and four touchdowns as the Cougars kept things interesting most of the way but couldn't overcome Oklahoma State's initial second-half burst.
Oklahoma State, playing its first game at Boone Pickens Stadium since the addition of a west-end seating bowl, won its 13th straight home opener, the longest streak in school history.
Hunter, a sophomore who carried 22 times, finished with the highest single-game rushing total by an Oklahoma State player since Dantrell Savage had 212 yards last season against Nebraska.
Bryant, also a sophomore, had nine catches and the best receiving game by a Cowboy since Adarius Bowman had 300 yards receiving against Kansas in 2006. He capped his night with a 71-yard punt return for a touchdown.
Besides Bryant, only two other Oklahoma State players caught a pass. Zac Robinson finished 14 of 21 passing for 320 yards and three touchdowns.
Keith Toston gave Oklahoma State the lead for good at 21-16 on a 5-yard touchdown run 95 seconds into the second half. After a Houston fumble, Robinson hit Bryant on a 29-yard touchdown pass, and the two connected again on a 74-yard scoring pass, making it 35-16 with 8:47 left in the third quarter.
The Cougars' 16 first-half points all came after Oklahoma State turnovers.
Oklahoma State took a 7-0 lead on its third offensive play, with Hunter scoring untouched on a career-long 58-yard run. Then, with the Cowboys poised to take a two-touchdown lead, Robinson then threw his first interception - to Houston's Brandon Brinkley - into the end zone.
Houston then went 80 yards in 10 plays, capped by a 2-yard scoring run by Bryce Beall.
Another Oklahoma State turnover - a fumble on an exchange between Robinson and Hunter near midfield - led to a 27-yard field goal by Houston's Ben Bell.
Houston's Ernest Miller returned an interception 71 yards to the Oklahoma State 5, and two plays later, Keenum hit tight end Mark Hafner on a 6-yard touchdown pass. The extra-point snap went awry, leaving the score 16-7.
Robinson answered with a 39-yard touchdown pass to Bryant 1:23 before halftime. On Houston's next offensive play, Tyron Carrier took a short pass from Keenum and went 77 yards for an apparent score, but an illegal procedure penalty wiped it out.
No. 13 Alabama 20, Tulane 6
Javier Arenas returned a punt 87 yards for a touchdown and No. 13 Alabama held on Saturday for a shaky 20-6 win over Tulane, forced out of New Orleans a week ago by the threat of Hurricane Gustav.
Just one game after looking like world beaters against then-No. 9 Clemson, a listless Alabama (2-0) allowed four sacks of John Parker Wilson, fumbled once, missed two kicks and gained only 172 yards - just 38 in the first half.
Playing in its season opener after days of hotel food and worrying about friends and family back in Louisiana, Tulane kept the Tide offense off balance but managed only field goals of 35 and 21 yards by Ross Thevenot, who missed two more.
Arenas gave 'Bama all the points it needed early.
Tulane's first drive stalled on the Alabama 46, and Darren deRochemont punted. Arenas caught the ball at his own 13, broke a tackle and cut down the left sideline for a TD that had fans screaming wildly.
DeRochemont was forced to punt two drives later from the Green Wave 23, but Roy Upchurch made a diving block. Chris Rogers scooped up the ball and ran 17 yards for a score.
The special teams theatrics over, Alabama's offense sputtered badly. Scattered boos got louder after the offensive line allowed three sacks in the second quarter alone, and freshman Corey Smith, in briefly for the injured Leigh Tiffin, missed a point-after kick and a 37-yard field goal.
Alabama didn't manage an offensive touchdown until the end of the third quarter, when Mark Ingram scored on a 15-yard run to cap a 77-yard, 11-play drive that wore down the Tulane defense.
With Alabama missing injured offensive line starters Andre Smith and Marlon Davis, Wilson was under pressure all night. He completed just 11 of 23 passes for 73 yards but didn't thrown an interception.
Arenas, who set an Alabama record with 212 return yards, left injured in the third quarter after getting leveled by Jordan Ellis on a punt return. His condition wasn't immediately known.
Tulane's Thevenot was wide left on field goal attempts from 41 and 23 yards.
The Tulane team evacuated its New Orleans campus Aug. 30 as Gustav roared through the Gulf of Mexico toward a landfall. The squad spent a week in a hotel in Birmingham, alternately practicing at Samford University and watching movies and bowling to kill time.
Tulsa 56, North Texas 26
Tulsa used a first-half scoring barrage to capture a 56-26 victory over the North Texas Mean Green in non-conference action on Saturday night in front of 22,785 fans at Fouts Field.
Hurricane quarterback David Johnson completed 25-of-33 passes for 418 yards and a career-best six touchdowns to six different receivers. The six TD passes is the most for a Tulsa quarterback since the 1993 season when Gus Frerotte threw six touchdown passes against East Carolina.
Tulsa improved to 2-0 on the season and it was the first time that Tulsa opened the season with two wins in its first two road games in a season. The Mean Green dropped to 0-2 on the year. The Hurricane will have an off week next Saturday before playing New Mexico in its home opener at the newly renovated H.A. Chapman Stadium on September 20.
Tulsa built a 42-10 halftime lead as Johnson threw for four touchdown passes and ran for another one as the Hurricane accounted for 300 of its 555 total yards in the first half, and the Tulsa defense held the Mean Green to 169 first-half yards.
Tulsa scored on its first possession of the game, traveling 57 yards in 12 plays to take a 7-0 lead at the 9:17 mark of the first quarter. The Hurricane converted 2-of-2 third downs and one fourth down try en route to its first score.
The Hurricane scored on its second drive going 53 yards in three plays to take a 14-0 lead, as Johnson threw an 18-yard TD strike to true freshman Damaris Johnson for his first collegiate touchdown.
The Mean Green scored its first touchdown with 2:02 left in the first period as Lance Dunbar ran in from two yards out to cap a 7-play, 70-yard drive.
Tulsa took its first possession of the second quarter 67 yards in eight plays to take a 21-7 lead, as David Johnson ran in from four yards out for the score at the 10:21 mark. The Hurricane added to its lead on the next possession going 80 yards in seven plays and taking 2:46 of the clock. Johnson threw an 11-yard toss to Charles Clay for the touchdown at the 5:18 mark of the first half.
On the subsequent kickoff, Tulsa's Ade' Manga recovered a fumbled kick at the North Texas seven-yard line. Three plays later, Johnson threw a five-yard TD toss to Jake Collums to take a 35-7 lead at the 4:32 mark.
The Hurricane defense held on a fourth down and two for the Mean Green at the 50-yard line as John Destin broke up a North Texas pass in the end zone. The Tulsa offense then went 50 yards in xx plays as Johnson connected on his fourth touchdown pass of the game, this time going 22 yards to Trae Johnson.
The Mean Green used a 47-yard field goal as time expired for its 10th point of the game, but the Hurricane held a 32-point first half advantage with a 42-10 halftime lead.
At the half, the Hurricane held a 300 to 169-yard edge in total yards, with 213 coming through the air and 87 yards on the ground. The Hurricane scored on all six of its possessions in the red zone.
Tulsa's first drive of the second half stalled on a fourth down pass attempt that was batted down, while North Texas then went 62 yards in 10 plays for another three points as Jeremy Knott hit a 22-yard field goal for the home team to make the score 42-13.
Unlike the first half, when the Hurricane scored on its first two possessions, the Hurricane failed to score on its first two second half drives. The second one ended in a missed 39-yard field goal. But on Tulsa's third possession after a Moton Hopkins fumble recovery, the Hurricane offense went 64 yards in three plays as Johnson hit Brennan Marion for a 50-yard TD strike giving the Hurricane its first second half score with 14:12 gone in the half.
UNT scored with 9:55 left in the game on a 32-yard pass from Giovanni Vizza to Casey Fitzgerald, capping an eight-play, 62-yard drive to cut Tulsa's lead to 49-19.
The Hurricane added to it score with a five-play, 58-yard drive that resulted in a 22-yard pass play from Johnson to Whitmore. The Mean Green then marched 80 yards in nine plays to make the score 56-26 with 4:01 left in the game.
No. 17 South Florida 31, UCF 24 (OT)
After rallying from 14 points down with less than three minutes left in the fourth quarter to force overtime, UCF (1-1) fell short 31-24 to visiting No. 17/18 USF (2-0) Saturday night in front of a Bright House Networks Stadium record 46,805 fans. The Knights trailed 24-10 late in regulation before two touchdown passes from junior Michael Greco forced overtime.
With UCF trailing 31-24 in overtime after a Bulls' touchdown, the Knights' Ronnie Weaver carried three times for nine yards to set up a fourth-and-one. After a false start penalty pushed the ball back four yards, Greco scrambled across the line of scrimmage, but his rush came up just inches shy of the first-down marker to end the game.
USF had the ball first in overtime, and quarterback Matt Grothe connected to Taurus Johnson on a 25-yard touchdown on third-and-10 for the lead.
Trailing 24-17 with 1:40 remaining in the fourth quarter, Greco found senior Rocky Ross for a 31-yard touchdown strike. The ensuing extra point knotted the game at 24-24. A USF three-and-out and a 35-yard punt return by senior Joe Burnett gave the Knights possession with 2:09 remaining in the fourth.
Trailing 24-10, UCF mounted their comeback with 3:24 left the fourth quarter. A four-play, 38-yard scoring drive followed a Bruce Miller interception. Greco found junior tight end Corey Rabazinski for a 13-yard touchdown completion that made it 24-17 with 2:46 on the game clock.
Greco finished the game 17-for-32 with 150 passing yards and two touchdowns. He set new career highs for completions, attempts and touchdowns.
Grothe and wide receiver Cedric Hill connected twice as the Bulls outscored the hosts 14-0 in the third quarter to open up a two touchdown cushion. Leading 17-10, Grothe engineered a 68-yard drive in just four plays and a minute and 27 seconds. He found Hill over the top for a 27-yard touchdown with 1:38 left in the period.
The Bulls charged down the field with the opening kickoff of the third quarter, scoring on a five-play, 78-yard drive that spanned two minutes and 17 seconds and gave USF a 17-10 lead. The drive was capped by an 18-yard touchdown pass from Grothe to Hill. Grothe completed a 46-yard pass to Carit Mitchell to set up the score.
After USF marched down the field with their opening possession of the game, scoring on a 14-yard touchdown run from Moise Plancher, senior Joe Burnett immediately got the home crowd back on their feet.
Burnett returned the ensuing kickoff 91 yards, sprinting down the sideline to tie the game. It was the senior's first career kickoff return touchdown and his fourth career return touchdown. The Eustis, Fla., native became the first Knight to return both a punt and a kickoff for a score in his career.
The Bulls responded, using a 42-yard pass play from Grothe to Taurus Johnson to get inside the five-yard line. The Knights' defense held USF to a 20-yard field goal from Delbert Alvarado.
The teams went into the locker room at the break knotted at 10 despite a significant advantage in total offense for USF. The Bulls gained 192 yards on 36 plays while UCF totaled 69 yards on 26 plays.
The Knights capped a 10-play, 27-yard drive with a 38-yard field goal from freshman Nick Cattoi with 2:49 remaining in the second quarter.
Sophomore Lawrence Young had a big day on defense for the Knights, totaling eight tackles, three tackles for a loss, and a sack. The Knights' defense overall had 11 tackles for a loss and two interceptions.
Grothe went 23-for-40 in the game with 346 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. The junior added 54 yards on 23 carries rushing.
Following a bye week, UCF travels to Boston College on Saturday, Sept. 20, for a non-conference game against the Eagles.
Rice 42, Memphis 35
Chris Jammer returned a 69-yard interception for a touchdown with 11 seconds left to lift Rice to a 42-35 win over Memphis on Saturday night.
The interception return came just over a minute after Chase Clement scored on a 9-yard run for the Owls (2-0, 2-0 Conference USA) with 1:15 left in the fourth quarter. He connected with James Casey for the two-point conversion to tie the game at 35-35.
Clement threw for 318 yards and one touchdown. He also rushed for 80 yards on 15 carries and scored on also scored on an 8-yard run during a fourth quarter when Rice scored 29 points.
Jarett Dillard added eight catches for 66 yards and a touchdown for Rice.
Arkelon Hall threw for 373 yards and three touchdowns, while Maurice Jones had nine catches for 173 yards and two touchdowns for Memphis (0-2, 0-1).
SMU 47, Texas State 36
Bo Levi Mitchell threw five touchdown passes and SMU beat Texas State 47-36 on Saturday night, ending an 11-game losing streak and making coach June Jones a winner in his first home game.
Jones is the first SMU coach to win a home opener since Bobby Collins in 1982. Offense is Jones' specialty, and his touch was evident from the start, with Mitchell and Emmanuel Sanders hooking up for touchdown passes of 21, 8 and 35 yards in the first half alone. Aldrick Robinson also had a 32-yarder mixed in as SMU went up 30-6 in the second quarter.
But Texas State scored with two seconds left in the half and kept inching closer. The Bobcats (1-1) cut it to 40-29 in the fourth quarter on Cameron Luke's third touchdown catch.
Then it was Mitchell's turn again. Facing third-and-9 from his 29, the true freshman hit Sanders for 24 yards, then hit Robinson in the end zone from the 34.
Texas State scored again with 2:41 left, but Sanders snagged an onside kick attempt. The Mustangs drove just shy of the goal line but opted to take a knee rather than trying to crack 50 points. It was SMU's first win since Sept. 8, 2007, against North Texas.
Mitchell was 24-of-37 for 370 yards. Robinson had 172 yards receiving and Sanders had 138, each with eight receptions.
No. 9 Texas 42, UTEP 13