College Football Update, September 8 park
College football is finally back. The major college football season kicked off this past weekend and will continue to roll for another 13 weeks prior to the bowls. Here's a brief look back at the key games as well as previews of this week's top games and other college football related information.
Allstate Sugar Bowl Match-Up
This year's Allstate Sugar Bowl will be the first as the official destination for the top available teams from the Big 12 and the SEC. The Sugar Bowl will feature the champions of each league unless one or both are selected for the College Football Playoff. In that case, the top non-playoff teams from those leagues will square off in New Orleans. This match-up is locked in for eight of the next 11 years. In the other three years (2017, 2020 and 2023), the Allstate Sugar Bowl will serve as a College Football Playoff Semifinal.
Here's a brief look at the results of the Top 25, as well as the SEC and Big 12 breakdown, from this past weekend. The rankings used in this recap are the AP rankings entering the games.
Key Games from the Big 12
No. 2 TCU 23, Minnesota 17: The Horned Frogs, with national championship aspirations, manage to pick up a road win over a Big Ten program, but they don't dominate as many expected. Heisman and Manning Award candidate Trevone Boykin throws for 246 yards and a touchdown while running for 92 yards and another score.
No. 4 Baylor 56, SMU 21: The supposedly over-matched Mustangs surprised many by pulling within seven at 28-21 early in the second quarter, but from there, quarterback Seth Russell and the high-octane Bears ran off 28 unanswered points. Russell threw for five touchdowns, three of those to Jay Lee, while also running for another in the blowout.
No. 19 Oklahoma 41, Akron 3: Oklahoma's debut under new offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley was a success as the debut of quarterback Baker Mayfield featured 388 passing yards, the most-ever by a Sooner quarterback in a season opener.
No. 11 Notre Dame 38, Texas 3: This game was pegged as being a tough challenge for a rebuilding Longhorn program and it lived up to its billing as Irish quarterback Malik Zaire threw for 313 yards and the Notre Dame defense held Texas to just 163 yards of total offense.
Key Games from the SEC
South Carolina 17, North Carolina 13: The Gamecock defense forces three key turnovers, including two interceptions in the end zone by linebacker Skai Moore, as they overcome an inconsistent offensive effort to help head coach Steve Spurrier improve to 6-0 all-time against the Tar Heels.
No. 6 Auburn 31, Louisville 24: There had been much ado about a revamped Auburn defense under new coordinator Will Muschamp and in the opener against a solid Louisville squad, the Tigers scored their first touchdown on an interception return and added another score on an 82-yard fumble return while offensively, backup running back Peyton Barber rushed for 115 yards on 24 carries.
Texas A&M 38, No. 15 Arizona State 17: The Aggies turned in an impressive performance in Houston, breaking open the game in the fourth quarter as quarterback Brandon Allen sealed the game by throwing for one score and running for another in the final stanza, as the Sun Devils dropped to 0-7 all-time against the SEC.
No. 25 Tennessee 59, Bowling Green 30: The Volunteers pile up over 600 yards of total offense, including six rushing touchdowns (three from Jalen Hurd), as they win their first game as a ranked team since the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1, 2008.
No. 3 Alabama 35, No. 20 Wisconsin 17: The Crimson Tide continues its impressive success in season-opening neutral site games, winning for the fourth straight time, as Derrick Henry runs for 147 yards and three touchdowns and the Bama defense holds the Badgers to just 40 rushing yards.
Other Top Games From Around the Country
No. 23 Boise State 16, Washington 13: The Broncos get a rare power-five conference visit in Boise and hold off a furious Husky rally (guided by their former coach Chris Petersen) as a 46-yard field-goal attempt in the final seconds goes wide right.
Northwestern 16, No. 21 Stanford 6: There were concerns about an early start time for the Cardinal (9 a.m. Pacific) and perhaps rightfully so as Stanford managed just 240 yards of total offense and scored their fewest points since 2007 while the Wildcats played turnover free ball and snagged an interception in the end zone to ice the victory late.
No. 1 Ohio State 42, Virginia Tech 24: The Buckeyes show off their wealth of talent as Sugar Bowl MVP Ezekiel Elliott runs for 122 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown; former Big Ten Player of the Year Braxton Miller moves to halfback and scores two touchdowns; former Big Ten Freshman of the Year J.T. Barrett comes off the bench to throw for a touchdown; and new starting quarterback Cardale Jones throws for two scores and adds another running.
Other Big 12 Results
Oklahoma State 24, Central Michigan 13: The Cowboys trail in the second half on the road against the Chippewas but score two late TDs to win.
South Dakota State 41, Kansas 38: A Kansas team that returned just 56 players, none of whom had scored a collegiate touchdown, struggled as expected in the debut of coach David Beaty.
Texas Tech 59, Sam Houston State 45: Pat Mahomes throws for 425 yards and four touchdowns as the Red Raiders overwhelm the FCS Bearkats.
Kansas State 34, South Dakota 0: The Wildcats improve to 22-2 all-time in season openers under Bill Snyder though they did lose quarterback Jesse Ertz to an undisclosed leg injury; he is expected to miss significant time.
West Virginia 44, Georgia Southern 0: Skyler Howard makes his first home start and throws for a pair of scores while Karl Joseph snags three interceptions for the Mountineers.
Iowa State 31, Northern Iowa 7: The Cyclones ended a two-game losing streak to FCS opponents in front of a record crowd of 61,500 in their newly expanded stadium.
Other SEC Scores
Western Kentucky 14, Vanderbilt 12: The Commodores can't convert a last-second two-point conversion as the Hilltoppers hold on for C-USA's first win over an SEC team since 2010.
No. 9 Georgia 51, UL-Monroe 14: Nick Chubb runs for 120 yards and a pair of scores on just 16 carries as the Bulldogs roll in a game that was called with 10 minutes to go due to lightning.
No. 17 Ole Miss 76, UT-Martin 3: New Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly, the nephew of former NFL star Jim Kelly, and star defensive end Robert Nkemdiche (surprising 31-yard touchdown catch) lead the Rebels to their most points since 1935.
No. 18 Arkansas 48, UTEP 13: Brandon Allen throws for a career-high 308 yards as well as four touchdowns as the Razorbacks cruise over the Miners.
No. 24 Missouri 34, Southeast Missouri State 3: Kentrell Brother has a career-best 16 tackles and blocks a punt that is returned for a touchdown as Mizzou rolls over an FCS foe.
Kentucky 40, UL-Lafayette 33: Mikel Horton runs for a 12-yard score with 57 seconds to go as the Wildcats hold off a ferocious Ragin' Cajun comeback.
McNeese State at No. 14 LSU: Cancelled due to weather.
Florida 61, New Mexico State 13: The Gators use a pair of quarterbacks (two TDs from Treon Harris and three from backup Will Grier) as they crush New Mexico State in Jim McElwain's debut at the helm of the program.
Mississippi State 34, Southern Miss 16: Dak Prescott accounts for three touchdowns as the Bulldogs go on the road to take down one of their state rivals.
Sugar Bowl Spotlight Event
In addition to the Allstate Sugar Bowl Football Classic, the bowl is involved with over 50 other events throughout the year. Each week, we will spotlight one event in the weekly recap. This week's spotlight event is the Allstate Sugar Bowl Women's Collegiate Volleyball Invitational, which will be held this weekend at Tulane's Devlin Fieldhouse. This will be the 14th year the event has been contested and it will feature TCU, North Carolina State, Nicholls State and Incarnate Word, as well as the host Green Wave. Howard, which included three New Orleans area products on its roster, went undefeated to earn last year's tournament championship.
Allstate Sugar Bowl, Jan. 1, 2016
Updated, Sept. 8, 2015
The Manning Award, sponsored and coordinated by the Allstate Sugar Bowl, will be recognizing its 12th winner following the 2015 season. Each week, the Bowl selects eight "Stars of the Week" and fans can vote on their overall "Quarterback of the Week" on the Allstate Sugar Bowl Facebook page.
2015-16 Manning Award Stars of the Week
Brandon Allen, Arkansas
Jacoby Brissett, N.C. State
Josh Dobbs, Tennessee
Dane Evans, Tulsa
Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
Seth Russell, Baylor
Josh Rosen, UCLA
Malik Zaire, Notre Dame
Top Upcoming Games
All times are Central. Rankings are the AP Rankings from this week.
No. 10 Georgia at Vanderbilt (2:30 p.m., CBS): The Bulldogs will look for another big game from running back Nick Chubb as they open their SEC season on the road against a Vanderbilt team that rallied late but came up short against Western Kentucky in its opener.
Fresno State at No. 17 Ole Miss (2:30 p.m., ESPN2): The Ole Miss offense exploded for 73 points against an FCS foe last week; Fresno State, despite making the cross country trek, should offer up much more resistance in week two.
No. 19 Oklahoma at No. 23 Tennessee (5 p.m., ESPN): The Sooners have a new-look offense which was impressive in week one, but Tennessee, which has been pegged by some as the favorite in the SEC East, has home-field advantage for this key SEC-Big 12 showdown.
No. 21 Missouri at Arkansas State (6 p.m., ESPN3): The Tigers, another team coming off a convincing win over an FCS foe, have an interesting challenge as they go on the road to take on the Red Wolves, who will be happy to be back home after getting crushed, 55-6, by USC in Los Angeles on the opening weekend.
East Carolina at Florida (6 p.m., ESPN2): The Gator schedule takes a step up against a perennially strong East Carolina squad as coach Jim McElwain now may have a quarterback controversy between Treon Harris and Will Grier.
Kentucky at South Carolina (6:30 p.m., SEC Network): Both teams struggled at times in their openers, but Kentucky held off a late UL-Lafayette rally and South Carolina forced key turnovers to take down North Carolina.
No. 7 Oregon at No. 5 Michigan State (7 p.m., ABC): In the first game of the year featuring two teams ranked in the top 10, Oregon is bringing a new quarterback (FCS transfer Vernon Adams) into a hostile East Lansing environment while the Spartans counter with veteran quarterback Connor Cook and a strong defense.
Rice at Texas (7 p.m., Longhorn Network): The Longhorns need an impressive victory to keep an anxious fan base quiet after they went to Notre Dame last weekend and struggled.
No. 14 LSU at No. 25 Mississippi State (8:15 p.m., ESPN): Mississippi State had a solid warm-up to the SEC schedule by playing a road game at Southern Miss, while LSU only ran a handful of plays before its game with McNeese State was cancelled due to the weather.
No. 20 Boise State at BYU (9:15 p.m., ESPN2): Boise State held off Washington last weekend and while the win wasn't dominant, it should be enough to keep themselves as the favorite for the Group of Five's automatic bid to a BCS bowl; BYU was expected to be a tough foe, but after losing standout quarterback Taysom Hill to injury, they may be reeling despite their upset win of Nebraska on a Hail Mary.
YouTube Clips of the Week
Each week the Allstate Sugar Bowl will make its YouTube Picks of the Week, including impressive off-field performances, great games, illuminating features and top highlights. This week's clips include:
A touching story from ESPN's GameDay about Alabama kicker Adam Griffith ;
The opening play of the Arkansas Tech-Southern Nazarene game in which Arkansas Tech scores a touchdown on a fumble recovery – the play is extra special as Arkansas Tech lined up with only 10 players on defense in memory of a teammate who passed away this summer;
And BYU's shocking upset victory over Nebraska on a Hail Mary.