September 6 College Football Update park
Here's a brief look at the results of the SEC and the Big 12, as well as other games of interest from around the country from this past weekend, ranked by many as the best opening weekend of college football in history. The rankings used in this recap are the AP rankings entering the games. The Allstate Sugar Bowl will feature the top-ranked teams from the Big 12 and the SEC that do not make the College Football Playoff Semifinals.
Allstate Sugar Bowl Match-Up
This year's Allstate Sugar Bowl will feature the champions of the Big 12 and the SEC 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 will continue for seven of the next 10 years. In the other three seasons (2017, 2020 and 2023), the Allstate Sugar Bowl will serve as a College Football Playoff Semifinal.
Big 12 vs. SEC
West Virginia 26, Missouri 11: Despite a pair of key injuries (to running back Rushel Shell and quarterback Skyler Howard, who returned) and a suspended kicker, the Mountaineers force three turnovers, backup running back Justin Crawford runs for 101 yards and backup kicker Mike Molina boots four field goals to spoil Barry Odon's debut as head coach at Mizzou.
Key Games from the SEC
No. 1 Alabama 52, No. 20 USC 6: The Crimson Tide silence most who questioned its preseason No. 1 ranking as freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts throws two touchdown passes to ArDarius Stewart and runs for two more scores while the Alabama defense holds the Trojans to just 194 yards – it's the most lopsided loss for USC since 1966.
No. 2 Clemson 19, Auburn 13: Despite dominating the first half (233-38 advantage in yards), Clemson only holds a 10-3 advantage and needs to rely on its defense to clinch the victory by batting down a last-second Hail Mary in the end zone. Manning Award winner Deshaun Watson completes 19-of-34 passes for 248 yards, including 174 to Mike Williams, who missed most of the 2015 season after suffering a neck injury in the season opener.
No. 4 Florida State 45, No. 11 Ole Miss 34: Chad Kelly (21-of-39, 313 yards, 4 TDs), last year's Sugar Bowl Most Outstanding Player, and Ole Miss jumped out early, building a 28-6 advantage, but Florida State and freshman quarterback Deondre Francois (33-of-52, 419 yards, 2 TDs) settled down and scored 33 unanswered points to take the lead for good in another memorable opening weekend game.
Wisconsin 16, No. 5 LSU 14: The Badgers, who get three field goals from Rafael Gaglianone, including a 47-yarder with 3:47 to go, clinch the upset victory at Lambeau Field when D'Cota Dixon snags an interception with 57 seconds to go. It's the Badgers' first win against a top 10 team when they were unranked since 1985.
Texas A&M 31, No. 16 UCLA 24: Trevor Knight, who was the Most Outstanding Player of the 2014 Sugar Bowl during his time at Oklahoma, steps into the starting role at Texas A&M and throws for 239 yards and a touchdown while running for two more scores, including a short dash in overtime to lift the Aggies to an impressive non-conference victory.
No. 18 Georgia 33, No. 22 North Carolina 24: Nick Chubb was sensational in his return from last year's major knee injury as he rushed for 222 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including a 55-yard score with 3:34 to go that clinched the victory for Kirby Smart in his head coaching debut.
South Carolina 13, Vanderbilt 10: Will Muschamp's debut as the Gamecock head coach was marred by little to no offense through two and a half quarters, but then South Carolina knots the game with a field goal and short running touchdown before Elliott Fry boots a career-long 55-yard field goal with 35 seconds to go to clinch the victory.
Key Games from the Big 12
No. 15 Houston 33, No. 3 Oklahoma 23: The Cougars, who defeated Florida State in the Peach Bowl last year, win back-to-back games against Top 10 teams for the first time in program history as Greg Ward, Jr., has an outstanding performance, throwing for 321 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while the Cougar defense force a pair of turnovers and Brandon Wilson returns a missed field goal 109 yards for a touchdown.
No. 8 Stanford 26, Kansas State 13: The underdog Wildcats managed to hold the Cardinal to only 272 total yards, but standout back Christian McCaffrey scored two touchdowns, including a late 41-yard scoring dash, while Stanford's defense registered eight sacks, one safety and two turnovers.
Texas 50, No. 10 Notre Dame 47: The Texas coaching staff is masterful running a two-quarterback system as Shane Buechele (the first freshman to start at Texas since Bobby Layne in 1944) throws for 280 yards and a pair of scores and senior Tyrone Swoopes runs for three touchdowns including the game-winner in the second overtime of a thrilling back-and-forth showdown in Austin.
Other SEC Results
No. 9 Tennessee 20, Appalachian State 13: The Volunteers narrowly escape a major upset as Jalen Hurd recovers a fumble in the end zone for an overtime touchdown after Joshua Dobbs had thrown for a 67-yard touchdown to knot the game and the Mountaineers' true freshman kicker missed a 42-yard field goal with 5:24 to go.
No. 25 Florida 24, Massachusetts 7: On a day when former star and coach Steve Spurrier was honored on the field, the Gators struggled on offense as they did much of last season, but they still picked up the victory behind a pair of touchdown tosses from Luke Del Rio.
South Alabama 21, Mississippi State 20: A missed 28-yard field goal by Mississippi State in the final seconds allowed South Alabama to pull off the first major upset of the college football season as the four-touchdown underdog Jaguars notch their first win over an SEC school in history.
Arkansas 21, Louisiana Tech 20: Austin Allen connected with tight end Jeremy Sprinkle from four yards out with 6:37 to go to help the Razorbacks avoid opening their second straight season with a surprising loss.
Southern Miss 44, Kentucky 35: After jumping to a 35-10 second-quarter advantage, the Wildcats saw the Golden Eagles score 34 unanswered points including a 71-yard scoring strike and a pair of short running scores from quarterback Nick Mullens.
Other Big 12 Results
No. 13 TCU 59, South Dakota State 41: Kenny Hill, a former Texas A&M quarterback, makes his debut for the Horned Frogs and accounts for five touchdowns (two passing and three rushing).
No. 21 Oklahoma State 61, Southeastern Louisiana 7: The Cowboys scored four first-quarter touchdowns, including the first for Barry Sanders, Jr., after transferring from Stanford, allowing Mike Gundy to start resting his starters in the second quarter.
No. 23 Baylor 55, Northwestern State 7: Seth Russell throws for four touchdowns in less than a half of action as the Bears jump to a 41-0 lead in a blow out of FCS foe Northwestern State.
Kansas 55, Rhode Island 6: The Jayhawks get six touchdown passes from three different quarterbacks, including three from starter Montell Cozart, as they earn their first victory in 665 days – a stretch which included the program's first 0-12 season last year.
Northern Iowa 25, Iowa State 20: Aaron Bailey threw for 135 yards and ran for 114 more to lead Northern Iowa, which is ranked No. 5 in the FCS ranks, to victory over its FBS neighbor.
Texas Tech 69, Stephen F. Austin 17: Pat Mahomes throws for 483 yards and four touchdowns while adding 57 rushing yards and two more scores as the Red Raiders cruise over the FCS Lumberjacks.
Other Key Result
No. 19 Louisville 70, Charlotte 14: While the result was not a surprise, quarterback Lamar Jackson's performance launched him into early Heisman talk as he set a school record with eight touchdowns (six passing, two rushing) and accounted for 405 total yards by halftime.
Allstate Sugar Bowl, January 2, 2017
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 we're only featuring one clip – the somber sequence from the Nebraska-Fresno State game when the Cornhuskers lined up without a punter as a tribute to the late Sam Foltz, the former Husker punter who lost his life in an automobile accident this summer.
Vote for Manning Stars
College football fans, be sure to "like" the official Allstate Sugar Bowl Facebook page (linked below) and vote each week for the Manning Award Player of the Week. The top quarterback performances from each week will be posted giving you the chance to vote for what you think was the best effort each week of the college football season.
While 30 quarterbacks are on the Manning Award Watch List, every quarterback in the country remains eligible for the honor. Here's a look at some of this week's top quarterback performances (follow the Facebook link above to vote):
J.T. Barrett, Ohio State (21-of-31, 349 yards, 6 TDs, 1 INT, QBR: 80.0)
Dallas Davis, South Alabama (24-of-34, 285 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INT, QBR: 82.7)
Gage Gubrud, Eastern Washington (34-of-40, 474 yards, 5 TDs, 1 INT, QBR: NA)
Lamar Jackson, Louisville (17-of-23, 286 yards, 6 TDs, 0 INT, QBR: 96.0)
Tyler Jones, Texas State (40-of-55, 418 yards, 4 TDs, 2 INT, QBR: 57.8)
Greg Ward, Jr., Houston (23-of-40, 321 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INT, QBR: 83.1)
Mike White, Western Kentucky (25-of-31, 517 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INT, QBR: 98.3)
Logan Woodside, Toledo (23-of-31, 371 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INT, QBR: 96.8)
TOP UPCOMING GAMES
(Rankings are from this week's AP Poll, all times Central)
#13 Louisville at Syracuse (Friday, 7 p.m., ESPN2): After the performance by Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson (8 total touchdowns) in the opener, this game becomes interesting if only to see if he can approach those numbers again against an overmatched Syracuse team which hopes to improve quickly under new head coach Dino Babers.
Kentucky at Florida (2:30 p.m., CBS): The Gators didn't excel offensively in their opener against Massachusetts, but they still picked up the win; the Wildcats on the other hand, fell apart in the second half, allowing 34 unanswered points. A win for Kentucky would help coach Mark Stoops' job security immensely.
Western Kentucky at #1 Alabama (2:30 p.m., ESPN2): The Crimson Tide appears to be rolling once again; while Western Kentucky may not seem like a major threat, the Hilltoppers have scored 40-plus points in five straight games, the longest streak in the country – unfortunately, four of those games came with current Miami Dolphin Brandon Doughty at quarterback.
Arkansas at #15 TCU (6 p.m., ESPN): This week's Big 12-SEC showdown features TCU, which allowed 41 points in a win over an FCS foe and Arkansas, which struggled with Louisiana Tech from Conference USA. Both will be looking for improvement – Horned Frog coach Gary Patterson said that if his defense doesn't improve, Arkansas will pile up "1,000 yards and 1,000 points."
UL Monroe at #14 Oklahoma (6 p.m., TV TBA): After its upset loss to Houston, Oklahoma has an excellent opportunity to get back on track; UL-Monroe, which has a new head coach, returns just three defensive starters from a two-win team.
South Carolina at Mississippi State (6 p.m., ESPN2): The Gamecocks and new head coach Will Muschamp have a chance to improve to 2-0 in SEC play after winning a defensive battle at Vanderbilt last week. The Bulldogs were shocked in their opener against South Alabama but quarterback Damian Williams, a Rummel High grad, threw for 143 yards and ran for 93 more in his starting debut.
Iowa State at #16 Iowa (6:30 p.m., BTN): The Hawkeyes are heavy favorites in the annual Cy-Hawk rivalry, but that hasn't meant a lot in recent history – Iowa State has won as the underdog seven times in the last 15 years; this year the Cyclones are coming off a loss to an FCS team (Northern Iowa) while Iowa rolled over FBS foe, Miami (Ohio).
Virginia Tech vs. #17 Tennessee (7 p.m., ABC): This border clash has the added bonus of being played in Bristol Motor Speedway, with a goal of setting the American football attendance record. The expected attendance of 150,000 would shatter the current record of 115,109, the number that were on hand to see the Michigan-Notre Dame game in Ann Arbor on Sept. 7, 2013.
Texas Tech at Arizona State (9 p.m., FS1): The Big 12 looks to add a feather to its capo when the Red Raiders and star quarterback Patrick Mahomes take on the Pac-12 Sun Devils on the road.