Murray, Oklahoma dodge upset, top Utah St.
DeMarco Murray ran for 218 yards and two touchdowns and converted a key fourth down, helping No. 7 Oklahoma survive an unexpected scare from Utah State for a 31-24 victory yesterday in Norman, Okla.
Jamell Fleming secured the 800th win in the program’s history by intercepting Diondre Borel’s pass in the final five minutes, dragging his feet to stay inbounds near the sideline. The Sooners are only the seventh Division 1 school to reach that mark, joining a handful of powerhouses including Michigan, Texas, and Notre Dame.
It certainly didn’t come easy.
The Aggies had the ball with a chance to tie it when Fleming made amends for a tough day for Oklahoma’s secondary. The Sooners allowed Borel to throw for 341 yards and two touchdowns while squeaking by with their 31st straight win at home.
Murray, no longer sharing carries as he did in his first three seasons, rushed a career-high 35 times and was still out chewing up the clock after Fleming’s pick with 4:12 to play.
He had to dive and extend the ball past the first-down stick to convert a key fourth down in Oklahoma territory midway through the third quarter with Utah State within 21-17. And the Aggies could’ve been tied had receiver Eric Moats’s touchdown pass on a fake field goal not been called back because of a penalty.
After an incompletion by Landry Jones, Murray zoomed up the left sideline for a 63-yard score to extend the Sooners’ lead. Patrick O’Hara’s 32-yard field goal made it 31-17, but the Aggies weren’t done yet. Borel needed just four plays to lead Utah State on a 70-yard scoring drive, with Xavier Martin getting behind Demontre Hurst for a 31-yard TD catch.
Texas 34, Rice 17 — Tre’ Newton ran for three touchdowns, quarterback Garrett Gilbert was up and down in his first college start, and the No. 5 Longhorns overcame a slow start to beat the Owls in Houston.
Gilbert, who threw four interceptions filling in for Colt McCoy in the loss to Alabama in the BCS title game, didn’t turn the ball over in this one. Still, his day didn’t go as smoothly as Longhorns fans had hoped.
Texas was stopped on fourth down at the 1-yard line on its first drive and settled for a 51-yard field goal on the second after another stalled drive. Gilbert bounced a few passes, but showed pinpoint accuracy on others, including a 47-yard throw to Malcolm Williams in the third quarter. He finished 14 of 23 for 172 yards.
Newton, who finished with 61 yards, also had a 2-yard score in the second quarter and a 1-yard TD in the third. Newton, who had lost the starting job to Cody Johnson, still got plenty of carries after the 250-pound Johnson struggled early. Johnson finished with 15 carries for 59 yards.
Alabama 48, San Jose St. 3 — Trent Richardson ran for two touchdowns and Greg McElroy passed for 218 yards to help the No. 1 Crimson Tide overwhelm the visiting Spartans.
The defending national champions shrugged off the absence of injured Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram and suspended defensive end Marcell Dareus in the opening mismatch.
Richardson ran for 66 yards and had three catches for 46 yards before sitting out the second half. He scored on runs of 4 and 39 yards.
TCU 30, Oregon St. 21 — Andy Dalton ran for two touchdowns and threw for another score to make up for his two interceptions and the No. 6 Horned Frogs opened with a win over the No. 24 Beavers in Arlington, Texas.
Dalton became TCU’s winningest quarterback, his 30th victory snapping a tie with “Slingin’ Sammy’’ Baugh, who had held the mark since the mid-1930s until being matched last year after the Frogs’ first perfect regular season since 1938.
Brothers Jacquizz and James Rodgers both scored touchdowns for Oregon State in their first college game in their home state.
Nebraska 49, W. Kentucky 10 — Taylor Martinez ran for 127 yards and three touchdowns and passed for 136 yards in a sensational debut that led the No. 8 Cornhuskers to a season-opening blowout win in Lincoln, Neb.
The only redshirt or true freshman quarterback to start a season opener for Nebraska, Martinez became the first Husker signal-caller since 2003 to run for more than 100 yards in a game. Martinez led Nebraska to touchdowns on his first two series and on four of his eight. Cody Green led scoring drives on his two series. Zac Lee, the 2009 starter, didn’t enter until the middle of the fourth quarter.
Iowa 37, Eastern Illinois 7 — Adam Robinson ran for 109 yards and three touchdowns in the first half and the No. 9 Hawkeyes, beginning the season with their highest preseason ranking in 22 years, breezed past the visiting Panthers.
Senior Ricky Stanzi threw for 229 yards and a touchdown for Iowa, which won its 10th straight season opener under coach Kirk Ferentz.
Oregon 72, New Mexico 0 — Kenjon Barner replaced suspended running back LaMichael James and ran for a career-high 147 yards and four touchdowns before catching another score in the No. 11 Ducks’ season-opening rout of the visiting Lobos.
Quarterback Darron Thomas, making his debut at starter for Oregon, completed 13 of 23 passes for 220 yards and two touchdowns. The Ducks had a record 720 yards in total offense.
Arkansas 44, Tennessee Tech 3 — Ryan Mallett went 21 of 24 for 301 yards and three TDs to lead the No. 17 Razorbacks, sporting their highest preseason ranking since 1990, to a rout of the Golden Eagles in Fayetteville, Ark.
Penn State 44, Youngstown State 14 — True freshman Rob Bolden threw for 239 yards and two touchdowns, Chaz Powell had a 100-yard kickoff return, and the No. 19 Nittany Lions brushed off a sluggish start at State College, Pa.
Joe Paterno got his 395th career victory by starting a true freshman at quarterback in a season opener for the first time in his 45 years as head coach.
Auburn 52, Arkansas St. 26 — Making his first start, quarterback Cam Newton ran for 171 yards and two touchdowns and passed for 186 yards and three more scores to help the host Tigers roll past the Red Wolves.
Georgia 55, Louisiana-Lafayette 7 — Aaron Murray passed for three touchdowns and ran for another in leading the No. 23 Bulldogs to a season-opening win in Athens, Ga.
West Virginia 31, Coastal Carolina 0 — Geno Smith threw two touchdown passes and Noel Devine rushed for 111 yards and a score, helping the No. 25 Mountaineers pull past the Chanticleers in Morgantown, W.Va.
Notre Dame 23, Purdue 12 — Dayne Crist threw for 205 yards and a touchdown in his first start, Armando Allen ran for a score, and the defense was solid as the Fighting Irish gave coach Brian Kelly a victory in his debut in South Bend, Ind.
Kelly came to Notre Dame after a successful run at Cincinnati, where he led the Bearcats to 12-0 regular season a year ago. His goal was to win immediately and that’s what he did.
Notre Dame led, 20-3, after three quarters before Purdue rallied behind transfer quarterback Robert Marve, who got the Boilermakers back in the game with a 23-yard TD run early in the final period — but was penalized for celebrating with a somersault.
David Ruffer kicked three field goals for the Irish, including a 37-yarder with 4:30 left to restore the lead to 11.
Jacksonville St. 49, Mississippi 48 — On the final crazy play of a crazy game, Calvin Middleton pulled down a 2-point conversion pass from Coty Blanchard in a crowd of players as the Gamecocks pulled off a stunning double-overtime victory over the Rebels in Oxford, Miss.
Blanchard threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Kevyn Cooper on fourth and 15 to pull within 48-47 in the second overtime. Gamecocks coach Jack Crowe made the call to go for the win.
Jacksonville State, a Football Championship Subdivision team, trailed, 31-10, at halftime but outscored Ole Miss, 21-3, in the fourth quarter to force overtime. Former Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli made his much-anticipated debut for Mississippi after being cleared by the NCAA Friday. He completed 7 of 10 passes for 109 yards and one interception and led the Rebels on both of their scoring drives in OT.
North Dakota St. 6, Kansas 3 — Ryan Jastram kicked two field goals and the Bison defense smothered the host Jayhawks, spoiling the coaching debut of Turner Gill.
Kansas struggled throughout on offense and switched to backup quarterback Jordan Webb in the second half.
Houston 68, Texas St. 28 — Case Keenum completed passed for 274 yards and five touchdowns — all in the first half — the host Cougars’ romp.
Keenum set career school records for completions (1,098) and yards passing (13,179) in the win — breaking the marks held by current Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Kevin Kolb.