Saturday's Top 25: Fromm throws 3 TDs, Georgia beats Florida

The Detroit News
Georgia wide receiver Riley Ridley (8) moves the ball against Florida during the second half.

Jacksonville, Fla. — Jeremiah Holloman, Terry Godwin and Mecole Hardman were among the first wave of Georgia players to jump into the stands.

They screamed, danced and posed for pictures, frolicking in the aftermath of a second straight victory against rival Florida in the “World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.”

Their Jacksonville leap was a huge turnaround after their Baton Rouge flop.

Jake Fromm threw three touchdown passes, ending speculation about freshman Justin Fields supplanting him in the starting lineup, and No. 7 Georgia beat ninth-ranked Florida 36-17 on Saturday.

The Bulldogs (7-1, 5-1 Southeastern Conference) took advantage of Florida’s three turnovers and an injury to cornerback C.J. Henderson to bounce back from a 20-point loss at LSU and beat the Gators for the fifth time in the last eight years.

“There’s no other way to say it. We had to get better all around, including myself,” Fromm said. “We wanted to come out and make a statement. We had to win this football game. Our backs were kind of against the wall, and we had to win to keep every goal we want.”

Georgia now can repeat as SEC East champions with a victory at 12th-ranked Kentucky next week.

The Bulldogs can only hope to be as efficient on third down as they were against Florida. They scored all four touchdowns on the all-important down, gut-punching the Gators (6-2, 4-2) time and time again.

“That’s seven plays on the day that’s going to make a rough day for you,” Florida coach Dan Mullen said, lumping the turnovers in with the third-down lapses.

Fromm completed 17 of 24 passes for 240 yards, none bigger than the two TD throws to Holloman. There had been talk that Georgia coach Kirby Smart would get highly touted freshman Fields more snaps following the loss to LSU. Fromm smashed those rumors.

“Jake is a high-quality kid who works his tail off every day,” Smart said. “I’m sure he felt and heard the noise. He just continues to work and get better.”

D’Andre Swift delivered the knockout blow with a 33-yard TD run with 4:39 remaining, sending Florida fans scrambling for the exits.

“It feels more special,” Fromm said, comparing this victory to last season’s 42-7 romp. “This year it was a fight. We were able to enjoy it and respect it a lot more.”

Holloman beat C.J. McWilliams twice in the same corner of the same end zone. The Bulldogs clearly picked on the sophomore after he replaced Henderson (back) on the first series. Fromm seemed to search for him on third down.

“When you can’t get off the field, you get the results we got today,” Florida defensive end CeCe Jefferson said.

Florida took a one-point lead early in the third quarter – Feleipe Franks threw a perfect, 36-yard touchdown pass to Freddie Swain – but Georgia answered with another Fromm-to-Holloman connection and then pulled away late.

The Gators failed to get a stop when they needed it in the fourth.

Turnovers were the Gators’ real undoing. Jordan Scarlett fumbled on the team’s opening possession, and Fromm found Holloman three plays later. Franks threw an interception on the next series. But the dagger was his fumble near the goal line.

No. 2 Clemson 59, (at) Florida State 10: Trevor Lawrence threw four touchdown passes, and No. 2 Clemson handed Florida State its worst home loss in program history.  Lawrence completed 20 of 37 passes for 314 yards before leaving late in the third quarter. Tee Higgins and Amari Rodgers each had two touchdown receptions.

The Tigers (8-0, 5-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) moved to 8-0 for the seventh time in school history, including the third time in the last four seasons. They were dominant in the second quarter, scoring four touchdowns on consecutive drives en route to their fourth straight victory over the Seminoles.

Florida State (4-4, 2-4) suffered its most-lopsided defeat at home – surpassing a 58-14 loss to Southern Miss in 1981. It also was the most points allowed by the Seminoles at Doak Campbell Stadium.

No. 3 Notre Dame 44, Navy 22: Ian Book threw for 330 yards and two touchdowns, and Dexter Williams ran for 142 yards and three scores for the Irish.

Notre Dame is 8-0 for the first time since 2012, when it remained undefeated until being routed by Alabama in the BCS national title game.

Notre Dame had 584 yards of total offense as it extended its dominance in the oldest continual intersectional rivalry to 78-13-1.

Playing in San Diego for the first time, Notre Dame used its superior size and talent to take a 27-0 lead just before halftime.  While the defense kept Navy's triple option in check, Book kept the Midshipmen off-balance with lots of play-action. He completed 27 of 33 passes, to 10 receivers. He threw one interception.

Book, from El Dorado Hills near Sacramento, improved to 5-0 since replacing Brandon Wimbush as the starter. Book threw touchdown passes of 4 and 22 yards to Miles Boykin to in the second half.

(At) Oklahoma State 38, No. 6 Texas 35: Taylor Cornelius threw three touchdown passes and ran for two scores, the last with 5:44 remaining, to lead Oklahoma State beat No. 6 Texas 38-35.

Cornelius completed 23 of 34 passes for 321 yards, and his scoring run on third-and-10 gave Oklahoma State (5-3, 2-3 Big 12) a 38-28 lead after its 31-14 halftime advantage had been whittled down to just three points.

Tylan Wallace had 10 receptions for 222 yards and two touchdowns. It was the Cowboys' fourth straight over Texas and seventh in their last nine meetings.

For Texas (6-2, 4-1), Sam Ehlinger returned from a shoulder injury suffered in the previous game. After struggling a bit in the first half, Ehlinger completed 17 of 27 passes for 175 yards and two touchdowns in the second half.  He also rushed for 47 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries.

(At) No. 8 Oklahoma 51, Kansas State 14: Kyler Murray passed for 352 yards and three touchdowns and ran for another score to help Oklahoma beat Kansas State.

The Sooners (7-1, 4-1 Big 12) rolled up a season-high 702 total yards and only punted once, and that was in the fourth quarter after Murray was done for the day.

CeeDee Lamb caught four passes for a career-high 160 yards and two touchdowns, and Kennedy Brooks ran for 94 yards and two scores. The Sooners won their second straight since losing to Texas.

Oklahoma held Kansas State (3-4, 1-4) to 245 yards. Alex Barnes, who entered the game as the Big 12’s leading rusher, was limited to 28 yards on 13 carries.

The Sooners gained 209 yards in the first quarter and took a 17-0 lead. Murray threw two touchdown passes in the period, including an 82-yard connection with Lamb.

No. 12 Kentucky 15, (at) Missouri 14: Terry Wilson threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to C.J. Conrad on the final play to lift Kentucky past Missouri.

Kentucky took over on its own 19 with 1:24 left. With 4 seconds left, Wilson threw toward Ahmad Wagner in the back left corner of the end zone. Wagner caught the ball out of bounds, but Missouri cornerback DeMarkus Acy was called for pass interference, giving Kentucky an untimed down that it turned into the winning score.

Lynn Bowden Jr. returned a punt 67 yards for a touchdown with 5:18 left to pull the Wildcats (7-1, 5-1 Southeastern Conference) to 14-9. Kentucky held Missouri (4-4, 0-4) without a first down on eight second-half possessions.

Wilson, who was replaced by backup Gunnar Hoak for part of the second half, completed 22 of 31 passes for 267 yards. Bowden had 13 catches for 166 yards. Benny Snell, who entered the game as the nation’s fourth-leading rusher, gained just 67 yards on 19 carries.

No. 14 Washington State 41, (at) No. 24 Stanford 38: Gardner Minshew completed his first 19 passes of the second half and drove No. 14 Washington State to a 42-yard field goal by Blake Mazza with 19 seconds remaining to put the Cougars in sole possession of first place in the Pac-12 North.

Minshew completed 40 of 50 passes for 438 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Cougars (7-1, 4-1 Pac-12) to their third straight win over the Cardinal (5-3, 3-2). This victory follows last week’s over then-No. 12 Oregon, giving Washington State back-to-back wins over ranked opponents for the first time since 2002.

Minshew engineered the winning drive in the final 1:25 with the big play coming on a 35-yard pass to Jamire Calvin on third-and-2 from the 33. Minshew completed one more pass to move the ball to the 25 and after two incomplete passes, Mazza made his kick to win it.

(At) California 12, No. 15 Washington 10: Linebacker Evan Weaver scored on a 36-yard interception return in the third quarter after Washington made a change at quarterback, and California overcome a sluggish day offensively.

The Golden Bears (5-3, 2-3 Pac-12) had only 245 yards and were limited to two field goals, but Weaver and the defense repeatedly bailed out the struggling offense while dealing a serious blow to Washington’s hopes of a second Pac-12 title in three seasons.

The Huskies (6-3, 4-2) entered the day with a half-game lead over No. 14 Washington State and No. 24 Stanford but fell to second place despite not allowing an offensive touchdown.

Washington starting quarterback Jake Browning threw his 90th career touchdown pass in the first quarter but was benched late in the third after the Huskies went three-and-out on their second drive of the second half. Redshirt freshman Jake Haener replaced Browning and threw an incompletion on his first pass before Weaver picked off the pass on a third-and-8 play.

Browning returned after two series. He completed 11 of 21 passes for 148 yards.

(At) Mississippi State 28, No. 16 Texas A&M 13: Nick Fitzgerald threw for 241 yards and two touchdowns and ran for two more scores to lead Mississippi State over Texas A&M.

Mississippi State (5-3, 2-3 Southeastern Conference) won thanks to an unexpected boost from its passing game, which was among the least productive in the SEC coming into the night. One week after throwing four interceptions in a miserable loss to LSU, Fitzgerald completed 14 of 22 passes, including several big gains that swung the game in favor of the Bulldogs.

The biggest might have been a 84-yard strike to Stephen Guidry on third-and-21 that set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Fitzgerald and gave the Bulldogs a 21-13 lead early in the fourth quarter.

Mississippi State’s defense was able to take it from there, and Erroll Thompson’s interception in the end zone with 2:36 remaining – along with Fitzgerald’s 76-yard touchdown run on the ensuing drive – sealed the victory. Texas A&M (5-3, 3-2) had its three-game winning streak snapped.

(At) Arizona 44, No. 19 Oregon 15: J.J. Taylor ran for 212 yards and two touchdowns, Khalil Tate threw for three scores and the Wildcats dominated Oregon.

Arizona (4-5, 3-3 Pac-12) jumped on the Ducks early and never let them up, turning one Oregon miscue after another into scores.

Tate threw for 189 yards on 19-of-33 passing with an interception after missing last week's game against UCLA with a left ankle injury. Shawn Poindexter caught two touchdown passes and Josh Pollack kicked three field goals for Arizona, which had lost three of four.

Oregon (5-3, 2-3) got off to a slow start for the second straight week, committed three turnovers and two costly mistakes on special teams. The Ducks were forced to pass after falling behind early and had 270 total yards — 190 below their average — against one of the Pac-12's worst defenses.

(At) Houston 57, No. 21 USF 36: D’Eriq King had a hand in a career-high seven touchdowns, throwing for 419 yards and five scores and running for 134 yards and two more touchdowns for Houston.

King threw touchdown passes of 15, 38, 30, 52 and 27 yards and had scoring runs of 47 and 36 yards. He finished 28 of 41 passing. The seven total touchdowns set a career high.

Marquez Stevenson caught six passes for 106 yards and two touchdowns, Jeremy Singleton had five receptions for 125 yards and a TD. Houston (7-1, 4-0 American) won its fifth straight, totaling a season-high 684 yards of offense.

Blake Barnett finished 26 of 39 for 263 yards and a touchdown for South Florida (7-1, 3-1) and Johnny Ford rushed for 106 yards and two touchdowns. The Bulls had won eight straight.

(At) Syracuse 51, No. 22 North Carolina State 41: Eric Dungey threw for three touchdowns and ran for another, and Syracuse held off North Carolina State to become eligible for the postseason for the first time in five years.

Syracuse (6-2, 3-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), which snapped a two-game losing streak last time out with a 40-37, double-overtime victory over North Carolina, improved to 5-0 in the Carrier Dome.

N.C. State (5-2, 2-2), which was coming off its first loss of the season, a 41-7 thrashing at No. 2 Clemson, fell behind early, rallied, then ran out of time at the end. Orange linebacker Andrew Armstrong sealed the victory with an interception at the Wolfpack 23-yard line with 2:18 left.

Dungey finished 27 of 38 for 411 yards passing with zero turnovers.