Saturday's top 25 roundup: Toledo stuns Arkansas
Little Rock, Ark. — Despite having had games in Little Rock for more than eight decades, the Arkansas Razorbacks played as though they were in unfamiliar surroundings Saturday by stumbling into mistakes that took a shine off the Southeastern Conference's vaunted West Division.
Toledo quarterback Phillip Ely, a former backup at Alabama, threw for 237 yards and the three-touchdown underdogs upset Arkansas, 16-12.
"I don't think people expected us to come down here and, No. 1, even compete, 21-point underdogs," Toledo coach Matt Campbell said. "I think our kids believed the entire time that we had a chance."
Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen threw his first interception since last Nov. 1 — after 134 attempts. He misfired on two passes from the Toledo 16 in the final 6 seconds, moments after hitting the crossbar on a fourth-and-goal from the Toledo 4 to kill another drive.
Each of the SEC West's seven teams were ranked this week, part of the record 10 SEC teams in The Associated Press poll. Auburn recovered earlier Saturday to beat Jacksonville State, but Arkansas had no such luck, or skill.
"I guess this isn't their normal spot," Ely said. "It's different for both teams to kind of get in a place where you don't normally play. Fun to be in the atmosphere."
Playing in their home-away-from-home — perhaps as an 83-year tradition rolls toward an end — the Razorbacks (1-1) suffered through key penalties that wiped out one punt return for a touchdown and made the end zone seem far, far away. One impressive drive — 73 yards in 21 plays — took 10:39 off the clock but ended in a field goal with 9:30 left in the game.
"I'm embarrassed for our fans and the people that traveled today — all the people here in Little Rock that this game means a lot to," Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said. "It means a lot to us, and to not play well here for the second year in a row is very frustrating and something that I know that we are going to have to correct."
Toledo (1-0) trailed in time of possession, yardage and first downs, but Arkansas had 85 yards in penalties.
After Eric Hawkins held the punter — the punter! — to clear Jared Cornelius' path to the end zone in the third quarter, Allen threw his first interception since Nov. 1. Toledo drove the length of the field to complete what was essentially a 14-point turnaround.
"Obviously, nothing was more critical than that punt return. We held the punter. It just doesn't make sense," Bielema said.
Ely had seen Arkansas once before, completing 2 of 3 passes for 15 yards off the bench in the Crimson Tide's 52-0 victory at Fayetteville three years ago. He transferred to the Mid-American Conference school in 2013 and Saturday led the Rockets to their first victory over a Southeastern Conference team.
He completed 21 of 38 passes without an interception and was effective when his team needed it most. Four of his first five third-down passes resulted in first downs as Toledo took a 6-0 lead in the first quarter, on a short drive set up by a blocked punt.
"Anytime you give up some yards and some plays, like we did on some third and extra-long, you can't just pinpoint it on one thing," Bielema said. "Pass defense a lot of times is effected by pass rush. Pass rush a lot of times is effected by pass defense."
Toledo had opened the season with Stony Brook last week but the game was stopped because of bad weather, then canceled.
(At) No. 3 TCU 70, Stephen F. Austin 7: Trevone Boykin threw for 285 yards and four touchdowns in a little more than a half, and Aaron Green ran for two scores for TCU (2-0), who won their 14th straight home opener under Gary Patterson.
The Lumberjacks (0-2), facing the highest-ranked opponent in school history, dropped to 0-9 against Big 12 teams.
(At) No. 4 Baylor 66, Lamar 31: Corey Coleman had a Baylor-record four touchdown catches, and the Bears (2-0) had 785 total yards.
Shock Linwood added 130 yards rushing and three TDs to help Baylor win its 17th consecutive home game, matching second-ranked Alabama for the longest current streak.
(At) No. 6 Auburn 27, Jacksonville State 20 (OT): Auburn dodged an upset, riding Melvin Ray's touchdown catch in the final minute and Peyton Barber's overtime scoring run.
Barber, making his first start at tailback, ran for 125 yards. The most important came on his 4-yard scoring run to cap Auburn's first possession in overtime. Troymaine Pope's 5-yard touchdown run with 5:38 left gave the Gamecocks a 20-13 lead.
Jacksonville State (1-1) lost its bid to become the first Football Championship Subdivision team to beat a ranked FBS team since Aug. 31, 2013, when Eastern Washington beat No. 25 Oregon State 49-46.
No. 10 Georgia 31, (at) Vanderbilt 14: Nick Chubb ran for 189 yards, Isaiah McKenzie returned a punt 77 yards for a touchdown for Georgia (2-0) in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams.
Sony Michel had a 31-yard touchdown run for the Bulldogs.
Vanderbilt (0-2) pulled to 24-14 and recovered an onside kick with 4:30 left, but Jake Ganus intercepted Johnny McCrary's pass in the end zone.
(At) No. 11 Florida State 34, South Florida 14: Dalvin Cook ran for 266 yards and three touchdowns on 30 carries to help Florida State (2-0).
Cook had the second-highest rushing total in school history and the first 200-yard game since Sammie Smith had 212 yards against Tulane in 1988. Greg Allen set the school record with 322 yards against Western Carolina in 1981.
Cook's 74-yard touchdown run in the first quarter started the scoring.
(At) No. 12 Clemson 41, Appalachian State 10: Deshaun Watson threw for 248 yards and three touchdowns for Clemson (2-0).
Watson found Charone Peake for scoring passes of 24 and 59 yards. Watson hit Artavis Scott with a 41-yard TD pass in the third.
No. 14 LSU 21, (at) No. 25 Mississippi St 19: Leonard Fournette ran for 159 yards and three touchdowns to lead LSU (1-0, 1-0 SEC), which had two touchdowns called back because of penalties.
LSU had a 21-6 lead early in the fourth quarter, but Mississippi State's offense shook off an ugly first half to score two fourth-quarter touchdowns. The last featured six straight pass completions for Dak Prescott, capped by a 5-yard touchdown to De'Runnya Wilson to pull the Bulldogs (1-1, 0-1) within 21-19 with four minutes remaining, but the 2-point conversion to tie failed.
Prescott completed 34 of 52 passes for 335 yards and one touchdown.
(At) No. 15 Georgia Tech 65, Tulane 10: Justin Thomas passed for two touchdowns and ran for another for Georgia Tech (2-0).
Thomas threw a 17-yard scoring pass to Qua Searcy late in the first half, and then hooked up with Micheal Summers on a 30-yarder midway through the third quarter. The junior quarterback also scored on a 4-yard run.
Tulane (0-2) has been outscored 102-17 this season.
(At) No. 16 Texas A&M 56, Ball State 23: Kyle Allen threw for 126 yards and three touchdowns in the first half for Texas A&M (2-0).
It was the perfect party to celebrate the first game after a $485 million redevelopment of Kyle Field that increased its capacity to 102,733, making it the largest stadium in the Southeastern Conference and No. 4 in the nation.
(At) No. 17 Mississippi 73, Fresno State 21: Chad Kelly threw for 346 yards and four touchdowns and Quincy Adeboyejo caught three touchdown passes to lead Mississippi (2-0).
Fresno State's Chason Virgil completed 12 of 18 passes for 140 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Marteze Waller ran for 91 yards.
No. 19 Oklahoma 31, Tennessee 24 (2 OT): Baker Mayfield threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Sterling Shepard and Oklahoma (2-0) rallied from a 17-point deficit.
Zack Sanchez clinched Oklahoma's victory by picking off a Joshua Dobbs pass in Tennessee's second overtime possession.
Oklahoma had forced overtime on Mayfield's 5-yard touchdown pass to Shepard with 40 seconds left.
Tennessee (1-1) has lost 28 of its last 29 games against Top 25 teams.
No. 21 Missouri 27, (at) Arkansas State 20: Maty Mauk threw for three touchdowns as Missouri (2-0) extended its road winning streak to 11 games by rallying in the second half.
The Tigers haven't lost on the road since a 59-29 defeat at Texas A&M on Nov. 24, 2012.
No. 22 Arizona 44, (at) Nevada 20: Nick Wilson ran for 194 yards and three touchdowns and Anu Solomon passed for 264 yards and two more scores to lead Arizona (2-0).
The Wildcats (2-0) opened a 14-0 lead less than 6 minutes into the game. They went ahead 21-10 when Wilson surpassed 100 yards rushing with his second score 3:56 before the half.