Top 25 roundup: Alabama rallies for 20th straight win
Tuscaloosa, Ala. — When Alabama couldn’t shake Texas A&M in a battle of unbeaten, Top 10 teams, it was Jonathan Allen’s scoop-and-score defensive touchdown that effectively brushed aside the latest would-be challenger.
A star defensive end, Allen returned a fumble 30 yards for a touchdown in the final seconds of the third quarter to help the No. 1 Crimson Tide beat the sixth-ranked Aggies, 33-14, Saturday and continue a non-offensive scoring streak that’s as impressive as those 20 consecutive wins.
The Crimson Tide (8-0, 5-0 Southeastern) moved on as the powerhouse league’s last unbeaten team, getting yet another in a long string of defensive scores. Allen scooped up the ball after Ryan Anderson knocked it loose from Keith Ford to finally build a cushion over the Aggies (6-1, 4-1), who led 14-13 well into the third quarter.
“You know you don’t think about it,” Allen said. “It’s all reaction. We just train ourselves to pick up all loose balls in practices and it’s good to see it happening in the game.”
It’s happening again and again.
The score was 20-14 when Allen extended Alabama’s streak to 10 games with a score on defense or special teams, pushing the season’s total to 12. Allen now has scored twice on fumble returns.
“I think that was the real turning point in the game, because it changed the momentum of the game,” Tide coach Nick Saban said. “Those plays are always huge in games, but that one was especially huge.”
The Tide, however, sustained a big loss when safety Eddie Jackson was injured in the fourth quarter and didn’t come back after a punt return. Saban said Jackson, a senior and team leader, is out for the season with a broken leg.
Alabama’s freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts then galloped 37 yards for another score, stepping out of a defender’s grasp and making a nifty move to get past another. The Tide was rolling again, a powerful encore to easy wins over ranked Tennessee and Arkansas teams.
The Aggies seemed poised to put up the biggest fight, with a defense that kept the pressure on Hurts and a handful of big runs by quarterback Trevor Knight. Then Allen and Anderson changed that in an instant. Costly penalties hurt the Aggies, too, including a roughing the passer penalty to keep Alabama’s go-ahead touchdown drive going earlier in the third.
“You really have five minutes in the game that determined what happened,” Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin said. “We extended the drive with the roughing the passer, then we extended the drive again, I think it was an offsides. So you back that up with a fumble returned for a touchdown in a game like this, against a team like that, that can’t happen.”
Alabama racked up five sacks of Knight, who had engineered Oklahoma’s Sugar Bowl upset of Alabama as a redshirt freshman with a 348-yard, four-touchdown performance. He passed for 164 yards and ran for 24 in the semi-rematch.
Hurts passed for 166 yards and rushed for 93 more, throwing for a pair of touchdowns while getting intercepted twice. Damien Harris rushed 17 times for 126 yards.
Texas A&M: The Aggies led deeper into the game than any other ’Bama opponent, the 6:33 mark of the third quarter. Knight made some plays with his running but was also given little time to hit receivers downfield by Allen & Co. Knight threw a pick on the first play after the defense intercepted Hurts in Alabama territory. The SEC’s top running team was held to 114 yards.
Alabama: Dominated the stat sheet (303 yards to 150) in the first half but settled for two short field goals and Adam Griffith missed a third. It was enough to keep it in doubt. The defense gave up back-to-back long TD drives late in the second quarter and to open the third, but delivered big plays when it had to.
(At) No. 5 Washington 41, Oregon State 17: Jake Browning threw for three touchdowns to give him 26 for the season, added another rushing TD, and the Huskies used a big first half to roll past the Beavers.
Washington (7-0, 4-0 Pac-12) won its 10th straight, a streak that started with a victory at Oregon State last season. It’s the Huskies’ longest win streak since winning 12 straight during the 2000-01 seasons.
Coming off a bye, Washington easily rolled past undermanned Oregon State (2-5, 1-3) despite a performance that gives Washington coach Chris Petersen plenty to work on heading into next week’s matchup at No. 19 Utah. Washington put away this expected blowout early, jumping to a 21-0 lead after one quarter and leading 31-0 at halftime. The Huskies have now outscored opponents, 100-7, in the first quarter and 200-24 in the first half this season.
Browning led the attack, even if his completion percentage wasn’t up to the standard he set through the first six games when he led the country hitting 72 percent of his throws. Browning threw touchdowns of 19 yards to Aaron Fuller and 23 yards to Dante Pettis sandwiched around his own 1-yard TD run in the first quarter.
Browning added a 41-yard touchdown pass to Pettis in the third quarter. Browning finished 14-of-28 for 291 yards.
John Ross had 115 yards receiving and Pettis added 112 yards — both with four catches — giving the Huskies two receivers with more than 100 yards for the first time since 2002.
The bright spot for Washington’s offense was the performance by Myles Gaskin. After breaking out for 197 yards rushing against Oregon, Gaskin followed up with 128 yards on 18 carries, most of that coming in just over a quarter. Gaskin had just two carries for 15 yards in the first quarter and by the middle of the third quarter had his third straight 100-yard game.
The depleted Beavers started third-string quarterback Marcus McMaryion after Darell Garretson and Conor Blount were injured. McMaryion was 12-of-26 for 148 yards and two interceptions.
The Beavers were also without starting running back Ryan Nall because of a foot injury aggravated in last week’s loss to Utah. Tim Cook had 108 yards rushing and a late TD, while Victor Bolden Jr. had a 75-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
(At) No. 7 Louisville 54, North Carolina State 13: Lamar Jackson broke a school single-season record with four first-half touchdowns, and the Cardinals had three interceptions leading to 17 points.
Jackson passed for three touchdowns and ran for a 36-yard score on the opening drive, giving him 34 TDs with five games to play. Dave Ragone and Brian Brohm each had 33.
Jackson, a sophomore quarterback and Heisman frontrunner, had 359 of his 431 yards on offense by halftime. He threw TD passes of 74 yards to Jaylen Smith, 3 yards to Cole Hikutini and 16 yards to Jamari Staples.
Jeremy Smith ran for a pair of 1-yard TDs for Louisville (6-1, 4-1 Atlantic Coast), which reclaimed its high-scoring ways a week after managing a season-low 24 points against Duke .
“I think our guys took it personal and felt like we were the most physical team out there today,” Louisville coach Bobby Petrino said. “We executed well. … The game plan was to throw the football and our guys ran really good routes.”
Blanton Creque had four field goals and six conversions to set a single-game school scoring record for a kicker with 18 points. Consecutive pickoffs by Jonathan Greenard and Stacy Thomas set up second-quarter TDs.
North Carolina State (4-3, 1-2 ACC) managed two third-quarter touchdowns to avoid a shutout, and finished with its second-lowest yardage (250) of the season. Ryan Finley threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Kelvin Harmon and a 70-yarder to Maurice Trowell.
(At) No. 12 West Virginia 34, TCU 10: Skyler Howard threw four touchdown passes and the Mountaineers’ improving defense held TCU scoreless in the second half.
West Virginia (6-0, 3-0 Big 12) is off to its best start since winning its first seven games in 2006.
Howard had first-half TD tosses of 10, 22 and 11 yards to three different receivers to stake West Virginia to a 21-10 halftime lead. Howard finished 16-of-23 passing for 231 yards.
West Virginia used scoring drives of 11 and 15 plays in the third quarter to eat up most of the clock.
TCU (4-3, 2-2) had only five second-half possessions. Three ended in punts, Deante’ Gray fumbled away a kickoff and the final possession ended on downs.
The Mountaineers scored touchdowns in the game’s first six minutes after two TCU turnovers — another fumbled kickoff by Gray and Rasul Douglas’ interception of Kenny Hill.
(At) SMU 38, No. 11 Houston 16: Ben Hicks threw for three touchdowns and ran for another score in the Mustangs' first win over a ranked team in five years.
The Cougars (6-2, 3-2 American) lost for the second time after a 5-0 start that included a season-opening win over then-No. 3 Oklahoma that vaulted Houston into the Top 10.
The last time SMU (3-4, 1-2) beat a team ranked 11th or higher, it was No. 4 and finishing off a near-perfect 1982 season (11-0-1) with a 7-3 victory over sixth-ranked Pittsburgh in the Cotton Bowl. SMU tied No. 7 Texas A&M in 1994.
“Shocked is a good word,” Houston coach Tom Herman said.
Greg Ward Jr. couldn’t shake a persistent SMU pass rush or find receivers for big plays, finishing with 241 yards passing — almost 100 below his average — and just 3 yards rushing on 17 carries thanks to seven sacks.
One of the sacks was for an 18-yard loss to the Houston 22 when Herman went for it on fourth down trailing 28-14 early in the fourth quarter.
Herman got conservative moments later, choosing a 19-yard field goal attempt on fourth down from the SMU 2. Ty Cummings hit the right upright for his second miss.
Hicks was 16-of-31 for 228 yards, including a 28-yard touchdown to a wide-open James Proche for a 28-7 lead in the final seconds of the first half. SMU appeared content to run out the clock before a 40-yard run by Braeden West, who had 115 yards rushing and a punctuating touchdown late.
The Cougars lost two fumbles in the first quarter and never got their high-powered offense going. Houston was outgained 406 yards to 303.
“When you play a team at their place that’s fresh, that’s hungry, motivated, to give them life like that,” Herman said. “You’re playing catch-up the whole game from that point on.”
SMU defensive end Jarvis Pruitt recovered one of the fumbles and had three sacks in the Mustangs’ first win over a ranked team since beating No. 20 TCU, 40-33 in overtime in 2011.
No. 16 Oklahoma 66, (at) Texas Tech 59: Baker Mayfield had seven touchdown passes and 545 yards to help the Sooners beat the Red Raiders in a game that broke the NCAA record for combined offensive yards with 1,708 yards.
Mayfield completed 27 of 36 passes and broke the school game touchdown mark of six held by Landry Jones. His TD passes went for 56, 49, 23, 23, 43, 34 and 15 yards.
Joe Mixon caught three touchdowns passes and Dede Westbrook had two for Oklahoma (5-2, 4-0 Big 12).
Mixon also ran for two touchdowns, a 46-yarder and a 42-yarder. He finished with 263 yards rushing and 114 yards receiving. He’s the first Sooner ever to reach 200 yards rushing and 100 receiving in the same game.
Westbrook caught nine passes for 202 yards.
Pat Mahomes threw for five touchdowns and 734 yards for Texas Tech (3-4, 1-3). His passing yards total tied the NCAA record, matching Connor Halliday when Washington State played California in 2014.
The 125 points are the second-most in a game involving a ranked team. The record is 133 in then-No. 9 West Virginia’s 70-63 victory over then-No. 25 Baylor on Sept. 29, 2012.
(At) No. 21 Auburn 56, No. 17 Arkansas 3: Eli Stove broke free for a 78-yard touchdown run on the Tigers’ first play, giving them momentum they never lost in a surprisingly dominant victory, their fourth straight.
Auburn (5-2, 3-1) held out starting running back Kerryon Johnson and still ran for 543 yards, a school record for a Southeastern Conference regular-season game. With former Auburn star Bo Jackson watching, Kamryn Pettway had 192 yards rushing with two touchdowns. Johnson ran well in pregame warm-ups but did not play after hurting his right ankle against Mississippi State on Oct. 8.
The Tigers held the Razorbacks (5-3, 1-3) to 215 total yards. Rawleigh Williams ran for only 22 yards one week after he set a career high with 180 yards in a 34-30 win over No. 23 Mississippi.
Stanton Truitt had scoring runs of 20 and 31 yards and added a 45-yard touchdown catch.
Arkansas quarterback Austin Allen was helped off the field with an apparent right knee injury in the second quarter but returned with a black sleeve on his knee on the next possession.
Adam McFain kicked a 54-yard field goal for Arkansas to close the first half. It was the senior’s career-longest field goal.
No. 19 Utah 52, (at) UCLA 45: Joe Williams rushed for a school-record 332 yards and four touchdowns in his second game back from retirement, and the Utes held off the pass-happy Bruins.
Cory Butler-Byrd returned the opening kickoff for a 99-yard touchdown on a day of stunning superlatives for Utah (7-1, 4-1 Pac-12) in their second straight win at the Rose Bowl.
Williams, who quit football last month before returning last week, broke off TD runs of 3, 43, 64 and 55 yards in the most prolific rushing performance ever by a UCLA opponent.
Mike Fafaul also set UCLA records for pass attempts (70) and completions (40) while throwing for 464 yards, third most in school history. The former walk-on had five touchdown passes and four interceptions for the Bruins (3-5, 1-4), whose wholesale overhaul of their offensive approach didn’t prevent their fourth loss in five games.
Williams ended his retirement after injuries decimated Utah’s backfield depth. The senior has 511 yards rushing in two games since, including the biggest ground game in school history against UCLA’s previously above-average defense.
Williams broke Mike Anderson’s Utah single-game record shortly before shredding Edgerrin James’ record for a Bruins opponent on his fourth scoring run with 10:28 to play.
UCLA’s Austin Roberts caught a TD pass with 4:38 left to trim Utah’s lead to seven points. The Bruins got the ball back with 40 seconds left, but couldn’t move.
Bolu Olorunfunmi scored two touchdowns, Nate Iese caught two TD passes and Jordan Lasley caught a 75-yard TD pass for the Bruins.
No. 22 North Carolina 35, (at) Virginia 14: Mitch Trubisky threw three touchdown passes and the Tar Heels limited the Cavaliers to one trick-play touchdown until the fourth quarter.
Trubisky hit Bug Howard for 40 yards on a trick play, Thomas Jackson for 10 yards and Austin Proehl for 46 yards for touchdowns for North Carolina (6-2, 4-1 Atlantic Coast). The Tar Heels won their seventh straight in the series and ninth true road game in a row.
Virginia (2-5, 1-2) got its first touchdown when it lined up for a field goal, had the entire offensive line split out far to the left, and snapper Evan Butts threw the snap 30 yards to his left to Matt Johns, the holder now acting as the quarterback. Johns quickly hit Butts for an 11-yard touchdown strike.
The Tar Heels led 14-7 at halftime and limited Virginia to 39 yards in the third quarter while opening a 28-7 lead.
Elijah Hood ran for 107 yards and a 4-yard touchdown, and T.J. Logan scored on a 4-yard run.
(At) No. 25 LSU 38, No. 23 Mississippi 21: Leonard Fournette broke the Tigers' single-game rushing record on just his first eight carries — scoring three touchdowns of 59 yards or more.
Fournette finished with 284 yards rushing in his first action since aggravating a left ankle injury on Sept. 24. The speed and force with which he carried the ball left little doubt about how good he feels now. His touchdowns went for 78, 76 and 59 yards. He averaged 17.8 yards on 16 carries.
The victory puts LSU (5-2, 3-1 Southeastern) at 3-0 under interim coach Ed Orgeron, who replaced Les Miles when the Tigers were 2-2.
Since Orgeron took over and promoted Steve Ensminger to offensive coordinator, the Tigers have demonstrated a penchant for big plays. They had four TDs of 40 or more yards against the Rebels, including Danny Etling’s 40-yard pass to D.J. Chark.
LSU finished with 515 total yards against Ole Miss (3-4, 1-3), which saw its chances of getting back into the SEC West race take a huge hit.
Chad Kelly, who came in averaging an SEC-best 308.2 yards passing, was intercepted twice and sacked twice. He finished 19-of-32 for 209 yards and one touchdown. Kelly capped Ole Miss’ opening drive with a 15-yard scoring pass to Van Jefferson, and the Rebels briefly led 10-0 before Fournette came rumbling through the right side of LSU’s offensive line for his 59-yard score.
Fournette’s 76-yard run put the Tigers up 21-13, but Marquis Haynes’ sack and strip of Etling gave Ole Miss the ball on the LSU nine. Three plays later, the Rebels tied it at 21 when Akeem Judd scored from 2 yards out and Ole Miss added a 2-point conversion on Kelly’s keeper.
But Fournette’s 78-yarder, which gave him 249 yards on his first seven carries, put the Tigers up for good. Derrius Guice iced it with a 6-yard TD.
(At) No. 24 Navy 42, Memphis 28: Will Worth rushed for a career-high 201 yards and three touchdowns, and the Midshipman ran over the Tigers for their 14th consecutive home victory.
In addition to operating the triple option in near-flawless fashion, Worth completed three of four passes for 85 yards and two scores.
Navy (5-1, 4-0 American Athletic) gained a season-high 447 yards on the ground, averaging 6 yards per carry.
The victory put Navy in sole possession of first place in the AAC West and served as a suitable encore for its 46-40 upset of defending league champion Houston two weeks ago.
The 14-game home winning streak is the team’s longest at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium since the facility opened in 1959.
Tony Pollard returned a kickoff 100 yards and Riley Ferguson completed 25 of 40 passes for 333 yards and two touchdowns for Memphis (5-2, 2-1). But the Tigers simply couldn’t score enough to offset the damage inflicted by Navy’s sensational running attack.
Worth’s second touchdown run put Navy ahead 28-14 early in the third quarter. Memphis responded with a 9-yard TD pass from Furguson to Daniel Hurd.
As the clock wound down in the third quarter, Navy faced a fourth-and-4 at the Memphis 18. Tigers coach Mike Norvell called a timeout, hoping to make the Midshipmen try to kick a field goal into a stiff wind. Instead, Navy sent its offense on the field and went up 35-21 on a touchdown pass from Worth to Tyler Carmona.