Saturday’s Top 25: No. 1 Alabama survives; Iowa State shocks Oklahoma
College Station, Texas — Nick Saban thinks his players have gotten too wrapped up in the constant talk in the media about how good they are.
And he shared just what he thinks about that after the top-ranked Crimson Tide struggled to put Texas A&M away in a 27-19 win on Saturday night.
“I’m trying to get our players to listen to me instead of listening to you guys,” he said referring to reporters. “All that stuff that you write about how good we are and all that stuff they get on ESPN is like poison. It’s like taking poison. Like rat poison. I’m asking them: ‘Are you going to listen to me or are you going to listen to these guys about how good you are?’”
Damien Harris ran for 124 yards and a touchdown, and Jalen Hurts had a touchdown pass and ran for another score to help Alabama remain undefeated.
The Aggies (4-2, 2-1 Southeastern Conference), who entered the game as 26.5-point underdogs, made the game interesting, but in the end freshman quarterback Kellen Mond was simply too inexperienced to help them topple a team as talented as Alabama.
Alabama (6-0, 3-0) had rolled past Vanderbilt and Mississippi by a combined score of 125-3 over the last two weeks, but got much more of a test from the young Aggies.
“We definitely needed a reality check,” senior linebacker Rashaan Evans said.
Mond was 19 of 29 for 237 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He also ran for a touchdown and lost a fumble.
“There’s no moral victory in this deal,” Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin said. “When you play that hard and you play that long nobody’s happy.”
Hurts threw for 123 yards and ran for 56.
“Are we happy? Are we pleased? No,” he said. “But we are happy that we can walk out of here with a win.”
Mond connected with Damion Ratley on a 32-yard pass on fourth-and-9 to get the Aggies to the 3 late in the third quarter. They were facing another fourth down later in the possession when Mond evaded one sack and got the ball off just as he was hit, finding Christian Kirk for a 2-yard touchdown pass to get the Aggies to 24-10. Kirk grabbed the ball just before his knee hit the ground.
The Aggies were driving again early in the fourth quarter when Minkah Fitzpatrick intercepted Mond near the goal line for his first pick this season.
But Alabama couldn’t move the ball and had to punt out of the end zone. Cullen Gillaspia, who wears Texas A&M’s beloved 12th man jersey, blocked JK Scott’s punt in the end zone for a safety to make it 24-12.
“I think we proved something to ourselves,” Gillaspia said. “We can play with anyone in the country.”
Texas A&M couldn’t do anything on its next drive, with Mond getting sacked twice and losing two yards on a run to force the Aggies to punt.
Alabama added a field goal with about two minutes left to make it 27-12.
Mond cut the lead to 8 with a 1-yard run with 17 seconds left, but the Aggies ran out of time to do anything else.
“He hasn’t always done everything right but he has given us a chance in all of these games to be successful,” Sumlin said.
Alabama took its opening drive of the second half 75 yards, capped by an 8-yard touchdown pass from Hurts to Henry Ruggs to extend the lead to 24-3 early in the third quarter.
“My biggest disappointment is we’re ahead 24-3 in the game and we didn’t finish the game,” Saban said.
Later in the third quarter Robert Foster simply dropped what should have been an easy catch before fumbling after a catch on the same drive. It was Alabama’s first turnover since Nov. 24, 2016 — a span of 638 plays — and earned Foster a talking to from Saban as soon as he reached the sideline.
The Aggies led 3-0 early after Daniel LaCamera made the longest field goal of his career and the first over 50 yards with a 52-yard field goal.
The lead didn’t last long as Damien Harris ran 75 yards for a touchdown on the first play of the next series.
(At) No. 2 Clemson 28, Wake Forest 14: Kelly Bryant threw for 200 yards and a touchdown before leaving with an ankle injury and Clemson beat Wake Forest to reach to 6-0 for a third straight season.
There was no immediate word on the severity of Bryant’s injury. He left in the third quarter after Travis Etienne’s 1-yard touchdown run put Clemson ahead 21-0. Trainers looked at Bryant’s ankle and took him into the sideline medical tent. Bryant tested his legs with a few short jogs once he came out and remained on the sidelines with teammates. Bryant did not re-enter the game as Clemson (6-0, 4-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) beat the Demon Deacons (4-2, 1-2) for a ninth straight time.
Bryant’s 28-yard scoring pass to Deon Cain got the Tigers started. Etienne, a freshman, had 67 yards rushing along with his touchdown. Adam Choice added a rushing TD and Cannon Smith added a 13-yard touchdown catch from third-string passer Hunter Johnson.
Iowa State 38, (at) No. 3 Oklahoma 31: Kyle Kempt passed for 343 yards and three touchdowns, including a 25-yarder to Allen Lazard that put Iowa State ahead with 2:19 left and Joel Lanning made plays on offense and defense. The loss snapped Oklahoma’s nation-leading 14-game winning streak and the Sooners’ 18-game run against the Cyclones that dated to 1990. It was just Iowa State’s second victory over Oklahoma since 1961, and the Cyclones (3-2, 1-1 Big 12) did it without their starting quarterback.
Kempt, the senior who had thrown just two passes in his career before Saturday, played because regular starter Jacob Park went on leave for undisclosed personal medical reasons late this week. The Cyclones remained confident, despite having lost 20 straight against ranked opponents. Iowa State’s last win over a Top 25 team came against TCU in 2012. It was Iowa State’s first road win over a Top 5 team.
Lanning, who switched from quarterback to linebacker in the offseason, played both positions Saturday. According to the Des Moines Register, he’s the first Iowa State player since 1971 to get significant action both ways in a game. He ran for 35 yards, passed for 25 and had eight tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery. He played 78 snaps.
Baker Mayfield passed for 306 yards and rushed for 57 the Sooners (4-1, 1-1). It was Lincoln Riley’s first loss as head coach.
The Cyclones gained 449 yards.
No. 5 Georgia 45, (at) Vanderbilt 14: Nick Chubb ran for two touchdowns and 138 yards, and Georgia routed Vanderbilt despite missing three players from the Bulldogs’ stingy defense.
Georgia (6-0, 3-0 Southeastern Conference) is off to its best start since 2005 when the Bulldogs won their first seven games and longest winning streak since reaching the SEC championship in 2012. The Bulldogs also avenged a 17-16 loss to Vanderbilt last year by beating the Commodores for the 20th time in the past 23 games in this series.
Georgia ran through and over Vanderbilt (3-3, 0-3), piling up 423 yards. Sony Michel added 150 yards and a TD, while Elijah Holyfield scored his first career TD on a 15-yard run. Georgia set the tone on its opening drive, running all seven plays for 83 yards.
Chubb became only the eighth running back in SEC history to reach 4,000 yards rushing in his career.
(At) No. 6 Washington 38, California 7: Freshman tight end Hunter Bryant had nine catches for 121 yards and an a touchdown, Jake Browning threw for two scores and ran for another for Washington.
Bryant was a standout on an otherwise routine, late-night thumping by the Huskies. It wasn’t a flashy performance full of major highlights for the Huskies (6-0, 3-0 Pac-12), yet was a thorough domination of the Golden Bears. Washington held California (3-3, 0-3) to 46 total yards in the first half and the Bears were under 100 yards of offense until late in the fourth quarter.
Browning was 27 of 40 for 215 yards passing and had a 21-yard touchdown run on a fourth-down option play in the first half. Myles Gaskin added touchdown runs of 8 and 7 yards, and even defensive players got in on the act for Washington. Sophomore defensive end Justiss Warren caught a 2-yard TD pass from Browning after lining up as a fullback.
(At) No. 8 TCU 31, NO. 23 West Virginia 24: Kenny Hill avoided a defender in the backfield and lunged forward through two more for a 3-yard touchdown run with 2:53 left and TCU remained the Big 12’s only undefeated team.
Hill also threw a 45-yard touchdown pass and was on the receiving end of a 48-yard score for the Frogs (5-0, 2-0). His winning TD run came only five plays after an apparent interception was reversed on a replay review.
Will Grier threw for 366 yards and three TDs for West Virginia (3-2, 1-1), including two long catch-and-run scores in a span of about 2 1/2 minutes late in the third quarter. It was tied at 24 after Grier hooked up with David Sills V on a 64-yard scoring play and then Ka’Raun White for a 76-yarder.
After those two long West Virginia TDs, the Frogs used a little trickery to go ahead again. KaVontae Turpin took a handoff and swept to the right before stopping and throwing back to Hill, who sprinted down the left sideline for the score.
West Virginia got even at 31 on Sills’ 4-yard TD catch with 9:50 left, a nice reaching grab in the back of the end zone. He had seven catches for 116 yards and now has nine TD catches this season.
No. 11 Washington State 33, (at) Oregon 10: Luke Falk threw for 282 yards and three touchdowns and Washington State held Oregon scoreless after the first quarter.
The Cougars (6-0, 3-0 Pac-12) were on their first trip after quirky scheduling gave them their first five games at home. The team is off to its best start since winning seven to start the 2001 season.
Erik Powell contributed to the victory with field goals from 25, 52, 47 and 29 yards.
True freshman Braxton Burmeister made his first college start and threw for 145 yards and a touchdown for Oregon (4-2, 1-2). He also threw two interceptions.
Justin Herbert started at quarterback for the Ducks to start the season, but he broke his collarbone in Oregon’s 45-24 victory over California last weekend.
(At) No. 12 Auburn 44, Mississippi 23: Kerryon Johnson rushed for a career-high 204 yards and three touchdowns for Auburn.
Johnson and the Tigers (5-0, 3-0 Southeastern Conference) continued a recent tear with their third straight lopsided win over a league team. Johnson, who didn’t play in the fourth quarter, has 11 touchdown runs during that hot streak after missing two games with a right hamstring injury.
Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham completed 14 of 21 passes for 235 yards and two touchdowns. That included a screen pass which Ryan Davis took 75 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter, the Tigers’ longest offensive play of the season.
The Rebels (2-3, 0-2) endured their second straight blowout in the state a week after losing 66-3 to No. 1 Alabama.
No. 13 Miami 24, (at) Florida State 20: Malik Rosier threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Darrell Langham with 6 seconds remaining and Miami beat Florida State to end a seven-game losing streak in the series.
Rosier, who came into the game leading the Atlantic Coast Conference in passing efficiency, had a rough start as he completed only four of his first 16 passes. The junior found a rhythm in the second half and finished 19 of 44 for 254 yards and three touchdowns.
After Florida State (1-3, 1-2) took a 20-17 lead with 1:24 remaining on James Blackman’ 20-yard pass to Auden Tate, Rosier drove Miami (4-0, 2-0) 75 yards in nine plays and 1:18. The junior found Langham in single coverage up the right sideline and he beat Tarvarus McFadden.
Blackman, who was 8 of 18 for 61 yards and two interceptions in the first three quarters, was 9 of 10 for 142 yards over the final 15 minutes. Cam Akers had his first 100-yard rushing game with 129 yards on 14 carries. Florida State is 1-3 for the first time since 1976, which was Bobby Bowden’s first season, and has dropped consecutive home games for the first time since 2009. It also is the first time since 1974 that the Seminoles have dropped their first two home games of a season.
(At) No. 14 Southern California 38, Oregon State 10: Sam Darnold threw for 316 yards and three touchdowns, Ronald Jones II ran for a touchdown and Southern California beat Oregon State.
Wide receiver Tyler Vaughns and tight end Josh Falo each caught their first career touchdown reception from Darnold as the Trojans (5-1, 3-1 Pac-12) were workmanlike in bouncing back from last week’s 30-27 loss at No. 11 Washington State. Jones, who had 79 yards rushing and two receptions for 17 yards, scored a touchdown from scrimmage in his 12th straight game.
The Beavers (1-5, 0-3) recovered a muffed punt at the USC 29 and Darnold’s fumble at the Trojans 23 after the ball slipped from his hand while attempting a pass. But Oregon State failed to score on either possession after Jordan Choukair had a 46-yard field goal blocked by cornerback Jack Jones and missed a 37-yard try wide left. Choukair did make a 33-yarder in the second quarter.
No. 16 Virginia Tech 23, (at) Boston College 10: Josh Jackson threw for 322 yards and a touchdown and Virginia Tech bounced back from a loss to defending national champion Clemson.
Sean Savoy had nine catches for 139 yards and a score after No. 1 receiver Cam Phillips went out with an apparent leg injury in the first quarter. Savoy went 53 yards on a slant pattern to open the scoring midway through the first quarter, and the Hokies (5-1, 1-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) never trailed.
Travon McMillian ran 17 times for 88 yards, including a 23-yard touchdown that gave Virginia Tech a 17-3 lead midway through the second quarter. With 11 points — three field goals and two extra points — Joey Slye became the school’s career scoring leader.
Anthony Brown completed 13 of 30 passes for 166 yards for BC (2-4, 0-2). He also caught a touchdown pass on a halfback option from former quarterback Jeff Smith.
No. 19 San Diego State 41, (at) UNLV 10: Rashaad Penny ran for 170 yards and two touchdowns for San Diego Stat.
It was the Rebels’ first game since the mass shooting that killed 58 people on the Las Vegas Strip this week. First responders released balloons from the field during a moment of silence before the game.
Penny had his sixth straight 100-yard game to open the season, and the Aztecs (6-0, 2-0 Mountain West) beat UNLV (2-3, 1-1) for the 13th time in their last 16 meetings.
Juwan Washington added 95 yards on 10 carries and a touchdown for the Aztecs. They have won 27 of their last 30 games.
Christian Chapman threw for 172 yards and had a 14-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. The Aztecs out gained UNLV 302-106 on the ground.
Stanford 23, (at) No. 20 Utah 20: Bryce Love ran for 152 yards and a touchdown and Stanford handed Utah its first loss of the season.
Utah bottled up the nation’s leading rusher for most of the night, but the Cardinal (4-2, 3-1 Pac-12) faithfully continued to give their star the ball. On his 18th touch, the 5-foot-10, 196-pound speedster made two defenders miss in the hole and ran away for a 68-yarder that put the Cardinal up 23-13 with 12:02 remaining.
Utah (4-1, 1-1) stormed down the field on the ensuing possession with Troy Williams hitting Darren Carrington for big gains, but an interception essentially ended the game.
The Utes had moved to the Stanford 30 and Williams was about to be sacked when he threw the ball up downfield. Quenton Meeks picked off the fluttering pass and allowed Stanford to work more time off the clock. Williams threw another interception to Justin Reid with 5:52 remaining.
LSU 17, (at) No. 21 Florida 16: Danny Etling threw a short touchdown pass in the second half and LSU rebounded from a stunning home loss to beat Florida.
The Tigers (4-2, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) moved the ball well early with jet sweeps and then pounded it between the tackles late, doing just enough to upend the Gators (3-2, 3-1).
The difference was Florida’s usually stout kicking game. Eddy Pineiro missed the first extra point of his career in the third quarter and never got a chance to atone for it. He had made 45 in a row.
LSU looked nothing like it did the previous week against Troy, a 24-21 loss that was the program’s first at home against a non-conference opponent since 2000. The Tigers opened up a 14-point lead early in the third on Etling’s 2-yard touchdown pass to Tory Carter.
Florida answered, getting the first of consecutive TD runs by Lamical Perine. Pineiro yanked the extra point left after the second one.
No. 21 Notre Dame 33, (at) North Carolina 10: Josh Adams ran for 118 yards, including a 73-yard touchdown dash for Notre Dame.
Deon McIntosh added 124 yards rushing and two scores for the Fighting Irish (5-1). They played without starting quarterback Brandon Wimbush due to a right foot injury.
Wimbush was on the sideline as the No. 2 QB behind Ian Book, though the Fighting Irish had no trouble surpassing the win total from a frustrating 2016 season.
Book threw for a score and had two interceptions. Notre Dame had 487 yards, 341 coming on the ground.
Chazz Surratt threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Ratliff-Williams before halftime in the only noteworthy offensive play for the Tar Heels (1-5).
No. 25 UCF 51, (at) Cincinnati 23: McKenzie Milton threw a career-high five touchdown passes — four in the first half — and Tre’Quan Smith scored four times as UCF rolled to a storm-shortened victory in the Knights’ first game as a ranked team since 2013.
UCF (4-0, 2-0 American Athletic) has opened the season with four wins for the first time since 1988, when the Knights were in Division II. They failed to win a game two years ago, and then went 6-7 in coach Scott Frost’s first year.
Storms moved in with 4 seconds left in the third quarter and the game was called after a one-hour delay with more rain on the way.
The Knights have dominated each game, outscoring opponents 190-63. Cincinnati (2-4, 0-2) has dropped three straight in Luke Fickell’s first season as head coach.