Mount Pleasant — Quinten Dormady threw three touchdown passes, Jonathan Ward ran for two scores, and Central Michigan kicked off the coach Jim McElwain era with its 12th straight win against FCS opponents, 38-21, against Albany in Thursday night’s season opener.
Dormady (27 of 37 for 285 yards) hit Tyrone Scott on a 22-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter, then cashed in on D’Andre Dill’s fumble recovery with a 14-yard scoring pass to Scott eight plays later. Dormady’s 4-yard touchdown pass to Kalil Pimpleton put the FBS Chippewas up 24-7 at halftime.
Central Michigan, 1-11 last season in Mid-American Conference play, gained 529 total yards to the Great Danes’ 244 and held them to 45 yards rushing. Despite an opening-drive fumble, Ward (158 yards on 22 carries) led the Chippewas’ 244-yard ground attack and scored on a 7-yard run in the third quarter and a 12-yarder in the fourth.
Redshirt freshman Jeff Undercuffer (15 of 28 for 199 yards) threw touchdown passes of 36 and nine yards to Juwan Green for the Great Danes, who play in the Colonial Athletic Association. Defensive end Eli Mencer sacked Dormady in the fourth quarter, forcing a fumble which he recovered and returned 52 yards for a score.
Albany has played FBS teams in five straight season openers, beating Buffalo 22-16, in 2016.
McElwain, hired last December, was head coach at Florida from 2015-2017 and wide receivers coach at Michigan in 2018.
(At) Minnesota 28, South Dakota State 21: Mohamed Ibrahim plunged up the middle for a 1-yard touchdown run with 5:39 remaining and the Gophers avoided an upset against FCS South Dakota State.
Winston DeLattiboudere recovered a fumbled exchange between South Dakota State quarterback J’Bore Gibbs and running back Pierre Strong with the Jackrabbits holding a 21-20 lead in the fourth quarter. Minnesota capped a five-play, 34-yard drive with Ibrahim’s touchdown to pull ahead and extend the nation’s longest winning streak of nonconference games at 16 in a row.
Tanner Morgan was 13 of 18 passing for 176 yards, one touchdown and one interception for the Gophers, who also narrowly escaped with a 16-13 win over South Dakota State in 2009. Rashod Bateman had five catches for 132 yards, including a one-handed, 42-yard touchdown pass from Morgan in the first half.
(At) No. 1 Clemson 52, Georgia Tech 14: Travis Etienne ran for a career-high 205 yards and three touchdowns, including one from 90 yards out, and Clemson overpowered Georgia Tech for its 16th straight victory.
On an offense filled with stars, it was Etienne who shone brightest for the defending national champions. His 90-yard score tied for the longest rushing TD in Tigers history. Etienne added scoring runs of 14 yards and 48 yards as Clemson opened a 35-0 lead and was never pressed by the Yellow Jackets in the season opener for both Atlantic Coast Conference teams.
It was not the flashy return that most of college football expected out of Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. The 6-foot-6 sophomore, so poised and polished in leading the Tigers to a 15-0, title-winning season, threw two interceptions in the first half. Lawrence had just four picks all last year.
Still, Lawrence had his moments. His hustle after a bad interception knocked defensive back Tre Swilling out of bounds at the Clemson 3, and the Tigers defense kept the Yellow Jackets from scoring. Lawrence opened things with a 6-yard rushing score and threw a perfect pass to Tee Higgins for a 62-yard touchdown.
(At) No. 12 Texas A&M 41, Texas State 7: Kellen Mond threw three touchdown passes and ran for another score in just more than three quarters, and Texas A&M had four interceptions as the Aggies routed Texas State.
Mond, who threw for 194 yards, had touchdown passes of 21 and 3 yards and ran for another score in the first two quarters as Texas A&M raced to a 28-0 halftime lead.
Quartney Davis had 85 yards receiving and a touchdown and Jhamon Ausbon added a touchdown catch. First-year starter Jashaun Corbin had 103 yards rushing with a touchdown reception and a TD run.
Myles Jones had two of Texas A&M’s four interceptions, and the Aggies had three sacks and nine tackles for losses.
No. 14 Utah 30, (at) BYU 12: The Utes scored three touchdowns off three BYU turnovers, and Utah left no doubt about how strong its defense could be this season. Over the final 30 minutes, the Cougars gained just 104 yards on 18 total plays.
Zack Moss ran for 181 yards and a touchdown to help the Utes (1-0) earn their ninth straight victory in the 100th game in the Holy War rivalry.
The senior suffered a hand injury in fall camp and wore a protective splint after the game. It didn't seem to limit it him at all. Moss propelled the offense after halftime by gashing the Cougars for a series of big runs. He averaged 6.2 yards on 29 carries.
Zach Wilson totaled 208 yards on 21-of-33 passing and added 43 yards on the ground to lead BYU (0-1). Wilson also threw a pair of interceptions that Utah returned for touchdowns.
(At) No. 17 UCF 62, Florida A&M 0: Former Notre Dame star Brandon Wimbush threw for 168 yards and two touchdowns in his UCF debut, helping the Knights open the season with a rout of Florida A&M.
The redshirt senior transfer completed 12 of 23 passes without an interception while sharing playing time with true freshman Dillon Gabriel, who finished second in the competition for the starting quarterback job that opened because of an injury sidelining two-time American Athletic Conference offensive player of the year McKenzie Milton.
Wimbush, who tossed TD passes of 37 and 12 yards to Gabriel Davis, was 13-2 as a starter over the past two years at Notre Dame.
The Knights improved to 26-1 since the start of 2017, with the lone loss coming against LSU in last season’s Fiesta Bowl.
Game relocates for storm
The season opener for Boise State and Florida State will kick off a few hours sooner and a little further inland with discounted ticket prices because of the threat of Hurricane Dorian.
Officials announced the game will be played Saturday at Florida State’s Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee and start at noon, seven hours before it was originally scheduled to start in Jacksonville.
Jacksonville officials, along with those from Florida State and Boise State, collaborated on the decision. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency Wednesday, urging residents and visitors to take precaution before the storm hits. The decision to move the football game was made to keep fans away from the coastal region ahead of storm making landfall.
The Southeastern Conference is adding a sideline monitor for officials on the field to use as part of its instant replay process this season.
... Kentucky coach Mark Stoops will receive an annual raise of $500,000 plus incentives over the remaining six years of a restructured contract following the Wildcats’ best season in 41 years.